Game News

General news about specific MassMOGs and the like.

Irth Online open beta starts today

Running through July 5, 2005, the Irth Online open beta is now fired up. (Direct link to beta signup page in case you have trouble finding it.) Here's a clip from the announcement:
Irth Online’s virtual world is populated by three distinct PvP civilizations -- The Arcadians in the snowy north, The Morbus in the southeastern swamps, and The Mezoteks in the tropical southwest – which have a thousand-year history of battling to capture the resources of the others to ensure survival. This persistent state of war inspired peace-loving pilgrims from all three civilizations to form their own civilization, and this fourth civilization in Irth Online is non-PvP, and survives via commerce in lieu of combat. Players join Irth’s history at a period when a fragile truce exists, and determine the course of history of each civilization. The persistent world environment of Irth Online features an open ended skill system. Players may learn any skill offered in the game without facing limitations of race or class. Irth Online's advancement system has a unique skill-over-time feature, allowing all characters to enjoy adventures together, regardless of experience level. Magic Hat Software’s in-house created engine uses the very latest technology in terms of DirectX9 effect files and vertex and pixel shaders (which include per-pixel lighting and bump/specular environment maps); allows creation of highly detailed characters with animation blending; extended visibility for the player (up to 10 miles in every direction); and unlimited, changeable terrain size with seamless background resource loading. Irth Online is scheduled for release in July, 2005.

"Pirates of the Caribbean" MMOG announced

(from Blue's News): An article at Yahoo! points out Disney Interactive is preparing Pirates of the Caribbean Online as their next adventure into the massively multiplayer space, after their very interesting Toon Town game.

An official Pirates of the Caribbean Online information site has been set up to get us started. This game won't ship 'til next summer (2006), but it gives me a reason to mention Toon Town, which is always good. I really liked what little I played of that game (way back during its beta testing) and need to get my butt back in there lately to see what's been happening.

Asheron's Call 2 contest at WarCry

WarCry started up a contest to mark the upcoming release of the Asheron's Call 2: Legions expansion pack. The big AC2 contest will be set to give away a 10-year subscription (with boxed game) as grand prize, along with 10 other 1-year 'scrips, 10 signed boxed games, 10 t-shirts, 10 fingers, 10 toes, 10 french hens... err, sorry. Some of the last bits may not quite make it into the contest. (I ought to hold my own "10 each of various things" giveaway to compete, eh?)

Aaanyway. I'll stop amusing myself and point you also to their AC2 Legions preview so you can find out more about the expansion.

World of Warcraft Performance Guide --

AnandTech ( has posted a great guide for getting the best performance out of your system for World of Warcraft. As is their way, they have a ton of great benchmarks for different video cards (a couple key parts were left out, but they discuss how to read the results relevent to those cards). There are some nice screenshot comparisons and discussion of how to adjust various detail levels to get the best quality/performance ratios for your particular setup. I dig that site, fer sher. Here's a clip:
Much to our surprise, performance was fairly balanced between ATI and NVIDIA at similar product points. The GeForce 6800 Ultra performed very similarly to the Radeon X850 XT, as did the 6800GT and the X800 XL. The major exception being the 6600GT vs. the X700 Pro, where the 6600GT offers significantly better performance.
Here's the link to the WoW Performance Guide.

Play Star Chamber... 'cause you should

I'm going to just be blunt here and send you right on your way so you can start playing quicker:

Play Star Chamber

..."why?", you might be asking. Well, for starters; I like the game and the company and the guys making the game and INDIE STUDIOS NEED YOUR SUPPORT!! How's that for a start?

So, get on your way. I'm not the only one who likes it, by the way. It was an Indie Games Festival finalist this year at GDC, for one thing. Really, just go play it.

Turbine becomes exclusive licensee for Tolkien-based online worlds

Huge news from Turbine today as they've finalized the aquisition of rights to publish and develop "online worlds" based on the Tolkien Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit properties. Wow. Here's a clip from the press release:
As part of the agreement, Turbine will own all of the game assets to the upcoming, highly anticipated massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) The Lord of the Rings": Middle-Earth" Online. All publishing responsibilities previously assumed by VU Games for the online license have been transitioned to Turbine effective immediately.
I'll look more into this, but my initial reaction focuses more on how far this once-small company has come over the years. It "feels" like a little independent shop that's come a long way to be a still-independent BIG studio... more like a conglomerate of sorts, I guess. I hope this is Good News as a whole. Time will tell, considering we really don't know how Turbine's recent work is coming along. I will revisit Turbine's capacity to turn out good games when I see where their ownership of Asheron's Call takes that franchise with the upcoming expansions to AC1 & 2. However, it's hard not to say "good job" to those folks!

DarkSpace new version and beta info

Drafell dropped by to give us this news... I figured it would live happily out here in the open! --Hoza -------------- [url=]DarkSpace[/url] is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game that combines tactical ship to ship combat with strategy in a team orientated game. Players gain rank and prestige, which expands the ships they can command and the strategic decisions they make. This version is a major overhaul of thip ship design and components for [url=]DarkSpace Beta.[/url] We are looking for feedback from those new to the game as well as experienced players to help gain a fresh perspective on the changes. The previous 1.481 and 1.482 patches were mainly for the server backend and to enable the roll out of a single universe server instead of seperate zones which were accessed by Jumpgates.

Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion expansion

Since this press blurb is efficient enough, I won't bother you with my ramblings on the subject:

"The Ubisoft Store is pleased to announce that Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion™ is now available for only $19.99! If you do not own the original version of Shadowbane® or The Rise of Chaos expansion pack, worry not, for the Throne of Oblivion will include both for free. Those who create new accounts with this purchase will receive 31 days of free gameplay. Furthermore, you will be able to purchase and download Throne of Oblivion online while the boxed version will contain Shadowbane, Rise of Chaos, and Throne of Oblivion on it. To commemorate this occasion we are releasing new screenshots, plus the box art for your enjoyment!"
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