Role-Playing Games

Stats and character development is the name of the "role-playing" game, basically. With a role-playing game (RPG), you'll find games where character advancement and customization is a huge part of the experience.

Star Wars Galaxies' Proposed Combat Changes

Sony is toying with major changes to the Star Wars Galaxies combat system again. Last time they did this, it caused quite a ruckus, so here's the preface to the forum post announcing some of the changes being tested:

Please keep in mind that although we have this prototype working internally it's entirely possible that nothing will be like it is described here or we may end up not adding this to the game at all. You guys wanted to get more of the behind-the-scenes scoop on development and here it is.

To me, that reads a lot like "read this stuff over and post about it while we look for massive flames and cursing to see if you like it or not." Actually a great thing to see, if that's what they're doing. From what I understand, the last massive combat overhaul changed the game so fundamentally that many existing players were known to just log off permanently. That's a good example of what can happen if you don't focus-test your changes enough... or it's an example of something else. :P

However, I'm not playing SWG right now and I only played it shortly after launch, so I don't know what any of this stuff even means! If you know what's going on in SWG and you want more info, go decipher it yourself. :)

ArchLord Beta Signup Now Live

News from Codemasters announces the opening of the beta sign up for the upcoming MMOG, ArchLord. I know you want it... you folks devour anything that says "beta". ...Well, I do too so I don't blame you. I'll be logging in right beside you, I'm sure. :)

It is with great pleasure that I can know announce the ArchLord Beta Sign-up has gone live! That's right, Beta Sign-up is now live! So head on over to and register your interest in the Beta Sign-up! Whilst you are their be sure to check out the ArchLord Forums at and have a look around, ask some questions.
We are also running an ArchLord Beta Sign-up VIP program, so for all those that create fansites, are already members of guilds or are active community members will receive preferential access to the Beta program! So be sure to check out those forums, investigate the game and get creative!!!

Also, if you sign up by Monday morning, you'll have a chance to win a sketch of an ArchLord character made by the folks at MMOART. Here's the blurb on that from Tim "Mr. Ktat" Hodges, the community relations bloke for ArchLord:

I am happy to announce that courtesy of MMOART. <>We are offering one lucky person who signs up for the Beta between today and Monday 9 am a personalised, unique sketch of a character of their choice from ArchLord!!

This is a really great prize and the guys at MMOART do some great work, check out their site for some awesome examples! So I'm sure you are all going to be hanging on to the edge of your seats for this. So good luck!!

Tabula Rasa E3 2006 gameplay trailer released

Mmmmm, nummy!... go snag the "sneak peek" (on of what the folks at NCsoft will be showing off at E3 to showcase the upcoming Tabula Rasa.  I really think it's best to reset your expectations of this game if you've been trying to follow its long development cycle before now.  The game is really different from what it used to be... understatement of the week, I suppose.  This trailer is impressive to me and helps me get into a different frame of mind about what the game will be like.   Since Richard Garriott's talk at GDC '06, as I've mentioned briefly before, I've taken a completely new view of this game and it's now one I'm looking forward to... maybe because I didn't know enough about where the old versions of the game were heading to "get onboard" with it?

Mmmmm... 1280x720 trailer!!  Nice.  :)

Sneak Peek: Tabula Rasa E3 2006 gameplay trailer

Richard Garriott and the Tabula Rasa team would like to share a sneak preview with you of the incredible gameplay trailer they’ve put together for E3 this year. It’s available here:

On the last title screen there's a sweet example of the pictographic language that Richard talked about at GDC... very cool.  I can read about half of it so far based on his talk.  Pretty neat.  Richard is well known by now for including such things in his games, but typically he has used more historical pictographic languages as a source.  This time he made the whole language himself.  I really need to talk to him more about this and formulate an article about it... it really was impressive to me.  Such depth in a game design is refreshing.  :) 

A Tale in the Desert 3 Beta Underway

Just a quick note to point out the open beta for A Tale in the Desert 3 has started up.  I'm a bit delayed on this announcement due to technical email doohickiness but here ya go.  ATitD has been one of the more interesting games to come along and the list of additions for the latest installment looks to give players some happy days ahead.  Go snag the Windows, Mac or Linux clients and give this non-combat game a try... don't forget to report any problems you find, eh?  It is a beta afterall and they would really appreciate if you help them iron out any bugs you find... bugs besides the scarabs you find wandering around in the sand.  Those bugs are supposed to be there.  It is the desert, ya know?

Guild Wars Factions Shipping This Week

The next installment of the Guild Wars online game, Factions, has been shipped to retailers and will be going live on April 28.  I figured you'd all like to know about this in case you're interested in getting in on the Head Start Event available to those who pre-ordered the game.  A blurb:

Those who pre-ordered the game will be able to participate in the exclusive Guild Wars Factions Head Start Event beginning at 12:01 AM PDT/7:01 AM GMT on April 27, 2006. These lucky gamers will have access to the game for a total of 48 hours, including a full 24 hours before the game’s global release. During the first 24 hours of the Head Start Event, ArenaNet has planned an exclusive in-game event titled "Day of the Tengu," in which players will join one-day-only "Day of the Tengu" quests, and earn exclusive in-game rewards.

 The new features include goodies like guild scrimmages, alliance battles, ranked character titles and other stuff that I also don't know anything about.  Read the full press release after the jump...

Age of Conan Classes Revealed

I'm just going to drop the press release in here and get back to preparing for GDC.  I'm really looking forward to Age of Conan!

Innovative, unique and intriguing new online RPG classes introduced

Durham, USA — March 17, 2006 – Funcom announces the unveiling of the entire class and archetype system in ‘Age of Conan – Hyborian Adventures’. Fun and exciting classes like Lotus master, Waylayer, Herald of Xotli, Scion of Set, Bear Shaman and Priest of Mitra are but a few of the many classes you get to explore in ‘Age of Conan’. With four great archetypes, a multitude of intriguing classes and lots of innovative gameplay, Funcom is intent on bringing a brand new and exciting direction to the online RPG genre.

Click the link below to get the entire class and archetype listing in Conan:

Click the link below to see the first article about the class system in Conan:

In the months to come Funcom will unveil in-depth details on each of the exciting classes through the Conan newsletter and at the community portal. You can sign up for the newsletter on the official website.

‘Age of Conan" is scheduled for a Windows release in Q4 2006.

ABOUT AGE OF CONAN – HYBORIAN ADVENTURES - In ‘Conan’ the players will encounter a dark, lush, violent and sinful universe, presented in fantastic graphics and stunning 7.1 surround audio. In a world filled with cruel gods, mythical creatures, lost civilizations and a struggling human race, the mighty barbarian has finally seized the throne as king of Aquilonia. But Conan’s rule is on the brink of chaos, spiraling towards the doom of ancient evils. In this twisted fantasy world, dark magic and brutal combat lurks around every corner, and each man and woman must carve their own unique destiny under Conan’s reign. In the true vision of Robert E. Howard’s dark universe it’s now time for you to become a messenger of death.

ABOUT FUNCOM - Funcom is an independent developer and publisher of online games for PC, consoles and mobile platforms. Funcom has provided outstanding entertainment since 1993 and continues to expand its track-record of more than twenty released games. Recent successes include ‘The Longest Journey’ and ‘Anarchy Online’. For corporate information please visit For information about Funcom games visit, or Funcom is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker FUNCOM.

ABOUT CONAN PROPERTIES INTERNATIONAL - Conan Properties International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Paradox Entertainment Inc., controls all rights to Conan, associated characters and the Hyborian world, as created by Robert E. Howard and expanded upon by acclaimed authors and artists for decades. Conan is considered to be the world’s best-known fantasy character. For more information about Conan Properties International, visit For information about Paradox Entertainment Inc., visit

Play Shadowbane Free!(!!)... huh?

No, this isn't one of those "click here and win an iPod" ads, where you get there and they are collecting email addresses or plotting to overthrow the world, or whatever it is those companies do.  This is a real announcement.  While I had to take a few times looking around to make sure there wasn't some funky catch, it does in fact appear that you can play Wolfpack Studios' Shadowbane completely free now!  That's quite a boost to the "fee online games" realm, eh? 

Don't believe me? This is the clip circulating around, straight from the source:

There will be a more in-depth announcement coming soon but, in the meanwhile, I wanted to let our community know that this is not an error. Existing users can now open up their Account Manager and their accounts will now be working, allowing them to play Shadowbane for free! This does include those who had previously canceled accounts!

In addition, those who wish to try out Shadowbane for the first time will also be able to. All you have to do is create a new account and then click on Add a Subscription, and you will have free access to the lands of Aerynth! This is not a Free-Trial subscription and it will not run out in 15-days. This is completely free!

If you are looking for a place to download the Shadowbane client, you can get it from FilePlanet by clicking here for the PC version, and here for the Mac version! While these version are labeled for the "Free Trial", they are full versions of the game client and any active accounts can be used to play using them.

No longer will players, existing and new alike, be charged to adventure in the lands of Aerynth! If you happen to be a new player or have not adventured in Shadowbane for many an age, makes sure you check out the Getting Started guide. You can also view the Shadowbane Version and Patch History to see what has changed over the last few years.
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