Posts Tagged ‘MMO’

Chinese prisoners sentenced to WoW gold farming

Friday, May 27th, 2011

We want zee gold, Lebowski! Give us zee gold or we f**ks you up!

(Yahoo) – Rocks by day, gold by night. After a day of grueling physical labor, inmates in Chinese prisons would be forced to engage in 12-hour sessions of online gaming to rack up credits. This was the work cycle for many Chinese prisoners in years past, the Guardian is reporting.

The virtual work environment proved to be a perplexing part of daily life for many inmates. The prison guards invested a lot of time and energy into making sure the prisoners met quotas for faux currencies, which the guards later traded for real world money.

The Guardian told the story of Liu Dali (a pseudonym) who was imprisoned for three years from 2004 to 2007. “If I couldn’t meet my work quota, they would punish me physically,” he said. The trade of gold for cash was widespread in Chinese prisons because of how lucrative it is.

“Gold farming” is the moniker for this business. There are scores of gamers across the globe that would pay real money for game currency just so they could progress in the game. World of Warcraft was one of many games the inmates had to trudge through to accrue certain amounts of online cash.

Gold farming, however, is not relegated to prison inmates. This is a job for some people, and there are gamers who would pay good money for fake money. For Liu Dali and his comrades in shackles, as the Guardian reported, none of their virtual labor translated into profit for them.

This, of course, is not what game makers intended. The practice of gold farming, however, is not an easy thing to regulate. Virtual currency translating into real world profits is a relatively recent thing, and since it does not exist in a physical space, it is very easy to manipulate.

While Liu Dali may no longer be in prison, his fear that this practice still exists could very well be true. Gold farming puts policy makers into an integral position as the forced 12-hour sessions can be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing.

Star Trek & Champions Online up for sale

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Hey buddy, what are used Romulans going for now days?

(Gamespot) – Less than three years ago, Atari acquired Cryptic Studios in a deal potentially worth $75 million, with the intention of making the massively multiplayer online game developer a cornerstone in its transition to becoming an online game publishing giant. That intention will never be realized, as the publisher today announced it plans to wash its hands of the studio behind Star Trek Online and Champions Online.

Atari revealed the planned divestiture in its full-year financial report, with Cryptic’s impact on the bottom line filed under the “discontinued operations” section of Atari’s report. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, Atari reported that Cryptic lost a total of €5.3 million ($7.5 million). That was an improvement over the prior year, when Cryptic launched both Star Trek Online and Champions Online, and Atari had the studio down as losing €12.6 million ($17.8 million).

“In line with the previously stated strategy of fewer but more profitable releases and further expansion into casual online and mobile games, the company has determined that external development creates more flexibility in the changing marketplace,” Atari explained in its financial report. “Therefore, the company has made the decision to divest itself from Cryptic Studios. The divestiture process is underway and more details will be provided as appropriate.”

Beyond its previous two online role-playing games, Cryptic has also been at work on Neverwinter, an online game based on the Dungeons & Dragons brand popularized in games by the Neverwinter Nights series. As of press time, Atari has not responded to GameSpot’s request for a status update on Neverwinter, or how the divestiture will impact the ongoing operations of Champions Online and Star Trek Online. However, a community representative on the Star Trek Online forums indicated “there are no planned changes to the way any of our games and projects will operate.”

Marvel Universe MMO to be “Free to Play”

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Gazillion Entertainment held an event in San Francisco this week and revealed a few tidbits on what we can be expecting from the new Marvel Universe MMO. “Free to Play” seemed a bit of a suprise to us, but with all the other power MMO’s (besides WoW) heading to free subscriptions (relying on in-game “microtransactions” only) this seems to be the safest route of attack for a game that has to compete with other hero games like NC Soft’s City of Heroes…anyhow here’s a few confirmed goodies.

What we know for sure:

  • Marvel Universe will be free-to-play, and was planned that way from its inception.
  • It’s being developed by Secret Identity, a sub-group of Gazillion that was formed in late 2009 specifically to build Marvel Universe.
  • You can play as Marvel characters, and other players can be the same hero as you at the same time, which the devs believe creates “lots of problems and lots of opportunities.???
  • You won’t have to choose only one character, but will be able to play as all of them.
  • Some of the characters you will play as are: Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Thor, Spiderman, Nova, and Squirrel Girl.
  • Doctor Doom will be the game’s main villain (at least at launch).
  • You will play through existing stories that are told in the comic books.
  • The game world exists within the canon Marvel Universe–this is not an alternate reality scenario.
  • Marvel Universe is being made primarily for adults (as opposed to Gazillion’s other kid-focused Marvel MMO, Marvel Superhero Squad). They want to target core gamers first, and also make it accessible for everyone else.
  • So does that mean I can’t make my own super hot hero chick that flys around in lingerie saving lives and kicking ass? Looks like it. /sadface


    Sony’s DC Universe MMO getting heroic sales

    Monday, January 24th, 2011

    (Gamespot) – Sony Online Entertainment’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game DC Universe Online is proving to be a massive success for its maker. According to the publisher, the title has used its superhuman strength to become SOE’s fastest-selling game ever.

    The news comes via the Twitter post of SOE president John Smedley, who said the game is evaporating from store shelves.

    “Working on out-of-stock problems for DCUO,” he said. “It’s out [sic] fastest selling game ever. Should have more inventory in Monday.”

    Smedley also used the social networking space to tout Steam sales figures. Smedley said DC Universe Online was #1 in sales on Steam last week. He did not offer further specifics as to how well the PS3 iteration is selling.

    Set within the DC Comics world, DC Universe Online lets players create a superhero or villain and fight alongside or against iconic comic book characters, such as the Joker, Batman, Superman, and others. It was developed under the creative direction of famed comic book artist Jim Lee.

    Guild kicks Warcraft player for being deaf

    Thursday, December 30th, 2010

    Unwelcome gets unwelcomed by his WoW Guild

    World of Warcraft player “Unwelcome” suffered an accident that permanently robbed him of his hearing this recent year. Upon finding himself feeling abit alienated and shunned by his friends in real life, he also found out his Warcraft buddies to be a shunning experience.

    Some games require a certain level of hearing, nowadays with subititles implemented for many story plot lines, most are not the case. Warcraft is very “deaf-friendly” overflowing with text-filled quests that don’t require aural cues to complete.

    In Unwelcome’s case, his raiding guild was not so understanding:

    “So i came back to wow. Now I’ve been playing with my guild for about 4 years. We have all become close friends. We have even done some rl (real life) guild parties. I explained why i have been off for so long to the guild. I explained my condition. Everyone was pretty supportive for about 5 minutes.

    Do you know what the first question i got from my guild leader was? He asked me if i could still use (popular voice chat program) vent (Ventrilo). I told him no, but tried to assure him it wouldn’t be a problem as i usually research the fights beforehand and use dbm (deadly boss mods – a popular dungeon helper mod).

    He tells me that i can’t raid unless i have vent. Guild rules and all. I was pissed. After a huge blow out between us i get removed from the guild and put on ignore.”

    Since the happening, there has been many respondents to Unwelcome’s original post and most have clearly stated that there are plenty of ways to get around having a deaf raiding party member.

    Unwelcome being quite despondent, later realized the World of Warcraft community at large rallied behind him with supportive words. Some did argue that his guild leader was within his rights to ban Unwelcome from raiding, arguments have been well-spoken and without malice.

    Not quitting his World of Warcraft experience, Unwelcome has decided to make something of his own guild called ‘That Canadian Guild’ started by him and his brother on the Llane server in the aftermath of the incident.

    DC Online : PC and PS3 launch date announced

    Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

    (Gamespot) – Comic book-loving gamers got some good news yesterday, when Sony Online Entertainment announced a hard release date for DC Universe Online. The PlayStation 3 and PC massively multiplayer role-playing game will ship on January 11 in North America, with a European release date three days later. The game is currently in a closed beta on both platforms.

    The game will retail for $50 on the PC and $60 for the PlayStation 3. Also available is a $100 collector’s edition, which contains a batman figurine, an art book, a Geoff Johns-penned prequel comic, and the first issue of a new DC Universe Online comic book. In terms of subscription, DC Universe Online will cost $15 per month, although the first 30 days of play are included in the game’s purchase price..

    Previously scheduled to launch last month, DC Universe online was delayed in October by SOE. Set within the DC Comics world, the game will let players create a superhero or villain and fight alongside or against iconic comic book characters, such as the Joker, Batman, Superman, and others. It was developed under the creative direction of famed comic book artist Jim Lee.

    BSG online closed beta starts

    Monday, November 8th, 2010

    (Kotaku) – The battle for the future of humanity is joined, as MMO developer Bigpoint reveals the launch of the closed beta test for browser-based MMO Battlestar Galactica Online. Get a peek at what fashionable humans and Cylons will be wearing this fall.

    Players from across Europe and the U.S. are now flying the unfriendly space lanes of Battlestar Galactica Online. During this early phase of testing, players can create human or Cylon characters and engage in a training mission, after which they are free to roam the galaxy, engaging in battles against AI opponents and other players in between exciting bouts of mining.

    Bigpoint will be allowing more players into the closed beta in the coming weeks, leading up to the open beta tentatively scheduled for December. For your chance at a piece of the action, visit the official Battlestar Galactica Online website.

    PAX Prime: Fallen Earth

    Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

    The Reckon Crew speaks with Dave Haydysch, producer for Fallen Earth

    In one of the noisiest corners of PAX Prime, we met with one of Icarus Studios’ representatives and were ushered over to meet Fallen Earth Producer Dave Haydysch who was kind enough, and patient enough in his talking throughout the blare of the music game across the way, to give us a tour of the MMO Fallen Earth. It was easy to see the enthusiasm Dave had for this game and it was hard not to get caught up in it as he told us about this post-apocalyptic RPG. Below is a small excerpt from the almost 30 minutes Dave was generous enough to spend with us talking about the game.

    “The game is set in the year 2154 and there’s been a virus called Shiva released on the planet. Amid the confusion that set in after the virus was released, all the countries of the world blamed one another for the outbreak and ended up launching their nuclear weapons. The character you play is a clone, and along with the remaining 1% of the world’s population, you’re trying to rebuild the world.???

    “There are seven different factions in the world now and each faction is attempting to rebuild the world based on their ideals creating conflict among the factions. For example, there is a faction called the ‘Enforcers’ who are very militant, very martial law, and very police state and that is the means by which they intend to rebuild society. Their opposing faction is the ‘CHOTA’ which stands for ‘Children of the Apocalypse’ who are all about chaos. They say, ‘Screw your rules, they didn’t work the first time around and chaos is the way we’re going to rebuild this,’ so they’re obviously at odds.???

    “Now you don’t have to align with a faction in the game but you miss out on so much of the depth of the game that we really encourage players to get involved. Our game is very free flowing so it adds a lot of different aspects to the game when a player along some cells with one of the various factions. If you do choose to align with a faction, it changes the story that you’re playing through, it adds depth and a different twist on the game than someone who chooses a different faction might experience.???

    “There are three sectors to the game right now, sectors one, two, and three, very basic names. Sector One is what you might expect from a setting that we’ve placed the game in. The game is set in the United States and what we’ve done is take a real map of the Grand Canyon, set it down, and put our game on top of it. In theory, you can pick a spot on the map, look around, and then go there in real life. Of course the spot you visit in real life isn’t going to look anything like our post apocalyptic version but the fact is you’d be looking at the exact location that we’ve put in the game.???

    Dave then showed us how immense the game world actually is from the point of view of the character we were “test driving???. At this time, they’ve only used 2/3 of the map and the game still covers over 1000 square kilometers. Even from the viewpoint of a hardcore MMO player, it’s easy to see how big this world already is.


    Star Wars MMO delayed till spring 2011

    Thursday, January 14th, 2010

    (Gamespot) – BioWare has now confirmed that Star Wars: The Old Republic will not launch until early next year. “While we have not announced a specific date, we can confirm that we are targeting a spring 2011 release for Star Wars: The Old Republic,” said BioWare Austin community manager Sean Dahlberg in a forum post.

    Dahlberg promised numerous updates on the game in 2010, as well as a beta-testing program. Those who wish to apply to be testers can sign up at

    In the meantime, to tide you over, check out the latest video in the SWTOR developers’ diary. -Poo Doo

    Girl Gamers: Study shows they do it longer

    Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

    Don't question Gamette Jes V. about how much she games...

    Scientists conducted a gaming survey of some 7,000 players who were logged into the game EverQuest II this year. With these statistics they discovered several interesting findings. One being the average age of the gamers surveyed was 31. And that playing time tended to increase with age. Which now brings in the sex differences…

    The numbers showed that the female gamers actually logged more game hours (of Everquest II) than the males. The ladies had an average of 29 hours a week, versus 25 for the males, with the top players putting in 57 hours a week on the girl’s side, and 51 for the guys.

    And another interesting thing, get ready for this…it looks like women are more likely to lie about how much they really play this game in particular. Researchers found that the gals tended to lowball how long they spend glued to the screen. (Surprise? And they make fun of all you World of Warcraft dudes who barely leave the seat to handle bodily functions! – notably called a ‘bio’.)

    So there you go, when your gamer gal doesn’t answer her phone, and says she’s going to wash her hair, she actually may be tackling some high end mob in Norrath, anticipating how good it will feel to flash that epic loot in front of your hungry eyes. Go figure.