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Monday, March 30, 2009

No DRM For The Sims 3
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 20 comments

Electronic Arts recently announced that The Sims 3, the upcoming return to the popular simulation series, will not feature Digital Rights Management copy protection measures. In response to customer demand the game will use a serial code disc based protection method, eliminating online authentication.

Hello everyone I wanted to share news with you regarding our copy protection plans for The Sims 3.

We’ll have more information for you as we get closer to launch about everything we’ll have to offer on TheSims3.com and The Sims 3 Store, but we have heard your requests over the past months and here is our plan for The Sims 3.

The game will have disc-based copy protection – there is a Serial Code just like The Sims 2. To play the game there will not be any online authentication needed.

We feel like this is a good, time-proven solution that makes it easy for you to play the game without DRM methods that feel overly invasive or leave you concerned about authorization server access in the distant future.

We’re really excited to bring you the game for the PC and Mac starting June 2, 2009. The extra time we’ve taken to polish the game has resulted in an even better game experience for you to enjoy and we can’t wait for you to see for yourself!
Visit the links below for more information about the game.

The Sims 3 Copy Protection
Electronic Arts
The Sims 3
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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince New Screens & Trailer
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have released a collection of new screenshots and a trailer from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The video game follows the adventures of Harry in his sixth year at Hogwarts, and is scheduled to be released this summer at the same time as the film.

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemort’s defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague, the well-connected and unsuspecting bon vivant Professor Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Harry finds himself more and more drawn to Ginny, but so is Dean Thomas. And Lavender Brown has decided that Ron is the one for her, only she hadn't counted on Romilda Vane’s chocolates! And then there’s Hermione, simmering with jealously but determined not to show her feelings. As romance blossoms, one student remains aloof. He is determined to make his mark, albeit a dark one. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.

In the game of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, players will return to Hogwarts to help Harry survive a fraught sixth year. They will also have a chance to engage in exciting wizard duels, mix and brew magical ingredients in Potions class and take to the air to lead the Gryffindor Quidditch team to victory. Players may even get sidetracked by Ron’s romantic entanglements as they journey towards a dramatic climax and discover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince.
Click over to the Worthplaying page below to view the new screenshots

Worthplaying: Harry Potter New Screens & Trailer
Electronic Arts

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City Of Heroes Mission Architect Examined
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Trembling Hand has posted a new examination of the Mission Architect feature from the Issue 14 update for City of Heroes. The new addition gives players the opportunity to construct their own missions and share them with others in the game.

City of Heroes is not a difficult game. First off, it's instanced. So as soon as you step in the mission door, it's scaled to your level. No getting missions to beat a boss several levels above you that you have to sit on until you can handle it. In addition, not only can you adjust the difficulty for any mission, and drop it low enough that it's trivial to solo, but even on the highest level difficulty with a full 8-person team - which causes the greatest number of mobs to spawn - most teams simply steamroller through missions. It's satisfying, to a point. The game is about being a superhero/villain after all. But there's not much challenge to it.

Well, there is now. Just about every custom mission I've played (and made) includes at least one elite boss - super-tough enemies that only appear irregularly in most CoH content. Plus, there's trick up the critter creator's sleeve that makes even custom minions a renewed challenge.

This is because pre-baked enemies in CoH have a cap on the potency of their abilities, and this cap was tuned to prevent them from being overpowered for soloists and small teams. However, the custom critters use the far more liberal player damage cap, which makes even minions pack a serious punch. Apparently the devs didn't want custom critters being too easy, thus encouraging people to create trivial farming maps. But when making them harder, they overcompensated. But the end result is spectacular - and they're planning to leave it such.

Players are already busy creating their own enemy factions, populated by mobs with complementary abilities that make for a diverse - and thought-provoking - challenge. Once you learn the ins and outs of the existing CoH mobs, you know exactly how to confront them, and pound them into the ground. But every time you fire up an Architect mission, you have no idea what devious villains confront you. It's brilliant.
Head over to the link below to read more.

Trembling Hand: CoH Mission Architect
City of Heroes
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Jeff Kaplan Lists Problems With World Of Warcraft
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Speaking at the 2009 Game Developer's Conference, Blizzard Entertainment's Jeffrey Kaplan discussed some of the problems he sees with quest design within the company's popular MMO, World of Warcraft. The developer offered a variety of examples showcasing mistakes he thinks designers make when creating content for players.

From Shacknews:

1. "The Christmas Tree Effect"
"What this means, and this is kind of a weird one, but you show up to a quest hub, and your minimap is lit up like a Christmas tree with quest exclamation marks.
The weird thing is, if you ask our fans, they love this. This is to them a good quest hub... They go in and vacuum up the quests. But we've lost all control to guide them to a really fun experience."

Kaplan noted that this leads to users not reading the quests, not bothering to remember which quest giver gave what, and forgetting the order in which to do the quests.

"It's much better to have a slow, guided experience," he said. "I think if you go to [Lich King zones] Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord, you'll always have a ton of quests to do, but you'll never have more than 6 or 7 quests in your quest log."

Kaplan amusingly revealed that some WoW quest designers try to get around the problem by stacking quests onto a single NPC. He showed one NPC that was stuffed with eight quests.

"It should just say 'Do Elwin Forest' at that point," he said, laughing. "'Come back to me at 60.'"

2. Too Long, Didn't Read
Kaplan explained the age-old internet phrase, relating it to WoW quests that are simply too wordy.

"World of Warcraft quest designers are limited to 511 characters," he said. "That's all that will fit into the data entry. And all you programmers know why it's not 512."

Some quest designers ask for more space, Kaplan said, saying, "Why are there only 511 characters? We gotta have more, let's blow that out."

But Kaplan would prefer to see WoW quests go in the other direction.

"I actually wish that the number was smaller. I think it's great to limit people in how much pure text they can force on the player. Because honestly... if you ever want a case study, just watch kids play it, and they're just mashing the button. They don't want to read anything."

To read more follow the link listed below.

Shacknews: Jeff Kaplan Discusses WoW Quests
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Mac Games News for Friday, March 27, 2009

MonsterQuest Released For Mac3:07 PM
Apple Games Feature Kung Fu Panda6:00 AM
Guitar Hero World Tour Previewed6:00 AM
Jeff Vogel Continues Shareware Discussion6:00 AM
Kivi's Underworld Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, March 27, 2009 on one page

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