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Monday, March 9, 2009

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Understanding EVE Online Wormholes
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A new CCP Games development blogs sheds some light on the upcoming addition of wormholes to the company's MMO EVE Online. Scheduled to arrive with the release of the next expansion, Apocrypha, wormholes will allow players to travel to random locations in either existing known space (k-space) or entirely new areas in wormhole space (w-space).

W-space is where the wonder begins. It is where the riches are. It is where the monsters lurk. Out here is where you will find things you've never seen before in EVE. Some will amaze you while others will probably make you wish you'd left your faction-fit Nightmare docked back in the comparative safety of ‘normal' space.

Of course, not all wormholes are created equal. If you enter a wormhole in a hi-sec system you'll likely end up in the W-space version of the shallow end of the kiddie pool. Enemies here are still quite a challenge compared to ‘normal' NPC's, but if you've made it this far then you're prepared for that, right? Proper preparation, a well fit ship and maybe a few friends along will allow you to explore with confidence.

However, no matter where you start, there is always the risk that you will land down in the deep end. This is more apt to happen when your entry point is low or null sec. Regardless of where you come from, if you enter, be careful what you awaken. Out here, the NPCs are big, angry and carry around baseball bats with nails in them. Obviously they are also guarding the most lucrative rewards.

Lack of foresight out here will result in you being in a pod and having to rely upon a friend to use his probe launcher (he did fit one, right??) to help you find a way home. This is not an altogether easy thing either.

While there will always be a way ‘out' of whatever W-space system you are in, there are no guarantees that it will take you where you want to go. The mechanic is deliberately designed so that you can get lost and it may take some time for you to escape back to K-space with whatever treasures you've managed to salvage. The only sure fire option that will get you where you want to go is to eject in your pod and clone jump home the old fashioned way.

One additional point - none of the above takes into account the other intrepid explorers who you might run across... or who might run across you at the worst possible time. Don't bother glancing at your ‘Local' chat channel; out here in the darkness, the only warning you will get is what your eyes or your scanners give you.

This is what true exploration is all about.

To learn more about wormholes visit the page listed below.

EVE Online Blog: The Darkness At The End Of The Tunnel
CCP Games
EVE Online

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Diablo III: Wizard Orb, Weapon Enhancements
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Diablo III Community Manager Bashiok has once again favored Blizzard Entertainment forum readers with a few bits of information about Diablo III, the upcoming continuation of the popular action RPG series. This time the discussion turned to the wizard's orb as a spell focus and how weapon enhancement will be handled in the new game.

Bashiok: The sort of plate-like gauntlets shown on her are part of the armor set look she was wearing. I think the “focus” you’re talking about is actually an orb, which is a wizard-specific off hand item. You’ve got the idea right though, a lot of the wizard spell animations incorporate the orb into a sort of focusing element while casting. The electrocute and disintegrate videos show it pretty well.

Unannounced Weapon Enhancement
Bashiok: I think it’s important not to mistake the word used for a system (in this case rune) for what the systems are actually accomplishing.
In Diablo II runes were used to augment weapons and essentially add more stats to them, runes in certain combinations would create runewords which were in essence more powerful than the sum of each individual rune. But remove the word rune, and you’re looking at a system that simply upgrades items.
Similarly, runes in Diablo III, take away the word rune and we’re looking at a system where skills and abilities can be altered to behave differently, simply increased in effectiveness, or some combination thereof.
Essentially what your question comes down to then is, where is the system in Diablo III that allows us to make base weapons more powerful? And that’s a question that will have to be answered at a later time.

Click over to the Blizzplanet site linked below to read more.

Blizzplanet: Diablo 3 Wizard Orb, Enhancements
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

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Noah Ward Discusses EVE Online Scandals
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

MTV Multiplayer recently posted a new interview with CCP Games' Noah Ward. The lead designer for the company's sci-fi MMO, EVE Online, discussed player reaction to in-game scandals and CCP's interaction with the player elected Council of Stellar Management.

MTV Multiplayer: Recently there have been some player scandals [regarding in-game economic exploits]. Do you feel that is a natural consequence of giving players more freedom? What do you think happened there?

Lead designer, Noah Ward: Well yeah, but that was actually sort of the goal. When you give players freedom to do whatever they want, then you’re going to have these sorts of massive political scandals — and the players really love it. The largest alliance in the game was broken up by a trader on the inside and when this happened we were really worried at first because we were like, “Oh no! Everyone’s going to quit!” And it was really horrible for us.
That was in the morning, but a couple hours later the buzz on the forums was crazy, subscriber numbers were growing, and everybody was really excited. Because everyone was becoming complacent and bored with being the biggest alliance, and then all of a sudden now there’s war and turmoil. People who used to be in the alliance were re-subscribing and everyone was really excited about it so it’s not necessarily always a bad thing when this sort of stuff happens. Somebody on the other side was interviewed, and he was saying “When you beat the biggest raid in ['World of Warcraft'] you don’t get an interview in The New York Times but when this sort of thing happens it makes real-world news.”

MTV Multiplayer: So you think when these scandals happen, it’s not always a bad thing?
Ward: Yeah, I think it’s what makes “EVE” so unique and what makes the world rich. We could’ve never scripted that; you would never be able to come up with something like that. It’s what the people like, they have this freedom and that’s why this stuff is happening. Even if you were on the losing side of that, in a few years you’ll look back and say, “I was part of that crazy thing that happened.” Another big interesting thing that happened was during the alliance tournament, there was an assassination. Somebody killed one of the guys on his own team as part of some contract. People in the gaming press were comparing that to the assassination of Lord British [in "Ultima Online"].
Head over to the page linked below to read the full interview.

MTV Multiplayer: EVE Online In-Game Scandals, Player Corruption
CCP Games
EVE Online

Mac Mini Benchmarks Reveal Improved Game Performance
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 13 comments

Macworld has posted a new benchmark article comparing the latest Mac Mini versions with their 2007 predecessor. The biggest improvement was reflected in 3D gaming tests which showed a large increase in frames per second. Quake 4, Call of Duty, and Unreal Tournament 2004 were used in the benchmarks.

Even with just 1GB of RAM installed, the new Nvidia graphics performed much better than the Intel graphics of the previous Mac mini. The older Mac mini couldn’t even run our Call of Duty test, and struggled to get just 5.6 frames per second in our Quake 4 test. The new Mac minis, with 2GB of RAM installed, were able to push through nearly 7 times as many frames per second in that test.

With the identical processors and the same 2GB of RAM installed for our testing, the difference between the two new Mac minis comes down to the hard drive. (Upgrading the entry-level Mac mini to 2GB of RAM is an extra $50.) And though you’d think that might make for some pretty similar performance results, it turns out that the different hard drive helped the high-end Mac mini post a nearly 7 percent higher Speedmark score. Many scores were nearly identical, like the aforementioned 3-D graphics tests, as well as processor-intensive application tests like Cinema 4D and Compressor encoding. But in disk-related tests like duplicating and uncompressing files and folders, the high-end Mac mini was much faster—26 percent faster at duplicating a 1GB file and 22 percent faster at unzipping a compressed 2GB folder.

The new high-end Mac mini was 21 percent faster overall than the previous high-end Mac mini, which had a 120GB hard drive. The biggest differences between the two Mac minis were in 3-D game performance, of course, but drive tests and even the Compressor and Photoshop tests show some real improvement in this new generation.
Read the full article at the link below.

Macworld: New Mac Mini Benchmarks

Mac Games News for Friday, March 6, 2009

Nanny Mania 2 Released For Macs1:33 PM
Freeverse, MrJoy Donate Hordes Of Orcs To Soldiers6:00 AM
GameTap Update Drops Mac Support6:00 AM
Multiwinia Tutorial Videos Released6:00 AM
Out Of The Park Baseball 10 Announced6:00 AM
Spore Galactic Adventures Gameplay Video Available6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, March 6, 2009 on one page

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