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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

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City Of Heroes: Going Rogue Announced
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

NCsoft and Paragon Studios have announced the development of City of Heroes: Going Rogue, described as the first major expansion for the City of Heroes franchise since the launch of City of Villains in 2005. The expansion will feature a new alignment system which will allow heroes and villains the chance to switch sides, two new primary fictional characters, and the new threat of the parallel universe known as Praetoria.

"City of Heroes has brought a fresh new perspective to the MMO stage with its foray into the super-powered hero comic book genre, and we are excited to present gamers with even more innovative content in Going Rogue," said Brian Clayton, general manager and executive producer at Paragon Studios. "For years, players could choose between playing as a hero or a villain. Now we will present a third, malleable path where players can be affected by the results of their actions, enabling them to further develop, unveil new perspectives, and overcome new challenges."

In the Going Rogue expansion, hero and villain characters will become immersed in the new parallel universe known as Praetoria, which is governed by Tyrant, the evil incarnation of the game's main protagonist, Statesman. As gamers search for Tyrant and the rest of his Praetorian guard, implacable foes and fierce resistance will arise to face them from all sides, causing heroes and villains alike to question their loyalties.

City of Heroes Going Rogue will introduce a new alignment system that helps players explore the shades of gray that lie between good and evil. For the first time, hero characters can become villains and vice versa, enabling hero archetypes to cross over to the Rogue Isles™ and villain archetypes to experience Paragon City™. Clearly marked missions, in addition to behaviors and decisions made by the player, will move a hero's or villain's moral compass, which could eventually change the hero's or villain's alignment. Going Rogue will also introduce two primary new fictional characters representative of this alignment shift in the game's lore: Maelstrom, a pistol-wielding hero gone rogue, and Desdemona, a demon-summoning villain who has been redeemed.

NCsoft will share more details on Going Rogue in the coming months. The game is currently in development by NCsoft's Paragon Studios, the City of Heroes development team that most recently launched the ground-breaking Mission Architect system. The launch of Mission Architect sets a significant milestone for City of Heroes as the first MMO to allow players to create user-generated content. City of Heroes has and continues to set new standards among its MMO peers and player community with its engaging and approachable comic book-inspired universe theme and consistent delivery of concepts that break the standard MMO mold.

Visit the pages below to learn more about Going Rogue and view a trailer of the expansion.

City Of Heroes: Going Rogue
City of Heroes
Buy City of Heroes

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Ron Gilbert Discusses DeathSpank
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

RPG Codex has posted a new interview with game designer Ron Gilbert. The veteran designer discusses a variety of topics related to the upcoming DeathSpank adventure game including the task of combining RPG and adventure elements, the game's open world, and whether or not the game will have an M rating.

3. How are you combining the adventure and RPG elements? What will the balance between the two genres be? More adventure or more RPG?
Good question and probably the hardest thing about designing DeathSpank. If there were ever two genres that belonged together, I think it's Adventure and RPG. They share a lot in being story and world focused. But there are also differences, mainly in what motivates players to move forward and how they attack problems. An adventure game can be described as a bunch of immovable objects you need to navigate your way around, and a RPG is a bunch of really heavy objects you need to push out of the way. I would be lying if I said it's not a constant challenge to balance the two. As John F. Kennedy once said of the moon landings: We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

6. What about exploration? Will there be a world to roam around in or it will it be a more linear situation?
It's a completely open world. You can go anywhere you want, provided that you can either puzzle solve or fight your way there. There is not set order events will unfold in. This aspect of how stories are told is taken directly from good classic adventure games (not the bad ones, just the good ones).
The large non-linear world is also completely load-less. As you wonder from area to area, in and out of caves and buildings, there is never a load screen. In my mind, this kind of immersion is one of the more important aspects of the game.

17. It's pretty safe to say that most of the folks that follow your career are adults. But are you concerned about keeping DeathSpank below the threshold of a "Mature" title, especially since the yougins are likely to be drawn to any combination of the words "death" and "spank"?
There is no specific mandate to keep DeathSpank a T. If the game needs to be a M, it will be a M. Problem with a lot of M titles is they come from "developer immaturity" more than artistic need. The industry is made up of a lot of people that still giggle when they see a breast. Being M doesn't make you cool. Making a game where two girls kiss doesn't make you an "artist".
Read the full Q&A at the page linked below.

RPG Codex: Ron Gilbert Q&A
Hothead Games

The Sims 3 Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

MCV has posted a new preview of The Sims 3, the upcoming continuation of the successful Sims franchise. The game will add new twists to the popular life sim formula with customizable personalities, goal oriented gameplay, movie creation and editing, and an online community. Destructoid's article details some of the game's new features and includes comments from product manager Kerri West.

The latest in EA’s mega-franchise boasts your usual Sims gameplay, but now the houses and neighbourhoods blend seamlessly without loading times, there are even more customisation options, and the AI has also been drastically revamped.
And that’s not to mention the updated visuals and extra online options, all designed to delight the franchise’s massive fanbase.
“There’s just so much more to a Sims life in The Sims 3,” continues West.
“Not only can they now explore the neighbourhood and become immersed in their local community, they can also work towards fulfiling their destiny… or not. As always in The Sims, their fate is left up to the player to decide.
“Players will also now have more godly freedom to create the way they want to. The customisation and design options for Sims, houses, cars, clothes, furniture and more are practically limitless and so much easier to use than in The Sims 2. However, one of the most significant advances of The Sims 3 is the new AI.
“There are dozens and dozens of funny and compelling personality traits that players can pick to create unique personalities for their Sims. There are hundreds of possible combinations meaning each Sim will behave and react differently making them unpredictable and captivating.”
Head over to the site listed below to read the rest of the article.

MCV: The Sims 3 Preview
Electronic Arts
The Sims 3
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Diablo III Skill Trees Explained
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Diablo community manager Bashiok has posted a lengthy explanation of the implementation of skill trees in Diablo III, Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming return to the popular action RPG franchise. The discussion includes a description of the skill tree's current incarnation and the reasoning behind prerequisite and skill cap choices.

So, I could spend 2 points in Heightened Senses which is a berserker skill, and 3 points in Bash which is a Juggernaut skill, thus adding up to 5 points and granting me access to the second tier of skills for all of the trees. With this amount of freedom you can see how easy it is then to diversify yourself and your build. You’re no longer gaining abilities through investment, but instead more through choice and personal preference.

It certainly diversifies the types and amounts of builds available to players, that’s obvious. This style of a unified tier approach also helps in a few other areas though. Since all of the trees are open we can clean up the trees a lot more, removing redundant abilities. We don’t have to throw in skills that are important, such as damage mitigation, all over the place. You will always have access to those skills no matter where you’re spending, so they can instead be focused into a few key skills. Another way it helps is by allowing players access to the skills they want, and the skills we want them to have. Every barbarian is probably going to want whirlwind. And why not? What this tree style allows for, and one reason we’re pretty keen on it, is that we aren’t saying “You’re a ‘berserker’ barbarian, you can’t have whirlwind”. Instead, you’re a barbarian!, pick the key skills that define you and your character as you want them to be.

One important addition to this is the skill caps themselves. Currently we’re envisioning the majority of skills to be capped at 5 points, to begin with. As a form of progression we’re planning for players to be able to increase the point caps of skills. More than likely to a maximum of 15. It’s a system that’s still under heavy design, but the fact of choosing and increasing key skills beyond their initial cap is important to this new unified tier system.
To read more check out the Blizzplanet page linked below.

Blizzplanet: Diablo III Skill Tree Information
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Discussing EVE Online's Council Of Stellar Management6:00 AM
InstantAction Reviewed6:00 AM
New Multiwinia Trailer Available6:00 AM
Protecting Your Brains In Plants Vs. Zombies6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 12, 2009 on one page

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