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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

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Eschalon Book II Beta Testing May Begin In Early February
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Recent additions to the Basilisk Games forum provided more information about the current status of Eschalon: Book II, the second game in the company's "old school" RPG series. If all goes well a "semi-public" beta test version will be available in early February. Book II will continue the storyline from the previous game and feature more than 60 gameplay enhancements.

All the main features are in place. Right now we are filling in map details & adding in side quests. Going through the game and seeing large chunks of unfinished dungeons that were put off until later...well, now it is later and those dungeon sections need completed!

The inside testers are going over the game thoroughly in about 2 weeks. They'll end up playing about 80% of the game. We'll try to patch up all the bugs they find, and add in the final 20% over the month of January. Hopefully semi-public beta to start in February. We should be able to release a stable Windows version just a few weeks after that.

If all goes well.

The beta will be handled by having everyone fill out an online application, then we'll choose testers from the pool of applicants.

How to improve your chances you'll get chosen? Make sure you fill everything out completely. Things like proper grammar and good punctuation go a long way with me (mostly because I tend to generate a lot of typos myself and I need the beta testers to catch some of them. Also, it shows that you pay attention to details.) We'll be choosing 10 people for the first round of testing which will focus on the Windows version, with a few people starting on the Mac version as well. Later we'll bring on a few more Mac people and also start on the Linux testing, probably around the time the Windows version is finished.

More info soon. January is going to be a very busy month for us here in the studio getting all of this ready to go.
Click over to the links below for more information.

Basilisk Games Forums: Eschalon Book II Status
Basilisk Games Forums: Eschalon Book II Beta Testing
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II

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Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Appletell has posted a new review of the Mac version of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. The game features Realm vs Realm combat and allows players to enter a grim fantasy world where the armies of Order and Destruction collide to determine the fate of nations. Appletell gave Warhammer Online a score of 4 out of 5.

From the review:

All the familiar steps are there. You choose a race and a class, you start off on simple quests that lead you to higher levels and better equipment, which lead you on to more difficult quests. But WAR is about large-scale group combat, which is built into the guts of the game. By the time the player has reached the second map of the training level, he’ll be part of mass combat that has an effect on the entire server.

It works like this; each side (Empire vs. Chaos) on a server controls several territories. As the groups battle, they take over control points which give their side dominion over that territory. The two armies push and pull over these until eventually one of them makes it all the way to the main city of their enemy. If they take over that territory, they get to loot and pillage the city until the server resets and both sides start all over again.

The interesting thing is that while group combat is the forte of WAR, you can still participate in it without a group or guild. For example, certain quests take place in an area, and everyone in that area is assumed to be taking part in it. An early one for the forces of Chaos involves helping sorcerers summon a monster. Everyone at the summoning pit gets a notification of the quest, and the goals (kill the Empire soldiers trying to stop the summoning, then harvest their souls, then kill the demons when it gets out of control). You don’t have to group or share experience points if you don’t want to, you just take care of your end. When the quest is over, WAR tallies your contribution to the quest (by number of kills or other goals met), ranks you on a chart, then rolls for rewards, with a “rolling bonus” for higher-ranked players. Leaving the quest area (or dying) doesn’t remove you from the reward, but you do have to make it back within a set period of time to get your treasure. It’s a great compromise between forcing players to work together and letting them solo in a multiplayer game.
For the full review follow the link below.

AppleTell: Warhammer Online Review
Mythic Entertainment
Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning
Pre-Order Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning

iGame Radio Episode 88 Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Episode 88 of Omaha Sternberg's iGame Radio podcast is now available for listening. This podcast features an interview with Gendai Games' Michael Agustin and reviews of Red Marble Games' Magician's Handbook II: Blacklore, Freeverse's Hanged, and RipTide Games' Gravity Sling.

Episode 88:

  • An interview with Michael Agustin of Gendai Games about the Macworld 2010 GameSalad Challenge. Make a game, win an iPod Touch.
  • Also, a review of Magician’s Handbook II: Blacklore by Red Marble Games. Not just another hidden object game, this is a title to play with your kids. Even lack of replayability doesn’t get in the way.
  • Plus, a review of Hanged by Freeverse. What happened to those lovers? What was in that letter? Did she really hang him? And, boy, do those water droplets look awesome!
  • Finally, a review of Gravity Sling by RipTide Games. Send your astronaut round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and…well, you get the idea. But, hey, the orbits look amazing!
Check out the podcast at the web page linked below.

iGame Radio: Podcast 88
iGame Radio

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EVE Online Dominion Updates Explained
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

CCP Games has released a new developer blog highlighting some recent updates brought by they Dominion expansion for its sci-fi MMO, EVE Online. The post details such changes as the ability to quit mission arcs, new Gallente storyline missions, adjustments to older mission arc rewards, and the addition of faction standing rewards.

Imagine a world where you couldn't earn awesome things. You've destroyed fleets, razed stations, and rescued the Damsel over 473 times. Now at last, you're on your Epic Arc, you're taking out the enemy construction yards with the plasma-neutron-accelerometer bomb, and when you finally turn in the mission you're told you can' t have more than a standard level 4 payout. Hooray.

When Apocrypha was first being developed, the flagship Epic Arc - "Blood-Stained Stars" - was conceived as a new player-friendly experience. To that end the system was designed to not allow the player to accidently quit or decline out of the arc. It worked well for "Blood-Stained Stars," but as we proceeded to author higher-level content this behavior became less desirable.

With the new pirate arcs, we've brought back the ability to quit. Simply put, if you quit from or decline missions in these arcs, then you're out of the arc. There's no running that mission again in an exploitable loop. The three-month timer still kicks in, so if you quit out of the arc you can try again in three months' time. While this makes these arcs more risky, it also allows us to be freer with rewards. Previous arcs will continue to behave as they always have.

Another feature in Dominion is our new batch of Gallente Storyline missions. There are two main mission types, "Mining Base Camp" and "Troop Buildup," each with variants based on difficulty and particular target. Each mission stems from the past year's Faction Warfare resultsHeth's resultant sale of key Gallente systems to the Caldari megacorps, and the Federation's reaction.

We're excited about these missions. We coordinated closely with CCP TonyG, CCP Ginger, and the rest of the EVE Storyline Board for specific PvE content. Also, these missions send players to specific solar systems rather than simply sending them some random number of jumps from the agent's location. This allows us to draw out themes for specific locales in the EVE universe. There are also obvious potential impacts on player traffic that we are eager to watch.

Why only Gallente? This feature wasn't planned in the beginning. The Fates were kind enough to open a window for us. But we only had enough time for one faction, not all. Between some or none, we opted for none. If you guys respond well to these missions, we'll definitely produce more. So why Gallente? We were keen to play with the storyhooks in-game that have been dangling around the ingame news for months now. Expect more integrations of news and fiction with in-game content in the future.
Visit the page below to learn more.

EVE Online: Recent Dominion Updates
CCP Games
EVE Online

Mac Games News for Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Apple Games Features Guitar Hero, SW: The Force Unleashed2:30 PM
Din's Curse Enters Alpha Testing2:30 PM
Spiderweb's Jeff Vogel Discusses Ending Avernum2:30 PM
Vendetta Online Status Update2:30 PM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, January 5, 2010 on one page

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