Train2Game News: New World of Warcraft expansion announced

wow_wod_logo_hires_m03At Blizzcon this past weekend, Blizzard announced the next expansion for World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor.

The fifth expansion to Blizzard Entertainment’s acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game, sends players to the world of Draenor at a pivotal moment in history to fight against and alongside legends from Warcraft’s brutal past.

Across Draenor’s savage jungles and battle-scarred plains, Azeroth’s heroes will engage in a mythic conflict involving mystical draenei champions and mighty orc clans, and cross axes with the likes of Grommash Hellscream, Blackhand, and Ner’zhul at the height of their primal power. Players will need to scour this unwelcoming land in search of allies to help build a desperate defense against the old Horde’s formidable engine of conquest—or else watch their own world’s bloody, war-torn history repeat itself.

“Warlords of Draenor gives players a chance to take a commanding role in one of the Warcraft series’ most crucial conflicts,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This expansion also includes features that make it easy for anyone to jump right into the action, whether they’ve played WoW at some point in the past or are just setting foot in Azeroth for the first time.”

To help new and returning players answer the call to arms on Draenor, the expansion will enable anyone to instantly boost one character to level 90, including a newly created character, quickly getting them up to speed and ready to enjoy the latest content with their friends.

To establish a foothold on Draenor once they’ve arrived, the displaced champions of the Horde and Alliance will be able to construct their own Garrison, an expandable, customizable stronghold that will serve as each player’s personal base of operations throughout the course of the expansion. As the Garrison grows, players will be able to recruit NPC allies and followers to take up residence, gathering resources and embarking on missions on the player’s orders.

Warlords of Draenor will also introduce fully revamped player character models and animations for many of World of Warcraft’s existing playable races, bringing the orcs, humans, and several other longtime residents of Azeroth up to the visual standards of newer races while still maintaining their iconic style and identity.

Along with these new features, World of Warcraft players will enjoy a wide array of new content on their way to the new level cap of 100, including new Zones, Dungeons, Raids, Scenarios, Battlegrounds, and more. Warlords of Draenor will also introduce questing improvements designed to encourage exploration and add unpredictability to players’ ongoing adventures.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 24.10.12

Steams Workshop, which is used to create content for games such as Team Fortress 2 and Skyrim, has turned one. The user created content has subsequently earned “millions of dollars” for their creators and Steam themselves.

The Greatest Video Game Music 2, the follow-up to the best-selling video game album of all time, will be released worldwide on Nov 6 and has been performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra. The digital soundtrack album will include 17 new orchestral renditions of video game theme songs like Halo, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and the ever-so classic Final Fantasy VII.

Following the success of Borderlands 2, an iOS spin-off has been confirmed with a release date of October 31. The game sees you play as the original 4 vault hunters from the first Borderlands in a wave-based survival game. Additionally, in true Borderlands style you can earn experience and level up your characters, unlocking new skills and abilities with each character having their own set of unique skills and abilities.

The first reviews of Hitman: Absolution have surface in Official Playstation Magazine UK and Official Xbox Magazine. Both magazines gave the game 9 out of 10. OPM said “This is the peak of the series so far” and OXM said “it a triumph of stealth and sandbox design that retains everything that fans have ever loved about the series”.

Wish Studios, a newly formed studio in Brighton, is working with Sony to develop a new IP. While other details about the partnership remain shrouded in secrecy, the status of Wish’s new client will likely serve as a significant help to the recently founded start-up’s presence in the industry.

A report by Google has said that over 50% of people use their tablet for gaming. The only activity performed more than gaming on a tablet is checking emails. The study, which was commissioned and published by Google, found that 51.5 per cent of its participants used their tablet for gaming in a two-week period.

The new dashboard for the Xbox was launched yesterday. It includes an internet explorer app giving the console a browser and the newly launched Xbox music which is similar to that of Spotify. The update also saw the removal of the Twitter and Facebook apps.

In an interesting collaboration, a new mod was made for the MMO World of Warcraft which sees the newly introduced pet battles become Pokemon battles. The aptly name WOWkemon sees a short tutorial by Professor Birch describing the Pokémon-ified battle screens and ability menus with the familiar sounds, screen effects, and even the font closely resembling the style of the handheld game legend.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 17.10.12

TIGA have announced their latest member, Global Empire Soft. A few Train2Game students are a part of the company and they are currently working on a title called Man Alive. The game is a fun little platformer with an art style which I would describe as a happy version of Limbo. You can try the game here. CEO Richard Hoffman attended the World Record winning Game Jam and was part of the second place team.

The Kickstarter has been broken, previously held by Tim Schafer at $3.3 million. Obsidian Entertainment has earned just shy of $4 million for a game called Project Eternity. The game is going to be a turn based fantasy RPG, similar to that of games such as Shining Force. The exact amount they earned is $3,986,929.

Microsoft will be releasing a Windows 8 tablet to coincide with the launch of Windows 8 on PC. The price of the tablet will range from £399 up to £559. The tablet is called the Microsoft Surface and a pro edition will be released at a later date.

The small home computer, Raspberry Pi, has had its RAM doubled and still stays the same price. The RAM has had an increase from 256mb to 512mb allowing more programmes to run at one time. Consumer, CPC, have stated that they have enough stock to last until January 2013.

Steam has approved the next wave of games for Greenlight. Twenty one games have been chosen this time as opposed to the ten in the last wave. According to Steam the number has gone up because of the “number and quality of games submitted”.

Microsoft launched Xbox Music earlier this week, offering 30 million songs for users to stream to their Xbox 360, PC, phone and tablet devices. Xbox 360 owners will need to pay a monthly £8.99 fee on top of a Gold subscription for ad-free songs with unlimited playback on the console, as well as access to “tens of thousands” of music videos.

A World Of Warcraft player has hit the level cap of 90 without killing a single enemy in the game. With a grand total of 92 damage being done through out the game pacifist Warcraft player, Irenic journeyed to level 90 without a single kill and just one unavoidable quest completion under his or her belt. Irenic said the entirety of the run was a solo effort of massive grinding sessions for professions and archaeology digs.

You can get the iOS game, Carmageddon for free today only! The game is a remake of the 1997 classic which was originally banned for being too violent. It is being given away as a thank you from the company to all those who helped get the funding through Kickstarter for Carmaggedon: Reincarnation. Download it here.

Dungeon Defenders is one year old this week, so here’s a present: an entirely free DLC pack. The Dungeon Defenders Anniversary Pack will be free on Steam for two weeks only, and includes one mission – the Tavern Siege – as well as party hat accessories, a birthday cake crystal core and decorations for the tavern. The tower defence action RPG hybrid is also on sale at 75% off during Steam’s midweek madness.

Nomad Games is close to completing its first release of a digital version of the classic fantasy adventure board game, Talisman. The game was shown to the public for the first time at a recent Games Day in Birmingham, the UK, attended by 8,000 visitors. The game is currently on Steams Greenlight whereyou can vote for it to help get it to publication. You can download a free demo and vote for it at www.talisman-game.com

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up

Blizzard Entertainment released Mists Of Pandaria yesterday. The latest expansion for World Of Warcraft. Blizzard have also said that they have no fear of Windows 8 and will release games for any platform their players are on.

Avenged Sevenfold have released a new track that will feature on Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2. The song, Carry On, is the second song the band have released for a Call Of Duty game. They previously released Not Ready To Die with one of the Call Of Duty: Black Ops DLC packs.

Telltale’s five Walking Dead episodic games will be put on disc in December for Xbox360 and PS3. The game is based on the graphic novel turned TV show and through playing them myself I can say, if you are a fan of the series, play this game. You won’t be disappointed.

Nvidia’s head of cloud gaming, Phil Eisler, believes that cloud gaming could take over from consoles. He believes that consoles have one final generation in them before they die out, leaving the world of gaming in the hands of the cloud.

Ubisoft have announced that Assassins Creed 3 will not play on Windows XP. The company has released the specifications needed to play the game. There is a version for Windows 8 in the pipeline though.

Bethesda have released an animated prequel to its upcoming Dishonored. The webseries is called Tales of Dunwall and the gorgeous animated shorts are being released in three parts. The videos can be found on YouTube and they show the downfall of the in game city.

Sony Xdev are giving a small studio the opportunity to win £25,000. This new initiative, called Playstation Pioneers, will reward developers for a PlayStation Mobile game concept and will also offer successful candidates the opportunity to work alongside XDev. Further details can be found here.

An extra four titles have been added to the Humble Bundle 6. The titles are: Bit.Trip Runner, Gratuitous Space Battles, Jamestown, and Wizorb. If you have already purchased the bundle, you will get the new games added at no extra cost.

If you are attending Eurogamer this weekend you can get a special surprise when you play Company Of Heroes 2. Everyone that plays the game or attends the developer session at the event will get a code to access a future beta for the game.

Finally Train2Game will be at Eurogamer this weekend. If you are attending go and say hello, it is always nice to meet these people. I will be attending on the Saturday so if you see me feel free to talk to me. I hope everyone that attends has a brilliant time.

Train2Game news: Ultima creator Richard Garriott on game design

Ultima series creator Richard Garriott  believes game design need to be more creative if the medium is going to continue to advance.

“There are tons of free-to-play, beautiful looking MMOs that are feature-complete and challengers in theory to World of Warcraft, they come across from Asia every day.” said Garriott, also known as ‘Lord British,’ in an in-depth interview with Industry Gamers.

“They’re all beautiful, they’re all full-featured – if you try to go why is this game not as good as World of Warcraft, you’d have a hard time picking individual features as to why, but with all of them you go, “look, it’s free to play, free to download, I’ll try it!”

But the man behind Ultima Online believes that rather than trying to introduce new features, many developers are just trying to recreate game design elements of their competitions titles.

“You go, “OK, kind of looks the same, here’s my town, here’s my shop, here’s my level one monsters I have to fight,” he said. “And you spend an hour or two going through the play cycle and finishing a quest and levelling up, and you go… well “OK, it works, but why do I care?”

“The vast majority of people are making these me-too games, they’re quality, there’s nothing wrong with them, there’s just nothing compelling about them.”

Garriott added that he hopes to be able to look at his own work, including Ultima and Ultima online and be satisfied with what he did to change games.

“And I’m hoping that if I look back on my career down through the years, I’m very proud of the fact that with some periodicity, I have truly advanced the art form in some meaningful way.”

The full interview with Richard Garriott, an interesting read for Train2Game students, can be seen on Industry Gamers.

So Train2Game, what do you make about his comments on game design? Does more need to be done in order to make games innovative?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Industry Gamers]

Train2Game news: Life experience great for game design ideas – Blizzard

Train2Game Game Designers will appreciate this, it’s advice from Blizzard on how to keep your stories and ideas fresh, and it’s to base concepts on your own life experience, even if it’s only loosely.

Train2Game students will know that Blizzard know a bit about successful game design, with 12 million still playing World of Warcraft.

“I’ve been in this racket about 17 years, and you tire out. How do you keep your ideas fresh? Well, the one thing that never stops is living.”  Blizzard Vice President of Creative Development Chris Metzen told PC Gamer.

“We have experiences. We grow as people. And really letting those experiences come forward – kind of being naked with them – that’s the kind of thing people can’t compete against. Everyone can come up with a new Trilithium Crystal Warp Drive, but what you can’t argue with is a person’s experience and the truth of it.”

And Metzen says Blizzard encourages their Game Designers to use their own experiences to create in-game content.

“So the trick from a leadership standpoint at Blizzard is to make it OK for these writers to really bring themselves out to affect these quests and characters. Ultimately, that’s what sings forward.”

“The clever shit will get trounced in no time. It’s like gameplay mechanics. You can put out an RTS with the best mission ever. Well, another company will put out something even better, because we’re all learning from each other.” he added.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Metzen’s comments? Could you use your own experiences to create characters and scenarios?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: PC Gamer]

Analysts “unimpressed” by Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Design

As reported by the Train2Game blog, Bioware have previously stated that World of Warcraft is a big influence on their upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic.

But a report from analysts Cowen and Company reports suggests the influence on Game Design may be too far reaching and in a negative way. It makes interesting reading for Train2Game students anticipating the Star Wars themed MMO.

“We got hands-on time with the game, and were largely unimpressed” reads the Cowen and Company post E3 report.

“Despite promises from EA/Bioware that the title represents a major step forward in MMO design, what we saw was essentially a World of Warcraft clone with Star Wars character skins and the Bioware RPG nice/nasty dialogue tree mechanism bolted on for non-player character conversations.”

The ‘Flashpoint’ dialogue tree mechanism is described in depth by Bioware in a Train2Game blog post from April this year.

Meanwhile, the Art & Animation of Star Wars: The Old Republic is described as “competent but hardly breathtaking.” Cowen and Company predict that the game won’t even see release this year.

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, publishers EA state that Star Wars: The Old Republic needs 500,000 subscribers to become profitable.

Train2Game students can attempt to see Star Wars: The Old Republic for themselves by signing up to be a beta tester. More information about how to do that is available on the Train2Game forum.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the Game Design of The Old Republic? Should it stick to the WoW formula or do something new? What would you like to see in the game?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Splash Damage: MMO shooters are the future

Brink

Adding MMO elements to First Person Shooters is the future of the genre. That’s according to CEO of Brink developer Splash Damage Paul Wedgwood.

As the Train2Game blog has previously reported, the Game Developers believe Brink will ‘end the genre as we know it’

And when asked by CVG what would be the X-Factor for shooters in future Wedgewood replied:

“That’s really easy. I just want a really good massively multiplayer shooter, thanks. I’m desperate for it. Why isn’t there? I just can’t stand the fact that there isn’t one yet. I’d do it but 140 staff? Managing 140 people? It’s just so hard.”

“You know, for a long time it hasn’t been technically feasible because you need super low latency connections for good shooter combat and that’s generally incompatible with 1000 people being on a server at the same time”

“I think there’s definitely going to be some cool stuff that comes around,” he added “But I think the massively multiplayer shooter, one where we’re all engaged in the same continuous environment is the thing that’s going to truly impress me next.”

As Train2Game students will know, MMOs themselves are big business with World of Warcraft having over 12 million subscribers.  Star Wars: The Old Republic developers Bioware have claimed WoW is the ‘touchstone’ for MMO design, as reported by the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, can the MMO framework be transferred to the FPS? Would you be interested? And what are your thoughts on the upcoming Brink from Splash Damage?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: CVG]

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm gets huge launch event

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Worgen

Blizzard has revealed details about the UK launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm when the much anticipated expansion is released next month.

GAME will host the official launch event for World of Warcraft Cataclysm which will take place at Sound, Leicester Square on the evening of December 6th.  Fans will not only be among the first to get there hands on Cataclysm when it’s made available at midnight, but they’ll also get a chance to meet Blizzard staff.

Naturally, with this being a World of Warcraft event, there’s the obligatory costume content, and Blizzard say there will be prizes for the winners. The current details about the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm launch event, including costume contest guidelines, can be found on the Blizzard website. Expect it to be updated nearer the time with more information.

In addition to the big launch event, Blizzard say that other retailers around the country will be opening their doors for midnight launches of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

“After two years of development, we’re excited to now be just two weeks away from releasing our best World of Warcraft expansion yet,” said, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment Mike Morhaime

Cataclysm will add a huge amount of new content to the game and change the face of Azeroth forever, and we can’t wait to celebrate this launch with players around the world.”

Changes that Cataclysm will bring to the World of Warcraft include dramatically altering the make up of Azeroth, providing new quests, allowing characters to level up to level 85, and play as two new races, Worgen and Goblins.

World of Warcraft currently has over 12 million subscribers, could Cataclysm encourage even more people to sign up to the worlds most successful MMO?

The game is set to be released for the PC on December 7th

So Train2Game, are any of you World of Warcraft players? If so, will you be attending a midnight launch event? And if you want to wear one, have you got any ideas for a costume yet?

You can leave your thoughts about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

World of Warcraft tops 12 million subscribers

World of WarcraftWorld of Warcraft now has over 12 million monthly subscribers, according to publisher Activision. This achievement the Blizzard MMO comes in the wake of World of Warcraft expansion pack two, World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King, being released in China.

The impressive thing is that the number isn’t a cumulative total of every single person who’s ever subscribed to World of Warcraft, then perhaps stopped playing. Rather, the numbers from Activision show that there are 12 million people worldwide who are currently subscribed to World of Warcraft.

Wow, that’s a lot of money being made from World of Warcraft subscriptions.

“The support and enthusiasm that gamers across the world continue to show for World of Warcraft reaffirms our belief that it offers one of the best entertainment values available today,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment.

“We are as committed as ever to taking the game to new heights, and we look forward to demonstrating that with Cataclysm in December.”

Yep,  the momentum of World of Warcraft looks set to continue, with this announcement following the confirmation that expansion pack number three, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, is set to be released on December 7th.

The definition of a World of Warcraft subscriber according to Activision Blizzard is as follows:

World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees’ territories are defined along the same rules.

So Train2Game, are you a World of Warcraft subscriber? If so, what keeps you coming back for more? If you’re not a World of Warcraft subscriber, what puts you off the game?

You can leave your thoughts on World of Warcraft, or World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.