Anyone that plays World of Wacraft will know all about the woes of bots. They provide players with unfair advantages, and the ability to level their character when they’re not even at their computer. Blizzard has been aware of this as well, having recently won a lawsuit against the bot program MMOGlider’s creator, MDY Industries.
For those that don’t know, MMOGlider is a third party application that runs the many repetitive tasks involved in World of Warcraft. Whether it’s leveling your character up from 1 to 70 or grinding for leatherworking materials, the application can do it for you. And the best part about it? You don’t even have to be at your computer, you simply run a script that sends your character in a pre-determined route.
Blizzard’s lawsuit is based on MMOGlider’s automation of said repetitive tasks. Using this application to complete these tasks breaks the terms of service that players agree to when they play World of Warcraft. The software is said to have sold 100,000 copies for $25 a piece.
While admittedly $6 million is no small number (unless you’re Blizzard), the amount could have been higher if MDY hadn’t won some of the prior arguments about the claimed damages in court. But there’s still a possibility for more, should Blizzard decided to appeal the judgment in favor of going for their original claim, which was double or triple that number.
The remainder of the case is set to go to court in January 2009, where the last of the issues in the legal conflict are likely to be settled.
When an MMO begins to feel its bones a creakin', and decides it's time to curl up and die from natural causes (read: WoW), one of the first phenomena an outside observer will witness is the server merge. Generally a result of sudden population deflations from formerly-packed games, when servers collide, the game in question has probably seen better days. Age of Conan, sadly, is one such game.
"I can today confirm that we are actively working on an approach to merge servers, both in Europe and North America," announced AoC director Craig Morrison. "It's important for us to ensure the best gameplay experience for you all, and more healthy populations on each and every server will make sure we maintain healthy communities for the game in the future."
But AoC's troubles don't end there. Funcom, the loincloth-tacular MMO's publisher, may soon be dressing like its scantily clad (but undeniably manly) hero. As of now, Funcom's stock is sitting at a two-year low -- trading for a mere $5.
So, moral of the story? Never, ever prefix your game's title with "Age of..."
Tiberium, EA's second attempt at bolstering the frail, emaciated FPS genre with its popular Command & Conquer license, sucks. Or at least it did -- until EA gave it the old "It's not us; it's you" speech while pointing to a particularly splintery portion of the chopping block.
"The game had fundamental design challenges from the start," said EA LA's Mike Verdu. "We fought to correct the issues, but we were not successful; the game just isn't coming together well enough to meet our own quality expectations as well as those of our consumers."
"The quality bar has been raised," he added. "Now we need to step up our focus on great design and execution, catching any problems early and correcting them quickly."
Additionally, a portion of EA LA's elite team now finds itself jobless, but EA corporate "will make every effort to place affected individuals on projects within the studio – and where that isn't possible, to connect them with opportunities in other teams at EA."
As game development costs continue to surge upward, we can't help but fear we'll see more mid-development games unceremoniously dashed against the curb, with no chance for a reinvigorating adjustment or two.
Are there any other troubled games you think might soon be circling the drain?
"Here's the problem right now; the person who is savvy enough to want to have a good PC to upgrade their video card, is a person who is savvy enough to know Bittorrent to know all the elements so they can pirate software. Therefore, high-end videogames are suffering very much on the PC."
"Right now, it makes sense for us to focus on Xbox 360 for a number of reasons. Not least PCs with multiple configurations and piracy."
And finally, when questioned about a PC port for our jump-suit clad selves of the future:
But along with giving me one extra reason to cry myself to sleep at night -- as well as driving a nice, fat stake into GFW's termite-infested coffin -- Bleszinski's comments raise an interesting question: What's worse? Tearing open a game box only to find the sour scent of DRM sulking its way into your nostrils, or never being given the chance to purchase (or "rent," for the more bitter among you) a game at all?
Nova Gaming is best known as a long-time purveyor of a line of high-performance gaming mousepads in the Killer, Winner, Master and Raider series. And, now, to make sure its Nova B4L gamer's bag has more Nova gear inside than ever before, the French company is rolling out a gaming mouse, the Slider X600, at next week's E for All Expo in Los Angeles.
The gaming mouse market already has some formidable competition, such as the corded Logitech G9 (laser sensor, up to 3200 dpi, interchangeable grips, 5 buttons, adjustable mouse weights), corded Microsoft SideWinter (laser sensor, up to 2000 dpi sensor, 5 buttons, adjustable mouse weights and replaceable feet) and upcoming cordless Microsoft SideWinder X8 (Blue Track optical sensor, up to 4000 dpi, replaceable mouse feet, macro recording).
The X600 brings up to 3200 dpi resolution and ceramic mouse feet to the game, but it's the position of the cable that might be the biggest difference between Nova Gaming's newcomer and the established players. Hit the jump to learn more.
When Mythic proclaimed its intent to only credit Warhammer dev team members who were on board at or around the game's launch, it more or less shot controversy a lashy eyed "Oh, I'm digging you" look. But seeing as Mythic has bigger battles to fight, the developer decided this was one sh***storm it couldn't afford to weather. Thus, the Warhammer Online developer has provided -- but not credited the writers of -- this list of steps to resolve the crediting controversy:
In-game and manual credits will be reserved for the launch team.
Mythic will create an online database listing the name and title of everyone who contributed to a project, regardless of current employment status. Additionally, the studio will make best efforts to provide this information for its previous online games
Step three, which apparently wasn't important enough to make the list, involves partying-up with the IGDA to "promote fair and accurate trade reporting across the industry."
Overall, though, we couldn't be happier with Mythic's decision. Great job, guys!
For a man supposedly on an anti-videogame "crusade," Jack Thompson hasn't really accomplished much. He attempted to give Bully the legal equivalent of a swirly -- and lost. He tangoed with The Sims 2 -- and lost. And most famously, he mustered every last bit of his legal prowess against the Grand Theft Auto series -- and, well, you know where we're going with this.
So, today, we'd like you to join us in congratulating Jack Thompson for taking a definitive step toward his goal. See, now that he's been permanently disbarred with no hope of reinstatement, maybe a real lawyer can finally hog the anti-gaming limelight. Hip-hip hooray!
Said the press release:
"Over a very extended period of time involving a number of totally unrelated cases and individuals, [Thompson] has demonstrated a pattern of conduct to strike out harshly, extensively, repeatedly and willfully to simply try to bring as much difficulty, distraction and anguish to those he considers in opposition to his causes. He does not proceed within the guidelines of appropriate professional behavior, but rather uses other means available to intimidate, harass, or bring public disrepute to those whom he perceives oppose him."
The proceedings, which began in June, brought 31 counts against the man fondly referred to by gamers as "Whacko Jacko." He was found guilty of 27.
In addition to a cushy new spot in the unemployment line, Thompson has also been granted the mandatory privilege of paying $43,675.35 in legal fees to the Florida Bar.
The disbarrment will be official 30 days from now, assuming Thompson doesn't nab a retrial. Regardless, however, we doubt Thompson's questionably-sane ramblings are at an end. With the Internet at his fingertips, we're actually kind of looking forward to seeing what Thompson will do next. You know, in the same way we're looking forward to the inevitable day when our doctor diagnoses us with a nice infertility-cancer double-whammy.
Well, avid addicts, so much for modding real drugs back into Fallout. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines dropped a bomb, saying that mod tools aren't "on Bethesda's schedule right now."
"Folk probably took for granted that every time we make a game, there’s a mod tool," he said. "We explained to folk that it takes a lot of time and effort to get that tool ready for release, and it’s not on our schedule right now. We need to get the game done and out. It’s not to say we won’t do it. It’s that right now we have an enormous amount of work to do, for three platforms and all these different languages to get it out around the wall. Right now, we can’t say definitively 'there will be mod tools, and here is when they’ll be out.' That work remains to be done."
Don't worry, though. Bethesda doesn't plan on wringing your wallet dry with monetized DLC in place of a modding community. Hines did, however, applaud the idea (jokingly, we hope).
"That’s a good theory, by the way. And probably on some level it would work… but from our standpoint, whenever we do an Elder Scrolls game and release those mod tools, it takes a ton of work and effort. This is a bigger undertaking for us, and one we’ve not yet scheduled for."
"We have our own little blog we run from Bethesda, and every week we’re out there interviewing people from our mod community – so it’s clearly something we support, something we take interest in and something we place value in and spend a lot of time highlighting good mods. It’s just the tools take time. They don’t magically appear. Someone’s got to write help files for what all the scripts do, and get it released as a consumer product. Because it’s not in that state otherwise. Developers will make do with anything."
There those game developers go again -- wrecking things for everyone. How dare they?
Indignant rage aside, are you still excited about Fallout 3?
Some people started suing it, knowing fully what it was, alleging that Electronic Arts concealed SecuROM in Spore's shadow, and that it's "secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel), and surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation on the computer, preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations."
In addition, this anti-DRM crusader, Melissa Thomas, is calling EA on "deceit and concealment" due to the fact that SecuROM cannot be uninstalled, even if Spore is wiped clean off your hard drive.
The suit demands more than $5 million, to cover legal fees and the money showers that all legitimate Spore owners will receive when/if the hammer falls in EA's direction. But that would be far too convenient, and can't take place simply because... (Return to beginning of article.)
Stop us if you've heard this story before: A semi-small dev team, formed in the mid-90's, lovingly crafts two 2D RTSes before upgrading right into the third dimension. The next RTS in their flagship series isn't quite as well-received as the previous two, but still flies off the shelves and perches itself on top of the sales charts. So what do they do next? Why, craft an MMO with the assistance of an extremely lucrative license! Got any guesses as to who we might be talking about?
That's right, Ensemble Studios.
Yes, Blizzard and Ensemble, after a quick make-up job, could probably star in The Parent Trap: Gamer's Edition (A Brett Ratner Film), but cribbed answers from each other's track records are only the beginning.
As early as 2006, Ensemble began work on a Halo MMO. Here, however, we're willing to wager that any similarities to Blizzard's MMO-opus are more than mere coincidence. Sadly, we'll never know what Ensemble had planned for this decidedly PC-oriented jaunt through Halo's universe, because it's been decomposing in Ensemble's recycle bin for nearly a year, according to a thorough analysis by Gamasutra.