Vanguard: Saga of Heroes–Going free

All right!!!   Vanguard is going F2P!  No word on date (‘this summer’)

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Everquest 1–Trying the “extended trial”

.. and by extended trial I mean the new free to play version.     The one that, yes, allows you to try everything up to the current expansion by limiting you to your character slots, races, classes, money, and no access to the market. 

But, what the hell, it’s free right?   So after spending about 6 hours updating (it’s about an 8.3 gig download) I booted it up this morning and created a toon.     My first thoughts with this 13 year old game?   OH yeah.. it’s 13 years old..  and you can tell.

I’m fond of EverQuest 2.  It’s the one MMO that I keep returning to even if I get bored of it every few months.   No other MMO (besides, perhaps, Istaria) keeps me coming back for to see what’s changed and dig into the depths of the world and lore.   So I’m curious about how EQ1 has progressed into EQ2 and what design changes where made between the two worlds.    What secrets can be found in EQ1 that lay the foundation of lore in EQ2?   What did Sony think sucked in EQ1 and didn’t bring over to EQ2..    Curious minds want to know!

So far though it seems to be more ‘pen and paper’ than most of the other RPGs.   Having to interact with the NPCs in order to progress quests, forcing you to dig into your inventory in order to give an item to an NPC are nice touches that pull you deeper into the game.  yet, I’m left thinking that the programmers where lazy for not automating that process like we see in newer MMO’s.

Have I really become that much of a lazy gamer that I want my game spoon feed to me?     Don’t know.. let’s see what happens in the world of EQ1.

SOE accounts hacked.. again.

Hackers compromise 33,000 SOE accounts

MMO industry, Legal, Miscellaneous

Sony’s hacking woes continue today, as intruders today have attempted — and, in some cases, succeeded — to access the giant corporation’s accounts. Chief Information Security Officer Philip Reitingerposted a letter on several SOE forums informing players that their accounts may have been compromised.

The good news is that less than 0.1% of Sony’s entire playerbase has been affected. The bad news is that that leaves around 33,000 SOE players — in addition to Sony Entertainment Network and PlayStation Network customers — whose accounts were hacked. Following the intrusion, Sony temporarily locked the accounts and is investigating the situation.

"Only a small fraction of these 93,000 accounts showed additional activity prior to being locked," Reitinger said. He assured customers that credit card numbers were not leaked and that any purchases made during this intrusion will be restored. SOE customers with locked accounts will receive an email with instructions on how to validate their credentials and restore their service.

[source]

07/27/2001–EQ2 Patch Notes

Today’s July 27, 2011 update notes address issues with the Spires and Dragon Ring Events on those servers where the events are still running. This update does not yet include a fix for servers that have already completed the events and those affected players who were present but didn’t get credit due to crashes, not having the right quest, or their mob despawning.

LIVE EVENTS

Dragon Ring and Wizard Spire Rebuild Events

  • Entering the event area should now check what quests the player has and what stage the event is on. If the player has a quest from a previous stage the quest should be updated. If the player does not have the current quest it will be offered to the player.
  • For the final encounter in both events when a player engages the encounter they will be offered the quest for that encounter if they do not have it already.
  • The Wizard Spire Replica should now be purchasable for 25 tokens if the event has been completed.
  • The Pocket Wizard Spire is now heirloom instead of no trade.
  • The Pocket Dragon Ring is now heirloom instead of no trade.
  • Using the wizard spire teleport from within a guildhall should now offer Eastern Wastes wizard spire if the event for it has been completed.
  • Text has been corrected when mousing over the Eastern Wastes option on the travel map.

PvP MERCHANTS / ITEMS

  • Rage-Fused and Reinforced Armor is now visible for all buyers.
  • All armor sets should now display their name correctly.
  • PvP merchants should now request the correct faction for all items.
  • The Crystal of Discord is once again available for purchase.

Incidentally,there seems to be some realization that the new Frozen Tundra battleground is cannibalizing interest the other Battlegrounds, especially as only Tundra is awarding faction with Velious Discord. The following change is now expected in a future Game Update:

You will now earn Velious Discord faction across all matches [subject to change]:

  • Gears of Klak’Anon – +175 win, +75 loss
  • Battlefield of Ganak – +200 win, +75 loss
  • The Frozen Tundra – +225 win, +75 loss [No Change]
  • Smuggler’s Den – +250 win, +75 loss

Heads up:  This weekend is an Double XP weekend as well.

PSN coming back Online today.

Tokyo, June 2, 2011 –Sony Corporation and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) announced today that Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI, the company) will fully restore all PlayStation®Network services today June 2, 2011, in the Americas, Europe/PAL territories and Asia, excluding Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. The company will also resume Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity™ for PlayStation®3 (PS3®), PSP® (PlayStation®Portable), VAIO and other PCs.

Details of “Welcome Back” package program offered to all registered PlayStation Network* and Qriocity account services will be announced from each region. Announcement for restoration in Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea as well as for the remaining services on Qriocity will be made as they become available.

Via Sony

Update:  09:09 AM 06/02/11 [PogoWolf]
And it’s up according to other sources.

PSN Outage Begins To Hit Retail | Edge Magazine

 

PSN Outage Begins To Hit Retail

By Nathan Brown  on  May 12, 2011

PSN Outage Begins To Hit Retail | Edge Magazine

Gamer patience begins to wear thin as retailers report increased trade-ins of PS3 consoles for Xbox 360s.

The ongoing PlayStation Network outage is beginning to have an effect on the high street, Edge can reveal.

Our sources indicate a growing trend of PS3 consoles being traded in for cash or Xbox 360s, slumping sales of PSN points cards and a shift in the ratio of multiplatform game sales and pre-orders away from PS3.

“In the first week of downtime we did not really see any major change in sales or trades,” says one source, a store manager at a major UK retailer speaking on condition of anonymity. “However from the second week onwards we have seen an increase of over 200 per cent on PS3 consoles being traded in, split almost 50/50 between those trading for cash and those taking a 360 instead.”

Another source, working for an independent retailer in the South West, said he had seen a “massive increase” in the volume of PS3s traded in in recent weeks, with most exchanging for an Xbox 360. He describes those trading in their PS3s as “the hardcore online shooter crowd” – players who spend most of their gaming time playing the same game online, and who are therefore greatly impacted by the outage.

Tom Mestdagh, of Belgian indie Gameswap – the only retailer we spoke to happy to go on the record – agrees. “At the end of each month people come to sell their consoles,” he tells us. “People that need money [to pay bills]. What’s different this time around is that that they are bringing in PS3s together with all their games and they don’t want money, they want an Xbox 360. In every case it is because of Black Ops and or Modern Warfare 2.

“We’re just ten days into the month and already we have an increase of 200 per cent in PS3s coming into the store compared to all of March. Normally we sell them really fast, but not this time. We’ve only sold 30 to 40 per cent of our inventory right now.”

The outage is also affecting game-buying habits, with all of our sources reporting increased levels of trade-ins of Call Of Duty: Black Ops for PS3, with the Xbox 360 release relatively thin on the ground.

It is a fact borne out by the recent UK all-formats software charts. In the week ending March 16, 49 per cent of sales of Black Ops were for Xbox 360, with 37 per cent buying the PS3 version. The following week PS3 sales actually increased, split 52/40 in PS3’s favour.

Sony took PS3 offline on April 20, and informed consumers of the breach on April 26. The difference in sales figures since is telling: in the week ending April 30, Black Ops sales were split 59/30 per cent in Xbox 360’s favour; last week the distance grew even further, with 66 per cent of sales on Xbox 360, and a mere 24 per cent of buyers taking the PS3 version.

The same pattern can be seen in sales of FIFA 11, another hugely popular online title. In the week ending April 16, the split was 49/37 per cent in Xbox 360’s favour, 46/34 the week after, 52/26 in the week ending April 30 and 49/21 last week.

Our high street source reports that “pre-orders have been cancelled and flipped over to 360 versions of games,” with Mestdagh telling us: “People are cancelling their order of Brink for PS3. People that have an Xbox 360 have switched their pre-orders – others are just cancelling entirely.” Sales of PSN points cards, too, have plummeted over the past couple of weeks.

Perhaps the biggest shift, though, has been in customer satisfaction. Our high street source explains: “A lot of people have been phoning asking us about personal details on PSN as they are struggling to get a response from Sony themselves. Overall, people that have traded with us seem annoyed at how Sony has handled all of this, and say they would not trust them with details again in the future.”

Another source, who works for an independent retailer in northern England, says he has not noticed any significant increase in PS3 consoles being traded in, but said: “All we’ve seen is an incredible amount of disgruntled people annoyed that they can’t play online.” Mestdagh says that those who normally drop in for a spot of friendly console warfare “have stopped complaining about the fact that Microsoft charges for Xbox Live. It used to be a big problem for most of our PS3 customers.”

Of course, it must be noted that this is a small sample, and it seems that only those desperate for their online fix have taken the drastic step of ditching their PS3s entirely, but it is telling nonetheless.

UK hardware sales are rarely reported or broken down by platform, and Game, the UK’s biggest specialist retailer, failed to respond to a request for comment. As such we may never form a true picture of just how severely the PSN outage is affecting retailers, or those who are the most affected by the downtime, who have rarely been considered by media coverage to date: gamers.

SCEI and SOE gonna play nice now?

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT LEVERAGE EXPERTISE IN THE COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

SAN DIEGO, CA & TOKYO, JAPAN (March 13, 2008) — In a strategic move to closely align itself with the strong growth of the worldwide online gaming market, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced today that Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) will report to Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO, SCEI, effective April 1, 2008. The new structure is designed to mutually benefit both companies by further accelerating the PlayStation business through SOE’s strong online gaming expertise.

“I am excited to be able to work with SOE even more closely, as online games and services become a more integral part of the PS3 entertainment experience,” Hirai said. “This new structure will allow us to take full advantage of the extensive breadth of expertise of the two companies and increase our range of exciting entertainment offerings to our consumers.”

San Diego-based SOE is currently part of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Under the new structure, SOE will continue to develop its games for the PC and the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3®) computer entertainment system, and SOE President John Smedley will report to Hirai.

“We are thrilled to become a part of the incredible team that has made PLAYSTATION 3 the premier platform for next generation online gaming,” said Smedley. “This move is going to broaden our capabilities and expand the development of our products into new and exciting directions.”

About Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games, with hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the globe. SOE creates, develops and provides compelling entertainment for the personal computer, online, game console and wireless markets. Known for its blockbuster franchises and hit titles including EverQuest®, EverQuest® II, Champions of Norrath®, Untold Legends™, and PlanetSide®, as well as for developing Star Wars Galaxies™, SOE continues to redefine the business of online gaming and the creation of active player communities while introducing new genres on various entertainment platforms. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with additional development studios in Austin, TX, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO and Taiwan, SOE has an array of cutting-edge games in development.

About Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Recognized as the global leader and company responsible for the progression of consumer-based computer entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) manufacturers, distributes and markets the PlayStation® game console, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system and the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3®) system. PlayStation has revolutionized home entertainment by introducing advanced 3D graphic processing, and PlayStation 2 further enhances the PlayStation legacy as the core of home networked entertainment. PSP is a new handheld entertainment system that allows users to enjoy 3D games, with high-quality full-motion video, and high-fidelity stereo audio. PS3 is an advanced computer system, incorporating the state-of-the-art Cell processor with super computer like power. SCEI, along with its subsidiary divisions Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd., and Sony Computer Entertainment Korea Inc. develops, publishes, markets and distributes software, and manages the third party licensing programs for these platforms in the respective markets worldwide. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is an independent business unit of the Sony Group.

[Via Sony Press Release]