Selasa, 31 Mei 2011

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

We last saw Sarah Kerrigan’s fragile human body cradled in ex-marshal-turned-pirate-renegade Jim Raynor’s arms after the climactic battle on Char that saw the Swarm dispersed and the Queen of Blades finally defeated. Today, we finally have a sneak peek of the second act of the StarCraft II trilogy.

While Kerrigan is no longer an unstoppable human/Zerg hybrid who can crush battlecruisers with her mind, she is still an immensely powerful psionic. You might think that Heart of the Swarm would follow a different character after Wings of Liberty’s cliffhanger ending, but no. Kerrigan is back leading the Zerg (though she is looking pretty human these days) for reasons Blizzard declined to divulge. The two missions I played have Kerrigan traveling the Koprulu sector, reuniting the broods under her -- and gunning for the bloody dictator who abandoned her to the Zerg’s tender mercies in the first place.

Both missions feel very StarCraft II. The Char level pits Kerrigan against a rival brood mother in a race to collect eggs (it is quite similar to Warcraft III’s Stratholme mission), while the frozen moon of Kaldir sees Kerrigan’s Zerg obliterating a series of Protoss bases to prevent their psionic spires from getting a detailed message back to the main Protoss force on Shakuras. Both have secondary objectives with nice persistent bonuses, like mutation points for upgrading your units between missions or permanent stat increases for Kerrigan.

The biggest gameplay difference in Heart of the Swarm is Kerrigan herself. Unlike Raynor, she leads from the front, clearing the way with psychic blasts and her trusty canister rifle. As part of her connection with the Swarm, she can be reincarnated if she falls on the battlefield, so you have no excuse not to throw her into the thick of things. Like traditional RTS hero units, Kerrigan has a boatload of health and armor, strong attacks, and a selection of spell-like abilities.

Rather than progressing through skill trees, Kerrigan chooses from one of a number of focuses before each mission. Blizzard emphasized that the particulars will likely change before the game comes out, but the build that I played had two focuses unlocked out of four, with two or three abilities out of five total for each focus available. One of the two demo missions had a secondary objective that unlocked a new ability within one of the focuses, so it’s safe to assume that the focus mechanic is a big part of the campaign’s progression.

In her Spec Ops mode, Kerrigan got an area-effect short-cooldown psionic stun blast and the ability to create a clone of herself with a fair amount of health and who shot for half of Kerrigan’s damage. With her Corruption focus, she had the same Broodling ability as the old StarCraft I Queen: instantly killing an enemy and spawning two temporary units from its corpse. Corruption also had a acidic area debuff that made affected enemies take +4 damage, which is more helpful than you’d think with a Zergling-heavy army.

Both focuses were fun to play with. In both modes, Kerrigan functions as a tough-to-kill, powerful caster unit. I slightly favored Spec Ops mode simply because stunning a bunch of units for a few seconds seems like it scales better against larger armies, but Corruption was solid itself. I love the decision to let players freely switch focuses between missions; experimenting with different hero loadouts is always a big draw for me.

Like in Wings of Liberty, players slowly unlock units and upgrades to fill out their armies with troops that would never make it through the game’s hardcore multiplayer balancing. Zerg unit mutation is more dramatic, though. After choosing two upgrades, you can spend two more mutation points to evolve the unit into one of two forms. Zerglings, for instance, can upgrade to spawn three units per egg or gain 10 health and a jump attack.

Heart of the Swarm is definitely a Zerg version of what you’re familiar with from Wings of Liberty, but what I’ve seen makes me confident that Blizzard is well on track to adding a distinctive Zerg flavor to the existing StarCraft II single-player experience.

Credits: GameInformer, Youtube

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Senin, 30 Mei 2011

Does Mythos Deserve a Second Chance?

What do you get when you band together the former team responsible for Diablo series and the 2005 well-received RPG Fate? It's an amazing team responsible for one of this year's MMORPG sleeper hits: Mythos. Developed first by Flagship Studios, Mythos was made with the notion of the Diablo and Fate games combined in a multiplayer perspective. After Flagship Studios closed down, all the rights were bought and carried over to Hanbitsoft. Taking over Mythos's development, Hanbitsoft picked up where Flagship Studios left and retained the what the original team had in mind. Though Flagship did launch a closed beta test of Mythos, it wasn't until 2011 that the game was once again launched under a different developer and publisher. So, is Mythos deserving of a second chance?

A Myth Defined

Think of Mythos as Diablo or Torchlight deluxe, although in this game, the backstory isn't really clarified. Players are given a choice of 4 races: Human, Cyclops, Satyr and Gremlin. There are only three classes: Bloodletter, Pyromancer and Gadgeteer. The three classes represent the melee, magic and ranged archetypes respectively. Each race also has stat bonuses per class, usually giving higher attributes to a class of their specialty (like Gremlins' high dexterity for Gadgeteer class or Satyr's high wisdom for Pyromancer). Character customization is fairly simple. The game gives a few faces, hairstyles and colors to choose from. Race and classes are not gender-locked too (which is humorous for the Cyclops race since they all look exactly alike).

Upon entering the game for the first time, a starter town with a few tutorial quests and an easy 1-level dungeon is in place. The game has a detailed, yet easy to understand, help window too. Getting the hang of the controls is very much easy. More so, Mythos also has two different camera views: a fixed Isometric view and a free-camera MMO view. The starter town, tutorial quests and help window got new players covered on everything in the game. After a few starting quests, players get the chance to leave the tiny map for greener pastures. Camera angles in free MMO view takes getting used to, and it does get unfriendly when it zooms too close due to the camera bumping an obstacle. Other than that, getting the hang of the game is easy as ABC.

Your Myth in the Making

Building up a character in Mythos is just like Torchlight or Diablo. Each new level gives 5 stat points and 2 skill points to distributre freely. This actually feels like a saving grace from the recent MMORPGs that do automated stat distribution instead. It gives the player full control over the growth of the character. The skills of each class is divided into three separate trees. Each tree generally represents melee, ranged/mana-burning skills, and summon skills. Don't be surprised! All three classes have skills and means to summon AI pets/monsters/contraptions. Also added to the left side of the skill window is a tier bar. Adding skill points to this bar is required in order to unlock the every level of the skill tree. Players can give up to a maximum of 30 skill points to this bar in order to fully unlock the whole skill tree. This allows for a more efficient and strategic way of arranging the character's skills as levels go higher. Though the game is open for hybrid skill builds, the difference against a specialized or "pure” build (so to speak) is too obvious and a bit imbalanced on the latter's favor.

As usual, quests are the staple means of earning levels in the game. There's no need to worry about scarcity too. Most of the quests are in chains and increase in availability as levels progress further. Though material rewards are very generous, exp gain is not as kind. Level progression is slower than the usual MMORPG due to low exp gain from quests and grind. Combat is simple, fun and exciting though, so the need to grind isn't too much of a chore. It's still point and click, but the skills are a lot more accessible. The right mouse button is used as a skill shortcut, apart from the shortcut bar below. The left mouse button, serving as the default attack, can also be replaced by a skill function too. Miraculously, the left mouse button rarely interferes with itself in its mix of attack and movement functions. Also, all offense skills can be activated or used even without a target. Another noticeable aspect in combat is the target and directionality of mid to long-ranged skills. Unlike in other MMORPGs having skills that "hone in” on the target until it hits, most of the skills in Mythos require manual targeting instead. Any player nimble enough with the WASD or mouse movements can easily evade anything thrown at them. Also, non-AOE skills like the Bloodletter's Piercing Fury can still hit multiple targets when positioned correctly.

Mythical Spelunking

Town, plains, and dungeon maps are easy to navigate with due to their small and restricted nature. But the makers of Diablo added a nice treat to spelunking. Dungeon maps are randomly created upon every login. Another nice touch to the game is a dropped item's longevity in the dungeon. Players can return to the floors of a recently-cleared dungeon for any and all loots left scattered on the floor. Just don't expect the items to stay there on the next login. Another feature of the game is its random item generation system like its Blizzard predecessor. Rarities, specialties and stat bonuses are randomly generated in a dropped equip or a gambled one (from the gambling merchant). The possible combinations are practically limitless. It just takes patience to build up the character with good equips and a decent stat build of course.

Mythic Proportions

Suffice to say, the overall presentation of Mythos has made it into the amazing game we see today. It takes a lot of features from the Diablo series, more so because the original developers were with the Diablo team. With the polish given by this team, it won't be surprising to see Mythos at a contending spot in the MMO market's top ten. The simplistic and retro feel of an isometric RPG, combined with the modern elements of multiplayer gaming, make Mythos one of the must-play MMO games this year.

Credits: MMOsite

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Minggu, 29 Mei 2011

Are 18+ Games Moneymakers?

In the first half of this year, the Korean game market is almost flooded with adults-only MMOs, such as TERA, Dragona Online and Dark Blood. Recently, mobile games have also been promoted for adults only. Can developers really shake money from adult games?

In point of adult games' advantages, freedom is their greatest feature. Since the release of Korean game rating system and the late-night gaming ban, game developers have begun to aim at male adults aged 20-40 with more 18+ games, because those players will keep stable and have stronger purchasing power. In this way, game developers and publishers won't worry about their profits. That's the main reason why adults-only games are very popular now.

So far, Korean adult games have achieved much in the market. With averagely more than 10,000 online users every day, adults-only games make both casual games and E-rated games ashamed. One of the adults-only blockbusters is Dragona Online endorsed by Japanese AV star Aoi Sora.

Dragona Online has indeed attracted many adults due to its in-game adult content and healthy public propaganda. Furthermore, the game's auto-move, auto-attack and stock systems enable office workers to get relaxing and happy gaming experiences.

CR Space's Seven Souls Online appeals to adult players with sex, nudity and gambling themes.

The oriental fantasy MMORPG Seven Souls Online highlights unique in-game mini games and wins the hearts of players in the name of purely adults-only content. It is also the origin of Korean adults-only game in recent years.

Nexon also takes a fancy to adult games, though it has plenty of teenage players. Legend of Blood, developed by Nexon's subsidiary - EXC Games is just an 18+ game. The game publisher Ndoors also expressed that this game was specially designed for officer workers and housewives, which did clarify the game's adult genre.

Additionally, through Liveplex's non-stop publicity to Dragona Online, players gradually get to know that 18+ games contain different implications, that is, active and healthy game content, which lays a solid foundation to the high popularity of 18+ games in the first half of this year.

According to the marketing director from CR Space, because of the game rating system, a majority of game companied have turned their attention to 18+ MMOs. In the light of Seven Souls Online's operation situation, adult game market is quite promising and has potential. He also hoped more high-quality adult MMOs could be developed in the future.

Credits: MMOsite

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Kamis, 26 Mei 2011

Download Portal 2 Soundtrack For Free

The Portal franchise has always placed an emphasis on memorable music, and now you can download the first volume of the Portal 2 soundtrack for free.

In what the Think With Portals blog calls the first of "three downloadable aural stimulus packages," they've dropped bevy of tracks from the game. Sadly, it does not include Jonathan Coulton's "Want You Gone." Still, with two more volumes promised, we expect it will at some point.

Portal 2 Soundtrack Volume 1 download link

Credits: GameInformer

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Rabu, 25 Mei 2011

Envision's Android Powered Game Console

Ever wished you could play Android games on your big screen? Neither have we, but Envision is giving consumers an opportunity to do just that with their new Android-powered game console, the EVO 2.

The console is powered by a Samsung 1.2 GHz processor, an unspecific NVIDIA GPU, and runs on a modified version of Android 2.2. Packed with the console you will find an EVO TV remote, EVO game controller and an HDMI cable, for good measure. If that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, motion control will be added at the end of this year.

Additional features revolve around the social aspect of gaming, allowing users to earn points to purchase Android games with EVO tokens and the privilege of using Envision's new Qquip SMS blogging reward service.

The SDK for the EVO 2 is available now for free, although developers will be subject to an annual $149 fee per unit. If you're quick enough, the first 1,000 developers will get the fees waived. Those who have pre-existing android apps will be happy to know that you can submit them for our gaming pleasure. Since what developers are currently involved, however, it is difficult to ascertain what titles will be like.

To further prove that they are all about what the community wants, Envisions will let you vote on where the system will launch and the general design of the console and its packaging.

The EVO 2 will be released state-side this fall for $249 (roughly PHP 11,205).


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Square Enix Has Another MMO Coming

Square Enix chief Yoichi Wada says the company has another massively multiplayer online game scheduled to be announced during its current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2012.

According to a new investor transcript, translated by Andriasang, Square Enix wants to operate two to three large-scale MMO titles simultaneously in hopes of maintaining a stable cash flow.

The company currently operates Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV, and co-publishes the free-to-play MMO title Wakfu. No word if this new MMO project is related to Final Fantasy or what platforms it will launch on.


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Senin, 23 Mei 2011

Lucent Heart: The Uplifting Social MMO

Many MMO games, especially 'free to play', are played by casual and hardcore gamers who invest time in them, enjoy them, meet new people then move onto the next game which catches their eye. There's nothing wrong in an MMO being part of this mix, but some games do warrant greater attention than others.

Lucent Heart, the MMO from leading publisher Gamania, has been designed from the ground up to provide players with extraordinary depth, background, lore, charactisation and adventure coupled with an all encompassing social experience.

Gamania has enjoyed great success with its MMOs which focus on how players interact and play their games together. With Lucent Heart, it is the zodiac which is key in bringing the right players together from every background to build, fight, craft and even love within the mythical realm of Acadia. When creating characters to explore these fantastical lands, as well as choosing their name, gender and appearance, Lucent Heart requires new players to provide their birth dates and star signs as well.

As a player develops their character and skills, they are quickly encouraged to visit 'Cupid', whose matchmaking system asks players to take a personality test which matches star signs and characteristics to other players. Once matched, players are encouraged to team up, socialise in-game and get to know each other. If they choose, they can advance their relationship to enjoy an array of added benefits including improved experience gains and buffs when teaming together, a selection of new emotes which add additional powerful buffs and advantages, and access to new dungeon instances and unique special items. Having the right selection of partners and team-mates to play with enhances the in-game dynamic, making gameplay more enjoyable and more memorable.

This experience is further enhanced with the daily horoscope system that uses the player's birth date to determine the effect of the zodiac on the key character attributes of Love, Battle, Work, Wealth and Agililty. Players are presented with their fortune when they enter the game and each day these attributes are boosted, or diminished, depending on your horoscope. Some days will be better for battle, whilst others will be more suitable for finding love. All of this has an effect on players' characters and their abilities.

It is at this point where a player's partner or team can help them. They can change their strategies to aid each other, providing greater protection or taking greater risks. There is no formula to how Lucent Heart can, or should be played, it all depends on how the players want to play the game, and of course what their stars are saying that day!

Credits: MMOsite

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Sabtu, 21 Mei 2011

Replacing Your Laptop with an iPad

There were tablets before the iPad, but the runaway success of the Apple release is without a doubt the chief instigator behind an entirely new consumer hardware market slotting in comfortably between smartphones and laptops. The iPad offers the best of both platforms while making a few notable feature sacrifices; they're not as portable as your average smartphone and they don't have the software or hardware flexibility that laptops or netbooks do.

Still, that hasn't stopped the iPad-using world from looking for ways to cast aside laptops in favor of tablet computing. We're still not there yet – Apple's stubborn refusal to embrace Flash support is a considerable obstacle, for example – but the dream of an iPad-as-laptop-replacement can be achieved, as we'll lay out for you now in this little primer.

The Accessories You'll Need

The first real step you should take in laptop-ifying your iPad is gathering your necessary peripherals. A keyboard should be considered essential. There are multiple options available, including travel case mounts with built-in keyboards which essentially give your iPad the form factor of a netbook.

If you want to go the keyboard case route, the most popular options range between $50 and $100 for both first- and second-generation iPads. Alternatively, Apple offers two keyboard options that ditch the case but are worth looking at. There's an iPad keyboard dock ($69), which features tablet-specific function keys and the ability to charge as you type. There's also Apple's wireless Bluetooth keyboard ($69); in addition to offering the flexibility of Bluetooth support, which works with much more than just your iPad, this keyboard also gets points for being highly portable and having an impressive battery life. There's also no change of a future iPad release not supporting it, since Bluetooth isn't likely going to be removed as a feature.

The only I/O port on the iPad is its charge point, a proprietary Apple connector, so there's not a whole lot in the way of wired peripheral options. While it's not officially supported, users have discovered that the iPad Camera Connection Kit – a pair of dongles which connect to the charge port, adding either an SD card reader or a USB port to the tablet – is good for more than just connecting cameras. While these are unsupported by Apple, the USB dongle will recognize USB keyboards, headsets, microphones and even hubs, in case you want to wire up more than one device. The truly courageous who go the jailbreak route even have the option of connecting an external hard drive, though it's a complicated install process and it carries a few notable caveats.

Of course, the iPad is at base a wireless device, which means you have some peripheral options that don't involve connecting it to anything other than a Wi-Fi network. AirPrint was added with the iOS 4.2 update, bringing support for Hewlett-Packard's line of Wi-Fi-enabled ePrint printers to Apple devices. Setup is easy and the functionality is built right into iOS, meaning it requires no additional app purchases beyond the printer. Of course, there are also apps you can purchase that expand wireless printing capabilities to other Wi-Fi printers. Print n Share ($8.99) and Print Magic HD ($4.99) are two of the more popular options, both having four-star user ratings in the App Store.

The Apps You'll Need

Which apps you'll need to utilize your iPad as a laptop replacement will depend largely on the sort of work and play you intend to use it for. There are a few baselines that everyone should look to as starting points, however. Most importantly, you'll want a proper suite of office productivity tools: word processor, spreadsheet application and presentation creator. Apple has its own trio of iWork productivity apps of course: Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentations), which are priced at $9.99 apiece, however, there are alternatives.

Documents To Go ($9.99) and its Premium counterpart ($16.99) are two particularly popular options, offering the functionality of all three of Apple's productivity apps at a lower price. The Premium edition adds the ability to create PowerPoint presentations (you can only view them in the lower-priced version) and sync with files stored online in places like Google Docs and Dropbox. Both versions support Wi-Fi syncing with a local PC using a third-party application available for free from the developer, DataViz. QuickOffice ($14.99) is another, equally popular iWork alternative, offering the same basic functionality as Docs2Go Premium at a slightly lower price.

Moving away from the laptop and onto a more portable platform, one which will at least occasionally have its data wiped clean for one reason or another, you'll also want to have some kind of backup in place to protect any work you might do on the iPad. The answer is simple here: Dropbox. It's a free app to start with and a free Dropbox account gives you 2 GB to play around with, which should be plenty if you're only worried about backing up documents. Monthly subscription plans are available for those who require more storage space, but the minimum $9.99 per month for 50 GB of storage is probably way too much for your average iPad.

You should also consider Air Sharing HD ($9.99), which lets you wirelessly connect with a desktop and access your iPad as if it is an external hard drive. This means simple drag-and-drop file sharing between desktop and tablet, but that's only a starting point. Air Sharing HD can interact with a wide range of file formats and perform certain operations the aren't otherwise possible (or require other apps) on the iPad, such as zipping/unzipping files (and browsing through archives), move/copy/paste/rename functions, downloads from URL links and more.

Another universal need for office productivity is having the ability to take comprehensive notes. Evernote is a very popular free app, allowing you to create text, photo and audio notes, sync your work with other computers or web destinations and keep everything neatly organized. If you're willing to spend a little money, SoundNote ($4.99) is definitely worth the investment. In addition to the basic note-taking, the app also including a drawing tool for making quick sketches inside your notes as well as an audio recording feature that syncs up what you've written with timestamps in the sound file.

There are a variety of free and paid instant messaging apps, such as AIM, IM+, BeejiveIM and Meebo. Same goes for Twitter; TweetDeck is by far the best free option, with a layout that is well-suited to the iPad display, though some prefer Twitterrific. Twittelator gets high marks as the best of the paid apps, with a great layout and enhanced social media integration features. Rounding out the basics, you'll also probably want to nab some kind of photo editing app. Photogene ($2.99) is an excellent option, as is FX Photo Studio HD ($1.99). If you prefer to go the free route, PhotoPad by ZAGG is the most popular option.

Ironically, the bloggers of the world have the toughest time if they want to abandon laptops for an iPad. There are only two viable apps for actual blogging, and really just one if you rely on any CMS that isn't WordPress. The WordPress app is free but, as you've probably guessed, it only works with that platform. BlogPress ($4.99) has more flexibility, playing well with a variety of platforms, but both apps tend to be light on features unless you've got administrative access on the blog side to set up the proper support. Even then… the functionality tends to be a little funky, with semi-frequent crashes and cases where basic page elements, such as Categories, cannot be accessed properly. Blogging from your iPad is possible, but not advisable.

To Jailbreak or Not To Jailbreak?

As you'll learn below, jailbreaking offers a great many more options for enhancing the iPad's range of functions. Apple won't be able to help you if something goes wrong, but performing one won't break your warranty and a System Restore via iTunes will bring your tablet back to its factory settings, should you have to bring it in for service. Failure to do so may result in Apple's refusal to service your device and/or disapproving glaring from the "Geniuses."

If a jailbreak is something you want to consider, you'll want some level of technical knowhow and, more importantly, comfort before getting started. The actual process is simple enough, but there are other factors to consider. For example, jailbreaks are typically operating one or two versions behind Apple's official system updates, so if you're running the latest iOS version or like to stay constantly updated, this may not be for you. More than that, when a jailbreak for the latest iOS update is released, you'll need to first restore your iPad to its factory settings, then apply the Apple update, then jailbreak it again. This probably also means you'll be doing two separate backups, for your jailbreak apps and your regular apps.

Jailbroken Apps

You're looking at a lot of potential laptop power on your little Apple tablet here, even without a jailbreak. So why do it at all? More flexibility, of course. Apple has been pretty friendly about officially and unofficially supporting a variety of USB and Bluetooth keyboards, but there's no such love at all for mice. iOS is a touch-based interface and there's no code written into its dark depths that allows it to understand how a mouse might be integrated.

To get a mouse up and running with your iPad, a jailbreak is required, along with an app called BTstack Mouse (free) and a Bluetooth mouse; sorry, no wired or wireless USB mice, for obvious reasons. Setup is pretty simple, though there's a catch: if you're also using a Bluetooth keyboard, you'll need to download a separate jailbreak app, BTstack Keyboard ($5) in order to make the iPad recognize both devices.

You'll also almost certainly want to pick up iFile ($4), a file manager which offers total access to your iPad's hard drive in a setup that resembles Windows Explorer. This is a necessary app for some of the more setup-intensive jailbreak activities. Just be careful; don't go messing with files you don't understand or change any settings with very clearly marked "screw with this at your peril" warnings.

If you've got iFile, you'll also probably want to go ahead and set up OpenSSH, which allows you to access the iPad's file system from a desktop. It's a lot like Air Sharing HD, only more flexible… provided you know what you're doing. Again, unless you're okay with following tutorials, don't pursue this route if you don't know what you're doing.

There are two more jailbreak apps to consider that might make your life a little easier. CyDelete (free) allows you to quickly and easily remove jailbreak apps in the same way that you would an App Store download. Without CyDelete, removing a jailbreak app involves opening Cydia (the jailbreak equivalent of the App Store) and diving through a series of menus. Also consider LockInfo ($7.99), an app that allows you to customize the iPad's lock screen with widgets like e-mail notifications and calendar updates.


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The Online Gaming Blockbuster Battle

TERA can be expected to remain hot in the South Korean game market throughout this year. This is just why Blade & Soul and Diablo 3, which both strive to conduct OBTs this year, and ArcheAge choose to enter the market almost at the same time. In the second half of 2011, three blockbusters are very likely to shake the South Korean game market, which indeed deserves paying attention to.

As an insider said on May 16, NCsoft's Blade & Soul, XL Games' ArcheAge and Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo 3 are being worked hard on with the goal of performing OBTs or entering the market officially in the second half of 2011.

A fierce fight among Blade & Soul, ArcheAge and Diablo 3 will break out in the game market in South Korea, and a situation of three main forces will be created then. Though the delay in ArcheAge's OBT draws much attention from the public, the intense fight among blockbusters to start in the second half of this year is more concerned about by game experts.

Blade & Soul Spoken Highly Of

The first CBT of NCsoft's Blade & Soul which ended on May 1 was unprecedentedly bustling, and was widely acknowledged by players. The test well interpreted Blade & Soul's charm as a blockbuster, and helped the game show its high-quality graphics and fine martial arts atmosphere appropriately. In particular, most of the game's fist CB testers were very satisfied with the flying skills demonstrated in the sky and on the water surface, and were even immersed in the cinematic game stories.

Additionally, the actions like breaking characters' limbs in Blade & Soul are much different from those in other games. Players are able to experience stimulating and vivid actions that are unreachable in other existing MMOs. Blade & Soul's new round of CBT is set to be conducted no later than Q3, 2011. Hope the game can also make good achievements in the overseas markets which are fond of action games!

ArcheAge, a Realistically-rendered MMORPG

Blade & Soul arouses lots of attention in the game market with super outstanding actions as its selling point, and ArcheAge stands out from the rest thanks to the immensely high freedom it offers. The online game ArcheAge which's being developed by XL Games becomes more famous on account of its development director Jake Song's influence. It's the "Father of Lineage" Jake Song's influence and the emphasis on high freedom that induce South Korean game industry to pay attention to ArcheAge.

Featuring the concept of workforce and the house building system, ArcheAge is favored and thought highly of by players. Players can do quests to level up, and if thinking this no fun, they can also do something else or conduct sea battles to enjoy sea fighting fun.

The game not only guarantees to offer players high freedom, but also integrates large numbers of real-world elements, which's really worthy of anticipation. It also introduces a trial system, a prison system, a siege training center and some other new content. According to XL Games, anyone who commits such crimes as intentional killing in ArcheAge will be called back to trial and accept punishment according to his/her criminal value.

As someone from XL Games said, ArcheAge not only offers basic instances but also emphasizes gaming freedom, and is characterized by its races, sea battles, sieges, and prison system. Players will be allowed to experience all these features in the game's third CBT.

Diablo 3 Expected to Be Released in the Second Half of 2011

After Diablo 3 made its debut at 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France, players around the world had great expectations of it. At G-Star 2010 held in Busan, South Korea, the game made open its trial version for the first time, and firmly caught players' eyes.

With the official test schedule announced recently, Diablo 3 is heatedly discussed by players. Michael Morhaime in charge of Blizzard Entertainment disclosed that the game would kick off its beta test in Q3, 2011 and was expected to be officially released this year. Therefore, it can be inferred that Diablo 3 will carry out its beta test in July.

As Michael Morhaime said in a conference on May 10, Diablo 3 is expected to launch its beta test in the middle of Q3, 2011 and official release no later than this year.

Employing a quarter view, ARPG Diablo 3 provides a total of 5 playable classes including Monk, Wizard, Barbarian, Witch Doctor and Demon Hunter. Players got to try out the female Demon Hunter which was first unveiled at BlizzCon 2010 and G-Star 2010.

Credits: MMOsite

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Jumat, 20 Mei 2011

Hellgate Global CBT Sign-up Starts

T3Fun and HanbitSoft have officially announced North American closed beta dates for Hellgate, with the kickoff scheduled for June 3rd to June 5th. The game will launch later this year according to a press release.

HanbitSoft and T3Fun are reanimating the corpse of the post-apocalyptic horror RPG/MMO hybrid for a global release in the near future. The title is being developed in Korea, and T3Fun has recently updated its website and Facebook page with a lengthy story video and a few gameplay screens.

The trailer showcases over 12 minutes of CG footage designed to familiarize would-be crusaders with Hellgate's world and their place in it. The short version is that the forces of hell have ransacked the earth. The longer version involves copious amounts of swords, machine guns, curvaceous templars and slavering demons bent on subjugating the local populace.

If you know your gaming history, you'll also know that Hellgate was originally developed by ex-Blizzard staffers before collapsing under the weight of unmet expectations and financial pressures.

Players will need to create an account at T3Fun, the English MMO portal for Hanbitsoft. Following that, there are 2 methods to obtain a Closed Beta key - Either join the small contest on the official website (50-50 chance to get in) or simply obtain keys from the partner websites. More details can be found here.

Credits: Massively, MMO Culture

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Project R1: The Ragnarok Online Sequel?

NHN, one of the biggest game companies in South Korea, made public six new online games in one go at Hangame EX 2011 which was grandly held on May 13. Project R1, the first to be unveiled, is a brand-new game by IMC Games which was founded by the "Father of Ragnarok Online"-Kim Hak Kyu. Thanks to Ragnarok Online's outstanding achievements worldwide, Project R1 is deemed as an orthodox sequel to Ragnarok Online like Ragnarok Online 2 by lots of game workers.

According to Kim Hak Kyu, Project R1 is a 2D+3D cute-styled MMORPG that features an immersive storyline. They announced this new project eight years after Granado Espada. During the eight years spent in running Granado Espada, they came up with many plans but also cancelled several. They wish Project R1 to be a pleasing online game for players.

The Genius Behind Ragnarok Online

Kim detailed the character design process in five stages on the spot. As he said, players set very high requirements for game graphics nowadays, e.g. they require not only colorful clothes but also diversified actions. Therefore, their developers turn 2D characters into 3D ones and then endow them with 2D characteristics when developing Project R1, and they can be said fairly dedicated to character design.

With respect to the storyline, Kim expressed that a great many games in the past usually made all content for players; however, they have the intention of leaving an appropriate gap for players to fill in actually; in this way, players can assume the roles of in-game charming characters to the utmost, and communicate/interact with others for more amusing and impressive gaming experiences.

With various development ideas, the official company still doesn't define a more detailed frame for Project R1, which's now at the early development stage and whose release date is unconfirmed. Kim hopes to make another cute-styled peak MMORPG.

Credits: MMOsite

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E3 2011 Featured Games

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (you might know it as E3) is only a few weeks away. Things kick off June 6 with a flurry of press conferences.

This is a list of all the titles confirmed by publishers or developers. There are plenty more games we know or expect - this list isn't for those. These are the things that have been promised publicly or told to on the record.

LAST UPDATE: May 20, 2011 06:50 PDT

2K Games
BioShock: Infinite (PC, PS3, X360)
Duke Nukem Forever (PC, PS3, X360)
The Darkness II (PC, PS3, X360)
XCOM (PC, X360)

2K Sports
NBA 2K12 (PS3, X360)

Prototype 2 (PC, PS3, X360)
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure (PS3, Wii, X360)
Spider-Man: Edge of Time (PS3, Wii, X360)
X-Men: Destiny (DS, PS3, Wii, X360)

Bethesda Softworks
Prey 2 (PC, PS3, X360)
Rage (PC, PS3, X360)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC, PS3, X360)

City Interactive
Combat Wings: The Great Battles of WWII (PS3, Wii, X360)
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 (PC, PS3, X360)

Bodycount (PS3, X360)
F1 2011 (3DS, PC, PS3, PSP2, X360)

D3 Publisher
The Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (PS3, X360)
White Knight Chronicles II (PS3)

Deep Silver
Dead Island (PC, PS3, X360)
Risen 2: Dark Waters (PC, PS3, X360)

Devolver Digital

Serious Sam 3: BFE (PC, PS3, X360)

Disney Interactive Studios
Cars 2 (DS, PC, PS3, Wii, X360)
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (3DS, DS, PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360)
Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension (DS, Wii)

Electronic Arts
Battlefield 3 (PC, PS3, X360)
FIFA Soccer 12 (PC, PS3, X360)
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PC, PS3, X360)
Madden NFL 12 (PS3, PSP, Wii, X360)
Mass Effect 3 (PC, PS3, X360)
NCAA Football 12 (PS3, X360)
NHL 12 (PS3)
Need for Speed: The Run (3DS, PC, PS3, X360)
SSX (PS3, X360)
Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC)
The Sims 3: Generations (PC)

En Masse Entertainment
Tera (PC)

Focus Home Interactive
A Game of Thrones: Genesis (PC)
Of Orcs and Men (PC, PS3, X360)
Rotastic (PC, PS3, X360)
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Testament of Sherlock (PC, PS3, X360)

Gameforge Interactive
Star Trek: Infinite Space (Webgame)

Fortune Online (Webgame)
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (PC)

Ignition Entertainment
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (PS3, X360)

Forza Motorsport 4 (X360)
Gears of War 3 (X360)
Gears of War 3 (Epic Edition) (X360) NEW
Gears of War 3 (Limited Edition) (X360) NEW

MonkeyPaw Games
BurgerTime HD (PS3, Wii, X360)

Most Wanted Entertainment (MWE)
Defenders of Ardania (PC, PS3, X360, iPad)

Namco Bandai
Soulcalibur V (PS3, X360)

Dragon Nest (PC)
Vindictus (PC)

Super Mario 3DS (3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Nival Interactive
Prime World (Webgame, iPhone)

No Publisher Announced
Rusty Hearts (PC)

Paradox Interactive
Crusader Kings II (PC)
King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame (PC)
Magicka (PC, X360)
Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter (PC)

Perfect World Entertainment
Raiderz (PC)

Sony Computer Entertainment
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (PS3)
Resistance 3 (PS3)
Twisted Metal (PS3)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

Sony Online Entertainment
DC Universe Online (PC, PS3)
Free Realms (PC, PS3)
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures (PC)

SouthPeak Games

Battle VS Chess (DS, PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360)

Square Enix
Hitman: Absolution (PC, PS3, X360)

Metro 2033: Last Light (PC, X360)
Red Faction: Armageddon (PC, PS3, X360)
Saints Row: The Third (PC, PS3, X360)
UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System (PS3, Wii, X360)
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (PC, PS3, X360)
uDraw Studio (PS3, X360)

Ninja Gaiden III (PS3, X360)

Telltale Games
Back to the Future: The Game -- Episode 5: Outatime (PC, PS3, iPad)
Jurassic Park: The Game (PC, PS3, X360)
Puzzle Agent 2 (PC, PS3, iPad, iPhone)

TopWare Interactive
Scivelation (PC, PS3, X360)
Two Worlds II: Pirates of the Flying Fortress (PC, PS3, X360)

Trion Worlds
End of Nations (PC)
Rift (PC)

Assassin's Creed Revelations (PC, PS3, X360)
Call of Juarez: The Cartel (PC, PS3, X360)
Driver: San Francisco (PC, PS3, X360)
From Dust (PC, PS3, X360)
Rayman Origins (PC, PS3, Wii, X360)
Rocksmith (PC, PS3, X360)
The Adventures of TinTin (DS, PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (DS, PC, PS3, X360)
TrackMania2 Canyon (PC)

Warner Bros. Interactive
Bastion (PC, X360)
Batman: Arkham City (PC, PS3, X360)
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters (3DS, DS, PS3, Wii, X360)
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster (X360)
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (PC, PS3, X360)


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Feel the Asda 2 Evolution

If getting married, fishing, or fighting over mining rights sounds like a pleasant diversion from your typical MMO fare, then you may want to check out Asda 2. It features endless variety, hard-core PvP action and numerous customization possibilities, and will soon host a series of events to celebrate the OBT.

Players who log in throughout the open beta or advance their Soul Mate bonds the fastest will be eligible to win some Campus Cash (the microtransaction currency for the game). Lucky Monster tokens can also be collected throughout the beta, giving players a chance to win iPods, a 3DS, and other prizes. If Asda 2's anime-style artwork and relationship system seem like the sort of thing you'd enjoy, be sure to check out the beta.

The Open Beta features the new Avatar System which will grant players extensive control over their character’s look and style. You can also join forces with the revolutionary Soul Mate system to level faster and become far more powerful than when playing alone. You will also have the opportunity to gain access to unique Soul Mate abilities and skills, thus gaining bonus item rewards and in-game perks by playing together.

Following the storyline of its predecessor, Asda 2 begins with an uneasy alliance between two of the Factions (Light and Dark) which is planned to use the Day and Night cycles of the sequel’s current ambient weather system to provide tactical factors altering the balance of power in real time, as the opposing sides’ individual capabilities rise and fall with the progression of the in-game day.

More Asda 2 features include:

Hundreds of skills and dozens of Job Classes to progress through!
In-depth item alteration systems allow you to modify your equipment to extreme degrees!
Join either the Light or Darkness Faction and conquer cities to gain server-wide benefits!
Earn PvP Ranks, powerful equipment, and some of the best items through the Faction PvP system!
Multiple PvP modes and battlefields let you take control of entire maps!
Faction Death Matches will allow you to settle grudges personally!

Credits: Massively, MMOsite, NextMMORPG

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Rabu, 18 Mei 2011

MacBook Air Upgrades Coming in June

If Apple is to keep to their typical yearly release schedule, it's just about that time for a new iteration of MacBook Airs.

As with any Apple release, morsels of information are making their way out prior to launch. In this case, it looks like you can expect the new MacBook Air to include a Sandy Bridge processor and Apple's Thunderbolt port, following the lead of the recently released iMacs and MacBook Pro line. The ultra-thin laptops are expected to retain their 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch screen options.

The report comes by way of Digitimes, who cites a Taiwanese manufacturer with knowledge of the project.

The new MacBook Air line appears to be on schedule for a June/July release.


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Senin, 16 Mei 2011

Dragon Nest Global Now Officially Dragon Nest SEA

Shanda Games International (SDGi), the publisher of Dragon Nest, has announced that their game servers will be located in South East Asia. More relay servers will be set up around the region in time to come.

This decision is made in line with the demographic results of Dragon Nest Closed Beta account sign-ups thus far, with South East Asian players making up 70% of the total share. European sign-ups make up 19% while sign-ups from America and other regions take up 5% and 6% respectively.

Following an intense period of testing, SDGi has decided to focus the game service of Dragon Nest to South East Asian players to ensure optimal gameplay performance. In light of this focus, Dragon Nest Global will be renamed to Dragon Nest SEA to better inform players of the service reach.

Dragon Nest Global just changed its name to Dragon Nest SEA. Announced on the game's facebook page, the publisher Shanda Games International changed the name because of Dragon Nest's servers are located in Southeast Asia, in Singapore specifically. Despite of the change of the name, the areas that the service covers remain unchanged.

Since the servers are in South East Asia, players in that area won't worry about the lag while those who live in outside SEA may face a less optimal gameplay performance, theoretically. Besides, the publisher indicates that players from North America and Oceania may not be able to get access to SEA server.

Dragon Nest SEA will start closed beta in July. You can sign-up for CB at its official site.

Credits: MMOsite

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Final Fantasy Developer Square-Enix Hacked

Another victim of being hacked after Sony is the Final Fantasy developer and publisher Square-Enix(SE). This MMO developed and published tycoon SE is now suffered a very tough time.

The hacking will make SE get worse after it suffered $148.33 million losses last financial year. Not long ago, SE issued a full-year financial forecast which saw its projected net income drop 90 percent to $12.35 million on sales of $1.60 billion. The company even decided to cut down the game development budget to overcome the financial problems. They canned Gun Loco, which was once planned to be a violent third-person shooter game for the Xbox 360.

Besides the financial crisis, the problem which deserves SE's attention is how to prevent more data from being leaked right now. The hacking results 80,000 users' data at Deus Ex, a subsidiary company of SE, being stolen along with 9,000 resumes from Eidos have been made. However, SE says the loss is far less in reality. The only thing comforting Deus EX users is this website does not hold any credit card information or code data.

According to Krebs on Security reported, the hacking might have been carried out by members of Anonymous, the same group that is allegedly responsible for last month's PlayStation Network attack.

Credits: MMOsite

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Alice: Madness Returns

Alice: Madness Returns marks American McGee and Spicy Horse’s return to the twisted, gothic reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s beloved Alice in Wonderland that served as the backdrop for the team’s cult classic, American McGee’s Alice. It's been more than a decade since series creator fist introduced his twisted take on the story of Alice in Wonderland. Taking the angle that Wonderland is an alternate reality manifested from Alice's fractured mind, McGee's vision of Lewis Carrol's classic novel is a bloody, beautiful, and psychologically disturbing tableau.

Madness Returns takes place ten years after the events of the first game. Alice has been released from Rutledge Asylum, and is working at the Houndstitch Home for Wayward Youth in Victorian London. She's still dealing with repressed memories and survivor's guilt surrounding the mysterious fire that killed her entire family years ago.

London's inhabitants have grotesquely exaggerated appearances -- a stark contrast to Alice's comparatively normal character model. The "real world" of London is also very drab and depressing, like much of the color and life has been sucked right out of it. Aesthetically, it immediately creates a strong separation between Alice and her surroundings, and it gave me the sense that Alice doesn't really belong there - like a fish out of water.

Story Trailer

After a bit of exploration and talking to London's creepy citizenry, Alice chases a mysterious white cat through the streets and back-alleys. At the end of the chase, Alice's hallucinations of Wonderland return, whisking her away into the alternate reality of her subconscious.

Once Alice enter's Wonderland, the game changes drastically from a visual perspective: bright colors, dreamlike vistas, vibrant plant-life that blooms when approached, and blue skies. But since Wonderland is meant to reflect Alice's trouble psyche, it's not long before the gentle brooks begin to run red with blood, and the world's hostile inhabitants begin to give Alice some grief. And, of course, the Cheshire Cat returns to periodically offer Alice riddle-like advice.

A little while later, Alice stumbles upon her friend the Mad Hatter, who is literally in pieces when she arrives. The bulk of the first chapter involves retrieving his clockwork arms and legs which are being held prisoner by the Dormouse and the White Rabbit, respectively.

At its heart, Alice: Madness Returns is a combat-driven platformer, and while it probably won't win any awards for entirely innovative mechanics, the weapons and abilities that Alice has on tap are solidly implemented and fun to use. Very early on, Alice gains the ability to shrink herself at will, which comes in handy for accessing certain areas. While diminutive, "shrink vision" is also active, and it provides clues and directional advice in the form of arrows and drawings that are only visible when Alice is small. Jumping from platform to platform is also a lot of fun, bolstered by Alice's glide ability that allows her to float for long distances. Tight controls also help keep misjudged jumps to a minimum.

The combat in Madness Returns is fast and responsive, and reasonably challenging. In the first chapter alone, several different enemies are introduced, each requiring slightly different approaches to defeat. While not particularly tough on their own, the challenge amps up a bit when facing a few different enemy-types at once. For example, the "Eye-pot" a mechanical teapot with spider-like legs and a glowing red eye must first be stunned with ranged fire and then attacked at close range.

The "Vorpal Blade" returns as Alice's primary weapon, but it's not the only tool in her arsenal. Early on, she also acquires a giant pepper-mill - her primary ranged weapon. In addition to attacking from afar, the pepper-mill can be used to shoot disembodied pig snouts hidden in the environment. Filling a snout with pepper will reveal a hidden area, items, or 'Memories.' Memories are collectibles Alice can find throughout Wonderland that each provide a short audio clue about Alice's past. Other collectibles include different colored bottles, rose buds (which restore health), and teeth which are used to purchase weapon upgrades.

It appears to be a mechanically-solid platformer with fast-paced and interesting combat. That said, its presentational aspects are its strongest suit, from the malformed and exaggerated characters, to the darkly poetic dialog, to Wonderland's beautifully twisted vistas. It's not a scary game, per se, but it's certainly unsettling and visually engaging. It's interesting to see what the rest of Alice's second journey has in store.

Alice: Madness Returns gets crazy on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 this June 14.

Credits: G4tv, Shacknews

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Minggu, 15 Mei 2011

Sony PlayStation Network Going Back Online

After three weeks, Sony finally announces the PlayStation 3's online service is being restored; Sony Online Entertainment also coming back.

For fans of Sony Online Entertainment's dormant MMORPGs, after 25 days of outage, you're now able to game online. All the company's online games, forums, and related websites have officially begun service restoration. Games such as DC Universe Online, EverQuest and Free Realms should now be playable again.

The PlayStation Store, however, is still inaccessible. Virtual world PlayStation Home is up and running, though.

The company gave a press release with the details as well as a video statement from Sony executive Kazuo Hirai. SOE provided details on its Welcome Back promotion, and this release provides links to a handy chart covering promotions for all of the company's games.

Sony boss Kazuo Hirai noted in the video statement that advanced security technology, increased levels of decryption, additional firewalls, and an early warning detection system have all been put into place to avoid a situation like this again in the future.

"I can't thank you enough for your patience and support during this time," Hirai said. "We know even the most loyal customers have been frustrated by this process and are anxious to use their Sony products and services again. I wish we could have restored the network services faster, but these attacks were serious and sophisticated, and it simply took time to install and test the new security measures across our entire system. We felt that we owed it to you to fully verify the security of the networks before restoring our services."

"Our main priority is the safety and security of our customers' personal information. We are making consumer data protection a full-time, company-wide commitment, and have applied enhanced security technologies so that our customers can feel protected and confident about playing our games," Hirai said.

Other available services include the playback of rented videos, Music Unlimited, access to third party services, friends lists, chat functionality and trophy comparisons.

After downloading and installing PlayStation 3 firmware 3.61, all PlayStation Network users are required to change their passwords. Here's how to do it.

Credits: MMOsite

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Lol(cat)rabbit Gamer for the Week 4


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AIKA Global May In-Game Events

May is a month of true mayhem in AIKA Global, as T3fun and Redbana reveal a staggering amount of in-game activities taking place this month. Four major events are lined up for May: "Nation Wars II," "Legionnaires of May," "Friend in Need" and "The Auction House". Along with these events, exciting new game and website updates will be revealed. Get your arms and armor ready for the incredible and wild month of May!


"Nation Wars II"
For the entire month of May, nations become war zones during the "Nation Wars II" event, which will challenge nations to defend their name and territory. Each nation shall pick four (4) leaders to take part in The Lord Marshall Alliance. After a signal given by GMs, invading armies will have 2 hours to march into their subject territory, attack, and reach their goal.

"Legionnaires of May"

From May 2nd to 8th, Legions can register to be part of the "Legionnaires of May" event. To participate, Legions need to register ten (10) newly-created accounts with level 10 characters. Participants will need to send in screenshots of each character at level 10. Characters will then need to grow as swiftly as possible and reach Level 50 within the event time period. The first five (5) legions to complete the requirements before May 31 will win a special prize bundle.

"A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed" and "Auction House"
During the entire month of May, watch out for two other major in-game events where players will need to make use of their wide network of friends. By inviting them to play along in-game, players will receive prizes from the "A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed" event. Participants may also wage a bidding war by readying rare and precious items to sell in the "Auction House" event, where fortunes will be made.

Game and Site Updates:

Nation Merge
In a shift sure to rock the foundations of Arcan, AIKA Global will be moving from five (5) to two (2) competing nations in-game. In the following weeks, Elters will be exiled from their current nations and will have to choose between two newly-created nations. Alliance features will also be removed but fear not, level 5 and up Legions will be given the compensation they have earned and deserve.

Mailing System
Players will now be able to send mail messages to fellow players even when they are offline! With the new mailing system, messages can now contain items and gold and be sent through email.

The AIKA Global masses are surely in for unique thrills this month. It's May, it's mayhem, and it's fun jam-packed together! To learn more about these special events and updates visit

Download the game today at or visit T3fun's portal for more information at

*AIKA Global is available to countries around the world with the exception of Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Russia.


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Jumat, 13 Mei 2011

Animals Living In Computer Monitors

Gone are the good old days of cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors, an old style of TV-looking set of computer monitor. It's big, it's bulky, it occupies a lot of space on the PC table, and once you're through with it, it just gets thrown out the window as you set up your new slick slim LCD monitor.

But some people choose to do something else with it.









Credits: Buzzfeed

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