Cataclysm Digital Pre-Sale Now Available on Battle.net

The launch of Cataclysm will mark a significant date in World of Warcraft’s history as the game changes forever.  The Cataclysm looms near, and players can be ready to play the minute the servers go live by pre-purchasing the expansion digitally on Battle.net now. They simply complete the digital pre-sale process on Battle.net, and their account will be flagged for automatic access to Cataclysm when it launches at 12:01 a.m. PST on December 7.

Once a player has completed the digital upgrade, he or she will need to log in to World of Warcraft at least once prior to December 7 to begin the background-downloading process and prepare for Deathwing’s return. Until then, keep watching the skies….

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Video Games Live Album Debuts at #8 on Billboard!

Live: Level 2, the latest release from the worldwide concert phenomenon known as Video Games Live, has debuted at #8 on the Billboard Charts.   The CD, as well as its DVD and Blu-ray counterparts, the first-ever video releases from the Video Games Live franchise, features music from the greatest video games of all time. The CD version boasts 16 performances (and 2 additional tracks on the digital version), and the DVD and Blu-Ray include never-before-televised music and video from Super Mario Bros.™, The Legend of Zelda™, Sonic the Hedgehog™, Halo®, Warcraft®, Chrono Cross®, Castlevania®, Guitar Hero®, God of War™ and many more, as well as a special Classic Arcade Medley featuring games from Pong® to Dragon’s Lair and Tetris®, and more than 3 hours of bonus material.

Created and produced by industry veteran and world-famous video game composer Tommy Tallarico, Video Games Live: Level 2 features the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra performing along with exclusive video footage and music arrangements, synchronized lighting, special fx, solo performers, percussionists, live action and unique interactive segments, creating a entirely unique entertainment experience. Just in time to be a perfect holiday gift, Video Games Live: Level 2 is also currently being featured nationwide on PBS.

EA AND HOTHEAD GAMES VANQUISH EVIL AS HIT RPG DEATHSPANK COMES TO PC

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Hothead GamesTM announced today that DeathSpank, the critically acclaimed, fiendishly funny action role playing game (RPG), is now available for download on PC for £9.99 via Steam, Valve Corporation’s delivery and management platform. Developed under the direction of industry veteran Ron Gilbert, DeathSpank combines unique humor and wit with fast, addictive, action-RPG gameplay. Recently awarded IGN’s Editor’s Choice for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, DeathSpank will take PC players on an epic adventure through crazy quests in a vast world filled with vibrant, eccentric and hilarious characters.

“We are thrilled to finally bring the crazy world of Deathspank to the PC,” said Vlad Ceraldi, Director of Game Development at Hothead Games. “PC is the perfect home for DeathSpank. It’s charming, witty and whimsical and at its core, DeathSpank offers an extremely fun and compelling experience.”

Players who download the game will be placed in the boots of the mighty DeathSpank, “Dispenser of Justice,” “Vanquisher of Evil” and “Hero to the Downtrodden” and will embark on his lifelong journey to search for and find a mysterious artifact known only as “The Artifact.” Along his journey, DeathSpank will rescue orphans, defeat a local tyrant, help an aging adventurer and dive headfirst into an even deeper mystery. The game’s accessibility makes for a fun, addictive experience where players will find themselves fulfilling crazy quests, collecting massive amounts of loot and engaging in tons of hilarious dialogue. DeathSpank also features local co-operative gameplay, allowing friends to jump in and out of this adventure on the same computer as DeathSpank’s trusty, magical sidekick, Sparkles the Wizard.

Zombie Infection Spreads Through GamersFirst

GamersFirst, today’s most popular Free2Play destination, announced in a statement this morning that its headquarters and games have been breached by a mysterious infection throughout the publisher’s premier online MMO’s and website (now) www.zombiesfirst.com.

Footage of the infection was first discovered on a weekly vlog produced by a GamersFirst employee of the pseudo name, Neume; where traces of the mysterious transformation first began during a producer interview. Neume’s vlogs seem to be the only connection between GamersFirst headquarters and the outside world. Regardless, game operations seem to be intact and are falling in line with new in-game content.

“We are doing the best we can to remedy this strange situation,” says Joe Rush, Director of Game Operations for GamersFirst. “It’s not out of character for our staff to play War Rock for several hours at a time, but to do it without blinking (and foaming at the mouth) leaves me feeling a little uneasy. Some of the staff has been in good spirits and are trying to pull through this ordeal, but we have had to separate ourselves from some of our more aggressive infected coworkers, to keep the games alive.”

Games that have been affected by this takeover include:

War Rock The beginning of it all, Zombie Mode slowly infected everything else in the ZombiesFirst world.

  • Redeem the ZombiesFirst promocode: WillUSurvive and get free items.
  • Blind Bullet Map (Zombie Mode) – Test subjects have begun to awaken in the Blind Bullet facility. You and your unit are tasked to kill these zombies of superhuman strength. Not to worry we’re releasing 6 new guns including: the M40A1 Sniper Rifle, the Bizon Sub-machine gun, the T-Bomb Grenade, the SIG550 Assault Rifle, the UMP45 Sub-machine gun, and the HK416 Assault Rifle, all available only in Blind Bullet (Zombie Mode).
  • Halloween Overlay – Halloween isn’t complete without Pumpkin heads, pumpkin grenades and our annual Halloween map overlays. Additionally, during Halloween, win the new M500 Pistol by killing General Chariot in Blind Bullet (length of M500 is based on how many Chariot kills you make)
  • The launch of the Zombie Mode Ranking System which allows players to compete to be the top Zombie Killer and win awesome prizes.

Knight Online’s special promotions have already begun; get in today to see what havoc has been wreaked in the Knight Online underworld.

  • Hyde’s Virtual Item Bonus introduces a new item to the game, the Helmet of Wrath
  • (10.26) Players will be able to obtain a limited release Zombie Transformation Scroll during the Halloween patch only (A zombie pet transformation is also available in the Power Up Store)
  • Some GMs may be long gone but not forgotten. GM’s will be rising from the grave to lay waste to players in an epic GM war event. Big rewards to be earned!
  • Zombies have invaded the lands of Carnac. Lucky players who defeat the hoard of zombies will be able to obtain unique item drops.

9Dragons will hold several new events for users during this time period including:
(October 28-November 11):

  • Chinese Zombie Event – Zombie’s have taken over Hefei. Kill the zombie’s to get the Slaying Epithet (Strength +10%, Vital Energy +10%, Stance-Shield +150, Movement Speed +15%)
  • Monster Pumpkin and Candle drop – collect pumpkins and candles to exchange them with Jiang Daxi.
  • Release of Halloween Ox Mask.
  • Carnival of Souls Essence (2 week event)

Sword 2 players will have extra advantages to overcome the zombie apocalypse.

  • Redeem the ZombiesFirst promocode: WillUSurvive and get free items.
  • Land of the Dead in-game event – Dios Lantem is spawning monsters in the Land of the Dead. Players who enter the Land of the Dead will be in Baron mode, but may obtain exclusive items when defeating the monsters; the 30-day Pumpkin Hats (+300 HP) and 15-day Crystal Wings(for added stats)
  • Halloween Costume Contest – winners receive gold prizes, see the details on the Sword 2 forums
  • Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest – winners receive gold prizes, see the details on the Sword 2 forums

Staying alive won’t be easy in War Rock and Sword 2 this season. Producers have prepared a special code to get gamers through these tough times. The only question remains; WillUSurvive?

Allods Online Becomes Even More Free

gPotato Europe is delighted to announce that with the release of its second expansion, Volume 2: Rise of Gorluxor, and today’s patch that will be available tonight, Allods Online has become more Free-to-Play than ever.

From now on, all players will have access to new, easy-to-complete daily quests which offer a variety of premium rewards to assist them in their adventure. The Captain’s Letter of Marque doubles any character’s experience for a specific period of time, the 5 Phylacteries of Passage guarantees no penalties if a player’s character dies in battle and the Small Cone of Incense provides 24 hours of powerful blessing, increasing a character’s power on the battlefield.

In order to celebrate the addition of these new quests that elevate Allods Online’s Free-to-Play status to unprecedented heights, every existing character on the European servers will receive a free in-game gift in their mailbox, provided they log in to the game within the next 30 days.

With Volume 2: Rise of Gorluxor many exciting changes have been implemented for the Allods Online universe, like the Dream Factory, a new zone for Empire characters around level 20. Astral ships and allods have been improved and changed or, in some cases, completely revamped. The Arena of Death has evolved into a dynamic and exciting event with loads of epic treasures to acquire. Classes have been further improved and balanced and many community enhancements have been included. Details for these, and many more changes and tweaks, can be found in the full patch notes at: http://en.forum.gpotato.eu/?CD=ALLODS_EN_F002&TC=0000000000&MD=VT&US=Y&AS=Y&TNO=1121105

This comprehensive set of changes from gPotato.eu and the Allods Online development team is merely the first wave of improvements for the acclaimed MMORPG in the latter quarter of 2010, with both parties working closely on more features and new content, with release expected in a matter of months. The upcoming content will include a brand new guild levelling system, new zones and dungeons to explore, a new guild-versus-guild system to allow control of the Astral space itself, astral ship customisation and more.

Discover Allods Online and the world of Sarnaut for free on the gPotato.eu portal. Players can simply register accounts and download the full game at: http://en.allods.gpotato.eu/Download/Client.aspx.

Thriller New Media – New Servers, New Graphic Engine, New Games for 2011!

Thriller New Media (TNM), a division of iEntertainment Network, (PINK SHEETS: IENT.pk), the award-winning developer of the world famous WarBirds, TotalSims, Combat Simulation game series, announces the installation of new and more powerful online game servers to support many more online players, the development of a new Graphics Engine for all 2011 new games, and the first game using the new Graphics Engine, M4 Tank Platoon, is in product testing now.

The new TNM servers are significantly more powerful, faster, and more capable than the previous servers, can handle significantly more online players, and are attached directly to a major internet hub for faster connections for players. 
The new TNM Graphics Engine, developed by an experienced team of developers in the United Kingdom, is operational and working with the TNM testing teams to insure all facets of the WarBirds series of games work faster, better, and with more intense and detailed graphics.   This system is scheduled to be released for PC computers by 1 January in WarBirds 2011. Mac Computer versions will follow shortly.

The new game from TNM , M4 Tank Platoon, is designed to be a follow on to the World Famous from MicroProse Software; M1 Tank Platoon will use the new TNM graphics engine.   The original M1 Tank Platoon was produced by Lt. Col Wild Bill Stealey, TNM CEO, when he was CEO at MicroProse Software. “I am excited that we have captured the fun, strategy, and tactics of original M1 Tank Platoon in M4! We will also follow this WW II version of tank warfare by with a modern tank game, M1A2 Tank Platoon in mid 2011.

Van Helsing MMO Might Be in the Works

source IGN

SEE Virtual Worlds, the group that last month announced they were developing a Michael Jackson-themed virtual world entitled “Planet Michael” is reportedly set to announce that another partnership, this time with Universal Partnerships & Licensing (the licensing part of Universal Studios), is soon to bear fruit. Monster fruit. According to a Hollywood Reporter article, the duo are set to announce a monster-themed massively-multiplayer online virtual world that utilizes the Universal Monsters franchise.

The franchise, which uses the beasts and ghouls of films from the middle part of the 20th century, includes the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man. According to the report, the game, part of SEE Virtual World’s Entropia Universe (which includes MindArk’s Planet Calypso) will give players the opportunity to fill the role of the oversized-hat-wearing monster-hunter Van Helsing. It will also use a real-cash economy, a system that Project Entropia pioneered and made viable for both the developer and the players. Within the confines of Planet Calypso, players can buy virtual currency, using their real money, to finance their virtual adventures, and can then sell back any virtual currency they earn, potentially netting them a profit.

According to Hollywood Reporter, the horror-themed virtual world, along with Planet Michael, is due out next year. We’ve reached out to Universal and SEE Virtual Worlds for comment and confirmation.

Champions Online Goes Free to Play

source superherohype

Previously a subscription based massively multiplayer online game, Champions Online has announced plans to change their business model early next year, offering the game for free to anyone with an internet connection. Read the full press release below and thanks to SHH reader Simon for bringing the news to our attention:

Atari Inc., one of the world’s most recognized videogame publishers, and renowned MMO developer Cryptic Studios have announced today that their superhero MMORPG, Champions Online™, will be free to play beginning Q1 2011. Players will be able to download and enjoy the game at absolutely no cost.

Champions Online free-to-play also features additional premium content for purchase. Adventure Packs, items, powers and costume pieces can be selected a la carte inside Cryptic’s innovative C-Store. Additionally, current players may continue subscribing as Gold members, while new players may also optionally upgrade to Gold status, which unlocks most of the game’s content and includes extra features for a set price of $14.99 per month.

“Transitioning Champions Online to the free-to-play model is a great opportunity to reach a whole new audience of PC gamers that view subscription fees as a barrier to entry,” said John Needham, CEO of Cryptic Studios. “By taking care of our current subscription-based community and welcoming the addition of new players through free-to-play, Champions Online is poised to build upon its success and to establish a new leadership position as the first free-to-play superhero MMO.”

Champions Online has been lauded since its launch for the customization options it gives players. The switch to free-to-play gives players even more control over their gameplay:

    * Unlimited Play Time – Play as much as you like, as long as you like, at absolutely no cost. No subscription or credit card required.
    * Your Own Hero, Your Own Story – Become a hero, encounter his or her Nemesis, and advance to maximum level at no cost.
    * Play Your Way – Utilize the optional web-based and in-game C-Store to purchase gameplay upgrades or additional premium content.

The Champions Online free-to-play closed beta test begins on November 9, 2010 and will be made available to a subset of current players, with potential openings for new users.

Champions Online brings epic heroism to the MMORPG genre with depth that challenges the most experienced online gamers, while its fast-paced action engages new entrants to the online superhero universe. Join with Defender and the legendary Champions to stop Dr. Destroyer and his minions in the ultimate showdown between good and evil.

To learn more about Champions Online Free-to-Play, please visit http://www.champions-online.com/f2p

DC Universe Online, which reveal for the first time the game’s Scarecrow design

source superherohype

New images are now available from the upcoming DC Universe Online, which reveal for the first time the game’s Scarecrow design. The official description of the character is as follows:

In the right hands, Fear can be a weapon….

Jonathan Crane was a skinny, awkward kid who got bullied often because he reminded people of Ichabod Crane, from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  As he grew older, Crane became obsessed with the essence of fear, hopefully in an effort to conquer his own phobias. This obsession put him on the academic fast track at Gotham University. 

But Crane sabotaged his career by using his students as unwilling subjects in his dangerous fear-based experiments.  He was dismissed from the university by the board of regents for his unorthodox methods.  In an act of revenge, Crane put his knowledge of fear to work, creating a fear gas, dressing himself in straw and sackcloth and adopting the guise of The Scarecrow. 

His quest to heighten and instill fear in Gotham has often run afoul of Batman, attempting to root out any anxiety or phobia that would bring him down.  But Batman has faced him down countless times and in the process, Crane has become victim to an ironic type of fear, chiropteraphobia…

…Fear of bats.

DC Universe Online is scheduled to ship early 2011 for both the PC and thePlayStation 3 at an anticipated retail price of $49.99 (PC) and $59.99 (console).   DCUO is rated “T” (for Teen) by the ESRB, with Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Violence









SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT BRINGS A VARIETY OF HALLOWEEN HAUNTS TO ITS ONLINE GAMING CATALOG

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures: Sith O’Lanterns and Battle Droid™ Scarecrows have taken over the Jedi™Temple! The inaugural Halloween celebration in Clone Wars Adventures adds plenty of creepy-crawlies around the virtual world. Players can participate in the daily Mask Handout to collect a new iconic mask each day, including YodaTM, Jar Jar Binks, Padmé and Grievous! Players can also dress up their characters and droids and decorate their houses with festive items available for purchase in the Marketplace. R2-D2’sTM Rocket Rescue minigame celebrates with a special spooky Halloween-themed level, complete with a ghost costume for R2-D2. Clone Wars Adventures Halloween celebration is scheduled to begin October 22 and run through November 5. Live in-game Halloween “Emissary Events” are scheduled for October 27 and 29 and November 5 at 3 PM PST/6 PM EST. For more information please visit www.CloneWarsAdventures.com.

Free Realms Super Spooktacular: Players beware… werewolves and vampires are taking over in Free Realms™ this Halloween with the return of Super Spooktacular! With new werewolf and vampire costumes, and a new questline in Blackspore Cemetery to determine which freak is more frightening, the harrowing-fun Halloween update features daily trick-or-treating, creepy quests, in-game parties and lots of costumes for players and their pets. Join the Super Spooktacular in-game fun now through November 17! Free Realms is never going to know what bit it! The Free Realms Community Team is also scheduling live in-game costume parties to celebrate the Super Spooktacular. For detailed information on Super Spooktacular, please visit www.FreeRealms.com.

EverQuest: EverQuest players will soon learn that the Scroll of the Skinwalker is wreaking havoc on Illis Taberish and all of the innocent people across the lands. In this spooky quest, players are challenged to track down and take down the Skinwalker before he traps the souls of the innocent and feasts on their flesh. Visit Rhaeda to learn the location of the Skinwalker’s den before this terrifying new quest disappears November 7. For more information please visit www.eqplayers.com. EverQuest II: This year’s Nights of the Dead celebration returns with the all-new Nights of the Dead Devotee questline to EverQuest II. New Halas is decked out with spooky decorations and Gigglegibber Goblins. Players can also purchase new costume illusions from holiday merchants and revisit their favorite quests and events from past Nights of the Dead celebrations, including trick-or-treating in Qeynos and visiting haunted houses in Freeport, for new rewards!  Nights of the Dead is scheduled to run through November 8. For more information please visit www.eq2players.com.

Star Wars Galaxies: Jabba the Hutt welcomes you back to the most fright-filled celebration in the galaxy – The Galactic Moon Festival is returning to Star Wars Galaxies! Spooky fun and ghoulish rewards await players who dare set foot in the eerily shrouded cities of Moenia on Naboo and Mos Eisley on Tatooine. A host of haunting characters in these cities leads the way to all the tricks, treats and terror-filled events of the Galactic Moon Festival. Dress up in outrageous costumes, trick-or-treat through the streets of Moenia and Mos Eisley and use coins to purchase special rewards. The Galactic Moon Festival is scheduled to run October 21 through November 16.