Turbine, the veteran Boston-based online game developer, has laid off staff for the third year in a row. The Boston-based studio created the well-regarded online role-playing games Dungeons & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online, but it has suffered since the launch of ill-fated DC Comics MOBA Infinite Crisis, and is now apparently turning its attention to mobile games - although LOTRO and DDO will be kept online.
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Imagine a world where you can play an MMO like Lord of the Rings Online directly on its website.
It's not subscription MMOs that are dying, Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online maker Turbine told Eurogamer - it's antiquated games that insist upon a single method of payment.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons Online will officially go free-to-play in Europe next month, Eurogamer can exclusively reveal.
Turbine has revealed details of Update 5 to its resurgent MMO, Dungeons & Dragons Online.
Released on 28th June, according to Massively, DDO Update 5 is called Rise of the Guilds. It will allow guilds to level up and earn Renown and Trophies as they grow in numbers and progress through the game's content.
Ultimately, you'll be able to buy a flying airship HQ for your guild and customise it with decorations and amenities.
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited is the third most played MMO in North America.
Eurogamer has learnt that The Lord of the Rings Online will continue to be distributed and run by Codemasters in Europe, despite Warner's recent purchase of developer Turbine.
Turbine's free-to-play relaunch of Dungeons & Dragons Online - Eberron Unlimited - has attracted one million players and boosted revenues by a whopping 500 per cent.
Capitalising on the momentum generated by its free-to-play relaunch of Dungeons & Dragons Online, Turbine is releasing Update 1 to DDO Unlimited tomorrow, 28th October.
Executive producer Fernando Paiz detailed the update in a recent letter to players. The key features are all aimed at high-level adventurers: there's a new adventure pack called The Path of Inspiration, the introduction of Epic Difficulty at level 20 in some adventure packs, and Veteran Status. The latter lets players with 1000 favor points to jump a new character straight in at level 4.
Reincarnation, a feature allowing you to re-spec your character, was originally intended to be included in this update but has been held back so that it doesn't delay the release of the other content, Paiz said.
Turbine has said that its free-to-play relaunch of Dungeons & Dragons Online has actually boosted subscriptions by 40 per cent as well as attracting large numbers of free players.
Branding, circumstance and strange luck are all part of Dungeons & Dragons Online's history. Its timing was horrible; it leapt head-first into an MMORPG market that had just realised that it didn't want to be quite as hardcore with a game that, by its very history, was hardcore. While other games were encouraging you to fight on your own, occasionally grouping to high-five and key-tap your way to level 60, DDO told you that you needed to group and you were only getting to, at the highest, 20 - which it didn't even support initially.
Turbine spokesman Adam Mersky has indicated that the early-access launch of Dungeons & Dragons Online Unlimited has been a rip-roaring success.
The US-only, free-to-play makeover for the MMO turns regular subscribers into VIP members and gives access to all game content as well as a monthly Turbine Point allowance. But, said Mersky, that's not been enough.
"They all got a ton of points for being loyal subscribers, for being in the beta. We weren't really expecting a ton of sales - they had no incentive to. They already had access to all of the content as VIP subscribers, and we just gave them a butt-load of Points," said Mersky, according to Kotaku.
Atari has issued a strongly-worded riposte to Turbine, calling the MMO studio's legal challenge over its licence to make Dungeons & Dragons Online "frivolous" and "a great disservice to D&D fans and the MMO community at large". Atari is to countersue to recover what it believes are monies owed.
Turbine, developer of Dungeons & Dragons Online, has filed a $30 million lawsuit against Atari over its licence to make the D&D MMO. Atari owns the rights to Dungeons & Dragons, and Turbine claims that it's trying to wriggle out of their agreement in order to launch its own, competing game.
The launch of DDO Unlimited, the new free-to-play version of Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons Online MMO, has been delayed by a month until 9th September.
The relaunch was originally planned for tomorrow, 4th August.
Although DDO Unlimited was not due for launch in Europe, the delay also applies to the Module 9 content update which will bring many of Unlimited's new features - including a raised level cap, new character class and new content - to European players.
Turbine has announced that the free-to-play version of Dungeons & Dragons Online, DDO Unlimited, will launch in the US on August 4th.
The game's European operator Codemasters has not updated its plans, so the situation remains as it was when DDO Unlimited was announced: Dungeons & Dragons Online remains a subscription-only MMO in Europe "for the time being".
However, European players will get all the new content associated with the game's move to free-to-play in a standard update, Module 9: The Plane of Battle, also on August 4th.
Turbine has announced that it is making its fantasy MMO Dungeons & Dragons Online available as a free-to-play game this summer, renaming it Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, or DDO Unlimited for short.
Turbine has unveiled the enormous list of changes arriving in the Module 9 update for Dungeons & Dragons Online.
We've now had the first two entries in a new feature series on Eurogamer MMO: the Ten Level Test.
Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine has made a number of staff redundant at both its Massachusetts and California studios.
Haven't checked in with this one in a while. Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach - Turbine's other MMO, alongside Lord of the Rings Online - is getting DirectX 10 support and some substantial new features in the update known as Module 8: Prisoners of Prophecy.
Speaking at the Tokyo Game Show this morning, Turbine chief Jim Crowley revealed that Lord of the Rings Online is to get a full-featured social networking site late this year.
Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine has revealed it is "actively developing a title for console".
Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine has obtained USD 40 million in a third round of venture capital funding, according to an online report by Private Equity Hub - and also according to GamesIndustry.biz.
There isn't much in the way of fresh MMO news this morning, because the world of massively multiplayer gaming spent most of yesterday trying to outdo itself - and every other section of the gaming industry - in an orgy of funny fakery. And we have to say it did rather well.
Codemasters Online Gaming has said it will be showing its existing and top secret wares at a public event in March.
Turbine has released the first of three planned additional modules for Dungeons & Dragons Online, providing five new dungeons for players to adventure in.
Turbine has announced the availability of a second free expansion pack for Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, offering gameplay enhancements and a horde of new enemies to slay.
The Twilight Forge expansion offers a whole new story module which culminates in an epic encounter against a new foe, the Warforged Titan, as well as introducing new enemies like the Ogre Magi and the rather charmingly named Mindflayer.
It's not about beasts and bounty though, because Turbine are also including several gameplay enhancements, including an improved user interface with tools to make grouping easier and a new in-game mail system that allows the delivery of items and messages between players, regardless of their online status.
Friendless? Fed up of Dungeons & Dragons Online? Tired of having to pal around just to make progress? Bored of lusting after loot, and only being able to get at it by stalking the entrance to a tasty dungeon in a sailor suit offering Stormreacharounds? Good news then, because Turbine's planning to release some solo-friendly content in a new update.
Turbine's inviting MMO fans to try out Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach for seven days free of charge.
Turbine has announced plans to release a 15-dungeon module for Dungeons & Dragons Online called Dragon's Vault - and it'll be available free this month.
What is it that makes perfectly normal human beings threaten life and limb (with thromboids) and sit watching a brightly-coloured figure automatically hit thousands of things? As a psychologist (amateur - I read my horoscopes once a week), itís my professional opinion that computer screens put out some form of pink radiation that hypnotises, sedates and stultifies the recipient. I canít find any other reason why people indulge in said overly repetitious avatar-based interaction, except perhaps the outlandish concept that they may derive pleasure from it. And Lineage 2, RF Online, Neocron 2, Shadowbane, The Sims Online and the execrably revamped Star Wars: Galaxies are all strong counter-examples to that.
If anything could break this chain, Dungeons & Dragons, with its Live Action Roleplay Heritage, is surely our solution. Recent games based on it, with the sole exception of Dragonshard (that shares the passable background world of Eberron with D&DO), have been excellent. Even if youíve never played D&D, youíll recognise the game system from this hall of fame: Baldurís Gate II, Planescape Torment, Neverwinter Nights. Well, D&DO feels, looks and plays just like them.
First off you get to do the most fun part of any MMO so far; create your character, in that timeless D&D manner thatís been ripped off by everyone since, choosing your race and class, from dwarves, elves, hobbits and humans. Thereís also an unexpected robot race, the Warforged, who are basically big terminators, tough as rock but bastard-hard to repair. Then you get to do the EA-patented facial moulding, haircuts and so on. (Itís not up with City of Heroes in the costume department, but then nothing could be.) At this point you have the welcome choice of going with the auto-generated character or tweaking and customising all your characterís stats, giving them new feats (like two-weapon fighting or diplomacy) and generally making them your own. Having chosen your profession, you venture out into the big bad world and fall flat on your face.
Those of you looking forward to hacking things up in Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach can get an early start this Friday, Atari's announced, by picking up the pre-order pack from retailers.
Turbine had a tough task ahead of them with Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. After all, D&D may be the daddy of all role-playing games, and an MMO may be the obvious next step for the franchise, but we've already got the likes of World of Warcraft to be getting on with - and judging by the size of its subscriber base, we're quite happy with that, thank you.
Atari's Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, has slipped from its planned November release date, to early 2006.