Daybreak Players Step Up to Organize Fan Faire

Shortly before the sale of Sony Online Entertainment - now Daybreak Games - was announced, the word went out: SOE Live wasn't happening this year. Formerly known as Fan Faire, the annual gathering of players and SOE developers to celebrate their favorite games had become a vacation mainstay for many people.

After the announcement a dedicated group of players decided to pick up the project themselves. Project Fan Faire is in motion, but because there no big backers, they are running a Kickstarter in an attempt to fund the event. Tickets include admission to the event, three catered meals, and access to all player panels.

For more information, like Project Fan Faire on Facebook, or check out their website or Kickstarter!

Fan Faire: EQII Lore Review

At the Fan Faire Lore panel, Nathan "Kaitheel" McCall gave a lovely presentation of all the lore that came into the game into the last year.  It was fascinating to see how carefully everything dovetails together, from the live events foreshadowing The Shadow Odsysey to tantelizing hints of how this lore might move forward with Sentinal's Fate.

Kaitheel was kind enough to give us a copy of his presentation for your reading pleasure.  Enjoy!

The Adventures of a ZAM Contest Winner

Dylen Turnbull was the winner of the EQ2 ZAM Sweepstakes and got a trip to Fan Faire with three friends. The following is his Fan Faire Adventure.

ZAM WinnersI have to tell you that all the folks at ZAM made this an unforgettable time. Right from the initial meeting with Draknorr and Allison, who went out of their way to get my crew and me set up and ready to roll, to a great time hanging out with Allakhazam, Illia and Calthine at the banquet. The folks at SOE made sure we got all the good seats. This was purely a fantastic time. I figured I would slap together a recount of my time for anyone who ever thought that really real folks don’t win this stuff, I have to say Bamf! Wrong, I am living proof.

Day 1:  Hello ZAM and Hello Vegas

My flight was uneventful; I arrived in Vegas in style. I was greeted by Aaron, an SOE community representative. He was a great guy, very upbeat. He even had the sign and everything. It was pretty exciting. Our driver was a bit grumpy but he was ok too, someone in the airport pointed out that he was an 80’s sitcom star but I cannot remember for the life of me which one, still sleuthing on this question.

Fan Faire: The Agency

One of the bigger surprises that we had at E3 was the playable demo that Sony Online Entertainment had for The Agency. While the demonstration restored our faith in the project, we still had a few questions that we had answered at the 2009 Fan Faire. We spoke with Senior World Designer Kevin O'Hara to gain a deeper understanding of what this game is all about.

ZAM: Can you just give us a little bit of information about the three different classes, or archetypes, that exist in the game?

Kevin O'Hara:
Sure; we've got three major roles and they are combat, stealth and support. They are about the different things you want to do as a super-spy in the game. Combat is all about taking more damage and being able to deal out a good amount of damage - really getting the enemies looking at him. Next is stealth. Stealth is, of course, about sneaking around, taking on guys from a long range and getting the lay of the land for the rest of the team. And then support, of course, is about helping out as much as he can. In this case, we've got a shotgun for him so that he doesn't have to be the most accurate guy in the world, but if anyone comes up close to him, he can definitely take them down. He can help revive other characters if they go down in combat, and he's got a number of things, tactically, that he can do to keep these guys alive and keep them informed of the situation. In this case we gave him a special item called a 'Martini Bomb" that he would have gotten out in the field somewhere, or he had an operative build for him. The "Martini Bomb" is a device that, when he shakes it up (shaken, not stirred!), he can throw it and it emits this icy concoction that covers the enemy and freezes them in place. In this way, he's supporting the team by holding the enemies in place. If you've got a lot of enemies, he might be the one saying "focus on these guys first, I'll keep these guys busy."

Fan Faire: DC Universe Online

It's always a personal pleasure to drill the DC Universe Online team with questions about the game and where it's at. Unfortunately the team wasn't showing anything new at Fan Faire, so we caught up with the Senior Producer, Wes Yanagi to ask all the questions that we haven't received clear answers on yet. Check out our findings...

ZAM: You've gone into some detail about PvP. Can you give us some more information about how PvP will work in DC Universe Online?

Wes Yanagi: First of all, PvP is always going to be consensual. The main thing with Heroes and Villains is that it lends itself naturally to PvP encounters, so a choice you can make for PvP is say, picking a PvP server, where all bets are off. If you're on a PvE server, we'll have 'flagging' for folks to toggle onto PvP mode. The different choices that you make there are like going into a PvP zone. You'll know that it's a zone and it's contested or something like that and that will be a choice you can make. Nothing will be required for people who don't like PvP to go into this. The other thing would be something like battlegrounds where players go into contested missions and instances - so that's PvP right there. The most interesting one is going to be contested encounters. In that case you'll have, say, an armoured car that's going down the street and you'll look at that encounter and go "OK that's fully marked as a contested encounter," so as a villain you might go knock it off and take the object inside of it. Now you have to transport that to a safe house or extraction point. If someone was on the hero side, he might be flying by and see the encounter and see you flagged for PvP. That hero can say "yeah I want to engage in that," so then he has to go in and get that same objective and transport it to the vault to secure it.

Free Realms Breaking the Mold Panel

In the Breaking the Mold: Unique Design Challenges on Free Realms panel, we learned the various mindsets and techniques that the development team went through to provide such a quality game that appeals not only to their target audience of tweens, but also one that reaches out to an older crowd of casual gamers.

The aim, to create content enjoyable for both males and females, as well as retaining a method of communicating with the younger audience, opened up the idea of bringing in a wide variety of both gamers and non-gamers, to test their product. These tests opened the eyes of the team to the challenges that lay before them and lead them down the path to the world we now know as Free Realms.

SOE Podcast #66 is Live

Official SOE Podcast #66 is live! Listen to Brenlo and Ashlanne gab LIVE from Fan Faire 2009! They chat with two Fan Faire attendees, the Grumpy Ol' Gamer, and talk about the (upcoming when recorded) eventa at Fan Faire.

So tune in!  You can get your Podcast goodness two different ways head over to the Podcast’s official site, and click on your preferred bandwidth or if you have iTunes installed select iTunes store, type SOE into the search box and click Subscribe!  Your feedback is always welcome either on the Station forums or via email.

Free Realms TCG Panel

Avid cardies and newcomers alike were at home in the Free Realms Trading Card Game panel on Saturday at the Fan Faire. The panelists covered a plethora of topics, including the bare basics of what the TCG was, how game play works, tips on deck building, the Card Duelist job and upcoming features of the game.

Digital and Physical Cards
We first learned the difference between digital and physical TCG cards. The digital card packs can be purchased with Station Cash™ from within the Trading Card Game interface. Once a digital pack is opened, the player is delivered 10 virtual game cards and 1 in-game loot card. The physical card packs can be purchased at brick and mortar stores such as Target or Gamestop. These packs have 10 physical game cards that allow you to play with your friends outside of Free Realms, and will have a code to redeem 50 Station Cash™ inside the game, as well as a chance to receive a rare foil or exclusive redeemable card!

Fan Faire: New UI Planned for Station Launcher

At Fan Faire we got a chance to chat with Dan Kinney about the Station Launcher.  Dan's team has made a lot of advancements on the beta Launcher, and they've been very responsive to player feedback.

Dan told us that the next major version will have an improved UI, with much nicer menus.  The menus shown below are from left to right: Station Menu, Games Menu, Friends Menu,  and Help Menu.  Also coming soon is a web update for all SOE games, in the manner of Free Realms.

Free Realms Fan Faire Overview

Fans of Free Realms were treated to various tidbits of information throughout the Fan Faire, starting at Friday night’s Community Address and continuing right on through Saturday’s two panels. Today we look at a brief summary of some of the highlights from the two day event.

Kart Driver and Demo Derby Driver
During the Community Address Laralyn McWilliams announced that two of Free Realms’ jobs, Kart Driver and Demo Derby Driver, would be getting their share of enhancements.

  • Karts will be customizable in garages
  • Many new clothing options will be released for both jobs
  • The driver jobs will be treated to a full mission progression, allowing them to climb through all the levels for the first time