Hands-on with The Elder Scrolls Online beta

If there's anything more fun than fighting monsters and casting spells in a sword-and-sorcery setting, it's doing it with thousands of other players in the same game world. That's the appeal of massively multiplayer online (or MMO) games, from EverQuest to World of Warcraft. The appeal for game makers is even more obvious -- the ability to create a recurring revenue stream from monthly subscription fees, on top of an initial game purchase.

But aside from the ever-popular WoW, few massively multiplayer online games have broken through to the gaming mainstream. Even games with built-in audiences, such … Read more

Jane Austen game is a proper MMORPG

World of Warcraft may be the gold standard of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, but it's mostly about monsters, warriors, and physical battles. Sometimes you just want to cut your enemies down with a well-timed bit of gossip. If that sounds more your speed, then you should check out Ever, Jane, an MMO raising funds on Kickstarter.

You choose a proper English gentleman or lady as your avatar and move about through a world of high-stakes ball invitations, gossip, and curtsies. It's all about building up your reputation and status while subtly tearing down others without getting caught.… Read more

Review: Fly a spaceship, create alliances, & battle enemies in Vendetta Online

Vendetta Online for Mac offers a uniquely designed and well implemented MMORPG, and seems like a can't-miss proposition for the avid gamer. If you're new to this type of game, the basics are surprisingly easy to learn, thanks to its introductory "training mission." The download and setup may take a bit longer but are well worth the wait.

The game's download is 250MB large, so expect to wait a while to play if your connection is slow. Once the download completes and the game is launched, another 31MB of updates need to be downloaded, and … Read more

Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion to launch April 14

It's finally here. More than a year after it debuted and months after it went free to play, Star Wars: The Old Republic is getting its first downloadable expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, due to arrive on April 14 (or April 9 for early preorders). The obvious question is, what has it got that could tempt former players to come back?

First of all, a new planet and more story. Much of the appeal of BioWare and LucasArts' MMO is the way every quest takes place against the backdrop of the galaxy-wide struggle between the Empire and the Republic, and every player class ends up playing a different but pivotal role.

Rise of the Hutt Cartel picks up at the end of the original story: The Republic's beating back the Empire, and the war machine on both sides needs fuel (hey, it's more dramatic than trade sanctions). The resource-stripping Hutts decide it's a good moment to take over the galaxy and be generally slimy, as they are wont to do, but now you can shoot them. Yay! Actually you're fighting their mercs. What starts as a quick smackdown of the Hutts turns into something more urgent and planetwide, and as usual, it's all up to you.… Read more

Logitech follows Razer's lead with MMO gaming mouse

You might be familiar with the Razer Naga gaming mouse. Revised a few times since its 2010 debut, the Naga's core aim has always been helping gamers master the complex control schemes of online role-playing games like the World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Apparently feeling the absence of such a device in its own lineup, Logitech today announces the G600 MMO Gaming Mouse.

Like the Naga, the G600 has 12 programmable buttons along its left side. Logitech's take on the design adds a dedicated "G shift" button on the top of the mouse, which lets you swap button mappings on the fly. This effectively gives at-hand access to 24 separate in-game commands.… Read more

BioWare cuts 'Star Wars' staff

Several weeks after the surprising announcement of losing 400,000 players in mere months, BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka and co-founder Greg Zeschuk noted in a forum post that the company is bidding "farewell to some talented, passionate, and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make Star Wars: The Old Republic a reality."

The layoffs affect the Austin, Texas, division of BioWare an Electronic Arts-owned studio largely responsible for the creation of the game. The announcement lacked any specific information regarding the number of employees let go in the restructuring, and EA did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment. … Read more

The Elder Scrolls Online barges in next year

In an exciting development and confirmation to long-standing rumors, developer Zenimax Online Studios today announced The Elder Scrolls Online, a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set for release in 2013.

Initially revealed by Game Informer, the long-anticipated game offers a massive world "set a millennium before the events of Skyrim as the daedric prince Molag Bal tries to pull all of Tamriel into his demonic realm," according to the magazine. … Read more

Razer to hand over new gaming mouse for lefties

Computer peripheral maker Razer posted a question on its official Facebook page late last month asking if fans wanted another mouse built for left-handed gamers. The company requested at least 10,000 "Likes" on the post within a month to give the idea serious consideration. It only took a week to reach that number.

Several years ago, Razer launched a basic five-button gaming mouse for left-handed folk, the DeathAdder, giving everyone an equal opportunity at the perfect headshot.

Now, after the recent affirmative votes from Facebook-ers, Razer plans to release a left-handed mouse based on the Naga, which is designed specifically for massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).… Read more

Star Wars: The Old Republic gets massive in April

Everything will change immensely for players of Star Wars: The Old Republic in early April.

Last week, a video emerged from BioWare describing a massive 1.2 update for the popular multiplayer online role-playing game. The content patch--named Legacy--offers several major benefits and a plethora of little changes that could make things much more enjoyable for those invested in the game.

The big-ticket items include a new warzone (Novare Coast) and operation (Explosive Conflict) located on the planet Denova. We also spotted a new flash point named The Lost Island, which you can further see in the trailer below. … Read more

Meet a retired World of Warcraft server

A game like World of Warcraft requires several thousand servers to operate the hundreds of online realms within its ecosystem. Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment auctioned off several of those server blades "used during World of Warcraft's early days."

A Reddit post brought up the subject again recently, and contains a few pictures of a server blade used for the European server Sunstrider from February 27, 2005 to August 24, 2010. There's little doubt that countless gamers spent thousands, if not millions, of hours playing during that time frame. A special clear enclosure reveals the innards of the server, which contains 6 gigabytes of RAM (DDR-400MHz). It did not come with the original hard drives. … Read more