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Move over BlizzCon, here comes AnkamaCon

Fantasy, Dofus, Events (Real-World), Free-to-Play, Casual, Wakfu

If you thought Blizzard had the only MMO convention in town, think again. Ankama Games, the creators of Dofus and Wakfu, have announced their 4th annual convention -- AnkamaCon!

This year AnkamaCon will be in Paris and the theme is Gobbowl, a crazy sport introduced in Wakfu the animated series. Convention goers can expect to enjoy rooms that will be screening the Wakfu series, playable demonstrations of Ankama's games, a first look at Dofus-pocket for mobile phones, a chance to play the Wakfu trading card game before it releases, and much much more.

AnkamaCon will be June 27th and 28th, with weekend passes going for 29 euros in advance or 35 euros at the door. Families also have the option of family passes, which are 37 euros in advance or 45 at the door.

Microsoft partners with Ankama Games to bring Wakfu to Xbox Live Arcade

Fantasy, Dofus, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Wakfu

If you have heard of Dofus or Wakfu, then you've heard of Ankama Games, the people Microsoft has just turned to for a new Xbox MMO-esque game. In their partnership announced today, Ankama will be bringing a new title, Islands of Wakfu, to Xbox Live Arcade late next year. Islands of Wakfu will keep the current cartoon style of Dofus and Wakfu, but utilize a more adventure/beat-'em-up style instead of the top down tactical style. Also, it's going to be more of a team play game, where two players work cooperatively together, rather than a full on MMO. The game promises to be set in the same universe as Ankama's other games and reveal new information about the world itself.

So it's not a full on MMO, but the offer certainly does open the doors of hope. Having a known MMO developer working on Xbox Live Arcade titles with their unique IP may herald other game developers to do the same. Who knows, we might end up with a Wakfu MMO on the arcade anyway!

[via TenTonHammer]

News from the Wider MMO World: September 30th, 2008

At a glance, Fantasy, Dofus, Knight Online, MMO Industry, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, News Items, Free-to-Play, Chronicles of Spellborn, Dream of Mirror Online

The MMO genre is more than World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online. Here's what's going on in the rest of the world.

Ankama Games launches new Dofus Heroic Server; includes permadeath
As of September 23rd, there's a new server dedicated to Ankama Games' Dofus. Called the Heroic Server, its most notable feature is permanent death for all characters. Once dead, the player's opponent is allowed to take the character's items, and the deceased becomes interred in the Cemetery of Heroes, a worldwide ranking that can be consulted via a dedicated website. To offset the permadeath penalty, all skill and professions leveling will be much easier, allowing players to rise in rank much more quickly. To the brave and the bold: the Heroic Server calls!

Atlantica Online begins open beta; offers prizes
For their open beta launch, Atlantica Online's NDOORS is offering players of its Free Leagues -- the PvP system -- a variety of prizes, including a Nintendo Wii, an iPod Nano, or $10,000 in cash. Interestingly, these prizes become available only once the player population hits certain landmarks: 5,000; 10,000; 20,000; and 30,000. "NDOORS created something unique in the MMO world when we designed the deep turn-based, strategic world of Atlantica Online. So we decided we needed something just as original for our open beta," said Peter Kang, CEO, NDOORS Interactive. "This is going to be unlike anything anyone has seen before."

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News from the Wider MMO World: August 19, 2008

At a glance, Fantasy, Historical, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Dofus, Jumpgate Evolution, Pirates of the Burning Sea, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, The Secret World, All Points Bulletin, Crime, Wakfu, WWIIOL: Battleground Europe, Runes of Magic

The MMO genre is more than World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online. Here's what's going on in the rest of the world.

Battleground Europe launches new website
Playnet Inc.'s Amy-Lynn Engelbrecht informs us that the destination site for Cornered Rat Software's World War 2 MMO, Battleground Europe, has gotten a significant makeover. With a focus on providing information that's more helpful to members of its strong and active community, the new updated site also features an RSS feed for news, or the option to receive regular updates by Feedburner email. Join up and fight with a 14-day free trial!

Ankama Games announces new Wakfu features
The spiritual and temporal successor to Ankama's previous title Dofus, Wakfu is an up-and-coming 2D MMO with a currently unreleased launch date. However, bits and pieces of news trickle out from time to time, such as the following: There will be an Enchantment profession, in which items are dismantled for their runes, then grafted onto new items for special powers. Taking a page from World of Warcraft?

Secondly, Wakfu will have no NPCs to offer quests. Instead, the game will have "Dynamic Challenges" -- quests that arise when environmental conditions are right, such as time, area, etc. The types of Challenges include Kill, Ecosystem, Social, and Discovery. Each will be available in both solo and team play.

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Better, faster, prettier: Dofus 2.0

Fantasy, Dofus, News Items

Have you played or do you currently play Dofus? If so, Ankama games has something they'd like you to see. They've been in the process of completely upgrading the entire game with the Dofus 2.0 update, as you know. However, now they can finally show you what they've been working on with a video and information page! The game code is being rewritten for improved performance all around and the visuals are -- as you can see -- getting a very nice overhaul as well. Our only complaint is that characters in-game are still incredibly small, which is something of a bother for players who love to customize and stare at their avatars for hours on end.

Ankama is promising more information soon, but they did make it clear that no characters will be reset and no servers will be shut down. This is only a visual and internal upgrade, it's like an MMO version of a face-lift only not as painful and probably more effective overall. If you're really jonesing for more information you can check out the Dofus 2.0 devblog.

First North American Dofus server opens Tuesday

Fantasy, Dofus, Events (In-Game), News Items

Ankama Games' Dofus is something of a cult hit. Since its release in 2005, it has spawned two spin-offs. It's done things a bit differently than other MMOs, with turn-based combat and even hardcore permadeath servers. But the French company behind it is about to journey into a new frontier.

No, we're not talking about Wakfu. It turns out that the first North American Dofus server will be opening Tuesday the 24th of June. It'll be called "SOLAR," and new players on the server will get all sorts of bonus perks for the first week, including daily events, double experience points, and a few in-game gifts. The top ranked players at the end of the week will get even more gifts.

The new server is open only to subscribers, so if you're only playing in a free-to-play capacity, you're out of luck. Oh well. There's so little free content in Dofus now, we've come to think of it as pay-to-play anyway.

Prepare for Dofus 2.0!

At a glance, Fantasy, Dofus, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser

Ankama Games has announced the development of Dofus 2.0, an upgrade to their popular 2D MMO. Far from letting their first game go to seed in favor of the upcoming Wakfu, Ankama has rewritten the Flash-based game in Action Script 3, promising faster, better responsiveness to player commands.

Additionally, over 2,000 animations and 10,000 maps are being entirely redrawn, leading to what will feel like a revitalization of the same-old, same-old haunts you've known for so long. We can't wait to see what it will all look like once the dust has settled, with a beta planned for September.

[Thanks, Sergio!]

DofusPOCKET to take over cellphones in June

Fantasy, Dofus, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items

DOFUS is set to jump into the MMO-wherever-you-go trend, with a recent press release from developer Ankama stating that a cellphone version of the game can be expected in June this year. Called DOFUSPocket, this edition of the game is being tested by a small group of players at the moment, but all DOFUS users should get a chance to try it out before the release.

The CEO of Ankama, Emmanuel Darras, has promised brand new content and features for DOFUSPocket, saying, "We do not wish to simply make a shorter version of DOFUS for mobiles." Some possibilities mentioned in the press release include "user to user" applications between cellphones, and text message alerts for in-game events.

[Via Ten Ton Hammer]

DOFUS Arena's Cedric Gerard takes his turn at an interview

Dofus, Interviews, News Items

DOFUS Arena poses a problem to us here at Massively because of it's name. On one hand we're completely into a massively game in the vein of turn-based strategy RPGs like Disgaea or Final Fantasy Tactics. While on the other hand, the name of this game makes us want to burn our eyeballs and then bury them. So when we saw this interview with Ankama Game's Cédric Gérard, it was a difficult call to make; burn and bury our eyes or write about the interview?

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The Daily Grind: What would you pay for?

Dofus, Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, Making money, Opinion, Second Life, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Virtual Worlds

At this year's Game Developer's Conference, a lot of hay was made over the concept of microtransactions and the free-to-play model. Attendees seemed split right down the middle, some for, some against. It wouldn't be a stretch to characterize the Massively readership as similarly split. But for those of you who love your free-to-play MMOs, is there anything that would get you to pay a monthly fee?

Many titles have the option to both play free and pay a monthly; Dofus, for example, and Second Life too, to polarize the offerings. Are there any such models that have shot themselves in the foot by making the paid content not appealing enough to energize users to pay? If not, what will it take?

Wakfu is NOT Dofus

At a glance, Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Dofus, Classes, Culture, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Crafting, Wallpapers, Free-to-Play, Races

As mentioned in a previous post, there is an animated series in production called Wakfu the TV Series, but while it features characters types from the MMO Dofus, Wakfu itself is an in-beta MMO that's based on the world and characters from Dofus.

So, what's the difference between the two? According to their website, Wakfu will be more of what you love about Dofus -- improved graphics, new class spells, more character customization -- but with an added dimension to interacting with the environment and the community, including electing players to governorship, and preservation of the forests. If the graphical simplicity of Dofus turns you off, perhaps Wakfu will be more to your liking. Check out the shiny goodness in their trailer.

[Thanks, Note!]

Dofus' Wakfu - the TV series

At a glance, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Dofus, Lore, News Items, Free-to-Play, Races

As stated, Dofus is an MMO with an outstanding and appealing aesthetic; one that I've often wished were available to just watch, like a cartoon. Well, apparently Ankama Games and I were on the same wavelength, because sure enough, there's an animated show being produced as we speak!

Wakfu - the TV series follows the adventures of Yugo, a young boy with a strong sense of justice, and his four adventurous friends, each one of them a different warrior type from the world of Dofus. Take a gander at the trailer -- it's a fantastic mix of European and Asian animation styles and perfectly captures the sometimes alien, sometimes whimsical World of Twelve. No release date has been offered, but I'm keeping all channels open for the announcement!

Dofus opens test servers in America and Canada

Fantasy, Dofus, Events (In-Game), Launches, Leveling, News Items, Free-to-Play

As of yesterday, and continuing for the next month, Ankama Games' Dofus MMO will offer 5x the earned experience for all players playing on the new American test server. You can download the client software at the community site right away.

Dofus is an MMO I signed up for a long time ago and immediately fell in love with its art style. It's completely 2D, but the adorable design and animations are well worth the download -- and it's free! You can check out previous Massively entries on Dofus to help you decide if you want in or not, but don't wait too long ... 5x experience won't be around forever!

DOFUS's Livitinems

At a glance, Fantasy, Dofus, Game Mechanics, Tips and tricks, News Items

If you're having trouble reading that word, I'll admit that I do too. It's pronounced 'LIH-vih-TIH-nem'. But when my eyes glide over it, I just keep wanting to say 'living items', which must be the point, 'cause that's what they are!

Livitinems are benign critters in the world of DOFUS that live in your clothing items, whose only purpose in life is to change the appearance of your wardrobe. They don't confer bonuses or extra protection, they just sit there on top of you and occasionally comment on your adventures. An interesting thing about Livitinems is that they eat items; capes eat capes, amulets eat amulets, etc. When they've been fed enough, they evolve into a new appearance; Ankama says they can evolve up to 20 unique appearances.

How do you get a Livitinem? Either by subscribing to DOFUS, buying them, or exchanging them with other owners. There are those who may think the idea of a living hat that eats other hats is a little creepy, but just think of it like it's the Minish Cap -- cute! Wait ... they might be trying to say 'live it in 'em' instead. I'll find out and let you know!

MMO subscriptions report -- who is beating whom?

World of Warcraft, Dofus, EVE Online, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Knight Online, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO Industry, Second Life, Vanguard

MMOCrunch has started a monthly feature based on data from new site VOIG that shows subscription details for various different MMOs. What that boils down to is that they'll be reporting each month on the most subscribed-to games, position changes in the rankings, and basically which company gets bragging rights for that month.

The first report examines the data for October this year. The top 5 MMOs by subscription in October were World of Warcraft with 26.03% (surprise!), Second Life with 18.86%, Guild Wars at 12.6%, Knight Online with 11.9%, and Dofus on 9.73%. WoW, SL and Guild Wars I could probably have given you, but I had not realized that Knight Online and Dofus were so popular.

Other interesting tidbits: Lord of the Rings Online hit 300,000 subscriptions, EVE Online overtook EverQuest II and Vanguard grew a little, but still isn't doing too well. Assuming that the VOIG data is reasonably accurate (something that MMOCrunch themselves say they wanted to be sure of, and watched the site for a few months first before running the article) this should be an interesting feature to watch in coming months.

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