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Dungeon Runners

One Shots: Goodnight, sweet prince

Fantasy, Screenshots, Dungeon Runners, Free-to-Play, One Shots

With the change in the new year, we bid a fond farewell to Dungeon Runners, which shuffled off the Internets last night. It's always sad to see an MMO go, especially a wacky, fun, free-to-play title. Thankfully, Massively reader Ripper McGee was on-hand last night to capture this screenshot from the final moments. We'll turn it over to Ripper to explain:

Dungeon Runners was shut down for good at midnight last night/this morning. Here [is a shot] from yesterday. [This] is me on my main character next to the bomb Steve Nichols planted in the middle of Townston. All of the players assumed the bomb would go off at midnight, but it was actually just decoration. At midnight, we were all simply disconnected from the server.... Prior to that, though, the server population was completely full (first time in a long time)!

If you have any screenshots from the end of Dungeon Runners -- or indeed any sunsetted MMO -- we'd be glad to feature them here. All you have to do is to email them to us here at oneshots AT massively DOT com along with your name, the name of the game, and a quick description. We'll post it out here and give you the credit!

Gallery: One Shots

Dungeon Runners shutting down in January

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

In the No-Surpise-to-Anyone category, we have news that NCsoft's Dungeon Runners will be closing its doors on January 1, 2010. We only say no surprise because of the fact that the game has been running on a handful of devs for quite a long time now, which is a shame, because Dungeon Runners is actually a fun little game.

Staying true to their wonderful sense of humor, Stephen Nichols, DR's Producer and Lead Programmer, released a statement yesterday detailing the closure. He certainly doesn't butter it up at all as he explains that the game just isn't turning a profit, regardless of their efforts over the last year. They're now down to a 3-man team, which is near impossible for any studio to use in maintaining a game.

Luckily, for those currently subscribed to the game, some treats are coming your way, including free City of Heroes Architect Edition and Guild Wars Chapter 1: Prophecies. So if you've never played Dungeon Runners before, you have a little over three months to jump in for free and check it out before the game shuts down for good.

Dungeon Runners updates to Build 162, plans ahead for TURDs

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Patches, Free-to-Play

It's certainly been quite a while since we last checked in on Dungeon Runners, but it has grabbed our attention once again after updating to Build 162 earlier this week. The humorous free-to-play dungeon-crawler went many months without updates to the live servers, so fans should be happy with this latest addition. Here are some of the patch headlines:

  • No more ads
  • Lots of graphical updates and optimizations
  • Shadows were added
  • A bunch of new items went in
  • PvP is now allowed on all worlds
  • Placeholder artwork was added for the TURD vendors that will go live in (or after) October. Yep, TURD vendors... we could leave it there without any further explanation, but the truth is just as funny. TURD stands for Townston Universally Recognized Dollars and they will be used as Dungeon Runners' version of NCcoins for an item mall.
Hit up the full patch notes to see what else has changed in DR.

[Thanks, Ripper!]

Dungeon Runners releases Build 153

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Free-to-Play

Wow, it turns out Dungeon Runners is still alive and kicking. We haven't heard anything from them since the news that the game's staff was cut dramatically, yet it's good to hear something new out of the team over there. Apparently the game is still going strong, as the patch notes for Build 153 have just been released.

With Build 153, players get quite a few new changes. Aside from bug fixes and graphical improvements, PvP rated match have been changed and six new skills have been added to the game: Shadow Words, Fire Shot, Dungeon Inferno, Gosh's Glorious Shower of Gold, Cold Snap and Oh Snap! Check out the complete patch notes for more information.

David Reid sets the record straight on NC West: Part 3

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Interviews, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Consoles

Dungeon Runners

Now when you're talking about stepping more in the direction of the triple-A titles, that sort of implies that you're getting away from some of the smaller games that you guys have been working on in the past. We know that the Dungeon Runners team is experiencing some changes – can you talk specifically about that game, and what's going to be happening with those folks?

David Reid:
Even before the NC West announcement, the Dungeon Runners team went through some changes. You're probably referring to the announcement of the reduction we had of about 21 people, several weeks before the announcement of NC West, and Dungeon Runners was part of that. And that was about the fact that – yes, we like Dungeon Runners as a service, but there was a decision not to port that product on to other platforms but to keep the game intact as it is right now on the PC platform.

There were a number of other projects that had not been announced that were part of that, and they too were what we'll call lighter and smaller MMO fare, rather than triple-A types of products. Beyond that, Dungeon Runners is as healthy as it's ever been, and is still a vibrant part of the NCsoft portfolio. It's just that it's a different sort of business, and one that is a very successful kind of business overall, it's just not where NCsoft is going to continue investing its product development publishing resources, going forward.

Massively: So it would be fair to say that people who enjoy Dungeon Runners shouldn't expect it to go anywhere, but as far as a ton of new content in the future... that would probably not be the direction that the company would be going in for that product?

David Reid:
I'd clarify that answer just a bit. We were thinking seriously about 'should we bring Dungeon Runners to other, alternative platforms?' And that's what a large amount of that team was working on, and other parts of NCsoft. That decision has been: no, we're not going to. I wouldn't read into that anything about the amount of content that the Dungeon Runners team is going to be making on a regular basis. That will continue to go forward.

Console Ports

You mentioned porting to other platforms a couple of times now. We think it's a little more than a year ago at this point that you announced you had that agreement with Sony to think about doing some stuff for the PS3. We haven't really seen that so far. Is that part of this announcement, sort of refocusing NC West on getting some of Ncsoft's more stable games over to the Playstation 3?

David Reid:
Yeah... I can tell you that we do think console development is an incredibly important part of our future. We do think that, you know, you look at companies like... NCsoft today is a PC only company, and we've seen what's happened with some of these formerly PC only (or predominantly PC) companies who have successfully brought their properties to the console.

As a gamer myself, I take a lot of inspiration from what the Tom Clancy series did for UbiSoft, or what Morrowind as a shifted Xbox and PC title did for Bethesda. And we believe that there is a transition like that that NCsoft can have, by taking some of its triple-A properties, and making a great triple-A MMO that works on the console.

"As a gamer myself, I take a lot of inspiration from what the Tom Clancy series did for UbiSoft, or what Morrowind as a shifted Xbox and PC title did for Bethesda."

So yeah, it is true. You can't do everything all the time, and at some level we recognise that the best prize for NCsoft to be focused on is the triple-A space, and that's on the PC platform and on the console platform. But beyond that, I don't have an announcement that I can make for you at this time!

Not a problem. We just wanted to clarify, because it seems like a natural progression from where you guys are talking about with triple-A titles being your focus.

David Reid: We passionately agree. Absolutely.

We really appreciate you guys' time. We know that the readers have been... we guess the best word is confused, because as we said, it sort of came out of nowhere. And we're glad we had the chance to talk!

David Reid:
You bet! Well, at the end of the day, I hope that for folks who are fans of these giant triple-A games, these big investments in the MMO space with high production quality, there should be no confusion: this is good news for that game. We are going to get back to doing this all day, every day, in a world class way. The lighter side of the business, the free-to-plays and things like that, those are great businesses, but there will be other companies who will be delivering that form. It won't be NCsoft so much, going forward.

Read what David Reid had to say on Tabula Rasa and Guild Wars.

Dungeon Runners announces guilds and player blogs

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Game Mechanics, Patches

Dungeon Runners has just released its newest patch which introduces players to some exciting new features to this free-to-play NCsoft title. Build 147 (Chunk 4) has added posses to the game, which act much like a guild in other games. It's basically described as a persistent group of friends in-game who have their own entry on the social window and their own chat channels. Although this build will officially add this feature to the game, it won't be active for another week or so.

This build also adds a brand new player blog system that tracks events via RSS. These events include login, logout, level up, quest completion, deaths, pvp match results and more. This certainly isn't the end of the new additions though as we get treated to a new dungeon, a wishing well feature, bug fixes, upgrades and even a free trial period for the Bling Gnome. Check out the complete patch notes for more details on this mega-patch.

Dungeon Runners is safe, says NCsoft

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Business Models, MMO Industry, Rumors

Despite earlier reports that NCsoft's Dungeon Runners was on its way out, in line with the company's recent plans to concentrate on larger triple-A MMO titles, we now hear that the free-to-play cult favorite is not going anywhere just yet. David Reid, NCsoft's VP of Marketing explained that the company will continue to focus on the larger titles, but Dungeon Runners is indeed safe. He does point out though that it's unlikely that the smaller titles will receive the same support and attention they've always had.

Plus, as is the case with so many other MMO publishers and developers these days, NCsoft is expected to pursue its relationship with Sony to bring MMOs to the PS3. "We have a good relationship with Sony and we're excited about it, but there are a lot of good platforms out there," Reid explained.

Official word from NCsoft on the Austin studio layoffs

Dungeon Runners, MMO Industry, Tabula Rasa

We had already sourced information that confirmed layoffs from NCsoft Austin, but formal notification has now gone out of the loss of 21 jobs. David Swofford, Director of Public Relations for NCsoft North America, has provided the following information:

We are announcing that 21 positions are being eliminated in the Austin office of NCsoft in the area of product development. Primarily this is related to products which we have not previously announced and were in prototype phases. We are also cutting some positions on the Dungeon Runners team after deciding not to port the client to other platforms at this time.

Although exact details were not given, we can confirm that 13 out of the 18 Dungeon Runners staff have lost their jobs, following a post by Producer / Lead Programmer Stephen Nichols at the Dungeon Runners forums. Stephen has said that the Dungeon Runners team are 'in shock' at the news.

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NCsoft Austin sheds staff

City of Heroes, City of Villains, Dungeon Runners, MMO Industry, News Items, Tabula Rasa

Rumors abound across the manifold tubes of the Internet over just what is (or is not) presently going on at NCsoft Austin. NCsoft's Austin office is presently home to Tabula Rasa, Dungeon Runners, at least one unannounced fantasy MMO, and noticeably fewer developers than last week.

We have some confirmed departures, including staff from Dungeon Runners such as April 'CuppaJo' Burba, and Crickette -- The much-loved April Burba, you may recall was the newly minted Associate Producer for Dungeon Runners, having recently transferred from the Tabula Rasa team. That comes courtesy of Jester of w00tstudios.net, a well known DJ and broadcaster on the MMO scene, via the CoX forums.

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Rumor: NCsoft Austin, Dungeon Runners to be shut down

Dungeon Runners, MMO Industry, Tabula Rasa, Rumors

Massively and Joystiq have learned that serious shakeups may be in the future for the Austin game development scene. The closure of Midway's Austin studio came as something of a surprise earlier this week, but we've now learned that the MMO industry may be set to experience turmoil as well. NCsoft Austin, home to the Richard Garriott-lead title Tabula Rasa and the free-to-play romp Dungeon Runners, may be in a precarious position today. In fact, industry insiders have indicated that the NCsoft home offices may be considering closing the Austin studio. Massively has followed the numerous troubles faced by Tabula Rasa, in the face of disappointing sales and subscriber figures and apparent frustration from the company's Korean HQ.

A well-placed source with the company reported the studio's position to Joystiq, confirming similar information provided to Massively by a trustworthy third party. According to our sources, any or all of the following may be in the works:
  • NCsoft Austin will be closed, with work on Tabula Rasa to be moved to the West coast. Dungeon Runners is apparently to be closed. Los Angeles is home to the development-in-the-dark Carbine Studios effort, while the San Francisco area is home to the City of Heroes development team. Seattle, of course, plays host to Arena.net and Joystiq reports that's where TR will be headed.
  • This shakeup is only affecting Austin; the City of Heroes and Guild Wars teams are unaffected, as are the teams based out of the Korean offices.
  • Future collaborations between NCsoft and the Garriott brothers will be very limited in scope, a sign of the frustrations between the Korean executives and the sibling-lead NCsoft North American office.
  • Tabula Rasa may see closure by this time next year, if the team fails to turn the tide of subscribers and expectations.
We freely admit that this is not confirmed information; we attempted to get a response from NCsoft representatives early today, but so far have not received word back. Massively and Joystiq will keep you posted as this story develops, and in the meantime our well wishes go out to the artists, developers, and designers affected by this news.

Dungeon Runners now accepts Paypal

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Business Models, Free-to-Play

Just when you thought NCsoft's Dungeon Runners just couldn't get any better, they break out with a new way to pay. Now, Paypal is an option when paying for your premium membership. Of course the free-to-play option is still available, but they just make it so enticing to get that premium membership with extra storage space, better items and freedom from ads.

This Paypal usage does have some restrictions, of course. It only applies to those products purchased from the PlayNC Store and NCcoin purchases. It's also important to note that Paypal is not a payment option for any recurring subscription fee payment plans, only for the premium membership itself.

Dungeon Runners gets some G4TV love

Fantasy, Video, Dungeon Runners, Reviews, Free-to-Play

You remember Adam Sessler right? You know that guy who stands next to Morgan Webb during X-Play? Yeah, there is someone else there, we promise. Anyway, in a recent episode of G4TV's The Download, Sessler reviews NCsoft's Dungeon Runners for the masses.

His review doesn't reveal anything new about the game, but it's always nice to see when the larger gaming media covers the games we love so dearly. Plus, in this video, we get to see more of the little Bling Gnome doing his duty, so to speak. What we really find interesting though is the fact that many of the comments seem to revolve around the fact that people haven't heard of this game before. A little publicity never hurt, right?

NCsoft's upcoming summer tour around the Globe

Fantasy, Real-Life, Aion, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Dungeon Runners, Contests, Events (Real-World), Tabula Rasa, Exteel, Free-to-Play

NCsoft is taking a whirlwind summer tour across the Globe. First stop is in San Diego, California at Comic-Con where games, geeks, and comics will collide on July 23-27. The NCsoft booth (#5920) will feature game stations set up for attendees to play CoX, Exteel, Tabula Rasa and other NCsoft games. Also City of Heroes fanzine artist, Dave Hamann will be present to draw character sketches.

In Europe, during July 29-31 Aion: Tower of Eternity will be playable to western journalists. This will be the first time in a year since the last firsthand look took place. NCsoft Europe is hosting the event at their Brighton England, locale and this is a select press event. However, one of the biggest gaming events is taking place August 20-24 in Leipzig, Germany. NCsoft is headed there and will be present at the Leipzig Games Convention in a big way. Attendants there will find a special surprise in Hall 3 Booth B20, Aion will be setup on several demo kiosks for the public to play, the first time outside South Korea.

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ArenaNet to host 2nd annual PAX afterparty

Fantasy, Real-Life, Aion, City of Heroes, Dungeon Runners, Guild Wars, Contests, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Tabula Rasa, Exteel

Once again, NCsoft and ArenaNet will be making an appearance at Seattle's Penny Arcade Expo this year. The NCsoft booth (#642) will be packed full goodies during the weekend of August 29th through the 31st, and they will be showing off some of their new and old favorites, including Exteel, Dungeon Runners, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Tabula Rasa and the brand new Aion.

As they did last year, ArenaNet will be holding contests where participants can win valuable prizes. Developers will also be on hand to meet and greet with the players. Possibly the most exciting news is the fact that ArenaNet will hold another after-party at the Game Works across the street from the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, as they did last year. This is your chance to meet the folks at ArenaNet in a more casual setting and even challenge a few to an arcade game or two!

Dungeon Runners retail box now available through Amazon

Dungeon Runners, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Casual, Humor

The Bling Gnome is ready to scarf down items, poop-out gold and help you fight crime in the hood. Say what? There's no other reason to purchase the retail edition of Dungeon Runner's, a cardboard box stuffed with the digital delights. Well okay, we forgot the main reason. Dungeon Runners is the most raucous MMOG ever that is filled with hilarious jokes, witty banter, and pop culture references that will bust any gut with a hearty guffaw.

The retail version also comes packed with a barf o'rama bounty inside by including a six month membership to the game that gives players loads of chunky perks over the free-to-play counterparts. The difference is worth every penny. More, more, more! Members earn more experience; plunder more gold; horde more items; are luckier at finding rare items; and the annoying adverts will disappear and put more foam peanuts on the developer's dinner tables.

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