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Dungeon Runners

The Bling Gnome in action!

Fantasy, Video, Dungeon Runners, Game Mechanics, Launches, Free-to-Play, Casual, Humor

The Bling Gnome will save your ass. Not THAT kind of ass! The kind of ass you ride on -- it won't have to carry you back to town. So you'll be saving it from all that hard work of carting your loot back and forth. Because, really, in he greater scheme of things, who wants trash loot anyway? Players who buy the retail box version of soon-to-be launched satirical fantasy action-adventure MMO, Dungeon Runners, will wonder how they ever did without their very own Bling Gnome to eat up all the trash loot and excrete creamy, golden goodness. After viewing this bling-filled teaser for the Diminutive Master of Bling, you'll wonder how you ever lived life without it. Real life. Heck, there's no need to even go to the store for one, when we're giving them away for free! How's that again? Bling Gnomes for FREE? Watch the clip and sign the slip. Word.

Massively's Dungeon Runner/Bling Gnome giveaway

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Contests, Launches, Free-to-Play

We know you want bling! We've seen you skulking in the shadows, MMO players. Here at Massively.com, we're here to help you. So we have a dozen Bling Gnomes ready and raring to go - all set to pick up gold, scarf magic items and poop out powerful weapons at your command. They're contained within the twelve copies of the Dungeon Runners box (each worth about $20) we have on hand, and will now give away to you. Check out the game's page at Amazon for the full detail on what a box nets you.

Entering to win these things is darn easy. By now I bet you even know the drill. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us why *you* want a Bling Gnome before 7:00 AM EST Thursday, June 19th. You can only enter once per person, and when the contest closes we'll ship out these diminutive firecrackers to twelve randomly selected participants. To win you must be age 18 or up and a resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec). For full eligibility details, we suggest you read our official rules. Good luck!

Dungeon Runners announces an EU server

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

For over a year now we've enjoyed Dungeon Runners without a specific European server. This means that Europeans had to put up with Americans for all that time! We're not sure how they did it either, but NCsoft has announced that their newest server -- World 8 -- is optimized for European players. This doesn't mean anyone else from around the world can't play on it, but they might not enjoy the low ping rates as they've had on the American servers, if they are American.

This eighth world is a PvP world, making it the second such PvP server in addition to World 5. For PvE players, you have several server choices for free players, plus World 2, which is only open to those who pay the $5 monthly membership fee. One of the beautiful parts of the Dungeon Runners server system is the fact that your characters are available on any of the servers, so you can feel free to check out the new-server smell at the European server any time you'd like.

Dungeon Runners' newest build: It's easy as 123

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play

In true Dungeon Runners style, we get treated to the newest patch notes for Build 123, complete with the same snarky goodness we've grown to love. In this newest build, a few important changes were made, most notably to PvP:

  • They adjusted PvP matchmaking to help get matches more quickly. This has been done by accelerating the rating tolerance over time. They also simplified the matching rating to be the average of the group's rating and removed the power, level and group size contributions from the matching system.
  • They've modified the PvP matchmaking system to disallow matches where one side is severely disadvantaged. The following match sizes are no longer allowed: 1v3, 1v4, 1v5, 2v5.
  • They've removed the damage bonus given to disadvantaged players from PvP. Advantaged players still receive a sizable damage nerf.
  • They've also changed the fear and stun immunity time bonus in disadvantages PvP matches. When outnumbered, you now receive a 100% bonus to all stun and fear immunity durations. The advantaged team now receives a 25% nerf to their immunity durations.

There were also some important bug fixes in this patch, including one for our favorite new addition to the game: the Bling Gnome. Database maintenance will also continue to help enable character XML sheets and PvP leaderboards.

Dungeon Runners' retail box unveiled

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Launches

Will all the hubbub these days about digital delivery and early access programs, game-makers are really starting to deemphasize the importance of boxed products occupying shelves in a retailer environment. Still, you have to imagine that it's something of a thrill for a smaller developer to see their free product occupy the same shelf as the big boys, and look splendid doing it.

That's why we were happy to see the boys behind Dungeon Runners were finally releasing a retail version of their eminently amusing free MMO just a year after its release. The boxed version comes with 6 months of membership access for the discounted rate of $19.99, the exclusive and oft-talked about Bling Gnome, and an offer to try out Exteel, if you're so inclined. Not a bad deal, all told, and hopefully it'll expand their audience.

Dungeon Runners Chunk 3 goes live!

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

The folks at NCsoft have dropped another sloppy chunk of content onto the table, with the release of Chunk 3 for Dungeon Runners. We've pretty exhaustively talked about the features in this newest addition - the bling gnome, the quest xp buff, the pvp tweaks. NCsoft wants to make sure that you know about their new membership privileges, and has an entire piece rounding out the details of the plan.

Previously, your $4.99 netted you a nicer server, more potions, a bigger bank, and access to some of the best high end weapons. And, of course, no ads. Now pay customers will actually be leveling faster than their non-paying brethren. They'll get more gold too, and discounts on items to boot. Your dollar goes a lot further after Chunk 3, as DR continues to redefine what the free-to-play concept means.

Dungeon Runners new build and push for retail box sales

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Game Mechanics, Patches, Free-to-Play, Education

Well, it's certainly no surprise that NCsoft is pushing the membership program for Dungeon Runners, and this newest build shows this all too well. But to be honest, we think it's about time. Dungeon Runners has been in operation for almost a year now (which will be celebrated next week) and it has been available as a free download with no subscription fees for this entire time. Their optional upgraded membership program has many perks, but has never been necessary.

Well, now with the upcoming retail box release (and Bling Gnome!), NCsoft is providing even more incentive to switch to a membership account. Check out their official patch notes for Build 121 to see some of these membership perks, and the loads of other improvements they've made to the game, including our all-time favorite ode to Stand By Me: the Barf-O-Rama skill!

NCsoft Audio Director reveals his old-school secrets

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dungeon Runners, Interviews, MMO Industry, Tabula Rasa, Academic, Education

He uses an electric razor on a frying pan for a space ship sound. He uses marbles in his mouth to sound like an alien. No, this isn't a low-budget director in a 1950's monster movie, this is the brilliant work of NCsoft's Audio Director Tracy Bush who uses everyday household items to create the unique sound effects we've heard in some of NCsoft's top games of the last 4 years.

If you've ever played Dungeon Runners, you know that along with the wonderful sense of humor in the game, the sound effects are equally as entertaining. The same goes for Tabula Rasa. The Bane drop ships and the horrifying whispers of "Kill them all!" are all part of this wonderfully immersive experience that is just as important as graphics, gameplay or anything else in the game.

So the next time you're playing a North American NCsoft title, listen closely to the sound effects and see if you can guess which household item was used in its creation.

Dungeon Runners heaves its next patch into testing

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

Dungeon Runners "Big Boss Man" Stephen Nichols dropped into the official forums to lay out some detailed patch notes for Build 118, the next "heave" coming to the game. See, big updates are "chunks" and ... right. This title, which at first glance seems so off-the-rack, immediately stands out with witticisms and humor - right there in the patch notes.

Highlights include:
  • The Bling Gnome, which we've previously discussed here on the site. We already knew that the gold-loving companion will only be available to folks who buy the retail box. Nichols let it slip that the package will be hitting shelves in late June. Your gnomish ally will put his bowels to work for you, apparently, 'pooping out' a powerful item every once in a while.
  • Several new skills, including Barf-o-Rama (a poison ability) and I'm Rubber, You're Screwed (a knockdown power).
  • Bonus experience from completing quests. A modifier labeled "15% More Cowbell" will hit your character for 5 minutes after turning in a quest. This modifier increases the experience you gain from killing monsters by 15%, and can stack up to five times after multiple turn-ins.
  • A number of different changes to Dungeon Runners membership privileges, some of which are likely to be highly unpopular with free players. Members now gain experience faster than free players, but this is purely at a cost to free players. In other words, free players have been nerfed out of a percentage of their xp. Members also find gold faster, pay less when buying items, and have a much higher percentage rate of finding valuable loot when it drops.
  • Numerous other changes, including tweaks to PvP, new chat channel options, new quests, skill balancing, adjustments to the way ads are displayed, and more.
The new changes are already on the public test server, and Nichols indicates they plan to have this out on the live servers within a week.

One Shots: Sending Chill Bill to his death

Fantasy, Screenshots, Dungeon Runners, One Shots

Normally we wouldn't run a screenshot with UI in it, but this one was so much fun that we couldn't resist. The above screenshot comes to us from Clava, a Mage who loves to play NCsoft's Dungeon Runners:

[Here's a screen] I took in Dungeon Runners, of Chill Bill feeling the heat, as we enter Embercore 5. Note the incorrect popup in the bottom right stating Embercore 4; it's actually a mouseover popup from the door to 4 that was just behind me. Embercore Level 5 doesn't actually have that red tint, but when I spawned in level 5 my camera was actually slightly behind the red "door" that I walked through (actually a set of stairs with a red force field in front of it), causing the ominous red glow. I almost feel bad for sending Bill out to those fire-monsters that are just ahead.

Well, if you were looking for a way to kill Chill Bill, that would certainly do it, we'd think. It's great to see a screen of Dungeon Runners either way.

Do you have some interesting screenshots of your adventures? If not, go snag some (without UI if at all possible, please) and send those in to us at oneshots AT massively DOT com! We love lots of different worlds and would love to see them all.

Gallery: One Shots

Dungeon Runners needs your ideas

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Forums, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Casual, Education

If you've ever played Dungeon Runners, you may have had some ideas on how to improve it. Actually, this is probably the case with any and all MMOs you've played. We can all conjure suggestions in our minds, but to actually have an organized place to share these suggestions is something we've needed for a long time.

So Stephen Nichols, the producer of Dungeon Runners, has established a new experimental collaboration system for players called IdeaRunners.com. It currently has two major sections to it: Possibly Usable Ideas and Potentially Not Stupid Ideas. In each of these, Stephen has been known to respond to suggestions directly, making it not just an idea dumpsite, but also somewhat interactive.

Bling Gnome coming with Dungeon Runners retail box

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, Making money, Free-to-Play

In the latest update to their blog, the Dungeon Runners team has thrown up some new details that we can expect to see in the next Heave, the twisted DR version of a patch. One of the more interesting details (and honestly, when isn't there an interesting detail in a Dungeon Runners update?) to emerge was the announcement of a so-called "Bling Gnome." Having been rumored to be in the works since late last year, the Bling Gnome is a passive ability that grants you a little gnome buddy who runs around and picks up all your gold for you. Unfortunately, he is selective about his company, and will only hang out with people who pick up the retail box, which will be available some time early this summer.

Some of the other changes they're throwing in to get you to pick up the paid version of the game are a decrease in free player experience gains, an increase in the gold found by paid players, a decrease in the amount of gold necessary to buy new items for paid players, and a decrease in the chances that a free player will find rare drops. They seem to be striking the right balance between giving players incentives to pay, and not creating some sort of byzantine player hierarchy, a la Hellgate: London.

April Fools' in Dungeon Runners

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Free-to-Play, Humor, Rumors

The gang running Dungeon Runners may have been down in the dungeons a bit too long. Weeks go by without much news (except for account issues) and BAM... we get four new "announcements" all in one morning. Lets muddle through them, shall we?

First off is the "announcement" about the new DR expansion pack called Pony Adventure, which "picks up where the original Dungeon Runners left off." It will add an abundance of new quests, dungeons, items and characters. According to Mark Tucker Lead Nutjob, er... Designer for DR: "We've always had a very strong passion for Ponies." Ooooooooook. Dungeon Runners: Pony Adventure will be available for free at some point in the future. Until then check out the preview cover for this disturbing expansion.

In a somewhat related "news item"... players (both members and non-members alike) running around the dungeons can - at this very moment - grab themselves a new pet for their in-game characters. Paancho may be small, but he's a feisty little thing. Act quickly though! You must claim him before the US government does... on April 15 no less.

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NCsoft heaves out new Dungeon Runners content

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Expansions, Patches, Quests, News Items, Free-to-Play, Humor

Oh those wild and wacky guys at NCsoft. Over the last few weeks we've mentioned that new content was coming for the snarky Dungeon Runners MMO. Well... someone heaved up their breakfast and walla - bits of new content have magically appeared. With Chill Bill and his unsavory "friend" Shivery, a new dungeon called Balzack's Burrow is now available for player levels 55 and up.

Content updates for DR are normally referred to as "Chunks," but since this is not as big an update, the gang at NCsoft refers to this one as a "Heave." HA! Balzack's Burrow is rife with sweet loot, some ugly monsters (see above) and a final boss-battle that will require you to use some of that gelatinous stuff you have in your cranium normally called a "brain." This particular "Heave" also includes 51 new quests, two new fighter armor sets, new mythic items, a two-handed rifle (for rangers) and improvements to the user interface and the waypoints system. For all the details (that are fit to print that is), check out the DR patch notes. Enjoy!

Shivery the Incorrigible Snowman

Fantasy, Dungeon Runners, Expansions, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Humor

Over on the Dungeon Runners' official blog (called "The Blog"), there is a tongue-in-cheek Q&A with their newest star, Chet Tliyelidr. Or, as he's known in-game -- Shivery the Incorrigible Snowman. In case you're wondering, according to Chet his last name is Eskimo for "snow that has been marked by Dungeon Runners." As I said... tongue firmly in check.

Chet is incorrigible, sarcastic, and feisty. He incessantly (and hilariously) berates the interviewer with gems such as telling him that his brain is the size of a lump of coal, and rhetorically asks if he's fresh out of Blog Correspondence School. Chet also seems to melt a bit under the scarf when asked about one Chill Bill (soon to be every player's favorite pet snowman).Good stuff., and gives you just a small glimpse into the hilarity that permeates this wonderfully fun (and free) game.

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