Were you looking for something to do this holiday?

Because the new version of Fall from Heaven for Civ4 just came out.

Among the new features: global spells. Not just your pansy little “Fireball 2″ these:

Mercurians- Divine Retribution: Does damage to all Undead and Demonic units in the world
Sheaim- Worldbreak: Does damage to all units in cities, forest fires start around the world
Ljosalfar- March of the Trees: All forests in the players empire turn into Treants for 3 turns, when the Treants die they return to forests in the plot (if it can support a forest)

That’s right – your elves can now go all Treebeard on people. It’s almost enough to forgive them for being, well, elves.

Uh… Whaaaa?

My brain just exploded. I blame Schild.

I’d comment… but seriously. What would I say? Other than my head lolling and going “duurrrrrr”.

Edit: sadly for the cause of random discordia, but happily for everyone working at SOE, John Smedley rang up Massively and said “Uh… whaaa? No. No. What are you people smoking? NO.”

So instead, I leave you with scenes from the next ZapakOE MMO.

Edit Again: the original story’s been pulled from the Times of India site. Link now goes to Reuters’ coverage of the non-story!

Work News

New boss at NC North America

True story about working with Robert Garriott; he took an interest in our project and was playing a very (very) early prototype last year. He really liked it and kept saying “This is great fun!” despite there being no actual gameplay implemented yet. My emailed response:

Fun has not yet been implemented. If you find yourself having fun, please report it as a bug. Thanks!

I hope he was amused!

If I Only Could, I'd Make A Deal With God, Or Failing That Publishers

A ‘legitimate market for virtual trading’? You’d have to get the game maintainers involved, I’d think.

Oh. Wait.

Live Gamer is partnering with top massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) publishers and virtual world operators worldwide, including Funcom GMBH, Sony Online Entertainment, 10TACLE STUDIOS, Acclaim, GoPets LTD, and Ping0 Interactive Limited (maintainers of Hellgate London).

Gamasutra has an interview which goes into more detail:

“That’s when we both took a look at what [item sale platform] IGE was doing, and all of the bad things happening in the industry. There was a lot of black market activity, publishers were getting upset at IGE — and this kind of virtual item trading has been going on since Ultima. There’s obviously been a big uproar,” says Schneider.

But, as he points out, this is a market that can be valued at as much as 2 billion dollars. “There’s clearly demand, but it’s going to the wrong place,” he says. And in addition to issues like fraud and deception, publishers were swamped with customer support calls from users confounded by bad trades. Andy’s solution? “We decided to create a company that would live or die based on publisher relations.”