Earthlock: Former UO Counselor Kickstarts Multi-Platform RPG

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OSLO, NORWAY–Snowcastle Games’ Earthlock: Festival of Magic is generating considerable buzz in the RPG community due to its compelling storyline, unique mechanics, and alluring aesthetics. Set in a world of machines and magic, this multi-platform, turn-based RPG promises several intriguing features, including:

  • Rich, non-linear story
  • Turn-based combat (No Active Time Battle)
  • Combat pairs (Allows more variations to your battle team)
  • Grow your own ammunition (Organic crafting)
  • Build and improve your home base
  • Environmental Puzzles
  • Gorgeous overworld with a retro feel
  • No random encounters (Monsters visible at all times)
  • Play as Male or Female protagonist (You can switch at any time)

Led by Game Director Bendik Stang, a former Ultima Online counselor, Earthlock is quickly approaching its $150,000 Kickstarter campaign goal, which ends Friday. Enjoy a video about the title below. Want some pre-launch perks? Support Earthlock Here!

 

 

State of UO: Ultima Online Devs Hangout with Stratics!

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The Ultima Online development team is scheduled to appear in a live Google hangout with Stratics staff members on Thursday to discuss the “State of UO.” This will be the team’s first public address since operation of the title was transferred to Broadsword Online Games last month. During the live interview, the team will respond to questions from UO players, which are being collected ahead of time in a Stratics Forum thread. Viewers may tune into the event via Google+, YouTube, or Twitch. No account is needed to watch the event, but viewers who wish to comment during the event must log into Google+, YouTube, or Twitch, respectively.

State of UO Details

Date: Thursday, 3 April 2014
Time: 6:00 PM EST
Google+: Watch live on Google+
YouTube: Watch live on YouTube
Twitch: Watch live on Twitch

Giveaway: Undertaker’s Staff!

Follow @UOStratics on Twitter for a chance to win an Undertaker’s Staff. The cutoff time to enter the giveaway will be Friday, April 4th, by 11:59 PM EST. The winner will be chosen at random.

Disclaimer: Requires active UO subscription.

Stratics Board Approves Facebook Acquisition

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To Stratics Readers:

I’m writing to inform you that Stratics’ Board of Directors has approved an agreement to allow the network to be acquired by the social networking site Facebook.

This announcement comes with a mixture of sadness and optimism. As you know, Stratics volunteers, like myself, have been investing our time and resources in this community for over sixteen years. That makes letting it go bittersweet. But after discussions with the Board, we felt that this was the best was to support Stratics users moving forward.

There is a lot to feel excited about, despite the challenges. As the network becomes more technically integrated with Facebook, it will be easier for users to interact with a broader community of users. Additionally, we hope that Facebook’s investment in Stratics will help us complete the redesign that we started back in May of last year. Change is always scary, especially for us, but we’re all hoping it works out for the best.

We all feel proud about what we’ve accomplished over the past sixteen years and we feel confident that this development will propel the network to new heights. Thank you for your support as we continue on this road together.

Sincerely,

Taylor V. Smith
President & CEO
Stratics

**Update 2 April 2014: Jaykay! Happy April 1st!

Stratics.com Becomes True Community Hub (Beta)

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WASHINGTON, DC–Stratics.com, we’re pleased to announce, is finally acting as a true hub for all gaming news within our network. New articles about EVE Online, Elder Scrolls Online, Shroud of the Avatar, Ultima Online, WildStar Online, and World of Warcraft, among other titles, are now being pushed to the front page of our network.

For many years, Stratics leadership tried unsuccessfully to turn Stratics.com into a general news site. But “general interest” has never been what Stratics is about. Stratics is a “community of gamers” united in support of a select list of titles that we–collectively, the Stratics staff, readers, and community members–feel most passionate about.

Stratics.com will continue to publish original news and editorials, but the thrust of our publishing apparatus will now be to support a finite list of titles and publishers that we choose to invest in–titles that we feel personally invested in promoting. This includes the titles that we currently represent, but it also opens the door for partnerships with new games. We’re not looking for mere “headline news.” No, we’re looking to build relationships–the kind of relationships that facilitate helpful player-developer interaction over a period of many years.

As we transition to an updated content strategy, nothing will change on our individual communities. UO Stratics, for example, will continue to be the most comprehensive source of UO news, strategy, statistics, and lore on the Internet. However, to get a glimpse of all of the hottest stories across the Stratics network, we encourage you to visit http://stratics.com. In addition to articles, you will also see discussion threads populated across Stratics Forums by our news feeds.

We’ve come a long way in the past few months toward re-discovering what makes Stratics special. We have a long way to go, still, in achieving our vision. Nevertheless, whatever challenges we may face, we’ll continue to aspire to become “a mainstay of support for the games that we represent by creating valuable resources, developing strong communities, inspiring professionalized team members, and amplifying the voices of players and developers.”

If you have thoughts on how we can continue to improve our publishing and community support, please reach out at contact@stratics.com or start a conversation with us on Stratics forums. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Taylor and Airmid
Owners, Stratics

About Us

History

Founded in 1997, Stratics is the world’s oldest, continually-operating MMO fansite. We began as a community of players supporting Ultima Online, publishing news, strategy guides, and statistics for the title. Over the years, we have extended similar support to a variety of titles, partnering with numerous game publishers, including BioWare, Blizzard, CCP Games, Funcom, Mythic, Nexon, Origin, Portalarium, and ZeniMax. Stratics is an anagram for strategy and statistics.

Mission

We are a diverse community of gamers united by a shared passion to serve the players, assist the developers, and promote the games that we support by: publishing news, strategy, and statistics; strengthening player communities; and creating positive communication between players and developers.

Vision

Our vision is to become a mainstay of support for the games that we represent by creating valuable resources, developing strong communities, inspiring professionalized team members, and amplifying the voices of players and developers.

Values

  1. People – Stratics affirms the instrinsic worth of every person and seeks to create opportunities for talented gamers to build careers in the gaming industry.
  2. Community – Stratics is committed to pursuing its mission in a way that is community-led, community-driven, and community-focused.
  3. Integrity – Stratics resolves to conduct its operations to the best of its ability with honesty, fairness, and transparency.
  4. Communication – Stratics seeks to facilitate open and honest communication within the communities that it serves between readers, players, developers, and publishers.
  5. Passion – Stratics is devoted to creating an environment that unites diverse team members through a shared passion for gaming, because we believe that working hard and playing hard go hand in hand.

Welcome to the New WoW Stratics

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Welcome to Stratics’ new World of Warcraft (WoW) community! We are in the process of re-launching this community, so mind the construction tape.

The mission of WoW Stratics is to publish fansite news, strategy guides, and statistics for the WoW community, with the upcoming expansion Warlords of Draenor in mind!

Extra Life: Help Team Stratics Raise Money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals!

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WASHINGTON, DC–Stratics is scheduled to participate in a gamer-powered, 25-hour charity event this Saturday to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals. Extra Life, a gaming industry-sponsored charity organization established in 2008, mobilizes tens of thousands of gamers every year for a 24-hour fund raising marathon. These tax-deductible contributions benefit over 170 different hospitals in the CMN. Since its launch six years ago, Extra Life participants have raised over $4 million.

Team Stratics

Team Stratics is proud to participate in this event for its second consecutive year. In 2012, Team Stratics raised over $800 during its marathon. This year, they have set the bar even higher with a fundraising goal of $1,000. At least nine Stratics staff members will be joining the live stream, while others provide production and community support behind the scenes. Stratics encourages its community to watch the live streams, join us in chat, and donate to this admirable cause.

Gift Card Giveaway!

To thank you for your support, Stratics will be giving away a $15 Jinx Gift Card during the event to one lucky viewer! To enter the contest, use the Gift Box on the right side of the page, complete some or all of the missions, and then redeem your points for lottery tickets. The winner will be selected at the conclusion of the Extra Life event.

Just The Facts

WHY: Raise money for CMN hospitals. All donations are tax-deductible. Donate here by scrolling to the team members and supporting them! Donation receipts are automatically generated and delivered to your e-mail inbox.

WHO: You, the supporters! Team Stratics, the participants! Children in CMN hospitals, the beneficiaries!

WHAT: 25-hour live stream featuring several games, including (but not limited to):

Diablo 3
Firefall
Guild Wars 2
Path of Exile
Team Fortress 2
The Elder Scrolls III-V
The Sims 3
Ultima Online
World of Tanks

WHEN: 12:00 PM EST on November 2nd to 1:00 PM EST on November 3rd.

WHERE: Watch the live streams and participate in chat at StraticsTV!

Learn More

To learn more about Extra Life’s creation, watch Victoria’s story. For additional information on how you can “Play Games; Heal Kids,” find additional details here.

Stratics Celebrates 16 Years of Fansite Support with Interviews, Giveaways

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WASHINGTON, DC–Stratics, the Internet’s oldest MMO fansite, celebrated 16 years of continuous fansite support on Sunday by hosting a series of interviews and giveaways. Tim “Dariuas” Slager, Stratics’ Community Director, led the event, which was broadcast live to Stratics’ YouTube, Twitch, and Google Plus channels.

EVE Online

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Following introductory remarks by Stratics’ President & CEO, Taylor V. Smith, the team was joined by John “Loktofeit” Albano, a former Stratics volunteer and current copywriter/editor for CCP Games. Loktofeit, answering questions from EVE Stratics Managing Editor Vince, described his time as a Stratics volunteer, his transition into the gaming industry, and some upcoming content in EVE Online. Throughout the interview, Loktofeit affirmed the value of his time at Stratics and lauded its impact on his current role.

The Elder Scrolls Online

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Dariuas then interviewed ZeniMax’s Creative Director, Paul Sage, and Community Manager, Jessica Folsom, about ZeniMax’s highly anticipated title, The Elder Scrolls Online. Paul and Jessica spent much of the interview discussing the important relationship between game publishers and game communities. Paul called communities “critical” to the longevity of a title, noting that fansites facilitate the growth of “micro-communities” that allow players to build deeper relationships, which enriches interest and culture within the game.

WildStar Online

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After a brief intermission for giveaways, Dariuas was joined by Carbine’s Jen Gordy, a former Stratics volunteer and current Lead PvP Designer for WildStar Online, to discuss her history at Stratics and career in the industry. During the interview, Jen provided some insights into WildStar Online and joked that, although she could hold her own in battlefield settings, she was frequently bested by beta players in arena matches. When asked what she would most like to change about the gaming industry, Jen indicated that she would love to see more opportunities for internships at game studios, especially in the quality assurance skill community.

Stratics Friends and Alumni

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Throughout the day, former staff members and long-time friends of the network joined the hangout to reconnect, share memories, and congratulate Stratics on its continued longevity. Ryan “Den Dragon” Findley, who founded Stratics in 1997, applauded Stratics’ anticipated return to the values that made the network special from the beginning: operating not as a business, but as a community of people united by a shared passion.

Shroud of the Avatar

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During perhaps the most scholastic discussion of the day, Stratics’ Chief of Staff, El of LA, interviewed Portalarium’s Creative Director, Richard Garriott; Executive Producer, Starr Long; and Community Manager, Gina Dionne, on the anthropology of gaming. El, Richard, Starr, and Gina spoke extensively about the organic growth of online gaming communities, including unforeseen social developments, such as an in-game prostitution ring, the abuse of in-game ecosystems, and roving bands of murderous carpenters. Later, Shroud of the Avatar Stratics Associate Editor BenK joined the interview. BenK asked Richard, Starr, and Gina about the origins of Portalarium, the experience of crowd funding, and future plans for Portalarium’s Shroud of the Avatar.

Ultima Online

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Finally, returning to its roots, Stratics concluded the evening by interviewing Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong, Producer of Ultima Online. Petra Fyde, UO Stratics Managing Editor, and Lady Tia, UO Stratics Community Coordinator, asked Bonnie to recall her history with UO as both a player and a developer. Bonnie outlined her ascension from a quality assurance contractor to producer of the title. Moreover, she discussed Stratics’ lengthy support of UO, describing the supportive and symbiotic relationship as “kind of like a marriage.” At the close of the interview, when asked to name one player that she was particularly fond of killing, the Dark Lady of UO noted that it was especially fun to kill an unnamed panty thief on Europa. (You know who you are).

Giveaways

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Stratics and its guests provided a number of giveaway prizes throughout the day. Viewers were given the chance to win both digital and physical merchandise from each of the titles represented, including EVE Online, The Elder Scrolls Online, WildStar OnlineShroud of the Avatar, and Ultima Online. Additionally, Stratics awarded certain chat participants, Twitter followers, and Stratics Forum users with a wide array of prizes, including select Steam games, cog-style earrings, and an Amazon gift certificate. Lastly, the grand prize winner of the “Unshroud Your Avatar” cosplay contest was awarded a brand new Krakken headset.

YouTube Playlist Featuring Anniversary Highlights

Stratics has created a YouTube playlist featuring highlights from the celebration, including a memory reel, made by UO Stratics News Administrator Watchertoo; a word from Stratics’ founder, Den Dragon, regarding the origins of Stratics; and address from Taylor on his discovery and acquisition of Stratics, as well as future plans for network advancement; and each of the interviews noted above.  You may watch this playlist below or on Stratics’ YouTube channel: YouTube.com/TheStraticsNetwork.

Thank You!

Stratics would like to extend a special thank-you to all of its honored guests: Loktofeit, Paul Sage, Jessica Folsom, Jen Gory, Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Gina Dionne, and Bonnie Armstrong. Thank you, too, to all of our friends and alumni who participated in this amazing celebration.

In addition to the staff members named above, Stratics also owes a huge debt of gratitude to the event producer, Airmid; the event community team, Cirno, Pinnique, and Gaarawarr; Stratics’ Editor-in-Chief, Kirthag, who led the website redesign and content migration; Stratics’ Technical Director and Technical Administrator, Shamus Turlough and MadMartyr; Stratics’ Forum Administrators and Moderators, who worked to approve contest entries; and the entire staff family, who hurled encouragement toward the event team throughout the day. Thank you, Stratics staff, for your passionate work and dedicated to the Stratics community over the past 16 years.