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Russian iPhone carrier not happy over price, cites Apple ‘dictatorship’

In the Soviet Union, you got a knockoff Motorola brick phone and you were happy. In modern-day Russia, however, you might want an iPhone from OAO Mobile TeleSystems (MTS). You’ll pay over US$1,000 for the privilege. The carrier says that makes the iPhone a tough sell in a competitive market.MTS executives criticized Apple as being “in a dictatorship mode where they say, ‘This is what you have to do or you don’t get the iPhone.’ Being arrogant with your partners in big markets doesn’t pay off.” The cost of the iPhone and the strict retail standards that Apple requires for partners are apparently a burden for MTS, and its executives made their complaints known at an event in New York on July 29.Michael Hecker, MTS’s VP of strategy and corporate development, was cited by Bloomberg as saying that Apple would get a larger share of the Russian market by cutting the iPhone’s price or helping subsidize it. Russian consumers, unlike those in the U.S., don’t sign up for long-term mobile phone contracts, so there’s little incentive for carriers to subsidize the cost of the phone the way American carriers do.After the executives chastised Apple earlier in the day, MTS spokesman Joshua Tulgan smoothed things over by saying that “While we have differences with Apple, we have a constructive relationship. Smartphones like the iPhone are impo419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤rtant to our customers and our economy and we want to get them into the hands of as many people as possible.” #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }

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Leaderboard: Battle of the fall expansions

Thought expansions were a thing of the past for MMOs? Don’t tell 2012, which has th419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤ree major releases lined up this fall!First up is Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan, which sends players into the titular Rohan region for the first time. Not only will there be epic confrontations with Saruman and Sauron’s forces on the plains, but characters will be able to fight from horseback for the first time with the new mounted combat system.Next is World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard’s fourth expansion for its hit MMO. There’s a grab bag of goodies in this release, including a new race, additional continent, pet battle system, talent revamp, and more.Finally, RIFT: Storm Legion is coming out at an unknown point this fall. Trion’s first expansion promises four new souls, two huge continents, player housing, and expanded game systems.So as you look at the big board (just pretend you have a big board — it makes your life more exciting), which of these three looks the most promising? Which wins in potential and promise, at least, compared to the other two? Vote after the jump! %Poll-77056%Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively’s Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o’ judgment — and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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The Tattered Notebook: Celebrating the search for the perfect UI

EQInterface and EQ2Interface have been stalwart sidekicks for me through the years, and it’s great to see them expand into other games. They now have a library of UIs for several MMOs and have really helped put player-made UIs on the map. EverQuest II’s site had a news article announcing that the collective UI site, now called MMOUI.com, is celebrating its 10th birthday this week, so I thought I’d get in the celebratory spirit by highlighting a few iconic favorites and taking a brief look at the state of the user interface in MMOs. I’ve included picks from three SOE MMOs: EverQuest, Vanguard, and of course, EverQuest II.In this week’s Tattered Notebook, we’ll put down our macros, take a break from resizing windows, and loo419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤k at the quest for the perfect UI. InfoMap (Vanguard)Vanguard launched with an immense world and very little to help you figure out where the heck you were or where the heck you needed to go. Before the arrival of the Telon travel system, the best way to get a feel for the world map was Soresha’s InfoMap. There were several handy maps on her site, but you could also download a UI that contained every sort of important waypoint you might imagine. I couldn’t imagine life in game without the help of this amazing interface.Quartz (EverQuest)This was one of the first player-made UIs that I used, and for me, Quartz was also my first “cool” UI. It took the boxy look of the default UI and turned it into an awesome dashboard resembling the viewport of a cutting-edge sportscar. In fact, it probably should have come with driving gloves and a candy apple red leather jacket. When I look back, I realize it really wasn’t a great UI for utility, but I think I was just thrilled to have a UI that A) didn’t take up two thirds of the screen like the original EQ UI and B) had curves and a distinct look that broke away from the boxy look.Drox (Vanguard)I love UIs that clean things up. There are many UIs that add catchy borders and Gaelic-looking icons, but Drox is all about streamlining things to make it easier to get to the stuff you need. Not only did it organize things well, but it always seemed to make my eye go to the important stuff right away. UIs often get in the way of the fluid combat and immersive nature of MMOs, but Drox seemed to avoid that as much as possible.Profit (EQII)If I had to pick one UI as my favorite, it would be Profit because it’s clean, well-organized, and extremely helpful. The updater also made it easy to keep up with changes to the UI from game patches, so I rarely logged in to find that things were broken. On top of that, Profit incorporated other terrific UI tools, like Info Center, to make it the perfect all-in-one interface.EQ2Map (EQII)EQ2Map is the granddaddy of awesomeness. This was the inspiration behind the current default map, and it was always worth keeping up to date because of all the important landmarks and waypoints players submitted to it over time. I think of all the player-made UI tools, map projects tend to be the most valuable because the sheer volume of information that’s included makes it less of a headache to navigate and even complete content like quest updates and NPC turn-ins. In short, player-made maps are like the Wikipedia of game interfaces.5x Click to cure (EQII)I included this one because it embodies my love and hate UIs in general. This click to cure UI does make curing so much easier, but it brings up the problem of UIs in MMOs across the board. If I posted a screenshot from Tetris, people would be able to figure it out pretty quickly and jump at the chance to fit the falling piece. It’s intuitive, and the UI (which is minimal at best) helps make it quick and easy to understand. The game itself is challenging (and many a term paper in college was late as a result), but it takes about two seconds to recognize right away what the game wants you to do. It’s what Jesper Juul described in A Casual Revolution, which is that good UIs are like familiar songs: You can hum a few bars and people will eagerly help finish off the verse.But if you toss up a screenshot from World of Warcraft, EQII, or even the soon-to-launch Guild Wars 2, how easy is it to figure out what the game wants you to do based on that one screenshot? Not only do most people struggle to “finish the song,” but they’re actually turned off by the non-intuitive nature of the UI. To the educated gamer eye, it looks perfectly normal. And for Cypher, it wasn’t numbers; it was “blonde, brunette, redhead.” But for new players and non-gamers, it’s a turn-off.Of course, the quest for the cleanest, most perfect UI doesn’t really lie in the hands of the players because try as they might, they still have to include all of the necessary buttons, buffs, debuffs, targets, cures, and group lists that seem to be standard operating procedure in most MMOs. EQII is making a huge push to shape the title into a more casual-friendly game that fits in the free-to-play market, but the elephant in the room right now is that it has a very intricate UI (as do many MMOs), and in order to make it less convoluted, SOE would need to make fundamental changes to the game. At this point in EQII’s life, that’s probably not a feasible option.UI builders do a great job of making things easier for us. I know some players will call it dumbing the game down, but if you understand the rules of a game and your only hurdle is the UI, why not find a way to make that clearer and easier to understand? Otherwise it’s like playing with a Star Wars blaster helmet on your head, and unfortunately, we’re not all blessed with the force.As I was putting this column together, I was struck by how many UIs from years ago are still at the top of the favorites list and the most downloaded lists. Foofyspells, SARS, T.King, GlassUI, Drums, and MilqueTowst Info Center have been around for years, and even though I didn’t use all of them, I always considered giving them a try, sometimes even after I already loaded a custom UI. In a way, it’s almost like a baseball hall of fame, with the perennial favorites always there to brighten our gaming days.EQ2Interface has been especially helpful to me, and it seemed to be for the EQII team as well. Back a year or two ago, the developers decided to rework the default UI in game, and they turned to the EQ2Interface community for assistance. In fact, the default map now is a result of player input, as are many other interface features that were inspired by player-made interfaces. When it comes to the asethetic, I think developers and the community have collaborated to create some sleek and attractive UIs. But when it comes to utility and ease of understanding, I think MMOs can do a better job of trimming off the complicated clutter and making a UI that makes sense while still keeping the challenge in the game. In the meantime, we have an amazing library of UIs to enjoy, thanks to EQ2Interface and its sister sites!From the snow-capped mountains of New Halas to the mysterious waters of the Vasty Deep, Karen Bryan explores the lands of Norrath to share her tales of adventure. Armed with just a scimitar, a quill, and a dented iron stein, she reports on all the latest news from EverQuest II in her weekly column, The Tattered Notebook. You can send feedback or elven spirits to karen@massively.com.

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Harvard stores 704TB in a gram of DNA, may have us shopping for organically-grown storage (video)

Early research has had DNA making circuits and little factories. We haven’t really seen DNA used as a storage medium, however, and it’s evident we’ve been missing out. A Harvard team led by George Church, Sriram Kosuri and Yuan Gao can stuff 96 bits into a DNA strand by treating each base (A, C, G, T) as though it’s a binary value. The genetic sequence is then synthesized by a microfluidic chip that matches up that sequence with its position in a relevant data set, even when all the DNA strands are out of order. The technique doesn’t sound like much on its own, but the microscopic size amounts to a gigantic amount of information at a scale we can see: about 704TB of data fits into a cubic millimeter, or more than you’d get out of a few hundred hard drives. Caveats? The processing time is currently too slow for time-sensitive content, and cells with living DNA would destroy the strands too quickly to make them viable for419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤 anything more than just transfers. All the same, such density and a lifespan of eons could have us turning to DNA storage not just for personal backups, but for backing up humanity’s collective knowledge. We’re less ambitious — we’d most like to know if we’ll be buying organic hard drives alongside the fair trade coffee and locally-sourced fruit.

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Now Playing: August 6-12, 2012

Get pulled into battle this week with Persona 4: Arena… Choose your platform to jump to a specific release list: th.headerBlue { background-color: rgb(96, 164, 218); color: white; } th.headerGray { background-color: rgb(35, 37, 37); color: white; } th.headerGreen { background-color: rgb(88, 129, 39); color: white; } th.headerYellow { background-color: rgb(241, 199, 2); color: white; } tr { background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); } Note: All listings pertain to US release only (unless otherwise noted), but may be applicable to other regions. Retail No new releases WiiWare TBA Virtual Console TBA DLC Rock Band Updates $2.00 ea. TUE Back to top Retail No new releases DSiWare/eShop TBA Back to top Retail Persona 4: Arena $59.99 TUE PSN Games Hyperdimension Neptunia MK2 TBA TUE The King of Fighters XIII TBA TUE Sound Shapes $14.99 TUE Minis Farm Frenzy 3 TBA TUE Demos No new releases DLC Payday: The Heist – Wolf Pack $9.99 TUE Rock Band Updates varies TUE Full PSN Update North American PSN Updates European PSN Updates Back to top Retail No new releases PSN Games Sound Shapes $14.99 TUE Minis Farm Frenzy 3 $PRC TUE Demos No new releases Full PSN Update North American PSN Updates European PSN Updates Back to top Retail Persona 4: Arena $59.99 TUE XBLA Hybrid $15.00 WED 419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤 Demos TBA DLC Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Collection #3: Chaos Pack $15.00 THU Rock Band Updates varies TUE “Deal of the Week” Deal of the Week Listing varies TUE-MON Games on Demand TBA Back to top PC / Mac All releases Babel Rising (PC/Mac) [Download] $9.99 TUE Babel Rising – Sky’s the Limit (PC/Mac) [Download] $2.99 TUE Cannon Fodder 3 (PC) [Steam] $19.99 TUE Hero Academy (PC) [Steam] TBA TUE Payday: The Heist – Wolfpack (PC) [Steam] $9.99 TUE Symphony (PC) [Steam] $9.99 TUE Unmechanical (PC) [Steam] TBA WED Eds.’ note: The PC/Mac retail listing is not necessarily indicative of all releases for the week, but highlights games and content that have major or otherwise noteworthy distribution. Back to top

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Oculus Rift’s latest VR headset prototype gets a showing at Gamescom 2012 (hands-on)

Oculus Rift. If you didn’t know, the Rift is a Kickstarter-funded VR gaming headset (stay with us) that’s caught the attention of several games developers — most notably John Carmack. He liked it so much, in fact, that he developed a special Rift-ready version of Doom 3 for the headset and Doom 4 will also be heading to the VR peripheral too. We got to play with the earlier game and while there’s a video after the break, we reckon you’ll really need to try this in person to fully grasp how the Oculus Rift plays. Check out our impressions after the break. Gallery: Oculus Rift prototype hands-on | 12 Photos 12 +8 Picking up the headset, we were surprised by how light it was — we held it in one hand with ease. The weight’s already been reduced since Oculus’ developmental model did the rounds earlier this year, and it’s almost comparable to a pair of ski goggles. Once the Rift is around your eyes, you can nudge it to hit the optimum sweet spot — the two screens project 640 x 800 respectively, creating a 3D image that’s 1,280 x 800. This resolution was picked to ensure that the Oculus Ri419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤ft danced at a frame rate up to 60Hz and was HDMI-friendly. If they had plumped for 1080p on those screens (which is possible, for a price) then the frame-rate would arrive at around 24Hz if using the existing HDMI standard.The wide-angle view works in generating a more immersive gaming environs, and even slight turns registering on the game avatar. Tilt your head, and your view will do likewise — not that we’d be doing that too much in-game. When you reach the limit of your head-turn, you can then use the games controller to see beyond it. Movement within the Doom 3 demo (also not the finished article) was dedicated to the left analog stick on an Xbox 360 controller, while the right managed our heavier turning.When polled on whether Oculus was working with those major console makers, the team told us that it was completely focused on its developmental PC version at the moment, but that there was “no technical reason why it wouldn’t work (with other consoles).” Oculus is keeping game developer support a secret at the moment, but the sheer fact that there’s a workable title to show off (albeit an eight-year-old one) gives the project a strong kick — and gives our short play-through a semi-accurate feel as for what the end result will be like. A few hours after seeing the Oculus Rift and we’re still raving about it, with a low-latency response to our head movements augmenting the VR at work. While we’re not sure whether it’ll have a huge effect on how we play games, it’s that immersive effect (and how surprisingly comfortable they were to wear) that’s got us fascinated by how that final developer model — and eventual consumer version — turn out.

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The Queue: Horse feathers

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco will be your host today.The password is “swordfish.”amaxewardiary asked: So anyone test AOE looting with the Loot-a-rang to see if you can AOE loot from a distance?Confirmed. It’s real, and it’s fantastic. HarleyGardias asked:Will MoP CE be available after launch? Not got a summer job yet and I’m gonna have a tough time aksing mum for £60 :LIf you mean the digital version, it’ll likely be around for the life of the game. The boxed edition availability will likely depend on your area. I know my local Best Buy had Cataclysm CEs for a very long time after launch. I think there are still some there now.419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤Goarther asked:What is the difference between home and world latency? Sometimes one will be high but I dont see any effect ingame.Home is your chat latency, basically. World is everything else (combat, movement, etc.).Scotepi asked:If i get the deluxe edition and then get the CE does the price difference translate to game time? Like with the D3?Unlikely, but you can probably talk to billing about getting something out of it. They do it for normal accounts being upgraded to CE and stuff like that.lady.goblinade asked:When WotLK came out, Nefarian got a new anti-DK ability in Blackwing Lair, has anyone checked out Nefarian in Beta/PTR and does he have an anti-Monk ability?I haven’t seen it myself, but I’ve heard that he forces monks to roll around uncontrollably for a bit. Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer ’em!

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Acer Liquid Gallant hands-on (video)

It wasn’t long ago that Acer announced the elegantly named Liquid Gallant: a dual-SIM Android handset made for the jetset. And now, here at IFA 2012, we got a chance to spend some time with the device up close at the company’s booth. As single-core handsets go, this one was quite brisk, loaded up with a 1GHz MTK 6575 CPU buffered by 1GB RAM that handled the mostly stock version of Android 4.0.4 with ease. The screen itself was also rather nice, spanning 4.3-inches and delivering a 960 x 540 qHD resolution. Build-wise, this phone is on the bulkier side and definitely gives the impression of having been stacked together in layers. There are some nice flourishes to its design, such as the silvery plastic grill along its back bottom, but that’s about as impressive as this one gets. As we mentioned earlier, the Liquid Gallant packs slots for two SIMs (which you’ll notice in our gallery below), a 5-megapixel rear camera accompanied by single LED flash and micro-USB port. Internally, the phone also sports 4GB of storage, so you’ll most likely need to lean upon that microSD slot for expansion. Clearly, this isn’t a high-ender, but it doesn’t need to be. With a nearly vanilla Android experience, sturdy though unattractive chassis and appreciable resolution, it’s a considerable option for globe-trotters with less intense m419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤obile needs. Head on past the break for a video tour. Gallery: Acer Liquid Gallant hands-on | 16 Photos 16 +12 Mat Smith contributed to this report.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: A brief history of Guild Wars 2’s Tyria

I see a lot of questions about whether or not people who want to play Guild Wars 2 should jump into the original in the (increasingly diminishing) time left before launch. I don’t think there’s really a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. For those of you who are worried about missing a bunch of lore and history, however, I can do a little to help with an introduction to Tyria, its history, and the events leading up to Guild Wars 2. This won’t be exhaustive (see the word brief in the title?), but it might help you understand what the dragon nonsense is about and what’s going on with the world you’re stepping into. Except where events had exceptional impact, this focuses mostly on what happened in the continent (not the entire world) of Tyria.I hope it goes without saying that there are lore spoilers ahead, as well as Guild Wars campaign spoilers. The history that’s older than dirtWay back in the dusty memory of time, there were giants in Tyria. Real, true, massive giants — not the kind you see stomping around the Diessa Plateau nowadays. They died off or vanished about 11,000 (give or take a couple hundred) years before the present day of Guild Wars 2. A little more than eight thousand years after that, the True Gods (as recognized by the humans) brought in a race of serpent creatures to guard the world while they tinkered with it. The gods, like the serpent people, lived in the world at this time, but that doesn’t mean that the gods originated in Tyria. The serpent people, known in the present day as the Forgotten (guess why before the next paragraph starts for an extra special prize!), had an advanced culture and served as the keepers of knowledge and lore within the world. They lived in peace with what creatures they could (the Charr serving as a glaring exception), and the world was pretty good for a long while. Some 1,500 years later, the humans were brought to Tyria. When I say brought, I don’t mean it as in “brought up out of the dust.” They, like the gods and the Forgotten, aren’t from around here.Humans, being the acquisitive lot that they are, quickly spread out and staked their territory wherever they could abide peacefully and started a war wherever they couldn’t. They undid most of the Forgotten’s work.Magic and the godsThrough all of their fiddling with the world, the gods (or at least three of the six) lived in Arah (known, coincidentally, as the City of the Gods), which is part of the region known as Orr. Orr is believed to be the location of the first human settlement in Tyria, although humans also branched out to Ascalon (but remained, for a while, ruled by one king, the first of whom was named Doric). Ascalon was tricky business, as it was inhabited by the Charr, but the gods had something of a soft spot for their humans and helped them push the Charr back so that Ascalon could become a human settlement. This all happened within the humans’ first hundred-ish years in Tyria. After another hundred years passed, the god Abaddon led the others in giving magic to the sentient races of Tyria, a power that all the gifted races promptly abused.There was much fighting between the races blessed with magic, so King Doric went to Arah to plead with the gods to take their gift back. Rather than remove it entirely, the gods created a stone that contained the power of magic by preventing any one being from mastering all the schools of magic, they sealed it with King Doric’s blood (only a couple of drops, don’t worry! Although there is a little bit of lore hinting that he may actually have died because of it), and they broke the stone into five pieces, four of which are called bloodstones and represent different schools of magic, and one of which is called the Keystone and is necessary for uniting all the shards. These pieces were then chucked into a volcano for safekeeping. Later, the volcano erupted and spewed the pieces hither and yon. Three bloodstones, one on the Ring of Fire island chain and two in Kryta, have a known location and figure into players’ adventures in Guild Wars and Eye of the North. The other two are in unknown locations.Abaddon, the god who made free with the magic distribution originally, was upset that the other gods wanted to limit his gift, so he tried to lead a war against them. It didn’t work particularly well, and he was weakened, chained, and thrown into the Realm of Torment. The Forgotten did the gods a solid by going in there with him to serve as jailkeepers from then until the events of Nightfall, a stretch of some 1,075 years.The gods withdrew from the world and more or less ceased meddling with things.The Forgotten who weren’t watching an insane god in a place that looks like somebody turned giant living beings inside out waited another hundred years or so and then withdrew to the most remote corner of Tyria, where humans couldn’t go. They waited in the Crystal Desert and became the caretakers of a dragon named Glint.Only about 1,200 years to goGlint compiled the Flameseeker Prophecies 272 years after the Exodus of the Gods. These prophecies were brought to bear in the events of the aptly named Prophecies campaign.Kryta was establ419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤ished as a colony of Elona and then became an independent nation 358 years after the Exodus (hereafter, such dates will be referred to as [year] AE, in keeping with in-universe reckoning).”The Mists touch all things. They are what binds the universe together, past, present, and future. They are the source of all good and evil, of all matter and knowledge.”In 851 AE, an arcanist by the name of Lord Odran became the first human to enter what is known as the Rift (which is what the Forgotten came to Tyria through, according to some lore), which is a timeless location at the center of the Mists. The Mists are effectively the source of life as we know it — the proto-matter from which reality was built. They exist between worlds and are, both in lore and as a gaming abstraction, the location of a lot of the PvP and two of the elite areas in Guild Wars.Within the next 50 years, the Charr discovered the Titans and the Flame Legion, one of the four High Legions of the Charr (the other three of which are the playable factions for Charr in Guild Wars 2). The Charr declared the Titans to be deities, and the humans erected the Great Northern Wall. You might consider that there could be a relation between those, as the Wall was built to keep the Charr (who were starting to be a threat once again) out of Ascalon. (Also, it later turns out that the Titans were totally working for Abaddon all along and drove the Charr to invade the human nations on his orders.)Guild Wars (more spoilerific than the stuff before — no, seriously)In 1013 AE, the titular Guild Wars began. The Guild Wars were fought between the established human kingdoms of Ascalon, Kryta, and Orr. The fighting was brought to an end in 1070 AE, the very start of Guild Wars, by the Charr invasion of Ascalon. This invasion is known as the Searing.The Searing threw the human nations’ defenses into something of a shambles, and the Charr were able to push through to Orr and threatened to march on Arah itself. Rather than letting the Charr overtake the City of the Gods, a human vizier by the name of Khilbron found scrolls of forbidden knowledge in the catacombs beneath Orr and unleashed a tremendous magical force. This resulted in the Cataclysm, which more or less destroyed Orr and sunk the city of Arah. The Vizier, players later find out, was corrupted by Abaddon in the twisted god’s attempt to destroy the holy city. He becomes a Lich and the big bad at the end of Prophecies (although, interestingly, much of his backstory isn’t discovered by players until Nightfall).Prophecies picks up after the Searing and tells a fairly convoluted story, so let’s focus on some of the more pertinent bits. After running around Charr-infested Ascalon for a bit, players and Prince Rurik (who wields the sword, Sohothin, which Rytlock Brimstone will later carry) decide that staying in Ascalon is for chumps and dead people. As they flee through the Shiverpeaks to Kryta, King Adelbern stubbornly refuses to accompany them and is aghast (to the point of telling Rurik that prince is no longer his son) that they’d abandon Ascalon. That’s something of a key character trait in the old King, so maybe take note. There might be a test (or a significant event) later.Fast-forward to Kryta, where there are heaps and scads and swarms of undead. Kryta is being run by the White Mantle, an order that players find out over time reveres the mysterious Unseen Ones. Players help the head of the White Mantle, Confessor Dorian, secure an artifact of untold power: the Scepter of Orr. After that, the White Mantle leaders swear that you and they are best buddies, and as a special honor, players can help them out by tracking down the Chosen, special Krytans who are deemed to be worthy of getting a cushy life of study and devotion.The Chosen whom players help find get kidnapped by the Shining Blade, a covert group that’s working against the White Mantle. Players then find out that Chosen are actually being slaughtered (atop one of the ancient bloodstones, no less!). In an attempt to fight back against the injustices of the White Mantle, players and the Shining Blade ally themselves with some dude named Vizier Khilbron, give him the mighty Scepter of Orr because, I guess, he asked nicely, then flee to the Crystal Desert. There they meet the Forgotten, find Glint, and learn of the Flameseeker Prophecies. The Unseen Ones turn out to be Mursaat, an ancient and hostile race of flying magic-users. Vizier Khilbron promises that everything will totally be completely OK if the players just go to the Ring of Fire islands and nope he’s a Lich and he was lying and you just let Titans loose in the world! Ticked that the Lich managed to make patsies of them for so long, players strike back, destroy Khilbron, set things to rights, and then move on to hard mode, farming, and waiting for the new campaigns.So when I said brief, I had every intention of being just that. In fact, I can hear the lore-hounds hollering at me even now for all the stuff I’ve left out, and we’re just barely to 1072 AE, which mean’s we’ve got another 253 years to cover before present day of Guild Wars 2, and those are some of the most meaningful years of all when it comes to understanding what’s afoot. You did a very good job staying awake through all the ancient stuff (aren’t you proud of me for leaving out all the begats?), and I promise that things spice way up in the next couple of centuries. Let’s reconvene later this week for a special edition of Flameseeker Chronicles and talk about what’s going on from this point onward.Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at elisabeth@massively.com.

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App Store has growing population of never-downloaded “zombie apps”

Here’s a discouraging statistic for independent developers looking to break into the increasingly crowded iOS App Store. According to a report from mobile analytics firm Adeven, over two thirds of the store consists of “zombie” apps, which generate few downloads and almost no419论坛_上海419论坛_新上海419龙凤 revenue to their creators.The total number of these apps sits at around 400,000, so while Apple often brags that there are hundreds of thousands of apps available on the App Store, the majority of these aren’t of interest to most users, and likely aren’t getting discovered.How are developers making money on the App Store then? Apple’s marketplace is looking increasingly more and more like the traditional software market, in that a few companies with a lot of experience, brand recognition and marketing money are able to catapult their products up into the Top 25, where they’re usually profitable as long as they can sit there. There’s also a thriving market for apps that address specific business verticals rather than aiming at the general consumer.Not all is lost, however: It’s still possible for really well-done apps to break out into the public’s view, even though it takes a little luck to do so (hasn’t that always been the case?). But the next time Apple comments on the number of apps it has on sale, keep in mind that many of those apps are seldom glanced at by potential buyers. There’s a very busy strip of apps at the top of the App Store, and a huge swath of empty strip mall apps out there not seeing much traffic at all.[via iJailbreak]