ea-phenomic posts

Lord of Ultima officially launches

After a semi-stealth introduction several months ago, Electronic Arts has officially launched their browser-based free-to-play MMO Lord of Ultima. The game, set in the universe of the many Ultima RPGs, is the first all new game that has used the setting since the launch of the long running subscription MMO Ultima Online over 10 years ago.

Developed by EA's Phenomic studio who previous made 2009's online RTS game Battleforge, this new game is clearly an attempt by EA to try to get some of the audience that has made a number of other browser-based MMO successful, most notably Jagex's Runescape. The game itself lets player grow their fantasy kingdom, either through peaceful diplomatic means or by military force.

Lord of Ultima heads into open beta

A few months ago Electronic Arts, without any prior promotion, launched a browser-based MMO called Lord of Ultima. The game from developer EA Phenomic seems to be EA's attempt to get into the free-to-play browser MMO market that's currently dominated by Runescape. It's also the first new game to use the "Ultima" name in over 10 years.

Today the game went into open beta which means anyone can go in and start playing. One of the new additions is the in-game Shop where players can purchase "Diamonds" which then can be used to purchase other in-game items. The game has also added quests and quite a number of other features.

Battleforge Lost Souls expansion goes live

It took a little longer to be released than first announced but this week fans of the free-to-play RTS game Battleforge now have a new expansion to try out. As we first reported last month, the new Lost Souls expansion adds a total of 120 new collectible cards to the game which, among other things, adds 28 new units, 16 new buildings and 16 new spells. New Lost Souls booster packs are now on sale for 250 Battleforge points or $2.50 in real money.

Publisher Electronic Arts states that with the release of the Lost Souls expansion pack there are a total of 440 cards to collect for Battleforge. Over 15 million matches have been played since the game was first released nearly a year ago.

Gallery: Battleforge

Ultima franchise gets new Lords of Ultima browser-based strategy game

Long time PC gaming fans know the Ultima franchise as a RPG game series, either in its classic single player form or in the long running MMO Ultima Online, both created by Richard "Lord British" Garriott. Two attempts at a sequel to the latter MMO game have been canceled. However today publisher Electronic Arts has finally released the first new official Ultima game since 1999's Ultima IX: Ascension.

However instead of a complex RPG game, the newly launched Lords of Ultima title is a browser-based free-to-play strategy game. Developed by EA Phenomic (the folks behind another free-to-play game Battleforge) this new game lets folks build a city in the Ultima universe and interact with other players online. The game is already available as an open beta and is apparently very popular in its first day; we tried to sign in and were unable to get into a game because the servers were too busy. There's no word yet on when the game will officially launch nor how it will generate revenues.

Battleforge to add Lost Souls expansion on January 28


Electronic Arts' multiplayer RTS-collectible card game Battleforge changed from a standard retail product to a free-to-play game a few months after it shipped to stores in early 2009. However the development team at EA Phenomic has continued to expand the game with new content. Today the game's official web site announced plans for the new Lost Souls expansion which will be made available for download on January 28.

The expansion will add 60 new units to the game in the basic set. Each new unit will also come with new variants which makes the expansion have a total of 120 new cards to collect. Two new factions, Twilight and Lost Souls, will add new cards as well and the site hints about other surprises that could be included.

Gallery: Battleforge

BattleForge gets new map editor


The fantasy RTS game BattleForge from EA's Phenomic studio has changed a lot since it's release as a retail game earlier this year. It has since turned into a free-to-play downloadable game and a few weeks ago it became the first official PC game to support DirectX11 graphics via a patch.

Today BattleForge players get another bonus; a free map editor to play with. The editor, which players can download via the game's latest automatic patch, will allow anyone to make PvP or PVE maps and share them with others. The player created maps don't allow for rewards to be given to players like extra cards, experience points and the like. They also can't be used in ranked games. Otherwise you can go nuts. There's even a PDF tutorial to get you started.

Gallery: Battleforge

BattleForge becomes first DirectX11-enabled game


Even though the official release of Windows 7 is still three weeks away or so, the very first PC game with support for the OS's new DirectX11 3D graphics API is already out there right now. And believe it or not it's BattleForge, the free-to-play fantasy RTS game from Electronic Arts and its developer EA Phenomic.

The patch to enable DirectX11 support was in fact released last week to its users and according to BattleForge's official web site the patch will allow the game to "have a higher frame rate and new ways of creating graphical effects, such as shadows and lighting" on DirectX11 based PCs. Of course, most players of the game won't notice the difference at all. That's because the DirectX11 support requires both Windows 7 to be installed (Windows Vista will also support DirectX11 but that support has yet to be enabled) and a DirectX11-based video card be a part of the gaming rig. At the moment only two video graphics chips support DirectX11 and they both come from AMD. Graphics cards based on the company's ATI Radeon HD 5870 chip went on sale just last week and cards based on the the ATI Radeon HD 5850 goon sale today.

Gallery: Battleforge

Battleforge Renegade expansion launches

Electronic Arts and its EA Phenomic developer have continued to work on their fantasy RTS game Battleforge several months after its retail release. A few months ago they announced that the game was being turned into a free-to-play RTS game (with micro-transaction support). Today the game's new Renegade expansion pack is now available for players.

For those of you not familiar with the game, Battleforge is different from other RTS titles in that it uses a collectible card system for players to gain access to new units and buildings. The new Renegade expansion adds 60 new cards to the game, giving access to lots of new units and buildings. As before, players who chose to download the free-to-play version of the game will have access to just 32 of the game's cards while the retail version has access to all of the game's starter decks.

Download BattleForge Install Client (84 MB)

Gallery: Battleforge

Battleforge to get new card expansion in August

Last May Electronic Arts made the decision to change the business model of their fantasy RTS game Battleforge from a retail product to a free-to-play game. Any retail copies are now simply used to acquire 3000 Battleforge points and more of the game's collectible cards.

This week the game's official web site announced plans for a major new card expansion called the Renegade Edition. The new expansion will add 60 new cards to the game that will be used to create new units and structures. In addition, "Dual orb cards and special affinities" will be added to the mix that " will deepen and enrich the strategical possibilities of the decks and the combat itself." The expansion is due to be released sometime in August.

Gallery: Battleforge



Download BattleForge Install Client (84 MB)
Check out all BattleForge downloads

First Anniversary Contest: Win one of 25 Battleforge retail codes


For Big Download's final contest to celebrate our first anniversary this month, we are giving out 25 codes for the retail version of Battleforge. Some of you may know that the fantasy RTS-collectible card game from Electronic Arts has changed into a free-to-play title. However the codes Big Download is giving away can be put into the new free client and give the player 3000 Battleforge points and access to 64 cards.

How do you win? As with most of our giveaway contests it's pretty simple:
* To enter, post a comment on this contest page.
* The comment must be left before 11:59 pm Eastern Time on June 8.
* You may enter only once.
* 25 winners will be selected in a random drawing.
* Each winner will receive a code that can be put into the free Battleforge client to add 3000 Battleforge points and 64 cards (each code is valued at $29.99).
* Click Here for complete Official Rules. You must be a resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec) who is 18 years or older to enter this contest.

Our huge thanks to EA for the donation of the prizes.

Download the Battleforge full install client at Big Download

Gallery: Battleforge

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