By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.NET PASAY, Philippines -- Under absolute secrecy, online game publisher Level Up! snuck into the first person shooter genre and finally introduced its first FPS title, K.O.S.: Secret Operations during its annual Level Up! Live competition. K.O.S. (Kill On Sight) is developed by Korean firm YNK Interactive, the same company that created Rohan Online, which LU is also publishing in the Philippines. The game is still in its worldwide beta testing stages, with the Philippines' beta test period starting in December. With most online FPS games using their own game engine, K.O.S. uses Valve's Source Engine, which is most prominently used in the widely popular shooter Counterstrike Source. K.O.S. is a straight forward shooter with players choosing a one of two teams. The main mission is to beat the competing team in different modes. There are different character types who are actually of different nationalities (North and South Korean, Russian, Japanese, Taiwanese and American). Each character possess different attributes that allow them to carry specific types of weapons such as sniper rifles, assault rifles, heavy artillery, and pistols. The characters also have certain skills that improve their performance in the game. LU CEO Jane Walker said in an interview that the company chose K.O.S. due to its lower computer requirements as well as its proximity to the gameplay and style of Counterstrike, which was once the most popular FPS played in Internet cafes. Walker said that despite being late in the FPS genre, she is confident that the FPS market in the Philippines is still large enough for a new title. K.O.S. will compete with existing online FPS titles such as WarRock from Amped, Special Forces from MyGame, and most recently Operation 7 by E-Games.
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AFTER successfully launching the country's first online racing casual game, online game publisher Level Up! is adding a new Filipino-themed map in Crazy Kart. The "'Pinas Map" features famous landmarks spread along the track. It includes digitized 3D images of the Fort Santiago Tunnel, the Rizal Monument and the Manila Cathedral. In one part of the map, a hazy image of an island that looks like the rocky Corregidor Island can be seen. Another part of the track includes a stretch that looks like the road going up Baguio City, which actually leads to the Banawe Rice Terraces. In a humorous twist, Level Up! developers added some potholes reminiscent of the damaged parts of EDSA. They even added look-alikes of steel sidewalk barricades placed by the Metro Manila Development Authority. The company had previously incorporated Filipino vehicles as playable units in the game. Among these are the FX taxi, an owner-type jeep and the ubiquitous jeepney. They later added the CK Drift Kart, which is based on a real-life Nissan Cefiro drift car that the company modified as part of their marketing strategy for Crazy Kart. Another element in the game is the addition of an original Filipino song entitled "Crazy Karter Sweet Lover" performed by Ang Bandang Shirley. Level Up! Crazy Kart Brand Manager Jeff Paulino said the idea behind the Pinas Map is to create more excitement for Filipino players of Crazy Kart and to package the game as the "pambansang [national] casual racing game." He said that since they incorporated "Taglish" as part of the localization of the game, the number of players have increased to over 1 million registered users. In a month, Crazy Kart has more than 700,000 unique users (or more than 100,000 unique users daily) playing the game, Paulino added. "The drawing point of the game is both its incorporation of the Filipino language – a first among our games – and the ease of playing it. We've had players as young as four and parents enjoy watching their kids play as much as they play themselves." Paulino said they are looking to create and release more Filipino-themed maps soon. Watch this video report:
GAMING publisher Level Up! is launching a new set of online shows as part of their LIVE! The Show online feature. The Merry LU! Christmas! will air on December 15 to 19. It will highlight Level Up! game masters, prominent members of its gaming community, returning guests from the previously held Level Up!: The Live 2008 Experience. Level Up! Multimedia Head Joey Alarilla said that the company is also scheduled to hold some online promotions during the Level Up! Christmas! online show, including an early bird promo where the first to post a morning greeting would win 1,000 Level Up! credits. The next five would also win another 500 Level Up! credits. "We'll also be announcing new content for the games we publish. This is our way of thanking our community of gamers who have continuously supported us," Alarilla said.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines -- It may sound like the fabled land of the Rohirrim in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Rohan Online, however, is not related to it but it does have the same elements of medieval fantasy. Rohan Online is the latest massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that game publisher Level Up! Online is introducing in the Philippines. The game is similar to most hack-and-slash online games and features six character classes, the Humans, Elves, Half Elves, Dhans, Dekans, Dark Elf. There are also male and female models for each class. Each of the classes have unique roles and attributes, some are close quarter combatants, some are long range fighters, while others are more balanced types. These character classes also own unique weapons and items. Some can wield two-handed weapons like the Human Knight. The Elf Archer for example can use bows more efficiently than the rest of the characters, while the Dhan Assasins can use stealth weapons to kill enemies quietly. Another unique feature of Rohan Online is its “Forge” wherein items of the same type can be forged together to bring out a more powerful weapon. However, the Forge feature also has a success and failure rate so players have to be aware what item they expect to create when forging. But the most unique feature of the game is “Revenge.” Unlike in most MMORPGs where low-level players are beaten during player-versus-player fights, Rohan Online's Revenge system allows "losers" in PvPs (player versus player) to take revenge against their antagonists once they have increased their levels. They could even bring their entire party to strike back at the opponent. Revenge is indicated as an icon in the interface of the game showing the name of the person who beats the character. Once the player decides to take on the antagonist, the player clicks on the icon and is automatically teleported to the area of the opponent. Think of it as "resbak" in an online environment. Level Up! Philippines has not announced when the game will be made available. However, more information can be received from Rohan Online's official international site.
Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.NET MANILA, Philippines -- Game publisher Level Up! is pushing its online multimedia experience, starting with a five-day online video show. The video channel is part of the Level Up! Liveblog service which begun during the recently held Level Up! Live gaming convention. This time, the company will provide both reruns of videos taken during the convention and fresh shows, most of which will be shot live and streamed on the Internet. There will also be scheduled live video streaming featuring prominent personalities among the communities of Level Up! games. Viewers can also interact with the guests through the liveblogging system. The project will be called Reliving Live: The Live 2008 Experience and will start on November 10 to 14. Level Up! Multimedia Head Joey Alarilla told hackenslash that the success of their livestreaming during Level Up! Live prompted the company to start a continuing activity that will entice their players to visit their site. During the Level Up! Live over 50,000 people from 27 countries viewed their video streaming. They also received over 22,000 comments for their liveblog. "We want our players to know that there are other stuff we could do and not just playing. We want them to enjoy their gaming experience beyond the games they play," Alarilla said.
Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines -- The online game business in the Philippines is heating up with online game publisher Level Up! leading the pack with a triple-treat launch of games. During the recently held Level Up Live! gaming convention, the company announced that it will be carrying the games Hello Kitty Online, Emil Chronicle Online, and Rohan Online. However, no further details have been provided as to the dates of the start of the beta testing and commercial launch of the games. Level Up! Multimedia Head Joey Alarilla told INQUIRER.net they will be releasing new information about the games for the local market very soon. Level Up! had previously launched two other games this year, Crazy Kart and Grand Chase, both of which are targeted at much younger players. Hello Kitty Online, developed by Sanrio Digital, can also be considered as a casual game due to the use of the popular Japanese toy line of the same name. As such, it mostly focuses on resource collection and social interaction rather than battles. Nevertheless, Hello Kitty Online is categorized as a massively-multiplayer online game. Meanwhile, Emil Chronicle Online is another MMORPG and is developed by Headlock. It also has resource collection elements but also focuses on battles. There are a total of 12 classes from three races that can be chosen as playable characters in the game. Rohan Online, made by YNK Korea, is a heavy hack-and-slash MMORPG. It allows open PvP (player versus player) and lower guilds can attack ruling guilds for the right to control towns.
By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines -- Thailand remains the undisputed champion in this year's Ragnarok Online World Championships (RWC). Thailand is followed by South Korea and Indonesia in second and third place, respectively. The Thai team is composed of Ratchasak Kanchanasapha, Mana Pattharavilaloet, Minlawat Tararuthai, Somporn Sinsanguan, Hatsakan Santitaweechai, Ekkasit Nimket, and Narin Sukwisutthichot. This is the second time the Thai team won in the RWC. They won in last year's RWC held in their home country. The event was held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The RWC is held in parallel with Level Up Live!, the annual gaming convention of game distributor Level Up! Level Up! Is also the distributor of Ragnarok Online in the Philippines. The Bozanian Beastfighters who represented the Philippines fell to fourth place. It is also the same team that represented the Philippines in the Ragnarok World Championship 2007, held in Seoul, South Korea. The team took third place against 10 other countries. There were 12 teams from 21 participating countries. These included Korea, Philippines, Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, and Austria. Thailand wins US$15000, while Korea and Indonesia win US$7000, and US$5000, respectively.
By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines -- In an effort to extend its support for its players beyond games, online gaming publisher Level Up! has activated its Level Up! Music portal that will showcase all of the music albums that the company has launched. It will also feature home-made music videos of gamers. Level-Up! Music Portal Producer Sansan De Leon said the site is a teaser to the launch of their music album this year. They have launched at least two albums and a third is expected to be introduced soon. She said there are about seven videos in the portal already. "All of the songs in the album are inspired by Level Up! games. Music has always been a part of the games. We try to incorporate some components in the music such as video," De Leon said. For the Level Up! Music portal, the main music video feature is Kevin Roy, lead vocalist of the rock band Razorback. Roy is an online gamer and his song is about his experiences with the much-hated Internet lag problem. To this, Roy uses the term "Ampfufu," a play on a more derogatory cuss, as his title for the song. Level Up! Multimedia Head Joey Alarilla said many musicians have become part of Level Up! gaming community that eventually contribute material to the company, especially during their gaming events. Alarilla said other gamers have also been submitting videos to them, which they can distribute to other gamers as well. "It's really about showcasing the talent of the players in the community. It's them who are keeping the community alive,” he said.