Over half a million worth of cash and game items, 10,873 attendees, 5,000 square meters of floor space, more than dozen games, and one single event that heralds the path to Domination 4.
To describe Road to Domination 4 (R2D4) as “successful” is like calling the president’s ambitions mediocre. In fact, in all my visits to the SMX convention center this year, only a few other events could even match the number of attendees of an e-Games event.
Still, the ever-modest Ed Pasion, e-Games vice president for Marketing, says they were quite surprised by the turnout for R2D4. “We originally planned to hold it in one of the malls as we never really intended it to be that big of an event, but when we talked to the malls and gave them our initial estimates of about a few thousand, we couldn’t find a venue that could accommodate us,” Pasion narrates.
Pasion said R2D4 was their way of saying “Thank You” to all e-Gamers. “The year 2009 was great in spite of the fact that the whole country suffered from typhoons. We’re promising our whole community that 2010 will be better and brighter for them. The 10 million strong e-Games community continues to grow every year and their continued dedication and loyalty to e-Games and X-Play, inspires us to give them the best online gaming events and the best gaming experience.”
R2D4 is also the kickoff event for Domination 4, e-Games’ biggest gaming event for 2010 and served as the launch pad for several new e-Games titles for the coming year.
One of the biggest announcements of the year was the acquisition of Runes of Magic (ROM), a game that plays strikingly similar to World of Warcraft (WOW), the most popular MMORPG in the world today.
Developed by Runewaker Entertainment, e-Games believes that ROM will redefine the standard for free-to-play titles. ROM’s gameplay and features are of Magic has a more distinct Western style fantasy setting, and offers depth of play that will cater to both casual and hardcore gamers.
Another game that debuted at R2D4 was Dragonica, a 3D side-scrolling MMO/Casual game with eight-way movement, the only one of its kind so far. Gil Edeza, chief operating officer of e-Games, expressed his excitement over the launch of Dragonica and said it had the potential for bringing all kinds of gamers together in one game. “It’s easy-to-use interface and gameplay system will appeal to casual gamers and first-time MMOG players, while the game’s RPG elements, combo system and PvP battles will be attractive to veteran players.”
Dragonica is being played by hundreds of thousands of players from Korea, China, Taiwan, Russia, U.S.A, Europe and Southeast Asia and was nominated as “the most anticipated game” by Gamespot Korea after the GStar 2007 convention. Heidi Mendita-Garayblas, vice president for e-Games, said that Dragonica’s widespread appeal is rooted in its uniqueness. “Though side-scrolling, it is the first to use 3D graphics to enable more freedom of movement. With its humor and use of pop-culture references, it’s easy to have fun while playing this game.” Just how unique? Imagine being able to summon Bruce Lee, Michael Jackson and a bunch of other notable pop characters to help you in your battles.
Not to be outdone, X-Play, the joint venture between IP e-Game Ventures Inc. and GMA New Media revealed its newest BandMaster Online. Bandmaster’s gameplay is similar to popular music band games wherein each player will have to match the beats of their chosen instruments to render an outstanding musical performance. Ivee Feria, product manager of Bandmaster explains, “Bandmaster should prove to be different from all the casual games that came before it. The degree of interaction required has the potential to create music without spending a single second in the recording studio. It is a novelty for its category and should offer unique opportunities to those who are musically inclined.”
George Royeca, chief operating officer of X-Play, said with the advent of technology, the music industry has evolved to a point where the artist can present their music directly to the public. Bandmaster takes this one step further, offering the opportunity to display artistic talent to their peers within a virtual setting. And when it goes on alpha and closed beta next year, Royeca said Bandmaster will definitely have OPM songs.
OP7 also made its much-anticipated commercial launch at R2D4. The game began closed beta testing in September and went on open beta testing (OBT) phase in October. The commercial version of OP7 will feature new maps, the best of which is the Dust Map, which resembles De Dust, the most popular map of FPS game Counterstrike. It will also introduce the Clan System, which promises to bring players to work more cohesively as a unit. Working as a clan will bring added benefits to members such as additional bounty for accumulated hours played and more.
Sonny Carlos, product manager for OP7, said that these new improvements and adjustments will make OP7 run better and provide an even more improved and balanced gameplay.
Tournaments and freeplay
Besides the game launches, each of the e-Games and X-Play titles had their own set of activities and tournaments. RAN Online, CABAL Online, ZX Online, Runes of Magic and even Dragonica held live tournaments, freeplay and offline activities to engage their dedicated gaming communities. A total of 120 top-of-the-line PCs were available for freeplay and other activities. X-Play also held the grand finals of the OP7 National Tournament Championships. The best teams from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR, competed for the P200,000 grand prize. Leading up to the OP7 National Championship Tournament, X-Play held a series of daily OP7 tournaments in key Internet cafés located throughout the country.
Winning teams of the daily tournaments were rewarded up to P6,000 worth of in-game items, and the weekly winners get P5,000 cash as the bounty. Through the course of the tournaments, over P1-million worth of cash and in-game prizes were given away.
Audistas celebrated the third year anniversary of Audition Dance Battle, the leading online music dance game in the Philippines. Audition went commercial in November 2006 and since then has gathered some of the most loyal gamers in the online gaming industry. Audition held several live activities and tournaments for its passionate gaming community including a mini-concert by GMA Kapuso star Rhian Ramos, the feature star for the Audition Dance Battle Album. Other Kapuso talents who performed with Rhian and R2D4 included Vaness del Moral, Dominic Roco, plus pop singer Brenan.
Finally, e-Games also revealed a more “grown-up” RAN Calendar 2010 that featured beautiful female gamers of RAN Online, the No.1 campus-based MMORPG in the country today—The Road to Domination 4.