• Monthly Archives: September 2012

    Orcs Must Die! 2 – “Family Ties” DLC pack announced

    The second DLC booster pack for Orcs Must Die! 2 has been announced today. Titled “Family Ties” the new DLC features new enemies, new levels weapons and a new character skin. Oh and not to mention a new trinket and skull definition.

    New enemies – Ball & Chain

    If you’re a fan of Orcs one of the main attractions in this new DLC will be the new enemies in particular, Ball & Chain who is an enraged female Orc on a mission of destruction. She has a large mace which can be thrown hurtling towards the War Mage or Sorceress. The mace packs a big punch and big damage, she is one certainly one to watch.

    There’s an old saying beyond the rifts that says, “Behind every bumbling male orc army, there’s a huge, enraged female orc wielding a giant mace.” 

    However, she is not the only new enemy in this DLC pack, there are also healers called “Hobgoblin Healers” they have the ability to heal enemy Orcs up to 100% with an aditional healing over time thereafter. The Hobgoblin’s may be small, but left unchecked and they can certainly cause players a headache. You’ll want to target these quickly!

     Three new levels

    No DLC pack is complete without a few new levels. Family Ties features three new levels Triple Threat, Breakneck Triad, and Rush Hour. Not only that but there are three new endless mode conversions in the form of Breakneck Triad, Stairs of Doom, and Servant Entrance. Plenty to get stuck into!

    New weapons & trinket

    The Stone Staff is one of the new weapons available for the War Mage and Sorceress allowing players to turn enemy Orcs to stone to effectively freeze them in their path. The weapon is piercing (the first piercing main weapon thus far) which means that Orcs or turned to stone in a straight line which can be very handy.

    Also new in the toolkit is the Teleportation Ring. Two of these can be placed on walls and allows players to teleport to another location on the map. In terms of trinkets a brand new ghouly “Jar of Ghosts” trinket allows players to let loose a scary image that scares even the most hardest of small Orcs away.

    New costume & skull definition

    Two new cosy costumes are available for both War Mage and Sorceress. Available for 35 skulls players can be suited and booted when facing off against the new enemies and levels. Finally a new skull definition has been introduced, the “Zero Mana” definition. It pretty much does what it says on the tin,  if you manage to complete a level without using any mana you can gain an extra bonus skull – handy if you are an all traps, no magic type.

    When is it coming?

    Players won’t have long to wait at all! The brand new Family Ties DLC is launching on Steam tomorrow for just $4.99. You cant get a better deal than that folks! Keep an eye on Steam tomorrow for the launch.


    More information is available on the Robot Entertainment blog post. Here is a summary of all the new features.

    Family Ties Booster Pack Features:


    • Three Exciting New Levels – The entire orc family is coming to visit in three completely new levels! Jump into single-player or co-op to defend Triple Threat, Breakneck Triad, and Rush Hour.
    • New Endless Mode Conversions – Empowered by the Ball and Chain, the orcs just keep coming! Defend the rifts in three harrowing new Endless Mode conversions – Breakneck Triad, Stairs of Doom, and Servant Entrance.
    • Amazing New Weapons – Master the powers of the Earth to turn enemies to stone with the new Stone Staff. Become the master of your domain with the Teleportation Ring that lets you decide when and where you want to teleport across a level!
    • A Terrifying New Trinket – Strike fear into your enemies with the mysterious Jar of Ghosts! Pop the top to release a spectral fear image that sends your enemies running home with their tails tucked between their legs!
    • The Most Frightening Enemy Yet – Come face-to-mace with the menacing new Ball and Chain, an enormous female Orc wielding a powerful mace that’s bigger than you are! Keep a sharp eye out for her consorts, the Hobgoblin Healers!
    • New Character Costumes! – Show the Ball and Chain that this isn’t your first fight by suiting up in these fashionable new orc-skin costumes for the War Mage and Sorceress.
    • New Bonus Skull Definition – Not the magic type? Now there’s a skull reward just for you. If you can make it through a level without using a single drop of your mana, you’ll toss a “Zero Mana Use” bonus skull atop your pile of spoils!


    Hero Academy goes viral in China

    Hero Academy fans may remember that back in late June this year Robot Entertainment announced that it was partnering with YoDo1, a Chinese video game studio, in order to bring Hero Academy to the mass Chinese market. Hero Academy has been available in China for a number of weeks now and the launch has been a great success. So much so that the YoDo1 localized version of Hero Academy made the Top 10 list in free games, and Top 25 iPhone apps overall in just 48 hours after going live on the App Store.

    Localizing the game & servers

    The results are very impressive and it is great news that Hero Academy is reaching a global audience. Robot Entertainment partnering with YoDo1 have really shown the industry the kind of results that can be achieved by localizing games for the Chinese market. Recently Henry Fong, CEO and founder of YoDo1 took part in an interview with Gamasutra to give us an insight to how we arrived at this point. There were a number of considerations and challenges that Robot Entertainment and YoDo 1 had to address to achieve this success. One of the key decisions was to provision the servers in China and have a separate Chinese version of the game rather than connecting players to the same USA based servers. This was an important consideration not only for technical reasons (connectivity from China to USA servers was slow) but also it was important to give Chinese players and experience they were familiar with. As Henry Fong tells Gamasutra:

    As a multi-player turn-based game, Hero Academy needed a local server presence in Asia. Otherwise, it would take forever for Chinese players to find opponents, and cause long delays in between moves. On top of that, the Western version of Hero Academy has a lot of connectivity to Twitter and Facebook, so players can share content with their friends, and find fellow players on those social networks. Trouble is, neither Twitter nor Facebook are even accessible in China.

    Robot and YoDo1 set about replacing the existing US based social network links (Facebook & Twitter) and replaced them with Chinese social network Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo. After all its no good having functionality to invite friends by Twitter if all the Chinese players are using Weibo. This move was certainly important to allow players to connect with friends in China.

    A brand new exclusive team

    In order to help entice the Chinese players a brand new team was created based on the Chinese equivalent of Middle Earth “Jiang Hu”. Think “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon“. As Henry describes:

    Hero Academy is full of elves, orcs, and other character types that Western gamers are totally familiar with, from Lord of the Rings and other classics. So what if we introduced a China themed heroic team to the game? We thought that this would certainly be a bigger draw to the Chinese gamer audience.

    New marketing materials

    The concerns that Chinese players wouldn’t be familiar with the Western style characters also centred around the need to create new marketing materials such as a new video trailer to promote the Chinese launch of the game. YoDo1 went about creating a brand new trailer unique to the Chinese market and the results are pretty impressive – check out the trailer below!

    Its fantastic to see that the Chinese version of Hero Academy has had such great success. YoDo1 are continuing to work with Robot to add new content to the game. The Chinese launch of Hero Academy is clearly a beacon of success that says Western games with the right level of localization can make it big in China. Hero Academy is now at the forefront of this kind of game localization. Congratulations Robot and Yodo1!

    Further reading

    Check out the full article with Henry Fong and Gamasutra here:


    Problems at the mill – Hero Academy server issues

    Hero Academy players may have found they have had some difficulty playing some of their existing games over the past few days. Unfortunately Robot Entertainment have been having some technical issues on the server side which has resulted in the corruption of some of the games you may have had on-going.

    In order to get things back to normal again, the Robots will be taking the Hero Academy servers offline shortly in order to do the nessecary remedial work to bring the game back to full health. Sadly any games which have been corrupted by the recent issues are likely to be lost during this essential maintenance.

    A full update on the situation has been posted on the Robot Entertainment website and the blog post details what the issues are and the impact. Take a look at the blog post on the link below. It is unfortunate to have to lose some data, but we trust the Robot’s to get everything back and running as soon as possible. Just sit tight for the moment hero’s!

    Robot’s blog post: http://www.robotentertainment.com/blog/detail/Hero-Academy-Instability-Updates