In Memory of Judy Freeman

Yesterday afternoon we learned that ZAM’s longtime copy editor, Judy "Looker" Freeman, passed away from lung cancer. Judy had been with ZAM since October 16, 2007. From the start, Judy worked to clean up the scribbling of our various writers, journalists, and editors. Many of us were fortunate to work with Judy, relying on her expertise to hold us up and shine the brightest light on our creative work. She never wanted to be in the spotlight, but quietly mentored a surprising number of people on the front lines of ZAM News. Chances are, if you ever read an article on ZAM, you've read something she touched.

She will be dearly missed by many here at ZAM, and many that have moved on.

Weekly News Recap: Feb. 1, 2009

It's hard to believe January is over. As we begin the second month of 2009, let's take a look back at some of the most noteworthy news stories and Allakhazam features of the past week. There's more links after the jump.

Allakhazam Features

Wizard101: Our First Look : Allakhazam editor Christopher "Pwyff" Tom supplies a first-hand look at Wizard101, a children’s MMORPG with "collectible card magic, wizard duels, and far off worlds."

Champions Online Interview with Bill Roper : We sat down to talk to Roper about Champions Online, the vision that he brings to the team, and what he learned from Hellgate: London.

Talking Vanguard with Jason "Ikik" Weinmann : We talked with Weimann, a programmer on Vanguard, about some of the changes that he's made to the game's tools as well as some of his secret projects on the side.

Contest Winners!

As you all may have seen, last December Allakhazam played host to several exciting contests and drawings. Please join us in congratulating these three winners!

Player of the Year: CactuarSensei (Elmer the Pointy)
Prize: t-shirt autographed by the FFXI Developer's team

Shadow Lord Drawing: Salodin
Prize: Statue of the Shadow Lord

FFXI Ad Contest: Kurtziza of Fairy (Utsusemi Ad)
Prize: t-shirt autographed by the FFXI Developer's team

Survey: Help Design the Latest FFXI Merchandise!


Our designers are hard at work drawing up the latest FINAL FANTASY XI accessories, and they're looking for your feedback! Interested in lending your voice to the creative process? Just follow the link below!

The survey will be available from midnight (00:00) on Wednesday, January 14th (PST) to midnight on Wednesday, January 28th (PST).

Interested parties can find the survey on this page. Thank you for your cooperation!

Last chance to enter Shadow Lord drawing!

Today is the last day for you to enter to win a Shadow Lord statue ! Don't miss out on this chance to win a piece of Vana'diel. It's great for scaring office co-workers or intimidating you into playing more FFXI!


Adventurers of Vana'diel, the moment that you've all been dreading is here! Cower now in fear, for today, the Shadow Lord has returned to wreak havoc on the land—in the form of a high-quality figurine available via the online store!

Tales are told that this fearsome, enigmatic entity single-handedly rallied all the beastmen of Vana’diel to take arms against the children of Altana in a violent conflict that would go down in history as the Crystal War. With his eventual defeat at the hands of the stalwart heroes of the Allied Forces, peace was restored to the land once more. But now, the legendary being of darkness has finally made his triumphant return from beyond the grave. His latest incarnation sees him joining the exalted ranks of “Sculpture Arts”—Square Enix’s premier merchandise series—for the first time.

Price: SRP $229.99

Access the Square Enix Official Online Merchandise Store here.

View the video!

New Year's Greetings!

Best wishes for a happy New Year to adventurers around the world!

It is due in no small part to your dedication and valor that the citizens of the war-torn three nations of Vana'diel can continue to live in safety and peace. Why, even the moogles' latest enterprise, the Buffalo Bonanza Ranch, is off to a rip-roaring success of a start!
Or is it?

Merry Christmas from the Allakhazam Team

The Allakhazam team would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas today, as well as a safe and happy holiday season. We hope you're all able to spend some time with your family and friends. Also, if you get some time to log in to your game of choice today, we hope you get the chance to participate in its holiday festivities. After all, the grind never stops, but in-game events like these don't happen very often.

Holiday cheer is also being spread in most of our forums, so feel free to visit them and continue in the discussions. For Final Fantasy XI fans, members of the Allakhazam community have written "The 12 Days of Vana'diel." As I mentioned in a previous news post, the World of Warcraft community wrote "The 12 Days of Winter Veil." I'm sure somebody out there must have a decent singing voice and a microphone...

For you Star Wars Galaxies fans, Instigator has posted the official Allakhazam SWG holiday picture. If you have any festive in-game screenshots, we'd love to see them. Also, let us know if you got any good loot, both in-game and out.

Happy holidays everyone!

Accounts Banned

Around 13,290 accounts in violation of the FINAL FANTASY XI user agreement were suspended or banned today.

We would like to report the termination today of multiple accounts held by players involved in the usage of third-party tools or cheats, or engaged in RMT (Real Money Trading) activities.

Based on the results of our investigation, around 12,860 PlayOnline accounts were terminated while around 430 accounts were temporarily suspended.

Additionally, we have increased the number of mass banning actions against certain PlayOnline violations in order to prevent illegal acts.

The Return Home to Vana'diel Campaign Commences!

As previously reported in this space, the new and vastly improved Return Home to Vana'diel Campaign begins today!By taking advantage of this special offer, almost any of your beloved characters can be restored to their former glory, allowing you to resume your epic adventures in Vana'diel as if you had never left!

Improvements made to the campaign this time around will allow for nearly all previous characters—with only rare exceptions—to be available for restoration.

There's never been a better time to come back home, so why not dust off your armor, sharpen that sword, and see what new adventures await you in Vana'diel?

To apply or read further details, click here !

Fan Festival Developer Interview was invited to a joint development team interview with fellow Premier Sites Online Welten and Jeux Online at the 2008 Fan Festival. The interview took place at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, California on December 5th, 2008.

See our full transcript here.

Discuss this on the forums.