Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Army of Gnomes vs One Drunken Wizard

Possibly more entertaining than the current "battle" (Read here about the current lawsuit NCSoft vs Worlds.com). How this "Vs" thing will work is you(the readers) will vote who you think would win. After I'll write a somewhat brief description of the epic battle. It's silly so please don't expect anything too hardcore. So vote it up for giggles, and I'll post updates in between news, articles, and just my ol gaming experiences(Not done any in some time...time has been limited on my end. My apologies.)

Still no word from Worlds.com about the interview/discussion proposal. I'll give them a few days as I'm sure they are QUITE busy. As I've said I really hope they "step" up to the plate and have a conversation with me. There are quite a few questions that I (and many others!) would like to know, like why wait until 2008? Why NCSoft? There are a host of other questions but I'll leave it for the actual interview if it happens.

Another topic I will go into is my thoughts about Micro-Transactions models for MMOs. There is a stigma to these games(Sometimes rightly so) but I honestly think they will utterly take over subscription based MMOs in a few years. I'll get into WHY I think so, and hopefully we(Myself and you) can get a conversation going about the topic. It's getting hot with SOE using Station Cash and SWTOR(Star Wars:The Old Republic) being "misunderstood" as having an MT system.

However these are conversations for another day! Happy New Year everyone from your mentally unstable MMO news source Danshir! I hope you and yours have a great new year and you don't get TOO drunk. If you wake up in an unfamiliar place please use this check list..
  1. Do you have your clothes?
  2. Do you have any strange scars that were not there previously?
  3. Do people speak the same language as you?
  4. Was it worth it?
  5. Why are you remembering a check list from an MMO website while in a strange alley? RUN MAN RUN!
Happy new year =). See you guys tomorrow! Remember to vote for either the Army of Gnomes or the Drunken Wizard!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Possible interview with Worlds.com

It's been a pretty rough day so I'm gonna keep updates slow for today. However an interesting bit is I wrote an email to Worlds.com today asking if they would sit down with me and have a chat. Basically I was giving them a chance to defend their position about the recent lawsuit against NCSoft. If they do I will post up the transcript here on The MMO Experience for all to read(I made sure in my email this was my intent).

I'm hoping they do. I would like to honestly see what they think about their lawsuit and about the rage the online community has for them now.

On a different note, I've decided instead of making another poll that I would have a little "tournament" much like GameFAQs.com has done in the past. However this one will be centered only on MMOs(Shock!). That should be up tomorrow as I brainstorm on some funny(It won't be serious..) ideas for contestants. So stay tuned for that.

Finally, I'm installing Archlord. It seems to be entirely free now and I'm kinda wanting to try some new games out. I'll post about that as soon as I've had a chance to tinker with it for a few days. Oh! So today isn't a total waste here are some pictures that gave me a laugh.

Monday, December 29, 2008

MMORPGs Getting Sued

While you may expect good cheer, fun, laughs, and presents on Christmas Eve not everyone is so blessed. NCSoft got something worse than coal, they got sued. According to VirtualWorldNews the developer Worlds.com, an early virtual world developer in the 90s, is filing suit against NCSoft. Why? Apparently Worlds.com had two patents regarding scaling virtual spaces and enabling users to interact and chat in 3D environments.

Considering how broad of a statement that is, I wouldn't be surprised if these patents were filed for the sole purpose of filing suit against someone further down the road. Worlds.com is stating that City of Heroes, City of Villains, Dungeon Runners, Exteel, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage II, and Tablula Rasa all infringed upon the patent. You can read the full details over at VirtualWorldNews.

So what's next? Blizzard? Mythic? SOE? I'll keep you posted as events play out. To read a bit more about this bit of news try out Openedge1's website Simple N Complex. Seems even more people are talking about it too. You can read Tesh's post here and Broken Toys here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Politics Invade MMOs

In recent years advertisements have become more and more common within video games. Sandbox games would have Burger Kings, billboards with name brand companies, and using name brand cell phones. That's how it started. It then proceeded to become even worse, especially within the Xbox 360's NGE where you have several ads per "blade". While we as MMO gamers are safe *So far* from this type of advertisement, another perhaps more sinister is already within.

Politics.

Yes, Politics are moving in toward the virtual entertainment for advertising. At first it was only mild advertisements in non-MMO games, such as in-game billboards for Barack Obama in Burnout Paradise.(More info here) However now Newt Gingrich(Former House speaker who is flirting with presidential bid) is hosting both real life and virtual workshops. By virtual I don't mean over a website but using Second Life. Second Life, in case you have never heard of it, is a virtual world with roughly 9.5 million members in a 3-D "game". The game is basically "real" life, you can even buy virtual real estate with real cash*$$$, not virtual money here*.

With this news, and several notable politicians also using Second Life(Such as Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul, and John Edwards), and the fact many politicians are becoming open about their own MMORPG hobbies(Like Kevin Werbach, who is a hardcore player in two guilds) it won't be much longer until we see more and more influence in our virtual worlds. Video game companies love money and politicians love to advertise themselves. It's a match made in heaven except for the middle man which happens to be the gamers.

If politicians, or advertisement in general, gets too strong a hold upon MMORPGs then I only foresee disaster for the overall community. Creating a rich virtual world filled with cities, climates, dungeons, adventure, and atmosphere is difficult enough without having /yell "Vote for SoanSo - Level 80 Deathknight LFG". If something akin to that happened, the ambiance of the game will be shot directly in the head and will never be rekindled. Yet it seems this is inevitable. With countries such as the USA and Israel using online games as advertisements(More info here.) it is only a matter of time until someone taps into the huge populations of games such as World of Warcraft.

But hey, while it may be cool to see presidential candidates duke it out (verbally and metaphysically) in Stormwind and then have their "Teams" go at it in Arena, I rather not have to see...


Author's Note - This is in no way a reflection of my own political views. I have nothing against President Elect Barack Obama. I just thought the picture would illustrate my point..and it's funny.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Star Trek Online : NX-91001 = Epic

Despite the fact I've really not touched upon Star Trek Online, don't assume I'm not looking forward toward this sci-fi MMO. I'm personally eager and ready to go, get in a sleek vessel and say over voice chat "Engage". However my little tangents here have been going in different directions. Why am I suddenly shifting then toward the other part of Sci-fi nerd nirvana?*Note- The other part is Star Wars: The Old Republic. End of Note.*


This is why. Meet the NX-91001. It's the first ship to have descriptions and details. While it is not positive to be in the final release of the game, chances are good as this teaser is Star Trek Online's present to it's fans. So here is the sexy stats, straight from StarTrek Online...

NX-91001

Specifications

    Dimensions:
  • Overall Length: 692 meters
  • Overall Draft: 92 meters
  • Overall Beam: 253 meters
  • Displacement: 3,200,000 metric tons
    Propulsion Systems:
  • Class 10 Warp Drive
  • Hyper Impulse Drive
    Defensive Systems:
  • Ablative Tetraburnium Alloy Hull
  • Regenerative Shielding
    Embarked Craft (Typical):
  • 3 Shuttle Bays
  • 10 Shuttlecraft (various classes)
  • 10 Shuttlepods (various classes)

    Velocity:
  • Cruising: Warp Factor 8
  • Maximum: Warp Factor 9.985
    Computer Systems:
  • Holoemitter Trans-Deck Array System
  • Holographic Consoles and Astrometric Laboratories
  • Bioneural Circuitry
    Offensive Systems:
  • 16 Type XIV Phaser Arrays
  • 4 Forward and 4 Aft Torpedo Launchers (Payloads Classified)
  • Additional Weapons Classified

Exploration vessel; Commissioned: 2409

A starship designed to carry Federation influence throughout the Alpha Quadrant and beyond, the NX-91001 is one of the first multi-role starship designs since the Sovereign class was commissioned in the early 2370s. Able to function as a deep-space explorer with extensive sensors and laboratory facilities for scientific research, the NX-91001 also is outfitted as a heavy cruiser armed with some of the latest in Starfleet weapons technology for deployment in hostile areas.

The NX-91001 contains the best of the new technologies developed in the past 40 years. Bioneural circuitry mimics organic neurons, speeding data functions and improving computer performance. An advanced sensor pod can be operated from the bridge or manned directly for intense sweeps, and includes telemetric observation VISOR technology to allow a science officer to interface directly with data transmitted by a robotic exo-probe.

A holoemitter array system allows Emergency Medical and Emergency Command Holograms to operate throughout the ship when needed, and the ship is equipped with a Class 10 warp drive for normal operation and an advanced hyper impulse drive for sublight operation. The Class 10 warp drive is equipped with an advanced quantum sublimating theta-matrix compositor which recrystalizes the ship’s dilithium into a much more stable form than earlier models. This allows the NX-91001 to go much longer distances at high warp velocities before needing to replace the crystals.

Defensive systems of this starship are based on significant advances in Federation technology. The starship features an ablative tetraburnium alloy hull, which allows it to withstand greater amounts of heat and pressure than any previous design, and regenerative shields on the NX-91001 can adapt to enemy weapons fire during a battle. The ship also carries a full suite of offensive weapons, including 16 Type XIV phaser arrays, eight torpedo launchers and several other weapons. Note: Because of the recent conflicts, the complete weapons configuration of the NX-91001 is classified.

While I truly hope Star Trek doesn't focus on combat, but has equal parts social interaction and NPC interaction, these details have me really wanting to find some Borg and show them *forgive me..*

"Resistance is futile."

If you would like to see some in-game videos, click here!

Friday, December 26, 2008

What got you into MMORPGs?

Since I'm still winding down from the great rush of the holidays, and trying to figure out how to make time for Metal Gear Solid 4(I'm a big fan of the series), I thought to simply throw out a simple discussion for today. What got you into MMORPGs? What game in particular hooked you in to the social phenomenon that has escalated so much in recent years*Cough cough World of Warcraft cough cough*.

For myself it was EverQuest. I was a young lad, filled with promised as I tried playing this strange "multi-player" RPG. Now back in the days when Ruins of Kunark was first released the game was a lot harder than it is now. It was tough just getting enough money for a few spells let alone decent equipment. Yet I was transfixed by the game play and how massive the world was. It was really hard to put down. I missed many hours of sleep due to EverQuest*Or EverCrack, as it was called then*

So what got YOU into MMORPGs? Leave a comment telling what hooked you into this addicting hobby. Also you may notice on the lower right I'm now part of MassiveBlips. If you think a particular post is good go over there and vote it up to show your support. You'll get a free cookie!*



*You may not get a free cookie.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Red 5 Interview

If the company " Red 5 " is unfamiliar to you'll want to get to know them real quick. Red 5 is a company formed of mostly ex-Blizzard employees. (Random Nerd Fact - It is also the X-wing Luke Skywalker pilots in "A New Hope".) The founders are Mark Kern(Team Lead), William Petras(Art Director), and Taewon Yun(Part of the Korean Operations that oversaw WoW's release in Asia). And they are making an MMORPG.

Got your attention yet?

Gamasutra got an interview with some of the high ups over at Red 5, talking about potential focus of their upcoming MMORPG, Micro-Transactions vs Subscription, game addiction, and other such subjects. You can read the full interview here. However don't expect any release dates, pictures, or even the name of the stealthy MMORPG. Red 5 is keeping their lips sealed until a future date*Which is hinted to be approaching in a few months!*

With a company consisting of mostly ex-Blizzard employees, I can only drool over what they could possibly be making over there. I'll keep you posted as soon as any information is made official.

Author's Note - I said I wouldn't be posting anything until later tonight..well. I can't help it, I love doing this ;).

Happy Holidays, may your loots be many and overpowered

There will be no updates to The MMO Experience until sometime late tonight, when I'll post something to celebrate the coming of the new year. Until then I just want to wish everyone a happy holiday, no matter what particular holiday you celebrate.

For some MMO fun however, I have a question. What do you do to set up your MMO playtime? By that I mean do you listen to a particular type of music when you're about to fight a really hard fight, do you generally have the same type of drink/snack, or do you put a movie on the background and just listen to the dialogue.

Myself, I've been known to "watch" Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, and other movies while I raid. It just seems to help ease the repetition and the sluggish aspects that go along with raiding. I don't really have a set snack or drink however. If I'm just playing solo or grouping however, I generally like to listen to rock/metal*Especially for my rogue*.

So, what do you do when you game? Let me know.

Oh, I'm banned from MMORPG.com for talking about Jumpgate Evolutions holiday contest and posting a link to it. Ain't that swell? Hehe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holy Dual Contests! Free World of Warcraft

I've spoken about a possible World of Warcraft + Expansions contest. However I'm going to up the ante here. I will have TWO contests, with possibly both prizes being The Complete WoW package. I have already decided on a format too. Is this contest IN STONE? No.

Not until I get enough interest to make it worth going out and buying 2 copies of WoW, TBC, and Wrath. It may sound evil*I am pretty evil*, but it just has to be done this way. I would love to do this however, I'm practically itching to do it. Why? It just sounds fun to give out some holiday presents to fellow gamers.

So here are the rules. I again state this contest will NOT happen unless I get some public interest. So slap your friends, make them interested, and repeat as needed. However I will go into the two contests.

1st one: A basic raffle. I will either use a computer program or literally take a name out of a hat to pick the winner here. Everyone that signs up gets only one entry*Though donations MAY get you additional tickets...Just kidding ;)*. I will put out a huge post regarding the rules once this becomes reality.

2nd one: A true contest. I've always wanted to get people to post up MMO stories/fanfics, so I'm gonna have to force it to happen. You'll have to write some type of story based on your character in whatever MMO you play or would like to play. I'll try to get some multiple judges for this one, and the best one wins. The winner, and those that didn't win*losers*, will get their fanfics/stories posted up on the webpage to show off their writing "skillz".

I've already decided that I will allow people to participate in both contests, so you are not limited to one or the other*Though you ARE limited to one entry per contest*. For the last time I will say this contest is not in stone, these are NOT the official rules. If you want this to happen, let people know about it, have them show they are interested either by leaving a comment here or by emailing me at ThaShirow@gmail.com

That is all.

Star Wars, JumpGate Evolution, and World of Warcraft

A few updates in the whole news department for some MMORPGs today. Some of it neat, some of it not, and the rest is just filler so you'll read more. OK that last bit was a lie. There has been some interesting news so lets get started shall we?

SWTOR(Star Wars The Old Republic) : Gamespy had an interesting interview with Bioware a few days ago about SWTOR. Since it's a rather lengthy interview I'll just post a link about it here, however it IS worth a read if your curious about the title. You can read it here.

JumpGate Evolution : A neat little challenge to celebrate the holidays is going on over at JumpGate's website. It's open to everyone, with an unlimited amount of entries, and can score you a beta invite if you win.
Jumpgate Evolution Christmas Challenge
To celebrate the festivities of the holidays we’ve got a new challenge for you, the members of the community! The challenge is to generate the best caption for one (or both) of the screenshots we’ve provided, (below). But we don’t want you to provide any old caption (that would be too easy); we want it to be associated with a festive winter or New Year’s theme!

The winning entry will receive a Beta key, a custom forum title, custom forum avatar and a goodie bag and will be known as the caption contest king/ queen, until we run another challenge!

Check here if you wanna grab yourself some goodies. I have a few ideas for my own entry but as I believe I am lacking in wit, I can only hope one of you win instead of those that don't view my website*Blast them!*.

World of Warcraft : Also in the news today is the legendary giant, WoW. With a bit of both good and bad news however. The good news is that 4 million copies of the new expansion were sold in the first month of release. So Wrath of the Lich King is selling pretty well.*I'm not Captain Obvious, I'm King Obvious*. In another milestone event, WoW subscribers has now grown to more than 11.5 million. People are constantly throwing around the term " WoW Killer ", referring to the next possible MMO that will topple WoW. However I think at this point the only possible cause of death for this titan is some infection.

With that in mind, the recent attacks on EVE players(Read here) is happening to WoW players as well! While Blizzard didn't release any official information, they did state that a number of game accounts have been compromised. They also give several options to help protect accounts from piracy,hacking, and other "social" engineering. Be careful not just in Azeroth, but outside it as well. Else you may not even respawn at all.*Bad joke...*

At this point World of Warcraft can only be killed from the inside*IE Blizzard*. There are plenty of solid MMORPGs coming out in the near future. However I foresee them more fighting over the population of gamers that have become disenchanted with WoW instead of fighting for Blizzard's fan base. Until then however it's just guesswork and speculation.

Also, a little update. I'm getting VERY little feedback except from an excited Cownose about a possible future World of Warcraft + both expansions giveaway. If I don't hear anything from at least a good chunk of people then I will have to put this on the back burner for the future. So if you ARE interested, please leave a comment to this post, Free copy of WoW.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Aion - The Tower of Eternity


For a game that looks this good and with a ton of interesting twists to the MMORPG genre, I sure took a long time to talk about it. Aion: The Tower of Eternity is made by NCSoft, which you may know from City of Heroes, Guild Wars, and Tabula Rasa. However unlike those entries, Aion is one of the many triple A titles that will "supposedly" topple World of Warcraft. While that lofty title is up to debate, the quality of Aion looks to make it a solid contender.


One of Aions biggest bragging rights is probably one of the most in-depth character customization in an MMORPG. Instead of using a few preset selections like World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online, you'll be given complete control of your character's appearance. I was pretty impressed by the video of the editor in use. I think the best way to describe it is to compare it to The Sims 2's editor with better graphics.


The biggest "innovation" is aerial combat. Characters are limited to the ground, especially when it comes to combat. This isn't just "ground fighting but in the air" either. Of course you should be in the air, you're immortal. Your character has ascended from mortality to a more divine nature. Of course there just happens to be a celestial war going on. Which brings up the subject of the two factions in the game. You'll be given the choice to fight for radiant, luminous Elyos or the grim, foreboding Asmodians.

A powerful avatar editor, aerial combat, and being a divine being sounds like...some type of concoction that should be fun. However a few people are put off by the anime style to the graphics. How NCsoft will win these folk over, and those that fear this is just another "grind" fest remains to seen. A lot of American gamers are quite skeptical, if not outright hostile, to Eastern MMORPGs. Time will tell if Aion actually live up to the hype surrounding the game. If you would like to see some very shiny videos of the game in action, as well as a glimpse of the character editor, check it out here.

Want a free copy of WoW?

I've been thinking for a few weeks to hold some type of contest for my readers. While nothing is set in stone yet, I would like to get some feedback. Part of what I wanted The MMO Experience to be was a place for people to post their own game experiences, such as comedic stories, and fanfics.

So, I've considered to give away a free copy of World of Warcraft + The Burning Crusade + Wrath of the Lich King. But before I go out and buy this, I would like to hear if you would be interested in this or rather just have a huge raffle.

So...let me know ;).

Paragon of Humanity*Please Look up the word Satire*

You just wouldn't understand.

I constantly read about these "gamers" talking like they're "
leet" and they will "pwn" anyone that challenges them. You read about them in forums, in their little blogs where they can puff up their chests and feel like one of the big dogs.

They are so mistaken. Their tiny little brains cannot even comprehend what it means to be a gamer, let alone a "raider". That's what I am. I COULD enlighten them to their own inferior skills, show them the despair one only knows in a situation where they would no thread to grasp onto as I destroy them..

But I got better things to do, the rest of you "gamers" are beneath my feet. However I will, occasionally, post in these forums you love so dearly. Why? It's like a random
occurrence in life that reminds you of a higher power, I remind you that you're not the best, you're just a newb.
I'm not the only one though, I'm surrounded by people nearly as good as myself. You probably haven't heard of us, we never gather where fellow players can see us in-game. However our guild is what all those other guilds you read about aspire to be.

We are the "Aristocrats ". Only the best are allowed to even be considered for our ranks. But enough of something you're too stupid to understand. I'm a hero after all, and I don't have the time to spend explaining such things to morons.

I've seen things you cannot even begin to imagine, no matter what you think of your little "accomplishments". In almost every game I play I've sailed far beyond what any mere player here can comprehend...

So you know what? I'm gonna leave you right there, as you struggle to catch up to me and my achievements. You can have your friends, your social life, your integrity, your morality, and all those other worthless things.

I got +10 more
str than you.

Author's Note - This is a satire. For those that DON'T know what this means...

1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.

But where did this satire come from? Here. I've always hated people with these type of elitist attitudes, especially concerning any type of virtual achievement. I wanna hear from you however about players of this
caliber, so leave a message.

Do it ;).

EVE Players beware!

As if the huge starbase exploit wasn't enough.

CCP Navigator just released the following statement, warning EVE players...

There is currently a phishing email circulating that claims to be sent from EVE Customer Support. This email claims that we had a database issue and lost some customer information and it asks you to login to make sure your information is still there. They conveniently provide their very own login link. This is of course not true; we have not lost any account information.

We'd also like to add that our knowledge when it comes to English grammar and spelling is far better than what is in the phishing email.

So if you play EVE, be careful when you check your email. While these sort of piracy attempts are used against many MMO players, it seems like EVE is being attacked over and over recently. You can read the original post here at MyEVE. Also something worthy of note, almost ALL developers will NEVER ask for your password or for you to login into the game due to "database" issues.

Even if you get a message that seems legitimate, verify your sources. Go to the game's homepage and make sure this is the case.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2009 Hopefully Good Games..

With another year fast approaching, and the current one slowly fading out of our memories, it's time to start drooling over some MMOs that are still baking in the oven..or however they make games. They DO bake right? Anyway, a quick glimpse of some games that may (or may not) grace us in the next year.

JumpGate Evolution
- A space MMOG*Massive Multiplayer Online Game* that looks entertaining. Jumpgate Evolution uses a "twitch" based combat system, so you have full control of your ship. With shiny graphics and doing away with turn-based combat, I really except this game to be a success. Release Date: Q2 of 2009*Not set in stone*

MegaTen - An MMORPG set in the world of Shin Megami Tensei, this game is quite fun. With a combat system that is more interactive than most MMORPGs, a unique pet system, and a dark atmosphere I think this game will be one of Aeria Games biggest successes. And probably one of the few good MT/F2P MMORPGs. Release date: Unknown*I suspect Q2-Q3 2009*

Aion - I want to play Aion. With that said, the game is visually stunning, and features some unique features*Such as flying for all characters, and aerial combat*. However there are many people worried it will be a "grind" fest. Only time will tell. Release Date:Unknown*The stars say Q3-Q4 2009*

Earthrise - An MMORPG set in a post-apocalyptic world. Earthrise looks pretty and is a nice trend away from the fantasy backdrop most MMORPGs use. You can read a detailed preview of it here. Release Date: Unknown

Guild Wars 2
- Following the previous entry, the sequel will still support no subscription fees, which I think is an excellent idea ;). Considering how much fun the first Guild Wars was, I can't wait to see this one in action.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Bioware's latest creation is last on this list because it's the one I'm most excited about. With the promise of the fourth "pillar" known as story to be included, I'm drooling. Add in the Star Wars IP to the mix of Bioware's record for quality video games, this seems to be a perfect union. One COULD say they have joined forces and became more powerful than you can possibly imagine.*Bad Joke..sorry. I had to*

So that's my list of hopefully good games that will hopefully be released in 2009. While there are other non-MMORPGs I'm looking forward to, I gotta stay on task. Now I must go. I just purchased Resistance: Fall of Man for my spanking new PS3. If you must know why I got it instead of brand new sequel, I wanted to know the storyline first...

And it was cheaper! Oh, in case you too own a Playstation 3, my PSN is Danshir. You are more than free to add me and we can get some gaming on.

We are now Live!

Title says it all. Except for adding some more additions to the forum, our new format is live and done. While I may add more things to it, it is now an armed and fully operational battle station..

Or something like that.

Anyway, leave comments if you like/dislike. Post on the forums, force others to visit.

My minions get great benefits, such as 401k, dental, matching uniform,a refer-a-friend get metal teeth program.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

New format is up..kinda...maybe...well..

As you can see the new template is up! I found one I really liked, but I hated the header for it. Since I'm in no way, shape, or form an artist it took me a while to try to think of SOMETHING I could make that would function until I could figure something out.

Also you will note some key elements are missing, such as my blog roll*Other MMORPG blogs/gaming website that I personally enjoy* I will get those up as soon as possible. Anyway, tell me what you like/dislike about the new format. If everyone thinks its crap, I'll find something new =).

Until then...Sleep!

ZzzZzzzzzz

Author's Note - Another addition to the website will be our very own forum! It's made, just not linked to the main site just yet.

Update - Due to family gatherings, it may take some time to finish the new format than planned. I apologize.

Update 2 - The new format is nearing it's epicness. The site should be easier to navigate, and we have our very own forum! While there is no posts there, nor is the forum done*I'm SO lazy* it will be tomorrow. Sorry for it taking so long!

Tabula Rasa goes free early!

Sometimes NCSoft is just a big ol softy. After releasing Deployment 15 and adding a bunch of neat content AND talking about adding mechs with Deployment 16 , they have decided to make Tabula Rasa free for current, new, and returning players a month early!

So head over to Tabula Rasa's homepage (here) and get to playing! The fact Tabula Rasa is going out with such a party is enough of a reason to show your appreciation to NCSoft for being such benign souls in these wintry months.

Who knows, maybe if they show off how well they've fixed previous errors they will get enough people to NOT shut down.

Just a thought.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Site will be under some construction..

I'm quite tired of the current template, and I've decided to change it completely. So until that gets fixed*I would say the site will be back up in full tomorrow*, updates will be light.

I have a very good read for you however, click here for a great article about video game journalism.

In its current format, being any type of video game journalist is difficult. Especially with such large Blog sites such as Destructoid.com*which I'm proud to be a member*, Kotaku*Which sucks*, and other such "big" sites. You may *or may not* know that I'm also a writer for NegativeGamer.com*I'm too lazy to make links at the moment, bad day at work, it's over there to your right however with the rest of the cool web pages*. While I would love to see NG flourish for the sake of seeing a great idea flourish, I would also love to see The MMO Experience flourish as well.

Do I want to be as big as Kotaku, MMORPG, or Massively? No. I rather have an intimate audience that wants a more laid back and personal way of enjoying their news and just hearing interesting stories. That, to me, is what an experience is. While I will post about upcoming MMORPGs, especially if I think they are interesting, my idea for this blog was wanting a place where people could share their own experiences along with my own. I haven't accomplished that goal yet, but I indeed to.

So, since I'm currently about to back up all the links I have and other such things, I would like to hear from you. What are some feedback from you? How can this site improve? Both visually and with those weird symbols called "words". I would dearly appreciate any feedback.

Thanks,

Danshir


Thursday, December 18, 2008

MMORPGs are Evil


Are
MMORPGs evil? The answer may surprise you.

With the recent articles about torture in World of
Warcraft(read here) I have decided to investigate what other vices MMORPGs indulge themselves in. If MMORPGs can stoop so low as to have you torture a fellow virtual human being, than I doubt there is no low that the developers will have us sink to. Probably for their own nefarious plot of "world-takeover" proportions. I haven't got any proof yet, so until then I can only show what proof I DO have.

MMORPGs ARE evil.

First I'll start off with one of the more tamer vices, Drinking. I don't mean drinking water or
kool-aid, which is all well and good, but liquor! Beer, ale, whiskey, and other intoxicating drinks are everywhere! Especially Ironforge, the city of the Dwarves in World of Warcraft. Apparently this entire "race" of people are nothing but drunks. Why would Blizzard design a game for our children that has an ENTIRE race of potential AA members? They even joke about it with the little quip..

/silly "I don't have a drinking problem. I drink, I fall down, No problem!"

THEN these games actually SHOW your character drinking and the effects of intoxication. The screen gets blurry, and your character starts to weave back and forth. Even your characters speech becomes slurred to where you can't ever understand what someone is saying. This is completely and utterly unacceptable. Yet I wish this was the largest problem I had with my experiences in games like
WoW, EQ, EQ2, WAR, and a whole large list of vile, evil, malicious games!

If a whole race of midget drunks didn't throw you off and ban your children from ever touching a "PC" again, this may ban your child from even saying the words "Exp". The entire game revolves around one fact. To get anywhere, to "level" up or whatever, is you have to KILL other people! These games encourage violence. It teaches them positive psychological reinforcement that if you kill someone you can take their clothes and their money. It doesn't have to be people either. My son, Billy, was smashing a squirrel in the face with his "staff of
jordan" saying that he could sell the squirrel's teeth to a "merchant" for a couple of bucks. I'm scared to walk my little fluffy wuffy Mittens down the road, afraid someone will maul him for his paws or whatever body part is lucrative that week.

There are other subjects too, like racism. These games were MADE to PROMOTE racism! What are our children to think when they are playing a game that tells them " You must kill all the Night elves you see because their Alliance! "? You are encouraged to kill other people JUST because of race. How can video game companies get away with such obviously misguided and twisted views and encourage our children to think the same? I know that immediately after writing this warning letter I'm going to write to my congressmen about all this. You shouldn't kill gnomes just because they are short! or Night elves because their eyes glow differently than a Blood elf's.

So please, keep your children away from these games! The more they play it, the more likely they will start thinking since your a human, your filthy alliance, and you have to die. Then they will take your clothing and money, and sell your ears to some "merchant"! These games, and ALL games, are evil. If there were no video games we wouldn't have violence! Before television we were a perfect society!


Author's note for the stupid - This is a satire. Enjoy it or Hate it. Post comments if you want, Just me expressing some rage over recent news about yet another human being blaming Video Games/Television/Movies/Music because they cannot take responsibility for their own filth. We need to stop pointing fingers at everything but those who are to blame when we take such horrible actions.

Ourselves.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Star Wars: The Old Republic Update

Video speaks for itself. It looks amazing =).

Check it out here.

Author's note - Due to the new template, I could no longer have the embeded video on the website, plus it was getting annoying.

Danshir talks to Aeria Games!

I'm somewhat surprised that someone actually bothered to talk to me, let alone someone that works on a game I've reviewed/play. However Spencer Chi, Producer of Aeria Games & Entertainment responded to a few questions I had about Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine regarding some of my suggestions and complaints.

While it's not a ton of information, I was still pleased with my answers.

I had asked questions about the run speed, explaining it was too slow considering the size of most play areas, and that it needs to be tweaked to some extent. While my answer here wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear, I did get some nice information.

SpencerC -You'll be able to increase your run speed with the Item Mall item, Orb of Speed. If you don't want to spend AP, you can also get to level 20 and get a mount. When you have a mount, you'll travel faster.

Apparently also you can let your mount auto-pilot you where you want to go by clicking on the mini-map, which I thought was kinda nice.

Then of course, I had to ask about the disconnect issues. I know myself and a few others were constantly getting booted, especially if trying to do an instance.

SpencerC - We're working on the disconnects and we almost have it fixed--probably within the next 2-3 days.

Lastly, I had asked about the alt+tab glitch. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, when you alt+tab out of MegaTen while playing in full screen mode you can't go back into the game without it crashing.

SpenserC -As for the alt+tab issue, you're right that playing in windowed mode avoids this. We'll see what we can do about it not exiting in full-screen.

You can view the very brief posts between us here.

EVE's Starbase Exploit Reachs Cosmic Proportions

As many EVE players probably already know, there is an exploit within the game that has been used on a massive scale. However what many probably don't know is that this exploit has been in the game for about 4 years. Now I won't go into detail on how the exploit is performed. Suffice it to say it has generated well over 3 trillion ISK according to Scrapheap Challenge. While this amount is roughly equal to the amount of ISK traded daily, that's a huge chump of change.

CCP games, the developer for EVE online, has started up an investigation and had meetings with the player elected officials known as the "Council of Stellar Management"(CSM). Some Q/A was released from this meeting and made known to the public. If you wish to read the minutes of the meeting please go here.

It is interesting to note if you read the main points of the discussion CCP isn't ready to whip out the banhammer. While there will be obvious punishments toward those that participated in the exploit, what about the players that purchased the exploited items? With over 35% of the Ferrogel market coming from this exploit, how bad have these players hurt the economy?

According to the 4 banned players(please read the minutes of the meeting if you have no idea what I'm talking about) they reported this exploit years ago and nothing was done about it. While this hasn't been verified, if they are telling the truth should they even be punished? Obviously they have hurt the game to some degree. However if CCP games did NOTHING about it after being told about an exploit, is that not a silent nod to continue said exploit?

Here is a few of the more important questions/answers..

A banned player posting on the unofficial EVE Online forums, Scrapheap Challenge, claimed the exploit had been running for four years. Is four years an accurate timeframe?

CCP's Lead Economist Dr. EyjoG (Dr. Eyj├│lfur Gu├░mundsson) stated he's able to confirm that the exploits started in March 2008. The minutes indicate that 'the bulk of it' became operational in May and June of 2008. As to how far back this exploit actually reaches, the minutes state that "CCP is in the process of restoring older data and will mine that data for information over the next two weeks." Furthermore, CCP Games knows that the exploit itself existed before March 2008, but (thus far) hasn't found evidence of players using it until March. (Note: EVE developer CCP Diagoras stated that the exploit was possible, code-wise, from at least February 2007, but until the older data is restored the devs do not have a definitive answer on whether this truly began four years ago.)

If this market manipulation was happening on such a grand scale, why wasn't it detected until now?

Dr. EyjoG said the exploit wasn't used on a grand scale until this year, and thus the economic effects were gradual. Also, not all of the materials gained through the exploit were sold on the open market. Indeed, most of the materials were either used directly for production (manufacturing) or traded outside of the market. He also added that CCP is reviewing how they operate in terms of Quality Assurance, market monitoring and data mining to see if there's more they can do to detect exploits in the game.

How much of EVE's resources were produced through the starbase exploit?

Although the full extent of the damage to EVE Online's economy still isn't known, CCP Diagoras gave a rough estimate of the share of overall production the exploit accounts for: 35% of the Ferrogel market, which was the most exploited material. Other materials were produced with the exploit, but to a lesser extent than Ferrogel.

The forum poster on Scrapheap Challenge claimed the exploit netted between 2.5 and 3 trillion ISK. Is that figure accurate?

CCP is holding off on breaking the exploit down by ISK amount estimates for the various materials, namely to let the market speculation die down, and of course because they don't have the full picture yet themselves. However, Dr. EyjoG believes the exploit did generate a few trillion ISK. He noted that the daily trade in EVE is about 3 trillion ISK, downplaying the views of the impact as being catastrophic, but he reiterates that it is significant.

What impact did this amount of ISK gained through the exploit have on the outcomes of 0.0 warfare?

Dr. EyjoG said this is unknown, and in all probability cannot be estimated.

Which alliances and characters were directly involved, or benefitted from the starbase exploit in some way?

CCP Games, specifically CCP Arkanon, said the company policy is to not release information about a player or a player's account to third parties. As such, there won't be a name-and-shame of the players, corporations, or alliances who knowingly took advantage of the POS exploit. It seems they're aware of the fact that this will not sit well with some of the playerbase.

What guarantees does the playerbase have that the guilty parties were punished, and that innocent parties (those not directly aware of the exploit) are not punished?

This is a tricky issue, and one on which CCP Games is asking for input from the CSM. Essentially, CCP is wondering how far they should go in terms of punishing people who may have unknowingly benefitted from exploit, or otherwise helped the exploiters profit. (Such as those who purchased the materials produced by the exploit.) CCP Games appears to be taking an "innocent until proven guilty" stance on their investigations, rather than issuing blanket banhammers.

Was this truly petitioned by the now-banned player(s) 4 years ago and disregarded all this time?

CCP has not provided a definitive answer on this yet. Dr. EyjoG said they're still trying to verify this. The petition system has changed and CCP apparently outsourced customer support at that time (specifically, with an outsourced email system according to CCP Xhagen), although they are looking through the old databases.

Were CCP employees connected with this exploit in any way?

CCP Arkanon said that there is no indication that a CCP employee was involved, but stated that investigations are ongoing, particularly as they dig deeper and they get a more complete picture of the situation.

Grab something to drink, sit down, and lets discuss this. What should CCP do toward those that simply purchased items from the exploiters? What actions should be taken to try to fix the damaged economy?

Shadowbane, World of Warcraft, and The Evil Tyrant SOE

A few posts ago, when I was talking about my dream MMORPG(You can read it here) a comment by DulakQuickleaf suggested I may enjoy Shadowbane by Ubisoft. I decided to give the game a whirl, after all it's free now. After the initial install, patching, and other minor updates I was ready to have a blast...

I was betrayed.

At first I was intrigued. There are several races to choose from. Human, elf, minotaur, centaur, vampire, demon, half-elf, etc. However once the game started I knew there was no chance I was going to enjoy it. This isn't Dulak's fault however. Shadowbane just instantly shut me off due to several issues such as UI, playing perspective, and just overall polish.

In other news..

Apparently job recruiters(some) are told NOT to hire WoW players. While I'm sure this remark is aimed toward all MMO players and not just WoW, this is a funny little fact. Why not hire the MMO gurus? Most employers find that MMO players are too focused/playing their MMO of choice*which is mostly World of Warcraft* instead of actually working. I know that at my previous employment there was generally a large group talking about WoW instead of working pretty much the entire time.

The rest of the time they were playing it in their offices.

Oh, and people still apparently hate SOE. I don't. My hate is now for MicroSoft

*glares at his bricked Xbox*

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A sad author..

A few minutes ago, my happy Xbox 360 died. It had lived a good...year. A month just after the warranty ended actually. Instead of forking over $100+ to repair a system that died in a year..* COME ON, my Nintendo Entertainment System aka NES still works to this day...* my wife and I decided to go over to Sony.

Yup, a Playstation 3.

Go go built in blu-ray and free online play.

Subscription MMORPGs Hate MT MMORPGs?

With the recent addition of Station Cash by SOE for EverQuest and EverQuest 2 most fans are split into two groups. Those that HATE IT and those that are fine with it. After observing the kind of flame wars between these two on the forums of websites such as MMORPG.com I can't help but wonder..

What's with the rage?

A large number of the MMORPG community*not the website, but overall* are passionate one way or the other about these two types of systems. A large portion of subscription based players*Those that pay a monthly fee to play their game* detest and positively hate the idea of a Micro-Transaction model.*Game is free, but you pay real cash for fluff items, gear, and other such thing* Why do they hate it?

Most players find that it takes away from the game. With a game where the only enjoyment is what achievements you can achieve, having a system that lets you achieve the same thing with their wallet ruins the game for them. Even if the items gain in the MT are nothing but fluff items for unique graphics for armor/weapons/etc a good chunk of them will still protest. Why? Perhaps due to the "rich" kid having access to something they do not, despite it being nothing but aesthetics? You see it all the time in real life. Jealousy over someone having a sports car when you have an average car. Even though they both function the same and the advantage is only aesthetics, it's generally the same principle.

There is also the stereotype that F2P and MT games have a lot more children or people with child-like mindsets as their player populations. "If you play this cutesy game you must obviously not be hardcore like me for playing Warhammer" kind of attitude. I disagree with this attitude completely. In my experiences I've seen more immature attitudes in subscription based MMORPGs than MT/F2P. This could be due to an admittedly lower player population, but I think there are a lot more adults/mature people playing these games than people realize.

I made a small post about SOE's Station Cash(You can view it here ) a few days ago. Yet from then to now the total venom people have toward any payment method other than subscription has me in awe at their vehemence. There was also the recent incident with Star Wars: The Old Republic(You can view it here ). Another example of players going in an uproar over the thought of a MT system.

So how do YOU feel about either system? Leave a comment, lets discuss this.

SOE announces Station Cash a success

Apparently adding Micro-Transactions to EverQuest and EverQuest 2 was a smashing success for Sony Online Entertainment. How much a success? Enough to start hiring a larger staff JUST for the Station Cash program. There is also talk of adding even more items. Now even though SOE once claimed in a blog to NEVER have any type of MT system...

Here it is. For better or worse SOE is keeping AND expanding it.

However most games that use MT have no subscription fees, yet EverQuest and EverQuest 2 do. They also charge per expansion, etc, etc. I really think that unless they switch to a full MT system*Where there is no subscription fees, etc* then this could hurt more than help.

You can read the full post by SOE here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Earthrise - About the game and beta announcements


As if someone heard my prayers, an MMO set in an apocalyptic world called Earthrise will soon be entering Beta stages. The game is made by Masthead Studios , a developer I haven't heard a word about until just recently while looking for new MMORPGs.

So what is Earthrise about?

Earthrise is a post apocalyptic science fiction MMORPG set in the distant future.

In the aftermath of the Third World War, mankind has managed to survive and build a new society: the prosperous city of Sal Vitas. Cloning, nanotechnology and quantum engineering are part of a new reality. Thanks to these technological advances, the human species has become immortal; each individual’s consciousness is stored in a data vault, ready to be uploaded into a cloned body as necessary. New energy sources have been discovered. There is a unified government that takes good care of those citizens who abide by its strict laws. Paradise, it appears, might really have come to Earth, and the people have embraced it.

But not everything is as perfect as it appears. By exercising full control over the cloning process, Sal Vitas' government decides who will live and who will not, playing the role of God on Earth. Insurgent forces have accused the city's rulers of crimes against humanity. Armed factions fight for resources and power within the new system. And from the waves of discontent, a rebellion has fomented and formed a shadow government: Noir.

Featuring a unique skill-based advancement system and player-driven economy, as well as extensive, meaningful player-vs.-player combat, Earthrise gives you innumerable choices to forge your destiny. Whether you're a noble soldier in the raging conflict between the Utopia and the rebellion, a criminal hiding from the law or a world-renowned engineer whose power extends into intricate trade and politics, your actions will echo throughout the game world.

Sounds wacky. After reading further about the game there are several things worthy of note. There is no "class" system for one. You build what you want to play from a selection of over 100 skills/abilities/tactics. Since I just recently spoke of the whole issue with classes in MMORPGs, I feel like my mind is being read...which is spooky.

Also is something most people love about EVE online, the ability to progress with something even while logged off. How Earthrise will do this I'm not entirely certain, but it will more than likely attract subscribers with that alone. Yes subscribers. It IS a subscription based MMORPG. So I'm really hoping it comes with a free trial so players can try before they buy. I've wasted quite a few bucks buying a MMORPG only to find it was horrid.

To close I'll show off some purity pictures I found of the game. Enjoy! And discuss...or suffer.














MMORPG Group Dynamics

Sony sure knows how to make people mad.

In a typical MMORPG, there are two types of characters that rarely have to LFG for long. The tank and the healer. With most players playing some type of DPS*Damage Per Second* class there is nearly a constant demand of tanks and healers. However in the latest expansion for the age old MMORPG EverQuest, that has changed.

Mercenaries.

To those new to this idea or just new to EverQuest entirely, mercenaries in this context are NPCs*Non-playable characters* you can hire to join your group like a normal PC*Player character*. In need of a healer? Hire one. In need of a tank? Hire one. DPS classes are now always able to hire these npcs in a pinch instead of possibly waiting for hours to find one ran by a human being.

This is a bad thing.

In EverQuest I now see a steady stream of Clerics LFG for hours on end. No one wants them now as they bring nothing to the table. A mercenary is far more reliable than a random person that could go afk without saying anything, be a loot hog, be an idiot, etc. Why take the risk? So we have an expansion that completely shuts down a complete class. But wait...they can just hire a tank mercenary too right?

Yeah, IF they have the latest expansion.

It seems SOE tried to fix its low player population with NPCs that simply encourages people not to group up with real players. I've joined several groups where around half of the group were Npcs. The ol days of a fun filled group chat filled with different personalities is long gone for EverQuest it seems. However this was simply a failed fix to a problem many MMORPGs suffer from. I know in my personal play time I was constantly LFG in World of Warcraft when I wanted to do a heroic instance. That or in a group that was looking for a tank and/or healer.

This could go on for hours.

So what is the solution to this? This isn't fun for the players of the DPS classes to be waiting for hours on end to snatch up the first healer/tank to make a whisper in the LFG channel. I frankly find it's time to abandon the classes that inspired MMORPGs, Dungeons & Dragons. While the archetypes concept worked very well in the table top scenario due to a large number of "friends" being there, it doesn't work online.

So, Hybrids. Classes that can function in several roles at ONCE. I'm not talking about WoW's current Hybrids such as a Priest can switch talent specs to dps or heal, or a Warriors tank or dps. The ability to perform BOTH tasks at once. Warhammer Online has done something akin to this with their classes.

So what do you think? Should MMORPGs stick with the D&D inspired ideas or adopt "classes" that can fulfill multiple roles? Or is there another solution besides a very bad one by SOE by using NPCs to replace PCs?

Leave a comment. Do it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A City of Heroes Experience: Evil Teleport

This is a little nugget of true malice I thought I would share. A few years ago, when City of Heroes was first released a friend and I decided to go on a break from our other MMORPGs and give it a shot. However we didn't want to play as heroes, we wanted to play as some messed up evil guys.
Sadly City of Villains was no where in sight at the time so we did the best we could*Which was surprising in how well we did...*

So was born Marhault*my friend* and myself, Ahrimin. A bunch of whacked out evil guys deciding we would TRY to actually roleplay in a genre of games that encourages it in one hand and slaps you for doing it in the other. So there we went, boldly scaring kiddies with our evil characters and slaying bad guys like crazy.

However we got separated at one point. By separated I mean Marhault was in some alley way fighting a large group of enemies and I was on top a roof fighting a few. While I finished mine on without a problem, Marhault was in trouble. He had pulled wayyyy too many. So I offered to teleport him to my location to safety.

The evil starts now.

He agreed, so I clicked his name, and was given a little circle radius cursor to pick where he appeared. So I did what any evil being would do. I put the cursor in thin air over just the edge of the building.*Note - I think NCSoft made it to where you can't do this anymore..but back then..you could!* For a brief second he just floated there, on the precipice of his own demise...then he fell a loooonnnnggg way down.

To those that have never played City of Heroes, falling can never kill a character. It's just not very heroic to die from a fall. However it can put you down to 1hp. Which was the case for Marhault, then a level 1 NPC walked up and slapped him, ending his life. It was quite possibly one of the funniest*and more evil* things I've done in an MMORPG.

I wonder why he doesn't call me anymore..

Author's note - This happened some years ago, which is why I don't have any great pics to add to this story. However if you wanna give out City of Heroes a try, you can use a free trial here...

City of Heroes® Be a hero... and crush crime

Myst Online - Real Innovation

I got to hand it to Cyan Worlds. They have truly done something that may very well cause a revolution in how we play MMORPGs. Cyan Worlds, the creators of the famous Myst series, released some time ago Myst: Online. This was to be an MMO version of their popular series. However recently the company has hit it pretty hard financially. The game was first dropped by Ubisoft and then by GameTap.

Once Cyan Worlds got their IP back, the hardcore fans of URU(Myst Online) decided to stick around as Cyan Worlds held only one solitary server up for its fans. They called this project MORE(Myst Online Restoration Experiment). For the longest time, due to even more financial setbacks everything was quiet.

Until this bit of news. Myst Online Goes OPEN SOURCE! Click here for their official announcement.

So what does this mean for YOU as a gamer? Expect a lot of mods and addons by players to an MMORPG. For some this is simply a dream come true. All the freedom of player/fan modification to an MMO is truly mind bloggling when it comes to possibilities. However this could also be the destruction of URU. Depending on how the modders swing it, it could either be a breath taking achievement...or a complete disaster.

I'm really looking forward to see how this project develops. Depending on its success we could see more MMORPGs releasing their sources, truly changing how we play the genre. Don't believe me? Go check out the large variety of "maps" in StarCraft and WarCraft III. While the game is an RTS*real time strategy*, many of the custom player-made maps range from RPGs, Defense Maps, and other unique maps that really don't fit a genre like Aeon of Strife.

I'm really looking forward to this.
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