Saturday, January 31, 2009

The MMO Recap

You know those kind of episodes from your favorite television shows that are really just a huge collection of clips from previous episodes?

This post is the written equivalent!

Now before you run off, damning me to the last layer of Baator to have a nice chat with Asmodeus,(I'm about to play D&D...leave me be I know what kind of horrid nerd I happen to be.) this one actually kinda makes sense.

At least it does to me.

I've recently received a much larger reader base, which truly makes me smile a bit when I think about it. I appreciate your patronage, your comments, and all that other crap. However since I've got this influx of readers I've not got to show some of my best(By that I mean hilarious) work that I've done in previous days. This also gives me more time to write the article that I was going to post today, and more time to reveal a secret surprise I have in the oven.

Not literally in the oven.


MMORPGs are EVIL!!!!111!1 - A satirical piece written by me in response to someone blaming videogames on acts of violence.

Gender Switch-a-Roo - A true story that happened to someone I knew. This was prior to being able to switch genders in World of Warcraft. It involves virtual love between a virtual man and a virtual woman....and neither one of them is a woman. One of them didn't know it.

Paragon of Humanity - Another satire. Written in response to the whole "If Blizzard doesn't release an "elite" patch, then a lot of casual players will lose their heroes and role models as the hardcore raiders will leave the game."

Subscription vs MT - A post about the hate that most subscription MMO players have for their arch-nemesis, players of Micro-Transaction games.

The special "surprise" is that I just sent an email to RedEagle games about an interview concerning their
Wheel of Time MMO being developed. I'm hoping they agree to chat with me as I'm a fan of the series written by the late Robert Jordan.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Question of World of Warcraft MMO Lore

It's friday! Huzzah!

I'm about to go out and celebrate the fact that for a few days I won't have to assist people with their Medicare issues by enjoying the company of some friends. Now however I would still like to get a conversation started of a more casual nature. Tomorrow I'll post a few ideas I had at work..but that's another story.

With the release of
Wrath of the Lich King, and the future patch that will let players face off against King Arthas/The Lich King/Ner'zhul, the storyline will soon have most of it's characters with evil delusions of grandeur axed.

So if you're interested in the lore of World of
Warcraft, where do you think the story will go from here? Will Deathwing the former Earth Warder finally take center stage in World of Warcraft? Will Sargeras somehow be resurrected and lead the Burning Legions?

Where do you think the storyline will go from here? Let's discuss. Personally I would love to see
Deathwing be the lead villain.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

An MMO Idea: Fellowship Benefits

Shouldn't loyalty be rewarded?

If you've spent any length of time in
MMOs such as World of Warcraft, you've met the people that once they've obtained what they want from the hardest instance your guild can conquer, they /gquit and join a guild further up the chain. Now I won't go into the subject of whether or not this type of behavior is "right" or "wrong", but rather or not should an MMO developer reward someone the longer they stay in a guild.

Here is my idea.

To put it very simply, have a brand new
NPC be available near where you purchase a guild tabard and start a guild charter. This NPC will sell special "pets", patterns, and other cosmetic items as a reward for players that have remained in a guild for an X amount of time. The longer you stay, the more rewards you can purchase. I was even considering the idea that after a certain amount of time you can get special "buffs" that you could use perhaps once an hour.

Now I'm not certain what type of buff this would be. Obviously it would have to be to the extent it wouldn't break the game in any way, just be an added benefit for not switching guilds constantly.

So today's discussion is this. Should developers reward players for being loyal to their guild and not switching, or should this fall under the actual guild leaders to try and maintain loyalty? Express your opinion about the whole "I got what I wanted and now I'm gone" attitude.

Happy hunting!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The "Interview"


That is the date I asked for an interview concerning their recent lawsuit against
NCSoft, creator of such gems as City of Heroes and Guild Wars. This was the pipe dream of an aspiring writer/journalist wanting to try to do a somewhat important interview. I didn't expect to get it, and I told some of my blog friends (Such as Tipa of and OpenEdge1 at Simple and Complex.) about me sending out the email.


The date that Thom
Kidrin, the CEO of answered my sally at fame. His answer?


I welcome your questions and to the extent I can provide answers to them I will.

You can post my email but I would also like to review your website.


The next day I started to send out my questions to Thom. To be kind, my first question was the typical "Tell me a little about your company, what you do, etc". Immediately following that was a series of questions relating to the actual lawsuit, what thought about the outrage towards them from the online community, and other such tidbits. I'll list a few of the questions I had..

Question 3. No sense in ignoring the huge elephant in the room so let's discuss your lawsuit with NCSoft. A question on a lot of gamer's minds are why is starting the lawsuit now. The two patents that have been infringed upon, if I'm reading them correctly, have been for infringed upon for several years by different companies. Yet it wasn't until near the end of 2008 that took legal action. Why?

Question 4. Another question I'm hearing on blogs, forums, and news websites are "why NCSoft?". Was there something in particular that made choose that company over other companies?

These are obviously the questions that I, and a lot of people I've spoke to on forums and blogs, want the answers to. These questions, and quite a bit more, were sent out on 01/06/09. The only answer I've received from him is the answer to the very first question, the "shameless self advertisement" one. Not that I'm above shameless self advertisement, but I generally try to provide entertainment too, or at least information.

So what to do?

I'm going to release the information that I have on hand of course. Why? Because some of my answers are within what he gave me, if you move it underneath the monocle.

In 1994 Worlds was spun out of Bill Gross's Knowledge Adventure; an educational software publisher that grew to be the third largest educational software publisher in the world and was initially know as Knowledge Adventure Worlds. Titles included; Dinosaurs 3D, 3D Body and Undersea Adventure. When Worlds Chat was launched in April 1995 the company name was changed to Worlds Inc.

Worlds partnered with Steven Spielberg,
Starbright Foundation, Sprint, UB Networks, Tandem, and Intel to create an avatar virtual world for kids confined to hospitals, Starbright World. The worlds came online at five pediatric hospitals in the United States in late 1995. Patent 6219045 was filed on November 13,1995.

In 1996-97 under contract Worlds developed private worlds for IBM, Visa, MGM, Sony and Disney.

In 1996 we also launched Alpha Worlds now known as Active Worlds which had everything that Second Life now does.

Worlds Inc. was acquired by Worlds Acquisition Corporation in Nov 1997 and changed the name to

Between 1998 and 2001 Worlds developed and launched the following worlds in revenue sharing partnerships with the following brands:

Universal Pictures Animal House,
Polygram, Hanson, David Bowie, NY Yankees, British Telecom, World Wrestling Federation, Aerosmith and Coca Cola China.

Across all our 3D Worlds network our registered user base reached over 1,000,000 by the end of 2001.

On August 3, 2000 Worlds filed additional claims as a continuance to our 1995 patent 6219045 which resulted in patent 7,181,690 issued on February 20, 2007.

In June 2001 Worlds terminated all full time employees as a result of the .com bust and resulting
Internet market meltdown. The company continued to maintain its service as well as continued software development on an as needed basis and under contract licenses.

During the intervening years there have been thousands of user created worlds and Avatars developed using Worlds tools and hosted on the members
PC's. This user created content has been an experiment in organic growth and the sharing of virtual construction between thousands of Worlds users. This user created content on Worlds Peer-to-Peer 3D network now has hundreds of private user worlds

In September 2007 Worlds began a restructure which entailed a new Board to bring the company back into SEC compliance and to upgrading the core technology platform.

November 2007 Worlds signs a private development agreement with MTV.

July 7, 2008 Worlds signed Rapper
DMC of Run DMC to develop DMC World set to launch early 2009.

December 11, 2008 Worlds retained Lerner David
Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP (LDLKM), to enforce Worlds' patents.

December 24, 2008 Lerner David
Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP files patent enforcement action against NC Soft on behalf of Worlds.
Isn't this interesting? In 2001 terminated all their full-time employees during the .com bust THEN they began reconstruction in 2007. Perhaps I'm being too cynical here, but why is the picture of an innocent company suddenly finding itself in the grip of an evil tyrant in my head? Ok, what I'm getting at is this...

Why suddenly sue companies that have been infringing upon your patents when you could have done this prior to now? Why after 6 years from it's collapse did the company suddenly begin to reconstruct itself and
establish a new Board? I know I'm leading, please forgive me, I'll stop being subtle.

What if didn't WANT/CARE to sue prior to this? What if was reconstructed for the sole purpose of this lawsuit? I know that what I'm saying is very conspiracy
theroy-ish, but hear me out. The patent they filed wasn't official until Feburary 20th, 2007. A few months after that they began to renew their company and then over a year later the infamous lawsuit between NCSoft and was born.

So why
NCsoft? It's simple. NCsoft is the weak member of the herd at the moment for this type of action for two reasons. One is the downfall of Tabula Rasa, and the other is the fact NCSoft is a Korean company. Now why does that fact matter? Here is an excellent quote from

"Being a foreign defendant in Texas is not a pleasant thing," he said of NCsoft, which is primarily a Korean company. "The juries are, many would say, biased towards American plaintiffs and have a propensity to offer high damages. Some defendants might view them as an unfriendly jury and it might make the defendant more likely to settle."

Many observers have speculated that since's patent was only granted in 2007 and filed in 2000, there may be too many examples of prior art, including NCsoft's own games, for the patent to stand. Roth explained that the patent itself is actually continued on from a much earlier filing date, November 13, 1995, putting it ahead of NCsoft's founding in 1997.

I rest my bloody case. I wanted to be neutral in this matter with, I wanted to try to be a good "journalist". However I can't stop feeling somewhat dirty for even offering the chance for to give their side of the story. So while I do apologize to all of you that I couldn't get the answer from the mouth of as I had promised, I hope you found this article somewhat enlightening and entertaining.

My discussion for today? What do you think of this lawsuit? Who do you side for if anyone? Leave some comments and let's discuss shall we? Now excuse me while I take a bath.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An MMO Story: Why I love my Rogue

I couldn't think of anything witty to say here, so, Stab!

The past few days have been pretty interesting. Before I go into my lil story of a boy, some swords, and a Troll being oblivious to his impending doom I would like to give a few updates about the site, myself, and that poor gnome I keep telling you to kick.

First you may have noticed the utter destruction of advertisements.(unless it's image exchanges between blogs) This was due to a few complaints heading my way about them. So I've decided to go without ads until I figure out a way to do it in a very pleasing manner. Someone mentioned to me to have a weird
PayPal donation box, but I kinda feel like that's even worse than having ads. The next step is probably throwing a shoe at someone and demanding cash for it.

Not a bad idea for some people though.

As for that gnome...who cares?

Excitement at it's finest....

Aside from fishing, I've had a blast playing World of Warcraft again. For one I got to play in probably the best designed low-level zone in the game, Ghostlands. This place is truly heaven incarnate if you want to level quick, get decent quest rewards, and overall have fun. While I was happily stabbing things in vital organs with my happy-go-lucky attitude, someone slams a flag at my feet and demands a duel.

Which was....odd.

So I gaze at this flag wielding madman, and discover to my surprise he's another rogue, just like me. We're the same level too. So what do I do? I mean I haven't played a rogue in over a year, WELL over a year in fact.

Deep breath,
Danshir. Focus....

I threw a shoe and demanded money....and it worked!

After giving the other guy some first aid,(It's amazing what a band-aid can fix! Horrible gaping wound with ruptured organs? No problem!) I went on through out Ghostlands doing quests left and right. I really cannot stress how well designed this area is. However there was one quest in particular that I couldn't do by myself, one involving two huge abominations that weren't too friendly to Blood Elves.

I know I probably should have asked in chat who wanted to group up and do this quest, gathered a party together, and slay the beasts with teamwork and tenacity. Instead I decided to take the quick easy fix by asking a level 80
DeathKnight to "...just wade in there, sword swinging.".

If you help me, I swear I'll post a picture of you on my website...

All in all it was a very interesting day on my Rogue.I'm practically itching to get more into the end game challenges. Between killing elite monsters solo, dueling some Orc chap in The Crossroads about 15+ times(He won three, I won the rest, but he was pretty good.), and raising the pick lock ability (Which is SO much easier now, if your new to WoW you have no earthly idea how hard it was back when WoW came out.) I've had plenty of entertainment and things to write about. Even at this low level, which I didn't expect.

So that's all for today. I have something very "special" in store for tomorrow so stay tuned for that! Also, wish me luck as I've applied for a paid writing job that may be my foot in the door to bigger and better things than being a

For today's discussion I have a two part question to hand to you.

1. What do you think about blogs/websites having Donation links?

2. What was the most fun you've had in an MMO? This can be a particular event, a certain class, or an aspect of the game itself. Elaborate and let's talk eh?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Interview with Tobold, Cult Leader of MMOs

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been speaking with Tobold from Tobold's MMORPG Blog about him and I having an interview regarding his opinion on certain MMO issues. He was ever so kind to shoo away his army of loyal readers for a brief moment and agreed to chat up with me. So here you go, the first official "The MMO Experience" interview. (The one with Eskil Steenberg was for NegativeGamer, and Thom from still hasn't responded in several

Danshir: Something that I've been curious about for some time, what got you into MMOs?

Tobold: I've been playing pen and paper roleplaying games since the early 80's. Which then got me into computer RPGs, and later MUDs. MMOs were just the next logical step.

Danshir: What is your favorite aspect of an MMO? The social aspect of it? PvE? PvP?

Tobold: I'm an ESAK Bartle type, that is my favorite aspect is exploration, not just the geography of the virtual world, but how everything works and is connected. Social aspects come next, I prefer playing in groups to playing solo, as playing solo I could do in a single-player game. Achievements are at third place, and Killing other players comes way last.

Danshir: There are several non-traditional MMOs possibly coming out this year such as Aion, JumpGate Evolution, The Agency, and so on. What are your initial thoughts on the 09' line up for MMOs? Is there any you suspect will be a dark horse or any that you suspect will go the route of Tabula Rasa and Hellgate London?

Tobold: I think Blizzard's competitors are making a wise choice to look beyond classical fantasy MMOs. I'm not saying that WoW couldn't be beat in that area, but it obviously would be much harder. A game with a different setting and different gameplay has a much higher chance of getting enough players together to be profitable. But I don't think you can predict the success of any of these games without having played a late beta. Success or failure are often determined by hard to grasp intangible things like "is the game fun?". You can't predict that from a feature list and some screenshots.

Danshir: Since you mentioned World of Warcraft, let's go ahead and discuss that. Considering how quickly some of the more "hardcore" guilds completed all the challenges that Wrath of the Lich King offered near immediately upon release, what in your opinion could Blizzard do to prevent this in future expansions?

Tobold: The only option here is to release expansions with more content. Blizzard did the right thing by making the first raid dungeon of the expansion, Naxxramas, accessible to a wider audience. But then you need at least one medium hard and one hard raid dungeon at release, not patched in half a year later.

Danshir: Is there something that isn't currently being implemented into World of Warcraft, or any MMO for that matter, that you would love to see?(My answer for this would be more interaction with one's environment)

Tobold: I'd love to see player housing in World of Warcraft, preferably combined with guild housing, including a system that rewards people for staying in the same guild for a longer time. I think houses add a lot of feeling at home to a virtual world.

Danshir: You may or may not have heard about some people wanting Blizzard to put in an "Elite" patch that would cater to the hardcore guilds. In their argument they stated that if Blizzard did not take action, that "normal" players would lose their heroes and role models, what is your opinion on THAT statement?

Tobold: I know a lot of ultra-casual players who aren't even aware that people like Ensidia even exist. I don't think the "heroes and role model" argument is valid, because by definition someone is always "the best", even if someone even better just left the game. There will always be someone in full epics strolling around the auction house and getting admiring looks for his epic armor. Blizzard certainly shouldn't patch the current patch to make it much more hardcore. But what they should do is add more raid content, which would occupy the elite for a little while, and the rest of us for a longer time.

Danshir: Since I used to lead raids in my guild back before I quit WoW, there are several aspects of raiding that I simply detested. Such as people wanting to loot items outside their spec(IE feral druid wanting healing gear) when there are people that could use those items immediately. Is there any part of raiding that you dislike? This doesn't have to be a personal experience in your own guild, just something you may have discussed in the past or heard about.

Tobold: The one thing I hate most about raiding is raid IDs and lockouts. Organizing the first raids of the week is so much easier than organizing the later raids, where you can't put people with different raid IDs together.

Danshir: Alrighty, let's talk about your website, Tobold's MMORPG Blog. Which do you enjoy the most to discuss with your readers? MMO Mechanics? Your own experiences? or do you enjoy your open discussion sunday's the most?

Tobold: I have to same MMO mechanics, the theory of what works and what doesn't work in an MMO. Personal experiences aren't as rich, because my personal experience how I killed that dragon in a raid in the end is neither personal not unique: Thousands of other players killed the same dragon using exactly the same strategy. This is one of the major weaknesses of WoW raid content.

Danshir: Recently on your blog you mentioned that you had to have readers register to some website(Blogger, wordpress,etc) to be able to post comments on your blog due to "trolls", was there some sort of final straw that caused you to decide this or were you just fed up with the whole thing?

Tobold: Final straw is maybe not the right word, it was more a resurgence of a problem I had before: Trolls claiming they had the right to tell me what to write or not write on my blog. A blog is a very personal publication of the author's thoughts, not like a magazine with a fixed subject, writing style, and chief editor to watch for coherence. A blog's content and writing style changes with the mood of the writer. Readers need to either accept that, or just skip the posts they don't like. As this is free content, it is silly to claim that the readers are entitled to anything, or have the right to harass the blogger if his content doesn't agree with their expectations. It is okay to disagree with me, and to tell me that, but don't tell me "don't write this way or I unsubscribe!". There is no subscription, nor subscription fee.

Turning off anonymous posting was based on John Gabriel's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory, which says it needs anonymity and an audience to turn a normal person into a troll. Taking away their anonymity hopefully makes people on my blog behave better. Did you know that Wal-mart managed to substantially reduce shoplifting by hiring people to greet customers when they enter the store? Same principle, greeting people takes away their anonymity.

Danshir: One quick question, since I've been trying to have an interview with Thom from concering the lawsuit against his company and NCsoft. What is your opinion on the lawsuit between the two companies?

Tobold: Sorry, I don't have enough legal knowledge to say anything about whether the patent is valid or not.

Hope you enjoyed the interview with Tobold! If not then his swarm of minions will more than likely dismember you limb from limb. Which is always pleasant. You should catch Tobold's current discussion over at his blog which talks about possible cost reductions done by Blizzard due to the financial situation.
Be sure to vote for what type of prize you would like in a hopefully soon to occur raffle.

Until later...Kick some gnomes!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

MMO Interview Crazy

Just a bit of news while I wait on my wife to get on the zeppelin. Tobold over at Tobold's MMORPG Blog has agreed to sit down and chat up with me about MMOs, game mechanics, and blog/forum trolls. It should be an interesting conversation so stay tuned for that. (It should be up tomorrow.)

Let see..what else..

I had a friend run me through RageFire Chasm a few times hoping to get the sword and dagger from there. No luck on that sadly though.

I wrote up a small review/impression of the FEAR 2 demo over at NegativeGamer. If you want to read it due to being bored to tears, here ya go! Fear 2 review.

I do apologize that today was such a slow day with no experience or article posts. On a more positive and upbeat note I'm still entertaining the whole "Raffle" contest. Though I'm considering instead of giving away WoW+TBC+Wrath to just go ahead and give away a 60-day subscription card.

Why give a game away that more than likely YOU already have? Just an idea. I'll keep you posted about that, maybe make a poll regarding that idea.

One final note. If by chance you have an MMO blog and you're not on my lil list of great reads, you can always email me at ThaShirow(at)gmail(dot)com. I'll be happy to add you.

Kick some gnomes!

"Love" the MMO on X-Play

According to, G4TV's X-play has recently did a preview of Eskil Steenberg's "Love". While both articles(Massively and X-play's video preview) show off how impressive the project is as well as how impressive Eskil is, they didn't even mention some of the very negative points of the game. No character customization, no beta invites/free trials, and the fact the game will probably cost MORE than your standard MMO.

I'm very happy however that Eskil is getting the spotlight he deserves. With both and X-Play mentioning the game as well as the name of the man making it, this may be the marketing that he needs to overcome the lack of "Try before you buy.".
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