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First and foremost, much gratitude to everyone who made this column possible. Namely, Cory Buck, Orie House, and Eric Dalmedo made some clutch contirbutions. Thanks. Moving on...

From now on, in the introduction, we're going to recap MMO-related news that has gone on outside of the column. Here goes.



Send Me a Letter




Archive



Final Fantasy XI Character Journal




Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week

Dark Age Blankets  the World 

Dark Age of Camelot

Mythic Entertainment's highly-anticipated expansion for the Dark Age of Camelot series has officially gone gold. Entitled Dark Age of Camelot: Catacombs, the new expansion will include standard upgrades like better graphics, more classes and new cities. However, there is also a new feature called "Private Adventuring." This allows players to explore new dungeons with or without companions--something other MMOs have done, but DaoC had not previously attempted. The game is scheduled to be in stores on December 7th.

But this time around, there will be new groups of players exploring Camelot. Press release dated November 30th details Mythic Entertainment's plans to further extend the game's international reach. As early as this January, the company aims to have the game available in Japan, with additional intentions of releasing the game in Spain some time in the Spring of 2005. Not stopping there, DaoC will relaunch in Italy and Korea. For refernce, these additions and relaunches are being made despite the fact that the game is already available English, French, German, Italian, and Korean.

Mark Jacobs, president and CEO of Mythic Entertainment, commented, "We're thrilled to be able to say 'Bienvenida' and 'Youkoso' to players in Spain and Japan, and 'Ben Tornati' and 'Dasimanasuh Bangabseupnida' to our loyal Italian and Korean players. 'Dark Age of Camelot' continues to be the number one MMO throughout Europe, and we are excited to be the first international MMO available translated into Spanish. With the Japanese release and Korean relaunch we are making a commitment to become a major player in the multi-billion dollar online gaming market in Asia."

Currently, all versions of the game are planned to be a part of this international outreach. Mythic is working with several different partners in making this happen, such as GOA in Europe and Buff Entertainment in Asia. Japanese players are currently enjoying the game in closed beta, and thousands more are expected to join the open beta this month. For more details on the Japanese version, you can visit the game's Japanese site. Elsewhere, the English site works too.

EVE Online Launches  Exodus, Breaks Personal Highmarks

EVE

After multiple delays and subsequently, a few ruined weekends, CCP's exansion to EVE Online, called Exodus, has finally blasted off. Many things have changed in this pack, but the most attention was paid to the interface. In former days, EVE Online worked with a system of right-clicking an item, ship, or other object and chossing a variety of options from a menu that would drop down. In Exodus, a radial menu pops up instead, allowing faster execution of commands. Furthermore, the camera operates more easily than before. A new tool called the "Tactical Display," comes as a replacement to the 3D radar that would normally sit in the bottom right corner of the player's screen. Now, that corner is occupied by shortcut keys where things like weapons and shields can be mapped. Other little upgrades include indicators that tell players where other ships are in horizontal relation to their ships, and more accurate ways of measuring how far away other ships are.

The community reaction has been overall positive, but some players seem quite unsatisfied, calling the new verision "unplayable" after apparently not being able to adjust to the changes. But that's not all I've seen on the complaint list; many community members have expressed disgust at a high number of bugs that were not worked out before that pack's release. Some older players took the time to point out that the last expansion "Castor" was even more buggy upon its initial release, but quickly got better. It seems to be quite the hot topic in the EVE Online community right now. On the upside, the game did break its own record for number of concurrent users record on November 28th at about 8:40pm Eastern, with 12,258 players online at the same time. I'll be keeping its eye on this one. You can keep your own eye on it by visiting the official site.

Trials of Ascension Developers Talk With Fans 

Trials

On December 5th at 10:00 pm EST, members of the development team responsible for Trials of Ascension will be chatting with fans on IRC. Their own official announcment reads, "Join us on Stratics IRC in #toa on Sunday, December 5th at 7:00 PM Pacific time to meet a special mystery guest from TerVarus whom the Shadowpool team has invited to join us and answer your questions about the world!"

For those unfamiliar, Trials of Ascension is Shadowpool Studios' upcoming fantasy MMORPG in which players put a lot more on the line when they go out adventuring than in most other games. This is so by way of "Permanent Death." When a given character is defeated, his/her soul is permanently marked. Too many defeats will result in the permanent destruction of one's soul--a real death. Those intrigued at the prospect of such a challenge can check out Shadowpool's official site.

Short Stories 
Anarchy Online

Korean correspondant Eric Dalmedo reports that Blizzard is having some server problems in South Korea. In his own words, he reported earlier this week that it was "So bad in fact that the game will only be available to some people." The source of the problem was untraceable, and there is no word on when Blizzard will be back up to full function in Korea.

Anarchy Online

There have been two recent developments surrounding Funcom's Anarchy Online. After director Marius Enge left Funcom, someone obviously needed to take his place. Funcom has stated that the person to do so will be Morton Byom, who was lead world designer on Anarchy Online's expansion pack, Shadowlands. The second announcement was that the game's graphics are going to be updated and refined during the next few months.

Freeworld

Mindsurge is ready to let Alpha testers try out Freeworld. The company stated, in press release form, "We are happy to announce that the next Alpha Test phase will open on the 15th of December. You will be able to download the game, get your account number and play the game as soon as your sign-up is completed. All sign-ups will be on a first come first served basis. We plan to try to keep the sign-ups open tell the 15th of January unless we reach the maximum capacity for the Alpha Test server. We hold the right to close the sign-ups at anytime and will only have 1 test server open. We Expect the test spots will go fast, so you may want to make sure to sign-up as soon as possible." They also stressed that this is the Alpha test, not Beta, meaning a great many changes--many of them huge--would take place during the course of the test. Inquire more deeply at freeworldonline.com.

Readers Speak 

The topic of "your ideal MMORPG" continues to populate our letters section. This was a spin-off from the original question of which currently offline RPG had good online potential. Here are a few more ideas on how to improve the genre.


Gyarrr


There's been lots of talk of Gillsellers(A.K.A: people who sell game money for real money). The things is we hate them and we're not to fond of people who buy from them. In the case of FFXI alot of these people push up pices on ubber items that we must have in order to play. I've seen it with the hikes in things like sniper's rings and such. I dodn't know if you've got a take on this but according to Square Enix it is against their rules...(oh and people are convinced that this won't happen in newer games such as WoW or EQ2...I don't belive them)

Shadowneko(server: Midgardsormr)
Lvl 48 THF|lvl 17 WAR|lvl 15 RNG|lvl 10 WHM|lvl 10 Summoner|lvl 27 NIN|lvl 5 BLM

A.K.A
Jon Davies
Webmaster of "Jon's Final Fantasy Homepage"

ORIE
Senor Jon,
I too, hate Gilsellers for a number of reasons. Not least of which is the horrible effect they have on the economy. I haven't really gotten around to the places where I hear they like to hang out, but if everything I've heard from other players and Square Enix themselves is true then it is a pestilence indeed. As you already know, there's plans in the next update to help stamp out this menace and we can only hope that it does some good. Remember kids, "Don't buy Gil, just don't do it."

HEATH
Meh, I kinda like the idea. Let a man buy some progress if he doesn't have the time to achieve it! If some dude has two jobs, night classes, and a wife+kid to look after, his online game time will be sorely limited. Don't make him wait 3 years of playing to get the equipment/power everyone else has after 6 months of play; he should be able to get hooked up by those who don't need their excess. As a bonus, the sellers get rewarded fpr their progress, which gives them two things: 1) Money 2) Another reason to keep playing the game. Hence, the gil-sellers keep paying that monthly fee to the game's developer because the game is making THEM money. Everyone is happy! Everyone wins!


Go to the site. Think of the children.


Dear Rpggamer,
I am a moderator/site editor of gw.legendarywars.net , a fan site of guild wars.
if you could advertise the following link, we would be much abliged. LINKNESS

thanks, Will

HEATH
Happy Hanukkah, Will!

Game Over 

Hmmm...complaint is the main focus of our only actualy letter this week. On that note: let's all rant! Got something to rant about? Let the wolrd know! Don't just write it in your blog; no one reads that thing. Bring it here as a bonus. So send us your best rant. Drop those kiddie gloves and let the anger flow at the things/people/problems that perturb you the most in MMORPGs.

Speaking of MMORPGs, I've been playing some good, clean, Ultima Online: Samurai Empire lately. That's a nifty little pack--props to EA for that. Once I get a little better feel for the Ninja and Samurai classes, I'll bust out a full review of that sucker. Next week, I'll show you some screens of that action.


My name is Heath Hindman, and I hope you're all here to witness the day I finally snap.

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