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Camelot Roundtable Report I Front Mission Online Evolving I Guild Wars Beta Update I New Version of Project Entropia I EverQuest II Players Get New Mail System I Mom Names Child After EverQuest Character I Media Place I Readers Speak I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
MMORPGAMER
Issue #25 What Happens in Camelot Stays in Camelot March 25, 2005


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I know I say this a lot, but this is the best column ever. This week, we have a ton of gorgeous Guild Wars screens, my experience at the DAoC Roundtable, and a mom naming her baby after the EverQuest covergirl. And how often do we get new Amano Artwork?



 Dark Age of Camelot Roundtable Report
DAoC

And now I will regale you with my experience at the Dark Age of Camelot Roundtable, held in Toronto on March 19th. I arrived at the event fairly early, so as to be sure I got my free T-shirt. While on the way in, I conversed with several players. I was impressed by how many different walks of life were represented in the attendees. Waiting in line and throughout the whole evening, I spoke with high school and college students, construction workers, an accountant, and even a teen who brought his mom to the Roundtable. (What a way to bond with your kids!) There were of course many others who I did not meet.

While the players may have come from an array of different lifestyles, they all had one thing in common: an addiction to Mythic Entertainmentís Dark Age of Camelot. Most of these players were pretty hard core, too. At one point in the evening, Mythic Marketing Manager Becky Young asked for players who began playing within the last six months to stand up. I found myself as one of two people standing. Nice. No exact numbers could be taken, but eyeballing the groups of standing players, the largest portion of attendees had been playing for over two year. For reference, the game has only been around for three. There were even a few players who beta tested the original version of the game.

Most of the evening served as a simple social gathering for DAoC players. Special events would happen, but the duration of them was generally short, and then players were back to mingling. Such events included prize drawings. People were winning caps, keychains, fan art calendars, special Catacombs hardhats, and other prizes. I was tempted to brag about already having a Catacombs hardhat of my own, but then I decided I'd save that for here. The biggest prize being awarded randomly was a European boxset of Dark Age of Camelot, which included a much-coveted silver dragon necklace. When this prize was introduced, I asked the gamers at my table, "What am I supposed to do with the European version of the game?" "Play it in Europe," came the response. Indeed.

There was another prize up for grabs other than ones awarded based on ticket-numbers, though. Those players who completed a DAoC word find were entered for a chance to win one of three different ATI brand video cards. Here are the three lucky winners.

Other diversions included a written survey and talks with developers that would randomly appear and speak to players, like what's happening in pictures like this one. Mythic's Walt Yarbrough, Christopher Weakley, Becky Young, and Sanya Thomas handled a Q&A session, as well. It took a while to get a steady flow of questions coming, but after a few starter questions (the first of which was asked by yours truly), the attendees got on a roll. There were multiple topics covered, but the hot topic was crafting, or more specifically, the durability of crafted items. One player said that even though it's a good item, there was "no point in making a legendary bow" because it would soon become useless. Early in the barrage of crafting questions, I asked another player at my table why everyone was getting so excited about this. His response: "Because the durability is friggin' ass." He then added, "There's no point in spending hours and hours making something that's going to deplete with solid use." Mr. Yarbrough noted that all concerns all in que at Mythic offices, while Sanya assured players that she writes down every concern she hears from players. Read this story for currently-RPGamer-exclusive details on the next expansion pack.

Eventually, I flagged down Community Relations Manager Sanya Thomas, who players might recognize as the updater of the Camelot Herald. She enthusiastically told me what players can expect at the next event. In addition to all that was going on at this stop on the Roundtable Road Trip, April's event will be over three times the size, and feature a LAN setup for players to log on and show off their characters. As opposed to the finger foods available at this show, April's will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner over two days of festivity. You can find out more at the official website.

My own experience had a bit more to it than others, though. In the most perfect irony of all time, I ended up vomiting in the restroom of this sports bar, on St. Patrick's Day weekend, but I hadn't had anything to drink. Wow. I made this observation to someone who was in the same restroom where I was hurling, and he kind of chuckled, but I suppose not everyone can find true hilarity in the a situation the way I do. Although the headache that came with it wasn't so marvelous. I ended up having to leave about 45 minutes before the official end of the event. I like Toronto, I like Dark Age of Camelot, I like Camelot Roundtables, and I like throwing up, but I'm not a big fan of throwing up at Dark Age of Camelot Roundtables in Toronto. It was time to go.

I send my personal thanks and respect to all the players I met, especially Existant and Aurrora, a couple who sat at my table. I also send shouts out to Walt, Sanya, Becky, and Chris for dealing with me asking questions and writing down what they said. Sanya and Becky were especially excited to do so. After a few quick questions, I asked Becky if she had anything to say to the readers of RPGamer. She smiled and said, "We love you!"




 Front Mission Online Evolving

FMO

It was announced a few weeks ago, and now it's started; the last of Front Mission Online's three closed beta testing phases started on March 24. This phase will bring changes to almost every aspect of the game, from attacking and defending in battle, to item drop rates, experience adjustments, and map modifications. Beta testers had their characters reset before this stage began. It is intended for phase three to be nearly the same as the official version of the game set to go on sale on May 12.

Also of note, two pieces of artwork have been released, which might not matter to you as much if I didn't drop the name...Yoshitaka Amano.




Source: Soft Bank



 Guild Wars Beta Update by Jeff Walker
Guild Wars

Our own Jeff Walker, whose original Guild Wars beta impression can be read here, has given us an update on how things are coming along, screens included.

Another Guild Wars beta weekend came to a close this past weekend, and the world changed once again. Well, more like it got a little more interesting. ArenaNet heard the concerns of many players from last weekend's explosive event, and added a new video when the player enters the world. Complete with voiceovers, the video fills us in on the fact that we're playing in the last day of the world as we know it.

The world of Old Ascalon also received a few new tidbits, with quests fleshed out, fixed, or down-right created from scratch. The many quest bugs from last beta were almost nonexistant, even allowing me to finish a few quests I couldn't do before. Little Thom should be happy with his cape, but I came to learn Little Thom wasn't so little. Many post-Charr quests progressed just like last beta weekend, but with one major change. The once beautiful village of Ascalon was finally given a more fitting form. The entire map of the post-destruction Ascalon and the surrounding areas were completely redesigned from the ground up. This also meant moving many NPCs from very near locations to further areas. This was a great thing, because Old Ascalon and New Ascalon finally matched, and though the new world lost some of its apocalyptic beauty it still had a haunting presence.

The final major change came in the economy. In this beta weekend, everything cost 10 times more than last beta weekend. Appropriately, gold dropped more regularly and in larger amounts in missions. Previously 5 gold in a mission was an amazing sight, in this beta I ran into 30-50 gold drops.

Take a look at a fun video of Jeff's character dancing here, and come back for more Guild Wars coverage.






 New Version of Project Entropia

Fantasy Earth

Project Entropia, an MMORPG which charges for in-game property as opposed to a monthly subscription fee, has upgraded to version 7.2. Director of Concept Development Marco Behrmann said that the update is an important one, as "thousands of homes" will be supplied for players. In his opinion, "to have a secure place to call home is vital in the virtual experience."

About 2,000 apartments of various sizes were put up for sale on the "Project Entropia Auction" in this phase, with nearly 700 selling in only a few hours. The Project Entropia participantsí option to buy a home is a sought-after feature, especially as the cost for the apartments equals just $25, $35, and $45 respectively. Others have utilized their entrepreneurial skills and become estate brokers, seeking out attractive apartments with nice views and well-respected neighbors, with the intent to broker these to other participants.

Other features in the 7.2 update include new cities, unique items and a variety of new objects able to be crafted. Feel free to browse the full list of updates at the official site.




 EverQuest II Players Get New Mail System
EverQuest 2

Live Update #5 has arrived, giving EverQuest II players a shiny new mail system. The official site tells players that it's now possible to send and receive mail at Norrathian Express mailboxes located in East Freeport and Qeynos Harbor, as well as all their respective districts and villages. Additionally, guilds that are level 15 and higher can choose to purchase their own mailbox through status merchants.

Clicking on a mailbox will open the Mail window, which has two tabs: Inbox and Send. Your Inbox shows the mail you have received, listing the subject and the name of the sender. It also shows any gifts that are attached to letters that have been sent to you. Mail remains in your Inbox for a limited period of time before it is automatically deleted. Once you've read a letter, it will be deleted 3 days after opening it, while unread mail will be deleted after 30 days. The time remaining until deletion is shown to the right of each letter.

While you can send mail to anyone, you can only send gifts to another character that is a citizen of the same city you are. So, while a Qeynos resident can send a message to someone in Freeport, they cannot exchange money or items using the mail system. Additionally, you cannot send any items that are flagged as No Trade or Lore.

Sony Online Entertainment has gone beyond the boundries of EverQuest II with this project, making it possible to interact with players of Star Wars Galaxies and the original EverQuest.




 Mom Names Child After EverQuest Character
EverQuest

Sony reports, "Our players really, really love EverQuest. Case in point: player Tabitha Ayers gave birth to a baby girl January 6, 2005, and promptly named her Firiona Vie Ayers, in honor of EverQuest's famous spokes-elf. Attached is a photo of the baby Firiona, as well as an image of her namesake, EverQuest's Firiona Vie.

"EverQuest turned six years old this month. Throughout the years, EQ has seen over 3 million players come through the world, experiencing magic, adventure and camraderie unlike any other game out there. We've had players meet in game and marry, but this is a first for us."

Here are pictures: Firiona Vie Ayers, EverQuest's Firiona Vie.




 Media Place
Dark Age of Camelot

I'll kick this thing off by reaching way back to January when I first started playing Dark Age of Camelot. These screens were taken when I was just running on the Trials of Atlantis expansion, which should only be played if you have absolutely no other MMORPG at all. And if that's you, you should blow past ToA and pick up Catacombs as soon as possible. Captions are below the screen table.

(left to right) Screen 1: Ah, my first day in Camelot. I got killed by an aggressive monster that attacked me while window shopping. My guildmates instructed me on what to do then.
Screen 2: I wanted a Highlander named Dave. Meet "Highlandave," my first character.
Screen 3: A fountain in Camelot.
Screen 4: The gates to the city of Cmaelot.
Screen 5: In a market place.
Screen 6: Chilling at a campfire in Hibernia. This was with my second charcter, a bit later than these other screens.

Email screens of your own adventures to rage@rpgamer.com.



  Readers Speak

I didn't set any specific topic, and in turn, didn't expect letters this week, but here we are, blessed with some email love!

International Communities and You


heath

my question is about games that allow you to play with ppl from other countries. the only one i've played that does this is ff 11 but i'm sure there are more then that. i like it in final fantasy 11 cause it makes the game more like a true world and stuff, the game world international just like the real world is, and i like that.

what slows down me interacting with the japanese players tho is, like most usa players, not being able to read their language. i know this is an obvious problem but here's an idea. do you think international mmogaming should be better planned out, like, limit the blending languages to ones with a similar alphabet? i mean, i don't speak french, but a lot of words are commonly known and used and i could at least know when those are being used by the players that use that language. but usually when a japanese player uses words like 'arigato' or something, how do i know, i can't read the symbols. and with things like german, at least they're close enough to english that you can make out the basic ideas of some sentences.

would you keep things the way they are or would you only mix english with languages that have a similar alphabet? would this do anything? i think it might be worth a try with one of square enix's next online projects but i don't know what the results would be.
seeya, stephen adams


HEATH

That's a suggestion I've never heard before, Stephen. The base of your complaint seems solid enough, I suppose. It should be noted, however, that FFXI does have a built-in translator that helps a lot with words like the ones you're describing. It can't translate "Man, I'm so freaking tried after all those battles. Oh, and my stress level isn't helped by Sega being a toolshack about reactivating my Phantasy Star Online account. What a bunch of clowns," but it can say simple things like, "thanks," as well as simple questions and so forth.

But back to your point, I think I'd rather things stay the way they are. So I can't read kanji...oh well. I'm not calling JP players elite or anything with this next remark, but I think the value of having them around is really nice, and a compliment to the world of Vana'diel. I only read kana myself, and even then I usually don't comprehend the sentence it's in, but for some reason I like having international players around. Maybe this is because I occasioanlly dive into Korean MMORPGs, but can read very little Korean (very very basic words only), and have been somehow desensitized to language barriers. Also, you mentioned liking the fact that this made the game world more like the real world. Well, in the real world, you can't always read a language ^_^

Thanks for writing and all that. Hope my answer satisfied.


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Well, I guess we can roll with Stephen's topic for more letters next week. Foreign players in your games, speaking in tongues: yes or no?

Commenting on news, Guild Wars looks more an more amazing with every screen I see.

Finally, if you're attending (or will attend) any of the Dark Age of Camelot roundtables, let me know how it went for you. I'd love to hear your stories.


Heath Hindman is an international superhit


rage@rpgamer.com



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