Players Band Together I Holiday Spirit Visits Norrath
Test Your Might I New Adjustments for Old (and New) Jobs
 Free Stuff for Vanguard

Issue #66 Start Up!
December 6, 2006

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It's time to revive this column, don't you think? I think so. It's been awhile since the last update. Five months to be exact. I welcome you back to the world of MMORPGamer. Today's column would have been up yesterday, but I ran into a few technical problems. A new column will appear every Tuesday. Why Tuesday? Because Tuesday threatened me. I'm easily threatened sometimes.

I'm a new face if you couldn't tell. The name's Travis Templet. Pleased to meet you.

I'm no stranger to MMORPGs. I dedicated three years to the original Everquest starting back in late 2000. I played as a level 65 Wood Elf Druid named Baced on the Rodcet Nife (now merged with and named Quellious). I was not a dr00d, but I did meet a lot of those though. Ever since, I've been hooked. I don't play Everquest anymore, but I do have active accounts to World of Warcraft, Everquest II and Final Fantasy XI. I'll probably add more as time goes by. In Everquest, you could say I was a semi-hardcore raider and that's where I seem to find the most enjoyment in MMORPGs. I tried it out in Final Fantasy XI, but I couldn't get into it like I did Everquest. My friends talked me into trying World of Warcraft and raiding with them. For now, you can mostly catch me there while I level my Human Mage to catch up to my friends to start raiding.

With that out of the way, let's get to the column. This column was brought to you by: lots of coffee.

  Players Band Together

The Saga of Ryzom

Back in late November, Nevrax, France based developers of The Saga of Ryzom, announced that the company would cease to exist as a corporate entity. Discussions of possible take over offers were discussed at a commerce tribunal in Paris yesterday and resulted in allowing Nevrax to continue current activity until the new owner of Ryzom takes over. The name of the prospective buyer is still a secret and more information will be available between December 12th and 19th.

A group of people who enjoy The Saga of Ryzom, and MMORPGs in general, banded together to create a campaign to make The Saga of Ryzom a "free game" after the first announcement of Nevrax's liquidation. The focus of the campaign is to buy the source code, artwork and other game data to "breathe new life into it as an open, democratically run player project." If successful, Ryzom would become a player run game. Although the word free is used to promote the campaign, players will still have to pay to play on servers. The fee would be to cover the expenses to keep the game running and not to make a profit.

The group is taking donation pledges as part of the campaign to be used as part of the plan proposal used during the tribunal meeting. The donation pledges were used in place of actual donations to prevent having to reimburse every donator if the campaign is not successful. The campaign currently has 77,528 euros worth of donation pledges.

Nothing is without controversy. Some people see it as a scam for money. Others see it as a campaign being run by a former employee that was asked to leave the company. Regardless of these speculations, the results of the campaign will be announced in the coming weeks.

The plan of action looks like it could be successful, but I think it will fail in the long run if they're chosen as the new owners. If it becomes a player run game, there's bound to be disagreements of all sorts. Maybe I'm wrong. It could succeed. I do wish everyone working on the project luck with it.

For more information on the campaign and how you can help, visit their website.

  Holiday Spirit Visits Norrath

Everquest II

Sony Online Entertainment is getting Live Update #30 ready for Everquest II players with a preview featuring details on some holiday events players will be able to participate in.

The time to celebrate Frostfell is coming up again in the world of Norrath. Players can expect holiday quests and decorations for their houses. New this year to Frostfell is a game called Frostfell Candycane Grab'n'Tag. Every few hours a new game will begin in the cities of Freeport, Qeynos and Kelethin and players can sign up to play anytime during the game to participate. The goal of the game is simple: a player needs to pick up more candy canes than anyone else. And no game of tag is complete without an "It" person. At the start of the game, a random player is chosen as the first it person and is unable to collect candy canes and must tag someone else to be it before they can. The winner of the game will receive a prize and their name on the scoreboard.

Also, available now for prospective new Everquest II players is the new trial program called Play the Fae. The Play the Fae trial is similar to the Trial of the Isle with a few notable differences. Anyone with a new Station Account will be able to log onto the official website and try out the new Fae race from the Echoes of Faydwer expansion and explore the Greater Faydark. The first character created must be a Fae; but after exploring Greater Faydark you will be allowed to be anything the Trial of the Isle would let you be.

  Test Your Might

World of Warcraft

Blizzard released Before the Storm yesterday, the final patch for World of Warcraft before the Burning Crusade expansion launches in January. Included in the update are the two new Arenas for more PvP action and the new 41 point talent trees.

The Arenas will be the ultimate PvP challenge as players assemble teams to become the top ranked Arena team on their realm. The Arenas launched with today's patch, but the full system will not be accessible until the Burning Crusade launches due to a level 70 requirement to form an official Arena team. Until then, players will be able to participate in practice matches. Practice matches will still be available for players who have not reached level 70 after the expansion launches, but practice matches will not give a Team Rating or Arena Points.

The launch of the Arena PvP system includes two Arenas; The Ring of Trials and The Circle of Blood. The Ring of Trials is located at Nagrand, south-east of Garadar and The Circle of Blood is located at Blade's Edge Mountains, north of Thunderlord Village. To participate, players may talk to Goblin NPC's in Stormwind, Ironforge, Orgrimmar, Undercity or Gadgetzan.

Each Arena match will be based around lastman standing rules: once all the members of one team are dead, the match ends. Arena fights are limited to one match fights with the next match for each team being against different teams. Information on the opposite team will not be given until the match begins.

Players will be able to participate in 2 versus 2, 3 versus 3 and 5 versus 5 Arena matches. You can be a part of each type of team, but only one of each. Each team will be able to have double the amount of members for each team giving teams extra members to choose from should someone not show up to a match. In order to create or join a team of any type, players must be level 70, will need to purchase a team charter and gather enough signatures to create the team. For example: if creating a 2 versus 2 team, the charter needs one signature in addition to yours. After you get the required number of signatures and turn in the charter, you will be able to create a free team flag.

More information on the Arena system, including how Team Rating and Arena Points will be handled, can be found at Blizzards official site here. The full patchnotes for yesterdays update can be found here.

 New Adjustments for Old (and New) Jobs

Final Fantasy XI: Online

Square Enix is preparing for the next update to Final Fantasy XI and has released information on upcoming Job adjustments and new features and enhancements to the game. The Job adjustments continue with changes to Paladins, Dark Knights, Blue Mages, Corsairs and Puppetmasters.

Paladins will see changes to the abilities Sentinel, Rampart and Shield Mastery. Sentinel will be changed to a straight damage mitigation buff and will provide additional enmity to help the Paladin hold hate. Rampart will continue to provide a defense bonus to party members in range and will now include a magic absorption property. The "Magic Shield" is similar to the Stoneskin spell but will only absorb a certain amount of magic damage. Shield Mastery will gain the added benefit of preventing spell interruption when an attack is successfully blocked.

Dark Knights aren't seeing as much change as Paladins, but the Absorb line of spells will have a casting time reduction from 4 seconds to 2 seconds. This change will help increase the use and utility of the Absorb spells.

Blue Mages will find most of their adjustments in the form of new Blue Magic. New spells will be available from the recently introduced Soulflayers and Poroggo and mid-level players will gain new healing and dispelling spells. Also in store is reduced recast times for enfeebling blue magic spells.

The Corsair adjustments focus on changes to Quick Draw accuracy and recast. Quick Draw accuracy will now be affected by the Agility stat. The recast time will be reduced from 3 minutes to 1 minute and the Group 1 merit point ability Quick Draw Recast will be changed from 6 seconds per level to 2 seconds. Also in store is the removal of the direct damage of Light Shot and Dark Shot and adding in an enfeebling ability. Light Shot will cause the Sleep status and Dark Shot will cause a Dispel effect.

Puppetmasters will see the introduction of new weapon skills for their automatons. The Melee Type will inflict melee damage and drain a portion of HP relative to the damage dealt. The Ranged Type will inflict ranged damage with a chance to stun the target. The Magic and Standard Types will inflict melee damage with the additional effect of decreasing the targets evasion for a short period of time.

On paper, the changes seem like a step in the right direction in fixing the jobs and possibly making some jobs more wanted, of course it's up to the players to decide that. It will be interesting to see how the new automaton weapon skills affect Puppetmaster desirability in general and if Paladins can take back the tank spot in high level groups more often. Here's to hoping Paladins can take back some groups from Ninja tanks, because I always prefer a Paladin tank over a Ninja tank. Ninjas are too squishy for my liking.

The update will also add the new /ignorepet command. When active, the command will disable the ability to target other's pets. Previously unexplorable areas of Bhaflau Thickets and Caedarva Mire will become accessible as well as full access to the Ruins of Alzadaal. Players will also be able to travel to the Tu'Lia region (also called "sky") from the Hall of Transference, found at each of the main three Crags, once certain requirements are met. The NPC Fellow system will be changed to allow Fellows to zone with players as long as the area allows Fellows. This change come after many months of no Fellowship updates of any kind. It's not much, but it's a sign of possibly more changes and additions to the system in future updates.

Personally, I wouldn't mind being able to finally lock all four pieces of armor on my NPC. Now, if only I could decide what to dress him in.

 Free Stuff for Vanguard

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

It's been years in the making, but the release of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is even closer. Sony Online Entertainment and Sigil Games Online announced that preorders for the game have started.

No preorder is complete without free stuff. Players who preorder will receive exclusive preorder boxes from select retailers that will contain:

  • Early access to the game allowing players to log on three days prior to the official launch.
  • A special account key will give players a unique scroll that will allow their character to spring for longer periods of time. The scroll will be limited to one per account.
  • Eligible participants will receive an invitation to the Vanguard beta.
  • Guild Mail will be made available to help players build up their guild before the launch.
  • An assortment of videos, wallpapers and screenshots for you to oogle at.

The early game access and the beta invitation are probably the most appealing parts of the preorder box for anyone who was thinking of playing the game. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is being prepared to launch in the first Quarter of 2007.

 Log Out

There you have it. Over the next few weeks, I'm hoping to add a few different things. I haven't figured anything out yet since it's just a bunch of ideas floating around in my head. Once finals are over this Friday I'll be able to concentrate on these ideas. If you have any suggestions on what you'd like to see, send me an email by clicking my name below.

For the curious, you can usually catch me online in World of Warcraft on the Spirestone server as Sotaru, a level 27 (and rising) Human Mage. If I'm not there, you can probably find me on the Final Fantasy XI Garuda server playing Futch (yes, I borrowed the name), usually set as a level 75 Black Mage. Sometimes if I am feeling nostalgic you can find me on the Everquest II Najena server playing Clerval, level 15 Human Monk of awsomeness.

Time to wrap it up. Don't forget, new columns every Tuesday. Thanks for reading, and see you next Tuesday.

Travis Templet

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