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Legends of Norrath to Receive Expansion I Tabula Rasa Launched
Grants and Wipes Dated I LOTRO Best PC Game, WoW Best Online

MMORPGAMER
Issue #92 A Most Ingenious Paradox
November 15, 2007

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Welcome to MMORPGamer.

This week has been a rough one. I've been marching the rough mountain trails of NaNoWriMo and trying to get my EVE skills up. The two certainly do not mix.

For those Mac and Linux users that have not yet tried EVE since they released a client compatible with each, do so. There's a 14-day trial - no credit card required - at their official site and there's really no reason not to at least give it a try.

I'll include my impression (so far) of the space MMORPG after the news and letters.


  Legends of Norrath to Receive Expansion

Everquest

Legends of Norrath, the Everquest and Everquest II trading card game, will be receiving an expansion called Forsworn on December 18th. Forsworn adds new features to the card game, including: 2-on-2 multiplayer, multiplayer raid encounters, new single-player scenarios, new avatar races, and new keywords.

The expansion's official page includes all of the details on the expansion, including explanations of the new features. From there, you can also find information on the trading card game overall, including a FAQ and tutorial for new players.


  Tabula Rasa Launched

Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa has been released for a while, and MMORPG.com CM Laura Genender has released her impression of the game after her participation in the beta. She writes that there have been various improvements to the client after the successful beta.

I found the details on actually playing the game most interesting: that she was having difficulty with healing with a minimalist UI, that there's dye for armor yet no complex crafting system, and the specialization after level five all caught my eye. I'd like to hear from any readers that have played Tabula Rasa. Let me know how you feel about it.


  Grants and Wipes Dated

City of Heroes

In City of Heroes/Villains news, the prestige grants and debt wipes promised by NCSoft have been announced for December 10. This means 20,000 more prestige per member for supergroups and debt wipes for all heroes and villains.

This is all part of a NCSoft's campaign to guarantee that its acquisition of City of Heroes/Villains from Cryptic does not mean the game will bite the dust. The campaign also featured an all-access pass to players who hadn't yet purchased both games, enabling former CoH-only players to create the villains they'd always wanted and vice-versa.


  LOTRO Best PC Game, WoW Best Online

Lord of the Rings Online

World of Warcraft

A couple of weeks ago, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar received the Golden Joystick for Best PC Game. Further down the list, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade won for Best Online Game.

Does anyone else seem shocked at this? I don't see how a game that is only functional online can be seen as the best PC game of the year, yet loses in the online genre to another only-online PC game. Both of these games were nominated for both awards, so either could have won. What makes LOTRO good enough to be Best PC Game but not good enough for Best Online Game? To see it yourself or to see the other Golden Joystick winners, visit the official site.


  Letters!

Nothing Comes for Free

Recently, seeing all the free trials, I decided to try several of them. The hard part about an MMO is that you can't get a good idea by just trying them out for a small amount of time, but I tried my best to. I gave each game at least 12 hours of gameplay. By that time I got a good idea of how the customer service is, how friendly the User Interface, the leveling style, the quests, the graphics, the story etc etc. I tried lesser known games such as Tantra and RF Online.

Jake

You have a good point. After tutorials and learning about the community, there's very little time to play armed with all that knowledge while in the confines of a trial. I've given EVE about that amount of time so far, and I still have a week left on the trial, so we'll see how it goes.

What I liked was the quality that free MMO's is certainly getting better these days. Some of them mention micro-transactions that are needed to get some things, and I was very apprehensive about this. What I found with RF Online is that the stuff you can purchase is more like icing on a cake, than the cake itself. You don't need these items, but having them makes a couple of things easier. For example, that game's tradeskill system is based on mining. Your character just stands there while a mining machine does its thing. You can't move around or do other things while you are mining. Now... if that bothers you, you can buy an automated mining machine using real money. So the micro-transaction there is just for folks that want to get around having to perform the task. Other examples are potions. Normal vendor bought potions with in game credits recycle at like 2 seconds between each use, while the real money ones cut that time shorter... most people will just use the vendor bought ones, as it isn't needed for leveling. I'm glad to say that the real money bought things in these games are items that aren't needed, but make your life easier to have. It makes you more happy when you aren't required to buy something, yet you buy it because you want it.

Jake

I'm very happy to hear that about RF Online. I feel apprehensive when faced with having to spend real money on anything past the initial subscription, though. When it comes to free games, I don't want to spend money because I feel like I shouldn't pay for anything if it's just to add on to a free game. With all of that said, I hope that most free games match RF Online in what's free and what's not.

Now, the problems with alot of the latest free MMOs. Alot of these are games BOUGHT by a North American company and put on a server in an attempt to get revenue. Who can blame them really, its a ready made game and all you need is a network of servers. What sucks about that is that these guys are NOT the developers. When there's a problem in RF-online, the Codemasters guys can't just fix it in a patch. All content comes from the Korean developers for the Korean subscribers. There is a very simply fixed problem in RF Online now, but there's no programmers that can get around to it because the real developers are an ocean away. I can see that happening alot. Also, Koreans are a very different demographic. Their games take years to get to the highest level, and apparently they like that, as they all have that in common. These publishers do not have an easy time catering to the demographic their games are going for, and I think that's why they are going the trend of getting rid of subscriptions. It is rare these days to find someone that actually likes to spend a week at one level.

Jake

I appreciate great customer support, especially in games that I'm subscribed to. I feel like I part of my fee has to go to the best customer support possible, which means that I'm glad this game without adequate customer support is free. I think that you should get what you pay for.

Anyway, I want to encourage people to try some of these newer games, you could be very surprised by what you get for free.

Jake

I would like to second that. Definitely try out some new games. In this era where a few games corner the market (with one game in particular over them all), it's important to be exposed to the underdogs. Even if you just play a free trial of a bad game, your experience will at the least lend you an appreciation for the game you return to.



Graphics or Gameplay?

Hey Jake,

Tell me if you are getting sick of me. I enjoy ranting and you encourage me to, ha!

Jake

I'm more than happy to hear your rants. I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially such an opinionated one. ^_^;;

But anyways... Trying out new MMO's to see if they are any good. As it so happens, I was truly excited by the news that RF Online (Rising Force Online) became a free game. I saw the game lying in the store months ago and was intrigued by the box, but as I am a cheap bastard who doesn't feel like paying a monthly fee, I left it where it was.

So anyways, I downloaded it the other day... Booted it up. Was pleasantly surprised at the fun little song that greeted me at the log in screen, and my my, the introfilm was pretty awesome!!

But then I started the game. Character customization wasn't great, and while the graphics weren't bad, I have been extremely spoiled with Guild Wars' graphics. Now I am usually not the type to be fussy about graphics (I am replaying Final Fantasy 6 right now, LOVE IT!), but in an MMO that doesn't focus as much on story I find them to be a little more important.

Graphics however aren't the most important thing.... Controls. I like my game to be quite easy on controls, and again Guild Wars hath spoileth me. Perhaps the problem I have is that it takes too long for me to get into MMO games. Controls need to be learned, skills need to be learned, the story takes a while to get going.... Ugh.... Maybe I'm just lazy, I don't know.

I also think that I'm getting a little tired of anime-style games. The console anime games look cool and all, but it didn't really work for me with RF Online.

Jake

I am not a great lover of graphics either (FFVI is one of my favorites even today), but I think that all MMOs should be able to survive with poor graphic quality. As long as the game is functional I will forgive the graphics looking a stylized or like an anime. It strikes me as odd that the newest MMO devs try to enhance graphics before enhancing and innovating gameplay. I'd much rather see the latter done.

Oh well, at least I gave it a try. I am actually glad that I didn't find the next social life sucker... I have my hands full with my Warhammer addiction. >_< I am most definitly not downloading Eve Online, as that game looks like it could be extremely addicting for me.

Jake

I'll say more on that quality of EVE later on, but you've made an adequate assessment. It seems that, to really succeed, you need to be able to schedule your life around the game.

As long as there isn't a New World Building style MMO in the pipeline, I guess I won't really be playing MMO's too much. I'm not even all that into Guild Wars anymore.... Though winning that limited edition Naga Raincaller minipet was kinda cool! Hehehhh... Ecto for me!

Well, you have a great day, and good luck with that storywriting thing you were working on!

Jake

In terms of a world building MMO, I'd point you toward Second Life. It's an MMO built from users. It's not much of an RPG or a game, but it has world building. If you get a chance, try it out. It's free to play, but there are some costs associated with various features.

Thanks for the luck, and keep writing in!



 Log Out

Now that we're back, it's time to talk EVE. I created a Gallente Diplomat named Strain Odell on the one server in existence, and set out to start my own space adventure.

The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that there is no avatar save the one in the portrait. The player controls the ship and while acting as its pilot. I thought it was odd, but the cool ships in the game have kept me pretty happy so far.

I've only done a few agent missions and tutorials so far, but I must say that this game is a time vacuum. The world operates in real time. I'm not sure what effects this has on the game other than training of skills and availability of missions. This aspect of the game could lead to micromanaging and restlessness for some players. You have been warned.

I'll have more info on my adventures in EVE next week, when my trial is up, but I wanted to get some snippets down and say that it's definitely worth trying. What's free that isn't?

In the meantime, I'd like to call attention to the City of Heroes/Villains story above. In the face of such odd world events like the one NCSoft is doing to keep subscribers, we've got to think about brand loyalty in the MMO community. I want to hear from you guys about your thoughts and experiences with MMOs changing hands and your own brand loyalties.

Until then,
Jake Miller (mail me)


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