Now that the GDC is officially over and everyone's caught a breath, it's time to look back on any info missed and any new details in the conference's aftermath. This week, I've found myself nearly on the fourth disc of Lost Odyssey, the common RPGamer obsession. My World of Warcraft characters hate me. I'm beating Lost Odyssey and getting patch 2.4 before picking WoW up again.
Champions Online details just keep rolling in after its announcement last week. The revamp of the old pen and paper RPG will feature an indepth character creation system that will surpass the one in Cryptic's last endeavor, City of Heroes.
When creating a character, players have a large assortment of ways to customize their character's looks and other details. The costumes will feature more unique pieces, but the real gem in visuals is the ability to customize the way your powers look and the way you move. The former feature enables you to choose what color and style you'd like your powers to conform to, while the latter customization allows you to move however you'd like, changing your robust hero into a sneaking assassin, hovering mastermind, or werebeast of your own choosing.
Players will also create and customize their secret identity and arch-nemesis when first creating their characters. While some players will hold their secrets well, anybody will be able to reveal their identity should they feel the need. Beware, though: this changes the nature of missions, though Cryptic is pretty vague in this matter. Also, arch-nemeses can be created and battled often, which means you can destroy them or let them live. Should you choose the former, you'll have to design a new one all over again, but that doesn't sound like it'll be an arduous task, considering the customization available.
This game just looks better and better as time goes on. The next year will be a long one for those of us that are excited for Champions. Let's just hope that delays don't make that wait even longer.
Pirates of the Burning Sea was released in Australia this week, and the surprises keep coming in. In addition to the free copy of the game I told you about just a few weeks ago, now players have the chance to get a year in PotBS free if they join the Australian Ambassador program.
Flying Lab Software hopes to bring together new pirates with the old by offering ambassadors their free year if they agree to create new characters on the Oceanic servers with fellow Aussies. Naturally, players have to be from Australia to enter, but it's still a sweet deal for early players.
As an extra note, those players that do reroll will get a free cockatoo, as will all the newbies. The birds will go out to every character created within the first month of the Aussie pirate world.
Requiem: Bloodymare, the new game from the creators of Ragnarok, will officially enter closed beta today. There are a couple of ways you can get into this dark MMORPG.
Should you want to join up, register with FilePlanet and try to catch one of the few beta codes there. If you can't find one there, pay close attention to MMORPG.com and MMOSite.com. Both site will have codes today, though I'm not exactly sure what they'll be doing with them. Good luck there.
In a bold move, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said that it would take at least $1 billion in order to even challenge World of Warcraft. At an investor's meeting, he listed EA, Microsoft, and Sony as contenders who had unsuccessfully attempted to bring down the MMORPGiant.
He also took the time to praise the WoW devs, saying they're "among the best in the world of game development." I wouldn't disagree.
This smack in the face to any other game developer attempting to compete comes at a time when the big games popularly termed as "WoW-killers" are on the horizon. Let's just hope that one of the little guys can give him a run for his money. Competition breeds a better MMORPG base for we players to choose from.
Next time you sneak around and backstab in PvP, make sure you do it in a truly American way. From now on, the U.S. will be datamining in an attempt to find terrorists in online gaming environments.
The Reynard project will conduct datamining activities to pull together information on behavior of players from data that is already publically available. The majority of the information will be gleaned from video footage of behavior ingame. This begs the question: what could be seen as terrorist behavior in an MMORPG?
The full report is available to the public due to Congress's request. Let's hope this doesn't mean more AFKers in Alterac Valley.
On the topic of Nintendo and MMOs, I doubt that the biggest hurdle is a lack of fitting IPs (I recall sometime last year, thoughts on how a Pokemon MMO could play were mused on). Even in Zelda and Metroid games, where the main characters are strongly tied to their settings, it can still be possible for an MMO's story and events to function in the same universe. Imagine a Metroid MMO where players can create and customize their own bounty hunters and go hunting on different planets at their own discretion for bounties and/or artifacts, gaining cash and weapon/ship upgrades all the while. Or a Zelda MMO where players can explore the various locations and interact with the multitude of characters featured in the many Zelda games (which is probably more than enough to create a huge enough game world for an MMO), exploring dungeons alone or in groups and solving group-based challenges. In these games, you wouldn't really have to follow the same events that the characters in the main games followed; their accomplishments can be alluded to in the MMOs, or maybe they can even make cameo appearances in story-driven quests. Case in point: the characters of the LotR books were strongly tied to the setting, yet they still made a LotR-themed MMO; the same can be said for various licensed MMO's like The Matrix Online, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, etc. Who's to say that Nintendo cannot do the same for their properties?
I love the idea of the Four Swords Adventure multiplied by tens of thousands of players. Somehow, I'm not sure it'd work. Throw in the ability to be a Zora or a Goron, and I might play it. I love the idea of playing a bounty hunter in Samus's world, taking care of all the bounty hunting that she clearly doesn't do while she's busy enacting genocide on every Space Pirate in sight.
Nah, I think the biggest reason for the lack of MMOs on the Wii is Nintendo's own lack of experience on making MMOs, or for that matter, online games in general. Creating and maintaining something like an MMO must take major commitment and experience, otherwise the results could be disastrous. It seems that even SOE hasn't perfected it yet. So I agree with Daniel that Nintendo should just stick with what they're best at while planning and researching methods to step into the MMO realm for their next console, and design that console to be more MMO-friendly. I for one would love to see a day when I can log into the Mushroom Kingdom, Hyrule, Zebus, Dreamland, or what have you.
BTW, do you have any cool info on the Dragonball Online MMO currently in the works for PC and Xbox 360? (For those who don't know or haven't heard of this game, here's a teaser: [Link])
Count me in the ranks who hadn't seen this teaser or heard of this game. I didn't think this was real, but I'm amazed to find out that it'll be beta testing in South Korea sometime this year. Wow.
I thought that the LotRO commercial was really well-done, too. But for what seemed like such a short and simple commercial, it seemed like it took a whole lot of work to create:
I like that video clip. A ton of work, but a whole lot of fun.
More Nintendo/MMO Discussion
It seems writing in has gotten popular as of late but I just wanted to respond to the guy that said that Nintendo has no good francise canidates from an MMORPG. Probabaly [sic] the biggest IP for such a game would be Pokemon. Diamond and Pearl kinda got some basic trappings of MMOness with the Wi-fi trading and battling but it's just not the same as having lots of free roaming trainers ready to issue you a chalange at any moment. Plus if you run with the universe you could have players who join dark teams like Team Rocket, Team Galatic and/or Cypher rather than just having the normal trainer class.
The other game series Nintendo has that might make a good MMO is Fire Emblem due to it's fantasy war setting and maybe Advance Wars too since there's lots of classes to be derived from types of units
At this point, the letter is cut off by a "company confidentiality" statement. Let's hope he got everything thing through he could before the man took him down.
In regards to a Pokemon MMORPG, I think it'd be a great amount of fun, and just might be the way to bring anybody who's left the game back. I know I'd play my copy of Pearl more if I knew that I could battle people in an MMO setting. The biggest issue here would be group play, but the new importance of casual and solo experience may make the new MMO climate good for a Pokemon Online release. However, with Nintendo's statement, we can only hope for this in the next generation.
Curtis's Thesis on the MMO
Hey there friend,
I recently got word that Hello Kitty Online announced its closed beta, and I decided to sign up. I had remembered reading about this game back in the days when Heath was updating MMORPGamer, and now that it finally had gotten into closed beta I was pretty excited. Along with 40,000 other people.
So I get this email this morning from the admins, and in order for them to choose who gets into the closed beta, they are asking us to submit short videos, using this little video building program on their site, on why we want to be selected. The selection of videos I've seen up there so far, are…interesting. There are testimonials from hardcore WoW players, software developers, a guy who has the Hello Kitty Dreamcast, and the generic cute image videos with the cheesy sound and video effects saying "PICK ME PLZ!!!!!!!!" I mean, okay. It's creative, but... Haven't they heard of a freaking lottery? And what about the poor poor people with no creative skills whatsoever.
That said... I'd better get cracking on my submission.
Oh dear. They're selecting everyone from these short videos? This could generate some nice buzz, but not from anybody new to Hello Kitty. This will only serve to be a waste of time for prospective players and the judges who'll have to withstand all of these ridiculous videos.
With that, good luck.
The wide range of news this week has me confused and dazed as I finish this edition of the column. I think the only cure for this atrocious state is battling baddies with my good friends Kaim, Seth, and Jansen.
Don't forget to write in about anything MMO or otherwise. I'm very proud of the recent abundance of letters, but I'm smart enough to know that I've got to make that appreciation known. Let me know what you think about Champions, Bobby Kotick's outlandish claims, or anything that might be on your mind.