It's Over NINE THOUSAND!!! I Wouldn't They Rather Have Bioshock?
The Music of the Spheres I Rumors of My Death Were Highly Exaggerated
This Would Work Better If I Wasn't Blind in My Right Eye I Patches, Events, and Trials
Free-To-Play MMO Quickies I MMORPG Travel Log: 2Moons

Issue #125 Glad to Have the Ordinary Back
November 8, 2008


You know, I had figured that I would only update this column once a week, but I am just overwhelmed by all the MMO news I'm getting on a daily basis. I think I may just have to put out a new column when I get enough information to fill it. Otherwise, I end up with over four pages worth of news links to crawl through. Hwoo... Anyway, here's the some MMORPG news.

  It's Over NINE THOUSAND!!!

World of Warcraft sort of strikes me as the Roman Empire of MMORPGs. Its popularity has spread all over the world, and it seems that no force, game or otherwise, is going to be able unseat WoW from its throne. Maybe some Ottoman Turks, but never mind.

During World of Warcraft's beta test for the new expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, the number of worldwide subscribers exceeded 11 million. Small wonder, really. Besides the U.S. and Europe, WoW has players in China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, and in areas of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Here's the official press release, if anyone is interested.

Whatever the magic formula for making a successful MMORPG is, Blizzard seems to have created it. Or they got lucky, I don’t know. I have this feeling that when I’m eighty-years-old, WoW will have over 1 billion players and be releasing their newest expansion, Invasion of the Spuroge People.

  Wouldn't They Rather Have Bioshock?

I don't care for the Mac myself. It's not some complicated, technological reason; I just hate not being able right-click on things. But apparently you can hook a regular mouse to a Mac and right-click that way, so I imagine that would make the system less annoying for me.

On that note, the good news for Mac gamers is that NCsoft has partnered up with TransGaming, Inc. to bring City of Heroes to the Mac. A public beta test will be available when the game's thirteenth expansion, Issue 13: Power and Responsibility, is released. Later this year during the pre-holiday months, the game will be launched as a special digital-only Mac edition.

You can read the technical aspects of the release on the official press release here.

  The Music of the Spheres

I love finding interesting music in games. Now that we're past the whole midi music stage and have soundtracks with full orchestras and amazing compositions, we can have music in our games that can really stir the soul or light a fire in our hearts. But man, it can be hard to actually obtain these soundtracks for ourselves. I've seen maybe four game soundtracks in a store at a time, and one of them is almost always for Halo 2.

For fans of music from Blizzard Entertainment titles, the Eminence Symphony Orchestra is working with Blizzard to produce a music album called Echoes of War. Echoes of War includes musical arrangements from Warcraft III, World of Warcraft and its expansions, Starcraft and Starcraft II, Starcraft: Ghost, and the Diablo series. A special Legendary Edition is already available for pre-sale at the Eminence Online Store. Besides the 2 audio CDs, the Legendary Edition will have a behind-the-scenes DVD, a 32-page commemorative booklet, and 9 art cards. A standard edition will be released on November 22nd.

This kind of makes me wish I'd played more of these games besides Diablo II. All the extra goodies packaged into the release make my grubby little hands start twitching.

  Rumors of My Death Were Highly Exaggerated

RF Online is reborn! Okay, I don’t know if that matters to anyone (not to knock the game or anything, I haven't played it, so I'm not one to judge), but RF Online is returning to English speaking players. Previously said to be shutting down on November 9th, it seems that CCR Inc., the Korean developers of the MMO, will now be directly running the game for English servers. A beta test will begin on December 11th, and commercial service will start February 2nd, 2009. CCR Inc. is currently working on a new official English website and on helping current players to transfer their character data to new servers.

RF Online is still a game I'd like to try at some point. I'm just not big on that whole "pay-to-play" issue. I can only shell out monthly fees for so many games.

Story Update: I've been informed that RF Online has actually been free to play for over a year now. So I have no reason not to try it out myself. Thanks to Rick for the tip.

  This Would Work Better If I Wasn't Blind in My Right Eye

I've done pretty well for myself so far, gaming-wise, but I still have yet to really dive into the FPS genre. I've played one (Darkwatch for the PS2) and had a decent time with it. It was hard to get used to the first person view; I just prefer to be able to see my character because I can see more of what's going on around me. Once I adjusted, I did all right.

But I'm sure that some gamers feel the exact opposite of how I feel. Maybe they have trouble getting used to any game that doesn't show the world directly through the eyes of your character. Tabula Rasa is attempting to let those players ease into their MMORPGing experience more smoothly by introducing a first person view in their game. Now gamers can play the action MMO like their favorite FPS. Weapon scopes are also going to be added. Update details can be found here.

Weapon scopes sound cool, but I'm not sure I get the official addition of the first person view. Most of the MMOs I've played let you mouse-roll the camera view so close that it looks exactly like a first person view. Maybe Tabula Rasa doesn’t do that.

  Patches, Events, and Trials

  • Patch 1.0.4 has been released for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Of particular interest are the changes to Realm vs. Realm. Notes for upcoming patch 1.0.5 that will be tested on the Public Test Server are available as well. Also, a live event called Heavy Metal will be starting on November 17th. Players logging into the game should click the new tab on the Tome of Knowledge to be taken to the Live Events page where there will be new quests added daily. Completing these quests will result in various rewards, but the big prize will be the chance to play Warhammer’s newest classes a week before they’re publically released.
  • World of Warcraft's newest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, will have midnight launch events at select stores around the world on November 13th. In the states, there will be four locations holding Official launch events.

    Sounds pretty big. Bigger than even the Halo 3 release, dare I say it? Link here for specific details. Speaking of World of Warcraft, Patch 3.0.3 has gone live.

  • Gracia Part 2, Lineage II's latest expansion, has also been launched. The expansion includes enhanced character progression, a new area, and an arena for PvP and PvE battles. More information here.
  • Turbine, Inc. has released the newest update to Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, Module 8: Prisoners of Prophecy. Besides new spells and UI improvements, this update adds four new dungeons, four new wilderness areas, and a two-part public quest hub. There’s still even more additions and fixes in Module 8, so head to the release notes for the full list.
  • City of Heroes' Issue 13: Power and Responsibility is now in open beta. Any active players of the game can participate by joining the Training Room server.

  •   Free-To-Play MMO Quickies

  • La Tale releases its newest chapter.
  • Turned based Atlantica Online officially launches.
  • Zero Online releases Patch 2819.
  • New server and PvP rule-set in Archlord. Press release here.
  • Wonderland Online's 8th server, Scorpio, coming soon.
  • World of Kung Fu upgrades to version 1.0.38.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine closed beta signups begin.
  • Zu Online patch 1.8.01 notes released.

  •   MMORPG Travel Log: 2Moons

    Meh…I don't know how much longer I'll play this one. It's not a bad MMORPG by any means, but there's really not much I can find in it to make it stand out from the hundreds of other free-to-play MMOs littering the market.

    Storyline-wise, it’s standard fare. Actually, it reminds me of Gauntlet Legends a little. A stupid exiled king decided to open some forbidden gate and release the Pitborn upon the land of Haran. Rictus, the aforementioned stupid king, thinks that he can somehow control the monsters so he can take over Haran. But Abaddon, the lord of the pit, wasn't going to have any of that. He punished Rictus by forcing him to experience the death of every single person who died in Haran for all eternity. Meanwhile, the Pitborn swarmed over Haran, threatening humanity to extinction. Then the White Lady, Trieste, appeared. (What is it with the mysterious ladies popping up in these MMOs?) She banded together the remaining groups able to fight, but even they weren't enough to stop the Pitborn. So Trieste sacrificed her own life to seal the gate and send Abaddon and his forces back where they came. But of course, the gate doesn't stay closed. It's cracked open and the Pitborn are leaking out again, so you and other players have to go around and fix things.

    I decided when I started that I was finally going to play one of the hulking, tank-type classes. All muscle, no magic, slow but strong; you know the type. I was disappointed in the lack of character creation. Your character is basically going to look exactly like every other character of the same race, though some of you will have different armor. So I choose a Bagi warrior, a grayish-purple skinned wrestler looking guy, and headed out into the game. After the standard race specific quests to prove myself as a Bagi warrior in general, I was free to do whatever I wanted. The combat is same as most MMOs; click on baddies to hit them and use your hot-keyed moves for special attacks. Visually, the fights are gorier to watch than most MMOs as blood flies from each blow you inflict, but it's not particularly realistic and gets old fast. I do have to say it was kind of cathartic to play as a brute-force brawler for once, just flattening anything that got in my way.

    Unfortunately, 2Moons is leaving me mostly bored. There are two main cities to start in and each offers the same exact quests. But a lot of quests aren't unlocked until you hit a certain level, and there’s no indication of what that is. So you have to talk to an insulting NPC and accept the quest only to be rejected because you're level 20 and the quest needs a level 50 player. Which leads me to the question of why the quest is offered in the first place if I'm not strong enough to take it? How am I supposed to keep track of which NPC has which quest and what level it requires when there’s numerous different NPCs with that exact same little question mark floating over their heads? And the gap between quest levels is too big. I have to go 7 levels just to get my next quest? Sorry, but grinding for experience is not interesting enough in this game for me to tolerate that.

    Maybe I'm not being patient. I haven't even hit level 20 yet, so I've hardly even gone through much of the game. But it's never a good thing when I consider cranking up an MMO for a few hours and my mind goes, "Ugh…"

     Back to Title

    Hmm, I'm feeling the urge to try out a new free-to-play MMO. There's actually this one run-and-gun MMO that I've been meaning to try out. I'm not sure how I'd do in direct competition with other players. That's why I hardly ever duel with anyone in any of my MMORPGs. Or team up. Or interact with other players at all. Well, until next time.

    /not LFG,
    Sarah Williams (Feed me mail!)

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