Bleck, I definitely don't like doing this column as a once-a-month format. That's just way too many news links to wade through. Plus, some MMORPG events don't last long enough, so they're out of date by the end of the month and you guys miss hearing about them. Seven days usually gives me more than enough news to write about, so I'll just go back to that method. The whole thing runs much smoother in the long run.
Another thing yours truly needs to get on is updating and adding game pages for a lot of MMOs, particularly the free-to-play ones. I'm also getting close to my moving date. This is the big one, people! The leaving-the-nest move. I'm a little anxious, so I'm glad I have MMORPGamer to help take my mind off of it.
So, Patch 3.0.8 came out for World of Warcraft. This was the first patch to come out since Wrath of the Lich King was released, and it seems that a new slew of issues has been added. WoW Insider has put together a useful list of the bugs caused by the new patch, which includes Wintergrasp crashing servers, people being unable to create a Death Knight despite having a level +55 character, animation clipping, and mail troubles. There's also mention of bad lag in realms and instances. WoW Insider speculates that maybe Blizzard felt rushed to get the patch out before it was ready, and that maybe they had less people testing the patch than normal. But by the time you all read this, Blizzard will probably have already fixed everything, or at least I expect them to. So this is hopefully nothing but a mistake that won't be repeated.
Another MMORPG achievement has been reached, but not by the resident champion World of Warcraft. This time, it's Eve Online that gets the glory.
Eve Online set a new record for PCU, or Peak Concurrent User, with 45,186 players. This is fairly impressive, not only considering that any MMO trying to compete in a market involving WoW is in for a rough time, but also because of the current state of the economy in Iceland, where developer CCP is located.
Just goes to show what a loyal fan base can do for an MMO.
I like to think I'm pretty well-rounded when it comes to my JRPGs, but there are series that tend to slip under my radar. Ys is one of them. I've seen the games, but I always tend to think, "Ehhhhh, maybe I'll pick it up some other time." But soon it will be even easier for me to experience the world of Ys.
The Ys series is starting to release its own MMO version called Ys Online: The Call of Solum. It's set during the time of Adol, and the press release gives mention of "a fast-paced combat system, dungeons, crafting professions, guild battles and many more possibilities."
The only snag is, while the closed beta has been released for Europe, I have yet to find any information concerning a North American release. But I can't see why Ys Online wouldn't make it over here at some point.
So, Zork. I don't know how I'd do with most text-based adventure games. I've played one and managed to get through it, but it was a bit strenuous, probably because I was required to use more of my imagination than I'm used to. But I have played Zork Nemesis, and it remains as one of my favorite point and click games ever. I wonder exactly how this particular franchise could translate to an MMO.
Publisher Jolt Online Gaming will be reviving the series as an internet browser MMO. Activision also seems to be onboard. Players will play as an unemployed traveling salesman who part-times as a loot-gatherer, exploring the Great Underground Empire while fighting monsters and finding treasures. Since the game will be browser-based, there's not much doubt that it will be free, free, free-to-play. We'll just have to keep watching for more info.
It's way too easy for children to get cheated online. Of course, everyone should be careful online, whether surfing the web or playing an MMO. But sometimes, we forget or don't know any better, and another tale of caution gets added to the already massive pile.
So, an 11-year-old kid named Timmy is a player in the MMORPG RuneScape. He's got a high level character and is approached by another player who compliments him on his impressive armor and weapon. This player then asked Timmy to come to a private area where they can talk because he wants to invite Timmy to join a special clan. Timmy is led to a website and then to a different website that looks like the RuneScape site, but it isn't. After putting in his identification and password, Timmy's information was hacked. He couldn't get back to his account fast enough, and by the time he did, all the points and items he earned or bought had been taken. Besides the items it took this kid hours to earn on his own, Timmy lost $140 worth of equipment he'd bought with his Christmas money to boost his character.
There's a full news article from ABC news at this link. I believe in the old standby when it comes to situations like this; never give your information out to anyone or any site that you're not 100% certain is trustworthy. I treat most other players in my MMOs with wary irritation anyway, so I'd probably ignore someone trying to talk me into some "clan" or whatever. Still stinks, though.
FusionFall, Cartoon Network's much touted MMO, has been officially released. There's an alien invasion abound, and you create an avatar and help anime-styled characters from Cartoon Network shows in fighting off the scourge. There's more of a platforming emphasis in this game than most MMOs, which I'm a bit wary about. Apparently, you also collect little miniature versions of CN characters for assistance in battle. You can play for free, or subscribe to the Unlimited Access for more missions, areas, and features.
The Saga of Ryzom gets to move from the Free-to-play section to the big kid's table, which means the game gets more than just a one-sentence mention from now on. Anyhow, playing the game will now cost players a subscription fee. The Ryzom team have set up four separate payment plans, depending on how many months you want to play. I wouldn't know if the game is worth a fee; it's not an MMO I happened to get around to. The general fan-base actually seems pretty enthusiastic about it.
While I'm on it, the client patch 1.3.0 went out, fixing numerous graphic, interface, text, and login bugs.
In EverQuest, the server merge between Druzzil Ro (Xev) and The Combine that was planned for Jan. 21st has been postponed. Several changes are inbound with this merge, and the full details are listed at this page. Also, a new patch for EverQuest has been released, bringing with it the usual array of fixes.
The first of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures's many upcoming server merges went through on Jan. 7th, combining the US servers Bloodspire and Hyperborea, and seems to have gone well. In the upcoming merges, all the EU servers will be merged in one take, and then the US servers in another. This will reduce the numbers of servers for the game from 49 to 18. There's rumblings around that this is a hint that Age of Conan isn't doing as well as it used to, but there's nothing definite to support that notion.
Star Wars Galaxies began their free Character Transfer Service on Jan, 13th. This service will continue until March 31st and is only available to accounts created on or before Dec. 11th. The move is allowed once per account and once per character. Also, your character must be on one of the eligible servers and move to one of the targeted galaxy servers for the move to be free.
Game Update 6 was released, adding a new appearance window among a flurry of fixes. Now you can equip items to your character that are only for fun but don't affect stats.
On March 3rd, a demolition event will take in which all structures that are labeled as abandoned can be destroyed by other players. Anyone wishing to reclaim any buildings they own must re-subscribe to the game by Feb. 15th. Before that time, returning players will have their account reactivated for free, and after re-subscribing they will receive a Sarlacc Trash Can in-game item.
With the upcoming expansion for Eve Online, Apocrypha, CCP will be discontinuing their "Classic version" of the game client and replacing it with what they are calling "Premium Lite", which needs at least ShaderModel 2 (GeForce FX (5 series) or ATi R300 series video cards) to run. There's full details here. However, due to some upset player feedback, CCP will hold off on their previous plans to discontinue support for ShaderModel 2 and switch over to ShaderModel 3 for the Winter 2009 expansion. Some players may still need to do a bit of upgrading, computer or graphics-wise, when the new expansion comes.
SOE also has started a fund-raising campaign to help out the Child's Play charity, and EverQuest and EverQuest II players can join on until Feb. 19th. Each time you buy a Child's Play in-game item from Station Exchange with Station Cash, SOE's newly introduced in-game currency, $10 will be donated by SOE. Child's Play is a great charity that buys toys, video games, and movies for sick kids in hospitals, so give a little if you can.
FigurePrints, for those who don't know, are figurines that can be made of a person's World of Warcraft character. You just tell the FingerPrints company your character name and realm, and they'll use a snapshot to create your very own replica of your in-game character. Now, FigurePrints has announced that there is no longer any waiting list or lottery system for customers; orders can be placed immediately. Just another way to make your desk look pretty.
WoW'sLunar Festival began on Jan. 24th and continues until Feb. 12th. This is a chance for players to honor their elders, see fireworks, wear special outfits, and just hang out and party.
Starting Feb. 2nd and running until Feb. 9th, Codemasters is holding a "Welcome Back Week". Former players are offered the chance to play Lord of the Rings Online free for a week. You'll also be allowed to play with the Mines of Moria expansion, so not a bad deal if you want to try LOTRO again. The one problem is, this announcement is on the LOTRO Europe site, but I'm having trouble finding anything about it on the US site. So maybe this means that only European players will get this offer.
Turbine, Inc. and Xfire are having a contest for Lord of the Rings Online players. The contest page says "play The Lord of the Rings Online (Full Game or Demo) and join an Official Xfire The Lord of the Rings Online Clan…while signed into Xfire within specified ranges of hours to win." 30 people can win prizes ranging from T-shirts and in-game mounts to free subscription playtime.
What was I supposed to be doing in this game? I honestly don't remember the overall objective of this game. It's more like there's a bunch of little objectives, and you can do this one if you want or you can do this. But it's all so darn appealing and calming that I don't mind.
So, background. Five Gods decided to create a world of peace and harmony. They called it Roika. On Roika lived the humans and the Dwarpets, who were from the mountains and from deep underground. The Gods watched over Roika for many years until they suddenly left without warning. But before they left, they passed on all their knowledge and wisdom to the Dwarpets, and then the Gods created the Goddess Rhisis to watch Roika in their place. Rhisis was lonely by herself and decided she'd do some creating of her own (and here comes the trouble). She made three beings that contained part of herself: Bubble, encompassing her love and kindess; Iblis, her apathy and indifference; and Shade, her hate, shame, and fear (how was this a good idea?!). Shade decided to destroy all life by moving all beings to one part of the world, severing it from the mainland, and sending adrift in the sea. But the humans went to the Dwarpets and, with their help, built cities and other structures to protect themselves. Shade, seeing her plan had failed, corrupted the Dwarpets minds and killed many of them, stealing the secrets the Gods had given them. Then she created a race called the Masquerpets to kill the humans (this is getting a bit overly complicated, isn't it?). Bubble, realizing the humans were in danger, struck at the adrift continent and split it into four parts, scattering the Masquerpets. And Iblis...well, she's indifferent so she just watched. So the humans prepared themselves for battle against the Masquerpets and Shade herself.
But I haven't realy encountered any of that, and I'm almost to level 50. I started up the game and created a male character for the first time in an MMO. The customization options are decent, and your character will end up being cute no matter what you do. And if you don't like any aspect of your appearance (sans your sex), you can change by going to the hair dresser or the make-up artist. So I began in the first land of the game, Flaris, as the beginning Vagrant class and ran around doing quests and leveling. Once I hit level 15, I could get my second class (Joy!). I could be a magician, a mercenary (standard fighter), an assist (healer), or an acrobat. Each of these classes branch off into two other classes when you hit level 60. I was feeling conflicted about what to choose, until I found out that acrobats can either use bows or yo-yos. Yo-yos? Acrobat it is. And we're talking yo-yos as big as frisbees. You have one in each hand and fling them alternately at enemies. Acrobats are built for speed and evasion, which is something I like. When I hit level 20, I got a flying vehicle and could fly where I wanted instead of walking. I could even fly between continents, though that takes awhile.
The problem I find with FLYFF is that not much of importance seems to happen unless you get to the really high levels. And leveling is not a fast process. Also, quests only become available when you are certain levels. So, there are times when there's pretty much nothing to do, and you can't have a new quest unless you go and grind. Quests don't have much variety either. You're either killing a number of monsters, killing monsters to collect a certain amount of drops (and quest items do not get dropped often), or you're collecting items that are on the ground somewhere in the land and competing with 15 other players doing the same thing. Also, combat is kind of boring, especially mid-air combat. Money is also hard to come by, since monsters hardly drop any. And if you want the really spiffy items that other players sell off, you need money in at least the hundred thousands. On the plus side, the world is colorful and interesting to explore. Each town and the land it inhabits has its own feel and look. Characters are all adorable looking, and each class has its own set of outfits (I love the outfits). Even when there's not much to do, it's just calming to go out and run around, maybe kill a few monsters, level your pet egg, go digging for special items and salvage parts, or set up a shop and sell off some things.
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I got rid of 2Moons awhile back, so I've got an open space for a new MMORPG. Well, a free-to-play one anyway. I'm leaning towards NeoSteam. I've got about 60 MMOs bookmarked that I'm interested in, so I have a lot to choose from. Yeah, it's a crazy amount, I know.