M M O R P G A M E R
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We now enter Week Two of this MMO news section of RPGamer. I want to start out by thanking everyone that read last week, and especially the folks that sent in letters in response to the topic at the bottom of the column, which was suggestions for offline games that could become MMORPGs. There were a couple I couldn't print, in the interest of time, space, and the time space continuum, but to summerize the unprinted ones: alot of people want a Pokemon Online. The letter that lists the most detail of the writer's vision is at the bottom of this column.
Holy crap. What a huge week for MMO news. Samurai, fireworks, resurrections, game-based soft drinks, game nerd dance parties, and expansions, all in the same week. This has got to be something that only happens like, once every 104 years.
I was quite set on busting out my FFXI Journal this week, but there was so much other news and stuff, that I just plain didn't have the time to jam it in here. Same plan exists for next week though, and I have some decent stories to tell in that sucker. This statement is coming from a guy who isn't big on characters diaries, too. We did add something this week though, in the form of the "Community Buzz" section, which highlights exactly what it says: newsworthy topics from certain game communities.
But enough introduction and plan-making! On with the news!
For the last week, those prone to seizures have had to be extra careful when playing Dark Age of Camelot. This is because Mythic is being rather festive about the game's three-year anniversary. During the last week, the night skies of Hibernia, Midgard and Albion have been illuminated as Mythic distributes fireworks for players to join in the celebration. Mythic has not said how long these items will be available.
But that's not the only reward Mythic is offering players right now. The company has put into practice the "Bring a Friend" program. The press release tells us, "Players that refer new subscribers to the game will receive a BAF Bonus; three earned bonuses earn players a one month free extension to their existing subscription." Full details of the program are available at the official website. Quite the celebration, indeed.
Samurai Warriors Invade Ultima Online
A new Ultima Online expansion with a Japanese twist is on the way. Electronic Arts has announced that Ultima Online: Samurai Empire will ship to retailers on November 2nd.
According to Samurai Empire's official website, the expansion will feature the ability to becaome a Samurai and learn new skills like Honorable Execution and Lightning Strike, or join the ranks of the Ninja elite and master the deadly arts of Mirror Image and Smoke Bomb. If you choose, you can set down roots in the new lands and build a home with new Japanese-themed building options. A "Powerful new guild system" allowing players to form aliances and declare war on each other is also set to appear.
Producer Anthony Castoro said, "We’re thrilled because we’re giving players everything they ask from a new expansion--new professions, lands, skills, and housing options. Beyond that, we’ve also added a unique locale and culture to Ultima Online: the exotic Tokuno Islands, a land of Samurai and Ninja."
Players who preorder Samurai Empire will be treated to an item called a "soul stone," which grants the ability to store skill points or move skill points from one character to another.
Eve Online Breaks 50,000 Subscribers, Sells Soda
While I'm reporting something EVE related, I might as well mention that the game recently hit the 50k subscriber mark. And it's about time, if you ask me. Anyway, a press release recieved just today reads thus:
"CCP announced today that it has started production
on Quafe, the most popular soft drink in the world of EVE Online. The
drink will be officially launched at the EVE Fanfest, which starts on
"Quafe first appeared two centuries ago and, like so many soft drinks, was
initially intended as a medicine for indigestion and tender stomachs. But
the refreshing effects of the drink appealed to everyone and the drink
quickly became hugely popular. This success of the Quafe Company, which
has mostly come about in the last three decades or so, can be largely
credited to one man: Poire Viladillet, the CEO of the Quafe Company for
the past 35 years. Under his leadership the Quafe Company has propelled
from being one of several leading soft drink manufacturers into a clear
and undisputed supremacy.
"About two months ago, a CCP employee was able to get his hands on the
secret formula and after continuous research and testing, CCP has figured
out a way to manufacture Quafe and production has already started in
cooperation with Icelands largest soda drink manufacturer.
"CCP has started a contest where current players of EVE can vote for a
Quafe Queen which will be the official spokeswoman for the soft drink
throughout the galaxy. Registered users can go to
the contest's official site to cast their vote."
And you thought you'd seen everything.
If you play Final Fantasy XI, you might've read the PlayOnline email about the special Halloween event coming up. This party will also serve as a celebration of the game's very successful first year on the North American market. To be held in San Francisco, the night will feature a Final Fantasy Music Mix dance party, dinner, costume contest, giveaways, raffles, and online events.
Those who bring a mobile phone with a Square Enix Gallery wallpaper or dress up as any Final Fantasy character will receive a free door prize (access said gallery here). Those who choose the dress-up option will also be entered into a drawing to win a specially customized Chains of Promathia PC, plush FFXI monsters, and prizes from sponsors, which include BradyGames, Logitech, Intel, and NVIDIA. The shindig will last from 5:30-11:00pm, with registration beginning at 4:30, on Saturday, October 30th, at Jillian's at the San Francisco Metreon (101 4th Street, San Fran). Entrence fee is $30 pre-registered, $35 at the door. Pre-registrations can be placed here.
A recent post on the Official D&D Online Message Boards adressed the issue of player vs. player combat. In it, an Online Community Relations Manager said, "PvP gameplay will not be a part of the initial launch of Dungeons & Dragons Online." The whole post is quite lengthy, but more or less reiterates the reasons for this. You can see it at the previously posted link.
The Short Stuff
For the first time since its release, Asheron's Call 2 will not be getting a monthly update. Going back further, this is the first month since 1999 that the current Asheron's Call game has not been treated with one.
But developer Turbine Entertainment has a darn good explaination for this. Namely, the company has been hard at work on the expansion pack that was just announced. Due out in Spring of 2005, Asheron's Call 2: Legions will pack all the expected goodies of an expansion pack, namely new monsters, locations, and a new race called the Empyreans.
Last week, we mentioned the rumor going around that the presumably dead Warhammer Online might just be in hiding. Since then, the truth has come forth, and it turns out that the game was never officially scrapped. A slight pause in development occurred in late June, due to some financial issues, but has since resumed. British developer Climax says it is self-funding the development for now while waiting for publishing to begin.
No details were revealed, though. Climax seems content to only report the game is not just a figment or your imagination.
World of Warcraft open beta sign-ups are going to start soon. Those interested (come on, that's all of you) will want to check out the official site often. Additionally, I've been referred to an unofficial/fan site that features player journals from stress tests and such, found here. One calling himself OrcMoogle2004 described them as "entertaining and also little bit informative." Now all he has to do his tell us how in the world he got a Moogle to mate with an Orc.
Last week began the discussion of what currently offline RPGs have good online potential. This was sparked by the announcements of games like Shenmue Online, Tales of Eternia Online, and heck, even that online Final Fantasy I can't remember the name of. Here's how you responded:
Ak you're probabaly gonna hear this alot(or maybe it's
just my thing) but I'd love to see a Pokemon MMORPG.
Now I know Nintendo is really big into staying offline
right now but I really think you could make it into a
very good MMORPG with the addition of some ground
rules. My ideas(which will probably never get used)
1. Let the trainers Level up with the pokemon(AKA:
Trainer skill) and only a trainer of a certain skill
level can hadle certian pokemon/or a certian level of
2. Allow players to join or make thier own dark
teams (Rocket, Magma, Aqua, ETC.)
3. Full PK is allowed but both players have to agree
to start the fight...also a limit of plus or minus 10
levels would probably be a nice thing too.
4. Possible zones could be based on the old areas of
Kanto, Johto, and Hoen. Also adding new areas would
be a must.
(well that's just a few things...)
Sounds like someone's put quite a bit of thought into this. I know I'd like to join a dark team. I always feel bad for Team Rocket getting their butts romped so bad. It's mainly because they don't use their resources well. I'd love to teach those clowns how to work the system and give Ash what's coming to him.
I think another, pretty obvious thing that could work well for Pokemon Online would be the online trading. As it is, players are pretty much restricted to trading with people within their circle of friends, which usually isn't that big in the case of older Pokeplayers.
Challenging Time Via PlayOnline
I think Chrono Trigger Online would be great. I mean the game is meant for on-line play!! The players could travel through time and experience all of the different versions of the world and it would cut down on population issues since they would have so many different environments to explore. And just think of the character possibilities: Robots, Magic-Users, Swordsmen, Mechanical Engineers (Lucca). I think that would be great. With most MMO games out there they don't really combine sci-fi and fantasy, they are usually one or the other. I would like to see people with laser guns side-by-side with sword-toting spikey-haired characters, and big hulking robots thrown in to kick it up a notch. I'm getting a special feeling just thinking about it. I think it would provide players with a refreshing atmosphere that's not cookie-cutter like most MMO games out there and would also retain the familiarity of the Chrono world. But since there is already FFXI and now Fantasy Earth, the likelihood of this happening is slim to none. But nonetheless I cast my vote for Chrono Trigger Online!!
P.S. Shining Force Online gets my runner-up vote...man that would be awesome...
I must admit, I'd throw down money for a Chrono Online without a second thought. Though I must remind you that Square already tried the whole "thousand characters with no depth and faulty language" idea in Chrono Cross. And yeah, with FFXI now, and soon Fantasy Earth and Front Mission Online, another PlayOnline title in the near future is unlikely.
Making a List, Checking It Twice
My picks for MMO'd RPGs would be Pokemon, Ogre Battle, Lufia, Seiken
Densetsu, Valkyrie Profile, and of course Dragon Quest Online (or DQ
Monsters Online, although they'd probably combine both.) Overall, I'd
settle for an MMORPG where a single player controlled more than one
character at a time. I want a party!
The column looks nice. Keep up the good work, guys.
Doug "Stom" Hill
Retired RPGamer Staff
Yeah man, seriously. Where's the multi-character action in online gaming? Controlling only one person for 1500 hours gets old. Would it be impossible for an MMO to let you create and control two or three people at once, represented on-screen by one? Then, you could combine your party with those of other gamers to form some huge mega party to take on whole armies of baddies. The bigger your guild, the bigger the hords of enemies you can face. Dude, that just might rule.
The idea of Ogre Battle Online interests me as well. Whether it would be best to control just one character of the party, or take a whole party of your own into player vs. player battles is a tough call, but hey, this is imaginary, so screw the conflict. But on your Valkyrie Profile suggestion, most people on staff couldn't think of any gameplay aspects from that game that would transition well into online play. That is, except Dracos. I've never played the game, so I turned this one over to him.
Valkyrie Profile was a game following a Valkyrie gathering dead heroes to fight for the Aesir against the Vanir. I could easily see a norse theme'ed, quest-based, small team MMORPG, ala City of Heroes. They could play folks from all over Midgard who'd been brought to fight for the Aesir. And on the opposing side, they could also be playing the Vanir as well, trying to destroy the Aesir and take over Midgard.
I sure hope I can get me a can of this "Quafe" stuff. I'm a pretty big fan of games, and an even bigger fan of pop (called "soda" in some regions), so I hope the combination of the two turns out well. Seriously, you've gotta admire the guts these guys have in making a beverage based on something in a computer game. Too bad it's in Iceland. Hey, Ice-Land: an excellent place for a soda to be made. That was too perfect.
And dang, there aren't many reasons to be in California, but that FF music mix dance party sounds like a decent excuse to visit. I mention only that part of the party because it's pretty much the only part that interests me. And it's been awhile since I could comfortably get my nerd on in public...in fact, there's never been a time I could comfortably get my nerd on in public. You know what's funny about that party is that you know every single person in attendence will, at some point in time, relate the $30 cost to "two months of FFXI." Every. Single. One.
Well, I don't think I'll bring up a specific topic for emails. We could talk about game stuff you want to see brought into reality like the Quafe softdrink, but I think that's been discussed somewhere else...which is where it belongs, since this is an MMORPG column. Anyway, if you've got an MMORPG-related question or rant, or want to add your two cents to the discussion above, go ahead and send something my way, but I won't start any new topic just yet.
Till next week,
-Heath Hindman gave up his promising career in rap music to bring you nerd news. What a guy.