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You haven't seen it, but this column has had more names than something that has had alot of names M M O R P G A M E R  
War All the Time
1 1 . 05. 2 0 0 4


War indeed. War in space, the craft of war, guild war, marital war; all manner of conflict is brewing in the online RPG world.

First, wow, World of Warcraft killed any possible competition in Tuesday's special poll. Like...nothing touched it. I suppose the game testers had some part in this, as the WoW testing community is generally pretty excited for the game, whereas a noticeable number of people playing EverQuest II's beta test feel that a few too many changes were made that weren't totally necessary. Just a theory.

Second, our "Readers Speak" portion was set aside for comments on that Guild Wars preview that took place from October 28th-31st. And there wasn't too awful much newsworthy "Community Buzz," so that was replaced by "Featured Games," which higlights two brand new MMOs. The community in that first one is a neat bunch for reasons you'll see later.

Most of the updates in this column are shorties and special features. Good stuff, just the same. On with it!



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Final Fantasy XI Character Journal



Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week

Oblivion Falls Upon Us This Month 

Shadowbane

Shadowbane is set to expand again. Due out November 30th, Throne of Oblivion spotlights the sudden appearance of the island of Oblivion. The official site describes the island as, "[the place] where the Lich-Queen Ithriana marshals the unholy legions of the Void. Strange sorceries somehow managed to "reflect" the island across the scattered fragments of Aerynth, appearing everywhere as a foreboding deaths-head of malice."

In addition to the enormous amount of new content available, which simply cannot fit here, the game will grant players an extra character slot. This was not originally in the release plans, but the high number of requests from the Shadowbane community was taken into account, and UbiSoft decided to give the players want they asked for. As mentioned before, an absolute ton of info is available on the official site.

Till Disconnect Do You Part... 

Shadowbane

Straight from a press release: "Gravity Interactive has introduced a marriage system, along with all the joy and sorrow that it entails, for Ragnarok Online. The update allows players to enter into wedded bliss with an elaborate ceremony complete with an elegant tuxedo and wedding dress.

     "Much like real life, marriage carries distinct advantages and disadvantages. For instance, husbands and wives can teleport each other to their sides using the Romantic Rendezvous ability. This ability if perfect for married couples separated by great distances that want to have a "quickie" game session. However, husbands and wives can also use the ability to summon wayward spouses without their permission, no matter how much "extra-marital" fun they're having on their own.

     "Married couples are also given magical wedding rings. The rings give the bride and groom the abilities Undying Love and Loving Touch, which allow them to sacrifice some of their spell points or hit points to restore their spouses."

Okay, guys, here's where things get fun. There are also divorces available. The kicker? A divorce costs twice as much as a wedding! So those couples you see getting all cutesy with each other on the game will have hell to pay when they finally realize they're idiots! Ha!

Featured Games 
Paradus

Two new games caught my eye recently, one of which was brought to my attention via email. This came to be when members of the game mentioned to the people in charge that RPGamer being among their favorite websites. How about that? ^_^ Called Pardus, the game's ultimate objectives are generally the same as other MMOs, with special features that include mining raw materials, manufacturing tradable goods in your factories, carrying out assignments from your higher-ups, bounty hunting, and plundering buildings. The twist on Pardus is that the focus lies on trade, and your ability to do it well.

What's most awesome though is that it's possible to get rich just by doing jobs or, get this, vicious piracy. I haven't had the chance to play it yet, but that sounds freakin' cool. This sci-fi title is playable for free at the game's website. The community has well over 2,000 members and is growing quickly. And hey, if they requested information to be sent to RPGamer, and you're here reading RPGamer, the players must be alot like you, eh? Something to consider.

D.O

South Korea likes to toss out MMORPGs, and occasionally, North Americans like to play them. GamenGame is hosting the Korean D.O Online for the North American audience. This martial arts combat MMORPG plays in full 3D, and is currently is its beta phase. Anyone who wants to join the play can do so for free. However, upon my last check to Gamengame, the site was down. Check back there often.

The Short Stuff

World of Warcraft

Subscription price figures have come forth the most anticipated MMORPG of the present time, World of Wardraft. Blizzard's press release informs us, "The month-to-month subscription plan costs $14.99 per month, the three-month plan costs $13.99 per month, and the six-month plan costs $12.99 per month. World of Warcraft subscription fees can be paid by major credit card, PayPal, and pre-paid game cards, which will be available in stores where World of Warcraft is sold."

Eve Online

The many players of CCP's space-shooting fun fest that is Eve Online will be getting expansion treatment on November 17th. There won't be much of a decision process for players wondering if they should get the expansion, entitled Exodous, because it will come at no cost--just a simple download. Expansions always boast new content, and Exodous will be no exception, with extra camera angles, new alliance systems, more NPC types, market improvements, and so on. But this expansion is set to do more than that, even going so far as to update and simplify the user interface. If that's not incentive to download the upgrade, I don't know what is. And if you're sitting there asking, "what in the world is Eve Online?" you owe it to yourself to check out The Eve Online Homepage.

Matrix Online

Monolith and Warner Bros. have announced that film talent from the Matrix trilogy is now on board for The Matrix Online. Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Monica Bellucci (Persephone), Mary Alice (The Oracle), Lambert Wilson (The Merovingian), Harold Perrineau Jr. (Link), Harry Lennix (Lock), Nona Gaye (Zee), Collin Chou (Seraph) and Tanveer Atwal (Sati) are among the announced names to lend voiceovers as well as permission for Monolith to create in-game character models in the likenesses of their big screen counterparts. EverQuest II

Those involved with the EverQuest II beta testing will no longer be able to access their beta accounts as of Saturday, November 6th, at noon, Pacific Standard Time. In an email to beta testers, Sony Online Entertainment said, "We hope you enjoy your last hours in the EverQuest II beta. Though the testing process has come to an end, your adventure in Norrath has only just begun." The new website for the game was just launched, and can be found here.

Readers Speak 

Guild Wars

Like I said above, this part is going to be all about the general feelings players had after that Guild Wars free preview event last weekend. Without further ado, here's what you had to say:

  • Jakob Eklund told me: "Guild wars is a game about hitting things. You gather into small groups, go on into your own little copy of a level. You follow the roads and kill everything that moves. It's Diablo but completely on line. The end.
       "What makes Guild Wars fun is that everything is very smooth. The 150 skills and spells all have there own unique way of working. This makes the killing of things quite fun. The Importance of your level isn't that big (maybe because you started the 15 in the preview and no one was allowed to go above Lv20) and tactical thinking almost matters. Gathering your group of people to kill things usually takes just 1-3 minutes, if you cant make the quota (most missions require 6 players) some AI players are available (The Monk and Warrior being the most popular because almost no one wants to play them). The environments look really pretty even on my old GeForce2. Sometimes when you have no things to kill you can just stop and look at the scenery. Theres even a small attempt of a linear story in cut scenes that ties one mission to the next."

  • Matthew Graham ran into problems as he, "Ran the .exe file, installed and updated, started character creation process. Started to run in windowed mode so I could chat on AIM. A few minutes into character creation I asked a friend of mine what secondary job to use. I wrote a few words then something proceeded to cut and paste those words over and over (about 10 times) into the AIM window, after which the keyboard stopped working. I couldn't type in any program, not just AIM or Guild Wars. Rebooting fixed the problem, but I haven't touched Guild Wars since...

       "I play on a Toshiba Satellite, 512 MB RAM, 128 MB Nvidia graphics card, 40 gig hard drive, etc. The graphics looked fantastic, I'm not sure what caused the bug though...."

  • Brian Hagen told me he preordered Guild Wars after playing it. He then made comments such as: "Guild Wars's lack of a monthly fee is one of the primary reasons it's above the other online RPGs I've played. Also, Guild Wars is a CORPG(Cooperative Online Role Playing Game), not an MMORPG. Anyways, because of the lack of a fee, this game is perfect for people in school, people who work, and people who, say, want to meet with their guild for fun weekly or bi-weekly, much like D&D-players do. The lack of fee makes it so you don't have to play every free moment you have to get the most out of your purchase, as well.

       Also, Guild Wars's district system allows you to meet up with anyone else playing the game, instead of having separate characters for separate servers to play with separate people. The district system also makes it so you can technically always find someone who will want to buy what you are selling ^_^

       While the character animations and skills could probably use some "special" animation, it's not as important as the gameplay. Gameplay excels over MMO-games just because it's more fun over them. It's more of a Warcraft III online RPG over anything else (which makes sense, since I believe ArenaNet was created from ex-Blizzard emlpoyees), and it works beautifully.

  • MeoTwister5 also made many remarkes, which were emailed to me, but eaten by that email bug I talked about in one of the previous columns. Sorry, Meo. But I can echo him in saying that his comments were almost entirely negative. When I found out by talking to him on IRC that he was playing, I told him to play a while and write his opinion down for me. He then asked for me to give him an hour. He came back into IRC less than half an hour later, frustrated out of his mind, claiming he simply could not even force himself to play the game in the name of RPG news coverage. I guess one game can't please everyone.

You heard it here first: Districts, group fun, graphics, pleasure, pain, computer crashes, hitting things.

In my perusing of various message boards, websites, and IRC channels, I've seen some very polarized opinions of Guild Wars. I'm talking about one person saying he "loved every minute of [Guild Wars]," to someone else describing how, "I want those last two hours of my life back." Those still curious about the game can participate in another, slightly shorter preview event taking place November 6th and 7th. Check out the signup here. Check back for more on this game as it gets nearer to its Spring 2005 release.

Game Over 

And that concludes yet another episode. I say "episode" because Nathan, Chris, and I almost went to jail like, three times while this column was being written.

Staff chaos and stories aside, this was a rather large week for MMORPG coverage. We had some informative impressions of Guild Wars, an introduction to a couple new games, and the usual news bits. Next week, either Mikel or I will update the character journal.

How about those marriages and divorces in Ragnarok Online? I think the gameplay tweak is slightly interesting, but I think the idea of two players getting "married" in a freaking video game is just plain retarded. It seems to me it's just going to encourage those "cyber relations" you run into way too often in MMOs as things already are. Nothing made me want to blow up my state more than when a member of my FFXI linkshell informed me he needed money to get one of those Vana'diel weddings. If he hadn't been 30 levels higher than me, I'd have knocked the crap out of him (not that FFXI has any sort of PvP, I'm just saying).

That will be our letters topic for next week's column. What do you think of marriages (and divorces, for that matter) in MMORPGs? Don't worry, if you like them. I'm not gonna verbally chew your head off or anything. I mean, I will if your reasons make you sound like a jackass, but your opinion wouldn't be the reason for such a reaction. So mail away, kids. Tell us all how you feel about Massively Multiplayer Online Weddings. Next week's update should be interesting indeed.


-My name is Heath Hindman, and by the power vested in me by the internet, I now pronounce you dweeb and nerd.


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