A Simpsons quote, of course M M O R P G A M E R  
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It's an exciting time here at MMORPGamer. In addition to Adrienne Beck's usual fine work in Japanese translation, Eric Dalmedo has lended a helping hand in translating some news from Korean sources. At this time, I give them, as the kids say, "mad shouts."

As for the column itself, well, there's quite a mixed bag this week. News, rumors, and all that jive have come out in full force. Don't believe me? Look below!

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News Archive

Final Fantasy XI Character Journal

Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week

World of Warcraft Parties, Then Segregates

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft fans who live in or will be near Fountain Valley, California on November 23rd are in for a treat. Blizzard Entertainment recently accounced that members of World of Warcraft's developement team will be hanging out at Fry's Electronics, talking to fans and signing autographs for a special two-hour period beginning at midnight, Pacific Standard Time. Of course, this means the store will have plenty of copies of World of Warcraft waiting to be sold to those who simply can't wait.

In other WoW news comes an issue which has certainly divided the community, pun originally unintended. Recently, rumors have been cirrculating that Blizzard will only be permitting players with a US copy of the game as well as billing and IP addresses within the USA, New Zealand, or Austrailia to play in one group separate from the others. Official word on this has not yet come forth, so if separation does end up being the case, it's presently too early to tell what the specifc gameplay situations for non-US/NZ/AUS residents would be. As mentioned before, the community seems to be split on this issue, with some fans heartbroken at the thought of possibly not being able to game with foregin friends, and others seeing the legal logic behind such a course of action. The potential problem of running into language barriers during play being reduced by segregation seems to please some folks, while the bilingual remain frustrated by the idea of restriction. I'll be sure to pay close attention to this story and report when I make a discovery or hear from Blizzard about it.

Guild Wars Talks Like It's Been There

Guild Wars

NCSoft and ArenaNet are holding a bit of a story-telling contest. The companies are asking for your submissions of battle reports from the Guild Wars World Preview Event, and in so doing, tell the story behind it. A snippet from the official site reads:

     "The Guild Wars Team would like to invite all of you who participated in the World Preview Event and Beta Weekend Event to submit your best battle report for consideration in our Guild Wars Battle Report Contest. We will select the ten best combat stories based on Guild-versus-Guild warfare. The ten best stories will be immortalized on our website, and the writers of these heroic tales will receive an invitation to become a Guild Wars Alpha Tester."

The full rules and regulations of the contest can be read on the previously mentioned official site.

New Master of Epic Details


Previously announced in this column, some new info bits have come forth pertaining to Hudson's Master of Epic. The game takes place on an island called Diaros. While the location remains the same throughout the game, the time period won't. A total of 5 different time periods will be available, ranging from millions of years before the game's beginning to thousands of years after.

Each time period will differ by more than just the obvious technology differences. Each age will have its own set of monsters to battle, and will even play differently; for example, in the "Age of the Gods," play will be sprawling battles against big bosses, while the "Warring Age" focuses more on 1-on-1 combat. And some ages place emphasis on things other than battle, such as the "Enlightened Age," in which story focuses on daily life tasks such as building your own home.

As for the ongoing quest of personal progress that surrounds all MMORPGs, players will not measure their stature by a certain "level." Instead, Master of Epic's progression system is skill based. One measures his/her characters' status in what they can do and how well, rather than using numbers.

More details and media should come soon.

Community Buzz
EverQuest 2

Once in a while, MMORPGamers like to actually meet up and have a good time, rather than just hop online and game together. But for some reason, even when these real life meeting happen, said gamers can't help but make themselves feel like they're playing their favorite games anyway, by whatever means necessary. This was exactly the case a few weekends ago as rabid EverQuest II fans gathered themselves together in New Orleans for a full weekend of festivity.

Among the many special events were an EverQuest II tournament, costume contest, and a parade through the famous French Quarter. The prize on the line in the "Ultimate Elimination Challenge" was a brand new Alienware Gaming PC--a coveted prize to be sure. However, those that didn't come away victorious could tap-out at any time to claim mystery prizes. To become more familiar with the feelings of the community (at that time, the beta testing community) as well as tell the party-goers a thing or to about other Sony Online Entertainment titles, SOE held several Q&A panel discussions with attendees. Many topics were covered, not all of them directly related to EverQuest.

The event seemed to be a huge success, as it darn well should have been for all the money that was put into having the party. I mean all the computers that had to be brought into the place, combined with the fact that hoardes of people were walking off with door prizes valued at anywhere from $20-$400 adds up to quite a bit.
Here are a few pictures:

South Korea RULES

Not so festive are the players of South Korea's Robot Action, pictured here. Recently, the action-style MMORPG had to call it quits, shutting down all servers. My Korean connection didn't quite have time to go into detail about how the community felt about this, but judging by these faces on the message board:

...many people are upset, while a few others seem to realize it was time for Robot Action to die. I guess nothing lasts forever.

Short Stories

EVE Online

Players of CCP's EVE Online were hotly anticipating the Exodus expansion two days ago. However, a show-stopping bug did what such a bug normally does, and stopped the show. The cummunity is, of course, a little upset, but most people seem be okay with fully ironing out the problems before release. This is the second such stumbling block that has come into Exodus's path, as it was originally scheduled to appear on November 3rd. This delay is expected to be only a short one, as a member of the creation team posted this remark on the forums: "...we are killing the bugs... just give us one more week and we will blast them all."


IGN recently put up some nice-looking shots of Mourning. Most of them are of the game's scenery. Below are some samples. Check IGN for the rest of 'em.

Readers Speak 

I got a pair of emails this week, one about recent topic of marriages in MMO's and one expressing ideas for a new MMORPG (similar to what was discussed in our first two columns). Outside of the column's Q&A portion you see here, on person requested some help registering for Fairy Land. To sign up, just go to the official signup page. Gaming starts today. Good luck to all who take it on, and maybe I'll see you in there!

Keeping it Real

Yes, you play in a completely different MMORPG setting than some people, but by no means take the narrow sighted view that 99% of everyone else does. FFXI is generally a newer market and generally younger gamers are playing it.

I come from the UO/EQ generation. I was there when it seemed everyone was getting married because it was the way to preserve the roleplaying aspect of the game. I was also there when it hit rock-bottom and even mentioning it was a taboo and basis for redicule.

The guild which I have been a part of for many years started out with a few grown people, and many upper end teenagers. After 5 years, you can see how that has changed. We've all stuck together, kept our community going, but now more than ever I hear "my spouse wants".

Yeah. A lot of things go that way, starting out as a small presence and then becoming annoying. Note the way typos used to be a bother to communication and now people intentionally spew out near-illegible crap on purpose. And with me, instead of hearing the excuse "my spouse wants" from friends, they usually toss out something about "I'm busy looking up porn." Now that my friends and I are all older and have our own computers, I find at least twice a week I ask a friend to do something, only to see him open his planner and say "No can do, Heath man. I'm looking up porn at 8:00 tomorrow." It's sad, really. I need new friends.

Now, I'm not saying they are going to choose a game based on the ability to be married, but something that helps them play together would always be welcome. Usually one spouse can not get around the game as easily as the one that place more(and in some cases its actually the husband). A teleport kind of thing would help that spouse play with their husband or wife more readily than other games. I know in EQ, people would need directions, then die, then need help getting the corpse, and by the end wouldn't even want to play with their spouse. Which would lead to both of them not playing.

And I think stuff like that should be solvable in a guild/linkshell/clan. If you're in a clan with someone, there ought to be a way of warping directly to a given member of the group, so long as they accept. I like the idea of assisting in transportation, but it really could be easier than most games make it.

That's the situation of many of the guilds in EQ, at least on my server. Give FFXI 4 more years, if you play with the same guild and become real friends with everyone, you'll notice these changes as well.

In a perfect world, I won't still be playing FFXI in 4 years, but you might just be right with your prediction of the situation with the band. Thanks for the experienced outlook, by the way.

Idea Box

I just remembered what I wanted to write about when you asked for the "What MMORPG would YOU like to see" suggestions.

One of CLAMP's sleeper hits (sort of) is the series Angelic Layer. (CLAMP: four member manga group, who created Magic Knight Rayearth, Chobits and Card Captor Sakura among other titles.) It takes place in about the same timeframe as Chobits, but deals with a game called Angelic Layer, which is a game where players customize electronic dolls that are linked to the player's thoughts when they are unleashed on the layer, or arena.

Basically, the plot was that a 13 year old new arrival in Tokyo gets swept up in the Angelic Layer craze and becomes a miracle newbie, fighting against the super genius kid, the idol, the handsome guy, the cheater, etc. etc. But who cares about that.

If I wanted to see ANY unique MMORPG, it'd be Angelic Layer. Players would register for an account and have create their own Angel fighters, customizing them with vital stats, body type, attack type, etc. Battles would be fought for Angel Points, which would then be used to get accessories like different types of armor and customized signature moves. Every so often (like every 3 months or so) there'd be a large tournament at some sort of central location to the game that anyone could watch.

Now if only CLAMP would get the message about this, especially in their 15th anniversary. Heheh. (Ageha Ohkawa-sensei, kikoeru no ka?)

As much as I dig anime, I haven't seen Angelic Layer yet, so I can't really give input of my own on this one. However, by reading your ideas I can say that you do have a unique idea. Also, I like watching big tournaments, so I'm down with that. And upon polling the rest of the staff, a few among the MMO-players on board said they would be into the tournaments, so...maybe you're on to something?
(Anata no nihongo wa wakarimasen >_< )

Game Over 

Man, the EVE Online thing sure has people bummed. I even read a story of one player who scheduled his vacation from work for the week of the 3rd, and was luckily able to move it closer to the 17th upon discovering the delay, and is now left with no expansion on his vacation. Poor guy. Them's the breaks, though.

Thanks for reading. As always, if you've got a question/comment/complaint/news tip/suggestion, send in an email.

-My name is Heath Hindman-Tidwell-Long-Stone-Lewis, and I've been married too many times.

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