||South Korean Slam Dunk
||April 16, 2005
When commenting on the Los Angeles Lakers' recent troubles, Shaquille O'Neal said, "It's the curse of the Shaqbino." Oh, Shaq...the comedy you uninentionally give us.
More on the topic of the column, I got in contact with my Korean friend and occasional translator Eric Dalmedo again. Thus, we take a look into South Korea in this issue. Curses from Shaq and MMO news from Korea...could there be a better comination for a column theme?
One thing Shaquille O'Neal didn't have anything to do with is the disruption of Final Fantasy XI servers. (Or maybe he did....) On April 9th, players attempting to log into Final Fantasy XI were given a "Denial of Service." This was no accident. Someone living in his parents' basement with nothing better to do than jump on MMO servers and mess with people's game time hacked into illegal places and caused the disruption intentionally. PlayOnline staff then performed extensive emergency maintenance to correct the problems.
PlayOnline's European site said, "Currently we are unable to determine the precise source of attack. However, with the cooperation of ISP companies, our investigation continues to make progress. Law enforcement authorities in Japan, the United States, and Europe have been contacted for support.
"We deeply apologize for the inconvenience these attacks have caused in recent days. Attacks continue at this hour in intervals and we regret that our investigation cannot allow for estimates as to when we expect service to return to optimal levels. Our technicians will continue to select the most effective measures available as we work with local and international authorities to take legal action against those obstructing PlayOnline service." Check the full announcement here.
Current rumors have suggested various groups as responsible, ranging from rabid fans of other MMOs, to disgruntled gil-sellers who were banned from the game.
While the legal place of virtual property remains unclear, hacking into someone's game servers is certainly not kosher. What I find funny is the thought process of people like this. "Hrm...what can I do today? I can go make some money working so I can move out of this basement, or I could go try to find a girlfriend...nah, I think I'll ruin Final Fantasy XI for two or three days." Way to go, idiot. I suppose the idea of doing it and not getting caught might be alluring, but then what do you do? Brag about it? No, because you can't, because then you'll go to jail. Man, the behavior of certain people just hurts my brain.
My awesome Korean correspondant Eric Dalmedo has given us a quick glance at the Korean MMO scene. The biggest MMORPG developments right now involve Square Enix's Cross Gate and Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest II.
Both of these titles are gathering beta testers in preparation for upcoming Korean localizations. Cross Gate began gathering beta testers in February, and the development team is now fixing all the ususal things required before commercially releasing an MMO. The game's official Korean website is located here.
Sony will be gathering EverQuest II testers from April 19 to 24, launching beta service soon after. Not much other info is available on that one, but the official Korean website is here.
As for the current state of Korean MMORPGaming, Eric reports that, much like other places, Koreans are in love with World of Warcraft. He told me, "Every PC Room you go to is packed with people playing Kart Rider and WoW."
This week's Community Buzz section is once again occupied by The Matrix Online. Jeff Walker was in-game for the events I wrote about last week, and now gives us a full report. Here goes...
The first event of Matrix Online was a break from the normal leveling grind
that is inevitable in MMORPGs. Although not as grand as the end of beta event,
the first storyline event gave a small glimpse of what is to come, as well as
valuable experience for players and developers alike.
Starting on the first day, on April 6th, the first storyline patch hit and the
changes were clear. Many gangs were replaced with red eyed agents, which we
always assumed were not really agents. Killing these agents netted the usual
drops, but there was one unique drop--RSI fragments. An Unknown Source
speaking through broadcasts did not seem to happy these dropped, as they told
us to turn them in or be deleted. Of course, humans in the Matrix are nothing
The collecting of these fragments continued on April 7th, and their purpose
became clear. These fragments held the One's last thoughts. Neo's pain, fear,
and love for Trinity recorded into fragments. How they got to be in Mega City
is unknown, but they were here and all factions wanted them. The race to find
Neo was on, but not in a way many anticipated. Neo's body was not to be found,
but his thoughts were.
The fragment collecting continued again on the 8th, and on the Method server
this writer's affiliation managed to collect the most for the third day. Neo's
last thoughts were clear, but there was more story to be told. New fragments
were introduced with the message that soon we would be addressed one by three
sources. These three would have information for the future of the Matrix. They
were the Mentor, the Creator, and the Seductress. The Mentor, Zionist
Morpheus, addressed some, while the Machinst Architect addressed others. We
were addressed by the Seductress wife of the former program Merovinigian --
They told us of a dream or vision in which they were in a three-sided room. In
each side were the the factions, growling and ready to fight. Suddenly Neo
appeared from all three sides and approached the middle, addressing the
dreaming. Suddenly, all three factions lunged after Neo and he disappeared.
They did not fight, however. Instead, they danced in a showing of unity.
On the 9th the event further escalated as we were addressed by the Oracle in a
global message. She told us of Code Shapers, those powerful enough to actually
shape code. We would not be able to find them unless they wanted to be found.
The Merovinigian then held a private meeting with his factions, telling them
to get the Shapers at all costs. They failed however, as higher leveled
Machinst faction The Collective came out in force and took all Shapers for the
Method server. The Merovinigians took solace in the fact that, for the third
day in a row on Method, they had collected the most frags.
The final day of events brought new revelations. The Intruders, as they came
to be known, had gotten a Code Shaper. The previously red-eye agents were now
replaced with new agents. These agents, named "N30 AG3NT" took on the
appearance of Neo. However, the Shaper's ability did not seem to cover skin
pigmentation as all of them were deathly pale. Purple code steamed off of the
N30 AGENT, but their power was no greater than their previous red-eyed
The day finally came to event time, and the Merovingian addressed us again.
Calling the Intruders an abomination, he told us of the Shaper and his
minions. The powerful entities that are almost invincible, the powerful
Merovingian could not allow the humor of the aberrations to continue. He gave
The Sirens and others expressed orders: kill them all.
Soon after, the N30 AGENT creation increased to almost instantly and always at
an equal level to the player. The Merovingian further announced that we had to
protect an interest of his at a specific location in a park. The Sirens and
many others responded quickly, only to find level 50 red-eyed agents on-site.
These developer played Intruder agents were difficult to kill, but the large
effort from every faction shoed to be more than able to handle the onslaught.
Soon, the numbered intruder agents were dead and humanity had resisted once again.
Morpheus then addressed us, telling us we had won. The skies, which had
unleashed plentiful rain all day, had cleared. We had earned our victory, and
the Oracle addressed us to concern the fact. Congratulating us on a job well
done, the Oracle praised the ability of "redpills" to work together. She then
said we must be tired, and now was the time to rest. Soon the world of The
Matrix Online would cloud over again, and another storyline would unfold. For
now, we earned a rest.
In all, the event ran smoothly with little server interference. Although
persistent bugs continued, the storyline allowed for a reprieve from the
monotonous grinding of daily leveling. The N30 AGENTs were a welcomed change,
although slightly cheesy. The PVP(player versus player) showed to be the event
killer, as many PVP groups came out in force on the non-hostile server,
killing many lower levels or the unsuspecting for fun. Attacking an enemy with
the PVP symbol would switch any that attacked it to PVP, and that unleashed
the scores of PVP enthusiasts.
Stay tuned to RPGamer for more storyline reports as well as a review in about two months.
Visited the Tabula Rasa website lately? If you have, you've noticed the big announcement on the front page. MMO giant NCsoft reduced the site to a single page holding a statement from developer Richard Garriot, reading, "For those of you who’ve been following the development of Tabula Rasa, you may be aware that the game underwent a major transformation over the last year. We’ve hesitated to share more information about these changes as we wanted to be absolutely confident with this new direction. At present, we are pleased to report that this project is shaping up to be a truly outstanding massively multiplayer online game.
"The reasons we have undergone this transformation are many and complex. Simply put, our team felt that the first incarnation of Tabula Rasa was not the game we felt it should be. We felt this way from our own reactions playing the game as well as others external to the team playing it. We believe that the change for the positive will be obvious to all.
"Over the next few weeks you will see changes to the Tabula Rasa website. The site will be receiving a major overhaul in advance of this year’s E3 event. You can look forward to new creatures, new features, and new information. Everyone here at Destination Games and NCsoft is excited about the new look and feel of this highly anticipated game. We hope you’ll be excited too."
Middle-Earth Online concept artist Jeff Murchie has written a dev diary about his work. Included in the diary is the unveiling of Middle-Earth Online's one and only dragon, and an updated version of the Rogmul, as an example of how the concepts are tweaked and revised. Read it right here.
The first major update to the
Japanese version of ROSE Online is on the horizon. Soone enough the third planet of "Eldan" will be open for exploration. Eldan
will be a tree-filled world, with players moving about along its
trunk and branches. The two races which live on Eldan,
the Rakun and the Shikuku, used to be friendly towards each other, but an
outbreak of disease set the two against each other. It's
into this fracas that players are drawn. Check out screens and artwork of the new area here.
Chinese preorders for World of Warcraft have been as crazy as everywhere else. Thousands of people waited in line to preorder the game on April 10th, and many places are already sold out...before the release has even happened. Full article on the World of Warcraft Chinese website.
JC Fan now makes a return to screen-submitting with nine City of Heroes screens. Captions are below.
(Left to right, top to bottom)
Screen 1: Crimson Psyche modelling her super group uniform.
Screen 2: Psyche just hates getting her shoes wet...
Screen 3: Psyche battling the insidious Skulls!
Screen 4: Candid! Crimon Psyche from Kid Frigid's favorite angle...
Screen 5: Kid Frigid, "Dude! I wonder what this is for..?"
Screen 6: A huge, futuristic complex.
Screen 7: Battling it out with the villainous Sky raiders... Do you think
my butt looks big in this outfit? o.O
Screen 8: I dunno what that guy's doing, but it can't be good...
Screen 9: Here I am with the Beautiful, deadly Lady Indra. Battling-it-out
with th evil Dr. Vahzilok.
Jeff Walker played a bit of the beta test for Gate to Heavens a while back. Here are eight screens he collected.
Send me your screens!
Here's how people responded to last week's story about a man killing his friend (in real life, not in a game) over a virtual weapon.
While i don't agree with the methods of the man's retribution, I do
believe that there should be some protections of in game property. If
people can sue over lost time due to injury why can't someone sue over
lost time spent on a game... different yes yet also similar.
Also the new World of warcraft test realms what a great way to
satisfy their customers before a patch is ready to be placed in the
game. I actually have to applaud blizzard for once actually thinking
of us first.
I kind of agree that there ought to be a little more legal protection of virtual things, but then again...that almost seems like there'd be too many loopholes to deal with--like there'd be too many ways evade punishment. It's a tough subject. On one hand, losing items and stuff really sucks, but on the other, perhaps one should keep all this in mind getting into the game. It's just a game, and if he loses something, well, that's tough. It's a hard call to make, though.
I sorta ranted about people who sell Virtual items for
money eariler, but let's talk about laws. I think
that all of your stuff belongs to you by way of a
lease. You shouldn't be able to sell your virtual
stuff or virtual money for real money. Selling
virtual property for real money just cheapens the
whole game and ruins it for the rest of us. People
who buy and sell stuff for real money cause in game
inflation to rise and hoard rare items. This makes
getting rare stuff near impossible!
The TOS of most MMORPGs forbids doing things like this
but most RMTs don't care. There need to be real laws
against doing this stuff so those people will quit
ruining our game.
You know what I just thought of right now? If one shouldn't be allowed to sell virtual property for real money, should he be allowed to sue anyone or be compensated in any way when it disappears or is stolen? Whohoho, now that opens a neat can of worms, doesn't it?
(p.s.)Square should have waited before charging use
$30 for Chains of Promithia. It's just starting to
come into it's own as an expansion pack as one new
update to it has been released and another is on the
way. Both of these have greatly added to the appeal
of having Promithia. I just hate the fact that the
bulk of it has been released as updates and not
included on the disk to start with!
Lvl 57 THF|lvl 27 WAR|lvl 17 RNG|lvl 11 MNK|lvl 10 WHM|lvl 10 Summoner|lvl 37 NIN|lvl 5 BLM
Webmaster of "Jon's Final Fantasy Homepage"
You already know I agree with you there, brother!
The other staff members and I thought about calling the person out, asking for a motive, but then we concluded we'd just get emails from 1,000 fakers. So screw it.
The only man capable of bringing peace to the warring factions is Heath Hindman