E3, MMORPG, 4 U, LOL I M 1337 I EverQuest II Packs it Up, Packs it In, Lets Expansion Begin I Anarchy Online Also Getting Bigger I City of Heroes is--You Guessed it--Expanding I Guild Wars Ladder Live I ROSE Online Wipes Clean World of Warcraft Players Transfer...Again I Media Place I Readers Speak I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
Issue #31 The Battle of Los Angeles May 7, 2005

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You know, when you're weaving in and out of traffic, nearly doubling the speed limit, trying to make a delivery on time because if you don't, the mafia will excute your whole family, and there's a cop after you but you can't slow down, there's nothing better to have blasting from your radio than some really fast, really loud ska. This was how I spent my day yesterday, and it felt good...especially when I jumped that speedboat over a pirate ship right at the chorus of Catch 22's "What Goes Around Comes Around." Man that was awesome.

 E3 MMORPG 4 U, LOL I M 1337

So I need to find a way to effectively stall any reporting of real news...oh yeah, I'll post some "here's what's going to be at E3" stuff. That always works. This probably isn't all of the MMORPGs that will be at the show, but it's a good chunk.

South Korean MMO superpower NCsoft will be bringing all its heavy hitters, including Guild Wars, which was just released last month; City of Villains, the upcoming counterpart to City of Heroes; Auto Assault, a game described by the company as a "Massively Multiplayer Online Game that combines vehicular combat with role-playing elements;" and Tabula Rasa, an MMORPG using FPS-driven combat. Those of you who will be there can check out booth #1024 in South Hall for some hands-on action. Maybe you'll even get to say something on the live radio show NCsoft will be bradcasting suring the show. Who knows?

Booth #700 in the South Hall will be the campground of Webzen, another online entertainment company based in South Korea. An MMORPG in development that will be at the show is SUN, an epic tale in a world of emperors, armies, magicians and monsters set to an original soundtrack by Howard Shore, who composed the score from the Lord of the Rings movies. Also showing will be a few released titles such as Parfait Station and the 56-million-strong MU.

Sony Online Entertainment, Square Enix, and Funcom will be showing off expansion packs for their biggest and baddest MMOs. For SOE, that would be EverQuest II: Desert of Flames, while Funcom plans to show Anarchy Online: Lost Eden (full news below). Funcom will also be letting people check out Age of Conan, which lacks the "massive," but plays online nonetheless. Square Enix will be showing people the Final Fantasy XI: Chains of Promathia expansion. Apparently it didn't count until now.

Although the bulk of Mythic Entertainment's efforts seem focused on Dark Age of Camelot's expansions and patches, Imperator will be the company's headliner this year.

Turbine Entertainment just expanded Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2, so those two are likely to be on display, although that's not officially confirmed. The company is set to release Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online later this year, so one can expect to hear some news bits on those two titles as well.

 EverQuest II Packs it Up, Packs it In, Lets Expansion Begin


The first expansion pack and second "adventure pack" for EverQuest II were announced this week. The adventure pack will be called The Splitpaw Saga and be available for all EQ2 players to download on June 28th, at a price of $7.99. The expansion will be called Desert of Flames and sell for $29.99 when it's released on September 12.

Desert of Flames is centered around the newly discovered, vibrantly colorful city of Maj’dul. Set in an Arabian Nights theme, players can choose to battle in special new arenas either against other players or against creatures in a new style of player versus player combat. Of course, the usual bells and whistles like new areas, new monsters, and so on will be present.

For those that are unfamiliar with EverQuest II's adventure packs, these are downloadable mini-expansions that appropriately come at a much smaller price than the full expansions. Though the focus of these packs is the story, they also unlock more areas for those that choose to upgrade. In the case of the upcoming Splitpaw Saga, players travel through a series of event-based zones by using moveable planks, crates, and barrels. These zones cater to players of all levels, since the content dynamically scales to the level of the group.

"Through our regular live updates for EverQuest II we've not only added a couple thousand quests and dozens of new adventure instances, we've changed the way people play our game with new features," said Scott Hartsman, senior producer, Sony Online Entertainment. "Expansions and adventure packs, however, let us do even more. In Desert of Flames we've created a home for some great new player versus player gameplay, with some unique twists. The Splitpaw Saga does more than tell an interesting story; it also includes the addition of dungeon instances that scale to your group’s level. Both of these additions to EverQuest II let us do things we’ve never done before and we’re excited about our plans for the next six months."

 Anarchy Online Also Getting Bigger
Anarchy Online

Rumors existed for a short while now, but now Funcom has officially confirmed that the next Anarchy Online expansion will be titled Lost Eden. This is the fourth expansion pack in franchise history, and will see mankind pulling out all the stops against the alien invaders as gigantic battle stations are deployed in orbit around Rubi-Ka. As fire rains from the heavens humanity finally seems to gain the upper hand. But with great power comes great temptation, and Omni-Tek and the Clans both see the ultimate means to gain total supremacy for their side; the orbital battle stations.

Features are set to include:

  • Fight for orbital supremacy by conquering level based battle stations in large PvP battles.

  • Control huge Mechs on the battlefield.

  • Enter vast dungeons in the heart of alien motherships

  • Build and customize yourself further with advanced experience rewards. Boost your character with new special attacks and special stat bonuses.

  • Partake in the escalated Omni-Tek vs. Clan conflict. Help your side to win as you call air strikes, use artillery, mine the battlefield, and unleash havoc from inside your mech.

  • Protect your Notum bases with new SAM installations and stationary guns

  • Wield new weapons, items, and armor

  • Embark on new quests

Funcom has yet to specify a release date or a price for Lost Eden, but hey, stuff like that is why E3 was invented.

 City of Heroes is--You Guessed it--Expanding

Gah, this whole freaking column is about expansion packs. I'm just gonna go ahead and apologize right now. I'll try to dig up more stories about people getting stabbed in the future. Anyway, on with the news.

City of Heroes players are now getting into Issue #4: Colosseum. This expansion is a big one because it brings in PvP combat into the game, whereas there had been none before. As you might have guessed by its name, this PvP action happens in special arenas. Found in are located in Galaxy City, Talos Island, and Peregrine Island, they all lead to the same place, meaning players joining the arena from different locations can fight each other. Certain special powers will be available only in these arena battles.

There are also changes to communication, upgrades to customization options, and new interface options that allows mouse-based movement. Read more about this expansion here. Oh, and the reason I didn't mention any price is because there isn't one; all City of Heroes expansions are free.

 Guild Wars Ladder Live
Guild Wars

From the official Guild Wars site: "The first teams have taken their places on the Guild Wars Ladder. At the present time, we have 38 teams ranked, with more joining by the hour." That's right, the Wars are officially on. Keep updated by checking the ladder here.

 ROSE Online Wipes Clean

The GMs of ROSE Online have sent a letter to players announcing a character wipe to take place on May 9. The whole game will be reset to correct some balance problems that have arisen due to "shameful happenings" in the game's open beta life.

Server downtime is scheduled to be as follows:
Beijing - 13:00 - 16:00
New Delhi - 10:30 - 13:30
Sydney - 15:00 - 18:00
Bangkok - 12:00 - 15:00
Hong Kong - 13:00 - 16:00
Kairo - 22:00 - 25:00
London - 06:00 - 09:00
Paris - 06:00 - 09:00
New York - 0:00 - 03:00

 World of Warcraft Players Transfer...Again

Remember the last three weeks, how I've told you about the thousands of Chinese gamers waiting in line to buy World of Warcraft? Now the police are involved.

More locally, players are getting another opportunity to pack up and find a new server to call home. Each realm selected for character transfers will have one designated realm to which characters can move. Blizzard has pledged to continue monitoring population levels as they have heretofore done. Players wanting to bail should check the list of eligible servers here, followed by the Transfer FAQ.

 Media Place
Guild Wars

This week features some Guild Wars screens from Tsi Aileron. His own captions are below the table.

1. My journey has begun!
2. Me kill skeleton, yay!
3. FIRE!!!!
4. Team Rokken has formed and is rokken out to Grimp Reaper! \m/
5. Zio and I sadly play our violins for the death of our beloved member Ledd!end it anyways.

To let give the world a look at your MMORPG adventures, send me your screens!

  Readers Speak

I've got a few letters in my inbox with the topic of "which of these MMOs should I...?" So I'm going to make one of these upcoming columns a sort of MMORPG buyer's guide, since news comes really fast during E3 and about the week after, but then screeches to a hault. To those of you who wrote in and I said I'd answer "in my next column," sorry, but we must delay...again.

 Log Out

Yeah, apparently everyone decided to announce or ship their expansions this week, making for a somewhat repeitive column. Well, time to get cracking on next week's's probably going to require a lot of research and sampling.

Jump Ship. That's all the lives Heath Hindman California

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