Gamepal Leaves Nothing to the Imagination I Britannia's Homes Look Evil I EverQuest Designer Talks I Tabula Rasa Project Head Talks Too I Splitpaw Saga Launched, Station Access Delayed I Short Stories I Media Place I Readers Speak I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
Issue #39 Ill Eagle Fireworks July 2, 2005

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In this season when everyone in the United States celebrates freedom with fireworks, I strongly recommend those living near the Hood Canal in the state of Washington to stop by Ill Eagle Fireworks. Located ten miles north of Shelton on US Highway 101, it offers the illest, eaglest, and illegalest selection of celebratory explosives around--all at competitive prices.

The only other time he's this excited is at Homestyle Buffet.

That's Ill Eagle, near the Twin Totems Chevron station, Skokomich Reservation, between Hoodsport and Shelton, WA.

 Gamepal Leaves Nothing to the Imagination

Holy crap, an MMORPG rental service. I was recently directed to a place I'd previously never heard of, Gamepal. I knew of IGE and other such places at which players can buy/sell gold, items, and accounts, but this site takes things to a new level of corner cutting. You see, at this place, you can do all of what I've already listed, and then take things a step further by offering to powerlevel your characters. I'm not joking. In the site's own words, "We can level up your characters levels, skills, stats, complete quests, and more." Buying an account is weird enough, but getting your own character and then paying someone to just play the game for you? This begs the question, "What the hell is wrong with people?"

I now look forward to the day when I come home with Ultima Online 2 (you hear me, EA?), then I hear my doorbell ring..."Who's there?" I say as I walk to the door. Why, it's some clown I'm paying to play my game for me. He plays, eats some of my chips, then leaves. I then take over and play for a while, but want more, more, more. So he shows up again, eats more chips, plays more game, I write another check, repeat.

Then I move to offline RPGs. Instead of playing Radiata Stories this fall, maybe I should just give my friends some money and have them do it. Then I fight the final boss and get slain cause I don't know what's up...but then I pay them to kill him for me and I get to see the ending. "Was the rest of the game fun?" I ask. He tells me, "Yeah man, you loved it." That's money well spent. Wow, that sounds AWESOME. Well, "awesome" if you're definition of that word is a synonym for words like these: shallow, lame, empty, unfullfilling, dishonest, half-assed.

In another unique move Gamepal, also allows for MMORPG "rentals," meaning a player would pay Gamepal a monthly fee and in effect gain access to 14 MMORPGs. Renters are able to hop from game to game, server to sever, class to class in much the same way a kid might skip about a candy store. Don't say you weren't warned, though; this is some expensive candy, costing a $300 start up fee, $150 for the first month, and $130 for each month afterwards.

 Britannia's Homes Look Evil
Ultima Online

Some Ultima Online players will soon be allowed to use the "Evil Home Décor Collection." This will let them express their dark sides by decorating their houses with ghoulish furnishings that will be available for a limited time. These items will be part of a few key promotions. Every active player will get one of the items (one item or grouped set per account).

After the giveaway, Origins will be adding the items to buddy program rewards as well as adding them as prizes for other upcoming promotions and putting the items on sale for a limited time via an online store. Pictures of the items and an FAQ are located on this page of the official Ultima Online website. The exact date on which the furnishings will be given away has not been announced.

 EverQuest Designer Talks

Sony Online Entertainment's Travis McGeathy recently talked about the inspiration behind the next EverQuest expansion, Depths of Darkhollow. A few other things were also addressed in the very brief Q&A, one quote of which is below.

RPG Land: "We see from your website that the new feature is the ability to turn into monsters for special quests. What in the world sparked such an interesting idea?"
Travis McGeathy: "Players have always loved illusions, which allow them to temporarily look like a creature from the game so you could really say it started there. A few years back, EverQuest went a step further and briefly implemented the ability to play as a monster in newbie yards, but it was removed shortly thereafter. While the original implementation had some problems, the core idea of being able to play as a monster has been around for a while.

"With Dragons of Norrath, we introduced the concept of missions which are essentially quests built for a full group that take players into an instanced version of a zone. We've always found that players connect more to the lore of the game when they are playing through it than when they are reading about it in dialogues or a book, so we used these missions to engage players in the lore behind the area.

"The ability to play as a monster in the mission is an extension of our desire for players to be able to play through the lore of the game. By letting players experience the world as one of EverQuest's monsters, they can live through Norrath's history through the eyes of the participants at the time and get a better understand of the events that shape the world they play in."

The rest of the short interview can be read here.

Source: RPG Land

 Tabula Rasa Project Head Talks Too

In other interview news, Richard Garriot of Destination Games recently talked about Tabula Rasa. Covering an array of topics in his discussion with CVG, the article can be read here. A quote is below.

Computer and Video Games: "Where do you stand on the whole 'there are only so many MMOs the market can support' theory?"
Richard Garriott: "People say that the market has become saturated, or it's capped. But look at how Lineage 1 and 2 have developed. Now five million people are playing those games in Korea. That's five out of every 50 people in the country! The figures for MMO playing aren't levelling off, they're growing very rapidly and I think that's going to continue."

Source: CVG

 Splitpaw Saga Launched, Station Access Delayed

EverQuest II fans are now able to purchase the game's second Adventure Pack, The Splitpaw Saga. The downloadable mini-expansion of sorts features two new dungeons with 12 new instanced zones, new monsters, more story bits, and other additions.

As these things always do, the pack has garnered mixed reactions from the EQ2 community. By browsing the official forums, I noticed one poster saying "Who dreams up these zones? Not someone who sees the big picture for sure," but quickly coming to the realization that he sucks at playing his class. Other such rantings are present as well, of course.

In more EQ2 news, Sony's "Station Access" launch has been pushed back to the middle of July. SOE said, of this "Were working hard to make this product rock-solid, so were going to launch when its right. Stay tuned for more info as we get it."

 Short Stories

Mythic Entertainment, responsible for Dark Age of Camelot and Imperator, has launched an official site for Warhammer Online. It doesn't reveal much about the game yet, but a vague release projection of "2007" sits front-and-center on the opening page.


Yet another The Lord of the Rings Online Dev Diary has been posted. This time, World Lead Ryan Bednar takes the stage and talks about how the team re-creates the geography of Middle-earth by pulling clues from the text of The Lord of the Rings books. Included is a little map he whipped up, showing the locations of Archet, Combe, and Staddle. Find it here.


Actoz and Anipark's A3 just went live. Players who participated in any sort of testing are privy to a free week of play before having to shell out gameplay fees. Check out a detailed FAQ here.

 Media Place

It's good to have allies. One of my allies is the lady who calls herself "Bucket Mouse." Below are a pair of screens from her adventures in Maple Story. She said, "These are screenshots of one of my charas (CurlyBrace, lvl 10 warrior) on the Bera server, June 30. It's worth noting that five minutes after I took these they announced a server check. When monsters that do 1k of damage to you show up in a safe city like KNOW the server is f***ed up."

Send me your screens!

  Readers Speak

One quick letter.


Hello Heath,

I'm thinking about starting to play an MMORPG but I'm not too keen on the monthly payment. Is there an MMORPG out there that's not too expensive and yet fun? I'm thinking about Guild Wars but it's a new MMORPG and I have no idea what to expect of it.



It seems Guild Wars is loved by nearly everyone who plays it, so if we want to play the percentages, I'll go ahead and recommend it. It's not quite as "massive" as the other MMOs out there, being broken down into smaller districts and a lot of instances, but that hasn't slowed it down a bit. Check out the MMORPGuide and the Guild Wars site to find some more info. Happy hunting. Let us know where you end up, yeah? :)

 Log Out

I had the pleasure of spending July 4th of 2004 in Shelton, the town mentioned above. Lemme tell you was like a freaking war zone. I'm from a small town in Pennsylvania where you don't have to go to any reservations to buy your fireworks, and people set them off almost exclusively in open fields. This is not the case in Shelton. Everyone gets all excited about their stash of "Ill Eagle" fireworks and decides to set them off right in the street. All night, fellow missionary and I were hearing the cracks, bangs, and blasts of celebration, complimented by random flashes. The parking area in the middle of our C-shaped apartment complex was a particularly popular place to set things off.

We foolishly decided to go walk around in this. How dumb could we have possibly been? We saw a great show, but man, now that I look back, we were in a heck of a lot of danger. In one situation, the container holding a Roman Candle tipped over, then began firing rounds all over the place. We had to duck and cover--literally. I never thought I'd have to do that.

Like idiots, of course, we were still looking at the thing as we fled/ducked/covered, as if to say to the fireworks, "Endanger us all you like; we're getting our money's worth."

A year ago, Heath Hindman almost got shot in the face with a Roman Candle

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