Station Exchange Opens in Mere Days I I Can't belive it's Not Trials of Atlantis I "The July Update Looks Incredibly Tough. It Seems to Have High Defense." I Shadowbane Devs: "That's Hot." I Short Stories I Media Place I Readers Speak I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
Issue #41 What I Got July 16, 2005

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Am I the only guy that doesn't like Riviera: The Promised Land? That battle system is way too sloppy; don't even try to deny it. Everything is good except the combat, dropping it just short of expectations. Between my playing of that and the even more horrid A3, I'm surprised I haven't walked downtown with an AK and translated my feelings into action. At least Makai Kingdom comes out soon.

Also, I'm really short on things to hate right now for some reason, so I really kind of forced the above commentary. I do kind of feel that way at times, but not with as much fire as my usual rants.

So there's a bunch of FFXI letters this week, as that was the topic I asked for in last week's column. In the theme of the day, here's an OK video. I don't like how gushy it gets, but meh, it's a decent show. It's funny to take not of the parts where the director speeds up the animation instead of waiting for the whole action.

 Station Exchange Opens in Mere Days

Cue up Beethoven's Fifth, because the day MMORPG purists have been protesting (or at least complaining about) is near. On July 20, Sony Online Entertainment will launch its infamous Station Exchange. This service, if you haven't heard already, will encourage the commonly frowned-upon practice of selling in-game items, accounts, and money for real cash. Just recently, the NDA for pre-launch participants was lifted, and the early version can now be seen here.

Now, if you know me, you know I'm a friggin tool. Being such, I've yanked quotes from various message boards on this subject. Here we go!

"Divorcing the virtual world from reality is a great idea. Unfortunately I cant divorce myself from reality. I have to work, in order to pay the bills. The reality in an online world is that a person who doesnt have to work, who can stay logged in and play 24/7, is ALWAYS going to do better then someone like me who cant. So SOE announces they are going to add auction enabled servers. GOOD. They arent adding the option to all servers. They are giving me the option to play on one of the auction enabled servers if I want too. If you dont......hey, dont choose one of those servers. If I feel like getting that really cool looking sword is something I want to do, then why shouldnt I be able to buy it?"

"haha cool looking. Let's roll..."

"My opinion of this move by SOE is its the worst move they could have made, period. I will never play a SOE MMO again, they don't value the time and effort of the player."

"I hate this new move offered by SoE."

"In the words of Mythic Entertainment: A game's a game, lets leave it at that."

"First of all, do you think that because exchange servers are introduced that the entire market of bots and such will migrate over to them ? No, that doesn't make an inkling of sense, bring all the bots and farmers/IGEers together on a server where almost all items will be intended for resale (there would be no market on said server..everyone is there for primarily the same purpose, to farm!). That being said, we can assume that while there may be a slight population decrease in farmers on the normal servers, illegal selling and ebaying etc will still occur because that is where the consumer market it - the buyers are playing on these servers, so that is where the sellers will go."

"looks awsome!"

And this last guy captured a point I made in an earlier column: "A lot of people view this as an easy way to make a quick buck and that it'll be easy to churn out some extra cash and just about anyone will buy a rare or plat they put up. I just don't see that happening. Who are gonna be your buyers in a server full of sellers?" You can expect your columnist to keep up with how this all plays out.

 I Can't belive it's Not Trials of Atlantis, A "Community Buzz" style investigation

I told you here that a new server type was coming to Dark Age of Camelot. The servers launched just days ago, and already they are the talk of the community.

Because I rock at reporting stuff, I went in-game to get a piece of the action. Before I even logged into a new server, I knew immediately the population would be high. Want to know how high? About seven times as high as a regular server. Gareth and Lamrock were both marked as "Full" with around 3,500 players in each. Meanwhile, the slew of "Normal" rules servers had anywhere from 350-650 players in each. My favorite server Gaheris, where co-op play is the name of the game, was sporting 450. I tried logging into a new "Classic" server as soon as I saw an opening. Apparently someone else had the same idea; I was kicked off!

When I fired up the game again, I noticed something I hadn't before: the "Ector" server, also marked as "Classic." Bwah? There were only two servers announced to boast the "Classic" rules. My guess is that this server is Mythic doing quick work to please the community. Even though this third server was under the radar, almost 900 people were in it--almost triple some of the "Normal" rules servers. When I asked if anyone wanted to make a comment for RPGamer, I could find none better than that of a player named "Rashing," who said, "Love it! :)" Below are two screens of actual people running around and stuff. I tried to get as many as possible in one shot, but it proved difficult, and these screens don't do the feeling a whole lot of justice. Since everyone is still a lowbie, that band in the second screen is all dressed the same. At first, I thought they were just some sort of the Bloods or Crypts or something.

 "The July Update Looks Incredibly Tough. It Seems to Have High Defense."

People who've played Final Fantasy XI will get the headline. Yeah, it's not very funny, but it's all I had.

What's also not very funny is the July update to Square Enix's FFXI; that's all business, sweetheart. One big addition will be the ability to ignore the fact that you have no friends by inviting an NPC to quest with you. In the words of Square Enix, "Adventure together, defeat fearsome monsters together, and gain experience together! That's right--your NPC friend can also gain experience and level up alongside you! After you've fought a few battles together, your ally might show up wearing new gear the next time you call for it! This new feature will open up the excitement of Vana'diel like never before!"

Additionally, the final chapter of Chains of Promathia is gonna unload the final chapter of its surely awesome story. Pictures of the chapter, including an always-lovable Mithra butt-shot can be seen here.

 Shadowbane Devs: "That's Hot."

"Hotzones" have been introduced to Shadowbane. A Hotzone is an adventuring area--chosen at random--that yields a boosted experience gain when a creature is killed there, with a upped chances of it dropping more treasure too. The hotness of a zone lasts for four hours, and then the title of "Hotzone" will change to a new area.

When a player logs in, a system message will appear and tell players which zone is currently hot. If a player does not know where the area is by its name, they simply have to open up the World Map and look for the blue icon. To learn more about other changes in the July patch, check here.

 Short Stories

In a press release sent from Korea, Gravity announced that Ragnarok Online will be going to...China. The company has granted Shanda Interactive Entertainment exclusive licensing rights to operate and game services in the Chinese market. No official Chinese beta or launch plans have come forth.


"But Heath," you say, "What's going on with Lord of the Rings Online?" Well sit down and I'll tell you. Those crazy dudes at Turbine have just posted three new pieces of concept art. You can now dig Jeff Murchie's interpretation of the evil Goblins and Orcs. Go get 'em, tiger.


Square Enix has announced the funeral of a game you've never heard of: Depth Fantasia. November 13 is set to be the last day of play, making the Japanese MMO's total lifespan about four years. The sale of 90 day passes have ceased, and the 60 and 30 day passes will go unavailable on August 11. Players of the game will not be charged for play after October 14, perhaps as one final "thank you" from the developers.

Partial Source: RPGFan

 Media Place

Menelwa sent a screen from FFXI, saying, "I think i must send you picture what made my friend Debo @ one of our CoP missions :)"

Send me your screens!

  Readers Speak

Last week, I asked what you thought could most help Final Fantasy XI improve in its next expansion. Here's what you came up with.

Ideas brewing

I've been off the FFXI bandwagon for nearly 6 months now and have been enjoying every minute of it. All of these changes are almost tempting enough to get me back to the game. I don't know if I will be able to play WoW and FFXI at the same time though. Perhaps I'll just come back for a month and see how things look, then go from there. I'm most excited to hear about the EXP changes for lower level mobs, this may make it a little more possible to solo or even duo/trio. All in all I think they are heading in the right direction, now they just need to take care of more of the Gil sellers and everything will be peachy.

Rock on, and all that good stuff.



Yeah, FFXI gameplay severely needs more soloability and small group rewards. That'd help a ton.

As for gilsellers, nah, I don't think they need *all* banned. Every Linkshell/guild needs 2 things:
1) A gilseller
2) A pothead

Can you really call yourself a guild without them? Pfft, not if you wanna be taken seriously. If you disagree with using drugs or selling gil or using gil and selling drugs, whatever; just get everyone in the linkshell/guild in a car together and drive around listening to Sublime's self-titled album. Talking about the problem and listening to "Santaria" will help you realize that everything is AOK.

Jon returns

Hi Rage...I'm kinda busy since I have to move now.(silly landlord) Anyway you asked what the should add in FFXI and since I kinda hang out on some of the FFXI message boards I'll tell you the top two things:

1. More jobs(sugestions range from Blue mage to Chemist/Alchemist...drawing from the pool of "Final Fantasy" jobs)

I suppose. Chemist might get awfully expensive though >_>
But yeah, any new job would be essential to spread out the community. A new RACE about that? Eh? How about that?

2. New Avatars- Square dropped some hints but nothing definate. There is alot of speculation on what they might be...including the Avatars involved in the Promithia story line.

Xbox360...well my opinion is this: My PS2 lags in crowded areas sometimes and I loose draw distance. In fact I can only see the characters right next to me at times. I'd only be intrested to see if I could get more draw distance in these crowded areas. Then again I'm not too crazy about things made by MS...

Shadowneko(server: Midgardsormr)
Lvl 62 THF|lvl 27 WAR|lvl 17 RNG|lvl 11 MNK|lvl 14 WHM|lvl 20 Summoner|lvl 37 NIN|lvl 5 BLM

A.K.A, Jon Davies


Hmm...I never thought about that draw distance thing. And honestly, I probably never will again. My PS2 does fine.

Make a list

What would be best for FFXI's future? Here are some suggestions:
1) New races(demon-classes)

Can I get a "Amen!?"

2) Customizable weapons/armours
3) New classes
4) More flexible in classes' abilities(ie Other than paladin sub warrior for a good tank)
5) Mini games such as chocobo racing:)
6) Live events (maybe the 3 major cities will be under heavy attacks from beastmen:)

That would be cool. I say this because it's always a blast in other MMORPGs.

7) Change of looks(dun u get bored by looking at the same character over and over again?^^)


Meh, I dunno about changing looks a whole lot. I guess it depends what you mean. Complete overhauls would be stupid, but Lineage II had a thing a while back when you could change your hair color. Something like that might be neat.

The Blues

Hey there, here's my thoughts on a new "FFXI Expansion" (I heard ones in the works..), and what I've heard is the following (I imagine you've heard it too though)

Blue Mage: A new class would be alot of fun, and everyone would like Blue Mages (if you remember back before CoP came out there were tons and tons of speculations threads about its contents, and pretty much all of them were saying "Blue Mage in Promathia!!!" or something to that extent, now they are beginning to pop up again, maybe SE will take a hint?) There's a thread somewhere on allakhazam (I think in the suggestions part), that has a wonderful idea, instead of directly gaining the monsters abilities (ie instead of bomb toss), a certain ability would be keyed to say, White Wind, or Bad Breath (ie the spells we remember from the older games, a great idea!). If Blue Mage is put in, I would love some abilities to be easy to get, while others are incredibly difficult to get. =>

Engineer: Okay Engineer, I dont know how this got started. Maybe someone can fill me in? => But anyway, Engineer is assumedly from FF6 (Edgar), and would use tools of some sort I have to assume. I was sitting around one day and thought it would be a great idea to have him be an "expensive class" (along the lines of NIN/RNG), he uses craft-built tools, and they require those batteries to work, each type of tool requires a diffrent battery, and each time you use it a battery is used up. =>

You know who totally predicted no new races or classes in Promathia, right from the start? Me. I knew even with Square, predicting such a thing was a long shot, my reasoning was that the company didn't *have* to put one in to sell the expansion; people would buy it anyway. And there was already a full game plus an expansion already included in the US version which had more job classes than one person could possibly handle by themselves, but that's beside the point. New jobs and new races are two of the biggest standard lures into staying in an MMO and buying the expansions; Square knew this, an dput job classes on hold till the next expansion.

And meh, I don't really care if a Blue Mage ever enters the game, because I would never use it, but I suppose if it comes with the previously mentioned effect of spreading out the community, whatever.

New Race: Some people want a male-mithra, personally, I dont see it happening, as for other races, I really dont know, it'd be nice, but personally, as I said above, I dont see it happening. Would I like it? Sure.

Dragoon buff: SE said somewhere they will be buffing Dragoons, to what extent, I dont know, personally I would like to see some sort of commands you could issue to the wyvern.

New summons/avatars: Summons and avatars are a possibility in the new expansion, I dont know what people have said exactly. Ive heard Alexander, Phoenix, Odin, few others. I have heard (this was before COP) that Bahamut will never get added because he is too big. =>

Also, I would like to say that I expect the expansion "new classes" (if any?) to be spellcaster oriented, we already have too many melee, we need more caster classes.



Indeed. I don't think new races will happen any time soon, but I sure hope for some. Of course, not charging a ridiculous extra fee for a new character would be nice if that happened, since people wouldn't likely be real keen on abandoning their old toons. And don't expect to see Bahamut anywhere other than story segments. ^^

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So ah. Next week I'll hopefully be off this FFXI kick. It's best in small doses.

Tell Sanchito that if he knows what is good for him, he'd best go run and hide. Heath Hindman's got a new .45

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