World of Warcraft Saddles Up I Lord of the Rings Online Devs Keep Talking I What About EverQuest II? I Short Stories I Media Place I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
Issue #42 Pimp My Column July 22, 2005

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Some loser asked me via email, "Can we send in screens of our MMO characters naked?" No. That would get my column an "AO" rating. Then retailers would pull it off shelves.

Hey. Man...after doing all that Q&A, it sure feels good to be doing MMORPGamer again. Unfortunately, there is a temporary shortage of huge, earth-shattering, monumental MMORPG news happening right now. There's stuff, but not as much as usual. Oh well, it's still a good ride.

You know what's NOT a good ride? My Geo Tracker. Back when the thing only had 1 door, it was cool and stuff, but now the back window (for those of you who don't know, these things have a convertible top and plastic back windows) has decided it doesn't like staying attached to the car and would rather flap around carelessly any time I go over 40 MPH. So I duct taped it shut. Then when I'm closing my back gate, *CLUNK*, the thing doesn't stay closed. Turns out the little hook thing is broken off. What must I do? Well, I duct taped the gate shut. My car now has so much duct tape on it, I think I'm losing gas mileage because of the extra weight. If any of you are willing to give me a sweet deal on a pimped ride, email me.

 World of Warcraft Saddles Up

Lots of World of Warcraft news this week. For one thing, the official website has opened a new section all about mounts. In introduction, the section says, "World of Warcraft offers a variety of mounts for the different races of Azeroth. Humans, for example, generally ride horses, and Orcs tend to favor their trusted wolf mounts. A mount is a special type of permanent pet that a player can own. Using one requires the riding talent, and with extensive training, riding specialists will be able to use mounts not generally available to their particular race." It then points out that yes, owning a mount makes you look cool. The rumors are true.

Big Overseas
The game's recent Chinese release--which if you'll recall, I made a ridiculously huge deal about. I even wore a Kung Fu robe to work that day--brought a metric asston of new subscribers to the game. "World of Warcraft's success in China has quickly exceeded our expectations, and seeing Chinese gamers respond so enthusiastically to the game has been extremely gratifying," said Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We thank the players for embracing World of Warcraft, our partner The9 for helping to make all of this possible, and the Chinese authorities for their support of Blizzard Entertainment." And I thought "The9" was just the name of what I keep under my car seat.

The Big Show
Tickets are now on sale for Blizzcon, which I mysteriously didn't get invited to. The event will feature Q&A panels with developers, live events on the World of Warcraft battlegrounds, a concert with a to-be-announced band, and more. Since the con will take place in the Anaheim Convention Center, attendees get discount prices on Disneyland tickets. Not a bad deal, considering BlizzCon tickets are $120 a pop. Clear your calendars for October 28-29 if you plan on going.

From the New World
Blizzard has announced the launch of two new US realms: Moonrunner (PvE) and Kelecgos (PvP), bringing the total number of available US realms to 99. Will it ever stop, yo? I don't know. Turn off the lights, and Blizzard will glow.

 Lord of the Rings Online Devs Keep Talking

In this week's Lord of the Rings Online update, Lead Production Artist Floon Beetle talks about roleplaying, gameplay, and some of the challenges developers face when trying to accomodate both roleplayers and powergamers. If I may say, it's quite the interesting piece, mostly because this is an issue that all MMORPG developers face. Trying to please all the various types of players that will come into your game is tough.

Beetle states the problem best when he says, "It's odd how [online] 'role-playing games' will have 'normal' and 'role-playing' servers: it's an admission that there is a fundamental tension between the 'RP' and the 'G' in the genre." He describes the problems Role Players face in the game and what developers can do about keeping the whole community satisfied. How will Lord of the Rings Online be handling its community? Find out by reading the diary.

On the game's official message boards, prospective players seemed excited about what they read. After expressing a wish for there to not even be RP servers, a forum user declared "There are poeple who would join [RP servers] JUST to annoy serious RPers. I'm glad to see at least they're taking RPing seriously." Some weren't so positive though, as one said, "Perhaps I'm just in a cynical mood today, but I don't see much that is too reassuring. Rehashed? yes. It's the same line that's been given us for two years. But until we actually see a system in place that encourages roleplaying, it's all just words."

 What About EverQuest II?

I need to open a new sub-section of this column where all I do is sit in a recliner and talk about EverQuest II and hope I eventually get a paycheck from Sony. Anyway, *leans back in recliner*...

The game launched a big update recently, as is common in that game. New features include cross-zone invites, the ability to set one's bind point to anywhere in his/her home city, a bigger quest journal, interface changes, upgrades to the guild system, and a ton of other schwack. Check it all out here.

Second point of business, this thread on the official forums has Steve Danuser announcing that the Desert of Flames expansion will go on sale September 12. He then calls for potential testers to apply.

Finally, the Station Exchange service has launched. I did a big report on it last week. I'll keep you up to date on how it's received. Meanwhile, if you're using it, you should email me about how you like it.

 Short Stories

Lineage II players can now experience the last chapter of "Chronicle 3." Check it out here.


The official Dark and Light website has also seen a large story upgrade. Producers have uploaded some panoramas and sights from the game's E3 showing, as well.


A new director's letter has been posted for the Saga of Ryzom community members. In it, David Cohen Corval talks about the RAID Engline, PvP, Fame, and other topics. A good sample quote is as follows: "I saw a good deal of people in the boards afraid to see PvP taking over the game all over Atys. I understand their concern and I want to reassure them: this is not what we are after. What we want to do is to have a better, more thrilling, yet consensual PvP."

 Media Place

No screens this week. It's like people have forgotten that they can show the world their awesome screens and tell stories and stuff. Come on y'all. Help a brother out. Anyway, I posted some screens of my own to make up the difference. These are from the game A3. I got sick of running around as a gangly dude in Dark Age of Camelot so went the opposite direction and made a chick in this game. A3's graphics are nothing special to begin with, but they lost a little something more when I had to shrink the files.


Now let's get back on track and start posting cool screens like we used to. Send me a few.

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It's weird coming back from Q&A where I got 10 letters one day, 20 the next, and then having none for MMORPGamer. Start talking, people >:(

So yeah, sorry about the lame column. Skimpy news and no submissions. I blame Grand Theft Auto.

After the column is pimped, Heath Hindman wants people to start calling him "Xzibit"

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