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Black Tuesday on Everquest II...Sorta I Mondain Leaves Legacy in UO I Update Delayed, Goodies Revealed I Dungeons and Dragons and Delays, Oh My! I Short Stories I Media Place I Readers Speak I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
MMORPGAMER
Issue #45 Drive By August 13, 2005


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Heath: Don't read this if you get queasy when people talk about stuff like eyes exploding. So anyway, I just found out that during my lasik eye surgery, instead of just peeling a flap away from my eye, the awesome doctors ripped the thing off. Yeah. A piece of my eye just sorta got ripped off. Just thought I'd let you know why I'm extra angry about stuff.

Second up, this is gonna be my last MMORPGamer for a yet-unspecified time period, as I'm moving across the country, driving style. The good part is, I'll be video taping highlights of the roadtrip and eventually uploading them here to show them off. The bad part is, I have to buy a new computer and go through the process of getting it online in a new state and such. So while I'm at the wheel of my Geo Tracker, Ian Eller will be at the wheel of the column. I trained him myself, so you're in good hands.

Ian: Hi. I'll forego trying to be cool and suave and hip like Heath, since I'm not. And if you don't like my style, well, neither do I, so at least we have that in common. But it is mine, so I gotta use it. Now, some of you will probably recognize me from...nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Nowhere special, anyway. I haven't done much outside of my standard newsie duties thus far, so this is rather intimidating. I promise I won't mess it up too badly, though. At least not this one, since Heath did half of it. Although I can't promise my half will be anywhere near as awesome as his. On a totally different note, today is my birthday, and it's rained on my birthday for the past 17 years, so if it's not raining here, somebody please email me and tell me that it's raining by you. Even if it's not. Just tell me. Now, onto the news!



 Black Tuesday on Everquest II...Sorta
Everquest II

Remember last week's kickass editorial about MMO hacking? Well, the some people didn't. Apparently, a bunch of guys got together recently and thought it would be really cool to create a crapload of fake Everquest II platinum, the game's currency, and try and sell it on Station Exchange, the official auction site for all your EQ2 bling, for real-world money. Using something called a "duping bag" -- a hack that takes advantage of a weak code in online games to produce counterfeit currency, items, and whatnot -- these guys were able to inflict a 20 percent, or one fifth for you percentile intolerant folks, inflation upon the game's economy in just 24 hours.

However, utilizing their psychedelic ninja powers, the EQ2 moderators were able to revert the game's economy to its pre-inflated state. "We have a lot of alarms for this kind of thing," said Chris Kramer, director of public relations for EQ2 publisher Sony Online Entertainment, "and they all went off on Saturday." Upon discovering the insidious duping bag on a Station Exchange-enabled server, the SOE customer service team utilized a counterfeit tracking program to locate the duped platinum and rushed to shut down the auctions associated with the counterfeit cash. Of course, once the hackers had been identified their accounts were terminated as well. Despite the high frequency with which duping occurs, this was the first time a Station Exchange server had been attacked. "It was a good test of how our alerts worked," said Kramer, "and how fast we can react to something like that."

Unfortunately, Sony didn't disclose the names of the hackers, so all you morally upstanding folks can't go and chew them out.



Source: Gamespot



 Mondain Leaves Legacy in UO
UO

Ultima Online's next expansion pack, Mondain's Legacy now has its own website. On it, one can view all the features on this expansion pack, and dream sweet dreams of what will be possible when upgrading. It also contains an announcement about a pre-order bonus called "Charger of the Fallen." This armored horse is a new mount, and will be given to anyone who pre-orders the pack between August 17 and August 30.

In other Ultima Online news, the Town Hall Meetings are coming to Europe. The official website exclaims: "We are hopping the pond! Join members of the Ultima Online development team in London on August 13th and Berlin on August 14th for special international editions of the Ultima Online Town Hall meetings. Come see a special demo of Mondain's Legacy, ask questions and give us your feedback and suggestions!" Check out the details on the individual locations here.




 Update Delayed, Goodies Revealed
EA

So here's the scoop. A new update is well under way for Endless Ages, but it appears as if the developers were a bit too ambitious with their previously projected release of late July (doesn't that always seem to happen?). Although nothing is concrete yet, they do plan to take at least another week before going live. A list of previously undisclosed features has been posted to momentarily quench your "endless" appetites until the aforementioned going-live-age.

First of all, there's a +Weapon system. No, don't think Chrono Trigger. The point of this system is to enhance previously weak items to a point where players will actually want to use them. Think D&D; a weapon with + damage will have, obviously, the potential to dish out a greater amount of pain. This could make PvP rather interesting, because you'll see a guy wielding a weak weapon and be all like, "Psh. That kid's got no game!" But then he'll plaster your butt against the wall. Also, your friendly developers have been listening, and all the melee weapons have been brought back into the game. Of course, no MMO would be complete without a number of extremely rare and difficult to obtain weapons, and only a few lucky Endless Ages homies will be privy to such loot.

Secondly, what started out as a joke has become a reality. Apparently, somewhere in the Endless Ages forums, in a place I am currently unable to locate, some wiseass joked that Boomtown should be have tour rides. Well, one thing led to another, and now the idea has gotten so many requests that the developers have made it so...number one. Players now have the choice to hop on either a pirate ship (who needs anything else?) to get a scenic view of the rivers or a blimp (itís not a Led one; sorry) to get an aerial view of the beauty that is Boomtown.

Finally, there's the good ol' interface, which is seeing an update in order to modernize the look and feel of the game.

Curious to see what this new blimp is all about? Wanna know what's up with the interface? Well, click here or here respectively.


Source: Endless Ages Portal



 Dungeons and Dragons and Delays, Oh My!
EQ2

Hey, all you 20-rollin' badasses out there. Yeah, you know who you are. I hate to break it to ya, but...Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach has been delayed. Until the first quarter of 2006. It's okay to cry; nobody will laugh.

But wait, there's still some good news. Starting as of...three days ago, the public online alpha test is available to a select number of lucky gamers. To register for a chance to win, dungeon-goers should click on over to the official site. If you've got a board account at the site, lucky you; you've been given priority over those non-board attending commoners.

For those of you out there who are totally oblivious to the existence of Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, let me fill you in. The title is constructed around the 3.5 Edition rules and will attempt to separate itself from other online RPGs by emulating the same "sitting-in-a-basement-eating-Doritos-with-your-pals" feel of its pen and paper counterparts. For example, the world a player will inhabit will be much smaller than the worlds in most other MMOs, placing more significance on the community and giving greater weight to the actions of others. Also, the experience and treasure one receives will be based, not on how many enemies are felled, but by how many quests have been completed.

Turbine, the game's developer, is also working on another MMO with a fairly well known license, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, which is due out roughly around the same time as Stormreach. I'd link you to some more coverage somewhere, because that's Heath's style, but I'm too lazy.



Partial Source: Gamespot



 Short Stories
MMO

Somebody has high hopes for MMOs in Japan. Organizers of the Online Game Forum -- an event coordinated by the Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade, and Industry (now there's a mouthful) -- have projected that the online game market in Japan will increase from 57.8 billion yen (approximately $530 million) as of December, 2004 to a grand total of 93.8 billion yen (approximately $855 million) by the end of this year. For the lazy and mathematically challenged, that's an increase of 62 percent. Hey, I thought it was pretty interesting.

City of Really Bad Dudes

Can't wait to let your inner supervillain run amok? Well, first of all, don't tell Jack Thompson. Second of all, click here. Now. No, seriously, the City of Villains closed beta is set to begin sometime this month, and that link delineates everything you need to know. Basically, here's the deal: priority will be given to players who already possess long-time, active City of Heroes accounts, as well as those who pre-order City of Villians (you know the deal; ebgames.com, gamestop.com, CompUSA, and Best Buy). But wait, there's more. Pre-orderers will also be privy to a 14-day free trial of City of Heroes, as well as the completed version of City of Villains two days before the rest of the world. Sweet.

WoW

Well, we've gotta have at least ONE World of Warcraft story in here. I mean, everybody and their brother's playing it. Anyway, everyone's favorite non-tangible planet is, for some reason unbeknownst to me, providing players with a chance to usurp Spielberg. How does one go about said usurp-age, you ask? Simple. Just submit your completely original, all-Battlegrounds (sorry, ya gotta have the patch) film to the link available here. What's the point, you ask? Well, you can win a year's free subscription to World of Warcraft, a six month subscription, action figures, hot swag, and loads more.


Partial Source: Gamespot



 Media Place
FFXI
More FFXI screens this week. These ones were sent by Rovec, who tells me he's a lvl 55 PLD/WAR on the Leviathan server.



Thanks to the others who sent screens that did not appear here. It's not like I have a huge backlog or anything though, so jam my inbox full of 'em.

Ian's Edit: On second thought, perhaps you should email your screens to me since, y'know, I don't want to have to whip out my 1337 h4xx0r skillz and hack into Heath's email account or anything.





  Readers Speak

Last week, I forgot that this was an MMORPG column and that I should link my awesome MMO-related contributions on other parts of this site. So here's an awesome editorial I wrote about why monthly fees in MMORPGs are not a bad thing. It's pretty kickass because I wrote it.

Indeed


Just to start off: FFXI is the only MMO I've ever played for a long period of time.(Having only played betas before) I was abit adversed to paying but I got over it, but the trouble is I have this little brother who does not understand. He thinks I'm playing the most boring game ever and wasting my money.(he has not played FFXI...heh)

For the most part he sees me farming and makes fun of me for it("you're killing these loosers again...") and makes the same 3 speaches again and again. All this just annoys me so I keep doing what I wana do ^^

You ever had someone who has no idea what you're doing, but thinks that they should stop you? It happens all the time here....

Shadowneko(server: Midgardsormr)
Lvl 63 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


HEATH

Have I ever had this problem? Have I ever had this problem? Oh...oh my, yes, Jon.

Unfortunately, the closed minded can't be convinced of anything. Remember in the Bible when Moses parted the Red Sea, then everybody went across and started complaining again. Then he brought water out of a rock and mana from the sky, but people were still being all dumb? Then later (much later), Jesus was pretty much performing miracles on-demand, and people were still like "Hmmm...I dunno..." What I'm getting at is that once people have their minds made up certain things, it's extremely hard to change it, sometimes impossible.

What you need to do is call him out on paying for anything he likes to do. See him buying a pack of gum? Gripe about it. Is he watching TV? Mention that cable is costing you $35 a month. Is he using the computer? Remind him that it was $700 and the internet is ticking up $20-50 a month, depending on your service. Is he using his cellphone? Point to your watch in reference to minutes, then remind him of his monthly costs. Is he renting a movie? Mention that he'll only be entertained for 90 minutes, then his $4 are gone forever (a much higher cost/hour ratio than an MMORPG). I'm sure you can find many more (and perhaps stronger) examples.

And if anyone out there reading this is an antagonist of MMO monthly fees, I point you to the enditorial above. Read it if you feel like getting owned is a good way to start your day, sucka.


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OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT OUTRO TEXT. Sorry, Heath left that in the template and it was way cooler than anything I could think of. But seriously, I didn't do too bad, did I? I did? Well, deal with it. Also, be sure to flood Heath's inbox with lots of congratulatory letters about his move, or something like that. Complaints about me, maybe? I dunno. Just don't be too harsh; this was rather enjoyable. So, yeah, I'll see you fools next week, for some more crazy cool MMO news. Just be sure ya keep sendin' in a buncha letter 'n' stuff. So, yeah. Bye.


Now is when Heath Hindman plays "La Arena" By Ennio Morricone and drives off into the Utah sunset


rage@rpgamer.com

Ian Eller just keeps getting older


ian@rpgamer.com

I left Phillip Clayton's sig in cuz it's puuurty


martyr@rpgamer.com




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