And Out Come the Retards I Darkness Rises I Don't Get Short with ME, Dark and Light! I What About EverQuest II? I You Gotta Love China I Short Stories I Media Place I Readers Speak I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
Issue #47 The 20th Century Was Entirely Mine September 18, 2005

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In a chance meeting, I became acquainted with a Korean girl the other day. We knew just enough of each other's native languages to esablish basic, core facts about each other. Since I'm a college guy, I tried to impress her with a few words of Korean. Since she's a college girl, it worked.

 And Out Come the Retards

I love when online versions of offline games are announced. I'll get into my reasons from a gamer's perspective in a moment, but I must admit the combative, editorialist side of me gets especially gratified by this. Why? Because there's always some ignorant jackass that starts whining about story. The best part none of them have ever played an MMORPG, and if they did, they most definitely sucked too bad to even see very much of the story.

This kind of crap makes me laugh endlessly. In past times, I've just sat back and smiled at the show, but now I feel it's high time to get in there and take some people down a notch. I realize that no matter how bad I own these newbies, they'll not realize what's just happened and go about their merry way not listening to reason, but eh, I wouldn't feel right if I didn't at least demonstrate the other side of the *ahem* story. Here I come, bitches.

The Spark

To set this up, allow me to introduce what particular instance led to this topic being addressed. The Grandia series will see an online incarnation in the near future. Verily, Grandia Online was just recently announced at the Tokyo Game Show. The online world of this game is going to change with time just like a real one and carry the style of the first Grandia game.

The Reactions

Like I said, my gamer's perspective comes later, but right now, Heath has trash to kick. Namely, a group of forumers made my brain hurt with stupidity last night. Let's quote some of the best ones and then tear them apart, shall we?

Idiot 1 - One clown said, "Arc The Lad had a crappy sequel because of online gaming as well."
Wow, what a colossally uninformed tool. No, kid, Arc the Lad: End of Darkness was a crappy sequel because absolutely nothing went right. It was not an MMORPG to begin with, so the comparison is already shot to hell. Arc: EoD didn't have anything going on for it, and its online play was just deathmatches and simple missions; they didn't center the whole game around it. It was just a bonus.

Idiot 2 - This one is probably my favorite. Listen to this cat, "I hate MMO's because they have no stories, they all suck. I work I'm not some weiner who can take 800hours to get to level 20. **** that gimme a traditional rpg anyday over this ****."
They have no stories? Holy crap, that's news to me. I must have been simply imagining things when my jaw hit the floor for FFXI's opening story-driven FMV, or during the spine-tingling scenarios I faced in the Catacombs of Dark Age of Camelot, and when Shadowbane opened a new server dedicated purely to delving deeper in the game's--you guessed it--frickin' awesome story.

I'll keep going with this retard. Let's take a look at the wonderful generalization, "they all suck." Really? Even ones that haven't come out yet, that you know literally nothing about? A prophet thou art, indeed! And you can be 100% sure that someone with a non-general comments like "they all suck" is going to make sure he knows about the game before making a call.

I also love the comment about MMO players being wieners. That gives him class and credibility.

Furthermore: 800 hours for level 20? I sure hope that's an exaggeration, because you can get to level 60 in like 20 hours in certain MMORPGs, World of Warcraft to name one. Not sure here, but I've heard from some others that City of Heroes is another that comes to mind. You work? Wow, what an accomplishment. I work 30-40 hours a week, take 15 credits at Utah Valley State College, and still have plenty of time to have fun in both offline and online games...then write this column about it, to boot. You aren't special.

Idiot 3 - I love this guy: "THE Grandia Series has one of the best turn-based systems known to RPGS, and NOW they throw it away for a MMO. We have ENOUGH MMOs already. Try something new for a change."
Okay, here's a question, smart guy: how is having an online game, developed only by GameArts and Gungho Online, going to ruin the series? If you meant that it's going to "distract" GameArts too awful much, it certainly won't, because GHO will be handling the bulk of production and all of the distribution. If you don't want to play the game, fine, don't. What harm did it do you then? "Try something new for a change?" This game is going to take place in the Grandia world, and it will evolve and change right along with the population, even displaying seasons and such. Plus, the creators said the fighting will still fell like a Grandia game, but online. That sounds pretty freaking innovative, and it's only the first bits of news. What was the "something new" you had in mind? An offline RPG that flows and plays like 97% of most other RPGs? Yeah...that's...original....

Idiot 4 - "Work on bringing over Grandia III to the US first!"
Newsflash: The Square Enix English localization team is not the same group of people as the Gungho Online Development team. Nice try though.

Idiot 5 - "youre...joking right? these games never get good ratings."
Yeah...You're...Totally...Right...Dude. They...Never...Do.... Oh, and in those links, I made sure to include original games as well as online RPGs that were spawned from popular offline series (for reference, that's WoW, FFXI, PSO, and UO).

The Objective Defense

First, allow me to point out that I am not claiming online RPGs are superior to offline ones here. I am merely making an objective defense for them. Now, haters, try for a second to understand where online gaming fans are coming from and open your minds for a second.

An online installment to an offline series should certainly not be viewed as a great sin. It gives fans another way to explore the series' universe, for one thing. For example, with Grandia Online, players are going to get to see a living world, much of which will be familiar to them through playing the original offline title. Then, they'll get the bonus of being able to see it change with the time, like a real city. That's something MMOs drive from: making the role playing as rich as possible. You can participate in the story at your own pace, and all the while a real world is changing around you. Offline titles occasionally put stuff similar to this into practice, but never to the extent of an MMO. They just can't.

Second, the prospect of experiencing a half-new, half-sentimentally valuable Grandia world is highly appealing to someone like me, and I know I'm not alone. Plus, I'll get to share it with friends. I'll be able to create a character in this world, log on, and play the game with my brother who lives back in New York, or my homies representing PA, or anyone who has the game. If this does not sound fun to you, that's fine--it doesn't have to--but don't sit there folding your arms and crying about it when the MMO audience is found to be worthy of getting some new games.

 Darkness Rises

Dark Age of Camelot's newest expansion, Darkness Rising, has almost risen to availability. Mythic has posted the official website for this expansion pack, which has revealed that it is intended for players level 30 and above. Seeing the words "Something evil is stirring beneath Camelot" written on the site makes me wonder if the new areas will take players even farther underground than Catacombs did.

In happenings more relevant to the game's present condition, Mythic released a new patch which brought new Epic Quests that reward players with redesigned Epic Armor. The press release states, "Players will be able to obtain these new Epic Quests at regular intervals, beginning at level five, as they are called upon to regain long lost treasures and defend their Realms from dire threat. Initially these are individual, class-specific quests but they become more cooperative in nature at higher levels with all players within a Realm sharing a common final quest."

It's also reported that new dungeons have been added to the game, just to go with these quests. All of this new content comes free to subscribers.

 Don't Get Short with ME, Dark and Light!

A bit of Dark and Light news this week, as the official website has a new profile of Dwarves online. "Dwarves are like the mountains they live in: proud and strong, fierce and resilient. So stubborn they sometimes behave irrationally. They fought against all odds during the War and never lost their faith despite the sacrifice of thousands of Mammals to Dragoon. They realized that death was only a stage of life, and they knew that the Dragons would pay for their misunderstanding of this cycle that binds all things together.

"Their very strong relation with Agnar is highlighted in the way they build their houses: their traditional villages are made of stone buildings of rough and sturdy architecture, with steep roofs that prevent snow from accumulating."

How exciting!

 What About EverQuest II?

The Desert of Flames expansion is totally out. You can take a look at the flashtacular site and read up on the new story pieces it adds here.

But if that's old news to an addict like you, hopefully you'll get more of a kick out of the news of combat changes, as taken from the game's own website:

  • Your likelihood of avoiding an attack is now based on two primary factors: the con color of the attacker and the type of armor you are wearing. The heavier your armor, the lower your chances of avoiding an attack.
  • The more grey your target is to you, the greater your chance to avoid attacks and mitigate damage from that opponent; your chance to hit and damage the target also increases. Conversely, the more red your target is to you, the less your chance to avoid attacks and mitigate damage from that opponent; your chance to hit and damage the target also decreases.
  • Melee damage bonuses for both auto-attack and combat arts are now calculated based on the attacker's strength.
  • The damage output of both players and NPCs should now increase more smoothly rather than receiving a sharp boost every ten levels.
  • Mages and Priests now gain 5 points per level in their offensive melee skills.
  • The effectiveness of Strength, Agility, Intelligence, and Wisdom buffs has been increased. The effective cap is set at 7 times the character's level. For example, a level 30 fighter will receive an increasing melee damage bonus up to 210 Strength, while a level 40 wizard will receive an increasing bonus to spell damage up to 280 Intelligence.
  • TO get the full list of changes that came with Live Update #13, go here.

     You Gotta Love China

    "Watcher" of our message forums sent me a neat bit of news. Oh, and by "neat," I mean "silly." Chinese website Interfax reported last month that Chinese MMORPGamers that minors under 18 are prohibited from playing games that feature player vs. player (PvP) combat. China's Ministry of Culture (MOC) and Ministry of Information Industry (MII) apparently walked into someone guy's office, slid some crap off his desk, and made him code up an interface to make the minors enter their National Identity number in order to play MMOs that have player-killing content.

    "Minors should not be allowed to play online games that have PK content, that allow players to increase the power of their own online game characters by killing other players," Liu Shifa, head of the MOC's Internet Culture Division told Interfax. "Online games that have PK content usually also contain acts of violence and leads to players spending too much time trying to increase the power of their characters. They are harmful to young people."

    While some people are happy about this, others are concerned. "We don't want to put the authentication system in our games," a senior official with a Chinese online gaming firm, who asked to remain anonymous, told Interfax. "PK game content is an important and attractive part of almost all MMORPGs. This new regulation will have a major impact on China's online gaming market. "It will be very difficult for the government to enforce this new regulation," he said. "I think they will only be able to enforce this policy at internet cafes, where authentication systems would be linked to police databases. But I think it will be very difficult to enforce this system for people playing online games from home."

    Source: Interfax

     Short Stories

    Gravity and TriggerSoft have announced on the official ROSE Online website that they are now accepting applications for closed beta keys. Apparently there was open play, and now we're back to closed play. So fill out an app if you're wanting to get back into ROSE. Will you be chosen?


    "Exactly one year ago, on September 16th 2004, the gates of Ryzom were opened..." read the update of two days ago on Saga of Ryzom's website. The crew is celebrating its first anniversary by giving all paying subscribers a free month of play, and just to be sentimental, opened this slideshow for sentimental value. The team is also demonstrating some of the progress that's been made by flashing around the new character models they've been tinkering with. Players get to vote on whether they want to bring in the new ones or stay with the old. The previous link has all this.


    In honor of Ultima Online's eighth anniversary, EA has announced Ultima Online: The Eighth Age, a bundle pack to contain all kids of goodies. Namely, a Blue Soulstone, an Atlas of Sosaria, a free advanced character (a $29.99 value), one free shard transfer (a $19.99 value), and a free sixth character slot (a $19.99 value). There will also be the ability to select one of eight rare collectibles, each one of which represents a year of Ultima Online's life. The pack contains all the content up through last year's Samurai Empire expansion. Read the official announcement here.

     Media Place

    Hey. HEY! I didn't get any screen submission in the last week. Wake up, you jerkfaces! Now is the part where I just stick some Final Fantasy XI screens in here that appeared on our index and pretend I've never seen them before.

    Send me something I can use, clowns.

      Readers Speak

    The letter below is in reference to that story I reported last week, then proceeded to make fun of extensively. And if I may say, now that it's over, he fully deserved it. Back home, we call what Lee did "assfault." Pronounced like "asphalt," but with a different spelling to reflect that he was an ass and what happened was entirely his fault. It's one thing if you're killed in a plane crash, but a whole other thing if you sit there and play a video game until your heart stops beating.

    What Was His Craft?

    I thought the guy was playing Starcraft. That's what the news story I read said. Or is this yet ANOTHER guy playing himself to death?



    I saw a report that said that too. I wish I could find the Korean report I read, which has a link to World of Warcraft's website from it....

    But even without that, I find the majority of English reports also state that it was indeed WoW. Below are some of them:
    -This Boston news publication
    -These guys
    -This New Mexico publication
    -The Chicago Tribune

    So that's why I reported WoW.

     Log Out

    -Hey kid, Heath Hindman is a computer. Stop all the downloading.

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