Shadowbane set free I MMOs get their own magazine I SOE signs baseball player
Conan has class(es) I LotR Online media I FFXI 360 Beta Test to End
Issue #56 News Week? March 21, 2006

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I thought it would be hard to find news in the last five days; however, there was something in the air last Thursday... no less than 4 MMO news items arrived on my desk in that day alone.

I put off starting the new column, though. That was a mistake, as I underestimated the amount of time it would take to do this column. I was only halfway done with it before going to bed on Monday night.

I can get a column out on time! Honest!

 Shadowbane set free

Shadowbane Wolfpack Studios's MMORPG, Shadowbane, has had its subscription rates adjusted. As of March 10, the game only has a single subscription plan: $0/month. That's right, nada, nothing, zip, zilch.

You can download a free copy of the game from FilePlanet. The versions on FilePlanet are referred to as "Trial Versions," but are complete copies of the game. A free account is also needed to play the game. Once you have an UBI account, Shadowbane will show up in the Add Subscription section.

I'm not sure how this makes Ubisoft or Wolfpack any money, but the rumor mill is already beginning...

 MMOs get their own magazine

Computer Games Magazine has announced that it will launch MASSIVE Magazine on September 19, 2006. New issues of MASSIVE magazine will be published quarterly, starting in January 2007. Each issue will contain a DVD with demos and games. Since this is an MMO magazine, there's a good chance that's typo-ese for "trial versions."

Computer Games Magazine's current website poll suggests that the price has not yet been set. If you're going to vote for a price, do so soon!

 SOE signs baseball player

Everquest 2 Sony Online Entertainment announced on Thursday that Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has signed an endorsement deal for Everquest II. Schilling will be making appearances, going on media tours, and meeting with fans of the EQ games.

Some of Schilling's first duties will be SOE's Media Interviews and tour of the game's newest features on April 6-8.

I don't see the connection between baseball and MMOs. What I do see is a company that, in my experience, has a bad track record tracking down and fixing bugs. Instead of spending money on programmers to track down said bugs, they are spending money on a celebrity spokesperson.

 Conan has class(es)

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Details have surfaced in regards to the Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures class system.

Two of the races in Conan, the Cimmerians and Aquilions, have the choice between the Warrior, Priest, and Thief archetypes. The last race, the Stygians, are always the Mage archetype. Archetypes are selected when the player reaches level 5. As a quick reference Cimmerian is the barbaric race, Aqilion is the cultured race, and Stygian is the race of mystics.

If the archetypes sound familiar to you, they are roughly the same four archetypes that Everquest II used prior to its February update.

When you enter the online portion of the game at level 20, you choose your specialty class. Check out the full class list for more details.

In addition to these skills, there are four "prestige classes" (read as "professions"), available to members of a guild. You can start one of the four prestige classes at level 5. How you manage to join a guild to do that when you don't go online until level 20 is not explained. Perhaps FunCom hasn't thought this change through?

 LotR Online media

Lord of the Rings Online We have some new media for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Thirty-five thumbnails is a bit much to show on this page, so I've linked to the media section below.

 FFXI 360 Beta Test to End

Final Fantasy XI Square Enix has announced that the XBox 360 Beta Test for Final Fantasy XI will be ending on Sunday, April 2, 2006. The game ships on Tuesday, April 18, 2006.

All characters used during the Beta test will transfer to the retail version when it is released.

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So, that's it for this week. I made it through an entire column without having to dig up in-game events to report on! I also made it through an entire column without mentioning World of Warcraft! Wait... mentioning that I didn't mention it is in itself mentioning it... ARGH.

I'm still not done with the new archives layout. I'm running into a bug that I'm going to need to work around... and I've been lazy about fixing it. Perhaps next week?

May your blades never dull,
Ross Bemrose

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