||I'm Not Dead
||June 22, 2006
I'm still alive. I almost died of some unnamed dis... oh, who am I kidding?
My interest in MMOs has waned recently. This is, unfortunately, normal for me. It has just hit me a lot harder, since a bunch of my friends had recently left World of Warcraft, the MMO we have been playing of late. This low makes writing this column more difficult; I have a tendency to push it off until tomorrow.
You would have seen this column over the weekend, but my grandfather had a heart attack on Friday. While I was still home on Friday and Saturday, I was definitely off my feed so to speak. After seeing him on Sunday, following his angioplasty surgery, I can say this: Don't be surprised if I ask someone else from the News department to cover my column in an upcoming week, as I don't think my grandfather has that much longer to live.
Enough of my personal life, though. Even though I said I wasn't going to, I actually did try the Everquest II trial. My mistake, you only download 2GB, rather than 6GB. Granted, for dial-up users, that's like saying this rock only weighs two tons instead of six. Either way, you're not going to carry it.
As for the game itself, I couldn't play enough of the game to see if it had really changed. I did get to beat up on a level 2 Kurt Schilling, though.
I also promised Anna Marie Neufeld that I would mention her quote in the Washington Post's E3 coverage. She was interviewed by the Washington Post following a meeting with World of Warcraft developers.
Yesterday, Square Enix revealed more information about Final Fantasy XI's Chocobo breeding. We now know that there are five breeds and three colors to start. Additional colors will be added in future updates.
- "These knightly mounts were bred in San d'Oria. They underwent training that allowed them to bear the weight of heavy armor and withstand the shock of cavalry charges. Destriers were characterized by their large, jet-black bodies and thick, powerful legs. With the decline of lance combat and improvements to ranged weaponry, destriers lost their place in battle to the faster coursers. These days, there are no remaining purebred destriers, but it is possible to see their proud bloodlines occasionally reemerge in the birth of rare, black chocobos."
- "The courser is a larger-than-average chocobo and is the most common breed found in the Kingdom of San d'Oria. They are characterized by their streamlined bodies, and long, graceful legs. They were originally bred for scouting duties, but their adoption into the military was accompanied by a general acceptance of the courser as an everyday mount. On extremely rare occasions, a red-colored courser will be born."
- "The mid-sized palfreys were bred to withstand the searing air and blazing heat of the desert. They are mainly raised in the Republic of Bastok and on Zepwell Island. With a relatively gentle demeanor, these chocobos are suited for those with who lack advanced riding skills. Palfreys are known to come in both blue and yellow."
- "This breed of chocobo has been magically reduced in size to provide mounts for the diminutive Tarutaru. They have short legs when compared to other breeds, but like the Tarutaru themselves, jennets are capable of maintaining a rapid pace. Due to a request from the southern Mithra wishing to blend into the jungle, there are some jennets that can be found in a shade of green."
- "With its huge population of adventurers, Jeuno boasts more frequent use of chocobos than any other nation. The main type of chocobo to be found in the duchy is the mid-sized rounsey. The pride of the famous trainer Brutus and his family, the rounsey is the result of a lengthy breeding program involving wild chocobos. This program has produced a robust mount of somewhat unpredictable temperament that is suited for long, punishing treks."
Calling your chocobo requires you to have an enchant item on you. This item also has a cooldown, so I recommend not getting off your chocobo if you plan to ride off into the sunset. SE has not yet said how long this timer is, only that it "won't adversely affect in-game balance."
Your chocobo's appearance will change as it grows and its attributes change. Attributes are based on the method you use to train your chocobo, which have not yet been documented by Square Enix.
In addition to riding your chocobo, you will also be able to use it to dig for items. This should come as no surprise to players, as rented chocobos already have this ability.
More information is expected to be released towards the end of the month.
Square Enix launched a new program earlier this month as part of its Community Support Tools. The Linkshell Community, currently in Beta, is a combination Linkshell members list and message board so that members can keep in contact outside of the game as well as within.
Character information is pulled directly from the game to populate the Linkshell's information. The data available includes job levels, synthesis levels, current titles, and mission ranks. This information can make it easier to coordinate events between players in your linkshell.
No, your eyes don't deceive you. This is the third Final Fantasy XI story this update.
Square Enix has recently cracked down on Real Money Trading in FF XI. Since the middle of May, SE has banned more than 250 accounts involved in large-scale RMT and removed 250 billion gil from the economy.
SE reminds players that "acts of RMT will not be tolerated in FINAL FANTASY XI, and any violations of the user agreement will be dealt with severely. We would like to assure our players that all efforts are being made to ensure a fair playing experience."
Square Enix wasn't the only company busy during May. Blizzard has also cracked down on RMT and other ToS violations. During May, 30,000 accounts were banned and 30 million gold was removed from the economy. For reference, so you can compare it to the FFXI numbers above, 30 million gold is 300 billion copper.
It looks like Square Enix was considerably more successful in removing RMT money, as WoW's money is spread over a much larger player-base than FF XI's.
Deep within the Necropolis, an evil presence stirs... On Tuesday, Blizzard patched the World of Warcraft servers to 1.11.
Patch 1.11 is also known as Shadow of the Necropolis, named after the Necropolis Naxxramas mentioned in an earlier column. In addition to the Necropolis Naxxramas and Scourge Invasion, Blizzard has also introduced a few other changes.
- Keyrings - Keyrings are a special bag to hold Soulbound dungeon keys. Unlike regular bags, they do not take up an additional inventory slot
- Light's Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands has been changed into a quest hub and has been improved in several ways
- A new Legendary item quest has been added for casters
- Disconnection detection has been improved. We should no longer see "A character with that name already exists."
- Tier 3 raid armor sets have been introduced
- New Flightpoints: Ratchet, The Barrens and Marshal's Refuge, Un'Goro Crater
- A number of new flight paths have been added to link the above FPs to other zones, as well as improve pathing for multiple flightpath flights
- Cenarion Circle and the Argent Dawn now have new faction rewards
- The Raid UI has had significant changes. If you use CTRaid, you'll probably be familiar with these new features
- Party leaders can now reset non-Raid dungeons by right clicking their portraits and choosing "Reset all instances"
- Mage and Shaman talents have been revamped. They were the last of the 9 classes to have gotten talent adjustments
- Druid's Innervate is no longer a talent-based spell. It is available to all Druids at level 40
- Druids have a new 31 point Restoration talent named Swiftmend, which, when used after a Heal over Time spell, will instantly heal the target for the remaining amount of the spell
- PvP Armor sets have been changed
- The LookingForGroup channel is now global
- The cost to unlearn talents now decays by 5g each month
- Zul'Gurub armor quests no longer require ZG coins
- Item cooldown categories have been changed
- Some item stack sizes have been adjusted. Leatherworkers, Enchanters, and Rogues should be particularly happy with these changes
Consult the patch notes for more details.
Electronic Arts recently issued a press release announcing its intention to acquire Mythic Entertainment.
Upon acquisition, the company will be renamed EA Mythic. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter of EA's 2007 fiscal year. From what I can tell, that is somewhere between July and September next year.
Mythic Entertainment is the developer behind Dark Age of Camelot and the upcoming Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning game.
Since its launch last April, Guild Wars and Guild Wars: Factions have sold a combined 2 million copies. Guild Wars was also the top selling game in May, according to the NPD Group.
How that relates to active accounts is unknown, but it is a strong showing.
Yeah, boring title, I know. There's only so much I can say about it, though. Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar is getting a new skill system, dubbed "Traits." Traits are treated similarly to equipment. Earned traits are put into a Trait pool. From there, they can be placed into a Trait slot to be "equipped."
Traits come in two major types and four major categories.
Star Wars Galaxies recently celebrated its third anniversary. How? With special events and items.
- All players whose accounts are over 30 days old will receive a Privateer Instant Travel Vehicle. This item summons a ship to take you to any shuttle ports on the current planet
- Test Center - From this Monday until Friday, from 5pm to 7pm CDT, there will be special Faction PvP events on the Test Center server
- Party with Max Rebo - Max Rebo and his band will be performing on top of the Lucky Despot Cantina in Mos Eisley starting Thursday and ending next Wednesday. The band will be there 24/7, so stop by any time
- There's a new 3 year veterans reward that raises the number of slots your house inventory has. Um... why not just give them more lots so they can place multiple houses?
OK, I should probably stop and explain that last comment. Back when I still played Star Wars Galaxies, one of my characters abilities was Master Merchant. To be exact, I sold stuff that my guild members created, as well as ran an energy business on the side. To make a long story short, I owned a PA hall that took up 9 of my 10 lots. This has since been reduced to 5, but it still makes it hard to run a business on the side.
This also brings up my other problem with the new system. It is no longer possible for me to have a crafter that can also have fighting skills. I could be wrong, but I believe my character was a Master Merchant and Master Teras Kasi Artist (hand to hand combat) prior to the change.
Those of you who want to play Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach or RF Online and don't have a credit card are in luck!
Codemasters has introduced a Click & Buy system for those two games. The Click & Buy service is available for the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, UK and the US.
Here's the catch: Codemasters does not operate DDO in the US, so the Click & Buy program does not apply to the US version. Also, the list above is missing other North American countries, such as Canada and Mexico.
Codemasters has introduced the race line-up for Archlord. More importantly, they have told us which races can be which classes.
- Moon Elf
As a side note, for game music lovers, game audio for Archlord is being recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra.
I hate to cut this column short, but since this column hasn't been updated in nigh three weeks, I have to pare this column down to reasonable size. It's already taken me time on three different days to complete.
For instance, I'm not writing an article about Codemasters appearance at Camp Zone 2006 July 21-28th at Walibi World, Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands.
I really need to get a new signature image. At the moment, I'm still using my old Music signature from 2001. I need to collect a bunch of MMO images, or have someone draw me a new original signature. Hint, hint.
I really hope that I don't get this far behind again... it is rather difficult to catch back up.
Ross "I'm late, I'm late" Bemrose