UPDATE - StarCraft MMO Confirmed, Kinda I New EverQuest II Contet, Kunark Rising
Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves I Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nothin to Eff With
ArchLord: Now 30% More Profitable! I Birthday Madness!

Issue #74 The Livin's Easy
May 10, 2007

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I'm back! I'm just as shocked as you, believe me.

It's hard to believe that we're already almost halfway through 2007. It seems like only yesterday that we were freezing our extremities off scraping a thick layer of God's ire off of our windshields or trying to remove it from our driveways. Now, schools are starting to let out and everyone's ready to play. The sun is in the sky, doing its very best to scorch the flesh from our bones and squeeze our last drop of sweat. All of nature's little pests are out and about, biting, stinging, and generally making a muck of things. Gas prices are climbing and it's tourist season.

Here's a little advice: forget it all, kick back, blast the air conditioning, and read this week's MMORPGamer.

  UPDATE - StarCraft MMO Confirmed, Kinda


In last week's column, we covered Blizzard's hiring bonanza and the speculation as to what game could be in the works. It seems that has the answer.

According to CVG and their "well-placed US sources," Blizzard will indeed be announcing a StarCraft MMO at its invitational tournament in Seoul, Korea this month. The "announcement" doesn't go into incredible detail, but simply states a date and subject for Blizzard's official announcement. There has been neither confirmation nor denial from Blizzard or Vivendi at the time of this writing.

Assuming that CVG's sources are on the mark, the issue of the game's genre arises. MMORPGamer covers only games that classify as RPGs, so should this game turn out to be an MMORTS, this will probably be the last time it pops up in this column.

  New EverQuest 2 Content, Kunark Rising

EverQuest II

May 3 brought the announcement of the largest free content update ever for EverQuest 2. In update #35, SOE is unleashing two new zones, the venerable city of Neriak and surrounding Darklight Wood, as well as an entirely new playable race, the Arasai. This content is all linked to the recent Echoes of Faydwer expansion, and promises to reveal the history of Neriak from the time of the Shattering, as well as embellish the story of Faydwer and its deniznens.

If all that isn't enough to get your mouth watering, five days later the game's fourth expansion was announced. EverQuest II: Rise of Kunark obviously reintroduces the region of Kunark to EQ2 players, and promises much in the way of epic story revelations into what's been happening in the region over the past 500 years. The expansion will allow players to play as a Sarnak, a race EQ players might find familliar, and give access to several massive new areas of the game, each containing several zones that may also be familliar to gamers who are old hat at EQ, including the new starting zone Timorous Deep. The level cap for adventuring, crafting, and guilds will be pushed to 80, and even more difficult challenges will be added to reflect the lift. Hundreds of new quests will become available, including new epic weapon quests for every class. A new mount and three returning gods will also be included in the expansion.

EQ2's live team is very enthusiastic about this expansion, and with enough content on deck to choke a Kunarkian Rhinoceros it's easy to see why. Senior Producer Scott Hartsman had a chat with Allakhazam about the expansion, putting pretty much every bit of information currently available on the expansion on the table. EQ2 fans may want to bring a napkin.

  Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves

Guild Wars

The road to riches has been opened to the PvP public!

Guild Wars has implimented the Automated Tournament System (ATS) to facilitatie ArenaNet's $100,000 Guild Wars Torunament Series. The system is built to keep track of reward points and qualifier points awarded for participating in Guild vs. Guild and 1 vs. 1 tournaments, and its implimentation (as of May 9 at 00:01 A.M.) officially opens the May stretch of the series proper. A variable number of Swiss rounds will be played in each tournament, and reward points, exchangable for skins, are awarded for wins in each of the tourney's battles. Qualifier points are assigned based on final standings in the tourneys and are used to score teams over the whole series.

It's also worthy to note that prizes for the series have not been finalized, so there may yet be a hefty sum waiting for participants who don't finish in first place.

There's a FAQ over at the Guild Wars website that should hopefully help to demystify the entire process.

  Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nothin' to Eff With


Acclaim's gone and let the Dragons out of the bag.

9Dragons, a free-to-play martial arts MMORPG, has gone live as of May 9, 2007. Heavily influenced by Chinese folklore and history, specifically that of the Ming Dynasty, 9Dragons offers several authentic martial arts styles comprised of hundreds of moves and weapons. Players can choose to join one of the nine clans (including the infamous Wu Tang Clan) and rise in ranks from peasant to kung-fu master. There is also a clan vs. clan based PvP system, with clans being seperated into White or Black clans, each side attempting to defeat the grand master of the other. The game is supported by the same popular microtransaction setup as many asian MMOs, allowing players to pay real money for items in-game.

All Wu Tang jokes aside, 9Dragons sounds like a blast. Interested parties can head over to the 9Dragons official site to sign up and get the client.

  ArchLord: Now 30% More Profitable!

File under "LOOT FRENZY":

"Following community feedback and consultation the ArchLord team is pleased to announce a 30% increase to the in-game drop rates. This comes off the back of our very successful Double Drop weekend, there was lots of positive feedback from everyone involved."

(release found here.)

If free play, more loot, and frequent bonus XP weekends are what you're looking for, march over to the ArchLord site and get yours.

  Birthday Madness!

Apparently, May is a popular month in which to release MMORPGs, as there are a handfull celebrating anniversaries this month. As tempting as it may be to list each individually and make the column look fatter, I've listed them all here for your convenience. Your not-bleeding eyes can thank me later.

Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI turns five this week, and to celebrate residents of Vana'diel can anticipate the return of Adventurer Appreciation. Square Enix plans to start handing out all sorts of exclusive in-game items starting on May 11, which is slightly before any update as to just what is being given away is expected over at the FFXI website.

Maple Story

Maple Global enters the terrible twos, and Nexon is throwing one heck of a party. Items in the Cash Shop are going at bargain basement prices, with several popular items priced at around 1,000 CASH ($1.00 USD), there are in-game events planned, an art contest, and players will have an opportunity to permanently influence the game. Two contests are being held that invite players to design either a monster or a weapon for use in the game. Winners will recieve the digital version of their item as well as some nice real-world lewtz. If you've got Internet Explorer, head over to the Maple Global site and feast your eyes.

EVE Online

Last, but certainly not least, EVE online had its fourth anniversary on the 6th of May, and many members of the community and staff came together to celebrate by posting recollections of their stay in the EVE galaxy in their forum. It's a fun read for both players and ex-players, as well as non-players who may be interested in what the game is like.

 Log Out

As much as I may complain, I really am loving the warm weather. I'm actually starting to get a bit of a tan. (Yes, I do leave my house on occasion.) But I think I'll be spending the majority of this summer huddled behind my keyboard, safe from those harmful UV rays.

Is the lure of sun and fun cutting into your gaming time? Have finals left your toon neglected and your guild full of despair? I'm still interested in hearing from you. Tell me anything and everything. PG-13, please.

Next week should see the return of Weekly Web Updates. My disclaimer warned of miserable failures ahead, and that particular section falls under that category for this week. I also hope to one day revive the screenshot highlight, so send in those screenies. PG-13 please.

Until then,
Matt Blake

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