Love/Hate Relationship

MMORPG. That is a concept many of us love. We also hate it. Why?

We love the *idea* of MMORPGs. We hate the *way* they have been developed. Every last one of them is horribly flawed, and they keep making new ones to be just like the old ones (except with better graphics). Everyone is calling for a revolution, but no company is able to do it.

An MMORPG could be so much, but in the end they have all been the same. Hopefully some day we can see the potential realized.

Happy Halloween.

WoW Closed Beta To End Tomorrow

The closed beta test is coming to an end. This Friday, October 29, at 3:00 PM PDT, the closed beta servers will go offline as we prepare to run another stress test. All active closed-beta accounts will remain active, and closed-beta testers will be receiving an email with instructions on what to do to continue playing in the stress test.

We will post more information about the stress test in the days ahead, so please stay tuned to WorldofWarcraft.com.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank the closed beta testers for their months of dedicated testing and hard work. Thanks to all of your suggestions and bug reports, World of Warcraft is closer than ever to being ready for launch!

DAoC Hits One Out Of The Park

From the Dark Age of Camelot: Catacombs expansion website, I read the following tidbit:

“Catacombs marks the first time that Camelot has used dungeon “instancing” where players and groups can adventure in their own private adventuring areas – an entire adventure spawned specifically for you or your group alone. Includes private tasks, private dungeons, and more!

For those play sessions where you don’t have much time, you’ll have your own content. Private Adventuring is available to all levels and dynamically scales in difficulty depending on the makeup of your group!”

Bravo!!! I am going to have to give some serious thought to checking it out, just because they are so smart.

EQ2 Rushed Out The Door, WoW Delayed

Everquest 2 is officially going to be released on the 8th of November. Looks like another case of rushing a product out the door before the game is ready. I don’t see this really affecting most people waiting to play as the typical MMORPG gamer has sent a clear message to game companies. Let us play, you can fix the game later. No rush.

The latest rumor has World of Warcraft releasing on the 22nd of November, but I would be suprised by that for a few reasons. One: they have not even started open beta yet and they said that would last a few weeks. Two: they said on the forums that open beta will not be starting any time soon. They do intend on releasing before the end of the year, but I think November is looking unlikely. Heck, they would be better off waiting until EQ2 gets a month in so all the people quitting after the free month can jump right into WoW on the ground floor.

EQ2 not offering an open beta is bad business in my book. I’m not about to pay $50 just to try the game. If you want me to play your MMORPG, you need to offer a free trial or an open beta. EQ2 does not appear to have any plans of the sort.

Popping Pills

A friend told me how much fun I would have if I just tried taking some red pills. He was right, it was fun. I had so much fun I couldn’t wait to get home and do some more red pills. Eventually, I started getting sick of the red pills and it just wasn’t as good as it used to be. So I decided to try some of this new blue pill everyone was talking about. Sure, the blue pill was a little different, and it worked pretty well in the beginning. But it didn’t take long to start feeling the same as with the reds. I then tried some purples and some oranges. Some lasted longer than others, but eventually they all ended up with me feeling the same way. Then I would remember how great the reds made me feel and I thought I would try them again. It wasn’t the same so I had to quit again.

I’m sure this new green pill coming out will be the best ever.

Asheron’s Call 2: Legions

Asheron’s Call 2 has finally announced the first Expansion Pack for the game.

The expansion pack will ship with the original game code, all 20 previously released content updates, as well as additional content and a new storyline.

Turbine says of the expansion pack: “Players will aid the ancient race of Empyreans through a classic tale of mystery and discovery. Centuries before the time of Legions the Empyreans were ushered far away from Dereth for their own preservation. Now these once mighty sorcerers return to rediscover their lost purpose–and their immense powers–as dark evils unite to keep the Empyreans’ history lost for ever.”

The primary features contained in the expansion pack are a new playable race (“the mystical Empyreans, a long lost race of suspicious magic users cast out of Dereth”), new lands in the form of the lost continent of Knorr, and a new hero system that emphasizes player bonding to enhance fighting skills.

This pack will be released in March of 2005, which has prompted some players to cancel their accounts until then. What impact will WoW and EQ2 have on AC2 ever getting back out of the pit? Time will tell. Also, the new playable race looks a lot like the “humans” already in the game. Hmm.

Some Anti-Solo Quotes Regarding EQ2

“group content is heavily dispersed within the solo content”
“ridiculous aggro ranges”
“attempting to solo is just fraught with all sorts of hassles”
“The camping in the game is ridiculous.”
“typical quest is to collect parts of a mob but the parts are obscenely rare drops”
“spent all day trying to find a location because they are too lazy to provide some signs”
EQ2 lacks a way for players to creatively problem solve.”
“This game is not for the casual, it’s not for the solo oriented. The intial experience may be dazzling, but if you’re of the casual/solo vein; you’re in the wrong place.”
“A good deal of the quests I’ve been assigned cannot be completed at their appropriate level without a group.”

I Wanna Be The Monster

I heard about an experiment Everquest did once called “Project M”. It allowed you to take over a random mob in the beginner zones for a little while. This is something that I’ve felt is needed in any MMORPG. What a perfect diversion.

If any current MMORPG out there allowed me to take over a mob and hunt the players, I’d be all over it. I don’t want to play a monster, I just want to take one over for a battle or until a player kills it. Then I could spawn back in a monster lobby and do it all over again.

I think that would be perfect for casual players or for people just looking for a change of pace from the regular grind.

Update: I found the patch notes from 2001 when Everquest tried Project M. Here they are:

** Project M Implemented **

Tonight we have patched something to the PvP servers that many players have been waiting for. The ability to play that gnoll, orc, or the cute and fuzzy rat. On your character select screen you will notice another button in the upper right part of your screen called “Monster”. Clicking this button will randomly place you in a low-level NPC in a random zone. You will be given full control of the creature to do with it what you like. You may hunt and kill other creatures. You may even attack other players.

Some things to remember when playing your own personal monster (NPC).

-You will not be able to interact with players or NPC’s other than moving and hitting attack.

-You cannot speak, trade, sell, or do anything else that a player can do.

-You will spawn with normal loot for the monster you are playing and Player Characters will be able to kill you for loot and experience.

-If you are a spell casting monster you might want to take a moment to memorize some spells.

-Once you die, you will return to the character select screen where you may choose to return as another NPC or play your normal character.

-You may gain experience, levels, and skills as this NPC, but once you die, it is all lost. You will need to start over the next time you choose to be a NPC character.

-You can’t zone as a monster. If you try to cross a zone-boarder you will lose your progress and return to the character-select screen.

-Monster PCs (MPCs) can not loot, sell, or gain items. They only get what they start out with.

This ability to play a monster is being implemented for PvP servers only as we have no plans to implement non-consensual PvP on a non PvP server.

However, we are still working with this system. We may find other ways to implement Project M on the non-PvP servers that are acceptable. We aren’t done looking at the
possible uses of this new feature.

Horizons Tries To Lure Me Back By Offering Nothing

I got an email from David Bowman of Horizons the other day, with the intent of luring me back to give Horizons another chance. It starts out like this:

“Horizons just isn’t for me.” “This game has too many bugs.” “There must be something more to do than kill wolves.” Brilliant. Then it goes on to tell me all the changes and fixes that have taken place since the launch.

And then the offer comes…

Here is my proposal to you:
1. Resubscribe to Horizons
2. Activate any of your characters or create a new one
3. Connect with your friends and catch up on the latest news and events
4. Explore the new Istarian landscape
5. Experience the vast amount of changes and additions for yourself
6. Enjoy the game

Umm…. what? Where is my free 2 weeks or 30 days? You are offering me a chance to resubscribe and pay you for another month? Piss off, David.

Even better, I never subscribed to this hunk of shit in the first place.