So Long Dragon Empires

Dragon Empires development ceased due to technical issues

Codemasters has taken the decision to cancel further development of Dragon Empires, the company’s massively multiplayer online role playing project.

Dragon Empires received incredible support from its online community and won acclaim from PC and online media while in development. However, technical issues have resulted in the project’s discontinuation.

Many of the game’s development team, including programmers and artists, are being transferred to Codemasters internal development studios to work on current and future titles.

The decision to close Dragon Empires development does not impact on Codemasters long-term ambitions in the massively multiplayer online gaming market and the company remains very active in evaluating future opportunities.

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I was a beta tester in phase 0.5 and I must say – I’m not shocked here. The scenery at times could be nice, but they had not implemented any combat or any mobs to fight. Just scenery. I was expecting beta 1.0 to get started soon and was hoping to try out more features, but no more.

Have You Seen My Classes Around Here?

My favorite kind of class to play in an MMORPG is a thief type. Stealthy with high damage potential. Problem is, these classes tend to be hard to play solo. So usually I end up being a fighter so I can actually finish quests and such. It’s not the class I really want, therefore I eventually get bored and quit the game altogether.

In Anarchy Online, I was immediately drawn to the Fixer. The idea of being able to hack into stuff was cool. Unfortunately, the class really did not have any use for such skills and I ended up being a weak, slow levelling fighter. But at least, I could run real fast. Run away that is.

In Star Wars: Galaxies, I picked a Smuggler. This sounded great too, but I just ended up helping people make their gun do more damage. I also could not stand the visuals in this game. And where were all the players? Freaking world is abandoned all the time.

Asheron’s Call 2 did not have any thief classes, so I chose something which seemed a little different: Feral Intendant. This class has a pet and is a melee tank god. With health drains and the ability to dish out (and take) a lot of damage, this class was clearly overpowered. Also very very fun. I hit the level cap for the first time in my life. Soon after, Turbine redesigned all the classes and I’ve never felt the magic return. Also, this game has no clue how to implement pets. They would straggle way behind and get stuck on everything. Half the time I had troubles summoning one. I don’t normally like playing pet classes, and luckily this class could play just fine without one.

In WoW, they have a Rogue. This class is just about perfect for me, other than the fact that I have been having problems soloing. That and the fact that they have several cool classes I wanted to try. I will likely play a Rogue when it goes retail. But for now, I’ve been trying out the other classes. The Druid is fun because you can transform into other beasts and thus play different roles. The Warrior is possibly the most fun melee class I’ve ever played. Lately, I’ve been playing a Hunter. You can tame a beast to fight by your side. You get a ranged weapon and a good melee weapon. This seems targeted at being the ultimate solo class. Blizzard still has plenty to implement in this class so we shall see, but so far so good.

I can hear people saying, why play an MMORPG when you prefer to solo? Well, I don’t prefer to solo, but I end up doing it most of the time because of my schedule and short moments of time available to play. I rarely have time to put a group together and quest/hunt for 4 hours. But I still try to when I can and therefore I play MMORPGs. I prefer to be with a group, it’s just not that easy to do all the time.

WoW Has Less Wow Now

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft beta for few months now and have been enjoying it for the most part. However, there is a distinct level of “meh” rising. I am not feeling that tug you get when you want to get something accomplished in game. Part of it is the rest bonus. The longer I stay out of the game, the higher my XP bonus is. It is almost as if I am gaining interest on top of interest and it’s good enough to keep me logged out.

But then I log in and I can’t think of anything fun to do. The quests are getting a little dull for me. And I can’t seem to get someone above level 16 before I want to try a new class so that makes the game seem more repetitive than it really is since I am *actually* repeating quests over and over. I should probably stop that.

The way the game works, it sort of leads you from one area to the next. Sometimes I get into an area and I can’t wait to get out of it. I feel like I need to finish the quests before I can leave. Of course that is not true, but it is how I feel.

So I have been playing Asheron’s Call 2 on occasion. It is still pretty fun, but it is sort of like going back to your old home town that you swore you’d never go back to visit.

I picked up Battlefield: 1942 recently and have been practicing my flying skills in the single player mode before I dare try the multiplayer. That is a fun game, the variety of things you can do is very cool. Fly a plane, shoot big cannons from a battleship, pilot a landing craft, parachute out of a plane into enemy territory, even drive a tank. Pretty sweet game for $20. Highly recommended if you have not already been there.

I’m also looking forward to the release of that new Pirates! game. It looks cool and I’m sort of a Pirate freak anyway. Pirates and Monkeys you know.

Everybody Have Fun Tonight

I’ve been killing myself in the last few MMORPGs. I spend more time trying to figure out how things work and what is the best way to do something. I think it’s time to stop that whole behavior, as it is making the games NOT FUN.

So when I log in for the first time in World of Warcraft (hopefully this weekend?), I will be entering their world to have fun. No more stats. All seat of the pants. In fact, I think I’ll even role-play for a while. That would be a nice change.

I’m going to play that game as if I AM the character on the screen.

Yet Another Cancelled MMORPG

I hit the old cancel button on FFXI last night. Account good until the end of June. I don’t know why, I can’t quite put my fingers on it, but I just get bored of this game. It is one of the best made MMORPGs I have played, but I have no interest in playing it. Weird.

A comment about cancelling accounts. Most MMORPGs allow you to play out the remaining time on your account when you cancel. Asheron’s Call 2 says good bye. No more access for you, and no money back. Turbine (the developers of AC2) blame that on Microsoft since MS did the billing. Turbine bought full control of the Asheron’s Call games back from MS and yet they still have this same stupid policy.

The timer is ticking, waiting for my World of Warcraft beta invite. Should be in the next two weeks. Hopefully those comets won’t hit earth before then.

City of Heroes Humor

There is a guy playing City of Heroes who keeps having conversations at the payphones. All you can hear is one side of the conversation (the pay phones don’t actually work so he is making it all up). It is very funny stuff. You can go look for the thread at the CoH forums (www.coh.com) but here is one of the conversations. Major kudos goes out to this guy whoever he is.

Ascendant: Hello, is this the offices of Saul Rubenstien, Agent to Paragon’s Elite?
Ascendant: Great. Can I speak to him? I’m a client.
Ascendant: Ascendant. No, with an ‘A’. D-A-N-T.
Ascendant: Ok, I’ll hold.
Ascendant: –lor said ‘Brandy, you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be, but my life, my love and m–
Ascendant: Hello, Saul, it’s Ascendant.
Ascendant: No, the one with an ‘A’.
Ascendant: I’m glad you asked. I’ve been going over these products you’ve sent me—
Ascendant: Right, for the merchandizing campaign…
Ascendant: Well, no, they aren’t. That’s why I’m calling, actually.
Ascendant: I’m not really happy with them.
Ascendant: Well, for starters, there’s the breakfast cereal.
Ascendant: Right, Ascendant-O’s.
Ascendant: Ok, it says here on the box ‘Includes Xenonite, the Secret Source of Ascendant’s Power’.
Ascendant: Well, for one thing, Xenonite is NOT the secret source of my powers.
Ascendant: No, Saul… No, it isn’t. Trust me on this.
Ascendant: Saul, Xenonite TAKES AWAY my powers.
Ascendant: Yeah, it does. In fact, if I’m exposed to it too long, it could kill me.
Ascendant: I dunno. It’s got something to do with radioactivity, I think.
Ascendant: Anyway, I poured a bowl of Ascendant-O’s yesterday to see what they taste like and nearly died before I could finish adding the milk.
Ascendant: Well, if the cat hadn’t come along and eaten it all, I would have, Saul.
Ascendant: My point is that we aren’t going to be selling Ascendant-O’s…
Ascendant: Because, Saul, I’m not putting on a lead suit every time I have to go to the cereal aisle in the grocery store.
Ascendant: I don’t care if you have already have a lot of pre-orders for it.
Ascendant: Really? How much?
Ascendant: From who?
Ascendant: Ok… Right… Yeah… Uh huh… Him, too? Really?
Ascendant: Yeah, well the problem here is that all those guys you just mentioned are supervillains, Saul.
Ascendant: Yes, even him. I just beat him up like an hour ago for trying to poison the city’s water supply.
Ascendant: I don’t care if his check cleared, Saul. That’s not the point…
Ascendant: Well, of course they’re going to use it to try and kill me, Saul.
Ascendant: Why else would a bunch of supervillains want a kid’s cereal laced with the one rare radioactive element I’m vulnerable to?
Ascendant: No, I don’t think they just want a well balanced breakfast.
Ascendant: Ok, as far as I’m concerned, this is a dead issue, Saul. Big NO on Ascendant-O’s.
Ascendant: Moving on: The Ascendant action figure.
Ascendant: No, I’m very disappointed, actually.
Ascendant: Well, for starters, it comes with a laser sword and a talking dinosaur that I supposedly ride into battle.
Ascendant: I don’t have either one of those things, Saul.
Ascendant: I don’t care if the focus groups thought it would be cool.
Ascendant: That’s utterly ridiculous, Saul.
Ascendant: Yes, it is. For one thing, where am I going to get a laser sword? Or a talking dinosaur, for that matter?
Ascendant: Fine, whatever. Anyway, I’m also a little concerned about the fact that it features ‘Burning Halo Action’…
Ascendant: Right, but aside from the fact that I don’t actually have that power–
Ascendant: No, Saul, I don’t.
Ascendant: I’d know it if I did, Saul, trust me.
Ascendant: –Aside from the fact that I don’t have anything like a Burning Halo power, do you really think it’s a good idea to sell kids an action figure that can spotaneously burst into flame?
Ascendant: I see… Well, we’re going to hold on that until I approve a redesign.
Ascendant: Moving on. The Ascendant Cave Action Playset.
Ascendant: Yeah, I actually like this thing. It doesn’t look anything like my apartment, but it’s pretty cool, I guess.
Ascendant: What do you mean they changed the name so it could fit on the box?
Ascendant: Well, sure, I guess Ascendant Cave Action Playset is a little long, but couldn’t they use a smaller font?
Ascendant: Fine, so what do they call it now? The Action Cave? Ascendant’s Lair? What?
Ascendant: The A-Hole?!?!?!
Ascendant: Why on Earth would they call it the A-Hole, Saul?
Ascendant: Yes, I understand the ‘A’ is short for Ascendant, you moron, but why not call it the A-Cave? or the A-Lair?
Ascendant: Uh huh… Yeah… I see…
Ascendant: Well, we’re NOT calling my secret headquarters the A-Hole, Saul, and that’s final.
Ascendant: Because I don’t want people to hear the word ‘Ascendant’ and immediately think ‘A-Hole’.
Ascendant: Ok, moving on. The Ascendant Action Hour TV Show.
Ascendant: Right. I actually like the opening animation of me that you’ve put together.
Ascendant: Right, the one where I’m sheathed in a burning halo of flame, riding around the city on a talking dinosaur, hitting bad guys with my laser sword and eating chunks of raw Xenonite.
Ascendant: I mean, that’s still not anything remotely close to real life, but I guess it looks pretty cool and the theme song is pretty catchy, so I’ll let it pass for now.
Ascendant: It’s the rest of the show that I have problems with, Saul.
Ascendant: Well, for one thing, outside of the opening theme part, the show itself is apparently just old episodes of Nightline, except every time someone says ‘Ted Koppel’, you dub over it with ‘Ascendant’.
Ascendant: I don’t care if each episode only costs $22.50 plus shipping to make, Saul. In fact, I don’t think you can even legally broadcast it.
Ascendant: What offshore pirate transmitter?
Ascendant: Saul, that’s a federal offence.
Ascendant: Yes… Yes, it is.
Ascendant: Yes, someone WILL care… They’re called the FCC, Saul.
Ascendant: Look, Saul, I’ve got to fire you.
Ascendant: I don’t see where you’ve left me much choice, Saul.
Ascendant: You’re selling cereal that can kill me to my archenemies, you’ve made my action figure not only ludicrous but potentially lethal to kids, and you’re comitting felonies by broadcasting illegal transmissions of Nightline from off shore.
Ascendant: Oh, and I almost forgot, you’re selling an action playset which proudly proclaims on the box that ‘Ascendant stores all of his most precious items inside his incredible A-Hole.’
Ascendant: And worst of all, my name is stamped all over all of this, Saul… I’m the one who’s going to be sued, or killed, or arrested… Maybe in that order, too.
Ascendant: Saul…
Ascendant: Saul…
Ascendant: Stop crying Saul…
Ascendant: Look… I know you tried your best.
Ascendant: (Sigh)… Ok, Fine…
Ascendant: Look, Ok, but just one more chance, Saul….
Ascendant: Just don’t do anything more until we can have a meeting, Saul.
Ascendant: No… For the last time, NO Broadway musical! Don’t even MENTION that idea again.
Ascendant: Ok, bye.

No really, I mean WoW!

It is official, I’ll be getting my World of Warcraft beta invite in the next few weeks. I hereby proclaim this the “make or break” MMORPG for me. If it is good, I’m in for the long haul. If not, I’m done. At least until someone tries to do something REVOLUTIONARY!

Been going back and forth over deciding to go buy Thief 3. It looks good, but honestly I’ve never played any of the Thief games so I’m not totally drooling here.

Played some more FFXI last night. Changed my Taru’s job from Black Mage to Red Mage. Thus I had to start all over. Oh well, so far it is a fun class. Raised him up to almost level 5 before I had to hit the sack. With WoW beta looming, I suppose that this game will be getting the old CANCEL button too. Meh.

Got a bite yet? WoW!

So I was fishing in FFXI the other day and one of my friends sent me a tell asking me how it was going. I replied that I had not been seeing my skill go up, but fishing has been pretty successful.

He replied back: Fishing will pick up if you login tomorrow at 4:45 pm. The phase of the moon is just right at that time.

OK, I’m all for making games interesting, but I am not about to schedule my real life around an MMORPG clock. When I have some free time, I log in and I fish. That is how it has to be.

In other news, a friend of mine that is in the World of Warcraft beta has sent me word that he *may* be able to get me a beta slot. Now that would be something.

Only problem with beta testing an MMORPG is that testing removes a lot of the magic that you get when you first play. The magic is a big part of what sucks you in. I am a bit torn as to what to do if he gets me a beta account.

I take that back. I’d play, er I mean test. Yes I would. Stay posted.

Final Fantasy XI

I decided to sign up for another month of FFXI. Since everyone that I have ever played MMORPGs with (including my brother) plays it, it seems logical to give it another shot. That and the fact that at $12.95 a month it is a virtual bargain compared to all the other MMORPGs.

Since I can’t keep up with them level-wise, I’m going to focus on being able to chat with them, as well as doing some crafting and fishing. And if they happen to be playing a new job in my level range I’ll go hunting with them.

There are a lot of quests in this game and I missed most of them because the last time I was playing I was trying to keep up with them. Impossible to do since they play at least 400% more time than I do.

I really wish more games would add the brilliant feature that City of Heroes has: the “Sidekick”. This allows you to team up with anyone, no matter what level they are, and go hunting. Your character is boosted up to a level or 2 below the other person and your stats scale up too. You don’t get any more skills or anything, but the ones you have scale up. Just plain cool.

So for now I begin the adventures of a low level FFXI explorer. I’ll keep you posted. All none of you.