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.

Neverquest

Is it just me or is hardly anyone interested in Everquest 2? I mean, Everquest is probably one of if not the most successful MMORPGs ever. Why is there very little buzz about EQ2? I don’t understand. Perhaps it is the restrictive NDA? All I know is I rarely hear anything about EQ2. I have no idea what the game will be like and yet it is supposed be released November 15th.

At this point it has no chance in getting me to play it, because they have not teased me with it. I have heard of it, but that is about it. Unless they put up an open beta, the odds that I will pick it up are pretty much nil. Not very good marketing for what should be the biggest player in the market today.

UPDATE: EQ2 lifts NDA. Nobody cares.

Can WoW Appeal To The Harcore Gamer?

I was thinking about World of Warcraft some today and I started to realize the game is lacking something important for long term enjoyment. There really is not any good fluff stuff to keep you entertained when you get tired of questing. No player housing, no player music, no player stores, no good fun pointless stuff. Of course, we always hear that things like this are being worked on and will be introduced to the game at some point. But really how many times do we need to hear that stuff? Put it in already.

My brother is playing WoW every day and he is having a blast, so maybe I’m totally off base. Don’t get me wrong, the game is just about perfect for me. I play maybe 6 hours in a week. I will not run out of things to do for a long time.

Blizzard would point out that there is PvP and Alliance vs Horde to entertain us. They are putting in battlegrounds so we can fight each other for various goals and rewards. Maybe that is going to be fun, but so far I’ve never found any fun in PvP in a level-based game. Unless any character has a chance against any character, PvP is reduced to min-maxers and those with uberloot. Neither of those apply to me as a 6 hour per week player.

As bad as Star Wars: Galaxies was, it did a lot of things right in this area. You could build your own house, heck even your own town. Add a shuttle craft port in your town so you could fly in and out of it. Complete control of the inside (color, paintings, furniture, statues, etc) and outside of the housing. Allow others to come in to your house, or keep them out. You have full control. They also have musicians and dancers. Sounds silly, but going into a cantina was often just like going into a real one. There was always a band playing and people dancing. The band and the dancers are always other players too.

Things like that allow you to make an impact in the world, make your own personal mark. MMORPGs need this. I can only hope that WoW will add this stuff and soon, otherwise many hardcore players will have come and gone.

To Quit Or Not To Quit?

The World of Warcraft beta test is winding down in preparation for the (predicted) launch on November 15th of 2004. They have announced open beta signups will start soon, and then open beta will run for maybe 2 weeks if that (assuming the launch date is correct).

I’m starting to feel the impending doom of my beta character and it gets harder and harder to push into the game when I realize that I’ll be doing this again in a month or so.

I really tried to save a lot of the game content for after launch. I did not do any instanced dungeons. I did not go over level 18 (cap is 60) on the Alliance and over 14 on the Horde. I did try most classes to get a good feel of what they are basically about (this is the part that I normally do in the beginning of an MMORPG that takes up all my time and I end up with eight level 10 guys while all my friends are sitting on one level 45 guy).

Therefore, I’m kind of not playing WoW any more. Well, I do keep logging in to wander about, but I’m not going to try to level any more I think. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Why I Love Rogues And World Of Warcraft

I have been sucked in. Big time. I started a Rogue in World of Warcraft again. My first attempt didn’t last long as I didn’t gell with the class right away for some reason.

I created an Undead Rogue since I’ve had enough of the Alliance quests for now. I gotta say, this is the most fun I have had in an MMORPG, and I’ve played them all.

Some of the cool things:

Stealth – You turn invisible to anyone near or below your level. You appear ghostly on your screen. You can sneak past most mobs near your level and sometimes even higher. It gives you another option if you don’t feel like fighting your way into a quest goal. Sneak in and sneak out. Success!

Dual Wielding – It works! WoW has implemented dual wielding in a way that doesn’t suck so bad that you give up on the coolness. It is very fun, and the Rogue is not the only class that can do it. There are at least 2 other classes that can dual wield, maybe more. I started out dual wielding daggers and later trained swords so now I can dual wield two of either, or one of each. Gives you a lot of options so if you loot something cool you can use it. Also, many weapons have stat mods on them so if you have two weapons with stat mods you get both of the mods.

Ranged Weapons – Many classes have a ranged attack option and the Rogue is no exception. The Rogue starts out with throwing knives as a weapon. They work fine for pulling, but don’t do much in the damage department at this stage of the game. Therefore, as soon as I found a bow trainer I picked up the bow and arrow. You could also choose guns if you so wished. There is a crossbow trainer as well, but I don’t recall seeing any crossbows in the game (I’m sure they are, I just have not come across one).

Killing Machine – The Rogue is a great solo class for my playstyle. I’m not levelling like mad due to time available to play, but this is the first game I’ve played where I don’t even care. There is so much to keep you interested in that you are often suprised when you level. If I come up against a mob of equal level, I can kill it by myself. Either sneak up in stealth and start with a back stab, or just pull out the bow and let loose with a few arrows. In the middle of battle, I can stun the mob. Doing so gives me a few options depending on the direction the battle is going. Losing? Now is a good time to run. Doing ok? Run around behind the mob and back stab him. Need a little healing? Apply a bandage and go back to fighting.

The Rogue’s fighting skills are interesting. There are some skills that build up for a finishing blow. You will see a little counter next to the mob’s icon, represented by 5 dots. Each time you use one of your skills that boost the finishing blow, it will light up a dot. Each dot is an increase of damage for the finishing blow. You can finish whenever you want, but it’s fun to get it up to 5 and see the big hurt.

Talents are another thing I love about WoW. It allows for you take take your class and then focus it in the ways you want to. For instance, on my Rogue I have reduced the cool down on a few skills I like to use. I have also added a talent that gives me a % bonus to the first attack after I make a kill. This helps for those adds that we all love to hate. You can add talents that increase your critical hit chances, increase your defense, etc.

Talents allow you to make a Warrior and focus him on offense or defense if you choose. It really is the extra flexibility that games like this need. Tailor your character to your own desires. No more will I make a Warrior only to find out that I HAVE to be the tank.

World of Warcraft Open Beta Sign-ups Coming Soon

We are happy to announce that we will soon be accepting applicants for the World of Warcraft Open Beta Test for North America. The open phase of beta will give people a chance to enter Azeroth and play World of Warcraft before the game is released. More details will become available in the days ahead, so stay tuned.

Looks like release in November is quite likely now.

Rogue’s Journal, Month 10

Being a Rogue, I have often found it easy to pick up a job or two in small towns. I had been doing some small tasks for the town of Brill lately. I must have made a good impression as I was summoned to see one of the city leaders. After a small wait, he took me aside. He had been commanded to find an agent with proven worth against the Scourge. He found me. He could not tell me the details regarding the command which had fallen to him, but he could tell me it dealt with recruiting a wayward lich. That and a stern warning; it may be dangerous.

I was told to head into the Undercity to meet with Bethor Iceshard, a high-ranking and powerful mage, in the Magic Quarter. Off I went, soon passing under the Zeppelins. I’ll have to remember to write soon about those wonderous machines the goblins have put together to help move us long distances. One left the dock, passing it’s large shadow over me, as I walked by the base of the Zeppelin tower.

Entering the Ruins of Lordaeron, I was warmed by our past victories here. The trip to the Undercity is always pleasant for me. The odors are fantastic. Eventually I worked my way down far below the ruins into the Undercity. I walked through the bustle of the big city towards the Magic Quarter and finally to my goal.

Bethor greeted me, “There is a lich who dwells on an island in Brightwater Lake to the north of the Undercity. Although this lich is a free-willed Forsaken, he believes all other Undead are Scourge slaves and will order his minions to attack anyone who approaches him. But, because he is Forsaken, the Queen will want him. And if he is skilled in Necromancy, then his knowledge would be … quite useful to us. To discover his identity and his talents, I must see his spellbook. Steal into his camp and acquire it, then return to me.”

I accepted the quest, as I had grown weary of the simple tasks that the people of Brill were too lazy to do for themselves. I packed up some supplies and sheathed my two new daggers I had purchased from the auction house in Orgrimmar a few days before. They were nice and sharp, ready to do my stealthy bidding.

I hiked north from the Undercity, past Brill, until I found Brightwater Lake. My trip had been uneventful and thus I made good time. I slid into the lake, sinking to the bottom. Being Undead, not needing to breathe has it’s advantages. I could just walk across the bottom of the lake towards the island and nobody would have a chance to see me.

I surfaced under a dock on the shore of the island and surveyed my surroundings. A few minions were walking about so I slipped into the shadows to look for this lich. A couple of times a minion got too close for comfort so I was forced to silence them. Eventually I spotted the lich, and more importantly his spellbook. Staying mostly to the shadows and next to trees, I was able to sneak up to his camp and slide the book into my pack unnoticed. Back into the lake and on to the Undercity.

I handed the spellbook to Bethor and his eyes grew wide. The lich was well-known to Bethor, one by the name of Gunther Arcanus. After paying me a healthy reward, Bethor spoke. “Long ago Gunther and I, along with the now Scourge Necromancer Thule Ravenclaw, were friends and students within the Kirin Tor – a society of mages in Dalaran. Gunther and I both fell to the Plague, but I thought he either remained dead, or was raised into the ranks of the Lich King. It is good to know he is free. We must have him. I have placed a spell on his book that, when he sees it, will show him that I too am free of the Lich King. After knowing this, it is my hope that he will join us.”

I was asked if I would go back to the island and give the spellbook directly to Gunther. Considering that my financial status could use still more improvement, I greedily accepted.

AO? Hell no!

I signed up for the free 7 days plan in Anarchy Online. 15 minutes later I cancelled my account. Yeah, it’s that bad. I tried, but I couldn’t get past the first 3 bugs I encountered. 3 bugs that have been in the game since I left it a long time ago. Nice work there Funcom.

I’d rather play Asheron’s Call 2. That says a lot.

Damn You Inhibit

My good buddy Inhibit is going on a trip, just when he almost talks me into trying Anarchy Online again. Well, maybe I’ll still do it or maybe I’ll wait until he gets back. Or maybe I’ll just ignore it altogether. Too bad he is not in the World of Warcraft beta, I think he’d really enjoy it.

Been playing my Undead Rogue in WoW lately. Hit level 10 last night so I could start dual wielding. I have this unhealthy urge to dual wield in every game I play, usually with unhappy results. So far so good in WoW.

WoW is the solo paradise I’ve been looking for in an MMORPG. It is a real treat to accomplish most everything in the game just on your own wits. I can count the number of times I’ve grouped on one hand, and even then it was usually just because someone else was in the same spot doing the same quest. 5 minutes later I am on my own again.

The thing I really enjoy about the Rogue class in WoW is how hard it is to get in trouble. If things turn ugly, you have several methods of escape. Stun and run, a boosted run, or both if needed. I also enjoy going stealth and sneaking up on things. Backstab! I’ve been able to do many things with my Rogue that I would have had to fight my way into and out of with other classes. Several quests I’ve done have asked me to go into a camp and kill a named mob. Not having to fight through all the guards makes quick work of things, as well as an increased heart rate. Sneak in, kill the named mob, sneak out. The guards are left wondering what the heck happened.

And I have yet to even dabble in the poisons…