Are you there, [playername]? It’s me, Kingdom of Loathing.

Our dear friends at Kingdom of Loathing sent out the following open letter, or rather a message to inactive accounts. It was sufficiently amusing that I thought I would pass it along after the break. Hey, I had not heard about ascension changes. Besides, some of you still have not tried KoL, which is strange. Continue reading Are you there, [playername]? It’s me, Kingdom of Loathing.

#GW2Fanday – The Dungeon Gel

Guild Wars 2 dungeons were one of the big presentation points during the ArenaNet Community Open House (and the press event the day before). I was very excited about this because the dungeon content would have us working in teams, instead of our open world meanderings. In an MMO without healers, it would be interesting to see how this content was designed. ArenaNet told us at the start to choose whatever profession (class) we wanted without regard to our teammates’ choices. Could we really succeed without even talking to each other about our group makeup?

As we started we saw a cinematic for the story mode, and if this is the benchmark of quality for future dungeon cinematics, we are in for a treat. Elixabeth is right (in her great article on dungeons at Talk Tyria); this has to be embedded.

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#GW2Fanday – Guild Wars Winds of Change

It’s a tough decision to decide what to write about first for the ArenaNet Community Open House (#GW2Fanday). My head is exploding with ideas and thoughts. I chose to start with Guild Wars for a couple reasons, one of which is that I have some neat screenshots to share (taken by the steady-handed Matthew Moore). Let me start with an anecdote.

Randy Price (Senior V.P. at ArenaNet) and I were chatting over food and libations to other times, now moot in memory, when the subject of John Stumme was brought up. Much to my surprise, Price raved about what Stumme had done with the Guild Wars Live Team for a couple minutes. It wasn’t surprising to me that Stumme and the Live Team deserved such praise. It was surprising to see one of the heads of ArenaNet so honestly and unabashedly talk about the meteoric rise of one of the employees. It wasn’t even humble (see also our libations), and I asked Price if I could quote him when he said he believed that the Live Team was so efficient and hard-working that they were producing on the level of a couple dozen-man development team.


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The Truth About ArenaNet

I am extremely gracious for being invited to ArenaNet’s Community Open House. It was an amazing experience that I plan to share with everybody through a series of posts.* There will be one on our tour of the office, one on my demo play especially discussing underwater combat and dungeons (possibly split in to two), one on Guild Wars Winds of Change, and perhaps one on developer tidbits (although depending on length that might be included in the other posts).

There is a shocking truth though that I had to share. It’s actually not anything new, but I had to re-emphasize it. ArenaNet tries to share everything they can when it’s finished. They really are not keeping things under wraps for some nefarious reason. Now sure they want to release big items in a manner where it will have great effect, but from all appearances they want to share as soon as they can.

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F2P Discussion at Tobold’s Place

Tobold ponders:

Imagine a Free2Play game with an item shop that offered both purely decorative items, and items which gave you some sort of advantage in game… Which one would you rather buy?
I have the distinct impression that previous discussions on the subject were influenced by the contribution of people who actually wouldn’t buy anything.

This is a very important point. If you do not spend money, your opinion does not count for much. “I want you to pay for the game and for me to get everything I want and for you not to get anything I don’t want you to.”

The excluded middle discussed in the comments is paying for content, the model from Wizard101, DDO, and LotRO whereby you pay to unlock quests and zones. Of course, those games also dabble in cosmetics and “convenience” items, some of the latter trending dangerously into “game advantage.” And then we have League of Legends, which sells content, cosmetics, and convenience with no further gameplay effects and hopefully is rolling in currency.

: Zubon

[Rift] Valor Be My Shield!

Jaradcel writes up a guest post on the upcoming update for Rift. Enjoy! –Ravious

Rift is to have its third major update in 1.3 come June 22nd, and besides a new raid in Hamerknell, also features major revamps to warriors and mages. Of note however, was the originally planned overhaul to PvP as well, which was scrapped after a massive outcry from the forums. I’ll skip the first two, and look at the results and issues of the third since I happen to be PvPing alot lately.

As in other MMO’s, Rift has its own special stat for PvP players – Valor. The more you have the less damage you take from other players. There are six ranks to gain at level 50, called prestige ranks, which subsequently unlock better valor gear as players rank up.
Initially, patch 1.3 was slated to drastically readjust how Valor worked.

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Guild Wars 2 Fanday

A couple weeks ago ArenaNet contacted me and 14 other lucky fans for a huge event. We were all invited out to Seattle to visit the new ArenaNet office on June 24! For this humble blogger, this was seriously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was also extremely lucky because every other weekend in June had already been filled.

Thursday will be travel days for most of us, with the fans from Europe possibly starting earlier. That night we will have a meet’n’greet dinner with the Community Team. Friday, we head to the brand new studio! ArenaNet has filled the day with tons of activities, most of which they won’t tell us so as not to spoil any surprises. We will get to play a Guild Wars 2 demo (with no NDA, but no video), and developers are taking time out of their busy schedule to join in on the fun.

I will tweet and blog as much as possible, but expect most in-depth recaps the next week. The hashtag #GW2Fanday on Twitter will be our codeword for on-the-fly commentary. NeoNugget, from Guild Wars 2 Guru, has an updated list of the attendees with site and Twitter account listings.

I have plenty of questions, and on my 5 hour flight, I will probably come up with dozens more. Still, feel free to comment below on anything you would like me to ask or try and check out in the demo.



Melmoth ponders the fading of prominent MMO bloggers, while most of us merely huddle in the dark and wonder if there is life after the closing of The Pink Pigtail Inn.

If the people who are enthusiastic enough about a genre to take the time to write about it, for no tangible remuneration, are slowing down and slowly drifting away, then perhaps these are the ripples at the edge of the pool which reflect a deeper disturbance at its centre.

He later encourages us to engage in jelly-related projects while we wait to see if the next round of MMO includes the savior. Perhaps this is like the end of the Golden Age of Rant Sites, back when Lum and Tweety were angry malcontents rather than industry figures.

And now I feel old.

: Zubon

Too Much Stereo (and Spiral Knights)

For Father’s Day I cooked my family the best pork tenderloins I’ve ever had. Unsurprisingly, I’ve actually owned Weber’s Big Book of Grilling for years. I enjoyed the book, read through it once, enjoyed especially the stories about Weber’s history, and then tucked it in between all my other barbecue bibles. It wasn’t until a week ago that I saw the light when my Aunt made the disappearing tenderloin, which true to it’s name quickly disappeared. Without my Aunt pulling this recipe out of the book, which I owned, I would still be gunning for pork chops at the supermarket.

In the Information Age, we live in a world of noise. With Netflix and other cloud services becoming prevalent, we will be sitting on a treasure trove of great content without knowing about it. Not much different than a library in the concept of content accessibility, except for that instantaneous bit. Even partitioning out most media, games are released too quickly for even professional games journalists to delve in to each one. We are getting more First Impressions pieces and less thorough reviews on every game because, simply, who has time?

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