MMO Love to Japan

The world is supporting the crisis in Japan, but that support doesn’t just end with individuals and governments. Game companies are stepping up too. Valve is trying to get gamers to buck up by buying Japanese-themed Team Fortress 2 hats (all proceeds after tax to Red Cross). Two MMO companies are taking another route.

NCSoft has donated over 6,000,000 USD directly to Japan, which overshadowed every other Korean corporation donation at the time it was made (including Samsung and LG). It even outshadowed Japanese corporations donations like Nintendo and Sony. Now it is likely that Japanese corporations are “donating” with paid-time off and other ways to help employees and their communities, but it does put a point on NCSoft’s significant generosity.

US-based Trion Worlds with the shiny-new MMO Rift is taking a more personal route. They are finding their Japanese customers and giving them a free month of play. It’s not necessarily as humanitarian as donating money to aid, but it adds yet another showing that Trion Worlds values its customers. I have recently been a little critical of the mid-level zones and fuzzy edges of the dynamic content engine, yet as I noted in my last Rift post, they are keeping me a happy customer.

Prayers and thoughts continue to go to the island gaming nation. Also, one can never have too many hats.


Happy Fun Security Issues

I am too tired to write commentary, so consider this a public service.  If you have an NCSoft Master Account for Aion, City of Heroes/Villains, Lineage 1/2, etc. or you were dumb enough (like I was) to link your Guild Wars account(s) to the NCSoft Master Account (for silly things like another Storage Pane), then I suggest you read this thread.

The tl;dr version is that security holes existed in the NCSoft Master Account page, according to fans, that allowed people to randomly access other people’s accounts by merely signing in to their own accounts.  Then you could do fun things like change game account passwords without needing old game account passwords or jot down personal information.  The powers that be are working hard this weekend to fix or ameliorate security and information issues.

The most pertinent posts are: Continue reading Happy Fun Security Issues

Under Da Sea

My first 3D exploration in an MMO was in World of Warcraft.  There were some delicious herbs to be found off of Westfall’s shores.  Stranglekelp was found amidst roaming Murlocs, and when the herb was smoothee’d with some Blackmouth fish oil, my priest could be underwater for in-game hours checking out wreckages, looking for pearls, and generally enjoying the freedom of the z-axis.  There was one area, if I recall correctly, in Stranglethorn Vale where some elite Murlocs were guarding a sunken ruins.  I played an interesting game of agro-Operation trying to swim down to the bottom without alerting the bug-eyed fish-lizards to my presence.  It took a few tries, but I remember being so proud and feeling so clever.  The quest suggested a group of people after all. Continue reading Under Da Sea

The Jacobs Test: Champions Online and Aion

Amidst first impressions and “reviews” let us not forget the simple, yet elegant point system disclosed by Mark Jacobs in deciding whether to buy Champions Online or Aion Online.  Champions Online dropped the NDA August 17 which was less than three full weeks away from the September 4th release date.  Mark Jacobs obviously thinks that Champions Online is “okay but not great.”  Aion Online, on the other hand, dropped the North American NDA over 14 weeks out from launch.  I believe I heard Mark Jacobs say Aion Online was “nirvana.”  Of course one must take in to consideration that Aion Online was unfairly released in Korea almost a year ago.  In retort, it seems that there really was no NDA throughout Korean Aion testing at all.  So take that, point system.  Got anything higher than nirvana?

oh well, whatever, nevermind

Aion Weekend Wrapup

This weekend (and thanks to a most awesome person) I was able to get into the first beta event for Aion.  The game has been live in Korea and China for some time, and it seems that very determined people in NA and EU can play on the Chinese servers with some language hacking mod.  Anyway, I was going to wait for the NA product, which NCSoft West has spent all this time re-customizing for this culture.  I had a lot of fun, and I am excited about the further forthcoming events.  It is definitely high on my list for remaining 2009 games.  Now a quick diptest review:

Continue reading Aion Weekend Wrapup

Aion Engine Revs Up

This weekend starts the publicly announced closed beta events for Aion.  I seemed to have completely missed my chance everywhere to get a key, but I am sure there will be more.  The next couple of months are likely going to be filled with Aion hype.  Its only marketing/release competition is Champions Online, which seems to be the only other “AAA” MMO set for 2009 release.  Plus with the World of Warcraft “boredom” setting in for many and the summer slowdown, I think Aion is in good position for a strong release.

The release is going to be interesting because the game has already been released in some Asian countries, and there Aion is enjoying immense popularity.  The Yanks and Euros will get the game, I believe, nearly a year after Korea’s open beta.  All that polish that MMOs usually require that first few months will already be built in to the core gameplay.  This means that Aion might possibly be one of the smoothest “AAA” MMO launches yet.

I am excited about the game, but not to an MMO degree.  For Warhammer Online, I was excited to an MMO degree.  This meant I was willing to forsake all other games, especially other time consuming MMOs, to play Warhammer Online exclusively.  I would suck the marrow from all that Mythic would offer.  I really don’t feel that way about the current or 2009 MMOs right now.  I am currently playing Guild Wars (mostly casual PvP), Lord of the Rings Online (two Loth rep quests/day, then log), and World of Warcraft (I’ll blog about that later).  This is on top of Mount & Blade (lttp), Assasin’s Creed (yay, Steam sales), and Peggle (I can’t quit yooo).  I think that some upcoming expansions and games will get me back in to the hyper-focused MMO degree of gameplay, but thus far Aion is not quite that far in on my radar.

However, I will still likely play Aion.  I have heard that it can be played very casually (WoW with wings), and if nothing else flying around with very pretty graphics might be worth a couple Jacksons.  I also really like the idea of PvPvE, where enemies to all invade battlegrounds.  I have always thought RvR would be more fun with the addition of NPC enemies, and Aion seems to have taken this idea and run with it.  Hopefully, one of those exquisite beta keys lands in my lap (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, NCSoft ^ ^).

and war broke out in heaven