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.

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.