Friday, July 30

Wot he said!

Some posts that make my point better than I could:

Scott Jennings summarizes the even more unusual than usual happenings to Second Life.
Personally I do think that if your user base en masse prefers to use a third party viewer in stead of your shiny new 2.0 thing, it's time for self reflection. Scott shows a couple of good insights.

Another Scott, over at Pumping Irony, perfectly phrases the disappointment I too feel regarding the Guild Wars 2 Levels. I liked the skill based "potentially equally powerful" 20 levels of Guild Wars... Why 80 levels? Why not 100? ArenaNet which formed from people having a good idea that the rest of Blizzard didn't like for their WOW-thing project are now firmly on the playing it safe, conformists side.

Gordon form "We fly Spitfires" explains the decepitve rip-off that is the new EverQuest 2 model way better than I could. All I have to add is that I'm not sure making a subscription based MMO F2P later on is the way to go. It becomes a process of taking things away rather than adding them. I.e. these schemes tend to be created by looking at a feature list of the subscription game, then take stuff out for the F2P version(s). Turbine does it better than SOE though.

Pornokitch gives one of the best ever, not to mention incredibly funny, disections of all that's wrong with Wizard's First Rule. A book I'm sad to say I've read and actually I kept with the series for about 6 more books. Then I had enough of Kahlan getting raped every book as well as each solution being the cause of the central problem for the next book and this somehow being the fault of the main characters even though they had no way of knowing. It's so bad an MMO must be in the works somewhere.

Tuesday, July 27

EQII goes F2P

Sony has just announced that its 8 year old title is going F2P.

There will be diferent tiers of membership and the F2P players will start on their own server, that should sooth worries about hordes of noobies invading their game for the veterans. The membership tiers can be found here.

Free players will have limited slots, limited races and professions but will be able to play all the content up until lvl 80. There will be a shop but SoE promises that all items will be available in game, the cash shop will sell conveniance items only.

There's an extended FAQ here.

Makes me wonder about the future of vanguard, will Sony do the same and breathe some new life in to it ?

Sunday, July 25


Development started in 2006, this Korean title has a budget of 25 million dollars and the development company (XLGames) was founded by ex lineage developer Jake Song.

It uses CryEngine 2 so looks good and likely requires an above average system.

The game hasn't been slated for release in the west but the official website recently received an English translation, it's currently in very early stages of Closed Beta in Korea (the developers stress how important it is not to treat this as most CB's but more like an alpha), it's unlikely we'll see it for a long time yet.

There are 8 races (only 2 have made it in to the first CB) and 5 classes, these are: Mage, Priest, Warrior, Ranger and a Custom class, the latter giving you more of a sandbox option. Skills are split in to 10 skill types, you can only pick three from the 10, they are:

  • Combat - melee combat
  • Witchcraft - debuffs and crowd control skills
  • Invincibility - tanking and survivability skills
  • Will - magic damage, buffing and teleport skills
  • Necromancy - necromancy and damaging skills
  • Wild nature - archer and beast taming skills
  • Magic - Magic
  • Assasin - stealthy damaging skills
  • Romance - helpful buffing skills/songs
  • Love - healing and resurrecting skills

That's 120 possible combinations so quite a wide choice for character development/customisation.

The world is reported to be larger than the WoW world and they also intend to make the majority of the world interactive, see a tree then climb it to avoid mobs or just to pick some fruit, or maybe chop it down and use it as a bridge and then grow some new ones.

It has a housing system, you can have your own small house or build a larger house with friends and even create a village, they hope housing becomes important and will also be used as a base for crafting. You can grow crops in your yard and use them for crafting, such as grapes for wine. You can also hire NPC's too look after your house. The developers have stated housing will be limited at release due to bandwidth restrictions, not in terms of mechanics but by how many people can build.

The game has something called 'Labor Power' which is used for crafting and building etc, this is gained all the time (offline too) and can even be borrowed from friends

Armour is reported to be based on kind of damage reduction it gives so all classes can wear any armour type.

The game has mounts, which wont be restricted to horses, and players will be able to engage in combat while mounted.

The game has mass PvP with RvR, nothing yet to confirm whether PvE only players will be catered for.

The combat doesn't look that exciting yet, this is early CB footage so hopefully it will improve.

There are a lot of unanswered questions and the game has lofty ideals, the dev's seem to be playing it cautiously and readily admit they may have bit off more than they can chew, I'd rather hear them say that than pretend they can do it and deliver a bug filled hell hole. A lot remains to be seen but it looks a title well worth watching.

All info courtesy of Romtim over on the archeage forums

Just something I saw

Saturday, July 24

SW:TOR - Space combat confirmed

From the official forum

"If you’ve been following the news coming out of the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ panel at Comic-Con International, you’ve heard the announcement that we will indeed have Space Combat as part of the TOR experience! But what does that mean? Space combat is an alternative gameplay experience to the primary game of storytelling, questing, and ground-based combat. In space combat, you fly your personal ship to various “hot spots” on your galaxy map. From there, you will blast your way through asteroid fields, enemy fighters, frigates, destroyers, and a variety of other obstacles that will evoke memories of some of the great Star Wars™ space battles."

Good news, takes the game up another hype level for me. How it will be implemented is anyones guess at the moment. Looking forward to learning more, will it be instanced, do we have open space, is it progressive? I can't see it being as involved and expansive as ground combat but I can dream :)

Friday, July 23

Project Mercury = Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

38 studios have finally given us something solid to look at and speculate about with their single player RPG

R.A. Salvatore has written a 10,000 year history, this game uses a chunk of that, the rest will come in handy for the MMO previously known as Copernicus. has some info from comic con

official site:

Wednesday, July 21

What is in store for us?

The three most anticipated releases are SW:TOR, GW2 and Secret World. But is there anything else interesting coming up? Apparently I am not the only one pondering on that. The blog post A Look At The Competition has a very nice summary of upcoming games, and nifty links for more info at the bottom for each game. It doesn't really change much in my excitement level on any of these games, but it is stil a nice summary.

PS. The picture is from CCP's new game World of Darkness.

Thursday, July 15

Linear RPG

A friend of mine on Facebook posted this. It is an interesting concept and makes you think. The challenge, the way this person took it was to strip down an RPG to it's very basic components. In a way, this is exactly it if you remove all the fancy graphics, skills, etc, etc...

Check out her other games too if you've got nothing better to do.

One that I find to be interesting on so many different levels is this one.
Try it. I think you'll see why.

Wednesday, July 14

GW2 - The Ranger

Nothing new for anyone that played the class in GW, it's all there: Pets, bows, traps and spirits.

Article is here


Hunter's Call - lol love this

Spread Shot

Serpent Strike

Whirling Defense

Monday, July 12

Is it so gay ?

When confronted with the inevitable 'that's so gay' in the gaming world (and RL) I find it best to ask a simple question:

Is it in a same sex relationship or is it just frivolously happy?

If the response is 'nah it's just crap' (which is always what is meant) then the next question is 'so then you think gay people are crap?', to be truthful not once have I heard somebody reply wth a positive to that one and will likely vehemently deny any heterosexism.

So if the vast majority deny any hateful intent then what's the problem? Language is important, the more a word is used in a particular context the more it means that, in this particular respect it provides ammunition and a feeling of support to those who are actually homophobic, in a world where people are violently murdered everyday just because of their sexuality should we really be encouraging prejudice by acceptance of what has become a relatively harmless turn of phrase? Obviously my answer to that one is no, we shouldn't accept it and we should remind people what they are actually saying and contributing to.

In the game world we have this rather large phenomena of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, Bi, Transgender) guilds, look in any MMO deep enough and they will be there. These guilds aren't created with online dating or cyber sex in mind, they are forced in to existence so people can relax and not put up with bigotted remarks. It's sad that any particularly group feels the need to exclude itself from the wider community and it's even sadder that it's done for those reasons. It's obvious then that to a significant part of the LGBT community that using gay as a way of saying crap has more meaning than the casual user of the term thinks, so what about game companies?

From WoW's ToS
"(i) Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive, including without limitation content or language that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, sexually explicit, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, nor may you use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the content and language restrictions listed above;"

From NCSoft's end user agreement
"take any action or upload, post, e-mail or otherwise transmit any content as determined by NC Interactive at its sole discretion that is harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; or contains any viruses, trojan horses, worms, time bombs, cancelbots or other computer programming routines that are intended to damage, detrimentally interfere
with, surreptitiously intercept or expropriate any system, data or personal information"

From Eve's ToS
2.You may not use any abusive, defamatory, ethnically or racially offensive, harassing, harmful, hateful, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, threatening or vulgar language. (Alternate spelling or partial masking of such words will be reprimanded in the same manner as the actual use of such words.)

3. You may not organize nor be a member of any corporation or group within EVE Online that is based on or advocates any anti-ethnic, anti-gay, anti-religious, racist, sexist or other hate-mongering philosophies

From those three examples alone it's obvious that homophobic behaviour is against the EULA/ToS, so why is the use of the word gay as a meaning for something crap still acceptable and used in those games? I answered that earlier myself, so many don't mean it as that and they fail to realise that by using it they support real anti gay behaviour.

Blizzard's ToS is most telling of what's part of the problem - "Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive" Blizzard and any other company can happily take the view that the usage of the word gay in this context isn't implicit in its homophobia, they are right if they choose to bury their head in the sand just as the perpetrators who don't think about what they are fuelling do.

IMHO it's about time game companies actually lived up to their user agreements and terms of service and treated homophobia in exactly the same way they treat racism and sexism in game, it is within their power, the problem is that without a significant move from the game communities they won't act, while the community says 'it's ok I'm not really homophobic, it's just a phrase' then they aren't going to spend on GM/Community powers to curb it. It's got to be a two way street.

Personnaly I look at discrimination on any grounds as a failure to value the freedom and equality of others based on either fear or irrational hatred. If your discriminating against somebody for any other reason than because they are a bad person then your doing it wrong.

WoW - Blizzard + Frogster = Runes of Magic

No doubt the title alone turned someone off out there already. Nevertheless...I think this game is worth noting (considering I've been giving up my time to it on a regular basis lately.

The game is Runes of Magic. It's a WoW clone if ever I saw one. Don't let that cause you to dismiss it outright though. It's worth trying IMO, if you've ever had the slightest inkling you might like to try WoW, but couldn't get past the corporate, evil empire stuff that goes along with Blizzard. Also, this isn't quite as cartoony as WoW (well, except for the rare evil balloon monster...yes, you read that right, that is what they are actually called). The character models are actually believable.

So what's it like? For the game mechanic, I suppose if you too WoW, and combined Guild Wars' dual class system, you'd get something similar to RoM. You pick yourself a character, then at lvl 10, you can choose a secondary class. It is interesting how they did it. Essentially, it's like levelling up two characters simultaneously. You can only use one class at a time (and the class you're currently using is the one that gets the XP benefit of questing, etc etc), but both classes have a pool of skills to level up that are shared with each other. There are also elite skills that you can get that are dependent upon what your class combination is. For instance, if you're a Warrior/Mage, you can get a skill that allows you to charge your weapon with magical power before you strike. If you're a Warrior/Druid, you get a skill that "causes" your weapon to be wrapped in thorns and adds a bleed effect to your attacks. It's really an interesting system they have.

Remember those good old days of CoX where you weren't living unless you were playing with debt? Well, they're here again in RoM. When you die, if someone doesn't resurrect you, you are res'd at a respawn point, and you gain some XP and TP debt. It's not over bearing though and debt is usually gone rather quickly unless you get stubborn like me and die 10 times trying defeat the elite boss solo even though he's 2 levels over you...

TP is what you use to level up your skills. You gain Training Points by completeing quests, defeating mobs, and leveling up.

There is crafting. It is essentially the same as WoW where you collect x number of y and z resources and voila! You've got a new sword! It'a tad different though as there are certain runes you use for something. I don't know what yet, I've not progressed that far in crafting.

They've got instanced dungeons for those of you that like that stuff. There's guilds, PvP, etc etc. Basically, everything you could ask for in an MMO.

The bonus? It's free to play! The drawback? It's free to play! There is an item shop (which I have actually put out some cash for a mount...there are mounts you can "rent" with in game money, they are temporary. The only way to get a permanent one is to buy diamonds which you use in the in game shop).

Right now my highest is a 30 Priest/33 Knight (it's like have a healer and a tank in the same character), and up to lvl 30 at least, it's fairly easy going. Plent of quests to keep you busy, and prevent grinding too much. The levels cap at 58 right now and they're planning to up it to 60 in the near future. From what I hear, leveling get's a bit rough as you get closer to the cap, but I can't say for sure. You can buy things from the item shop to boost you in leveling, but the game is completely playable without spending any real cash on it at least as far as I've played. I've heard from other players that if you want to be anybody as far as endgame content goes, you'll have to spend some cash to get your gear statted, but if you're like me, you generally don't get into end game content that much.

In any case, try it out. What have you got to lose, except sleep, or maybe your sanity? If you're still reading this, I suspect you might partially have lost one or both anyway. :D

Saturday, July 10

Your never too old to play with Lego!

Your never too young to start learning the fundamentals of programming

One beta I haven't managed to get in to, shame the building part looks like hours of fun.

This Trailer is epic :)

Here's a game play demo

Friday, July 9

GW2 - Healing and Death

No death penalty, instead a new layer of combat in 'downtime' (read: Battle Fatigue). As you get close to death you switch to a new set of skills, these skills give you your last fighting chance

From a PC Gamer article
"The Elementalist has skills like ‘Drafting Earth,’ which will slow enemies who are running by, or ‘Mist Form’ which actually allows them to turn into a cloud of mist and move around slowly so they can try and get away from bad situations.” Like Dracula, then. These skills are exclusive to your downed state – they’re the last inch of your power, they’re everything you’ve got. This impressive range of desperate, last-ditch skills are part of a new plan to give you a chance after you’ve fallen in combat. The other part is just as cool, and if you’ve played Borderlands, you’ll have experienced this wonderful mechanic before. “If you manage to kill an enemy, you will rally, returning to life to fight again,” Jon said. You get up, dust off, and get stuck in."

If you don't succeed with that your dead, everyone has a revive skill from lvl 1, the more you die in combat the longer it is before you can be ressed, if you can't be ressed? then it's to the nearest res shrine for you my friend (if you have the few gold it will cost), beyond that there is no Death Penalty.

Why no healer? We shouldn't need one, while Anet are talking about moving away from the holy trinity they have just replaced it with concepts that sound familier: Support classes that buff and protect, crowd control rather than tanking, and well dps is just dps.

Five man dungeon attempted by three players from
"We fought our way into the dungeon fairly well until we got into a fight with 5 boss golems each of whom uses a different type of elemental beam weapon. We were clearly overmatched but pressed on, determined to take some of them with us. Our more tankish warrior would call out targets and our ranged friend would immobilize them while I inflicted as much aoe damage as possible. If one of the warrior went down we’d use the downed skill “Retreat!” to give a speed buff to the others which would further enable them to kite the golems away so we could revive our fallen companion. A few times during the fight the other warrior would also use a downed skill called Vengeance which allows the warrior to get up and act normally for a short period of time before going straight to “defeated.” He’d use this skill to rez a friend or lead the golems away for a short period of time while the others healed. We defeated this encounter with no healer and nobody even playing one of the more support oriented professions in the game. We subsisted solely on self heals, solid tactics, and a little bit of luck"

So we all have heals and we all have skills that could help us escape death, I like the added depth this 'downtime' could bring but they really should think of a better name for it. I thought GW had a great DP system, I know people are split on this one but I like DP, it made you try that bit harder...

You can read more about healing and death at the official site

Wednesday, July 7

Light-Bot 2.0

I think the original Light-Bot game came out in our GameAmp days. But I can't really scavenge through the admin forums any more to see if I actually posted it there, so maybe none of you have any idea who or what Light-Bot is. But I have a link for you here just in case. Although I am not sure it is still operational. Maybe the battery went stale.

But the really good news is that there is a sequel now! It is aptly called Light-Bot 2.0. It is one of the most clever little games I have played. A really nice brain cracker.

Michael Garibaldi

UK Resistance made a post today about an Ulala cosplayer. And Zorg commented that we ought to know who Michael Garibaldi is. I am clearly not nerdy enough, since I didn't know right away. I feel a bit embarrassed I had to google it. But in my defense I did know Avon. To make this post even more meaningless here are a few more names. Tyr Anasazi, Al Calavicci, Mary Albright, Scorpius, Stanley H. Tweedle, Joxter, Joe Dawson.

Maybe I should scavenge the box-set sales.

Tuesday, July 6

Blizzard has your name and is gonna use it....

Blizzard bashing is less common than WoW bashing, my own thoughts on WoW being no more highbrow than 'meh' and my thoughts on the company about the same. I wasn't impressed with their silly shiny pony in the cash shop - aren't they making enough money? Neither was I impressed that WoW's success as a hackers delight didn't make Blizzard shy about introducing a higher degree of security and charging you for it. I was still left feeling 'meh' about them and the game, lately though my tin hat has come out and I get a sinking feeling the more and more I read about them .... REAL ID

This is purely voluntary, as it currently stands you either opt in to the full whack or opt out. Opting in means that you can add friends, once you add them they can then see your real name and the real names of anyone else on your friendslist. All that is fine when your a responsible, well rounded adult, in the hands of the more vulnerable I find it a cause for concern. Vulnerable meaning that those unable to recognise what possible impact revealing your name to friends and friends of friends could mean, as we know with Facebook, that friendslist number can help prove that your loved to the other folks who also choose to interpret it as such, in the hands of some it will become like notches in the bed post. To all exccept the very few it will be harmless enough, those of us valueing our privacy will just opt out.


Close on the back of that is the news that now the official forums will be displaying your real name (the one associated with your account). Blizzard's public reasoning is that it will create a much more responsible style of posting, people can't hide behind their forum name and therefore will learn to play nice, to that end they also decided to introduce a rate or hate system for forum posts, which of course will cause more problems than it willl solve.....

Here's a quote from their official post

"With the launch of the new, it's important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment -- one that's highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID -- including these forum changes -- have been made with this goal in mind."

On with your tin hat!

So what does this all mean? Why did they do it? I don't for one minute believe that they only had the communities interest at heart. Linking your real name with your friends real names, then their friends real names and having them visible on the forum makes their life a hell of a lot easier when it comes to studying demographics and building databases from browser habits.

As gamers we are quite succesfull at building our own communities, those that need help doing so certainly shouldn't be getting it from the game in the form of an ever increasing web of strangers. Using real names on the forum will lose them a hefty chunk of their community, not just the flamers but anyone who values their privacy. The cynic in me calls shenanigins and that this is nothing short of exploiting a playerbase for information, who else will get access to this info?

Saturday, July 3

Tera- the MMO WWF ?

Reference to worlwide wrestling federation is because of the commentary, hopefully the cheesyness will give you a laugh as it did me :)

From Enmasse the company made up of ex Anet, Blizzard and Microsoft highflyers, owned by a Korean company and tasked with translating titles over here. Not excited by their offering but the narration cracked me up :)

Thursday, July 1

Guild Wars 2: Killing Time Without Killing

IGN have just published a small article on non combat activities in the game, there are also two more interviews: and

The gamereactor article is a lot more interesting and touches on reaching an RP audience and having sanbox elements amongst directed gameplay, well worth the read.

It seems to me they've taken their experience from designing the fun activities for festivals in GW and run with it to make permanent features for GW2. These activities do have their bonuses, while they won't be crucial for story progression and character progression they will reward with aesthetic items and epeen boosters such as titles, in GW2 titles are account rather than character based, in GW titles go towards your HoM (Hall of Monuments) which will give you bonuses (aesthetic only) in GW2.

Very few activities were discussed but include:
  • Bar brawl
  • Something musical (not expanded on but instruments are mentioned)
  • Shooting Gallery
I have no doubt, thinking of things like rollerbeatle racing from current GW festivities that these activities will be pretty varied and fun, I liked the idea of toxic spew in the bar brawls.

From :

Activities don't have a level requirement. Do you have any plans for rewards for them, and if so - how do you balance those rewards?

John: We are going to have rewards come out of the activities. An example that I've given is like for the bar brawl, while you are in there, you're knocking out people, you might get a tooth as a drop. And then we might have an NPC that is a collector that is associated with the activity and you're turning in teeth to him because it just so happens that he is the local dentist and you're basically sending business to him. So you can turn those items in for rewards. In terms of making them balanced, it's more about getting an aesthetic reward, like a weapon or an armor kind of thing, it's like a skin for that activity, you won't be able to get it anywhere else.

How many of these activities do you have planned?

John: About 30-ish, I believe is what we're looking at.

You guys mentioned being able to break the game, and change the rules. How far can you go when it comes to these activities?

John: As far as it takes to make it fun.

But can you give any other example when you "break the game"?

John: Some examples that we can know, we talk about so much of the game that is built on co-operation and working together and in activities we can take a break from that. Because sometimes you're just in the mood to do something different. The bar brawl is built around that chaotic, free-for-all feeling of the moment you're seeing in movies, when someone gets a chair to the back of the head from out of nowhere, even though he is fighting someone else. We can change those kinds of rules for scoring and stuff like that. Or in the case of one of the other activities in Divinity's Reach, imagine that you're playing polo, but polo had pitfalls and bombs and traps going off. Things that are completely off the wall that we can get in there.

The activities are going to split across locations, giving you more reason to explore and find them.

A few other things are touched on :

Which sound like a series of progressively harder daily events that will provide experience, designed so that casual players have something to jump in with and achieve


One of the things you are talking about now are "feats". Can you give some solid examples of what these feats will look like?

Curtis Johnson: Feats are kind of our answer to rest experience and daily rewards. Feats are things that the game is tracking about your playtime, they layer on top of everything you're doing. Like how many things you've killed, and at certain levels you get rewards for that. We keep track of how many things you've killed simultaneously, what variety of enemies you are encountering, and all this are specific areas that as you meet certain levels in them you get bonus rewards for that day.

You say that this is a way for casual players to keep up with the more hardcore players. Only like through rest experience, or any other forum of bonuses?

Curtis: It's experience point bonuses, it's gold bonuses, there might be specific items or buffs that you get through feats. Basically they help to make your initial playtime, like the first hour or two, be more efficient. And so a casual player that plays for a short time, compared to someone who plays three or four times as long, might get up to about half as much experience points. Those first hours are more efficient, and give you a larger reward.

Choices made by your character will affect how NPC's react to you, without affecting gameplay, seems to be there purely for the RP side of character development.

More on Personality from

Personality (formerly called diplomacy)
The personality system allows players who want to roleplay the personality of their character a method for doing so. We measure three major personality categories; ferocity, dignity, and charm. Whenever a character talks to an NPC they may have a chance to say something that corresponds to one of these categories. As they speak to NPC’s the game keeps track of what they’ve said and assigns them a personality based on the mix of responses that they’ve given. For example someone who tends to use both charm and ferocity a lot would have the personality of “scoundrel”. Depending on a character’s personality certain NPC’s in the game will react to them differently and they will also be able to take certain actions that would otherwise have been unavailable. For example a “barbaric” who is trying to get information from someone may have the option to “punch them in the face”.

Too much to be true? Heres another quoute from

"One of the things I can say is that we tend to, you know, we were pretty tight-lipped about the game for a long time and we tend not to talk about things unless they are actually in the game. So when we talk about activities, like when we talk about the bar brawl, or the shooting gallery, because they are actually in the game you can go in and experience them right now. And so there is actually very little chance that most things we talk about are not going to make it into the game just because we run out of time or anything like that. Because, as I said, we tend not to talk about things unless we're very, very certain that we can do them. Certain as in they are in already"

Anets policy of not talking unless they are confident it will be in the game, which it likely is already, is something a lot of publishers could learn from. The hype increases as does the weight on them to make it all true, let's hope they succeed. I tend to believe their words.