Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ragnarok Online March Newsletter

For those of you who used to play RO and haven't in a while, the March Newsletter is out with the following information:

First off, they've got new forums, which look pretty standard and similar to many other websites out there. They've also got a WoE point system (War of...?), although I'm not sure what WoE stands for. It looks to be some sort of guild point system which is determined by territory held. Last, we have a walkthrough for the Quest of the Gaebolg for those who have yet to complete it.

I do have to say that it's odd that their March letter has come out two weeks into April...but who knows, right? I never really got into RO, but I do know that enough people did, especially in Asia, that it spawned its own anime. And no, I'm not kidding.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Age of Conan Beta Signups

As I reported here, the Age of Conan beta signups have begun.

Let me just say...I'd love to be in. Granted, past history tells me that press are one of the last groups to get in (which makes sense due to NDA issues and such), but I still have hope. I've been interested in this game pretty much since it was announced, and got to see some of it back at E3. If the combat holds up, this is going to be one of the most interesting MMOs out there, even including World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, and Warhammer.

As soon as I can get my hands on the specs and requirements, I'll let you guys know. Man, I can't wait to get my new system. Only $850 (and 4 parts) to go, then the OS.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lord of the Rings Online Open Beta

Well, the open beta has started, at least for those of us who have preordered. Everyone else gets to wait until April 6, 2007.

For those of you who aren't quite sure what's going on, Open Beta lasts until sometime around April 24, 2007 (probably April 20th or so), and characters are capped at level 15. For those who preorder, all characters will be ported over to the live servers at launch, and Turbine is looking at handing out nearly a million CD keys for open beta, starting with seven servers to play in.

I created an Elven Champion on Landroval to play with some friends, and because I haven't played an elf yet. The intro for the elves is really nice, and takes place hundreds of years before the actual game does, showcasing a younger Elrond as you see the destruction of Edhelion. Once you go through the intro, which shows off the snow troll as well, you flash forward to 'present time' in the ruins of Edhelion for the newbie area. Apparently, this is the newbie area for elves, dwarves and hobbits, as I saw a number of all of them. While everyone clusters around the opening monsters for a level or two, it's easy to spread out after that, and even in the starting few feet, there's trainers, shops and a number of quests to work with. There's even an instance not far away, which has a very nice visual of another troll turned to stone with a shaft of sunlight shining upon it.

Response on the beta forums have been solidly in favor of this game. Queues are mentioned (although I haven't seen any yet), but that's really a reality now thanks to World of Warcraft. From what I've seen (on a low end machine), the game runs rather well at medium settings, although there's some definite lag here and there, which I attribute to my system. Personally, once I get my new system set up (hopefully sometime in May or so, still need to buy parts), I'll really be able to see this thing for how pretty it really is. After all, I'm currently running a system which BARELY beats minimum requirements.

Got anything you want me to check out? Lemme know!

MxO's Second Anniversary

News from SOE brings word that The Matrix Online has turned two. MxO is one of those titles that I played during beta, and while I enjoyed it, I also saw that it was going to have problems, mainly due to the fact that it wasn't really immersive enough compared to the movie, and felt like a letdown...even after the second two movies. However, news filtered out through the past year or soa bout a number of the changes that've happened, which may have given MxO an Anarchy Online-like rejuvination. It's definitely a title I plan on revisiting sometime soon for GT, probably for a review.

Anyway, the anniversary lasts until April 10, 2007, and shows off the new 'luggable' object type, and features a mission to visit the Oracle. Here's some more details:
Update 50: Chapter 7.1 Content and A Whole New Look for You

With the beginning of Chapter 7 a new cinematic trailer is released, you will be able to participate in the new 7.1 critical missions and, through archival missions, relive all the missions from the previous chapters, including Chapter 6.

Also, for the first time ever, players have the opportunity to change the look of their characters’ Residual Self Images. Update 50 introduced “RSI Pills”, which can be used to change everything from hair color to tattoos! Head to your nearest Exile hideout to acquire some of these consumables today!

You have to give SOE credit, they definitely are committed to numerous patches and updates. 50 updates in 2 years? Nice. More details are available here.

Friday, March 2, 2007

First Vanguard Game Update Coming Tuesday

For those of you playing Vanguard right now, Sony Online has announced that the first game update will go live this Tuesday. More information here:

  • Dozens of new weapon models
  • Six brand new NPC races to battle: Djinn, Mnalus, Mudmen, Sand Giants, Ichtakhta and Xennu
  • Two new mid to high level adventuring areas: Deep Swamp and Gorgalog
  • Nine dungeons with revamped art and/or lighting such as: Kalendra’s Coven, Nusibe Necropolis and Vol Tuniel

For the full update notes visit

Double Adventuring Kill Experience will be awarded to players from Saturday, March 3rd, 5:00am PST (Friday, March 2nd, 8:00pm PST for Europeans) until Monday, March 5th, 5:00am PST (Sunday, March 4th, 8:00pm PST for Europeans)

A Founder’s reward, in the form of an in-game title, will be granted to players who have purchased a copy of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes between launch (January 30, 2007) and March 31, 2007, and successfully registered an account. This title can be applied to each character created on a qualifying account now or in the future. In order to qualify a player will need to have consumed the account key that comes in the box (if purchased at retail), from a Web site (if purchased digitally) or successfully completed a purchase on the Station Store by the March 31st cut off date (11:59pm PST). The title is scheduled to be awarded in early April. More details regarding a full Veteran Rewards program will be announced in the coming months.

I tell you what, if the Vanguard team provides game updates as solidly and quickly as the EQ2 team has, Vanguard could get really good.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lord of the Rings Online Beta Impressions

Yes, I'm in the beta. Actually, I was in the beta just after it came out of Alpha, so was part of the second group to get in. Stepping back a few months, however....

When news came out that a Lord of the Rings MMO was in development, if you put a group of fantasy MMO fans in a room and told them that, you could have visually measured the excitement levels.

If you then told them that Turbine was doing the developing, you could almost watch them deflate with disappointment. After all, it was Turbine that had two MMOs go south in a hurry, with Asheron's Call 2 growing stagnant then dying less than two years after going live, and then the much-awaited Dungeons and Dragons Online opening to tepid reviews, especially as the power gamers hit max level (of 10) within a week of the game hitting shelves. No PVP (at the time, now fixed), no crafting, nothing to do but (for the most part) dungeon crawl over and over and over again..

Well, I have some good news for everyone. Lord of the Rings: Shadows of Angmar is more of what Turbine was when Asheron's Call was new, as opposed to what they seemed when D&D Online went live. The game, quite simply, rocks.

You have four base races: Dwarf, Elf, Hobbit and Man (broken into I believe three different groups based on where in Middle Earth you're from (I recall Dalelands, Gondor and the Horselords off the top of my head). Each race has its own classes: Champion (DPS Deluxe), Captain (Alt tank / party buffs), Guardian (Main tank), Hunter (ranged attack / debuff), Minstrel (buff/debuff), Burgler (debuff and stealth, DoT), and Lore-Master (pet class / DD spells / stuns).

As with any post-WoW game, LOTR Online has a metric crapton of quests, both standard ones (denoted by a golden ring above the target's head) and Main Storyline quests (which have the One Ring above).

The game also features PvP, of a sort, as players can play as monsters (once they reach level 10). Granted, the monsters are rather limited as of yet, but generally are made to challenge higher level PCs. There's a lot of tradeskilling in the game, but each group of tradeskills is very heavily dependent upon the other groups in order to make their items.

The game also allows for player music, with the keyboard acting as the keys (or strings) of the instrument you play, with every class capable of learning at least one musical instrument. In the beta forums, there's a heavy thread on how to import actual songs into the game, which is really quite nice. The controls are complex enough that it allows for two-note chords, which is really nice.

Also one of the interesting things is Achievements, which is similar to EQ2's system, except it's quite a bit more advanced. You also have a Virtue system, which allows you to slot extra abilities that you can gain along the way.

Want more? How about Kinships, where you can actually adopt other characters as your children, as far down as 20 generations? Marriage, also, is in the game.

I'll be doing a preview for Gaming Trend here in a few weeks, but really, the only thing that can really kill LOTR right now is the pre-order package, which allows players to get into the Open Beta, and keep their characters when the game goes live, as long as they pay for the retail game within 30 days of launch.

Specifically, the problem with this is that the uber guilds will all pre-order, be max level by the time the game comes out....and then that's that.

But....give it a shot when open beta comes around, you might just find something worth playing for a good while.

Everquest Online Adventures Turns Four

Proof that many MMOs just never seem to die.

Sony Online Entertainment celebrates the fourth anniversary of EQOA with treasured gifts and special in game quests for all adventurers! Rejoice in the fourth year of the EQOA adventure by claiming your anniversary present today. Characters, level 15 and over, can claim an Anniversary Certificate, which will allow a second reset of their path abilities. Satisfied with your current path? Find a seller for this rare and unique item on auction or give it as a gift because it’s tradable. For those that haven’t quite made it to level 15, other unique and exciting gifts will be granted during the celebration to aide you along the adventure!

This anniversary also presents the prospect of peace in the land of Norrath…almost!

Assistance is needed to fight against invading forces storming the gates of Freeport, Halas, Forkwatch, Klick`Anon, Hazinak, and Misty Thicket. Quest in the name of Norrath and help these cities! Join the battle and you will be handsomely rewarded!

Commemorate the anniversary, collect exciting new rewards and embark on the new fast-action questing adventures that you have come to love, waiting for you in EQOA!

Okay, does anyone still even play EQ:OA? I remember beta testing it, and finding it to be a very ugly game, and the reliance on using the PS2's memory card was really a pain, especially if you only had one memory card. The controls were clunky, the gameplay was average at best...and when the beta was over, I never looked back.

While one expansion was released (Everquest Online Adventures: Frontiers), neither the original nor the expansion are in stock at many stores.

Seriously. Anyone playing this? Drop me a line, and let me know how it's running now? Oh, and happy anniversary...