What’s next with Everquest Next

eq2 -frostfellhall

Everquest Next

You might not know it, but Everquest and Everquest 2 still has a thriving community and fan base. Even those of us who have moved on from EQ often remember it with fond memories (yes, even camping for rare spawns). With so many MMO’s that have promised to be the next big thing, but ended up falling on their face many of us wondered if Everquest Next would bring something new to the table or at least take us back to the days of gaming we loved.

At the most recent SOE Live convention SOE president, John Smedley talked about Everquest Next briefly in his keynote address:

“I have to be honest with you. We have completely blown up the design of EverQuest Next. For the last year and a half we have been working on something we are not ready to show. Why did we blow up the design? The design was evolutionary. It was EverQuest III. It was something that was slightly better that what had come before it. IT was slightly better. What we are building is something that we will be very proud to call EverQuest.

It will be the largest sandbox style MMO ever designed. The same exciting content delivered in a new way. Something you’ve never seen before. The MMO world has never seen before. We didn’t want more Kill 10 Rats quests. We didn’t want more of the same. If you look at the MMOs out there, they’re delivering the same content over and over again. So are we. We need to change that. When we released EverQuest, we changed the world. We want to do that again with a different type of game.

What I will commit to is, at the next Fan Faire, not only will you get to see it but you will get to touch it. Most of the EQNext devs are in this room. If you get them drunk enough they might tell you. They’re led by Dave Georgeson. Terry Michaels. Vets from EQ and EQ2. We are remaking Norrath unlike anything you’ve ever seen, but you’ll recognize it. I’m sorry we don’t have anything to show for it, but I wanted to be honest with you and tell you a little bit about it. Keep the faith.”

Now there is obviously the joke about SOE getting something right or bringing us something new that is good, but there is also a slight worry that a project was blown up and redesigned. Just think of when you hear that about a movie or television show, it doesn’t bode well does it?

I guess we will see. As far as the sandbox MMO idea, that is not really new, but it at least gives us an idea of the gameplay style. For those that don’t know or fully understand what a Sandbox mmo is, here is a pretty good explanation I stole from somewhere.

“A sandbox MMO is a game that drops you into a player driven world.  Players are given tools, and sand, and they get to make whatever they want with it.  Just like when you were a kid in your sandbox with a shovel and pail.  You didn’t have much fancy stuff, but you had fun.

A non-sandbox MMO has already made all the fun for you, there is no sand, it’s a playground or a “themepark”.  it’s not about you creating content, it’s about having fun with what the devs made.  Like when you used to climb around on the monkey bars or whatever.

Simple eh? Player driven vs dev driven.”

Now we are not 100% sure if EQ Next will be modeled exactly like this, but you get the idea. Also we can almost guess that it will go free to play from launch. Our best guess is that you will need to pay for the game and then not have a monthly subscription, but you can purchase items from a store in-game like Guild Wars 2.

So we will see what SOE shows us next year. We do know that Planetside 2 is set to launch on November 20th so that will keep us busy until we hear more EQ Next news.

Are we what is wrong with MMO’s?

Personally I think that was the key to EQ besides being the first 3D MMO and alone on the market for a long time. The drama was new and interesting; today it is old and scripted like the worst reality show. In the past you grouped for hours and talked making new friends. Now, you are lucky if you can finish a run with a stranger much less talk to them. ~J.A. Laraque

Are we what is wrong with MMO’s?

When you get above age 30 a lot is changing and a lot of has to do with what you believe you should be doing and the direction you should be going. For many gamers there comes a time where they decide if gaming in part of their lifestyle or something they did in their youth and now it becomes something they need to leave behind. For those who continue gaming it will always be different, not only because we are older with different responsibilities, but because many who we used to game with will have moved on.

mmo cafe

When talking about MMO’s many people talk about Everquest and the early days of World of Warcraft the way a man might talk about his college days. You remember a time when you were free and could do what you want and it was celebrated as well as expected. Now, you have to “grow up” and “be an adult” and the fun times as you knew them are over. This is not to mean that there will not be fun times ahead, but that it will never be like it was before and depending on the person this may make them feel that anything that comes next just could never live up to the old and really for the most part, it cannot.

Everquest Friends

So when you talk about that 48-hour camp in the Efreeti room was it that the time spent killing the same placeholder over and over was so much fun or that it was the time in your life that it happened more fun than now. With many of the new MMO’s being released the idea is the teenager with tons of time on his hand in the past now has work, marriage, kids and so on to deal with and cannot spend time playing 12 hours a day. Of course, there is also the people used to having everything handed to them to consider as well.

If you associate, your fun days with a MMO and now those fun days are over then it will be almost impossible to get that happy feeling back no matter what a game does. You could make an exact copy of a game, but now its 10 years later and maybe that awesome boyfriend lost his job and does not do what he used to or your sexy girlfriend is pregnant and angry. So you load up an MMO and hope to have those fun filled nights you had fighting twin emperors and you just cannot find it and you blame the game.

World of Warcraft Guild

I have always said it is the people who make the game so if you played with great friends in EQ then most likely many of those friends have moved on. Now, you have to try and make new friends or gather the few you have left in a new game, but you cannot bring that magic back. This does not remove responsibility from the game makers. Many MMO’s are just lazy and they rather copy and play it safe than innovate. However, many of the arguments comparing the old to the new are the same we do with movies or television shows. The glasses are rosy and the memories seem so much better than the present or the future.

Perhaps this is the reason MMO’s can be played alone more now than in the past. The EQ and even vanilla WOW generation is much older. Can most of you who raided in EQ find 40 good people to raid and play with day after day, week after week. Can you find 25 or even 15 and if so is it just as fun being with them in the game regardless of the game?

Wow guild

Many who find games like Star Wars, The Old Republic fun are not just fanboi’s. I have found people who like to solo like the game. Many who did not have big guilds in EQ or Wow like the game and those who have retained a good core of gamer friends like it because they get together and enjoy each other’s company in the game first and the actual game second.

Personally I think that was the key to EQ besides being the first 3D MMO and alone on the market for a long time. The drama was new and interesting; today it is old and scripted like the worst reality show. In the past you grouped for hours and talked making new friends. Now, you are lucky if you can finish a run with a stranger much less talk to them. In between game time, you would hang out, talk with your friends and interact with the gaming community. Now, you have many more responsibilities and less time.

thunderboss

So for many when a new MMO is announced, especially if you have not played an MMO in a while and have friends interested in giving it a try. You end up putting more than hopes of a good game on the product. People hope it will rekindle that fire, bring friends back together, improve your life and games by themselves cannot do that. There are documented reports that leaving an MMO can end relationships, friendships and even marriages so it is understandable that people think an MMO might create what it can also destroy.

We still have to make sure MMO makers do a good job, and create and maintain the game they promised. However, we should also realize you cannot relive Woodstock, and for many games our “Woodstock” was EQ or WOW.

Everquest goes Free-To-Play

After 13 years and tons of expansions the game known as Evercrack goes free-to-play.

everquest logo

Hello everyone – I hope you all are doing well early on in the New Year! With an exciting Veil of Alaris expansion just released in November, we’re thrilled to announce the next big adventure for EverQuest®. After listening to your feedback and suggestions over the past few years, I’m happy to announce that in early March 2012, EverQuest will be going free-to-play.

We’re excited to be expanding the EverQuest experience by making the game more accessible to every type of player so that you can choose to play the game in a way that suits you best. Anyone who wishes to start, return or continue to play one of the “Best Games of All-Time” can simply download and play EverQuest on their terms – think of it as Free to Play, Your Way. Recurring subscriptions, non-recurring subscriptions, Silver or Free memberships, item unlockers, and more. The game will now be setup to be flexible so that *you* can decide how much to pay, based on how much fun you’re having.

EverQuest players are some of the most loyal, long-standing players of any MMO in existence. With the gaming landscape changing every day, we want to ensure we continue to evolve the game to keep players engaged and bring in even more new players to further expand the community. With no up-front costs or required membership, we might see a new player or two along the way, and more people is always a good thing!

Once we go free-to-play, here are some of the upcoming features and events you can expect:

  • On Friday, March 16th, EverQuest becomes a teenager: 13 years old!!! We will be having some extra added events in the game starting that week leading up to that Friday and we’re introducing some new items within POK to let you know what’s in store.
  • With the free-to-play launch, a renovated everquest.com website will be unveiled and after that, we will bring you upgraded EQPlayers pages.
  • We have improved the functionality of our Map system! Some improvements include being able to view appropriate level content for your character on the map, allowing you to find zone lines much easier; and also showing you your wisps on the map to help navigate to where you want to go!

Also at the free-to-play launch, all players will receive a Welcome Pack containing items to add to your gameplay experience. You’ll be able to summon a unique Mercenary to fight by your side and we’re including some Bayle Marks to help pay for the services of your newly summoned Mercenary. A couple of Experience Potions are also included to help you increase your experience gained while adventuring. For all the collectors that like to show off all the great wares to your friends, we’re giving you an item to display in your home and add to your collection. And finally, you’ll be able to customize the appearance of one of your weapons with a Weapon Ornamentation – also included in the Welcome Pack. So be sure to check the claim window for your free gifts.

We, the EverQuest dev team, are very excited about this new flexible system. Free-To-Play is the best fit for EverQuest and we are looking forward to supporting the game and our dedicated fans for years to come. This is a great year for everyone associated with EverQuest and SOE. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what’s coming in 2012.

One last note, we will be doing a Community Webcast on Thursday February 2, 2012 covering all of the exciting free-to-play details. Please be sure to send in any questions you might have via the Facebook page or Twitter so we can respond with answers during the Webcast.

See you in game very soon!

Thom Terrazas
EverQuest Producer
AKA “Phathom”

For more information on the transition to free-to-play please visit the FAQ and free-to-play matrix.

So does anyone see themselves logging in to play?

MMO Rewrite

In the end we must support what we thing is salvageable not what is perfect out the gate, because nothing is. Big MMO’s are like network television, they release a good show but their expectations are so high they cancel it if it does not live up to their unattainable unrealistic goals. We need a cable TV solution where a show can grow and become a hit with true fans who appreciate it. ~J.A. Laraque

MMO Rewrite

I think it might be time to rethink the MMO model. Just as many people get older and make adjustments to their lifestyle the same has to be done with MMO’s and it’s not just graphics or even just game mechanics. The change has to come based on how the community has grown and changed and adjusted to these types of games.

mmo boxes

Let’s look at Everquest, a game many people look back on with rose colored glasses. Most people never did more than a few quests in vanilla EQ. You would run out and start killing rats, bats and beetles, but because it was new and different it was fun, and many accepted it for what it was.

People claimed there was a better community in the past and it was true because it was so hard to level and groups meant everything so you were forced to play nice where today you can dump and find groups so fast many will not tolerate even one death much less wipe after wipe like was the norm in Everquest.

Everquest

People look at Star Wars the Old Republic and complain because you can solo to 50 and the companion system makes the game more like a single player game. However, even in early World of Warcraft most people could solo to 50 and sure there were zones that needed a group, but it was not a requirement and a good number of people were denied groups for level 45-50 zones due to their class or other factors.

Turning back to Everquest, people forget that grouping was more about locking down a spawn than the fact that you really loved to group. In Lower Guk your group would camp one room and if it had a drop like the Flowing Black Sash there would be a rotation. You would be in the same group for hours because if you left good luck getting back in.

Everquest 2

So where did the change start? First, it began when people realized some classes could kite in EQ like Druids or Wizard. In games like City of Heroes, we saw people really begin to only group to finish their mission and then they would quit. When World of Warcraft went from 40-man to 25-man raids and the birth of the clicks occurred grouping took another hit because people were forced to do pugs and then the idea of pubs became so repugnant that if anything went wrong people would leave in a second.

In Everquest 2’s early days, groups would share Exp debt when someone died, so if you made a mistake the whole group might disband. All this, along with the increasing drama on message board forums, and more and more people joining the world of MMO has led to its decay.

City of Heroes

Originally a “server first” meant something, but soon it became a job with people working in teams to reach max level first. The idea of eating through content was considered a virtue as everyone wanted to be first and honestly, many learned back in the days of EQ that it was the first guilds to encounter new content that were the ones to find bugs and exploits and reap gains from them before they were removed, fixed or nerfed.

Then the great expansion came and MMO’s started popping up overnight and just like 3D movies we realized many should not have been made. We were already paying $15 for one MMO, who in their right mind would pay two or three of them. Free to play was enviable, but it also had flaws due to things like having the richest person gain an advantage or companies charging for the smallest things just to nickel and dime you to death.

Players saw games close for the first time and companies abandon their player base by offering little or no new content or support. The insert game here killer became a running joke and it was expected that any game to come out was doomed to fail because either it was not enough like game X or too much like it.

World of Warcraft

Finally, we all got older. The teenager is now in college, the young man now has a wife and kids and the basement dweller has a full time job. Want to know another effect of having a casual friendly game, when they are done with it they are less likely to move on to another and more likely to just stop gaming altogether.

There has been a lot of heat on Star Wars and they deserve a lot of it, but we as gamers need to realize that MMO’s need a rewrite. There will never be an Everquest or Dark Age of Camelot or World of Warcraft experience again. Even those who were the ten-year-old gamers will not experience games the way we did because the times are different and because of this MMO’s need to adjust just as our expectations of them should.

My prediction, games will get smaller not larger. Remember the, it’s time to slay the dragon commercial for EQ? Sure, it was made fun of, but there was something important there. It was about 5 or 6 friends coming together in a game. I believe that is our future. The large raids and guilds of 200 plus members are over. MMO’s will become games where you can solo and then call a few friends to do larger content.

star-wars-the-old-republic

Also, MMO’s have to drop the monthly fee. Remember EQ 2 and their 5-dollar content updates? It was a complete joke at the time, but I see that as the future. No monthly fee, weekly bug fixes, maintenance and patches, but every few months you buy a chapter consisting of new quests and zones for a small fee with one big paid expansion per year.

This allows gamers to switch between MMO’s , but still provides enough revenue to keep games going. If companies keep looking to have 20 million subscribers, they will continue to fall short. We have all grown and changed and its time MMO’s followed suit.

In the end we must support what we thing is salvageable not what is perfect out the gate, because nothing is. Big MMO’s are like network television, they release a good show but their expectations are so high they cancel it if it does not live up to their unattainable unrealistic goals. We need a cable TV solution where a show can grow and become a hit with true fans who appreciate it.

Otherwise, we will just jump from bandwagon to bandwagon waiting for the would-be giant to tumble and laugh as it falls right on top of us.

Subscription MMO’s soon to be a thing of the past?

DDO Free-to-play

Is the writing on the wall that paying monthly for MMO’s is soon to be a thing of the past? When some of us started playing text based adventures the idea of paying by the minute for internet service was acceptable, but soon unlimited plans became the way of the land and everyone had to jump on board. Fast forward to the early days of Everquest, when the decision was made to raise the price of their monthly subscription. The player base revolted saying EQ would be done for if this move was made, but as how addiction works, we continued playing.

Perhaps that was a turning point, when these companies knew they could push their customers just far enough if their game was good/addictive enough to keep people from quitting. We learned with games such as Asheron’s Call 2, that if a game sucks people will run away, but we also learned that if a game is good enough one could make money without being number one.

When World of Warcraft exploded the common wisdom was that no other company would dethrone Blizzard anytime soon, but they could offer an alternative, just enough to make a profit. We saw a boom of new MMO’s show up with many I am sure you have never heard of. However, many of these MMO’s were turning a profit, enough to keep going and the industry thought things would level off.

guild-wars

When Guild Wars dumped the idea of monthly subscriptions, many people laughed at the idea. Even after the early failure of Everquest 2, most MMO’s were doing fine even in the large shadow cast by World of Warcraft. Not everyone was laughing because not only was Guild Wars a good game, but there was not a model that could be used that had already been used with many Asian MMO’s.

When we first saw a MMO go free-to-play it was thought that it meant a game was failing and in many cases that was true. Games like Age of Conan saw a mass exodus, but it was still salvageable so going free-to-play made sense. The same happened with Lord of the Rings, less players, but worth keeping up.

When Sony Online Entertainment launched the Everquest 2 free-to-play it became more common place to offer a subscription service alongside a free-to-play where you could sell additional perks and services. Not only did that extra revenue work for the free-to-play side, but for the subscription side as well.

Now seeing MMO’s go free-to-play alongside a subscription service is a normal occurrence. If the game is older, like City of Heroes it may bring in new blood. If the game is newer, like DC Universe Online it may give a dying game some new life. In SOE’s case if nothing else, they can convince their subscribers to go All Access to help pad their subscription numbers.

aoc_free-to-play

Even the MMO superpower World of Warcraft has seen its numbers drop sharply and not just people who stop logging in but keep their account active. Blizzard has been losing subscribers by the boatload and they are not just waiting for the next expansion, they want a new game. On the horizon, we have Old Republic. While it looks as if this game will be a hit so did DCUO.

There are many gamers from the early EQ days that consider themselves retired from MMO’s for a variety of reasons. Some of the newer gamers are burned out and they experienced an over saturation of MMO’s some good, some not so good, but the key was there were too many to subscribe to. Now many people are getting used to the free-to-play model and with W.O.W. perhaps beginning its slide down, the field may open up. Not to one dominate MMO, but a widening choice were you don’t have to slap down $50 plus $14.99 just to see if it makes it past the first month or not.

Studies show that if you charge ten bucks for a 15-episode television show, it may or may not sell well, but if you offer each episode for 99 cents, you will end up making more money in the long run. If you play a game for free and a one-time fee of five bucks gets you that new mount you will feel more inclined to buy it. American’s have run into debt because we don’t realize a three dollar cup of coffee three times a week is four hundred and sixty-eight dollars a year.

everquest 2 free to play

Only time will tell how free-to-play will change the MMO landscape. For those of us who can enjoy a game and walk away it may become a great opportunity to experience many new games. For those that have to have it all, it may start up a new debate about MMO addiction and how people go broke by purchasing a two-dollar sword here and a ten-dollar name change there. Think it cannot happen, look for the headlines on Second Life where people pay two hundred bucks a month for a virtual condo. Kind of makes you wonder why they didn’t think of this sooner.

 

A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far Far Away A World Came To An End


It fills me with great sadness to deliver this message to those of you who enjoyed the hell out of Star Wars Galaxies before it turned into a shade of its former glory, but SOE has decided to pull the plug.

Dear Star Wars Galaxies™ Community Member,

We write to you today to inform you that on December 15, 2011, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and LucasArts will end all services (MMO and Trading Card Game) for Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). The shutdown of SWG is a very difficult decision, but SOE and LucasArts have mutually agreed that the end of 2011 is the appropriate time to end the game.
We are extremely grateful to all of the SWG fans. We have had the rare opportunity to host one of the most dedicated and passionate online gaming communities and we truly appreciate the support we’ve received from each and every one of you over the course of the past eight years.

In recognition of your incredible loyalty, we are extending special Fan Appreciation offers to the current SWG community. We also plan to go out with a bang with a galaxy-ending in-game event in December and hope to see you all there. The details relating to these offers and events as well as the timeline and specifics regarding the discontinuation of the service, are provided below.
Again, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to our player community for making SWG one of the best online communities in gaming history.
Sincerely,
Sony Online Entertainment & LucasArts

The Fine Details:

Discontinuation of Services:
As of September 15, 2011, the SWG MMO and Trading Card Game will no longer be available for sale or subscription at both retail and all online digital retailers. All billing for active subscribers with accounts in good standing, except for Station Access subscribers, will end on October 15, 2011.

If you are an active subscriber in good standing as of September 15, 2011, then you can play for free for the final months. Players wishing to play through the end of the game and participate in the galaxy-ending event planned for the last week of live service in December will need to re-activate or join the game on or before September 15th. No new or reactivated accounts will be accepted after September 15, 2011.
As of today, June 24, 2011, we are discontinuing the 12, 6, and 3-month subscription plans, meaning these subscription options will no longer be offered for newly created SWG accounts. SWG subscribers who have prepaid six (6) or twelve (12)-month game time plans that extend their subscription period past October 15, 2011 will receive a pro-rated refund for any such pre-paid excess subscription payments*. Such refunds are expected to be issued within 90-days after the game ends.
In addition, we will be discontinuing the sale of all Star Wars Galaxies™ Trading Card Game (TCG) digital card packs as of today, June 24, 2011. Loot cards will not be redeemable in the SWG MMO after September 15, 2011. The TCG will continue to operate until the final service closure on December 15, 2011.

Galaxy-Ending Event – Be Part of this Historic Event
During the last week that SWG is available, we’re inviting the community to participate in a galaxy-ending event. We’re going to end with a bang and we want the final chapter of the galaxy to be written in part by the dedicated and passionate SWG community. Details will be announced at a later date.

Fan Appreciation Offers
We welcome those active SWG subscribers in good standing to play one or all of the below SOE massively-multiplayer online PC games at a fully-paid subscriber status (or “membership” status where relevant) at no cost between October 15, 2011 and December 31, 2011 (subject to the terms and conditions described below). To activate these special offers, use the same Station Account you use now to subscribe to SWG** and simply click on the game you would like to try to download the game software. We are offering the following SOE games: Free Realms®, Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™, EverQuest®, EverQuest® II and DC Universe™ Online. The game software will all be made available for download on a link accessible from the StarWarsGalaxies.com web site beginning on October 15, 2011.

EQ2 Has The Worst Players On Erf!


Everquest 2, you know I love you girl, but these fools that be playin’ you… damn girl. You are littered with them! Horrible, atrocious, vomit inducing players run amok on the fair lands of Norrath like ticks sucking on, well, their own suck!

Oh boy, here we go! Another biased opinion about a game and the one isolated event that brands an entire community. Go back to WoW, fag! Lolololololol

Shut up, baby doll. Daddy’s talking.

I have played many, many MMORPGs. The kind of person who would rather play solo than mingle with the masses is not how one would describe this guy right here, the Great Umar Khan. Nope. I like to get involved with the community. I like to remember names, experiences, and how well I match with certain people in a team based environment. 1999, fellas! No yearlong breaks from the genre. I’ve slutted my way into many a community with my impeccable social and gaming skills.

You come off as an asshole!

Bollocks, I say!

Back on topic, of all the games I’ve played, loved, and also “hit it and quit it”; Everquest 2 has some of the worst players in any MMORPG. Despite my feelings for EQ2, her only flaw in my eyes are the ones who entertain themselves on a daily basis with her company.

Warcraft has the worst players, you homo!

Quiet, you anti-Semite!

That doesn’t even-

Someone mentioned my name!

I’m not saying that all players in EQ2 are bad. Every game has bad players but EQ2’s players are in a league of their own. Bertoxxulous really outdid himself with his latest plague of stupid and unskillfulness that has infected the playerbase.

 

As a troubadour, should I be out DPSing the wizards? If your answer is a yes with a hint of implied inquiry in the tone then you should understand the absurd level of shock I had leveling my flamboyant bard on the Permafrost server. More often than none was I the top DPS of the group or only outdone by a Shadow Knight tank. Very few came close to my numbers unless I was in the rare group where someone wasn’t busy watching their kids.

House wives, why are they even allowed to be playing EQ2? Shouldn’t they be busy playing Sims and Farmville? They have no place in trying to understand parses and pie charts from ACT. They can barely grasp how a Chocolate Cow in Farmville produces Chocolate Milk. Here’s a hint. IT’S A FUCKING CHOCOLATE COW!

The skillfulness to push buttons in a certain order isn’t even as mind blowing as the level of stupidity that sums up the vastly growing amount of total shit tanks in the level 70 range. How stupid can they be? One occasion I remember better than the others would be of the tank I kept asking to repair. We were at The Estate of Unrest and this gallivanting Berserker of worldly renown (/sarcasm off) had destroyed armor. I don’t know if its because he tried to tank while using a 2handed weapon despite our pleads for mercy or his claims that he could tank Bugaboo notwithstanding numerous attempts ending with the monstrous haunt face planting our tank into an early grave but this underdeveloped Neanderthal stood out like a golden ring at the bottom of a clear riverbed. We were all in the voice chat channel and finally his slack jawed Midwest accent began to wear thin on my patience. Stupidity spewed forth from his mouth like shit from my asshole after eating at Chipotle. How he managed to even understand how to set up his headset astounds me to this day.

“Hey dude, your armor is broken. Go repair. We’ll wait for you.”

“WAH!”

“Multiple pieces are 0%. You can’t tank like that especially when you’re using a two-hander.”

“WAH!”

“Because your durability has gone down the drain. Just go repair. I’ll go with you. I can teleport us back.”

“WAH can’t I tank with a Two-Hander if my armor is broken? I don’t get WAH!”

“Are you fucking with me right now?”

I’m cutting the reiterated blabbering short but to sum it up, I eventually convinced him to go repair after 5-6 minutes.

God, this editorial is getting long and I hope you’re still with me because there is more!

The community in EQ2 believes it to be okay for people to go AFK during a dungeon crawl. I can’t even count with the fingers on my hands and toes on my feet how many times we had an AFK leecher in our group. If it’s a guy, there might be someone bringing up the occasional “lol is this guy coming back?” But Lord forbid if it’s a fucking woman, though! She will AFK the entire session or return right before the boss. She’ll join the fucking group and then say “Hey guys, I’m cooking dinner at the same time. Give me a second.” That second turns to minutes, minutes into hours, hours into days, and days into eons! An exaggeration? Perhaps! But a bitch shouldn’t join a fucking group if she has something else to do! “Oh hey guys! What are we doing? Crushbone? Okay I’ll be the healer. By the way, I gotta drive to the corner market for a second! Don’t kick me :)”

Fuck! There are just so many other instances where this category of shit has happened to me in only EQ2 but I don’t think I can get into all of them with my trademark long winded bantering! Fuck it all to hell!

I know I could easily deny myself of these experiences if I only made my own group and wrote off some of these people with my own iron fist ruling. Trust me, I have! I don’t take shit when I’m group leader. I don’t like having my time wasted while someone is eating shit in real life. This is my break before real life kicks in and you’re ruining those precious few hours I have. There are just sometimes where it’s easier to join an already forming group than taking the reins into your own hands.

Some of you may not agree. You might feel that my little experiences are biased and that I must hate women, that I’m a fat virgin. Maybe you’re right. Maybe you’re wrong. And maybe, just maybe, you’re a cum dumpster too! If that’s the case, EQ2 is the game for you.

The 30 Plus Gamer

Team Red-Eye

There are a lot of us gamers that either have just past the thirty mark or will be soon enough. I thought back on my earlier days of gaming and the difference between then and now on a variety of subjects, but for this one let us explore what we use to do or tolerate that we no longer can in our advancing age.

24 Hour + Gaming Sessions

In my twenties, I could go to a LAN party and game all night. The truth was I was just as tired then, but somehow I got a gamers second wind allowing me to plow through those nights of Action Half-Life and Quake 2 Rail Arena. When the Everquest days came, the crack head mentality took over and though I was dead in my seat, I could perform the necessary tasks to play the game.

Now, I find myself laughing at the idea of losing good sleep over a game. It does not mean that a good gaming session won’t kept me up, but I would prefer going to bed at a reasonable hour and starting again the next morning than burning the midnight oil. I have also become immune to coffee and sugar free Red Bull.

Stupid Gamers

I never tolerated stupidity, but I would deal with it because I wanted to keep playing. In games like Counter Strike and Rainbow Six we would come across a ton of ass hats, but unless they were really detrimental to the team we would let them stay.

Today I can’t stand them. Everyone acts as if at any moment they will become the next internet sensation and so you have the people trying to be funny in Ventrilo constantly. You have the internet pimp who hits on anything with a female sounding voice. My favorite is the fake drunk or high gamer who pretends their lack of game is due to intoxication. This is where having the ability to kick someone comes into play. I have banned so many people I have a mastery skill in it. Gaming may not be serious business, but if you act like a five year old in my group you get a time out.

Bad Food

Sadly, I was a big guy long before video games, but at least I use to split my time between the NES and baseball, football and basketball. Once I hit my twenties all the activity outside went out the window except trips to fast food restaurants and the door for the delivery guy.

It was so easy back then. Even though we could see each other getting larger, it did not matter. I mean what beats Smothered Cheese Fries and an all nighter of Shogo? FPS and RTS games were made for pizza and finger food and if you could get your hand on some Jolt Cola you were ahead of the game like a low ping bastard.

Today your doctor shows you your stats and you’re encumbered with a D.O.T. that could kill you in ten years. Most of us will not give up games, but if we want to continue to play, we have to replace that Hot Pocket with a grilled chicken breast and a sweet potato. The Mountain Dew has to be replaced with water and say goodbye to smoke breaks of the wacky and non-wacky variety. In addition, you might need to use that treadmill for something besides a clothes rack, but you can play Angry Birds while working out the doctor says.

Aging Gracefully

There are a ton of more things we’ve had to change or give up and we will cover this and more in the next edition. For now, what have you changed or given up from your early days of gaming to now?

 

The Unsurprising Incompetence of Sony


We all know what’s going on with Sony. For those of you who don’t know, you either don’t game or you live under a rock. The greatest hacking escapade of 2011 has left the company’s loyal consumers hanging on the sideline while they hope to the heavens that their credit card info hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder. If you haven’t cancelled your credit card, asked for a new number, or put out a fraud alert by now it’s best advised you do so now.

What I really wanted to get into with this article isn’t Sony’s time and time again ability to completely fuck up everything they touch. I want to know why anyone would even remain loyal to this colossal abortion of a company?

Because Microsoft is the devil, Umar!

Microsoft can be whatever you want to call it but Xbox Live has provided some of the best online multiplayer entertainment compared to their other console rivals. True, the Xbox live community is immature at best. Again, it is true, most of the games that come out for Xbox are also available on the PC but this isn’t just about comparing PSN to Xbox Live.

I don’t care about the other consoles. Disregard the Wii, Xbox, or the PC in this decision. Why should someone remain devoted to Sony games or devices? If you can’t get past that, you’re missing the point entirely.

What is the point then, you fat asshole?

The point is, as a customer, why should you remain with a company that can’t protect your CC information? Why remain with a company who has been so crippled by the attack they have yet to restart their service? Why remain with a company that markets with an asshat like Kevin Butler? Why remain with a company that barely has anything to show at E3 time and time again and when they do manage to reveal something it becomes an internet meme?

And this is just with their Playstation portion of the company. They recently announced and moved forward with the shutting down of all Sony Online Entertainment games due to this “intrusion”. That means games like Everquest 2, Everquest… and what other games would be affected by this? Didn’t they seize operations on a huge plethora of their games? I know they have DCUO but how many customers can you upset by bringing that game down? Their ten remaining customers? Big deal. If this assault doesn’t put the nail in the coffin for DCUO then its loyal subscribers are used to be being screwed over and over again.

For a company that is already struggling to breathe in the MMO market, this setback is going to draw more players to WoW, LOTRO, and/or Rift. How can they recoup their losses? Offer a free month for the month they’re already going to lose? Give away 700 Station Points?
Thanks for the piece of mind, Sony. I’ll enjoy these small tokens of your appreciation for my loyalty while some criminal abuses the shit out of my credit.

Face it, loyal Sony fanboys. You’re on the Titantic and you can get off the ship and survive or freeze to death in the piercing icy waters of Hell. You aren’t Rose. No one wants to draw you naked. You won’t live through this.

I know a couple of people who are still riding on Sony’s cock. To them I say you’re a complete moron. Enjoy lubing up your ass with olive oil while this company and its attackers continue to fuck you from behind.

Now I want to hear from you, the reader. I want to know why on God’s green and polluted Earth would you want to stay with Sony?

The MMO Separation of Church and State

It’s been awhile, loyal readers. Yes, I know I’ve been away from awhile and even though some may not care, I am here. I will allow you a moment to shuffle towards your nearest box of tissues to clean up the mess your mayonnaise blaster just shot off.

Ready now? Good.

With that embarrassing mishap behind us, let me indulge with you a story of days past. Yes, the story will again involve MMORPGs as the major focus point but do not worry; I will stray from this tired path in the future.

Years ago, back in 2006 when some of our readers were still teething and dropping goat pebbles in their diapers, there was an archaic game known as World of Warcraft. I’m not sure if many of you have heard of it. The game is incredibly underground with a miniscule population.

In those golden days, PvP wasn’t about fighting another player for hours. It wasn’t about outlasting foes. It was like how PvP was in almost every other game in existence, including FPS. Fights were quick and fast paced. It wasn’t about every player being Batman and trying to pull off as much bullshit as possible. It was about an Enhancement Shaman with Windfury WTF raping their way to victory. It was about the Mage hiding in the back charging up a Pyroblast combo. It was about a rogue hiding and doing what rogues do best, assassinate.

For some reason or another, they decided that fights shouldn’t be so quick and involve such a maelstrom of destruction. Thus, resilence was born; a stat aside from PvE defenses where player damage could be mitigated. What were the reasons for this? Was it the ocean of tears from people that were getting taken out by one person? Could it have been the advantages a raid gear character had against hardcore PvPers? Was it so that Arenas weren’t filled with full DPS team ready to leave craters in the wake of their wrath?

All of those reasons are sound and legit. The one that I felt holds the most truth is the fact that raid geared PvE’ers were capable of casually going to PvP and whirlwinding their way to victory. It is for this reason alone that I believe there was a separation between PvE and PvP.

What is the purpose of this division? Why is that PvP’ers and PvE’ers must separate from one another? Why couldn’t there be one stat system that to keep things united?

I understand that PvE’ers are able to acquire gear through a lot of coordination and time and I also understand that PvP matches tend be much shorter than a raid encounter. It wouldn’t be just in rewarding them with equal gear as that would anger the carebear community.

Resilence only seemed to make sense for Arenas since you generally wanted to last longer in that kind of scenario and it is because of that where I believe Arena gear is the only stat difference that should be available. Mass PvP shouldn’t have this kind of separation.

Raiders can still raid to get their gear but there could’ve been a more inventive way to reward PvP players. Battlegrounds could have been divided by tiers of difficulty and/or objectives rather than how they are now. The first tier battleground could be the PvP mirror of a heroic where during the battle, mediocre gear drops off of fallen enemy players and whenever a tower was taken down or whichever of the multiple objectives in that match is achieved, a loot roll comes up for players with random loot and of course whenever each objective is completed they are rewarded tokens to use as currency to purchase gear as well. Essentially, it the same mechanic as a heroic instead it is applied to a PvP scenario.

The next tier could have a much more difficult objective to complete which would take a bit more coordination on the player’s part and so on. This style of loot progression would allow both PvE and PvP gear to be interchangeable. How come dungeons with new mechanics and situations are constantly added but battlegrounds have remained the same?

What’s sad about this situation is that since World of Warcraft is the staple of a success in the MMO genre, every game is coinciding with this stat system in their games even when it doesn’t make sense. Resilence always appeared to be an arena stat but was quickly pushed into every PvP scenario. Now games like DCUO have toughness instead of defense and Rift has whatever the hell they use. I think it’s toughness versus defense as well but I don’t give a shit. Games where these mechanics are applied don’t even make sense yet they seem to be adopting the format regardless. It causes the PvP experience to force someone in the PvE realm to start from the beginning again and vice versa.

Don’t these companies think player’s have already enough of this whole “starting over” situation every time a new expansion comes out and they have to grind new factions and gear? This shit isn’t needed. Stop pitting people into these situations and allow PvP and PvE to be interchangeable and not some form of morbid segregation.

That’s end of that rant but…

A quick note to other MMORPG companies out there,

Stop copying World of Warcraft and start being creative. This genre is becoming like the FPS genre where 90% of the games out there want to be Call of Duty and all we get are the same fucking things over and over again. Stop sticking to this format and start getting a creative team together. One day, Blizzard is going to become like Apple and sue you for copying their shit over and over again.

And before one of you asshole readers say, “WoW isn’t original. It copied EQ, and EQ copied UO, and UO copied Meridian, and Meridian copied—“ Just shut the fuck up. I don’t give a fuck who copied who. Each of those games was vastly different from one another and even the mechanics that were taken from either of those games have evolved from each generation and iteration. Fuck!

Dear Video Game Manuals, I’m Just Writing To Say I Miss You

Video game manuals. If you’re over the age of 19 you know what they are and what they used to be like. For those younglings who are reading this who have yet to have had their balls drop, video game manuals consisted of more than “THIS BUTTON SHOOTS AND THIS BUTTON JUMPS!” and the repetitive warnings of “Hey just to let you know, you could have a seizure playing this game.”Read More

The Proudmoore Chronicles

kelethin-Everquest

I orignally wrote these not to long after Everquest came out and I was into it hardcore. What better place to have my writing ridiculed than a geek site, am I right?

Part 1: A bad night in Kelethin

Clara Proudmoore was born in Felwithe and wanted nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of her mother Cathlyn and her sister Canina. She joined the Cleric’s guild as quickly as she could and like her sister was head of the class.

One night she was out with her mother in Kelethin searching for royal jelly for a class project. Her mother heard a sound and pushed Clara behind her.

Be ready, she said there are Orc’s coming. Clara at this time only knew two spells a very light smite and healing spell. She was very scared but amazed at how calm her mother was.

Two orc pawns’s appeared, Cathlyn quickly rooted one as the other lunged for Clara. Get away from my child! Cathlyn yelled as she struck the orc with her staff.

The rooted orc freed himself and slashed at Cathlyn with his rusty blade. Clara quickly reacted casting a healing spell upon her mother. With just a small jester Cathlyn struck the orc dead with a powerful blast.

The other stunned orc let out a yell and ran. Cathlyn turned to Clara. Run dear more will be coming. The two took off towards home however they were quickly surrounded.

As the two began to fend of wave after wave of orc pawns a legionnaire appeared. Clara’s eyes widened at the massive size of the orc. Cathlyn began to engage the orc, but he was to powerful.

With one swing of his club he knocked her unconscious. Clara cried out. The Legionnaire smiled at Clara. I know the Ambassador will like you. Clara was struck from behind and knocked unconscious.

 

Part 2: Hell is a castle called Crushbone

Clara awakened to the sounds of screaming; she was locked in a large cell and did not know where she was. She looked around franticly for her mother but could not find her.

She’s gone child. An old Dwarf spoke. They took her to him. Let us hope they don’t take you. Clara began to cry. Who? Where am I? Where is my mother?

The old dwarf took a deep breath. You are in hell child; however the Orc’s here call this place Crushbone. This is the stronghold of the orc’s of this land. The castle is ran by Emperor Crush and often visited by Ambassador Divnn of the Dark Elfs.

Clara’s eye’s widened. Dark Elf’s!? Those are the traders to our people, the ones who were cast out. Yes child. The old Dwarf said. They have made a pack with these orc’s to keep an open trade and a watchful eye over kelethin.

And, my mother. She is with him?! Dvinn?!! Yes, said the old dwarf. Dvinn likes to interrogate any Elvin prisoners himself. I do not understand cried Clara. What could my mother know that Dvinn would want?

The old dwarf lowered his head. It is better to not think of what is happening, Come I will teach you to work hard and maybe you won’t have to see him yourself.

No! Cried Clara, I will not stay here I must find my mother. Silence! Yelled an Orc Centurion. You will be quiet while I bring you before the Ambassador.

The old dwarf turned away. Be strong my child. As the orc took Clara away.

 

 

Part 3: A Devil named Dvinn

The large orc centurion dragged Clara to the top of the castle. The orc approached a large red door and knocked on it.

Ambassador! The orc yelled. I have the daughter of the high elf. A deep refined voice bellowed out from the chamber. Send her in you fool and be quick about it.

The orc opened the door and pushed Clara in, then closed and locked the door behind her.

The room was large with a desk, several bookshelves and a bed. Clara saw her mother lying on the bed she looked as if she had been beaten.

Mom! Clara cried out are she rushed towards the bed. Almost out of the shadows a blue hand grabbed her wrist. No child. Leave her be, you need to speak to me first.

The talk slim dark elf flashed an evil grin at Clara. I am Ambassador Dvinn and if you are a good girl you and your mother can live with me in the castle. If not you will both die.

Clara could not take her eyes of her mother. She had never seen her like this. Dvinn called her attention. You high elfs are all the same. You care only about yourselves.

It is because of your kind that I have to spend so much time with these smelly orc’s and not in my homeland. But I guess having visitors the likes of you and your mother can help ease my suffering.

Clara still looking at her mother lying motionless on the bed spoke. What do you want from us? Dvinn laughed. Its simple child your company, that is all. You see your mother was very rude to me and she had to learn the hard way to respect me.

However I am sure you will learn much quicker than she. Dvinn pulled Clara closer to him. Stop! Cathlyn cried out. Release my daughter! Cathlyn summoned all her power and fired a stun blast at Dvinn.

No! She shouldn’t still possess! His words were cut short as the stun blast paralyzed him. Hurry! He will awaken soon we must leave. Said Cathlyn.

The two sneaked there way out of the castle. Mother are you ok? Ask Cathlyn. Yes I am fine. I have been here before when the orc’s were not as organized. Cathlyn continued. I can get us out of here just stay close and.

Stop! A loud voice of an orc came from behind them. For the first time ever Clara saw fear in her mother’s eyes. He still lives! Cathlyn cried out! The orc began a chant and sent a large fireball towards Clara.

Clara! Cathlyn shouted as she pushed Clara out of the way. The fireball struck Cathlyn across her back, she was briefly engulfed in flames then they disappeared as she fell to the floor.

Clara knelt down near her mother. Cathlyn was near death, with her dying breath she told Clara. I led a team here years ago to assonate the Orc Oracle. I believed we killed him however it seams this is not the case.

Go now, speak to Taren Lightmage he will know what to do, tell him of what you have seen here he will find someone to care for you and your sister.

No! Mom I can’t leave you, Clara sobbed. You must Clara. I won’t make it with you. Hurry! Go now! Before they come.

With more orc’s fast approaching Clara had no choice but to run. Here last view before entering kelethin was of several orc’s surrounding her mother.

 

Part 4: An unhappy homecoming

Clara did not have to run far from the gates of Crushbone until she ran into a ranger. Clara! Shouted the wood elf. We have been looking for you. Where is your mother?

Clara still crying answered. She’s dead! They killed her. The wood elf looked surprised. Who did this Clara? A large wolf appeared then transformed into a man.

Clara, Dengar. What has happened? Dengar turned to the wood elf druid. Reebo, Cathlyn has been killed. Reebo became angered. Who did this! Clara spoke. It was the Oracle and Dvinn!

Both wood elves looked at each other in amazement. Reebo spoke. We must get you back to Felwithe as quickly as possible. With but a jester Reebo casted a spell increasing the speed of himself and Dengar.

Dengar lifted Clara over his shoulder and they both ran for Felwithe. As they reached the gates of Felwithe the guards gazed upon Clara. Dengar spoke. We must speak to the security chief.

As they passed thru the gates Taren appeared. Clara! The two wood elves stopped. Reebo spoke. Taren we must speak with the Security chief please take care of Clara.

Taren took Clara to his home and put her in bed. He casted a few healing spells on her then spoke. I know you must be hungry. Taren? Clara spoke. My mother before she died told me to speak to you about the orc oracle.

The door to Taren’s home flew open. Clara! Canina yelled. My god what has happened to you? Clara began to cry. They killed her Canina they killed mom!

Canina knelt down next to Clara and the two embraced each other. Clara told the story of what happened to Canina and Taren. Clara turned to Taren. She said she led a raid to crushbone before, but I though mom only worked within the city?

Taren looked towards a shield that hung on the wall above the bed. Your mother was more than just a cleric; she was also part of town security long ago. We have fought many battles together however that raid was our last.

Please Taren tell us what happened. Canina pleaded. Taren sat at the foot of the bed and began to speak.

 

Part 5: A tale and a plan

Reebo and Dengar entered the hall of warriors and were greeted by Fyre Braveblade. Fyre! Dengar spoke we have found Clara however her mother was killed by the orc oracle.

Fyre had a worried look on his face. I do not know how this is possible he said. He was slain long ago Rondo gave his life defeating him. Reebo turned to Fyre and spoke. I know Rondos name is spoken with honor within these walls however a body was never recovered.

Fyre became upset. The bodies burned in the basement of that foul castle. There must be another answer here. This could be a descendant or some trick of Dvinn’s.

Maybe. Says Dengar. The only way to know is to go back. We must see for ourselves and avenge the death of Cathlyn. Reebo turns to Dengar and this time we finish the job.

Taren looked at the two girls as he began his story. Before either of you were born your mother and I as well as a few others formed a security group with help of the wood elves.

It was simply a way to patrol the forest and keep everyone safe. Most of our run in’s were with Orc hatchet men who were trying to cut down our trees. These were easy to keep in check.

One day we discovered our outposts burned to the ground. We first believed it was the hatchment but soon there were reports of killing on the roads between Kelethin and Felwithe. The bodies were burned to a crisp as well.

We knew something needed to be done. We gathered forces from the wood elves, dwarfs and gnomes and went into crushbone. It was a tough battle and we lost many good people that day.

We reached the castle but the royal family and Dvinn was gone. I still believe they were tipped off because the Orc Oracle was waiting for us with ten of his elite guards.

Fyre and I were badly wounded without your mother we would have died. A brave dwarf named Rondo attacked the Oracle as we took out the guards.

With the guards defeated we went to assist Rondo. He had forced the oracle into the basement of the castle and drove his dagger deep into the back of the orc.

However the orc was able to case a large firespell that engulfed the room in flames. There was nothing we could do so we left and returned home. After that your mother soon married and gave birth to Canina, she had given up her post as a security member to care for you both.

The door to Tarens house flew open, it seams as if the job was not done that day so long ago. Said Reebo. That remains to be seen. Said Fyre. Dengar looks at Taren. It does not matter we will go back to crushbone and this time make sure nothing survives.

 

Part 6: A force to be reckoned with

I am going with you! Canina announced. No child. Taren cried. This is a dangerous mission we cannot lose another Proudmoore. Canina looked towards. Reebo, Dengar and Fyre. I am not a child; I have learned the basic arts of the Cleric. I am old enough to go; I must help avenge my mother death.

Canina! Clara cried out. Please don’t leave me. I can’t lose you as well. Canina looked into Clara’s eyes. I must do this Clara but I swear I will return.

Fyre turned towards Taren. She is right. She has a right to avenge her mother. Gather your forces we will meet outside Crushbone. Fyre, Reebo and Dengar left. Taren opens a chest at the foot of the bed.

Canina glances over at the chest as Taren pulls out a golden suit of armor. This! Taren said. Was your mother’s when she was on the security watch? I will remain here with Clara, go forth and may Tunare protect you.

Canina hugged both Clara and Taren and left.

As Canina walked towards the gates a paladin approached. The dwarvin female smiled at Canina. You look good in that armor just like your mother did. Canina turned to the paladin. You knew my mother? Yes. The paladin said. I was with your mother when we first attacked Crushbone my name is Marry.

Come Canina the forces are already in place the attack is ready to begin. Wait! Taren said. Reaching above the bed he pulls down a large silver shield and mace. These are the tools of the cleric, the mace is used to bring justice and the shield is to protect what’s right.

Thank you Taren. Canina says. I will avenge mom’s death and wear this armor with honor. Come Marry let us go.

Within minuets they arrived at the gates of Crushbone. Frye stepped forward and addressed the crowd. We all know what has happen today. You have your battle plans. Reebo, Dengar, Marry, Canina and I will advance the castle once you draw the guards away.

We will not leave until that castle is set a blaze and every last orc and or dark elf has been slain. With a jester of his hand the group advanced into Crushbone. The battle is ready to begin.

 

Things you do in MMOs you wouldn’t do otherwise

mmorpg demotivational poster
mmorpg demotivational poster

Things you do in MMOs you wouldn’t do otherwise

We are all gamers here and we know there are a lot of things gamers do in their lives that “normal” or non-gamers don’t or wouldn’t do like camping outside of a Gamestop or EB Games for Halo. However, when you toss in the MMO world there are some things that even your most sunless gamer wouldn’t do.

Leave Ventrilo on all night

I may be wrong and maybe one of you Count strike or FPS ninja’s will correct me, but leaving Ventrilo on all night listening to people talk about any old thing seems so MMO. I admit I have done this while writing or working on something. It is worse when you forgot to turn Ventrilo off an in the middle of the night some dickbag screams into the channel. One time I heard a guy talking with his girlfriend for hours about how he can split his time between, work, school, sex and World of Warcraft. I found it funny he didn’t say “girlfriend” or “relationship” instead he said sex.

How many of you have listened in on a raid that you weren’t on? I have to tell you I doubt you listen in to a FPS Vent channel when not playing, that is totally MMO.

Sit staring at the ground in a game for 12+ hours

This goes back to the days of Everquest when you would have to find some item or another on the ground and since it was a random spawn and anyone could ninja it from you. There was no choice but to sit there staring at the ground with your finger on the mouse button as if you were playing family feud. The worst was when you thought your item spawned and it turned out to be some graphic glitch or when you had to go to the bathroom fearing it would spawn while you were gone.

Turn down a woman

No, I don’t mean telling your girlfriend to watch another season of Sex in the City while you make your final push toward level 85. I am talking about rejecting any female in a MMO that you haven’t verified is really a woman. Unfortunately too many gamers have made playing a girl character look bad by doing awful things to get in groups, guilds and just begging for gold or loot. Now in games like World of Warcraft you just can’t trust a woman and for the most part will stay away unless boobage is confirmed.

Spent more time dancing in game than out

In City of Heroes one of the things to do was to make a level 1 character in the craziest costume you could and hang in the center of Atlas Park and dance. Dancing became so popular in COH that they created clubs where people could dance, but strangely they were hardly used. I guess when your superhero can pull a boom box from thin air on command who needs a club. If your girl ever wants to go dancing you can get her a copy and take her to Pocket D.

Understand Economics

You have student loans, credit card debt and no savings and yet in the MMO world you are Bill Gates. Sure, there are some in RPG land that overspend and can’t afford that damn new flying mount requirement, but for most of us we know how to make and spend money. Not only can we control our personal finances in game, but we can also control the auction house knowing when to sell, when not to sell and when to be an undercutting asshat. Remember when your teacher taught you about supply and demand, of course you don’t, but you’re using it now, congrats.

In which world are you better?

The world of MMO’s has defiantly had an impact on us all for better and for worse. There are tons of things we do in MMO’s that we never did in life or other games before. So how about you, what have you done?

Everquest: Original Music

Everquest: Original Music

It is almost certain that when looking back on an old game the rose colored glasses will come out. In the case of Everquest though the game was ground breaking I am honest enough to admit that there were many flaws with the game. Simply put, a game like the original EQ would not work today mainly because of the difficultly and time needed to do anything in the game.

Everquest title screen

However, when it comes to some of the music there is no rose colored glasses needed. The music of EQ was excellent from Kelethin to TOV. The funny thing is many people later turned the music off or very low and missed out on many of the awesome tracks that were added to this game.

Perhaps it is the epitome of geekdom, but some of my fondest memories were sitting in Kelethin at night while it rained listening to the city music.

Ranting Saturday: Underwater Quests. Why?

phinny
phinny

It has come to my attention that developers seem to find sending my character underwater as something fun and innovative. MMORPG’s have always had underwater minions and some even had underwater dungeons (Kedge Keep in EQ) but never did much to improve the enjoyability of an aquatic adventure aside from adding spells that allow you breathe infinitely while submerged. For some sick reason, MMO’s strive to have at least one underwater level and riddle your adventure with random underwater quests.

Why?

Why the fuck would you WANT to send me underwater? What is in that NPC’s mind where he found it absolutely acceptable to ask a completely random stranger to swim to the bottom of a fucking lake to kill some monsters. I don’t want to kill Murlocs unless they’re on the fucking coastline. I don’t want to navigate at a 50% movement reduction speed through the lost ruins of some ancient tribe. I don’t care about Atlantis. If I did, I wouldn’t be playing video games. I’d be a goddamn Mythbuster.

It adds a certain degree of whimsical wonder to the game!

My ass it does! I don’t see Willy Wonka’s factory underwater. What is whimsical about aqua goblins aside from the fact they fucking root you underwater and make you shit bricks are forced to narrowly avoid drowning.

Doesn’t the lack of air and danger make it more exciting?

No, it doesn’t. In fact, I spend most of my time bobbing my head in and out of the water’s surface just to make sure my character is breathing. Then, I hover over the quest mob and swim down, slap them around, collect my item, and swim back to the top. Who the hell remains underwater without a buff? No one, that’s who!

I think you’re being completely unfair.

I think you’re being a complete cunt! This isn’t Echo the Fucking Dolphin Online. I don’t want to go underwater unless it leads to a cave with fucking air in it. I’m not looking to kill sharks. Don’t the NPC’s have a Navy? Let them deal with it or give me a boat to go spear hunting with a bucket of chum. Don’t send me in there with my heavy ass armor and a sword to fight a shark! What are they thinking? “Oh hey, here’s a scuba mask. I’m sure this is sufficient to fight a shark. Go get em, tiger!”

Guys, please! Stop making me go underwater! It’s not just that it’s a horrid change of pace but I’m terrified of the water. I don’t like it and I never will. And because I specifically don’t like it, it means no one else should either. So please, please! Get rid of these quests. Stop sending me underwater. Stop making me collect kelp. It isn’t worth the danger!

The Interview: Peter Brauer: Second Skin

Second Skin wallpaper
Second Skin wallpaper

Second Skin

With World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm expansion recently released there is no doubt you know someone who is an avid player. Perhaps you know someone who played a lot of Everquest in the past or someone who plays a lot to today’s MMO’s. Pretty much if you bring up MMO’s people will either be into them and have reasonably good things to say or they will talk about how bad it is, how it takes up to much time and can destroy your life.

On our Obsolete Gamer show about MMO’s we talked with a number of our friends and fans about playing these games and the effect on their lives. We were especially happy to speak with Sairys who was featured in the documentary Second Skin along with her guild The Syndicate.

Second skin takes us into the world of MMO’s as they follow various people and couples in their daily lives and shows us how MMO’s can have a positive and negative effect on the people and those closest to them. On December 8th Second Skin had its United States TV premier on Current TV.

Obsolete Gamer was able to talk with Peter Brauer producer of Second Skin about the film.

What made you want to create the film second skin?

Peter Brauer: Juan Carlos, Victor, and I were looking for a feature documentary subject at the time.  We are all gamers.  Victor and Juan had a friend who was a teacher by day and the mayor of a large town in Star Wars Galaxies by night.  He was devoted enough to run home during his lunch breaks to play.  His devotion to the game was affecting his relationships, and they saw rich stories happening in the games.  When they told me about their friend, I had just read Ogre to Slay, Outsource to the Chinese.  I told them about it, and we knew we were onto something big.  We researched if there were other MMO docs, and when we found none we started researching in earnest.

What was the process for selecting people to interview and profile?

Peter Brauer: We started out by driving to the GLS conference in Madison WI where we interviewed many experts, including Edward Castronova and Nick Yee.  On the way we interviewed Liz Wooley who I had contacted for an interview.  At her home we met Dan B chance, who re-contacted us after he left her home.  After cutting a short fund raising reel, we realized we needed to film stories happening in the present and posted a casting call.  With the help of Nick Yee that got reposted to Kotaku, and we got a lot of responses.  Among them was Andy Belford, who invited us into him home and introduced us to his friends in Ft. Wayne.  After filming them for a week we knew we had some thing.  Victor found Heather through a comment on the blog Terranova.  She invited us to film her first meeting with Kevin, and we spent the last of our first round of money filming it.  Once met our central characters, we knew we had fantastic people to follow.

How did you connect with the guild, The Syndicate?

Peter Brauer: Dragons (Sean) contacted us based on our casting call.  He sent us a list of 10 reasons to check out his guild.  Juan filmed in DC at one of their regional meet ups and met Sean.  Then he invited us to their LAN party in Ohio, where we meet a lot more of the guild.  Finally Victor and I got to film their annual convention in SF where we met Syndicate members from around the world.  They were incredibly generous and welcoming.  They hosted a screening of Second Skin at their next annual convention which we all attended.  I really can’t thank them enough for appearing in the film.

How much were you unable to show due to time, length ect?

Peter Brauer: We shot over 400 hours of tape. I think it was 700 pages transcribed.  Honestly Juan had to cut countless characters and interviews to fit everything in 93 minutes.  We shot Nexius Fatale extensively to cover Second LIfe, but realized there just wasn’t enough room in the film.  Nex is only in the film briefly at the beginning in front of the Subway, but we are still friends with him in NYC.  There are too many people to name, who we need to thank for sharing their stories with us.  So basically we couldn’t include most of what we shot.

Do you think showing the addictive side to MMO just adds to the negative stereotype considering there are so many gamers who play MMO and never become addicted?

Peter Brauer: We set out to draw a broad and accurate picture of MMO gaming, and therefore had to show the addictive side.  Though it isn’t that common, it does affect a lot of people.  When I started making the film I got my first WOW account.  I had been in avoiding it, because I was trying to focus on filmmaking.

I started playing 13-15 hours a day, and didn’t do much else for a month or two.  I had to seriously check my playing to start making the film.  I don’t regret the time I spent playing, because I reconnected with a childhood friend who had moved to California.  I just had to find the right balance between gaming and working.   MMOs can affect player lives differently depending on how they play.  We tried hard to show people who played positively.

The friendship and fun that the guys in Ft Wayne got from gaming was and still is an very positive part of all their lives.  The leadership and cooperation that Syndicate members learn is also incredible.  The freedom Andrew Monkelban gets from gaming cannot be understated.  But ultimately if a player isn’t balancing the game with their life correctly, they can be brought down by avoiding their troubles in excess.  I hope people can watch Second Skin and see both sides, but a movie about MMO’s without covering addiction would not be complete.

As for the relationships formed by those who play MMO’s what would you say are the differences between those and what would be considered a “traditional” relationship?

Peter Brauer: I see no difference in online relationships and traditional ones.  Kevin and Heather were truly in love with each other before they met IRL.  That did not change when they met.  People can form relationships through nearly any form of communication.  The games are actually a great proving ground for friendship, because you are constantly put in situations where you have to trust and depend on each other.  I would say some friendships online are short lived, and the long term ones normally require meeting in person.  However, I don’t think it’s essential.  I saw time and time again people who gave and received real life support in MMOs.  The friendships people form online have contributed positively to countless lives.

What was your opinion of the friendship and family dynamic of those who play MMO and those in guilds such as The Syndicate?

Peter Brauer: There was an interview we shot with a father and son who played in the Syndicate that we couldn’t include for lack of time.  I wish we could have, because I have never seen a 14 year old boy who was closer with his father.  The games gave the son a place to show his leadership and expertise to his father.  While the dad was the boss about real world things like school work, in the game the son got to boss his dad around.  It made their relationship one of equals and very adult.  When I was 14 I couldn’t have dreamed of relating to my father in this way.  WOW gave them a place to be true equals and ultimately best friends.  We met several other families who gamed together in this way with very positive results.

What was the overall reception to the film?

Peter Brauer: The reception blew us away.  We when first premiered at SXSW we got a lot of attention at the festival and on the web.  The first day our trailer went online 45K people watched it.  180k people watched our premier on Hulu in one week last year.  It was truly an honor to reach so many people.  As for personal reactions, we have encountered just about every response.  Gamers have approached us to thank us for portraying them so honestly.  Other gamers have railed against us for showing too much addictive play.  Parents of gamers have thanked me profusely for helping them understand their children.  The diversity of responses to our film is one of the things I am proudest of.  I think all the different responses to the film are a testament to Juan’s even handed editing of the material.

Did you receive comments or e-mails from fans or companies that stood out?

Peter Brauer: We had one fan see our movie opening night in Portland.  He was a big time gamer and was disappointed that the theater wasn’t packed.  He contacted me that night and offered to personally print up fliers to canvas the city for us.  He told all his friends, contacted bloggers he knew, and attended every screening that week to drum up support.  I am still blown away by his dedication and generosity.  I am so thankful that our movie has touched so many people.  Not every comment is positive for sure.  But at least we have gotten some amazing responses. 

Do you plan to create another documentary within the subject of MMO’s?

Peter Brauer: Right now I am not working on any MMO docs.  Though we will probably re-release our DVD in the future and might add a lot of the material we had to leave out.  After Second Skin Juan, Victor and I got to make several short docs for VBS.TV called the oral history of gaming.  Juan and I got to meet and hang out with my long time idol/hero Sid Meier to make this: http://www.motherboard.tv/2010/4/14/oral-history-of-gaming-game-godfather-sid-meier-and-the-48-hour-game We also made these others about Richard Garriot, Ralph Baer, and Eric Zimmerman http://www.vbs.tv/watch/motherboard/richard-garriott http://www.vbs.tv/watch/motherboard/eric-zimmerman http://www.vbs.tv/watch/motherboard/ralph-baer-and-his-all-purpose-boxes They were a lot of fun to make, and I even got Ralph Baer to sign my childhood Pocket Simon which he invented.

You can purchase the DVD of Second Skin on the Official Website.

Free to Play. If You’re Going to Fail, Get Better At Failing.

Everquest 2 F2P lol
Everquest 2 F2P lol

For the past six years, MMORPGs have been failing. Be it because the companies believe releasing beta quality games, far-fetched mechanics, or releasing a game that has the savory indulgence of a stale piece of bread, the genre has seen some gloomy days. World of Warcraft has created a boom for many money hungry companies and jaded developers that think releasing a game in this genre will garner them fame and money. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case and nothing has been able to compete at the level that Blizzard is currently at.

Let’s face it. Very few MMORPGs have had amazing launches and it is because of this lack luster grand opening that a lot of people just get turned away. How can these companies salvage their investment? How can they bring in money to a sinking ship? How can they increase their gaming audience?

The answer lies to the Far East. It is in this land of Zerg obsessed gamers and mob-grinding gurus that holds the key to America’s salvation in the MMO Market. Asia has been using a model known to many as Free to Play for a very long time. Players are allowed to download the game from a website and jump right in. Sure, there are some restrictions that hold them back from unlocking the full potential of the game but it is a better option than a 14 day free trial.

“But Umar”, you may find yourself pondering, “I know Asia is known for crazy people but this sounds insane! How do the Crazians make their money?!”

Very simple, Little Billy. Crazian MMO Developers make their money from an in-game market place where players can unlock classes, races, potions, cosmetics, and content for real life money. While not every player’s going to feed cash to companies for a game they play for free, they do garner in more money than $15 a month. Some players are so into power gaming and/or cosmetics that they’ll easily throw down more than $15 a month in purchases via this market place without even thinking it through.

Why adopt this model though? The answer is simply because it seems to actually work.

Turbine’s Dungeons and Dragons Online was far from being considered a true MMORPG by many of today’s standards and it was on the brink of extinction. However, unlike the dodo bird, DnD Online was not ready to leave this world. In one last hurrah, it released a Free to Play model and quickly flourished. The game’s income reportedly jumped by double and it felt a chance to thrive. Life began to ebb back into this would be abortion and deliver it salvation.

To follow suit, many MMORPGs began to jump onto the bandwagon. Lord of the Rings Online, while not a failure by many aspects, saw a chance to increase its player base with this new subscription model. It held back many features to free players but the market place allowed them to expand further into the world.

Around the same time LOTRO adopted the model, Everquest 2 wet its feet in the F2P world with Everquest 2 Extended, which included 8 classes, 4 races, 80 levels, and 5 expansions for free.

Now, companies like Cryptic, probably persuaded by Atari, are hitting the F2P model to save their abortion known as Champions Online and also the acclaimed Star Trek Online. Some may know my dislike for Cryptic in general and I don’t want to bore anyone with my vendetta but these games were Free to Play quality on release and never should have been Pay to Play, but I digress. They are now hitting the high road and going F2P.

Those seem to be some of the bigger MMOs released in the past couple of years that really need this chance to boost their communities. One MMO that I am waiting to take the dive into this model is Warhammer Online. The game has been a downward spiral since release and while I doubt EA even cares about the game still (they have been systematically dismembering Mythic) a F2P model for WAR might be able to save it from its dying breath.

Sadly, though, some MMORPGs that haven’t even had a year to fix their abominations are already looking to hit the F2P market as well. Yes, I’m talking about Final Fantasy XIV. It has been reported that they are currently seeking a chance to hit into this model to save their plummeting shares and overall consumer backlash.

I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about this model and some find it “greedy” that companies are willing to push out virtual stores but I don’t find a problem with this at all. Most of these games offer a chance to unlock the full game for the standard $15 a month and no one is forcing you to purchase anything from the marketplace to begin with. Most of the items these games offer aren’t game changing and aren’t required to excel in the game so there is no reason for some of the criticism. However, regardless of whether it is a good model or not there will always be people who will complain.

The Free to Play opportunity that has raged through the past two years seems to be giving players many chances to see more of what is out there than WoW. While it is good for companies to regain their money and enlarge their player base, it also gives players a chance to expand their horizons onto what is out there without feeling guilty for dropping 40-50 dollars on a game that could be releasing in beta quality.

How do you feel about the Free to Play model many MMORPG’s seem to be taking? Would you like to see future games continuing with this setup and if not, why?

Motivational Monday: Stereotype

Stereotype demotivational poster
Stereotype demotivational poster

Motivational Monday: Stereotype

I remember when I first started playing Everquest and decided to make a female character. I like a strong woman and honestly if I was going to stare at the ass of a character all day I preferred it to be a ladies. Most of the people I played with were real life friends, but soon enough I met a ton of people and new friendships were built.

We talked about a lot of things, but I was never one to give away much about myself including my name or race. Finally when someone found out they were very surprised; “I didn’t think many black people played RPG’s” one person said. There was nothing wrong with that statement, not to me anyway. It was true, there weren’t that many compared to Caucasians. I remember someone asking me; “Can you make a black character in Everquest?” The answer was yes you could, but I didn’t really care about that. For me it did not matter.

However, having played video games since the mid-eighties I have to admit to becoming aware of some insensitivity in video games when it has come to both women and minorities. Sometimes it was just something a black character said or how he or she was displayed in the game. Other times it was just funny, with a hint of sadness, at how black people were portrayed, especially in Japanese RPG’s.

Sadly one becomes more aware of these things when they get older. Like the old Tom and Jerry cartoons that sometimes shows the large black housekeeper lady or the blackface with the big lips when something exploded near a cartoon character. For the most part I shrugged it off and even laughed if it was really funny. Games like Grand Theft auto and the likes never bothered me because honestly I knew people who acted just like that.

Now spending more time looking back at games I have found some examples where black people weren’t shown in the best light. It is not that we have to always been portrayed like the Cosby show, but if nothing else, some of these designers need to hire a black man consultant. Saying that, I am available for hire.

Let’s take a look:

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker


I could go for the easy joke and say he didn’t count, but I can’t speak ill of the dead. Oh sure I can, look at him spinning and kicking up pixie dust when he kicks, come on! They have Michael collecting kids and making his enemies dance to death. Then again I guess Michael did kind of do that so this is pretty accurate.

Shaq Fu


I see the first issue now, why do they give all the black folks the horrible video games? We really should have a contest to see which was the worst Shaq; Shazam, Steel or Shaq Fu, all titles that start with S and were a piece of S.  So Shaq is playing himself and while sightseeing before a charity basketball game he wonders into an old man’s store and is told to walk through some backdoor portal to a new land, I think this is how slavery happened.

I like the use of “jive” talk that Shaq uses and his first fight is again a black woman where he says; “Your magic won’t work on me girlfriend.” Then he commits both domestic violence and black on black crime.

Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City


Wow, so we have another basketball themed game where MJ becomes a ninja or something and goes around fighting people with a basketball. First off, how does he have unlimited basketballs, I didn’t get that with my black man kit. Second, he starts off in a prison, subtle guys, real subtle. Third, there are basketball hoops all over the place where he can dunk. Who built this world, the Harlem Globetrotters?

Barrett Wallace: Final Fantasy 7


Mr. T with slang pulled out of Grand Theft Auto put it together and you have Mr. Wallace. Ah, the Japanese and their intricate knowledge of black culture. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that the makers of Final Fantasy were not trying to be racist and I don’t really believe the character of Barrett to be racist, but it does hit some stereotypical points. With that said he was a good friend, a great solider and one of the best examples of a parent in the game. Still some of his dialog could have undergone some tweaking.

P.S. He had a freaking gun attached to his arm!

Sazh Katzroy: Final Fantasy 13


Again we have black character that is a loving father and honestly has one of the best storylines in the game. Sure, there is a little bit of stereotyping, but much less than in other games. I have to admit that I did like the baby Chocobo hiding in his massive afro. Sazh was loyal, funny and kind which also made him one of the most likeable and realistic characters in the game. Here is a bit of fact for you. Sazh was modeled after the singer Lionel Richie and his character was to be comedic with heart a gold, think Eddie Murphy in one of his Disney films.

Darkness is:

There are a ton of African American’s in games now, some with heavy stereotypes and many with little to none.  The fact is everyone gets stereotyped and it is really the context that counts. For me, it is good to see more minorities of all kinds in games. It makes it more real and more relatable. Hell, sometimes I wish I could watch the old Tom and Jerry cartoons with that maid, she was funny.

My Unparallel Loathing of Gaming Hipsters

WoW Ret Cat
WoW Ret Cat

My Unparallel Loathing of Gaming Hipsters

I can’t take it anymore, reader. I simply cannot suffer the pretentious attitude of gaming hipsters. They leave my stomach churning, tie my throat in a knot, and cause an unpronounced level of pain in my scrotum. Why God? I ask you this! Why do they exist to believe themselves to be upon a celestial pedestal of understanding and ownership of some delusional knowledge they do not possess?

Hipsters.

The word alone makes me want to go on a punching jamboree at a local Starbucks. Those bastards just weren’t content on having the indie scene, huh? They had to someone seep like a poison into the gaming community. And it wasn’t like they miraculously appeared out of nowhere. No, no. I just noticed they’ve been here for years, secretly hiding like some Massachusetts Witch Covenant biding their time for an unveiling.

But you know what?

No one gives a shit about them or the opinion of their Gaming Hipster Community. But contrary to that last sentence, I do care to a degree. I’d like to point out my disliking for them in detail. Yes, reader, you will become more knowledgeable on who is a gaming hipster and may even come into the realization that you yourself or someone you hold dear to your hearts may even be one of these aberrations.

    • No one cares if you were in beta.

    Aside from narrow-minded children and frat boys, no one cares that you’ve played since beta. When someone asks a question as to whether something is a good talent specialization or how to beat a certain raid boss, don’t reply with “Trust me, I’ve been playing since Beta.” This doesn’t make you more knowledgeable to specializations or strategies. Especially don’t say this in games like World of Warcraft. The game at its current state is completely different than its original incarnation at this point and your opinion is null and void. Another thing, games that go into Beta maybe have 10-15 people who are actually voicing legit opinions in that gaming community. The rest are people who whine and shit because they don’t understand gaming mechanics or can’t even offer viable solutions aside from nerfing the entirety of a class. Oh, and speaking of classes…

      • No one cares if were an underpowered class pre-buff.
          “Mmm, I liked a Shadow Knight before they got buffed!” Wow? Really? Holy shit, that is amazing news. I’m glad you stuck through your underpowered character until they got revamped. You know why classes get revamped? It isn’t because it only takes “skilled” people to play them and make them viable. Any other class that isn’t gimp with an equally “skilled” player is going to steam roll you in numbers and efficiency. They buff classes to bring them up to par. Aww, don’t cry! Just because people can now faceroll as your favorite underground class doesn’t mean you suck. If you really were skilled you’d still be better than the rest of them by far, right? Or is it because no one played the class you had no real competition to gauge yourself? Wait. What was that you muttered underneath your breath? Oh, that’s what you said? Well guess what…
      • No one cares if your guild beat content before it got nerfed.

      I remember going into threads that said “Fenrir’s Pups beat Ragnaros” and reading the replies of smug faced, Rockstar drinking hipsters who would sneer the achievement with “Congratulations on beating old and nerfed content.” What a monster you must be! Let’s look at those virtual muscles. Wow! You’ve been really hitting the E-Gym. We all know beating Ragnaros pre-nerf was like fighting Muhammad Ali in his prime and fighting him after the nerf was like fighting him today. We get that. No need to boast about it, though. Your past efforts fall upon deaf ears because not a single person today gives a shit.

      Hey, what’s that you’re playing? Is that an NES emulator? What game are you playing? Is that Super Mario Brothers 2? It isn’t? It sure looks like… holy shit don’t say it.

      • No one cares if you played Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic before people played Super Mario 2!

      I’m glad that you are in touch with the origins of a game and know that Super Mario Brothers 2 is a rehashing of another game but don’t toss it away because it wasn’t indie enough for you. Most of the creatures in Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic were created by Nintendo anyway.

      This sick need to do the polar opposite of anything popular or mainstream brings me to my last point.

        • Fuck You.

        Fuck you, gaming hipster. You’re the person who finds the Playstation Network vastly superior to Xbox Live. You’re the person who guffaws at Apple products (and yes, I admit, I was once this type of person) without even trying to grasp why people like them. You’re the person still playing your NES because all new games suck like some grumpy old man who still plays that game with a hoop and stick. You’re the person who demands nostalgia and only subscribes to progression servers for a month and quits within 3 days because those memories weren’t as fond as you thought they were.

        There is no means to stop you from these self imposed habits and traits and there is no wisdom or knowledge I can bestow to remedy the hipster hivemind so I will gladly end this article in the simplest but most profound way I know…

        Eat a dick, gaming hipster. Eat a steaming plate of dicks on a bed of rice.

        The Art of the AFK II

        AFK shirt
        AFK shirt

        The Art of the AFK II

        So now you know about my adventures in A.F.K, but now it is time to talk about others. We all know World of Warcraft can either take a ton of time or just a few minutes depending on what we want to accomplish, but if you are going for that purple ring then it can take hours. On raids good leaders try to make it easy on members by taking breaks, however, some just don’t take advantage or go a little overboard.

        Cooking with Nax

        My good friend Rizim sends me a whisper inviting me to a 25 man Nax raid telling me it would be fun and allow me to switch out some of my 10 man pieces. I was bored at the moment and decided to go. The part pug, part guild had reached Gluth which happened to drop something I needed.

        You know how Gluth works, you have a group fighting him and hunters or mages kitting the zombies. Well, I was put on the zombie team. It was no problem I have done it many times. The problem was the other hunters somehow forgot to hit their trap button, so, we wipe. We run back, Rizim is yelling instructions in Ventrilo and just as we engage him for a second time I see this:

        wtf cat
        wtf cat

        PhyscoHeals tells the raid: A.F.K. turkey dinner for the kids.

        I start laughing thinking this is a joke. I mean PhyscoHeals is our main healer and happens to be leader of the raid, but no she is not kidding and disappears in the middle of the fight. We wipe, I’m cursing out loud in the house and sending Rizim tells that I plan to come over to his house and kick his dog for pulling me into this God awful raid.

        Who the hell starts cooking a turkey dinner in the middle of the raid? I get it; you have kids, but W.T.F., A.F.K. Thanksgiving?!!! I had this picture in my mind of her PC just sitting there, unused:

        Needless to say I ran out of that raid like a Democrat at a town hall meeting. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised with a name like PhyscoHeals.

        A.F.K, tired of writing

        afk gamer cat
        afk gamer cat

        There’s more to come on my series on, The Art of the A.F.K, but what about you guys and gals out there? Got any stories to share, let us know about them.

        Obsolete Gamer: MMO Zone Awards

        [youtube id=”VR1wCU_oq9g” width=”633″ height=”356″]

        MMO Zone Awards

         Unrest was feared for this reason because the walk back to your corpse (naked) sucked and if you died in the house or god forbid the basement you were pretty much screwed. If you actually camped inside the house you were considered a badass. ~J.A. Laraque

        Most feared low level zone: Everquest: The Estate of Unrest

        Now some my dispute this was a low level zone, but the fact was that you could grind some series experience as low as level 15 in this zone. There were beetles you could pull from the yards surrounding the house and some lower level undead mobs you could take with a small group. What made it real difficult was at the time most people were using weapons that did not work on magical creatures and if you did not have one beetle’s would be the only thing you could kill.

        Everquest: The Estate of Unrest

        The thing about this zone was you could be as high as level 35 and still gain limited experience in the zone, mainly in the house. Originally, groups would not dare to enter the house choosing the pull the mobs outside. This often led to what the zone was most famous for, trains.

        For those who might not know, trains were when large groups of mobs would accidently (mostly) be pulled. This mainly happened because inside the house in Unrest was kind of buggy. Since the mobs that dropped the best loot were in the basement players would run and pull them out to the yard. Sometimes (many times) they would pull the upper floors and a train was created.

        For the most part when a train was pulled everyone would run to the zone and exit, this would allow the mobs to path back to their spot. However, many thought they could hide along the sides of the zone or many would zone out and not wait long enough and zone back in. This would re-agro the entire train keeping everyone else out for a longer period.

        Unrest was feared for this reason because the walk back to your corpse (naked) sucked and if you died in the house or god forbid the basement you were pretty much screwed. If you actually camped inside the house you were considered a badass.

        This zone had a ton of great mobs including, wearbats, reclusive ghouls, reanimated hands, undead hags, dark boned skeletons, zombie bartenders and a headless dwarf. The Estate of Unrest also featured some of the most wanted loot for the level including the bloodstained tunic, Opalline earrings and Dwarven work boots.

        Overall the zone was fun to play in even when full to capacity; there was a lot of drama over pulls and trains and loot and even what level players should be there. It was by no means a perfect zone, but ask any EQ player what zone they first fell in love with as an early player and 9 out of 10 will say Unrest.

        What I’ve learned from Everquest

        Everquest
        Everquest

        It may be just a game, but one can learn many things from playing alone and with others. This series explores some of the more popular games and what I have learned from them. We invite you to share what you have learned from these games and ideas for future, What I’ve learned from, articles.

        Setting the scene matters

        kelethin Everquest
        kelethin Everquest

        When I first played Everquest it was only a few weeks after release. I made a wood-elf and started in Kelethin. By today’s standards the area was not much, but back then it was a masterpiece.

        The tall trees that you needed to take a lift to get to, the lighting from the homes and store fronts in the city. When I first saw the sky turn black and it rained with real sound effects I admit I sat for several moments just listening to the rain. I really felt like I was in the world and part of something fluid, alive.

        I’m still afraid of the dark

        willow wisp Everquest
        willow wisp Everquest

        Before a willow ‘o wisp and without infravision, Everquest could get pretty dark. If you ventured to far from your city or a source of light, you would find yourself in complete darkness. It was scary, because you did fear dying in that game. It wasn’t just about losing experience points or looking for your body (though that did suck big time), but you felt lost and scared.

        Most of the early world zones were devoid of light. When you went in a dungeon the beings inside did not light a path for you. Even worse was in the early levels when someone would invite you to a camp and it was across the world and you had to travel, by foot in the dark praying you didn’t get killed.

        There will never be another East Commons

        East Commonlands tunnel Everquest
        East Commonlands tunnel Everquest

        It was not just a hang out zone, on my original server (Tarew Marr) the East Commons tunnel was the sales bazaar for the server. Beyond that it was the first place for characters that started in Freeport to venture out and fight camps of mobs. It was also the first place that had a roaming mob whose only job was to one shot noobs.

        The griffin was the Freddy Kruger of East Commons. You were told of its existence and warned when he was around and if you saw him chances are you were dead. You would be fighting an Orc or a bear having a grand old time then someone would shout, “Griffin near Orc Camp 1” and in the second it took you to realize you were at Orc Camp 1 was all it took for it to swoop down and kill you.

        In the East Common tunnel you could find pretty much any droppable loot for a price sold by players. There were very few scams or tricks as name recognition mattered in EQ and many would not purchase from an ALT.

        One of my fondest and funniest memories was off a female dark elf shouting that her boyfriend cheated on her and she was selling all of his loot for revenge. I was able to deck out my character in gear that would have taken me months to earn otherwise. There were events such as that all the time.

        One day someone pulled the griffin to the East Common tunnel. It was a massacre, but we were able to kill it after about thirty minutes. It was quite an achievement, but seeing the dreaded griffin dead at my feet did lesson the fear and lore of it that was until it one shotted me later that day.

        What have you learned?

        In the next installment I will talk about a few more things EQ taught me. In the meantime, for those of you who played what did you learn during your time in the world of Everquest? In the meantime enjoy this old crappy video I made of my time in EQ.

        What is your favorite video game theme song?

        There are quite a few iconic tunes from videos games that if heard one would easily be able to identify them. Some of these songs immediately conjure up visions of the game while others may stir up a memory surrounding an event centered around gaming. However, it does one thing is certain and that is music has had a great impact in gaming.

        A theme from a game like Bubble Bobble may just identify the game, it was a repetitive theme as most early game music was, but it stuck with us because the game had over 100 levels. On the other hand the theme from Zelda is more likely to bring up a specific moment in one of the games like when you first went to the dark world or when you collected all the pieces from the Tri-force. Sometimes a song can remind you of an event. Say the theme from Double Dragon, perhaps it reminds you of hanging at the local arcade with friends or the theme from Frogger reminds you of the pizza shop near your school.

        As music became a larger part of gaming individual songs became fan favorites like Celes’s Theme from Final Fantasy VI or the Kelethin music from the original Everquest. Like in movies the right kind of music could set the stage for a level, a boss fight or a cut scene and if done correctly could touch a cord with fans.

        Video game music became so popular fans begged for soundtracks and from there people made their own versions of their favorite songs and the remixers were born. Almost every gamer has a tune in their head from a video game (or several) that will take them back to a happier time. Some of us even take our video game music with us in our media players and cars.

        Even as video games have become more advance the music still remains and important part. It doesn’t matter if it is computer generated or performed by an orchestra, the key is it fits the moment and is memorable.

        This week we asked our panel:

        Do you have a favorite song or theme from a video game if so what is it and why do you like it?

        Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

        “Still Alive” from Mirrors Edge was very catchy and attached to a really catchy game as well. But “Still Alive” from Portal was a kind of phenomenon and I’d say must go in the Hall of  Game Music Fame. I knew that song was something special when I went to a game conference and saw an auditorium of gamers singing along to the song that was being played on a 50 foot screen in Rock Band.
        I’m not sure I could articulate why I (and millions of others) love that song so much but its tied somewhere to the whole experience of the game and how the song perfectly complements what I just survived.

        Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote:

        The first time I heard the intro theme for Civilization IV as the world turned in the background, I almost cried… (ok, I did cry, but don’t tell anyone). Having music that perfectly fits the game’s atmosphere is actually a rare thing, but when it does happen it can really seal the deal on immersing oneself in the game.

        On the flipside, nothing really beats the soundtrack to Redneck Rampage…

        Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

        “Sweet Emotion” from Aerosmith: Revolution X.  Because music IS the weapon!

        Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

        The only one that comes to mind is the Super Mario Bros. music.

        Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

        Overall my favorite soundtrack is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. As far as favorite individual song though, that would have to be the battle music from Final Fantasy IV / II U.S. Why? I love the bass line! In fact, the bass line from that song is what inspired me to start playing the bass, which is now my primary instrument.

        David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

        I’m kind of cheating on this one.  I like C64 Pool of Radiance but I wrote it.  🙂  It’s in the style of Wagner.  You can’t go wrong with 8 bit Mario, it’s too classic.  I like the way retro influenced bands cover it too.

        Susan Oleinik from Zombie Studios wrote:

        Purely because of decades of Pavlov-type conditioning, I’d have to say the ‘Puzzle Solved Noise’ from Zelda… yes I’m aware it’s not a whole song…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDPT6Ehq_bI&NR=1

        So what about you, what’s your song?

        Multiplayer Pranks!

        Trickster demotivational poster
        Trickster demotivational poster

        Multiplayer Pranks!

        If there’s anything better than being a rapscallion in real life it’s being a rapscallion in video games. Nothing comes close to ruining someone’s gaming experience and nothing comes close to the kind of heart wrenching laughter that ensues. There have been many moments in local and online multiplayer that have left me in tears of joy. Sometimes, exploiting someone’s fun is just way better than actually playing the game. Let us all gather around our illuminating monitor screens with our favorite caffeinated liquid garbage and share some fond puckish stories!

        Of course, what community deserves to be treated like waste right away? That’s right! The World of Warcraft community. I couldn’t help myself when I realized my Warlock could summon people. It didn’t take long for me to come up with a way to grief people in my guild. It took me awhile to convince my wife to assist me in opening the portal though. Every guild has a leech. They don’t help out but love to beg for assistance. Well once, my wife, a friend in the guild, and myself invited this one member who wanted to run Scarlet Monastery with us. He was in the group and in Ironforge with us when we decided to run together. Unfortunately, when we began to run he didn’t leave IF. He chose to remain silent and not say a word.

        When we made it to SM we said “Geez, there are a lot of Horde outside the door PvP enabled.” (we played on a PvP server so now they could just face rape us at this point). Suddenly, our player who took a vow of silence broke his promise to God and spoke up asking for a summon to the doors. I was pissed because I knew he was just eating shit so he didn’t have to do the walk and waited for us to reach the monastery. In any case, we summoned him. We did the entire instance and of course… he kept hitting need on everything. When we completed the instance we all hearthed back to Ironforge to repair and sell our loot. The bloodsucker decided to stay behind in SM to PvP. He then had the nerve to ask for a summon back to Ironforge when he had enough. When I asked him why he didn’t just use his stone he told me he didn’t want to waste the cooldown.

        World of Warcraft screenshot
        World of Warcraft screenshot

        This is where my brilliant idea kicked in. After insisting to my wife this was just, I ran over to the forge and made my portal over the lava pit in Ironforge. Our friend and my wife clicked the portal and the ill begotten fool accepted his passage into hell! I watched as his body entered the zone and pulled a Wyle E. Coyote as he must’ve looked down and then back at me. If there was a /helpsign emote it would’ve fit this moment perfectly. The lighting of the flames below pressed against my pixilated face as I looked down relishing his death at the hands of the forging fires. There was no way out. I saw him attempt to hearth only to have it interrupted. He died and I laughed.

        The mischief doesn’t end there. After the release of Burning Crusade I decided to make a Draenei Mage. It was a ton of fun and I didn’t mind handing out food and water to people. Being a vending machine was cool beans and I didn’t care one bit about handing out replenishment. At least, I didn’t mind until the Mage Buffet Table spell was added and everyone begged me to make this table every time we entered Alterac Valley. I wanted to get my killing on, not supply you with a reagent required buffet. No one ever paid me back or said thank you for it. They just asked rudely. This is when I decided to really put a damper on their day. AV had a long queue and I knew their punishment would be severe. The plan was set. Time to see if it would work. I opened up the portal and told every to click to summon the table. In an instant, four people disappeared. Yeah, I did it! I opened a portal to Stormwind and the dumb asses started clicking it and got ported out of AV. They had to begin the queue again from the beginning. I felt like a Golden God laughing down at the pathetic peons of the mortal plane!

        My tenacity for tomfoolery didn’t begin in World of Warcraft, though. Years prior to this, when Everquest was still managed by Verant, there were events in the game run by the Game Masters. These GM Events would have players running all over Norrath trying to complete the task handed out to them. Normally you’d be able to tell it was a GM by their “Anonymous” tinted name and their quest format speech. They would put key words to ask them in [brackets] so that the player would know how to proceed to the next step of the quest.

        EverQuest logo
        EverQuest logo

        Well… one boring night, my cousin and I decided to find some newbies in Misty Thicket and pretend we were GMs. I was walking around the newbie area with my name tinted purple for anonymous. I began to say, in quest format, “Oh dear! Where is my cousin [Finkle]?” A group of players, somehow believing this to be a GM evenet approached me and asked “Who is Finkle?” I turned to them in reply and gave them a long block of text informing them about my cousin and how I couldn’t find him in Rivervale and that I would appreciate if they would speak to him for me.

        As they ran into Rivervale, my cousin was set up the same way and told them they should go out to Runnyeye to find me as I was patrolling the goblin city and they shouldn’t be startled by my disguise should they find me. When he told me they were coming I hauled ass into Runnyeye and put on my Mask of the Deceiver. When they found me I informed the players Finkle required 4 spider silks and to meet him in Erudin. The players foolishly then ran around Misty Thicket looking for silk to further the quest. It was at this time we logged out and wondered if they actually ran to Erudin. For those who didn’t play EQ and have played WoW, running from Rivervale to Runnyeye is the equivalent of running from Orgrimmar to the Crossroads. We asked them to do this three times.

        Of all of these pranks, my favorite one is still the one where I got revenge in Everquest in Lower Guk. On my server, there was a monk who just loved to train people in LGUK by feigning death near groups and also killing the LFG people at the entrance. He did this all day. He was heartless. A cold and calculating monster. A scourge amongst the undead froglok blight. I was getting tired of attempting to cheese it towards the zone line while sliding around on the grime covered floors of this cesspool. I decided to challenge him to a duel. This druid sitting at the entrance kept giving him conjured nourishment while I AFK’d for a bit. When I came back, I read that he said “Enough! My bags are full!” The Norse God Loki must have whispered this sweet decadent idea to me as my smile spanned from ear to ear. The monk was dual wielding Wu’s Fighting Sticks, a rather expensive item in the game.

        I initiated the duel and we began our battle. The time to commence my plan was at hand. I used my disarming ability on the bastard! I know, nowadays, disarming someone just disable the weapon, but in Everquest it put the item back in your bags. When your bags are full, well… your item falls to the ground. I saw his staff on the floor, picked it up and zoned out. I made my way to GFAY and sold it immediately. I was never contacted by a GM or by this monk ever and I made it away clean with an extra 4k platinum in my pocket. Justice was served for causing all those death penalties in Guk you son of a bitch, I thought triumphantly to myself.

        Those are my stories of malicious intent towards others in the gaming community but what we really want to know at OG is what you’ve done even more! Please reply and let us know what kind of a horrible person you really are!

        The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

        PVP vs non-pvp PVE
        PVP vs non-pvp PVE

        Player versus Player and Player versus Environment was the topic for this week’s show. We were happy to have our good friend Edwin in the studio with us and had a great conversation via Skype with longtime Obsolete Gamer fan, Liz Poisonkiss.

        We started off with a recap of last week’s show which featured MMO’s and then moved into our Facebook fanpage question of the week which asked which our fans preferred to play PVE or PVP type games. From there we talked about our Insider Discussion question of the week which asked our panel which had a bigger impact on PC gaming RTS or FPS games.

        From there we dove right into the main topic discussing the differences between a FPS mindset playing games such as Quake 2 and the strategy side of RTS games such as the original Warcraft game. Edwin also talked about his online Street Fighter games and said that he preferred to play again a human which we all agreed.

        We premiered a new feature on OGS called Skype with a fan where we talk with people who have participated on our Facebook page and Forums and our first guest was longtime fan Liz. Who shared her thoughts on being a gamer girl, fps versus rts and pvp versus pve.

        In our final segment Ignacio, Edwin and I discussed our various experiences in PVP from MMO’s to X-box live to arcades. Overall we had a good discussion about an important subject in the world of gaming. So give us a listen and we will be back next week with a brand new show.

        The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

        Alex Kutsenok: Dreamspike Studios

        Dreamspike Studios logo

        Name:Alex Kutsenok

        Company: Dreamspike Studios

        Profession: Project Manager

        Favorite Classic Game: Everquest

        Quote: I got into Everquest as a sophomore in high school. It was my first MMORPG, and the level of immersion was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I also appreciated that there was a real consequence to death. It meant you lost a ton of experience and had to track across the world to retrieve your stuff. That kind of consequence made the adventure more real and exciting because you knew that there was always something at stake. Finally, I liked the freedom that came from choosing where you wanted to hunt. You didn’t need to worry about compeleting repetitive quests and could level in any number of zones.


        The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 6

        MMO collection
        MMO collection

        Love it or hate it massive multiplayer online role playing games or MMORPG’s for short have played a big role in gaming and this week on OGS we wanted to talk about some of our favorite times and memories involving games such as World of Warcraft and Everquest. In addition during our research for a review on the documentary Second Skin I discovered a good friend of mine was featured along with her guild in the film.

        This was our first show using Skype and we wanted to bring some of our longtime fans and friends on the show that either currently or in the past played MMO’s. First we talked with Edgar who gave us his take on World of Warcraft from him fighting off the addictive nature of MMO’s to how the gameplay had to be modified to accommodate new players who may not have the experience of more seasoned gamers.

        MMO logos
        MMO logos

        Next we spoke with an officer from the World of Warcraft guild Amber Knights. Candice is also a good friend of mine and fan of Obsolete Gamer and we spoke to her about running a guild made up of friends and how it can differ from being in a guild of strangers. In addition we talked about her maintaining a happy marriage with her husband and fellow gamer Felipe and finally we chatted about being a gamer girl in a gaming world dominated by men.

        Our last Skype interview was with Javier aka Vigo from the World of Warcraft guild Decent. Both Ignacio and I worked with Javier at Alienware (along with Edgar by the way) when World of Warcraft was released and we talked about how we all decided to play it and the choice to either PVE or PVP. The connection was a little bit off for this one, but it was still a good conversation and we were happy to be able to have a good discussion with our fans.

        Ignacio/honorabili talks about his best experiences with Auto Assault, Global Agenda, Warhammer Online, and Battleforge. His most memorable memory from Auto Assault is running an elite guild and meeting a group of old gamers that have been playing together since Mechwarrior Online.

        Throughout the show we played clips from my interview with Sairys who was one of the couples featured in the documentary Second Skin. We talked about how she got introduced to the Second Skin guys and how she first joined her guild (also profiled in the film) The Syndicate. She told us a heart filled story about how members of the guild helped each other even in the saddest of times and recounted hers and Ebony’s (he boyfriend) fondest memory in a MMO.

        All in all a great show and we hope you enjoy it as well and as always leave us feedback and tell us how we did.


        The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 6

        The Obsolete Gamer Show 3

        Alienware Breed logo
        Alienware Breed logo

        You ever watch a tv pilot and the set, the lighting and everything else just doesn’t seem network ready? Then next week comes and the show looks completely finished as if polished and shined to look better. Well that is what we are doing with The Obsolete Gamer Show.

        For podcast number three I was finally able to get Ignacio/honorabili to join me and if that wasn’t cool enough we are now recording from a radio station. I always wanted to be a radio broadcaster and after the show I realized I still have a lot to learn.

        However, it was a still a good show overall starting with Ignacio explaining how Obsolete gamer came to be and from there we moved on to discussing how our Gamer Profiles feature has grown leaps and bounds in just a few months. We covered our Facebook question that asked if anyone had ever said anything game related during sex which somehow led into a conversation about Lindsay Lohan’s gamer profile.

        Ignacio informed us of the reason he has not posted much on Obsolete Gamer. He has had a good time playing games like, Global Agenda, Need for Speed World and Battleforge. We also had a take on young kids coming up playing games such as Pokemon.

        After a time it was back to business and we were able to have a conversation with Yusney (Jay) Garay who created the Breed campaign for Alienware and his opening of a new creative studio in Miami.

        All in all it was a good effort and we plan to bring you a weekly show with more interviews and less of us going off topic and on a tangent. For now have a listen, tell us what you think and stay tuned for more.

        Repost Rewind: The Art of the AFK

        The Avatar of War

        You know what’s great about World of Warcraft? Well one is the fact that at any time of the day you can log on and find a ton of others to play with or against. You can immerse yourself in it, for better or worse. The not so great thing about World of Warcraft is that you cannot pause it. Even the most pimp ridden, sunlight deprived, basement dwelling teenager needs to step away from the keyboard. A.F.K., Away From Keyboard, most of the time someone typing that causes no alarm, this article is not about those times.

        I’m just as guilty as you are

        I’m new here; this is my first post, so before I get all smart-alecky on you I will tell you a story about myself. During my days in Everquest (You know EQ right, the first 3D MMO?) I was in a guild called, Clan of Shadows, ran by its leader, a fowl loud mouth named Mack. He would scream and curse and do everything to grief other players and guilds, good times. By the time I joined I was growing tired of EQ. For those that don’t know EQ had raids that could last eight plus hours, so one could grow tired very easily.

        We were in a zone called Kael, after the boss of the zone, King Tormax, aka, The God of War. We had to wait for him to spawn and spawn times in EQ could run from two to twelve hours. This did not keep his guards from spawning so we had to clear them out and keep other guilds from popping up and stealing him. (There were no instances in EQ at the time.)

        After about seven hours I was tired and didn’t want to play anymore. My office chair was small and my ass much too big. I sent a tell (whisper) to Mack letting him know I was going to A.F.K for a bit and feign death my shadow knight right where we were to pull the boss. He typed back something I could not make out, but I assumed it was approval so I went A.F.K for just a few minutes.

        Four hours later I awake and rush over to my computer to find this.

        Just pretend this is the right zone and that Talon Zek guy is The Avatar of War and the arrow pointing to Rulfridah’s corpse is really pointing to my, still alive feign death’d self. I was scared. I knew how crazy the guild leader was, but I figured they wiped either way, that I made no difference. I was wrong.

        I scroll through my chat log and find the following:

        (Edited for time and content)

        Mack tells the guild: Pulling AOW, get ready!

        Mack tells the guild: AOW incoming!

        Mack tells the guild: Heal me mother f…kers!

        Mack tells the guild: I’m turning this fat bastard!

        Mack tells the guild: We got him if you f..kers don’t f..k up!

        Mack tells the guild: HEAL!!!!

        Mack tells the guild: I’m down! Second Tank, Tank that mother f..ker!

        Mack tells the guild: You stupid f..ks heal the goddamn tank!

        Mack tells the guild: We’re losing tanks like I’m losing hair dealing with you stupid mother f..kers!

        Mack tells the guild: 10%, balls to the wall!

        Mack tells the guild: 3%, you are about to bust a nut, don’t f..k up now!

        Mack tells the guild: 1%, we are out of tanks! Someone tank!

        Mack whispers me: Get the f..k up and tank, he’s at 1%!

        Mack whispers me: Tank you mother f..ker!

        Mack whispers me: Oh my f..king God, are you A.F.K? Tank! Tank! Tank!

        Mack tells the guild: We lost because of that A.F.K.’ing mother f..ker Reebo! Everyone send him tells!

        Mack whispers me: If it wasn’t for Affirmative Action I would kick you from the guild right now!

        So in the end if I wasn’t A.F.K we would have beaten AOW. I felt so bad I had to post on the boards and confess my sins.

        Click here to read the full post

        In the end I apologized and was spared though mostly because I made videos of our raids that Mack liked that and Affirmative Action.


        My Own Misconceptions of the Word Mature (Warning: This gets mature, guys.)

        Super Mario Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
        Picture is Irrelevant!

        Hello all! We are a new guild/community called Satan’s Bastards! We are now recruiting and/or are always looking for more members to join our mature community. Come join us if you are like-minded and looking for a fun gaming experience!

        And there is the bait…

        It seems online that many gaming communities seem to not understand what the word mature implies. There is also the possibility that I do not quite grasp the definition of this term but before you dismiss me, please bestow me a chance to rant about the latest and past online injustices I have witnessed in regards to the word “mature”.

        As of late, I have been playing on a Team Fortress 2 server that is hosted by a community, which advertised themselves as mature. Upon viewing the group’s name I came to the assumption that they were the kind of mature that fit my definition of the term.

        When Mr. Umar Khan thinks of the word “mature”, he thinks that there is a group of individuals who are adults and are willing to get involved in adult conversation and don’t scream over the use of foul language. The kind of adult conversation would be one in which you could say a joke you heard on a Comedy Central stand up routine and the use of foul language is used not to insult someone by calling them a “thunder cunt” but rather a shout out to the current situation at hand.

        Here is an example of improper use of foul language online:

        “You fat slimy cum dumpster piece of shit! Why don’t you choke on cocks?!”

        A proper example for the use of foul language online would be:

        “Aww, that’s a bag of dicks! I didn’t see you around the corner!”

        See how the improper example is a direct insult while the proper example is more of an exclamation of surprise and self-loathing for not being careful? This would be my definition of a mature community. One who doesn’t mind the use of TV-M rated material found on HBO and FX. Unfortunately, time and time again I am proven erroneous in this view.

        Giving the server a chance, I decided to join and play some 2Fort with them. After a few minutes I noticed there was one player probably no older than fifteen years old screaming about how no one was helping him on his team. He continued to rant how if he weren’t playing no one would get the job done. The player came to the belief that everyone was not helping him on purpose. As expected online, the admins and tagged members of this community jokingly said that they all banded together just to make his life difficult in this map. Noting that they had a joking demeanor, I decided when I saw an opening I was going to poke fun. The kid began to scream on the mic that a chunk of the wall was missing. I noted that one of the members of the community replied in the following fashion, “Stop being such a bitch!” Finding that opening I had longed for, I retorted to this angry teen that his mother was missing a chunk. It was a simple and mostly harmless joke. That’s what I thought at least. A few brief moments later I was warned to be respectful of other players’ moms. Being the snappy online bastard I am I asked if it was acceptable to state that my own mother was missing a chunk? I was told I would be kicked if I didn’t calm down.

        The belligerent child was quiet for a good hour until his scout tried to jump onto our battlements and one of my stray rockets blew him out of the sky in one hit. He replied “Lucky ass crit rocket.” To his defense, he was truly correct in his statement. I didn’t mean to hit him but I certainly did by accident. The admin informed him not to use foul language. It was at this point I began to think about the word “maturity” and how these people seemed to have mislabeled it. The community was named after a very famous villain in the Bible who plagues mankind with bad stuff and they were his “gamers”. To fast forward the story a bit, the kid replied “Ok fuehrer. “ and they banned him for being a racist. Now, a group that advertises itself as mature and goes by the name of something evil isn’t really hitting their mark if by “mature” they actually meant family friendly. I quickly left the server because I knew with my kind of Internet white knight behavior I would’ve been banned at any moment.

        I’ve been gaming online for quite some time now and I do have to say that in my journeys across cyber space that I have run into this situation before. When I played Everquest, I had joined multiple mature guilds and ended up getting guild kicked out of most of them because I didn’t know mature meant not to say “ Wow, that is pretty gay!” In World of Warcraft, I found one guild that fit under my definition of mature but I got banned from that one because one of the officers called me a racial slur directed towards a person of Middle Eastern descent and the guild leader didn’t believe me despite screenshots. The only guild I think fit the perfect example of maturity was the guild I found in Warhammer Online. They are the now defunct guild called “Da Lost Boyz”. We could talk as much garbage as possible and still be on good terms with everyone in the guild. We were like some sort of hive mind that all thought alike.

        I’m not really sure I am grasping what mature means when someone describes it online but if you’re going to rant at me about being mature while you’re playing a seven foot drooling troll warrior, I think someone needs to step back and re-evaluate their own current situation. If mature means family friendly, then please say so. If mature means you’re willing to handle adult content then I believe you are currently on the right track to advertising your guild/community properly.

        What are your thoughts on the definition of mature and how it relates to a guild/community? Have stories of your own where your misconception of the word got you or someone else in trouble? Please share! We want to know all about it!

        State of the LAN Party IV

        LAN Party sign
        LAN Party sign

         

        If you missed it you can read part 1 here , part 2 here and part 3 here.

        We saw how the LAN party evolved with new technology and how it inspired Alienware and how Alienware helped change the look of many LAN parties. With faster, more portable systems we saw LAN parties rise. With high-speed internet and MMO’s we watched as membership diminished.  Everyone grew older, but we were still gamers, the question was, what games will be played and how will that affect the LAN party.

        When the XBOX360 was introduced, Microsoft realized with the success of XBOX Live on the XBOX that pushing forward with online community gaming was the future of console gaming. If there were a few gamers who still did not utilize the online universe of gamers beforehand, once the 360 hit the shelves even they joined in.

        The 360 also brought a new type of LAN to gamers, the Console LAN or Local Play Lan was established where people would bring together multiple XBOX systems and connect them in order to multiplay. This allowed gamers to use separate television screens since for many the split screen was not a viable option.

        What made XBOX live so successful was the variety it brought to gamers. You could play the hottest games like Halo 3 or classic favorites such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  For better or worse you could chat online with fellow friends and gamers which gave console gamers pretty much all the tools a LAN member would use when gaming at a LAN party.

        Software developers also realized the market created by the 360 and the Playstation 3. More computer titles were being ported over to the console. Not only that, but there were much more FPS and RTS games developed for consoles than ever before.

        Many in the industry knew that computer gamers also owned a console and wanted the switch from the PC to the console to not be a shock to the system. Both 360 and PS3 were designed with top end processors and video cards. This allowed players to experience games on par and sometimes better than their PC counterparts.

        Those looking for a lower cost gaming system turned to consoles to experience high end graphics and gaming without the high end price tag of computer gaming units. With online play complete with patches, demos and downloads, the console gamer had everything they needed.

        By the time consoles invaded my LAN party we had reduced in size to just a few friends, but the new presence was noticed. Games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero replaced the twitch action games we played before. It saddened me at first. I believed some of us were getting too old for fast paced FPS games. Honestly I thought it was a fad, but numbers don’t lie. Interactive party games are as hot now as FPS games were ten years ago.

        I embraced the change. I enjoyed playing those games (even those on the Wii) and I remembered the point of the LAN was to have fun with friends which we did have. The connectivity we have today can bring us closer together if used correctly. Having access to your friends 24/7 through XBOX Live, IM programs, FaceBook and Ventrilo can be a wonderful thing even if it does lessen the need for LAN parties.

        In the end those of us who grew up during the gaming revolution will continue to be gamers for a long time to come. The games may change and the way we play them. Friends come and go and places we play will change, but the main goal stays the same, have fun.

        The future of the LAN party may be more virtual, larger groups of gamers playing from their home with others across the world. With gadgets such as the iPhone sporting multiplayer capabilities, we may find ourselves having impromptu LAN parties from our phones while waiting for our oil to be changed or at the doctor’s office.

        The great thing about technology is it adapts and changes the landscape. More and more people will have access to the tools to allow them to play the games they want and with that will come a community to join and interact with. The LAN party is ever changing, but will never die. As long as there are gamers there will be games and a means to play them.

        State of the LAN Party III

        LAN Party dark
        LAN Party dark

        If you missed it you can read part 1 here , part 2 here .

        Everyone thought that growing older, getting married and having kids would be the only thing to bring an end to the LAN party. While it was true that as we got older we did not have LAN parties every two weeks, we still had them once a month. What did risk putting ours and many LAN parties to an end was Massively Multiplayer Online Games or MMOs.

        By the time the game Everquest had come out our LAN party was in full swing. We had met with many other LAN groups across Florida and made a name for ourselves. I personally found working atAlienware, that the growing attendance to LAN parties translated into more buzz around our products.

        One effect was peoples request for a smaller more LAN friendly sized system. People were torn between the massive power and size of our Dragon case and the prospect of having a small portable case to take. Remember, at this time there really wasn’t a gaming laptop and smaller form factor cases were not widely known of or used.

        In the midst of larger LAN’s and more attention to networked gaming, a new fully 3D massive multiplayer role playing game was being released to the public. Now Everquest was not the first MMO, but it was the first to do fully interactive three dimensional game play and it brought in gamers who loved Dungeons and Dragons and the other successful MMO at the time, Ultima Online.

        Over the next few months hundreds of thousands of people began to play EQ. At first this did not change the attendance of our LAN parties, but it did change much of the conversation within them. Many of us got into EQ and spent much of the LAN talking about our characters. We did continue to play normal LAN games like FPS’s and RTS’s, but somehow we always came back to talking about Everquest.

        This was not just an occurrence at my LAN group. All across the U.S. people were talking about how Everquest, or as it was soon to be known as, EverCrack, was taking away gamers from their normal LAN games.

        In our LAN group there was actually a divide between those who played EQ and those who did not. The pure gamers, as they called themselves, hated the fact that we talked so much about EQ and one said our LAN party officially died the day we connected a DSL line and played EQ at the LAN.

        From my and many other EQ players point of view nothing really changed. We still played other games and interacted. MMO’s were just a new part of the landscape that we enjoyed, but we did find some took to EQ more than others. On the EQ main boards there were daily discussions of people becoming less active in work, school, their social life and LAN parties due to EQ. However, I felt in the end we became even more social because of it.

        As high speed internet became easier to come by many LAN goers opted instead to play online. Gaming clans regained much of their strength because of this and LAN parties grew smaller and less frequent. Some of this was also blamed on MMO’s, but also because many companies decision to hold massive yearly LAN parties. It was felt that there was no longer a need to have a LAN party ever month when you could play over the net and then go to the larger sponsored LAN events.

        Oddly enough, the EQ players were the ones to stay in touch the most. Since we all played on the same server in the game guild, we would often meet outside of EQ to talk and hang out. We found that many of our non-MMO playing LAN members did not want to attend these social gatherings. Perhaps it was because we talked about EQ, but we were skeptical.

        As time went on many EQ and MMO players found themselves going back to LAN parties to get away from MMO’s and to do something different. LAN parties became much more social and private, except for the company sponsored ones.

        At Alienware, we knew what our customers wanted and launched several gaming laptops which helped many LAN party members return to their LAN’s now being able to quickly and easily transport their gaming system.

        In part 4 of the series I will talk about the evolution of the console and the affect new technology has had on the LAN party and the future of the LAN and its place in computer history.

        Sony Fan Faire 2010

        SOE Fan Faire 2010 logo
        SOE Fan Faire 2010 logo

        Hey remember when everyone thought Blizzcon was going to be in Vegas, well it’s not, but this year’s Sony Fan Faire will be. You can register now for the event which will be held at Bally’s Las Vegas August 5th – 8th. Prices range from $39 for the basics like a t-shirt, gift bag, to $139 for the platinum pass which includes in-game items, a VIP lounge and private VIP events. (Sounds like premium servers all over again.)

        Ah, I remember my first fan faire in Orlando.

        You don’t gank lowbies IRL

        Swan stand alone
        Swan stand alone

        There are losers out there who spend all day killing level 20 players at eighty. They will stealth and open up on you with their best gear and attacks (as if that is really needed) and then laugh at you as if somehow you suck for not being able to counterattack someone 60 levels above you. Do you want to know what happens when their mom tells them to keep the maniacal cackling down to a minimum after doing so?

        They go into a nerd rage and try to choke their own mother out. James Swan a 27-year-old man child did just that in front of five young children. It happened last Thursday (2/11) on the 6400 block of 12th Avenue East about 10 p.m in Bradenton, Florida.

        After a night of wowing and drinking (because we all know this is the epitome of cool) Mr. Swan began to get a little too loud. When his 50-year-old mother asked him just to quiet down a little so her three grandchildren could go to sleep in the room Shawn ignored her request.

        When she approached him from behind and touched him on the shoulder to get his attention he freaked out. Swan grabbed her by the hair and threw her onto the bed, according to the sheriff’s report.

        The woman was able to get to the kitchen to call 911, but Swan ripped the phone off the wall, banged his head into the drywall and then grabbed his mother and threw her on the floor. He then began to choke her, “saying he was going to kill her,” the report states.

        Swan’s grandfather tried to intervene, but Swan screamed that he would kill him as well if he did. What Swan didn’t know was that his grandfather was an Everquest ranger who happened to use his AA point to learn modern firearms.

        Dusting off his old trusty gun the old man holstered it not wanting to one-shot his own grandson no matter how much of a douche he was being, but of course when Swan saw the gun he had to have the fat loots and tried to ninja it.

        The old ranger wasn’t having any of that and a struggle ensued. The gun discharged grazing Swan behind the left ear and struck the living room window and the wood frame of the porch. I believe he cried out; “Don’t graze me bro!”, but reports on that are sketchy.

        In the end the mother was ok and Swan was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, but he refused treatment. He later returned to Manatee County and was being held without bond at the county jail on charges of domestic battery by strangulation, child abuse and felony tampering.

        It is yet another sad tale of World of Warcraft related violence. This never happened in the days of Everquest, we only beat up each other at fan faires. You can read the original story here.

        Dungeon Master says: Inmate can’t play Dungeons & Dragons

        Inmate can’t play Dungeons & Dragons

        No longer are the days of inmates choosing normal hobbies in-between the shanking and the group showering like soap on a rope making. In the age of the gamer prisoners must have their fix of console and PC games and even cable television. Why workout and dig elaborate escape tunnels when you can file lawsuits and play D&D?

        wizard in jail

        Well now at one Wisconsin prison the lawsuits are flying, but not the fireballs. Kevin T. Singer filed a lawsuit against officials at Wisconsin’s Waupun prison after a policy was initiated in 2004 to eradicate all Dungeons and Dragons game materials among concerns that playing it promotes gang-related activity.

        The 33-year-old Singer is a devoted player of the fantasy role-playing game that involves recruiting others to play as a group. He argued that his First Amendment rights were being violated and demanded that Dungeons & Dragons material confiscated from his cell be returned.

        But the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the prison’s policy was reasonable.

        J.A. Take

        Personally I don’t understand how working out with weights is ok and playing D&D is not. I go to the gym, I see some of those guys and it must be ten times worse in prison. However, I have also seen nerd rage so it is possible there could be a hybrid between nerd and prison rage that could become unstoppable.

        Gang-related activity that is one of those terms that are used far too often to keep three or more people from gathering, but this is prison and he is a murderer. Maybe they should let them play World of Warcraft. We could give them their own server called the stockades. Could you imagine the AV and Trade channel chat?

        Thanks to Boston.com for the story and Youtube for the video.