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.

The Downsizing of Star Wars: The Old Republic

We all know from the Sony Online Entertainment spin of the mass exodus of DC Online Universe that the statement above translates into; we took a major hit and have to start cutting our losses. ~J.A. Laraque

The Downsizing of Star Wars: The Old Republic

Unfortunately, most of us who played and followed the latest Star Wars MMO knew that with the issues with the game and lack of positive changes that subscriptions would drop drastically after the first month. Regardless of the PR spin about an “active community” and how there were “millions of subscribers” we all knew that STOR would take a massive hit.

Star-Wars-The-Old-Republic-Trooper

Now word out of Austin is that there were mass layoffs at the studio that developed the game.  Some of the people from the studio were let go while a few others were moved to other projects, but the message was clear.

“We are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality,” said Bioware co-founder, Greg Zeschuk. “We still have a very substantial development team working on supporting and growing the game,  and we feel we are in a strong position, with your continued involvement and feedback, to continue to build Star Wars: The Old Republic as one of the most compelling and successful online experiences in the world today.”

We all know from the Sony Online Entertainment spin of the mass exodus of DC Online Universe that the statement above translates into; we took a major hit and have to start cutting our losses.  EA itself in a statement just reinforced the rapid decline of The Old Republic.

“These are very difficult decisions, but it allows us to focus our staff to maintain and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic,”

I think almost everyone has been “refocused”, or know someone that has been and understands exactly what that means. With subscription rates dropping over 23%, most of us can see the coming storyline that will eventually lead to a free-2-play announcement.

Weird Games: Mister Mosquito

Mister_Mosquito_Coverart

Normally when someone says, “This game sucks,” It is a bad thing. In this case, it is the main goal of a weird PlayStation 2 game that came out in 2002. Mister Mosquito is one of those games that in Japan makes way more sense than in the U.S. In this game, you play as a mosquito that lives in the home of the Yamada family. Your job is to suck and store up blood for the winter by biting the family members on specific parts of their body.

mr-mosquito

Now this might sound easy, but only certain areas are bitable and you must watch your stress meter while sucking blood. If you suck to fast or too slow, you can stress your victim out and if that happens you are dead. (Seriously, I could go so lowbrow with the sucking too fast or too slow, but I will let it be just this once.) In addition, if you are flying around and are spotted you enter a battle mode where you need to avoid being killed while hitting pressure points on your attacker to calm them down. (I wish my mosquitos did this.)

mr-mosquito gameplay

A strange game indeed this is, but for you perverts out there, there is a level where you have to suck blood from a girl in the bathtub. (No, I’m not kidding.) How many of you are going to either go play this or look up Youtube footage right now?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwxwxjpkKkU[/youtube]

You know we got you covered.

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.

 

World of Warcraft: Free till level 20

World-of-WarCraft-Cataclysm

It looks as if the wave of lowering prices in MMO’s continues. Blizzard has announced that World of Warcraft will be replacing its 14-day trial with a free-to-play of sorts until you reach level 20.

Here is part of their statement:

“We’ve removed the previous 10- and 14-day trial time restrictions, and players who are interested in trying out World of Warcraft can now play the base game for free up to a maximum character level of 20, including draenei and blood elf characters—all they need is a Battle.net account and an Internet connection,” Blizzard explained in a statement. If you ran through a previous 14-day trial, you can go back to your character and continue to play from the point you left the game if you’d like, but the level cap will be set at 20.

This is a kin to giving you a taste of crack for free, but then comes the kicker, the new lower price.

Blizzard goes on to say:

…players will be able to get both the original World of Warcraft and the game’s first expansion set, The Burning Crusade, for only $19.99 as part of the new digital Battle Chest now available in the online Blizzard Store. In addition, anyone who owns the original World of Warcraft, regardless of when they purchased the game, will automatically be able to access all of the content and features from The Burning Crusade expansion at no additional cost.

So they pull you in with a free taste and then hit you with a low cost. I wonder if there is a specific reason for this move besides forcing other companies to compete with their prices. We already learned Sony Online Entertainment is lowering their subscription rates and with more and more MMO’s heading to free-to-play it looks like the online gaming world is changing.

Now the question is, is it changing for the better?

 

SOE: Dropping Subscription rates like it’s hot

soe

On the road to free-to-play Sony Online Entertainment sent out a e-mail to all of its customers informing them of their lowering of subscription rates for their online games.

As a result of feedback from many of our customers, we recently undertook a full review of our game pass (subscription) pricing for SOE PC-based games, in order to achieve the following:

1.Better rates for our loyal customers who choose to sign up for our longer term plans.
2.Prices that are on par with other MMO game prices – in all countries.

We are therefore pleased to inform you that we are reducing many of our game pass prices. There is no need for you to take any action – if you play a game for which we have lowered the game pass price, the new, lower rate will be applied on your next billing date.

If you purchased a 3, 6 or 12 month game pass from us between May 14, 2011 at 12:00 AM PST and June 27, 2011 at 11:59 PST, we have credited you with additional game time per the table below. This credited game time has been added to the end of your current game time. The new rate for your recurring plan will take effect after your credited time ends.

I think a few key points are better rates for our loyal customers which translates to, “please don’t leave us.”

Prices on par with other MMO games means, “Free-to-play is killing us.”

Here is the link to their new pricing chart – http://www.soe.com/gamepass/

Now take a close look at the game line up and the price for all access. Do you doubt that the price is because each one of those games are on the massive decline and with Star Wars Galaxies being killed off recently there is not much left for SOE.

So the question is, will this help SOE in the long run?

 

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.

Cryptic Studio Has Moved On But Have Their Games?: Star Trek Edition


For those of you eagerly waiting for this review after the sudden ending of the previous portion of this two-part article, I apologize. I wasn’t having problems with time or just pure laziness. No, I had problems with how to word my feelings towards Star Trek Online and how best to give an honest review without completely belittling the game. I know, I know. You’re used to that kind of response from me but I decided to be a bit more delicate with how I explain the faults and pluses of STO.

So here goes…

It is laughable to think that Cryptic Studios thinks of STO as an MMORPG. While all the big boys in the room strut their stuff with content, gameplay, character growth, and easily defined instructions, Star Trek Online stumbles and fumbles around the room like a drunk teenage girl at a frat party. At the end of the night, the only ones with a grin on their faces are the real MMOs while STO is dabbing off semen from its face with wet naps.


Wow… I feel uncomfortable reading this. I’m going to just-

What could possess me to attack Star Trek Online in such an unrelenting manner? Is it because I could barely give the game a shot beyond level 4? Yes, it is! I got to level 11 in FF XIV and that game is the equivalent of dining on Indian food , beautiful to look at but horrible to digest. I have never been unable to hit at least level 10 in an MMORPG but Star Trek Online managed to prove me wrong.

That sounds horrible, Mr. Khan! Why was it so god awful?

That’s an easy question to answer, Little Timmy. The game’s initial tutorial manages to be not only fast paced but slow at the same time. There’s a ton of jargon thrown around that doesn’t make sense to begin with and there isn’t much of an explanation as to what any of it means. All I got from the tutorial was that I could shoot lasers and photon torpedoes when I’m in my ship and when I’m on a ground mission I can shoot laser beams and “backstab” the enemy when I attack from their blindside. There really isn’t a clear definition in the beginning what role your class plays or what kind of ships you are able to command. I was certain I was limited to Science Ships since I chose the Scientist profession but I later found out from a friend that I could pilot any ship. Oh, that’s fucking fantastic to know.


For those of you who enjoy looking at your character and face stomping the enemy while adoring how badass you made your Vulcan or Custom Alien, sorry to disappoint but the game is lacking in ground missions and you are spending most of your time viewing the ass tail of your ship. How engrossing! Yes, you can customize your ship but the differences aren’t that vast aside from size. The ship customization is as in-depth as the shape variations presented in a Lego Kit. Everything is a block except some are half a blocks! Whoop-dee-fucking-doo!

From a game with such an absorbing avatar customization, it’s a shame that you spend your time running slow naval circles around enemy space bandits. As far as I could grasp the tactic was to go half speed and adjust your acceleration and deceleration to complete this amazingly slow circle strafe around your enemy to knock out their shields and ass fuck them with photon torpedoes. Combat got repetitive quickly.

The game’s missions were probably the most bland I’ve ever seen in an MMO post 2006. “What was that, Ensign? There’s no one in the quadrant? I guess everything is… Oh my god! Space Bandits out of fucking nowhere!” That was as in depth as the missions got at level 4. They didn’t want to showcase more early on maybe because there wasn’t anything left to show.

The ground missions were probably the worst part about leveling. I should be excited to see my captain running about shooting bitches in the face and parachuting off planet sized drills like in the movie, right? Too bad! I was limited to picking up resources on a planet and randomly getting jumped by “Unknown villain #3” and then transporting back to the ship. Oh wait, I forgot. There were more options. I was able to go to a mining site to speak with a couple of diggers to see how they felt about their jobs and report back to their manager. Yup! They called in the space fleets special forces to settle a dispute about a broken holodeck in the break room.

"Come on, Team! Lets pick up some rocks!"

Now, I understand I have been harsh on the game and there is a reason for that. If STO were a free to play MMORPG, I would dress it with every accolade known in the universe. A free to play space RPG? Sign me up! Let me have fleeting moments of fun!

Unfortunately, the game isn’t F2P. It’s Pay to Play and it’s $15 a fucking month. This game has a huge pair of balls to even consider charging people. Cryptic was fortunate enough that people even purchased fucking the game. It has the depth of a game developed for a smart phone.

STO lacks the environment, quests, gameplay, and depth of games like World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, and even City of Heroes. Quite a bold statement coming from a level 4 Lieutenant, right? That’s why I’m not saying for people to keep away from this game. Play it if you like, it’s your money. I personally don’t see the justification of this game being $15 a month. You’d probably find more fun in Runescape for a cheaper price.

Perfect Worlds purchased this title when they acquired Cryptic Studios. What potential they see in this hunk of shit I will never know. The game is an MMO-abomination and is better served on a free to play model or simply a box sale model like Guild Wars. Then and maybe then it would be worth the time it takes to patch and login. Until that unlikely day comes about, STO will remain uninstalled and far, far away from my computer.

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 Obsolete Gamer Show: You’re full of Sh*t

full of shit

This week we continued our attack on SOE and the community letter sent out by Lorin Jameson which led to the topic of how game companies and the people that work for them often bullshit us. We also talked about the decision to removed blood and the original fatalities from Mortal Kombat for the SNES. Overall, we spent the time calling people out and had a great time at it.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: You’re full of Sh*t

Or have a listen on our official OGS page and let us know what you think.

Or download our podcast from Itunes

Lorin Jameson: The World’s Worst Bullshitter


In this world there are a special group of individuals who are hired to spit bullshit into the faces of others. These people are normally hired into public relations or in some dire situations they even ascend to an executive ranking. This is the case for Lorin Jameson, the executive producer of DCUO.

What has this personality done to earn the honor of the “World’s Worst Bullshitter”? If you’ve read the recent newsletters that have been put out for DCUO, you’d wholeheartedly understand. Oh don’t worry, I won’t leave you in the dark. Here’s the Producer’s Letter for May 16th.

As RadarX previously announced, we will soon introduce new technology into DC Universe Online which will allow us to combine our current servers into huge MegaServers. I wanted to answer some of the questions that have popped up on the forums and Facebook to better explain what these MegaServers will mean to the game.

Why are you creating MegaServers?

We have a very large and active population in DCUO. As players achieve higher levels, a lot more of the game involves participating in Raids, Arenas, Duos, Alerts, and other queued instances. After examining how the queues were working in detail, we saw our players were spending far too much time waiting and not enough time playing. This just would not do. We wanted an approach that would not only help players waiting for queued content, but ensured that no matter when you play, there are a maximum number of people in the cities as well. MegaServers offers a way to have an incredible experience no matter what your play habits are.

I am on a PvP server. Will I still be with other PvP players when I get to a MegaServer?

Yes! MegaServers use “phasing” technology, meaning there is more than one version, or phase, of Metropolis and Gotham on the server. Players who selected PvP servers when they created their characters will always be in a PvP phase of the shared world with other PvP players. The same goes for PvE players; They will always be placed in PvE phases. However, since the queues will be shared, PvE and PvP players will be able to group up for Alerts, Raids, Duos, etc. greatly increasing the pool of available players for matchmaking. It is a very cool system that really maximizes the people online, and nearby, for you to play with.

Will I still be able to play with my friends?

Yes! We have algorithms that will attempt to place you in the same phase as your friends and League members. Even if you you end up in a different phase, you can almost always phase to your friends. Using the UI, or a command like /phase SooperBFF you will be relocated to SooperBFF’s phase in the same location that you phased from. There will be some limitations on when you can phase based on whether you are in combat, in an Alert or Duo, etc. but I think you will find it is easy to get together with the folks you want to play with.

MegaServers? Why that name?

It just felt big. Putting hundreds of thousands of folks on the same server felt Mega! We considered ‘UberServers’ and ‘MonsterServers’ as well.

We will be rolling out more information in the days ahead. Have a great time playing DCUO!

Lorin ‘DeadMeat’ Jameson

Executive Producer

DC Universe Online

If you read through the whole newsletter, you’re probably disgusted. I’m sure, though, there is a select group of readers who can’t help but breathe from their mouths and not understand why I feel an ulcer building up after reading this letter. Let me break it down for you as easily as I can.

Lorin Jameson thinks you’re an ignoramus, a dimwit, and a nincompoop.

Harsh words, I know, but I didn’t say it. Lorin said it all with this smoothie of diarrhea he calls a Producer’s Letter.

I know it’s a company’s job to always think positively and on the bright side. No doom and gloom here! Always a happy go lucky, we’re still striving kind of attitude. That’s commendable but when you lie to cover up the shortcomings of your product that’s just disgusting when contradictions come into play.

DCUO has a very large and active population? Don’t fucking lie. Everyone I know that is still playing says it’s a ghost town and I was stilling playing two months after release and things were already getting dramatically scarce. If you don’t want people to think you’re a fucking liar, don’t even mention the population! No one asked how big the population was! How can there be a very active and large population when Lorin later states people are spending too much time waiting and not enough time playing? It contradicts itself!

That horrible method of delivering his bullshit isn’t even the worst part. It’s how he brands these consolidated servers as MegaServers. Every MMORPG in the history of MMORPGs that has had a dwindling population have consolidated their dying servers by merging them together. Everything Lorin Jameson said after “very large and active population” opposes that very statement.

Another small peeve I had was when he answered the question as to whether people will be able to play with their friends still. He answers with “algorithms”. That’s fucking swell, Lorin. They don’t give a fuck about your “phasing” technology and algorithms. You’re throwing around terms like they’re fascinating and new; as if gamers have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. Just say “Yeah you’ll be able to play with your friends! We have it set up so everything works just as it should!” Don’t act like you’re the first MMO to merge servers and you’re light years ahead of the rest of the world with your fucking algorithms.

Oh, wait I’m not done with this fucking letter. At the fucking end he then responds to the question pondering why they chose to name it MegaServers. He mentions how it felt Mega putting hundreds of thousands of folks on the same server. The only Mega thing I can think of when I read his description for MegaServers were Mega pellets of brown hail pelting me to death from the bullshit storm he is spewing all over the place.

Sony has had some really shitty people speak for them but Lorin Jameson just takes the fucking cake. Go eat a dick, Lorin Jameson.

Oh by the way, what happened to those monthly content updates and that Green Lantern content? Not making it in time for the movie? That just shows how incompetent SOE is to gain back some subscribers following this summer’s super hero movie craze.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Your MMO Blueprint Sucks

Atari and Cryptic Logo

This week Ignacio and I asked for some topic recommendations via our Facebook fan page. We began the show talking about Ignacio’s continuing addiction to League of Legends and then moved into the  topic of Atari dumping Cryptic like a ugly prom date. In addition, we covered some of the ongoing Sony troubles after being hacked and the future of MMO’s and the fact that the days if pumping out tons of MMO’s to make millions looks to be over.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Your MMO Blueprint Sucks

Or have a listen on our official OGS page and let us know what you think.

Or download our podcast from Itunes

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?

Rift Q and A

Rift Logo

Unless you have been underground or on another planet you have undoubtedly heard of the latest MMO that is taking gamers by storm. Rift launched a few weeks ago offering gamers massive dynamic battles, the ability to build your own class and a Pvp combat system unlike any other. A lot of the Obsolete Game staff have been playing this game and slowing down our productivity, but it is totally worth it. We recently had a chance to talk with Scott Hartsman, Executive Producer for Rift about the game and the future of MMO’s.

Will you offer end game content at the time of release and if so can you tell us a bit about it?

Scott Hartsman: These days a game can’t be called AAA unless it has both advancement content as well as a healthy end-game.  The trick is finding the right balance between time spent leveling up and everything that comes later.

Once you turn level 50, there’s two new group instances waiting for you, then two tiers of expert modes for all the instances in the game to date (11 instances) which unlock new bosses and areas and advance the instance’s story.

There are also level 50 zone events in the high level zones (and more will be added constantly).  Initially, one 20-player raid instance has been released (with more coming over time).  There are crafting recipes to continue to collect.  Artifact collections to continue completing.  Achievements to obtain.  Rare crafting recipes to be discovered. Then there’s the level 50 PvP warfront (The Battle for Port Scion), the PvP Prestige leveling system, and so on.

What is your plan for rolling out content patches big or small?

Scott Hartsman: A week after launch, we released the first four of the 10 man raid rift encounters.

Our major update schedule (approximately every 4-8 weeks) contains new zone events, full world events that last for days, new encounters, entire new types of content, as well as entirely new zones and instances, and of course constant feature addition and refinement.

We’re doing our best to make sure that there’s always a good reason to come back and see what’s new.

Are you afraid of cookie cutter builds that can end up plaguing the game?

Scott Hartsman: We’re always keeping an eye on it, but so far it’s not a big concern.  Different builds have different strengths and the spread we’re seeing is very encouraging.  Our system is built more around the idea of bringing the player, not bringing the perfect spec.

Rift - Gamplay Screenshot 1

When creating a MMO even if you have the lore and a vision in place there must be some things you look to add, take away or modify from other MMO’s or games, was that the case with members of the Rift team and if so can you tell us about that?

Scott Hartsman: For us it was mostly about making sure we had enough ways to express the story beyond having interminable walls of text.  Our event content became a great way to introduce notable characters and give them a personality.  We did evaluate our use of voice toward the end, and added enough to give the characters flavor, without over-voicing everything.

What kind of PvP mechanics do they have in mind for servers where the population is unbalanced and a faction needs a leg up to compete?

Scott Hartsman: Our PvP isn’t really about having to have perfect population balance at the shard level.  If we get into more mechanics that do require balance in the shared world, we do have a few ideas for ways we’d go about combating that. 🙂

Your ads mention that the players “are not in Azeroth” anymore. Beyond that, what are some of the differences someone may find in a game like Telara environment-wise?

Scott Hartsman: In terms of the environment, the biggest, most obvious evolution is the world full of event content of all sizes.

“Events” in our system range from a single NPC doing something out of the ordinary, to public events like Rifts and Invasions aimed at solo and group players, to massive full zone and world events where hundreds of people are teaming up in multiple raids to defend the world.

It brings a level of excitement and urgency that I’d be hard pressed to compare to what’s around in any other MMO.  The dynamic events are the main idea – The static content and quests are the backdrop where the events take place.  Flipping the idea of game content around like that takes a bit of time for some people to wrap their heads around, but once they do, they tend to have a hard time imagining going back to a game where they’re not always happening.

Rift - Gamplay Screenshot 2

For a startup company, you guys are pulling out the big guns in regards to advertising. Not many MMO companies take this approach. What made you decide to televise commercials for the game?

Scott Hartsman: We genuinely believe that we have a pretty great game here.  Throughout all of our betas (through game metrics, retention, polling, you name it), we learned that people thought so as well.

All of our tests proved that the more people who tried it, the more people who walked away with a positive impression of it.  Not all games work out like that.  When you do see it happen, you double-down the bet. Expanding the awareness of RIFT via TV is one small part of that.

What are some of the mechanics that you feel make Telara stand out on its own in a sea of new MMOs?

Scott Hartsman: The biggest one that people encounter within their first seconds of landing in Rift is the soul system.

You choose your Calling right off the bat, then you have multiple souls to play with within the first few minutes of the game.  We’re finding that this ability to customize yourself and collect up to 9 souls currently, across 4 specs, is turning into one of the biggest systems attractions in the game, as some people frequently do nothing but play with creating new builds for themselves.

Most importantly, more groups form much more easily.  When more people can heal or tank or provide support if they choose to, but don’t feel they’re forced to all the time, it’s great for the overall grouping environment.

How much focus will you put on hardcore players giving feedback on what should be changed within Rift, will the community as a whole have a say on what changes may come about?

Scott Hartsman: Hardcore players tend to spot the more subtle flaws in any system, as they’re the ones who spend as much time analyzing games as the designers themselves, and a fresh perspective from smart people can be a great source of new enlightenment.  The hardcore folks also tend to be the first to experience anything, so they tend to spot issues before anyone else.

Other than that, there’s no difference between the way hardcore or casual feedback is treated.  We have more avenues to be reached than any other MMO that I’m aware of, and we pay attention to all of it as best as we can.

Rift - Gamplay Screenshot 3

From what we’ve heard, Rift is turning out to be one of the most polished MMORPGs to release in a while. How do you feel about some games out there that decide to release early riddled with bugs? Do you feel it is a slap to the face of the players?

Scott Hartsman: Not at all – As a player myself, I get as angry as the next guy when I’ve paid for something and it’s either not stable or not finished, but I also sympathize with the teams of developers whom I can easily imagine watching their game launch, wishing they had more months to polish or finish it.   No one ever sets out to make a bad game.  When it happens, it tends to be a function of having bitten off more work scope than the budget will allow, or more than is technically possible to ship.

A lot of the lore seems a bit more in favor of making the Defiant seem like not only the rebels but also the heroes. Do you feel this could lead to a large population imbalance as one faction seems more intriguing than the other?

Scott Hartsman: Interesting – What we’re seeing is that the Defiant are being treated as the rebels, and the Guardians are being treated as the heroes.  (Even though heroic Defiant and rebellious Guardians do exist both in the lore and in game.)

It’s led to a level of balance that’s even surprised us (the ratio was within +/- 0.1% the last time I checked a week or so ago).

What RPG’s and MMO’s did you and members of the Rift team play?

Scott Hartsman: We have a pretty huge team (120+), with tastes all across the board, and the vast majority of us are gamers ourselves.  I’d say the challenge would be more about finding RPGs and MMOs that people hadn’t played.

Rift - Gamplay Screenshot 4

Do you guys at some point want to include an in-game marketplace for vanity items akin to Sony’s Marketplace in EQ2?

Scott Hartsman: Right now, we’re 100% focused on making the Rift that is out there as good as it can possibly be via constant content and feature updates.   New types of in-game store functionality isn’t something that’s really on our radar for the moment.   If enough people like the idea, it could be something we talk about in the future.

The only store-type conversations we’ve had lately have been around working out a path to hardware authentication devices, and other merch like hats and t-shirts.  T-shirts and sweatshirts?  Now THOSE we get a lot of requests for.  🙂

You can check out all the information on Rift on their Official Website and picture up the game here.

 

DCUO: Qualms With The Game And A Plea For Fixes

Bat Family DCUO screenshot
Bat Family DCUO screenshot

DCUO: Qualms With The Game And A Plea For Fixes

This is a copy/pasta of a post I made on the DCUO official forums.

I am writing this in hopes that SOE sees this and takes the time to actually start some sort of plan to save their latest MMO DC Universe Online. I am not calling in the apocalypse of this game but I am simply stating that right now it has been poisoned by bugs. I have played many MMORPGs and since World of Warcraft’s release there haven’t been many AAA MMO launches. Many games falter in their idea to cash in on the WoW craze and create clones and other games try mechanics that just seem to fall flat because they failed to fix game breaking bugs before release. I don’t have much faith in many of the MMO’s coming out in 2011 but I did feel and still do feel that DCUO was going to be the one to stand with the greatest potential.

Lawl? Did u not hear of Star Wars TOR, newb?

Okay, fellow forum readers. Yes I’ve heard of Star Wars but I do not have high hopes for that game as I generally don’t see things with rose tinted glasses. But this is besides the point. I don’t want to banter SOE with “IM GUNNA QUIT AND GO TO ” bull. I don’t want to put out an angry, unproductive statement out that does nothing but sound like another QQ fest. I want to state what I think they need to fix in order to prevent this game to going into a crippling decline.

People in my guild r already leaving, newb! Dis gaem is a failure.

I understand that people are leaving but people always leave MMO’s in their first month. It’s a common thing to see a mass exodus of people leave one game, talk highly of the new toy, and then pinch a loaf all over that toy, and go back to another game that presents the same grind or what not. That isn’t a great argument at this point as it is a common thing amongst MMO gamers.

Now that I have the generic forum responses out of the way, let me get into my issues with the game and why they are stunting to its growth.

League Chat Breaking

Never have I played a game where a chat is broken. Shout is never broken, yet somehow, some way, League chat breaks. How are groups of people supposed to connect to enjoy the game together? No one plays an MMO to play it in solidarity for everlasting months. The thing that keeps people playing is 1) Yes, content, but we’ll get into that later and 2) the ability to form bonds with fellow server mates for an enjoyable experience.

Those of you who have spent time with guildies or leaguers and just goofed off racing around cities, griefing someone as a group, or just doing something pointless can attest to the good times that can be had with friends and clansmen. Even without additional content, good friends can make a game last awhile, probably not as long as a game with constant content, but they’ll last longer than the average solo king player.

League Chat breaking over and over seems like an easy bug to fix as most MMO’s don’t seem to screw up their chat systems. This is the first time I’ve ever witnessed this kind of issue in anything ever. Without League chat, what’s the point of a League? How can people communicate or introduce themselves to one another? No bonds are made thus no establishment is set into the game’s community causing a rift of players to either leave to where they came from or hold out until the next MMO that will save them.

Queues Breaking

I can see how this is an issue that can take awhile to resolve but it should have been resolved early on towards the end of beta. Some sort of contingency plan should have been brought up to fix the issue if queuing loads being too dramatically hectic is causing them to shatter. If it isn’t the load of players using the queuing system that is breaking it, then what is it? What is so difficult to fix that it has taken two weeks for someone to still not figure out?

A lot of games have a ton of levels for you to grind through so it takes awhile for major sums of their player base to hit the endgame cap. DCUO makes you super right away by making hitting 30  a quick and easy thing to do. This is mostly because most of the content is for level 30 characters. That is great but when most of this content is governed by the queue system, well that is where the main focal point of the game’s design seems to get blinded.

How is a game that promotes fast leveling and quick end game experience supposed to last when their main method of entering these adventures is blocked by a queue system that breaks too often. PvP queues, Duo queues, Alert queues, all broken. The only queue that seems to work is The Vault and that is completely aside from anything else as it just teleports you to a single player map.

But OP! You can run to Arkham, Containment Facilities, and many more!

That’s true, poster. You could run to those instances. I, for one, have been. I refuse to allow a broken queue to stop me but when I can’t do my duos or get into certain instances, I feel like I’m being cheated. I’m not saying that SOE owes me Marks of Triumph (though, that’d be pretty nice.) but I do feel like I’m paying $15 a month to be blocked out of content I was able to play earlier in the week.

Watchtower Crashes

This bug personally hasn’t affected me but I can see where the issue can bother some people. In WoW, when Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor crashed, you couldn’t get on your character in that continent. However, there was another continent always available for both factions.

When Watchtower is down, you’re locking out a good chunk of one faction while the other isn’t hindered at all. This is an increasingly difficult issue because if queues aren’t working, and Watchtower is down, so goes your cross city travel system.

Bugs I Can Deal WIth For Now

There are certain bugs I can handle right now because there are work arounds for them, but that doesn’t mean to ignore them.

I can deal with the platform in Star Labs arena being exploited by flying enemies contesting the node from underneath since I’m a pro and took grounding abilities.

I can deal with the loot bug at the end of an alert where if I hit L before seeing the “overall data” chart  I won’t get to roll on the item. I already know to wait but I can see where a ton of people would be having an issue over this. (Protip: Leave the instance and you can still hit need out of the alert and the item will go to you and show up in your bag.)

You Sound Mad, Bro! Do You Like Anything About This Game?

Yes, I like this game and unlike many people I have faith in SOE. I know EQ2 was a pile of garbage but they really turned that game around. If it released maybe 2-3 years ago instead of 6 it could have been a contender, it could have been a somebody! They dish out content in that game constantly and it’s great to see a company throwing resources into a dying game like that (though they probably wouldn’t admit EQ2 is suffering.).

Of the MMO’s I’ve played at release, this game is pretty solid and enjoyable. I know they’ll keep pushing out content because they understand how big DC is right now with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, the upcoming Green Lantern,  the role DC heroes play in children’s media, the announcement of the new Superman flick, and the success of Smallville.

The combat system isn’t something you find in any MMORPG to date and it works out for the action packed fluidity of the comic book genre. I never thought the class system in this game would work because class systems tend to fail in most Super Hero MMO attempts but I think this is probably one of the best implementations out there and I have no issues with the balance of paper, rock, scissors. I enjoy the three class trinity synergy and the ability for anyone to DPS.

The excitement of being able to fight side by side with notable characters, heroes and villains alike, adds to the feel of the game. The voice work is grand and I hope they can keep it up, unlike in EQ2 where they stopped their voice acting in newer installments of content. With Time Warner having some role over the development of this game, though, and their ability to profit from it as well, I can see the voice acting remaining relevant  if the game remains a standing contender in the current 2011 MMO battle.

So as you can see, I am satisfied with the game. I am still hyped up and enjoying everything I possibly can right now with DCUO. It’s fresh, different, and exciting especially with friends. I would like to keep it that way.

I know that SOE is planning a huge update of content in February but please do try to fix the bugs as well first or simultaneously. Additional content is useless with a dwindling player base.

 

The Daily Vid: DC Universe Online – End Game

DC Universe Online logo
DC Universe Online logo

Chris Cao, game director for DC Universe Online takes us through some of the endgame content in the superhero MMO. Starting off we have an attack on Arkham Asylum which is a raid zone where you group up with many other heroes against Mr. Freeze and his creations as he tries to destroy all the boilers in Arkham in order to freeze the entire place.

The end game starts when you reach max level and in DCUO that level is currently 30. Throughout the game you have alerts given to you by members of the Justice League or Legion of Doom (Secret Society) these alerts can be accessed via your user interface and you can select the alerts which puts you in a queue to join with other players. It works similar to the dungeon finder system in world of Warcraft.

As you level you gain access to more alerts and they don’t stop at level 30. Ace Chemicals has been taken over by T.O. Morrow who you fight against while you are leveling. You discover that he has taken the Joker’s toxin and used it to power tons of robots inside of the plant.

Another raid zone is Kahndaq, a land ruled by magic so it is no wonder that Black Adam would use its power to try to resurrect his wife. Unfortunately, he screwed it up and now the waters of Kahndaq turn the dead into the undead. In the end, you will not only have to go up against Faust but a super energized Black Adam as well.

The last raid zone in the video is the Batcave. Brainiac is trying to take over all the technology in the Batcave so you can guess what that means for earth considering it is mostly his tech that the Justice League uses. Heroes will have to fight all the way through the Batcave to Brainiac himself for the final showdown.

So there you have it, there  will be much more to do once you reach level 30 in DCUO and I am sure there is much more coming down the pipe and as soon as we hear about it so will you.

The Daily Vid: Lineage tours The Watchtower

Batman Nightwing and Robin from DC Universe Online
Batman Nightwing and Robin from DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online was released this past week, this MMO allows you to create your own superheroes and fight alongside some of DC’s greatest heroes including, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. So far, the game still has some bugs to work out, but to this veteran MMO player the game plays very well and is a lot of fun.

Honestly, do yourself a favor and play on the PVP servers for a bit, I play on the Public Enemies server. In the PVP worlds, you can fight against villains at anytime and any level. The good thing is even if they are level 30 a team of level 10’s can take them out. I admit it is the most fun I have had in a PVP match since very early World of Warcraft.

As for the video, I had just finished my starting missions, which included escaping from a Brainiac ship with Superman’s help. My next mission was stopping Gorilla Grodd with the assistance of, The Flash from turning the citizens of Metropolis into apes. The Queen Bee was my next mission after that, she got stung, and now I enter The Watchtower to take a tour and get my next mission.

This game has the potential to be very good with a few fixes and changes. I will be bringing you a more detailed report with more in-game videos in the next future as well as questions answers by the DCUO dev team, so, if you have questions leave them as comments and I will try to get them answered.

What went wrong with The Matrix Online

The Matrix Online
The Matrix Online

SOE has closed the door on The Matrix Online for a while now and most likely deleted all records of its existence from its database. Normally I would not bother talking about a game that is no longer in existence, but Matrix was different. It was not that I thought the movies were a cinematic masterpiece, but I loved them for what they were. I did not get into debates about the differences between Matrix 1, 2 & 3 choosing to walk away knowing I enjoyed the series. So when I heard about an online game I figured it should be fun because how could you mess up a game with kung-fu, computer hacking and cool shades?

Mission Failure

The Matrix Online
The Matrix Online

When games like Everquest came out many of had to learn that when creating an MMO you had to expect a lot of fixes and patches during the first few months of a game. However, once you have a good number of titles released and you are calling yourself a MMO conglomerate you would think you would be able to release games with less and less bugs and flaws at release. While this is not specific to Matrix Online they were pretty bad at release with the bugs, worse yet, months later many where still there.

One particular place where bugs seriously irked the player base was in missions. One of the most frustrating bugs was found in rescue missions where you would find the guy only to be attacked by agents. You would think you could run with the guy to the exit, but no. He or she would wait until you killed every agent before following you. It gets worse. Sometimes even after you killed every agent the NPC would not recognize that you had done so and so he or she would never move and your mission failed.

In other missions you would be sent into areas with NPC’s who could one shot you. It seems either your mission NPC’s thought you were the next Neo or mistakenly thought you slept with his virtual wife and wanted revenge. Either way a simple mission would turn into Saving Private Ryan as you were thrown deep into the shit.

A kick to the face

The Matrix Online facekick
The Matrix Online facekick

I was playing City of Heroes at the time I came across this game and I noticed it had something in common with it, no real content. I wished it also had something else in common with it, the combat system. Sadly, it did not.

Matrix Online had two types of combat, ranged, with weapons or hacking (magic) or close quarters combat. Personally, I played because I wanted to do some cool kung-fu moves and the way the hacking animation and graphics looked I did not want to shoot that crap out of my hands because it looked way to stupid.

So close quarters it was. MO used a system called interlock. When engaged, you are linked to your opponent with the battle arranged into rounds like rolls of the dice in D&D. In each round you and your opponent decide which attack you’re using for that period, after which the statistics of each are compared, a random element added and somebody wins, damaging the loser. This was done so you could see counters and blocks and all those cool choreographed moved you saw in the movies, but, just like the missions, it was buggy and flawed.

First off sometimes the interlock did not work correctly and you ended up facing away from each other but still performing the moves. This looks especially silly if you were jumping off a building. Another, more upsetting flaw, was that if you were fighting more than one NPC at a time you could be blasted from range unable to do anything because you were locked in close combat with your interlocked opponent.

Now you could disengage but this took Inner Strength (mana) and some moves could prevent you from using the escape option. So not only did it take time to try and escape, it could be blocked and there was also a lag when you did escape. When this occurred you could either be spun around or get re-interlocked by one of the ranged mobs. This led to a ton of frustration a lots and lots of death.

The human factor

Christine Carkner
Christine Carkner

While not plagued with hacks and bots and cheats like Aion, Matrix Online had its share of community leaches which helped to make the playing experience less than enjoyable. Early on there was a leveling bug which allowed many players to outpace the server level by a mile. There were also bugged missions which you could exploit and places on the map where you could trap a NPC or a fellow player.

When SOE took over the ship had already sailed. Developers were dropping left and right. Though they had a small strong community the word from above was that the game would soon be shut down permanently.

I did not play MO too much because it just did not live up to the lowest standards I gave MMO’s at the time. Strangely enough there were a good number of people upset to see the game go, but like television shows, a small group of loyal fans normally cannot save a failing product. One would have hopped that if anything other MMO developers would have learned from MO, but as we have seen with games like Warhammer, Conan and Aion, any lesson has fallen on deaf ears.

DC UNIVERSE ONLINE

DC Universe Online logo

One of the most anticipated MMO’s DC Online universe allows you to create your own hero and fight alongside DC’s greatest heroes against its strongest villians.

Fact Sheet

Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Action Game
ESRB: Rating Pending
Developer/Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment LLC
Platforms: PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and PC

Game Description
DC UniverseTM Online is the only next-generation massively multiplayer online action game that delivers unparalleled physics-powered combat set in the DC UniverseTM. This genre-defining game puts the power of the DC Super Heroes and villains into the palm of your hands…The next legend is YOU!

POD: DC Online Universe

Todays Picture of the Day comes from the highly antispasmodic MMO DC Online universe. I have been watching this game developed for a long time now and when I got a chance to try it hands on at E3 I knew it would be a winner for me.

First check out the footage I shot at this years E3.

Now onto the Gamescom trailer.

And finally brand new screenshots from the game, enjoy!

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.


Everquest II Extended Free to Play Beta

EverQuest II Extended BETA free adventures logo
EverQuest II Extended BETA free adventures logo

Starting today players can create new free to play accounts for Sony online entertainments Everquest 2. No credit card is required and there are additional tiers of membership upgrades you can take advantage of. Here is a look at their pricing plan.

Everquest 2 extended membership plans
Everquest 2 extended membership plans

Here is the official press release:

WHAT: Starting today, players can experience the dark and dangerous depths of Norrath without a subscription with the release of SOE’s new free adventure service, EverQuest® II Extended! SOE has liberated portions of the critically acclaimed PC franchise, EverQuest II, including five plus years of impressive, award-winning content, for free. EverQuest II Extended joins the highly successful EverQuest II live subscription service, and together they provide EQII players with a choice of either a subscription-based or free-to-play business model, thus offering two distinct experiences operating in parallel, which is a first in the MMO industry. EverQuest II Extended players can login now and experience the unmatched content and adventure that no other free to play massively multiplayer online game can offer! To sign up, players should visit http://everquest2.com/free_to_play.

ABOUT EXTENDED: Extended also provides players with quick and convenient game access through a new web-based streaming download application that lets players get into the game quicker than ever before. Extended also includes the recently improved EQII user-interface and Golden Path progression system!

Extended offers multiple tiers of membership upgrade options that allow players to customize their gaming experience to fit their needs. Details of these options can be found athttp://everquest2.com/_themes/default/images/extended/membershipMatrix.jpg.

Sebastian Strzalkowski: Sony Online Entertainment

SOE logo

Name: Sebastian Strzalkowski

Company: Sony Online Entertainment

Profession: Art Directory on Clone war adventures

Favorite game: Day of the Tentacle & Monkey Island

Quote: The artwork, production value and the humor of the games were excellent.