||From Britannia with Love
||February 12, 2005
"Come to my place in Felluca," Grimnir said. "Okay," I said. This was my first mistake. You see, leaving my outrageously powerful Ninja and Samurai behind on the Pacific shard of Ultima Online, I made a new character on Lake Superior to rock out with a friend of mine. I created my character with a nice balance of stats, putting a slight emphasis on magical ability. Felluca can be a dangerous place for a young character, but I renounced my "young player" status by typing the proper command and traveled to the house. This was my second mistake.
Well, the other day I logged in at his house. I was just enjoying the casa when I saw a giant snake and an alligator park themselves on the doorstep. "If I engage them, I'm dead," I told myself. But I couldn't just let them hang out there, mocking me, could I? So I drew my sword, readied my spellbook, and opened the front door. This was my final mistake. I had a good battle, since they were apparently stuck on the steps and I could freely blast them with spells, but I eventually grew impatient with that. I knew I'd go down, but going down fighting a futile battle is fun sometimes. So here's me being dead in Felluca. Heh, I stole my character name from a boardie we banned a while ago. I rule.
More positively, this week's column features a look at Valentine's Day celebrations in a handful of MMORPGs, among other things.
Progress in an MMORPG can take a very long time. Often, people with things like jobs or school or just a spirit of impatience may try to purchase things like in-game money or items in order to artificially speed up their own progress. Ultima Online players now have the option to simply buy a high-level character instead of beating around the bush. These character templates come with a level of 85 in the three skills most vital to the particular job and steep levels in different areas as well. Ultima Online already allows somewhat of a personal skill-level modification when creating a character (for those that don't want to use a pre-made template), but these high-level selections certainly hold a different kind of lure. Full specifics of each class's template can be found on this page of the official site.
In update news, the game's "Publish 30" patch recently launched, having the usual types of changes and repairs. Some of the changes include:
- Houses can no longer be demolished if the houseís moving crate still has items in it.
- Book of Bushido and Book of Ninjitsu now only take up the correct amount of storage when locked down in a house.
- Vendors will no longer have "the vendor" appended to their names.
- Potion kegs now weigh the correct amount. Full kegs now weigh 100 stones, while empty kegs weigh 20 stones.
- Players can now craft Necromancy scrolls, as well as sell them to NPC mages.
The full list of updates can be found on the game's official website.
One last bit of Ultima news concerns the community. On March 25th, five castles on each shard will be given away to random players who meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible, one must have a Samurai Empire access level account created between November 2nd and March 18th. Winners will be notified via email.
NC soft has revealed plans for Valentine's Day events in Lineage II. From February 14th-16th, eight pairs of enchanted Magic Rings will be hidden through the land of Aden, ranging from +1 to +8. But this is not a regular scavenger hunt. To win, a player must find the player who has the counterpart ring and swap with them. Clues as to the rings' locations will be posted here on February 15th at noon Pacific Time. That same page also features a detailed FAQ about the event.
Meanwhile in Japan, the Lineage II crowd is already participating in a special event of their own. Having started on 2/10 with an ending date of 2/15, monsters are dropping special heart shards. Collecting nine shards makes one heart. Upon collecting 30 hearts, one can participate in a
mini-game run by a
particular NPC. Prizes for the mini-game include rare
scrolls that are not sold in any
shops. While the shard dropping end on 2/15, the mini-game will be available until 2/18.
Gamers in Master of Epic's beta test also have a special event to look forward to. Instead of a traditional Valentine's Day quest, this one involves a battle. More specifically, one that is geared toward players who choose to play the game in the Present Age due to not liking the heavy PvP emphasis in the War Age (read this and this if you're wondering what in the world that means). Players follow two Present Age NPCs, Oriax and Luce,
to the War Age and
gather at certain, predetermined locations. Due to some
miscommunications, a brawl breaks out, and players must
use their "Fists of Love" to solve things. This special quest will only be open on 2/14 and 2/15.
Ragnarok Online's event began a few days ago and will continue until the 15th. For this limited time, players can receive chocolate from NPCs or gather the ingredients to make
it themselves. With some luck, one may even craft the chocolate so that it is completely unique to his/her character. This makes a great gift.
In what I initially thought was a typo, Final Fantasy XI players have just started celebrating "Valentione's Day." Yeah. Anyway, the Mog House Management Union (MHMU) has deposited a special crystal in the delivery box of every adventurer in Vana'diel, or at least the ones that were created before February 4th. The moogles described the purpose in these words: "By using this crystal during synthesis, you'll be able to carve your name right into the finished product, kupo!" The idea then is to come out of your nerdy shell and tell some other adventurer that you have the hots for him/her, using this handcrafted item as a symbol of your feelings. Who knows, you may even end up getting one of those Vana;diel weddings if you play your cards right. ...Well, unless you're a Mithra in love with a Mithra, or Galka who likes a Galka. It will be a cold day in Vana'dhell before President Bushinomimi allows any of that action.
MMORPGamers around the world have been showing love for NC soft. The Korean company brought in the US equivalent of $75.6 million in 2004, thanks to positive reception of games like City of Heroes and a pair of Lineage titles. This high profit is more than double 2003's cash haul, which was about $30.8 million. With even more highly-anticipated titles such as Guild Wars and City of Villains on the horizon, as well as current titles gaining popularity, the company looks to set another personal highmark in 2005.
Every Valentine's Day, there's always someone who feels left out of the big love fest. This year, that guy's name is Asheron's Call. I recently found a message board post that read "I played this game from day 1, and In my opinion it was, in the glory days the best game out there. The graphics were great back in [the] day and [the] game play was unrivaled. Turbine needs to shoot it in the head now."
Sure, the game may be expanding again soon, as reported on this page of the official site, but images such as this screenshot speak for themselves. Take a look at the radar in the top right; that says it all. Asheron might be calling, but everyone's just erasing his messages.
Robert Pfister, EverQuest producer, answered some questions from IGN's EQ Vault. The interview was centered around the upcoming expansion, Dragons of Norrath. Here are some clips:
EQ Vault: What can new players look forward to with this expansion?
Robert Pfister: Probably the new mission system and the amazing art are two of the most notable things about Dragons of Norrath. The dragon models and the zones are absolutely stunning. The mission system allows players to receive a hand-crafted mission to engage a zone instance specific for their group. Itís really a lot of fun and should be a big hit.
EQ Vault: Some of the screenshots released so far look amazing. Will Dragons of Norrath be more taxing on a system than Omens of War?
Robert Pfister: Nope. We work hard to provide players with high end machines the absolute best graphics they can experience, but weíre also aware of our foundation and donít want to disenfranchise any players on older machines. The system specs will not change.
EQ Vault: How many of the new zones will require access quests or flags to enter?
Robert Pfister: Players will be able to access all of the expansion zones without the need to undertake quests or earn flags. One zone won't be available when the expansion first opens, but players won't need to obtain flags to enter. A special event must take place before anyone can enter the zone.
After reading RPGamer's preview, interested folks can check out the whole interview here.
PlayOnline addressed the issue of high-level FFXI characters not having enough storage space to stash all of their artifact armor. Until now, extra storage space has been provided in the form of Mog Safe expansions, furniture, and mannequins. However, we are currently working on a new system that will allow complete sets of artifact armor to be held by an NPC clerk. Artifact armor for each job consists of five parts: Head, Body, Hands, Legs, and Feet.
If a player trades all five parts to a certain NPC, he will receive a "claim slip" in exchange for the artifact armor. The armor can be retrieved at any time by talking to the NPC. In one more short bit of FFXI info, MMORPGaming feminists may be interested in reading the special story called "The Women of Vana'diel" in this issue of the Vana'diel Tribune.
Gamers not cool with the idea of using a credit card to pay for their MMORPGs now have reason to look into The Matrix Online. By purchasing a 60-day game card at game retailers, use of a credit card can be avoided. Of course, players can change their minds at the end of the 60 days if they so desire, but the game card option can be taken as many times as one likes. Each 60-day card will sell for $29.99, and can be used as soon as the game launches this Spring.
Mythic Entertainment has updated the Dark Age of Camelot Roundtable event map with more information on the previously-announced locations and the additions of even more cities to the list of stops. While many cities are now listed, the official "East Coast" event will be in Washington D.C. while the "West Coast" version will take place in Las Vegas. See the full list of event locations at the previously linked map.
Martin Lachapelle emailed me with these screens, saying, "Considering the fact that I haven't seen many screens of Lineage II I
decided to send some of my two characters over there, Exerna and
Exenteth, with a list of what they're trying to show."
Here are the captions (left to right, then top to bottom, of course):
Screen 1: On the way to defending Oren Castle from attackers!
Screen 2: Exerna duking it out with a hobgoblin with her faithful
Screen 3: Exerna sporting her newly aquired magic set.
Screen 4: Exenteth exploring the depths of the mithril mines.
Screen 5: A few of Oren village as my clan keeps a look out for
enemies come to attack the castle.
Screen 6: Exenteth checking out the moonlight view of Elmore's waters.
Screen 7: Exenteth taking in the view of Elmore, his homeland.
Screen 8: Forces gather and prepare in Oren Village to defend Oren Castle.
Screen 9: The castle is secure, the attackers have been stopped
Coworker and Linkshell mate of mine Cortney Stone sent in some of her favorite Final Fantasy XI pictures. These are from the new areas of the Chains of Promathia expansion.
Cortney left these descriptions of the shots (from top left to right, starting at top)
Screen 1: Carpenters' Landing. Note the owl
on the dead tree behind me. Its head turns to watch
you as you walk by. Very creepy!
Screen 2: Riding the barge in Carpenters'
Screen 3: A shot of a waterfall along the river
while riding the barge.
Screen 4: Staring into the emptiness of
Screen 5: Promyvion-Mea.
Screen 6: The Delver, boss of Promyvion-Mea.
We trashed it.
Screen 7: Picture of me and Fireymyst in Promyvion-Dem.
Screen 8: The reward of clearing the Promyvions
is access to a special area. This is a shot of me
standing on the overlook of Lufaise Meadows. It's
really dark because there was a thunderstorm at the
time. The thunder was very loud and startling!
Screen 9: This funny creature is a bugard. It
made me laugh!
Send screenshots of your adventures through your favorite MMORPGs to email@example.com.
In the intrest of time, I'm only able to print one letter today. I got 2 others in my inbox this morning, but I'm already later than I wanted to be with this column, and so they shall have to wait for next week. Sorry!
Hello, a few days ago I was playing WoW for the first time, and while I was playing I was thinking about how similar WoW and most MMORPGs are to GTA or Morrowind. Free roaming, open story line ect... just minus the player community. It was an odd revelation, becasue Obviously we know of these games but GTA is so loved that you would figure MMORPGs would be as loved since the only difference is the price and people.....welllll. now that I think about it, thats a vailid reason to seperate the two genres.... WOW nevermind I take it all back.. hehe
Well, that and most people who play GTA like it's their religion (and I guess for someone out there, it might be) are actually more of the "casual" type of gamer, so things like installing, patching, logging on, selecting a server, and having to deal with other people might turn off most of that crowd anyway. And THEN when you bring in the monthly fees that accommodate so many of them, well, forget it. There are many gameplay elements in common with certain adventure games and MMORPGs, but it's those key factors that separate the genres and the crowds that play them. (...Which is not to say the two don't share some of the same players, but you get what I mean.)
I was considering running another certain Valentine's feature this week, but, like I said, I'm out of time.
If you want to be awesome, write me a letter and/or send me some screens of your MMO Valentine. Get hitched or watch someone else do so in any MMORPGs lately? Send wedding pics! It doesn't have to be a gushy "love" story. But send in a story of you and your best MMORPG friend(s) and things like how you met, what you do for fun, what your guild is all about, etc. It could be anything. Take part in any of the above events or any other MMO's Valentine's sutff? Tell us all how it went. Just write a letter about your gaming valentine. It can be a person, a game, and event, anything. Just make sure this story has something tied to your favorite MMORPG(s).
Also, Master of Epic sounds like a friggin' awesome game. Man I hope it comes over here. If it does, that would be MY Valentine's Day MMO story.
-For every chemical, Heath Hindman trades a piece of his soul