Blizzard Not Cool with Casino-runners I Matrix Online: Revolution or Reset I Homeland Coming Japan I NC soft Tours Conventions I Planetwide Games Introduces Life-Risking MMORPG I Short Stories I Media Place I MMO Love Connection I Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week
Issue #21 Man It's So Loud In Here February 25, 2005

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You know, now that I'm back in college, I've noticed something: everyone has a frickin' cell phone. That's not the thing I find weird, but rather the dumb, dumb conversations I hear taking place on them...and how frequently they take place. As soon as you walk out of a class, there are like eight people who are on their cell phones right away, talking about the dumbest crap. And oh, don't forget the idiots who leave them on in class and disrupt everything with their lame ringtones. No no, Jane, this two-hour exam worth one-third of my final grade is surely not as important as Michelle telling you how drunk she is and who she might have just made whoopee with, but she isn't sure, because of how drunk she is. Take the call; the class can wait. I'm not kidding you, I was walking about of a class and this guy walking in front of me pulled out his phone, to delight me with this conversation: "Hey, man...nothing...just got out of history and stuff...yeah...yeah...bummer, three...yeah man...a'ight, later bro." Wow. That sure is worth the $24.99 a month. I mean, whew, what would he have done without his cell phone? His friends were probably real worried, too. Good thing he called.

Heck, even when I was at the library doing my homework for my Literature class, cell phone-based conversation and ringings were so distracting I had to write on my response to the story I was reading, 'if there was a meaning to this, I didn't get it. Maybe because I was in the overly-noisy library. Yes, I note the irony." It makes me wish things like this were a little more common in North America. Maybe a good, addicitng, phone-based MMO would shut people up. Old story, sure, but the idea still applies: give me my mobile MMO.

 Blizzard Not Cool with Casino-runners
World of Warcraft

Traditionally, players involved with shady activities in any way have been banned from World of Warcraft. This has so far included the usual suspects that appear in most MMOs, such as bot-runners and stat-enhancers. Most recently, players running in-game "casinos" caught the attention of the proper authorities, and all known offenders have been banned from the game.

These casinos were operated using a command in the game which generates a random number between zero and the number entered by the player. Casino-operating players would use the game's "/yell" mode when speaking to advertize a game in which other players would pay a bit of gold to take guesses at what the number would be, with a potential prize of more gold. Friend of mine Brad Odasso said, "It was like, you'd be in town, and someone would be like, yelling, 'come roll the dice and double your money!' and it could get pretty annoying." Andrew Long declared, "they were [freaking] irritating." It was with this annoyance in mind that Blizzard outlawed this practice in World of Warcraft. Those busted violating this rule (as well as others not honoring the Spamming/Advertising Policy) will be dealt with as the company sees fit.

 Matrix Online: Revolution or Reset? An MMORPGamer Investigative Report


Last week, I shared some quotes from a discussion in an MMORPG chat room about Mourning, followed by one player's impression of The Matrix Online's current beta testing. Since that was only one players opinion, I told you I'd get some comments from different players who have contrasting opinions of the game in its current form. Here's what I came up with.

The Good:

  • "A dumb enemy is a good enemy."
  • "I've been beta testing The Matrix Online since early October, and personally, having seen all the changes that this game has gone through in that short period of time, I'm uber-impressed. The dev team has really been open to ideas from the player community, and has done an awesome job of polishing this game to be what we've all wanted as much as possible. This isn't 'hackhackslash - dead orc - wash rince repeat', this is immersive.
     The different areas of the MegaCity of The Matrix each have their own flavor, and there's no end to the possibilities for exploration."
  • "Yeah MxO truely is an awesome game, and the community is so cool.
     "You get some really cool skills that you didnt get from Enter the Matrix. Hyperjump....Oh wow...hyperjump...I played with that skill for 2 hours straight...I'm not kidding."
  • "Very Good animations. Very Good interface graphics. Excellent sound engineering..."
  • "I'm so sick of all the Fantasy MMO's out there, the Matrix Online is different from everything else you play. Its a truely amazing game."
  • "I play WoW and I've dropped the game because it doesn't have a community like Matrix Online. Matrix Online is not another swords and magic game, Its hard to explain the combat system, but the moves and abilities you have in this game is like no other MMO I've played and I've been playing MMO's for 5 years now."
  • "The Matrix Online, much like its noble and unique sire, is a pioneer of difference in a field of unoriginal pretenders."

The Bad:

  • "I'd rather be hit by a Buick than play more of this game."
  • "hello on feb 23rd i download the new patch and now i cannot logg into the game. the game doesnt notice my rendering modes-----please help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
  • "Correct me if i'm wrong, but doesn't it seem like the enemies and bosses in an MMORPG do nothing more than just stand there and wait till you enter their personal space before they attack? My Avatar could enter a dungeon, wail on this one enemy and all his buddy could do was stand there like an idiot and watch because "i'm not in zone of attack". Ya get what i'm say'in? Whether alone or in groups, each enemy is just waiting there docile-like for his turn to die. Sure that could work for giant spiders, but not for an intelligent soldier in the Matrix. Surely they will be smarter than a giant spider."
  • "Does anyone else have an issue with the fighting system. While nitpicking is generally a bad thing it seems to me that a speed "tactic" wouldn't do more damage then a strength "tactic". Seems to me that the point of being stronger would be to hit harder, wheras the point of being faster would be to hit more often. Yet in MXO we see that being faster hits the hardest, hitting stronger only deals medium damage."
  • "Terrible frame rate, Non-intuitive character types..."
  • "Combat animations seem chopped up: I would like to see some intermediate animation between moves. I go from a round-house kick and snap to a straight up standing stance instead of idling in a menacing style attack stance between moves."
  • "I got all psyched up for the game, then it started downloading... and downloading.... and downloading. How long is this **** gonna take man? My computer is really good, runs Doom 3 smoothly, and its taking forever to update. Is something wrong with it?"
  • "I know, is a beta an this can be fixed at any time, but I've been playing MMORPG's betas for some years and MxO is the most laggy I ever found. [Computer specs: AMD ATHLON XP 1900+, 512MB DDR 400MHz, DSL 512Kb/s (router in transparent mode and no firewall software), Geforce4 Ti4200 128Mb, 250 GB / 7200 rpm HDD]."
  • "Hey, I have gotten the "matrix has disconnected you, shutting down" message 4 times in past hour, never had this happen before, please help?!??!"

The Ugly:

  • "Ok, removing CT bonus clothing good, removing ALL appareal, weapons, tools BAD!!! BAD DEVS BAD."

Well there you go. Check out this page of the game's official site for details of the patch that so many people are talking about in those comments.

For those of you looking to get into the open beta, you can use this crafting guide from Data Node One to help you learn some of the basics.

 Homeland Coming Japan

Chun Soft's Homeland, a GameCube RPG with online abilities, just got an official Japanese release date of April 29th. Those that have preordered from Chun Soft's official website before today have received a "Beta-test version" of the game. With this, players can participate in the beta test of the network-based portion of the game, which will start on March 15th and last until the 27th. The site is also holding a drawing, with 1,000 copies of the test version up for grabs.

As background detail for those of you scratching your heads, this game gives players have the option to connect to someone else's world, or use their own 'Cube to host up to 35 players. However, when hosting a game, the host must, for lack of a better term, "play god," which basically means managing the goings-on in the world, and hearing the "prayers" of other players, helping or hindering them accordingly. Should you choose to play in "God Mode," you'll have the ability to sit in a special place above the clouds and look down upon those playing in your world. Since this game uses a GC-to-GC network instead of a big server like other online RPGs, there will be no monthly fee for this online play.

 NC soft Tours Conventions
NC soft

NC soft & Cryptic Studios recently returned from showing off at the WonderCon Pop-Arts, Comic and Gaming Fest in San Francisco, CA. While at the three-day convention, the companies gave crowds a teaser glimpse of the things that lie in the near future, soon to be delivered. The next con on their list is the WizardWorld LA Comic Book Convention in Los Angeles, which will take place March 18th-20th. Get all the details on that show here and check for the updated list of conventions the companies plan to attend on the City of Heroes website.

 Planetwide Games Introduces Life-Risking MMORPG

Planetwide Games, a company focused exclusively on online entertainment, has proudly announced that Risk Your Life: Path of the Emperor has had a successful beta test and is ready to go commercial on March 1st. According to Kevin Donovan, the president of Planetwide Games, Risk Your Life has been in development for five years and boasts $30 million invested in development costs.

On January 5, of this year, Risk Your Life passed the 125,000 North American registered player milestone. Furthermore, the game currently entertains over 1.2 million players worldwide. These players will soon become sunject to much in-game commercialism, as the developers have a patent pending process, which enables the digital download of music and content into real time online play. Planetwide Games will feature this technology with a line-up of popular musical artists, supermodels, and celebrities. You can read about this and other features of the game, and even get into the last couple days of open beta testing, at the game's website.

 Short Stories

Among the range of updates scheduled for Strugarden, starting March 8th, the game will no longer be free. The rest of the update material, however, is much more pleasant to players. The level cap will be raised from 35 to 40, two new quests will be added, four new fields will open, eight new types of monsters will start roaming around, and the guild system will be improved.


This post on Mourning's official message boards recently announced that the beta testing which was supposed to take place in mid/late February has been delayed to no earlier than March 1st. The administrator making the announcement declared that the release date would be delayed accordingly.


On Februrary 28th, Front Mission Online is scheduled to undergo its first major revision since entering "Beta Phase 2." Using comments made by the testers as the baseline, there will be major revamps to the costs of doing battle. More specifically, steps are being taken to make fighting cheaper for those that get close to the front lines, and more prohibitively expensive for those who choose to hang out near either side's main base. Things will also be tweaked to make PvP enticing only if the players in question are of similar level.

The map interface is set to become easier to use, and NPCs will lose a bit of power. Players won't face a complete reset of their characters for this update, but they will lose all their money and items. Beta testing for Front Mission Online is still scheduled to shift to Phase 3 some time in March.


Fileplanet users can take advantage of a 15-day Ultima Online trial. This trial is of the Gold edition of the game, which is the original game plus the first five expansions. The trial requires a valid credit card, and can be downloaded here. Interjecting my personal bias, this is an excellent chance for curious gamers to experience the game that started the online RPG craze--the Original Gangsta, if you will. It may not have the prettiest super-mega-3D graphics, but Ultima Online has more things to do than any other MMORPG on the market today.

Partial Sources: Impress Game Watch, Famitsu

 Media Place
City of Heroes

JC Fan is back in the screen-submitting business, and has more City of Heroes screens for you.

Guild Wars

And one "Alex" submitted a handful of screenshots from the most recent Guild Wars beta event. Just as Jeff Walker's were, these are very pretty to look at. Thanks, Alex!

Hit with all the MMORPG screens you've got!

 MMO Love Connection

Of the MMO love stories that were referred to me which I can print here, which is to say, the ones that don't tell long tales of endless cybering, come two couples in Final Fantasy XI. Well, actually, just one. The other one, whom I was supposed to get the story form on IRC, has mysteriously disappeared. So goes life, I guess.

But, I was referred to this, the story of one Beanie and Nif. What a cute pair. Here's a snippet from Beanie's blog: "I'll skip the sappy stuff.. since I'm at a loss for words anyways.. and say that we've both been thinking the same thing for a while.. And today I got to give him the ring I made for him and he gave me the Saintly ring he'd worn since he took up being a WHM instead of WAR. Each of these rings were meaningful and would symbolize our engagement to the other." Picture here. Heh, crazy kids. ^_^

Valentine's Day is over, but you can still send in stories and other stuff like this. It's fun.

 Log Out

Ever stand up way too fast and you get the darkened vision and stuff? I feel about that way somehow. I blame the site crashing again which has delayed my column for the second week in a row. Weird. So I'm just gonna stop here...and sleep.

Heath Hindman would like to be buried Indian-style, where they put you up on a high rack, above the ground. That way, he could get hit by meteorites and not even feel it.

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