Villains Eat Free I Guild Wars Special Edition Packaging I Asheron's Call Doesn't Get Dressed Up for Nothing I What About EverQuest II? I Horizons Guy Talks and Stuff I Short Stories I Media Place I Readers Speak I #1 Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week I #2 Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week I #3 Freakin' Hot Rena Tanaka Picture of the Week I
Issue #50 "First Day of My Life" or "Last Bucket of Chicken" October 9, 2005

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So here goes my last column before I go back to writing for "that other" RPG website. With that in mind, I couldn't decide whether to call this column "First Day of My Life" like the Bright Eyes song about starting over, or "Last Bucket of Chicken," signifying that I am indeed out of buckets of chicken.

What would be the significance of being out of buckets of chicken? Well, since I don't wear a watch, but am always eating a bucket of chicken, I've started measuring time in units of "buckets of chicken." For example:

  • At work: "Yeah, since we're a little shorthanded, I had to work two extra buckets of chicken every day last week."
  • Watching sports: "The real turning point was that interception in the 4th bucket of chicken."
  • Game reviews: "The plot doesn't really get exciting until the 11th or 12th bucket of chicken."
  • I'm sure you can think of many more examples.
    So let's get do this thing. Oh you know it's straight up original recipe.

     Villains Eat Free

    "So when you walk away, who is gonna stay, cause the truth about the world is that crime does pay." Dexter Holland and The Offspring must not have foreseen games like City of Villains coming along when they said that. NCsoft has announced that players of City of Heroes will not be subject to additional monthly fees if they choose to also hit up City of Villains. Players who only choose the villainous side of things, however, must pay the regular fee of $14.99 per month. For players in Europe, the fees are £9 or €12.99 per month. For those of you who don't know what those funky symbols are, they're British pounds and Euros, respectively.

    "We know that many City of Villains players will be existing City of Heroes players who are essentially playing in order to access another aspect of the universe they have grown to love," says Thomas Bidaux, Director of Products, NCsoft Europe. "We wanted to find a solution that would look after existing players, offer tremendous value for money and also encourage new players to investigate the world of City of Heroes. This is that solution."

     Guild Wars Special Edition Packaging

    Here's an image of the European packaging for the new Guild Wars special edition:

     Asheron's Call Doesn't Get Dressed Up for Nothing

    Yeah, I stole that quotation from Braveheart. Turbine Entertainment's Asheron's Call, which you may recognize as an MMORPG outliving its own sequel when AC2 closes in December, is gearing up for Halloween with two new spooky scenarios. First off, Glenden Wood has been the site of several new kinds of ghosts showing up. This place was already flocking with undead monsters, but these new ones are different. One in particular lets out a shrill battle cry before attacking its prey...which reminds me of Shadow Madness. Yeah...Shadow Madness....

    It seems every time something horrible happens, we arrange parties to pretend it never happened, or at least reflect on how much stuff didn't suck before it did. So, in contrast to the above hauntings comes a festival in Glenden Wood. Apparently this festival involves a puzzle to solve in the local pumpkin patch. Meanwhile, Town Criers have been selecting such elaborate costumes that players will not be able to recognize them when coming into town. Just the same, it's best to talk to them, because they might have useful information. Rumors are also circulating around the community and among NPCs that one of Dareth's more famous personalities might just grace citizens with his presence during the festival.

    Source: MMORPG

     What About EverQuest II?

    When my friend across the street IM'd me about the "Gigglegibber Goblin Gamblin' Game," I thought he was hitting me with online casino spam. I don't take well to attacks like that, so I boiled some water, carried a bucket of it to his apartment, and tossed it on him while saying, "Owned!" Turns out, I really should have looked into the matter; it's a new bit of EverQuest II.

    This new mini-game involves players first finding a Gigglegibber Goblin and purchasing a ticket from it. Players then pick six numbers between one and 36. If the ticket's six numbers match the winning numbers, it's a "jackpot" winner. Just like the real lottery, there are smaller prizes for matching a few numbers, so not matching all six isn't necessarily a total loss. For the locations of these Goblins, check the official announcement. This game is not available on Station Exchange servers.

     Horizons Guy Talks and Stuff

    I sure do love interviews. Often times when a developer or publisher speaks, some interesting information comes forth that everyone can enjoy. likes interviews, too. In one recent chat, David Bowman, Creative Director of Horizons, discussed the Horizons Military Appreciation Program. This program gives men and women who have volunteered to be part of the United States military a special key for second access to the game. According to Stratics, "...the idea is to provide military personnel and their families another method of communication, while they are stationed away from their families." Two sample questions are below.

    Stratics: "What gave you the idea to create such a program and why?"
    Bowman: "The idea grew out of several overlapping events. I was recently playing Horizons, chatting with a player from California who did not know who I was, when another player who was playing a dragon flew over and landed beside us. The dragon said "Hi, Mom. How is everybody?" The dragon was being played by her son, who was in military training on the east coast of the United States. They were using Horizons as a way of chatting, and of getting together for fun while a large distance separated them. This reminded me of an earlier similar experience that I had had while working on Asheron's Call.

    "The next day, Carl, one of our players who is in the military, was talking with me in IRC about the military. I asked him for some suggestions about how to reach out to military families and provide a method for them to play together inside of Horizons. We knew that some of our existing players were in the military, and that they would sometimes contact us to suspend their account until they were back from deployment. Carl did some investigating and came up with several suggestions, but the one that was feasible for us to do without requiring us to require documentation (which was way outside of our scope) was to just let military families use their .mil email address when setting up the account.

    "I was born on a military base just outside of Death Valley. My mother would talk about the isolation and the long times when my father was abroad. That was the background setting for this. My mother is a very strong woman, but I could always hear the hurt from that time. Her brother Mike volunteered for Vietnam, and re-upped through the end of the war. It doesn't matter at all what you think of Vietnam, my memories are of the family at home wondering how he was doing, was he alive? Scanning the images of dead soldiers on the evening news for a glimpse of him. We've come a long way technologically since my father and uncle were in the military, but families are still separated, and often isolated. The question was: What can I do to help?"

    Stratics: "Why do you think there is a need for other methods of communication such as this?"
    Bowman: "Letters, photos, emails, and phone calls are all great. But they can't let you play with your kids. Persistent worlds like Horizons allow people to get together and DO something together, even when separated by thousands of miles. They are the next great form of communication and interaction."

    Bowman says the reaction to the program thus far has been "the best response I could have hoped for." Read the whole interview here.

    Source: Stratics

     Short Stories

    Nevrax Paris has announced the official launching of Episode 2 of Saga of Ryzom's storyline. October 6 marked the end of the week-long session of patching and tweaking. According to the press release, "Episode 2 is a series of dynamic events that are part of the overall storyline, supported by new gameplay features. Ryzom's players will have the opportunity to really dive into the storyline and impact the game by helping to determine the outcome of the episode." Additionally, European players have seen a pricing change. The free trial period of the game has been cut in half from 14 days to seven, but the monthly fee has done the same thing, getting slashed from €17 per month to €8.49 per month. No word on a North American price change has come forth at this time.


    World of Warcraft's official website is telling Blizzard fans that there is now a half-assed alternative to attending BlizzCon. Radio Blizzcon will be broadcasting video and audio feeds of the event live over the internet. "You can look forward to watching some of the Q&A panels, the costume contest, interviews with Blizzard employees, and several other big events live from your computer," says the site. What you definitely won't be able to do is play the new expansion content like attendees will.


    Pretty much all Anarchy Online has going on is more super discount offers, trying to convince the free players of the base game to buy all the expansions for ten bucks and start paying monthly fees. Seriously, I keep getting emails with the exact same offer. Stupid.

     Media Place

    It's a very FFXI showing from the readers this week. First up is Genevieve shows us some stuff and says, "Here's some of my screen shots I took off my adventure in FFXI :)"

    In the traditional order of left to right, top to bottom (like a book), the following captions were included:

    Screen 1: is when I went for the first time in sky (high lvl area that you can get to after doing mission)
    Screen 2: It's one of the momant of my static, I had a real good time lvling with them
    Screen 3: Well... she's my Mithra caracter
    Screen 4: This is one of my favorite place to go! it's a nice place :)
    Screen 5: I was suppose to wed in game a Elvaan, but, he was never with me so I feel for this hume, me and him are suppose to wed in game, this was one of our hinding place because non one knew that we where togheter.

    As well, Elliot from our news team, who writes this column every week, sent in some FFXI shots of his own. He says:

    "Hey Heath,
    I know you put up screens people capture from the MMOs they play, and that you've had quite a few from FFXI. Nonetheless, here are some more. Do what you will with any of them. They're pictures of a glitch I encountered -- a sheep stuck in a tree branch. Enjoy."

    Don't send screens to me anymore. Send them to this guy. Well, I mean, send 'em to me if you want, but I won't be particularly doing anything with them.

      Readers Speak

    Only one semi-old letter. No answers to my plea for suggestions on how the column could improve came.

    Just chillin

    Hi Rage...well you know all I play is FFXI so I'm gonna just say I've gotten to the fun point where me and my friends have been fighting Avatars (summon mosnters). It's been a ton of fun so far but I'm nowhere close to being done. I'm used to things taking a while in FFXI so it's ok.

    Anyway I don't have anything to really complain about (50 hrs on that's overkill!)

    Shadowneko(server: Midgardsormr)
    Lvl 65 THF|lvl 27 WAR|lvl 17 RNG|lvl 11 MNK|lvl 14 WHM|lvl 20 Summoner|lvl 37 NIN|lvl 5 BLM

    Jon Davies


    Good thing you're having fun =)

    I look forward to the time (later this month?) when I have time for MMOs again.

     Log Out

    So thanks to everyone who's ever read one of these columns, especially those of you who came back for several or all of them. Props to all those who sent an email or screenshot, responded in the forums, told their friends about the column, or even just smiled at something you saw written here. It is my hope you'll keep supporting Mikel Tidwell and other future MMORPGamer Columnists as much as you did for me, if not more.

    I'll still be writing game stuff, just not here. Just the same, this has been an awesome and unforgettable trip. If I had to name one regret I have about my time in MMORPGamer or my something like 2.5 year career at RPGamer, I'd say that it was once purchasing Tropical Sprite Remix. Seriously, what a waste of $1.25.

    I love you all,

    -Heath Hindman

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