Exclusive Vanguard Beta Access I Guild Wars Character Slots I Pirates of the Caribbean MMO
D&D Online Trial I Dungeon Runner Beta Slots I The9 to Operate Guild Wars China
Issue #60 Intrusion of Real Life April 25, 2006

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As you've probably noticed, there was no column last week. I had a bunch of projects to work on last week and things unfortunately snowballed. Had I realized how long these projects would take, I would have asked someone else to cover for me, like Alicia did for Jordan in Japandemonium a few weeks back.

I'm only taking 4 classes this semester. Normally, 4 classes at once isn't very difficult. But, my instructors all decided to have major projects at the same time, with regular assignments on top of that.

Having said that, I may have missed some MMO news in the past two weeks.

I made a mistake in relation to the Everquest II image last week. The information sent to us by Sony Online Entertainment mentioned that the message was double-encoded, which I omitted in my column. In addition to the message "The Future of Everquest II" that several people pointed out to me, there was also a second hidden message. Christopher Grigsby pointed out an article on The EverQuest 2 Realm that explained what the second message said: "The fae are coming winter 2006."

Thanks to Thoedore Larson, Mikel Tidwell, Joshua Taylor, Skott Tthunder, Ryan Bell, and CobaltCub for telling me about "The Future of EverQuest II" part. I'll be honest, I didn't actually try to figure out what it said. I'll bet if I had mentioned the double-encoding, some of you would have figured that part out, too.

Despite last week being busy for me, I made an appearance at this month's Roundtable, which was (appropriately enough) about MMORPGs. I meant to advertise the Roundtable in the April 12th MMORPGamer column, but it got overshadowed by the whole "double length column" bit. Sorry about that Josh and Liv!

 Exclusive Vanguard Beta Access

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes In its June 2006 issue, Computer Games Magazine is offering codes to allow players into the Closed Beta Test for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.

The June 2006 issue of Computer Games Magazine will hit newsstands on May 3, 2006. Once you have the magazine, you will need to register your beta test code on the Vanguard Registration site.

More information about this offer is available on the official CGOnline Exclusive Vanguard Beta Test page.

 Guild Wars Character Slots

Guild Wars Guild Wars offers four character slots for the Prophecies areas. If you buy Guild Wars: Factions, you get four character slots for the Factions areas. Owning both gives you a total of six character slots that can access both sets of areas.

The above paragraph was fixed at 9:40pm PDT on April 25, 2006.

Starting this summer, NCSoft will be selling additional character slots, with full access to all areas your games support, for a one time cost of $9.99 USD each.

Character slots are actually one of the major contention points in MMORPGs. Each MMO does them slightly different. For example, of the games I've played

  • City of Heroes gives you eight character slots
  • EverQuest II gives you four character slots. A Station Access subscription gives you eight character slots
  • Final Fantasy XI charges a monthly fee for each character slot past the first. Character Slots are called "Content IDs." Character slots are less important in FFXI than most other MMOs, because you can change character classes at any point
  • Star Wars Galaxies gives you six character slots, limited to two character slots per server, three servers maximum. The number of slots was doubled when two character slots per server was implemented, following the launch of the disastrous "New Game Enhancements"
  • World of Warcraft gives you eight character slots per server

Unlimited character slots* is one of WoW's perks. Not needing multiple character slots is one of FFXI's perks.

*There actually is a limit; eight times the number of servers in your region. Provided I've counted correctly, the US/Australia region currently has 156 servers, making the limit 1248 characters. Blizzard may limit it to lower than this, but I have yet to run into such a limit. I have at least 18 characters at the moment.

 Pirates of the Caribbean MMO

Right after I posted the last MMORPGamer column, I saw an article about Pirates of the Caribbean Online. Not much information has been released about that game so far.

The game is being developed by the same people who developed the MMO Toontown. More information will be available at E3.

It is unclear at this time if this game will be an MMORPG or some other form of MMO.

 D&D Online Trial

D&D Online: Stormreach Turbine Entertainment has added a feature to D&D Online that allows you to sue other people... oh, wrong kind of trial.

D&D Online: Stormreach now has a 7-day trial for the game. You can find more information about trial accounts at their Trial Account page.

 Dungeon Runner Beta Slots

NCSoft NCSoft is now accepting applications for Beta Slots for its upcoming Dungeon Runners MMORPG.

Conceptually, the game's description makes it sound like Guild Wars, also published by NCSoft.

Dungeon Runners is aimed at both casual players and at more serious players. More information about the game will be at E3.

 The9 to Operate Guild Wars China

Guild Wars The9, a company that already operates several MMOs in China including World of Warcraft, is now operating Guild Wars in China.

This may seem odd to those of us who live in countries where the companies who make these games compete, but having a company that knows how market trends work (in a given area) run things is a good idea.

Source: Joystiq

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I know that some of the stories above are a bit on the short side. The projects listed up in the intro are not all finished yet. Time is, unfortunately, a premium for me at the moment.

One thing that I didn't mention in my intro is that the brakes on my car also died the day after my last column was posted. My car is a bit on the old side, and the mechanic I talked to said it's time for the car to go to the great junkyard down the road.

Don't you just love unplanned expenses?

Ross "hopes April ends without any more problems" Bemrose

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