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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Monkey Business

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Well, the Desert of Flames website is up. There is nothing really revolutionary there that I haven't covered before. If you haven't read my website or other previews you might want to check out the faq as it wraps up the major elements nicely.

Anyway, you apparently get a free monkey if you preorder. A virtual monkey that is, although a real one would be a pretty cool promotion. Right now the links under the preorder question in the faq are only to German and French language pages. But don't fear, I'm sure English speaking players will be able to get their monkey too. Obviously, I will be preordering, monkey or no. Ah, I just checked EBGames and they mention a back-flipping monkey as well as a map and coin as a preorder bonus. Edit: Blackguard quells the monkey fears in this thread stating that it will be available for English speaking players.

According to the faq, you also get two items depending on how you order the game. Your purchasing options are digital download or retail. You get a genie bottle either way. But, if you go digital download you get a painting and if you go retail you get a gazing orb. To me, the gazing orb sounds more interesting and interactive. That said, I love digital downloads of games as it means I don't have to brave the aggressively bad service of my local EBGames/Gamestop stores. Of course, if the digital download site has technical problems when the expansion is released I may regret my choice. I'm actually not even sure if the digital download is availabe in the US.

In terms of the general website layout for the DoF site, I get kind of annoyed when SOE emphasizes climbing as a major feature. If you click through the "book" on the main site, climbing is the first thing you see. It's not that I have anything against climbing. It's a fine feature and I'm sure down the road most new MMO's will include it. I just find it hard to get that excited about it and I would prefer if they played up the major gameplay elements and mentioned the climbing as a minor feature. After all, it's only on specific walls and areas.

By the way, the EBGames preorder page states, "for the first time in an MMO, players will be able to move vertically in the game world!" Hmm...what about flying in City of Heroes, doesn't that count? Can any one else come up with other examples of how that statement is incorrect?

The faq states that a level 2o adventurer can have a level 50 arena champion, which presumably means there will be some safe method for lower level characters to access the Arena. While guild vaults are discussed, I didn't see any mention of guild housing which is a disappointment.

There are some new screenshots as well. I found them easier to view
on EQII Vault than on the official website but you can check them out either way. You'll recognize some of the cast of characters from the E3 video. So far the scenery looks very nice. On the negative side, I did not see any armor models in the screenshots that I got even halfway excited about.

On the whole, though, there's plenty to be excited about in the expansion. For you and your monkey.


Blogger Vulak'Aerr said...

Moving vertically:
EverQuest 1: Levitation. Though technically you can't move higher without the aid of nearby landscape.
City of Heroes: Hello... flying? As you said. Not to mention superjump. And elevators. ;)
Planetside: Get inside ANY aircraft and you can move up and down to your heart's content.

But then we know EB is full of it.

3:02 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

DAOC has three rogue classes that climb keep walls and stealth in to assassinate defenders.

Also, DAOC had a bunch of non-rogue climbing areas in the Shrouded Isles dungeons. Entire raids would climb up ropes, vines, ladders, ice cliffs, etc.--all vertical surfaces.

Ladders in the game didn't work for the first month or two after release, if I recall correctly.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Karnatos said...

Well, I personally did not like the game; but Shadowbane has "flying" in it. I played a Fury, and I could rise into the air and escape damage from mele foes and blast it from the skies... but flying took up precious mana in very large gulps.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Tovin said...

DAoC is the only game with vertical movement that I'm familiar with. Though we all know how much stock to put into a comment made by EB Games!

I'm screwed as far as buying the game though. I have to download, because there's no retail store within 2 hours that will carry it, and I can't go out of town when it comes out, due to work issues! *starts crying*

I just want a monkey! And other then that, I plan to stay out of DoF for a little while after it launches, to let the bugs get worked out!


1:39 PM  
Blogger Twodragons said...

Vertical movement would be good for a few gameplay enhancements:
- Rogues need to scale the outside of a building to spy on a particular NPC.
- Castle Walls, known for large hand-holds, are now accessable. Guards are having a hard time keeping folks off the walls...they use grappling hooks.
- Valley of Boulders (I made that up) requires jumping and climbing skills to traverse.

I wonder if you can cast and combat while climbing.

And I also wonder if trees are climbable.

Maybe large NPC's can be climbable.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Henderson said...

"Maybe large NPC's can be climbable."

Oh that would be awesome! I can see my Halfling Swasher climbing up a giant's back to get in a good hit!

4:27 PM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Yeah, I thought there was other vertical movement in MMO's for sure. It's really EBGames fault and not SOE's - they misquoted a sentence in SOE's press release I think. The actual sentence was, "For the first time in an MMO, players will be able to scramble up crumbling cliffs in search of treasure and adventure in thrilling new zones all set within this colorful Arabian Nights theme."

I am still debating the retail/digital download issue (if available in US).

Twodragons, I have to say those are some awesome ideas for use of the climbing feature. How about a giant raid mob where one group is up on the head, one on the arms/wings, one on the ground? Kind of like a Wanda and the Colossus (upcoming PS2 game by makers of Ico)scenario but MMORPG style...

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Blogger Anskiere said...

Haha, that reminds me of one of the fights with Sephiroth in FFVII :D

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