Aggro Me: Monkey Business
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.