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Friday, April 29, 2005

Friday Humor: Comical

Web comics have always been a part of internet culture, but I have yet to feature one in my Friday Humor section. So, to rectify that, I draw your attention to GU comics.

I don't find them absolutely hilarious but most do make me smile. My favorite two from recent past: the April 13 take on Matrix Online and, of course, the April 21 depiction of Smed as virtual item peddler. But take a stroll through the archives yourself.

While GU covers a wide variety of video games, the main focus is on MMORPG's. In fact, as stated in the faq, the GU was originally /gu which is the Everquest guild chat command.

While this is a comics site, there is also
a very extensive and interesting interview with Brad McQuaid of Sigil Games on virtual merchants.

There are also some pretty intelligent forums. One thread led me to
the link for this incredibly touching story about the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Everquest which I hadn't seen before.

The forums also contain
commentaries from the creator on many of the cartoons along with public discussion which I think is an interesting feature.

On an unrelated note, I would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone who has not seen the
Friday Humor: Limericks post from two weeks ago to check out the reader contributions. And, even if you did read it the first time, you might want to check back as I recently received and posted some additional submissions. It really shows what a creative bunch you are. A big thanks to everyone who participated!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hero of the World Series and Norrath?

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If you missed the MLB World Series last year, two baseball teams from the east coast of the United States played each other and the one from Boston won. The historic victory was due in part to the (some say overly dramatic) heroics of pitcher Curt Schilling.

Well, Baltimore is currently in first place in the AL East and Schilling is on the disabled list. He is also not too popular in Tampa Bay.

But, is he really having problems with his surgically repaired ankle or does he just want a little more time to finish a few heritage quests? Schilling was sporting an EQII hat at a recent press conference which was shown on ESPN.

Here is the link to a great picture from the Boston Globe. Sigh, I am getting a registration page when I click that link now. If you don't want to register, Kotaku also the has picture up.

It is fairly common knowledge that Schilling was an EQ1 player along with outfielder Doug Glanville. The story really came out when Glanville took Schilling yard twice in one game and later told a reporter that it was "revenge for the death of his beloved dwarf paladin."

There is a thread in the official forums about Schilling.

My favorite quotes so far from the thread:

"With a salary like his, he will pwn the exchange server."

"Look for the toon with a slight limp, a bloody sock, and a REALLY nice ring...."

If nothing else, this is free promotion for SOE. Actually, I suppose they could be paying him - who knows? But even if they are, if you read about the guy you find he truly is into gaming. He is even an owner of a wargame publishing company.

Anyone know of any other "celebrity" EQII players? Is that really Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie duoing wasps in the Enchanted Lands? I hope not.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A Whole New World: Part I

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Well, I will likely be playing EQII for the foreseeable future and this blog will keep up it's EQII focus. But, I promised a while back I would check in from time to time on upcoming MMORPG's. This will by no means be a definitive list but just a mention of the ones that spark some interest in me. And from time to time I'll update with news on the games I mention here. This report will be split into three separate posts appearing over the next few days. As an added bonus, I have included a joke MMORPG idea I made up in each of the three posts. See if you can find it!

Vanguard: I, along with a lot of other people, have a lot of hopes pinned on this game. If I had to guess today this might be the next MMORPG I invest serious time into. It is fairly typical swords and sorcery stuff and Sigil is not really trying anything radical or new. They are just trying to improve on what's already out there with things like interesting combat, an effective UI and difficult, hardcore gameplay. Of course, things can go wrong fast and I'll be keeping an eye on it. For now, they're saying all the right things, but check out their extensive faq for yourself. They mention one of my favorite novels, Snowcrash, so that's a good sign.

Pro: They seem to be strongly against the secondary market if that is an issue for you. I believe they have a good team of designers with serious history in the industry. They are attempting to really work on the mechanics and make it a deep, immersive game and they are not afraid to take what works well from other games. Vanguard is intended to be a seamless or "zone-less" world which means no zone load screens.

Con: The game is being published by Microsoft. May just be an updated Everquest clone. May not be out for a while.

Wish: This looks like the greatest MMORPG in history! Just kidding...its cancelled. Interesting to see that a game so far in development can fall apart so fast. This is a big and growing market, but not necessarily an easy one.

Guild Wars: A lot of people are very excited about this one. They are using a lot of instanced zones and are very focused on PvP. And, in an interesting twist, there will be no subscription fees. You still have to pay for optional expansion packs but not for the regular patches and updates. Like so many games, it is set in a swords and sorcery type atmosphere. This one is actually being released today or tomorrow I believe. Here is some environment eye-candy. From the buzz I'm hearing, this is going to sell a lot of copies.

Pro: Did I mention no subscription fees? A lot people I trust really liked playing this game in beta and are definitely going to buy it. Did I mention no subscription fees?

Con: I just couldn't get into this game. I played it in beta and really did not enjoy it. I thought the game world seemed shallow and non-immersive. The PvE action was boring and the PvP just wasn't fun for me. I know I am being a bit vague but I can't really put my finger on why I didn't like it. Like I said, many people I trust love this game so it is probably just a matter of my personal taste. Most of the people also talked like l33t haxxors but that may change after release. I also question how good the support will be with no subscription fees but then, how much worse than a regular MMORPG could it be?

Shot Online: Okay, I know a massively multiplayer golf game is not the usual fare but it apparently does have some RPG elements. Your golfer gains levels and you can upgrade your clubs and other equipment. Believe it or not they claim there are even "rare items." Of course, you complete against other real players in matches or tournaments. The graphics design is very anime in it's style. I actually plan to play this for some light fun when I get a chance. And no, this isn't a joke - it's a real game.

Pro: It's free right now. It seems to be in the final stages of Beta so enjoy the free golf while you can. I know people who really enjoy this game as a diversion.

Con: It's golf. Also, I hear some of the English in the game is rather well, unusual. They apparently don't have a good translator.

World of Warcraft: Okay, I know this one is out already and I hear it even has a few players. And a big point in WOW's corner with me is that I already own it, though I've never installed it.

Pro: Huge subscriber base. Generally very positive reviews.

Con: Well, it's beyond my ken to really get too into this. I advise you read the forums. But, some of the highlights are the wait times, the lack of patches, honor system issues and GM's with an attitude. There is also the general belief that less mature players play WOW but I don't know if this is true. I definitely know some very intelligent people who love this game. For me the biggest con is that I love to get in on the ground floor of MMORPG's. I like when the world is fresh and new and everyone is finding everything out together. When joining a game like WOW in mid-stream I always feel like a latecomer who missed out on all the fun.

World High School: This one sounds really interesting. Relive your high school days (or just continue them if you're still in high school). You gain levels in one of three separate fields: Athletics, Scholastics, and Shop Class. Of course, there are subclasses so you might be level 32 in Calculus or Tennis while still only level 6 in Sex-Ed or Circular Saw Use. Instead of guilds, there will be clubs. It will be interesting to see if the jocks and nerds commingle or keep apart. There is a pretty severe "death" penalty - if you are caught cheating or breaking the rules it's one to three hours of real time detention for you. They say they are implementing a free college expansion but rumor is you will have to pay for it. No violence here - any PvP will be settled by the power of your clique, catching people talking about you on three-way voice chat and gossip smear campaigns. The high-level endgame features such quests as running for Student Body President and protesting the use of live frogs in Biology class.

Pro: There will be plenty of live events, like Prom, Homecoming and Exams.

Con: I'm not sure I like how they implemented the scholastic system. You have to do actual math problems and stuff.

Well, tune in soon for Part II where I tackle a big-time license and some more obscure games. And please let me hear what games you are and are not looking forward to.


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Well, I am off on vacation for a week and no, I'm not going to Norrath.

Don't worry this site should still be updated daily through the magic of timed posting and "internets" so please keep checking in.

However, if the posts are somewhat more sporadic and perhaps lacking in timeliness you know why.

I will be back in full effect on Monday, May 9th.

Until then, watch out for adds and may you find many master chest drops!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Eureka - A Cure!

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Well, I'm so used to the Plague by now I just assume that everyone in Norrath is green. And I have to come to accept that constant coughing is just a part of my life, kind of like overnuking.

It would be nice for the first time in a long time to hail an NPC without being sneezed upon. By the way, if you haven't seen the screenshot of our great Queen Antonia Bayle a.k.a Heather Graham vomiting - check it out from my last Plague post.

But finally, after what seems like at eternity, a cure has arrived. At least on the Grobb Server that is. You can read about it in this thread. Congratulations to the skilled alchemist Erevan and the Guild Lying in Wait for putting an end to the germ warfare!

Finding a cure evidently required crafting, adventuring and some seriously hardcore raiding.

You can also check out some cool screenshots of the rewards and title Erevan got by clicking here.

Unfortunately, this is a per-server event, so I'm afraid I'll still be coughing my way through Lavastorm this evening.

Now, how do I do a movelog to Grobb again?

Final Exchange

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Okay, this will be my final Station Exchange post for a long while and this time I mean it. I don't care if Sony starts letting you trade your newborn children in for an uber horse and 7 platinum, I'm not writing about it.

But, I felt I owed it to Sony to let you know that they did respond to two of my major concerns. One, no existing servers
will be Station Exchange enabled. This is a departure from their previous statements. Two, there will be restrictions on transfers to Station Exchange servers. I still feel the Exchange will have a deleterious effect on the game and industry as a whole but I've said enough on that already.

There are also some interesting Station Exchange links going around:

Brad McQuaid from Sigil (producers of upcoming game Vanguard)
states that this will not happen in their game. Good to know, since they are involved with Microsoft and there has been mention of Exchange type systems on the next-gen X-Box.

Mythic CEO, Mark Jacobs,
goes even further in gaining my everlasting esteem by calling the Station Exchange "one of the worst decisions in the history of the MMORPG industry." Guess Smed won't be having him over the old mansion for dinner. And yes, I know Mark Jacobs has had his issues too but I like his writing style. He goes on to make a number of points, one being the possibility of increased lawsuits. Hmm...wonder if he reads Aggro Me because I made that predicition as well. Hi Mark! Nah, just kidding, it's so obvious that even a CEO can see it.

Mark also makes a point I found quite interesting regarding the tax consequences of sellers who use the Exchange. How many sellers are really going to report their sales of virtual goods as taxable income? My guess is almost none. But guess what - the IRS (or your country's taxing authority) doesn't play that way. They are rumored to be cracking down on eBay sellers and they'll get around to this too, believe me. Do you honestly think there is any income that is not taxable? Can you imagine the headaches this may cause down the line for both sellers and game companies?

There is also a well-written response from Smed at that same link.

And for more, Smed, you can click here, where he discusses cross-platform games and chat and discloses that they are still working on the Station Exchange pricing system.

And, if you play Star Wars Galaxies and you're upset that you're missing out on all the Station Exchange fun, grab your wookie and head over to this poll SOE is conducting about whether to bring the Exchange to SWG. May the Force be with you and all that.

This is an
interview with Torrie Dorrell over at Computer Games Magazine about the Exchange, but be warned, some of it is dated already. As I stated above, they are no longer considering converting existing servers to the Exchange as the article states. Ah, consistency.

If you want more interviews with SOE peeps,
here's Scott Hartsman doing one over at Allakhazam.

And to be fair to the pro-Exchange camp here's a well thought out argument from Come to Gaze against people like me who went bonkers on Sony. The article references Progress Quest, which I thought was a nice touch. In response, I'll just say I was mainly disgusted by SOE's blatant hypocrisy in my tirades. I don't have any problem with companies making Exchange type games, I just probably won't play them. I would prefer to play games that feel like an actual game, and not, as Mark Jacobs puts it, "an entertainment version of day-trading." And for those who make the argument that people with less time need a leg up - there is one. It's called Vitality.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Harvesting Heroism

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Believe it or not, I finally got a chance to participate in a live event Friday night. I was minding my own business, harvesting in TS (yes, I know my harvesting skills are low). Then, I saw an interesting shout in my chat window.

Now, I usually don't pay any attention to the shout and OOC stuff. I mean, how many times can you read, "Wear iz Hwal Ruckstiff?" and "For sale - shattered gnome bone PST - Best Ofur!" But, when you're harvesting, everything suddenly becomes much more interesting. (I actually shouldn't complain - because of the new harvesting changes I was able to go from being stuck harvesting in Antonica to Lavastorm in one weekend.)

Anyway, the shout was from Traveler Xiabik (I know I am getting the name wrong). He said something like, "The Village of Thundermist needs help! A mob of plagued creatures are about to attack!" Now, normally the poor villagers of Thundermist would have been out of luck. But, when I'm looking to take a break from harvesting I get heroic impulses. I used a Totem of the Wolf and bounded off to help (no, I still can't afford a horse).

I mentioned it in guild chat and one of my guildmates, a gnome wizard, nobly answered my call to help the villagers. We arrived to find hundreds of plagued centaurs and wolves milling in the dry river bed outside of Thundermist Village. Surprisingly, no other players had answered the call. We located the Traveller who was wearing one of those hats that Raiden from Mortal Kombat wears. I'm sure they have a real name but that's how I always think of them. I kept wating for him to shout, "Fatality!"

We approached him and he gave us a quest. We apparently had to save the village from plagued creatures. Surprise.

Now, we are not usually role-players but we really started to ham it up.

"Fear not Traveler, we are here to protect this village!"

"Breathe easy, fair citizens, we heroes will save you!"

"Ha! We laugh in the face of danger! These plagued mongrels will fall before our potent magery!"

"For Queen Antonia Bayle! To arms!"

And so on. Of course, we might not have been quite so heroic if we weren't about twenty levels above the mobs we were fighting but, hey, that's life.

After dispatching a measly three centaurs the quest was over. But, the people still needed help, right? Besides, I was in no hurry to go back to harvesting.

We continued to slaughter the plagued creatures. My favorite part of the whole event came when my gnomish friend pulled about thirty centaurs. I couldn't even see him.

The Traveler, a GM or
guide I assume, sent him a tell asking him "please don't overdo it." I liked that.

So, we called it an event and escaped back to the docks to check our mail, since we had unread mail since completing the quest. The letter contained a Tattered Journal which could be placed in our apartments. As a plus, it glows. A job well done! But then it was back to harvesting...

Since I've mentioned the Return to Nek Castle before, I thought I'd give you an update there. Some of the mobs are definitely quite a bit harder now, though some seem to be the same level of difficulty. Also, a named spider popped on us right at the entryway, so be careful.

The disapearing chests appear to be fixed and we did get more keys than usual. Of course those keys unlocked such wondrous treasures as Advanced Carpentry Volume 42, but hey, that's better than nothing. All in all a good weekend. Considering the harvesting...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Friday Humor: Quadruple Play!

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One of my favorite things about people who are into what the world considers "nerdy" hobbies is that they aren't afraid to laugh at themselves.

A funny flowchart entitled the Geek Hierarchy from the
Brunching Shuttlecocks has been floating around the net for quite sometime but perhaps some of you haven't seen it yet. It ranks each hobby on a scale of more or less geeky. For instance, Trekkies consider themselves less geeky than Trekkies who have mastered the Klingon language.

Without further ado, here is the

The link I gave you is to the abridged version but be sure to check out the link to the unabridged near the bottom of the page.

As you can see, it seems like Everquest players would fall between video gamers and live action role-players.

Here's my addendum breaking down the substrata of Everquest players even further:

Regular EQ players
EQ players who roleplay
EQ players who go to conventions
EQ players who get married in game
EQ players who get married in real life
EQ players who get married at EQ conventions
EQ players who play the pen & paper game
EQ players who blog about EQ

Don't take offense, I love people with nerdy hobbies - the geekier the better.

As a special friday humor double feature check out
this hilarious take over at Pitfalls on Sony's new brain wave technology (true story) as it might apply to Everquest.

From the faux patch notes: "* Players will no longer lose brain cells when entering Qeynos."

That's a plus.

Okay, a surprise triple Friday Humor feature. But this one is unintentional humor.

Forum poster LobaLobaLoba was kind enough
to post a thread linking to the website of the "company" that did the market research SOE refers to in their Station Exchange press release.

And, my, is it funny. Remember kids, when designing a website, the more exclamation marks you use the more professional it looks!!!!!! See? The whole thing looks like a grammar school production.

They even list prices for reports, how classy! But wait, one of these "market researchers" likes "the blues" so I know we can trust him! Let's see, I'm a 30 year old attorney who likes blogging, walks on the beach and picnics in Central Park. Plus, I like to play video games! For only $5,000 I will prepare you a marketing report with the numbers just the way you like it!

Okay, maybe these guys are really geniuses, I don't know.

But wait, what's this? Why it's a quadruple Friday Humor feature! For the first time in my life,
Terra Nova actually made me laugh instead of feeling like I was back in a college Economics 101 lecture. The story I'm referring to is here and it links to this amazing thread from the WOW forums. In it, a poster named "Danks" agrees with his own post, I assume because he forgot to log in with a different name. Truly hilarious. The thread has 28 pages of Danks appreciation already. You can even commemorate your Danks glory with a Danks t-shirt.

Hmm...let me try it:

Comment: I think this a great blog entry! - Aggro Me
Comment 2: I agree, Aggro Me, but I'd call it tremendous instead! - Aggro Me
Comment 3: You're both mistaken - this post is super fantastic! - Aggro Me

See, it's fun and everyone's doing it!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Remains of the Day

"Cheaters Never Prosper. At the very least, cheaters don't get to play EverQuest II." - from a news release on Sony's EQII Players site.

"That which we call sin in others is experiment for us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Experience," Essays, 1844.

Okay, tomorrow I will try my best to move on from the Station Exchange story, but I wanted to give you some more links that have come along first.

A great article from N3rfed entitled SOEBAY: He is able to explain better than I could why this won't put all the buyers and sellers on the Exchange servers.

A funny take from the Cesspit: Good stuff and he remembers to make fun of the ridiculous graphics on the official site which I forgot to do.

More stuff from Adventuring with Ark: I linked this site yesterday but since then he's added some more articles and a pretty funny picture.

The official press release from SOE: Check it out for yourself. I love how SOE talks about being in a "unique position to guide the industry." Yeah, I'm sure the other MMORPG companies appreciate SOE's guidance. Especially the part where they water down the legal basis for other companies to enforce an anti-secondary market policy with the "limited license" drivel they paid some language-twisting attorneys to come up with. Hopefully, that will come back to bite them. I am hereby predicting that someone will sue SOE in the next three years on the basis of damage SOE has done to their "limited license" in some virtual item. They don't like paying customer service reps to answer fraud complaints? Let's see how they like paying lawyers to answer lawsuits. They cost a lot more money.

The official forum: For the most part it is on both sides of the issue as unreadable as usual. One post I found interesting is the mention of NIMBY (or not in my back-yard) Syndrome. It does appear that a large number of posters are okay with the idea as long as it is not on "my server!" Well, I hate to break it you but characters are allowed to transfer to a Station Exchange server, right? Let's say I am an enterprising young plat-farmer. Why would I want to do my farming on an Exchange Server where competition is ultra-tight? No, I'm going to do my work on YOUR server then transfer my character to the Exchange Server when I'm done. Or, just mail my best stuff to a newly created alt, transfer that character, and keep it going.

This post from Brenlo: Pretty funny I thought, doing some double speak, double time. I thought we were all one big happy EQ community but I guess not.

Anyway, to show I have no hard feelings towards SOE, I even wrote them a television ad they can use for free! Here it is:

It's the Superbowl and the New England Patriots are down by six points on the fifty yard line. There are only 3 seconds left on the clock - time for only one more play. Quarterback and all-around talented guy, Tom Brady, calls the huddle.

"Guys, I know the game is on the line but I've been busy all week doing macramé with my girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan! I just don't have the arm strength to make this play!"

Wide Receiver, Deion Branch, shakes his head. "Don't worry Tom, we understand. Guess we can't win them all!"

In a flash of smoke, a jolly gnome appears in the middle of the huddle. "Mabye you can win them all!" the gnome says, gleefully dancing a jig.

"What do you mean, weird gnome?" Tom Brady asks.

"Why, with Sony Station Exchange, you can advance 40 yards for only $20.00!"

"$20! I'll take it! Guess there was no need to practice after all!"

The gnome hands Tom Brady the ball and runs to the sideline. He completes the short touchdown pass to Deion Branch and the crowd goes wild!

Coach Belichick slaps him on the back! "You did it again, Tom!"

"Nah, Coach, I had a little help...from Sony Station Exchange!" He flashes a smile and gives the gnome a thumbs up. The gnome returns the thumbs-up and the smile. Fade to black...

A barely clothed female elf appears on screen. "Sony Station Exchange! It's the sexiest!"


Wow, Sony Station Exchange can bring fun to all games! In fact, I heard Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi are already clients!

Thanks SOE!

Okay, let me switch for a second from sports to the stock market. Let's say you buy your stocks from a broker named Jerry. He takes a small commission on each buy and sell. Okay, fine. But now let's say that Jerry just happens to also have complete control over the stock market. With a flick of the wrist he can decide which investments will be in demand and which will be flooding the market. In fact, he can create and destroy companies. And Jerry has the power to ban you from the market forever - forfeiting your current investments. Would you think Jerry had a slight conflict of interest here?

Let me be clear, I still love this game. I plan to play tonight. But it's now like loving a boyfriend or girlfriend you know has cheated on you. You still have fun, but you know deep down that everything is tainted and nothing will be quite as perfect ever again. And forget trust...

But because you love that person you try to make it work.

At least until something better comes along.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Nice Job

"A few hundred 'bot subscriptions just aren't worth the money when compared to keeping the game fun for hundreds of thousands of people." -EQ II Senior Producer Scott Hartsman

"Clean your finger before you point at my spots." -Benjamin Franklin

Being relatively new to MMORPG's I don't have the built up ill will towards SOE that some do. I have often given them the benefit of the doubt when more experienced players have not. I gave them kind of a free pass on the Froglok nonsense.

I have been willing to accept their mistruths and missteps and have always tried to take everything in a light and humorous way.

But not today. Not on this day.

For years I have listened to SOE and other MMORPG companies vilify IGE and the secondary market to the point where they have become the devils that cause all that is evil and wrong with online gaming. Whether this is true or not is a matter for another debate. But now I know why SOE was bashing IGE. Not as an enemy, you see, but as a competitor.

I watched as SOE lauded themselves for their victorious war on farmers and botters. "Not in our game," they cried. "They will not interfere with our precious sanctity." Sure, when the coins are going into someone else's coffers. When it's your own pockets that are getting filled then it's a service.

The funny thing is, things were working. According to a source I trust, IGE has had almost no currency for sale on any EQII server for some time now. A friend of mine who belongs to an "exploit" forum reports that it is basically dead because there are no exploits to speak of. So what do you do when you're the corrupt sherrif of a town? First you drive out all crime. Then you hit up the townsfolk for protection money.

The hypocrites fully intended to enter the secondary market themselves and are now preparing to do so. SOE will be taking a "service charge" on each transaction. If they are really doing this for the good of the game, why not do it for free?

The new
Exchange website is full of scare tactics. Beware the Secondary Market! They will steal from you and murder your children! And that's just before breakfast!

Now, I happen to have two friends that guiltily admit to using IGE. I don't judge my friends. I polled them last night on their experiences.

"A few months ago I bought a few plat from IGE. They delivered each time in under 2o minutes."

"I bought 3 platinum a month ago (from a smaller IGE competitior) and it was delivered in 10 minutes."

Again, I'm not trying to say they were right or wrong. But they certainly didn't have any of the issues mentioned in SOE's propaganda.

Of course, if you try to buy plat, accounts or items from the more shady venues out there, you may get scammed. But the same could be said for buying anything on Ebay. You pay less but there are some risks. Order from Amazon and there are no risks but you pay more.

For those who say, well this is only for new servers, for those who say, you can play on them or not, it's your choice, I say, "Read carefully."

"Over time, we will look at possibly enabling Station Exchange on current servers based on the desires and activities of our communities."

Oh, but if they make your server an Exchange server you get a free transfer off! Wow, what a deal. Say goodbye to your friends, guild and community. But as Brenlo says,
a server is just a piece of hardware, right?

The most frequent comment I got while playing last night is that this will put the botters in one place. My first reaction was the same. But on further reflection, I don't know if that will happen. Not everyone who uses the secondary market is going to suddenly leave their guilds and friends to transfer to a new server. Thus, there will still be demand on the non-Exchange servers for plat-selling. And where there is demand, you will find secondary market companies and their botters and farmers. And let's say you are a botter that works for a secondary market company. Why would you work on an Exchange server that has no need for such a company?

I'm afraid we've all been so conditioned to hate botters and the secondary market that we've forgotton why we hate them. Let me remind you. It's because they ruin the integrity of the game. SOE has used this hatred as a way of gaining support for their new cash cow. But SOE is ruining the integrity of the game on a higher level than any botter and doing it with a smile. If you hate botters and the secondary market, why would you possibly support SOE doing the same thing?

Smed talks a lot about the future. Is the future a place where real world money is the only thing that will count in gaming? Will you feel the same accomplishment finishing a difficult quest and knowing someone bought the same reward for five bucks? When easily transferrable real money is on the line, how many people will play just to make a quick buck, making the "game" a hunt for the quickest exploit or farming area? Is the recently announced PvP going to be a fun round of who has the fatter bank account?

SOE loves to blather on about the storied history of Everquest, it's greatness and purity. But they sure are quick to sell out that history for the sake of a quick buck. For a company that has always held itself up to be something more special than its competitors, they have no qualms about being first to dive into the muck.

Are subscription fees, game sales, adventure packs, and expansions not enough ways for them to make money? Apparently not. I can just see a board of directors meetings in which some SOE suits proudly brag about the "new revenue streams" they will be creating. "Okay /pizza got us a few bucks, but wait till you see the profit margins on this one!"

The devs are apparently under orders to post it up on the
new Station Exchange Forum and they have really been churning out the feel-good nonsense. I don't blame them, it's a job. I might even buy a used car from them. But I'm not buying this one.

If companies want to try this model, let them. But I didn't sign on to play
Project Entropia. I signed on to play Everquest II. And I listened to them slam the secondary market forever. They are not only sullying the integrity of their own game, they are setting a precedent which underminines the future legal rights and integrity of any other companies that make MMORPG's.

I don't even mind corporations being greedy whores with no morals. I think in the era of Enron and Worldcom we are all sadly used to it.

What I mind is SOE's disgusting hypocrisy. They are whores who villify their fellow whores and dress themselves in holy garb. Whatever good will they may have built up, they just irrevocably damaged forever with this truly sickening announcement.

Here are some links for further commentary on the story:

Wired Magzine: General news coverage. My favorite quote: "The move is surprising because SOE has been one of the fiercest and most vocal opponents of MMO players who spend real money on virtual assets."

Adventuring with Ark: Good commentary. My favorite quote: "It's such a bad idea, even Moorgard's old website, Mobhunter, thinks it's a bad idea."

TerraNova: Argument on both sides. My favorite quote: "If eBaying isn't a problem, why sell objects at all? Why not just give them away to anyone who wants them?...because it SPOILS THE GAME. "

Vanguard Crafters: They have an unofficial poll up as well as an editorial.

Aggro Me will eventually return to it's usual light commentary. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

And I Thought This was a Slow News Week...

This is just a note to let you know that I'll try to put out an article on Smed's new "Station Exchange" by tomorrow evening. I first want to see the "press" he says they are putting out tomorrow. And frankly I just saw the letter and I'm still in a state of total shock. Maybe I shouldn't be but I am. Check out the letter if you haven't seen it yet. Trust me, you'll want to read this one.

Wow. For now I'll be huddling in a corner of my bedroom as I take this in...

Edit: Oh dear me, they actually have a website already. Like I said, if I wake up tomorrow and this is not a belated April Fool's joke you can expect more thoughtful commentary. Still stunned here. Forgive me if I'm being dramatic but to steal SOE's old advertising fluff, it's a whole new world now.

P.S. If you have a few minutes, check out my "In Character" article directly below this. It's not relevant to current events but I kind of like it and I'd rather it didn't get totally lost in the coming firestorm. Thanks.

In Character

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When I first decided to start this blog the thought crossed my mind to write it "in-character" as opposed to as a commentator.

If you don't get what I'm talking about, a typical entry written in an "in-character" format would be something like this:

April 19th, The Temple of Cazic Thule

We're deep in the ruined temple of Cazic-Thule, so deep I can barely remember my name, let alone what sunlight feels like. We have just slaughtered a group of stone-spear toting lizardmen and I pause to wipe the gore and ichor from my face and hair.

Ah, what's the point, I think. There's only more coming.

I hear the rousing fire of bardic tunes and know my compatriots have already engaged the next batch of the ever-flowing enemy.

But I've fallen behind and from a side passage a spear whistles past my head. Three lizards surround me and they're not here to compliment me on my choice of robe. My group is too far ahead to see me and a lump of heavy fear grows in my chest. My control over the elements means nothing with a spear in my throat.

They attack. I do all I can, summoning a thin ward of frost to protect me. It buys me a second of time but the bezerking lizards crack through it with an otherworldly power.

Well, I think, I had a good run. From a clueless refugee to a fearless adventurer. I could have lived an ordinary life, serving ale and counting coppers. I chose the path of glory and I die here and now in this temple forsaken by the gods. Well, at least those gods who are on my side. The gods the lizards intend to sacrifice me to are another matter entirely.

As my high elf heritage demands, I straighten my back and prepare to die nobly.

As I take my last breath, a great wolf bounds into my field of vision. A swirl of leaves surrounds me and I can feel the damp, heavy power of the ancient forest restoring me to health. Warded by the warden, the fear inside me melts into a kernel of hope.

I hear a hoarse battle shout and it sounds like the sweetest melody ever sung. Ebon flashes as our ogre guardian calls to the primal nature of the lizards around me, drawing them instead to himself. He laughs as he easily withstands the punishment that would have killed me in seconds.

It's payback time. With their attention off me I wave my hands, the ancient power of my sai and the Stein of Moggok radiating in the dim corridor. The elements are my bitch, and I mean to make them dance tonight. A ball of fire blasts one lizard, an ice spear fells another. Breathing a prayer of thanks to Westfend, whoever he may be, I ready a third spell. Immolation. The final lizard shrugs it off, the damage is slight. But I am already checking my gear and relaxing, knowing, as he doesn't, that the battle is over and done. The spell grows and grows wracking him with flame until his very dust sizzles into oblivion.

"Thanks for the save," I say. But the next battle has already been joined.

Well, I'm glad I chose to take the path of a commentator as I feel it fills a gap in EQII coverage that the more commercial sites miss. And I do mix in some of my personal game experiences from time to time.

But, if you're looking for a more in-game style blog feel free to check out EQ2Blogs. Most of these blogs are written in an in-character style.

You kind of have to click blindly from the Member List page and hope for the best. I would recommend that they be organized by number of updates rather than alphabetically. By far the most entertaining one I've found is Borr the Troll who writes in poetic style and includes screenshots. Some other okay ones are Bush, Quint, and Tulwen. But poke around yourself.

I should warn you that the site does have some advertisements but they are relatively unobtrusive google adwords.

Perhaps someday I'll share some more in-game tales. They usually involve me getting aggro.

The Other Side of Norrath

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Well, as you probably know already, Live Update 7 has been on the test servers for some time now.

There's some stuff about smoothing griffon rides which I
mentioned a while back and the combat changes that have the forums in a huff. I'm not commenting on the combat changes because they will not be part of the update when they go live. And who knows if SOE will change their mind about them the way they did with making quest rewards no-trade?

But then I read about some upcoming changes so revolutionary, so ground breaking that they will effect gameplay dramatically and change the world of Norrath as we know it. SOE is finally focusing their mighty resources on making the improvements people truly care about.

big asses. Hey, don't blame me, I'm just reporting. Apparently some players went to extensive trouble documenting a shrinking backside problem with screenshots and the like. Moorgard reports that some of the armor models were effecting the rear curvature.

He also steals the humor show with the great line:

*** Art ***- Added more junk to the Elven trunk.

While I am making a little light of the problem, it is true that most people play in the third person and thus are staring at that, uh, area for hours on end.

There is still some confusion over whether the problem is really fixed but I'm sure they will straighten, er curve, the matter out eventually. So, if you're a fan of those with copious rear regions this is your lucky update. Enjoy.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I'll Bring the Fayberry Wine, You Bring the Manticore Pasta

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Do you have a Firiona Vie costume in your closet that's calling out to you and begging to be worn? Have you been dying to step out with your imitation Ebon breastplate of +2 sexiness and +3 charm?

Well, if meeting some of your fellow EQII players in real life doesn't sound more scary than aggroing Venekor, I've got some news for you. Moorgard announced
in this thread that the new site for SOE's FanFaire is now up. There's a pretty hopping forum as well. The FanFaire will be held at the Las Vegas Hilton from June 9th to June 12th.

It sounds to me like they've put together a pretty nice lineup of events. There's a
contest called Mob Madness for EQII in which your group attempts to gain the most xp as SOE throws mobs at you. And if you really want to get in the game, there's a Live Quest as well. If you're another kind of player, there will be a party with dancing and mingling. Of course, you will also have plenty of opportunities to hear from the devs as well as probably a chance to check out the upcoming expansion.

My fake schedule of SOE lectures:
8:00-10:00 Earplugs and Headphones - Ways to Shut out the Real World!
10:00-12:00 Frogloks - Why Haven't You Found Them Yet? Oh Wait.
12:00-2:00 Why Less Players Equals More Fun! - EQII vs. WOW
2:00-4:00 Tips on Parking Your Truckloads of Cash by Smed
4:00-6:00 Memorial Service for
Patches the Kitty
/pizza for Dinner!
8:00-???? Safe Sex during the Norrathian Plague (guest lecturer -

Costumes, of course, are encouraged. Just be careful if you're planning on running around with a gigantic sharpened broadsword - "if you are found with a dangerous weapon in your possession in a public area, you will be asked to return the item to your room immediately." Hmm...I wonder if a copy of WOW counts?

The Vegas Hilton is also home to
Star Trek the Experience an "interactive adventure" which generally gets really positive reviews. Plus you can chow down on snacks like "The Wrap of Khan" or "Tribble Tenders." I'm not making that up. So, if you're a trekkie (or trekker if you prefer) that might be added incentive. And of course, Vegas has plenty of casinos, free shows, live entertainment and roller coasters that are scarier than a Griffon ride.

Here's a
link to a report from a prior FanFaire if you're curious.

While I would love to attend for the sake of getting some great stories and interviews for this site it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to get the time off from work. And the zero copper this site rakes in isn't exactly going to pay for my airfare and accommodations. Hmm...unless bloggers fly free?

If not I'll be counting on you all to take a break from the fun and dancing (hopefully better than the /dance emote) to email me some reports and pictures!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday Humor: Everquest Limericks

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Okay, a little something different for the Friday Humor post today. No links, just some Everquest limericks I attempted to write.

If you don't know what a limerick is, here's an example:

There once was a miser named Clarence
Who Simonized both of his parents;
"The initial expense,"
He remarked, "is immense,
But it saves on the wearance and tearance."
-Ogden Nash

They are a bit harder to write than I thought - not much rhymes with Antonica. I'm only really happy with the fourth one but here goes:

There was a young froglok from Guk
Who felt he was down on his luck;
He went for a quick swim
A pretty high elf fell in -
Now their children play nobly in muck!
Fred was a good upstanding monk
with a penchant to get rather drunk;
He put ale in his java,
Then fell into the lava
Now his gear is a pile of junk!
A halfling lived in Baubleshire
Who never of females did tire;
He propositioned a mage,
She cast blaze in a rage
Now he's half-ling and half-fire!
Bill was a thief who did steal
The Overlord's own royal meal;
Lucan did appear
Bill quivered in fear
"/pizza for today's tasty deal!"
This is a user participation post: Please feel free to email me (click on /who on the right side of the page) with your best MMORPG limericks and I will edit this post to include them.

Okay, some reader contributions already - nice job:

Ark, from over at Adventuring with Ark (check it out - really good stuff) takes me up on my Antonica challenge and comes through with:

There was a young chap from Antonica;
Who played to all hours his harmonica.
When asked to be silent,
he blew yet more violent
And so earned an unfortunate moniker.

Awesome. BBQKing sends in this funny one about everyone's favorite corporation:

There was a young Ogre named Stoney
Whose friends thought him rather a phony;
He started to lie
And put on a tie,
Now he works for the company called Sony!

Vince91 gives us this ditty:

A wood elf joined our party to make it a quorum,
I talked up the sweet thing with a lack of decorum;
We cybered away
Till the end of the day-
But now the screenshots are all over the forum!

Hmm, wonder what the inspiration for that one was?

Okay, more limericks incoming. Giliad, from the Splitpaw server, gives us this excellent trio:

There was a sad troll from Big Bend
Whose face looked like his rear end
Forlorn the poor beast
Begged help from a priest
But some things even magic can't mend.
There was a young man from Starcrest
Who started to shiver mid-quest
"It's your cold steel plate"
Suggested his mate
"In future try wearing a vest.
There was a grim dwarf from Graystone
"I should be taller" he'd moan
He chopped ogres for stew
Washed it down with strong brew
But his width was the only thing grown.


Nicely done, Giliad. Flashman sends in this timely limerick:

There once was a froglok named Jim;
To play one we had to find him.
We searched for months,
Checking every hunch,
Now Sony tells us he's not in!

Don't know if the Flashman name is a tribute to "heroic" Harry Flashman but either way he's got some great stuff on his website, including a link to a flash version of the old Dark Tower electronic boardgame I had as a kid. Awesome!

Virulence from the Mistmoore server reminds us in limerick form that Frogloks are good for more than just playing:

While frogloks are slimy and green,
And probably stringy and lean,
I'll have to admit
When it comes down to it,
They're the tastiest race that I've seen!

So, if you decide to play a Froglok, keep your eyes open around Virulence or you might end up as frog legs soup!

Well, we've got a new one and it's funny. This one comes from Dave on Mistmoore:

There once was a tall skinny elf
Who took his new wand from the shelf.
He didn't intend
To grab the wrong end
And ended up mezzing himself.

Heh, I hate when that happens.

Thanks for all the great contributions everyone! I knew EQII players were a creative lot. Fell free to keep sending them in and I'll keep posting them.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Numbers Game

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Everyone likes rankings: the Top 50 songs, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the top ten worst ideas for a top ten list.

Do you rank your friends and family on a complex chart of loyalty, intelligence and Damage Per Second? Do you often wonder where you fit in on the grand scheme of things?

Well, then check out
eq2.mmorpgstats.com for all your ranking and charting needs.

The site provides rankings based on server, race, and class. Yes, this site will let you know that you are indeed the seventeenth highest Ratonga Warlock on your server. Congratulations.

You can also see guild rankings based on a number of factors, including guild level, which is a refreshing change from the official rankings.

What I really like is that in addition to the rankings, you can create charts of the total number of players on each server based on class and race. Dark Elves are apparently popular on all servers. Must be the embracing Hate and all that. Or maybe the ears. There are also apparently a lot of Guardians and Templars. And you always say you can never find a tank or a healer!

What I find useful is that you can see the race breakdown for each class. Say you are thinking of playing a monk but you are wondering what races are popular options. This site will let you see that Kerra is a popular choice and Erudite, well, not so much. Whether you want to follow the crowd or set off on your own path, this gives you the knowledge to do so.

A note: The site is a work in progress and your server may not be included yet (mine isn't). It also only parses data for those above level 20. There are currently no ads and the interface is easy to use. You can read the creator's thread on the official forums

Well, you better hurry up and log in...those sixteen Ratonga Warlocks ahead of you are probably already leveling like mad!

Froggy Flambe

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The minute I read Moorgard's post on the official forums stating that Frogloks would be unlocked as part of a live event in May (through solo quests for each individual player or server-wide through a larger scale quest) I reached for my flame-retardant hazard suit. Because I knew what was coming...flamewar.

And lo, there were extremes from "SOE is so evil they went back in time and murdered my grandparents when they were children thus causing me to cease to exist!" to "SOE is a shining light of truth and justice unto the world!" Okay, I'm exaggerating but I'm not far off. Now people who read this blog will know that I'm not afraid to either stick up for SOE or to bash them, so I'll try to find some middle ground and look at the facts.

First off, Frogloks are not some uber-jedi class but just another one of 16 classes. They don't hold the answer to life, the universe and everything (which is 42 by the way).

Now, I can definitely understand why people who spent hours and hours trying different ways to unlock the Frogloks might be steamed (notice I did not say "hopping mad" - I'm behaving). Check out
this post I did for some insight into the search for the Frogloks (and a frog joke). I mean there's a whole forum dedicated to the search.

Did SOE mislead the public? There's enough overanalyzing of language in the official thread that I'm not going to go crazy with it here. But here is an
example. In that thread Faarwolf states "When the quest is finished depends on the people on the server." A lie? No, it will still depend on the people on the server. It's just that the majority of people thought that race to the froggie finish was on already.

So, to me it's more of a Public Relations blunder than a betrayal of trust. Let's go back in time a little to the end of beta. Okay, so beta's over but you want to work on the Froglok race a bit more to sharpen it up. I have absolutely no problem with that. Here are two better ways to handle it from a PR stance:

A. State "There are only 15 playable races." Deal with it. If people aren't going to buy your game because they can't play as an anthropomorphic frog that's life. Then, when you finish Frogloks it will be a positive surprise to the player base.

B. State "There are only 15 playable races but Frogloks will be introduced at a later date. We will let you know when you can begin working on unlocking them." This is closer to what they did but just a little clearer. People will know they can not attempt to unlock Frogloks until they see it in the patch notes.

What SOE did, perhaps accidentally, was give the impression that Frogloks were available and it was up to the player-base to unlock them. When they read about all the efforts of people attempting to figure out which quests and so on to do to unlock the Frogloks they could have done some damage control and said, "We want to correct any false impressions you may have. Frogloks will be unlockable by the player base but not yet."

I will edit this post to reflect a dev response to the mayhem which I am betting is in the works.

Edit: As I predicted, the devs did respond. Moorgard apologizes in this thread, stating, "let me say that I wish this had been handled better and I'm sorry for any hurt feelings that have arisen."

On the positive side, most people I play with just think it's cool that Frogloks are coming, and soon. Hopefully they will be nice character models that people will enjoy playing with.

Sigh, perhaps we can move on with our lives now.

To make up for the lack of humor in this post here is another frog joke:

A frog was bored and decided to stop by a fortune teller. He was a male frog and had one thing on his mind.

"Tell me," the frog croaked, "are there any females in my future?"

"Why yes," said the fortune-teller, staring into her crystal ball. "I see a very beautiful young lady in your future."

"Woot!" said the frog. "You have to tell me - where am I going to meet her? A party? Perhaps even online playing Everquest?"

"No," said the fortune-teller. "Next week in her Biology class."

Thank you and good night ladies and gentlemen...I'll be here all week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hold the Presses - Something Free from SOE

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Yes, hold on to your hats or helmets, if you will. SOE is offering you something free.

Okay, it's only a .pdf file and it's a marketing attempt to draw you into their new magazine, but still it's free.

You can check out the official site of the magazine, called SOE Worlds, here and the free preview is here.

My review: For free it's not bad. For $4.99? Meh.

Page 1: Cover - Lucan looking tough. I guess he is on a break from his job delivering pizza.
Page 2: Planetside - Basically an ad for the boxed game set. I'm sure we can expect plenty of these "hard-hitting take-no-prisoners" editorials.
Pages 3-7: Everquest - An account of the accomplishments of selected players and guilds on each server. Each blurb is brief but specific. I guess this is a pretty cool way to garner some fame for your guild.
Page 8: Everquest - A back and forth on soloers vs. groping. Word like kiting, uber and whining put me to sleep.
Page 9: An article which is really just an ad for Station Pass.
Page 10: Everquest - Why it's great, what makes it great, it's general greatness. Yawn.
Page 11: SWG - Boy, they really have some nerve talking up the jedi system.
Pages 12-14: SWG - An article which is just an ad for an expansion pack.
Pages 15-18: Everquest - A very nice article about three different druids, their playstyles and gear. Gets very specific.
Pages 19 - 21: Everquest II - Ah, they saved the best for last. Fifteen pretty good tips. Some I hope you know already (i.e. Don't AOE everything in sight okay???). But, some are helpful. I had no idea you could get a full refund on items you mistakenly bought from a merchant while the merchant window is still open. There is also a handy reference for sending tells to people in other SOE games.

The preview finishes off with yet another glossary of "gaming slang." Yuck.

A note: The magazine will be shipped free if you have a Station Access subscription. They are really pushing the Station Access thing.

This seems a similar move to what NCSoft has been doing for a while. City of Heroes has been issuing a free comic book to all their subscribers for quite some time. Of course, it's the worst comic book I ever read but hey, the price is right. Speaking of free comics you might want to check out the free comics which will be available at many local stores on Free Comic Book Day, which is right around the corner (May 7th).

Hey, with these subscription fees we need all the free stuff we can get right?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Guide Me

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In the upcoming movie, The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy - oops, wait, that's the wrong guide.

The guide I'm talking about is a person who volunteers to help his or her fellow residents of Norrath.

Do you refer to your co-workers as "young padawan?" Do you like being called "Sensei"?

Then maybe you should check out this thread for links and information on the guide program.

Two things I found interesting about the guide thread:

1. Apparently this guide program has actually been in existence for a while and there are already over 100 guides. But how would anyone know about it in order to use it? The only way would be by using Adept III telepathy to read the devs' minds.

2. Scott Adams, of old-school games design fame posts in the thread. And I mean old-school. I remember loading this guy's games on cassette tapes on my Atari 800. My favorite of his text-based adventures was the one about the fun-house. Anyway, what's funny is that Scott took the time to enter all the information into the guide application (and there's a lot of questions), clicked submit, and lost all his info. The guy is a seminal force in computer gaming, just make him a guide already.

Here's some tips for those filling out the application. For the "knowledge" based questions try casting Google or using any of the top four links on the side of this page. I was able to find most answers in under a minute. This isn't the SAT's - the internet police are not going to come and get you if you cheat a little. For the role playing questions just have fun, be creative and go wild.

It all sounds a little too much like work to me, I mean you don't get paid for it or anything. Wait a minute, you're telling me I'm not getting paid for writing this webpage? Where's my lawyer!

Here is my personal test for those who want to become a guide:

Why do you want to become a guide?
A. I want to help people
B. I love power
C. I want to trick people by giving them the wrong advice and then hours laters telling them "You've been Punked!"
D. We get phat lewt right?

The Cove of Decay is in:
B. Guk
C. Google it noob!
D. Your teeth

Translate this sentence: Doodz, OMG, SOE is nerfing my uber twinked alt's own3ring skillkz! WTF!
A. I need help completing this quest
B. I think the game designers have implemented some balancing to this particular class.
C. How are you today, my good sir. Would you care to join me for some tea and crumpets?
D. I play WOW.

Score your own answers - everyone's a winner today!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Cough. Cough. Sniffle.

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Okay, Norrath needs a prescription…but not for the plague. Yes, your local healer is prescribing what’s known in medical circles as a “chill pill.”

First off let’s clarify one thing. The plague does not cause interrupts. Not for spell casting, not for tradeskilling, not for anything.

Now don’t get me wrong, I find it damn annoying. I hate looking green. I hate looking like an idiot when I scratch myself in the middle of a fight. I hate coughing on mobs before I attack them.

But that’s the idea. I pretty much planned to ignore this plague thing, because frankly it just didn’t interest me that much. But now I really want it cured.

Give SOE credit, this event is working. By making it so troublesome they are drawing people into the storyline who might otherwise have passed it by.

So let’s go out there and end the darn thing before another vendor spits phlegm on me.

What can we do? Well, a person
in this thread saved a traveler from plagued creatures and got a cool reward. But on a bigger scale, this thread gives some insight into the main quest which appears to involve both crafting and adventuring.

Let's relax with the “OMG my character is green and I’m going to play WOW now!” and try to have some fun with it – some times things can annoy you in a good way.

If you're still in a bad mood here's some medical humor:

Doctor: What's the status of the boy who swallowed the quarter?

Nurse: No change yet.

Okay that was corny. But how about this? Forum member Itazzy posted this hilarious screen shot of the statue of Queen Antonia Bayle vomiting. Tell me that’s not funny.

Now if only there was a quest to find the cure for lag in Lavastorm that would be great too. Oh, and the mysterious sickness mobs get called, “Systemic Disappearing into Walls-itis.”
Oops, sorry - this cough is making me cranky.

Friday, April 08, 2005

PvP Coming to EQII (And This Time I Mean It!)


Well, it looks my
recent April Fool’s joke about PvP in EQII isn’t really a joke after all. Gee, if they implement my “bloodlust” stat and “Blood Geyser” skill I’m really going to be freaked out.

The drama started when (I read it
on Warcry first but you can find it other places) Chris Kramer of SOE announced that the first expansion pack for EQII would be shown at E3. For those that don’t know E3 begins May 19th so we don’t have too long to wait.

I know some of my level 50 friends are quite eager to use up some of that adventuring vitality yet again. Of course, there will always be those who say, “fix the problems with the game first before you release expansions.” But I feel a large segment of the player population is ready for it or will be in a few months.

Kramer (Chris not Kosmo) also mentioned that SOE will be “dropping a few other mindbombs.”

Hmm…mindbombs, eh? Sounds a bit scary.

Well it looks like the great Smed launched one of those mindbombs a bit early in his
Letter to the Community. Oh, Smed, you mindbomber you.

He shows his softer side by mentioning
baby Firiona but he also states that SOE will be “taking the first step towards introducing PvP competition with the introduction of a new type of combat!”

Wow, I can pretty much guess what the most popular topic on the official forums is going to be for foreseeable future.

Moorgard gives us a bit more information in this post
, stating that it will not be “full-on PvP” nor will there be PvP servers or “disputed zones.” Arenas anyone?

I’m actually wondering if they’re working on a type of contest rather then the PvP most of us are probably envisioning. For example, a team of good and a team of evil players enter an arena. They both fight as many mobs as they can and the team who kills the most wins. But that’s just conjecture. If you want more guesses, I'm sure you can find plenty on the forums.

I'm not going to make any comments on the suitability of PvP in EQII until I find out just what it's all about. So I advise everyone who is getting overheated to just chillax (concurrently chill and relax) and at least wait to see what happens.

Hmm, even though Smed's letter is a big story for the
EQIIPlayers news page for some reason I like the story directly under it a little bit better. I'm not sure why...must be all these mindbombs going off.

Hmm...I'm Killing Dragons on Tuesday, How's Wednesday for You?

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Ole Bald Angus the Monk has a typically funny and insightful article up concerning, amongst other things, the positives and negatives (well mainly negatives) of being in a guild.

"You can't even meet people in-game anymore, unless they've made a new un-tagged guy to get away from their stifling little guild and actually go out and see the world and meet the people innit."

Well, I like my guild but let's say you decide you are going to be unguilded. But let's also say you are still dead set on doing raids or at least dead set on getting the "magic blue shoes" that drop from them. Is there a solution? Maybe, with the help of a nifty new website.

It's called
EQ2Raid.net and it's basically an online calendar separated by server. Let's say you have a character on the Guk server and you want to get a group together to do a raid or a quest on a specific day. Simply post the information and hopefully people will sign up. Or you can search for an event and sign up yourself.

The site unfortunately makes you sign up before you can search for events but it's relatively painless. They don't appear to have any advertisements at present but I used a semi-disposable e-mail address anyway.

There are apparently 1,200 users signed up already although there was only one event posted for my server. I did find some more events on other servers though, along with some pretty funny joke entries like the "Camping the Login Screen Event." There are now forums as well.

Angus has some better solutions to the problem later on in his article but for now maybe this site is a step in a positive direction. It would be really great if SOE took a similar calendar and put it in-game. I'm sure that would get a great deal more people involved and would be very convenient. Stick it right on the mailbox so when you're in town you can check your mail and sign up for a raid later in the night.

"Sorry, Aunt Betty, we're raiding Deathfist Citadel on Wednesday! You should have booked your birthday earlier..."