Thursday, November 30, 2006

Violent Video Games...bah..humbug!

I was trying to scrounge around for that study about violent video games that I mentioned yesterday, but Bill beat me too it. I suggest you take a look at Dubious Quality...he's got all of the latest info on his site. Take a look at his recent entries: "A Little More" and "The Stupid Wagon: All Aboard!". The link that I was mentioning is also there, and then some.

Never believe a study when it comes out, on any subject...ever. Especially when it comes to this subject. The only reason these eggheads do studies is for continued funding. The only reason people use these studies is for political gain. Period.

You hear of clowns like Jack Thompson shouting to the wind about "murder simulators". Well, I hope you guys have hunting next on your attack list. In Canada, I believe you can get your hunting license at least it was when I got mine. When you hunt, you use a real gun with real bullets. You're aiming at a real living creature that will bleed real blood and die. If I wanted to, I'd be able to make the connection from hunting deer to killing humans in a heart beat. But, the hunting and gun lobbies have more I'd loose. Hunting, fishing and such are political "momma and apple pie" issues. Video games, on the other hand, have no lobby organization and are therefore an easy target for political points and research funding.

D out.


No....not WoW...but Wow.

Bill over at Dubious Quality (a great site...) was gracious enough to post this site on his blog. That's the great thing about Bill...he always supports newcomers to the blogging field. Thank you Bill.

Also, Brent at Virgin Worlds has also linked me on his site as well. Brent's site is MMOs all the time and he also does a weekly podcast. Awesome stuff there if you want to keep up on MMOs.

Thanks guys...and welcome new readers. Remember, I'm always up for way to make this site better, so don't hesitate to contact me.


Where's my nutmeg!!

No...this post will have nothing to do with nutmeg or any craving that I may or may not have for said nutmeg. I'm in one of those bare with me :)

An new Indie MMO conference has been announced. It's going to be held in Minneapolis, April 14 and 15. I think this can only bring great things to the MMO space. Right now, the market is just flooded with elves and orcs. I think that indie development may be the only one that can save us from this. I don't mind elves and orcs, really I don't, but we need a bit of a shake things up. Oh...oh...I've got it...elves with jetpacks.

Another review of EQ2 EoF. I found myself in EB games last night to do some Christmas shopping (yes, I'm a guy and I did Christmas shopping before Dec.24...I hear that my membership to the male sex is being revoked). I came very close to picking this up. I have pressure all around me to get this expansion. Solid reviews like this one and an EoF podcast review over at don't make it any easier. With the changes in Eve, playing WoW and the Beta I'm in, I just don't have the time to spend in Norrath right now.

Speaking of EB Games....if I can go off of MMO news for a sec. My local EB had a working demo of the Wii. All I can say is wow...what a great machine. I played a racing game and you use the controller as a steering wheel....genius. I'm very torn about getting a Wii for Christmas this year. I usually never get a technology when it first comes out, for obvious reasons. Besides Wii Sports and Zelda, there is really nothing there that would sell the system to me. But after playing it and knowing how much the girls would like it....ahhhhhhh....crap! The fact that my wife would actually murder me for getting it also tips the scale a bit. Watch the obituaries.

Revelations I is live in Eve right now. Got to play a bit last night. Not much to say about it. I tried the new map...blew up some pirates and saw the wrecks that replaced the standard loot cans. It still looks and feels like the Eve I was playing last week before the patch. are all things in Eve, more time will tell.

Here's an interesting perspective about Ryzom and Nevrax's current problems. The author made me think of another reason that I really didn't get into Ryzom, besides the art direction....because I really did have to. The free trial given to players of Ryzom is something we really don't see in MMOs. You're given the entire newbie island experience for free and for as long as you want to play. No 10 or 15 day limits...for as long as you want. Granted...they put a level limit on your progress, but you could spend a lot of time playing Ryzom without spending a dime. It's an interesting thought, but I'm wondering if things would have played out differently if Nevrax went with a standard 15 day trial.

D out.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mother may I....

One of the founding principles of this site is common sense...well, let me re-phrase, about 95% of what I post here will be about gaming, mostly MMOs. The other 5% you'll have to put up with me venting about stupid shit that I see in general. it goes.

So, my daughter had a doctor's appointment yesterday. It got canceled and I brought her back to school (she's in grade 1). We stopped at the office, we signed an attendance sheet and I brought her to the classroom. Called my wife, told her about the appointment and I mentioned that I met her teacher when I brought The Boo to her class. My wife said something then that got my attention, "You mean they let you do that?". I said, "Well, yeah...". I got a thinkin that maybe I just slipped by them. It was kind of abnormal for a non-teacher to be roaming the halls of a school. Come to think about it, as I was walking the hallways, I did get the "I hope I don't get in trouble" feeling. This is completely ridiculous. I'm there to drop off my daughter to her class and yet I feel like I'm breaking into someone else's house to steal their 40 inch flat screen.

Flash back to last year. Same child...swimming lessons. There was a proud parent there with a camera. This parent's kid just happened to be in the same class as The Boo. The head lifeguard saw the camera and ran... I'm not kidding... ran over to the parent and proceeded to tell her that she needed the permission of every other parent in order to take pictures of her kid. She did. I, of course laughed and said "sure", and so did every other parent. Also, every other parent thought it was ridiculous that such a ritual was needed for a parent to take pictures of their own kid in swim class.

My point? It seems that we've gotten to the point where we assume that every person who enters a school or takes pictures at a pool or park is doing so for some deep and dark reason. It's gotten to the height of stupidity. I agree...we should have our kids brought up in a safe environment, but right now we're so concerned about safety that everyone and everything is threat.

D out

Gods and Heroes, MMO No No's and CoH and MMO addiction

There is a new Gods and Heroes interview here. This game is starting to intrigue really is. I'm not really sold on the whole squad based combat thing though. With some exceptions, most implementations of squad based games have been less then stellar. Your minions are usually quite stupid and are more a hindrance than anything else. If they flop on the implementation, lets hope you can turn the minions off and that the difficulty scales accordingly. What really interests me about this game is the lore potential. I love Rome mythology and I think an MMO in that world will be a lot of fun. The combat animation looks really good, but I hope its not all flash and no substance. put up and interesting editorial here. I've got soo much to to say about this article, I don't know where to begin really. The article goes over some current pet peeves of the MMO industry. Although his grievances make sense on the surface, they do lack some depth of thought. His first gripe is with MMO developers making drastic changes to the game. So, out of recorded MMO history, only one game has really done a complete overhaul of its game mechanics, much to the chagrin of the community in question. That game would be Star Wars: Galaxies. Other MMOs, to my understanding, have changed themselves gradually over time with patches and/or added content. Dude...having one game burn us with a sweeping change does not make it a peeve with the whole industry. We have not seen a trend of MMOs doing this, and until we do, lets chalk it up as a blip.

Second peeve was the over promises of MMO companies. This is true, they do over promise, however; we all know the bigger peeve you should have is "why do I keep believing them?".

"Talk to your testers" is next. Although I'm not privy to every software verification process that each organization has, I have worked in this field for over 10 years. Project Management groups have a tough job. At the end of the day, they have to make a risk call on quality given the input they get from the verification (or testing) groups. They'll usually make this call at whatever quality milestones that they have internally. Trust me, in more cases then not, verification is very much part of the "ship/no-ship" discussion. What you see in the MMO software industry is common place in every company in North America. I would be interested to see if their quality slips are larger than other industries, but until I see those numbers, I'll assume its on par with ever other company that delivers software.

The last is peeve has to do with somewhat with the issue of power-leveling in MMOs. There is only one game that takes away the power leveling that we find in the majority of MMOs, and that is Eve Online. You won't find any WoW power levelers taking up a game like would drive them nuts. If you want 'fix" the power leveling, then one solution would be to tie in the leveling system to a skill-based real-time system. Think of it this way: What would happen if EQ2, Eve online and Ryzom had a baby (leave the sick threesome jokes at the door...please)?

Some good stuff happening over at COH. Issue 8 is live. Although there is nothing in there that would make me come back to COH, it's good to see that they're continually evolving the game.

Oh for the love of Pete. When will they stop? This is such a load of crap! MMOs are not addictive...period. They surveyed 7000 online gamers and found that 12 percent show signs of addiction. Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit. Let me ask them this... out of that 12 percent, how many already have an addictive personality type? It kinda reminds me of one survey they (not the same people) did a while back concluding that people who play violent video games tend to be more violent. What they didn't tell you was that the people that they surveyed where ALREADY prone to violent behavior to begin with. I'll scratch around for that survey and related columns to it...just don't have it laying around right now. What will really irk me later on is the people who will use this to get out the "ban stick". You know...the "professionals" who think that the rest of us need to be protected because a small minority of gamers out there don't know when to flip the off switch.

D out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Funny as Hell...

Well...I mentioned how I found it weird that Ryan from MOG was on a WoW podcast. all need to listen to Episode 41. I listen to MOG every week, and Ryan has a certain style. That "style" was sorely missing during that round I know why. Ryan appearing on a WoW podcast is like finding Larry Flynt at a Bible study meeting.

Lol...that guy cracks me up.

Warhammer Interview and Mystery Beta

Great interview regarding Warhammer Online over at You can read the details here. And yes, the interviewer does ask the stupid question about the concerns over the similar art styles between WoW and Warhammer Online. I think Sanya Thomas addressed the concern quite nicely.

I remember talking to some of my guild mates about Warhammer...the first thing out of their mouths was, "oh...they stole from WoW". I preceded to inform them that Warhammer's art has been clearly defined since the 1980's, but they'd have none of that, "Ohhh...well, then they shouldn't have made the game like that anyway." I think this will continually be a thorn in EA Mythic's side until people truly get to see what they're bringing to the table. WoW fanboys will never be convinced that the orcs in WoW really were inspired by Warhammer art.

Yes, I've been invited to a beta just yesterday. No, I cannot tell you what it is. It is one of the MMOs that was on my radar screen. I hate NDAs...I really think they are, well, dumb. If I find a way to get info to you without breaking the NDA, I will do so. Once the NDA is fully lifted, I'll be sure to have a full preview with screen shots.

D out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

WoW Podcast Roundtable

There is a great round table discussion over at WoW Podcast.

They've got some of my favorite podcast personalities, including Brent from, Ryan from Massively Online Gamer and Brendan from Actually, it was really funny to hear Ryan on a WoW podcast (those who listen to Massively Online Gamer understand why)

Some interesting topics, not just about WoW, but with MMOs in general.

They talked about potential MMOs that are coming out that can steal away from WoW. I'm not really sure about the value of the question. Think of it this way. WoW currently has around 7 million subscribers. If any MMO comes along and only steals even just 3% of their players, 210000 subscribers, then they can call their MMO a success. If you look at the latest MMO charts, this is a nice comfortable average and puts them in the same number league as EQ2, Eve, UO etc. Not too shabby. I think the better question is what feature set would an MMO have to have in order to beat WoW? That gets us thinking about what new innovations are needed for the next generation to be successful. Besides, if the average MMO gamer is anything like me (and God help you if you are), then they'll probably keep their subscription to WoW while playing another MMO. This, of course, wouldn't hurt their numbers at all.

They also talked about communities in MMOs. Is WoW's community worse than others? The two best communities that I've come across hands down are Ryzom and Eve. The communities there are helpful, respectful and mature. WoW, IMHO, is one of the worst that I have had the pleasure of interacting with. Brent brought up the reason why. It's because of the large numbers and the anonymity that those large numbers bring. Just the other day, my wife was doing a quest killing something or other with her friend. This other toon was also hunting the same thing. This player got pissed at this and started to fear the mobs and proceed to call her and her friend "bitches" etc. There were plenty of mobs there...he just didn't like the idea of others hunting in the same area. It would be like going to the grocery store, and then verbally abusing the person picking from the same bushel of apples as you are. If you did that, there would be real social consequences. In the virtual world, there are no consequences for acting like an anti-social prick.

That's it for now.

D out.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Revelations on Tuesday

Eve is being updated on Tuesday, Nov. 28. Patch notes are here. The list is huge...and this is just part I of III.

Exciting news for Eve.

The Mario Dash

We have a Gamecube. I got the system because we have little kids and Nintendo is really good at gaming systems for that market. My daughter is playing Mario Kart as we speak. When she first started playing, she'd gravitate towards every obstacle that was put in front of, mushrooms, those big canon balls that bark. You get the picture. Anyway, it amazes me how quickly she learns how to stay on the road and to avoid obstacles.

Given what the Gamecube has in terms of entertainment value, I'm really excited about getting a Wii. I just need to work on the wife a bit more *wink*.

This is a great article worth reading. I really hope the people at Blizzard are thinking this way. How great would WoW be if:

  • We had Eve's player run world.
  • Had DDO's loot and trap system.
  • player housing.
  • World PvP, where boarders shift with ongoing territory disputes., I'd never leave.

Friday, November 24, 2006

More Eve Fanfest and Warhammer

I truly believe that Warhammer has the potential to be the WoW killer...I really do. No, not because of the orcs look the same (please look up who came first) but because I think the game play, specifically pvp, will outshine WoW in every way. There is a nice little write up about the current state of the game over at Warhammer Alliance. Of interesting note is the take on quests. The author tells us that there is a real sense of purpose in the quests and that they are very well written and executed. Please let this be true. If I see one "go kill 10 turtles...just because" quest, I'll scream.

More info from Eve fanfest regarding Revelations II and III. Although I'm really looking forward to the changes coming on Nov. 28 (Revelations I), Revelations II looks like it will really add some spice to the world of Eve. What I couldn't believe is that these guys are laying plans for Eve over the next 10 years. Thats insane! A good insane..but still insane.

D out.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

MMO Currency

This is interesting.

Over at Terra Nova they created a chart comparing the various online currencies to each other with Monopoly being the baseline.

Very kewl.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The trials of herding cats

So my daughter had her 6th birthday party last weekend and great fun was had by all. By all, I mean the kids. We took them all to a glow-in-the-dark mini putt place around town here. Now, mini-putt is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Putting in general is one of the toughest parts of golf and is something I'm always struggling with in my golf game. Now throw 5 and 6 year olds into the mix and you have organized chaos with just a hint of anarchy.

We all split up in 3 groups of 4 (12 kids in total) got our balls and putters and off we went. It was me, my wife, a family friend and a host bringing the kids through the course. We had cake and was all good and a job well done by the establishment we went to.

The three of us had a talk in the van on the way home, and it was amazing to me how similar our groups were. We each had one hyper-active kid who obviously forgot his/her Ritalin that day (I say that tongue-in-check of course) . This kid was usually all over the place...using the putter as a sword, a bat, a spear or a sledge hammer. You usually had to tell this kid one or a combination of the following phrases every 2 minutes:
  • put that down.
  • move out of the way so others can hit.
  • no, its not your turn yet.
  • we're over, over here!
  • don't pick up your ball.
  • stop climbing on that.
The other three kids were usually fine....but there is always one kid in every bunch who acts like his/her pants are on fire.

In the end, the only that is important is that these kids had a good time and that the Birthday Girl remembers this when she's 80. The fact that mom and dad were sapped by the end of this will be nothing but a footnote in the end.

D out.

Nevrax, Echoes of Faydwer and CoH

More news about the ongoing problems with Nevrax, the company who brought us the innovative MMO Ryzom. The company is going the way of the dinosaur. I do, however; believe that the game will go on with another company, simply because a game like this has to much potential in it. It's never good to see a company go under like this because there are real people working there. I wish everyone there good luck. Who knows, maybe this will work out to be a positive for all involved.

Up to now, I've been avoiding the inevitable. I haven't purchased the EoF expansion for EQ2. Why? Same reason I gave before. I just haven't been able to get into EQ2 again and I don't want to spend money on a game I won't play. I've been playing WoW and Eve almost exclusively these past couple of months and both are expecting expansions. Eve with Kali this month, and WoW with BC in January. How the heck would I be able to fit EoF in there? Answer...I can't, even though EQ2 is the better game (...go figure...). Add to that, is the fact that I'm close to pulling the trigger on Medieval: Total War II (waiting on Bill Harris' review on that one). It's a great time to be a gamer, but man, my head is just swimming. From what I read, EoF is being well received by the community. If you're an EQ2 fan and you don't have this, well, shame on you.

Issue 8: To Protect and Serve is going to be hitting CoH really soon. There are lots of features going in for heroes this time including a revamp of the Faultline zone, new mission types and more. I played CoH when it first came out. I really didn't plan on sticking with the game. I bought it more as a stop-gap game to fill in the time until WoW and/or EQ2 came out. stuck and I ended up delaying my purchase of WoW and EQ2. The game play of CoH is highly repetitive though. It’s combat and only combat...nothing else to do but beat up bad guys. But it ever cool to fly around in tights.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stargate Worlds info

I'm a really big fan of both Stargates..SG-1 and Atlantis. So when I heard about the MMO, my mouth literally dropped. No word on features yet...but I'm sensing that they'll be announcing stuff soon.

There are some new screen shots of the game here. Suffice to say, they look gorgeous.

Also, they've started a podcast. I haven't listened to it yet, but I plan on doing so tomorrow morning.

D out.

Ryzom on Death Watch

Ahhh crap!

I played Ryzom, and although it didn't stick with me (mostly didn't like the art direction), I do respect the innovation of that game. Lets hope this is a minor blip.

Jeff Butler on GFW Radio, Vanguard Radio and Conan

There is, what I think, is a great interview of Jeff Butler over at GFW Radio. It's the podcast from Nov. 10. I really like Jeff's take on what features an MMO should have. His views on the current MMO landscape are also very interesting....he plays WoW, fyi.

I was not going to get Vanguard due to the rumor that this MMO was going "old school". Jeff and the guys over at Sigil have been doing their best to get the word out there that this game will be casual friendly and the barrier for entry will be quite manageable. I must say, after listening to this interview, I will be getting Vanguard. I'm always weary of getting an MMO when it first comes out due to my EQ2 experience, but I think I'll have to plow through that for this game.

Vaguard Radio has its made its debut here. I'm glad that someone has started this for Vanguard and I really want to know more about this upcoming MMO. My only criticism is that they need to be less monotone and put some excitement and passion into their voices. So far, they haven't found their "zing"...but they'll find it. Good luck guys, and you know I'll be listening.

As we all know, Conan is coming to the MMO space. One of the more "controversial" aspects of this game was the single player experience that they offered for levels 1-20. Originally, in those levels you're on a destiny quest and you solo the whole thing. In the current Beta progress journal, they've added some co-op elements to those levels. During the day, you'll be able to group up and do guests and dungeons with your friends. At night, when you go to sleep, you trigger the solo guest again. I have some reservations about this. From this mechanic, what happens if I never visit a bed at an in from levels I skip the whole destiny thing? Conversely, can I choose to stay in solo mode? We'll see how this all fleshes out, but I'm really curious about this now.

One more comment about Conan. For a game that was rated Best of E3, it sure is being quiet. There is not much buzz about this game. Makes my head itch... (don't ask)

D out.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Curt Schilling Interview

Can find it here.

Not much there really, more of a " are ya" kind of deal. We shouldn't expect much with the interview, considering the GMG announcement just occurred last week. He says all of the right things, as expected. I'm looking forward to see what they have in mind over the coming years.

What was interesting, and what I didn't know, is that Curt still has one more season to go with the Red Sox. I'm sure this is not a problem, but it does distract him a bit during the first year of development of their entry title.

D out

MOG Video Cast

The guys over at Massively Online Gamer have posted a video podcast about their trip to Iceland. informative and funny as always.

What was really cool for me was the graphics upgrade to the ships. Up to now, I didn't see any screenies of it. All I can say is wow....its like night and day.

You can check out the video podcast here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Eve News

Some really great news coming out of Eve Fest 2006. Some of the highlights:

  • Avatars coming to Eve. Meaning you can get out of your ship. There is even some hints that you'll be able to walk around your ship. For now, I think the devs are just planning for walking around the space stations for social interaction of players. However, if they pull this off, this opens the doors to all sorts of possibilities.
  • Graphics update. Some new graphics for DirectX 9.0. They also showed off some DX10 stuff as well.
  • Of course, the in game voice chat is coming as well. Gary and Ryan, over at Massively Online Gamer did a great video cast interview with the folks over at CCP. They demonstrated this new voice communication. It really does. It sounded a heck of a lot clearer then Vent or TS.

Eve is going to get big people...really big. With the changes coming in Kali, this will make Eve one of the best MMOs out there. It’s these kinds of innovations which will keep me playing this game. Speaking of some missions to do.

D out.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why I don't get in on the first floor

There seems to be a major flaw in the character of some gamers. And I've noticed this especially of the last couple of years, and it really hit home this year. We have no patience to let things mature. As soon as something new and shiny comes out, we've got to get it now, now, now...not 2 weeks from now...but NOW!

The PS3 is hitting stores today and as I write this, the very doors of these stores are opening up to those fools who like to line up for the latest gadget. I can count on my one hand how many good games you can get with this console at launch, and the staying power of the Blue-Ray standard is questionable at best. People, you're not buying a game console. You are buying Sony's attempt at pushing an HD standard. If Blue-Ray fails, the PS3 fails and you're left with a $700+ paperweight. Also, you know there is a larger chance of hardware failures when they first come out.

This character flaw not only shows itself in consoles, but in games as well. EoF just came out a couple of days ago and, of course, we rush out to buy it, install it, then bitch when it doesn't work as we want it too. Well, thats what happens when you buy a piece of software when it first comes out, instead of waiting for it to be patched and stabilized by the developers who designed it.

Let me make this clear. You get in on the first floor of any technology, whether it be games or consoles, then you should expect problems like not being able to use it for a couple of weeks. Expect failures. Expect it to break something. Don't expect it to work....period. How many times do we as gamers have to bang our collective heads against the wall before we realize that we're insane?

...end rant.

D out.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Non MMO stuff

Stardock, one of my favorite game developers has a new game coming out in the near future called Sins of a Solar Empire. Not the best title in the world IMHO, but this company delivered for GalCivII, so I jumped at the chance to get this one.

It’s been described as a Homeworld-ish real-time 4X game (I know...I'm not sure what that means either. The wiki says this about it:

"According to the official Sins website, the primary feature that sets Sins apart from other RTS titles is the seamless integration of a real-time epic strategy mode with real-time tactical fleet combat. Possibly for the first time in the genre players will be able to zoom back and forth from gods-eye view to individual battles, all within the same screen, in real-time."

I pre-ordered it yesterday. Pre-orders do get into the beta which will be available this winter.

I've said it before here. There are not many companies like Stardock around, please support these guys so they can continue to innovate and make great games for us.

D out.

New stuff for site

Hey All,

You'll notice I'm revamping a bit around here.

There is now a newsfeed on right-hand reading pane of the site. I'd like to thank Brent over at Virgin Worlds for the instructions on how to set that up. This gives me more time to do editorials instead of linking stuff in my blogs.

I've added more web and podcast links that are on interest to this site as well. I'm kinda lazy by nature, so not all of the sites I usually visit on a daily basis are there yet. So you'll see that list grow.

I plan to grow the site more as I learn about the features that I have at my fingertips here.

Hope you enjoy.

D out

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WoW v2.0, Carpe Diem

WoW v2.0 is now on test realms. For those who want to test...get over there and report back immediately. This is obviously the big patch to lay the groundwork for BC. There are huge changes to PvP...making it a bit more attractive to yours truly.

I had a couple of friends grind their way to Rank 14. They spent 8-10 hours a day PvPing in WoW in order to get it...hehehe....SUCKERS!! I kid....I kid cause I care. I foresee these people getting "grandpa" on us...foretelling us of the days where they had to travel 100 miles in the snow, uphill, fighting mountain lions in order to get to school. The grandpa term is very apt in this case because I'm sure diapers were involved in order to achieve Rank 14.

For subscribers of FilePlanet, there is yet another Beta being offered there...this time for Carpe Diem. This MMO looks like another Korean I won't be touching it with a 10 foot pole. But hey, if you like the fruity, tra-la-la-laaa grind of anime MMOs then check it out.

And of course, from all reports, Echoes of Faydwer has hit store shelves. Feedback from the beta was positive in terms of the features added, but we'll have to see how its received by the general public.

D out

Updates on GMG...

Here are some comments from Moorgard and Blackguard regarding the recent press release from Green Moster.

The Green Monster Skinny

So in late September, highly respected community manager Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder left SOE and EQ2 for greener pastures. At the time, nobody knew why he left, he just did. He gave a great goodbye on the forums and sighted taking some chances in his personal life...whatever that means. Great guy...did a lot of great work for the EQ2 community.

Sometime in October, another highly respected designer for EQ2,
Steve “Moorgard" Danuser also left SOE for greener pastures.

Two very good guys left Sony, and now we know the "where", the "what" and to some extent the "why". They've joined Curt Schilling's new game company Green Monster Games to work on an MMO.

Some other big names there as well, including: Erik Theisz (also from SOE), Michael Woods (SOE), Brian Jones (Titan Quest) and Brian Labore (AOE II).

So we've got a great core team of heavy hitters working for a self-described MMO nut (Schilling's description...not mine).

How will this play out? Well, we all know what Schilling likes and where the core team comes be on the look-out for another EQ-like MMO from these guys. It will probably the Elf/Orc/Goblin type of MMO with some different twists on gameplay. Lots of people say Vanguard is really EQ2.5...I would not be surprised if they put out Vanguard 2.5-ish type of game.

Regardless of what I think, we should all wish these guys good luck in their future plans. I would also think we should really demand out of them some fresh and innovative ideas out of their MMO...cause God knows the MMO space really needs it.

D out.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Curt Schilling and Green Monster Games

I'll talk about this more tomorrow morning, but I thought I'd put this up while its still hawt.

A very impressive list of names for the core team.

D out.

DDO Death and WoW Battlegrounds

The good people over at Turbine have announced that DDO will be changing the death penalty. some good stuff in there, including the possibility of the death penalty decay for inactive characters....good news for casual players who's progress is hampered by tough penalties when dying.

Also, The Burning Crusade is getting a new battleground, no idea if its in beta.

Brent over at Virgin Worlds brought up a really good point about long betas. He essentially said that games that have a long beta tend to loose their luster at release because players get to experience all the new content. This is especially true, he says, because of the lack of NDA for BC and the delay to January 16th. Well, this is a relatively new announcement (Nov.13/2006). I'm not in the BC beta (nor do I want to be, for the exact reasons Brent mentions), but I don't think this has really been shown to players until now. Although, I'm sure beta players will get to test this thing out. Regardless, this may be the start of a trend by Blizzard to announce things like this up to the launch...maybe even saving stuff until can dream.

WoW Performance so far...

Very good article regarding the expansion rate (or lack of) in WoW over at Ten Tone Hammer. Blizzard's really behind the ball in terms of expansions, we all know that. Let's face it, if any other MMO waited 2 years for an expansion they'd have a big problem on their hands. But its not any other MMO, its WoW.

Another article regarding content updates and how it relates to DDO. DDO has, by far, the best dungeon/instance experience in an MMO to date IMHO. I'm very tempted to fire this one up again to see the changes since I left. I may make it a point to do that before TBC hits.

Played a bit of EQ2 again last night. Again, I only played for about 30 minutes before logging...again, I have no idea why.

D out

Monday, November 13, 2006


In my "I'm Back" post on Nov. 8, I seemed to hint that WoW and EQ2 are equivalent to each other...let me clarify, they are not. I gave it some extra thought, and I guess one of the main reasons why I can't get into EQ2 right now is because I've put in a lot of time and effort into WoW. To really get into EQ2, I would have to stop playing WoW for a bit and if I did that, I would feel left behind (compared to my guildies) and ill prepared for BC.

Hands down, EQ2 is the better really is. It has more content, better graphics, and deeper game play. These positive attributes of EQ2 will be even more true with the expansion hitting store shelves within the next couple of days.

Here's how most of my play time goes these days: I log into EQ2 for 5-10 minutes, my thoughts go to "Oh, my WoW guild is raiding BWL in 30 minutes....I'd better log on", I log into Wow and raid. When my guild is not doing something, I play Eve or I help my wife with her character.

Another hit against EQ2 for me is that I really have no one to play with. I did at the start. We had a good solid group there from level 1-45...then holidays came around and we just never got back into it. Contrast to WoW, the guild I'm in is great. We have fun shooting the shit even if we're hitting MC for the kazillionth time. I don't care so much about the loot that drops, but the company is outstanding. I be lonely in EQ2 /cry.

I guess it goes to show you, the people you play with really make a difference in the MMO you stick with.

D out

Sunday, November 12, 2006

CCP and White Wolf

This is exciting news for Eve and CCP fans. I expect some really good things to come from this merger.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Burning Crusade Date

Forgot to mention this, but Blizzard has announced that The Burning Crusade will be available January 16. Don't set your hopes on that date my friends. Blizzard is a real stickler for quality and won't even blink if they feel they need to push the date out. If you want to avoid disappointment, get into the mindset of "it'll be out when its later".

Until then...grind away my friends...grind away.

D out.

EQ2 Combat changes,, LOTRO beta journal

EQ2 combat changes are now on the test server for everyone to check out. Details of the changes can be found here.

From what I can gleam from the change list, it looks like an across the board scale down of everything combat related, including mobs, so the actual impact of the change is in the air. I think the reason for the changes might be a little more clear once EoF comes out. Player reaction is mixed as one would expect...some calling "nerf" others saying its a "room to grow" patch. is offering 50 Ryzom accounts in a giveaway. You can try the trial island for Ryzom for free, just go here to get the client to start owe it to yourself. There is also a contest for 200 2 Moons beta keys. Check out the details here.

New beta journal is up for Lord of the Rings Online. Would love to get in the beta for this one. Information I've seen so far indicates that although this title really isn't bringing anything new tot he MMO space, but it is fun to play. We shall see...oh yes...we shall see.

D out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

NWN2, Oblivion and all that jazz

So, there is a little bit of a controversy over at 1UP regarding a pulling of a review of NWN2. Great article over at Joystick regarding this very issue. I really don't know what to think about this right now...and I'm not sure I really care. Jeff Green seems to indicate that NWN2 never really had a chance with this reviewer given his bias on this genre. far as I know, every reviewer has a favorite genre. You see it all the time...RPGers review sports games, FPS fans reviewing MMOs etc. Bah! Regardless...I've got the game right now and I've played it for about 3 hours. Wait till they patch this thing a couple of times and some user made content comes out.

I've mentioned Oblivion before in this blog and they're coming out with an expansion...sorta...kinda. You can read about the details here.

Ryzom. This really is a great game and for once very original in almost every way. The artwork, the game play. People who like Eve and the original Everquest should try this one out. I plan to reinstall that one on my computer soon. If you want a great review, I suggest heading over to Virgin Worlds (see the link over to the right there) and listen to podcast #30. Brent knows his stuff and gives an honest review of the game.

Warhammer Online is shaping up, at least for me, to be the WoW killer...and that’s my prediction for the year (cause I can only mentally handle one prediction per year). Its very gritty looking yet still looks like a video game, as opposed to the realistic feel of an EQ2 or Vanguard. Where I think its going to shine is its PvP implementation. As far as I know, the whole world will be build around no instancing of PvP. Think something like Dark Age of Camelot. I'm really looking forward to this one.

I played WoW last night. Our guild raided BWL. This instance for me is starting to wear a bit all end game instances in WoW. Sure, I got some good drops...but who cares, BC is coming out in January which will make all of this raiding for purples utterly pointless. I'm sure others are feeling the same way, yet here we are...

That’s it for now.

D out.

TCSGamer is back baby!

I’m Back!

OK…so I haven’t written on this blog site since April, and I sincerely apologize to my one fan up in the arctic. I’m sure the blubber kept you warm in my absence.

Some changes I’ve been thinking about. I plan to update this site at least once a week. Granted, lots of gaming news happens in a span of a week, however; I shall endeavor to keep up with it and inform all of you here. Second, I want to concentrate purely on MMOs…this is really my passion, so that’s what I’ll hopefully bring to you: insightful gaming news and opinions about MMOs, with occasional sprinkles of single player news.

Now, the state of MMO gaming is not very good and here’s the picture. We’ve got the 800 pound gorilla that is WoW and everyone else either trying to be like them or trying not to be crushed by them. With The Burning Crusade coming out in January, the MMO giant will put on at least another 200 pounds. Now, don’t get me wrong, I play this game, I like this game…but man does it suck to be level 60, and I’m sure it will suck being level 70 as well. In order to be THE best game out there, Blizzard has got to make the end game in WoW something more than an endless grind for equipment and make PvP actually mean something. Put the "War" back in World of Warcraft...know what I mean.

Now, the gem for me right now is Eve Online. At first, I really didn’t get this game….and truthfully I still don’t because it’s an incredibly deep game. Up to about a week ago I was just going to throw in the towel…until I got my first Cruiser and things really started to pick up quite a bit for me. I was able to move on to level 2 missions and make more money…but more importantly, I started to see the point and figure out how I’m going to enjoy this game: Goals. Small, self-set goals. In “regular” MMOs, the goal is to level, or get that new sword, however; those goals are really obvious to the player because the designers made it that way. In Eve, you make your own goals and its up to you to find the best way to do it. The designers did not program the path for you. Anyway, I’m taking this game one goal at a time right now. Next goal is a BattleCruiser…from there, a Battleship. After that, we’ll see.... 0.0 space maybe?

I’ve also been trying to get into EQ2 again. I made a character on the Venekor PvP server in the hopes of joining the Pwnage Brothers . I just can't seem to get back into it again....want to know why?... because I'm already playing EQ2...its called WoW . I played EQ for roughly about 2-3 months, and in that time I leveled a swashy up to 47. The content is great...but the game play is really not that dissimilar from other MMOs of that style, and I guess I'm just can only take one MMO of that type at a time. Going to keep trying to kick start that one...I'll let you all know how it goes.

I think that's it for now. I have more to update you all on, but I'll save it for later in the week. I'll be writing about Ryzom, Oblivion, NWN2 as well as upcoming MMOs to keep an eye out for.

D out.