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Friday, January 12, 2007

Partially Free MMORPGs -- A Master List

This one of three lists of MMOs -- the other two are a list of Free MMOs and a list of Pay MMOs. I will keep all three updated, with links from the home page.

Here are my criteria for a partially free MMO. The program download must be free, and one must be able to play without paying a monthly fee. However, the site may charge for premium items and content; it may also charge a monthy fee for extra content.

Cash charge for premium items


Asian Fantasy
Community
Furry
Golf
Isometric
Macintosh
Martial Arts
Medieval Fantasy
Modern
Naval
Occult Horror
Pirate
Puzzle
Science Fiction
Shooter
Text-based
Virtual Pets
WWII
2D Side-scroller
Windows
PARTIALLY FREE MMOs

Albatross 18 aka PangYa 2005

Anarchy Online 2001 Free for “fr00bs,” ad supported; $14.95/month eliminates ads.

Ashen Empires 2004 Free play up to level 10; after, $8.95/month.

Conquer Online 2005

Deicide Online 2006

Dransik 2003 Free; $8.95/month to increase backpack size and upgrade to "Ashen Empires"; game is not supported by publisher.

El Kardian 2001

Entropia Universe 2003 No cost to download and play, but ALL items cost real money; however, in-game money can be cashed out as real money!

Eternal Lands 2003 Items are unusually expensive.

FaitH 2002 Free play with limited access; premium membership $5.95/month; additional charges for custom avatars. Internet Explorer required.

Five Masters ????

Flyff 2004

Fung Wan Online 2004

Furcadia 1996

Eudemons Online 2006

Gunz The Duel 2006

KAL Online 2004

Knight Online 2004 “Free2Play” with cash payment for special items, cannot log in when server loads are heavy; Gold Premium $24.95/month.

Maple Story 2002

Monster and Me 2003

MU Online 2003 Free to play with limited support; pay-to-play servers $12/month.

The Legend of Ares Beta

Martial Heroes 2003

Myth War Online 2006

NavyField 2004 Free play has penalties after level 30; all players pay cash charge for “premium” ships; subscription $11.99/month.

OZ xxxx

Pirate King Online 2006

Puzzle Pirates 2003 Cash charge or $9.95/month for special items.

Rakion 2005 Cash charge for “Power User” status.

RAN Online 2006 Cash charge for “character cards,” costumes, items; US server closed -- English international server based in Malaysia.

Rappelz 2006

Rubies of Eventide 2004 Free with limited functionality, or a one-time $50 donation.

Second Life 2003 Cash charges for certain resident-created activities and items; $9.95 a month to own “land.”

Runescape 2001 Free (ad supported) or Membership ($5/month).

Silkroad Online 2005

Space Cowboy Online 2005

Supreme Destiny 2006

Survival Project ???? Cash charge for items (but you can pay for points at Shell stations in Malaysia!)

Tibia 1997 Free with limited access; premium membership $19.95/3 months.

Xiah ????

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

"RAN Online" -- Kuno's First Impressions

I've been working on my master list of MMOs, which has introduced me to the metric assload of small- and medium-sized online games out there in the world. Most are Japanese or Korean, but a whole lot of them come out of Malaysia.

One that particularly caught my eye is "RAN Online," from MIN Communications in South Korea (the English-language international version is run by e-Games of Malaysia, the people who bring you "Knight Online" and "Battle Position," amongst others). This is a high-school-based martial arts game, after the fashion of a thousand different anime series, "Volcano High School," and "Battle Royale." They even have a one-player version based on "Battle Royale."

Well, "Battle Royale" and "Volcano High School" (the Korean version, NOT the execrable American "hip-hop" dub) are two of my favorite movies. And as my online handle might reveal, I'm something of a fan of "Ranma Nibunnoichi," the ultimate high school martial arts anime and manga. So I had to try it.

This is not a review of "RAN Online," as I've only played it for one evening. These are just first impressions.

1.) The graphics are acceptable. I'd include a screenshot, but I couldn't get one -- so here's a link to someone else's screenshots. The characters look good (once they've been personalized with costumes you have to pay for with real cash), and the settings are nice. Everything takes place in one of four high schools, which are well laid-out and look interesting.

2.) Combat is just a lot of clicking, unfortunately. Gamers complain that MMOs like "World of Warcraft" require no skill -- but even WoW combat involves real-time tactical decisions. Not, as far as I can tell, "RAN Online." Just click repeatedly on an enemy, and your weapons & skills are applied. Boring, especially for a fighting game.

3.) There are certainly worse English translations out there. I could generally understand what the characters were trying to tell me. Here's a sample:
Prior to the dispatch of all items to the various society, the items must be validated and approved to ensure quality, proper pricing and product type. The education that society members learned from there can finally be used now.
Well, maybe I couldn't always understand.

I greatly enjoyed the "OK" and "Cancel" buttons, which say "Affirm" and "Abolish."

4.) Does anyone know anything about this rootkit that "RAN Online" installed on my machine? It's called GameGuard, and supposedly it opens up your system to exploits.

5.) The international server is called "Harajuku."

6.) "RAN Online" is "forever free," but you can buy premium items from a online mall. To buy costumes and items, you have to download a form, print it out, fill in your credit card info, and fax it Malaysia. I'm not joking. Yeah, I'm not gonna do that.

I plan to play some more, see what it's like when you get to higher levels. I'll let you know.

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"Pirates" Has a New Website

Flying Lab Software unveiled a website redesign for "Pirates of the Burning Sea."

The site redesign features 12 new screenshots. None of them are very exciting -- but I'm still really looking forward to this game, and working all the angles to get into the beta.

Arrrrrrrrr.

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Free MMORPGs -- A Master List

Recently I discovered several online lists of "free" MMOs, and I thought I'd maintain such a list here on Avataritoria.

A little research revealed, however, that most of these games were not free. At all.

So I have compiled three lists -- a list of Free MMOs, a list of Partially Free MMOs, and a list of Pay MMOs. I will keep all three updated, with links from the home page.

Here are my criteria for a free MMO. It must be FREE -- no cost, ever. All content must be available for free. It may be advertising supported -- but it must not offer an ad-free version for money.

Asian Fantasy
Community
Furry
Golf
Isometric
Macintosh
Medieval Fantasy
Modern
Naval
Occult Horror
Pirate
Puzzle
Science Fiction
Shooter
Text-based
Virtual Pets
WWII
2D Side-scroller
Windows
FREE MMORPGs

Archmage: Reincarnation From Hell 1998 Accepts donations

BattlePosition 2005

DarkEden 2001

Elysarian Kingdoms 2005 Accepts donations

Endless Online 2003

Hero Online 2006

Ogre Island 1999

PlaneShift Beta

Shadowbane 2003

Thang Online Beta

Yes, I'm afraid that's it. If you know of any more, let us know!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

WoW Patch Prepares for "Burning Crusade"

The latest "World of Warcraft" patch (2.0.3) unleashes changes and story content that lead up to the January 16th launch of the "Burning Crusade" Expansion. It's really happening, folks.

Looking over the changes, here's what I care about: "Due to various talent changes, Rogues will have all talent points refunded." Do I keep my current talents, or do I have to repurchase? (I suspect the latter.)

Dauðafylga the Undead Rogue is unamused.

Here are the full details on the patch.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Hilarious Podcast: Old Guy Tries To Understand "World of Warcraft"

David Warlick is a middle-aged teacher who produces his own podcast. In the most recent, he interviews his college-aged son as the young man plays "World of Warcraft."

The interview is alternately hilarious and cringe-inducing. Mr. Warlick treats his son like an anthropological informant, and WoW like some strange ritual from an alien planet. To the man's credit, he works very hard to understand what's going on, and asks insightful questions.

If you're a WoW veteran, you'll probably find this painful. But if you're a n00b -- or even better, a concerned parent -- who knows, this might be the best introduction you'll get.

Link.

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Monday, January 8, 2007

"Pirates of the Burning Sea" Giving Out 50 Beta Keys

Flying Lab Software is giving away 50 beta accounts for their upcoming buccaneer MMO "Pirates of the Burning Sea."

MMORPG.com registrants can enter the contest to win a beta account.

Let's hope that PotBS will be just like "Voyage Century," except NOT suck!

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