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Friday, January 19, 2007

CoX Double XP Next Weekend!

"City of Heroes" and "City of Villains" will have a Double XP Weekend, from Friday, January 26th at 10pm GMT (2pm PST) to Sunday, January 28th at 10pm GMT.

Earn double EP, and level up twice as fast! w00t!


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Kuno's "EVE Rocks" Submission

I coudn't resist entering the "EVE Rocks" contest. Here is a closeup of my entry -- you can see the whole thing by clicking on it.

Clicky to enlarge.

You can check out the submissions here.

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EVE Vault Photo & Photoshop Contest

The EVE Vault at IGN has announced their "EVE Rocks Contest" for 2007. Contestants must create a photograph, either real or Photoshopped, of the words "EVE Rocks" displayed in a prominent public place.

The grand prize is a year's subscription to EVE and a $25 EVE store gift cetrificate.

Personally, I think there has got to be a better slogan to show your love of "EVE Online" than "EVE Rocks." Like maybe, "EVE: My Second Job!" or "EVE: Djöfulsins Helvíti!"

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WoW Player Levels To 70 In 28 Hours

Well, it had to happen. A French player called “Gullerbone” was the very first player to reach level 70 in “World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade,” just 28 hours after the expansion was released. Gullerbone and his guildmates used an exploit called “tap-leveling” to achieve this monumental feat.

Let me explain tap-leveling to those who don’t play WoW. You see, and this is a bit complicated, so pay attention and let me know if you don’t understand anything… HE CHEATED.

If you must know more, there's a brief interview on

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

"Burning Crusade" Hardware Performance Guide

Gamespot has an excellent article called the "Burning Crusade Hardware Performance Guide." They played with BC's video settings while running it on a GeForce 6600 GT, and compared the results.

I was happy to see that BC runs just as well with 1GB RAM as with 2GB. I have 1.5GB on my machine.

Look at the difference between Terrain Distance Min. and Terrain Distance Max.:


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Why Do MMO Players Hate Role-Playing?

About a year ago, and I was playing my female natural stalker, Lucy Liunatic, in “City of Villains.” I was in the Pocket D zone, where villains have to hook up with hero characters from “City of Heroes” in order to complete missions.

Now, I don’t normally bother to role-play in MMOs, primarily because no one else does. CoX doesn’t have role-playing servers, so there’s really no role-playing going on.

Nonetheless, I decided to be cute, and make my requests for hero partners “in character.”

[Broadcast] Lucy Liunatic: I am looking for weak-willed, morality-addled so-called “heroes” to serve me on a mission.
[Broadcast] Lucy Liunatic: If you serve me, then when I rule Paragon City, your death shall be quick and painless!

Most people ignored me, because pretty much every character in Pocket D at that time was a villain. But after a couple minutes I started to get angry responses. One player complained that I had insulted him. Another told me he was going to report me to the gamemasters for offensive behavior.

Players were upset that I was acting like a villain. In a game called “City of Villains.”


I started playing table-top roleplaying games back in a decade with a “7” in it. I remember when the only MMORPG was the original MUD. I lived through D&D, “Tunnels & Trolls,” AD&D, “Ultima,” “Wizardy,” “Traveller,” “Gamma World,” “Paranoia,” GURPS, “Champions,” “DC Heroes,” “Warhammer FRP,” “Warhammer 40K,” “Fantasy Hero,” TMNT, “Marvel Super Heroes,” “Space 1889,” “Shadowrun” and the entire World of Darkness.

The most annoying type of RPG player was the “power gamer.” This person cared nothing about the plot, characterization, or any other aspect of role-playing – he (never she) only wanted to build the most powerful character possible under the rules (often by tweaking and deliberate misinterpretation), and then level up as quickly as possible.

The majority of role-playing gamers considered power gamers to be losers. They were usually annoying teenage newbies anyway. The whole point of a role-playing game was role-playing, oddly enough; so power gamers were often met with hostility and frustration.

But role-playing is rare in 3D graphical MMORPGs, the acronym notwithstanding. This isn’t because computer games are poor role-playing environments; online games like “EverQuest” and “Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption” are popular with real role-players.

Other games, like CoX, don’t encourage role-playing in their communities, so very little of it exists. Of WoW’s 222 servers, only 16 are designated as “RP” servers, with specific rules designed to promote role-playing.

The fact is, the power gamer is the norm in the world of MMOs, while role-players are the minority. As I said, I have no problem with this. Role-playing online seems awkward to me.

What I don’t understand is the hostility towards role-players. Try to role-play, even in jest, on a WoW non-RP server, and you will be ridiculed. Bring up the subject with MMO players IRL, and you will get laughter and baffled looks.

Pro gamer Jared “cha0ticz” Cugno suggested to me that MMOs have been overrun by casual gamers, aka “normal” people, who are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the whole idea of role-playing. They don’t want to be seen as the kind of geek who paints lead miniatures and goes to conventions dressed as their character; so they view anyone who reminds them of such behavior as the enemy.

This hypothesis has the ring of truth to me. But the fact is, there is absolutely no reason MMOs can’t support both styles of play, even on the same server. Just let people play how they want to play, and understand that there’s nothing “weird” about role-playing.

WoW wouldn’t exist without "Warcraft," which wouldn't exist without "Warhammer," which wouldn’t exist without D&D. Get used to it.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ten Things to Do While Waiting for WoW to Patch

1.) Make a tangy three-bean soup.
2.) Take care of your calluses and corns.
3.) Prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
4.) Carve a gourd into a birdhouse.
5.) Make a starship Enterprise out of a floppy disk.
6.) Learn to read Old Icelandic.
7.) Annotate your copy of “Moby Dick,” paying special attention to passages that support the theme of “the deceptiveness of fate.”
8.) Give yourself a home henna tattoo.
9.) Give yourself a home real tattoo.
10.) Experience spitirual enlightenment by drilling a hole in your own head.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Burning Crusade" Collector's Edition

Thanks to Jason “Unholy” Carlton, who stood in line at Fry’s while we were freezing to death at Citywalk last night, we have a precious, precious copy of the now unavailable “Burning Crusade Collector’s Edition” box set.

Jason paid $69.99 at Fry’s. If you still want one, you can pay $169.99 on Amazon, or $560 on eBay.

For your extra cash, you get:
A big ol’ green cardboard box.
The expansion on both DVD (1 disc) and CD (4 discs).
A behind-the-scenes DVD, to dispel the dreams of those of you who imagine it’s fun to make video games.
The hardcover “The Art of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade,” which is very beautiful with high-quality printing. If you paid $69.99, this was well worth the additional $30. If you paid more, well…
A code for a Netherwhelp, the exclusive in-game pet, and the only reason I wanted the Collector’s Edition. Now I have to get my turtle.
TCG starter packs. For those of us who want the turtle.
A mouse pad with a map of Outland printed on it. No sign of Opus the Penguin, though.
A soundtrack CD. Trust me, you’ll be hearing enough of this music while you play.

Becky "Aktrez" Young with the "Burning Crusade" Collector's Edition.

If any of you bought the CE, please let us know what you think of it in the fora!

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"Burning Crusade" Midnight Launch!

Last night hundreds of fans stood for hours in sub-freezing temperatures to be the first to buy “Burning Crusade,” the first ever expansion for “World of Warcraft.” Also braving the Arctic temperatures were iTG’s Hogan “kam-RA” Carter & Rance “djRoME” Costa, as well as your faithful correspondent, Avataritoria’s Erik “Kunochan” Even.

By midnight, roughly 250 people were in line at the EB Games on Universal City’s storied Citywalk. The earliest arrivals had been waiting since 8:30am, but most arrived sometime after 5:00pm. EB employees worked the line and gave out prizes such as t-shirts and posters, while Blizzard reps set up the booth where WoW developers would sign “Burning Crusade” collector’s edition boxes.

We interviewed dozens of fans, and these clips will be featured on “Epileptic Gaming” this Thursday. I did learn few important facts:

1. Some people do actually care about the plot and characters of “World of Warcraft.”
2. No one, and I mean no one, actually role-plays in WoW, “MMORPG” notwithstanding.
3. Many WoW players actually have jobs. But the best way to level-up fast is to be a home-schooled teenager.
4. Lots of fans are disappointed because BlizzCon was too expensive.
5. Horde FTW.
6. Undead females are sexier than Tauren females.

Click here to see all the pics, hosted by!

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Warning: Fry's Electronics Is Trying to Kill You

Everyone who lives within 50 miles of a Fry's Electronics knows they are the ultimate manifestation of malevolent evil on Earth. They don't just have bad service -- they're customer hostile. But you shop there because (1) they have everything, (2) their prices are good, and (3) they drove all the competition out of business.

But this is the text I saw on a sign at Fry's this past December:
WARNING: Fry's Electronics purchase receipts are printed on carbonless paper. Carbonless paper may contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
So they're not just trying to drive you mad. They also want to kill you.

Just fair warning to everyone planning to head down and get "Burning Crusade" tonight.

EB Games Midnight Openings for "Burning Crusade"

For all of you who don't live in California, here is a list of every EB Games store that will be open at midnight tonight.

Have fun in the cold! I know I will!

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Burning Crusade Midnight Live Events

Happy National Burning Crusade Day! (Oh, there's something about some civil rights guy too.)

The lines are already forming to be the first to buy the "Burning Crusade" expansion when it goes on sale at midnight tonight, January 16th 2007 at 12:01 am.

All these events are in California, so if you don't live here, you are a LOSER.

Fry's Fountain Valley pops10800 Kalama River Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
4500 copies
Fry's Anaheim pops3370 E. La Palma Ave
Anaheim, CA 92806
4500 copies
Fry's Sunnyvale pops1077 E. Arques Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
4500 copies
Universal Citywalk Gamestop/EB Games pops1000 Universal Studios Blvd (Cross Street: Buddy Holly Drive)
Universal City, CA 91608
1500 copies

Blizzard has promised some developer-celebrity action at the Citywalk store. We will be at that location tonight, so we'll see. Check back tomorrow for coverage and pics.

Here's the one thing that SUCKS about the BC launch:
We are not offering online purchase or download of The Burning Crusade at this time.
It seems like some people just don't understand the Internet. Even people who produce one of the most popular Internet products.

Why do I have to leave my house, go to a store, and purchase atoms in order to upgrade my online game? I'm sure this all fulfills some arcane marketing or financial need on Blizzard's part -- but does it fulfill any needs for the user? No, it does not. It just makes us go out in the cold and stand in line. It makes us prop up EB Games' failing business model.

Thanks, Blizzard. I'm still levelling my Undead Rogue and my Human Paladin. Maybe I'll wait for Burning Crusade until it's a free download.

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