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Friday, January 26, 2007

"Myst Online" Launches February 15th

Huh. I'm not sure "Myst" needed an MMORPG. What's next, "Tetris?" But I'd gladly be proven wrong.

February 15th has been announced as the launch date for "Myst Online: Uru Live," Cyan's MMO based on the popular "Myst" series of slide-based puzzle-solving games from the '90s. The beta is currently available to GameTap subscribers, and Cyan is offering a special rate of 99 cents for the first month of GameTap service. The game will be available on GameTap and stand-alone, for both PC and Mac.

It appears the game is designed to let you create an avatar that looks just like you, which might be pretty cool.

As far as I can tell, it's all puzzle-solving, and no combat. It'll be interesting to see how that works out.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Lord of the Rings Online" Pre-Order: Beta Key, Discount Membership, Exclusive Items

I just purchased the "Lord of the Rings Online" pre-order. Normally, I wouldn't pay $50 for an MMO, and now I've done it twice in the last week.

But here's what you get with the pre-order:
  1. The LOTRO box and CD set
  2. Membership in the Open Beta
  3. The ability to bring your beta character over after full launch
  4. Special pricing after full launch: $9.99/month, or $199 lifetime
  5. In-game items: Enchanted Cloak of Regeneration & The Ring of Agility
  6. Free 30-day access to’s Premium Service
Pretty l33t. You can pre-order online today -- the pre-order will hit retail stores on February 1st. The commercial launch is slated for April 24th.

Bado na Ennorath!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

GameDaily's "Women of WoW" -- Separated at Birth?

GameDaily has a hilarious little feature comparing the female avatars of "World of Warcraft" with real-life celebrity counterparts.

I think Draenei females are damn not, though I wonder if Charlize Theron would appreciate the comparison. And Natalie Portman as a gnome? That's just not cool.

A troll female and Pink -- separated at birth?

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"City of Heroes" Issue #9: "Breakthrough"

The upcoming patch for "City of Heroes" and "City of Villains" introduces Inventions, aka crafting. Which means you can finally play that gadgeteer character you always dreamed aboout.

And after you've created unique armor, weapons and gadgets, what can you do with them? Sell them at the new Auction House, of course!

When will the patch be made available? NCsoft isn't saying. We'll keep you posted.

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"Granado Espada" Is Now "Sword of the New World" For Xenophobic Americans

Korea's popular historical-fantasy MMORPG "Granado Espana" is coming to America retitled as "Sword of the New World."

As an American myself, who lives in "Los Angeles" and works in "Santa Monica," I'm so glad I won't have to wrap my tongue around that unwieldy Portuguese, and instead can wrap my tongue around some unwieldy English.

"Granado" is a gorgeously beautiful MMO created by "Ragnarok Online's" Hakkyu Kim. Set in a fantasy version of the Renaissance-era New World, "Granado" allows players to control up to three avatars simultaneously.

Developer K2 Network promises that "Sword of the New World" will be more than an English-language port of the original Korean game. SotNW will feature hundreds of costume options, an improved control scheme and an in-game tutorial to teach the multiple character controls. In addition, the game will include an all-new story with hundreds of new quests.

The launch of SotNW is planned for Summer 2007. If you're impatient, you can always play the international English version of "Granado Espada" out of Singapore.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Star Trek Online" Launches Web Site, Kind Of

"Star Trek Online" has launched their "web site," a single page featuring an updated Starfleet insignia and a button to input your email address for updates. And that's it.


Personally, I think STO is going to have the same problem that afflicted "Star Trek"-based tabletop RPGs -- how do you recreate the command structure of a starship bridge? Who wants to volunteer to be an ensign, rather than captain?

If they can solve that problem, this MMO could be pretty cool. Especially now that the MMO for that Other Great American Sci-Fi Franchise has gone all to hell.

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"Second Life" Proves It: Capitalism Is a FRAUD

Valleywag has posted a examination of "Second Life's" virtual economy by a real, live financial consultant who actually investigated what happens when you use Linden dollars as an investment to make real dollars. He characterizes the Linden economy as a "pyramid scheme," because the richest people at the top determine exactly how much money the investors at the bottom can pull out.
It turns out that inside the game, counterparty risk is tremendous. In fact, entire banks will suddenly disappear. Or banks will simply renege on obligations without recourse. Worse yet, the very people who provide the source of nearly all demand-liquidity within Second Life, those guys at the top of the virtual playpen pyramid, are the same ones who effectively set the SLL/USD exchange rate.
Basically, "Second Life" advertises huge returns in Linden dollars on your investment in US dollars; then they promise you can turn those voluminous Linden dollars back into real cash. It all works, until you try to pull your money out. Then the handful of wealthy SL denizens who control the market change the exchange rate, only letting you have a tiny return on your investment.

The joke of course is this is exactly like real-world capitalism. The SL economy is just an extreme model of a real capitalist economy, minus the few tepid socialist restrictions real governments put in place. The American economy is controlled by a handful of very wealthy individuals, who manipulate markets and lawmakers to protect their wealth and to stifle possible competition. There's no "meritocracy," because the very wealthy will always cheat.

They don't necessarily cheat because they are bad people (although some of them surely are) -- they cheat because the capitalist "ethic" tells them that protecting their own interests is best for everyone, and if they don't do it, someone else will.

Remember -- what this consultant labels a "Ponzi scheme" was not designed that way by the creators of "Second Life." It's just what happens when a few people become very powerful, and look out for their own interests. And unlike in a capitalist model like "EVE Online," SL players believe they are protecting real money. So they act like real plutocrats.

Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where ONLY game players were allowed to behave this way?

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Player Makes WoW Cash Through Prostitution -- No, Really

In a story about gold farmers, a Korean online newspaper mentions the adventures of Rob Conzelman of Philadelphia, whose WoW character "VillageBike," earns gold as a prostitute. She stands outside of inns wearing nothing but a bikini, and other players pay her to go upstairs and lie down on a bed so they can lie down on top of her.
I have to admit that VillageBike looked hot even on my extremely low-resolution screen. She could compete with Lara Croft -- the first and most successful attempt at profiting from horny gamers -- any day. Before long, a level 20 Mage approached with a predictable clunker: "Village bike, huh? Can I take you for a ride?" he asks. "Sure thing, baby, we can take this party upstairs for 5g," answered....
Why do I have a feeling only 14-year-old n00bs are paying for this?

Conzelman has a column on Dragonfire [warning: heinous, deplorable, and wholly unnecessary Flash interface), and discusses his activities there. Conzelman claims he could earn $4 real-world an hour this way, although he doesn't reveal if he actually has.

And you thought this kind of thing only happened on "Second Life."

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Sideshow Collectibles Announces WoW Figures

"Thousand Oaks, CA (January 18, 2007) - High-end collectible manufacturer Sideshow Collectibles has joined forces with leading game developer Blizzard Entertainment® to produce a ground breaking new line of licensed high-end collectible polystone figures and dioramas. The original sculptures will be based on the world's leading subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game: World of Warcraft®, and its highly anticipated expansion World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade™."

Can we say HOLY ISHT!?! Sideshow Collectibles is one of the most detailed and amazing creators of high end sculptures on earth.

For those of you unfamiliar with Sideshow Collectibles.... take a gander at some of their most recent creations:

So, let's place bets... who do you think will be the first character created!?

A Blood Elf ..... perhaps!?

(Photoshop by Aktrez)

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Monday, January 22, 2007

"9Dragons" Dynasty Ending Before It Begins

According to a note on their web site, Persistent Worlds is going out of business, spelling death for their beta Asian martial arts MMO, "9Dragons."

Oh well. I could never get past the first quest in "9Dragons" anyway. But perhaps one day there will be a great martial arts MMO.

One day.

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"Get A First Life" -- Kewl Parody of "Second Life"

Here's a very cool one-page parody of "Second Life."

Even cooler is the ""Proceed and Permitted" letter the creator got from Linden Labs. Nice to know that some people get it.

Via BoingBoing.

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European BC Launch Events WAAAY More Interesting Than American

Here is a gallery of pictures from European "Burning Crusade" launch events.

Looks like these events were a lot more fun -- cosplay, crowd signs, all sorts of shenanigans.

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