Rounding Up the April Fools

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - No Comments »

Since it’s that time of year again, I thought I’d round up the April Fool’s jokes that are related to MMOs or MMO developers. Feel free to comment with any that I’ve missed.

As always, Blizzard have attacked on multiple fronts – beginning with truly the greatest use of a “bar” since MMOs were invented. Presenting, the World of Warcraft EPEEN.

Also from Blizzard comes the best and brightest way to interface with Battle.net – the reality twisting Neural Interface!

Despite not being related to MMOs themselves, Blizzard’s final two April sensations deserve honourable mentions as well – the Diablo X-Treme Gamer Blanket and the Blackthorne 2: Thorne Harder mobile game.

On the more independent front, the GMs of Wurm Online bring us something in between a moral encouragement to not judge by appearances and a drug-induced hallucination typed up.

Finally, posted earlier today by Brian we have the crafty tale spinners at BioWare bringing nightmares to life with their (hopefully) fictional Sarlacc Enforcer class for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

May I finally learn how to recognise these pranks before becoming curious, excited or terrified before next year.

Blizzard Mocks Gear Ratings (for April Fool’s Day)

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - 4 Comments »

An e-peen meter, or a reference to the growing popularity of GearScore-like addons?

As we heard earlier today from Juggynaut, Blizzard has been up to its usual April Fool’s Day shenanigans, giving us all a laugh in the process. But one of their jokes hit on a topic that may be a sore spot for some – the GearScore add-on that’s been growing in popularity, especially since the rollout of ICC content.

Here’s how Blizzard described its “Equipment Potency Equivalence Number” :

With this new system, you’ll no longer have to wonder about your perceived or actual worth as a player. Your Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number, automatically derived from the quality of the gear you currently possess, will be placed on your character sheet and in the Armory, and also displayed over your character’s head in-game as an easy-to-read bar-like object that steadily grows as you acquire loot. Thanks to this new system, no one will be able to ignore the fruits of your long, hard journey toward gear perfection.

Here’s how it will work: With every new piece of gear you obtain, your number will grow; if you attain a high enough number, you’ll graduate to the next tier (more on that below) and gain access to exclusive rewards. If you’re looking to boost your number even more, activities such as earning raid and Arena achievements or realm-first titles will help you get it up, and you’ll also begin receiving in-game mail with exciting offers for additional ways to enhance it.

Sound familiar? Now I know, it’s not just Gear Score that attempts to do something similar to this fake Blizzard rollout. WoW Heroes and IMBA perform similar gear checks via a web interface. But with more than 1.4 million downloads (I’ll admit, I’m one of them), Gear Score probably is the most prolific in-game occurrence of measuring gear.

Read more…

The Sun Sets on Cheyenne Mountain, The Stargate has Closed.

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - No Comments »

This is my least favorite type of blog to write. But as my title says, I must remain true to my cause.

I noticed from an article posted past thursday and followed it to the official Cheyenne Mountain website. Where I read an open letter to shareholders the details of the Cheyenne Mountain bankruptcy. They have gone into “recievership”, which is -

“A Receiver is a court appointed person responsible for custodial control over the property of others which can include tangible and intangible assets and rights. In this particular instance, the Receiver, who is an officer of the court, has been appointed (as quoted from the court order) “as “receiver to take over the assets, affairs, management, operation and control of CMG and CME?”

This basically means that all assets of CMG and CME will or have been sold off and proceeds will be given to the reciever who will give it to whoever is contracted as an investor in CMG that needs to be reimbursed.

This contains the shooter they recently released, Stargate Resistance, will be owned and operated by a group of investors called “Fresh Start Studios.” When a company goes ‘rupt, as we call it down at WS they sell everything down to chairs, desks and paperclips. Don’t believe me? Well someone bought the Enron ‘E’ from an auction for $44,000.00

Do I know what happened internally? No, nor do I want to comment. Some businesses fail because of internal conflict, lack of support, faulty product…etc. etc. The list goes on. But I will tell you that some of the rumors about the employees not getting paid ring true. Check this out:

  • Cash funds on deposit in known bank accounts controlled by the company are less than $10,000.
  • Unpaid past due general creditor obligations of approximately $2.0 million may exist. There could be more.
  • CME or CMG is named in 5 complaints with estimated potential liability of approximately $10.1 million which includes a disputed landlord claim on space that was never occupied or utilized.
  • Payroll wages of over $1.1 million dating back to March of 2009 remain unpaid.
  • Federal and State payroll tax obligations of $3.0 million have not been paid.
  • An Arizona state tax credit for 2009 that may net $3 million in funds to CMG has been applied for which could be used to cover some or all of the unpaid payroll tax obligations. It has been represented by the CPA firm handling this matter that it could take up to 60 days to realize that credit.

For now, understand that the Stargate World MMO is finished. What will survive is the Stargate Resistance  FPS for as long as Fresh Start Studios can keep it running.

I was excited about this game and the possibility of a fresh new MMO coming to market with a strong IP. The Stargate IP had a lot of followers and would have had a good turnout.
The company had continued to be hit with setbacks that it couldn’t recover from, it happens in the corporate world sometimes. From running low on oil and Dan Ellgren leaving not before telling the interwebs through his blog, CMG has had it rough.
Cheyenne Mountain, I tip my hat to you as you go. Good luck to all involved.
Play safe,
Inktomi

I was excited about this game and the possibility of a fresh new MMO coming to market with a strong IP. The Stargate IP had a lot of followers and would have had a good turnout.The company had continued to be hit with setbacks that it couldn’t recover from, it happens in the corporate world sometimes. From running low on oil and Dan Ellgren leaving not before telling the interwebs through his blog, CMG has had it rough.Cheyenne Mountain, I tip my hat to you as you go. Good luck to all involved.Play safe,Inktomi

New Armory Features (for April Fool’s Day)

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - 2 Comments »

If you haven’t already figured it out, today is not a great day to be gullible. While not all news is made up, most things you hear that are too weird, good, or out of this world to be true probably are. Blizzard’s Armory team has joined in on the fun and added some features for this day of pranks.

Most noticeably, everyone is a Tuskarr. And apparerntly, male and female Tuskarr look alike. Every character you look up and every embedded Armory profile shows a Tuskarr. If nothing else, It’s worth watching the awesome Special attack animation on someone’s profile.  To go with the new race, every profession on the armory is shown as Fishing. Lastly on the Tuskarr front, everybody has a nice new profile icon with their character eating a fish. Click on the image to see it more clearly.

A slightly subtler change is the new background. You might notice the main scourge guy in the background has a chat bubble before the Armory loads, but it can take some work (or a slow connection) to see exactly what he’s saying. Again, click the little image for a much larger one.

Another less prominent tweak was done to the activity feed. Instead of Looted, the feed now says Ninjaed (it’s good to finally know the correct spelling of the word).  Instead of (equipped), it now says (vendored). And every achievement has now been Cheesed. Thanks Blizzard. Now I can’t trust anybody.

These funny new features are a great addition to Blizzard’s other April Fool’s shenanigans. If only I could be a Tuskarr in someplace other than Dalaran. That special attack animation is worth not having to raise fishing three times. Here’s to hoping that Tuskarr will be an unlockable race once your EPEEN gets high enough.

SWTOR – They Got Me!

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - No Comments »

The Ultimate "Nom Nom"

When I saw the notification that Star Wars: The Old Republic was revealing a new class, the Sarlaac Enforcer, I got a bit excited. Shame on me for not realizing today is April Fool’s Day. Bioware released a mock player class of a sarlaac on their website today, which is probably the best MMO April Fool’s joke I can remember. The absolute best part of the joke are the videos on their website (under Combat Tactics). I am glad to see that Bioware has a good sense of humor, and I hope to a degree they include some of that in the game. Joke aside, it is interesting to see that the sarlaac will be present on Tatooine. Its great hunger knows no bounds apparently, as seen in the screenshot of the sarlaac eating a sandcrawler. Look out Czerka Corporation, there is a new foe in town!

PAX East 2010: First Look At APB (All Points Bulletin)

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - 2 Comments »

Electronic Arts has been trying to reproduce the success of Ultima Online ever since the behemoth was released onto the unsuspecting masses over a dozen years ago.  The publisher has bankrolled numerous MMOs since, from space-faring expeditions to gear-head adventures, and alternate realities.  Most of the games did not come close to meeting expectations.  Electronic Arts hopes that APB (All Points Bulletin) will get the company back on track in 2010.

All Points Bulletin is being designed by David Jones and the company he founded, Realtime Worlds.  You may not have heard of Mr. Jones – no, he didn’t strike up a conversation – but you’ve definitely heard of his games.  Jones designed the original two Grand Theft Auto games, and, more recently his company created Crackdown (but not the upcoming sequel Crackdown 2).  Even more fascinating is that he created Lemmings years before.  Proving that his mind can work its magic across more than one genre.

The booth for APB at the PAX East was split in two, one side representing the criminals, and the other providing law and order in the GTA-style MMO.  I gazed upon the relatively sparsely populated world (the game was being shown on the closed beta server) as Chris Collins, the APB Community Manager, launched his spiel about the game.  He reiterated time and again that APB is being designed around three pillars, or the “three Cs” as players were told, Creativity, Conflict and Celebrity. Read more…

Icecrown Buff Jumps To Ten Percent: Has It Benefited You?

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - No Comments »

So, the Icecrown Citadel raid buff has been raised to 5 to 10%Old news at this point, I realize, but I want to know how this mechanic has affected your progress in the dungeon so far, and whether or not it’s a good idea in the long run.

Of course, the most straightforward argument that can, and vehemently has, been made against the buff is that it’s eventually going to make what is the toughest, and most grueling, dungeon in the game look like a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. OK, that’s actually pretty chaotic, but you get the idea. “Kid’s stuff.”  But that’s assuming that all raids are created equal, and as we all know, that’s simply not the case.

Take my guild, Severance Pay, for instance. Before any dungeon-wide raid buffs became active, we were able to get through just about everything but Valithria Dreamwalker and the wing-end bosses with relatively few problems. Some wipes were inevitable, but we’d usually finish off everything we were comfortable with before the week was out.

What surprised me is that the 5% buff, when it became active almost a month ago, didn’t seem to have much effect at all. In fact, despite finally finishing Valithria, we started backsliding down the hill a little bit. Progression completely halted. Festergut’s a good measure of these things since he’s more or less a damage sponge, and we were tighter on the timer than we had been when we had no buff at all. In general, even our improvements proved too subtle to even matter.

I think the problem can be traced back to two issues. The first is fundamental raid dynamics and there’s not a whole lot we could do about it. People simply weren’t showing up for raids. Whether they were on Spring Break or otherwise, we always seemed to be down a few players. We progressed farther in the two weeks preceding the introduction of the Icecrown Citadel raid buff than we did in the three or so following it, and perhaps we had hoped that even with flagging attendance, that extra 5% would carry us through.

Read more…

New Races, Tribes, and More for FFXIV

Posted by on March 31, 2010 - No Comments »

Keeper of the Moon

Square Enix, the company producing Final Fantasy XIV (that’s fourteen for you non-romans), the imminent new Final Fantasy MMO, has released a new video and some new information about the playable races.

Unlike Final Fantasy XI, where the five races were all very similar, there will be two different “tribes” for each race that will further characterize them. Since this game takes place in a new world, Eozea, the races are slightly different from FFXI and have new names. A translation of the race descriptions via the Zam Wiki is available below:

Elezen (Elvaan in FFXI):

The ancestral race of Eorzea, the Elezen have clashed with the Hyur in the past to defend their homeland.

  • Foresters: For hundreds of years, this Elezen tribe have inhabited the deep green forests. They are proud of their hawk-like eyesight, and excel in archery. Nowadays, those who have adapted to city life or those who live a nomadic life in the plains often return to the woodlands.
  • Shaders: For hundreds of years, the Shaders have inhabited dark caves. Developing bat-like ears, they can sense the enemy’s movement by the rustling of clothes. Because of this, many Shaders excel in hand-to-hand combat. Turning to thievery in order to sustain their cave-dwelling life, they are despised by the forester as turncoats.

Hyur (Hume in FFXI):

A race that migrated from different continents, the Hyur brought with them great technology and innovation that raised the civilization of Eorzea to new heights.

  • Midlanders: Among the populous Hyur, the majority is comprised of this great clan. They reside in various regions, and are enriched with a diverse livelihood. From a young age, Midlanders become accustomed to books. Because of this, they seem to have a deep, intellectual society.
  • Highlanders: The highlanders dominate the remote, northern highlands. They are the strong, muscular, tribe of the Hyur. After their city-state of Ala Mihgo fell to the Garlean Empire, with the exception of Male Mercenaries, it has become rare to see them in other cities.

Lalafell (Taru Taru in FFXI):

A race of farmers who live mainly near the Southern Sea, the Lalafell boast an exceptional degree of intelligence as well as agility.

  • Plainsfolk: The Plainsfolk gather and built villages from the materials of the plains, and have come to be called “The people of the Plains”. Their earthly green, flaxen hair resembles vegetation. With their large ears, they can hear even the faintest footstep of a mole.
  • Dunesfolk: Large, domesticated livestock are made to carry the homes that the Dunesfolk migrate and live in. They live with the movement of the soil, and are called the “People of the Dunes” among the Lalafell. One of their unique features is that their eyes are enveloped by a protective clear film, which makes their eyes resemble a Crystal Ball. On their forehead, a jewel which represents their star of fate is affixed.

Miqo’te (Mithra in FFXI):

A race of cat-like people, the Miqo’te are known as fierce hunters.

  • Seekers of the Sun: One tribe of the Mi’qote call themselves “The People of the Sun”. The followers of the Sun God Azema are numerous, and they are very active in the daytime. They have cold, piercing,, colorful, cat-like eyes.
  • Keepers of the Moon: The other tribe of the Mi’qote call themselves “The Wards of the Moon”. They are the many followers of the Moon God Menefina, and many follow a nocturnal lifestyle. Many of the Moon Keepers apply vivid war paint onto their face.

Roegadyn (Galka in FFXI):

A muscular race of fishermen, the Roegadyn live near the Northern Sea.

  • Seawolf: Known as “Seawolves”, this Roegadyn tribe is feared as marauding pirates from the northern seas. Nowadays, the number of Seawolves who fare the high seas are becoming numerous.
  • Lohengarde: Residing in the vicinity of volcanic craters, the Lohengarde are a tribe of Roegadyn who are faithful in the “Gates of Hell”. They are called the “Gatekeepers of the Flame” . Not only are their bodies hard and tempered, their “fire-walking” asceticism allows them to nurture the qualities of magickal ingenuity.

This adds up to ten distinct races.

In addition, a new Youtube channel is available that currently contains a preview of FFXI. Check it out in all of its Japanese goodness:
Read more…