Gaming Steve

MMORPG Archives - Page 3

January 19, 2006

Are Gold Farmers Really All That Bad?

WoW, Gold!In its February 2006 issue, PC Gamer announced that it would no longer accept advertising from "Gold Farming" agencies. Editor-in-chief Greg Vederman explained the magazine's decision not to accept ads from companies like Power Leveling and IGE in an editorial on Next Generation.

In his editorial Vederman states, "After months of behind-the-scenes talks with our sales department, I’m extremely proud to announce that starting with last month’s issue, PC Gamer will no longer accept ads or ad dollars from Gold Farmers. Screw them. As a company, we have agreed to turn down what literally amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual ad revenue so that you, as a reader, can game easy knowing that we’ve got your back. I challenge my fellow PC gaming mags and websites to follow our path and to help us close down these bastard companies by attrition."

On one hand I applaud Vederman on taking such a bold stance. Convincing his publisher not to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad revenue must have taken quite some doing and it's impressive to witness someone who believes in something with so much passion. Kudos Greg.

On the other hand, I don't really see what the big deal is about. Most everyone at this point knows about gold farmers and "in theory" everyone hates them, but they do provide a service that people are obviously quite interested in. I myself have bought WoW gold (and explained the process in a past podcast) and many of my friends, who have a family, full-time job, and kids, simply don't have the time to earn enough gold for an Epic Mount. But they do have disposable income and if they want to purchase WoW gold, why shouldn't they be allowed to?

Of course there is the whole "legal issue" where people will state selling gold or characters clearly break many MMOs' End-User License Agreements. But that legal argument hasn't been adequately resolved in the courts as of yet and many lawyers believe that most aspects of MMOs' EULAs aren't enforceable.

For example, according to many MMOs' EULAs they own everything, your character, your items, your gold, everything. You are actually paying a monthly fee to "use" or "rent" their items but you have no right whatsoever to transfer "your" items to someone else -- but yet how is it that you can use the WoW auction houses? Or the WoW mail system? Or trade with other characters? And what is preventing you from doing those above-mentioned activities in-game (which is seemingly legal) but if I ask you for money to perform this same exact activity those activities are suddenly illegal? Best not to think too hard on this I guess.

Back to the point, bravo Greg on taking a stand but I think it's like shouting into the wind at this point. Gold farmers are here to stay and are they really all that bad to begin with?

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 12, 2006

When Playing an MMORPG Becomes a Job

WOW is workYou play World of Warcraft, night after night, going on quest after quest, killing monster after monster and then it happens. You finally reach the pinnacle of power ... level 60! Finally! Your days of endless grinding and running the level treadmill are over!

Or so you thought ... oh no, once you get to level 60 your work really begins! You thought getting a mount was hard? Please. Try getting a complete set of insanely super rare Tier 2 armor for your character. Once you start on this seemingly endless quest you'll wish you never heard of WOW!

For those people not familiar with the WOW "end game" the only way to get the very most powerful weapons and armor is to go on massive 20 or 40-person raids of the most difficult dungeons and defeat the most powerful monsters. And since these monsters only drop a few random pieces of armor for you and your 39 other peeps, you will need to raid these same dungeons again, and again, and again, in order to get even a few of these choice artifacts. Needless to say, you need to join a guild in order to get even participate in regular raids and start tweaking your character.

So why am I bringing this up? Simple, since WOW first launched my friends and I have gone through a number of different guilds each with their own set of "rules". I thought I had seen it all until I spoke with one guild who required the following from its members (I took out all the mundane rules):

The guild performs dungeon raids on a NIGHTLY basis, with that in mind the following rules are expected of all members in order to stay in "good standing":
  • The guild raids seven days a week, you are expected to attend no less than five raids per week and must give advance notice when you can not attend a raid event.
  • All members are expected to attend the weekly guild meeting via TeamTalk where we discuss raid tactics, strategy, guild matters, etc.
  • Raid loot is awarded according to the standard DKP system, however new members may not bid on loot until their trial period of guild membership (90 days) has passed.

Attend guild raids no less than five times a week? Mandatory weekly meetings? A 90-day trail period? Uh, aren't we playing a game here? When did WOW become so much work? The sad part is that most WOW guilds have very similar rules in order to guarantee regular group raiding because you will need to perform hundreds of trips in order to obtain the very best equipment.

My question is do you belong to a guild in any MMO which has really strict rules? Are you past the "fun stage" of your MMO and fully entrenched into the "work" stage? Of course, how else are you going to get that wicked cool Tier 2 Epic Armor? Oh WOW, you are oh so evil...

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 11, 2006

World of Warcraft Guide to Cooking and Fishing

World of Warcraft Guide to Fishing and CookingThis might seem a bit out of place here, but I thought I should post this excellent guide that my formally WOW-obsessed friend wrote up on how to become an expert fisherman and cook in just a single day. Since my friend no longer plays WOW (that is, until the expansion comes out!) and his guide was going to waste, I thought it would be a good idea to share his wisdom to the world. So many thanks to Clapperoth for his excellent guide...

Clapperoth's Guide to Reaching Level 300 Cooking and Fishing in a Single Day

Every group of people I've played with have at some point made the error of asking guildmates to save their wolf and boar meat so they can start leveling up cooking. Oh those sad, sad people, not realizing where the real meat of the matter is.

The fact is that you can raise cooking to 300 quite easily just using the fish you pull up while raising up your fishing skill, and it only takes a couple of hours to raise both to expert level at the same time.

So, for the Horde, here is what you do:

1) Bloodhoof Village: There is a Fishing trainer along the lake, a cooking trainer in the large tradecraft hut, and a vendor on the north side of town that sells "Fishing Supplies". I mention this last one as this vendor sells the "Recipe: Brilliant Smallfish" that requires only 1 cooking skill to cook fish. (This recipe is also sold by the Fishing supplies camp in Tirisfal Glades between Undercity and the Scarlet Monestary).

But where can I go to find Brilliant Smallfish you ask? Why, right there at the lake next to Bloodhoof. You can raise both fishing and cooking to 50-75 skill without ever leaving town, and use the trainers there to go to journeyman in both.

2) Ratchett: The next step on your journey will be lovely Ratchett in the Barrens. Here, a kindly vendor who stands near the head of the dock will sell you the "Recipe: Rainbow Fin Albacore" which requires 50 cooking skill. And once again, these tasty fish can be found ... right there fishing off the dock, where you can wave at the nice elves, dwarves and gnomes leaping from the boat for an adventure before they are slaughtered by the Horde players who hang out there waiting for them.

You can raise your fishing skill over 100 here, and cook the fish up to about 100 as well, while also getting some random extras like Oily Blackfish, Firefin Snapper and some engineering supplies that can be used, sold, or given as gifts to your lower skill alchemist and engineering friends.

But ... before you leave Ratchett, visit the kindly fisherman at the end of the dock one more time, because there is another cooking recipe you will need: "Recipe: Bristle Whisker Catfish". Then you are ready for your next exciting adventure of standing in place clicking a bobber every few minutes.

*** For the lazy and rich: Ignore most beyond this point regarding good fishing spots if all you want to do is raise cooking and don't care about getting fishing up at all. At around 100 skill you can buy raw fish from "fish food" vendors and skill up cooking that way. I like the fishing vendor at Steamwheedle Port in Tanaris (building right next to the dock) for this method. You would raise cooking to 225 at least doing this, although without fishing you won't have access to the ingredients for some of the artisan recipes, like mana regen buff, +agi buff, etc. ***

3) Stonetalon/Milkfallom Lake: There are other spots where you can get the friendly Bristle Whisker Catfish (e.g. the river just south of the Orgrimmar west entrance), but in Milkfallom Lake in Stonetalon, about 4 out of 5 items you fish up are this delicious (and whiskered) delicacy. To avoid dealing with Alliance while there, I suggest swimming to the little island in the middle of the lake to do your fishing, but that's up to the individual's desire.

Fishing these up will take both your fishing skill and cooking skill to about 150 without much effort, at which point you need to go on a journey of exploration for the books to raise your skills to expert.

Expert Fishing: This guide can be found in Booty Bay for 1g. If you were to enter Booty Bay from the water via the sea ramp, there is a "Fisherman" NPC in the door to your immediate right.

Expert Cooking: This is sold in Shadowprey Village in Desolace again for 1g.

4) 150-175, Make It Up: No perfect fish for cooking skill 150-175 although the Bristle Whisker won't have become trivial for you so will still give you some bonus. Otherwise the tangy clam meat from clamshells that sea creatures drop can be used here for the 125 trainer recipe Goblin Deviled Clams (and is fished up sometimes in #5)

5) Grom'gol/Shadowprey/Booty Bay: Buy some +75 lures at any fishing supplies vendor (for Shadowprey and Booty Bay they are right there where you will be fishing). For Gron'gol and Booty Bay, the fish you are looking for is Raw Rockscale Cod. In Shadowprey at the dock you will be fishing up Mithril Trout. Both of these are 175 skill cooking recipes sold at the Cook in Booty Bay and the cooking supplies vendor in Shadowprey.

Doing both or either of these will take your cooking to 225 and you will have to do a quest to raise to artisan. Cooking quest details are found here.

It's possible that you will also get fishing to 225 in Stranglethorn Vale or Desolace if you work at it, but you will raise cooking to 225 well before you get fishing there as fishing skillups slow down as you progress. You really only need to get to late 100s anyway.

6) Cooking to 300: At around 190 fishing skill you can buy +75 lures and fish in the river in Ferelas right in town there (next to the flight master works). This river has the advantage that a wide variety of fish come up so you can play with several recipes, although the dock at Steamwheedle is also good (but again, alliance will pester you as opposed to Ferelas). All of the cooking recipes you will need are either sold there in Camp Monanche in Ferelas or at the merchant in Steamwheedle Port in Tanaris. There are about 8-10 recipes between those two merchants, I won't list them all, just visit both vendors.

7) Fishing to 300: May god have mercy on your soul because Blizzard certainly won't. That's really all I have to say on that.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Comments (32) | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 10, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 34 - 01.10.2006

Guild WarsWelcome to my first interview podcast for 2006 where I got the chance to sit down with Jeff Strain, Founder and President of ArenaNet, and makers of the hugely successful Guild Wars.

During our talk we discuss the upcoming expansion Guild Wars: Factions, Jeff's thinking behind creating a dynamically generated MMO world, the technology behind their worldwide servers and content streaming system, the upcoming schedule for new future content, as well as much more. Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 34 Program

  • 00:03:16 GameTalk: Interview with Jeff Strain from ArenaNet, the makers of Guild Wars.
  • 00:31:00 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 01:09:00 Final Thoughts on my contest from last week, the new Gaming Steve T-shirts, and what I'm currently playing.
Download the show (73 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 34 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Assassin vs Ritualist in new Arena
Assassin vs Ritualist in new Arena.

Isle of the Nameless (new training ground)
Isle of the Nameless (new training ground).

Male Ritualist looking all evil
Male Ritualist looking all evil.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 4:00 PM | Posted to Interview | MMORPG | Podcast |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 2, 2006

Farewell Asheron's Call 2: November 2002 - December 2005

Farewell Asheron's Call 2On December 30th the gaming world lost one of their own. Quietly, peacefully Asheron's Call 2 simply ceased to be....

Empyrean magic has once again fled this world. The battle for Dereth continues on a different plane now. As his final act in this realm, Asheron sealed every portal to contain the expanding horde and protect what is left of the races who called Dereth home.

As of December 30, 2005 the AC2 service is no longer available. Turbine and the AC2 development team would like to express our thanks to the many players who've been part of Asheron's Call 2 over the years. We hope you've had as much fun playing the game as we did creating it for you.

It's never easy to say goodbye to a place you've called home, but we hope to see all of you in Turbine's other worlds.

Many of you probably never played Asheron's Call 2, or even gave this game a second glance, but I'm sure you have heard of this game and its passing has to make one stop and think of the eventual fate of all MMOs. Eventually, perhaps in three years, perhaps in thirty, they will all come to an end. EverQuest, Ultima Online, even World of Warcraft will one day go quietly into that good night.

Asheron's Call 2 ... we might not have known you well but you will be remembered and missed.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:30 AM | Posted to MMORPG | PC |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 28, 2005

Computer Gaming Magazine Confirms Draenei as New Alliance Race?

Draenei thew new Alliance race?According to Computer Games Magazine February 2006 Issue the Draenei have been confirmed as the new Alliance race. There are some scans of the magazine (here and here) but they are a bit hard to read. For those without 20/10 vision here is the text from the article:

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade

Developer/Publisher Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date Summer

WHY?
*You've hit that wall known as Level 60, at least once if not multiple times, as WoW has been voted "Easiest MMO to Cap Out Ever"; Blizzard's new level cap of 70 will at least give you something higher to shoot for.

*They're not just upgrading spells and skills (like Conjure Water rank 32, or Kidney Shot rank 19); they're adding brand-new ones, as well as additional tiers in the talent trees.

*The socketed item phenomenon that was sort of "coined" by Diablo will be implemented and Jewelcrafting added to the tradesperson skill set.

*Alliance players will enjoy playing as Draenei, and the new Blood Elf race gives the Horde faction its first exercise in what humans perceive as sex appeal (even though those Troll females are pretty cute).

*If you're bored with the same old continents and dungeons -- which you probably are -- Burning Crusade adds the planet of Outland, formerly Draenor, around which Level 70 characters can fly on Nether Dragon mounts.

WHY NOT?
*You can't fight on your Nether Dragon, nor use it outside of Outland, and it's slower than the current flying contingent of Griffons and Bats.

*They're not planning to add new classes at this juncture, nor will the "hero class" be ready to launch.

*Those of you who've spent the last several hundred game hours getting those epic armor sets and Arathi stuff might be disappointed that they won't be the end-all and be-all anymore.

*And will the current zones all of a sudden become deserted when people flock to the new areas? (Have you been to the n00b zones in EverQuest in the past thousand years? The NPCs are there, but they're awfully lonely.)

Of course I have saying for quite some time that the Draenei are most likely the new Alliance race, so this adds just one more log to the rumor fire. Thanks to Fozzle for this information.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 5:30 PM | Posted to MMORPG | PC |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 22, 2005

New Alliance Race Rumor Control Central

DraeneiAs most people know Blizzard has yet to announce the new Alliance race for their upcoming Burning Crusade expansion pack, and rumors are rampant as to what the new Alliance race is going to be and why. Could it be the Murloc? Or the very popular Pandaren? But what about the Draenei?

Well over at wowwiki.com they consolidated all of these rumors into one place along with detailed analysis on each race and their likelihood of being "the new Alliance race". A few tidbits:

  • Draenei - Possible. Reasoning: Lore-based hatred of Orcs; Originally from Draenor/Outland; They share a goal similar to the Blood Elves to get to Outland which fits well with expansion.
  • Ogre - Possible. Reasoning: Originally from Draenor/Outland; Ogres were touched up a bit with a few of their animations; Laughing Skull Clan allied with Alliance heroes on Draenor.
  • Furbolg - Possible. Reasoning: Alliance connection; Connection to the Emerald Dream (which may be in expansion); Have had many emotes added to them along with new animations.
  • High Elves - Unlikely. Reasoning: No direct connection with Outland; Extremely doubtful that a second 'elf' model would be selected; Traditional capital of Silvermoon in hands of the Blood Elves.
  • Murloc - Unlikely. Reasoning: Currently at war with Alliance; Shamanistic, not Holy; No Obvious Relationship to Outland.
  • Mountain Giant - Unlikely. Reasoning: Possible balance issues; Don't wear clothes; Not intelligent, no culture or civilization.
  • Tuskarr - Unlikely. Reasoning: Limited lore connections to Alliance; Unlikely to appear without Northrend; No known similar models in-game.
  • Centaur - Very Unlikely. Reasoning: They eat sentient races; Xenophobic to Alliance; No Obvious Relationship to Outland.
  • Cenarion - Very Unlikely. Reasoning: Connection to the Emerald Dream (which may be in expansion); No Obvious Relationship to Outland; 'Forest Spirits' rather than a true race: they have none of their own architecture.
  • Gnolls - Very Unlikely. Reasoning: At war with Alliance; Little evidence of civilization; No Obvious Relationship to Outland.
  • Naga - Very Unlikely. Reasoning: No lore connections to Alliance; Unlikely to ally with Alliance against their Blood Elf allies.
  • Nerubian - Very Unlikely. Reasoning: No lore connections to Alliance; No Obvious Relationship to Outland; Controlled by Lich King.
  • Goblin - Extremely Unlikely. Reasoning: Neutral Race not likely to side with Horde or Alliance; Would require lots of lore changes; How would Neutral cities remain neutral?
  • Pandaren - Mostly Debunked by Gamespy [as well as Gaming Steve!]. Reasoning: No Obvious Relationship to Outland, unless their hatred for the Blood Elves abuse of magic counts; Gamespy debunked Pandarens for this expansion pack; The Pandaren Rumor has not been verified by Blizzard.

Who do you think the new Alliance race will be? Personally I think it could be the Draenei, they're from the Outland and they fit the Blizzard rumor that the new Alliance race will be "big" and "ugly". I guess we'll all find out in a few months ... but isn't guessing and speculating more fun?

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG | PC |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 17, 2005

EVE Online Starting to Look Intriguing

eve.jpgIn less than 24 hours I have read about half a dozen stories about the MMO EVE Online and I have to say that this game is starting to pique my interest. First, they have a 14-day free trial, which is always a good thing.

Second, there is the amazing story of how a small "corporation" (AKA player guild) spent months infiltrating another corporation all the way up to the highest levels. And once all operatives were in place, the spy corporation assassinated the leader of the target corporation, stole their extremely rare and valuable spaceships, and then completely liquidated the assets of the target corporation which were valued at around $16,500 in real dollars.

Third, they just released their second huge free expansion pack for the game, which is always a good sign -- it's important to see that the developer is continuously updating and improving their game.

And finally, the next expansion will allow you to own and fly some ridiculously large ships. And when I mean ridiculously large I mean like Super Star Destroyer large. That is just too freaking cool (look at the EVE picture carefully and you'll see the Eiffel tower in the bottom left corner for size comparison).

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 15, 2005

World of Warcraft Alliance Race Revealed?

World of Warcraft Alliance Race Revealed?

This image has been floating around the web and the World of Warcraft forums and it appears that the Murloc might be the new playable Alliance race for The Burning Crusade expansion pack. Of course, who knows if this image is real or fake, and I was hunting around the Korean World of Warcraft web site to find out more, but I couldn't find The Burning Crusade page. UPDATE: It appears that this screenshot was taken from this section of the Korean WOW site, so it appears that this image is probably fake.

Just my two cents, I believe that this image could indeed be "correct", even if the image is fake, as I strongly believe that the new Alliance race be an "ugly" race in order to counterbalance the huge number of Alliance players. I have said this before in both my podcast and this site that the new Alliance race will be an "ugly" race, so the Murloc are as good as any to fill this role. What do you think the new Alliance race will be?

Posted by Gaming Steve at 12:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 7, 2005

World of Warcraft: The Board Game Now Shipping

wowbg_box.gifI just got off the phone with the guys at Fantasy Flight games and they have confirmed that the highly anticipated World of Warcraft: The Board Game is now shipping and should arrive in stores as early as this Friday.

For those unfamiliar with Fantasy Flight they released the extremely popular Doom: The Boardgame last year and make some of highest quality boardgames around. The WOW Boardgame looks to impress check out these stats:

  • Play as one of 16 heroes from nine classes and eight races, advance your character and gather treasure, battle thirteen different types of monsters, and ultimately challenge one of three invincible Overlords.

  • Build your character up from level 1 up to level 5 (the equivalent to level 60 in the online game) all the while increasing your character's stats, abilities, talents, and equipment.

  • The game box weights more than 10 pounds(!) and contains nearly 1000 components including 16 sculpted Heroes of the Horde and the Alliance, 120 plastic monsters, and hundreds upon hundreds of cards and cardboard tokens.

Considering the impressive size (did I mention the box weights 10 pounds?) and scope of this game (games are reported to take 3-9 hours to play) I would say that it comes pretty close to convening the MMORPG experience in board game form. The game can be played by 2-6 people and retails for $79.95 ... anyone up for a game?

Posted by Gaming Steve at 1:30 PM | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!