I just finished a quick run through of the PS3 demo for EA’s God of War inspired um… homage, Dante’s Inferno, which has been stunningly accurately described as the “dudebro” version of Mr. Alighieri’s famous poem. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun though, I figure it’ll make a great stop-gap game till the Return of the King.
The hellish, and oppressive environments of Dante’s Inferno did get me thinking about something MMO related though, something that’s been in the back of my mind as I wondered the Hyborian landscape. I really think it’s important for MMO’s to find a good balance between scarred, desolate areas, and beautiful, fun gathering places for social activity. Traipsing about in Hyborea, I’ve found that I want to spend less and less time in Age of Conan’s world because there are so few community gathering places where I can kick back, chat with some folks, swap stories, spend some aoc gold on virtual drinks etc. The cities are set up more like single player trading spaces, with everyone just kind of minding themselves as they conduct their business.
Now, compare that to World of Warcraft, where just about every major city has cozy taverns, colorful bars and inviting inns that draw in groups of players who more often than not end up chatting with each other, giving these virtual inns a real sense of warmth and community. This sense of community is amplified during festive times, such as Beerfest, during Halloween or over Christmas. That real sense of community is something I’ve noticed is missing from Age of Conan. You might argue that given its more mature nature, AoC can’t really indulge in such events, but that doesn’t mean it can’t encourage community in other ways. Perhaps the long lost drunken brawling would have been a great way to start, where bystanders bet aoc gold, in-game items and weapons on the brawl winner, perhaps cockfighting (there’s at least one cockfighter in Kopshef province).
Anyway, enough rambling, let’s talk current events. If you didn’t already know, World of Warcraft Patch 3.3 (aka Fall of the Lich King) is live. Now, this is the last major patch pre-Cataclysm, so it’s fairly hefty, the detail oriented amongst you can peruse Blizzard’s official WoW 3.3 patch notes here, while the more casual (like me!) will probably be just fine with the overview of the biggest changes here, there’s also a nifty story trailer on the same page, yes a trailer for a patch, hey, it’s a pretty important lore-specific patch mmmkay?
Not to be outdone, SOE’s EverQuest II population will soon find themselves engulfed in a cataclysm of their own as war comes to Freeport following the disappearance of Overlord Lucan D’Lere. There’s an in-game trailer for Will of a Tyrant here, and you can find patch notes here. Frankly, I think it’s great that some of the big MMO’s are looking to really shake things up and allow the game world’s story to really move along.
You could say everyone’s gone all patch happy, what with Warhammer Online also having just recently released its latest game update, WAR patch 1.3.3. The latest update brings, among many other fixes and changes, graphical improvements, the new Underdog System (which helps level the playing field to aid outnumbered factions, and the WAR Report, which alerts players and takes them to nearby PvP hotspots instantaneously. You can find full patch notes for 1.3.3 here.
A little earlier I was talking about the importance of that feeling of community in MMO’s, and about how much it was lacking from some MMO’s, so it’s a relief to see that SOE’s taking community seriously with Free Realms (which I admit I haven’t picked up in a while). They’re organising one last bash in the sun with a Seaside Luau scheduled for Friday December 11th, that’s today!;
- US and Latin America: 3pm-5pm PST, Server 1
- UK and Europe: 6pm-8pm GMT, Server 1
Be there, or… you know.
Crikey, I give up! I’ve been going on for weeks now about the marketing emphasis on Star Trek Online’s ship combat, all the while waiting impatiently to see or hear about other facets of gameplay. What do they give us? An interview on ground combat. I admit it, I have weak willpower and as such will likely be getting STO just to get into the early beta, but it would be nice to know what else players can do other than blow each other to bits.
– Guild Wars Holiday Papercrafts are super-cute. If you have sausage fingers like me though, they’re ultimately infuriating.
– If Homer Simpson were real (warning, may give you nightmares)