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MMO Roundup: Last week on Massively


Sometimes you'd like to know that there are other MMOs out there, right? Our sister site Massively can provide you with everything you need to know about all MMOs, including WoW! Check out this roundup of the latest news from the wider MMO world.

Face-capturing tech to be "in-game soon" for Age of Conan
Lopping off heads in Age of Conan might soon be taken very personally, as ShackNews has reported that some fancy face-importing technology is being prepared for use in-game -- you're bound to be just a tad more put out when you see your actual face rolling away on a decapitated noggin. The technology itself comes from a company called Big Stage Entertainment, and you can already get a feel for how it works at their website by registering an account and creating your own 3D "@ctor".
SOE storms the internet with Free Realms beta promotions
This weekend saw one of the largest beta key giveaways in MMO history with tens of thousands of special codes being handed out at once by several different outlets. Aside from the normal MMO news and fan sites, the Free Realms Twitter account has been giving away a thousand keys at a time.
A rocky start for Warhammer's 1.21 patch
Patch day in an MMO is always hit or miss, but according to a number of sources, Mythic's 1.21 patch for Warhammer Online broke many core components of the game that still haven't been fixed several days later. A public acknowledgment appeared on the WAR Herald this past weekend, but some players are still furious.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Features

The Queue: From Hell's heart I stab at thee...


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

To the last, I will grapple with thee...

From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!

For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!

Iceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Stooooooone!

Dyluck asked...

"I was wondering, do the EULA and TOS really change each patch?"

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Filed under: The Queue

Northrend's Gross Domestic Product: 719 million gold

Our friend The WoW Economist started a little project the other day: he added up, according to the top items lists, all of the products sold from Northrend across the servers, and then multiplied each by what he calls a "median" price (though exactly how that's reached, we're not sure), and landed on a huge amount of gold: 719,918,239.7. Obviously I'm not a WoW Economist (I'm not even that good at math), but that sounds to me like Northrend's gross domestic product: players are creating an economy of 719 million gold in Northrend from week to week.

Unfortunately, that number alone doesn't tell us much, except that there's a lot of gold moving around in Northrend (it would be interesting to compare this to, say, Azeroth or Outland's equivalent, though the more useful numbers would probably be Outland before the new expansion hit, when everyone was still farming and selling items from there). And it will be interesting to see this tracked in the future: the real GDP is usually used as an indicator of both standard of living and a country's economic health, and while there are drawbacks to using that number to gauge both of those qualities, it's probably fair to say the economy in Northrend is booming. Maybe tracking this in the future will let us see how new content patches or item or even class updates can affect what the economy does there.

Very interesting. EVE Online's creators, CCP, have actually hired an economist to help run their ingame economy, and while WoW's isn't generally seen as quite that complicated, there are still plenty of big numbers to play around with..

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Denis Dyack says EVE is better than WoW

Who's Denis Dyack? He's the outspoken president of Silicon Knights, a company that just finished many years (almost 10, some say) of making a game called Too Human that disappointed widely. And that, of course, qualifies him to be an expert in MMO design, right?

Maybe not, but he's going to call out WoW anyway. In an interview with Videogaming 24/7, he claims that while he enjoyed World of Warcraft, EVE Online was for him personally the better game. He claims EVE has more depth than WoW, and is "a lot harder core." And he says that both games made him force himself to stop playing -- apparently they both just took too much time to play.

We've played both as well, and EVE certainly is a very deep and complex game (almost too complex for many players' tastes, we'd guess). But we'll leave the question of which game is actually better up to you. We will, however, point out that while lots of people have opinions about which games are best, not all of them are developers. If you have strong opinions about which games to play and not to play, shouldn't you be making even better games than the ones you don't like?

[via Massively]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items

WoW player more ashamed than porn addict

Image via Boston GlobeIt's not the first time WoW addiction has been addressed, and it won't be the last. This one, however, is a nice change from some more sensational pieces. In an interview with The Boston Globe, well-known psychiatrist Dr. Jerald Block discusses what he calls "pathological computer use." His clients, he says, can be "more ashamed of playing World of Warcraft than looking at porn."

These kind of interviews aren't uncommon, like the CNN editorial from a few months ago. However, a few things about Dr. Block's interview struck me as pretty well-balanced. First, Dr. Block has quibbles about the phrase addiction. He feels that word addresses the wrong issues and nuances. Dr. Block prefers "pathological computer use." In my opinion, that word indicates the game itself isn't the problem, but instead the manner in which the person uses the game.

Dr. Block also discusses a patient who was very successful at EVE Online. After a fairly disastrous event, he felt betrayed by everyone he knew in the game. Dr. Block spells out the problem isn't only how subject deals with that issue, but that the subject's (out-of-game) friends can't understand. What might be a legitimate, troublesome event is being related-to by people who don't have context to an individual issue. Of course, while it probably ended the player's addiction -- I don't know if I'd list this kind of disaster as a way to quit playing WoW.

It's a refreshing view on WoW addiction, and worth a bit more look at Dr. Block's web site.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items, Interviews

"An armed society is a polite society."

Or so wrote Robert Heinlein in Beyond the Horizon. The general idea was that, in a country where there were serious (and officially sanctioned) consequences to misbehavior from quarters other than the police, you'd wind up with a place where people really thought hard about whether it was worth pissing someone off just for the fun of it.

Whenever I'm reading about PvP, that quote always springs to mind. People who have played MMORPG's with more "hardcore" PvP systems have mentioned that the amount of random ganking you see in WoW just doesn't seem to occur on the same scale elsewhere. WoW's PvP is pretty consequence-free. Corpse runs are annoying, sure, and being camped is nobody's idea of fun. But you don't take durability or experience loss after a PvP death, and you don't lose money or items to the attacker. Nor does the attacker gain anything from killing you (unless it's honor if you weren't a gray target).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Leveling

Introducing Big Download (beta), the newest site in the Joystiq network

Our good friends at Joystiq are passing out the cigars today -- the newest site in the Joystiq network (which WoW Insider is a part of, within Weblogs, Inc., which is a division of AOL) is called Big Download, is in beta, and is open right now for your browsing and file grabbing pleasure. We'll direct you to the most important part of the site, the World of Warcraft page, where you can grab Blizzard's latest patch and trailer at your convenience (in case you haven't gotten them yet), but the site's got lots of other good stuff, too, including that sweet looking Mirror's Edge gameplay video everyone's going gaga over, and even full MMO clients like Dream of Mirror Online and EVE Online.

The site's got a decidedly PC bent, which we're big fans of, obviously, and there's a news page which will cover PC and game file news from 1 to 100% downloaded. And with a feature called "My Tracker," you can sign in and every time there's a new file for a game you want (say, a certain 10 million player fantasy MMO that you just can't get enough of), they'll tell you right away.

Looks cool to us. The site is still in beta, as we said, so stay tuned for more updates and features all the time. And what's that you say? You want a place where you can get up-to-date, virus-free WoW addons, a place that never goes down and charges no fees and requires no registration to download from? Patience, my friends. In time, good things will come.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, News items

The pros and cons of set loot tables

Hardcore Casual has a short but interesting piece up comparing EVE's loot system to that of WoW and EQ. WoW uses what's called a fixed loot table system, which means that everything you kill in game has a set list of loot that drops from it, in varying degrees. If you kill Illidan, you know exactly what he might drop, even if you don't know exactly which piece on that list will drop. But EVE Online apparently uses a much more random loot system-- when you loot, you might get anything.

A better comparison (especially for Blizzard fans) might be Diablo, where almost anything can drop almost anywhere. The problem with a random loot system like this, however, is exactly what I ran into in Titan Quest (a pretty darn good Diablo clone): halfway through the game, a great item will randomly drop, and you'll get a thrill from getting a sweet weapon. However, because you randomly hit it big, you'll have the problem of nothing better ever dropping again, and the game is pretty much over. Diablo fixed this by having separate areas to go through (and I believe TQ got patched in the expansion to fix this a little bit). But in WoW, you don't have that problem-- every new instance you go into will have better gear than the one before it, guaranteed. You can look it up on WoW Wiki, or look at the loot lists, and know exactly what's there.

In fact, some say WoW's loot tables are too random-- I always see Paladin loot drop whenever there's no Paladin in the group. But it does take a little bit of fun out of the game world when everyone is huddled around the Curator saying "cmon staff, cmon staff, cmon staff!" Giving us a boss or two where the loot is totally and completely random (out of almost any item in the game) could actually be fun.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Bosses

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