Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Carnival Update

The next Carnival will be hosted by Mile Zero on June 9.

Edit: In other news, IPYM has been linked by not one(1) but two(2!) other blogs! Quylein the Mage deserves a sidebar link! Wheeee... I hope all this fame and power doesn't go to my head.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Frogloks Freed!

The Frogloks have been freed on Neriak server by twenty-three members of Ascendance, the same guild that first cured the plague.

A ghost Froglok appeared to them halfway through the Cazic-Thule instance and told them that the evil dragon Venekor was holding them captive. Geez, I thought Venekor had been killed by these guys for the Deception quest, though I may be wrong.

In addition to a twelve-hour buff and the title "Heroes of Kugup," the raid received ten master chests and six master spells during the event.

Several other guilds on other servers reported serious bugs in the event, including revival problems and "falling through the world." If Ascendance is the first guild to free the Frogloks because they tried it after the right patch, I think the others should have some compensation reflecting their less timely efforts.

Here is the video of the guild freeing the Froggies.

New EQ2 Tutorial

According to a Caster's Realm article on E3, a revised tutorial will be implemented with the upcoming expansion pack, Desert of Flames.

Details are sketchy, but the general plot will be (once arriving in the tutorial) that the character must escape from some Kobolds that have captured him during their revolt, the superplot behind all this of course being the Kobold Revolt.

I assume that this will replace the Far Journey/Isle of Refuge tutorial, which is a shame, since this new one doesn't look particularly interesting. SOE has stated, however, that armor quests will yield better rewards, etc, so it may be that this change was necessary.

A single screenshot of the new tutorial can be found here, and the full Caster's Realm article here.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

EQII Sitcoms at Aggro Me

This is absolutely brilliant.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Roleplay Hijinks in WoW!

Before I show you what the post is all about, let me give you some background information.

The screenshot is a compilation of screenshots of a WoW chat transcript. I've had it bookmarked for well over a month now, and during that time I tried to find the people who were responsible for it. I did find them today.

The people talking are members of The Shipwrecked Pirates, a guild located in Archimonde server of WoW. They are staunch and hilarious roleplayers whose smack-talking has become famous throughout the MMORPG internet community (obviously, to have been mentioned here and recognized by four people).

The transcript shows a group of these errant swashbuckling smart alecks taking on a GM in incredibly funny pirate style.

Finally, here is the link. Pass the ale and that wench there, me hearty!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Live Update 9 and Frogloks

Live Update 9, delayed for one day, is here at long last! New or updated features include:
  • New instanced zone in Everfrost: the Forbidden Sepulcher. "A barbarian cult has invaded a tomb in Everfrost with the intention of raising their dark mistress."
  • New instanced zone in the Feerrott: the Cleansing of the Cove. "It appears lizardmen are searching near the Trembling Lagoon for lost treasure. The scaled ones have disturbed the bones of those sleeping for ages, and new, darker dangers now lurk in the lagoon!"
  • Level 45+ players have a bevy of new solo writs to complete.
  • The in-game music is now customizable! Instructions are available in the official update notes.
And the new content we have all been waiting for since launch (drum roll):
  • "It no longer appears to rain underwater."
Just kidding, of course. The real news in today's update is that the Frogloks are finally available to play. Qeynosians may speak to Frup at the Fountain of Valor in Castleview to begin the quest to unlock it for their own account.

Since Brungo, a very handsome Halfling, is a level fourteen predator, I was only able to complete the first step of the quest (titled "The Missing"). This was one of the most fun quests I have ever completed.

Frup told me to find his compatiot on the southern beaches of Antonica. He wasn't there, but I was able to track him to several objects scattered in and around Archer's Wood to find him at the Beaver Pond. An assassin had chased him down and stabbed him with a poisoned blade. I was supposed to escort him (a level 1 with one down arrow) to the nearest guard tower for a medic there to treat his wound. Unfortunately, he died of his injuries as I got near the tower, so I returned to Frup to give him the bad news.

The next step involves slaying a level 29 assassin, so needless to say I went down like, well, a one-shotted Halfling.

So far the highest level Froglok I've seen is a level 17 crusader. I must say, it's pretty disheartening to see one's character that one has only had a chance to play sporadically surpassed in less than a day by some level 50's alt. Oh well, that's life.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Froglok Menace

Yes, it is I, Brungo the Halfling. Today Frogloks have been sighted all over the known world. Their purpose? No one knows for sure.

Some have speculated, however. Most of my comrades in the UIA (Undersized Intelligence Agency) fear matters have just made a turn for the worse. Frogloks have been linked --by reliable sources within the Concordium-- to a series of seemingly unrelated events in Norrath's history.

Hasten Bootstrutter, the wizened gnome famed for his exploration of the various continents, imparted troubling information the day before he died to our young operative Brindo in the Baubbleshire. He said that he had been to the Feerrot sometime in his life. Hold on a second. I know what you're thinking: "This moronic conspiracy theorist can shove this load of **** up his *** and **** **** *** ************ **** or *** *****." The swamp-lovers have obviously indoctrinated you already, as they have the Queen and most of the Celestial Watch.

You see, the night after Bootstrutter (Bristlebane rest his soul) spilled his guts, he was killed at sea in the Shattering of Luclin. Yes! You heard me right! The Shattering!

The Frogloks' suspicious activities on the moon then and in the dread jungles of the Feerrot to this day could only have been for one purpose: the assassination of prominent figures in Qeynos society. There was a large amount of collateral damage from the Shattering, obviously, but it provided perfect cover for their disappearance and apparently coincidental materializing now. The Tae Ew are merely a front, and rumors of tortured Frogloks are just that: rumors to lure powerful adventurers into the mucus-coated webbed hands of the vicious amphibians. These beasts, responsible for the Shattering and the murder of many already in the jungle, will stop at nothing to render both Qeynos and Freeport defenseless, without their best fighters, vulnerable to attack.

So heed my warning and venture not into the depths of Cazic-Thule, or you will surely meet an awful fate.

The Carnival Is in Full Swing

The first Carnival of Gamers is up at ButtonMashing.com, so get out your fire breather protection suit and head on over.

There are twenty articles listed, and by and large, they are very entertaining and fairly insightful. Even if IPYM just got a tiny blurb on the #19 spot, I'm still happy. This was a great event, and I hope to see many more like it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

New Links!

As you may or may not have noticed, I posted four new links to the sidebar on the left* hand side of the page. All are Vanguard related websites.
  • The Vanguard Forums - This site has obvious merit. The Vanguard community is expanding rapidly, and the forums are the place to goo if you want to find up-to-the-minute information on the game.
  • Silky Venom - This site, mentioned in my last post, has some excellent, highly detailed articles on E3 on its E3 coverage page, largely due to the great work of Nólaquen and her several compatriots. Frequent updates and professional writing put this on the list.
  • Vanguard Stratics - Frequent updates, a nice layout, and great links to many articles made this a must-see site. It's fairly generic, though, in its similarity to the Vault and Warcry networks.
  • The Safehouse - This Vanguard fansite has some great articles, and I use it consistently as a source for blog content. I highly recommend it.
That's it, until later of course...

*The One-Eyed Manne, Kynge of the Land of the Blynde, has Deemed Lefte to be Ryte, therefore Ryte is Still Ryte, yet There is No Lefte. His Magnyfyfenfe is Quyte the Phylofopher.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Vanguard Clips from Silky Venom

Silky Venom just released an extremely high quality movie. Those of you on a dial-up connection, the file is 43 Mb in size, so it will take a while to download.

This apparently is an introduction to a series of videos by Nólaquen of Silky Venom.

It starts out by having Sigil Online Games staff introduce themselves, then goes on to a gameplay video showcasing the new continent of Kojan.

The sky and water in the game are incredibly realistic. In a few screenshots on the official Vanguard site, it looks like the clouds are in fact rendered objects that can block one's view of mountains, etc. The beginning of the Qalian harbor shot hints at an underwater viewpoint, then goes on to show off a huge harbor and a beautiful inlet, with the meta-waves clearly visible as large ripples on the surface.

Kojan is gorgeous. Just watch the video and you'll agree with me.

The segment on Thestra showed the game from a chracter's perspective, walking along the ground and into a windmill with the gears turning believably. Many games don't bother to make similar animations realistic (not mentioning any names, World of Warcraft) or simply leaving them out altogether (again, not mentioning any names).

All in all, this movie was spectacular and very professional-looking. I can't wait for the next one.

More E3 coverage of Vanguard by Silky Venom can be found here.


It appears that SOE is finally starting to take suggestions from posters to their forums. /Duel is the new way to have a consensual fight with another character. Please note that this has only been implemented on the Test Server so far.

Duels can take place anywhere: in a city, in a house, outdoors, or "in the deepest dungeon." I guess the guy writing the update notes decided to make his writing more exciting. Wow... deepest.

The forum posters are split pretty much straight down the middle on the issue of death penalties in PvP combat. One side says it takes away the fun of the fight, and another says it is necessary to prevent exploitation of the system.

Moorgard posted this on the forums, defending the decision to give experience debt to those who died in a duel.
If dueling were to have no penalties, people would exploit it as a free teleport out of bad spots.

Personally, I think in an MMO you should actively want to avoid dying, regardless of the situation. Just because dueling is there for fun doesn't mean there shouldn't be consequences to it. Risks without consequences aren't really risks at all.
I agree with him completely on this. The fact that there is an option to surrender means that (1) there isn't a risk involved, and (2) people can still do this for fun without others turning it into a free teleport.

The main PvP in Everquest II, of course, will be the arenas in the upcoming expansion pack.

Monday, May 23, 2005

E3 Wrap-Up

Not wanting to forget the Splitpaw Saga in all the hubbub surrounding the Desert of Flames, Gamespot has a short preview of the Splitpaw Saga. The plot of the Adventure Pack will center on the gnoll Splitpaw, the leader of a group of "secretive" gnolls in the caverns.

Some new information regarding the Desert of Flames from the Online Gaming Network (link not working as of this writing) and EQ2 Vault:
  • Players will have the ability to shimmy from rope to rope while hanging on, risking falling damage.
  • Players will have to leap from wall to wall and perform other feats of agility to complete some quests.
  • Lower level players will be able to travel to Maj'Dul and participate in arena fights.
  • The flying carpet is the Maj'dul version of a griffin.
  • Wizards flying over the city will handle street fights quickly and efficiently.
  • Some new animations, such as mounting a horse and consuming food and drink, will be added.
  • New voice-overs will be added specific to each race and gender. (i.e. "Heal me.")
  • IGN has some impressive screenshots on their page. The very colorful zone with the docks and twin cobra statues is the one that all players start in on this continent.
Come to Gaze was not impressed with anything at E3, but I think the writer has a bad case of sour grape syndrome. I'm sorry, but it seems obvious to me.

A new Vanguard movie from E3 has just been made available. I'm not sure how long this one will take to download, as the traffic on the site is pretty heavy right now.

A Note from the Mighty One-Eyed Manne, Kinge of the Lande of the Blinde: Yefterdaye's Predictione of the Apocalypfe was Not an Attempte to make a Polytical or Relygiouf ftatement in Anye Waye, Fhape, or Forme. That is Alle for Now. Thou Fhalt Not Rebelle, lest Ye be Ekfecuted by Fecuritye.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Judgment Approacheth

We at IPYM apologize, but since there isn't really a Sunday Sum-Up this week, the world is going to end.

Again, we're sorry.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Carnival of [Blogging] Gamers

Today ButtonMashing.com announced that it is hosting the first ever Carnival of Gamers.

Each participating blogger submits what they think is a great post, new or old, to the Carnival. I'm still trying to decide what to submit, if anything, to this event, though I'm considering this and this, both similar posts.

On a side note, if ANYONE feels like letting me know how you think my blog is doing, please FEEL FREE. Geez, I'm getting claustrophobic in here...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

More E3 Vanguard

The Last Fanboy published a bevy of information on Vanguard released at E3.

Some points of interest are the new continent, Kojan, and new races. The new races will include wood elves, half-elves, goblins, orcs, and a fox race (Rokki?).

Mordebi Humans, Qalian Humans, Barbarians (name undecided), Gnomes, Dark Elves, and the Khurashasa cat race inhabit Qalia.

Crafting is a reactionary process, much like combat, and more complicated recipes require multiple tradeskillers.

Here are some low-quality screenshots of new character models and the new continent, and one screenshot of what looks like a goblin.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

E3 EQ2

Gamespot has a preview of the Desert of Flames. Apparently my hunch about cobra-type dragons was wrong. One new feature not mentioned in my previous post is the ability for players to attack just about any NPC in the new city of Maj'Dul.

Here are 16 new screenshots of DoF. Note the new NPC mosels introduced in this expansion.

Edit: Here is a new video showing a freaking awesome Maj'Dul carpet ride to the city, PvP combat, and the two new metallic dragons (don't look very metallic to me) that can invade the city at any time. Since this adds ten new levels to the game, though, it is doubtful that anyone will be able to take them on until a couple of weeks after it is released.

Edit: Where would we be without SOE staff interviewing themselves?

E3 Vanguard

There wasn't much coverage of Vanguard at E3, but the little that exists is still very interesting. So far, only one article (at Gamespy) has been posted. Apparently in addition to the fighting and crafting/harvesting spheres, there will be one called "diplomacy." Basically, your skill in this sphere is based on your ability to convince NPCs to do something for you.
The rewards of being a successful diplomat are myriad. Players will be able to increase their standing with various factions in the game by means of skillful manipulation, garnering them further opportunities in the form of quests, as well more material perks. And far from simply requiring the player to choose the "right" responses in dialog trees, the act of engaging in diplomacy, according to the designers, will be as involved as combat. Players will choose physical stances in order to affect their targets' moods, as well as adopt different demeanors to further manipulate them.
With regard to the demeanors, a player can take different stances that will affect how an NPC reacts to him. One could take an aggressive stance, for instance, to intimidate and bully the said NPC, or a charming stance to ingratiate yourself to him.

All three spheres could theoretically work together at the same time and place to achieve a common goal. The representatives for Sigil posed a possible scenario:
Picture a dragon's lair, guarded tightly by the beast's minions. A guild with its headquarters nearby to the dragon's lair would certainly want the scales that the dragon sheds in order for their crafters to create powerful equipment for them. In the scenario they described, the guild's diplomats would parley with the dragon's guards, in order to distract them, or con them into granting them passage. Meanwhile, the crafters and adventurers in their ranks would delve into the lair, locate the scales, which the crafters would begin to harvest. The adventures would keep an eye open for any patrolling guards, and dispatch any that turn up. Each of the groups would be able to focus on what it does best, and all would be rewarded with experience, and the possibility of phat, crafted loot.
If Vanguard lives up to all that it has promised and provides this much variety and depth, it could definitely be considered a "Third-Generation" MMO, a title that the developers have bestowed upon their game since it was announced.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

E3 2005: Vanguard and EQ2

The news from the Vanguard forums is that the Vanguard team is frantically getting together a booth demo for E3. Some footage will apparently be posted to the official site later on. Here is the Gamespot preshow report. I can't find any mention of Vanguard on the official E3 website, which is disconcerting.

SOE is planning to show a demo of the upcoming Desert of Flames expansion pack and possibly videos of the Splitpaw Saga.

Also worth mentioning is the absolutely amazing Microsoft booth. This has nothing to do with MMOs, but dang, it's gorgeous.

Monday, May 16, 2005

SOE Worlds Preview of DoF

The new expansion pack, set for release late this year, is set in the Desert of Ro, the new home of the Dervish Cutthroats, a wide variety of new creatures, and the two legendary metallic dragons.

Once players have arrived on the docks of the new continent, they may take a "dramatic" magic carpet ride to the Dervish city of Maj'dul perched high above the surrounding desert, where the fearsome brigands have established what they perceive as an advanced civilization. Three caliphs as well as an outlaw known as "the Highwayman" vie for control of the city, and each have their own faction. Due to the violent nature of the Cutthroats, disputes in the city are rarely settled peacefully.
You'll need to choose your alliances carefully, however, because different factions control different areas of the city. Which faction you support will determine which areas of the city are safe for you to travel, and which locations' inhabitants will consider you to be hostile intruder.

"Don't try to fight in the streets," cautions Chris. "If you do, Wizards will come after you and put a stop to it." Instead keep your fighting to indoor instanced zones where the wizards won't catch you.
The laws of the city are determined by the number of wins in the arena the various caliphs' factions have. The arena's structure is basically that of Pokemon, unfortunately. A player trains an orc, lizardman, or one of several other creatures and equips them with a limited set of abilities to face their opponents in battle. One interesting feature of this new system is the extra profession:
Because the arena fighters are tradeable, you can obtain, train, and level up fighters and sell to other people to use and make your living as an arena fighter handler... [Chris says,] "We already have tradeskilling and adventuring, and now there's a chance to do something completely new."
Says Worlds about the zone types,
"Players will see every kind of desert terrain you can even imagine." From the familiar oasis to climbable walls, there will be something for everyone here.

Out in the desert you may run into the descendents of the specters you used to know in the original Everquest. Look out for what Chris calls "the biggest baddest orcs, also known as the Rujarkian," who are turning a mountain into a fortress. Seek out the undead in their city of Takish Hiz. If you're particularly brave, go in search of the flying citadel where the genies and the Djinn Master live...
Brakah and Siyamak, gold and silver dragons, are the true rulers of these deserts. An unlabeled screenshot of a monster model at the bottom of the article suggested that they looked like giant metallic cobras. Some other monsters of note are the towelhead giants, which I think look hilarious.

Look for live events throughout the coming summer in which the Drakota will raid the Shattered Lands. These Live Events will include speeches by Antonia Bayle and Lucan D'Lere rallying adventurers to fight this new menace.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Sunday Sum-Up

Here are some of the highlights of this past week:
  • The first issue of SOE Worlds is released, providing a bevy of new information on the Splitpaw Saga, the Desert of Flames, and the quest to free the Frogloks.
  • The Splitpaw Saga will be released on June 18.
  • EQ2 Live Update#9 will allow players to play their own music files in-game (iTunes Everquest?)
  • Gamespot previews Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
That' it! Tomorrow (Monday), new information on the Desert of Flames will be posted.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Some more information on the new EQ2 adventure pack was released in the latest SOE Worlds magazine. A disturbance underground in the Thundering Steppes will cause a collapse behind a door in the Thundering Steppes, finally giving it a purpose. Of course, that's not the lore word-for-word, but that door has been there forever. Some lore behind the new zones:
The Splitpaw gnolls were trapped underground for centuuries, and their time in the dark, isolated caverns hasn't improved their disposition. They were forced to turn into cannibals in order to survive, and some have become undead skeletons or zombies.
Everyone will have free access to one zone of the new adventure pack, which in its entirety will cost US $7.99. The area will be huge:
Aimed at players level 20-50, the Adventure Pack reveals a maze of tunnels, the setting for a struggle in which the Underpaw gnolls are trying to push out the infringing Splitpaw gnolls. "The area is continent sized," says Chris, "There's plenty of room to get lost in there."
New features will include content that scales to groups' level and moveable (and explodable) objects. There will be 35 new quests.

Friday, May 13, 2005

New Ex.pack/Ad.pack Details Emerge

I received my first copy of SOE Worlds magazine today, and, boy, was it packed with information on the Splitpaw Saga and the Desert of Flames! I couldn't believe what I was reading. Here are some choice excerpts from the text (I'll be posting this in installments, because there is just so much information):
By the time you read this, adventurers should have distracted the Tae Ew torturers and their brethren enough to allow a party of Frogloks to escape. Two of them have reached the gates of Qeynos, where they have alerted the world of their imprisonment in the depths of Cazic Thule. Alas, one of these Frogloks escaped bondage at the hands of the Tae Ew only to be captured by Lucan, and he now languishes in the depths of the Freeport prison.
So the lizards apparently have been holding the Frogloks captive for hundreds of years under the Temple of Cazic Thule, and brave adventurers must storm their stronghold to free them. It seems that a solo quest for unlocking them on a particular account involves helping individual escaped froggies lost in the Feerott.

The Frogloks will be the second most balanced race in the game, starting with 16 Strength, 20 Stamina, 24 Agility, 20 Intelligence, 20 Wisdom, and Disease, Poison, and Divine resistances.

There will be a variety of looks for this race, including bright skin colors and patterns. They will also have unique animations for emotes and special abilities. According to Chris Cao, the EQ2 lead designer,
Attacks like Tongue Lash and Flip Kick are potential crowd pleasers.
In addition, Chris says that there will be more races added to the game in the future through events similar to this.

Look here tomorrow for information on the Splitpaw Saga!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I Pulled a Leeroy

More shenanigans down at WoW along the lines of /danked. Yet another unforunate's name has been turned into a verb/noun because of stupidity.

Leeroy was just a poor little WoW character who decided to end it all. But he didn't want to go alone. He ran into a room full of monsters while his group was strategizing and pulled everything in it onto them, destroying the entire raid force.

Here is a video of the event, complete with voice-over.

But wait, there's more! Yes, Leeroy (v, n) is officially a word now, thanks to Urban Dictionary.

Edit: I finally found the WoW forums post.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Vanguard Part 2: Races and PCs

There isn't very much information on the races intended to be in-game upon the release of Vanguard, though the little there is is fairly detailed. Races themselves will be varied in size and shape, with some variation within each different one.

The continent of Thestra will feature the Thestran Human, Barbarian, Half-Giant, Halfling, High Elf, Dwarf, and Vulmane (a bi-pedal wolfman). Some races will have variations based on continents. For instance, there will also be Qalian humans and possibly Qalian/Thestran gnomes. The only other race officially announced is the Dark Elves. According to lore, they originated in caves under the Qalian desert, but have recently entered above-ground society.

Racial starting villages will be close together on each continent to facilitate real-world friends' ability to adventure with each other.

To keep different races different, each will have different starting stats, and not every race will be able to play every class. The devs are sticking with a more traditional high fantasy model for this aspect of gameplay. This is something that I object to, but I suppose life goes on.

One of the Vanguard development team's goals for player characters is that they be as customizable as possible. During character creation, the bone structure of a character can be manipulated so that, say, roleplaying brothers could have narrow eyes that are close together and shorter arms than most others of their race. This is from a Gamespot preview:
Aside from being able to adjust your character's stature by manipulating his or her skeleton (to have broader shoulders or longer arms, or to simply be big-boned in general), you'll be able to create a character who wears highly distinctive clothing and armor that won't slow your computer's performance to a crawl.

Vanguard will even model nuances, like hooded cloaks and visored helmets that can be raised or lowered. That is, if your character wears a cloak, you'll be able to wear the cowl up or down; likewise, if you wear a helmet, you'll be able to wear the visor up or down. These nuances should hopefully go a long way toward letting you create a highly distinctive-looking character who can actually show his or her face (rather than being forced to hide it under a helmet for protection). The game will also support bump-mapping and high-dynamic-range lighting to further differentiate the appearance of varying armor, weapons, and items, but at only a marginal cost of processing power.
And this from David Gilbertson:
Our characters are just like the rest of our art. We start from a base of realism, and then bend and exaggerate certain aspects. In addition to that, we also intend to give players the option of choosing how much to exaggerate certain areas. With in reason of course. But I certainly hope to see a beer bellied warrior at some point.
I myself will probably spend hours, if not days, experimenting with the looks of different races. Character creation will definitely be a plus to this game.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Vanguard Part 1: The World

The world of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is gigantic, complex, and seamless. It accomplishes this with an even more stunning graphics engine than Everquest II that can render objects up to 6 km and land up to 8 km away. From the vast swamps of the Fallen Lands, to the ocean teeming with player-and-NPC-owned ships, to the deserts of the continent Qalia, Telon is as varied as it is amazing. I could wax poetic on this game till the day it's released, and then I'd be too busy playing it.

Four continents are planned for Vanguard, three of which will be sarting continents, and two of which have been announced: a pseudo-European Thestra and an Arabian Nights-style Qalia. Thestran humans, High Elves, and several other races inhabit Thestra, while their counterparts, the Dark Elves and Qalian humans, will inhabit Qalia.

Much of the gameplay in Vanguard will obviously revolve around the enormity of the world players are confronted with when they enter it. Travelling huge distances will be a necessity, and in the case of a few classes, a way of advancing in level (more on this in future posts, Motifp). Player characters are expected to own a horse or other means of transportation by level 5, and reach a major city from one of their race's starting villages by about level 20. In this way, the devs hope to alleviate the problem of tedious travel times somewhat; at the same time, however, they don't want to make it too easy.

There will be no teleportation except within certain dungeons, and never outside those dungeons. Players will either have to navigate their own boat or travel on someone else's to reach other continents, while at the same time avoiding sea monsers, pirates, and other dangers on the open sea. Some small craft will only be fit for skimming the shore or travelling up and down rivers (yes, rivers will be sloped, players will be able to swim and fish in them, and boats with a shallow enough draft will be able to travel on them), while other, larger ones may sail the wide (and beautifully rendered) ocean. Some --such as warships-- may have better defense capability but lack speed, and others --such as clippers and other blockade runner-style trading vessels-- may be much faster but lack any other defense.

The content revealed so far for Vanguard seems very complete, and there is a plethora of it; the realease date is sometime in 2006, however, so they must have much more planned. The chief producer for Vanguard at Sigil Online Games said that they should take at least three years developing any online MMO, but the three-year anniversary of the game's announcement has been and gone as of several months ago. I just hope it's worth the wait, in spades.

Screenshots (1, 2) of Vanguard, the official FAQ, and the forums.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Vanguard Series

This week through next Monday, IPYM will be automated. The posts will cover various aspects of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. If I can reach a computer while I'm gone, I'll get more up-to-date information on other stuff. Vanguard looks like a great game, however, and needs all the plugs it can get. Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Sunday Sum-Up

There was some great news from SOE this week, including major current and future additions to the game:
  • The Frogloks are reported to be live, though many players are expressing frustration at finding and starting any kind of a quest to unlock them for their own accounts.
  • A new expansion pack and adventure pack have been announced! Additional information on Invasion of the Glowing-Eyed Gnolls and the Desert of Flames will be released at E3.
  • SOE searches for a real-life Antonia Bayle look-alike in the Quest for Antonia.
  • IPYM discovers the joys of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, a freaking awesome MMORPG set for release in 2006. Remember to answer "pumpkin pie."
Until next week... you're pwn3d! Hahaha... wheeeeee.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Rock, Paper, Tiger Hand and Gu Comics

Disclaimer: this isn't trying to make a political statement in ANY WAY, and it's dang funny. I apologize for some vulgar language in advance. Saddam Hussein's Trial

Next on the agenda: Gu Comics. I mentioned Gu in my last post about the Quest for Antonia. Despite some blatant plugs for various businesses (EB Games, etc.) this is a pretty funny comic series about MMOs in general.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

RL Antonia Bayle???

SOE is beginning a new promotion entitled "Quest for Antonia." They are looking for female (Oh, dang. I had a really good nominee in my class, too) Antonia Bayle look-alikes in real life ("Which one?" you ask). Ok, I'll cut out the commentary.

In my opinion, Antonia Bayle is the fairly ugly product of a horny concept artist's mind. I would hate to be the girl selected for this.

I remember one day, as I was sabotaging Freeport in the Commonlands, the topic of Freeport vs. Qeynos came up. One argument for Freeport was that their Overlord was buff. The rebuttal from our side, and I quote, "You're just jealous because your ruler doesn't have big knockers."

Gu Comics did a great strip (portion shown above) about this event.

Enough said.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Desert of Flames and the Splitpaw Saga

The next expansion pack and adventure pack for EQ2 have been announced.

The Desert of Flames refers to the Desert of Ro, the setting of the new expansion. Key features include (with commentary):
    • Arena Champions: Take the form of new exotic creatures, or fight as yourself, in battles for glory against other creatures or players. Cock fighting in EQ2? I guess we'll just have to wait for more information. I do think, however, that this is a pretty lame way to introduce PvP.
    • New Movement: Search for treasure and find adventure in new areas by climbing up and down walls for the first time in an MMO. Sounds good, but simple climbing walls in specific locations seems silly. If you can climb one flat cliff made up of squares positioned at different angles, you can climb them all.
    • New Emotes: Express yourself in a battle or expand your social circle with new voice emotes. Finally!
    • Guild Vaults: Share the loot of a hard won battle with the rest of your guild members. We shouldn't have to pay for this.
    • Level Range: Now play up to level 60! Yes!
    • New Land: Discover over a dozen new zones and epic encounters. Yes! But the Arabian Nights theme is a total ripoff of Vanguard.
    • New Creatures: Test your combat skills in battles with over 40 new fearsome creatures. More! More! But no... Sadly, this is all we get for $30.
    In the Splitpaw Saga (U.S. $7.99), a band of cannibalistic gnolls is threatening Norrath. [sarcasm] Ooooh, aaaah. What sect of a race will threaten us next? Orcs? Skeletons? More vampires? I can't wait! [/sarcasm] seriously, though I think SOE needs to be a little more creative with this. Key features of this adventure pack:
    • Two new dungeons with twelve additional instanced zones. So far so good...
    • Event-based adventure that takes you through 12 different solo, group and raid instances surrounding the story of the Splitpaw. Reiterating the first point to make it sound like more content.
    • A variety of new creatures to encounter. The variety lies in the different colors of the glowing eyes.
    • Dozens of new scenario-based quests that take you right into the action. Or you could just zone in. Nothing against quests, but this statement is a cliche´.
    • Dozens of new tradeskill recipes. Good. At least there'll be something for the level 50 people to do now.
    • Moveable Objects: Freely move crates, planks and barrels to solve puzzles and move through the rubble-strewn caverns. Physics engine coming to EQ2? I would like to hear more about this.
    • Interactive Environments: Chop your way through barriers and use exploding barrels to destroy enemies or blast your way through tunnels. Fireballs for classes other than sorcerer. Cool! They should implement blood and gore with this patch. Just think: a barrel explodes, and little gobbets of glowing-eyed gnoll flesh spatter on the group. You all do /yuck /wipeOff emotes.
    • Dynamic Content: Your foes scale to match your level! Face the dangers that Sundered Splitpaw presents all the way from level 20 to level 50. I wonder how they'll do this? It has come up on the forums many times before, but no one has come up with a good way to implement it.
    My final word on this: if you average the two prices and the amounts of new content, this is a good value. SOE should charge more for SS and less for DF.

    New Fan of Vanguard!

    Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, a relatively new MMORPG, is under development by Sigil Games and Microsoft. This game is extremely promising, and introduces many new concepts to the genre. One of the most notable features is a gigantic, seamless world of three continents in which players own horses and boats to make the vast distances involved less daunting. The amazing visuals left me gaping and longing for more. Many aspects of the gameplay have never been tried before in a game and are a breath of fresh air in this genre, where it often seems that games are simply ripoffs of each other.

    Oh, poopy butt. I have to go. I'll leave you with the links to the official website and the forums. A word to the wise: introduce yourself on the forums, then answer "pumpkin pie" when questioned. Don't ask why. Just do it. They aren't very friendly toward EQ2 fans, so be careful.

    Sunday, May 01, 2005

    The Sunday Sum-Up

    Not much to report this week, but here are some points of interest:
    • Video games sales officially eclipse those of movies and movie tickets. The San Francisco Chronicle reports, and some guy who thinks WAY to highly of himself gives a pompous but interesting commentary.
    • Curt Schilling wears an EQ2 baseball cap to a press conference. He has a level 50 artisan character. No one knows which one it is, but we know it's there. There are also rumors that Heather Graham has a character in Norrath.
    • A cure is found for the Plague! Lying in wait, led by Erevan, a level 50 alchemist, defeats T'Haen the Lost, releasing Norrath from this menace's grip. Those cured recall a blinding flash of white light that wiped all traces of the disease from their body.
    • SOE will announce the first expansion for EQ2 on May 17th at E3.
    • The Station Exchange poll hits live servers.
    That's it! Until next week... yo momma's pwn3d!