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VirginWorlds MMORPG News
Host: Brent
VirginWorlds is a weekly news podcast covering Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Eve Online, Vanguard, Lord of the Rings Online and many many more. The VirginWorlds MMORPG Podcast is the flagship podcast of the VirginWorlds MMO Podcast Collective found at http://www.virginworlds.com

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VirginWorlds Podcast #132
Sun, 19 Oct 2008 23:36:00 GMT [download/play]



As presented by Robotic Brent.

---

Podcast 132

This is VirginWorlds Podcast #132 for October 19th, 2008.  I am your host, Robotic Brent, and this is the Massively Multiplayer Gaming news for the past week.

---

First, you are probably saying, "Hey, that's not Brent, that's a robot voice."  You are correct.  Brent seems to have contracted a deadly throat slaying ailment on his recent trip to London, and while he doesn't sound all that bad, he can barely get two words out without coughing up a lung, and so, instead you have me, Robotic Brent.  Interesting isn't it that I have nearly as much emotion in my delivery as Brent does. Ha Ha Ha.

Yes, Brent flew into the UK this past week for work.  And aside from enjoying Boddingtons Pub Ale on tap and close to its home, he sampled very little of London or the surrounding area.  It was one of those in and out work trips and he didn't get a chance to get away and meet any of the UK podcast crew.  Brent sucks.  He was particularly taken aback by that whole, left side of the road thing.  Sure, seems obvious, but when he climbed into the taxi at the airport, it was strange seeing the steering wheel on the other side, and he had to admit, every car trip was a white knuckle adventure because it seemed like every turn would surely result in death and destruction.  Somehow, he made it.  Also of note, not every woman that sounds like Elizabeth Hurley, looks like Elizabeth Hurley.  This was a horrible horrible realization that may take many months to recover from.  All in all, it looks pretty much like home, aside from that whole left-side-of-the-road thing and the peculiar controls on his hotel room shower, which took quite a while to figure out.

At the top of the show, not much else to say.  No new podcasts have joined the Collective this week, though there is one in the hopper that Brent needs to add.  He needs to work harder.  But I'll give him a break. He isn't a robot, like me, after all.  My ability to process new data is far superior to his, he is but a one hundred and sixty pound bag of water, while I am a fine tuned machine.

Also, no new VirginWorlds supporters have been added this week.  We are still hovering just under the mark for goal #2.

And now, here is the M M O news for the week.


Adventure Quest Worlds.

Artix Entertainment, creators of online, browser-based, role-playing games written for Macromedia Flash, today announced the release of AdventureQuest Worlds, its first 100% browser-based MMORPG.  You may remember that Brent intereviewed the crew from Artix a few months ago, and they talked at length about their single player browser based games ... and they hinted at a possible MMO in the works.  It has now arrived.  The crew at Artix uses Flash to build eye catching battle-centric titles. Their previous work includes the Free to play titles, Adventure Quest, Mech Quest and Dragon Fable, which have had over sixty million players over the past 5 years.   Now they have announced Adventure Quest Worlds, an MMO based on their most popular title, Adventure Quest.  Daniel Vasile, Business Development Manager of Artix Entertainment said: âOur Beta testersâ positive responses indicate our move into MMOs was the right decision.  Weâre especially excited that AdventureQuest Worlds may be the first MMO developed by a small, family-owned game development studio.  Our project shows MMO developers and players worldwide that a small, truly dedicated team can create a quality browser-based MMOG without spending millions of dollars.â   The game play will, of course, involve battling armies of monsters in real time combat, performing quests, meeting thousands (nay, millions) of other players and donning customizable armors, capes, helms and weapons.  Character classes exist, but in the spirit of casual play, the player can change amongst the different classes at any time and can level those class up independently, unlocking new skills and gear as they go.  Artix is commited to weekly updates of new content, just as they have with their previous titles, so player can expect to have a ton of material to work through, whether they start playing at launch or later on.  If you'd like to take a look at Adventure Quest Worlds, please visit www A Q dot com to sign up for a free account.  It's all browser based, so no downloads are required.  Congrats to this small family-owned business. While they're not the first to do this, Maid Marian Entertainment did it several years ago with a one man team, still they've launched a big game that will surely be a success, and they didn't need millions of dollars to do it.

EVE ONLINE.

CCP announced the next expansion for Eve Online this past week.  It is called Quantum Rise.  They haven't said much outside the press release yet, but here are a few things included in this free expansion: In game Corporations will be able to set their products apart from the rest by building trust in their goods through customizable storefronts. Industrial ships are being rebalanced to suit the needs of haulers and industrialists-including the latest edition to the fleet, a massive capital industrial ship dubbed the Orca. A new certificate system will give a quick and verifiable means to discern a pilot's skill level in trading, gunnery or countless other professions, providing plenty of bragging rights. Let's face it, ego is a big part of M M O gameplay.  The release of Quantum Rise, much like previous expansions, will be done in multiple stages.  The upgrade began with the recent implementation of technological breakthroughs such as Stackless I O and EVE 64 which upgraded the server hardware and streamlined communication between server and client to severely reduce lag. In order to enhance the ability for hundreds of ships to take place in combat at the same time, CCP will be making significant hardware and server improvements, they say, and I quote "to bring the most massive player vs player experience available, expanding a boundless universe into a limitless one." End quote. More to be revealed in the coming weeks.  For further discussion of Quantum Rise, I, Robotic Brent, recommend the EVE Online Podcasts that you'll find on the VirginWorlds Podcast Collective, such as Warp Drive Active, The Drone Bay and Micro Warp Cast.  Also be sure to check out two other Eve Podcasts that have sprung up somewhat recently, FlyReckless and Titan Weekly, you can find them linked on VirginWorlds.com.


Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Major avatar combat revisions are in development for Pirates of the Burning Sea.

 

Kevin Maginn, Lead Designer at Flying Lab Software, has written a dev blog on the subject.

Here is what he said: (Quote)

 

âOver the last few months, Iâve been working almost completely off the radar on just that: a major iteration of the avatar combat system. At the same time, most of the content team has been doing the same for the avatar missions; the animation team has been revising all the swordfighting animations; the UI team has been revising the UI and the particle effects; and the sound team has been iterating all the sounds of avatar combat.

 

In short, weâve been stripping avatar combat down to its foundation and building up again. Weâve learned a lot from the first major iteration of the system; we know what worked and what didnât, what was fun and what was dull. Weâve gathered a lot of feedback from you as well as feedback from our internal test team. Weâve applied that knowledge to create a new system that (in my naturally biased opinion) is much more fun and engaging, as well as easier to learn and easier to use.â (End Quote)


This is probably an extremely good idea as most people felt that the avatar combat system was just 'ok' and somehow, the ship combat, while effective, didn't seem to carry the title on its own.  Kevin did not give any details regarding when this content would release, but let's hope it is soon.

 


Sword of the New World.

Update 4 is currently launched or mid-launch.

There was a lengthy blog post on the subject, and I'd tell you about it, but if you are not a Sword of the New World player, it would not mean anything to you.  Let's summarize. Sword of the New World is still getting very active additions, and as Brent has said in the past, this is a rather solid game for a free to play port from the east, perhaps the best one he has seen.  I, Robotic Brent, didn't particularly like it, because, like Darren from Common Sense Gamer, I find ani-may style graphics emasculating and when you have a dual core processor and 3 gigs of ram, you should be very macho, not playing elfen looking boy-girls in lace and ribbons. 

One note worthy addition to this game is the new premium subscription program, with a full customer support addition. All other players will only get basic support (game client issues, bugs, etc). That means if you are not premium but buy gold (via microtransactions), you will not get support.  They are also working to get name change, gender change and character restoration options available to all players (these are paid changes).

The 3 available Premium packs look like this:

Basic Pioneering Pack (Trial Pack) [$4.95 once a month]
Includes:

* 500 gold
* 1 Mystery Box

Veteran Pioneering Pack [30 Days for $8.95, 90 Days for $24.99, 180 Days for $45.99]
the Veteran Pioneering PackIncludes:

* 2000 gold
* 2 Mystery Boxes
* Receive 5% off on additional Gold purchases for the duration of the package.

next is the Expert Pioneering Pack [30 Days for $14.95, 90 Days for $39.99, 180 Days for $74.99]
the Expert Pioneering PackIncludes:

* 4000 gold
* 3 Mystery Boxes
* Receive 10% off on additional Gold purchases for the duration of the package.


and finally, the Master Pioneering Pack [30 Days for $24.95, 90 Days for $69.99, 180 Days for $129.99]
the Master Pioneering Pack Includes:

* 8000 gold
* 6 Mystery Boxes
* Receive 20% off on additional Gold purchases for the duration of the package.


         Thanks to Jay for bringing this news to Brent's attention.

Blizzard's Next MMO.

Surprise suprise, Michael Mor haim said the next MMO from Blizzard, which was confirmed as "happening", is not World of Warcraft 2. Well duh.  Even I could have told you that, and I'm just a bunch of circuits with a pretty aluminum frame.  I was talking to Human Brent about this a few days ago and he started to give in to the idea that Blizzard might in fact be building a Starcraft MMO to follow on the Starcraft 2 release, just like they did with Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft.  He still thinks that is lame, but is starting to accept it as a predictable and boring possibility.

In other, some what related Blizzard news, the leaders from Blizzard and Mythic have been participating in some interesting mudslinging about who let who into which beta, game imbalance, who will win in the long run and so forth.  It is rather ridiculous.  I am shocked, completely shocked, that Jeff Kaplan from Blizzard was allowed to say anything to the gaming press about his expereince with Warhammer online or his thoughts.  Typically Blizzard just remains silent and stoic as if to silently indicate that their competitors should, "Bring it".  Mark Jacobs from Mythic, on the other hand, continues to talk the same way he did when Mythic was independent and not part of EA.  This means, he pretty much says whatever he wants.  In this case, I think he would be best served by being silent as well, and not implying that in the long term, war might beat wow, because that's crazy talk.  My favorite part was when he said âIf you look at âWarhammer,â there were so many points [where] we consciously made the decision not to be like wow and to try to push the envelope. I think youâll find that if youâre actually going to compare the two products, I would say wow is certainly a more polished game now than Warhammer is, of course theyâve had four years and billions of dollars, but if you look at the innovations in âWarhammer,â youâd be hard-pressed to find as many in wow.â  End Quote. After reading that, I laughed so hard, I had to reboot and defrag.  Pushing the envelope?  Innovations?  Uh oh, segmentation fault-


City of Heroes.

Quick bit on City of Heroes and Villians.  Zombies have arrived for the Halloween season. Go kill them.  End of story.


Love.

Human Brent, being completely out of touch with the MMO world (gotcha) hasn't talked about this one before, but it is billed as a procedurally-generated moderately-multiplayer online world by one-man studio, Eskil Steenberg.  As a computer, I took particular interest in the fact that this game or world or experience or whatever it is, is supposed to be procedurally generated and was made by a single fellow with a laptop, not that unlike myself.  Rock Paper Shotgun .com , a great gaming website, has the first trailer video form this game, and calls it, quote, "A wondrous, impressionistic MMO world that facilitates player creativity and encourages co-operation, that looks incredible and sounds too ambitious to be true. Itâs a bold, brave project of independent game development." end quote.  And based on the video, this is true, though I have to admit, I was surprised at the level of violence depicted in this game called, Love.  Or maybe I should not have been surprised.  You humans do tend to be a tad ironic. To follow the development of this one-man MMO, visit: http://www.quelsolaar.com

Wrap Up.

Ok, short show for today, partly because news was light this week and partly because you're probably tired of listening to Robotic Brent.  I'm sure Human Brent will surface soon enough.  In the meantime, go check out some of his favorite sites, Massively.com and Gaxonline.com.  Be sure to become a supporter of the site and various podcasts if you are willing and able, several podcasts still are seeking sponsors. 

Have a good week gaming, and please be kind to your computer, we're amaziningly sensitive sometimes.

Bye.













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Episode #6 - Duration: 01:03:22 - Released: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 19:16:00 GMT
Episode #5 - Duration: 00:32:36 - Released: Sun, 16 Apr 2006 17:23:00 GMT
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Episode 132 Discussion Thread

'Do the robot' by Token
Submitted on 2008-10-19 20:18:56 CST
Robot Brent sounds kinda like Julie lol


'Oh' by Token
Submitted on 2008-10-19 20:21:32 CST
I hope you're feeling better soon mate !


'thanks' by Brent
Submitted on 2008-10-19 20:51:17 CST
I actually feel just fine, and oddly enough, my voice sounds fine, I just have a horrible dry cough. Probably on death's door and unaware of it. Who knows. :)


'With recaps like that' by redheadedtim
Submitted on 2008-10-19 21:01:34 CST
who needs to listen to the podcast. :-) I notice a shocking lack of mention of Hello Kitty Online's Founder's Beta though. Come on man, you're slacking. j/k


'Strange' by FarSpace
Submitted on 2008-10-19 22:00:01 CST
That was strange how Robot Brent would take breaths between sentences even.

This is great, even people who can not talk are able to do podcast.

Bent, you are still better then Robot Brent, but I still liked it.

About CCP and the thing with certificate system, I hope it is not just done with in a corp., I mean how much bragging or good do you get out of that, it is way better when you get a certificate from impartial npc/the game it self. I think they go too far with the everything is done by the players thing, sometimes that is.

How is any one going to care if you got the biggest whatever medal when there is no way to verify it from some corp. leader? What can't they just give out medals for accomplishment in the game like exploration and achievements etc...?

Looking forward to hearing the EVE podcasters point of view on these things.



'Speaking EVE and Burning Sea' by Zane
Submitted on 2008-10-20 02:11:05 CST
The new high-sec industrial ship "Orca" is much needed I think to boost the high-sec miner career choice. CCP has overlooked the mining career for so long time that pvp:ers call it an pvp-game. The reducement of lagg is vital. It is impressive that CCP:s CEO kept his word from the fanfest last year about a supercomputer solition.
About the coming certificate system, as an very experienced recruiter in EVE-Online I think that certificate will help recruiter to pick new players to the corporations. Maybe this will change the use of terminalogy in how EVE players define their career choice.

Burning Sea is getting more and more interesting. I think they might have me on the hook soon, atleast for the trial-period.

Brent, about WAR, try the Ironbreaker out and do some scenarios. I promise that you will have fun.

Thanks for a good show!
Zane



'Robotic Brent for President' by Floss
Submitted on 2008-10-20 03:08:48 CST
Lol I actually liked the deadpan delivery.

Hope the voice, lungs etc... are functioning at 100% sometime soon.

All that warm Brit beer that caused it y'know ;-)

Floss.



'i LOLed' by hoss
Submitted on 2008-10-20 11:19:36 CST
Well I have to say that was a really fun show. and perhaps the best ending to a podcast... Ever!


Now Blizzard's next MMO; do we really think it can be Starcraft? It just seems odd that they would move that IP into the realm of persistent world.

To me it seems like Starcraft seems like is a game that should stay an RTS, but I would have probably said that about Warcraft before WoW.

Anyway, I hope it's a new IP, something that can move them away from their existing properties and spark some new imagination from players and devs. Something that challenges the MMO as a genre.

Although I think that would be interesting, it unfortunately does not sound financially viable, so perhaps sitting on their laurels is just what they will do.

But I can still cross my fingers.

Also Brent, I have been fortunate enough to Live in Italy and Japan for long stretches of time and you think that England was full of nutty drivers? I took my rental VW Bora (Jetta in North America) and drove 190KM (120 Miles) while still being passed by BMWs like I was standing still. In Japan I never drove since I was afraid for my life most of the time :)



'Don't do that again.' by Celestian
Submitted on 2008-10-20 12:30:44 CST
Sorry your ill, hope ya get better.

Please don't do that again.



'Where'd You Get the Voice?' by Jaxom92
Submitted on 2008-10-20 16:12:03 CST
Just wondering what program you used to get the voice. One of my parents friends is nearly blind, so using the computer is pretty hard. Just wondering if it was something like an accessibility software or something. I'd love to know if I could recommend it to this friend of ours.


'Get better soon .. my head hurts ...' by Elsyth
Submitted on 2008-10-20 16:29:08 CST
Hope you're feeling better soon Brent .. for all that I like robotic Brent it does get a little hard to listen to after a while.

@jaxom92 .. you may want to take a look at this .. http://www.naturalreaders.com/demo.htm




'Bravo' by Wye
Submitted on 2008-10-20 16:55:53 CST
I find it pretty hilarious that you used TTS software to put out this podcast. Don't know why. :)

Jaxom -- text to speech is built into Windows and MacOS and available in a basic way through the Accessibility control panels. There are also many programs that take this functionality and do much more. The built in voices are OK, but you can buy high quality packages that sound much better from IBM, AT&T and others. From reading Wikipedia, maybe Brent used the 'Alex' voice in Mac OS X 10.5?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_synthesis



'P.S.' by Wye
Submitted on 2008-10-20 16:57:20 CST
Let's get a version of "Shut Up. We're Talking" with different synthesized voices for each person. :)


'Had to skip this one, sorry your feeling bad' by Kasil
Submitted on 2008-10-20 17:01:06 CST
Listened for a few minutes but the voice just killed it for me, so I deleted the podcast and moved on. I hope your feeling better soon.


'=)' by LealaTurkey
Submitted on 2008-10-20 20:11:56 CST
Robot Brent makes me uncomfortable. That is all.

hehe



'Most laughter I've had at work in weeks' by Linato
Submitted on 2008-10-23 10:00:44 CST
That was just great. I hope we get return visits from Robot Brent even after you are feeling better. The humor was just fantastic. :)