MMORPG Info Logo The Best “419 Scam” Spam Mail I have Ever Seen

DEAR friend.

I AM PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA ONLY SURVIVOR OF THE ROYAL FAMILY OF ALDERAN
(ALDRN).

I AM MOVED TO WRITE YOU THIS LETTER, THIS WAS IN CONFIDENCE CONSIDERING MY PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCE AND SITUATION.

I WAS FALSLEY IMPRISONED UPON THE IMPERIAL BATTLESTATION (“DEATH STAR”)
WHEN MY PLANET WAS HIDEOUSLY DESTROYED AND ENDED BY THE BVERY BAD SITH LORD VADER.

I ESCAPED ALONG WITH THE AID OF BRAVE REBELS AND WOOKIES, AND AM NOW I AM LYING LOW DUE TO THE SITUATION IN THE 4TH MOON OF YAVIN TILL WHEN THINGS GETS BETTER.

I HAVE CONTROL HERE OF THE SUM OF $25, MILLIONNN IN IMPERIAL CREDITS
DEPOSITED WITH A SECURITY COMAPNY FOR SAFEKEEPING ON TATOOINE.

THE FUNDS WERE SHIPPED BY A COURIER SERVICE AS DIPLOMATIC ITEMS OF HIGH
VALUES TO PREVENT THEM FROM KNOWING THE CONTENT.

WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO friend IS TO INDICATE YOUR INTEREST THAT YOU WILL ASSIST ME BY RECEIVING THE MONEY ON OUR BEHALF ON TATOOINE AND ASSIST IN
INVESTING THIS MONEY IN ANY LUCRATIVE BUSINESS LIKE MOISTURE FARMS AND
STOCK IN MULTI-PLANETARY COMPANIES AND OTHER SAFE LUCRATIVE INVESTMENT IN YOUR SECTOR.

MAY I AT THIS POINT EMPHASISE THE HIGH LEVEL OF CONFIDENTIALITY, WHICH
THIS BUSINESS DEMANDS, AND HOPE YOU WILL NOT BETRAY THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE WHICH I REPOSE IN YOU.

IN CONCLUSION,IN THE EVENT YOU ARE INTRESTED TO ASSIST ME I WILL LIKE
YOU TO CONTACT MY LAWYER WHO I HAVE STATIONED IN MOS EISLEY TO WITHNESS THE TRANSACTION TO IT’S CONCLUTION.

YOU CAN REACH HIM ON HIS DIRECT LINE VIA MAIL [email removed for protection], HIS NAME IS WATTO THE TOYDARIAN, I HAVE THE FULL TRUST IN
HIM.

FINALLY, I HAVE SET ASIDE 15% OF THE TOTAL SUM OF THE FUNDS FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE,AND 5% FOR ANY ESPENCES THAT SHALL BE INCURED DURING THIS TRANSACTION.PLEASE BE FREE TO DISCUSS WITH MY LAWYER.

I SINCERELY WILL APPRECAITE YOUR ACKNOWLEDGMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

HELP US, friend, YOU ARE OUR ONLY HOPE.

BEST REGARDS,
PRNCSS. L. ORGANA

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo The Zombie Apocalypse

I’ve been thinking about zombies recently as one of the most amazing videos ever has been seeing a lot of playtime:


For those of us without the musical talent and dancing skills of Michael Jackson, zombies present somewhat more of a problem. I always aim to be prepared for emergencies and so I have come to eat your brains collected this set of weblinks to help you be prepared for the day when the zombies arrive. [More...]

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo A Blast from the Past: Burned Woods

I never get tired of this one.

It has come to my attention that there are people who do not know the story of Burned Woods.

The important thing to know is that there was a zone called Burning Woods, which was a part of Kunark in EQ1.

It took some time to find the original Burned Woods post as it appeared on the EQNecro forums. The original thread got destroyed in a forum update and I found various versions floating around that are not quite what I remember from the original version. Most seem to have the language cleaned up which – considering he bleeped out 90% of the swearing in the original, struck me as unnecessary. The easy-to-find online version seems to replace “a$$” with Halfling which is totally bizarre.

Luckily, I did find the original eventually – on our guild forums. I should have looked there first. :)

This was originally was posted to EQNecros and the follow-up (by someone else) appeared on the thread about a week later.

So there I was…..minding my own business in The Overthere, when all of a sudden I see the message: “d00d sow plz”.
Of course, my natural instinct was not to answer, since I thought the clueless newb (hereafter referred to politely as “the petitioner”) must have been poorly informed at best.

Boy was I ever wrong. [More...]

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo Explaining Dungeons and Dragons

On Monday nights, I become a half-elf named Serena. She’s got long blond hair and a bad attitude … and unfortunately only minimal control of her sorcery. Next to me sits Rovis, an elvish druid who seems to talk to animals more than she does to the rest of us. Slurg is a orcish fighter of little brain who is happy to hit people over the head on command and Orego is a human cleric bent on saving our souls. We gather at a tapas bar: it’s quiet and they have a decent selection of beers. Jim is our Dungeon Master, the creator of our world and the leader of our game.

Monday night is Dungeon and Dragons night. [More...]

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

Echo Bazaar A Return to Fallen London

Imagine a website that has never seen the sun: dark and gritty with slashes of color. Immerse the player into a steampunk world of Fallen London where whispered secrets hold the residents in thrall. Infuse the text with grim humor. Throw in a mixture of one-card turns for fast feedback (and sometimes unexpected results) and story arcs that take time to complete and you have a compelling game that is already going viral.

An obsession with scarlet stockings helps.

It’s been quite some time since I walked the desolate alleyways of Fallen London. The hazy fog surrounding the rooftops seems a bit thicker, the distance from the surface somehow even further than it was. This seasons fashions are quite gay and the shroom hunting season is already in full force. There have been many changes: entrepreneurs in the Neath are always searching for new opportunities. I found myself welcomed back into the social whirl without so much as a Where have you been?: in Fallen London one does not ask difficult questions.

My visit was meant to be brief, a quick run along the rooftops of the Flit to prove that I still could, a night drinking fine wines at the Shuttered Palace. My room at the Smoky Flophouse was just as I’d left it and there was a pot of stew bubbling on the stove – although how the woman knew I was returning, I don’t know. Secrets have their own value in Fallen London and I shall be sure to leave her a couple as a tip.

I was thrilled to find that the wine I’d left in the cellar has matured nicely and in fact as I went through my items, I found that there were opportunities for improvement that I had not seen before. There were many interesting discoveries within my inventory

I discovered a Brazen Urchin squatting on the rooftop and, in return for some currant buns, he filled me in on the gossip. Within a few minutes, I found myself embroiled once again within the intrigues of Fallen London. A grubby kitten appeared, winding its way around my ankles and mewing with a plaintive sound. I couldn’t possibly leave the poor thing to fend for itself. So we’ll remain here for a short while, the urchin and the kitten and I. It’s only Fallen London, after all. I’m sure I can leave any time I wish. I’m sure…

Fallen London

The year is 1889. Three decades ago, London was stolen by bats. Dragged deep into the earth by the entity known as the Echo Bazaar. It lies now in the Neath, a cavern of impossible size, on the shores of the Unterzee, a giant saltwater lake. The sun is gone. The tumbling white clouds are gone. There will never be another strawberry. But Londoners can get used to anything. And it’s quiet down here, with the devils and the darkness and Rubbery Men and the mushroom wine. Peaceful.

Well, it was until you arrived.

Fallen London is a web-based choose-your-own-adventure narrative story. If you are unfamiliar with the website, you can get a feeling for the game in my original article on How to Play Echo Bazaar but the details are out of date. The game has had a major overhaul including a change of name: Echo Bazaar is now Fallen London.

The revamp of Fallen London includes many great improvements while still offering a sense of wonder as I found myself immersed in the rich and detailed world. There’s no longer a need for a Twitter or Facebook account – you can sign up with just an email address. You can still receive one action reset per day by posting about the game publicly and, if someone signs up via your link, you receive a mug of musky and explosive Darkdrop Coffee, which restores an additional ten actions. So the emphasis is firmly on thanking you for spreading the word rather than pushing you to spam your friends.

The website appears to be lightning fast: I no longer resent the time spent clicking on a storylet just to see what the options are. There is no longer a daily limit for actions and the actions now refresh at a rate of one every eight minutes. There are ten actions available within the free play and twenty as an “exceptional friend” which now costs only twenty fate.

The slowness and the daily limit had been a particular annoyance to me – if I ran out of turns I felt held back and if I didn’t manage to use them all up, then I felt frustrated. The revamped Fallen London is a joy to play for these fixes alone.

There are interesting stories which include the option to progress using purchased Fate; however these seem to be uncommon and most also have “free” options to continue.

It costs $9.95 (£6.22) for 45 Fate. I spent 20 Fate to be an exceptional friend for a month, which gets me twenty turns per round rather than ten. That left 25 left over for the Fate-enhanced tales. I’m more than happy to pay ten dollars a month for some fun dip-in-and-out content, so as a social gaming system, this works really well for me.

Budgeting my Fate did not seem difficult and I quickly made decisions as to which story lines I wished to progress and which to leave by the wayside. This also gave me the reassurance that there would be plenty to do next month when I might revisit some of the forgotten story lines.

The crafting options are new and intriguing, items combined to make other items. I immediately found myself immersed in the mixing of wines and converting of secrets.

Chris Gardner from FailBetter Games told me more about this:

Our goal with Fallen London is to make everything a story. As the economy and game grew it was getting difficult for players to know how to get hold of specific items when a story required them.

We wanted a way to make most items obtainable when you needed, and that’s where the crafting system came in. You can convert lower items in each line into higher types, and convert some items from one line to another.

At the same time we didn’t want it to be a story-free clickfest. So each line ties into a particular conflict or mystery of Fallen London. As you convert items you learn more about the setting. Some of the secrets revealed at the higher ends of each line, especially, are especially juicy.

Most of the conversion actions have additional rare successes which reveal more information and give an additional, very generous, reward.

The puzzle aspect of the game has grown slightly: I have multiple story lines where I’m not quite sure what to do to progress but there’s enough to do that I enjoy the exploration. I’ve found myself simply wandering around the neighborhoods, looking to see who I might run into. There’s an additional layer of immersion within the game as I consider how to find items (locationally, through crafting or by getting the correct card).

If I have a complaint, it is that there seem to be many opportunities and storylets with an option involving the surface – which I’ve now learned means “send a message to someone on Facebook or Twitter.” Personally, I’m more than happy to scrawl on my own wall or twitter feed with cryptic Fallen London messages; however it feels aggressive to target someone else, especially as I have no means of seeing whether or not they are playing. An invitation to dinner or a request for an alibi sends an in-game message which the players can turn off if they quit the game, which means the only risk is that I wasted a turn. I’m less comfortable with writing on someone’s Facebook wall or directly contacting them on Twitter and I’m unsure if there is any benefit to the other player. I have not actually tried one and I’d be interested in hearing in the comments what you think of these and if you’ve used the option.


However, this is a minor niggle in a fulfilling world that I am glad to have rediscovered. I love the fate scheme putting my “subscription” into my control rather than committing me to a regular payment every month regardless of my schedule and playtime.

And also, there’s that grubby kitten. Her name is Theodore (I am apparently not good at sexing kittens) and she loves me, although she appears to fill the residents of Fallen London with dread.

If you haven’t played Fallen London before, then I would urge you to rush to the website now and start your adventure. You have the whole world in front of you. If you played before then I would recommend you return for a look around. As a free player, you can certainly get enough out of this to see what the options are and how you feel about the changes. Personally, I’m thrilled and enjoying myself again. I have big plans to buy a ship and see Polythreme … shortly after I finish the labyrinth of Tigers.

Come join me! We can share the cup of coffee…

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

Star Wars the Old Republic Why I am leaving the Empire, by Darth Vader

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

“Why I am leaving the Empire, by Darth Vader” was published today by the Daily Mash in a STUNNING exposé of internal systems within the Empire.

This embarrassing leak, including CONFIDENTIAL working practices with an insider’s view of Empire recruitment systems, will be the talk of the traders while Empire approval ratings are sure to plummet.

After almost 12 years, first as a summer intern, then in the Death Star and now in London, I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its massive, genocidal space machines. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, throttling people with your mind continues to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making people dead.

Read the full story on the Daily Mash.

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo Sponsored Video: Lifeguard!

Lifeguard is a new docudrama premiering on Thursday, Feb 23 on the Weather Channel.

Lifeguards work outside and are at the mercy of weather conditions. Even good weather can create difficult conditions as the beaches become crowded with swimmers and surfers. It’s certainly never “just another day at the beach.” That is what made the Weather Channel decide to premiere a special series to highlight the experiences of these brave life-savers.

Lifeguard! is an original reality show filmed on the Southern California beaches stretching from Malibu to San Diego. This is a real-life Baywatch showcasing the most beautiful coastline in the country.

This unscripted series features the real challenges that So Cal lifeguards face on a daily basis, including rip-currents, cliff divers, bombs on a boat and even a Great White Shark. The trailer on the Lifeguard website includes the dramatic true story of a 17-year-old who was trapped under 6 feet of sand after his tunnel collapsed.

The website also includes the biographies of the featured lifeguards for each episode, whose credentials are a lot more impressive than just a suntan.

You can see the full Episode Guide for a taster of what is to come. This original reality show premiering next week looks like a winner.

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

Star Wars the Old Republic Basic Guide for Star Wars: The Old Republic

The first ten levels of SWTOR are pretty straightforward. Take all the quests and do as many of them as are convenient (you can skip the group quest). Everything is linear, simply get to level ten and get off the newbie planet.

At this point, things become a bit more complex. Firstly, you have to make a choice about what advanced class to take. You can’t change your mind, so best to have known what you wanted to do at level 1. The warriors can’t heal and the healers can’t tank but both get a DPS option and for the most part the DPS classes can do a bit of either tanking or healing.

You’ll have your first companion by now. That will be your only combat companion for about 20 levels, so tune your abilities towards their functionality. Bear in mind that NPC healers don’t use power: their heals are on cool downs so they are not good emergency healers. You need to plan your fights well if you’re relying on an NPC healer.

If you can afford it (or if you can borrow from higher level friends), then buy lots of cheap 200 credit gifts for your companion. Try to get 12,000 credits and boost the affection to 4,000 but in any case, do aim to get them to 2,000 affection at a cost of about 4,000 cr. It is more important to do this than to develop a crafting skill because it enhances the value of all subsequent companion faction gain. The rank 2 gifts are three times more expensive but give only twice as much faction (and that only after they are at 2,000 affection). You get the next companion at about level 30 when 12,000 credits is not a big deal.

The starting companions and their preferred gifts are as follows: [More...]

Posted by Aach on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

Star Wars the Old Republic Skyrim vs SWTOR as Single Player Games

I thought it was interesting that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim got ‘game of the year’ award from so many commentators and yet I’ve found I enjoyed Star Wars: The Old Republic much more even before I got into any groups or anything that required online experience.

Skyrim has a sandbox approach to character development while SWTOR has you pick one from 8 classes of hybrid damage / heal / tank types, though much like Skyrim pretty much every option lets you do pretty much anything, just to varied degrees of ability.

Both games lean heavily on questing and NPC interaction but SWTOR has two big advantages: firstly it has a much better quest system with a full range of (mostly meaningful) chat options and secondly it brings ‘over shoulder’ camera angles to the quest conversation cut scenes where it includes your character’s voice. The conversation cut scenes don’t always work but in 95% of NPC interactions you get a real cinematic feel.

The voice acting is also better in SWTOR with more rational use of regional accents and some great acting. There are also many more quests in SWTOR which makes the high quality of the voice acting stand out even more.

Both games have companions but while you get lots of freedom to pick (and freedom to kill) companions in Skyrim, the SWTOR companions are more well developed. They don’t just go along with you after a single quest, they continue to develop affection for you depending on your actions towards them and towards others while they are about. There are 80 companions in SWTOR and only 45 in Skyrim, though you can only get 5 on any particular character in SWTOR, each class has access to 5 (plus a droid servitor who isn’t much use). Each one will open up quests and options as they develop affection for you (including romance and marriage in some situations).

Both games have gathering materials and crafting them into your equipment as options but again the SWTOR method is more involved and more interesting (though again it is limited per character class). In Skyrim you can gather anything and do any craft and get rewards for doing so. You can improve Skyrim skills with perk points but even so alchemy is the only craft of comparable complexity to those of SWTOR. In SWTOR you must pick two gathering and one craft skill per character, this allows you to get all the bits you need though sometimes at a cost. Crafting is done by your companions: the more they like you the better job they do. As skills develop, you can get critical results with some exceptional items produced.

The world is where Skyrim starts to pull things back. Although SWTOR is set in an Intellectual Property that we are all familiar with and has a big head start in terms of world building, the Skyrim world is fairly well established too. Also, as it is an MMO and not a single player game, SWTOR struggles with technology limits with respect to having things that players can interact with. This is not a small issue and much of the joy of Skyrim comes from picking up random stuff, throwing it about, dropping it and broadly having a bit of sandbox fun. There are a few things you can interact with, mostly for gathering crafting stuff in SWTOR, plus static ‘holocrons’ and ‘lore items’ that give exp and other bonuses.

There are a lot of loading screens in Skyrim: every building you enter has a loading screen. In contrast, SWTOR seems to take a long while to run round: it has some big maps and the fast travel options are limited, although when you get a speeder things improve, more so than with a horse in Skyrim.

The art decisions seem to have been similar with respect to environment but the technological limits differ: Skyrim because it is designed for console and SWTOR because it is an MMO. Both games develop the themes of their environment quite nicely with a lot of detail and some atmospheric environments. The minimum system requirements for SWTOR are lower than for Skyrim but graphically they are pretty even if you turn it all up to maximum, Skyrim has the edge there though with more textures, particle effects and many more ‘oooh’ moments. Skyrim’s set piece kill cut scenes are a nice touch too.

Skyrim is somewhat twitch-based but there are not a lot of combat options: it is designed for console so there are only really 4 buttons in use. My main problem with the Skyrim game play is that that any interesting fight requires you to drink potions and that means pausing the game to open the inventory – very much breaks up the excitement of the fight. The combats in SWTOR have (too) many more options and though it is not twitch-based it does have a number of reactive actions that require a bit of attention to be paid. Fights with several enemy of varied ability are common and make for an interesting mix of ability usage.

Skyrim has a lock-picking mini-game and SWTOR has a space combat mini-game. It’s no contest. As much as I like the lock-picking in Skyrim, it just doesn’t stack up against a mission based heroic space combat simulation with space ship modifications and so forth.

Both games suffer from slightly problematic user interfaces but these are easily overcome by letting people modify the UI which is starting to happen with Skyrim and has been promised for SWTOR. Most of the UI issues in SWTOR relate to the social aspect of the game which isn’t really the remit of this.

Skyrim is a good deal cheaper, with SWTOR costing about 50% more. If you only get to play a few hours per week you’ll wind up paying even more on SWTOR subscription to get to maximum level (or you’ll be at it for a year to play through all 8 class quests) so the masses of extra content do come at a premium but that premium is bundled up with PvP and co-op group play and guilds and raids and the like. A year’s subscription to SWTOR plus the cost of the game costs about four times as much as Skyrim and a year would give you time to experience pretty much all of the content. SWTOR probably offers a little more than 4 times the content (though they constantly release more free content, it is mainly for group play). In terms of value for money, the two games are prettyclose.

Just as a final note, SWTOR is also a good multi-player game: the flashpoints (instanced group quests) are great, the class roles work reasonably well with lots of overlap, the PvP is easy to get into and fun, group quests and ‘social’ rewards help develop the community.

So what are you waiting for?

Posted by Aach on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

MMORPG Info Logo Castle Story

Sauropad Studio is a two man team based in Montréal, Canada, made of François Alain and Germain Couët. They’ve designed Castle Story, a voxel-based RTS.

Voxels are “volumetric pixels”, essentially the big blocks that we have come to know and love in Minecraft. Smaller versions are often used in terrain. Castle Story have released their first gameplay demo so that you can see how they have used them:

The game uses the Unity3d engine which means it will be Windows and Mac based. A recent request for questions on Facebook was filled with “When can I give you my money?” requests.

Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.