Archive for November 2010

MMORPG Info Logo Christmas Gifts for Your (Inner) Geek

Every year it’s the same old story: what to buy for the special person who already has everything he or she really *needs*. Working out what someone wants can be more difficult. He’s already bought that new controller, she’s picked up her favorite games on launch day: what’s left for me to buy?

Last year, I bought socks. This year, I’m making it a point to find gifts off the beaten track – one of a kind items that hopefully the recipients didn’t even know they wanted. I don’t mind sharing them with you; I’m pretty sure my friends never read my blog anyway.

And if you’ve got people wondering what might be a good present this year, then just point them to this page … just as long as you haven’t bought them the same items, of course.

The Bureau Chiefs, creaters of Fake AP Stylebook (FakeAPStylebook) on Twitter, have a shop of some of their most popular quotes. I particularly like this ATM Machine Mug.

I never even knew there was a Collectibles -> Animals -> Taxidermy category until I saw The Bloggess get outbid on the squirrel of her dreams. [More…]


MMORPG Info Logo Dungeons and Dragons Virtual Table

Dungeons and Dragons Virtual Table was announced by Wizards of the Coast last week. They have long discussed a software suite to allow D&D players to enjoy tabletop adventures online but there had been no updates for quite some time – until now.

The Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Table > D&Di Announcements > The Wizards Community

It’s time for a look at the next digital product we’re working on for D&D – The Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Table! The D&D VT is an online tool that Dungeon Masters and adventurers can use to run and participate virtually in D&D tabletop adventures. The tool has a whole bunch of features such as dungeon tiles for making maps, monster and character tokens, avatars that can be statted out and initiative and attack rollers.

The Virtual Table (VT) The VT is a web-based Java application with integrated voice chat. It requires a constant internet connection during use. Effectively, the application is an integrated collection of online tools including:

  • editable map
  • movable tokens
  • a dice roller
  • character and monster information storage
  • condition tracking
  • text and voice chat

You can apply to help beta test the system by signing up as a user at Wizards.Com User Administration. The first batch of players have already received access to the tools and some basic reports are appearing online.

This video shows one of the testers first impressions as he’s loaded up the tools: [More…]


MMORPG Info Logo Take Control of Your Fate

Many of the denizens of the ‘Neath are happy to accept their lot, to take life (or equivalent) as it comes. But some of us want more. Some of us want to take advantage of all the pleasures that Fallen London has to offer.

Echo Bazaar has the answer. Take control of your fate.

Fate is an underground currency of the Echo Bazaar, purchased using real-world money or very occasionally rewarded for long-term storylets. Fate is never required for your sojourn in Fallen London but it can, let us say, make your experiences in the City more interesting.

If you choose to use your fate to control your future, you have a few options.

Main Storylets

On the Fate tab, you will see unique storylines that you can take part in … for a price. [More…]


MMORPG Info Logo Minecraft: Day 2

(If you are new to Minecraft you should start here: Surviving Minecraft)

Ah, so you’re still around. Feeling proud of yourself, are ya? Well, you’ve done better than most of the new kids heading out this way, that’s for sure.

No, we’ll not be mining yet. Just because you made it through one night doesn’t mean you are an old hand. Oh no, we have some work ahead of us yet to get you into shape.

You need a sword. If you don’t have one already, make it on your workbench. Two rocks on top of a stick: simple.

Now, presuming you can see blue skies outside, you should be ready to leave the nice little shelter you created. If you have any flowers, decorate out front so you might recognise it if you come this way again. Leave a torch by the front door. Make sure you have torches with you too – collect some wood and coal first if you need to. Nightfall comes quickly in these parts.

Come along now, torches and swords at the ready. Let’s get hunting. [More…]


MMORPG Info Logo Entropia Universe

EntropiaPlanets broke the news that Neverdie “finally sold off the remaining real estate that is Club NEVERDIE” on their front page.

Why is this interesting? He sold this real estate, which exists only in the virtual world of Entropia Universe, for $335,000. That’s real, US, dollars.

Virtual Property Sale Record Broken | Edge Magazine

Entropia Universe allows users to convert real world finances to a virtual currency, offering a fixed exchange rate for users who choose to cash-out and convert their virtual currency back. Entropia’s in-game properties, therefore, have a real cash value.

Jacobs, who goes by the in-game name of Neverdie, has made a number of high-profile transactions over the past few years, from the $25,000 sale of his in-game items, to his purchase of a virtual asteroid for $100,000. The purchase of the asteroid, in 2005, was believed to be the most expensive virtual item sale in history. That record was broken by the 2009 sale of the Crystal Palace Space Station for $330,000.

The recent sale, confirmed by Jacobs to the fansite, amounts to a value of $335,000. Jacobs sold a number of bio domes, a mall, stadium and a club to Kalun.

I’d never of heard of this MMOG before. The website doesn’t do a great job of explaining the game:

The Planet Roster

Entropia Universe is a growing virtual universe.

The more informative Wikipedia article describes it in more detail:

Entropia Universe is a massive multiplayer online virtual universe designed by the Swedish software company MindArk, based in Gothenburg. Entropia uses a micropayment business model, in which players may buy in-game currency (PED – Project Entropia Dollars) with real money that can be redeemed back into real world funds at a fixed exchange rate.

The Entropia online community claims to have over 810,000 registered participants from over 220 countries and dependent territories.

Of interest to MMO players is the description of the starting experience:

When someone new first starts playing they are not given any items or clothing beyond a damaged orange jumpsuit, a pair of grey shoes and a tool for gathering vibrant sweat from creatures.

Players with little or no money are initially limited to the following actions:

  • Using the service as a 3-D virtual chat room or exploring the virtual universe.
  • Using an in-game process called “Sweating” or “Sweat Gathering” to extract bottles of “Vibrant Sweat,” which can then be sold to other players for PED or changed to items. The 2010.06.03 VU release may introduce 2 new types of “sweat”.
  • Collecting “fruit”, “dung”, and 6 sorts of precious rare stones which can be sold to other players to raise funds.

Collecting sweat and dung for cash!

Sounds awesome fun!!

Especially the sweating tutorial:

This is an interesting business model for an MMOG, but not one I can see becoming widespread.

How would people feel about their developers selling the latest Raid instance to the highest bidder, who would then charge real money for entry?

“Just pay $5, for a chance to kill the dragon and grab his phat lootz …”

There is also the whole legal issue of virtual property to worry about, what do you actually own? The relatively few court cases over virtual property theft have all come to diametrically opposed conclusions. However once real money and gaming become this entwined, it is only a matter of time before legislation gets involved.

I, for one, am awaiting the inevitable future stories of virtual bank robberies, and hey, why think small? How long before someone steals a virtual moon?


MMORPG Info Logo Advertisments as Games

I’d never heard of Mattessons Fridge Raiders before so I have to admit this campaign has already achieved one success. Fridge Raiders are a high protein snack targeting gamers who want fast food without worrying about getting ketchup on their keyboards. I have no idea if they are any good but I’m intrigued by their advertising campaign, which was highlighted to me via Unruly Media.

Trust your Primal Instinct is the name of the series and it’s broadcast on YouTube as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game.

Here’s the starting sequence:

At the end of the script, you make a choice to hunt down the case:

  • Turn Vault to Kong
  • 270 Cat

That’s probably the weakest link: I really wasn’t sure what those choices meant and ended up choosing at random. However, after the first sequence, the options become clearer with explicit choices such as “Grab the case” and “Take a short cut” so that I felt that I was in control of the character and what he was doing. I followed the “game” to the end and enjoyed the resulting reward: a 2 minute video on the making of the clips.

I don’t know that this will make me try the snack food but it certainly has brought their product to my attention. The repeated sequence showing a good looking young man snacking on a bag of Fridge Raiders certainly can’t hurt.

Is this the wave of the future? I hope so. I’d certainly rather engage with advertisements like this than put up with flashing neon ad banners on websites.


MMORPG Info Logo World of the Living Dead

World of the Living Dead is a free browser-based survival game. It’s you against over 9 million zombies in this new strategy game set in LA.

Guide Survivors Through the City

As operatives of the National Emergency Control and Relief Agency (NECRA) sealed in secure locations, players must guide their small group of survivors through the zombie-filled streets of over twelve thousand square kilometers of Los Angeles County, competing for scarce resources against other players to survive. You progress your group by surviving, fighting and exploring.

Competition for Limited Resources

Your survivors need food and drink and over time they suffer from fear and fatigue. Initially, there are plenty of locations to loot but supplies dwindle over time unless you stash things away. You are in competition with other groups of survivors for resources, with PvP combat and theft integrated into the game. The PvP is described as hard-core because of the permadeath system: If your survivors die, they can’t be resurrected and their corpses can be looted. As an operative, you will have to find other survivors willing to accept your guidance and help – which may become difficult if you don’t deal with their needs.

Skill Development per Character

Each survivor has his own inventory and skill development paths, allowing you to customise your group for survival, fighting and exploration. You also have the option to establish safe-houses and claim territory.

The game is designed by Ballardia, founded by the Kulpreet Singh who was the Chief Game Designer at Jolt Online. The game is currently in a closed beta and won’t be available until the beginning of next year.


But you don’t have to wait! We have 10 beta keys to give-away if you’d like to try the game out now!

If you would like access to the closed beta, simply leave a comment here answering one simple question.

(Reciprocal link: Looking for more competitions? Try Online Competitions)

The best answers will receive a beta key in order to access to World of the Living Dead which you can play using any popular web-browser. Complete the form with a valid email address so that we can contact you if you win! We will not use your information for any other purpose.

What would be the best thing about a zombie apocalypse?

Add your answer as a comment to take part.


MMORPG Info Logo Surviving Minecraft

So, another young whippersnapper, come all excited because you’ve heard of Minecraft. Yeah, I know, you think want to be a miner. A wannabe: I can tell by by the lack of callouses on your hands. You know, you aren’t the first to come this way, blathering about mining the ore and then making yourself the most magnificent castle of them all. I know, I know, I’ve heard it all before: you’ve seen them on YouTubeand you want a piece of that action. But this aint no Lego. You aren’t going to walk in and find gold. Most likely, you’ll get eaten. If I were you, I’d turn around and go home now.

Still here, huh? Well, maybe you’ll listen. Just forget all about the gold and the turrets and automated firing systems. You’ve got one goal right now: survival. Once you’ve survived a week in the wilderness of Minecraft, you can think about expanding your horizons but for the moment, you should only think about one basic fact: the world is inhabited by skeletons with bows and zombies who want to eat your brains. That’s the only thing that should be on your mind in these early days.

A Night in the Wilds

Let me tell you the secret: you don’t start by looking around the place, thinking about what a beautiful sunny day it is. Do you know why not? Do ya? Because the shadows are FULL OF UNDEAD waiting to eat your brains. And once the sun starts setting, they’ve already got you surrounded. So don’t be thinking it’s a nice sunny day, be thinking about how to get to shelter, fast.

The moment you arrive, you should start preparing for night. You need light. You need shelter. Everything else can wait.

First Step: Attack a tree. Yes, with your bare hands, this aint no place for wimps. Just keep hitting that tree until it falls to pieces and pick up the largest chunks of wood. You are going to need half a dozen pieces of wood. Now don’t go getting distracted and knocking down all the trees in the area. Stay focused. [More…]