A Dungeon Revisited: Dungeons and Dragons Online

Turbine Inc. has been preparing for one of the biggest shifts in game services coming from any major developer in quite a long time. As most already know by now, August 4th marks the date in which any new adventurer wishing to take part in the world of Dungeons & Dragons Online, has the freedom to play for free. That's great, right? 

Buy me please.
Everyone loves free, but Turbine doesn't have any sort of plans of slowing progress with updates either. There will be a fully integrated online store in which players can interact with inside the game, allowing them to purchase new weapons, potions, and even complete new adventure sets. 

There may be a few questions concerning why this business model is going to be implemented now, and what it means for pay-as-you go players, as opposed to just playing for free. After reading some feedback from players of the game, and notes from the developers, you should be able to understand a little more about what to expect come August. 

First of all, the game came out back in February 2006, and to this date, feelings about the content value of the game have created mixed reactions. The population of players in each of the server realms reflected upon this. While likely only die hard pen & paper players, or hardcore dungeon crawlers would truly appreciate the game for what it is. Because after all, it isn't a bad game by any means. 

The problem lies back to the same problem of any MMO out there. Is the content worth the subscription fee. With DDO, some would say yes I have plenty to do out there. Diverse classes to choose from, awesome amount of abilities to learn, and great dungeon crawling experiences. 

Others could say no, there is just not enough content to keep me involved in the world. The game is in fact true to its predecessor pen & paper origins, as it is primarily a small group oriented questing system. Even with many solo-options available, the game may not cater to all audiences equally. 

On to the next question, can it be implemented well enough to be received by incoming players, as well as older players? Well the answer will be found out soon enough, but Turbine thinks that anyone interested in the online item shop will have no trouble jumping in and occasionally purchasing a few new adventures to play through. 

A quick glimpse of the in-game store.
Players will have easy and instant access to the in-game store through a single click from their menu bar. From there, they can browse the top purchased items, search for a particular item, or just browse by category. Instead of showing actual money, DDO has adopted a coin-in system where you will need to subscribe to more coins if you want to buy more things within the store. Makes sense. 

This is all fine and well, but if no one plans on using the store, is it all for nothing? Turbine says there are enough incentives for regular players to check it out, but they also say it is a system in which they will not enforce on all players in the world. You need a extra rest shrine for a particular difficult dungeon? Go ahead, take as many as you need. It's also worth mentioning that any player, even the non-subscribers can still earn coins in-game, it will just take longer to accumulate. 

Lastly, mention has to be made about gameplay balance due to the fear of some players buying their way to the top. An important issue, but developers say that the best items can not be found inside the online shop. Their are powerful items, but they have tried to keep the item shop focused mainly on new content to expand, and create a more enjoyable experience. 

Personally I welcome the changes, they obviously are in need of a change. They are allowing more content for old and new players, while still providing an experience that hasn't changed the core of what D&D means to gamers.

  

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World of Microcraft

In the ever-evolving age of MMO games, and the constant struggle to play catch up with one another, even Blizzard's mammoth franchise may consider re-thinking its business strategy. There are talks about World of Warcraft shifting from subscription based services to microtransactions in the future. Impossible? Some say they are happy where they are, and no doubt are yielding in major profits. Others say success from other games may be pushing them to make adjustments. The more casual free 2 play MMOs, Free Realms (Sony Online Entertainment), gained ~3 million people in under 2 months.


Thinking of all the casual shifts WoW has made over the years, it seems like the idea could never be completely out of the question. The question is, would you unfreeze your accounts if given the opportunity to do so for free? Damn you Blizzard....
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June was not kind to entertainment

Try to keep it short, so I'll break it down in bulleted fashion. Morale of the story, it has been a strange month. (Not in any particular order)


  • Michael Jackson was the man. Back in the day, all the cool kids in P.E. locker rooms used to moonwalk in their socks, in attempt to be as good as the orignal moonwalker. The game was great, I remember one of my friends in highschool used to quote the save a kid line, "Michael," exactly how it sounded when you played it on your genesis ( emulator for non-owners). Made me laugh everytime. Sad news, but you know MJ's legacy will live on.

One special video that some of my buddies and I still sing today, was We Are the World. It was a late night and what else do you find besides infomercials. Old ass music videos :P

  


  • Billy Mays the man with the hands. You put anything in those hands, it sells. Not enough you can say about the man, but his life was robbed way too early. I hope something special comes with Pitchmen series. I'm sure they will pay dear tribute to him.
  • Now onto gaming related issues. My brother's xbox got the 3 rings. He plays the heck out of that thing, so I know how upset he is. Only thing you can do is deal with the Microsoft customer service and send it in for repairs. This will be his second time getting it fixed, the first was due to a disc drive failure. In the meantime, I'm showing him a bunch of cool PC games to check out, and he's getting ready to do the ol' PC upgrade. It's getting close for me too.
  • I figured that the June reaper wouldn't come by my door. It did, but on a much less severe level. Yesterday, I turned on my PS3, I wanted to play a little Red Faction: Guerilla. Unfortunately, when I crossed over to my game library, the little disc icon didn't show up. I did the usual, eject disc put back in, restart, turn off, etc. When none of that worked, I swapped out the disc for another game. When that didn't read either, I started jumping to conclusions. Oh shit, PS3 what is wrong with you don't you die on me!

Then I used my head for once and tried putting my blu-ray copy of 300 in the ol' 60 gig bastard. Sure enough, it loaded just fine. The PS3 was sick, corrupted, or something else. Now I don't know how or why this happened, maybe it was a firmware issue, perhaps something else? I went online, and the general consenus seemed to direct PS3 owners to restore the machine.

I wanted to backup all my saves and gamedata. Unfortunately, the backup utility wouldn't let me choose my external hard-drive. I should of spent the extra time figuring out how to save my data, but of course like a impatient person I decided to just re-format the entire drive. Well problem solved, now I can start from scratch on all my favorite games.

June 2009, what an entertaining month it was (depressing sarcasm).
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Can't complain about E3..

Because I've never been to one. Reading and watching coverage is awesome, but it's the sitting at home part that bothers me.


E3 2004. Take a trip back in time when the PS2 ran off with your wallet. And the PC said, "yea...whatevs..."


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UFC Undisputed this week :)

Ok so I've been playing the demo over and over, practicing every little strike, and getting demolished in the wrestling department. But I'm getting better, atleast that's what I'm telling myself. I have waited not so patiently for this game to come out for a long time. And as a UFC fan, I can finally become the star, create my own fighter and knock some skulls around. It has more than enough to satisfy my urge for maturity and MMA culture. Just hope the online mode is lag free with no drawbacks in gameplay.


I Read some reviews out there, and the verdict is hanging around 80-90.  ONCE AGAIN, it is finally here! :)
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L4D on Steam is downloading now...

So I've finally decided to get Left 4 Dead, mostly because of the 40% reduction in price this weekend. I didn't participate in the Freaky Friday gimmick because I've played the game tons on the 360 before hand. Pretty much this was an investment, as in I don't think I'll play this game too much right away, but I plan on watching what Valve does with it in the future. Hopefully the community is still kicking strong, and maybe they're a few mods out there worth messing around with. Who knows maybe I'll even get back to my old passion for mapping.


It's about damn time.


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RE: Sale of used games a problem?

Absolutely not. Used games are a step up from renting. I don't like renting because what if u want to play that game again in the future. Atleast with a discounted video game, you have a chance of selling it to a friend or letting a friend borrow it without too many worries.

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