While I was sleeping

News? What news? I’ve been too busy working then playing then working then playing. I don’t need no stinkin’ news!

For the click challenged, EQ2 is going Free to Play. Note that this is NOT the current live-server incarnation — it’s almost an entirely separate game. See:

2. What will happen to the EverQuest II live subscription service?

Nothing! The game will persist with no expected changes for its subscribers. SOE will continue to support its loyal EQII customers on the live subscription service with new and exciting game updates as well as expansions. EQII Extended will be managed as a separate game and should not impact the live subscription game.

(Linkage: announcement and FAQ.)

Just as well because until I saw that — and while I still thought this was going to affect the EQ2 game I play — I was more or less frothing at the mouth. Why? Because the “gold” sub at $14.99 offers less than the current live-EQ2 sub of the same price. It’s only a small difference in level cap — which might not bother someone like me, but probably would bother people who actually care about levels.

I’m not entirely sure I get the idea of this other than jumping on the F2P-2010 bandwagon. But hey, if it works, then good for them. The more games we have and the more these games find different ways in which to survive and thrive, the better it’ll be for the gaming community as a whole. There’s a whole possible continuum between Farmville and WoW; let’s find ways to exploit it and get some good games.

Events, EVE, nothing much

I did promise to post every day in July (though you may recall I also rather qualified that promise), but we’ve had a pretty eventful morning IRL so you’ll have to make do with a screenie.

First we got stuck in the jam behind an accident on the way down the mountain on I-40, which looked very nasty (overturned RV among other things), though either everyone involved was okay and standing by the side of the road, or they’d already evacuated the hurt people out by the time we got to pass. A mere 3 police cars and a tow truck involved in that one.

Blah blah errands blah blah — and then we had to hit Kirtland Air Force Base for a few bits and pieces (the spousal unit is ex-Navy) at about the same time as some frothloony was busy shooting almost a dozen people — himself included — at a business not far outside the base. As a result Kirtland got pretty well locked down for a while. Turns out the guy was apparently alone, but when something like that breaks right next to a large military installation it’s not too surprising they go into mega-paranoid mode. One of the things we saw as we sat in the line of cars waiting to get out was a passing convoy of 2 police cars, 2 currently-repurposed school buses, and then 3 more police (or sheriff) cars. Given that it turned out to be a lone gunman and not even on the base, your guess is as good as mine as to what that little caravan may have been about.

We weren’t really anywhere near it, but the ripples spread pretty wide and we were in the area an hour or so after it happened, at which point everyone was still on high alert.

Weird day all round so far, so all you’re going to get today is a screenshot. Treasure it, because you won’t see Ysharros doing much in the way of missions in EVE; I think that one is from one of the intro missions. I’ve finally finished all 5 intro tutors and — aside from marvelling at all the crap you get given as a newb these days, including a Catalyst pretty much just for showing up — I have to say it’s a much better starting experience than it used to be, given the learning curve that game has. As a set of refresher tutorials/missions it was just about perfect; I can’t judge what it would be like for a total newb.

I’ve also started my very first Planetary Installation, but we’ll get into that tomorrow when I have more energy and fewer distractions.

Click for bigger pic

Oh yeah, and {/Columbo voice} one more thing. I’m doing my best to give my ships Culture-like names, because they’re just excellent and Iain M Banks was one of my absolute favourite authors at one point, though not so much in the last few years. So far I’ve got:

— Chain Reaction

— Not So Fast, Bucko

— South Beach My Ass (that would be my Iteron Mark III; they’re not renowned for their slender nimbleness)

— Not In These Heels (a mining ship)

— Poxy Doxy (not a Culture name – it’s a reference from a long, long-ago tabletop ArsMagica game; you had to be there)

… and a few others I can’t recall at the moment. It’s a challenge coming up with good names because you’re only allowed something like 20 or 25 characters, and those go quickly when you’re trying to sound Culture-ish. But I’m damned if I’m going to fly around in “Ysharros Eilat’s Catalyst” or whatever — how ridiculously boring is that? Sad to say… most everyone else I meet is exactly that boring, but I haven’t really left the newb areas yet. Maybe it gets better. Or maybe people lose ships so often they don’t plan on getting attached.

If you play any games where you have to name ships or vehicles, how do you pick? What names have you used? What names would you use? Maybe I can steal some of the better ones. 😉

(EDIT – apologies if there’s RSS freakiness. I hit “publish” by mistake instead of preview and it wasn’t quite ready. My post-fu is weak today!)

My blog foo must be strong

Just got this in the mail. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I’m always a little surprised to get this stuff. I’m not a game journalist — I’m not even a serious game writer-abouter (among other things, because I make up strange words and expressions). It’s flattering, I’ll admit.

So anyway, prepare to be informed! I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard about this game before except in passing, though the company is hardly unknown. The website is a little zomgbright! for me, but hey, I’m getting more and more cronelike and what the hell do I know what appeals to youngsters these days? Uphill! In the snow! Read on…

KUNG FOO! takes it to the next level with closed beta

January 7, 2010 – Redwood City, Calif. – Perfect World Entertainment today announced that its upcoming MMO, Kung Foo!, is now in closed beta. Scripted by special guest and highly acclaimed comic book writer, Devin Grayson, best known for her work on Batman: Gotham Knights, Nightwing and the Vertigo miniseries, USER, Kung Foo! is filled with loot, laughter and loquacious NPCs. Based on popular MMO in China, Legend of Martial Arts, Kung Foo! aims to set itself apart from other traditional MMOs by parodying the experience of playing an MMO while at the same time being one; a conceit that will help introduce new players to the genre as well as appeal to veterans already seeped in MMO culture.

Kung Foo! is one of the first MMOs to address those funny quirks and has no qualms in making fun of the genre in which it resides,” said Craig Beers, product manager for Kung Foo! “Regardless of what type of player you are, Kung Foo! offers everything players have come to expect from Perfect World Entertainment’s quality, free-to-play MMOs.”

Kung Foo! has been a completely unique experience for me,” said Devin Grayson, special guest writer for Kung Foo! “As a gamer myself, I wanted Kung Foo! to incorporate inside jokes for veteran players, but also to work as a primer for people completely new to the concept of playing this way online. One of my goals in writing Kung Foo! was to make the NPC dialogue compelling, so that players might actually look forward to handing in their quests instead of considering it part of the grind.”

Kung Foo! will offer comical features and quests including:

  • Martial Art Disciplines – 7 available to master at launch; including ‘Grasshopper’, ‘Sharpy’, ‘Mager’, ‘Tank’, ‘Slasher’, ‘Medico’ and ‘Augurer’
  • Themed Zones – 6 available to explore at launch; including Panda Province, Snaf Foo, Fuzzy Forest, Zui Quan Village, Realm of Darkness and Enchanted Glade
  • Hilarious Quests – Hundreds of quests to choose from to help channel your inner foo
  • Character Customization/Mounts – Mix and match your character; be a street punk, cowboy or a bit of both… while riding a crab mount with boxing gloves
  • Crafting – For those few killer items that don’t fall from the sky
  • PvP – For those who don’t play nicely with others
  • Pets – Never fight alone in the dark again
  • Transformations – Become a fierce, fiery dragon or a steaming pile of poop
  • Dungeons – featuring hundreds of terrifying and despicably adorable mobs to slay

Gamers interested in joining the closed beta or for more information on Kung Foo! can visit http://foo.perfectworld.com/

About Perfect World Entertainment

Perfect World Entertainment, a subsidiary of Perfect World Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: PWRD), publishes free-to-play, online games and provides online services in North America. The Company primarily publishes three-dimensional, or 3D, online games based on the Perfect World proprietary Angelica 3D game engine and game development platform. The Company’s releases include “Ether Saga Online,” “Jade Dynasty” and “Perfect World International,” a free-to-play MMORPG which is currently played by millions of people worldwide; and single player action RPG “Torchlight.”