Surf Report – 3/1/10

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Welcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

Slowly but surely, I have been working my way through The Love Dare book. So far I have learned a lot about myself and the way I function within my marriage. One of the more recent entries had me ask my wife what I do to irritate/ make her uncomfortable. The answers were interesting as well as enlightening. Good stuff.

.: Life :

Tired of the cold? I am.

.: Gaming :

Signed up for the Final Fantasy XIV beta last night. The limited beta, for the time being, is set to start March 11th. Not signed up yet? Head on over here.

Otherwise, below you will find a list of blog entries/ articles that have caught my interest:

  • Spinks has a post on the state of the World of Warcraft Dungeon Finder. (Check out Bridging the Gap for my own thoughts on the matter.)
  • Syp, over at Bio Break, has a retro article on Getting to Know Your Guild. I have a confession to make in regards to guilds, I have never found one that I have enjoyed being apart of. Somehow I always wander into guilds that are made up of rude little children. Perhaps one day this will change…
  • Tobold reports that the WoW Authenticator has been hacked. Yikes!
  • Keen explores old worlds such as Ultima Online.
  • Don’t know how many JBG readers have stumbled across Mike Minotti’s The Warcraft Hero, but I highly suggest checking out this WoW based comic.

That is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

MMO Cost Breakdown

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Below you will find a comprehensive listing of subscription fees for popular MMO’s. Enjoy!

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $35.98*
  • 6 Months – $62.96*
  • 12 Months – $98.93*
  • (*Based on a discounted rate as of 1/19/2011)

Aion

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99

Alganon

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.95

Anarchy Online

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – Free-to-play unless your playing with the expansions (then $14.95).

APB: Reloaded

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – TBA

Asheron’s Call

  • Monthly Subscription Fee –  $12.95
  • 3 Months – $35.75
  • 6 Months – $67.75
  • 12 Months – $119.75

Champions Online

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.97
  • 6 Months – $77.94
  • Free-to-play – January 25, 2011

Dark Age of Camelot

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.95
  • 3 Months – $40.35 ($13.45)
  • 6 Months – $71.70 ($11.95 per month)
  • 12 Months – $137.40 ($11.45 per month)

DC Universe Online

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.99 ($14.00 per month)
  • 6 Months – $77.99 ($13.00 per month)
  • 12 Months – $134.99 ($11.25 per month)
  • Lifetime – $199.99 (*PC Only)

Dungeons & Dragons Online

EVE Online

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.95
  • 3 Months – $38.85
  • 6 Months – $71.70
  • 12 Months – $131.40

EverQuest

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.97
  • 6 Months – $77.94
  • 12 Months -$143.88
  • 24 Months – $199.95
  • Other Notes: This game can also be played under the $29.99 (per month) SOE Station Access subscription. This subscription includes access to: EverQuest, EverQuest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, EverQuest Online Adventures, and Free Realms.

EverQuest 2

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.97
  • 6 Months – $77.94
  • 12 Months -$143.88
  • 24 Months – $199.95
  • Other Notes: This game can also be played under the $29.99 (per month) SOE Station Access subscription. This subscription includes access to: EverQuest, EverQuest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, EverQuest Online Adventures, and Free Realms.

Fallen Earth

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99

Final Fantasy 11

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $12.95
  • Other Services – Additional Monthly Character Fee ($1 per character)

Final Fantasy 14

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $12.99

Free Realms

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – Free-to-play or $5 for Membership (5 extra jobs, 400 extra items/ quests, 3 character slots, and ranking on leaderboards)
  • Other Notes: This game can also be played under the $29.99 (per month) SOE Station Access subscription. This subscription includes access to: EverQuest, EverQuest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, EverQuest Online Adventures, and Free Realms.

Global Agenda: Conquest

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $12.99
  • 3 Months – $34.47
  • 6 Months – $59.94

Guild Wars

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – Free-to-play

LEGO Universe

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $9.99
  • 6 Months – $49.99
  • 12 Months – $89.99

The Lord of the Rings Online

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.85
  • 6 Months – $77.70
  • 12 Months – $143.40
  • Lifetime Subscription – $299.00
  • Free-to-play (pricing varies)

Pirates of the Burning Sea

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.99
  • 6 Months -$77.99
  • 12 Months – $143
  • Other Notes: This game can also be played under the $29.99 (per month) SOE Station Access subscription. This subscription includes access to: EverQuest, EverQuest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, EverQuest Online Adventures, and Free Realms.

RIFT

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – TBA

Runes of Magic

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – Free-to-play

Star Trek Online

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $13.99 ($41.97)
  • 6 Months – $12.00 ($77.94)
  • Lifetime Subscription – $299.99

Star Wars Galaxies

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.97
  • 6 Months – $77.94
  • 12 Months -$143.88
  • 24 Months – $199.95
  • Other Notes: This game can also be played under the $29.99 (per month) SOE Station Access subscription. This subscription includes access to: EverQuest, EverQuest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, EverQuest Online Adventures, and Free Realms.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – TBA

TERA

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – TBA

Ultima Online

  • Monthly Subscription Fee –$12.99
  • 3 Months – $34.99
  • 6 Months – $59.99

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.97
  • 6 Months – $77.94
  • 12 Months -$143.88
  • 24 Months – $199.95
  • Other Notes: This game can also be played under the $29.99 (per month) SOE Station Access subscription. This subscription includes access to: EverQuest, EverQuest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, EverQuest Online Adventures, and Free Realms.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

Wizard 101

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $9.95 (single account), $6.95 (2 or more)
  • 6 Months – $49.95
  • 12 Months – $79.95
  • Notes: Pay by Area ($1-$3 per area)

World of Warcraft

Did we miss a game? Find that our numbers have changed? Comment below!

Confessions of an MMO Tourist

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My vacation into the virtual lands of MMO’s began with Asheron’s Call in 1999. Playing with friends in a persistent world had a certain novelty to it. Granted, the release of Diablo II the following year quickly put my stay in Dereth on hold. Not one to limit myself to one game, I “toured” multiple MMO’s up until World of Warcraft’s (WoW) launch in 2004. Multiple MMO’s huh? Take a look at this virtual itinerary:

  • Ultima Online (1 month)
  • Everquest (1 month)
  • Final Fantasy XI (1 month)
  • The Sims Online Beta (a few days)
  • Asheron’s Call 2 (a few months)

The release of Asheron’s Call 2, in 2002, marked the first time I had set up a base camp in an MMO since the original Asheron’s Call in 1999. My stay in AC 2 did not last long, however, the group of friends that I was playing with ended up quitting the game. For the first time in years, I was no longer traversing the virtual landscapes. A whole year would go by before I would once again venture forth.

  • Saga of Ryzom Beta
  • World of Warcraft

In 2004, the perfect storm came together in the form of the Warcraft universe becoming an MMO.

Blizzard + Warcraft + MMO = WIN!

Blizzard games have been a staple of my PC gaming diet for years. Warcraft II, Starcraft, Diablo, and Diablo II were go-to games for me and my friends.

Sidenote: How many of you remember playing the original Diablo with a modem? I remember many late nights, on my Macintosh, spent listening to the pinging/ ponging modem language as I hooked up to battle.net. Good times. Haunting music. No option to run!

World of Warcraft came out the year that I went away to college. The game quickly became a way to communicate/ game with friends three states away. WoW had a darkside, however, one that almost cost me my love in the summer of 2005.

Guild Wars launched the following year (2005). Though technically not an MMO, Guild Wars provided a few alternative to WoW. Unfortunately, the beta period for this game all but killed the game for me (there are only so many times you can create a character, level, and then have it deleted). So I went back to WoW until things came to a head with my real life. Decisions had to be made.

Girlfriend or WoW?

Girlfriend of course! She won.

Girlfriend now wife.

I have played many MMO’s since WoW.

  • Dungeon Runners.
  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • Warhammer Online
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online

So many hours poured into games I never plan on returning to again. Reminds me of books left half read, tossed under a bed. In the end, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed the different worlds that I have explored. Each has offered a different experience that the game previous could not provide.

2009 marked the year I returned to Azeroth with my wife’s blessing. In playing, I have found that World of Warcraft does not have the same pull it once did. So I left the game once more to try:

  • Maple Story
  • Guild Wars (again!)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (again!)

As you can see, I am an MMO tourist with a passport full of stamps. If 2009 has been any indication as to my less than monogamous gaming habits, 2010 is sure to be a busy year.

(Used as a resource for this article http://biobreak.wordpress.com/mmo-timeline/)

(1/26/16 Update: Reader Kevin Woodberry emailed me and asked that I link to his guide as a further resource. Check it out: Guide to Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games.)

YMMO? (Part 1)

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YMMO Header

Introduction:

The PC gaming market has always focused primarily on a single idea. While titles of other ideas and genres are still released, all the really big games seem to come from one central concept. As the machines adapt and the market changes, this central genre shifts to reflect those changes. All of these central genres had their ups and their downs, their individual moments of confusion, their overdone mechanics and their nuisances that just wouldn’t go away. But, at least in my humble opinion, the worst of the problems consistently found in any of those earlier focus genres pale in comparison to the flaws readily available in the best of today’s genre of the limelight.

The MMO as we know it was essentially invented in 1996 (according to Wikipedia), and was popularized early on with titles like Ultima Online and EverQuest. As the genre continued to develop and mature, it began to offer greater immersion in the virtual world and integration between the participants in that world. Over time the MMO through its interactive content, immersing visuals, and shared experience began to dominate the market of PC games, and eventually even branched out to several of the other game platforms.

Today the MMO saturates the PC game world. From big commercially developed power houses like World of Warcraft (WoW) and EverQuest 2, to the quirky Korean offerings like Maple Story, to the small time browser games like RuneScape, even glorified chat engines like Second Life, everywhere we turn MMOs can be found and are on offer just waiting for us to start playing. Few other ideas have ever so powerfully taken over the market as the MMO has today.

But why were these elements so popular, what caused them to have such great appeal? And is their current place as the defining genre of PC games warranted? Since a fair number of my friends have been playing these types of games for a few years now and have even encouraged me to join them on several occasions, I thought I might take a look at what makes these games seem so appealing, and the reasons why I, at least, will not be playing them. Especially not in the same way most of the people I see playing them do.

Continue to Part 2

Mythic Entertainment and Bioware Merge

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Mythic Entertainment Logo

Today we have important news to share with the community. EA is restructuring its RPG and MMO games development into a new group that includes both Mythic and BioWare. This newly formed team will be led by Ray Muzyka, co-founder and General Manager of BioWare. With this change, Ray becomes Group General Manager of the new RPG/MMO studio group. BioWare’s other co-founder, Greg Zeschuk will become Group Creative Officer for the new RPG/MMO studio group. Rob Denton will step up as General Manager of Mythic and report to Ray. BioWare’s studios remain unchanged and continue to report to Ray.

Mark Jacobs, current General Manager of Mythic will leave EA on June 23, 2009. We thank Mark for his contributions at Mythic and wish him the very best going forward. Mark played a major part in the success of Mythic with his contribution as General Manager and Lead Designer of WAR.

Mythic retains a strong team led by Rob who co-founded Mythic in 1995. Rob played a critical role in the development of Dark Age of Camelot. In his previous role as COO, he was responsible for all day-to-day management of the studio including all development, operations and support.

Please join us in celebrating the union of these two award-winning studios.

(As posted in the Warhammer Herald)