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MMO Money Magazine

Writings on the business of fun: Virtual Worlds and Real Money Makes Online Gaming a Big Business. My economic view on the world of online games - without the hype.

Author: Inktomi

mMO' MONEY is moving!

Posted by Inktomi Monday July 27 2009 at 12:23PM
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 Hey everyone,

I just wanted to write a last post to anyone who does read this and some fellow bloggers as well.

Recently I was invited to write for another website, it was a surprise and an honor. I accepted of course because every blogger (amatuer aspiring writer/journalist/reporter) like be would jump at the chance. Yes, there is monatary compensation involved, but it's also a chance to get my writing resume off the ground. 

Sorry, I am a businessman by trade.

Out of undying respect for the editorial staff of MMORPG.COM I will not post or link where I am going, but there is a secret clue...

I would also like to thank mikeb for putting up with my nonsense and Stradden for keeping me on my toes. I will keep proofreading mike! Also, I like cap'n crunch, so I will eat it while I play mmo's.

To fellow bloggers, please keep in touch your a very fun and creative crew. 

To my stealth buryer, I know you are out there and one day you will tell me how much I fail. But no matter how it sucked to see that 1 initial bury, I persevered and it made me a better writer. Thank you too.

Enough with long goodbyes, see you ingame.

Until then,

Play safe!

Frank

The High Price of PVP

Posted by Inktomi Tuesday July 21 2009 at 10:51PM
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 Ultima Online, Darkfall, EVE Online and the upcoming pvp-base MMO: Mortal Online that is about to enter closed beta testing. What do these games have in common? They all have severe penalties for PvP losses. Free for all looting is slowly creeping back into the MMO scene that had been phased out in recent years, it was the main attraction for Darkfall Online. World of Warcraft pvp penalties were a joke and so is Warhammer’s, but the rewards were very high which made pvp attractive. When I played FFXI PvP is almost non-existent and most other games had either sanctioned pvp or open pk with no real downside.

I like the risk you take when you venture where you’re not supposed to be and there is a possibility of being wtfpwned by the opposing faction. It adds excitement and a sense of accomplishment to the game. Darkfall seems to be taking it to the extreme case and the new Mortal Online might follow suit. Regardless of what you read about Darkfall, love it or hate it; it brought back the risk that Ultima Online had when it was popular. You might be able to switch to your skivvies in time if you get ganked, why would you want to lose equipment or items to someone who just lives to kill people. That’s the price you pay when you decide to reside on a pvp server or a pvp focused game.

I didn’t realize that EVE Online’s pvp was so steep, there is no consensual pvp. If you are not involved with factional warfare, intercrop warfare or if you are caught in a gate camp or stealthganked you will lose all. There is no macro-switching to take of equipment or take out implants, just take it as a man and recoup your losses. I am saying this from experience, being a rookie EVE player I have learned some harsh lessons. But I just suck it up as a learning curve and move on.

Being the adventurous entrepreneur I decided that High-Security systems just weren’t for me, not profitable enough. I found my new home and corporation in a mid-sec sector 0.5 amongst lower-sec surroundings. So I decide to run a trade route out in a low-sec area, I promptly run into my first gate camp with an empty can and find myself being podded (killed). I didn’t cry; I just learned some lessons. Going into a low-sec area is a gamble and like every time you gamble be prepared to lose, and lose everything. That’s is rule number one for anyone stepping into vegas with a pocketful of cash looking for a payoff, try you best to win but be prepared to lose.

But it didn’t stop me, I found myself another time being chased by some pirate in a way stronger ship than I had while mining in a low-sec area. He was relentless, I managed 5 warp jumps until he finally caught up with me and eventually killed me; my warp stabs had just run outta room. I just sat there while this guy pounded my low end, unequipped mining ship. I said to myself, “wow, he must be enjoying this.” After I returned in my clone I promptly bought another clone and another low-end miner. All in all, his tirade cost me about 1 million isk. It takes time to build up this type of money and time is money in my real world, everything accounted for.

Now that doesn’t seem like a lot, but as you ramp it up to more expensive ships and equipment you are looking into the hundred million isk range. That is a staggering amount of money for me RIGHT NOW; it might change as I grow in status and financial position. This got me to think, he didn’t ask for money, didn’t get any good equipment from killing me; what was his payoff to killing me? Satisfaction was the only one I could think of.

In my humble opinion satisfaction is the ultimate payoff for all pvp. I’ve read numerous stories of the “revenge gank” or the guild war to redeem someone from getting corpse-camped. That is all about the satisfaction of retribution.  At the end of the day, people enjoy 1-upping a fellow man and get a great deal of satisfaction out of “melting someone’s face”.

Face-melting is an art-form, I know many players that forego any and all pve content to gear themselves solely for the sake of blasting another human being. You’re going to win some and lose some, which is the price they pay. And I have to say, it is fun as heck to go up against someone better than you are and win. Winning always feels better than losing, but losing is inevitable. Is it possible to win 100% of the time? That would become no challenge and the challenge is what makes pvp fun, consistent winning is good but eventually that gets played out.

Losing is the worst price to pay during pvp’ing. Admit it, when you compete against someone and come close to winning until something happens and you see your character dead on the floor. Two things just happened there, one person was made to feel the pain of loss and one got bragging rights over the loser. Cha-ching, the tradeoff. That is a personal price to pay in any competition, someone looking at you and in your head they are saying, “he sucks, I pwned his arse.” Not fun, but its part of the price of trying your luck at building your ego.

I fell in love with pvp in video games during my first few matches of Quake multiplayer. Sure other players had mods for rocket launchers and grappling hooks, but the occasional newbie like myself that felt the wrath of my shotgun go booyah gave me some redemption. It was at that point that I decided that online games were for me, and it’s been that way ever since. I will play the occasional single player RPG, but I always try to stay online with other human beings. Not only for the camaraderie but also the competition as well, even gear based pvp is fun.

What is gear based pvp? It is simply, the competitiveness of having more material (or in this case virtual) gains than the next person. I know of alot of materialistic players, there are even games solely comprised of the materialism mechanic; this is where life imitates art. Has anyone ever come up to you, checked out your equipment and made some snarky comment? Happens to the best of us; you brush it them off as being a jerk but silently brood over your lack of whatever it was you were missing. Making a secret pact to yourself to improve your gear and rub it is their face next time. Maybe I’m going a little overboard here, but this is what I have witnessed in my travels in the Virtua-verse; the virtual world is not far removed from the habits of the real.

Any game you play has a competitive element, it’s what makes your play meaningful and creating the sense of enjoyment when the reward button is pressed. Whether your layeth the smacketh down on another human being, or being the first one to drop a new boss or even find that new area while exploring being the first of anything provides a sense of accomplishment and competition. MMORPG’s are set up that any thing you do in game will create a sense of meaning and release some brain-chemical to keep you coming back to this particular game. And having other players regard you with a sense of respect is one of the meaningful elements that all mmorpg’s are based off of. Without the human element, we are all just playing a single player game. That is a different scenario entirely but is changing in the format of XBLA cooperative game content.

I realize that some have called for deeper penalties for pvp losses, some from those that don’t value pvp at all. If you don't care about losing in pvp then there is no meaning for you.  Whether or not deeper experience point penalties are put in place will not make pvp any more or less meaningful. If it comes to losing money in equipment, ships, political influence or a status title during pvp that provides meaning but is not the only penatly. When we lose we lose, it creates a negative feeling and takes away some of the meaning of our efforts; it’s the risk we take for a chance at the reward of winning.

That is what makes winning all the sweeter.

Have fun, play safe and melt a face today.

Ink

Are Alternate Reality Games the Future MMORPG?

Posted by Inktomi Saturday July 18 2009 at 9:42PM
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 There is nothing like a good book on a sunny summer day, ice-t glimmering in my glass while I ponder the future in cloudless skies.

Ahhh, life is good.

I just finished reading Charles Stross’ Halting State, a 2007 spy-fi thriller that I would recommend as a gamer ‘have-to-read’. Set in Scotland, year 2K++; the main protagonist Jack, a 20-something, brilliant computer programmer, who gets recently fired and soon is arrested for drunken disorderly conduct in Amsterdam. Not surprised. Stross quickly builds into the game anthology as a leading software company’s virtual bank is robbed by, who would have thought, a band of orcs. While the author makes references to past video games while showing us a grim future of technology.

A very interesting array of new technology is displayed, from driverless taxis (that is not so far fetched), virtual keyboards, cell phones that do EVERYTHING and glasses that enable you to see into alternate reality. Actually the scary part is that the police have their own “Copspace” alternate reality while civilians have “Zone Technology” that runs off both their phones and hi-tech peepers. The police have live recording technology and cameras are placed everywhere, which sounds very 1984ish if you ask me.

As the story unfolds we see the female counterpart to Jack, Elaine, a young LARPer (live action roleplayer) who has been playing a game called SPOOKS. An ARG (alternate reality game) that puts players in the role of an Agent or Spy, Elaine gets creepy phone calls in the middle of the night to drop off DVD’s on strangers doorsteps. I found this very interesting since I always liked playing a good spy game from time to time. I played Deus Ex for a bit (now where is my copy?) and even have a copy of Uplink: Hacker Elite when I’m feeling really naughty. Both cheap games that will quench your thirst to become the ‘Spy who loved me’, or if you are the more hack’n’spy type, spies from Team Fortress 2 recently got a major overhaul.

Can anyone remember an old 1993 Bullfrog game called ‘The Syndicate’ that reportedly would call your phone at one point of the game, that’s rumor not confirmed. The Syndicate is being worked on currently by Starbreeze Studios for an upcoming EA release.

Also a little bit o’ googling and I discovered the BBC’s best kept spy secret, Spooks or also known as MI-5. The award winning spy-themed television show that has been running on British TV for 7 years now, while we are stuck with American Idol. )X

Unfortunately, there are no “Spy-themed” mmorpgs as of yet, which brings my attention to The Agency, due to be released in 2010. The Agency puts players in the role of an elite secret agent. Create your own agency and collect your own operatives while trying to shoot up other agents that are trying to disarm teh bomb that’ll blow up the world, or kill 10 rats and bring it back to the captain.

Remember playing Cops and Robbers as a child? You were playing an ARG. If you in the mood for some cops’n’robbers mayhem you might want to check out the upcoming games, Crimecraft and APB.

There was a few MMORPG themes in the book that I did like a lot, for instance all the different game shards are connected. The economy is connected and so is your magic loot that you can keep close to your heart by way of digital keys on your cell phone. Now you can never leave home without your <Force Reactive Disk>. Another concept is being able to keep your online persona visible by (gasp) digital implants or by your cell phone via 'Zone Technology'. At a convention players could see their surroundings and persona as being 'ingame' via glasses or goggles. Who doesn’t want to walk around in their orc suit 24/7?

Where am I going with all this, simple. MMORPG’s and RPG’s are set up to put the ‘player’ in a specific world outside of reality. Right, we know this. But what if the future gaming companies can finally break the mold of the mindless button mashing and controller humping to a more interactive state? While game publisher and designers blur the financial lines by changing to the micro-trans model, they should be trying to get players more immersed in their gameplay from the start.

The game that has got the internet abuzz, or at least their forums is Funcoms ‘The Secret World’ due 2012. Set in a real-time, modern setting Funcom has released an aggressive marketing plan for this upcoming game. From the start they got the online community involved with viral tactics, it started with an announcement. Then a cryptic website that has a ticker rolling off in some secret language, a creepy email sent to you followed by an online puzzle. And that if it wasn’t for the forums, I would still be figuring them out. Still to this day, players are still poring over photographs uncovering clues and trying to solve puzzles related to The Secret World. This is a game in itself!

Dream with me here, if we can connect the Wii controllers with Microsofts ‘Project Natal’ and put it all into the FC’s “Secret World” we might have the game of the century. That could ultimately be the…dun, dun, dunnnn…

Wow-Killer!

Ok, ARG’s might not be a wow-killer now and just a good way to market an upcoming product. But it did spark some interest in me, so I talked to my girl wiki about it. She said that along with the ‘Secret World’ there are some older ones, like The Beast, a popular ARG created by Microsoft designers to market the movie AI: Artificial Intelligence. There was also Halo 2’s I love bees and currently one is running on Playstations Home called Xi.

There are whole societies of people who enjoy playing roles and find entertainment in being personally involved in certain games as a type of actor or actress, there is a renaissance fair here yearly in Upstate New York. Some games require solving puzzles or completing specific tasks while in that role; live games that conjoin reality and sometimes blur the lines. Some common forms are LARPing (live action role playing), civil war reenactment and even cosplay is a form of ARG.

I remember when I was a wee youngster, riding around on scavenger hunt stealing lawn ornaments and signs. What trouble I would get into caught riding down the block with a pink flamingo under my arm. Hahahaha, I was playing an ARG and didn’t even know it. If I knew better, I would have stopped then.

If anyone knows of a good ARG going on currently let me know, I like to break the monotony every now and again.

Until then…

Play safe,

Ink

The Cash Shop Survival Guide.

Posted by Inktomi Thursday July 16 2009 at 9:44PM
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  Hiyadoin!

 

   In light of recent announcements, posts, blogs and epic threads on the internet about gamer attitude towards RMT (real money transactions), I feel that something was missing.

Between all the attitudes and opinions, justifications and economics 101 lessons (I’m guilty there!), I feel that no one has stepped up and really tried to “show you the ropes” so to speak. Let’s bring in a hypothetical situation; a loved one has been playing this cutesy free to play game for some time and wants you to get involved. Knowing that you have experience in your current subscription based game you say yes, begrudgingly because you and your regular crew have a policy on F2P games: “They suck.”

So you download the software, it’s free, that’s a change. You install and quickly head over to the website where you are inundated with ads to “buy this” and a link to charge your amount of in game currency: we will call these “The Dudley’s”

“Aye, yo.” you ask your smiling significant other, “Thought this was free?” She quickly responds that it is free “to play” and install, but there is a lot of items in the cash shop that you can use in game using Dudley’s or the abbrev. “Dud’s”. You decide to yourself that you spend enough on your game, you get the world for only 15 smacks and you are not spending a dime here. ‘Nuff said.

The first thing I do is look at the currency; they have a lot of different names according to the game company you use. There are the diamonds, NCcoin, Gpotatoe’s and even the new “cryptic buck” that is going to be used in the soon to be released Champions Online. They are usually sold in online packages that you can buy as bundles or pre-paid cards that come in $10 - $20 increments and up.  These can be redeemed online and used in the cash shop; some are even sold in convenience stores. For that late night gamer in all of us!

“Yo, I know this!”

I know, but here’s the catch: for $10.00 usd I can buy 500 Dud’s. Now treat your girlfriend to 500 duds, ya big cheapo!

Do the math: Like any Foriegn RL currency there is a transfer rate from that currency to ours.

500 ÷ 10 = 50

So for every $1.00 I get 50 duds, doesn’t seem so bad now does it?

10 ÷ 500 = .02

This tells you that every Dudley is worth .02 cents!

Hey, that really seems simple, now go put in your “two coppers worth.”

You can plug and play the numbers as you wish, there is also a virtual currency chart I use; I don’t know accurate it is from game to game but it’s a help. This is good to know when you look to your cash shop, when using certain services and most importantly working out a budget. There are many games that also give you the option of earning currency in game to use in the shop, usually it’s not easy to do so but it’s nice to have. If you pulled the trigger on your girls 500 Duds, grats to you on 1,000 BF points, you can use those on your own.>;)

“How do I buy Dudley’s?” Most games do take PayPal, most credit cards or offer prepaid cards as I said earlier. If you don’t feel comfy with using your ID online and can’t find prepaid, what I do is go to my local mall and get a gift certificate that comes in the form of a VISA card. Make sure it says VISA or MasterCard on it, if not then there are other alternatives, usually they will have that stuff listed on the site. The prepaid and GC’s are a great way to keep your ID safe and keep yourself on a budget. I know that I would be dangerous with a major CC tied to a F2P MMORPG, lol.

There is so much stuff! There is usually a lot going on in the shops and it can get confusing, I will try my best to categorize and prioritize it for you.

Storage: most F2P MT (micro-trans) games have an element built in that limits your storage capacity and sells you the slots (bank, bag, character, content or otherwise) for a time at a fee. I know that many games will put quest items in your physical inventory, along with other stuff you collect along the way. This can quickly become cumbersome, especially for crafters, collectors, explorers and general packrats like me. It is worth it if you know you are going to be playing the game for awhile, so drop some Dud’s and open some bags.

Travel Arrangements: This consists of anything that get’s you from point A to point B. Mounts that fly or not, horses, teleporters, markers, portals etc. This division can get pricey and has items that fall under 2 categories, Travel and Vanity Items. Many times companies will offer you some startup travel arrangements ingame, and also offer sales. But be careful, I know someone who went nuts over a $10 horse, and that seems like a lot. But if this is going to be a permanent fixture for you and plan on spending the money, make sure that it is going to be a one shot deal. If you don’t want an ordinary mount, then walk it and wait for something that you really want or take a temporary in the meantime.

Vanity Items: Ahh, everyones favorite. Anything that changes the appearance of your character, mount, pet or otherwise and doesn’t change any stats is simply vanity. Just for looks. Even that pet is vanity, that flying mount is as well as I mentioned before. Since it’s all for looks, this is where you ask yourself: “How important is this to me?” Most Vanity is really cheap, but some isn’t. Changing facial or racial aspects can cost you some money; just keep asking yourself if it’s worth it to you to do it. Armor and weapons are sometimes offered in shops, this is where it gets tricky; if they do actually carry improved stats and are not available anywhere in game it falls under MLH’s, if not then they are strictly vanity items as well.

MLH’s or “Mommies Little Helpers”™: This is the category that has the MMO Society in an uproar and sometimes causes people to take stances and choose sides. This consists of anything that increases the game experience and how it affects your character. Most of this consists of potions for increased experience gain or increased loot drops, also any armor, weapons or pets that provide a boost in stats. Very often, companies provide “packages” of these types of items or a subscription style access to the game (The DDO VIPs as an example).

I also feel that certain types of upgrades to items at MLH’s and come in the form of enchantments or effect equipment in some beneficial way. Some feel that this might provide an imbalance in the game between characters that do and the ones that don’t.  This is a vast topic that is up for discussion about certain items or affects, I am not going to get into semantics here about it. I am just going to provide a loose and open category, if you want to get into particulars, which is your call. That is just my outlook on that, and that is all I have to say on the topic. TYVM

Most MLH’s usually will give you more exp bonus and less death penalty but that varies between games. For some, this can be a very way to really ramp up the meaningfulness in the time you play, or can be abused by some to get a “leg up” on other players. This all differs from player to player, if you feel that this is not your route, don’t do it. If you feel that it streamlines the way you play, and then put it in your budget. I for one, always patronize a good game with at least 1 month of a package type deal, I feel its good karma, good business and gives back to the community. A lot of times though, I do ask myself “is this worth the money?”

Content: This I feel is the meat and potatoes of a cash shop. This constitutes any playable content such as quests or areas, minigames, characters/races or even slots for characters or content. City of Heroes recently started offering players extra slots for created content using the architect to store new story arcs. Another example are the racecar and driver job of Free Realms, these have an effect on “what you play” and your meaningful experience within the game. If I was going to spend any money on a game, it would be here mostly, because I want to get the most out of this game and what it offers. Again, watch your budget and most importantly enjoy yourself; you and your honey should be having fun right about now.

Specialty Items:  These are most items that are only offered for a limited time or tied into an event. One example is the new Thunderbird mount offered in Mabinogi, only offered between July 16 to July 23rd. This is an attractive flying mount that does carry abilities and stats, also boosts your stats as well. This can be classed as MLH, vanity and specialty, if your girlfriend has got you playing Mabonogi you might want to consider this. Again, specialty items can vary from game to game and class to class.

So there you have it in a nutshell, this is a loose outline of what you’ll face in many F2P RMT games. Just make sure that you do your calculations on your currency and watch your bottom line. You will see that more often than not you are spending exactly what you would be on a subscription basis. Plus it does give you certain freedoms, if you decide to wander off to another game; you’re not wasting the time on your subscription. I will say again, this will vary from player to player on how you view, use and definitely benefit from a cash shop. The most important point is that you are having a good time while you do it.

If you have been playing Mabonogi with your girlfriend and buy her the Thunderbird mount, you just got 100,000 BF points. Do yourself a favor, shut off the game and cash those in. Thank me later.

Play safe,

Ink

Top Ten Things I Love About EVE.

Posted by Inktomi Tuesday July 14 2009 at 9:40AM
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 Good morning y’all,

I am not the play 100 games and master none type of player, I am more of the find one that sticks to your ribs and go to the wall with it. A game life for me never started at 1 or 15, it started at 50, 60 or 100 depending on the game. According to Bartles, I am an Achiever and an endgame player. If feel that I was due for a change, I’ve been bouncing around many games these past few months, then in light of recent events I have decided to take the EVE Online plunge and see what all the hullaballoo was all about.

 To me, EVE has always been that hot biker chick you see when you walk into a bar. She’s attractive and has a bad reputation, you don’t know if you are going to strike out, or if you “can hang” with her tough biker pals. But if the chemistry was just right you would be hooked up with her for awhile. EVE always seemed “cool” and I was right about my biker chick theory, we clicked right away. For months now my question has been, “what am I going to play now”, and that’s changed to, “why haven’t I played this sooner?” If you have been scoping out EVE, on the fence with your current game or in the market for something new then maybe my point of view will help.

Hot chicks that fly spaceships are hotter than a Hog on a Harley. 

 Check out Mynxee (right) at Lifeinlowsec.

10) The EVE-conomy: I’ll get this out of the way quick, I ranted and raved about it on SUWT #51, enough already. The fact that this is a single server game provides some interesting situations, especially the fact that players can create (and rip off) their own banks, bring their own corporations public and pay dividends. However, if you choose to go the honest trader route and eventually a business tycoon like I am. You will find out that your local economy is actually a free trading market with prices that differ from other regions. Prices fluctuate between regions and it can be very competitive, as these regions become little “micro-economies” traders compete for the best price. Sounds familiar? Honey, I’m home!

This is a true player driven economy, players are driven but not bound to their local trading hub. If Jita is not for you then you can shop anywhere you want on the fly and start trading making money right away. Infalible wrote an extensive FAQ on jumpstarting your trading career, I’ve tested it and it works. I was hooked when I saw the words “day-trading”, I’m not day-trading yet but I’m already in the millions, thanks Infalible I owe you a donation...

Hey wait, where's Maria Baritiromo?

9) Graphics: Breathtaking! CCP really captures the sprawling “deep open space” feel without sacrificing small details on the ships, planets or bases (belong to us). They’re layered technology eliminates any lag, provides vibrant colors as a backdrop and you never feel like you’re in the same place twice. They have built in a real-time orbit system so your environment changes even while you’re in it. If you have played any of the Freespace games, Freelancer, Sins of a Solar Empire and even Sword of the Stars then you will appreciate EVE. Some of the “zones” actually look like they were recreated from the NASA website photos.

8) Community: I’ve always wondered why EVE players have this confident swagger about them. It’s because they play a quality game, they love it and they’re not angry like other gamers.  The EVE community as I experienced so far are vibrant, helpful and most importantly MATURE. Everyone I’ve come in contact with has been a perfect gentleman, even some of the pirates! EVE has a sub base of 300,000 players with anywhere from 25k up to 48k online at any given time as I have experienced, I’ve never been alone for too long a period before seeing someone fly by me.

If you’re worried about the learning curve as I was, then don’t. EVE comes equipped with a rookie chat channel with a GM there to answer any and all questions. (I wouldn’t want to do his job!) Not the ask directions type of guy, then there is a complete EVE-Wiki and plenty of faq threads on the forums with links to player created websites to help you. The EVE community even has it’s own magazine and online DJ music channel with a jukebox. EVE players are involved!

 

"My God, It's full of stars!"

 

7) Lore: I don’t know much about the ingame lore, but what I do know is that EVE consistently makes the news. Stories of embezzlement, double-crosses and corporate espionage involving real people and are real events. You just can’t write some of this stuff, it’s so far-fetched. Ever hear the phrase, truth is stranger than fiction?

6) Gameplay: EVE is such an open ended game, that you can play any style or speed you want to. Hardcore PVP? No problem, grab a ship and head over to a 0.0 space. Casual care bear™, no problem there are hundreds of NPC “agents” and 2,000 missions to choose from of all different flavors. In EVE, I just don’t feel the “rush to cap” as I did in other games, I feel the “hey, let’s do some (insert activity here) for once” because my skills constantly update as time goes by.

If the UI might seem daunting at first, don’t worry, it runs just like any windows program. Basically, if you can read this article then you can play EVE, it’s easy. TBQH, sometimes long trips in the ship might be adrag, but EVE feels more like a marathon than a sprint. I’m tired of rushing all over the place to do this quest, drop this off, kill 100 of these and run back. Gimme a break already, I’m tired of being in a rush on my free time.

5) PLEX: I like the fact that CCP offers an ingame method of subscription renewal. The Pilots License Extension (PLEX) can be bought off the market for around $350 million ISK. If that sounds like a lot of ISK then you can drop $35 for 2 months of playtime on a EVE timecard. If you are making a steady income then you are actually playing for free. That is an honest free to play, not the  type of game that I have to reach for my credit card every time I play this game. There is no cash shop here for now and that makes me happy; and even if there was, I would still play EVE.

4) Costs: I know you’ve heard me mention the college gaming fund, this game doesn’t stretch it or break it one bit. It actually gives you incentives to invite friends and even advertising for the company can earn you money;  CCP has one of the best marketing campaigns I’ve seen for a game. You can get a 21 day trial on Steam or buy Apocrypha for $15 with a 19.99 fee and get two months playtime. Or buy the box for $40 as I did, get a goofy ship and 60 days of hassle free play.  No matter how you slice it, you get a lot of game for $35 bucks. I for one, don’t mind paying for quality but if I can get it free none the sweeter, so if anyone wants a 21 day key to try EVE risk free then send me an email, it’s on the house. (damn, I sounded like a commercial there…)

3) Longevity: EVE has been around since 2003, I feel that the CCP team has gelled by now and have squashed most if not all the bugs. CCP continually rewards and challenges there players by steadily releasing new content with the most recent being Apocrypha. One thing that impressed me is that you never have to pay for an expansion, just the monthly fee going forward. EVE downloads without a hitch and has good customer service. Yes, you have to manually download your patch but after that you are ready to fly. You really need to see the new tech 3 ships, they are hot!

2) Customizability: If you have no interest in being a wall street mogul in space then you have plenty of options to choose from. From 4 different races and numerous classes, you don’t ever have to feel trapped in that class. The skill and certificate program is how you gain access to different technologies and ships that mean you can fly any type of ship and play any style you want. From the tanking class of large warships, support ships that release drones to stealth based covert ops, you can be any race and have access to anything as you train it. Unfortunately, your avatar is only a still photo, you only move your ship. That’s going to change in the future I’ve heard, but even the avatars can be completely personalized from different backgrounds to the way the light appears on your face.

Whether it be a doctors, lawyers or an Indian chief, EVE offers a complete Immersion experience. Anyone who has played Ryzom can identify with the loose class structure by point gain. It’s just like Ryzom, except Innnnnn Spaaaaaaaace ( insert echo machine here).

 

Last but not least is Freedom: Beyond all the options and bonuses I previously gave you, the ones that stick out to be are really simple. For one, I don’t have to constantly be pushing the W button to advance in the game. Your skills accumulate over time as you train them in a queu.

So this means I can be __Insert anything here__ while I’m not online and still advance in an MMO?

WOOT!

And if I am mining, I can just sit there and watch myself collect money or __insert anything here__ if I get too bored. (Don’t try this in low sec please, I won’t be responsible.)

WOOHOO!

Also, if I have to make a trade a few jumps aways, I can hit autopilot __insert hot biker chick here__ and come back when I arrive! (again don’t try this in low sec.)

WOO FREAKING HOO!

So there you have it, I guess I’m sounding quite the fanbizzy but when something makes me this happy I need to share it. I know that to the masses this is old news, but to the one or two that are out there might benefit. If it wasn’t for the passionate community and the MMO BLOGOSPHERE I would have still been playing (edited). EVE definitely changes my future gaming plans, for now. I feel like I can go long term with EVE, although the way it’s set up there is no endgame or cap level.

You just EVE-olve.

Play safe,

Ink

Free: The Realistic Direction of the Internet Economy.

Posted by Inktomi Monday July 13 2009 at 12:11AM
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Hello all!

 

  Call it the universe, call it luck or call it a co-INKy-dink but I was reading my morning blog posts. I was impressed by Ivan’s post on “MTCW” about the transference of DDO and TCoS to F2P. That was on the heels of Beau hitting the nail on the head about TCoS, both articles put me in a thoughtful mood. So I went outside, enjoyed the sun and read some of the Sunday papers. While I was reading the NYTimes Book Review…yes I read the book review!

“He’s a supergeek! A supergeek! He’s supergeeking owwwwww!”

I’m Rick James…, ANYWAY, to my point it seems the sun had shed light on the whole “where is the P2P MMO community going” conundrum. It came in the shape of an article written by Virginia Postrel who reviews Chris Andersons new book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” (Hyperion). Chris Anderson is the editor in chief of Wired Magazine and Author of “The Long Tail”, he explains why many of the common services we use online are free, and where the future of the internet price point is going to...

 

$0.00

 

Postrel writes, “Driving the trend are the steeply declining prices of three essential technologies: computing power, digital storage and transmission capacity”. In Anderson’s book he says, “The trend lines that determine the cost of doing business online all point to the same way: to zero.” It seems that all the functions that make content accessible are getting cheaper and that enables online companies to shave off margins so that there over head gets so cheap that they can afford to charge nothing for customers to get in the door.

That may be a reason why a company as Frogster can charge nothing to download the Runes of Magic software, because it costs them nothing to ship it to you and store it. Same as the mirror sites as well. Now how do these internet companies, take MMORPG.com for example get away with charging nothing, give so much and charge absolutely nothing. Anderson’s answer is, “Most obviously, online advertisers pay for eyeballs…” as you see all the ads for games, free to play and otherwise on the home page of mmorpg. That’s how they make their cash, and possibly pay nothing to run the site other than manpower, serverspace and bandwith. And obviously Anderson writes that those are getting cheaper as we speak.

 According to a NDP survey from Gamasutra.com, online and in-game advertising to grow from $886 million to $1.4 billion by 2010, so with margins down and sales expected to grow like this, who do you think is going to make the most money here?

So my answer to both questions from beau and ivan’s post are yes, it will help both DDO and TCoS tremendously to embrace the F2P model at this point. However there is a sobering statement made in Chris Andersons book, “Everyone can use a Free business model, but only the number 1 company can get really rich with it.” This means that only the strong will survive, and they both better bring their “A” game with them.

Free is a powerful word to consumers, it almost gets anyone’s attention. Sometimes skeptically, but never fails to turn a head or two. Case in point when WoW developer Tom Chilton admits that the fact of WoW going full force micro-transactional isn’t out of the question in the future. They will need to adopt a different business strategy for according to Game Analyst Michael Cai “the biggest competition to Wow will be from the F2P market.” He explains that a new company will have to invest from 500 million to 1 billion to create a “subscription based model” to compete with wow.

WoW changing to a free to play/cashop is a possibility according to the new trend; what will it do to the struggling games like Age of Conan, Chronicles and the new DDO Unlimited. TCoS was introduced with a failing business model, “so I can kiss you and don’t have to pay for dinner? Sweet!” Even I who played from CB got bored at level 4 and uninstalled, it just didn’t have the “sticky power” to keep me playing. If it was a freebie, then I probably would have kept it on my hard drive. Plus the whole Akklaim coin thing turned me off, it seemed they were trying to charge you for an Akklaim account and then for the Spellborn sub. Uh-Uh, I was born at night, but not last night.

DDO, they need to admit that they tried to catch the WoW vapors and failed with a buggy launch, forced grouping, and lack of content (then). Agreed, they have made big changes to the game and are offering much more in the way of solo content, this makes it a better game. But going freebie/cashop will get more people that never played the game to give it a shot, as Ivan describes it as a “saving grace”. Even as a F2P do they have the power to compete or even survive this market against pure-bred f2p’s like Atlantica Online? DDo sin’t a bad game, I did some interviews of the community (failed project) and I’ve read many blogs lately, Hudsons Hideout gives a very good, “this game isn’t bad after allz” review of DDO.

How much do the purebred F2P’s are making, we really don’t know. Most companies keep that information guarded and I for one have been crawling for that info continually. The closest I got was from Raph Koster’s website, where he says that “in his observations free-to-play MMOs are that they typically earn from 30 cents a head up to $2 or so in terms of ARPU and from $10 to $60 in terms of ARPPU.” A game like Puzzle Pirates nets $230,000 just from 5,000 users, that’s a pretty good average for an obscure game.

What does all this drivel mean? I will sum it up with, “It is hard to come into a house with a 900 pound gorilla living in it and find a place to sit.” The market is dominated by one game, one company with a couple of not so bad number two’s. It is hard to demand a fee that is par with a more popular profitable (I didn’t say better, I said popular ! profitable!) game and be profitable while giving sub-par content or service. With the costs of distributing going lower, advertising revenues on the rise and an open door “limitless” micro transactional model becoming the norm, then it benefits latebloomers and struggling games to switch gears.

Edit: It seems that there is more "popular" games in the mmo genre, such as Maplestory and Runescape. Hands down, they are, but if comparable to a "pay to play space", where I was talking from. Then you have to realize that Blizzard makes the most money "in that space". 

Thanks BT for pointing that out, I always try for 100% legitamacy in my writing.

Will it save games like DDO and TCoS from the scrapheap alongside Tabula Rasa and The Matrix Online; we really don’t know, time will tell. Our job as consumers is to benefit from their competition and get some free game time, most importantly have fun; and talk about it on our free blogs.

One thing that Anderson does touch on is the amateur market, the people like us that want to contribute, “to have an impact and to be recognized as an expert in something”, he says. This is a never ending flow of really good, amateur content on the internet. I mean the podcasting, vid-casting and blogging market that I just stumbled into like a drunken sailor stumbles into a "w--------e" on leave. Just look at the guy who trashed United over his busted up guitar. I would of paid a couple of bucks for that CD single back in the day I used to buy CD’s, again point proven, I don’t pay for music anymore.

But all this free feel-good feeling lies a warning, “It is false to assume that no price means no value. But it is equally false to argue that value implies profitability.” I pay for value but I like free anything, don’t you. I’m going to find that book tmrw in the library so I can give more information on this oh, so interesting topic.

Until then…

Play safe,

Frank AKA Inktomi

 

ps: I use a larger font because one of my readers personally asked me to, because he has a small screen and his eyes aren't as good as they used to be. I do apologize for the HUGE wall of TEXT.

My guest appearance on the "Shut Up, We're Talking" podcast.

Posted by Inktomi Saturday July 11 2009 at 10:32PM
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 Hey!

  I want to thank Darren, host of SUWT and also to his darling cohost karen. Along with his other quests, Andrew who writes Of Teeth and Claws and John from the Ancient Gaming Noob, for tolerating me and my New Yawk Drivel.

No spoilers here but listen up on Monday July 13th when it's posted. 

I'll be here to take the constructive criticism abuse.

Until then,

Ink Frank

The Value of MMO Etiquette.

Posted by Inktomi Thursday July 9 2009 at 5:38PM
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 Hye everyone!

   I was just crawling around the net today, reading up on some EVE, since I just installed it last night. No, not the 21 day freebie, I actually broke the bank and bought the box for $40 big ones and I’m going to play EVE. There is a reason for this but I can’t get into it right now, but you will be excited to find out why in the coming future.

  Anywho, the theme for today seems to be grouping, the dislike or like thereof. My friend Mystik writes in his blog on why he doesn’t like grouping and Stradden’s Staff Blog pretty much sets the record straight on why people that like to solo don’t normally have to be shunned off to 'Planet Single Player RPG'. I know that there are a lot of single player rpg lovers out there, I am definatelty one of them, but for some reason I prefer to be around other people while I waste away behind a computer screen. I don’t know call me social or something.

            Then it occurred to me, Maybe some players may be new and don’t really know how to “get into and run successful groups”, which for myself was something that came in time and practice. So I decided to call up my man GOOGLE and ask him for “MMORPG Etiquette”, etiquette is really just a fancy word for following a rule of polite behavior.

Well, my good man Google never lets me down, so I am going to share with you the best 8 I found.

1)     MMOHUT.com has a very clear cut do’s and don’ts article that most of the stuff an experienced mmo player will know such as…

“Don’t: Be a jerk. This one may seem obvious, but being a Jerk is a quick way to get ostracized in a game. If you steal someone else’s kill or harass other players, the word will get out and other players won’t group with you.” And…

“Do: Be a team player. Don’t try to do something your character isn’t good at. If you’re tank class, focus on absorbing damage and staying alive, not dealing damage. If you’re a healer / support class, do your job and heal, don’t try casting offensive spells.”

This seems to be the common theme amongst most threads I read, some people just don’t know how to handle themselves. There are many others, such as Don’t use a third party program, don’t kill steal, don’t ninja loot and don’t just add someone to a group without first sending tell. That seems to be a biggie in this next guide from…

2)     Tentonhammer.com: They give ten tips on mmorpg etiquette and this is number one from them:

“This is perhaps my biggest annoyance in MMOG's and I saved it for last. When you invite someone to a group or a guild, have the decency to send a tell first. Don't you want to know what or who you are inviting to where? One of the most annoying things you can have happen is to be running along and for no good reason get a guild or group invite window pop up in your face. I can't emphasize this enough, "SEND A TELL FIRST!" What good does it do a person to join a blind group invite only to have to leave it because they don't want to go where you are going.”

TBQH, it annoys me too. I just click the decline button and then wait for the tell, no tell, oh well. I ALWAYS ask someone first if they would even LIKE to group, not just send an invite. After awhile, once your friendslist starts to get meaty then if you want to send an invite off the fly to one of your buddies, I don’t think he/she will mind.

3)     Something Awful: Yes! For once in my life, something good comes out of something awful. They have a very simple and funny comparison using screenshots between two different wow personas and how they carry themselves. For example…

 

 I rofl’d irl, is there something wrong with me?

 The comparisons are very funny but also do go back to the basics of “don’t be a jerk”, there is the polite way about it and the unpolite way. Mind you, I am not an angel 100% of the time I am online, but if it has to get ugly I never fight in Guild chat or in public. It’s in /tells or let’s just duke it out in a duel and get our frustrations out that way.

4)     I wasn’t surprised when E-How.com had a list about mmorpg common courtesies; personally I have always been generous with the loot, unless it was something that I was specifically in the raid party or group for. It has always been, “Is that a direct upgrade to my current stuff?” If not, then greed, but if it is important ot me I usually throw up the dice to the Dice Gods and hope for the best. They put my personal pet peeve of don’t be a loot whore at number 4.

“The typical convention among pick-up groups (i.e., strangers that just met in game right before the group) is that you should only choose Need if the item is something that your character can use right away, and is better than what you have. It is highly frowned upon to say that you Need an item for another character that you may or may not even have. It is also not OK to say that you Need the item because you need money and want to sell it.”

5)     AOvault.com surprised me when someone wrote a very short but honest review on mmo etiquette. The biggest one that stuck out to me was aimed at the veterans, you know who you are. You have Epic everything down to your socks, 3 level 80’s and you eat Naxx cereal for breakfast, this one’s for you…

“Remember when you were a newbie? All of us were not born in to this world and suddenly knew how to play MMORPG type games instantly. We all had to start from somewhere. Keep this in mind when a new person asks you for help. If you have some time, spare credits or equipment you can not use anymore; let them have it. In another game I gave a new person some equipment and gold that was meaningless to me. Needless to say the next time I saw that person he was higher level than me and in return for my kindness he gave me a very rare item. What goes around, comes around.”

That is a biggie for me, since I have been ‘tweening games for some months now I am constantly a newbie. As far as I could remember from my time at Anarchy the community was always nice and helpful; the game itself was another story. In my opinion a community can make or break a game, I stayed on AO for a few months and was coming up on level 100 on my martial artist. The graphics were the dealbreaker for me, that’s for another story though.

6)     Massively.com just gives the lesson on Barrens Chat. Anyone who played Vanilla or Pre-BC wow knows the deal with barrens chat. This pic pretty much says it all, but please go look at the giraffe shooting itself, it's roflicious.

I am not only a survivor of Barrens chat, but the Valkurm Dunes of FFXI weren’t a walk in the park either. And if you had subclasses you needed to level, then you found yourself in the dunes. I went through the dunes 8 times, and sometimes I found myself /facepalming and sometimes I would laugh, but when it got ugly and nasty I usually took a break. Public humiliation is just not my style, I’m in favor of a good joke but the “so’s your mom” punchline get’s played out after awhile. Try to keep your material fresh,  “somewhat” pg-13 and don’t insult people in public chat for a cheap laugh, you wouldn’t want it done to you.

7)     Gamespot.com just has a list of abbreviations, so the next time you are in Undercity you can decipher some of the gibberish in trade channel like a pro. But always be careful…

Seller: WTS L60 Shld, pst 100g

Whisper to Seller: What shield is that?

Whisper to me: <Force Reactive Disk> 100g!

Whisper to Seller: lol you got me! DX

Whisper to me: RoFL

This is an old joke from Dethecus.

8)     Last but not least is Chris Pirillo’s site, he basically just tell us not to pester people. And some things can be annoying when playing online, especially in chat programs like Teamspeak or Ventrilo. Even I, yes moia, have commited some ventrilo errors, such as…

“Don’t play music over the server, but make have your sounds levels good. You don’t want to be too quite or too loud. You may also want to make sure that the people are not hearing echos or game sounds effects from your side. It is also good to set your vent/ts client to have a P-t-t (Push to Talk) button configured. This way, game sounds wont activate the micrphone, and it also won’t allow your clients to constantly broadcast out.”

Hee, hee, hee…ooops. Never said I was perfect.

  There you have it, the top 8 MMORGP Etiquette guides I found online. If you are new to a game or to the MMO scene then these are definitely worth a read. If you are an old-timer like myself and some other people I know from the site, it’s good to brush up on. Also if you see someone having a problem getting invites then you can direct them to these helpful sites; and to my blog as well!

  See you soon!

 Play safe,

Ink

 

World of Warcraft Possible Free to Play, says Blizz Dev Tom Chilton

Posted by Inktomi Tuesday July 7 2009 at 7:56PM
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Tom Chilton, courtesy Videogamer.com

 

 

 I am definitely one to admit where I am wrong, and I am wrong. Maybe Richard Aihoshi is right when he says that RMT is inevitable and that most MMO’s would embrace the free to play model over traditional pay to play model used by most mainstream MMORPG’s in the coming future.

 

Posted today on videogamer.com, Long time developer Tom Chilton addresses the question in an interview if the incredibly popular World of Warcraft can embrace a micro-transactional approach. His response, “ I certainly think it's possible that we could do some kind of micro-transaction stuff. Whether or not World of Warcraft ever goes the direction of, I guess like Anarchy Online has gone the direction of going free-to-play with micro-transactions. Whether we ever shift to a free-to-play model is really too hard to say at this point. Anything I say now could easily five years from now end up seeming like, oh my gosh, that was an incredibly dumb thing to say, how naive!” – Courtesy Videogamer.com

This is in the light of the SOE Tween based mmorpg, Free Realms reaching 3 million registered users in record time. When Tom was asked about the phenomenon of Free Realms he simply told Videogamer.com, “Is that really more successful? I don't know. It's a nebulous land of whoever wants to feel better about saying that they got the best. At the end of the day it's all about whichever company is making the most money will claim that they're the best, but whatever – as a game designer and developer that doesn't interest me that much.”

We also might see a trend forming as Turbine Inc. is turning towards a micro-transactional approach with DDO Online. As well as Frogster buying the rights to “The Chronicles of Spellborn” and turning that into a Free-to-play model.

I know personally that the community that is anticipating the release of Cryptic’s Superhero based MMORPG Champion’s Online would like to know what a “Cryptic Buck” is. Since the company never confirmed it’s purpose, there is speculation that Champs might be implementing a cash shop when released.

I know it is hard to deny that lifting the lid of spending off of spending makes micro-transactional mmorpg’s very attractive to game publishers and developers. But do we really know how much more profitable it would be for the  already successful WoW Franchise?

My guess, really my prediction is that there is a "coming storm" from Blizzard in the ways of Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 and the super secret new mmorpg that Blizzard is working on. I feel that if wow would go free to play while the new IP will command a monthly charge like wow is now, sort of a bait and switch move. According to Tom Chilton he has been working on this new IP for some years now and has been in development “on a very small scale”. He was also very ambiguous about the details and doesn’t indulge much information about it other than he feels the fans will be excited.

Blizzard does nothing on a small scale.

Play safe,

Ink

The “Holy Grail” of Gaming for $17,500?

Posted by Inktomi Tuesday July 7 2009 at 10:30AM
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Hey everyone!

   On a lighter note…wherein the gaming society that at one time one man commits embezzlement for a mere $5,000 and one man pays $17,500 out of pocket for a NES cartridge game.

No, you are not seeing things, here is the original blogpost at Video Game Price Charts.com, and the follow up article on Yahoo’s Plugged In

 

 

 

   The collector JJ Hendricks contacted a seller on Ebay that had originally posted it at $25,000, when contacted was brought down to $17,500. After some deliberation and a little bit of jerking around the seller finally delivered the goods to our hero Hendricks via fedex. This game is one of only 26 made in 1990 by Nintendo and only contains three short segments from other NES games: Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and Rad Racer and has a time limit of just 6 minutes and 21 seconds that is used to score performance against other players. I’ve heard of this game before in certain circles as the rarest game ever made, but didn’t think it would fetch a $17.5K pricetag. This reminds me of an old phrase, “Something is worth exactly what someone will pay for it” which is proved by our investor JJ Hendricks.

GO JJ!

Now before we go into our atticts and rummage around the old box of video games, let’s take a look at some other vintage gameria that might add to our goldmine.

Sega Dreamcast 

 

Sega’s short term jaunt into the cd disk console market that was released in 1998 can be found for less that $90 on amazon.com, but some of the games are worth money as well. Listed from JJ’s site is a short list of 265 of the 325 titles published for the Sega Dreamcast, the most expensive is Half Life that can demand up to $120.00 and the second to that is Under Defeat for $100.00. Described as “ahead of it’s time” the Dreamcast faced stiff competition for the Sony Playstation 2, but came with a modem and internet connection installed meanwhile you had to buy that separately as an addon for the PS2. An old article from Gamepro.com had published a list in 2007 claiming the Dreamcast as #10 of the top 10 worst selling consoles of all time. Don’t you wish you had one now?

 

Magic: The Gathering

  Not a video game, however no gameophile collectors list would be complete without the “Power 9” from Wizards of the Coasts collectable card game. When M:TG was first released in 1993 they published a set of 295 called “Alpha”, in that first set was some of the most powerful cards in M:TG’s history. And they are powerful, I have a very good RL buddy with a vintage deck that destroys me sometimes turn 3 if I’m not on my game. In his deck are some of the ‘P9’s (as proxies, but I saw the real ones in his bankvault), they consist of the cards named Black Lotus, Mox Pearl, Mox Sapphire, Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, Mox Emerald, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, and Timetwister these cards were only printed in the Alpha, Beta and Unlimited sets. The Alpha Set only printed 2.5 million cards, and only a small portion were the jewel in this crown that is the Black Lotus, one of the most expensive cards in M:TG’s history. A mint condition Black Lotus can command a $2,500+ price tag. However they only playable in one format and restricted to one card in a deck, they are that good.

 

 Down payment on a house?

Wizardry 8

          In 20001 Wizardry series game developer Sir Tech Software released the last of the Wizardry series and the end to a popular trilogy, Wizardry 8; they closed their doors shortly thereafter. This is a rare find since only a small amount was released briefly before the company went bankrupt, but the Canadian Sir Tech stayed open until 2003. The website is still functional but you cannot download any patches or software, darn. But you can find a European and a NA version on Ebay once in awhile; I’ve seen offers of anywhere from $90 to $200.00 for a new copy. I read the reviews and this is actually one of the better of the series.

 

Air Raid for Atari 2600

 What list would be complete without an Atari 2600 game? This puppy is one of the rarest Atari 2600 games of all and is currently being offered on Ebay for 5 grand. RUN! Lol. Published in limited supply by MenAVision in 1984, the only thing I can say is that it might be the blue handle that does it?

 

 

Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash

And the list wouldn’t be complete without a Richard Garriot story, The game was originally written by one of Richard Garriott’s friends, Keith Zabalaoui, in Coarsegold, California, for Sierra On-Line, Inc in 1983. Sierra, who had just successfully published Ultima II, named the game an Ultima in hopes that it would sell better. They did this without Garriott’s permission – Garriott held the rights to the Ultima name – and due to the relative obscurity of the game, Garriott didn’t hear about the incident until much later. Sierra sold enough to break even and buried the remaining copies at the foot of a mountain and the a retailer threw some off a cliff. Due to the dastardly fate of Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash there is only said to have 13 copies in existence and only 3 are complete. This is why this one is worth anywhere from $1,7000 to $3,600 FOR A CASSETE CARTRIDGE NEVER THE LESS!

There are many more out there and you can look at the comprehensive list at GameSnipe.com , who I would like to thank for a bulk of this information. So look in your attic and rummage through your uncles basement, there might be gold in them thar hills!

If anyone knows of another rare game, or actually owns one, let us know.

Thanks for reading, it’s good to be back.

Play safe,

Ink

 

 

Gentle Reminders and An Aion Based Poem From A Friend.

Posted by Inktomi Monday July 6 2009 at 9:42PM
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To my readers,

    I think I forgot why I started to write in the first place, and I apologize. Even though I am not happy with the site sometimes, I owe to my readers and the community to finish what I started. One of my readers sent me this Aion poem she wrote to remind me what I enjoy about writing and playing games, it's connecting with creative side and sharing it with the world. I hope you can forgive me for my momentary lapse of appreciation. This doesn't change my life situation but I will remain true to my roots, and that is  you, the mmorpg community.

Thanks for reading and play safe, Ink

 The darkness enfolds me and I embrace
the electric charge upon my face
Will I fail or shall I pass
No one knows how long I will last
I fly into the air with wings aglow
My fellows besides me ready for the show
The air becomes thick and the shadows invite
Not one will survive, not on this night
My staff at my side, ready to heal
I'm ready to charge, no more time to feel
Swords are drawn, the time has come at last
No time to remember, forget the past
The time is now, we cannot wait
Will I suffer, what is my fate
A blur hits me and I fall to the ground
The blood flows freely and no one is around
My death approaches, I feel the pull
It grips me hard, I no longer feel full
My eyes close slowly, I hear no more
As my body lays upon the shore
I rise again, my soul has become whole
What does fate hold, I'll never know.

Eve Online Players Ripped Off Yet Again (Official Post)

Posted by Inktomi Sunday July 5 2009 at 11:58PM
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 This time by Ebank for 200 billion isk, it is so sad that greed prevails. This time the culprit is Ricdic, of the prominent Ebank Financial Institution who embezzled over 200 billion of Eve Online currency to trade in for (get this) $6,300 AUS or $5,100 USD. This was done as he told Reuters to pay of medical bills and put a DP on a house.

Isn't that what a job is for?

Maybe if the father of two would get offline and get a second job he wouldn't have to rip off players funds. However, if these funds were ill-gotten gains, then maybe turnabout is fair play. I believe in karma. And he would possibly get to keep his EVE account, since he was banned because transferring isk to cash breaks the Terms of Service agreement. GOOD! Finally some justice is done here.

Original Reuters Article: HERE

And to Ricdic…

'Nuff said.

Play safe,

Ink

Old Friends, A New Agenda and Tough Decisions.

Posted by Inktomi Thursday July 2 2009 at 3:01PM
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Hey everyone!

   Just stopping in to unload some thoughts and feelings on the latest state of events in my life. I'm not going to lean too much into the personal but it is related.

I just recieved confirmation today that my sister and her husband are moving to upstate New York by summers end. This means that they take my nephew with them and it will be at least a 2 1/2 hour car ride to see him/them. I'm not too enthused about this but when I voiced my concerne and my feelings I was quickly told to mind my business. Understood. It's not my life. So I just keep it moving forward, deal with lifes changes and make the necessary amends.

That goes the same with everything, Game-life included.

Now this week has been busy for me, I've been working and trying to manage multiple things and not doing a very good job at anything. When I'm burning the candle at both ends it's hard to stay focused in one area. And as information reaches me I make decisions based on that, example: I've resolved that I will be taking weekend trips upstate at least once a month. Done, decision made. I don't QQ on the problem, I focus on the solution.

Now a few other loose ends needed to be tied up.

1) Some old gaming partner-in-crimes have finally cornered me into making a game commitment to Lord of the Rings Online. With the game software itself on sale for 9.95 and my monthly fee a whopping 9.99 as well it appealed to my economic nature and I pulled the trigger. I gave my old Open-beta account a jumpstart and still had a character there. If anyone is interested you can look me up on Gladden under "Scorpius". Don't ask what I was thinking at the time, it's a name you can get at the open beta of a new game.

Nevertheless, LOTRO is one of the most polished MMO's I have ever played. The lore is completely immersive (if you are a tolkein fan) and if not it's still a great background to play in. There are so many aspects of the game I haven't even scratched the surface, But I'mm looking down the barrel of some commited time to level to endgame. And I want to endgame in lotro, my friends tell me it's that good. I will be in lotro in my spare, spare time. If I can get any.

Which leads me to my next order of business...

2) Official: I am scratching Champions Online off my list and replacing it with Global Agenda. Done.

Why? First off, I am not too thrilled with not getting into the beta that I signed up months ago for when the game was in it's infancy stage. Compounded by the lingering doubt of WTF IS A CRYPTIC BUCK! I can't fit a game into my PCSG (poor college student gamer) budget that requires a retail box, monthly fee AND a cash shop! Plus, Aion is quite a game and there marketing campaign is whooping Champions Online 10 to 1. Their closed beta is more like an open when all you have to do is drop 5 dollars at gamestop. AIon will be my "A" game at end of september replacing LOTRO (maybe, we make plans and God laughs!)  I am recalling my CO reserve today, when it said on the gamestop reserve board "garunteed entrance to the open beta" I laughed. Or I might keep it on there and dump it after open beta to get some free play out of them. I am a sucker for a good deal.

But I am hardnosed when it comes to a mistake, and the cryptic buck leak was a mistake on gstops part and I am glad they did it. I do not trust Bill Ropers Business sense, and hence being hypercritical of his past, I made the call now instead of wasting money. If Cryptic was less cryptic, they would of had a loyal customer. But it is looking like micro-transactional business model is becoming a more attractive option for mmo publishers.

I have also been very impressed by the design of Global Agenda and I am feeling better about making my "B" game a shooter. It reminds me of Hellgate without demons and very polished, I signed up with some folks and we wait and see how it goes. My worst case is some wasted time, and that's what I think I'm doing here.

3) As I said,I am a loyal customer, when I find something I stick with it, get passionate about it and give it all I've got. Like MMORPG.com for example, after I finally decided that I like to write and got involved with the site It has opened alot of mental doors for me. I have met some great people in the mmoprg community and the mmo blogosphere. As far as MMORPG, hmmm. Not too thrilled.

This is what it looks like from my house. I made a major boo-boo by cutting and pasting a community managers resolution of a warning on my blog. I know, I was really stupid, I was scolded thoroughly by a few folks at MMORPG and made the necessary apologies, and I meant it. However, I then continued to watch every single other blogger get put into the "our latest features" section. I am not a big baby, but I have been doing this for about 2 months and have had 1 feature listed. After I went above and beyong to get interviews done, and spend way too much tiime researching, proofreading and taking time away from my primary focus. PLAYING GAMES. After I noticed the pattern, saw some changes being made I decided that my energies are best used elsewhere. Like REAL LIFE, work, local and personal relationship and most important to me is my education right now. In september I start a full load with a full time job. Yep, my time is at a premium.

 I am going to keep mMO MONEY open, but will be inactive and mostly used as a "hey, I wrote something OVER HERE ------->" Blog that other bloggers do.

 

I would like to thank...

trista and mike, for your support and letting me know when I'm waffling.

Ivan, kind words and good advice, a very talented writer

beau turkey, for being honest, and motivating me, hopefully I can make MMO MONEY into a podcast one day. I would like to have you as a co-host if ever get the time. Also, for saving me from darkfall and putting me on to some great games.

Jon Wood, for the chance to write for the site and good direction early on, I might of made some mistakes but you are truly good at what you do and a perfect gentlemen. Keep it up.

Mystik, darn roleplayers, haha ttys, If anyone belongs in the top five when I get booted its you. They need a voice of the roleplay community...badly. RP'ers are unsung heros and the original "players" IMO.

unsub, for welcoming me into the mini-blogosphere, vicariously.

AGENT SMITH, for being so contraversial. Keep pounding the table.

cmag, dont know you very well but you have a good outlook on things.

To the MMORPG.com editorial writers and most importantly YOU, The MMORPG.com community. Thanks for putting up with me and keeping me honest along the way, hopefull we can all do this again.

I am going to keep the mMO' MONEY! brand and work on it in the future. I feel that the gamer society needs someone to foucs on "the bottom line". And hopefull I can step up down the road and fill those shoes, but for now it's shelfed.  I need to stay focused on a few key things, I have maybe this last summer to enjoy as much time with my Godson. And that's what I am going to do with my spare time. I wish I could do it all, but I don't want to do something half-A$$ed and that's what I feel I will be doing.

I have to budget my time as well as my money.

Happy 4th and See you all in the fall! Until then...

Play safe,

Frank AKA Inktomi

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