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The Mac Side of Massive

Whoever has chosen to embrace the Mac as his desktop platform of choice but uses to rely on other platforms for his gaming needs, may feel the lack of some native massive online gaming titles sooner or later. This is my decayed observation post.

Author: macpete

Shadowbane - Chronicle of Strife: this could be a great time to start playing

Posted by macpete Thursday January 31 2008 at 2:31PM
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(English is not my native Language so, please, be patient and point out any gross mistake in your comments ... thank you).

 

Stray Bullet Games (the company formed last year from the ashes of Wolfpack Studios), the current maintainer of the five years-old strategic MMO Shadowbane, has decided to hit the reset switch a few days ago ... yes, they will completely reset all their 5 live servers.  Patch 22 - the update responsible for the "Shadowbane Reboot" - has already been applied to the Test Server and, well, players seem pretty happy with this decision.

"It would be best for the longetivity of the game" - said the developers recently -  because "there are certain items in game that make it unbalanceable".

These may be good news for the community of the game, in my opinion, because all the players will soon have the opportunity to start from scratch in a virgin, persistent universe and - for a game this old and rusty - this could have a beneficial effect.

Why should this interest us MacHeads?

Well, the client for Shadowbane is completely free and runs on the Mac. To be honest, it's a bit buggy and PPC-only but runs pretty well on all Macs that use Intel processors. Oh, and there is no monthly fee (from March 17th, 2006 to be precise).

In case some of you are thinking to give Shadowbane another try, here's some valuable advice:

  • do not use the old retail DVDs ... download the Mac client from here, instead
  • start using this "safe" arcanepref.cfg configuration file and check if the game performs well (you will have to put this in the Shadowbane/Config folder)
  • do not play in windowed mode and do not change the resolution and the aspect/ratio of the game until you feel acquainted with the array of settings options of Shadowbane ...
  • if you  can't stand the default UI (I can't), try the wonderful Vengeance UI (it comes in three flavours, red, blue and grey)
  • if you are new to the game, the Morloch Wiki is a nice place to start ...
  • and finally, there's a short Getting Started guide in PDF format on the official website.

 

If you have any other question ... guess what? Post a message in the official BBS. There's also a nice Mac thread in the Techical Support section.

 

 

 

EverQuest pre-PoP in the "SOE's Forgotten Lands" (*)

Posted by macpete Tuesday January 22 2008 at 11:06AM
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(English is not my native Language so, please, be patient and point out any gross mistake in your comments ... thank you)

 
It seems that among the PC EQ community there are lots of veteran players that ask for some classic gameplay ... they all miss the pre-Planes of Power era. 


Odd, everytime I attend one of the many sections of  this BBS that are dedicated to the most ancient MMOs, I end up by reading all these melancholy threads where vets talk about the old times ... it has happened to all classic MMOs, hasn't it? From UO to SWG.

As the years pass by, old players end up realizing that when the mechanics of a MMO have worked well for years, changing them too deeply (and too often) sometimes doesn't pay.

I’m not a veteran MMO player by any means (I’m trying to face EverQuest Mac Edition these days but I’m so noob and so accustomed to the current MMO mechanics that even the Sense Heading skill is a challenge for me) but I feel nonetheless attracted by EQ’s old-school gameplay. Maybe it’s because I love online games where the community are small, placid and supportive.

A web writer (Mark Crump) recently has described Al'kabor - the one and only official EverQuest Mac server – as “SOE's Land That Time Forgot”. Here are the facts: there are roughly 200 real players (someone on the EQMac community says there should be about  800-1000 active accounts), the last patch was released three years ago in January 2005, the Mac client has expansions up to Planes of Power, there are no devs (only a server GM and some CSRs).

After reading through some posts in the EQMac BBS, I’ve discovered that A LOT of ex-PCEQ players has joined Al’kabor over the past years … and they all seem to be rather happy with this server.


So, I don't care if you love or hate the Mac platform (I've never been a Mac-evangelist) ... but if own a Mac that has less than 4-5 years (and has at least 512 Mb of RAM) and are desperately seeking for  a pre-PoP esperience, you should really try EverQuest Mac Edition:

 

SOE's free 15 day trial

Station.com EverQuest Mac Ed. forum (a rather desolate place)

Welcome to EQMac and Al`Kabor! (information for new players)

It's $14.95/month and is part of the Station All Access Pass.

The community is incredibly warm so for every other detail ... just post in their Everquest General Discussion forum and say hello.

 

The Mac client, unfortunately, is PPC only so you will need Rosetta (the Mac OS X program that enables applications compiled for the PowerPC family of processors to run on Macs that use Intel processors) to run it on a current Intel Mac but it runs pretty well on every setup. You can play the game at maxed settings on a G5 or Intel-based Mac and ( if your GPU has enough VRAM and can rely on the necessary throughput) even force FSAA and anisotropic filtering through the Ati Displays preference panel's override settings ...



EverQuest Mac Ed. on an old G5/9600

EverQuest Mac Ed. on a current Intel iMac/x1600

Watch for some Al'kabor stories and screenshots



[EDITED] Back in 2005, all EQ servers were upgraded to newer blade servers. There's a picture of one of the Al'Kabor blades used as a coffee holder somewhere on the EQMac BBS ... it's only a joke.

 

Good luck.

 

Pietro

 

(*) A definition of EverQuest Mac Edition coined by Mark Crump. I know he doesn't write for mmorpg.com but he has actually done a pretty good job of covering EQMac on Massively weblog

How many Mac MMOs are there?

Posted by macpete Friday January 18 2008 at 4:35AM
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First of all, English is not my native Language so, please, be patient and point out any gross mistake in your comments ... thank you :)

Ok, let's start.

I'm not going to keep this blog up-to-date with every single novelty that happens in the Mac scene ... I'm too lazy for this and my goal - to be honest - is to simply keep al my Mac-related posts in one central place.

Fortunately (for my indolence), there aren't many games of this kind out there so most of my comments will probably regard a pretty short list of MMOs ... here are the main projects that I'm going to look through:

 

- A Tale in the Desert (nth Tale)
- Darkwind - War on Wheels

- Dofus
- Eternal Lands
- EVE Online
- Everquest Mac Edition
- GraalOnline
- Minions of Mirth
- Myst Online: URU Live
- Lineage - Episode V: Temple of Shadows
- Oberin
- Planeshift
- Pirates of the Caribbean Online
- Second Life
- Shadowbane
- Vendetta Online
- World of Warcraft
- Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates


and a few other alpha, indie and shareware titles, both new and old (from Furcadia to First Star Online, from Adellion to Afterworld and Dawn of Daria). There are also a few Java-based MMOs that I would like to report here (Wurm Online and
Arindal comes to mind).

Stay tuned (but do not hold your breath).

 

Pietro

 

 


 

 

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