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E3 2005 - Wednesday Morning

Previews By Reed Hubbard on May 18, 2005

Two Richards (Duffek and Garriott) at the Tabula Rasa booth (Smile, Kunou!)
A real life villain, Blue Lightning Head, shows up to see City of Villains
I lost my heart to the girl from EQ2
Wednesday Morning, 9:30a Pacific
Buried beneath the flashy veneer of scantily clad models, overbearingly loud multimedia displays, and teeming hordes of swag-gatherers, there is an actual industry show going on here. This is E3 – the Entertainment and Electronics Expo – and it is the showcase for the ever-expanding video game industry.

Spread across several exhibit halls within the Los Angeles Convention Center, just navigating the E3 floor can be a hazard. Hundreds of exhibitors are vying for the attention of all, and with the Xbox 360, the PSP, and other high profile products, the competition is fierce. However, MMOs are here in full force and a number of them are making their presence known in a clash of sound and fury strong enough to rival any comer.

Riding the success of Guild Wars, NCSoft is here in earnest, showcasing several other well-anticipated titles, including City of Villains, Auto Assault, and Tabula Rasa (presented by a highly accessible Richard Garriott). Nevrax, the developer of The Saga of Ryzom, is here as well, touting its new set of user development tools known as Ryzom Ring.

Speaking of scantily clad women, Planetwide Games’ booth is (wo)manned by a number of femme fatales for whom you way truly wish to Risk Your Life. The Age of Conan booth also includes a barbarian beauty that drapes herself on lucky attendees who sit, sword in hand, in the big man’s chair. Other developers such as Turbine (Asheron’s Call 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online) and NPCube (Dark and Light) are opting for more practical settings, where company representatives assist visitors who play hands-on demos of their products.

All-in-all it’s heaven for a gaming geek (like me). The team on the floor is working hard to cover all the MMORPGs who are represented here (and maybe even a few that aren’t). We’ve already encountered a few surprises in our short time. Stay tuned through the week for regular updates.

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