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Carolyn: It Begins & Wizards of the Coast

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Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Blog: It Begins & Wizards of the Coast

Blog Entry #1 by Carolyn Koh

We started the day off in downtown Bellevue, WA with breakfast with the Turbine crew, meeting with community representatives Meghan “Patience” Rodberg, Victor “Sporkfire” Watcher and Ariel “Samera” Jaffee-Marks who would also speak at a panel that night. The actual business meetings to learn more about the progress of LoTRO and the new PVP module in DDO would take place over the next two days and we had a chance to have a pleasant visit and talk about MMORPGs in general.

Then we progressed to a meeting with Sigil Games to learn what we could about the progress of Vanguard. Nick Parkinson met us for lunch and the result of that grilling will be up on the site soon.

The Exhibit Hall was not open on Day One of PAX but we headed to the Meydenbauer Center anyway to register, pick up our lanyards and check the place out.

PAX is a show for gamers. Make no mistake. Console gamers, Table Top RPG’ers, Online gamers…. CCG gamers. The line snaked around the building. There were folks in Pirate costume, Cosplay anime/manga costumes, clans in clan tee-shirts. The center was jam-packed, wall to wall with gamers. The bean-bags were already taken – the same bean-bag reviewed by Dana – by gamers of all shapes, sizes and colors.

Opening day was finished off by a party sponsored by Flying Labs where they demo’ed their Pirates of the Burning Sea game with free, food, free drinks, Devs running little contests and giving out tee-shirts for the gamers stuck in line – the restaurant could only hold so many bodies.

The show had begun… Game On!

Remember the first popular trading card game that took the world by storm? Magic: The Gathering has grown up into the online genre and will be releasing the 3rd incarnation of the client in the first half of 2007.

From the simple, pretty much pixilated graphical interface of version 1 to the more complex, less pixilated version 2, version 3 promises a more dynamic user interface, with a larger card playing table, scaleable card views and 3-D look at player avatars.

Building on that success, Wizards has begun development of The Goblin Game. Described as a cross between Civilization 3 and play-by-mail, it is a turn-based game. Players can create a private game with their friends or join a public game. Similar to a Fantasy Football league, players will pay by game and join a faction. The game ends when one faction manages to press the shiny red button and destroys the world (only they survive).

Players will level up their goblins through “Civilization” type activities such as building farms and mines, as well as sending appropriate goblins to perform quests. You don’t, for example, send your chain-mail clad warrior to discover the “Taste of Lightning.” Resources can be shared and contact with your fellow players will be through forums and an in-game email system.

The interface is mainly text based and the plan is to be able to log-in and provide your goblins their instructions each day – in as little time as a coffee break at work.

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Carolyn Koh

Carolyn Koh / Carolyn Koh has been writing for MMORPG.com since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.