An even 25

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It’s like a bakers two dozen!

But really, I’m not too sure how I feel about this. No, scratch that, I am sure. I’m not too keen on it. For a number if reasons.

First it breaks the entire mold of the class structure currently in place. Four archetypes, six of each, four of which are split between factions. This last will undoubtedly be another neutral career like the Warriors, Bards, Sorcerers, and Druids. But what role will it fill. I have little doubt it won’t be stupid OP as well ay whatever role it ends up filling.

I’m sure it will be a station cash purchased career as well. Which brings problems of its own. You have to ensure that the people who purchase it feel like they got their money’s worth, so the tight rope walk begins. Expensive enough to make it profitable, cheap enough to make it sellable, but not so expensive as to REQUIRE it be the avatar of a deity on a power scale.

The other thing if interest is the shift from expansion pack paid content, to smaller free content. So, it may be going the way of Eve Online – except sure to try gauge you for everything in RMT instead. I don’t know if that is an acceptable tradeoff. In fact, I KNOW its not. And don’t get me started on the upcoming cross-server dungeon group finder that is all the rage in today’s themepark.

There are a lot of other things coming out of E3 in regards to EQ2 as well, like the games ability to be viewed in 3D, and a progressive advancement to flying mounts. Some cool things, but not enough to alleviate concerns on the other above mentioned things.

Crossing the line

My wife pounded three Pabst and said I had to use this one.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have already read snippets about what I’m going to say here. If not, a quick refresher: last Thursday I had my wisdom teeth taken out, and was given pain meds for afterwards. Because of this, I had Friday off from work, and have been more-or-less excused/denied from doing anything of real import around the house. Apparently, we don’t need a person hopped up on narcotics driving a vehicle, operating sharp yard tools, or given babies a bath. This meant that I basically had a weekend free to do whatever gaming I wanted. Happily, SOE released their much-enjoyed welcome-back campaign at roughly the same time, in response to the hack-hear-around-the-world.

I played Everquest 2 extensively in my past. It was probably the first MMO I put a huge chunk (over a year) of continuous time into. The welcome back campaign was a great way to entice me back to the game to see how things are going. I didn’t play my level 80 Shadowknight like I expected I would. For some reason, I jumped onto my (adventure/artisan) level 39/35 with low 30 AA’s, and started playing him. I played the crap out of him. All my vitality has been burned for a while, and I’m seeing the game in a whole new way – literally.

When I gave the game a good try, I didn’t have my current video card, and I don’t think I ever tuned my graphics to take advantage of the rig I had, so the world looked a bit like it did to me back in 2006. Now, the game is gorgeous, the textures and lighting that are still in this game continue to impress me, and I actually noticed backdrops and the far-off world around me. Lavastorm in particular has been amazing, in part because it received a bit of an overhaul to accommodate new expansions. Beyond the world itself though, is the character models. I was seeing amazing looking gear and items on players, stuff that made me instantly say to myself, “That’s freakin’ cool!”. There’s a “wow” factor that wasn’t quite there before.

And that’s where it hit me. I saw some gear on Kerra, and when I inspected him, it was all in his appearance slot, and the stats were junk. So in short order of hunting around, I found armor sets for sale on the market place. Oh, the dreaded market place of RMT – the cesspool of MMOs that I disagree with on a fundamental moral foundation. But damn that armor looked awesome…

So I crossed the line. I dropped $5 on a game, that I’m not even officially subscribed to, and bought a whole outfit for my Bard. I’m playing virtual dress-up in my MMOs now. But damnit, I don’t think I care.

Evidence of my betrayal after the jump.

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Facing the Future

A recent DevBlog from CCP talked about upcoming changes to the cosmetics of Eve Online. And I mean that in the fullness of the word. I’m talkin’ make-up here. As in eye-shadow and blush. However, there are also cool MANLY things like piercings, and scars, and FACE TATTOOS. Nothing says hard-core like a face tattoo. Not just some namby-pamby tear drop in the corner of your eye. No, what we have here are full-on,  Minmattar, war-paint, scare-the-fuck-out-of-the-other-guy, style of tattoos.

The service will work like any other station service, and will take you to the character creator interface straight away. You can change all sorts of other things beyond tattoos and makeup. Clothes, hair, backgrounds, poses, lighting, and all the other superficial aspects of your appearance. No gender, racial, or physical structure changes though. Only in the universe of EVE you can clone yourself to your heart’s content, but plastic surgery is forbidden! (whether that’s a technical hurdle or a design choice, I don’t know – but I guess the latter).

One of the best parts about all of this is CCP’s usual trend of not doing what other’s in the genre believe to be the “way”. This service will be totally and utterly free. Not one isk will be put towards your new look. In other games, cosmetics will frequently cost you, at-best, in-game currency. At worst, a service like this would require participation in a game-sponsored RMT to get a “token” to change your race or visit a barber – monetizing fluff. CCP seems to have taken a look at that “inevitable future” of MMOs and said, “Fuck that, let’s do it a different way.”.

The more time I spend playing this product, and partaking of this service, the more and more impressed I become by it. I think it was Gordon who once said (paraphrased) that, after having experience their patch cycles, it’s kind of hard not to come back to see what’s new. This based on the sheer simplicity and smoothness of updates (LINK – you can thank my OCD for not wanting to leave that statement unverified).

What do you think of CCP’s choice to offer this stuff, and heck, all their expansions, for free? Are they missing a great opportunity to increase revenue or using the subscription model for what it was meant for?