Tag Archives: Aion

Housing in MMOs: Aion

This is part 2 of the “Housing in MMOs” series. Part 1 was looking at Lord of the Rings Online. Today’s MMO is Aion.

This blog post was largely written by thevalliant and edited by me in some parts. While I did play around with my free studio in Aion, I really don’t know that much more about housing in the game, so I asked somebody who does.

When reading this article, please keep in mind that we both play on the European servers which are handled by Gameforge while the US servers are still handled by NCsoft. There may be differences in details like item shops, etc. between those two versions.

Aion housing neighborhoodThere are 5 types of residences in Aion: studios, houses, mansions, estates and palaces, in order of grandeur. These can be found in three areas for each race (Elyos and Asmodians): two ‘contested’ areas (where PvP may occur) and one ‘neutral’ area, that is the main ‘residential area’ for each race, Oriel (Elyos) and Pernon (Asmodians). Note that the residences located in the ‘contested’ areas are surrounded by an aetheric veil which does not permit players of the foreign faction to enter, hence no PvP is possible behind it. Mobs can enter if aggroed and can also be killed right at your doorstep. :)

Quick FAQ

Is there a minimum level required to get a house?
Each character gets their own studio once they hit level 21.

Is there a fee/a recurring fee to keep the house?
Your first ‘house’ (a studio) is given to you as a reward for a series of minor quests, so you pay nothing for it. It is also free of any maintenance fees, plus you can get a 4kk refund should you decide to sell it (in order to buy a bigger house). All the other types of ‘houses’, i.e. palaces, estates, mansions and houses, are only available via auction and they come bundled (or burdened) with weekly maintenance fees. These go up pretty steeply depending on the type of residence: house – 400k/w, mansion – 2,24kk/w, estate – 6,7kk/w and palace – 20kk/w! If you fail to pay your weekly dues, you get two warnings (once per weekly expire) after which your house is flagged as available in the Auction Market. You are refunded with 90% of its buying value, but I do not know what happens to all the items you had installed inside it. :(

Which choices do I have when it comes to my house?
Differences between them are many and varied. Obviously and primarily they differ in appearance: a studio is like an apartment in a block of residences, quite indistinguishable from one another, while a mansion or an estate really stand out and come with a (small) selection of looks for you to pick from. Secondly, they differ on the number of objects you can install on them. More on that in the section “Is there an item limit?”. Another big difference is the buff your character receives depending on the type of ‘house’ he owns (more on that in the paragraph about advantages you get when owning a house).

When it comes to appearances, there are nice – thus expensive! – neighborhoods and others that are, let’s say, less popular ones. Popularity, hence starting bid at auctions, depends on the area’s surroundings (town or swamp, for example) and also how easily accessible the house is (if there’s a teleporter nearby for example or if you have to walk to it through hostile/contested grounds).

Is there an item limit? What about item placing?
I already mentioned about interior and exterior items’ limits being different for each type. Studios allow for 20 interior and 0 exterior items, ranging up to 70 interior and 20 exterior items for a palace! An additional note: Free players who did not have the game before it went f2p only get “1/3 functional items” in the studio.

Let’s take the example of a house, as the most popular and also cheaper alternative to the poor studio. You may install 7 exterior items, 30 interior ones and 4 ‘blooms’ (more on these later). All items may be freely placed in their respective ‘domain’ (inside or outside) and there are no restrictions (i.e. hooks) except those one may expect. For example, you may not place a picture frame on the floor or a carpet on top of a table! Rotation is available along the Z-axis only, i.e. counter-/clockwise. You cannot tip an item. There’s a House Butler, a warm and cute little shugo who doesn’t ask for a salary and who may be ‘programmed’ to welcome friends or shoo away visitors! Adorning your house isn’t really expensive, especially if you craft the furniture yourself. Plus the 400k weekly maintenance fee is not worth mentioning as a common (white quality) drop, typically once every hour of playing/killing/farming, can be sold to the general merchant for anywhere between 300k and 650k!

Additionally, Aion allows you to write scripts that do certain things. E.g. making a couch bounce, making furniture glow or other fun stuff. Here is a guide that explains how to write scripts.

Can you expand the house?
You cannot expand the house, either in area or in storeys (floors) it occupies. You need to sell your house and buy a bigger one. What you can do is add more storage space by installing ‘containers’ (cabinets).

Are there any advantages when you own a house?
You get a skill that teleports you to your house; it practically opens up a portal to your residence which remains open for 5 minutes, allowing you to return to where you were before. Your ‘Energy of Repose’ (this is a counter of how long you’ve been offline. The higher it is, the bigger the XP boost will be when you get back online) regenerates 5% faster if you own a studio, 10% for a house or a mansion, with the mansion additionally removing all death penalties, etc. Additionally, if your friends – or any guest actually – visiting your house decide to water and fertilize your plants you may get valuable items, like crafting materials or even Godstones! Finally, you can hire special NPCs which provide specialized services to you (or your guests; all customizable through rights and permissions) like selling items, etc.

What’s the maximum amount of houses per characters / per account?
Each character can have one house only. Characters on the same account don’t share either their houses or any items therein.

Are there guild houses?
Guild houses? What guild houses? :(

Are there any limitations unless you pay real money?
Big topic this… If you already had an Aion account before the game switched to f2p, your account is considered a veteran one. If you start to play the game now, you can only have a free account with lots of restrictions or pay a monthly fee to get rid of them. See this overview for more information.

There are a lot of items one can use to place in their home and these come from all sorts of sources: quest rewards, ‘chest’ loot (yellow bags), crafting (they introduced a brand new discipline, Construction), trade broker (the auction house), events, etc. A “starter”, i.e. a player who’s not a Veteran and has not purchased a “Gold Pack” (which removes all restrictions for one month) cannot sell stuff at the broker or mail stuff to other players, or trade with them – so I would say that’s a significant restriction. They can buy a ‘Gold Pack’ either with real money (at the NCsoft shop) or from the broker. By the way, it seems that the US version, which is offered by NCsoft, does not give any restrictions to f2p players. So you may consider going checking out their business model and decide which one you prefer. European – and US – players are free to play with either version.

Additional information
One thing worth noting is that once you register an acquired item with your home (you enter ‘Decoration Mode’ and press the ‘+’ button) you can either have it sitting there or place it in your home. Should you place it there though, there is no way to take it back. Say you wanted to stash it away to some imaginary warehouse, to be used later or in another house, etc. You may only destroy it!

As mentioned above, there are three zones in the game where you can find houses. Oriel and Pernon each consist of several villages. Walking between those would take quite some time. Each Village has its own little square, typically at the middle of their name tag on the map. Among the NPCs found in each such square, there is one called ‘Village Teleporter’. There’s a fee for teleporting, but at least you can travel much faster that way.

Each race on a server has access to 242 houses, 157 mansions, 127 estates and 4 palaces. That means there for each race, there is a total of 530 ‘houses’, excluding studios. This means that once those 4 palaces are owned by players, there is no way for you to get one. Studios are unlimited, so you can always get one of those, at least.

Taking the mic – or pen rather – back from thevalliant, I want to add a few thoughts on housing in Aion. When I first saw the Aion vision trailer, which showed that they wanted to add housing down the road (and obviously did at some point), I was so excited that I went and got the game. Up till then, I had only watched bookahnerk play, but then and there, I wanted to play as well! By now, I have almost completely abandoned Aion and even after looking at the housing, it’s just not enough to draw me back in. It’s pretty, I’ll give you that. It has more freedom than housing in Lord of the Rings Online. But it’s still not enough for me. Unless you buy a palace – and as mentioned above, there is a very limited amount of those per server – you only get one rather small room and a bit of space outside. A house or a mansion – imagine a mansion… look at the pictures below, look at the size of those buildings! And then you get one measly room. No, thank you. And when coupled with Gameforge’s version of “free to play” (even though I do have a veteran account), I’m even less inclined to play this game.

Juggling through my MMOs

Sometimes I really wish there was just one MMO. The perfect one for me. But you rarely, if ever, find something perfect for you unless it was specifically created just for you and nobody else. All of the MMOs I’m currently playing offer me something that the others can’t give me.

gw2 winter jumping puzzleAt the moment, I am mainly playing Guild Wars 2, thanks to the Wintersday update and my new-found old love, the mesmer (who insists I earn enough gold to craft her an ascended sword). I love getting the giant wintersday presents and have already gotten Ho-Ho-Tron. I squealed, then looked at the price on the trading post, but decided to keep him besides the fact that selling him would about double the amount of gold I have. As a sidenote, I also got a mini (Scarlet… brrr) out of the black lion chest after I got a key for map completion of Iron Marches with my warrior! This seems to be my lucky month. ;)

My favourite mini game is the Choir Bell activity at the moment. True, it doesn’t sound good. You just can’t really get in-synch with the other players. But it’s still fun to do. Toypocalypse, on the other hand, is rather fast and easy to do when you just place snowmen and catapults everywhere and it gives you a nice amount of wintersday gifts. Don’t bother running back to the centre, just drop the catapults and snowmen where you find the materials. Although we still did run back to the centre once in a while to make sure it has enough firepower.

aion meffanda engineerThe game that got the second most time recently was Aion. Yes, Aion! A fellow guildie in Guild Wars 2 made me reinstall the game and check it out, mainly for the housing. Once I read about the beginner servers, my decision was made: I want to see the world. At least up until level 55. ;) Aion has a PvP zone where the two factions and a third faction made up of NPCs fight against each other.

The game also lets players from one faction invade the other faction’s regions once in a while and this is the part that I don’t like at all. I am all for PvP, but not when it’s mixed with PvE and questing in PvE regions, like World of Warcraft’s PvP servers. *shudder* This usually turns out to be high level players killing low-level players who have no way of defending themselves. I know there are people out there who like that kind of game and that’s fine. It’s just not for me. The beginner server in Aion (which you can switch to every time you want from your normal server) gets rid of all PvP. No PvP in PvE regions, no PvP in the PvP region. The latter would probably be a bit boring, but that’s where the switching to and from the beginner server comes in handy.

I had left the game before they added the two new classes (engineer and artist). I got myself a little engineer and levelled her to 10, so she got her wings, and then I also got her a pet. No MMO character should be without one (the non-combat version). What I haven’t seen so far is… the housing. :p

Rift YulefestThen comes Rift. There always is Rift. The game I fell in love with without being able to say why exactly. They also started their winter/yulefest activities in-game. I got lucky and got two non-combat pets out of the reward boxes that I got for doing the yulefest dailies. Kind of lucky, I assume. :) I didn’t do anything else, other than trying to empty my inventory by selling all sorts of stuff on the auction house. It’s funny how in Guild Wars 2, most of the stuff I find when playing gets sold to the vendor or salvaged for the crafting materials and the luck essences and in Rift, most of the stuff I find gets kept in my inventory until I finally make a stop in Sanctum again to sell it on the auction house, because it would be a waste to sell it to a vendor. I make a nice profit in Rift, but I would like a balance between those games. I love selling stuff on the auction house, but it gets annoying if the items crowd your inventory too fast. On the other hand, finding items and knowing they’re not worth anything is boring, too.

lotro linja guardianLast but not least: Lotro – “How did that get in here?” you may be wondering. Well, they were selling level 50s for 4995 TPs (which is about 38€). I shocked the aforementioned Aion-playing guildie when I told him I caved in and bought a level 50. But I have a lifetime account and get 500 free TPs every month. I’m not playing much anymore, so even after getting the expansion with my saved TPs, I still had lots of them left. There are several reasons I’m not playing the game anymore. One of them is that I do not like my main class, the warden, anymore. The other high level character is a runekeeper and I’d switched away from her to the warden, because I didn’t enjoy playing her. With the amount of time I have to devote to Lotro, it just didn’t make any sense to play a new character for months and months to finally see the new regions. Getting a new character to 50 speeds this up a lot! So I now have Linja, the hobbit guardian. I noticed too late that the name probably sounds like “ninja”. I pronounce it “Linya”. Silly German here. ;)

So that’s my gaming for the past weeks and it didn’t even include The Secret World which I would also love to play more. Next month then, for sure! ;)

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (February 23, 2012)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to gaming (will most likely include at least one piece about Guild Wars 2 ^^). We wouldn’t be “Nerdy Bookahs” if we started this Geekwatch with anything other than a loud cheer: You can sign up for Guild Wars 2’s beta now! The website will be up for a bit more than one day from now (came up yesterday evening and will be online for 48 hours). It does ask you to scan your system (with a programme called “Scannertron.exe”). And I assume that this news wasn’t really necessary as most of our regular readers already knew about that anyway. ;) Still, it’s worth repeating as this is something we have been waiting for! Be careful, though, as there are apparently scammers out there already. Only go to the official website (with the subdomain “beta”. So… “beta.” is in front of the guildwars2.com ^^), especially as the beta sign-up asks you to run an .exe file!

Something less fun: SOE and Pro7Sat1 have partnered to distribute most of SOE’s MMOs in Europe. I wrote about this in January. Now they have finally released a FAQ about the implications this will have for EU players (and also for their US friends who may not be able to play together anymore in the future). Being German, I know Pro7Sat1 at least from TV (they’re TV programmes but also offer browser games). I don’t think that fits to MMOs. All I know is that while yay, I can at least continue playing EQ2 on US servers even after the switch, no other EU friends can join me in the future because they’ll only be able to play on EU servers with Pro7Sat1 apparently. Region-locking, if you ask me, is very bad. Gaming communities are only separated by time differences and language barriers. But if neither of those are a problem for you personally, why add additional barriers? *sigh*

I’ve gotten most of the related news from Stephanie Morrow who managed to keep up a lot better than me since they released the FAQ. So, for one, here is her blog post about it. Then there’s this thread that either includes a typo or a hint at Vanguard becoming f2p under Pro7Sat1 (though I thought Vanguard isn’t part of the deal in which case it’s just a mistake). And last but not least, a posting about a player calling Pro7Sat1 to get more answers.

On to hopefully happier news. Aion EU will go free to play on February 28, 2012. NCSoft will not be the publisher anymore. Instead, Gameforge will take over. So far, not a word about any region locks and I hope it stays that way! ;) However, US players will get their share of “f2p” as well: Aion US will go truly free in spring.

I especially like the last paragraph with: “We understand that an active player population contributes to the fun factor for the entire player population, so we want everyone to experience the game as it was intended.” – I’ve seen it in all MMOs that have free clients as well as sub versions that those who decide to play a monthly fee give bad names (“free loaders” for example) to those who don’t pay as if they were better people or players. They just seem to forget that on the one hand, they also get to enjoy a more active playerbase and on the other hand, most of those f2p models come with an item shop which means that even without paying a monthly fee, you can very well spend more than twice the amount of a monthly fee in their shop every single month. Either way, I enjoy being able to play several MMOs without having to pay several monthly fees. It’s just not worth it for playing maybe one or two evenings a month. I do very much enjoy my additional character slots in STO, though. Or my prestige house and my ratonga in EQ2. ;)

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (“What to play until GW2 releases”-edition)

Before we start with today’s Geekwatch, there’s some news about ArenaNet’s community managers: We apparently now have community managers tweeting during EU time and Rubi Bayer has joined as new community manager (she was previously working for Massively). It’s great to see them “expanding” and hopefully this means that Guild Wars 2 is closer than we dare to hope at the moment! ;) The funny thing is that I haven’t really noticed not having CMs tweet or report during EU times because Seattle is conveniently located timezone-wise. Or they just waited for all their big announcement until us EU folks were up anyway. Because so far, announcements came at some point during our afternoon or evening. Still, now we get to hear from them during our morning hours as well, maybe? ;)

But let’s continue with the actual posting. Today’s Geekwatch is about “free” games. And with “free”, I mean games that used to cost a monthly fee and which don’t anymore… to a certain extent at least. More and more seem to be converting nowadays which is great if you just want to check out game or two or if you want to bridge the time until Guild Wars 2 comes out.

Let’s start with MMOs that went f2p some time ago. You can just go to their official website, download the client and start playing:

Lord of the Rings Online went f2p quite some time ago. I’d recommend this if you’re a Tolkien fan (or just liked the films ^^). You get the starting areas plus a few after that for free (I know Lone-Lands are free now but I’m not sure about others). All other areas won’t have quests for you unless you buy those quest packs. You can still grind your way up to max level, though. The game’s “real money shop” now also offers armour with stats which is one of several reasons why I’ve fallen out of love with the game recently. Still, it is a pretty game and I love looking at the game’s screenshots. They also have interesting classes with good and fun mechanics. And I love the cosmetic system which lets you dress your character in one way while the character wears ugly armor with good stats on it. ;) If you want to read more about the game, go to this entry where I’ve previously compared Rift, WoW and Lotro.

Everquest II is a game I’ve just recently discovered for myself. And I was probably one of the last people to do so. ;) It’s definitely an “old game”. It was released in 2004 and it’s showing its age. Then again, the amount of stuff you get for free is great. The downside is that you can’t play all races or all classes for free. That’s kind of sad and made me actually spend money so I could play my cute little rat. But the housing in the game makes up for it. So much freedom (compared to Lotro which is the only other MMO I’ve ever really played that had housing) when it comes to how you want to decorate your house. Also, all quests are free. You just don’t get the last expansions – but you need to buy those in Lotro as well. ;)

Star Trek Online joined the f2p group this week. You get less character slots than subscribers (as in Lotro and EQ2 as well). STO is outstanding when it comes to the character creation (compared to Lotro an EQ2). Also, they have space combat which the other two, obviously, don’t have. As I said above with Lotro and Tolkien: If you’re a Star Trek fan, it’s worth checking out! The restrictions you get compared to subscribers also aren’t bad at all.

Champions Online, DCUO and City of Heroes: I’ll just throw those in because they’re all superhero MMOs and it seems they’re such a niche, they all go f2p one day. ;) City of Heroes is the oldest one, DCUO the newest. I liked the character creation in Champions Online the most (one thing Cryptic – the developers behind STO and Champions Online – can do very well is character customization, apparently ^^).

Aion EU will go free to play soonish. There’s no definite date yet as far as I know but it was said to become free to play in February. Once that happens, the game will not be published by NCSoft anymore. They will hand over the game to Gameforge. Important to note is that this is only the European version of Aion. The US American one stays with NCSoft (at least, as far as we know) and will still require a monthly sub. Still, if you’re interested in the game, why not check out the EU version once you can do so? As it’s not switched over to f2p, we can’t say much about the real money shop yet.

Guild Wars – Oh come on, you know I had to throw this in here now, didn’t you? ;) This is NOT a real free-to-play game. You actually have to buy the game first. But once you own it, you can play without any monthly subs. And I’ve seen all three campaigns plus the addon for 30€. So that’s not too bad. If you want to start playing the game and you don’t want to buy the complete edition (with all three campaigns – and either with or without the addon, depends on the version), I’d recommend “Nightfall” as I found this tutorial the best to follow. If you’re just interested in the world 250 years before Guild Wars 2, then you want to check out “Prophecies” (and later the addon “Eye of the North”). Stay away from Factions at the beginning because it’s not newbie-friendly (I felt lost in there and that was after I’d started a character in Nightfall and knew the basics ^^). It’s also not a real MMO. I guess “cooperative RPG” might fit better. Still, if you haven’t played it yet and are waiting for Guild Wars 2, why not check out its past? :)

World of Warcraft (European version), Warhammer Online and Rift Lite are still subscription-based. But all three games offer “unlimited trials”. Which means that you can play a portion of the game for free and don’t have a time limit. WoW and Rift both give you 20 levels of gameplay. Once you’ve reached level 20 with your character, you can’t advance it any further unless you pay. In WAR, it’s the first 10 levels, I think.

11 games to choose from. Even if each of those only entertained you for a month, this could last until the very end of 2012. And we know that GW2 will be released this year… ;)

Edit: I was just reminded that there’s also Fallen Earth. Now I know that I can’t list every single game that exists but this list should’ve been one of games that I at least tried out (and liked ^^) and I even played Fallen Earth for a few weeks (which is… well… a bit more than just trying it out)! The crafting is what makes this game stand out as the best items are craftable. Also, it’s set in a kind of post-apocalyptic USA (or very tiny parts of it). There also weren’t any bad restrictions. I just found the combat itself a bit clunky. Still, it’s nice to have a non-standard settings for once.

Naming and customizing your characters

Star Trek Online Paera

I showed my STO character to my colleague (believe it or not, we actually do work in between chatting about games, I just don’t blog about our work here ^^) and told her how much time I spent on her… probably about an hour all in all (though that did include looking up which traits might be good for her class). My colleague usually doesn’t spend much time on thinking about how her characters look in games (she’s a console player, so we’re not talking about MMOs here) and which name she gives them. I, on the other hand, spend more time in the character creation screen than anywhere else when I try out a new game (and in a lot of cases, I’ve quit the game after playing it for 5 minutes but at least, I had fun creating a character first ;) ).

We wondered whether the difference comes from playing an offline-single player versus an online-multiplayer game. After all, my character is what others will see from me: The way it looks (here I have to think of all the female STO characters with huge boobs and the tiniest mini skirts they could find) and the name you give to the character (couple the look with the great-sounding name Bi’atch) is what people will have as their first impression of you. If you play offline and only for yourself, it doesn’t matter which name you give your character or what it looks like. Or, at least, it’s a matter of aesthetics and immersion but only to yourself! Nobody else will see the character or interact with them. You won’t have to “be somebody” to anybody else.

Having said that, I’ve had one silly name in an MMO so far (that I remember right now). That one was in World of Warcraft. A male tauren called “Kuhlio” (you pronounce it “Coolio”). “Kuh” is the German word for “cow”. I was giggling and very happy to find out that nobody on the server had thought about that name before. I never played this character, though, and before my account expired (again… again… again…), I deleted the character because it felt like a namesave that I don’t care about. So maybe somebody else has claimed it in the meantime. ;)

Star Trek Online Paera

Whenever I can, I call my main character “Paeroka”. I do feel odd doing so by now, though. I always find it silly to name characters after myself. However, it’s the other way around with Paeroka, in fact. I first had a character “Paeroka” in a story for National Novel Writing Month. A story I will one day finish writing. It stopped at 44.000 words (and me having a high fever and being too weak to lift a finger to continue typing, so I had to give up on the last day of November). I liked the name so much that I decided to call myself after this character (who’s very cool in combination with her instruction master, Ysra). In fact, almost all of my character names come from names I’ve first used in one of my stories (all unfinished and all written in German – so, thankfully, you won’t have to actually read any of them here ;) ). I’ve loved writing ever since I was a little kid and started school. So those character names have a special meaning for me and I wouldn’t ever dare giving my serious characters silly names. And I am annoyed whenever I see such silly names in games (well, names like “Kuhlio” are on the border of “too much”. But names like “Ikillyou” or “Darkshadowrouge” (sic! ^^) are plain annoying and stupid if you ask me) and wish there’d be stricter rules against having them. However, I do not care in the slightest if you’re using such names in your offline games. That’s got nothing to do with me, after all. ;)

All of this does make me wonder, however, how Guild Wars 2 will handle that. The latest information I got was that they haven’t decided anything yet. But they did once say that we can use the names we’ve had in Guild Wars again. So our current GW characters should, theoretically, serve as namesaves so far. And I’d really love to be able to have two names for your character right from the start. Now everybody can name their Sylvari “Woody” and just slap a different surname onto it.

The whole character creation is a different story again. As I said above, it does leave first impressions. Weaker ones than names, at least in my case. But just look at Aion and the amount of horrible characters. Tiny little children-like bodies with huge distorted heads. Ugh. And the difference between the smallest possible characters and the largest possible ones is atrocious. It just doesn’t look like those characters are from the same game world. You can see one example in the picture on the left. While I love the freedom that the character creation in Aion gives you, I dislike the absolute freedom with the different… let’s call them “design aesthetics”.

And to bring up Guild Wars 2 again, I loved when they said that they want to give you freedom but not do something like Aion. They have a certain visual aesthetic that they want to go with and they’ll force their players to uphold this aesthetic. I’m perfectly fine with that! Especially as they’ve now decided to let you choose your character’s eye colour independently from the way your character’s nose looks etc. Back at GamesCom 2011, you had premade faces that you could choose which I was rather disappointed with. I can live with premade faces (like nose, chin etc.) because I can hardly ever get them right proportionally. But I do want to choose the eye colour! My characters almost always have green eyes. So there. ;)

And last but not least, as this post started with Star Trek Online, I’m going to close it with that game: The character creation is fantastic! Not only can you spend hours creating your character, you can also save it for later use and you can change your visuals in game for no fee (well, in game currency but no “real money”). Of course, there’s again the question of immersion. Why does my character suddenly look totally different? But that’s okay in my case. They’re aliens from planets almost nobody’s heard of. So it’s natural for them to change the way they look. ;) I didn’t like the way Paera (up on the left) looks anymore, so I changed it to what you can see on the right (slightly above). But… I’m still not happy. *sigh* Thankfully, as she’s “alien”, she has tons of features and sliders to choose from (and she can get away completely from the half-Klingon look if I want to)! So I expect her to look different again sometime soon. Even I don’t need immersion all of the time. ;)

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (January 14, 2012)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to gaming (will most likely include at least one piece about Guild Wars 2 ^^).The first Bookahneer’s Geekwatch this year starts with some Guild Wars 2 “news”. Tivac, a web developer at ArenaNet, answered a few questions in several forums. The summary can be found on Reddit. The first closed beta phase is over.

Then there was an interview with Angel Leigh McCoy who’s a writer and game designer for Guild Wars 2. I’ll just leave the most important quotation here although the rest of the interview is also interesting if you want to know more about her and her work.
“What I can tell you is that we’re currently in Closed Beta and planning has begun for an Open Beta. It’s all extremely exciting, and the game is coming along smashingly. It really is like magic when it all starts coming together and you see what an enormous accomplishment you’ve contributed to.”

Last but not least, GuildWars Insider has an interview with Ree Soesbee. I love seeing her talk about the game (though here, you either have a transcript of the interview or you can listen to it). Her eyes start to shine brighter than her hair (I love her hair colour ^^). It’s just great seeing people talk with such passion!

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Now, on to something less fun. Turbine disappoints me once again. The story can be found on Massively: Lotro will soon start selling (low level) gear in their real-money-shop that has stats on it. Even though they said that they’re not going to do that! It’s the principle here more than anything that annoys me. And the explanation is that they had feedback from players saying that there’s not enough low level armor in the AH and they want more options. As I commented on Massively: Why not add more rewards for tasks, skirmishes, quests, etc.? Why not look at why the AH economy is the way it is and do something to promote it? Why is the only solution nowadays putting something into their shop? Ah yes, money. -.- If only I could see it getting reinvested into the game. I’d even have an idea: Hire more voice actors. ;) Casual Stroll to Mordor has a poll about the players’ reception. Participate if you care about this topic. Maybe Turbine will have a look at it.

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SOE has partnered with ProSiebenSat.1 to distribute their games exclusively in Europe. “Their games” include Everquest, Everquest 2, the upcoming new Everquest, DCUO and others. But I didn’t see Vanguard in that list. Here is the announcement from the other side (that is, from ProSiebenSat.1). Not much is known so far. There are lots of questions and worries, of course. I also saw the rumour that this means IP bans for European players. We shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, obviously. But I really dislike the lack of answers and information here. You can’t make such an announcement and not have any more information ready for your players!

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And the last things for today: Star Trek Online will officially go free to play on January 17. Here is the feature matrix. Former subscribers were already allowed back in. I created a new character and have been enjoying myself, even though I haven’t done much yet. Unfortunately, free players can’t access player-made missions (the foundry) at the moment. I hope they’ll fix this soon because I really liked those.

The European version of Aion will go free to play soon as well. For that, NCSoft gives the game to Gameforge. Look here for its feature matrix.

All in all, I guess we have lots of games to choose from without having to pay while waiting for Guild Wars 2. No need to play any other MMOs that still require you to pay every month. *coughcough* ;)