Tag Archives: World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft: 10 years – 10 questions

wow_healerI stumbled upon a post by the ALT:ernative chat blog asking former and current World of Warcraft players 10 questions. This post is from August, so I was worried I’d be much too late, but in another post, the deadline is stated as… tomorrow. Perfect timing here. :p

As you, my readers, may know, I do not play World of Warcraft currently. But it is the very first MMO that I’ve ever played, so there’s a big chunk of nostalgia connected to it! World of Warcraft is having its 10 year anniversary and I’ve got to say that it aged very well. Anyway, on with the questions.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

Because of my boyfriend. What a stereotypical boring answer, right? ;) But there it is. We had been together close to a year when he’d let me test the game on his account. He had offered before, but I had always declined, because despite liking computer games, I thought that an MMO was too big of a time investment. Well, I tested on Sunday evening. Monday afternoon, he called to tell me my account key. And the rest… is history. ;) We spent a few years playing that game, left for Warhammer Online, came back afterwards, left again, came back, and today, we only play on the free starter editions when we get the urge to have a look at the game again.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

zwerge_wowI actually don’t remember. I tried out all the classes that were available for gnomes. I wondered if priest was a class I would enjoy, but gnomes couldn’t be priests back then. So, my dwarf priest, Grifola (see on the left), was born. The anecdote I always give about that character is how in Westfall (low level area, I hadn’t been playing for long), I got a random message from a random stranger asking me to please reroll the character because “female dwarves are ugly and fat and I don’t want to see them in the game”. -.-

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

World of Warcraft UndeadsI got the game in December 2005. It had released here in Europe in February 2005. So, at that point, my boyfriend, his sister, his cousin and a friend had settled down on a German PvP server, Alliance faction. I did not want to play alone, so I joined them. They also had Horde alts on a different German PvP server where I had created my undead warlock (seen in the picture) to play with them. But the main faction was Alliance and it stayed that way for our most active gaming time, even though I always liked Horde more. The people I wanted to play with just always ended up playing Alliance instead.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

There are a lot. For one, the above mentioned anecdote of a player asking me to reroll my female dwarf because he thought they’re fat and ugly. Thankfully, healers were in high demand and I had decided to not level as shadow (no dual-specs at that point), so I could jump into dungeons as a healer whenever a group needed one which meant that I met a lot of friendly and nice players who were just too happy to see my little healing dwarf. ;)

WoW_Undead Poets Society 2Another one was the weekend we spent at bookahnerk’s cousin’s place where we played our Horde characters. We basically did 4 man runs through all of Scarlet Crusade until everybody had all the good items that dropped from there. Thankfully, the dungeon had four wings. But it still got a tiny bit repetitive after a while. Still, with all four of us being in the same room, we had a lot of fun!

Last but not least (and there are definitely more memorable moments!), that one time in Serpentshrine Caverns where we killed Morogrim Tidewalker on our first try: I had been part of a raid that raided once a week. Most of the others did that raid with their alts and I was one of the few ones doing the raids with their main (draenei frost mage at that point). It was past the usual raid time, so quite a lot had had to leave and our raid leaders decided we should give that boss a try. We got a few others in, so there were several people there that had never done that boss before. Me included. We were usually a chaotic bunch of people, mostly because those who were there with their alts thought they didn’t need to pay attention that much during the encounters and concentration was always an issue. The raid leaders had told us: Yeah, we’re going to wipe here. But let’s just give it a try, okay? – That one single try ended with us killing the boss and 0 wipes, as nobody had made a mistake throughout the entire boss fight. I had never heard Teamspeak being this quiet. Until that moment when the boss died, of course!

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Fishing chair - perfect for every kind of weather

Fishing chair – perfect for every kind of weather

I can’t say what my favourite aspect is. When I first got into the game, I loved the soundtrack and how big the world seemed to be. I loved fishing and crafting and earning gold without doing any combat. How many addons and mods the game has and how much you actually can mod (mostly speaking about the UI here, not so much about damage meters and the like). There are so many things I still love and miss. Archaeology became one of my favourite things to do. I also greatly enjoyed the pet battles when I had briefly returned a few months ago (right before Rift went free to play and lured me back in). So, I would say archaeology and no, it hasn’t always been the case as that was added later on.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

An area as in a certain place in the world? Ironforge. With the music turned on. I often turn off the soundtrack, because it’s distracting or I’m watching a stream while playing. But entering Ironforge without having the music turned on just doesn’t feel right. This place is also connected to the “most nostalgia” seeing how the first city I ever entered was Ironforge with my dwarf.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

charactercreation_wowI cannot check that because I’m not currently subscribed to the game. I did start in December 2005. As mentioned above, I left when Warhammer Online was released, but returned two or three more times following that initial departure. My /played time in all MMOs is always very high, though. I tend to be online in MMOs while doing other stuff (right now, my cleric in Rift is idling next to the mailbox, for example).

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It depends on where I am in the game, what I’m doing next to gaming (e.g. watching a stream or talking to bookahnerk) and of course, the kind of quest. I am not interested in reading a vague and boring explanation on why I need to kill 10 murlocs. If the quest is related to a bigger storyline, for example, I usually read the quest texts.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not quitting the Karazhan raid with my healing druid earlier when the raid leader had started to be rude. (Hey look! I am capable of writing short answers… ^^)

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

WoW dragon smileNot all that many, actually. The effects to life outside of gaming came afterwards, especially with Guild Wars 2 where I went and met people outside of the game. On the other hand, I did meet other WoW players in gaming communities and friendships were formed. It was my first MMO, though, and the happenings in my life and new friends I have found were because I have this very blog here and I wouldn’t have started this blog without Warhammer Online and I probably wouldn’t have played that game if I hadn’t played WoW first. ;) Oh, one thing, though: My name! I did not go by “Paeroka” before World of Warcraft. That name is a name I had used in a (still unfinished) story I had started writing and when I started World of Warcraft, I needed names for my characters. I had given the name “Paeroka” to my undead warlock and later started using her name for myself (technically, that is “outside gaming”, because I use it on Twitter, etc. where I don’t only talk about games ^^).

The excitement of getting an expansion

MMO shelfIf you’re following Rift, you may have noticed that they’re handling their second expansion, Plane of Water, differently than they did the previous one or than what other MMO developers are usually doing: Instead of giving you everything at once, they are giving us the expansion piece by piece. The reason they stated is that they don’t want their players to wait until every last thing is done and release all features together, but instead, they want to give us the features when they’re ready. The first part was a new crafting profession, Dream Weaving, together with new dimensions. The profession mainly makes items for your dimensions and it can also craft the keys for the new dimensions. The second part was the PvP dimensions feature which got released with the last patch.

The next part will be the four new souls (something like “skill trees” for the non-Rift players) which we were told would arrive some time in May (but not late May!). I’m excited about that, because it means my warrior will get a healing soul and bookahnerk’s mage will get a tank soul. So, we can be an unconventional healer/tank duo!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is really great to get those features as soon as they are done. I am slowly levelling up Dream Weaving and others are creating their first PvP dimensions. It gives us something to do and I have had those short moments of excitement when logging on after a patch knowing there will be something new in the game. But at the same time, I am not sure I really prefer it over the “traditional expansions”.

I still clearly and fondly remember my very first MMO expansion: World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. Bookahnerk, his cousin, a friend and I drove to a city nearby for a midnight sale that a shop was having. We went out for dinner first, then went to that store. They had us wait in front and at first, I felt a bit silly. World of Warcraft was my first MMO and here we were, in front of a store, at night in cold January 2007, waiting for them to open the doors, so we can buy an expansion and it would be very late until we got back home. The employees of the store actually walked along the line and handed out free hot beverages (coffee at 11pm – smart idea! :p).

While waiting there, we started talking with some people behind us. As is usual, we first checked who played which faction (For the Horde!), then we talked about which servers we played on, which classes were our mains and so on. At some point, I had a look behind us as I had not paid attention to the line and I was shocked: The line that hadn’t looked too long in the beginning had grown huge. I had not been able to see the end of it. All those people were there only for one expansion? After they opened the doors, I think it took us 20 minutes until we finally got to buy our expansions.

After that, we still had about a one hour drive back home. I installed the expansion, downloaded another patch and created my blood elf mage at which point I fell into bed. But to be honest, it had not been about playing in the night. It had been about going there, meeting other players, and doing something with friends. This is something that I miss with the digital expansions only. But while it is a nice memory, this post isn’t about digital or physical expansions. It’s about the lack of an “all at once” expansion (or, in ArenaNet’s case, developers considering not doing an expansion at all).

The next morning, I was ready to get into the expansion. Finally! I did not even know where to start: Blood elf starting area with my mage or should I rather take my main character to the expansion region? Or did I actually want to make a short trip to Alliance side and see what the Draenei were all about? Did I want to check out the new crafting profession? There were so many things I wanted to see and check out! I felt the magic again that I had last experienced when I had first set foot into World of Warcraft. The feeling that I always get when I explore a new MMO for the first time.

And this is the reason why I’m sad that we’re not having this with Rift (and maybe Guild Wars 2 as well). As nice as it is getting expansion content piece by piece and not having to wait, it also takes away this magic moment of feeling like the game is brand new again.

Me and my Mini-Mes…

After I had written about the online game I’ve been playing the longest, I figured I should “revisit” all my MMO characters. Mentioned and shown below are only the ones I called my “main” in games that I have played for more than one month. I couldn’t possibly list and show all the twinks and alts I have had in the past and I did not want to go through all characters I ever created. Besides, I’m really not that attached to any of the characters I hardly ever played anyway. ;)

Let’s jump back to 2005. World of Warcraft got released here in Europe in February 2005. It wasn’t until December 2005 that I started playing. Bookahnerk had played during beta already and was eagerly awaiting the release. In fact, it got released the weekend before Valentine’s Day and when he’d told me that, I had sent him back to his place, so he could be there for the release and play with all the other gaming geeks. I had never touched an MMO at that point, but I had played PC games and I knew all about the excitement of starting a game the moment you can get your hands on it. ;)

In November 2005, I participated in NaNoWriMo and since I’d seen bookahnerk’s gnome in World of Warcraft (and totally adored the little creature), I wrote a story about gnomes. Not the WoW ones, though. I wrote about gnomes in my own fantasy world! One of those I had called “Paeroka”. I don’t remember how I came up with that name… I probably just scrambled around letters until I found something that looked and sounded good. Then in December, bookahnerk bought WoW for me. He told me the code and I started playing on my crappy laptop that wasn’t even made for gaming. I was lucky I still liked the character I had made when I saw her on a better PC as it had been more of a guessing game what she looked like when creating her on my laptop. ;) I was also very impressed with Silverpine Forest, because it was so scary and dark and you couldn’t see anything with all the fog. Yeah, lowest graphic settings, cheap laptop, etc. There is no fog and it’s really not that dark, as I found out a few weeks later. ;) Unfortunately, I only have about five screenshots from the first few months and I can’t seem to find them at the moment.

But here you go. Paeroka, Undead warlock. That was even before I got my widescreen monitor (not to mention that I’ve got two of them now). Paeroka was my main for quite a long time, until one day, we decided to start on another server. Long story short, I switched to Ghamina, Draenei mage, as the guild we joined plays Alliance. I also had a night elf druid, but I’m not going to show her as I never actually liked night elves. But playing alliance, I had no other choice than that race back then.

Some time in between, I had bought Guild Wars, after a friend had told me how amazing that game was. I’d been skeptical at first, after trying the preview weekend for Factions and being totally overwhelmed. However, something had struck me. I had loved the Jade Sea and… the atmosphere and the feeling the game world gave me. When I did buy the game, it was Nightfall that I got first. My main, Paeroka Yeodo, was a necromancer. However, I kept dying with her and well, I had no idea how aggro worked! So I switched. My second main, Tenedra Yeodo, was a warrior and she is the one that I sticked with until the end.

After World of Warcraft came Warhammer Online. I had already written about my adventures in that game. My mains were my blackorc, Grifip my goblin shaman and Grifola, my dwarf engineer.

The next game was Lord of the Rings Online. I had bought the basic game plus Mines of Moria, because I knew I wasn’t interested in any of the base classes and instead, really wanted to play a runekeeper. While installing the game and downloading the patches (that took ages…), I read about the two new classes online and found the warden much more interesting. And yet, I still started playing the runekeeper. She was at max level when I realized she was quite boring, after all. So I switched to my warden. Here they are, Tenedreth (runekeeper) and Tenedra (warden).

The next “serious” game was Rift, which I cancelled again as I had not wanted to pay a monthly sub anymore. Since it’s gone free to play, I’ve been playing it a lot more (and yes, they did get some money from me. ^^ I’m not opposed to paying people for the work they do, I just don’t like recurring fees like that). My main was a cleric, a dwarf called Meffanda, but then I switched to my warrior Paeroka – another dwarf. I’m still not sure if that was the right decision, but thankfully, the game only has four basic classes (called “callings”) which can then be specced/built in lots of different ways which means that there is a lot of variety, but you still only need to level four characters to get everything there is.

Then there is The Secret World. I love the atmosphere of the game and the setting. I think it’s great that your characters can wear silly clothes but also just regular jeans and a t-shirt. However, I am not a fan of the characters per se. I think all the faces look more or less the same.

Last but not least: Guild Wars 2! My first main, Flummi, asura mesmer, and my new main, Paerjja, asura warrior.

At the moment, I am mainly playing my warrior in Rift, my warrior in Guild Wars 2 and several alts in Guild Wars 2. Maybe I will give Lotro another try once the expansion is released on Wednesday.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (January 17, 2013)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to Guild Wars 2 – and on occasion, other games.

This is our first post this year. I hadn’t even realized that I had taken such a long break. Although it’s only a break for you as readers because I actually do have several drafts that I may finish within the next few weeks. ;)

As you have probably already seen, ArenaNet told us about their future plans for Guild Wars 2. There’s some interesting stuff in there. Guesting finally arrives! The good news was that it’s coming on January 28. I, personally, am very happy about that because it means that I’ll finally get to play with my German guild with whom I’d already played Warhammer Online. So in about 2 weeks, you’ll see Flummi bouncing around between Aurora Glade and Drakkar Lake. I am fortunate that both my gaming communities are settled on European servers as you will not be able to guest between EU and US servers.

There’s a more detailed explanation why we cannot guest between regions on the official forums. To me, it sounds as if they’re not planning to give us global guesting at all. With the emphasis they put on “community”, I find it very disappointing to not have this feature. But as I said, I was mainly waiting to guest on Drakkar Lake, so in the end, it works out for me. Still, I understand that others are upset and disappointed. Still, it sounds like ArenaNet has great plans for the game and I’m curious to see what we will get next.

Additionally, there are some more songs uploaded to their SoundCloud account. One of our favourite songs is “The Great Toymaker”. Oh, and check out the German and French versions of “The Tale of the Mad King Thorn”. I don’t always understand his German, but it’s still very fun to listen to!

But that’s not all that happened in the gaming world. Path of Exile is getting closer to its open beta launch (on January 23, 2013!). If you love Diablo 2 for its atmosphere and love games like the Diablo franchise in general or Torchlight, then Path of Exile is definitely worth checking out! It is free to play with a cash shop that lets you buy cosmetic/fluff items and character slots. I played during closed beta. Not much, but enough to recommend it to a friend and I will certainly play it again after launch. The atmosphere alone is very much worth it. The classes are fun and the passive skill tree is definitely something special. It lets you customize according to your playstyle and that’s what I really enjoyed.

Vanguard is a game that I’d only tried for a short time when I was looking for an MMO to call my home. It did not make it back then for one reason only: It didn’t seem to have any developers left and I didn’t feel like investing money into a game with no further support as that usually means that it’s bleeding players until only the “hardcore base” is left. Now it’s gone free to play and apparently, they – or the players – found their f2p offering too restrictive. The producer’s letter came with the announcement that all races, classes, levels AND housing are unlocked for non-subbed players!

I am currently playing Guild Wars 2 (no surprise here, right? ^^), World of Warcraft (yeah… nostalgia got me and I bought a gametime card to check back into the game. Once that time runs out, I won’t renew) and The Secret World. With those changes above, I will add Vanguard to the list. World of Warcraft’s game time will expire in about two weeks anyway and three games are all I can handle with the way I play. But eh, all three “future” games are without a sub, so that’s okay. ;)

Cultures 1Last but not least, another trip to nostalgia lane: GoG.com now offers Cultures 1 & 2! I squealed when I saw that. I own Cultures 1 (incl. addon), Cultures 2 and all the other games in the Cultures 2 universe (same characters/game but different settings/stories). Cultures 1 was the first game I ever played through till the end. It also accompanied me through the first half of university as some of the game is so slow that you can read while playing. This may sound bad for some people, but for me it was perfect. I don’t like strategy games where you need to react fast and Cultures just has a much slower pace. It’s also micro-management in the way that you can direct each Viking. You choose a profession for each of them, train them, etc. I like the graphics of the first Cultures game more than the one from the second game. But all in all, I still think it’s not bad to look at. I am considering buying it but in order to take this screenshot, I just installed Cultures 1 again and it’s still working on Windows 7. Soooo… probably not necessary? Not yet, at least. ;) I’ll have to test Cultures 2, of course. And it’s a bit sad that they’re not offering “Cultures – Northland” or “8th Wonder of the World”, but maybe it’s in the works. If you know German, the Wiki entry gives you more information about the games. There is also Cultures Online, a browser game that uses the graphics of Cultures 1. But I actually can’t really recommend it as it’s pushing you too much to the cash shop for my taste.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch: Arrrr thar other games?

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome t’ today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! Th’ place about miscellaneous interestin’ news related t’ Guild Wars 2 – an’ on occasion, other games.

This time, we be havin’ a slightly different Bookahneer’s Geekwatch. ‘t does, fer once, nay focus on Guild Wars 2.

I have to admit that I have not been paying too much attention to the gaming world outside of Guild Wars 2 in the last few weeks as I usually do, but a few things did catch my attention and I did look at those games more closely. As much as I would love to be a one-game-woman, I am not. ;) I like getting into other games every now and then for a change of scenery. Right now, I am very much looking forward to Torchlight 2. It releases tomorrow! According to a forum post, they are aiming for a release at around 7pm CEST (Paris, Berlin time. 1pm East Coast USA). That fits perfectly to my schedule as I should be home 1 1/2 hours before that and then still need to do some exercise before I can sit down and play a game.

But this is not all that Runic Games has for us. They are giving us the soundtrack for free! You do not even need to have bought the game if you want to download the soundtrack. But, of course, it would be nice to give them something in return. ;) You may be interested in the current Humble Indie Bundle offer which gives you Torchlight 1, among other games. You set the price and support charity at the same time. This is quite a nice deal! Oh yeah, and Torchlight 1 will be playable on a PC and on Linux! Oh, and on a Mac as well. Speaking of which, so is Guild Wars 2 (I’m referring to the Mac, not Linux, unfortunately ^^).

Darkfall Unholy Wars screenshot Aventurine has finally announced Darkfall Unholy Wars. I did know that they are kind of, maybe, reworking Darkfall Online and that something will happen and players may have to start all over again because all data will be wiped… maybe. As you can tell, Darkfall Online is not my kind of game, so I haven’t been following it too closely. I like PvP, but I prefer other PvP modes than “open world everybody vs. everybody” like team-based PvP matches. I did recommend the game to bookahnerk’s cousin, though, because this really is the kind of game that he loves playing.

So why is this game even mentioned here then? Because I think they’re doing something very bold and that’s worth mentioning! They are not just upgrading their current game or redesigning things here and there. They apparently developed a new game. I am curious how far they took it and how different this new game will be. The game will be released on November 20, 2012. They have written a blog post with some more information if you’re interested, although I don’t think it has enough information in it. The game’s website seems to have a bit more information, at least.

It’s been postponed but the new date for the next Lord of the Rings Online expansion, Riders of Rohan, is getting closer: October 15. That’s four weeks from now. Lotro is one of those games that will see me again sooner or later. My main character, a hobbit warden, never saw the max level that got introduced with Rise of Isengard, but even though I don’t like playing that class too much anymore, I really don’t want to level another character. Lotro is the only game so far where I never liked playing alts too much. I am not a big fan of how the characters look (link to previous entry – aesthetics!) and I do not like the combat feeling too much either. The world design, on the other hand, is still gorgeous and I do hope to get around to seeing the new parts of the world one day.

And, of course, there is World of Warcraft. The infamous panda expansion is really close now. The expansion will come out next week (September 25 – look here for exact launch times) and I am really curious how many people will still be complaining about pandas afterwards. To be honest, I still don’t get why people are upset at Blizzard for including them. Why are two-legged cows with humanoid breasts okay, but pandas aren’t? I know that the space goats weren’t taken too seriously, but people didn’t complain about them that much either. And it can’t be because of the film “Kung Fu Panda”, because Blizzard’s pandaren are much older than that. But maybe it’s because people are scared that their favourite MMO will now be called “a game for kids” even more often than it already is. To this I say: Who cares? Play what you want to play because you like it.

Oh well, my time in World of Warcraft is definitely over. I like reading up on what’s been happening in the game, what’s being added or changed, etc. but nothing makes me want to renew my subscription and log on again. I am curious how the expansion will effect Guild Wars 2 and its servers. Will we notice a drop in active players?

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.

Pandaren belong to WoW as much as orcs do!

As I’ve previously written here, I was sure that pandaren are a possibility in WoW because they are NOT forbidden in China.

So yesterday, Blizzard announced their next expansion Mists of Pandaria and that’s when the shit hit the fan… apparently. I’ve seen it, heard it, read it in so many places. How dare Blizzard turn an April Fool’s Day Joke into “reality” (in the game world, at least)? How dare they butcher their lore even further? And yes, while butchering of the lore has certainly happened, I don’t really see them doing it here.

Pandaren have been in Warcraft’s lore since Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (released 2003). Together with the nagas (a race nobody has complained about so far ^^), the pandaren made their entry. Granted, it was only one – the brewmaster. But he was there. And he brought beer! Why is there so much hatred for this poor little soul now?

A quick look at WoWWiki’s Pandaren page* led me to a link about the “Manual of Monsters”, “source book for Warcraft The Roleplaying Game” which was published in 2003. Said book already had pandaren in it and bits of their world and their culture have been known for years.

Now, dislike the addition of pandaren and their world as much as you like. Fair enough and all that. But get your facts straight! There’s no lore butchering because it is part of the Warcraft lore.

* An interesting read if you want to know what Pandaren are about – they’re originally from Kalimdor, by the way, as opposed to the orcs which stem from Draenor.