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. ;)