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MMO Weekly 17/12

17 Dec 2008  by   Paul Younger

Hello, fellow gamers, and welcome to this week’s edition of MMO Weekly! As always, we’ll be forsaking boring ol’ normal news about MMORPGs, and focusing our attention on the odd, weird, and quirky stories to be found in the annals of online gaming. And since it is MMO gaming that we’re talking about, there is no shortage of odd, weird, and quirky stories, let me tell you. No shortage at all. So, without further ado, on to the fresh hot steaming pile of content:

Many people believe that the holiday season officially begins on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Since the majority of the readers of MMO Weekly are from the UK, it’s unlikely that you believe that. In fact, it’s unlikely that you even know what Thanksgiving actually is, since you’ve never had turkeys or Pocahontas [Ed – actually, she was brought back here] or Captain John Smith [Ed – he was from the UK too] or maize or Plymouth Rock [Ed – named after a town in the UK] or Puritans over there. What ho and cheerio, that stuff is for Yanks.

So allow me to offer a clear and unambiguous portent of the beginning of the holiday season, whether you’re from the U.S., the U.K., or even someplace strange and exotic, like Sweden. It’s the Christmas episode of The Guild, that goofy web series chronicling the adventures of some painfully awkward guild members in an unnamed (but very WoW-like) MMO. The holiday special consists entirely of some re-written Christmas carols, each with a MMO theme. On top of that, each of the songs is very, very badly sung. Check it out right here.

Are you familiar with the newest, latest, greatest craze in online virtual universes? It’s called ‘Quincying’, and it got its start in PlayStation Home. Home, you’ll remember, is the avatar-based interface that’s found on the PS3. In Home, players create avatars, they interact with both the content within Home, as well as with one another. It’s similar to how both the Wii and XBox Live both work.

Home has one feature that is unique, and has led to the rise of Quincying. In Home, players can design several avatars, and then switch between them seemlessly. If your avatar is in the middle of an activity, and you switch to another avatar, the new avatar will suddenly replace the old one right in the middle of that activity. Consider, if you will, the possibilities:First, design a very attractive female avatar.Next, flirt and dance with the male of your choosing.Take it to the next level, allowing him to become interested or, better yet, aroused.Allow other males to attempt to get your attention too. A small crowd of eager males, all vying for your attention, is most pleasing.Finally, insta-switch your lovely female avatar for that extremely ugly male you designed earlier. Watch as all your potential suitors and gentleman-callers suddenly scatter to the four winds, offended to discover that they’ve been dancing with an ugly, middle-aged man.
If this sounds fun to you (you sick b*stard!) then check out the video of some expert Quincying in action.

Do you like conspiracy theories? Are you suspicious that the guys from Mythic (makers of Warhammer Online) and the guys from BioWare (makers of the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic) are somehow in cahoots? What, it never occurred to you? Well, let’s start those conspiracy rumors right now, with this video of them all cavorting around in an all too friendly fashion. ;)

Speaking of underhanded, dirty tricks, consider this guy’s technique. A home made dinner for his girlfriend? Check. A nice bottle of wine? Check. An evening of romance that begins the moment she gets home? Check. And by 10:30, she’s been wined and dined and she’s all curled up, asleep. And the thoughtful boyfriend? Well, he’s free to raid with his guild-mates until the wee hours of the morning, without picking up one bit of girlfriend aggro. Clever fella.

Star Wars: The Old Republic sprang a nice gameplay video on the world this week, and it’s a doozy. Both the gameplay and the commentary by developers revealed a nice bucket-load of secrets, and here’s just a sampling:Internally, the BioWare developers don’t use the acronym SWTOR for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Instead, the cool kids simply call it TOR.The use of interactive companion characters – something BioWare has long established in their single-player RPGs – will be a feature of TOR. Yes, you’ll acquire henchmen as you play. You will make decisions during the game – whether or not to take a quest, etc – that will irrevocably alter the game for your character. Your decisions will have meaningful consequences.The game will have a highly detailed cartoon-like quality to it. However, since BioWare cannot call their art style “highly detailed cartoons”, they’ve chosen to call it “Stylised Realism”.
If you’d like to see all this in action, there’s a red hot video right here.

Are you in your post high school years, and you’re supposed to be getting your degree? Have you disappointed your parents, and dropped out? Have you taken to drinking far more than any normal person? Have you forgotten where your classes actually are? Well, don’t worry. The United States government says it’s not your fault. In fact, Uncle Sam says it’s all because of that darned World of Warcraft.

Yes, that’s right. According to Federal Communications Commission director Deborah Taylor Tate, WoW is one of the bigger problems facing America’s college students. In fact, she put it this way: “You might find it alarming that one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction – such as World of Warcraft – which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide.” Yeah, that’s right kids, the fact that you don’t have a degree is because of all those darned video games. The government says so, so it must be true.

Although it’s not an MMO, it’s certainly going to appeal to my fellow MMOers out there: Minotaur China Shop. It’s a cute little flash game, which involves a minotaur proprietor of a fine china shop. If the clumsy minotaur breaks too many dishes, it cuts into his profits. If he breaks a few more, then he flies into an uncontrollable rage, which (somehow) means the insurance will pay for everything. Sound zany? It is, and it’s equally fun. A video of all the bull-in-a-china-shop action can be found right here.

And that’s all for this week, fellow fangurls and fanboys! Until next week, ciao!

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