So while I try to come down from the frantic WTFs of what just happened…
Those of you who’ve been following my gaming habits know that Earth Online has been working on a new expansion called Land Down Under for over a year now. It’s due to come out in a few weeks, and it’s going to be the first expansion since I’ve been playing, so that should be cool. I haven’t been playing on the Beta, but Spazzle has, so between watching over his shoulder a few times, and watching the announcements about what’s happening, I’ve been able to keep up on a little bit of what’s coming.
So, for those fellow gamers out there, here are a few notes and comments on what’s in store for us…
- They’re raising the level cap from 50 to 60. There’s been talk that they’re going to adjust the 1-50 leveling to make it go faster as a result, which is probably a good idea, because just think what that would be like for a new character – can you imagine having to grind out 60 levels right out of the gate?
- They’re adding a bunch of new mounts, but my absolute favorite one? There’s this animal called a kangaroo. It’s kind of like…um…okay, you know what, there actually isn’t any animal in the real world that I can compare this thing to. All I can really say is, imagine what kind of animal a murloc would have to have fucked to produce the first gorloc. Kind of like that. Anyway, the thing about this kangaroo is that it has this pouch on its belly, which supposedly it uses to carry its young around. (Side note: I don’t know how the devs keep coming up with shit like this. I mean really. Some hella good felweed, I guess.) So here’s the thing. When you ride this kangaroo, you don’t sit on its back or something normal like that – you ride around in the damn thing’s pouch! Oh and also, did I mention that rather than running, these things fucking HOP? How much cartoonish awesome is that, seriously?
- They’re adding in this new feature where you can put yourself into a group finder, which will automatically assemble a group of players for raids. And I know exactly what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing too: You mean I can sign up to join 19 total strangers chosen at random in an anonymous, consequence-free environment for a group activity that hinges on coordination, communication, and precise execution? OMG FINALLY, WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? I’ll tell you, I like raiding, but I don’t know if I’m going to try this feature out, because honestly, I feel the urge to kill everyone around me enough as it is, I don’t know how much more I want to put my temper to the test.
- File this one under Long Long LONG Overdue: They’re finally smartening up and adding a TON of airports to most of the zones. No more of this crap where there’s only one airport per zone, so you land in Chicago and then you’re stuck running around on your mount for 20 minutes because you’re still working on that quest chain in Wisconsin. What’s more, they’re adding this extra feature called “In-Flight Movie” – basically if you’re on one of the longer flights, you can choose from a list of in-game cinematics and popular machinima, and watch them while you’re in flight. They’re even organized by how closely the running time matches your flight time. Pretty awesome, huh?
Of course, as soon as word got out about the plan to add the new airports, all the permanently bitter self-professed hardcore players came out of the woodwork on the forums to gripe and complain, because “OMG this isn’t Earth Online, it’s Casuals Online now” and they’re ruining the game by dumbing it down, because obviously it completely removes any concept of challenge or skill from the game if you make ANY SINGLE THING IN IT even 5% more convenient, and OMG nerdrage because CASUALS. To which, honest to fucking hell, dickweeds, SHUT THE FUCK UP. I swear I will never understand why some of these people seem to sink so damn much of their time into something that obviously just makes them angry. I mean, okay, I spend a shit-ton of time on things that usually make ME angry, but dude, it’s my fucking JOB. I spend enough time in real life dealing with shit that pisses me off, I don’t need to pay a monthly subscription fee for more. I swear some gamers would complain about a blowjob.
- They’re going to head into this expansion by having a couple major world events to set up the big contest to determine the faction leader in November (which, frankly, they’ve already been playing it up so much that I really just want the damn thing settled so we can stop hearing about it). Basically they’re setting aside a week each for two “party convention” events, which you can participate in to align yourself with either of the two main candidates for faction leader, do quests for them, and get some “campaign” vanity items…which frankly look kind of shitty and tacky to me. For starters, could they seriously not come up with ANYTHING better for the party symbols? A talbuk and an elekk? Really? Those are the most impressive things you could think of? I mean, those would be fine if your goal is to make your candidates into, like, the final targets of a Nesingwary hunting expedition, but otherwise, really?
Anyway, these two events are going to lead into the expansion, and then in November they’ll finally settle things as far as who the leader’s going to be. I guess it’s going to be this game-wide process to decide – they’re going to have daily quests, resource gathering, mini-boss encounters, tons of other stuff, and then they’re going to total it all up across all the servers. So then, when the “Election Day” event kicks in, whoever the players end up putting ahead wins and becomes faction leader in the next patch. Unless it’s the guy who’s already faction leader. Then he just STAYS faction leader.
A bunch of people have been blogging about how impressive this is, that the devs are letting the players determine who the leader is going to be. Their point seems to be that by doing this, the devs are giving up a lot of control over what’s going to happen with the lore, so they either have to have two sets of outcomes ready to go, or improvise on the fly depending on who wins. Personally, I think that’s putty WAY too much weight on the outcome of the event. If you ask me, whatever’s going to happen in the lore and in the game world is going to happen, it’s already been worked out, and the only thing the devs are going to have to do based on the election is tweak a few details to account for how we got from A to B. But we’re going from A to B. Whoever wins, we’re heading for B. Seriously, guys, don’t kid yourselves into thinking one option or another is going to magically portal us to H or Q or motherfucking X.
So that’s what we’re looking at so far. Quick note before I forget, by the way – don’t forget to write in for next week’s mailbag with pictures of your own Earth Online pets like we had from me and Shara last time around. I’ve already gotten a few letters, and it would definitely be cool to see everybody’s collection. Send those letters and pictures to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyway, we’ll see how everything plays out. I know Spazzle’s going to pre-download LDU so he can start playing the minute the new content goes live, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Lorthemar does the same, considering how much time he seems to spend online. Whoever he is in the first place. Meanwhile, I’d kind of assumed that Saurfang would be a long way from level cap still when LDU drops, but I might turn out to be wrong (MARK YOUR CALENDARS, it doesn’t happen often). He’s already up to like level 30, which is pretty damn amazing considering he’s totally new to all of this. Even more amazing when you factor in the fact that I almost never see him online. I’ll go a few days without seeing him, then he’ll finally log on, and it’s like, dude, you gained like eight levels since last time I saw you, how the hell did THAT happen? Dude just FLEW through those level, like stuff is just falling over dead for him as soon as he walks into the room.
Let’s hope that doesn’t carry over into real life. I’ve got a face-to-face with him soon, and personally I’d rather not wind up dead. More updates soon after that.