Daily Archives: April 25, 2007

LOTRO Press Machine

I saw this Yahoo! headline this evening:


I guess Midway and Turbine have their press game going.  The only other MMO I have seen get a Yahoo! headline like this is World of Warcraft.

Could Lord of the Rings Online really be the most anticipated MMO of 2007?

The Demise of TelonCast

I picked up the 10th and last episode of TelonCast Monday morning.

TelonCast was a podcast dedicated to Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.  It was on my recommended podcasts links until yesterday.

Unfortunately for Vanguard and the Vanguard community, the game itself appears to have worn a bit thin on Michael, the host.  He still wants to play the game, but it sounds like his enthusiasm has waned.

More surprising is his mention that nobody from Sigil ever responded to his enquiries or made any comment, official or otherwise, about the show.

So who dropped the ball on this?  A little official support of recognition might have spurred Michael on to keep the show going.  He says so himself.

I would hate to think that this was a failure on the part of SOE, since their community relations team does such a good job in the face of some daunting obstacles.  (Station Access price hike?  They didn’t make the decision, but they have to face the music.) 

For a game that most people agree needs all the help it can get, a little effort in the name of podcast support seems like a natural to me.  Think if, perhaps, Brad had skipped one of his posts and spent 10 minutes talking to Michael on Skype.  Think how jazzed Michael would have been.  That would have been motivation for ten more shows I bet. 

Plus all the bloggers would have had to rant about something other than Brad’s latest post.  A win-win for Vanguard in my book.

But that is just speculation.  The opportunity has passed.

You can find all ten episodes of Teloncast, the definitive collection, on iTunes or the Teloncast site, while it remains up.

And if you liked Teloncast, you can find Michael (and Chris) in a new podcast called Wildly Divergent.

Falling Through Maj’Dul

Falling through the world!  There are few activities that remind me so much of SOE games as falling through the world and then being reset to a safe location.  It was big fun in EverQuest.  I seemed to have a knack for it back then. 

I understand that Vanguard, in its effort to be the spiritual successor to EverQuest, has turned falling through the world into an event for everybody.  I thought I saw a quote from Brad McQuaid just the other day where he said that they were going to address this issue by adding discovery experience and a series of quests devoted to enhancing the whole falling through the world experience.  The only limits are your patience… er… imagination!

In EverQuest II, by contrast, I have have ended up looking at the back side of the scenery much less often.  I’ve seen lots of recurring issues, but the underside of the world has not been one of them.

That actually surprised me a bit.  I may be flippant on the subject, but I also know the issue is not an easy one to address.  Any virtual world in an MMO, despite its substantial appearance, is as thin as a decimal place.  Norrath is a Potemkin Village of microscopic depth.  All it takes is one little misalignment in the terrain leaving a hole so tiny that a pixel would seem giant beside it.  Land in just the right location and you might end up plummeting through the void.  It gives new thought to the idea of a “seamless” world. 

But I do seem to have the knack for finding these locations.  The other night I found one with Blintz in Maj’Dul.  It appears you need Fae Glide to fall through at this location, which I reported in a bug, but I managed to get it to happen 100% of the time.

Fae Glide!

My favorite feature of the fae, the reason I will probably never buy a mount for Blintz.

Fae Glide also gives a new feeling to falling through the world.  Rather than a rapid descent you get a nice, leisurely glide through the void behind the surface of Norrath.  And with Maj’Dul it is even more interesting.  This is, after all, a floating city.  You are not supposed to be able to jump off the edge, but falling through it is effectively the same thing.

Since I had such an easy descent through the void, I had some time to take screen shots.

Here is the point where I first fell through, when I grabbed a quick shot, thinking that I might never see this view again.


Here we are, a little later in the day (did somebody find out, definitively, the time scale of Norrath in EQ2?) and another view of Maj’Dul’s underside.


Bilntz, alone in the void.


This is the false landscape below Maj’Dul.  I thought I might be able to land and walk around on it.  Instead, I fell right through.


On the other side of the landscape there was the night sky.


The void, at least around Maj’Dul, appears to be a sphere.  This is a bit different that I remember the sky in EverQuest.  I had a screen shot, long since lost, of the shape of the sky in EQ when I managed to get up on top of some buildings in Qeynos. (Solo play FTW!)  There the sky appeared more like an inverted fish bowl, with the opening out of sight of the players… or at least those players who had not yet managed to get up on the roof yet.

Anyway, that is my view of the underside of Maj’Dul.