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VirginWorlds MMORPG News
Host: Brent
VirginWorlds is a weekly news podcast covering Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Eve Online, Vanguard, Lord of the Rings Online and many many more. The VirginWorlds MMORPG Podcast is the flagship podcast of the VirginWorlds MMO Podcast Collective found at http://www.virginworlds.com

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VirginWorlds Podcast #47
Mon, 8 Jan 2007 04:20:00 GMT [download/play]



Topics for the week: Battlestar Galactica Online, Entropia Universe, EverQuest 2, Multiverse, Tabula Rasa, Vanguard, World of Warcraft, What I'm Playing, and Profile of the Week.

Thanks to Guy, Patrick, Lauren and WoW Chronicles for the excellent segments they sent along.

Thanks for listening!

VirginWorlds is a weekly news podcast covering Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGS) such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Eve Online, Vanguard, and many many more. The main site can be found at http://www.VirginWorlds.com

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Episode 47 Discussion Thread

'But in space, there are other factors...' by Psyik
Submitted on 2007-01-08 04:28:39 CST
First I’d like to reiterate my happy new year to everyone. Good first show of the year. Nice variation in content.

I’m curious about how you plan on unleashing the massive number of anti-RMT rants you’re holding on to. At first I was going to suggest another “on the road with Brent” session, but that would deprave us of Brenden’s commentary. And given his – strong – feelings on the topic (and how often you’ve threatened us with the Brenden vs. Doug cagematch), I feel we need Brenden present to... um, properly... tackle the subject.



'Not Meaning to Fan the Flames...' by Saylah
Submitted on 2007-01-08 13:02:50 CST
RTM is against WOW TOS so from a purist point of view it's illegal. But I'm among those that feel it shouldn't be. EQ2 has the Exchange servers where RTM is encouraged and I've never heard of those servers' economies being any less stable than the normal servers.

I come from playing The Sims were custom content and mods were a regular part of game-play and you often paid to join sites with the best content downloads. I always admired players who possess the creative ability, time and business sense to turn a hobby into a thriving enterprise.

I'm not so impressed by people who can farm and sell gold - anyone with enough time on their hands can do that. I was however impressed by the sites I saw during my research with the custom services, and my hat is off to them for their creativity. Supply and demand is fueling these companies and that's us the player-base. So I can't say kill all farmers because their only the middle men trying to earn a living. Clearly MANY people want and make use of these services or these companies couldn't stay in business.

So instead of lynching them, perhaps we should investigate and fix, what it is about these games that make these services appealing to players. And we can stand on a high horse at talk or we can be real. Being real you must realize that 10s of thousands of people must be availing themselves of these goods and services, and there is a reason.



'That tinkle you heard? My mmo heart breaking….' by hughnme
Submitted on 2007-01-08 18:49:07 CST
Another great show Brent and to everyone and a happy new year from down under…now to the tinkle.
I have been looking forward to Vanguard for a while however I must admit I haven’t done a lot of reading about the ins and outs of a game, when you started to describe the system req’s Brent I nearly fell out of my chair (which is embarrassing in a train)
From the sound of it I’m guessing with my computer I won’t have a chance at running the game.



'System specs' by Brent
Submitted on 2007-01-08 19:03:35 CST
Practical system specs for Vanguard are hard to gauge right now because they're still optimizing, but get the impression that both Brenden and Lauren are running it just fine. They both have systems that are a notch (or more) up from mine. Perhaps they'll fill us in so we have more perspective.


'It's kind of a dog' by Bman
Submitted on 2007-01-08 19:45:16 CST
EQ2 dramatically outperforms Vanguard on my system, which is nearly the same as Brent's except that mine has a 7600GT on PCI-E, as opposed to a 7600 on AGP. At the risk of alienating even more people than I already have, I'll say that for me, Vanguard is to EQ2 as F.E.A.R. is to Far Cry: a small visual upgrade (at best) with a disproportionately large performance cost.

The framerates in VG aren't abysmal (they're probably the least of my complaints, in fact), but the real performance issue for me is the loading. Where many games will try to load things in the background and just pop them in when they're ready (which looks goofy but at least isn't disruptive), Vanguard just grinds to a complete halt while it loads things, sometimes for several seconds at a time. This is especially annoying right when you first log on and try to look around and nothing's loaded, which is also the time you're probably most likely to notice and be aggravated by it.

This might be forgivable if VG blew away EQ2 graphically, but IMO it doesn't, not even with the graphics turned all the way up. Plus, the graphics settings are vague (e.g. what's the difference between setting "environmental shaders" to 80% or 90%?), many of them appear to have little or no visual or performance impact, and important graphics settings like texture resolution can't be directly changed. For instance, the only way to change the texture resolution is to edit the .ini file or to change graphics presets, which wipes out all your other settings.



'Its kinda nasty...' by darrenl
Submitted on 2007-01-08 21:43:32 CST
Happy New Year to all...

I'd have to agree with Brendon on the system reqs. I have an AMD 64 3500+, 1Gig RAM with a 7900GT vid card and it runs EQ2 very smooth on High Quality settings 9one notch above Balanced).

With Vanguard, if I put it on Balanced, my frame rate struggles to stay above 30 fps. The most noticeable slow downs are when you enter towns or new areas with lots of characters or trees/mobs etc. Just turning around 360 degrees can bring my comp to a halt for a couple of second. You're not getting much more graphically out of Vanguard than EQ2...actually, I kinda like EQ2's style more.

Of course, EQ2 has 2 years of optimizations on Vanguard...so we'll have to wait and see.



'Graphics and upgrades.' by phenor
Submitted on 2007-01-09 09:05:13 CST
I haven't had a feel of immersion for a game since EQ1. And the only reason I could immerse myself in Norath was because it had the most realistic graphics at the time. I require semi realistic graphics to feel a part of a game world. WoW, obviously too cartoony for me. EQ2... When I played EQ2 i never played first person and I always felt too small for some reason. Vanguard is the first game since my first 2-3 years of EQ that I feel myself slipping into the world around me (when I can avoid reading local chat, ugg).

My first character started was a goblin. Boy was I unimpressed with Martok. Gameplay and graphics in my first 10 levels had me thinking of WoW. I kept going, hoping that my first 10 levels were not indicative of the next 40. Well to be brief, when I left Martok and went to Khal and saw the harbor there and later the night sky over the desert I was WOWed, it is a very beautiful scene. This continent of Qalia feels right so far. Yes some places are bland, but I really feel that just provides contrast to the truely spectacular sights you'll see.

I know that IF I stick with Vanguard, I'll spend thousands of hours playing this game. If that means working a hundred or two hours extra to buy a DX10/Vista optimized (multi core, hybrid hard drive) machine with compliant GPU I will consider it time well spent. Vanguard or no, I'll be gaming. That means keeping up with tech, the software companies (that interest me) surely will. I guess it comes down to priorities. If I spent a lot of time in my car, I'd spend money to make it the best experience I could. If I had a child I'd spend money there. I choose to play computer games, I have no qualms spending money to have a superb gaming experience.



'Gfx and comments' by Sente
Submitted on 2007-01-09 09:50:50 CST
Regarding Vanguard gfx performace, are you able to decrease the maximum line of sight?
Seeing that there has been other comments about Vanguard allowing people to see very far, make me think that it might possibly affect gfx engine performance and decreasing how much your character actually will be able to see might help a bit.

While I am not too inclined to play yet another high fantasy MMOG with elves and such things, it will at least be interesting to see how and when they launch and how it will develop after that.

LIked the show Brent - with last year's shortage of new releases, it is not surprising with the focus on Vanguard.

I am very much in agreement with you on the importance of a good guild or perhaps a static group for the MMO experience. Even better is if you can find a group like that that will cover multiple games, so you don't have to start all over again if you would switch game at some point.
For me it definitely got better in this area when I joined TOG (www.theoldergamers.com) and there are other similar groups that makes the whole task of finding a nice guild or a set of people to play with so much easier.

To help with the grouping part and level differences which you mentioned as a problem, I believe that more games should include level-equalizing features like mentoring in EQ2 or the sidekick/lackey/exemplar/malefactor in City of Villain/Heroes. EQ2 did only go halfway with it but better than nothing, but it was a while since I played it. It works great in CoX and makes it easier to get a group of guildies or friends together quickly for some fun.

I agrre with Patrick's comments in his segment about being fun and when looking at new games, I'm more and more looking at to what extent the company/devs talk about making it fun rather than including new/unique/revolutionary/whatever game feature.



'EQ2 is full of midgets, er, I mean little people' by Brent
Submitted on 2007-01-09 11:01:23 CST
Phenor, you're right! What is it about EQ2 characters... everything feels small. It is the common camera perspectives we use, all pulled back to see everything or is it an overall tininess of the characters in comparison to their surroundings. I don't know precisely what causes it but I too have always felt that EQ2 characters are small in some way. I also agree with your assessment of the immersion factor related to this. Something about the camera perspectives in EQ1 did lend it self to a more immediate feeling. Not sure why that is. You're also right about Vanguard, it achieves the effect a bit better than many games. One though I have on this... ever notice in EQ1 that is is not possible to spin around to the front of your character without switching camera types? This means that during normal game play you will never see your character's face and always have the first person or a limited 3rd person view. When I play WoW I commonly spin the camera around to various angles when I'm in battle. This disconnects me from the character and makes it more like I'm watching (and controlling) someone else rather than playing the part of that character. I think this is why the Elder Scrolls games and FPS games always limit us to first person. There is greater immersion in first person. It is scarier too. With all the fancy camera angles we get today there is little chance that mobs will ever sneak up on us.


'Still no DAOC love?' by bowa
Submitted on 2007-01-09 11:55:50 CST
I keep hearing complaints by podcasters - mostly the MOG guys that there aren't any good PvP games out there aside from EVE. Why is everyone overlooking the only game with a WORKING and complete PvP system, and has been out for over 5yrs now?

Brent, you have gone for months without nary a mention of one of the longest-running MMO titles out there, despite a huge expansion that launched a few months ago...

I played DAoC when it first launched in 2001, and stuck with it for 3 years. Went over to WOW for 2 yrs and then to EVE for 2 months - I'm back in DAoC now, and loving it more than ever. PvP done right. How about some coverage?



'On my desk' by Brent
Submitted on 2007-01-09 12:15:02 CST
I have a huge respect for DAoC, but I don't mention it much. Two reasons:

1. I haven't really played it.
2. There's not much news on it.

But here is the good news. I have a fresh, unopened copy of the 5th Anniversary Edition of DAoC sitting on my desk waiting to be installed. It is in the queue, but it isn't at the top of it.



'Vanguard Slideshow' by Sanctified
Submitted on 2007-01-09 19:19:45 CST
I get 10 fps in Vanguard on my current PC. Ive failed as a nerd.

And DAOC definitely deserves some props, even though Marc Jacobs loves diet Coke and Teddy Bears.

You really shouldve tried DAOC before "that game that is really successfull that I wont name" released. Its golden age has come and gone and I dont really think you could respect it as much starting fresh this late in the game.



'DAoC still has plenty of life' by bowa
Submitted on 2007-01-10 14:10:02 CST
I disagree with you, Sanctified. I think the graphic overhaul and the new race/class/area expansion infused lots of new life into the game. Brent, the 5th Anniversary edition is excellent for getting all the released content on one DVD. Catacombs and Darkness Rising have made leveling and soloing much easier and interesting, and the PvP (RvR, actually) is like nothing else out there. 3 opposing realms with full-out war and realm-wide benefits gotten from conquest of castles and keeps is FUN. Brent - get it up higher on your pile! (email me if interested in realm/server class/profession selection help)


'Empty' by Sanctified
Submitted on 2007-01-10 17:24:12 CST
All pve areas are empty save for the random PL'd Minotaur alt and the grind is super slow without a group or buffbot.

Maybe bowa will let you use his account. : ) Hell, you can use mine for a shout-out and get right to the stuff DAOC is made of...RVR. :)

PS - Dont steal my stuff.



'Marr's ____' by cyanbane
Submitted on 2007-01-11 00:57:06 CST
I loved the podcast as always, but the funniest part was Patrick the frenchman digging on the british band ;)

I thought Patrick really hit the nail on the head with his analysis or WoW though (Not necessarily the best example with Liam and Noel though) , but very good description. I can't help but turn my nose at wow when I have played i in the past (to be fair almost 2 years ago), I just never found it that fun. I have seen that a lot of my time lately has been spent playing $5 original xbox live titles though (zuma, backgammon etc) so I completely understand his point about the fun factor though. I think Nintendo's Wii is the best example of his theory.

Again great show, loved Guy's section and also although I hated to hear about it, I though Lauren's section was great also and is something a lot of people just take for granted till it's too late.

I don't necessarily agree that eq2 characters seem smaller (couple comment above, I think the world just looks bigger in the context of what we use to see in eq1 (spires, faydwer, etc).