by Mike Shea on 13 January 2004
Two kids were arrested for talking about and writing about violence. They had no weapons and made no actual violent moves but they face a 15 year felony sentence for "Terror". Thoughts and writings can now be illegal on their own, it doesn't matter if you actually commit a crime and a notebook can get you as big a sentence as a gun. Welcome to "thoughtcrime".
An announcement by Sony states that Champions of Everquest will have four player voice support over broad band. This game seems a bridge between small numbers online RPGs and massive online RPGs. It may be a perfect game for a casual gamer if you can get in, play for 45 minutes, and leave without dorking over your party. Voice support in RPGs isn't always a good thing, but it will probably work better than a keyboard at your couch for Everquest Online Adventures.
As much as I love consoles and wish that some sort of bridge into massive online games would drag them over into the console world effectivly, I have to accept that massive online games just play better on a PC. You can play better when you are at your desk with a keyboard, a mouse, and a high resolution monitor. While I love my 55" HDTV, I can play at 1856x1393 resolution on my Sony 21" monitor instead of 720x480 on my TV. The PC allows for a richer and deeper game. With Windows XP, technical problems aren't as severe. The price for a good Everquest PC is still over $1000, a lot higher than the $180 game consoles, and the difficulty of installation, maintanance, and play on the PC makes it a lot harder for non-computer geek people to play. Still, I don't see the tools or capabilities for massive online games to reach consoles yet. Maybe with the next generation we'll see some MOG friendly features.
Sony Execs high on pipeweed made some outlandish statements about the next generation of game consoles. While they have their eyes on gimicky "robby the robot" devices like eye-toy and neural net processors, they would do a lot better just coming out with a new game system with enhanced specs. A while back I wrote a guide for the next generation consoles and I stand by the statistics I required back then. Here's a summary:HDTV compatable resolution: 1920x1080 ideal, 1280x720 with good conversion to 1080i sets acceptable, 720x480 progressive ideal. Native widescreen display in all games. Dolby Digital 5.1 in-game audio for all games. Built in ethernet support for network gaming. No adapter. Built in voice support with an included headset for network games. Smooth 60 frames per second displays at HDTV resolutions. DVD playback. No built in harddrive to cut costs and external memory cards for saved games. Included controller with twin analog sticks, one digital + pad, two to four triggers, four main buttons, start, and select buttons. Rumblepad built in. Model after the PS2 controller. Price tag starting at $299 and dropping to $199 by the second year.There is a blueprint for Sony to come out with an ideal Playstation 3 assuming they can put out some good games for it. The rest of the technobabble they throw out hardly means spit if they can't do the above. It will be neat to see what the next consoles start to look like.
In Feburary the seventh expansion for Everquest comes out, the Gates of Discord. I don't know any other game that has seven expansions, and the improvements they've made over the year are telling me that they can keep this game going forever. There is enough new high level progression in Gates to keep me interested in my 7200 hour old character for at least another half a year. Something keeps making me think there may be something "Better" but I just can't see what they can offer me to drag me away from my beloved EQ.
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