Mar 5, 2007

MMO Gnome. Act Two. Freeware Maiming.

Back in the day when all I were was a wee gnome beardling (easily confused with a dwarf beardling, but -believe me- different in every way) my father made me promise I'd never pay to play World of Warcraft. Ever. Obediently I obliged. Trouble is I haven't managed to get any WoW fun for free either, which consequently made me post the following video as a testament to my severely lacking protesting skills:

Yes, they were dancing naked gnomes, weren't they lovely? Despite being all in fancy 3d? Still, some people just don't get it. They are stuck in them ancient text only times. Take Urban Dead for example, a free MMORPG I've blogged about some time ago over @ Siliconera. Well, it's filled with people adoring it's graphic-less environments, decayed urban setting and apparently its 10 minutes per day gameplay.

A pretty average greek zombie (via)

Intrigued, I too entered said zombie infested MMO as a zombie named Sapisiaris (a non-existent word, that should it ever exist, it would probably be Greek and roughly translate to rotting guy) with dreams of mindless shambling around that would be happily disturbed by the odd brain snack, only to be turned into a bloody human in less than an hour's worth of playing. Now, that was a major irritation, but gaining the ability to speak words, thus overcoming the communication barriers raised by the undeads' Graaghs, Graaagh!s or Mrh?s, and the ability to use stuff was enough of a pay-off. Until I got killed again and turned back to a zombie, that is. Then back to human and then again back to a zombie and so on and so forth, till I wisely decided I wasn't really enjoying myself. After all, it was hopeless. I never wanted to be a zombie. I wanted to be an assassin. Yeah, and uhm... kill stuff! Oh, and be sexy too.

Hot, huh? Regardless. This is exactly what my online persona while playing Guild Wars Factions looked like. It is, to this day, the less bearded incarnation of Gnomie Freeware ever. And he/she/it was a Roleplaying character, meaning no dirty -not to mention unfair- PvP action could occur. Actually, after finishing the tutorial, politely declining recruitment to a polish guild and miserably failing to invite a bot to join my party, I managed to avoid any Player-to-Player interaction whatsoever. You see, dearest readers, Guild Wars is the perfect game for us pretentious anti-social gnomes, that just can't stand the average MMORPG player for more than 3msecs and are more than happy to conjure a few NPCs and go slaying stuff on our own, exactly as if Guild Wars had no guilds in it. Ahh, the beauty and tranquility of it. Almost made me go out and buy a copy. Almost.

Anyway, my solo 10 hours of the Guild Wars free demo were really that enjoyable. I liked the graphics, mastered the refreshingly simple interface which didn't require pressing ctr-alt-F4-E every other second, and annihilated my fair share of beasties. Mantids they were actually, and the really big one pictured below. Then the trial time ran out. Pity.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: MMO Gnome. Act One., 10 unsung Indiana Jones games, StarFox PC, True Combat: Elite

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  1. ..put some more money in the guild wars meter I was just getting into it... please here.. (hands Gnome euro coins..., shakes fist in the air.)

    bloody Mantids..come back here we're not finished with you yet....!!!

  2. I admit it . . . I played Everquest for 5+ years. Then I made the dreadful mistake of counting all those monthly fees and expansions. Yet, it was a lot of fun only because of the group that I hung out with the entire time, some real-life friends who got me into it.

    I played Everquest II for a while, as well as playing beta for WoW, Star Wars Galaxies, and a couple of others. They were horrid. Nothing came close to the fun of Everquest. Part of it is that the games just missed what made EQ fun for me in the first place.

    I've picked up a number of free MMOs, and I can't say that I'd play any of them longer than to see what they're about. (I think there are now more than 100 free MMO games.) And besides not having friends, the real problem for me is that, quite frankly, I'm tired of seeing more or less the same thing over and over and over.

    And I'm seeing now that I want something I had with MOOs and MUDs--the ability to create something online. I'm not talking about that Second Life stuff . . . I'm talking about characters. I want to build a bar filled with interesting characters, with stories, with mysteries.

    I look at what my friends and I did in EQ . . . we created characters with some pretty involved back stories. And when we played, it wasn't always about doing Quest X to get the Yellow Dog Ring of Flaming Death, but about pursuing a character goal. Maybe my friends and I were just geeky, but people aren't just talking animals. We're story telling animals.

    When an MMO allows me to do that sort of play, I'm there.

    I still kick the dust off my Guild Wars and play once in a while. If you like Guild Wars, you might consider Silk Road ( which is free/free. It's an Asian theme game. Rappelz ( is another free/free game from Korea, but it didn't maintain my interest.

    I might try Acclaim's 9Dragons, though I'm really not into the Asian theme MMOs which dominate the free MMO scene. (

  3. Found a new free/free MMO to consider called Last Chaos.

    Would you consider it after seeing this screen shot?

  4. (seeing Elderly taunt the confused and somewhat scared Mantid)

    Pour creature, he can probably sense his fate...
    (takes of and lowers hat giving last moments to the mantid)

    WOW is a set of good rendered characters and locations all so hollow, Though the Warcraft II game is something inscribed in my brain when I was young and that's irreversible.

    Guttertalk, I am amazed as inspired by your comment. It's nice to see there are some people out there who like to make something from a RPG character rather than have him lurking in the forest\dungeon\steep\hay stack waiting for a creature to spawn, kill it and repeat the cycle once more...
    My self being a Role Master GM (if that is even the right phrase), story telling is inherit in my nature, and I like continuing to be one.

    Further more, reading your comment made me seriously consider buying EQ.

    I salute you fellow story teller.

  5. Thanks for the get gnome some guild wars festival Mr. Elderly. Euros appreciated too and now I'm ready to sing!

    Ahh, dear Guttertalk, you 'll surely get Nikolas in financial trouble, but yes, I see what you're getting at and it's most interesting. Story-telling animals, huh? Guess I'll agree to that too. Thanks for the links and the screenshot ;). I'll definitely have a look at them proposed MMOs and most probably will give EQ a chance too...

    Nikola, Warcraft II was indeed good, but Warcraft III was just brilliant. Almost comparable to Starcraft even. Oh, and kudos for still managing to roll all those dice and scan all those Role Master tables, mate.

    Cheers guys, thanks for the comments!

  6. I thank you for your wonderful comments Guttertalk. I think you hit on something that I think is missing from many, if not most, MMO's out there: creativity. I've tried several different ones and the ones that I seem to enjoy the most are the ones where your mind has to make up for the lack of graphics or you get to add your own flavor to the game.

    I still play RuneScape (best MMO for the price - Free or $5 US/month), Larkinor ( and Adventure Quest ( occasionally but have spent more time playing Renaissance Kingdoms ( and Urban Dead recently than the other ones.

  7. Seems like everybody's MMORPGing, doesn't it dear Blue Gnome?

  8. nikolas: Have you tried Neverwinter Nights? I have equal numbers of friends who enjoyed and hated it.

    As for EQ, I don't think there was anything particular to it that lent itself to story-based adventures. It's just what we did. I created another character in secret from my friends who was the evil uncle of the barbie warrior they often grouped with. I built up from there into a series of events and such.

    To clarify: I think what made EQ fun in ways that the other MMOs aren't is that it was a truly dangerous place. And a death hurt in those days of hard-earned leveling. Plus, it was before there were maps of every zone all over the Internet. We didn't know what we were getting into, and we explored, not knowing what we might see or run into.

    My friends were elves, and I was a barbarian, so we were separated for several days. It was that desire for us all to gather together that also added something to the game. It was a huge achievement when as a level 10 character we managed to cross a continent, take a ship and cross yet another continent as higher level characters sent us /tell's, "You shouldn't be here."

    I came close to that experience a couple of times in WoW. It may be one of those things you do once, and you can't really experience again.

    FWIW, one thing I have come to dislike in MMOs is something that is central to them: leveling. If someone among your friends can't play, then you might face a gap that can be difficult to make up. And if you do, it becomes a grind.

  9. Simply love reading those comments, and must defnitely agree... Leveling is way to boring/time consuming.

  10. Ah yes, Neverwinter is indeed a good game, Guttertalk as I have a friend who raised a cult around the remains of a NWN game disk. Eventual I to was sucked in and experienced the chill and hunger of extended Neverwinter gaming. ' Have played all extensions regretfully finishing none singleplayer campaigns except the original NWN.

    As for EQ, your endeavors sound simply thrilling and I hope to experience some of such in a MMO, might as well be EQ. Alas I fear that will for now stay only as a unachieved gaming goal, due to my total lack of funds.

    As you said, leveling is probably the biggest nuisance being a integral part of any MMO, and finding a regular party is a task for it self.

    Guess you got a pretty good start and had grate friends which all contributed to the gaming experience in whole...
    In a way, I envy you.

    Oh and sorry dear Gnome for eating up your comment space.

  11. Eat away, eat away, that's what it's here for :)

  12. (realising nobody's going to put more euro in the guild wars meter.... elderly digs out his neverwinter disc.... remembering the quite easy design an adventure feature....)

    what do mantids look like again?

  13. I'd say beastly. Yes, definitely. Insectoid too.

  14. I loved the idea of NWN, but I was never able to get into a good (multiplayer) game. I hear NWN2 is too beastly for online play really.

    I've had in my head for a while a scene that captures the experience I'm really looking for in an RPG world, whether it's an MMO or multiplayer game (maybe even single player). I'll try to put it down this weekend. I appreciate the response to my EQ stories.

  15. Just, don't forget to blog about your find...


  16. Guttertalk, I can say that I am looking forward to what your mind comes up with for a RPG world/game. I've got a few different worlds in my mind's eye but always like to see what others can dream up.

  17. ...(ambushed by mantids... elderly seeks help...)

    hey.. what about the mantids? they'll invest the very World we live in unless we stop em...


    (the mmo machine runs out of euro, imprisoning the elderly on the other side...)


    .. right about now would be a good time for reinforcements....

  18. Yes, but reinforcements cost money... I say let the Mantids infest places... How bad can it trully be? I'm not giving a cent away.

  19. Nice entry, two problems - both regarding Guild Wars...

    1. Using 'unfair', 'PvP' and 'Guild Wars' in the same sentence is forbidden, impossible and unrealistic. There is no such thing as unfair PvP in Guild Wars (I'd know, my Guild ranked 13th - yes, that's worldwide ;)).

    2. Roleplaying characters can participate in PvP just fine! That's how I accidentally screwed up my new Nightfall character - having him die 3 times in PvP before realizing I just lost my shot at the Survivor title. *sigh*

  20. Right, I'll take your word for it. Didn't play more than a dozen or so hours I believe...

    Thanks for another brill comment mate!

  21. Well, if you're looking for a role-play based mmo that still has a LARGE degree of action... I do suggest you log into Second Life and look up a SIM called Lost Angels. It's a post-apocalyptic city that was created with a combat meter but is largely based in storytelling RP (roleplay). It's... INSANELY fun and addicting to say the least, and it's run by a highly dedicated and friendly team. Anyways... That's the City of Lost Angels in Second Life... just a suggestion. ^_^

  22. Thanks for the tip, and even though I tend to avoid SL like the plague, this RPG thing looks very promising. I'll try and have a look when things calm down...