Tag Archives: mmorpg

Is Your Head – or Your Computer – in the Cloud?

Everywhere you turn, there’s someone talking about Cloud Computing lately. Let’s face it – it’s a hot concept. However, there is a large difference of opinion as to what Cloud Computing even means, much as there is with “Web 2.0”. To some, Cloud Computing is simply another term for virtually anything you do on the Internet. To others, it’s more specifically virtual servers. It gets fuzzy when you try to nail down a full description of what Cloud Computing really is.

To me, Cloud Computing is simply anything I can do online, instead of having to rely on software on my computer. There are full applications available now that cover everything from picture editing to paper writing to handling your taxes… and it’s all done from within your browser. How much easier can it get to simply go to a website and do what you need to do, instead of having to buy and install software, make sure it’s compatible with your system and other software, launch the program every time… you get where I’m going. Cloud Computing, by my definition at least, just makes life so much simpler.

How do you define Cloud Computing, and what are your thoughts on the whole thing?

I keep a fairly close eye on the programs we feature every day on our downloads page. There are some excellent pieces of software there – even a few I found I can no longer live without!

An Insider’s Look at the New Game Aion

XX0wnsXY (Becca) is a girl gamer geek. She’s hardcore, boys, and regularly beats out her male counterparts in various games she plays. She’s been a part of our community for quite awhile now, and has contributed insights and commentary in the past when we’ve talked about various games.

Becca emailed me today, with the below review/guide for her new favorite game Aion. She took the time to write a very comprehensive piece for all of you, so I wanted to post it in full. Credit for the below goes entirely to Becca!

This is my first MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role – Playing Game). (I used to be so against RPGs, but this one has swayed me). So, my review is submitted from a new user’s point of view. I would really like it if anyone with past MMORPG experience can reply and offer an experienced point of view on the game. I think the two contrasts would be interesting.

So the game is called Aion (“Eye-On”). It is, as I said, a MMO-RPG. It’s categorized as PvPvE (Player vs. Player vs. Environment). It’s been out in Korea for a year or more, and was released in the US a month ago.

The story line, in simple terms (although they go into great detail in multiple cut-scenes throughout the game, with awesome graphics):

A world of peace began to crumble after some of the race called “Draken” rebelled against the God “Aion”, and in turn, a huge battle broke out and the world was shattered in to three pieces. These events became known as “The Cataclysm” (Kat-a-Cliz-em) This created three races: “Elyos” (good) who live in “Elysea”, and Asmodians (Evil) who live in Asmodae, and Balaur -(The Draken renamed after their rebellion; not a playable race, NPC’s only, and are hostile against both Elyos and Asmodians, (which plays into the PvPvE.) who reside in the Abyss. The third piece, known as the “Abyss” is the space between Elysea and Asmodae, where both factions gain access at level 25 and begin the true PvP (Player vs. Player) aspect of the game.

You are able to choose which faction you would like to be at the start of your game. You begin your game by choosing one of the 4 classes, Male or Female; Warrior, Mage, Scout, or Priest. I, personally, chose to start as a Priest. You can customize your characters appearance greatly (from hair, skin, eye, and lip color, to extremety thickness, voice and much more).

You begin your journey in the “starter area”, which is different for each faction, of course. You level from 1-9 with simple quests that help you get acquainted with the various menu options and NPC’s. You also become acquainted with your current skills and abilities. Along with that, you become acquainted with the game’s travel systems, which are:

  • A Flight Transporter – Allows you to pay a fee to fly (on a winged animal of some sort, very cool looking) to your destination. The graphics are awesome during flight.
  • A Teleporter – You simply pay a fee and jump into a portal – and your game loads into your destination.

You can bring up your map by pressing “M”. It will give you a full overview of the area you are in, along with surrounding areas. You can press “N” and a smaller, more transparent version will appear, which is convenient while walking/flying and still needing to see where you are going. When you are grouped with other people in the same area, they will appear on the map as blue diamonds.

You will also become acquainted with Soul Healing and resurrection. Should you die along the way (and you will, believe me), you will be given the option to return to the place where you last bound your soul (You bind your soul to obelisk’s in major cities), or you can choose to wait (up to 30 minutes) and ask for someone to come resurrect you. Chanters and Clerics have the ability to resurrect. There are also resurrection stones that can be bought and acquired during quests that can be used on another player.

If you are not resurrected, you return to your bind point, and beside you will be a Soul Healer. For a fee, you will be healed of soul sickness (this makes your movement slow and you are unable to fly/glide) and you will recover your experience that you lost. The amount of experience lost depends on your level. The price of soul healing goes up the more times you die, and becomes very expensive over time, so you must be careful. You don’t have to worry about soul healing when it comes to PvP. If you are killed by the opposite faction, soul healing only costs 1 gold and you do not lose any experience. You do, however, lose Abyss Points (discussed later).

At level 9, you receive an “ascension” quest, which will allow you to become a “Daeva” (advanced humans who have tapped into the power of the Aether to gain new abilities and strengths that put them far beyond the power levels of any mortal human) and choose your subclass. The subclasses are:

  • For Warrior – Gladiator or Templar.
  • For Scout – Assassin or Ranger
  • For Priest – Chanter or Cleric
  • For Mage – Sorcerer or Spirit Master

I started as a Priest, so I chose to evolve into a Chanter. I won’t go into too much detail about the classes/subclasses, as that would take entirely too much time, but each one has its positives and negatives. I like being a Chanter, because we can adapt to pretty much any situation (I.E – we can heal, have buffs, have decent DPS – Damage per Second, and are needed in many group situations).

Shortly after you have completed your ascension quest, you receive a quest to earn your wings. Yes, you can fly in this game, which is something I hear is much different from any MMO out there. The flight ability in this game is so much fun and adds a new and interesting aspect to PvP. You will find that pre-abyss (lvls 1-24), you will use your wings mostly to glide down long hills to make your trips a little faster. There are a few designated areas where you are free to fly, otherwise you can only glide.

If you are interested in PvP before level 25, there are opportunities for this. There are temporary openings from one world to another (Elysea to Asmodae and vice versa) that allow you to go to the opposite factions world and hunt the enemy. These are known as Rifts. However, you have little chance to stay alive, unless you are grouped with other people. I found this annoying at times, because I would be trying to complete a quest in my world, and out of nowhere, comes a group of enemies and of course, I get killed. When the shoe is on the other foot however, it’s fun. Yeah Yeah, I can dish it but can’t take it. Enemies of the opposing faction show up on your radar as red diamonds. You will have to worry more about this in the Abyss.

The good thing is that rifts close after a certain number of people enter them, so they do not last forever. There are even spy quests that you can acquire that require you to go to the enemy’s world and complete a mission. They are very hard, but offer great rewards. I have yet to complete them… like I said, very hard.

Throughout your leveling experience, you will occasionally need to learn new skills/abilities. These are learned from your class trainer, and are in designated areas in the game. As you level, the price of learning your abilities goes up and can become quite costly. (At level 28 I paid over 70,000 gold for my new abilities).

Once you have bought your skill manual, it will appear as a book in your inventory (Hit I to access your inventory). Double click the book, and that skill will be learned. You can then press the letter K on your keyboard, and it will bring up a list of all of your skills. You can find your new skills and drag and drop them into your skill bar at the bottom of your screen:

Don’t worry, gold is plentiful in this game, and easily acquired. If you manage your gold right, you will have no trouble. If you do find yourself needing more, there are options to receive gold through the in-game mailing system. All you have to do is ask a friend for gold and they can attach it to mail and send it to your in-game mailbox (found at most major cities, in game). Gold is not hard to acquire through Grinding (Killing NPC enemies), either. There are also other options like selling items you have acquired via the Trade Broker (also found in major cities), or general goods merchants.

Like with many other games of this type, you can learn professions. Along with the professions, you can also Gather, which eventually evolves into Extraction. You begin gathering different plants/herbs. As you level, you receive the ability to extract the essence of an item, rather than the item itself, called Extract Vitality. After that comes Aether extraction, which is extracting from the sky (you must fly and risk falling to your death if you are not careful). I suggest leveling these things as you go. Many people say that it is not important, so I did not bother with it at first. When I reached level 20 I realized that many of the NPC’s gave quests to gather/extract an item and bring it to them. I skipped many quests and they add up! I spent many hours going back to level my gathering/extraction. Major setback, but I’m glad I did it. Definitely do this as you go.

Leveling solo is very do-able until level 20+. You will begin receiving quests that require a group. They will have the [group] prefix, letting you know to not even attempt to do the quest without more people to help. These are the most fun for me. You get to interact with other players and become an important part of the other players success. Very few of the quests you acquire are [group] quests, however they offer such great rewards, that they can’t afford to be skipped. Aion offers a LFG (Looking for Group) chat channel, which makes it easy to find people to group with.

Grouping is used for [Group] quests and instances. You can join the “LFG” Chat channel and ask for more people to help with your quest. Usually typed in this format: “Level 31 Chanter LFG Legendary Amethysts. PST (please send tell, which is just a whisper.). You will hopefully get some responses and from there, can invite people to your group (right click their name and select “invite to group”).. rinse and repeat.

One of the most menacing problems for MMO’s are the gold spammers (Those who want to sell you gold – it’s illegal, but people do buy so it keeps the gold spammers running rampant). They spam the chat with their links and make it hard for you to read any conversation going on between your legion or group. One easy fix to this is to create a new chat tab, and customize the options to allow only chat from your legion or group. To do this, open chat and right click on one of the tabs. From there you can choose “Add Tab”. Name it, and customize tab options. Voila!

At level 20. you can acquire “Stigmas”, which are basically extra abilities that you can receive that can separate one of the same class from the other. There are many stigmas that one class can choose, and that’s what makes me (one chanter) different from another. You must complete a quest to enable you to equip stigmas, but after that as you level, you will acquire more stigma slots. To view your current stigma slots, press “P” and select the Stigma tab.

Stigmas can be acquired from quests, NPC drops, or bought from the trade broker. Some are more rare than others. Each stigma requires stigma shards (can be acquired in the abyss from NPC enemies) to equip, and can only be equipped by a stigma master.

The next milestone is level 25. This is when you receive your “Abyss Entry Quest”, which is quite long, but very easy. Once you complete this quest, you gain entry access into the Abyss – the main PvP area. During the quest, you have to pick which area of your world you will access the Abyss from. Once you pick, you can enter the abyss by flying to the portal in the sky only in that area.

The Abyss offers many things, and has beautiful graphics. It offers many high experience/pay/item reward quests, and of course, it offers PvP. The Abyss can be very overwhelming at first. When you enter the Abyss, you are in a safe zone. There is an Aetheric Field around this area that prevents any enemy from penetrating. Once you venture out, you can collect quests, grind abyss enemies for high experience and abyss points (Points collected in the Abyss that when enough are acquired, you can get special items), and PvP.

Venturing out into the abyss requires flight. You can teleport to some areas, but you will have to fly a lot. There are flight rings that you will find between certain areas that you can fly through to gain flight time. You can refer to the bar at the bottom right of your screen to monitor your flight time drain. If you strafe through the rings, you can refill your bar quickly. There are also potions that increase flight time, along with equipment perks.

The ultimate goal of the Abyss is to capture fortresses from the opposing faction. I have no experience in this, but a month into the game, people are already doing it. You can see which fortresses are owned by which faction by pressing “M” to bring up the map and refer to the color key.

PvP is the most exciting feature for some MMO players. I like a little bit of both PvP and PvE. As I said before, when venturing out into the Abyss, you will run into an enemy from the opposing faction. They will appear on your radar as red diamonds, and when you are close enough to them to actually see them, their name will appear in red. They will have a rank (ie Rank 7 soldier), which is in reference to their abyss points. The lower their rank the more abyss experience they have, so beware of going against anyone too much lower than you. You are also unable to see the opposing faction’s level. Some like it this way, some don’t. Personally, I think it adds an interesting twist and requires a bit more strategy when approaching an enemy. To view your Abyss points/ranking press “P” and hit the “Abyss” tab:

As I continue to level, I learn more and more about the game. I do not have anything to compare the game to (first RPG), but I not only experience nothing but good things, I also hear good things, for the most part. The graphics are probably the best part of this game. They are absolutely beautiful. The storyline is interesting to follow, and it isn’t a total grind-fest to level. The pace is good, and the Abyss is fun.

Aion, like any other MMO (from what I’m told) has it’s problems. There are gold spammers and bots. The game has been out for a month in the US, and so far the development team has been working hard to keep them at bay. I’m not sure they will ever be totally rid of them, but I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

There are many guides for Aion out there, all of this content was written by me. All screen shots were taken in – game by me. Some sources were used for the storyline.

Very, VERY well-written and detailed guide, Becca! Thanks so much for sending this in. I have a feeling several of our gamer Geeks are now salivating to get their hands on Aion!

Is the MMORPG Popularity Getting out of Hand?

We’re now at nearly 7500 members on Geeks, which means we’ll be giving away several webcams courtesy of Microsoft soon! Here is some of what has been happening on the site today.

Forum Threads

Blog Posts

If you haven’t joined us yet, what are you waiting for?

MMORPG Etiquette

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Being rude or offensive when playing an MMORPG can be fatal. You can get yourself removed and even “blacklisted”. Here are some tips sent in by a reader to help you behave yourself properly when playing.

  • Don’t treat other players as though they are “gods”. Just because a player is famous – or a Mod – doesn’t mean you should treat them differently than anyone else. After all, they are just players. Sending messages to your friends that someone famous is logged in is pointless, and just fills up the chat interface.
  • Trade Spamming is when in a bank, some people will come up to you and tell you to “buy! buy!”… without telling you what it is you should get! They also repeatedly click “trade” on you, which is extremely annoying. Just because a person is a high level, doesn’t mean they want to buy off of you.
  • Don’t say “I’ll own you”. In most MMORPGs, random people will come up to you and say “I’ll own you”. What’s the point in this? In my opinion, it’s a waste of time saying it, when you could instead be training, learning a skill, or talking to friends. Speaking of friends… no matter what kind of argument you may be in, dont’ say “my friend will own you”. That’s like saying “my mommy is going to beat you up”. It’s just lame.
  • What is up with pointless player killing? When you have no items on you, some players will pointlessly challenge you to a duel or just kill you flat out. Does this prove you are somehow the better gamer? No, it doesn’t. It just shows you’re rude, and care about nothing more than making yourself thinking your’re “bad”.
  • Don’t beg. Begging is the most degrading thing in MMORPGs. No one wats to give you free stuff… go earn it yourself. Sometimes, people say “Omg I got hacked!”. That just shows they weren’t careful with their items or passwords. Randomly going up to someone and just asking for their good items isn’t cool. I don’t care if it’s your birthday, don’t just expect me to give you the things I worked hard for!


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Gold Farming in WoW (and More)

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Here are the top five tips for having fun through gold farming, as well as putting your time to good use. These tips apply for most MMORPGs ( Massively Multi Player Role Playing Games ).

  • Bring Friends Along Most people tend to gold farm by themselves. People do this because they don’t want to have to share their revenue or loot. But by doing this, you won’t gold farm for long periods of time. When you’re alone, all you do is farm, farm, farm, and farm. Bring some friends along. Don’t be selfish… and share some loot and profit. By doing this, you can make some new friends and even gold farming buddies. You can even give some money to the lower levels or beginners of the game. You will also be able to take down mobs much quicker.
  • Bring The Best You Can Bring Another mistake that people make is bringing random armors or weapons to their gold farming trips. You should take some time to get good armors and food so that you can stay farming for long periods of time, possibly leading to large amounts of profit.
  • Create A Strategy And Route Before you go farming, make sure to map out a strategy and route for the location. Make sure to tell this to your farming mates or group. You can’t make good profit by just farming blindly through an area. If you have a route, you can make much more profit than if you would have just gone through at random. Another thing you have to keep in mind is your strategy. Look at your route, and look at what you’re playing as or what you’re best at. Develop a strategy to take down enemies in much less time, which again leads to more profit.
  • Choose The Best Location Before farming, most people think of what way may be easiest for them. If you approach farming this way, then you’ve made another mistake. Always choose they best location… I repeat the best location. By doing this, you can have better loot which again means more profit. Don’t go to a beginner area to gold farm when you can go to a pro area and make 100x more profit.
  • Come Prepared Go farming with everything you need. For example, I play world of warcraft and I have to make sure I bring my skinning knife, food, water, armor, pet food, weapons, and bags. By doing this I’m keeping myself from wasting time making trips back and forth, thus wasting time that I could’ve used to make some good profit. So keep in mind to bring everything you’ll need to make the most profit.
  • Bonus Tip! Please everyone. Don’t sell your profit for real-world money. First of all, you’re wasting all the time it took you to make that money for just a couple of dollars. You’re also making it hard for beginners to buy what they want, since most MMOs have a large money buying community that increases prices on items all around the game. This makes it hard for beginners to buy items that they really need. So please… use your profit for in-game purposes only.


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MMORPG Etiquette

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A community member writes: “I have been a player of the MMO, Massive Multiplayer Online game, City of Heroes and the expansion, City of Villains since the original CoH came out in April of 2004. I have ran across plenty of newbies and general idiots over the course of almost four years. I hope these tips help people not to be such “noobs”.”

  • Don’t spam the announcement channels with chit-chat. It is annoying going into some game zones (game levels/maps) and seeing people spamming chit chat to the entire map. Not only does it get annoying, but if you are looking for a team to play with, it makes that a little harder if your announcement scroll off the the chat screen quickly.
  • Don’t pester people with team invitations. If you want to invite someone, do the polite thing and send them a private message with the /tell command. This allows you to see if they would like to join your team. If they are not interested, or they are doing something else, wish them luck. Sometimes, they wish you luck back. If you invite first, you may end up getting ignored.
  • Don’t pester people to Power Level you. If you have friends who are willing to power level you, then run with them. Do not go to the high level zones and expect some random high level character to help you get a lot of levels quickly. If you want to level somewhat quickly on City of Heroes/Villains, then run the Task Forces for heroes and the strike levels for villains. When you play these at the lowest available level, you tend to level up around two, three or even four levels in the span if the Task Force/Strike Force.
  • Don’t pester the people in the auction houses. Some people worked hard, in the game that is, to get what they are selling. Just because you need to get the one thing there that cost more than what you got, then work to get the extra bit in the game. If you have friends that play, ask them if they can let you have the amount you need. Just don’t pester them, or they will not be your friends for long.
  • Don’t pester someone asking if they have a TeamSpeak or a Vent server. Chances are, if you annoy them and they have one, you wont get invited to join. Also, once on a TS / Vent server, don’t annoy the people there. Don’t play music over the server, but make have your sounds levels good. You don’t want to be too quite or too loud. You may also want to make sure that the people are not hearing echos or game sounds effects from your side. It is also good to set your vent/ts client to have a P-t-t (Push to Talk) button configured. This way, game sounds wont activate the microphone, and it also wont allow your clients to constantly broadcast out.
  • Don’t pester someone to join a guild (super group/villain group in C O H/ C O V). If the guild is asking for people, then send a message to the person who is recruiting.


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