Subscription fees are no fun, but for some reason, quickly deflating your wallet through the age old art of shopping is! D&D Online developer Turbine understands this, and is revamping its MMO to suit your primal, non-committal money spending instincts.
Titled Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, this new version of the sadly overlooked MMO will be completely free-to-play. Well, mostly. Downloading the game and creating a character will be as easy as one-two-free, but a new establishment known as “the DDO Store” looks to be an ever-looming temptation. Just a few clicks around the shop and you’ll be the proud new owner of unspecified “additional content and items,” but – if iTunes and other such storefronts have taught us anything – the Store’s aim will likely be to nickel-and-dime your paychecks into penniless oblivion. And thanks to miniscule individual price tags, you might not even notice you’re spending more than the game’s original subscription fee!
Fortunately for those compulsive shoppers who’ve decided to heed our warnings, all hope is not lost. For a “low monthly price,” the “new” DDO VIP program (read: subscription) will act as your golden ticket to the entire game. Sure, you’ll still be able to buy weapons and armor and whatnot from the DDO Store, but at least you’ll have access to all of the game’s adventure content from the get-go.
“Beginning November 18th players across North America and Europe will journey with the dwarves deep into Middle-earth to reclaim the ancient kingdom of Khazad-dûm from the minions of Saruman,” said Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer of The Lord of the Rings Online.
And no, this isn't a loquacious announcement that LOTRO has slipped to November 18th, 2009 -- but that'd make far more sense than what Turbine is actually doing.
For the uninitiated (aka, those who don't read article titles), WoW: Wrath of the Lich King -- possibly the most-anticipated MMO expansion ever and one of the few 2008 PC releases that can challenge Spore to a bout of sales-fisticuffs and match the game blow-for-blow -- is crashing down the gates (and probably its own servers) on November 13th. Add to that the fact that LOTRO is basically WoW plus little big-footed people and minus about 9 million players, and you have a painstakingly composed financial suicide note ready to go.
Find out why Turbine chose to face the Lich King's wrath head-on after the break.
Last night, before tossing and turning for a good three hours, I finally finished George R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones." I'd been nibbling my way through the book -- a 900-page tome -- since late May, so I was understandably thrilled to see its final page, as well as its wildly out-of-place ad for the "A Game of Thrones" collectible card game. But AGoT's only the beginning of a planned seven-part series that began in 1996. Needless to say, AGoT's sequel has been on shelves, Amazon, and wherever else books are sold since before my age had taken on a second digit, and because AGoT ended on a huge cliffhanger, I nabbed the second book from my local Borders with all the subtlety a frothing nerd could muster, clasping it in my hands with a grip that bystanders described as "air-tight."
However, if I'd voraciously devoured AGoT back in '96, I'm fairly sure my satisfied smile would've flipped upside down. The final chapter felt like a build to the climax, but then -- as though it was a badly planned rollercoaster -- the story just ended, leaving readers dangling for roughly two years. (Yeah, the bad kind of rollercoaster.)
Obviously, literature isn't the only medium that backhands its users this way. Games, too, have a habit of rolling out large, red, inappropriately timed stop signs just when things are getting good. Even worse, development cycles now pack double the staff and take twice as long to complete compared to only a few years ago. Looks like the wait between sequels will only grow more arduous before it tapers off.
So, what's the least satisfying game ending you've ever come across? How did you react? Did you pen an angry email? Boycott the sequel?
This installment of the Roundup features the successor to a top-notch game with an abysmal ending, a peek behind the scenes of a controversial game that's attempting to tell a titanic, cliffhanger-laden tale, and so much more. See the stunning conclusion after the break.