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Old 07-25-2011, 06:06 PM   #1 
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The highlights of MMO history

MMORPG Chronoscope


1997


Who killed Lord British?


Developers of any MMORPG are the Gods of their own world. They can move a player to any point, set a terrible Godzilla on a city, and give your character power against which Hulk would seem a baby. But even gods can descend to the level of mortals because of minor negligence. That very fact took place on August 8, 1997 during Ultima Online stress test. The developers organized a "coming of the King" event to check the server's capability of handling large masses of players. During the event, the Ultima's father, Richard Garriott, gave passionate speeches on behalf of his character, Lord British. Aside from a brief server crash, the event proceeded smoothly and the people were having fun... until someone named Rainz hit Lord British with a field of fire spell. At any other time the developers would just laugh: when they play, they usually turn on invulnerability flag. But after the crash Richard simply forgot to check the box again and the king was roasted in front of his subjects.

"It was in the castle Blackthorne where a lot of people gathered to take a look at celebrities. My thief rummaged through the bags of the crowd in search of anything valuable, and in one of the bags, he found a "Field of Fire" scroll. I immediately decided to test it and cast it on the podium. One of the speakers said: "Hehe, nice try," and I prepared to be struck by a bolt of lightning. But to everyone's surprise, Lord British issued a moan and collapsed to the ground. After that, there was pure mayhem: one of the developers summoned four demons into the castle who killed everyone left and right. I figured it was time to get away and ran as fast as I could,"- the culprit recalled later.
He did get a ban afterwards not for the daring assassination though but for bug abuse.



Johnny the Slime

Jwilson is a monster-slime that has always been one of the points of interest in Ultima Online. As the legend goes, he was named after Johnny Wilson, a journalist for an influential gaming magazine Computer Gaming World, who gave a newly released UO a negative review. The joke was a kind of revenge on the part of programmers. Jwilson disappeared and reappeared in the game many times, and was last seen in early 2008, although it is possible that he is now hiding in some secluded spot.




1998


Lineage Released


While Ultima Online basked in glory in the West, in September 1998 a new online star, Lineage, was born in Korea. The game, which had four million subscribers during its golden age, was very different from the traditional MMORPG. The NCSoft creation focused on advanced politics and economics to unite alliances to fight for common goal. Players could capture castles and impose taxes on trade transactions within the empire. Of course, there were not enough kingdoms to suit everyone, every day wars were declared. Lineage even had a special class for a born leader, a knight. Only he could create a guild and manage its finances but the price for that was his complete impotence in PvP.
The life of players was focused on laying hands on rare items, so rare that some of them even many years later were one-of-a-kind. Forging of a sword of darkness required ingredients with 0.001% drop chance and a trophy from a boss, which could only be killed by a raid of a thousand (!!) people. And even then one needed to enchant (improve) the artifact risking to break it and lose it forever. Money raised from the sale of rare trinkets could feed a family of the owner for a year but the Lineage fans valued their characters too much to deprive them of vigorous strength for worldly goods.
Aside from being the first game with raids, Lineage was also the only one where there was no limit to character growth. After some point, leveling took ages (one could spend up to 100 real-life days to get a new level) but it gave hardcore players a motivation to play on.



DWANGO Shuts down

In 1998, the era of DWANGO, one of the oldest online gaming support services, came to an end. Since the beginning of 1994 it was a kind of Battlenet in the U.S. and Canada; players could play multiplayer Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake 2, Warcraft 2, and many other classic hits. But the availability of the Internet made DWANGO simply unnecessary.




1999


Everquest Released. The Era of 3D MMORPGs.


Everquest, the iconic game, which started the 3D MMORPG era, was released on March 16, 1999. Taking text MUDs (especially DikuMUD) as their model, the authors created a real adventure: players could explore dungeons together, fight dragons and hunt for valuable equipment. By November, the number of subscribers reached 225.000 making EQ the most popular MMORPG of its time. Magazines published articles about people who saturated themselves in a virtual world and even killed themselves having lost a valuable artifact.



Naked Gnomes Marathon

The first naked gnomes race took place in EQ. Anyone could create a shorty on the specified server and embark on a long journey from the starting location to the city Qeynos. During the ship trip (then it took at least half an hour) the crowd of gnomes organized a disco. But later on the path went through high-level zones, participants died in packs and many fell out of the race. The dwarf named Madtianna who had prepared in advance and carefully studied the route won the first race. Players liked the marathon so much that it was conducted on a regular basis afterwards, not only in the EQ but also in many other MMORPG including WoW and Lineage 2.




2000


Drama about Mystere


In July, a player named Mystere made the MMORPG headlines by writing a fanfic about adventures of an Iksar character. No big deal but one scene described raping of a young Dark Elf girl. Despite its mild style and the fact that the story was not published on the official game forum, Mystere got banned and IGN was forced to remove the opus. The author attempted to restore justice, contacted the support team but the answer from Sony Online was firm: the company was not going to allow perverts to play their games.
When the gaming community found out about this case, the opinions divided. Most players backed the author: SOE had no right to ban for as little as a story let alone that it was published on an outside site. Someone found a quest that required killing a pregnant halfling and asked whether that was not a perversion. In the end, developers had to remove the unfortunate quest from EQ but refused to return Mystere the account.



Battle for the Shard of Herald

While Everquest rested on laurels another MMORPG, Asheron's Call, remained in the shadows. But there significant events also took place. During all the year 2000, players hunted for the mystical Crystal Shards, the destruction of which provided access to powerful artifacts. In November, all six shards fell but the chronicles made it clear that the most important test was yet to come. Shortly afterwards, there appeared the Heavenly Cathedral, the gate to the last dimension, Shard of Herald, which was home of the legendary demon, Bael'Zharon. The new patch divided the players into two hostile parties. Those, who strove to get even more valuable treasures, set out to destroy the monster, the others vowed to defend his peace (for which also valuable bonuses were promised). All servers were conflagrated by the flames of war.

Since the defenders had advantage, they were able to hold the position for a long time but then the developers stepped in. Uniting the strongest clans, with the help of powerful NPCs, together they destroyed the Shard of Herald. They succeeded everywhere but a single server, Thistledown, where the ardent resistance of the defenders by far surpassed the developers' expectations. The defense could only be broken with the help of shedloads of overpowered creatures. The developers erected a statue with a long list of names to commemorate the courage and tenacity of the defenders. Surprisingly, it's still there even 10 years later after the events!



2001

Ultima Online 2 Closed


Since the release of Ultima Online, players kept asking the developers to make a sequel. In 1999, their prayers were answered: Ultima Online 2 (later it was renamed to Ultima Worlds Online: Origin) was announced. Good old fantasy received elements of steampunk, and because of the cataclysm that had shaken Sosaria, the past, present, and future were all mixed up. This time the game was made in full 3D and fans were even shown the playable races: warriors of Juka, magicians of Meer, and humans of Britannia. However, in the end it was a real bummer. In March 2001, Electronic Arts announced that the work on the sequel was stopped and all resources were redirected to support the UO. Big bosses were scared that both parts would be competing with each other for subscribers; in addition, the studio was suffering from layoffs (more than 200 people lost their jobs at that time). This news was the most disappointing for all MMORPG fans that year.



Dark Age of Camelot Released

Although Everquest won the hearts of players, it had one big drawback, it had almost no PvP. Dark Age of Camelot, released in October 2001, demonstrated how spectacular and interesting fights between players should look. The game was based upon the confrontation between three factions: Albion, Hibernia, and Midgard. Each of them had its own characteristics and ambitions, and after choosing one of them, a player became a part of a large army. The game had everything PvP fans could dream of: division of territory, large-scale battles and sieges, rank promotion, substantial rewards for killing enemies (each frag gave a certain amount of realm points, which could be spent on learning new skills), and good balance. For many years, the DaoC was considered "The King of PvP» and many veterans feel that even now it has no rivals.



Fancy, Dread of the Sullon Zek

"Fancy" became a household name in the Everquest gaming community. That was the name of the character who single-handedly turned the lives of players of the Sullon Zek server into a nightmare. He turned against the server after his friends had transfered there, running away from quiet life on a PvE realm. He created a bard and began to run around locations setting mobs on other players. As Fancy's level was five, no one could attack him and the monsters couldn't catch him up because of his class speed buff. Sullon Zek residents died in packs and the evil genius didn't pass by even the high-level zones. Victims left angry posts on forums, wrote petitions but the game masters couldn't do anything about it, Fancy didn't violate any official rules. It was only when he crossed the line they decided to intervene. Occasionally during his attacks, the little bard all of a sudden began to get stuck, or a giant appeared close to him out of the thin air and flattened him with a single blow. Such intervention of higher powers greatly hampered the hunt and in the end the young avenger yielded. Sullon Zek breathed a sigh of relief and Fancy became a living legend of Everquest, and stories about him has passed by word of mouth for many years since then.



How Much is Gold for the People?

By the beginning of 2001, eBay is bulging at the seams with the number of offers to sell characters, equipment, and gold from Everquest. Analysts counted the money passing through the game and concluded that Norrath ranked 77th among the richest countries of the world, somewhere between Russia and Bulgaria. But the developers did not take much pride of that. In January, Sony Online demanded that eBay should remove all the lots concerning the game. The demand however didn't vanish and dozens of sites selling virtual stuff readily took the eBay's place. IGE, founded the same year by two EQ fans, became the most famous.

In 2002, another unprecedented event took place: BlackSnow Interactive, the largest online artifacts seller, filed action against DAoC developers. "Does a MMORPG player have rights to his time, or does Mythic own that player's time? Is it fair that the company does not allow people to sell what they have earned having spent many hours of their time?" - Lee Cadwell of Blacksnow asked. But the players had a different opinion on the matter. In a heated discussion on the forums, gamers threatened a lawsuit against BlackSnow if it won the case. Luckily, it did not come to that; all charges against Mythic were dropped. As for the SOE, despite its originally negative attitude to selling gold for real money, the company would soon follow this path itself. In 2005, Station Exchange was launched where players could legally purchase virtual stuff for real dollars.




2002


The First Cross Platform MMORPG


Final Fantasy XI, the first cross platform MMORPG, was released in May in Japan. The PC and consoles' owners can meet on the same server for the first time in history! Despite a bumpy start, the game attracted 600.000 of subscribers worldwide, mostly from the western market (which greatly surprised Square Enix). Eight years later, FF11 is still one of the most hardcore MMORPG.



Fight Club Released

The Fight Club, the iconic game that eventually would win a bunch of awards, create dozens of clones and make its creators millionaires, was released in the Russian segment of the Internet (Runet). By participating in contests based on the "rocks-paper-scissors" principle, players developed their character, collected artifacts and took part in clan wars. For a long time the FC was one of the most popular Runet portals, many well-known people played it, and the amount of money that circulated in the system was enormous. It is a well-known fact that one of the fans, Emperor, invested about three million euros into play! Now the good times are gone, many old-school players have left the project following the inflow of casual players, however there is still life and the "Old Times" newspapers keeps publishing funny stories and news from the front.




2003


Kerafyrm the Sleeper


This is the year of one of the most interesting events in the MMORPG history: the legendary battle with an Everquest dragon, Kerafyrm. It was possible to awaken the monster only once on each server, after which he got out of his tomb and wreaked havoc in the world of Norrath. In 2003, it was impossible to kill, according to the developers who gave the dragon 250 million HP (100 times more than normal bosses had). They were wrong. On November 15 the strongest guilds of the Rallos Zek came together to deliver a battle against Kerafyrm. About 200 characters fought with the monster for three hours, constantly dying and being resurrected by the priests right on the battlefield. The rumors say that the main tank died more than a hundred times, and as the dragon was unable to kill characters faster than they were resurrected, his death was just a matter of time. But when he was down to 26% of his health, Kerafyrm suddenly disappeared.

As it turned out, the developers manually removed the dragon; they did not want players to beat him because it was at odds with the storyline. That made quite a racket... The forum was red-hot with angry posts and demands that players should be given a chance. In the end, Sony Online decided to yield and revived the dragon. On November 17, an even greater crowd gave it another shot, and this time Kerafyrm was defeated. This day went down in history of the Everquest, and veterans still love to remember one the most epic virtual battles of all times battle and keep telling stories about it on forums.



Chaos in Shadowbane

In May, hackers somehow broke into the servers of the Shadowbane (one of the first MMOG that was mass PvP oriented) and took full control over them. The villains moved a whole city to the bottom of the sea, NPCs and all players that were there at that time died. The city guards began to attack peaceful citizens. Everywhere deadly monsters appeared out of the blue and caused a lot of trouble. The places that were considered safe, such as the noob island, were the main target. The abundance of corpses with trophies attracted looters; chaos reigned everywhere. Fortunately for the victims, developers quickly closed the back door and rolled the server back. Lost property was returned to its rightful owners.



EVE Online Released

On May 6, a small group of developers from Iceland, without big budget or any significant experience in game development, released EVE Online, one of the best MMORPG of the decade. Here players control a spacecraft instead of a character and travel through a huge galaxy trading, manufacturing, doing research, pirating, engaging in large-scale wars, and doing many other things. EVE Online became the first real sandbox since Ultima Online and brought a lot of unique ideas into the genre. For example, pilots didn't even need to be online to train, all the skills were mastered in real time. Also, all subscribers played on a single server, which repeatedly beat its own capacity records (the best score, recorded on January 23, 2011, was 63 170 players simultaneously).



The Jedi is Born

Since the release of Star Wars: Galaxies in June 2003, all fans had one simple and understandable dream: to become a Jedi. However it was not at all easy to accomplish. Nobody but the developers knew what needed to be done to unlock the "force sensitive slot." After a lot of debates and arguments players found out that reaching Master level in 6 professions in right order was a mandatory requirement. Which ones? Again, no one knew. In the end, developers relented and added a rare artifact, Holocron, which gave clues. But even then it took a few weeks to disclose the main secret of the game.

November 7, 2003 is the day when the first SWG Jedi, Akinom T'sar, was born. Aside from leveling the professions in right order, the player had to camp rare artifacts for a long time, develop trading skills, visit a lot of places and do other stuff, full account of which he posted on the forum. People from all servers gathered to take a look at the wondrous character. He had a lightsaber, which was also hard to get. But though the force made the Jedi many times stronger than ordinary characters, he was not immortal. After three deaths, the owner lost his character forever. Because of that the lightsaber owners were hunted everywhere, some of them never left safe places without an army of bodyguards. Until 2005, when the scandalous NGE patch was released, the Jedi title remained a source of great pride of the hardcore players and a pipe dream of the casual ones.




2004


Lineage 2 Released


Lineage was a huge success at home but couldn't make it outside of Asia. Creating a sequel, the NCSoft targeted it for the international market right from the start. After the U.S. launch in April, Lineage 2 quickly gained an army of fans. Many features of the original game appeared in the second part as well, such as the developed political system, an emphasis on PvP and sieges. But instead of isometric view the game engine was now full 3d, and each class got a few specialties that could be chosen at certain levels. For example, a fighter could become a warrior, and then a warlord with a huge spear. Craft that did not play a major role in the original became an important part of the sequel. Despite the fact that Lineage 2 was superior to its big brother in almost everything, it failed to exceed it by the number of active subscribers. The Asian players got so accustomed to the first part that they did not want to change it for the second. However, the Russian players saw the true value of the game; Lineage 2 became the second most popular MMORPG after WoW in this country. As for flood and drama on forums, L2 is yet to be surpassed by any of its rivals.



The Coming of World of Warcraft

Although by 2004 a lot of different MMORPG had been released, it was still too early to call it a boom. The real world could care less about players and only from time to time the press mentioned Everquest or Star Wars: Galaxies. For ordinary people these names meant nothing. December became the turning point in the history of the genre: WoW went live and opened the doors into the virtual world for everyone. The simple recipe - take developments from old MMORPG, replace dull grind with tons of quests, fine-tune everything so that people were not distracted by bugs, and give it all fantastic PR - lead to great results. Shortly after release, the game gained a million of subscribers and their number was not declining over time as in other projects but rather kept growing each day. Blizzard employees said that they themselves did not expect such a tremendous success. Newspapers and magazines post articles about WoW; virtual worlds that had used to be home of computer geeks experienced huge inflow of schoolchildren, businessmen, housewives, people of all ages and social statuses. Developers and publishers saw a potential goldmine and began to launch loads of online games on the market. But none of them was able repeat the success of WoW.




2005


Guild Wars Released


Guild Wars, a PvP-oriented MMORPG, was released in April. The developers from ArenaNet presented a new model for the genre: it was enough for players to buy a key once and they could play free without limitations from then on, only paying for addons. GW is the only MMOG where you could immediately create a maximum level character and start participating in arena battles. No subscription fee, great graphics, interesting plot, and careful balance made this game a hit with millions of active players.



Large-scale Epidemic in WoW

The WoW patch 1.7, among other things, introduced Zul'Gurub. No one could imagine that one of the most beautiful instances of the game would be the most destructive. Corrupted Blood, a disease that Hakkar gave to players, became responsible for millions of deaths. Slowly sucking the life from the carrier, it infested all the living creatures around. The developers thought that the infection would not be able to get outside of the dungeon but players found a loophole. It turned out that warlock and hunter just needed to hide the infested pet and then release it outside of ZG, and it would begin to spread the disease. September 13 is the day when the most large-scale epidemic in the game history started.
Just one day later the capitals of both factions turned into a cemetery full of fresh corpses and bones. Newbies failed to understand what was happening, while those, who knew, tried to avoid cities and crowds at all costs. Community got divided into the disgruntled and those who had fun. It took a long time for developers to cope with the plague; it was so effective that it even attracted the attention of epidemiologists. Only a few days later, after a series of patches and unplanned servers restarts, the epidemic ended.



Massive Exodus from SWG

Although SWG has never been the most popular MMORPG, fans appreciated it for its freedom, great craft, unique and hardcore gameplay. Just imagine that you could become a Jedi! Still, greedy and shortsighted owners can bring to naught the work of hundreds of developers. Bring the whole world to the brink of extinction, in the case of SWG.
In 2005, Sony Online, inspired by the success of WoW, decided to increase the number of SWG subscribers by simplifying everything. First, the Combat Upgrade (CU) arrived, a hefty patch that changed the battle system, equipment, professions and leveling (from skill-based to level-based). The official forum was overfilled with resentment; players pointed out that none had asked for that kind of changes, new combat system was too primitive, and the thought that SWG was to become more like WoW sent shivers down the veterans' spines. SOE refused to comment on the subject and just kept deleting negative posts. Then players organized a protest in the game blocking chats with spam. SOE threatened massive bans in response.
In November, one more patch, New Game Enhancements (NGE), came out. Overnight Jedi ceased to be a unique class, which required a year's work to obtain; it turned into a regular starting profession. Veterans took it as an insult, and the most massive exodus of players in the history of MMORPG began. Three months later the number of SWG subscribers was down by 200,000, after another three months the game resembled a ghost town. The company publicly acknowledged mistakes but the ship had already sailed. Many players hated SOE so much that they vowed never to touch its games again. For other developers, this fiasco became a good example why they should listen to players.



Club Neverdie Opened

On October 24, 2005, the largest transaction for the sale of virtual property took place. John 'Neverdie' Jacobs purchased an asteroid in Entropia Universe for a record amount of $100.000. A year later, he tried to buy the Treasure Island in the same game but was outbid. Jacob was so much pleased with his deal that he even turned down an incredible offer to sell that asteroid for $200.000 the next day. Instead, he transformed that piece of stone into a luxurious Club Neverdie, which became a center of virtual entertainment. Visitors are welcome to chat in comfy cafes, listen to live DJs' performance on dance floors, buy trinkets in local shops, have an exotic safari with the most terrible monsters in the galaxy, and have fun in many other ways. According to MixMag, Neverdie was the “virtual night club number one in the world.”
John's creation made him famous. He gave interviews to big magazines, took part in documentaries about gamers, the "Stuff" magazine named him among the most influential people under 30. The club even made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive virtual object.
In 2010, trying to raise funds to create his own MMORPG, Rocktropia, John decided to sell the club in parts. John Foma Kalun bought the most valuable objects, and the total transaction amount exceeded $630.000.



Virtual Ads in Anarchy Online

After the coming of WoW, it became even more difficult for more modest online games to keep afloat. Anarchy Online was among the first to change its payment model to Free-To-Play but developers still didn't have much money in the bank. In February, Funcom announced a deal with Massive Incorporated, which gave birth to a new form of advertising. Instead of trivial banners and annoying pop-ups, the AO players were offered to watch ads on billboards. Neon billboards in futuristic metropolises had already been advertising tempting pleasures; made-up goods were simply replaced by real ones. The first companies to buy the right to advertise themselves in virtual space were Panasonic and Channel 4. The developers explained to fans that this way they were able to collect enough money to keep the game running.
"Once again we were the first in terms of innovative technologies. By combining the requests of our players with the needs of our customers and ourselves, we open the doors of opportunity for everyone. High professionalism of Massive Inc. coupled with our unique design and developments have made a new type of advertising a hit in the world of AO. And we are proud to have participated in this evolution," - Funcom CEO, Trond Aas, commented.



The First Blizzcon

Blizzard's games always brought together an army of fans, they just didn't have a place where they could hang out together and have a big geek festival. In 2005, the holiday arrived. On October 28-29, the Convention Center of Anaheim became the scene of one of the largest gaming and entertainment festivals, Blizzcon. More than 8 thousand people came to get their share of fun. Fans could evaluate new races from WoW's new addon, The Burning Crusade, play Starcraft: Ghost demo (as we know, the game would be closed later due to quality issues), participate in many talent shows, listen to live comic and rock performances, find out about the developers' plans and get valuable prizes. What more could you wish? Blizzcon was a huge success and became an annual event with a lot more people who wished to get in than tickets that were available. Every new Blizzcon was more colorful and ambitious than the previous one. In 2008, there were twice as many visitors than there were in 2005, and entertainment events were supplemented with tournaments, in which the best teams of the world participated.



Lord Kazzak in Stormwind

MMORPG players never failed to entertain themselves and others in many ways. Such that developers would never dream of. In 2005, a triumphal procession of Lord Kazzak through the capital of Alliance appeared on Youtube. This boss's usual habitat was the location called Blasted Lands, far to the southeast, but members of the Khadgars Rage guild from the EU Burning Legion server managed to lure him straight to the city.
The strongest guilds might be able to repel the intruder but for one aspect. After a certain time (20 minutes), Lord Kazzak fell into rage and started to emit fountains of shadow bolts killing heroes in packs, and every new corpse restored a bit of his health. Demon tornado swept through the town, destroying all the living in its path: players, NPCs, elite guards. The residents were completely helpless against such power. Chaos and destruction lasted for an hour and a half until Blizzard found out about the incident and restarted the server. This heroic deed was repeated many times from then on; cities were attacked not only by demons but by dragons as well. However, Lord Kazzak unquestionably remains the champion by the number of deaths incurred during a single attack.

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Leeroy Jenkins

On May 11, a new idol of millions, Leeroy Jenkins, was born in the MMORPG community. All thanks to a short video on warcraftmovies.com. It featured a small group of players who were preparing to storm the depths of the Upper Blackrock Spire and discussing the strategy, while one participant Leeroy was AFK. Suddenly, interrupting the group leader's speech, the hero shoot off and with a cry «LEEEEERRROOOOY JEEEEENKINS!» rushed into the room full of dragons and their eggs. His stunned group mates rushed after him trying to act according to the plan. A real mess began with dragon hatchlings popping everywhere whose number grew every second. A wipe followed and the group-mates shouted angrily at the culprit: "Leeroy, you are stupid as hell!". "With fried chicken," - Leeroy answered champing. Since then, in WoW or any other MMORPG, when someone launches a suicide attack, one can hear the classic battle-cry: "Leeeeeeerooooy !!!».




2006


Opening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj on Medivh


After the Corrupted Blood epidemic, Blizzard's leading designer, Jeffrey Kaplan, said that the incident helped them understand how global game events should be conducted. These ideas lead to another legendary event in WoW, the opening of the gates of Ahn'Qiraj. That was the name of a huge raid dungeon where ugly God C'Thun and his army of bugs found shelter. Instead of just opening this place, Blizzard allowed players of the warring factions to unite for a common goal. Getting the key to these gates required gathering enormous amount of resources, completing a long quest chain, in the end of which a character received a scepter, hitting a gong with that scepter, and fighting a massive battle with C'Thun's elite army. All servers without exception joined the race to be the first to open the gate. Hardcore guilds spent incredible amounts of money to buy resources from beginners and give it to the NPC to speed up the process. Forums were bursting with propaganda.
The race ended on January 3, 2006, when the gates were first opened on a PvE server of Medivh (where the oldest and strongest raiding guilds played). The Fury guild leader, Kalahad, became the honorable bearer of the Scepter of the Shifting Sands. Since the Event had been announced in advance, the server was bursting at the seams from the influx of players. Some created first level characters to witness the historic moment, competitors used this technique to try to raise the server’s load to the limit so that members of the Fury could not log in and complete the ritual. Despite Blizzard's efforts to reallocate machine resources in favor of Medivh, it crashed repeatedly, even in the moment when the gong was struck.
Still, Fury managed to open the gates and be the first to kill most bosses in AQ. After the event Medivh became one of the most populated and well-known servers in WoW.



Baroness Anshe Chung

The fact that the sale of virtual good can earn real money has been known since the days of Ultima Online. But most developers not only discouraged such commerce but also actively hampered it. Second Life was one of the first virtual worlds where buying and selling colored pixels was completely legal. Artists, designers and creatives of all kinds joined the new fun, trying to earn Linden to exchange it for dollars. Most of them found inspiration in a simple English teacher, Ailin Gref, who lived in China. After learning about SL in 2004, the Chinese began to have a side job as a prostitute in a virtual club Cannabis Cathedral, without telling her husband about it. The money she earned that way was enough to buy cheap plots of land. Baroness Anshe Chung (a nickname she picked up) developed the land and then sold or rented it. This simple way two years later she raised one million dollars, hit the cover of Business Week and expanded her property for many hectares.
Rumors of a brisk businesswoman who already employed a dozen of designers finally reached television. CNET arranged a live interview with the Baroness at the SL's virtual studio. But in the midst of the debate a squadron of pink dicks flew into the studio and scared the guests away. An avalanche of pictures of Ailin smiling and holding a penis followed it.
Room 101, a group already famous for its virtual attacks, later assumed the responsibility for the mess.



Commemoration Mayhem

In March 2006, one of the guilds from the server of Illidan decided to honor the memory of one of the guild's members who had died in real life. A long procession gathered in Winterspring hoping for a peaceful and quiet event. They made only one mistake: it was no good organizing such an event in an open PvP area.
On learning about a large company of enemy faction players in Winterspring, another guild, Serenity Now, advanced towards the location. The subsequent events were immortalized in one of the most scandalous WoW video of all time. Reaching the spot, the members of Serenity Now perpetrated a massacre. A few minutes later white snowdrifts were covered with dozens of bodies. Some of the participants tried to put up a fight but the suddenness of the attack, as well as the fact that many of them were not even wearing armor, did not leave anyone a chance of escape. The Serenity Now soldiers spared no one.
The news of the daring attack quickly spread around the WoW community and caused quite mixed response. Some thought it was the stupid organizers' fault, some were shocked by the Serenity Now's actions, and others rolled on the floor laughing at the video. The argument about who was right and who was wrong is still going on in the comments on YouTube.

[YOUTUBE]<object width="640" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/0TSGUf1xbF8&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&versi on=3"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/0TSGUf1xbF8&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&versi on=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="390"></embed></object>[/YOUTUBE]


Runescape Massacre 666

If you ask Runescape veterans about the most memorable event, many will remember an incident that went down in history as the "Massacre 666". The numbers indicate the date when it occurred. On June 6, 2006, a new skill, Construction, was added to the game and Cursed You, the first player to raise it to 99, gave a big party in his virtual house. There were so many people that it was impossible to play due to lags. The owner had to kick out all the guests but there was a strange bug: all who happened to be inside the house were able to attack other players even in no-PvP zones. Moreover, no one could fight back even in PvP locations. The party guests became virtually immortal and started to have fun to the utmost. Runescape's major cities became hunting grounds during open season: cheaters killed people left and right, followed by marauders who looted the corpses; the incurred damaged was estimated around two billion coins. Quite soon, moderator Murdoch noticed that something was wrong and blocked the accounts of the instigators. Those who hadn't done too much harm got 8 black marks in the reputation, while the most vicious killers lost their characters forever.
Although much time has passed, some people still remember the Massacre 666, and once a year plant flowers at the slaughter site to honor the dead.




2007


EVE Online's T20 Incident


On February 9, an EVE Online player, Kugutsumen, published evidence of transfer of valuable blueprints by one of the developers to the Band of Brothers alliance (the company employee himself was a member of BoB). That raised a storm of protest on the forum demanding that the corrupt employee should be fired. Instead, CCP banned Kugutsumen's account for violation of the EULA and disclosure of T20's real name. Despite an official apology from the CCP, community would not calm down accusing BoB of all possible sins. Then the company decided to take an unprecedented step and set up an internal investigations department to monitor the CCP employees' accounts and prevent such incidents. A year later, a Consulate was set up with a mission to organize a direct bridge between the developers and the gaming community. Nine veterans elected annually by the players visit Iceland to discuss EVE with the CCP and to offer their suggestions. Many of those suggestions were later embodied in patches and addons.



Lineage 3 Code Stolen

The news that NCSoft's former employees might have stolen the code of Lineage 3 was the main scandal of the spring. Several most talented employees left the company to join the Bluehole Studio and start working on the next-gen MMORPG, TERA Online. NCSoft accused them of selling the company's secrets shamelessly estimating the damage incurred to $1 billion. Seoul police immediately took care of the seven suspects, and the future of TERA was quite uncertain for some time. It turned out that a Bluehole's vice-president and his colleagues had indeed transfered certain NCSoft's know-how to another Japanese company, for which they received suspended sentences and substantial fines. It had no effect on TERA whatsoever but nothing has been heard about Lineage 3 ever since.



Sex for a Virtual Mount

It's hard to imagine a thing that dedicated fans would not be willing to do to lay their hands on a rare artifact or even a simple mount. An American girl who played WoW on the Laughing Skull server decided to sell her body to get that.
In April 2007, she left the following post on one of the game forums: " Hello I need 5000 world of gold for my epic flying mount. In return you can mount me. … make SURE to send: a picture of yourself and a screenshot of your character with the 5000g … would prefer someone who was into roleplaying (I have a costume!) but honestly anyone will do, as long as you have the gold. I would also be ok with a woman too, as long as you have the gold! Also not adverse to the idea of groups\anal."
MMORPG forums and news-sites quickly spread out the link to the unusual proposal. But the girl did not like this kind of fame and soon she left one more post: "I'd like to thank all the jackasses that thought it would be funny to post my picture all over the internet and make 50000 threads about me on the wow forums. I got my epic mount in about an hour that was very enjoyable for both parties. While all of you idiots probably spent hundreds of hours farming for yours or don't even have them. I will be killing you 280% faster! I'm planning to meet him again later this week, he's getting double value for his gold."



The Guild

On July 27, 2007, a comedy show The Guild premiered on YouTube. The short series told the story of a made up MMORPG guild, The Knights of Good, and so realistically reflected the life of hardcore gamers that the show shortly became a hit. Felicia Day, the writer and inspirer of the project, starred as a shy girl, Codex. The first season started with a visit of a strange boy who was eager to move in with her. The stranger turned out to be a member of her guild who misinterpreted a phrase in the chat and thought that Codex was crazy about him. The characters were remarkably diverse, and the show was bursting with humor, be it fights between Codex and Zaboo, the first guild gathering in the real world, or Vork's, the guild master, attempts to prevent the guild from falling apart. The Guild won several prestigious awards including "Best TV series in 2007 on YouTube" and "Best Comedy Series" at the Streamy Awards. The track "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar", performed by the actors, has been watched on Youtube nearly 14 million times.



The Star Wars

The 2007 is the year when the most massive war in the history of EVE Online began. The Band of Brothers power block, having almost unlimited financial capabilities and the most experienced pilots, strove to set the control over the whole galaxy. Standing up to them were the Russian Red Alliance and the GoonSwarm, the alliance with the largest number of members. The Russian players provided heavy fleet and combat experience while the GoonSwarm was an excellent cannon fodder. The war went on multiple fronts and almost all the major alliances became involved. The number of ships in the clashes reached a few hundred on each side, including the most devastating weapons of war: titans and dreadnoughts. In one of those battles, the first BoB titan was destroyed, while the number of battleships and battlecruisers annihilated was impossible to count. The war went on not only in game but also on the forum: players launched psychological attacks, published propaganda and each other's dirty linen. The war lasted for many months and BoB even hired a coalition of mercenaries with a huge fleet. Then, all of a sudden, it all ended. The GoonSwarm spies took advantage of the betrayal on the part of one of the BoB's leaders and received access codes to all of the enemy assets, and a few minutes later emptied their hangars and banks. Spies even managed to disband the alliance from within that endangered all the systems in the BoB's home region. Organizing a large-scale offensive against Delve and finishing off the enemies was just a matter of time.



Richard Garriott in Space

In October, the father of the legendary Ultima Online, Richard Garriott, decided to have a rest from games and took a trip into space. During two weeks he visited the International Space Station, participated in several research projects, talked to students on the radio and even shoot the first fiction movie in zero gravity (though it was never released). The childhood dream cost Richard $30 million.




2008


Mud Baths


The release of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes became one of the greatest failures in the history of MMORPG. The game was a slide show even on the most powerful computers, and you could not perform even simple actions because of bugs. And that game was supposed to be a WoW-killer! Aside from anger and demands to return the money, people on forums tried to understand what had really happened. Teclisen, one of the Sigil employees, also presented his own version. On January 4, a post appeared on the Fires of Heaven guild's forum (one of the most popular hang out sites for fans); the post was called "Producer's Letter" and disclosed the dirty details concerning the Vanguard's failure. Starting with the Sigil CEO, Brad Mcquaid, and his drug addiction, he picked to pieces the staff of Sony Online and said that the $40 million project had been made by a bunch of amateurs with zero experience. "I'm a big reason for Vanguard's failure. And Guess what? I'm really kind of proud of it." - Teclisen wrote. The topic quickly grew to 119 pages and became one of the most scandalous and shocking in the gaming community.
2.5 years later, an anonymous Electronic Arts employee about to be laid-off published a similar post describing the reasons behind Warhammer Online's failure. 1359 replies to that show that people just love that kind of drama.



WoW Exceeds 10 Million Subscribers

Blizzard announced that a milestone of 10 million WoW subscribers had been reached. That was more than in all other western MMORPGs together! 2 million players were in Europe, 2.5 million were in North America, and the rest 5.5 million lived in Asia. Moreover, the company proudly announced that the game's first addon, The Burning Crusade, topped the sales charts and became the fastest selling PC game in history. Around the same time, the Russian localization of WoW began.



18-hours Battle with Pandemonium Warden

For quite a long time the Final Fantasy XI's Pandemonium Warden was considered un-killable. In August 2008, one of the oldest raiding guilds, Beyond the Limitation, decided to put an end to it once and for all. What began as a bold challenge, resulted in the longest and most epic battle in the history of MMORPG.
During 18 hours, the participants had to struggle through 20 forms, which the boss took. "People were passing out and getting physically ill. Several members of BtL actually ended up vomiting by the end of the night from their intense focusing with no breaks for 18 hours. We estimated that it was necessary to spend another three to five hours to kill the bastard. We decided to end it before we risked turning into a horrible new story about how video games ruin people’s lives." - said Sylphet, one the guild's members.
After this battle, players turned to developers with a question: "How many hours, in their opinion, were enough to kill one monster? 50 or something?" In response to the criticism, Square Enix weakened many of the bosses. Pandemonium Warden's health dropped 10 times but the monster didn't become much easier as the developers added a 2-hour timer: if 2 hours were not enough for players to finish the fight, the boss would simply disappear. Only seven months later, the Apathy guild on Remora was the first to defeat the monster. According to the leader of the raid, they were five minutes away from failure.



WAR and AoC Released

The 2008 was a generous year for high-profile releases. Mythic launched Warhammer Online in an attempt to revive the DAoC's RvR system (large-scale war between factions), and Funcom gave birth to Age of Conan, a game with the best graphics and animations in the genre. Everyone thought that both MMORPG were bound to become big hits, but both failed miserably. WAR failed because of unsuccessful design solutions and lack of high-level content; AoC was constantly crashing, full of bugs, its system requirements were enormous, and the itemization was terrible (a common 20-lvl sword could have the same characteristics as a 50-lvl epic). A few months later the developers managed to get their games into shape but the number of subscribers had already fallen dramatically.



Star Wars: The Old Republic Announced

Rumors that Bioware was working on a MMORPG based on the Star Wars universe were confirmed in October when the company announced Star Wars: The Old Republic. The game had the biggest budget in the history of the genre and employed over a hundred top developers, and by the amount of content it was superior to all previous Bioware's games combined. For Bioware it was an online debut, for the publisher, Electronic Arts, it was the biggest and most important project, and for casual gamers it was the most anticipated western MMORPG.




Zombie-mania

Yet another large-scale event, Zombie Infestation, took place in WoW and lasted for no less than six days. On October 23, suspicious boxes appeared in the Booty Bay port and infested all who touched those turning players into zombies (which changed the character's appearance, gave it new skills, and the ability to infest others, but lowered its movement speed). Priests in the capitals could help cure the sickness and repel the attacks of the undead. Next day the boxes appeared in other major cities, and the incubation period (time during which you could get cured) was reduced from 10 to 5 minutes. On the third day, infected NPCs were wandering all around the game world, attacking players and continuing to spread the plague. On the fourth and the fifth day, special quests to fight the undead were added and plague bosses appeared. Zombies became stronger and priests disappeared leaving players to fight the plague on their own. The plague covered all Azeroth. On the sixth day, the zombie virus penetrated into the forums, showing undead avatars next to players' names, but in the game vaccine was found. In the evening of October 27, the last infected zombie was cured and life returned back on track.



Virtual Husband vs. Virtual Wife

In May, a 43-year old Japanese woman logged on her virtual husband's (whom in real life she had never even met) Maplestory account and deleted all of his characters. After learning about the incident, the owner immediately called the police and the jealous wife faced the risk of five years in jail not to mention a fine of $5.000. When asked about the motives of her actions the woman replied: "He broke up with me in the game without saying a word! Made me so-o-o-o angry."




2009


Fuss around Eurogamer


It took some time for the game press to react to the release of Darkfall, a sandbox MMORPG. The first review came out only after a couple of months after the release, and the article on one of the most respected European websites, Eurogamer.net, immediately attracted everyone's attention. The author, Ed Zitron, spared neither gibe nor sarcasm to describe all the defects of the game. «Darkfall ... ignores many of the rules of what makes a great, playable game." - Ed summed up and gave the Aventurine's game two out of ten.
Learning about that review, Tasos, game's leading designer, published an accusatory response on the DF site stating that the reviewer had spent less than 2 hours playing the game, most of which he had spent creating his characters. The flame in the comments to the article was running high. Some derided the review and any criticism towards DF, others agreed with the author, and the number of replies was well over 1000. In the game, someone created a guild and called it EUROGAMER NET, and almost all clans declared war against it. Later, the site published one more review by another author who gave the game 4/10. The developers left him alone.



The First World War in Darkfall

Shortly after the release of DF, the eastern territories fell under control of the Kingdom of Hyperion led by King Manus. The self-proclaimed ruler created a feudal structure that helped keep tight rein on tens of thousands of players. Hyperion had 27 cities under its wing and the empire continued to grow. But there were some people who were not going to put up with the regime. The western alliances united to form the largest union in the history of the game to stop Manus. The first World War began but didn't last long. Faced with internal issues, Hyperion was not able to resist the onslaught and ceded territories almost without a fight. Finally, on May 12, Manus announced his capitulation on the official DF forum.
"... if one were to ask me the reason for the eventual fall of Hyperion, I would say, other than the obvious stacking of the numerical odds against us, (one's conquered enemies are never dead - they just join new enemies!) it would be the attritive effect of the grind of Darkfall itself, which has slowly snuffed out the lights in the leadership of Hyperion, leaving too few new sparks to keep the torch burning." - was the King's explanation of reasons behind the defeat.



DDO Becomes Free-To-Play

On September 9, Turbine changes the payment model of Dungeons & Dragons Online to F2P. From that moment on, players were not required to make monthly payments, and they could open new content by earning points in the dungeons (or, a faster way, through the game store). This date was very important for the genre not only because a high-quality game appeared among tons of free garbage. A dying project supported by a handful of fans turned into a popular MMORPG that brought much more profit to its owners. That example showed that the future belonged to F2P, and AAA class games, such as LoTRO and Everquest 2, started to implement it.



Taiwanese Player is the First to Get All WoW Achievements

Xiaohui, a player from a Taiwanese server Wrathbringer, became the world's first to complete all WoW's 986 achievements. To accomplish this task, his druid, Little Gray, had to kill more than 390.000 creatures, complete 5906 quests, dungeons, finish 405 dungeons, and hug 11 players. Lack of the Winter's Veil achievement (it was impossible to obtain it prior to the event that started on December 15), the hero compensated by completing on of the PvP achievements twice, though he had to use a minor bug for that. This news was published under the headline: "The player has completed WoW.” But the release of Cataclysm will bring Mr. Xiaohui even more hard work because the amount of available achievements will be increased to 2388.




2010


Untimely Death of All Points Bulletin


All Points Bulletin, which was popularly called GTA Online (you could play for a gangster or a cop and engage in shootouts in the streets), set a record as the fastest fiasco in the history of MMORPG. Released on June 29, the project was announced as closed on September 16. Lack of balance, unvaried content, and huge amount of cheaters lead to a sharp outflow of players and put the company on the verge of bankruptcy. Later, a big MMOG publisher, K2 Network, purchased the rights to APB. The new owners announced that the game would return in the first half of 2011 as 'Reloaded' and would be free to play.



The 6th Annual Pride Parade in WoW

The Spreading Taint and The Stonewall Family guilds held the 6th annual pride parade on the WoW server of Proudmoore. In addition to a solemn procession across the Barrens, the program featured a tournament of naked duels, a "Show a Star" contest, a DJs' competition, a massive water disco in the pirate town of Booty Bay, a laser show, and lots of fireworks. The following video shows what it was like:

[YOUTUBE]<object width="640" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/uEILOPfSG0A&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&versi on=3"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/uEILOPfSG0A&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&versi on=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="390"></embed></object>[/YOUTUBE]


$15.000 for 10 Minutes of Gamer's Happiness

After putting aside money for a couple of years, a simple Chinese worker managed to save $15.000, which he decided to spend on his hobby, MMORPG. The guy did not found his own company nor did he start to make a new game. Instead, he went to the owners of the largest screen in Beijing and rented it to play Magic World Online 2. Given the cost of $1.500 per minute, his game didn't last long. But the price included a comfortable chair and a crowd of astonished onlookers.
The LCD screen in The Place is the second largest screen in the world and is bigger than a football field (about 250m long and 30m wide). It is one of the city's attractions and usually it plays colorful commercials or wildlife views. The lavish gamer was the leader of one of the MWO2 guilds and thus decided to expand his gaming experience. The guy still has something to strive for: the screen at Fremont Street in Las Vegas is even larger and more expensive as well.



Restaurant for MMORPG Nerds

First restaurants for video games fans appeared in China. The owner of the most famous among them, Beijing, tried to create the most comfortable place of rest for MMORPG nerds. People were greeted with the WoW title sequence, a knight in shining armor was standing in the corner of a dining hall, the Hall of Snow Storms, a plasma screen was playing game videos, posters of popular MMORPGs were hanging everywhere, and glass show-cases contained gifts and souvenirs for sale. But the restaurant's main advantage was its menu. Here one could order dishes that really existed in WoW! All that was missing were murlocks strolling over the hall, and waitresses dressed as Night Elves.

Old 03-12-2012, 02:49 PM   #2 
Lavinia
Junior Member Lavinia is offline


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lol,nice post ,thank u for sharingI also like games ,such as Spartacus: Vengeance,
The Last Stand: Dead Zone,
The Hunger Games Adventures,
Dungeon Overlord and
Soul Crash

Last edited by Lavinia; 03-21-2012 at 06:58 AM.
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