A few weeks ago I got an email inviting me to join in a beta test of a new online game. They promised to take online gaming to a new level and turn it into a form of literature. Even though I have heard arguments of this nature before, the game was free to play, I was bored and so I decided to check the game out.

I heard recently that Squaresoft (a big name, I know, just bear with me) was planning on making the eleventh installment of their wildly popular Final Fantasy series an exclusively online "roleplaying" game. Now I've been a loyal fan of Final Fantasy and Square in general since the advent of the Playstation, but the thought of Final Fantasy going exclusively online frightens me. A lot.

In the best of all possible worlds, every gamer and aspiring gamer out there would have a friendly, well-established, long-standing tabletop or LARP group to call their own and attend once a week or more. For most of us down here on Earth, however, this isn't the case. Summer vacations and work conflicts can break up groups for months at a time, and cross-country moves and lifestyle changes can do so permanently.

Microsoft recently announced the upcoming release of Asheron's Call 2, the sequel to the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. AC2 will feature new dynamic, evolving world that reacts to player behavior and actions; a next-generation MMORPG graphics engine; a revamped combat system and a new in-depth crafting system that gives players a chance to pursue noncombative skills. Read on to find out more...

When I first decided I wanted to write an editorial on twinking (loosely defined as providing a character with equipment they would not normally be able to achieve at their level), I thought I knew exactly what to say. I planned on ranting from the vast depths of my experience with one single EQ character. But then...

Few fantasy writers (and computer role-playing game designers) have the time or the patience to create an entire working language for their worlds, and use it to create wholly original, intelligent names. There's nothing wrong with that. Even without an original language, there are still plenty of good ways to create plausible names... yet how do so many people get it so wrong?

This is the tale of an elf and her armour... but it was no common elf, and no common armour. It happened long ago, far ahead, and miles away from here... but the tale affects us still. And much more than many of us will be willing to admit in public, no doubt.

It's not often you get a brilliant new game from an unknown publisher that creates a new genre in PC gaming. Nexon has given us just that with their ground breaking title, Shattered Galaxy. Imagine playing StarCraft with a few hundred of your closest friends. Yup, a Massive Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy.

I've known for a long time that online gaming is not what I, or any other number of dedicated roleplayers, want it to be. EverQuest and its ilk make it paradise for those who want to beat the crap out of a never-ending stream of monsters, but it's not exactly anyone's first choice for good storytelling and memorable characters. But for awhile there was a wonderful little program called WebRPG that I thought had the potential to revolutionize online gaming as we know it. But along the way its creators made a fatal mistake, and things were never quite the same after that.

The problem with Online Role-Playing Games like Everquest and Diablo II is that they have nothing to do with Role-Playing. It's all click-and-kill, repeating the same actions and quests over and over again to gain power, money and items, with little thought given to character, interaction or true development on a personal level. But maybe that's because such things are truly impossible. Perhaps this recently discovered journal can explain what it's like to be a real character in a world bereft of meaning. Or perhaps it'll just emphasize the futility of trying to explain the inexplicable.

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