Web Log 4/18

Interested in playing a little game called Free Realms? They’re letting ANYONE in. They let ME in, right? If you haven’t gotten a key, and want to try out the Next Big Thing, head on over to http://www.freerealms.com/index.vm?cid=1054126 and sign up, first thousand get in (via @freerealms). Odds not good enough for you? USA Today has 20 thousand keys to give away (via Grimwell). Why exactly can’t we talk about this game? This sounds so much like an OPEN beta.

The Beatles: Rock Band is offering membership in an exclusive fan club if you pre-order their US$249.99 Limited Edition Bundle, with perhaps two mikes for vocal harmonizing. Which would be cool, but … $249.99? Well, at least it isn’t $250.00. (via @samhouston)

Syp over at Bio Break doesn’t like Elves much. But elves are AWESOME! Read through Tolkein’s “The Silmarillion” sometime.

Iluvatar: Hi, elves! We’re going to make you immortal, you have a magical language — no wait, TWO magical languages, have a connection with nature, are the best fighters, can put an arrow through a gnat’s eye from three leagues away, can walk on top of snow, move silently, make trees sentient, and … oh, hi Man! Gifts? Lessee… your lives will be nasty, brutish and, oh yes, SHORT. Mortality is My gift to you! Now run along!

Elf: Hey, you gave MAN something! You like him better than me!

Iluvatar: Oh! Here’s the ability to craft magical rings, capture the light of stars in gems, make magical ships that can sail straight out of the mortal world, the ability to write better poetry and songs than anyone else, make cities out of trees, heal the sick, ride faster than anyone, and vanish when threatened.

Elf: Still kinda mad at you for giving Man mortality.

Iluvatar: Oh, okay. If you ever want it really bad, you can become mortal, too.

Stingite over at The Friendly Necromancer is feeling a little masochistic and has found the perfect solution in Wizard 101 Central’s PvP Tournaments. Props to the organizers for putting some incentive into Wizard 101’s dueling arenas, and next time? Earthquake!

Green Armadillo at Player vs Developer wonders why SOE has decided to compete with an entire crafting profession, Carpenters, with its new RMT furniture. A very valid concern — there are master carpenters on every server who have a great deal of fame (and make a great deal of coin) by decorating people’s homes and guild halls. But if they can’t even offer the very best items — sold for real cash in the Station Marketplace — then what’s their purpose? EQ2 is one of the very few MMOs that offer such freedom in decorating. Tampering with that is NOT a good move on SOE’s part.

Today is Velociraptor Awareness Day, because people should watch out before exploring power stations or cafeterias — there could be raptors! Warning — following that link will reactivate your Facebook account. It happened to me, and that’s a little scarier than mere raptors. Via XKCD, of course.

It’s not hard to make the kind of MMO people really want. Make full time, all the time, everywhere PvP, allow the players to make their own cities and rule the world, raid, capture and destroy other cities, and if you can’t take it, go back to your happy fun carebear world, EverQuest tourist? EverQuest? Yup, Shadowbane was EverQuest’s Darkfall, the game that was going to give players what they REALLY wanted — the threat of constant death. Shadowbane’s long and troubled history comes to an end May 1. EverQuest, for the record, is still going strong. When I played Dark Age of Camelot, Shadowbane was going to be the answer for all the failings in DAoC’s RvR. You couldn’t go out to Emain Mecha without hearing how SB would do it better. Now DAoC has a sequel (Warhammer Online) and… Shadowbane is closing. Do people REALLY want 100% all the time PvP?

Stargrace has figured out how to level a character in EverQuest II with 200% Adventure Experience for free! Well, for a month, anyway, using a new account with Recruit a Friend to essentially powerlevel an existing account, which has enough prior 80s on it to give a substantial boost to adventure xp for all characters. It’s pretty complicated, it’s better if she explains it :)

Happy Saturday!