May 14, 2000
A report from E3

I went to E3 on Friday. Due to my job, I am able to make Sony give me E3 passes. I have no connection to the gaming world professionally. I went as a typical gaming otaku (look it up). My brother flew out from Washington D.C. to see the show. He gets PAID to write articles on sports gaming. He had the wicked cool "Media" ribbon attached to to his badge. He even had appointments with game designers. I had a day off from work and a note pad. Here's what I saw:

Shadowbane - I walked over the GOD area in the show (not the invite only place where the actual Shadowbane movie, playmates , & beer was.). I said to a couple guys hanging around, "Where's the Shadowbane demo?" A big guy with long hair and gleam in his eye said "I'm Balseraph, part of the Shadowbane team." Paydirt. He looked at my badge and realized I wasn't important, but continued to talk to me anyways. He told me about the 'promised lot' but said it was for media only, I told him I didn't need to go and he seemed relieved. I explained that I was from Siege and that many there viewed the shard as the last stand against the PK switch and many were eager for Shadowbane. He got excited and said " We will take every Siege player!" He feels that the games blend of combat, alliances, strategy, and new ideas about territory will pull the hard core gamers to SB. We discussed AC & EQ and he dismissed things like monsters spawning in the same place and dropping the same loot as 'insane'. Too bad spawn campers, SB ain't for you. He described how there was only one world, spread across servers that will span the globe. For example if you are in New York and you move to the part of Shadowbane that is hosted in Hong Kong, you are at an disadvantage, where as if you are in the part of SB hosted on the East coast, you got a home field advantage. Go read Lum's site for more details.

Soverign - Verant's next game. Looked neat with air/sea/land combat. Kinda neat MULEesque resource trading system. The neat thing is you pay for oil or steel and then actually convoys leave by land or sea to deliver it. The convoys can be intercepted and destroyed. Sweet, eh? There will be many worlds from 32 to 500 players in each. Seemed neat. You basically start to build your own little city. As the city grows, so can your defenses. When you logout your city is still attackable and you can call in your forces to defend it. I asked three different people what happens if you get attacked while off-line. They all had the same pat answer like 'your forces can be called to your base to dug in for protection.' Maybe I'm missing something, but seems to me that people will beat the hell out of your city while you are away. Not sure if I'll pony up $10/month for this one, but it will hook a lot of non-RPG people.

Anarchy Online - I wandered over to this both and wasn't expecting much. The guys working there were wide open and described everything. You can play Corporate, Rebel, or neutral. The game is set to release this fall! It was hard to understand the Norwegian (or whatever accent that was) but basically there's no fighting in town, but anything goes outside town! Suh-weet! I'll be trying this one for sure... Lum reviewed this one in detail too, go read his site.

Everquest - Although I don't like EQ, I stopped by the booth. I watched a GM 'summon' players to some high level zone and let them bash monsters. There were several Evercrack junkies watching the GMs every move for HOURS on end. I still don't get what people like about this game. All those sparkles everywhere? How do you know what's going on? The worst part for Verant was that for part of the show, there was connectivity to the net. The EQ GMs had to resort to using GM monster creation tools to entertain the junkies.

Chronx - Around 3 years ago, before UO there was a game called Chronx. Chronx is a game based on collectible card games, basically it was Magic the Gathering Online. You played opponents on line and bought cards online line as well. I was surprised to see that Sony has bought Chronx and was pushing it at E3. I picked up the CD. I'll probably waste some hours with it tonight.

Eidos - I wander through this both looking to play Daikatana. Instead of finding DK, I actually bumped into Stevie 'Killcreek' Case and John Romero. I really bumped into them with the 'Excuse me' and stuff exchanged between us. My thoughts: Romero is shorter than me and I could kick his butt :), Killcreek looks great. Like the approachable girl next store, not a surgically enhanced booth babe.

Blizzard - I saw both Diablo 2 and Warcraft 3. I tell you they look damn good. The Blizzard folk were running the games and they seemed complete. Personally I dig Warcraft more that Diablo, but they both will be big hits.

Kornelia - Kornelia is a female Quake 3 player. Let me rephrase that, Kornelia is the best Q3 player I have ever seen. I must have watched 15 deathmatches where she took on an opponent and killed him 7-0. She didn't get fragged once. Truly amazing. I saw guys try ever trick, but she was simply too good.

PSX2 - All I can really say is I'm buying one. The games look good, they even have an Unreal Tournament port with the same maps as the PC version. Buy stock in Sony now.

Posted by michael at May 14, 2000 02:16 PM