Although enterprising gamers have been doing it in some form for almost as long as online games have been around, Sony has officially made a site where you can pay actual cash for special virtual items in Everquest II. This is not exactly a big surprise, as it's not only an evolution of what's been going on between individuals for years, but a sort of inbetween step for the future, because it's already been heavily hinted that online services for future MMOGs will feature some sort of official marketplace system where you can soup up your character or get some tricked out items for the right price. And hey, most of us gamers are people who have jobs and some semblance of a social life, so I certainly see the advantage to buying some kickass armor or sword since you just don't have the time to spend endless hours questing for it. But at the same time, any real gamer will tell you that any item they gained through tons of hours of questing and hard work has a special sentimental value too them. It definitely would feel hollow to just buy some super-powerful item. I last thing I want is to be playing the next big mmorpg and listen to some jackass brag about how he just laid out a few hundred bucks so he could start out with the best equipment in the game while I'm still busy trying to survive with my cardboard armor and stick +2.
And Sony and Toshiba have finally pulled their heads out of their collective asses and decided that it would be a good idea to come up with just one format for the next generation of dvds rather than risk pissing off the consumer public. Supposedly this may lead to some issues with the PS3 since their previous hardline devotion to blu-ray may need some adjustment, but I bet Sony had some plan in place before they called for a truce anyways, so this probably won't cause any unknown delays (and I know there already has been many rumblings about exactly what we are going to see at E3, but that's still a month away, so I don't want to waste a good blog on that yet, especially before any concrete details surface).
Finally, I did play some of Unreal Championship II, and what I really like about the game is that the story mode trains you well for the online mode, because it's the same stuff. It sounds stupid, but neither Halo 2's or Time Splitters 3's story mode gives you any sort of preperation for the multi-player because it's such a vastly different experience. In UC: II, you are a competitor in a tournament, and it helps more naturally prepare you to go online rather than feeling like you have to go and practice offline against some bots to get better. My only major complaint is that you have to either jump into an already started game or create your own, which can lead to a lot of frustarting losses for you or opponents. There's no reason this shouldn't have a match system similar to Halo 2 and many other games where you get everybody in a room first and then go. Chaos Theory sort of has this issue, but you can also see if the game has been started yet.
That's really all for today, till next time...