I've been an avid gamer for more than 20 years. Some of my favorites have been online games. And, one of those online games was an "MMORPG." "MMORPG" is short for "massively multiplayer online role playing game." Many publishers have given the genre a try, but most have failed. Yet, a few stand out as victors among a sea of failures.
One of those victors, which I am happy to admit that I took part in, was a game called "EverQuest" by Sony Online Entertainment. What made the game stand out was simple: you take part in a never-ending quest. For its time, the game was released in 1999, it offered a level of escapism that could not be matched by any other product out there. And, it was a success that endures even today.
I played "EverQuest" until "World of Warcraft" by Blizzard Entertainment was released in 2004. I did enjoy the game for a while, however, it hadn't done anything more than expand on the "EverQuest" model. And, because the "EverQuest" model wasn't perfect, neither was "World of Warcraft." Blizzard did a fantastic job of acquiring a massive group of followers, and expansion packs are still being released. But, as with "EverQuest," I retired from "World of Warcraft" after a few years of endlessly questing.
As a result of giving two MMORPGs a large portion of my free time, I've become hardened and hesitant towards trying any new releases that hit the market. One MMORPG I never gave a shot came out in 2005, and was met with a great reception from audiences. It deviated from the common model used by the majority of MMORPGs of the time. That made it unique, especially so for those who enjoyed the competitive nature of player vs. player combat. That game was called "Guild Wars," and it was so successful that the developers decided to release "Guild Wars 2" on Aug. 28, 2012.
One of my best friends and I have been playing MMORPGs together since "EverQuest." And, he decided to purchase the "Guild Wars 2," regardless of whether I was going to. But, after doing some extensive research, and finding that the game looked promising, I figured I wouldn't leave him to brave the world ArenaNet had created on his own. And, after spending some time critiquing what the game has to offer, I have to admit, at this point it doesn't look like I'll regret the decision to shell out the price of a newly released game.
"Guild Wars 2" isn't perfect either, but it's a lot closer than the rest. One of my gripes with MMORPG developers is that the majority of them require players to spend at least $10 a month on subscription, in addition to purchasing the base game and expansion packs. However, ArenaNet has managed to stray from that business model through the means of in-game transactions and numerous expansions/episodics. The difference here is choice; if you want to spend more to invest in the game, you can, but you're not forced to. I think this is a great model, because you actually see the worth of what you spend money on. An improvement to the experience of the game has a physical value that can be measured.
An aspect of "EverQuest" that I really enjoyed was exploration. The universe the game presented was exactly as advertised - massive. And, I can say the same thing about "Guild Wars 2." Not only is the map massive, but the number of routes you can take to explore the content is exponential. So much so that it has been claimed that no two players can have the same experience. And, if you decide to create another character, your experience will be completely unique the second time through. Plus, if you're more of a fan of player vs. player, you can actually level a character completely through competitive play.
Of course, these observations are first impressions, and by no means expert. However, I do have some experience in the field, and I think if you like escaping into a world worth exploring with a group of friends, then you may want to pick up a copy of "Guild Wars 2." But, the game is already so popular that digital download of the game has been sold out, and the only way to purchase the game now is through retail stores. A good place to start though would be to visit guildwars2.com. YouTube also has a wealth of fan videos that will allow those interested a sneak peak without having to spend any money.
Good luck, and have fun.
Infinity Cafe To Kickoff The Local Music Showcase Weekend: The Amazing Dr. Zarcon's Breathing Machine Jug Band will perform on Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Infinity Cafe.
Now in its 40th year, the Niagara Falls native band will perform a special show of "The Roots of American Blues." With two critically acclaimed albums in three years (2009's "Jug Band Music" and 2011's "Jug Envy"), Zarcon remains America's only bi-coastal Jug Band. Recent performances at the San Francisco Jug Band Festival and Great Blue Heron Festival prove Zarcon continues to please audiences with humor, an eclectic mix of traditional blues and musical arrangements honed to a sharp edge.
For more information, including a complete schedule, call 664-0991 or visit infinityperformingarts.org.
4 His Praise Quartet Concert Is Sunday: 4 His Praise, the Hillcrest Men's quartet, will present an uplifting concert of Gospel music on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Hillcrest Baptist Church, 40 Hallock St. in Jamestown. 4 His Praise is Dick Olson, Maynard Cotter, Bob Beach and Craig Lassinger.
The Concert is free, and light refreshments will be served following the concert in the North Room by the Bethesda Sunday School Class.
The First Great Jamestown ChalkWalk Is Coming: Jamestown Now, the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation and the Arts Council for Chautauqua County are hosting The First Great Jamestown ChalkWalk on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. in downtown Jamestown.
Novice or experienced chalk artists will cover Jamestown's sidewalks with works of art and compete for cash prizes and awards. Throughout the day there will be activities for the kids and entertainment for all.
At 6:30 p.m. a reception and award ceremony at The Lillian V. Ney Renaissance Center will conclude the event. Artists who participate in the ChalkWalk will also have the opportunity to display their work at the closing reception.
Artists are needed to make this event a success. Public art, such as ChalkWalks, can bring a community together in unique and creative ways, and it has a rich history of being an accessible, engaging form of art for people of all ages, regardless of artistic ability.
Registration forms for interested artists can be found at facebook.com/JamestownNow, by emailing JamestownNow@gmail.com, or by calling 483-5772.
To include an upcoming show or event in this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 487-1111 ext. 253 by Monday.
Blue Grass Jam: 7 to 10 p.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron. Area bluegrass musicians are welcome to sit in and play.
Brian Hanna: 6 to 9 p.m., Pine Junction, 9757 Bailey Hill Road in Sherman.
Bill Ward: 6 p.m., the Lakeview 13 Water St. in Mayville.
Happy Days: 8 p.m. to midnight, Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
Small Town Revolution: 8 p.m., Pine Junction, 9757 Bailey Hill Road, Sherman.
Bradley Bates Benefit: 3:30 p.m., Silver Creek Firemen's Club, 23 Jackson St. in Silver Creek. Featuring Sean Patrick McGraw, Gina V. and The Noble Hearts.
Amanda Barton and Bill Ward: 5:30 p.m., the Hadley House Restaurant in Stow.