As I listen to podcasts, a common subject for those podcasts that do not focus on one or two games is a segment called "What have we been playing?" I like those segments as they give me an idea of what's hot, what's not, and where MMORPGs may be headed, at least in the short-term future. So I'll copy my favorite podcasters and have a regular feature called "What I've been listening to" here on the blog.
So here is what I've been listening to over the last week.
Virgin Worlds #139 - The flagship podcast for the Virgin Worlds podcast collective is a must listen-to podcast that gives me some background for what I am going to hear on all the other podcasts. In podcast #139, Brent reveals that Darren Love, of the Common Sense Gamer blog and co-host of the Shut Up We're Talking podcast hosted on Virgin Worlds, will act as the Virgin Worlds podcast's producer. Or, as Darren put it, Darren is going to write the rough draft of Brent's show notes.
I'm excited about this development, and not just because it sounds like Brent will be able to get back to a more regular schedule of releasing his own podcasts. The collaboration of Brent and Darren usually produces good things, and I expect this latest development will be no different.
Van Hemlock #39 – Another podcast I regularly listen to from Van Hemlock (a.k.a. Tim Dale) and Jon Shute from the U.K. I especially love hearing their views on the news. I admit that I am subject to the tendency of Americans to give additional credence to anything said by anyone sporting the accent of our former British overlords. The Van Hemlock podcast is sort of like the BBC news, only with a sense of humor and appreciation for irony.
The Van Hemlock podcast is also the first place I get my news on EVE. While I don’t play the game, I do like listening to news from the game. Jon is a bit of an expert having headed an EVE corporation for awhile. The BoB vs. Goonswarm struggle even made it to the Van Hemlock show notes on Virgin Worlds, where we discovered there is an excellent post in the City of Heroes forums on the war.
One last thing about the podcast I liked was Van Hemlock’s experience with a pick-up group in City of Heroes. I won’t spoil the story; I’ll just say that it is not your typical PuG story.
EQ2’s-day show from Tuesday, February 3 – Dellmon posted the 1 ½ hour show last week that originally aired on Online Gaming Radio that featured EQ2 associate producer (and soon to be developer) Jen “Kirstie” Gerull. If you play EQ2, listen to this podcast. Not only was Kirstie a very engaging guest, but very informative as well. Despite intense grilling from Dellmon, Kirstie insisted that the quest to bring the EQ1 Beastmaster class into EQ2 is working as intended. Other topics included the upcoming Lavastorm revamp, the possibility of server mergers and/or splits, and pink unicorns.
You can tell Kirstie is a regular listener of the show because she had no hesitation in joining Dellmon’s co-host Zanadi in picking on Dellmon, making this a very entertaining as well as informative show.
The Instance #136 – Perhaps the premier World of Warcraft podcast in existence today, Scott Johnson and Randy “Delux” Jordan head up another of my must listen-to podcasts. Not only does The Instance allow me to keep up with the news of the game a lot of my co-workers play, but the podcast is giving me ideas for posts as I compare what is happening in WoW with my experiences in Everquest 2.
This week Scott & Randy discussed the implications of Jeff Kaplan’s move from World of Warcraft to Blizzard’s mystery next-generation MMO, what went wrong with WoW’s Valentine’s Day in-game holiday, and the upcoming ability of players to have two specs. The discussion of 16-slot bags brought back some good memories from WoW.
Epic Dolls #60.1 – In this mini-episode of the long-running World of Warcraft podcast, Katerina makes her Epic Dolls debut. Katerina is replacing Rae as Leala Turkey’s co-host and made her introduction to the audience solo as real life issues kept Leala Turkey occupied. I’ll be interested to hear how Kat fits in when the whole gang is together again.
Free Play Podcast #15 – Riknas, Andras, and Joe have reached their 15th podcast and are starting to hit their stride, Riknas’ microphone problems notwithstanding. The guys have found a niche with their F2P news and their reviews on games are getting better the more practice they get at doing it.
Last week the Free Play Crew played the Cartoon Network’s MMORPG Fusion Fall. From the sound of the discussion, the game is pretty good, but the more into the Cartoon Network you are, the better you’ll like the game. I’ve been hearing comments in other podcasts and on blogs about Fusion Fall, so it’s nice to have some confirmation from people who’ve played that the game has possibilities.
No Prisoners, No Mercy #24 – Sister Julie and Sister Fran lived up to the subtitle of the podcast, “Two Nuns Go to WAAAGGGHHH!” last week as the explored why Warhammer Online lost over 450,000 players since launch.
Normally the No Prisoners, No Mercy podcast provokes a spirited exchange in the show’s discussion thread on Virgin Worlds. For this podcast, Sister Julie solicited the opinions of her listeners on why they think WAR has lost subscribers and the responses were read and discussed. I could have done without the Christian Bale discussion at the beginning of the show. Bring back the "Mad as Hell!" segment!
In a new feature, Ceadric gave some advice on how to make some serious gold in World of Warcraft at the end of the show. From the sound of it, anyone can submit a short audio clip and the sisters may choose it to be played at the end of the show.
Spouse Aggro #69 – The podcast formerly known as Voyages of Vanguard is hosted by real-life married couple Beau and Leala Turkey. The aggro is not drawn because one is a gamer and the other isn’t. The aggro is drawn because of conflicting gaming styles. Leala is in a World of Warcraft raiding guild while Beau is … Beau. I’m not going to describe Beau’s playstyle here because he really deserves a blog post (or three) just to describe his immersion project. Beau is one of those unique characters who don’t fit into a well-defined category and that is why he’s so interesting to listen to.
In the latest Spouse Aggro podcast (that I stayed up WAY too late to listen to), the Turkeys discuss the upcoming hard-core player vs. player based MMORPG Darkfall. In the podcast, the usually calm and rational Leala becomes more agitated and winds up going on a rant against the game while Beau sticks up for many of the concepts the game will attempt to implement. I think the real problem both Beau and Leala have with the game is the likely player-base Darkfall will attract. Given the results of a recent poll of future players of the game, maybe Leala’s reaction was rational after all.