RPG

99gamers

The Future of Gaming?

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How many games do you have sitting your shelf that you’ve already played through, and barely even look at anymore? And how many games are there that you’ve been wanting to play – maybe even for years – but you just can’t justify the purchase of them, perhaps even because of the collection you already have?  Of course you can trade in old games to corporate companies like GameStop or Best Buy, and even purchase used games. But let’s be honest.. that’s kind of a rip. They don’t give you much for your trade-in, and turn around and sell it as used for more than twice as much.

99gamersThis is exactly the conundrum a group of gamers was discussing over at Reddit a while back, and developed it into a solution.  Now, you can head over to 99gamers.com to trade your games one-on-one with other gamers, and receive and pay amounts much closer to the game’s value. Personally, I love this idea. It’s a process that’s been much-needed in the gaming community for quite a while, and it’s finally here.  To hear more about the service, we recently contacted Brandon Kruzeniski of 99Gamers for some questions.

NiB- What is 99gamers.com?
BK- 99Gamers is a video game trading community. Members use 99Gamers as a platform to trade directly with each other. Members add their unwanted video games and sell them to other members for a virtual currency called ‘coins’ which are valued at $1 per coin. Members can then spend their earned coins on other games.

NiB- What is your role on the site?

BK- I’m one of the founders of 99Gamers with the other being my brother Jon.

NiB- I hear you got your start from a post on Reddit. Can you elaborate on that?

BK- I originally got the idea for a video game trading site when I came across a post on Reddit about how someone would shoot darts at their game collection to choose which game they would play next. I realized that this random person had a bunch of games that I would love to play but just haven’t had the chance to. I turned to my game collection and thought that this person would probably feel the same way about my game collection. 

I was also tired of getting ripped off by GameStop, knowing they would turn around and sell the game for double the next day. I knew other video game trading sites existed, but none of them were what I wanted them to be. 

I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested in something like this so I decided to post it to Reddit and see what the response was like. I was thinking maybe a few hundred people would see it and I’d be able to get some feedback on the idea, but within a few hours the post was at the top of r/gaming and even hit the front page for a while, resulting in thousands of signups. I then knew enough people felt the same way I did so I went forward with the site.

NiB- How can it help the gaming community? 

BK- First, we save people a lot of money. Trading on the site is completely free so you’ll really start to see the savings add up quickly. 99Gamers is built by gamers for gamers with the sole intention of getting more value out of your game collection. We are a platform for gamers to trade directly with each other so the middle man can be cut out. Many people feel like they get ripped off when using trade-in services so 99Gamers can be used as that alternative.

I’ve also found that because you have access to such a large game library you are more inclined to try out games you may have not given a chance before. You are then more likely to purchase the sequel when it comes out. For example I hadn’t played the Dead Space series yet but after getting the games through 99Gamers I ended up buying Dead Space 3 new.

NiB- Have you gotten any backlash from corporate gaming companies?

BK- We haven’t received any backlash at all. We’re still fairly new and have been mostly underground so it’s doubtful they know about us yet.

NiB- From what I understand, you just came out of beta. How has membership grown since then?

BK- We came out of beta about two months ago and we’re starting to pick up momentum. Just last week, it was nine months since I originally posted about the idea on Reddit so I did a follow up post about our progress so far. We ended up hitting the front page again which resulted in us more than doubling our user base within 24 hours. We went from having 2,300 members to now almost 6,000. 

NiB- Has this project been received well by the gaming community?

BK- Yes, I believe it has been received quite well. Both Reddit posts reached the front page which shows many people share the same feelings of not wanting to get ripped off by trade-in offers. When members trade directly with one another games can be offered at a lower value and people tend to appreciate knowing that their games will be going to a good home.

NiB- Are there any particular games trending on the site right now? 

BK- Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 3 have been popular over the last few months. Now that the new Tomb Raider is out it usually gets picked up quite quickly. Pokémon games are of course always popular as everyone loves playing them. I’ve found people will often buy every game in a series together. The Mass Effect series has been very popular in the past. 

NiB- Are there any games you’re hoping get put up so you can nab them?

BK- I actually had a list of games I had wanted when I came up with the idea and wouldn’t allow myself to get them through anywhere but 99Gamers. A few I’ve gotten are Kingdom Hearts, Max Payne 3, Pokémon SoulSilver and Assassin’s Creed II.  One that I hadn’t yet received was Just Cause 2 but after the Reddit post last week I managed to grab it and it’s now on its way!

NiB- Any future project plans for the site?

BK- Up next we’ll be adding PC games and digital codes. The search, browse and profile pages are getting a much improved new look. These will help members discover new and interesting games faster.
Down the road we plan on adding consoles and gaming accessories into the mix as well as some more exciting features. Our main goal continues to make buying and selling games as easy as possible so our members can spend more time playing games.

 

You can visit 99Gamers here: http://99gamers.com – Hopefully you’ll find something you’ve been wanting. Let us know how it goes!

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Updated Female Pandaren Models

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This is a follow up to my last WoW post about the upcoming Female Panderan Models. A few weeks ago, Blizzard finally released the Female Panderan model and they look amazing! All the images are from World of Warcraft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They aren’t just skinny pandas, they resemble the Male Panderan, but still retain that female quality. It isn’t quite a male with a bow on its head, but it isn’t that far off either. Some people might not like the models, but then they don’t have to play them. With the beta getting into full swing more people can play with both Panderan models and find any bugs that might occur. This way the designers can make the models even better. And in a complete turn around, the female models seem to have better animations than the male models, which get stuck in the frame pose from time to time. It is usually the female models that have the most issues, so it’s nice to see that Blizzard must have worked hard at making the female models even better this time around.

 

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Review: Standard Action

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There is one new web series you should check out in the New Year: Standard Action. It’s based on Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy RPGs, but incorporates all kinds of pop culture. In D&D terms a “standard action” is an action that allows you to do something, i.e. attack or cast a spell. Standard Action was created by Joanna Gaskall and is shot in Vancouver. It has a small main cast, with many guest actors as the series goes on.

 

The cast stars Joanna Gaskall as Edda, an Elven Barbarian, Daniel Johnston as Martin, a Druid allergic to trees and who won’t heal, Edwin Perez as Fernando, an eternally optimistic half-Halfling Bard, and Tara Pratt as Wendy who prefers to be called Gwenevere and is more concerned with her looks and reputation than most other things. The series’ first four episodes are to introduce the characters to the viewers and to each other. The show then moves onto a quest to save Wendy’s and Fernando’s friends which morphs into saving the area.

 

 

Standard Action has 13 episodes (plus episode 6.5), which are all short and easily watchable in one day. The production value of the episodes are excellent. Everything from the costumes, makeup and setting are very well put together and believable. The writing is some of the funniest I’ve heard in a long time, web series or not. The dialogue is snappy and clever. There are many references to D&D, modern music, and more. If you don’t play D&D or any other type of fantasy RPGs, then some of the jokes might not make sense to you, but I don’t think that will detract from any enjoyment of the show. Each of the characters has a distinctive voice, all the while mocking (in a lovingly way) the tropes of their characters.

 

Speaking of characters, for a short web series the characters start off well developed and continue to evolve as the show goes on. They don’t get along at first and fumble their way through to the end, but at the end the group comes together to defeat the villain.

 

 

There were a few issues I had. First, in a few episodes the visual (mouth movements and prop sounds) didn’t match up to the audio. Secondly, I had some video stuttering where the audio kept going while the visuals were frozen. However, I am willing to blame those two things on Youtube, my internet connection, and my choice in watching it in 1080p. Perhaps with a better connection or a smaller size, those issues would not occur. My other minor problems was that sometimes the actor’s dialogue was hard to hear and the music got a little loud. Those are minor like I said and can be overlooked.

 

If you’d like to watch Standard Action you can watch it at the website http://watchstandardaction.com/ (which is linked above as well) which links to the videos at Youtube. Here’s the first episode to see if you want to watch the show:

Skyrim

Makin’ Love, The Skyrim Way: Warming Up.

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(Installment One in The OverLady’s ongoing review series on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

 

The Anticipation.

Waiting for the release of a new RPG is like waiting for the release of a new book the author take years to build. The author has perfected his/her craft and curated a loving readership.

While I fancy to use completely current comparisons (Which, in this case would be the ever-loved Harry Potter book series), an extremely beloved and more content-accurate comparison would be a combination of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and her Lives of the Mayfair Witches series. These books, besides being highly anticipated through every book by her loyal and loving readership, chronicled a carefully crafted and elaborate history of thousands of years. Most of Rice’s stories in these series took place between the 18th century and modern day, though entire chapters were often devoted to delving into ancient history and speculative lore of New Orleanean, French, Scottish, and Egyptian vampires and witches. As an historian by study, Rice’s tales wove an intoxicating mix of real-world history with her fanciful and lush imagination. The richness of her work was not for the feeble, as many of her books hit the 1,000 page mark with ease and grace. Much like these books, each Elder Scrolls game offers much of this richness in the world, the story, and most certainly the history… each touting at least hours of gameplay, depending on how thorough the player decides is necessary.

 

The Motivation.

On November 11, 2011, Bethesda released Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which is probably fairly well-known by this point. With much of the hype and erratic anticipation of arguably any of the Harry Potter series, but with the specific history and richness within the pages of Anne Rice’s most famous series, Skyrim is already a new classic to the RPG repertoire. Regardless of the fact its kin (Oblivion and Morrowind) both won game of the year and Skyrim is already nominated once so far, it already wins game of my heart until Elder Scrolls VI comes out in the unforeseeable future.

Cracking into a new video game, especially one I know is going to leave me in a state of orgasmic shock every time I play, comes with a set of simple but necessary rituals I have developed over the years. Before settling in for hours of delicious gameplay, I must have things in order. I mustn’t have any unfinished chores. (Something which I believe has come with feeling responsible to my partner as well as exponential nagging guilt I would otherwise feel towards myself!) The only thing I should be getting up for, save emergencies, is the direst of bathroom trips.

 

SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Preparation.

As a firm believer in daily decadence, here is a general list of what I make my gaming nest out of– especially in the colder months:

Hot tisane? √

Full bottle of water? √

100% juice? √

Dried fruit? √

Apple or other fresh fruit? √

Quinoa or another super-yummy and equally healthy nom? √

Cozy & non-binding clothes? (Leggings/sweaters/soft ballet flats are my norm) √

At least one blanket for an unexpected chill? √

Heating pad on high for pre-emptive back care? (A true Pro-Tip from a seasoned gamer, trust me on this.) √

At least one lap-ready cat? (Note: any cuddly pet or partner will do wonderfully!) √

Optional item for the spry: Balance ball to sit on instead of the couch. No √ this round, my older cat punctured my last one!

***I will get a photo in the near-future of this ridiculous spread for everyone, but trust that a well-put-together gaming nest is essential for optimal gameplay and submersion into the world.***

 

The Lamentation (of this woman).

As I have since switched to MacBook after Oblivion came out and mostly have neglected upgrades to my desktop PC since Fallout 3, I decided on a first– playing and Elder Scrolls game on console! I was a bit worried about playing on Xbox 360, worry of a completely baseless and totally biased nature, of course. In any case I pre-ordered it through Amazon for the same store price and still got the cute map inside. It arrived in the morning right before I headed to work, where I got to agonize all day about it.

 

Physical Map Included With Game

 

I actually only got to play for a couple hours as there were things to be done (Remember, loose ends equals silly amounts of guilt!) and of course prepping my costume bits for the Swashbuckler’s Ball the following night. Insert work all day Saturday & Sunday. I finally got to put in some time Sunday night and ALL of Monday… No, really! Approximately 12:35pm to 2:30am, save a couple hours of dining and partner face-time before he cuddled up with me and did homework while I played. Up to now, I would say I’ve amassed a modest 20 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Creation

I am going to do my best to not recount an overview of the game, one can google that or check out the Skyrim wiki on Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls site. With that said, I will also do my best to give my take on it as both an astute gamer and Elder Scrolls fangirl.

 

S'Leife DLeina

 

Meet S’Leife DLeina, now level 11 Dunmer (Dark Elf to the layman) with a penchant for Alchemy, Sneaking, Light Armor, Smithing, Two-handed weapons (currently an Orcish warhammer), and most certainly collecting books. Check out her sexy Elven light armor, isn’t she a babe?!

For those of you who may have played past Elder Scrolls games, you probably also noticed the distinct lack of choices in the character creation menu. As someone who loves her detail, this was very disappointing to me. Oblivion had a near- Sims 3- level of character detail in the creation menu. I fucking loved that. I loved getting to pick and choose literally every physical characteristic of my new elf’s face… not to mention the ability to give my past Dunmers a luscious shade of lavender on their hair. On the flipside to this disappointment, I will acknowledge how awesome it is the elves look much less human. They look like, well- elves!

(I had a far-fetched aesthetic fantasy Skyrim would bring back the ability to layer clothing like in Morrowind… It’s still just a lofty dream!)

On the topic of choices, let’s talk about the lack of stats! On the main screen during gameplay, the only stats shown are your health/stamina/magicka bars, if they are less than 100% charged. There is no menu or ability to see how high your specific abilities are beyond while you are actively doing something. Oh, the computer keeps track so the end user doesn’t have to. I was really wary when I read about that as well as the open-ended nature of not having any classes.

The intent, which I think works extremely well, was to allow players to develop their characters more naturally without constraints. I am very much reminded of this strip from the web comic Stuff No One Told Me. By allowing the player to organically develop their character, they can sate all of their human curiosities while still continuing to progress in the game and evolve their character. Progression of stats and in turn, leveling, is done on a by-use basis instead of a “Oh I HAVE to go do this thing again, if I want to level, since I am stuck with these areas as my major focal points”. Wariness be gone, I think I love the classless system!

On a similar note, this lack of class system rigidity can achieve some fun combinations that definitely “break the rules” of traditional RPGs. Want to wear heavy armor but focus on alteration magicka? Do it! Oh, you like wielding bow & arrows, but love close-range attacks? DO BOTH!

 

Deal With It- This is an animated Gif. Click it.

 

 

I will wrap things up now, as I have been away from my game for a bit too long (:::reaches for paper bag to breathe in:::), but I will leave you with the following as a preview of what I will be talking about next time: NPCs! Dealing with them, living life, and manipulating them, alive or dead.

 

 

 

 

 

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World of Warcraft and Female Models

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A few weeks ago, Blizzard, the maker of World of Warcraft, held Blizzcon to showcase all of their games; WoW, Diablo III and Starcraft II. They started off the con with information about their new WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria. They showed off a lot of new things such as the new playable race, Pandaren, a new class, Monk, new mobs to fight, and new locations to explore. One thing they didn’t show off was the female model for the Pandaren.

 

There was a picture of a Pandaren with a bow on it’s head, and many people wouldn’t mind that being the female model for the new race, but I don’t know if that will happen. Apparently the creator of the Pandaren has always drawn females as Red Pandas. People fear that female Pandaren will be slimmed down to fall in line with the other female races.

 

 

Blizzard has changed female (and male!) models before. In the Alpha version of WoW, Troll females were just as hunched over as males and seemed to have more facial choices. For whatever reason, Blizzard decided to change the model into what is now used today. The female Troll model has limited facial options and many Trolls tend to look the same. There’s a video of the Alpha Troll model here. Below is an image of the current female Troll model.

 

 

They also seemed to have slightly altered the Tauren female model from the Alpha version. It doesn’t seem to be a huge change, like with the Troll females, but it’s still an odd change as the Alpha Tauren female looked fine. Here’s a video of all the Alpha models, Troll and Tauren included. Below is an image of the current female Tauren model.

 

 

As I said before, Blizzard even changed male models for Blood Elves back before Burning Crusade was released. The Beta male models were slim and not as muscular as the other male members of the Horde (minus the Forsaken). There were some complaints that the Beta models looked “too gay” or “too pretty”, this might not have been why the change was made, but no one knows for sure.

 

 

The latest model change came back before Cataclysm was released. The Worgen male and female models went through a lot of changes; from looking, some would say, more wolf like to becoming more feral. The female model came under the most fire as they lost a little of the muscle they had and didn’t really seem to match the male Worgen model. Here’s a video of the Alpha models. And below are images of the Alpha and current models.

 Alpha:

Current:

It’s all personal preference and personal opinion on whether you like the old models or the current models better. I’m just hoping that the female Pandaren aren’t going to be too different from the male version.

Reality is Broken: How Games Can Shape The Future

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How many hours a week do you spend playing games?  Any games. From simple little time-wasters on your mobile phone, to completely engrossing RPGs involving putting together missions and raids with fellow gamers.  What if those hours you spend building and changing virtual worlds could actually be applied to the problems in our every day life? This is the basis for Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken.

As a long-time game developer, McGonigal has had the chance to examine, first hand, how gaming can become a very huge part of a person’s every day life. In Reality is Broken, we explore how this is not only a growing trend, but how it can be a very positive one.  While non-gamers have always been critical of gaming, there are very clear perks to the lessons gaming teaches us.  A particularly interesting fact McGonigal expresses through her research is what she calls ‘the four super powers’ that a person develops through gaming regularly.  These include: urgent optimism, social fabric, blissful productivity, and epic meaning. This pretty much means that by being a regular gamer, a person can be their own highly-motivational pep rally, make connections, build trust, and learn team-building skills by working with other gamers, be legitimately happy about putting forth all of this effort, and feel like they’re making a difference. All of these skills are things you just don’t get in the real world very often these days.  You don’t get to level up by taking the trash out or recycling.  There are no one-up mushrooms for helping old ladies cross the street.  Beating your head on a brick definitely does not produce a ride-able miniature dinosaur.  …..okay, so maybe nothing can be done about that last one.

The issue here is that by keeping all of these great developments restricted to virtual worlds, we’re taking all of this potential out of the real world, and keeping it smothered in lands of orcs and fairies. Meanwhile, we have issues that need to be addressed in reality.  McGonigal’s suggestion to counter this is to create games that address real-world problems and offer legitimate solutions. Through this, we can not only train future generations to look at real solutions critically and creatively, but actually generate those answers quicker and more efficiently.  A few games like this already exist.  Consider Chore Wars, which is apparently a game similar to World of Warcraft, but played in real life, using daily, household chores as missions and achievements.  Additionally, McGonigal, herself, has created three – yes, three! – games in which you address large, real-world problems in a fun, gaming setting.  Games like World Without Oil, Superstruct, and Evoke are highly creative ways to brainstorm realistic solutions. Sort of makes you wonder if Left for Dead was actually a way to generate workable zombie plans, huh? To make this idea work, games would need to evolve in the right direction, and we’d all have to step it up on the amount of hours played.

Reality is Broken presents these views in a very thorough and thought-provoking manner. McGonigal offers well-researched scientific fact to back up all of the ideas expressed, and lays out a goal for the future that comes across as realistic and reachable.  While the beginning of Reality is Broken is a little long-winded going over qualifications for making these statements, this does establish a trust between the author and reader. McGonigal offers a radical idea backed up by well-documented facts, and a realistic path to get there.

I would highly recommend taking a look at Jane McGonigal’s bio and qualifications, her speech on this topic presented through , and, of course, the actual book, Reality is Broken, now available on .

What do you guys think? Can games change the world?

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TRON: Evolution Voice Actors Announced

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In preparation for the new TRON: Legacy movie coming in December, Disney Interactive Studios will be releasing a third-person video game named TRON: Evolution. The game, which combines elements of RPG and racing to allow for both single and multi-player options, will bridge the storyline between the original movie and the new one.

Heading the voice cast for Evolution will be original TRON actor Bruce Boxleitner along with television star Olivia Wilde (House). Joining them will be a number of familiar names from our television screens. Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) will voice Gibson, John Glover (Smallville) voices Abraxas, Nolan North (Port Charles/General Hospital) will voice Behemoth/Sentries/Blaze, and Terrence A. Carson (Living Single) voices Calchas. You can see a small video of the voice cast here. This will be the second voice acting role for Ackles, who garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews for his role of Red Hood/Jason Todd in the recent Batman release Under the Red Hood.

Are you excited for the new TRON movie? Will you be heading out to your nearest gaming store to pick up TRON: Evolution? I know I’m looking forward to hearing more from my favorite voice actors and am very interested to see how Ackles’ second venture out goes.

Photo Credit: Disney Interactive Studios

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Fallout New Vegas, The Adventure Begins

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Fallout New Vegas Review Part I

Starting up New Vegas felt a little bit like coming home. I had the lights off, the TV turned up, and nothing to distract me from the mayhem that was sure to ensue. I sat patiently through the opening narration squeeing quietly when I heard that iconic phrase, “War. War never changes.” As a late comer to video games(I didn’t start playing them seriously until I discovered Oblivion in early 2008), I have never played the original Fallout games so I may not have quite the appreciation as some of the more serious fans, but I love it nonetheless.

When Fallout 3 came out, my husband and I were over-the-road truckers and at the time we were staying in Indiana for a few days. So we found a local Game Stop doing a midnight release and waited in the freezing cold to get this game that Mr. Doc had talked about for months before hand. At the time I was still leery of video games, and I didn’t understand what all the hype was about. I understand it now. The feeling I got when I started the game for the first time was something close to euphoria.

The beginning of the game was very reminiscent of Fallout 3. You chose the basics for your character, such as name, gender, and appearance. You then use a machine that looks like an old fashioned “Test Your Strength” game to assign point values to your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. skills. Finally Doc Mitchell gives you a series of Rorschach tests to determine your tag skills, which you can tweak to your liking. The result of the Rorschach tests also determines the parting gift you receive from the good Doctor.

I was given a Laser Pistol(one of my favorite weapons in Fallout 3)some ammo for said pistol, a Vault suit, and some stimpaks. Plus I raided his house, because it’s not stealing.

After leaving his house I explored the town of Goodsprings for a bit. Met up with Sunny Smiles(what a name)and received a Varmint Rifle. She “showed me how to shoot” and then took me Gecko hunting. The giant Geckoes made me laugh. The way they run is hysterical. We shot the Geckoes that were patrolling the wells for Goodsprings. I did a few more quests in Goodsprings before heading to Primm, looking for the men that shot me and left me for dead.

This concludes Part I of my review look for more in the near future.

Doctor Who + RPG = Epic?

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Ever had that moment when you’re just making stupid jokes with a friend and then suddenly inspiration hits? Well, that happened to a friend and just this weekend. I mention one of my many crafts, a pair knit gloves that I was going to sew the sew TARDIS onto, and suddenly we turned nerdy. I have been going through some Doctor Who yarn inspiration and was slowing to complete a set. And if I were to complete a whole set, according to my friend, I would gain the bonus ability of Time Travel. And through some more nerdy speak that has left most of my family speechless, we came up with a million and a half ideas for a tabletop Doctor Who RPG. Epic, right?

Well we met earlier today at a book store, plenty of inspiration and help around, to discuss and get a start on this amazing idea. About an hour into our talking and planning we had figured out that we had entered a whole new level of Nerd, we were off the charts, we’re had become level 80 nerds. And he’s a little more nerdy than I am.

What did we come up with you ask? Well, let me give you the short of it. Instead of classes there are vocations, and the races are practically Endless. You need at least one Time Lord and one Companion to play, and the max really should be three Companions and one Time Lord. You must level up your TARDIS to gain the extra rooms and upgrades, just like you must level up (essentially) your Time Lord’s sonic screwdriver. You complete quests and battles to gain new settings and operations for your screwdriver. A few other things also that we’re working out right at the moment. Instead of a Dungeon Master, there’s The Master (so far.)
Some of the Vocations we came up with were Medical Doctor, Soldier, Scientist, Civilian, and Scholar, and from there you can choose a minor vocation also. Each companion will have certain strengths according to the vocations your choose. The worlds and times you’ll travel to are practically endless, and you have to attempt to keep Earth History generally the same or your Time Protection Bar decreases. And so far the one rule that we know of; Captain Jack Harkness is a Fact.

So now we’re writing up descriptions, working some illustrations, and some skills calculations. We might just be a little Too excited for our own good. But you have to admit, this is going to be something Epic.

Happy Nerding!
<(-_-<)<(-_-)>(>-_-)> Megara Noelle <(-_-<)<(-_-)>(>-_-)>

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