October 2008
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Hello Kitty Online isn’t the only MMO holding my interest!  GaiaOnline’s much-anticipated game, titled zOMG! (no, really, that’s its name!) entered its Open Beta phase on Monday of this week.

For a few days, only members with their hands on a Jump-Start Ticket (an item given away as a promotion last month) could play.  Yesterday, Gaia further opened up its zOMG! gates a little more, allowing members who have been registered on the site since 2004 or earlier to play.  That’s me!

(Note: The reason only select members can play at this point is to test the limit of the game servers.  Too many Gaians online at once would crash the game - then no one could play, and that’s no fun!  So, more recent members will get their turn in the game in the coming weeks.)

(Another note: zOMG! has actually been playable for a while - although it was only available to a select amount of Closed Beta testers.  Guess what!  I was one of them!!  But, screenshots and information from that time are strictly confidential, so I have been unable to share anything until now.)

Now that it’s safe for me to share my adventures, I shall wholeheartedly do so!  All you folks who are unable to play the game at this time are getting an exclusive sneak peek!  As with my HKO screenshots, you can click on these to view them full-size.

The game interface looks like this.  zOMG! is, amazingly, an entirely Flash-based game, so all of this takes place right in your Web browser (there is no downloading whatsoever!).  Furthermore, your players is represented as your Gaia avatar, so you can look awesome from the very start!  No more worries about other players labeling you NOOB just because you don’t have any good equipment yet.

Anyway, in that picture, I am chatting with an NPC about how awesome we are.  Rina seems to like yellow, but my favorite color is…

BFFs!

One of the most memorable aspects of zOMG!, and Gaia in general, is the dialogue.  Interesting characters around every corner!

zOMG! isn’t anywhere close to being as pink as HKO, but I still managed to find some pretty spots to rest for a bit.

The Null Chamber is a mysterious place… the Experience Orbs picked up during your journey can be channeled into your rings, making them (and you!) stronger.

 I found a little friend!  This isn’t an enemy, just a cute environmental critter.

The area just outside of Barton Town is a golf course… or, as Gaians would call it, a Goof course.  Apparently, the statues can talk?  And they know our names?

Thought it would be a good idea to talk about how fighting works.  It’s certainly more interesting than HKO.  Click on your ring icons to use them… my only damage-dealing ring right now is Solar Rays, which is very shiny and cool!  As you use them more, you can charge them up and perform stronger attacks!  The battling system is very dynamic and awesome, and there is great potential for customization!

This one isn’t a screenshot of the game - this is one of the shops on Gaia’s main site.  Loot collected in zOMG! can be crafted into cool stuff, if you manage to find a recipe!  Here, I have recipes for a Badge (I think that’s something you can tack onto your profile to show you’ve done some kind of achievement) and… a rainbow pinwheel!  Cool!  I need to get to work collecting those items, so I can craft those recipes!

Some helpful links:

GaiaOnline

My GaiaOnline Profile (be my friend!)

zOMG! Wikia (cool videos and info here!)

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