weet te melden dat in het laatste nummer van het magazine Computer Gaming World een uitgebreide preview van Westwood's Earth & Beyond staat.

Westwood schijnt al enige jaren in het geheim bezig te zijn met die spel en eigenlijk is de titel pas recentelijk uitgelekt. Het zou de ultieme online MMORPG moeten worden en heeft dan ook de belangrijkste feiten uit het artikel op een rij gezet :-Earth And beyond is the only game that actually gives the players the oppertunity to carve out virtual lives for themselves in the finest Buck Rogers tradition, Building their own spaceships , fighting for or against good, amassing enviable fortunes, and exploring the most distant reaches of the far flung universe.

- The game takes place in 23th Century.

- Humanity is still living in a state of cold war, still recovering from a nearly catastrophic conflict that took place some 100 years previous

- Three dominating factions in the game : The Voraciusly Capitalist Terran alliance holding earth, The science and discovery minded Jenquai living on one of the jupiters moons, and the progen republic who are warlike colonists genetically engineering warriors on mars.

- While earth & beyond might look like a space sim joystick jockey's dream, its actually a very solid RPG

- Three possible trades available for anyone(fighter , warrior or merchant trader), and the skill bonuses each planet confers consequently creates a pool of 9 potential roles.

- You can pirate , hijack convoys and trade in black market goods.

- The spaceship is a physical expression of your character class and level. Sure you will have an avatar to roam around in stations, but 99 persent of your presence in the game will be as your ships captain

- The quests will not all be conflict oriented however. Explorers can expect to go on quests to discover new planets , stargates, space creatures and more.

- Players wont be able to hog all the good quests since you can carry no more then 4 quests at a time.

- 'Twinking', the practice of artificially buffing up your character, is going to be nigh onto impossible. Most twinking is done by having a high-level character load up a newbie with super powered items that he could never get by legitimate means. E&B's tech tree twarts that by having your ship incrementally gain new tech levels. So if your vessel's engines are at level 2 , its impossible to slap a ninth-level engine on it.

- No Joysticks, combat is realtime but mouse driven with invisible die rolls, based on such attributes as skills and weapons, determining the outcome.

- The sence of scale is immense. Even the biggest player ship is tiny compared to a space station, capital ship, or many of the creatures(!!!).

- You will be able to buy and sell items online but out of the game

- Westwood is hoping to integrate fan fiction into the game in the form of players participating as reporters in game events, which could become an actual role to play.

- Death is not permanent. You will get one free death perday; after that you will respawn at your starvase at 70% health with the option to pay for a full repair.

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Het gaat wel druk worden op de MMORPG markt op deze manier, laten we hopen dat Westwood hier wat moois van maakt