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ZOMG!

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Zomglogo

The official zOMG logo

Gaia's zOMG! is a fully-functional battle system designed to allow users to engage in interactive battles against monsters, and later on other users. It has been stated that once the zOMG! is released Gaia Online will change from the Alpha to Beta stages.

Storyline

The world of Gaia is under attack by The Animated – normally inanimate objects like Gnomes or Garlic, Fluff, Kokeshi Dolls and the OMG hat – have come to life, and begun attacking the citizens of Gaia. When The Animated came, there was also something else that was discovered; Rings. Not just any old rings, but rings containing special powers. These rings become part of the player. They attach themselves to the player and tap into their emotional state. They feed off of the energy the player's emotions produce, and give the player the power to create phenomenal attacks. At the moment, no one truly understands these rings or The Animated. No one really knows what is going on. But it's your duty to help defend your cities and towns, and get to the bottom of this all...

The Release

ZomgNov108

zOMG! screenshot from Nov 1, 2008, during Open Beta Testing.

Previously said to be released in 2004 but cancelled due to it's complexity. On May 14, 2008, Beta testing forums were released for the public to fill out, and on July 24, 2008 some select users were allowed into the zOMG! Beta User Focus Guild. They were dubbed Zeta Testers ( zOMG! Beta Testers). There were several waves of users who were let in for the Closed Beta Testing.

On Oct 23, 2008 Open Beta Testing was released. The first users who were let in were those who had the zOMG! Head Start Ticket item.

It has been stated that once the zOMG! is released Gaia Online will change from the Alpha to Beta stages.

While many users have been eagerly anticipating the release of zOMG!, just as many others are worried about the influx of new users that this will bring to the site, causing inflation of item prices. Many users are also worried about the server issues that both the new feature and the aforementioned increase in new users will probably bring. However, at the moment, there are 29 known servers for zOMG!.

Users have often used "When the Battle System is realized" as a site specific version of "When hell freezes over" due to the length of development time the system had.

zOMG! Basics

Null Chamber

zOMG! screenshot from Nov 1, 2008.

zOMG! takes place in an area similar to Gaia Towns, however it is a whole new environment. The user starts in a train, which leads them to the sewers under Barton Town, which is a training area that explains the basics to the user. Instead of actual weapons, the player equips special rings which create an offensive or defensive skill. In a question and answer session during the panel, Jakobo mentioned various uses of the rings, which he confirmed later were an adaptation of a flexible customization model as seen in Final Fantasy's Materia system or the Exspheres used in Tales of Symphonia. According to the details given at the panel, the rings will not simply add statistics and benefits, interact with other equipped rings in a synergistic manner, yielding greater increases for certain ring combinations. While in the zOMG! world, the player can only equip, unequip, and/or upgrade their rings in an area called the Null Chamber.

Rings

The special rings given to you throughout the game are the only defense against the Animated that Gaia knows of. They are, ironically, created within the Animated themselves. The energy that keeps the Animated alive builds and forms these rings. Occasionally, upon defeating one of the Animated, they may drop a random ring. Rings are also acquired from mandatory quests across the map.

These rings tap into a Gaian's emotions and, in a sense, feed off of them. The more emotional you are – good or bad – the more effective your ability becomes. While in battle, the rage meter at the bottom right hand corner of the playing screen may fill with red. The more the player fights and builds up more emotions, the more the rage meter fills. To utilize this rage, a player must click on the ring desired hold, and release when the power is at the desired level, or instead push and hold the hotkey linked to the ring.

Once a ring is put on, it is bound to the Gaian, meaning that he/she is unable to remove the ring by normal means. The only place one is able to remove rings and rearrange them is in the Null Chamber. It is here that rings may also be upgraded to increase effectiveness by using Charge Orbs. Charge Orbs are attained by completing quests and are dropped at random by defeating the Animated. To upgrade a ring, you must go to the Null Chamber and access your inventory. You then have two decisions: either to upgrade your ring or to salvage orbs out of it. With every level gained, more orbs are needed per level(ex. Level 1, 10 orbs needed. Level 2, 20 orbs needed, etc.).

The Animated

The Animated are objects that were once lifeless, such as garlic, or boots, that have recently been given life. The majority of the Animated have enough energy to move around and attack Gaians at will, but none to speak. However, a small number of animated objects speak and interact with Gaians. An even smaller few appear to be neutral, even helpful to players. They provide information that assists characters in later tasks and, on occasion, briefly explain about their existence.

In the instance of the Wish Tree in the Bonsai Gardens, the wishes on the tree were made of paper. The paper wishes had come to life, and they talk to the character and even argue amongst themselves. The dialogue that goes on between the wishes and the player explains that the wishes are able to talk simply because they had words on them before they "awakened." It has also been discovered by talking to the wishes that some of the Animated have certain powers. The notes on the tree had visions of places they'd never seen before. These visions aid the character in later gameplay. But at least one of the wishes had adopted some of the instincts of the hostile Animations, and insists that they attack and eat the player.

At the moment, there are 50 known Animated.

Null Chamber

The Null Chamber is the strange, seemingly underground room that is accessed by clusters of glowing purple crystals in each of the zOMG! lands. It is unique not only because it is the only place where a player can remove and upgrade rings, but also because the Animated are frightened of it, and the portals leading to it. The only people you see in the Null Chamber are the NPC Trixie and any crew members that happen to be in the Null Chamber at the same time. This is also where you appear when you awaken from being dazed.

It is unclear why the Null Chamber exists, but it is a vital part of the game. It can be accessed from the Village Greens, Bill's Ranch, Zen Gardens, Gold Beach, Old Aqueduct, and Bass'ken Lake. While there are portals to these lands, you may not cross them from the Null Chamber unless you've gone through that portal on the opposite side, similar to the exits in Barton Town.

The history of the Null Chamber is unknown at this time.

Ghi (formerly G'hi)

Ghi is a special power within the player that shows itself when the player socializes with other Gaians during the game. Early in the game, it is explained that Ghi is the energy that began animating objects, and that the Animated came to be because the Ghi level in the area suddenly went up. Because of this, Ghi is also connected to the player's rings. The longer the player uses the rings, and the more connected they become to the player, the more Ghi can increase. If Ghi increases enough, it will unlock certain abilities useful to the player, such as accuracy and willpower boosts.

Ring Sets

Equipping 4 rings on one hand that belong to 1 ring set will give synergistic bonuses. The known ring sets include:


Pirate (Slash, Hack, Shark Attack, Keen Aye) Provides the wearer with a displacement speed boost

Ninja (Mantis, Ghost, Shuriken, Divinity) Provides the wearer with a dodge boost

Chef (Meat, Teflon Spray, Knife Sharpen, Pot Lid) Provides the wearer with an armor boost

Medic (Diagnose, Defibrillate, Bandage, Adrenaline) Provides the wearer with a health regeneration boost

Space Trooper (Guns Guns Guns, Solar Ray, Turtle, My Density) Provides the wearer with a weight boost

Demon (Hot Foot, Fire Rain, Iron Will, Scaredy Cat) Provides the wearer with a stamina regeneration boost

Angel (Divinity, Healing Halo, Wish, Hunter's Bow) Provides the wearer with a luck boost

Prankster (Heavy Water Balloon, Gumshoe, Improbability Sphere, Duct Tape) Provides the wearer with minor dodge and accuracy boosts

Shaman (Coyote Spirit, Rock Armor, Quicksand, Hornet's Nest) Provides the wearer with a willpower boost

Athlete (Fitness, Fleet Feet, Bump, Taunt) Provides the wearer with a maximum health boost


Updated Ring Sets (Since September, 29th 2009)

Clans and Crews

Clans are a system similar to Gaia's Guilds system. They have their own forum, just like guilds, however zOMG! recognizes who is in your Clan, and who isn't, so that when you log onto Gaia you already have who is in your clan in sort of a large scale party. At the moment, a user can only be a part of one Clan at a time. They can leave and join another clan, but they will then have no connection to the original clan.

In-game players can "recrewt" others into a crew. This is a one-time party and expires after the player leaves the game. Unlike a clan, which are more permanent, a crew has no forum or standing outside of the game.


Clips

Official clips
Preview clips


zOMG! Credits

zOMG! Development Team

Producer & Creative Director

David Georgeson (Qixter)


Mission Design

Garrett Fern (bronstahd)


Lead Programmer

Ryan Cox (swarf)


Programming Team

Ben Halsted (halzy)

Frederic Lajeunesse (flajeu)

Jon Slenk (aiagreat)

Josh Sylvester (kaia9)

Darren Stefan Freckleton (Fanpy)

Daniel Lodenquai (nocz)


Art Director

John Kim ([ JK ])


Art Team

Alex Ahad (o_8)

Bret Denslow (Mavdoc)

Andre Mina (Your-Fathers-Belt)

Tabitha Reed (pepper-tea)

Justin Wong (fulltimefailure)

Jennifer Zee (jenzee)

Theresa Zysk (reapersun)


Quality Assurance QA Manager

Marina Leitman (Naxash)


QA Team

Kevin Basso (WastedAmmo)

Veronica Carrillo (Loie)

Madhavi Ghanta (coolangel08)

Richard Fleming (zShadowDragonz)

Mark Los (mlos)

Jonathan Ruiz (mouth kick ouch)

Stan Sultanov (stansult)


Ring Artwork

John Su (Bietol)


All Other Contributors Music (Artistry Entertainment)

Jeremy Soule

Julian Soule


Sound Effects (dSonic)

Kemal Amarasingham (Dsonicka)

Simon Amarasingham (Imur Ismon)

Liz Bailey

Michael Carter

Luke Gilbert


External Programming (Symblaze)

Jirka Petvaldsky

Petr Pravda

Stanislav Zorjan - Stasha


External Art Assets

Vykarian Studios


Additional Flash Engineering

Mark Rubin (Mr_Ubin) (Thanks, Mark, for all the help as we approached launch!)


Other Gaia Engineers

Tim Lopez (pangrammic)

Vince Rubino (smokeytheb)

Ernie Chan (Eazzy)

Nick Esquerra (ramoneguru)

Kathryn Koehler (8elly8eans)

Ania Kurek (ania1899)

Tom Lang (excitom)

Lawrence Lee (vryhngry)

John Loehrer ([72])

Rich Martin (ariesboy571)

Filipe Medeiros (Fleep)

Edy Moreno (edy)

Jon New (Newtang)

Charles Packer (chuckp2)

Dan Quinlivan (DARKNRGY)

Mark Ruiz (FFFFEEF)

Martial Tipsey (Narumi Misuhara)

Jennifer Tsai (fieryange1)

Xiaoming (stats god)


Operations

Rob Starkey

Matt Stancliff


Marketing

Rie Hirabaru

John Deyto

Chris Castagnetto

Kate Pietrelli (TriplePoint)

Melissa Rische


Executive Team

Derek Liu (lanzer)

Scott Kinzie

Prakash Ramamurthy

Craig Sherman


Special Thanks

A huge thank you to our fantastic zETA team, for being willing to be endlessly abandoned on the train with Frank, and for suffering through the dreaded 104 monsters. This game is better because of their patience. Also thank you to [ Peobody ] who was trapped in the Sewers for over a week, racking up 1147 gramster kills, 574 peelunger kills, and 54 trash can defeats...all while REFUSING to quit...before we finally had time to go help him get unstuck. Major perseverance! Adobe SmartFox Yuriy Abramov All of you that play zOMG!

Sources


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