MMO News Wrap Up

9 Oct 2009  by   Paul Younger
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Unlike many console games, MMOs are constantly changing, upgrading, updating and expanding. Considering just how many games like this are out there, it’s handy to have concise round up of all the goings-on from the last week, so, like each and every Friday here at IncGamers, here it is. Read on to find out about the latest news on games including Star Trek Online, Runes of Magic, Lord of the Rings Online, Aion, Champions Online, EVE, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Warhammer Online.The popularity of last week’s Star Trek Online competition gives some indication of how many people are excited about this upcoming game. Star Trek has never been more popular, following the latest film’s release earlier this year, and Cryptic is keen to keep the fans of the game wanting more. This week, the full line up of Federation ships was finally unveiled, showing us how many options players will have when selecting their vessel. That’s provided you want to play as Federation of course, if you opt for Klingon, your choice of ship is… slightly more limited right now. Well, there are two Klingon vessels, in fact, and three ships listed under ‘Other’.However, it’s unlikely that players who side with the Klingons will have a much smaller choice when it comes to ships, so expect regular updates from Cryptic about new vessels in the coming weeks.In other STO news, information about the Bridge Officers and crewmen was revealed, giving players an idea of how we should man our decks. If you’re familiar with the bridge of a ship in Star Trek, you’ll know that there are several posts, filled with various officers. Depending on the type of ship, the type of posts and roles of the officers will differ. Science ships will require more science stations on the bridge for example. Bridge Officers also have ranks, and the better their rank, the more of their skills you get to use in battles, support or exploration – whichever duty you choose to carry out.Crewmen, the behind-the-scenes worker bees who make sure your ship runs smoothly and is repaired after battles, are vulnerable and can be killed. A well-equipped sick bay can heal the injured more quickly, along with a skilled science officer but, once they’re dead, a trip back to a starbase is the only way to replace them (unless you find yourself in Voyager’s position of course, then you’re stuffed).As we discovered last week, the character progression in Star Trek Online will be skill-based, meaning that as a character completes quests and objectives, it will gain skill points that can be invested into skill trees, instead of experience points. Although there are no ‘levels’ in STO, there are still ranks that open up more abilities as the skill trees are explored. In this week’s MMO Weekly, IncGamers writer Jeff Hollis asks if it would be possible to have an MMO truly without levels. What would it be like to start an MMO at maximum level, rather than having to work for weeks to get to that magical level cap, where some believe the game really begins? Would it work and what would we be missing out on? Take a look at the article and give your thoughts.The free to play MMO, Runes of Magic, is still going from strength to strength, as this week saw two big announcements about the game. First came the news that two million people have signed up to play and, considering it’s only been live for six months, that’s not bad going. Chapter II, The Elven Prophecy, was released last month, introducing Elves as a playable race, allowing two new classes and opening up masses of new land to explore. But that’s not the game’s first content patch by any means. RoM has been added to regularly since release, and this week players got yet more new content; Fans will be glad to see some traditional fantasy MMO goodness in the form of dragons, which finally entered the game when patch 2.1 went live on Tuesday. The patch also opens up the new Aotulia Volcano area, designed for high level players, containing several new quests and an instance where adventurers take on a dragon as the final boss.Seven new images of the next Lord of the Rings expansion, Siege of Mirkwood, were released this week, showing the sinister fortress of Dol Guldur, home of the Ringwraiths. The expansion is due to be released on 1 December, and players who sign up for any of Turbine’s multi-month subscriptions before 31 October will get it for free.Fans of LotRO may also be happy to see that Turbine announced a new YouTube channel dedicated to the game this week, which hosts official trailers, developer diaries and behind the scenes videos. It also displays videos made by the community, including the LotRO version of “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar”. A Dungeons and Dragons Online channel that does the same thing has been opened too.{PAGE TITLE=MMO Wrap Up Page 2}The recently-released Aion is still in the headlines, following its launch two weeks ago. In the wake of the server queue fiasco, executive producer Lance Stites wrote a letter to the community and confirmed that every player will be offered a free transfer to any of the lesser populated servers. Apparently the problem is partially down to the fact that some servers have become more popular than others, and while some players are queueing to enter a high population server, others are hopping straight on to a quieter one. The transfer service should begin next month.Stites also said that developers ran multiple calculations and even allowed for up to 25% more players than they expected to avoid server queues, but explained that the sheer demand for the game took everyone by surprise, with up to 60% of the playerbase online at the same time during certain periods. Things don’t look to be changing much over the coming weeks either; On Wednesday we reported that in a poll, 86% of the people that voted said they would continue playing Aion after the free period has ended.On to another recently-released game; Champions Online fans were told the release date for the upcoming in-game event, Blood Moon, will be 27 October, just in time for Halloween. Along with that news came some further information on a new powerset that is making its way into the game. Celestial powers will mainly centre around healing, while dealing damage to enemies, which is bound to be popular with players.Further changes are being made to the game, including another room in the Power House where players can test out newly acquired skills on actual enemies.Another in-game event based on this spooky time of year is Warhammer Online’s Daemon Moon Rising. Several events will take place, such as the Daemonball Rally and the High Pass Cemetery scenario. Mythic released a handy walkthrough video to show off the activities players can look forward to participating in. Daemon Moon kicks off on 23 October.In other announcements, we found out during CCP’s Fan Fest last weekend that EVE Online’s next free expansion, Dominion, will launch on 1 December. Dominion will introduce new epic arcs for Pirate factions, and will shake up the sovereignty system. A number of other new features have been mentioned, although information on them is a little sparse right now. Stay tuned for more on that as it is announced.Shortly after completing last week’s MMO News Wrap Up, our roaming WoW reporter Medievaldragon spotted that the name of the Warcraft movie seems to have been changed. Simply referred to as ‘Warcraft’ until recently, the IMDB listing has now changed to ‘Warcraft: The Rise of the Lich King’. Although there has still been no official word on this, if the title has indeed changed, the original plot is also likely to have altered. Blizzard told fans at the BlizzCon 2007 event that the film would be based on the time period between Warcraft III and World of Warcraft, and that it would be about orcs versus humans. The new title suggests that the film will focus on the life of Arthas, now known as the Lich King.It’s also possible that the IMDB contributors confused the film with the recent New York Times Best Seller novel by Christie Golden ‘Arthas, Rise of the Lich King’. But until Blizzard or Legendary Pictures care to comment, it’s all still speculation.Finally, Bioware released an article on the Sith Warrior this week, shedding some light on this otherwise dark character. According to Bioware, this class can be the epitome of pure evil, carrying out his dastardly deeds with wicked delight, or he can plot to over-throw the Empire from within, it’s up to the player how they want to play it. One thing is for certain though – the Sith Warrior is a killing machine, and I challenge anyone to take on the class without using that deadly force choke at least once.That’s all I can squeeze into this week’s article I’m afraid but, as always, there will be plenty more next week to tell you about. May the weekend grant you many levels, much gold and some phat lewtz.

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