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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Quick Hits From the MMO World

Even though I play EQII I still like to keep up to date on various other upcoming MMO's. Here's some short news items from the makers of virtual worlds.

From the Quality Brand Name Category:

Bioware throws it's hat into the MMO field with
this press release. Yeah, yet another MMO. Who cares? Well, I do. I always thought part of WoW's early popularity was partially due to the great reputation they had as a game company. And Bioware's rep is excellent. Consider: Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic. Not bad, eh?

On the negative side, they don't own the rights to Fallout as many people assume. Bethesda does to the best of my knowledge. Nor did they make the incredible Planescape: Torment - Black Isle did. But on the positive side, they also didn't make the underwhelming KOTOR 2, Obsidian did. So I think Bioware has a pretty nice reputation overall.

The MMO itself? No details as yet. But the
employment page for Combat Design Lead on the MMO states that "Familiarity with fantasy role-playing games is a must." So draw your own conclusions there.

From the Not Learning From Others Mistakes Category:

I'm excited about the Age of Conan MMO. It sounds like a fun game. But I was a bit underwhelmed to see they are using the old EQII archetype structure. By that I mean in Age of Conan you don't pick a general class (Warrior, Thief, Mage or Priest) until level 5 and then don't pick your final subclass until level 20. You can check out the
full class tree here and more general information on the class structure here.

Now, EQII used to use a similar system. But at least they realized their mistake and I think we're all the better for it. Starting as a particular subclass just adds so much more replayability and fun to the early levels. Who wants to go through the same 20 levels over and over as generic Thief or Fighter? Pointless. But then again, the entire first twenty levels are single player anyway (you don't enter the "MMO" part until level twenty) so maybe it's not a big deal. And hey, how can I stay mad at a game that promises a "drunken brawling" mini-game.

From the Sticking With Their Strengths Department:

The official site is up for
Mythic's Warhammer with some screenshots. More information is available on Warhammer Alliance and there's a dev tracker. You'll find that Mythic clearly plans to play to its perceived strength in DaoC, Realm vs. Realm combat. So if that's your thing and you're a Warhammer fan you might want to keep an eye on this one.

From the Alternative Business Model Department:

As mentioned by Karnatos on the
Aggro Forums, Shadowbane is now free. Not a bad option I suppose if you like PvP and are looking for a MMO fix without spending a dime.

From the Trying Something Different Department:

Runescape is working on an MMO called
Seed with a cel-shaded look that promises no combat, character classes or standard quests. Instead it empasizes player cooperation and interaction, an advanced NPC AI and a world that can be changed by the players.

GameSpy has some early videos for you to
check out.

That's it for this round, but there's always plenty of MMO news so perhaps I'll do one of these posts from time to time.

Oh and by the way, when I
complained a week back about the lack of a print MMO magazine...well, I spoke too soon. And apparently, it wasn't even the first one.


Anonymous Gordon said...

A few years ago a magazine in the UK was published called Online Gamer (it was a subsidiary of PC Gamer, which I think you get in the US).

It only lasted one issuse but it was jolly good and I spent ages looking for more of the same thing but it never appeared.

The MMO market is still relatively small and I guess the same people who play games online, tend to read gaming news online. It's a shame because I would love a decent magazine devoted completely to MMOs.

4:58 AM  
Anonymous free mmorpg said...

nice post

8:28 AM  

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