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MMO News Wrap-Up

Welcome back to another MMO news wrap-up, where this week the major stories involved The Secret World, Aion, World of Warcraft, TERA, Star Wars: The Old Republic, EverQuest, All Points Bulletin, Star Trek Online, Global Agenda, EVE Online and Guild Wars 2. The game director of Funcom’s upcoming MMO The Secret World, Ragnar Tørnquist, revealed several facts about the game in a recent interview. It turns out that, like BioWare’s epic-in-the-works Star Wars: The Old Republic, TSW will feature full voice-over for every single NPC in the game. That’s quite a task, requiring hundreds of hours of recording by actors to be inserted into the game. However, it’ll really help with player immersion, so it can only be good news for fans. Tørnquist also revealed that there will be PvP Arenas in TSW, presumably allowing players from the game’s different factions, the Templars, the Illuminate and Dragon, to battle it out for supremacy. Speaking of The Old Republic, BioWare’s latest bit of news on the game was about Hoth, the planet famous for that battle in the snow which took place at the start of the Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back. We got to see a short video and some screens of Hoth, which players will be able to explore – surely any Star Wars fan’s dream. On to another space-based MMO, Star Trek Online. It’s no secret that, when the game launched, it fell short of many players’ expectations, but Cryptic has been working tirelessly to add features and content requested by the fans. In addition to all the things that have already been added such as more content for Klingons, and a meaningful death penalty just to name a couple, Cryptic has revealed that it plans to poll players on more major future additions such as more playable factions (fancy playing as the Borg? HELL YES), and the possibility of adding user-generated content, or a persistent PvP sector. We’ll find out more when the polls arrive over the coming weeks, so check back often here at IncGamers for news. There’s been loads of new TERA goodies this week; we got three new screenshots of the game world yesterday to accompany last week’s territorial beasts. There was also another video released, this one showing the range of character customisation available in the character creator. If you’re drawn to games that have plenty of pretty, think Aion and Guild Wars, you’ll love TERA. Lastly, the game’s developer, En Masse, discussed the feedback it received from players in the game’s last test session. The team agrees with players that more quests are needed so over 1,000 new quests will be added in future builds, and the difficulty after level 11 needs to be made a little easier, or players should at least be better rewarded for the increased challenge. Sony Online Entertainment announced that several of the servers for EverQuest will be merged in the coming weeks. Twenty servers will be consolidated down to 10 in the veteran MMO, but players will be able to move around for free for up to seven days afterwards if they don’t like their new home. There’s also discount prices on name, race and gender changes during the merge period. Realtime Worlds has been talking about its upcoming Criminals vs. Enforcers MMO, All Points Bulletin, in the run-up to the game’s release in late June/early July. During an interview, lead designer EJ Moreland said that a console version of the game would need to be very different from the PC one in order to turn out well. It was revealed that the developers haven’t even started work on the console game yet, they’ve been ploughing all their resources into the PC game. There’s no schedule for work to begin on the Xbox 360 or even PS3 port yet either, which leads me to believe we’re unlikely to see APB on consoles at all. Maybe Realtime Worlds thinks its going to have more time and spare resources after APB launches, but as we’ve seen with all MMOs, once the game goes live the developers are going to have their hands full fixing bugs, bringing in new features, making new content, the list goes on. Perhaps they’re expecting the game to be a raging success and can therefore afford to take on a new team to work on the console clients. I hope that’s the case, APB has loads of potential and I can see it doing well on the Xbox or the PS3. But will the console versions end up on the scrap heap like they did with Age of Conan, Star Trek Online and Champions Online? Anyway, regardless of all that, Realtime Worlds released the cinematic trailer for APB this week and a set of stills from the video, click the link to check those out. {PAGE TITLE=MMO News Wrap-Up – Page 2}Another big event on the MMO calendar is the release of Aion’s patch 1.9. NCsoft says this is the patch to right many of the game’s wrongs, claiming the majority of the changes are based purely on feedback from the players. There’s some massive changes to quests and XP, which should reduce the mid-game grind substantially. Players can also look forward to a Looking For Group system, which should make things a lot easier when trying to find others to run an instance with. The Armsfusion system is arriving in patch 1.9 too, allowing players to combine two weapons to make a more powerful one, and there’s the new Mist Rental weapons and armour system as well. The Aion team also released a video podcast, talking about all the new features in 1.9 and their reasons for bringing them in. Patch 1.9 goes live next Wednesday, 2 June. Looking beyond patch 1.9, the next major update on the horizon for Aion is 2.0, known as Assault On Balaurea. There was a video and screens released of that too this week, going over some of the new features that will arrive including the new windstreams, updraughts and geysers – all ways to get players flying about a bit more. There’s going to be a whole new zone and the level cap will be raised to 55, not to mention a stack of new skills and abilities for players to get their teeth into. Blizzard released another batch of screens showing various locations in Cataclysm, the next expansion to World of Warcraft. We see pics from the new-look Westfall (that place did need sprucing up a bit), inside Dun Batol and Gilneas, the home of the new Worgen race. While on the topic of WoW, I’ll mention that the European remote auction house beta went live this week, so if you want to try it out on your iPhone or even use the feature on the website, now’s the time to give it a go for free. Yesterday, Global Agenda developers released a video blog about the new epic weapons that are being introduced to the game in the Sandstorm patch. After the update, players will no longer have to settle for the standard weapons they are given with their characters, they can go out and earn tokens to exchange for the new gear, or even get lucky and see one drop in a mission. EVE Online’s latest expansion, Tyrannis, went live on Wednesday. Now players can visit planets and build facilities to extract resources. The new web portal is also live, adding more functionality for the game’s community. Watch the trailer hereFinally, e and continuiuy< 54dame*tpgu al designer Ree Soesbee lifted the lid on personal character development in the upcoming MMORPG. Apparently, when chosing a new RPG game, players are faced with a choice; an online game where they can play with friends, or a single player RPG where their character is the center of the story. Soesbee’s aim with GW2 is to combine the two concepts, making each GW2 player feel like their character is the center of the story for them. This will be accomplished by making characters turn out differently according to choices the players make, firstly in character creation and then at key stages in the game. It’s an ambitious plan indeed but, as Soesbee says “Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No.” That’s it for this week, be sure to check back at the MMO portal here on IncGamers each day for a daily dose of massively multiplayer online gaming goodness.

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