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MMO News Wrap-Up

Welcome back to another MMO news wrap-up, where this week the hottest stories involved Star Wars: The Old Republic, Age of Conan, Mortal Online, World of Warcraft, Star Trek Online, Rift: Planes of Telara and Guild Wars 2. BioWare has been keeping fans on their toes with more news on Star Wars: The Old Republic, this time in the form of some concept art and a short video on environmental effects. The art featured an in-game taxi, which players will be able to use as transport to get from one side of the city to the other. In the video, you get a glimpse of some new locations with suitably eerie mist, realistic water and holographic images. As if that wasn’t enough, we got to see the developers talking about balancing combat in the game between the various classes. There’s several minutes of in-game footage showing Jedis, Sith, Troopers, Bounty Hunters and more in action. Don’t miss this if you’re looking forward to The Old Republic. There’s been some massive news about Guild Wars 2 over the last few days; the ArenaNet team has been releasing a little information each day on different topics. The first article revealed that the hotly anticipated sequel will most definitely fall under the MMORPG banner. There was some debate over the correct terminology for the first game, ArenaNet first called it a CORPG because it lacked some of the elements of a full-blown MMO. Unlike GW, the new game has a fully persistent world – it’s not just the cities where you’ll mix with other players. But if the departure from the original build has current GuildWars fans worrying, they should take a look at some of the other new things that will arrive in GW2. ArenaNet wants to bring the RPG back to MMORPG, and not just by blinding us with more quest text. Players will learn about the world and even their own character’s history by journeying with NPCs and being faced with some tough decisions in a dynamic world that will change according to a player’s actions. ArenaNet is looking to shake up the genre in other ways too; A pet hate many of us have is waiting around for a quest mob, only to miss out as another player swoops in and gets the kill. This won’t be a problem in GW2 – if you seriously contribute to killing something, you’ll get 100% XP and loot, and you don’t even have to be in a group with the other players. After this pretty eye-opening manifesto, there were other articles released, one looked at combat and the Elementalist class and the other was about GW2’s weapons, professions and races. Be sure to give them a read if you want to be clued up on the game – it may still be too early to say this, but I think GW2 might just be something pretty damn special as far as MMOs go. The developers behind the fantasy MMO Mortal Online got all serious this week and declared that anyone found to be tampering with the game’s files will be permanently banned. MO, which is still in open beta, now has monitoring software that apparently detects hacking and non-allowed third party programs. You have been warned! A collective gasp could be heard when Funcom announced the latest feature to arrive in Age of Conan: Offline levelling. Every four days, a character level will become available to spend on one of your characters over level 30. These stack up, and you don’t have to spend them if you don’t want to, but once you do they can’t be removed. That’s a feature I’d like to see in other games, maybe it’ll catch on. Star Trek Online got its long-awaited Season One Update during the week. A list of items that fans have been demanding since STO went live was introduced to the game including difficulty sliders, death penalties, auto fire (yay!) and new high-end weapons. We also got an action-packed new trailer for the Fleet Action, Deep Space Nine, go take a look over on IGTV. Trion Worlds announced that it has changed the name of the MMO it has in development. Heroes of Telara will now be known as Rift: Planes of Telara to fit in better with the main theme of the game. Players must make use of rifts that appear, ones that can either by summoned up or that open randomly, to change the living world around them. As a result of these rifts and what goes on inside, areas of the world can change and whole new zones can even appear. Hopefully we’ll find out a bit more about this exciting concept nearer to launch. The ramp up to World of Warcraft’s expansion, Cataclysm, is getting steeper and Blizzard is squeezing out more and more info for us to soak up. We got new details on the system that will replace the Badges that we use for PvE currently. Players will be awarded points on a two-tier setup; Hero points are for playing heroic instances, and will be easy to get. There will be no cap on how many you can earn in any given time. Valor points will be earned through raiding and daily heroic instances, and will have a limit on how many can be earned each week. A similar system is being brought in for PvP, and there will be a way to convert PvP points over to PvE and vice versa, although it won’t be on a 1:1 basis, you’ll lose points in the change-over. Finally, Blizzard announced that all raids will share a lockout period, regardless of whether they are 10 man or 25 man. In other words, you won’t be able to run a 10 man version of a raid if you’ve already done the 25 man. However, if you start a raid with 25 people and some leave, the raid leader can convert it to a 10 man raid at any point. Also, all bosses will be available on heroic mode as you reach them, it won’t be necessary to select a heroic difficulty level raid beforehand. Read more about this all in our previous article. We also got a preview of a new zone in Cataclysm; The Echo Isles, where Trolls will start off in WoW. Players will have to battle nearby Naga and defend their new villages, protecting their Raptor hatchlings from predators. Finally, the first ever two-seater flying mount has arrived in WoW. The X-53 Touring Rocket is awarded to players who manage to recruit a friend to the game. Now you can carry around passengers in true style – but only in Outland and Northrend where flying mounts are allowed. After the expansion though, it’ll be usable everywhere. That’s all I can squeeze in for this week, be sure to check back to IncGamers regularly for all your gaming news!

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