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MMO News Wrap-Up

As usual, the world of MMOs has been rife with exciting developments and announcements this week. The top stories covered games including World of Warcraft, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, the cancelled Halo MMO, TERA and Global Agenda.

BioWare’s weekly update on Star Wars: The Old Republic focussed on the planet of Voss this time, home to an alien race with huge abilities in the Force. As usual, there’s a video of the area and some screens. You can read more detail on the background lore at the official site.

We got a chance to sit down and chat with Cryptic Studios’ Bill Roper and Jack Emmert about their recent job shifts, and how exactly it would affect the company’s current games. The pair described their new roles in detail, and what it all means for Cryptic as a whole. Bill also confirmed that Cryptic is indeed working on another game, but wouldn’t divulge any details just yet. If I had to put money on it, I’d say we might be looking at a Neverwinter Nights MMO, which would be extremely exciting. I shall have to probe him more on the subject.

On the topic of Cryptic Studios, the latest Ask Cryptic came out this week, all about PvP in Star Trek Online. Players had plenty to ask on the matter, and the development team answered many queries including the one about open PvP. Right now, PvP is confined to purpose-built maps, but some players would like the thrill of being able to attack or be attacked anywhere in the galaxy. The response was positive;

“It is something we have been planning” said the team. “We would like to have open and persistent PvP ground and Space maps – a front line if you will. Currently, our priority is to focus on new instanced games. So at this point, we have no ETA on when you can expect this.” In other words, it’s possible but don’t be expecting it any time soon.

STO players are hardly short of new content right now though. The latest Special Task Force has just been released, find out all about the Khitomer Accord in our earlier article, and watch the trailer over on IGTV.

Finally, STO’s executive producer spoke to IncGamers about the cancellation of the game’s console version. It wasn’t entirely surprising to learn that Cryptic is keen to concentrate on the PC game right now, rather than spend valuable resources on a new platform version. Wise choice, Cryptic.

Things are heating up as we get closer to World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Cataclysm. Blizzard has been releasing class previews, and the Paladin one finally was revealed this week. The plated healer/tank/damage-dealer will be getting three brand new spells, each impressive in their own right. A number of tweaks and improvements are also being made to the class, find out more here.

But Blizzard wasn’t finished there; fans were also treated to a preview of a new zone that will be hitting the game in Cataclysm, Mount Hyjal. Here, players must help Malfurion Stormrage defend the World Tree, which is under attack by Ragnaros, back from his banishment to the elemental plane. It’ll be a zone for level 78-82 characters, will contain heaps of new quests and phased terrain. Sounds awesome, and this is just the first of the new zones. Stay tuned for more previews in the coming days.

We were very lucky to catch up with Dusty Monk this week, former staffer at Ensemble Studios, the place where the Halo MMO was being developed. Sadly, with the death of Ensemble, the game was shelved, but Dusty filled us in on a lot of the details from the game, and it sounds like it would’ve been amazing. It was due to contain many of the features that have recently appeared or been announced for other MMOs including public quests (Warhammer Online), an art style that wouldn’t age and a cover system (Star Wars: The Old Republic). In fact, we quite fancied the game would have been a contender for WoW’s crown. Find out more about it here, or see Dusty’s full interview in part one and part two.

The phenomenon that is TERA continues to gather momentum; It was announced this week that more top talent from the gaming industry has joined En Masse, the company responsible for adapting the fantasy MMO for western audiences. The company already consists of people from Blizzard, NCsoft and ArenaNet, now the PR director who oversaw the release of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect series has signed on, along with a creative director from the Halo game and a lead writer from Aion. Let’s just hope the game lives up to all the hype, I’m certainly keen to give it a try and find out.

Hi-Rez Studios announced the happy news that it will be increasing the number of servers available to players of its sci-fi MMO, Global Agenda. Players in the Pacific Rim will now have a dedicated server, located in Singapore, to allow optimal game performance. Considering how often we hear about game servers being consolidated and closed down, this is a really positive sign for Global Agenda. If you like your sci-fi, lots of PvP and the option to play for free after the initial cost of the game, you should really give this one a go. If you need a bit more convincing, there’s always the free trial.

That’s all for now, but we have lots of MMO goodies planned for next week so be sure to check back at IncGamers during the week.

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