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MMO News Wrap-Up

As usual, the constant flow of MMO news has been gushing away all week, so here’s a small reservoir filled with the biggest happenings from the last seven days which includes updates on Global Agenda, DC Universe Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Stargate Worlds, All Points Bulletin, Mortal Online and Champions Online.Last Friday Hi-Rez Studios announced that it was launching a free trial for its futuristic shooter MMO, Global Agenda. This was excellent news for me because I really enjoy the game, but convincing my gamer buddies to buy it without playing it first has been tricky. Ok, so the trial doesn’t let you try out PvP, which is the main focus of Global Agenda, but it does let you get up to level 15 through PvE.

One thing I like about Global Agenda is that, once you’ve bought the game, you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription for it – you can log on and join PvP matches, level up, improve and customise your character just by paying the one-off purchase price. You only have to pay extra if you want to get into the Conquest content, where Agencies battle it out against each other for land. Ok, plug over. I just feel this game deserves a bit more attention than it’s been getting, it’s well worth the cost in my opinion.

So moving on, there’s been plenty of news lately about DC Universe Online, the superhero MMO that features Superman, Batman, Catwoman and a host of other well-known heroes and villains. Sony Online Entertainment released several images of the Mad Hatter, aka Jervis Tetch, who will appear in the game. The mischievous paranoid schizophrenic genius is a long-running arch enemy of Batman, and will no doubt prove to be a nuisance in DCUO.

SoE also released a couple of videos of the game this week, firstly “Inside The Studio Episode Three”, which features DCUO’s game director and creative director answering a selection of questions from fans about content, gameplay and game mechanics. Later in the week, we were treated to a tour of the in-game district, Little Bohemia. It’s generally a nice friendly part of Metropolis but, as we know, those super villains can’t let things stay quiet for long.

Fans of BioWare’s upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, were positively brimming with excitement early in the week when one of them discovered a webpage that looked suspiciously like a beta test portal. Speculation was rife and forums went into melt-down as gamers put two and two together and came up with the possibility that the mystery countdown on BioWare’s official site was related to the find. Unfortunately for them, BioWare reps soon came out and laid the rumours to rest; while they did confirm that the page was a login portal to test the game, it’s not new, and fans shouldn’t expect any news about a beta just yet.

The count-down actually turned out to be for the BioWare Bazaar, a series of mock online auctions where fans can bid for a selection of nifty items including custom PCs and BioWare attire. No real money is involved, players gather the required ‘currency’  by completing gaming challenges set out by BioWare.

After all the bad news last year about Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment’s money problems, it was a relief when the studio released Stargate: Resistance recently. It looked like the start of a turn-around in the company’s fortunes but, alas, soon after the game’s launch, other troubles surfaced and CME filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. That wasn’t necessarily the end for the developer though, it claimed, just a way to manage its debts. However, a letter to its investors appeared on the official CME site, which at the time of writing appears to be down. It outlines the company’s financial situation, which is dire to say the least. CME has standing debts of $2 million USD, but a further $10 million USD may be payable through existing law suits against it.

It doesn’t look all bad for those hoping to see the long-awaited MMO Stargate Worlds one day though. A deal with purpose-made company Fresh Start Studios should see any progress to date saved. Details are still scarce, but check back for more news on CME and SGW as it happens.

In the run-up to the release of Realtime Worlds’ urban MMO All Points Bulletin, the official website for the game was revamped this week. New additions include videos on many aspects such as vehicles, character customisation and weapons, and descriptions of each feature too.

Another upcoming MMO, Mortal Online, got its release date pushed back by a full month, it was announced this week. Star Vault says that an ongoing technical issue has caused the delay, which it hopes to have resolved sometime during April. If you’d like to know more about that particular title, check out our customisation walkthrough video, which gives you an idea of how players start off in the game.

Finally, following last week’s news that Bill Roper had stepped down as executive producer on Champions Online, it was announced this week that he will be taking the role of chief creative officer for Cryptic Studios, overseeing not just Champions Online, but Star Trek Onlie and any other unannounced projects the company might be working on. Congratulations to Bill, we’ll be speaking to him and Cryptic’s newly-appointed chief operating officer Jack Emmert next week to find out what their new roles entail. Until then, happy gaming!

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