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MMO News Wrap-Up

Another week, another MMO wrap-up. The games that hit the news this week include Star Trek Online, Aion, World of Warcraft, Forsaken World, City of Heroes and Black Prophecy.

Star Trek Online is still grabbing the headlines but, sadly, for all the wrong reasons. The latest STO fiasco involved a limited deal being offered by Atari, whereby players could pick up the standard edition for a reduced price and receive an additional 60 days of free game time, on top of the 30 days that are included. An extra 60 days were also thrown in on the collector’s edition.

Needless to say, those who had supported STO throughout the beta and/or purchased the game at the standard cost when it was released only last month grumbled about the new offer, claiming that Atari should have waited longer before giving away such benefits.

If that had been the end of the matter, I’m sure everyone would have forgotten about it by now. However, the offer, which was due to last until Wednesday, was promptly removed on Monday without reason. Furthermore, some worried players who had taken advantage of the deal were informed by Cryptic, the game’s developers, that the additional 60 days were never part of the offer.

On Wednesday, Cryptic rep Phoxe stepped in to calm the situation down. He assured everyone that any advertised deal would indeed be honoured. Following that, the numerous threads on the STO forums were removed and players were directed to a single thread on the topic.

It sounds like a simple case of crossed wires between Atari and Cryptic here, but poor old Cryptic has suffered another PR blow. The last STO patch had plenty of goodies in it, and the devs are working furiously to get in all the features players demand. Give it a chance people, it’s getting there!

Another company that had to weather a storm or two this week is Blizzard Entertainment. Early in the week it emerged that the Beijing Municipal Higher People’s Court had ordered the company to pay thousands of dollars in compensation to Founder Technology over a copyright issue. Blizzard, along with the game’s former operators in China, The9, were sued by Founder for using five of their registered fonts in the Chinese version of World of Warcraft.

Another blow for Blizzard came on Tuesday, when it was confirmed that the first work-around for its authenticators had been developed. For those of you that don’t know what these little gadgets do, a brief explanation:

The authenticator is a small device, about the size of a USB flash drive, that displays a unique code which changes every 30 seconds or so. Once one of these is assigned to their Blizzard account, players can not log in to their Blizzard games without entering the code, making it almost impossible for anyone to gain unauthorised access without obtaining the actual device.

However, hackers have developed a technique known as a ‘Man in the Middle’ attack, which is granting them access to accounts thought to be protected by an authenticator. See our previous article for details on the workings of the nasty little program, but what it essentially means is that all authenticator users should go back to checking their machines for keyloggers regularly and observing the usual safety guidelines when browsing the internet.

The Aion community was positively ravenous with anticipation over the results of NCsoft’s secret meeting which was held this week, regarding the game’s upcoming v1.9. The basic facts that came out of it were that every class will receive new skills, there are going to be dozens of new daily quests with better rewards, an experience gain increase, and there will be better Looking For Group functionality. But that’s not all, by a long stretch. Apparently there are around 26 pages of patch notes to be released for v1.9, so expect some big changes in the game before the massive v2.0 hits later this year. Personally, I just can’t wait for the patch features all the goodies we saw in that trailer, whenever that’ll be.

A brand new MMO from the Perfect World team is on its way to the west: Forsaken World, which has an eerily familiar trailer, is a mix of both eastern and western styles, and looks to be fairly decent according to the information we have so far. Check out the trailer on IGTV.

The upcoming City of Heroes expansion, Going Rogue, is now available to pre-purchase. Anyone who buys it now will get instant access to the new content as soon as it goes live. It also means they’ll get the in-game Dual Pistols immediately upon purchase, and access to Demon Summoning shortly after release of the upcoming Issue 17: Dark Mirror.

To end things on a high note, it was announced yesterday that the upcoming space-based MMO Black Prophecy has found a publisher. The sleek-looking high quality game will be distributed by the German company gamigo AG, who seem overjoyed at the prospect of being involved with the project.

Another fact that came out of the announcement was that the game will operate on a free to play model. Now before you immediately write Black Prophecy off as another one of those, I should point out that the screenshots and in-game footage we’ve seen so far are pretty impressive. The game also has an original hour and a half long orchestral soundtrack, and will include a “rich and meaningful story”. We’ll be following this one closely, so if you’re into your space MMOs (EVE Online, anyone?), then be sure to check back here often.

That’s all for this week, we have a number of MMO interviews lined up including Champions Online, Aion and Runes of Magic so keep an eye out for those in the coming days!

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