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MMO News Wrap-Up

It’s time for another round-up of this week’s MMO news. Here are the top stories from the last seven days including updates on Mortal Online, Global Agenda, The Secret World, World of Warcraft, Aion and Star Trek Online.

We kicked off the week with the news that Star Vault has launched the open beta of Mortal Online. No doubt you’ve heard things about this game, such as the sandbox design, the fact that there are no instances, no experience points, no third person view – oh, and no underwear. Mortal Online’s playable characters don’t have a stitch of clothing on under their armor which got people all riled up when it was discovered. You can hardly avoid that fact when you play the game either, because on the character creation screen you’re presented with an completely naked man or woman to design. If you’re wondering how far the customisation goes though, it focusses purely on facial features, their height and a character’s age which determines their stats.

Aside from nudey people, Mortal Online is set to shake MMOs up a little. It takes the sandbox theory and runs with it, featuring player housing which can be build wherever players fancy creating their home, full looting of fallen opponents and a crafting system that allows characters to make any item in the game.

We’ll be covering Mortal Online in some depth over the next couple of weeks, so be sure to check back for our thoughts. If you’ve yet to see what all the fuss is about, take a look at the in-game trailer that was also released this week.

A couple of high profile MMOs launched this week; One of them is Global Agenda, the spy-fy group-based shooter by Hi-Rez Studios. Global Agenda really has that techie sci-fi feel to it, and the co-op gameplay is a blast. Even if you’re defeated again and again (as we were), you’re likely to find yourself laughing about it. In fact, you can see some footage of our antics in our gameplay video which should be going up later today. If you missed the walkthrough video of the game’s tutorial, you can see it on IGTV.

‘Griefing’ takes place in most MMOs, and this week’s MMO Weekly focusses on some of the more famous and humorous cases from recent years. There are stories and video clips of some pretty mean/funny pranks gamers have played on one another. I won’t spoil it for you, have a look for yourself, but my personal favourite has to be the horse rider in Age of Conan.

The first in-game footage of Funcom’s upcoming modern-day MMO The Secret World was released this week, in the form of a trailer for Kingsmouth, an area in the game that’s been infested with the walking dead. It’s a chilling look at the town as seen from its CCTV cameras, especially when you can see what it was like before the fog came and changed everyone.

According to the trailer, there’s a band of survivors in Kingsmouth who need help. We’re guessing it’s going to be your job as a loyal Templar, Dragon or member of the Illuminati to go and aid these people for whatever reason your organisation has. But regardless of plot speculation, the in-game graphics look amazing and suitable creepy. Nice job so far Funcom, keep up the good work.

{PAGE TITLE=MMO News Wrap-Up: Page 2}World of Warcraf‘s patch 3.3.2 went live this week and with it, the Lich King encounter was finally unlocked. WoW players can now tackle Arthas, leader of the scourge, fallen prince of Lordaeron, the Lich King, and also known as the angry-looking frozen guy on the game’s box.

It’s been over a year since Wrath of the Lich King went on sale, and Northrend has kept adventurers busy fighting in Naxxramas, battling the blue dragonflight, clearing the extensive Ulduar and defeating the old god Yogg Saron. Then Tirion Fordring opened the tournament grounds to allow adventurers to begin training, preparing themselves for battle with the scourge, and starting up another set of challenges. But the end is finally in sight, and Arthas is going down. In fact, he has already gone down, thanks to an exploit discovered by raiding guild Ensidia. They’ve since had their victory rebuked, but you can see the cut scene that plays when Arthas is defeated, which is filled with spoilers, over on IGTV.

The full patch notes for 3.3.2 also reveal that changes have been made to many instances to make them quicker. Several bosses now only perform their special ability once instead of multiple times, and some trash mobs have been removed or re-pathed. A number of class changes have also taken place.

So how long will it be until WoW’s next expansion Cataclysm is released? We’re still guessing some time towards the end of the summer, maybe Autumn, but according to the latest rumours, Blizzard’s annual convention BlizzCon is set to take place in October. If it’s true, could this indicate Blizzard’s intention to either announce a launch date during the event, or for BlizzCon to coincide with the launch itself. Still guess work of course, it may also see announcements on StarCraft II or Diablo 3, or even the new top secret MMO.

Aion is still doing very well in Southern Korea, over a year after its launch date. Figures from recent investigations show that it is by far the most played game in internet cafes over there, way above other online games such as FIFA Online 2 and World of Warcraft.Finally, Star Trek Online went live this week and it’s proven to be very popular. Hundreds of thousands of players were desperate to get their hands on beta keys during the game’s testing period, and it seems most of them have transferred over to the live game, since Atari announced that over one million Cryptic accounts have now been created. That figure includes Champions Online accounts too, mind you.Regardless of that, the STO servers are struggling to cope with all the players, and many people are finding themselves unable to log in. As a result, Cryptic is planning to increase server capacity this weekend, so if you have hours of STO planned over the coming couple of days, you shouldn’t have too many problems.

That’s it for this week folks, don’t forget to tune in to our podcast where we discuss one or two of the stories mentioned here; the Mortal Online beta and WoW’s newest patch.

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