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MMO News Wrap-Up

If MMOs are your thing and you’re sick of trawling through all the console news, you’ll appreciate this feature. This is where we separate out all the big MMO news and sum it up in one place. This week we talk about Age of Conan, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcarft, Star Trek Online and Global Agenda, so read on for all the latest.

Earlier in the week, we teamed up with Funcom to give players a glimpse of the next big patch to arrive for Age of Conan, Update 6. The preview gives an overview of three big features in the update, firstly Guild Renown. Guilds will be able to level up and earn rewards such as new mounts and buildings for their city. Additional city decorations will also become available, enabling guilds to add shrubbery, banners and statues, and city vendors will expand the wares they have to offer. There’s even talk of new in-game companions.

Next in the Update 6 preview was the news that players would be facing Conan’s arch enemy, Thoth-Amon. Finally, fans were told that they would be fighting alongside Conan himself.Along with the preview, AoC’s game director, Craig Morrison, sat down with us to answer a few questions on the game regarding Update 6 and its new features.

Funcom also announced last week that it would be transmitting a live demo of AoC’s upcoming expansion, Rise of the Godslayer. Fans could tune in and watch live footage as Morrison and fellow developer Joel Bylos explored parts of a new zone and showed off some of the new game mechanics. A video of the demo was later released, see the full thing here.

We posted another AoC exclusive yesterday which is a developer diary video all about Rise of the Godslayer. A number of guys from Funcom’s AoC team talk about the revelation of the expansion at GamesCon earlier this year, what the expansion will bring to the game, and a number of new features such as the ability to tame and raise a tiger cub before being able to use it as a mount.

ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2 caused a stir last week when it released a video previewing the five playable races that will feature in the game. GW players currently only have humans to choose from, so the ability to pick another race is an exciting addition. The video stars Felicia Day of “The Guild” fame, and gives a brief background for each race. Following the video, IncGamers writer, Jeff Hollis, explored GW2’s announced races, made up of Humans, Charr, Norn, Asura and Sylvari, and explained why he thinks the game will be pretty darn awesome.

The changes to GW don’t stop there either. During the week, GW2’s lead designer stated that the sequel will be more like other MMOs. As it stands, most areas in the current game are instanced, leaving just social areas such as cites as shared zones where players can mix. GW2 will resemble games such as WoW and Warhammer, in that most of the areas are persistent and shared, only selected areas including dungeons will be instanced.

GW2 is slated for a 2011 release, so there’s plenty more time to speculate on what else ArenaNet is going to improve on from the first game. The new persistent world sounds great, but I hope they keep the henchmen.

Star Trek Online launches in early February, in less than two months from now, and more info about the game is trickling our on a regular basis. This week we heard about the various retail programs on offer; these include exclusive in-game costumes, a liberated Borg officer (think Seven of Nine), and a special ground weapon. If in-game items aren’t enough to satisfy your Trekkie needs, the STO Collector’s Edition includes a number of goodies that should do the trick. A high-quality cast-metal communicator badge, hard cover art book and special metalic packaging are included with the game, and the Deluxe Edition offers even more for the truly hardened fans.

If you want to see some in-game action, fly by the latest STO video, featuring space battles galore.
{PAGE TITLE=MMO News Wrap-Up}World of Warcraft’s patch 3.3 finally hit the live servers this week after months of testing. Players now have access to IceCrown Citadel, which offers three new 5-man instances and a 10/25 man raid. The raid will eventually allow players to take down the Lich King, but each wing will have a staggered opening as players progress through the encounters. No doubt Blizzard didn’t want Arthas killed within a few hours of the patch launching either, as it’s likely to be several months until we see WoW’s next expansion, Cataclysm, released.

Check out the trailer for patch 3.3, aptly named Fall of the Lich King, over on IncGamers TV.

On the subject of WoW, we talked about the Warcraft film on Monday and how we fancy its chances at the box office. Films made from video games are infamous for being dreadful, can Blizzard break the trend?

BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is shaping up nicely, and in the past week we’ve seen information on the last two classes to be announced; the Sith Inquisitor and the Jedi Consular. The two classes, both force-wielding types, each had a description, images, concept art and more added to the official SW: TOR site. All eight classes for the game are now revealed – which will you choose?

If you’d like to know more about SW: TOR, our very own Tim McDonald’s hands on preview went up recently, be sure to give it a read.

Global Agenda is another upcoming MMO, and one that’s getting a fair bit of attention due to its unique style. The self-described Spy-Fi game combines first person shooter with persistent MMO gameplay. It’s also different because it offers players the option to pay a subscription fee and get access to every feature and area in the game, or to just buy the box and get limited access.

We spoke to a couple of the Global Agenda developers recently, and they explained a number of their choices to us, including why they opted for human-only playable characters. They also went over the differences between the box-only game and the fully-subscribed one, pointing out why the non-subscriber will not get a “gimped” version.

We also announced yesterday that players will be able to pre-order Global Agenda from next week, check out the news item for more info.

More from our interview will be appearing over the next couple of days, and keep an eye out for the full thing in our two-part video, coming soon.

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