Welcome to another MMO Wrap-up where I talk about all the big MMO news from the last seven days. This time, I discuss the latest events surrounding Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, Champions Online, Star Trek Online, Guild Wars 2, TERA, The Secret World, Aion and DC Universe Online.

We kicked off the week with a discussion about BioWare’s announcement regarding Star Wars: The Old Republic and the developer’s subscription targets. Apparently, TOR needs at least one million players signed up to the game each month just to break even. Considering that other MMOs with big names attached, read Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, can only muster up around 300,000 subscribers a month, that’s quite an ambitious target. But BioWare wasn’t finished there; one million will only cover costs, so they’re actually aiming for two million regular subscribers. Good luck with that! But if anyone can manage it besides Blizzard Entertainment, surely it’s BioWare.

We got a sneak peek at some of the game’s animations over the weekend and, considering there’s still at least a full year until TOR is released, it’s looking highly promising. Just check out that force lightning! Honestly, who’s going to want to play a Trooper when you can hurl people around with purple electricity? Just saying.

Speaking of Blizzard, the developer behind the most popular MMO ever, World of Warcraft, proudly announced the dates of the next BlizzCon. Fans will be flocking to Anaheim, the regular setting for the the annual convention, for the two-day event which will run from 22-23 October. A short list of activities has been divulged, the usual things such as hands-on gameplay with upcoming games and discussion panels are there, with a promise that more will be announced nearer the time.

WoW’s patch 3.3.3 also went live this week, making numerous changes to individual classes, and adding some handy new features. Players can now skip the tedious dialogue at the start of the Culling of Stratholme instance, they will also notice an improved Auction House interface and a new random Battleground finder.

The first major expansion for Champions Online, Revelation, was released on Tuesday. There’s a cool new trailer which shows off some of the delights awaiting players including the half-angel-half-demon villain, Therakiel, and the new area of Vibora bay. To mark the expansion’s arrival, Cryptic Studios has made Champions Online free to play this weekend, from today until 10:00am Pacific time on Monday 29 March. If you haven’t tried the game before and you’re just a little curious, now’s your chance to make your very own superhero and set about saving the slightly alternative universe that is the Champions Online world.

But Champions was in the headlines a few times this week, another reason being the fact that the game’s executive producer Bill Roper has stepped down. He’s been replaced by Shannon “Poz” Posniewski, Cryptic’s former director of game programming. There were mixed reactions to this bit of news on the game’s official site, many players remember back to the days of Hellgate London and feared Roper would doom Champions to a similar fate. Others thanked him for his time spent on the game and wished him well in the future. I fall in with the latter group; Best wishes Bill, on whatever you do next within Cryptic.

{PAGE TITLE=MMO Wrap-Up Page 2}Aside from all that, Champions players were informed that the long-awaited console version of the game has been shelved. Cryptic originally intended for the Champions to be available on the Xbox 360 as well as the PC, but the console version was delayed and delayed until it disappeared from our radars. After the announcement regarding Bill Roper, fans enquired about the long-lost game, and Cryptic member Jackalope dropped the bomb-shell that there are currently no plans for a console version. I’m sure the current players are happy that Cryptic is putting all its attention into making the PC game as good as it can be, but that’s yet another MMO which never made it to consoles. Will anyone ever manage to pull it off successfully? Don’t even mention the PS version of FFXI, it doesn’t count.

While on the subject of Cryptic Studios, it also emerged this week that the company’s latest game, Star Trek Online, has “over 100,000 subscribers”. As I mentioned earlier, other titles such as AoC are just getting by with 300,000, so that’s not great news for STO. However, we know that Cryptic is working super hard to get new content into the game, along with many of the features gamers have demanded. I recommend giving the game a shot if you like your Star Trek tie-ins, it’s filled with familiar sights and sounds.

ArenaNet released a series of videos containing concept art from Guild Wars and its upcoming sequel, Guild Wars 2. The images give players a better idea of what’s to come in the highly anticipated MMO, which takes place roughly 250 years after GW. See our GW2 video section to get an eyeful of these films.

En Masse Entertainment released an official trailer for TERA, another hot upcoming game, this week. You’ve already seen the ‘Making Of‘ trailer for this video, so make sure you see the finished result. The Eastern influence is clear, but I must admit it looks stunning. If you’re as keen to get your hands on this as I am, be sure to register for the next beta test.

Funcom also released a trailer recently, of its new MMO The Secret World, which is still mostly under wraps. We got to see a bit more of it at the GDC a couple of weeks ago, and these are some of the images and film shown at the event. Looking good Funcom, keep up the good work.

NCsoft announced that Aion players are to get another batch of double XP from today until Monday, so be sure to make the most of that if you’re levelling a Daeva or two. For a recap on the game, drop in on our reviews. Aion is definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a new MMO to play around with.

I’ll end this wrap-up with the possibly sad news that the awesome images of DC Universe Online which leaked onto the internet over the weekend are not likely to be featured in the game. We contacted Sony about the pictures, and they let us know that the art was done by an agency which is no longer operational. The images were apparently released by the artist without permission from Sony. However, regardless of their origin, the official line is that the pictures are unofficial and unapproved. Shame, because I happen to think they are pretty darn cool.

We discussed a few of these issues in more detail in yesterday’s podcast, please do tune in. Until next week, happy gaming!

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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