Welcome back to our weekly MMO News round up, and as usual there is plenty to talk about. A couple of big releases and some new announcements have ensured that MMOs have been on everyone’s lips this week, so read on to find out what’s been going on with Aion, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft, Fallen Earth, Guild Wars 2, Star Trek Online and Final Fantasy XIV.So if you follow MMO news at all, you can’t fail to have noticed that this year’s probably most anticipated fantasy MMO, Aion, launched this week. After the news that the game had received around 400,000 pre-orders, it came as no small surprise that when the Headstart period began, colossal queues to log into the game built up. Players reported wait times of up to eight hours when trying to get into the game on US servers. NCsoft responded swiftly, stating that this was due to the initial rush of new players, and that things would settle down over time.The company later said that the number of players allowed online at once was being limited to prevent the starting areas becoming over-crowded, and that it was “calculating data and weighing the ideal time to open more servers”. A further update from NCsoft stated that two new servers, one for US and one for European players, would be up by this weekend.Earlier in the week, NCsoft revealed that that it plans to add a  major update to Aion at least once a year. Developers have already hinted that future expansions will take characters further away from the Tower of Eternity, the centre of Aion’s world, Atreia.To kick off the official launch of Aion in the US on Tuesday, NCsoft released a launch trailer, showing plenty of in-game goodness along with a brief glimpse of the history of the game world. The fourth official Aion podcast was also released around this time, dealing with popular questions from the community. Aion launches here in the UK today, however, it remains to be seen whether the EU servers will suffer from the long queues.Are NCsoft handling this situation correctly though? Well, just take a look at Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, the subject of this week’s MMO Weekly. Both games started off with stacks of game servers, only to see half of them shut down later, as initial population dropped off. Transferring characters to busier servers and closing the empty ones not only disgruntles players, it gives out a message that the game isn’t doing as well as developers hoped. With that in mind, NCsoft seems to be doing things the right way.MMO fans saw another release this week in the form of Fallen Earth. Tired of elves, magic and floating cities? Want something a bit more gritty? Fallen Earth might be for you, then. This post-apocalyptic game, which has its highly-customisable characters scavenging for survival in a region near to the Grand Canyon, is set around 150 years in the future, and is packed with over 5,000 quests already. Find out more about the game at the official site.It’s been a busy week for Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, as Tuesday saw the release of patch 3.2.2 which updated one of WoW’s first raid encounters. All WoW fans know of Onyxia, whose defeat used to require 40 hardened players, back before the game’s first expansion. These days, however, it’s not uncommon to hear players talk about the ease soloing the Dragon. But once again, Onyxia is on the weekly to-do list of many guilds; Blizzard has updated her to be a challenge for groups of 10 or 25 level 80 players, altering the mechanics of the fight while keeping its main characteristics, but giving her a very juicy new loot table, including a very rare mount modelled after Onyxia herself.WoW’s boozy in-game event, Brewfest, also started this week. Blackrock Depths, a fairly quiet place nowadays, becomes a frenzy of activity during this festival, as players rush to fight the special event boss, Coren Direbrew. He drops a special Brewfest Kudo and Ram which drop for either faction, so don’t miss out on the chance to get your hands on a mount that is usually only available to the opposite faction. I’m alright, I got mine last year.{PAGE TITLE=MMO News Wrap Up – Page 2}While we here in the wesht were shelebrating with our tankardsh and getting a little tipshy, ok I’ll stop that now, Chinese WoW players also had something to be happy about. NetEase finally flicked the switch and officially put WoW’s servers back online in China. The game has been offline for over three months after changing operators from The9 to NetEase. The new operators had to re-apply for permission to run the game, but were told it was too scary for Chinese players. Skeletons, bones and icons featuring severed body parts have been removed or replaced to comply with the regulations set out by China’s governing body.Despite all this, WoW’s second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, still hasn’t launched in China. The highly successful update went on sale in Europe and the US in November last year, but WoW’s former operators in China, The9, didn’t manage to get the expansion approved. NetEase currently has a version of WotLK under review with the authorities, and says it hopes to push the expansion live soon.Fans of the upcoming Guild Wars 2 got a treat this week, as a book featuring some concept art for the game went on sale. The hefty hardback tome, stuffed with over one hundred pages of images by the artists working for GW2 developers, ArenaNet, will set you back £20, and gives you a teasing glimpse of the content we can expect in the long-awaited game.The Tokyo Game Show was chosen as the venue for the unveiling of the latest Final Fantasy XIV trailer this week. The indisputably beautiful video shows of some stunning in-game footage and gives a little background on the setting of the game. The trailer also features some classic FF music, check it out over on IncGamers TV.With Champions Online now well under way, Cryptic Studios continues to churn out new information on its other upcoming MMO, Star Trek Online. Late last week, it was revealed that STO would feature a skill-based progression system, as opposed to an experience point one. As players progress through the game, they will receive skill points that they may spend to improve on certain skills, such as engineering or science. Characters start off with a fairly broad choice of skills to improve and, as they spend the points, their options narrow down, allowing them to specialise. The game also features five ranks ranging from Lieutenant to Admiral. Players advance through the ranks once they have earned a set number of points.In other STO news this week, Cryptic revealed a new class of ship; the Discovery. Based on the now legendary Voyager, Discovery class ships are primarily exploration vessels, capable of operating for extended periods of time without backup from Starfleet. While not equipped with the best weapons, their advanced sensors make them ideal support ships in battle, allowing them to detect ships and lock onto targets quickly, they are even able to disrupt tractor beams.So if all that sounds pretty exciting to you, or if you’re just dying to get your hands on the game, then our Star Trek Online competition should be right up your street. Cryptic Studios has given us three closed beta keys to give away to readers. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning a key is take part in our caption contest. Come up with a fitting caption to the image provided and if we think it’s in the top three, you’ll be playing on the STO closed beta before the end of the year (subject to beta schedules, of course).So that’s it for this week folks. I could go on all day but I’m getting glared at by the editor. I’m sure there will be plenty more hot news up for discussion next Friday but, until then, I’m off to slip on my headset and immerse myself in whatever world awaits today.

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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