Vanguard Dumps Microsoft for SOE I SOE raises Station Access price I EQ2 introduces the Fae
WoW Battleplan #3 I Shadow of the Necropolis I Eberron creator to pen DDO Storylines
D&D Expansion to Add Drow, Solo Play I More Beta Tests
Issue #61 Eee May 17, 2006

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I originally planned to do a column just before the E3 embargo on columns started. However, I have this nasty habit of putting things off until the last minute.

I also dread starting to write a column. I'm not sure why, since once I'm writing it, it's easy enough to do.

A few things of note happened in the past three weeks.

  • One of my instructors changed a project due date the week before it was due. Since it was due Saturday, the day after E3 ended, the final date ended up being in the middle of E3. I found out Monday, two days before it needed to be completed.
  • My WoW guild merged with another guild, unfortunately summoning the Drama Llama™ in the process.
  • I found out that some of my friends are leaving WoW for Vanguard. In fact, several have already left, even though Vanguard is only in beta.

 Vanguard Dumps Microsoft for SOE

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes On May 5, Sigil Entertainment announced that Sony Online Entertainment would be co-publishing Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Prior to this change, Microsoft was set to publish Vanguard.

This change came as a surprise to many people, as Brad McQuaid was one of Everquest's lead designers and had a falling out with SOE President John Smedley in 2001.

 SOE raises Station Access price

Sony Online Entertainment Sony Online Entertainment's multiple MMO Station Access Pass will receive a $3 USD monthly increase starting in June. The new rate is $24.99 USD.

The Station Access Pass will now include access to all of Everquest 2's dungeon Adventure Packs. This comes as no surprise, as other MMOs offer access to new dungeons for free.

More information can be found on the Station Access site.

 EQ2 introduces the Fae

Everquest II As was hinted at in the picture distributed at the SOE Fan Faire, the Fae will be a playable race in the next Everquest II expansion, Echoes of Faydwer. This expansion is expected to hit shelves in November.

Other new things in the expansion include the usual additional areas, item, monsters, mounts, and also an improved achievement point system.

In addition to the upcoming expansion, Everquest II will have a new Adventure Pack, The Fallen Dynasty, in June.

Source: Gamespot

 WoW Battleplan #3

World of Warcraft Prior to their announcement of the Draenai as the second Burning Crusade race, Blizzard posted their third Battleplan on the World of Warcraft forums.

The focus of this Battleplan is on the recent problems with servers and overcrowding. Here's the short version.

In the list below, NA means North America.

  • Blizzard opened 2 new NA sites for servers, bringing the total up to 6
  • Blizzard opened 22 new NA realms so far this year
  • Server caps will be increased by 25% after the expansion is released
  • Blizzard's new authentication system should be rolled out before the end of the month
  • Blizzard will (finally) add a character transfer service; no pricing information has been released thus far
  • Servers will be getting hardware upgrades over the new few months

 Shadow of the Necropolis

World of Warcraft Blizzard is introducing the Necropolis Naxxramas in the 1.11 World of Warcraft patch. This frost-based dungeon is a 40-man raid dungeon and is intended to be the most difficult dungeon prior to the expansion. Yes, this means that it's more difficult than Molten Core, Black Wing's Lair, and Ahn'Qiraj 40. The dungeon's main boss is none other than the evil lich Kel'Thuzad.

Among other things, the Necropolis Naxxramas will have a new epic armor set for each class. Rumor has it that Kel'Thuzad himself holds the ninth and final piece of each set, the ring.

It is unknown at this point whether there will be a world event to open the Necropolis, or if one simply needs to go through Stratholme to get there.

 Eberron creator to pen DDO Storylines

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach Atari and Turbine recently announced that Keith Baker will be writing new storylines for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. Mr. Baker is the creator of Eberron, the world DDO takes place in.

 D&D Expansion to Add Drow, Solo Play

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach The next Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach expansion, The Twilight Forge, will add in the drow... the Dark Elf race usually found in the Forgotten Realms world.

Turbine is also addressing concerns that the game forces group play. The new expansion will feature new solo areas in addition to new high-end dungeons and monsters.

A number of other features are also on the table. "We are committed to delivering future DDO modules that include features that continue to expand the game, such as additional character levels and player-versus-player (PvP) battles," explained Turbine president and CEO Jeffrey Anderson.

 More Beta Tests

It seems like every week, a new game starts beta test signups. This week is no exception.

  1. Archlord, the MMORPG where players compete to become the overall ruler of the world, started beta signups earlier the month.
  2. Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar beta signups started just prior to E3.

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I did some more work on my archives page. I still haven't decided how to list what games appear in each column, but you can at least get an idea of what it looks like so far.

I have a feeling that this week is going to be a short news week, so... send me stuff!

Ross "hates guild drama" Bemrose

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