Blizzcast Episode 2 I Champions Lore Begins I EVE Online to Finally Walk
Guild Wars Tops 5 Million I O RLY? YA RLY! I Media Grotto

Issue #108 Stew of New Info
March 6, 2008

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Welcome to MMORPGamer.

This week's midterms over, I'm fresh faced and ready to dive into the news. I hope you've got your goggles. This olympic pool of information should be enough to quench any MMORPGamer's thirst.

Huzzah! The news:

  Blizzcast Episode 2

World of Warcraft

Blizzcast is back for a second episode. After a long hiatus, the new podcast episode continues with the dual interview format. The first interview is with Chris Metzen, Vice President of Creative Development of Blizzard. He created the original Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo lore.

The second interview is with Geoff Goodman, a designer with WoW that goes into some more details about how 2.4 will be changing the game. He also goes on about how Magtheridon's Lair will be different in the coming patch.

The production value for this podcast is just right. The actual audio sounds great and podcast audio can get complicated. Also, the transcript kept just below the audio player is a great read and has some beautiful artwork from the Blizzard IPs.

  Champions Lore Begins

Champions Online

The Champions Online official site continues to expand with more sections this week. The profile sections are open, allowing prospective players to read about Defender and Doctor Destroyer. This is clearly the churning of the hype machine as it pertains to lovers of MMO lore. I certainly loved reading the articles.

New this week is the profile of the Stronghold setting. The old prison for supervillains looks like it'll be a fun environment. I'm happy to see that Cryptic is setting aside space on their site to develop this kind of information about their new baby. My interest starts in game features, but only stays when the lore can stand the test of time. Cool buttons just don't have the lasting quality of great plot.

  EVE Online to Finally Walk

EVE Online

Finally, EVE Online players will be able to walk around. In a presentation at GDC this year, CCP released more details on their new space station expansion. In the expansion, space stations will be created in which players will be able to interact, shop, and make money.

For now, players only see their avatar via a small window in the corner of the HUD. With the expansion, characters will finally be in three dimensions, able to walk around and do things. This small bit of innovation may just be what's needed to grab the attention of MMO players that find it hard to attach their emotional identity to a big spaceship. I'm one of these people, so I'll be very happy once this is out. I might last longer than five days once I try it again.

  Guild Wars Tops 5 Million

Guild Wars

Guild Wars has now surpassed five million copies. This is exciting news for developers of the upcoming Guild Wars 2. The game originally came out in April of 2005. For a game that doesn't require a subscription, this large fan base is nothing to scoff at.

I must admit that I hadn't given much thought to this game after trying it out once. It's time for me to eat my words. Games like Guild Wars, that turn the MMO market on its head, really can succeed. I guess it's time for me to dust off my copy of the original box and see what's going on inside.

Kotick Shoots Mouth Off Again

This week, Activion's CEO Bobby Kotick got back into the saddle by speaking again with investors on the topic of MMOs. After saying last week that any new MMO would have to have a billion dollar budget in order to contend with WoW, he's proposing a Call of Duty MMO.

After the blissfully successful release of Call of Duty 4, Kotick says that using the creative powers at Blizzard might be just what the franchise needs. The developers over at my favorite snowy company might not be pleased to hear such a statement. Ever since the mention of the merger, Blizzard has said that assets will continue to focus on their own IPs.

While a Call of Duty MMO would be wildly successful for those that love to run around and shoot things, I doubt that Activision would be able to talk Blizzard into devoting anything to the project. My guess is that this is just Kotick making claims as to his false control over Blizzard. After all, the deal came down to Vivendi owning 51% of Activision Blizzard.

  Media Grotto
Hello Kitty Trailer

Though I considered putting this in the O RLY? YA RLY! section, this is media, so this is where it truly belongs. Enjoy the fluffy trailer for this game that features farming and chatting with fellow Sanrio enthusiasts.


FirstAid Brings More Nintendo Thoughts

Hey there Jake,

For some reason I missed your last column and thought you didn't receive my last letter, but I saw some people respond to my rant, so I looked it up. What did I see there? A man named Curtis who shared my dream of an MMO where it's not just fighting!!

I knew about how Star Wars Galaxies worked when I wrote you that letter on my awesome city-building, land-exploring MMO idea a while ago... I am glad someone shares my thoughts on how MMOs really need to develop into something other than simple grindfests. Really, Ultima Online already touched upon the idea that adventurers need homes too, so it really isn't all that hard to accomplish such a thing. Star Wars Galaxies did it, Project Entropia did it...  If the programmers already managed to pull it off in those older games, it wil sure be possible in new games. As a matter of fact my ADD-ish self couldn't resist starting to write out my ideas on that whole MMO idea of mine. If you're interested I could always send it to you when I have more stuff finished. I really don't know why I am doing it, I know noone will pick it up, but it's a fun way to waste time, I guess. :D

But don't you agree that a lot of MMOs follow the same tiring concept of fighting to become stronger to fight stronger enemies to become stronger etc. etc.? That's all good and well for regular RPGs, where there's also a story to keep you interested, but don't you agree it just doesn't work that great for MMOs?

Anyways, to respond to FirstAid and the other guy; Sure, Nintendo can develop a game based on the worlds of Zelda, Mario and Metroid... But would that really work? I mean, the Zelda games are basically just constant remakes... None of them really follow a development in Link's character, because they constantly start from scratch with him. The kingdom of Hyrule constantly changes with him, so Hyrule isn't one place that has been going through changes, they're new Hyrules every time. The Mario universe is just totally jacked up, it really doesn't follow anything and is constantly being changed and redefined, instead of expanded, pretty much the same as the Zelda series. I guess it would however be a healthier alternative to mind altering drugs, playing a Mushroom Kingdom MMO.

The Metroid universe is slightly more constant in that respect, but isn't that big... If Nintendo wanted a bounty hunter space game they might just as well create a new universe for that.

Now Pokemon, I will have to agree, would be absolutely PERFECT for an MMO. Like the other guy said, people could join the different teams already present in the games, and of course it would be a blast running around the game world looking for rare and strong Pokemon. I for one wouldn't go and play it, I've had my fair share of Pokemon and have grown a little bit tired of it.

Thankfully Nintendo has been doing quite well in creating games for regular online play, such as Mario Soccer, Smash Bros and the likes. While not MMOs, at least Nintendo has finally given in to online play. And you know what, trust Nintendo to wait with releasing an MMO until they are absolutely sure they have solid gold in their hands. They never have been ones to rush anything, and so far every Nintendo console has had at least one game early in the life of the console that was hailed by many to be among the finest in gaming of it's time. So fear not, and be happy they are not releasing rubbish just to be on the bandwagon.

Champions Online looks cool, but I am not the super hero type... So probably not my cup of tea... Mayhaps I should broaden my horizon beyond the standard high fantasy stuff, but not towards that direction. Wasn't there a Warhammer 40.000 MMO in the pipeline too?

Well, I guess this rant is lengthy enough now, and I should go to sleep! I hope I have given you some food for thought or at least some amusement.

Keep gaming!
- Daniel


It looks as if we'll all just have to wait until Nintendo descends off its high horse to bless us all with MMO goodness. I'm excited for whatever iteration it ends up being, even if it's Mario Soccer World 2009.

My guess on the Warhammer 40.000 MMO is a mix-up in Warhammer Online information early in its development. I tried to find info on it, but nothing floated to the surface. If you are looking to broaden your horizons, feel free to peruse the Media Grotto for what's definitely going to be the best MMO of the century.

 Log Out

I've been waiting an hour and a half for my gumbo to be done. It's time for me to abandon this parade of MMO info and consume Cajun goodness. Thanks to Daniel for writing in. I'd like to encourage any fans of Guild Wars to write in and gloat about their success. Even if you don't have anything to write that pertains to this week's news, feel free to write in about everything MMO. Your letters are always appreciated.

Until next week,
Jake Miller (mail me)

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