Hi folks, just updating you on some MMO news, and things what have been happening lately. I want to draw special attention to the WoW 5th anniversary sweepstakes and the book for WoW, which leads us on to pre-Cataclysm. Some very interesting stuff going on.
World of Warcraft News
- New Non-Combat Pets For Sale - The Blizzard Store received a new addition this week in the form of non-combat pets for sale. That's right, folks Blizzard is now selling in game items for real world money. Now this, as you can imagine, has produced every reaction possible from the community from members jumping on the proverbial bandwagon to those who say WoW is "ruined".
- WoW Fifth Anniversary Sweepstakes - WoW's fifth anniversary falls on the 23rd of this month and as a way to thank their loyal customers they are running a different sweepstakes style giveaway every week this month. Last week's winner received a limited edition World of Warcraft Charge of the Great Dragonflights Stein courtesy of sponsor Taverncraft. This weeks winners will receive a pair of gaming glasses from Gunnar optiks. The best thing...you don't have to lift a finger, all WoW subscribers are automatically entered to win (rules are here)! So, sit back, relax and cross your fingers...you could be the next lucky one!
- Curse Client v4 in Open Beta - Curse recently released version 4 of their addon client to open beta. The new version is a pretty major overhaul from the current client both in looks and functionality. Version 4 brings users desired features like change logs, addon package creation and added security. Some features will still be reserved only for premium users, but the client itself will pester users a lot less about upgrading. There is also a bug reporting system built right in to the client so devs will have an easier time tracking and fixing user's issues. The new client is available for download here and comes in both PC and Mac versions.
- Updated Patch 3.3 Notes - The 3.3 PTR received a couple of updates over the past week. Some of the items effected by the recent changes were the map interface, quest log and meeting stones.
- WoW TCG Realm Championships - The WoW TCG has had a busy year and has just finished up with their World Championships. Still, they announced this week that they will be holding their Realm Championships November 14-15th in cities around the world including San Diego, Helsinki, Singapore and Melbourne just to name a few. Although the tournament play is by invite only, the events will have plenty of fun open to the public. To see a full list of cities, check out their website. If you've never been to a TCG event, they are a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out, so if one is coming to your city make sure you grab the chance!
- WoW Cataclysm Novel Releasing in August 2010 - A listing showed up this week on Amazon that pegged the release of the hardcover version of the novel entitled World of Warcraft. The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm for August 31, 2010. This is really exciting news for all you lore nerds out there and it has also caused some speculation in the WoW community over the possible indication of the expansion release date. See, some will say that since the book is a "prelude", the expansion will not release until after the book comes out. I think Blizzard has their own schedule in mind and that the two releases have nothing to do with one another. Only time will tell. Anyhow, the book is available for pre-order now for $26 on WoW: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm via Amazon.com.
- Comic Corner - This weeks comic corner will start off with the latest commandment from NoObz! and I have to say this one made me gasp...then laugh! Guess all you devoted WoW players might want to go check what's going on in the next room after reading this one! Ok, on to the next one which is from Experience Points and it shows Vincent all excited over his brand new gaming blog and his new readers...but only for a moment. Now the next two comics had me really rolling with laughter, I mean they are the ones that make me glad there is no one else in my office! First the one from The Adventures of Disgraph T. Dwarf which shows sometimes it pays to be frugal (or not)...LMAO! Then there is the latest from Dungeons and Draenai. It is two simple frames of absolute hilarity...perfection! LOL
- Stone Keeper's Shards Post 3.3 - Blizzard poster, Zarhym cleared something up in a forum post this week regarding Stone Keeper's Shards and the new Cross-Realm LFG System. The burning question from players was, what happens when you're in a PUG that takes advantage of the cross-server system? Answer, the system will check to see if your home realm's Wintergrasp is captured by your faction, if so you will get shard drops from bosses; if not you will not. The system will perform this check for each player in the PUG and those who are not supposed to get shards won't even see them show up as a loot option on the bosses, so no "Hey! Where are MY shards!?" loot drama...thanks Blizz!
- Create Merchandise Based on In-Game Characters - Blizzard has again expanded it's offering of customizable merchandise with the opening of the Print Warcraft site. This site will allow you to create art like posters and prints based on your in-game characters. There are a ton of customization options once you have selected your character, realm and print size you will be able to choose from a number of different backgrounds, borders, poses, pets and more! The prints start at $17.99 and go up to about $30. This seems like it would make a pretty cool Christmas gift for your favorite WoW player...or for yourself!
- Haris Pilton's New Bag - Well we were pretty sure that Blizzard couldn't resist giving us yet another pre-expansion gold sink and we were right. This week Haris Pilton, Shattrath socialite extraordinaire, began to peddle her limited edition accessories on the 3.3 PTR. And we noticed something...she has an all new item called the Portable Hole which is a BOE 24 slot bag retailing for a mere 3,000 Gold! Hey...style does NOT come cheap!
- Movie of the Week - This week's featured movie is called Mankrik's Wife: The Story and for anyone who has done the quest or even heard about the quest to find Mankrik's Wife, this one will strike a funny bone. I think the amnesia is hysterical...it reminds me of Dory from the Disney movie "Finding Nemo". It's pretty good!
- New Buff Applied to PuG's - Blizzard's new Dungeon System, now on the PTR, is pretty cool and I honestly cannot see why anyone would NOT want to use it! But, in case you needed a little more incentive (aside from the extra gold and badges we already told you about)...here it is, groups who utilize the new dungeon system to PUG at least one member of their group will receive the "Luck of the Draw" buff while fighting in the dungeon. This buff increases the group's damage, healing and base health all by 5%! Now, if for some reason this still isn't enough incentive...how about a cool little non-combat pet as a reward for Pugging? Take a look at this little guy and tell me you don't want to use the new system all the time! Adorable!
- Instance Teleporting in 3.3/Meeting Stone Changes - In the most recent patch notes, I know I had a question of mine answered about the new "summon from anywhere" deal that is present in the new dungeon LFG system. Now, as we have pointed out before, the system will teleport you from wherever you are when your group has formed and your dungeon is ready. But, what happens when the dungeon is cleared and you leave? Well it seems you will go right back to wherever you were before being teleported. Makes sense and that will keep people from signing up for a Violet Hold just to get a free hearth to Dalaran, too! Another related change is that meeting stones will only require that a player be level 15 to use them and there is no maximum level restriction on any of them anymore.
- Charity Drives For the Holidays - Now that Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is just around the corner many people get in the giving spirit. There are a couple of WoW related charity drives going on that we thought were worth a mention. Azeroth United is running a charity drive for Child's Play and a donation of as little as $10 will get you entered into a drawing for gift baskets full of awesome wow-related prizes, so make sure you check it out at azerothunited.com. Next we have a very special in game event to tell you about called Raid for the Cure taking place this Saturday on the Kael'Thas (US) server at 2pm Central time. This is an event organized by the Sidhe Devils guild on that server in support of one of their own recently diagnosed with breast cancer where players will participate in an in-game version of the "walk for a cure" fundraiser. All details are available on bigbearbutt.com including donation details, raffles and start and end times/places. This is a great idea to show support and make a difference! We will be there...will you?
- Product Spotlight - Spugnort's Warcraft PvP Guide has been touted for years as the absolute BEST on the market! This guide is now updated fully to include the Death Knight strategy section and all class and PvP changes which were pushed live with the arrival of patch 3.2. This guide is undoubtedly the best on the market and an essential part of any gamer's library! Get your copy today and start stockpiling the honor, arena points and Battleground victories you deserve!
- 1.5.1 Patch Additions - NCSoft has announced a group of changes that are scheduled to be implemented this month on live servers, although there is no official release date yet. The changes include improvements/additions to many aspects of the game including characters, quests and User Interface changes. To see the full list, head on over to the Aion official news site.
- Aion Fan Art on Facebook - NCSoft recently added a fan art section to it's Official Aion Facebook Page which will allow fans of the game to share their artwork with others. Right now there are only two entries on the page, but I am looking forward to seeing what gets posted there in the future. To share your Aion-based artwork, drop them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will upload it!
- One Month Post-Release and Going Strong - Many Aion players have probably already noticed that the population in the game has continued to rise in the rather short time since launch, but now there are some statistics to back up this observation. Both Steam and Direct2Drive have posted their top ten lists for the week of October 25-31 and Aion (although near or at the bottom) still appears on both lists. Congrats to NCSoft on the game's success!
- Product Spotlight - We are proud to announce that FTW Guides has created an incredible new product line to help you through the amazing new MMO that Aion is! The all new Aion Leveling Guides were developed by professional gamers who have been playing in both the open and closed betas for nearly a year now.The guides include complete coverage of both factions, detailed numbered maps, online accessibility, frequent updates and impeccable customer support! All of these features plus a 30 day unconditional money back guarantee means you have nothing to lose! Beat the learning curve and get on to enjoying this visually stunning, amazing game faster than you ever thought possible. Order you copy today!
EVE Online News
- Ryan Dancey on EVE's Longevity - In a recent interview on Gamasutra Ryan Dancey, CCP Games Chief Marketing Officer, talks about the state of EVE and what makes it unique from it's player governance and virtual economy to it's slow, yet continual growth in subscription numbers. Mr. Dancey also talks about the developer's focus on keeping the game interesting for long time subscribers while making sure it is compelling enough to continue to draw in new players. To read the full interview head over to Gamasutra.
- EVE's New Dominion Dev Blog - This month's dev blog releases details on the two parts of the new sovereignty system in Dominion. There is information on the upgrade system which is used to unlock resources and the upkeep system along with information on how upgrading your space will work with the new expansion. You can read all the details here.
- Website Downtime Tomorrow - CCP has announced that during scheduled downtime on Wednesday they will be taking the EVE Online forums as well as the Account Management and payment features on their website offline. This is presumably for an upgrade to these systems of some kind, but no specifics were provided in the announcement.
- CCP Game's "Get a Clone" Program - CCP Games has taken a different approach to promoting their game with a new website from Duvolle Laboratories (an in-game NPC corporation) called getaclone.com. On this site potential players can answer a few simple questions and based on the answers given it will tell you what type of EVE player you would most likely be and enjoy playing. Pretty neat. If you want to give it a try head over to the new site and check i out.
Warhammer Online News
- Endless Trial Now Available - We told you about this before when it was announced as "coming soon" and now it is live! Warhammer Online trial accounts now never expire! This means new players or even those returning will be able to experience the entire first tier of play in the game without the pressure of a time limit. Players can feel free to try out new classes, starting experiences and group play at their own pace. For restrictions and more information, check out the FAQ.
- Interim City Siege Fixes - The recent changes which removed fortresses from the RvR campaign equation resulted in cities being constantly sieged (something the game was not dealing with very well) so devs had to come up with a temporary solution to the problems players were facing as a result of this change. This interim solution was put into place this week and includes fixes like stages 1 and 2 of the city siege being cut in half and city rank changes. To get the full rundown, you can read the post on the Official Forums.
- John Cox on Hackers and Warhammer - This week Mythic posted a developer's diary with John Cox, Development Manager, about their efforts to combat in-game hackers. The type of hacking this post deals with is that of third party programs which allow players to do things in the game world with their characters that should not even be possible and is certainly not allowed. He goes into everything from what they do to prevent these hacks, how they find the hackers and what they do to them once they have been caught to how devs identify and respond to reports of players using hacks. I thought this dev diary was informative. Good read.
- Product Spotlight - Everyone knows that FTW MMO strategy guides has one of the best, most comprehensive WAR Leveling and Strategy Guides available on the market today! This guide has just received some major updates to keep it in line with the changes to the game. The guides now include all new quests, new flight paths, detailed numbered maps, RvR quests and detailed public Quest information! The WAR Combo Pack from FTW is a definite must have for every Warhammer fan! Get your copy today for just $44.99, or buy one side for just $29.99.
- Open Beta Now Available - When Quest Online announced that it would not be releasing Alganon until December 1st, there were some disappointed fans! Well, this should help to ease the pain, Alganon's Open Beta begins Wednesday, November 11th and will provide anxious fans with the opportunity to check out the game prior to launch. Quest Online has made a pretty significant round of improvements recently that should make for a better overall gaming experience. Players interested in participating in the open beta need to create an account on the MyAlganon site and download the game client straight from there or from Fileplanet, Direct2Drive or Curse.
Star Trek Online News
- Official Release Date Announced! - This week Cryptic confirmed that it's new MMO, Star Trek Online, will officially release on February 2nd, 2009 in the US followed by a February 5th, 2010 release date in Europe. This announcement comes just on the heels of the start of the game's closed beta testing phase. This is, of course, super exciting news for trekkies everywhere! We will be sure to keep everyone updated on beta status and release date changes if and when it is necessary.
- "Episode Missions" Explained in New Dev Blog - Cryptic has released a new dev blog for STO detailing the strive toward a different type of "questing" experience in the game where players will have the opportunity to live out the television shows they love. These will be called "Episode Missions" and are all based around episodes of the ever popular Star Trek tv series, they will last anywhere from 45-90 minutes and will serve an important role in player progression. The game is set to launch with three seasons each containing 14 individual episodes. To read the entire dev blog on the subject, click here.
Other Noteworthy MMO News
- Lord of the Rings Online Extends Special Pricing - With the Siege of Mirkwood expansion less than a month away from launch, Turbine has decided to extend their current special pricing offers through November 18th. Current subscribers have 3 different plans to choose from, all of which include getting the expansion for free when it releases. To check out what Turbine has to offer, click here.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Imperial Agent Class - BioWare announced this week that the sixth class to join the ranks in the Star Wars-themed MMO will be the Imperial Agent. Imperial Agents are a rogue class of characters since they do their work for the Empire with high tech tools that help them to infiltrate the republic and assassinate enemies of the Sith Empire. The Holonet will soon be updated to include the new class and they already have their own forum on the official site.
- Champions Online Scavenger Hunt - This Sunday (Nov. 15th) community member, Mr. Funsocks will be kicking off an awesome scavenger hunt called "Where in the World is Carmel Santiago?". The object of the hunt is to be the first to find Carmel somewhere in the CO world and offer to trade with her. There is a small entry fee, but a pretty big payoff if you win. For all the details, look over the forum thread about the contest and good luck!