7 days around the MMO world (April 12)

For those celebrating the coming of the bunnies aka Easter, we hope your enjoying the sugar rush from jelly beans and hollow chocolate bunnies. Why not take a seat at your computer with hollow bunny in hand and catch up with us on this week in MMO news.

This week was a big week for the upcoming sci-fi MMO Earthrise. We got to see videos of the combat in action and how the pvp system is shaping up. The immediate thing that jumps out as us is the shift from FPS to full out standard MMORPG style of combat. Initially Earthrise was being promoted as an MMOFPS and now, as you can see form the video, its fully third person and standard hotbar/click targeted MMO combat. This isn’t necessarily a bad move as for most MMORPG players will welcome a familiar combat style. The one thing that needs to be watched out for is falling victim to Tabula Rasa’s fate and balancing the use of guns with a traditional MMORPG style of combat. As of right now the combat looks to be a little bit on the slow side and is in definite need of some polishing.

Aside from the combat shift we can see that the graphics look amazing, especially for an MMORPG. Visually it looks like a typical post-apocalyptic future but the nice thing is they have zones that are being rebuilt and feature lush colorful scenery. So it’s not just gray on gray bland zones. The UI appears very run-of-the-mill for an MMO with your hotbar, unit frame, chat window and inventory windows. The pvp demo featured a dynamic targeting system that should make switching targets easy which has always been sort of an issue that you would find in other MMOs.

From the videos we can gather few more interesting details from Earthrise. In terms of the combat there are pre-requisites for what abilities you can use. For example in order to use melee abilities you have to use a melee weapon and the same for ranged, not to out of the ordinary there. Also they are using a stance system and if you’re familiar with World of Warcraft it would be much like the Warrior’s class stances. You can activate a specific stance that will increase damage but will lock out the some abilities and only allow you to use moves associated with that stance. We imagine there will be other stances for other roles in the game like support and possibly tanking. Earthrise is shaping up rather well other than the slow combat and we’ll see how the beta pans out and keep you updated on its progress.

A few weeks ago we featured the upcoming City of Heroes: Issue 14 content patch which added user generated custom missions to the game. That patch went live this past Weds to the City of Heroes fan’s delight. According to NCSoft this is the first time an MMORPG has offered user generated content to its players which is a feature we hope more developers will offer in the future. Check out the video above of the new Architect feature in action and be sure to check back with us for an update on how well Issue 14 was received.

Rumors are a flying about the inevitable release of World of Warcraft’s 3.1 patch. We’re going to provide our own speculation of when the largest patch in World of Warcraft history is to be released. All signs point to this coming Tues as the release date. The only thing that could throw a wrench into that theory is the possibility of the holiday weekend delaying the release. If that be the case we’re almost certain that the following Tues will be the day. So we’re going on record right here right now as saying patch 3.1 is coming either this Tues or no later than the following.

Patch 3.1 is adding in quite a few things as we mentioned a few weeks ago. Just to recap a little here, the patch is adding a brand new 10/25 man raid Ulduar for player burned out on the current content. Since the last time we talked, they’ve added several “hard modes” to many of the bosses in Ulduar which will provide much replayabilty for the new instance. Players are also getting dual speciliazation which makes the hybrid classes very happy and the Agrent Tournament event. The patch also does some class balancing and will mark the end of Arena Season 5 and the start of Arena Season 6 shortly there after. Be sure to check back next week to see if we where right about the release of 3.1 and we’ll break down the official patch notes.

Also keep an eye out for this week’s Cross Platform Podcast where I discuss some of the changes in 3.1 with the gang.

In other MMO news: