7 days around the MMO world (April 19)

Every week we have been bringing you the past week’s news from the vast MMOverse and this week will be no different. However the past few times we’ve been profiling new and upcoming MMO’s that are worth checking out and again this week will be no different. This week on top of all this week’s notable news we will be profiling NCSoft’s newest champion, Aion.

If I had to sum up what is so exciting about Aion in a short sentence I would be forced to say that it is beautiful and has some of the most exciting and eloquent combat we’ve seen in an MMORPG. Aion is self described as being “a visually stunning massively multiplayer online role-playing game featuring cutting-edge imagery, breathtaking environments, and a unique fantasy world.” And we couldn’t agree more. But besides the obvious what is exciting about Aion and what is different about it that will pull you away from the other 101 fantasy MMOs?

I think of one the most entertaining features that Aion brings to the table is flying combat. Taking a page out of the City of Heroes book, Aion will allow the fights to go airborne and thus taking the combat form a two dimensional plane and into the third. Flying will be an integral part of the combat being that certain abilities will require you to be flying. This mechanic alone will change the way most MMO players think about fighting and add another cog to the already complex fighting mechanics.

Aion is also coming onto the scene with a new gameplay mode they’re calling PvPvE. If you’re not familiar with MMO jargon, PvP is Player vs Player and PvE is Player vs Environment. They’re attempting to mash those two notions together and introducing a whole new way to play MMOs. You’ll find yourself out on the battlefield fighting the other faction and then the other faction suddenly gets help from one of the groups of NPC enemies. It’s also possible for both factions to be attacked from a group of NPCs while fighting each other.

The class structure in Aion is a bit different than most MMOs. Instead of picking one class and being that class through the entirety of the game you’re given a choice of four primary classes; Warrior, Scout, Priest and Mage. As you progress further into the game you’ll come to a crossroads where you’ll decide what sub-class you’ll go to. For instance a Priest will have to decide whether to become a Cleric or a Chanter. Each primary class has two associated sub-classes to choose from. There is not current release date for Aion but rumor has it that the Beta is nearing so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Not the be eclipsed by World of Warcraft’s 3.1 patch, this past Thursday the latest Warhammer Online patch went live. Patch 1.2.1 wasn’t a full out content patch like WoW’s however it did bring much need changes to the game. One of the biggest changes was the overhaul to the combat system. The patch addressed issues with lag in the combat system where you could feel a pause in the casting time of many actions. This should remove that squishy feeling you get while casting your spells.

The other notable change was the addition of the Keep Upgrade System. Guilds that own Keeps can now purchase an array of upgrades to boost the defensive abilities. The upgrades do require regular maintenance fees and a lot of the upgrade paths have multiple levels. This new addition adds a RTS element to the game as well allowing Guild to retain Keeps that they own for longer and gives incentive to continue defending. Check out the full patch notes over at Mythic’s website.

This week Bethesda and Interplay have engaged in a legal shouting match over the rights of the Fallout MMO. According to reports Interplay failed to meet development milestones set by the agreement between Bethesda and Interplay. Long story short Bethesda is looking to exercise that agreement to strip the Fallout license from Interplay. To add insult to injury Interplay has fallen under some hard economic times. What does this mean for the future of a Fallout MMO?

The very short answer is we won’t see a Fallout MMO now for a long time unless Interplay keeps the rights to make it, and if they do it will still be a long shot. So no matter how you slice this bit of news it’s going to be bad for us as gamers. Since this is more than likely going to get tied up in a legal battle, we can safely assume that any development that Interplay is working on will be put on pause. If Bethesda wins and gets the rights to the MMO, then what? If Bethesda decided to make the MMO based on Fallout they would be starting from scratch because MMOs are much different beasts when it comes to development than a standard game. That puts the Fallout MMO at least 3-4 years out. Who knows what the outcome of this will be, but stay tuned as we will definitely be keeping a close eye on this.

In other MMO news: