7 days around the MMO world (April 26)

It’s been a fairly busy week for a lot of MMOs with a couple of anniversaries and a big teaser. So lets not dilly dally around and get right into the thick of it!

Turbine and their Lord of the Rings Online have been very busy this week coming at us with loads of announcements. First and foremost LotRO began its 2nd anniversary celebration this week. During this time of celebration they have reduced the subscription fee down to $9.99 a month and if you don’t interrupt your subscription you’ll be locked into that rate. In game, the festivities are reaping decent benefits to all of middle-earths players. Monsters will drop rare items that are exchangeable for gift boxes that will reward them with useful items. Also anyone with active subscriptions during the celebrations will get a special item that reduces stable costs by 20%. The 2nd anniversary celebration doesn’t end until June 30th so all of you hobbits and dwarves alike have plenty of time.

Just in time for this anniversary LotRO launched in both Russia and Korea this week expanding middle-earth’s reach. Not to be overlooked due to the celebrations but we also got some details on the upcoming Book 8 content patch.

The big change that catches our eye coming in Book 8 is the addition of what is currently being called Skirmishes. They are a set of dynamic instances that scale and adjust according to how small or large the size of the group is. They’re designed to be repeatable and will have multiple objectives for players of different group sizes to complete. They’re also adding in customizable friendly NPCs that can come along with you to fill in spots when players are not available.

Book 8 is also going to expand the current universe further north to Mirkwood and the Dwarves and Elves are being asked to come back to Moria because of “unrest” within those mines. The patch will also bring a raised level cap and brand new Summer Festival and should drop as soon as June this year.

While the news for this next game isn’t big per-say, the new teaser site does intrigue us. Does it also intrigue you? Huxley: The Dystopia has been in development for a while and this week they released a mysterious new webpage with a countdown timer on it. We’re no sure what that timer is counting down to, but we figured now would be a great time to refresh our memories on what the game is all about.

Huxley is one of the many MMOs attempting to mash in the FPS genre into a massive environment and taking on MMORPG style elements. Its a sci-fi futuristic MMOFPS game powered by the Unreal Engine 3. One thing we can be sure about is that Huxley will be pretty. We’ll save our judgment for how the rest of the game turns out for when we play it.

The best thing that Huxley is doing is making sure that the combat is 100% FPS, unlike similar games like Earthrise where they’re trying to blend shooting with typical random number RPG stuff. The combat takes place in instanced zones that put you into the first-person perspective like you would find in every FPS game there is. The combat is described as being very fast paced like Unreal Tournament but also emphasizing tactics. What’s most exciting to us is the scale of the 60vs60 battlegrounds, that should make for some wicked multiplayer action.

In terms of the MMO aspects of the game you have all the usual suspects. Players will level as they play and gain experience as usual. The levels will unlock new abilities but not giving a distinct advantage over lower level players as skill is stressed in Huxley. Just like in every other MMO there will be crafting and trading which is no surprise. The game has two factions with three classes: The Enforcer, The Avenger and The Phantom which are close, medium and long ranged classes. The game will have four different races however all of them are fairly similar and very much all humanoid, so not much variation there.

Players will also be able to gain the ability to use vehicles that can be used in battle. This adds a whole other dynamic to the combat we’ll be facing. They serve not only as an offensive weapons but also serve as great tools to transport the player through the battlefield to execute key tactics against your enemy. We’re also getting our own instanced apartments in Huxley where we’ll be able to store our goodies we get from blasting our foes into oblivion.

Huxley is a very promising game, the combat is staying true to what die hard FPS fans would love and giving what a lot of FPS games lack, longevity and depth. That depth coming from the MMO aspects where players will walk around town, crafting and selling goods while flaunting their wares.

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