7 days around the MMO world (June 14)

Another weekend another round of MMO updates for you to ingest and mill upon. This week we have some news from one of the biggest MMOs, World of Warcraft and some news on the Worlds.com vs NCSoft lawsuit about virtual spaces. Let’s not loiter around and get right to it shall we?

So we already know that World of Warcraft’s 3.2 patch is going to be a doosey with the expanded Argent Tournament, New Raid/Dungeon and the much anticipated Druid form updates. However, it looks like it just got even bigger.

To make leveling a tad bit easier on the folks who are new and or re-rolling, Blizzard is adjusting the mount prices and requirements. First they’re lowering the level requirement for the 60% land mount to level 20 (down from 30) and lowering the price to a mere 4 gold training and 1 gold mount price. The 100% land mount requirement is being lowered to level 40 (down from 60) and lowering the price to 50 gold training and 10 gold mount price. But wait, there’s more! The non-epic flying mount speed is being increased to 150% (up from 60%), its level requirement lowered to 60 (down from 70) and its cost reduced to 600 gold training and 50 gold mount cost. The epic level flying mount has not changed however faction discounts now do apply to training and mount costs. This might not seem like huge news, but for new players it is. One of the biggest time sinks in MMOs is the travel times, mounts help alleviate that to the nth degree.

On top of that and to PvP’ers delight is the addition of a brand new battleground called Isle of Conquest. Blizzard released a preview of the new battleground giving us some details on what we can expect. It will be roughly the size of Alterac Valley pitting 40 horde vs 40 alliance. The basic premise is Alterac Valley meets Wintergrasp with a tiny bit of Arathi Basin sprinkled on top.

Each side has a general held up in a keep and unlike AV you can’t just waltz in there and attack the guy, you have to first breech the walls of the keep a-la Wintergrasp to gain access to the general. To do this, you have to control points on the map that will allow you to create siege engines among other things. There are five nodes that the sides will fight over all of which will help to siege the fortress where the general is located. Isle of Conquest sounds like it will be a welcome addition for PvP’ers and since Wintergrasp is pretty popular, we expect this to be very popular as well.

To everyone’s shock we’re sure, it appears that a third party has found prior-art that makes Worlds.com patent invalid.  Oh my god, how is that possible! All sarcasm aside, we definitely knew this was going to happen. To bring you up to speed, World’s.com owns a patent for “system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space” which encompasses almost every online game ever. The third party is Article One Partners who’s sole job is to do unbiased research into patent lawsuits just like this and find possible prior-art. What we mean by prior-art is creations that fall into the patent in question but were created at a much earlier date than when the patent was filed.

The idea is that finding this prior art, which we’re positive wasn’t very hard, invalidates Worlds.com’s patent. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. NCSoft will still have to appear in court and with this evidence explain why Worlds.com is a money grabbing force of diabolical evil. Should we be worried? Yes, we should. The chances of Worlds.com winning are slim, but the implications of them winning could be devastating to the online gaming community. If they were to win they should fully expect a storming of their corporate office complete with pitch forks and torches, who’s with me?

In other MMO news:

  • Cryptic shows us a fancy timeline for where Star Trek Online falls.
  • Warhammer Online Land of the Dead update dated for June 16th.
  • No regions for you! Champions Online is region free.
  • Masi Oka from the TV show Heroes to star in MMO theme movie.
  • Rumors that Cryptic is making the Neverwinter Nights MMO swirl around.
  • Player housing coming to Free Realms.