7 days around the MMO world (Aug 30)

As we say goodbye to another August of fun in the sun, we say hello to September, a month with a number of highly anticipated MMOs set to release. Because Sept is such a prolific month for MMOs we thought a Sept preview of the upcoming MMO releases was in order.

First up to release on Sept 1st is none other than Champions Online, the highly anticipated spiritual successor to City of Heroes. We actually have been lucky enough to spend some time with the game during the beta and as far as super hero MMOs go, we’re impressed. If you are at all familiar with City of Heroes then you’ll more than likely love Champions Online.

It has everything City of Heroes has but so much more. Unlike CoX, the game will be launching with PvP an addition we’re really interested in. From our limited experience with it we found it to be extremely entertaining. There are also item slots that boost your character’s ability to kick ass, they’re a lot like the enhancements found in CoX but they’re more unique and make more sense. The character customization is bar none. Not even City of Heroes can touch it. They’ve added so much ability to the character creation system that it would be impossible to see a duplicate of yourself ever. You can even create beast characters that run on all fours, how do you top that?

The server setup took a little bit to get used to but after figuring it out the overall concept made a lot of sense. Traditionally MMOs have set servers that are usually very permanent and they become your home. You only ever mingle with other people on that server and you better hope that your friends also pick the same server you’re on otherwise you’ll never get to play with them. Also traditionally the servers have specific functions. For example, you would have a PvP server where you would be able to PvP anywhere at anytime and then regular servers for players who want to exist without looking over their backs all the time. Champions Online is set up as one world with shard servers. This means that you can always get to your friends no matter what which is awesome. There are no PvP servers but that’s ok because it wouldn’t make sense if heroes where running around attacking each other all the time when they should be defending the city.

If you’re into comic books and you enjoy MMOs then Champions Online is an awesome game to check out. The mechanics are all there to create a deep MMO experience and it has awesome visuals to boot. You could spend hours and hours just creating your character’s look. Needless to say we think CO will make some waves when it releases in just a couple days.

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited will be released just 8 days after Champions Online on Sept 9. The major difference between DDO Unlimited and CO other than the obvious, is that DDO is going to be free-to-play. This is another game we had the pleasure of playing during the beta and this will more than likely be the best free-to-play MMO on the market.

One of the things that struck me the most about this game was how much voice acting there was in it. Just running through a beginner dungeon there was so much talking going on between all the characters involved. The graphics are top notch for the free-to-play MMO and the combat is fast paced enough that it should satisfy any MMO player’s need.

This game is a no-brainier for D&D fans everywhere and even those not interested in D&D should also check it out as it won’t hurt you, being free and all. The thing to watch out for though in these free-to-play situations is that they’re supported by microtransactions. Just pay attention when you’re playing this game because purchasing things on the DDO store can add up quickly and make the free-to-play MMO not so free.

On Sept 15 the post apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth lands for Fallout fanboys all across the land. Now the FE devs would tell you that this “isn’t the Fallout MMO” but we all know that while it isn’t exactly, it is the quasi-Fallout MMO.

What is most interesting about FE is the way the factions are set up. Normally MMOs are dual faction games and it’s black and white with not grey area to worry about. This isn’t the case with FE as it has six factions and the ability to remain neutral. This feature alone makes the game worth playing.

Unlike other MMOs FE doesn’t use fixed classes and allows you to pick and choose your skills, kind of like Fallout. The idea is to focus on the player rather than the class and its abilities. Just like other MMOs it has tons of equipment and weapons to get as well as vehicles. Unfortunately between all the MMOs out there we’re worried that this one will get swept under by Champions Online and Aion. Speaking of Aion..

Fortunately for Aion, the game is going to release late in the month on Sept 25. This game is already being pitted up against the mega MMO World of Warcraft as to be the next contender when it comes to fantasy MMOs. We have covered Aion alot here at TVGB so be sure to check out our coverage of it.

We’re not convinced that AIon will be able to take on WoW head on more so with the recent announcement of Cataclysm, but we do think it will be very successful in its own right. Where we think AIon will have the most impact is fans of JRPG games like Final Fantasy. The game has the stylings and story of a JRPG but the mechanics of a western MMO like WoW. This we think will be the combination that will draw both JRPG and standard MMO fans together to create a brand new set of fans. While Aion won’t kill WoW, we are expecting it to become a major contender in the MMO space.

In other MMO news: