7 days around the MMO world / October 4

The MMO release blast of September is over and we now have four brand new MMOs to split our time between: Champions Online, Aion, D&D Online: Eberron Unlimited and Fallen Earth. Now that those are out of the way and done grabbing all the headlines, the door is open for other MMOs to start getting some attention again.

Warhammer Online is still out there and kicking with a few plans up their sleeves. Recently their latest patch hit the test servers which intends to make the game more accessible to new players and returning players alike. Mythic made it so that all races of Destruction start in the Chaos starter area and all the Order races in the Empire starter area. They also revised the quest flow, force you into a “new player” guild and added voice tutorials to help players along.

The apprentice system that has been added works much like the side-kick function in Champions Online. If you have friends that are playing and are much higher or lower than you in level, you now have the option to make them an apprentice and their level will scale up or down accordingly. This makes group and play with your lower or higher level friends possible and should help encourage friends of veterans to come join in on the war. There are many more changes coming in this latest patch so be sure to check out the full patch notes. There are some class balancing and some changes to the RvR as well as adding in global chat channels.

On top of the patch coming, the Mac version of the game has received a release date of Oct 28. If you already own the game for the PC you’ll be able to download the Mac client for free and if you don’t it will run you $20 and will include 30 days of game time. So if you’re a Mac user and wanted to check out Warhammer Online then Oct 28 will be a day to look forward to.

We know Sept has been a good month for MMOs and the Steam and Direct2Drive numbers show it. This past week both Aion and Fallen Earth dominated the number 1,2 and 3 spots on the top seller charts. On both Steam and D2D the Aion standard and collector’s edition took the number 1 and 2 spot with Fallen Earth falling in place at number 3.

It’s very refreshing to see two wildly different MMO genres succeed not only in parallel to each other but against the other MMOs with established player bases. Now we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and claim victory for either MMO, but we’ll certainly be interested to hear the total launch numbers of both games especially with the impressive 400k+ pre-orders Aion had. Either way neither MMO can be considered a hit or flop until six months out, hopefully both will hold out and see growth over those six months. The genre is in desperate need of a post-WoW success story.

The what we like to call “The World of Warcraft era” might be finally coming to a close. Now don’t get us wrong, we have absolutely nothing against WoW, in fact we love it. WoW has done wonders for the genre by opening up the door for many new MMO players that would have otherwise ignored the genre. However it has also raised the bar higher for other MMOs and succeeding in parallel with WoW becomes a challenge for every single MMO developer. It looks that WoW may have hit its peak and now new MMOs will be able to create and sustain a solid userbase even while under WoW’s shadow. This is great for the genre and will on create better MMOs for all of us.

With that said we think that because WoW is teetering on its eventual decline that Cataclysm needs to really bring new ideas to the table. Already they’re shaking things up by not simply doing a new zone and higher level cap and saying have at it. Instead they’re destroying the world in which everyone is so familiar with and changing the way all players experience the world. So without knowing 100% of the details for the expansion it already looks like Blizzard understands that something really new and different needs to be done to keep WoW going. We’re looking forward to seeing what will be in store for us in new Azeroth.

In other MMO news:

  • Get your Age of Conan patch timeline right here!
  • What up gangsta? CrimeCraft gets ready to go free-to-play, yo.
  • APB beta is incoming, get ready.
  • Gold spammers get restricted in Aion but turns out it didn’t help much.
  • Have some lore for the Blood Moon update coming to Champions Online, free of charge.
  • Achievements are fun even in EVE Online.
  • The Secret World delayed thanks to some layoffs at FunCom.