7 days around the MMO world / February 21

We knew it wouldn’t be very long until we were talking about Richard Garriott and MMOs in the same paragraph again. The man also known to many as Lord British is more or less partially responsible for how the modern day MMOs turned out. So it is no surprise to us that he’s back in the news from a hiatus from the industry after a nasty lawsuit with NCSoft after the shutdown of Tabula Rasa.

However what might surprise you is that he’s not back to develop a traditional big budget MMO. He’s involved with a start-up company called Portalarium which is looking to take some market share from browser-based social media games. The good news is that it seems that Garriott isn’t interested in making a rival to the Facebook juggernaut FarmVille and instead wants to make social media games bigger and better. The general feeling is that the current crop of social media games are fairly rudimentary and not very complex at all and Portalarium is looking to change that.

It seems that Portalarium isn’t working on a specific game at the moment and instead focusing its efforts on creating the technology. The company is working on a browser plug-in that will work seamlessly with social media networks. The goal it seems is to bring big budget style 3D gaming to places like Facebook and other social network sites. Hopefully Garriott and company will cook up something unique and interesting in this space to help push this new fledgling industry forward, until then we’ll have to keep an eye on what comes out of Portalarium.

The ever restless Blizzard announced some interesting news regarding upcoming updates for World of Warcraft with specific focus on PvP. Much like the recent update to the dungeon finder tool and the random dungeon tool, the PvP systems are getting something similar. The 3.3.3 patch was recently deplored on the test realms and brings with it the random battleground tool. This works similar to the random dungeon tool, it only provides different incentives, like increased honor points, and obviously only works with the battlegrounds. They also revamped the amount of honor that’s rewarded on holiday battleground weekends and, to make a long story short, made doing battlegrounds much more desirable for players looking for honor points.

Blizzard also announced recently that although Icecrown Ciatadel would be the final full raid for Wrath of the Lich King that other supplemental content would be coming down thew wire between now and Cataclysm, and it turns out the first iteration of that content is called Ruby Sanctum. This raid will be very similar to Obsidian Sanctum as it will be a single boss encounter. What the encounter will be like is yet to be seen but we know that it will reap fairly nice rewards. Unfortunately we’ll be waiting a bit before we get our hands on it as it’s slated for the 3.3.5 patch. Meanwhile take a look at whats coming soon in the 3.3.3 patch as there is a long list of changes coming our way.

We’ve known for a while now that Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment — the guys working on Stargate Worlds — have been feeling the finical pressure for some time. Unfortunately it seems that the bad luck train keeps making all too frequent stops at the studio as they’ve recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. To top it off with a nice cherry on top, the company has removed CEO Gary Whiting from his potion and slapped him with a nice big fat lawsuit.

The shareholders of Cheyenne brought on the suit against Whiting along with a co-defendant company MMOGuls Inc for alleged wrong doings against both companies. While the specifics on the lawsuit are not clear, the company did make a statement about the Chapter 11 filing. To summarize, the company simply reassured fans that the they’re not going away but simply restructuring their debt. They also mentioned that the team is working on expansions for the recently released Stargate: Resistance which should help bring in some much need cash flow.

In other MMO news: