7 days around the MMO world / February 28

You might be beginning to think we’re a bunch of Blizzard fanboys over here at TVGB and while that may be true to some level, we promise that we report what we find. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending if you’re on team Blizzard or not, there are a lot of people doing a lot of digging on Blizzard’s games, therefore the rate of information regarding World of Warcraft is fairly constant. Not only that but the rate of which Blizzard updates their MMO is also a factor into why there is so much news surround the game. So in advance we apologize as we will be talking about World of Warcraft yet again, but if you’re not a fan of the Blizzard MMO, do check out some of the other news lower down in this update.

How much information can be relayed through a 140 character limit? Apparently the answer to that question is a crapload, as Blizzard tweeted its brains out yesterday during a Twitter Q&A session with fans answering questions about WoW. The question was asked if the starting areas for the races would be updated with Cataclysm to be as “epic” as the new Worgen and Goblin starter areas.

“Not quite at the Goblin / Worgen level, but we are looking at all the original start zones, especially for two races who feel a little disenfranchised at the moment. We have big plans in store for both the trolls and the gnomes in regards to their starting experience but you probably already know that. We are also planning to spice up the starting zones for all of the other races as well. You can expect gameplay changes to the actual zones, as well as improved quest flows and all new items to match.”

Blizzard also confirmed that the two events to recapture Gnomeregan and Echo Islands for the Gnome and Troll races respectively will be coming in a patch prior to the release of Cataclysm.

“Something leaked in the patch? That never happens! The plan is for these events to go live sometime before Cataclysm ships. We don’t have an exact time yet, but we would like players to have a good month or two to play through these events to help build the back story for what is going to happen in Cataclysm.”

Aside from the Cataclysm questions, Blizzard received a fair amount of questions digging into how they felt about how some ideas and implementations played out. One question asking about the hard-mode only boss Algalon from Ulduar and how they thought that worked out brought some interesting insight beyond the doors at Blizzard, “We were actually really happy with the way that Algalon played out. We designed him with a very specific sort of raider in mind and those that got a chance to fight him really enjoyed the fight. Encounters like Algalon will not be in every raid zone, but we would like to do something like this again for sure.”

If you’ve played WoW for a long time then you might remember how aggro used to be something you really had to watch and manage during raids. From sensitive aggro tables to un-tauntable bosses, aggro management was a major factor in how a tank, tanked, and brought up the question if whether aggro would ever play as a big of a role as it used to.

“Not sure. This is something we discuss a lot. I even had a meeting on it this week! On the one hand, some tanks really felt like the way to distinguish themselves was to generate maximum threat per second. On the other hand, threat is a pretty invisible part of the game (it’s limited to the UI at best), and I know when I tank that I always feel pretty emasculated when someone actually pulls off of me. It’s challenging, but is it really fun? This is the kind of thing we’d love to get more feedback on.”

Unfortunately if we were to go through the entire Q&A session here it might end up being several pages long, so in the interest of covering more than just WoW we’re going to cut you off here. However if you want to check out the entire session, check that out over at MMO-Champion.

Global Agenda hasn’t been out for very long but already issues are being addressed and the game’s first patch hit the test servers this past week. The patch is due to hit the live servers next week and while it doesn’t add any content it does implement and tweak some important features. The patch adds in the much needed friends/ignore list, overhauls the crafting and blueprint system to make upgrades much easier on players and fixes some of the queuing problems. The patch also has a list of bug fixes, but obviously that wouldn’t be too helpful to list here.

Hi-Rez Studios is addressing one very major issue that I’m sure a lot of legit players aren’t happy about. Apparently a very good aim-bot hack is available for the MMOFPS and it’s raining on a lot of players’ fun. Hi-Rez isn’t taking this sitting down however and are dedicated to cleaning up Global Agenda. “Cheating is relatively rare within Global Agenda, however, as within any competitive shooter, some players are trying to cheat their way to success,” explains executive producer Todd Harris. “Fortunately, since we run centrally managed servers, we can identify and react quickly compared to other online shooters that rely on community managed servers such that a cheater could simply hop to a new server. With our monitoring and stat collection we detect cheaters and reward them with a lifetime ban. We’ve already implemented an initial batch of bans and we’ll continue to have a zero tolerance policy for cheating.”

In other MMO news:

  • New Issue 17 details for City of Heroes emerge.
  • SOE trademarks the name The Agency Covert Ops, what it means, we’ll have to wait and see.
  • Latest patch for Lineage went live this week, horray!
  • Free is an attractive thing for MMOs as proven by the 1 million new Dungeon & Dragon Online players.
  • Say what now, pay for a trial? The trial for Darkfall costs you a whole dollar, would you pay?