7 days around the MMO world (May 17)

One of the biggest yearly events in the way of announcements and big reveals is coming up in just a few weeks. With that said this week we’re going to start our pre-E3 MMO fodder, starting with our predictions to what the big MMOs will have in store for us and followed by our E3 wishlist next week. Do not fret, we still intend to bring you the latest and greatest MMO news too.

Our MMO E3 predictions:

  • Mythic announces a proper expansion to Warhammer Online
  • BioWare shows up with gameplay of Star Wars: Old Republic
  • Paragon Studios will release the remaining details to the new City of Heroes: Going Rogue expansion
  • DC Universe Online will make an appearance and show us more tangible gameplay
  • ArenaNet drops a bomb and reveals the gameplay for Guild Wars 2 along with details

Unfortunately Atari isn’t making an appearance at E3 this year so that rules out seeing Star Trek Online and Champions Online not to mention Blizzard will be saving their juicy details for their own BlizzCon in August.

Speaking of Champions Online, the sound of many gamers’ collective cries were heard clear across the globe when news broke yesterday via Cryptic’s message board that Champions Online has been pushed back to Sept 1st. The delay stems from a realization that in order to implement certain features key to the game expressed by the community and beta testers, the game would have to be pushed back.

This begs the question, should developers, especially MMO developers, give hard release dates prior to the game reaching gold status? We happen to think the Blizzard mantra of “it’s finished when it’s finished” is perhaps the best way to go. Giving an unattainable release dates even with the best intentions causes unnecessary confusion and really drives the hype train into the ground. By giving us a false sense of excitement and then bursting our collective bubbles, developers run the risk of destroying any and all hype surrounding a game and also risk throwing away potential customers through discouragement. This is something most developers are guilty of and it’s long overdue to be done away with. Please, stop teasing us!

We already discussed some of the other big ticket news items this week with the announcement of City of Heroes: Going Rogue expansion and the news of Blizzard’s new MMO being a brand new IP, but we haven’t told you about phase one of Warhammer Online’s latest content patch hitting the public test servers. The patch is being considered what Mythic calls a “Live Expansion” and features quite a big of ambitious changes.

The patch is being called Land of the Dead which features a new zone coupled with a new instance, public quests and plenty-o RvR. The instance’s control is determined through RvR and only accessible if your faction is controlling it. Think Wintergrasp in World of Warcraft, control the zone, get access to the instance within it. The new zone is geared for players level 25 and up and is meant to entice players who left when they plateaued around the 20s and for level 40 end game players alike. Keep in mind that currently in phase one of the testing, the new zones are unavailable.

Aside from the new zone, the other major change is the overhaul to War’s sluggish combat system. The overhaul promises to fix all of the time delay issues players have been dealing with since the game’s launch. This change is probably the least exciting in terms of content, but probably the most important. This has been one of our biggest issues with the game, and we’re excited to see it being addressed. We look forward to the results of the overhauled combat system.

In other MMO news:

  • Blizzcon tickets went on sale, get in line buddy!
  • Free Realms signs up 1 million users in 17 days flat, take that Blizzard!
  • Runes of Magic also signs up 1 million users, but took a bit longer than Free Realms.
  • Fallen Earth serves up some new media.
  • The Agency still kicking despite weak vital signs. 10cc’s of hype, stat! This one still has a pulse!
  • Cryptic shows us a damn cool travel power in Champions Online, too bad  we have to wait until Sept. now.
  • Aion is raking in the money for NCSoft.