Posts Tagged ‘mmorpg expansions’

Expand Or Die

I hope this screenshot isn't too... boaring

I hope this screenshot isn't too... boaring

After having signed up for the endless trial, I was a little bit shocked when I logged into Warhammer yesterday for the first time in 18 months to discover that were only 2 English EU servers. It was quite a sorry sight as I remember there being dozens of servers when the game was first released, most of them so popular that sometimes Destruction players had to queue over an hour before logging in. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

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I’ve Pre-Ordered Rise Of The Godslayer

conan_cary_nord

Painting before the brush was invented

Oh how impressionable I am. All it takes is Conan The Barbarian to be shown on TV and a pretty email in my inbox from Funcom about their new Age of Conan expansion to get me as excited as a spotty teenageer. Ah, how I missed hacking someone’s head off and then laughing down their stump of a neck. And who says violence warps people?

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EVE Online: Dominion – Titan Nerf and Facebook Fun

An interesting article over on IGN PC reveals some more information about the upcoming EVE Online expansion, Dominion. Apparently it’s going to overhaul the sovereignty mechanic, re-balance ship power and, oddly enough, introduce a Facebook style social network for player’s characters. That’s like just like totally like crazy, dude.

Who's Got The Biggest Ship?

Who's Got The Biggest Ship?

I haven’t engage in any territorial warfare (yet) but CCP have said that they want to simplify the way space is claimed. I have no idea how it’s currently done or how it will change so it’s all totally over my head. Something that’s sure to cause a stir though is the decision to nerf Titans – apparently their doomsday weapon is going to change from area effect damage to single target. Now I’ve never even seen a Titan before (I’m putting it up there in my “things to do before I die” category) but it sounds like a pretty large change to me. Other ships are also going to get rebalanced to keep up CCP’s motto of no one ship being being the best. They are also introducing a new bomber type fighter, a fighter especially designed to take out capital ships.

Dominion will also see the introduction of a new feature called COSMOS, CPP’s equivilent to Facebook for your EVE characters and corporations. Sounds bizarre I know, but the more I think about it, the more I can understand the motivations behind it. COSMOS offers essentially what you’d expect from any usual social networking site – a mini blog, status updates, friends list, email, pictures etc – and is likely designed with the idea to make it easier to facilitate communication between characters and corporations. I guess organising a war just got a whole lot easier.

Some other news which also sounds exciting is the decision that CCP eventually want to offer more and more interaction between online services outside of the game and your character inside. Expect the API functionality to eventually be scaled to allow you to actively train skills and buy items from the marketplace meaning you don’t need to log into the game to do it. I’m looking forward to that iPhone app for sure.

Overall some pretty sweet offerings even if they likely won’t effect me directly seeing as I’m still a newbie newb. Still, can’t complain at a free expansion. CPP are quickly becoming one of my favourite developers.

Oh and unfortunately we won’t be seeing the ability to get out of our ships and walk around space stations á la Earth & Beyond any time soon. It’s ok, I suspect my pilot has a bad case of muscular degeneration anyway.


MMORPG Expansions 2009/2010

Champions Online has just released and Aion is on the horizon but after that it’s going to be a pretty barren 12 to 18 months for new MMORPG releases. Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blizzard’s next MMO and 38 Studios’ game with all likelyhood won’t be out until 2011 which leaves us poor MMO gamers deprived of nutrition for quite a while. Of course there’s always something to keep sustained in these harsh times – expansions!

World of Waracraft – Cataclysm

Well, yeah, duh. I had to include this one on the list. Oddly enough though, considering how tight-lipped Blizzard usually are, we actually seem to have know more about this expansion than any other on my list. A huge content revamp, two new races, new class/race combinations and a small level cap increase are all exciting stuff and, personally, I think Blizzard are pushing the boat out with this in terms of innovation more than they’ve ever done before.

Website: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/cataclysm/

Release Date: Winter 2010 (estimate)

Hype Factor: Mega-Ultra

EVE Online – Dominion

I’m finding myself surprisingly excited about the next EVE Online expansion even though I barely know anything about it. CCP are being decisively cryptic and even the official website has no information on it. However, I do know that the expansion is focusing on EVE’s “end game” and, in particular, alliance warfare. They’re also offering an overhaul of the current soverienty mechanic and introducing some new epic arcs for pirate factions. Plus it’s hinted that we can expect some more graphic improvements, this time to planets. Sounds good to me.

Website: http://www.eveonline.com/dominion/

Release Date: Winter 2009

Hype Factor: High

Lord of the Rings – Siege of Mirkwood

Pretty disappointed with this expansion. LotRO is one of those games that it’s on my list to try “one day” and I just keep hoping for an expansion to come out and offer some exciting features to give me the excuse I’m looking for. Unfortunately Siege of Mirkwood sounds pretty dull to me. I’m sure it will be great for established players but an extra 5 levels and some randomised instances doesn’t exactly thrill me. Thumbs down.

Website: http://www.lotro.com/news/pressreleases/459-the-lord-of-the-rings-online-siege-of-mirkwood

Release Date: Early 2010

Hype Factor: Low

Age of Conan – Rise of the Godslayer

Finally, the expansion that we’ve been waiting for which might end up resurrecting Age of Conan. I always liked AoC and I’m so happy that they’ll be releasing some more content and, hopefully, depth. Funcom are very good at adapting and picking themselves up off the floor so I’ve got high hopes for this. Features look pretty good: new race, new starting area, new high level content, new armour, new mounts. Very promising. Plus the title is excellent. Turbine, start taking some pointers!

Website: http://www.riseofthegodslayer.com/

Release Date: 2010

Hype Factor: Moderate

Everquest – Underfoot

I stopped played Everquest about four years ago but it’s still great to see that SOE are supporting the game. Plus, Underfoot will mark EQ’s 16th expansion. Cripes! I don’t know much about it all apart from that it’s about giants, hence the name “under… foot”. Get it? Yeah, I didn’t either. What is interesting about EQ expansions though is how the developers have stopped adding new “features” and are now focusing more on content and events for the existing player base.

Website: http://everquest.station.sony.com/expansions/underfoot/index.vm

Release Date: November 2009

Hype Factor: “Meh”

Everquest 2 – Sentinels Fate

The first thing you’ll notice about the EQ2 expansion is utterly terrible their website it. When did SOE stop caring about important stuff like that? Anyway, apart from that, this expansion looks pretty tasty, offering the usual mix of revamped nostaliga. Apparently we’re going to get a whole new continent (Odus), a new starting area (Halas) and an increased level cap (90). They’re also delaying the release date from their usual month of November to February. Either that’s a move to make it more polished or it’s due to cutbacks in their development team. Either way, I’m kinda excited about the expansion and will more than likely pick it up.

Website: http://everquest2.station.sony.com/expansions/sentinelsfate/index.vm

Release Date: February 2010

Hype Factor: Warm

Warhammer Online

The only “big” game (unless I’ve missed one) that hasn’t made any expansion announcements yet, leaving us only to ponder it’s future. I’m pretty sure Mark Jacob’s guff about not having even started work on an expansion yet and focusing on free content first went out of the door with him and WAR’s declining subscription numbers. Expect an expansion mid to late 2010. My predictions? Two more cities, increased level cap, and more PvE content.

Any other big expansions that I’ve missed?


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Expansion Is Official

OK, I’m gobsmacked. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is not a hoax. It’s for real and pretty much exactly as the ‘leak’ informed us. I’ll be damned.

As surprised as I am, I’m actually finding myself very excited about it all, far more than I thought I would be. I like to take pot shots at Blizzard for being unoriginal and always playing it safe (which I still reckon they do) but they always deliver incredible high quality fun content in all of their games. The Cataclysm expansion also looks like the first attempt by Blizzard to really push the boat out a bit and introduce some interesting features to the game along with a few wide sweeping changes (and risks as a result – always gonna be somebody who complains about the classic content revamp for instance).

As I questioned in my hoax article a couple of days ago, the complete content revamp of classic zones is actually going to effect every player, regardless of whether they buy the expansion or not. Quite a bold move by Blizzard as it shows their faith in people buying the expansion regardless. This is definitely the thing I’m most excited about as I’m looking forward to creating a new character and playing through brand new content – I’m so fed up of the current content I can’t face making an alt.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Class Combinations

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Class Combinations

The new class combinations are less exciting for me because I only play Draenei and they don’t get any new classes. C’mon, talk about xenophobia! Just because they’re alien gypsies it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t get some love. Oh well, I’ll probably play start playing Worgens anyway.

The additional 5 levels (increased level cap to 85) is fine, in my opinion. In fact, it’s actually quite refreshing to see a MMORPG focus on reworking their lower level content and attempting to keep a balance to the game at every stage. I’m sure they will add plenty of raid zones and dungeons and new forms of progression to keep high level players happy although I bet plenty of hardcore gamers will be pissed by the news.

Finally, the addition of underwater mounts and the ability to use flying mounts over the original zones is fantastic. Blizzard really must have reworked everything, kudos to them. I can only hope that one day they update the character models and stop them all from looking like they’ve got terrible posture and chronic back problems :)

All good news about the expansion and I’m looking forward to playing World of Warcraft: Cataclysm when it comes out in December 2010.


Word of Warcraft: Cataclysm Is A Hoax

The Internet has been awash with rumours about the next World of Warcraft expansion for a wee while now and there’s plenty to read about the “leaked” information. 5 new levels, a revamp of the original continents, no new classes… sorry, I just don’t buy any of it. I believe the whole Cataclysm expansion information to be nothing more than a hoax. Here’s why:

Content Revamp

Perhaps the biggest question mark for me is the idea of a content revamp. We’re expected to believe that dozens of originals zones will be altered as part of a paid expansion? Has no one considered that the fact that any changes to classic zones would have to be free as they would be accessible to every player, regardless of whether or not they actually bought the expansion. A classic content revamp simply cannot exist as part of a paid expansion,

Unsubstantiated

Just because someone, one some website, came up with these ideas we’re somehow meant to believe them? There are completely unsubstantiated and utterly nonfactual. We shouldn’t believe it just because we want to. Blizzard are also very good at keeping tight-lipped so I would incredibly surprised if anyone there had truly leaked this out.

Innovation

No disrespect to Blizzard but they aren’t exactly known for their innovation and risk taking. They play it safe and stick to releasing tried-and-tested formulas albeit incredibly well executed ones. This whole concept behind this expansion rumour seems far to risky for them.

So what do you think? Hoax or truth?

Update: Turns out the expansion is true and everything is official.


The Next WoW Expansion

Expansions for MMOs are commonplace and, perhaps even more so, expected and highly anticipated. Personally I love expansions as they can often reinvigorate a flagging game and add a whole degree of life to it. Wrath of Lich King was a perfect example of this as it refreshed a lot of people’s interest in the game and gave them a whole thing new set of things to do.

With the announcement of BlizzCon 2009 in August a lot of people have started to predict the next WoW expansion, WotLK having been announced two years ago at BlizzCon 2007. It made me start to think about what I’d like to see in the next Warcraft expansion.

Character Model Upgrade

I’ve really love to see the player character models upgraded. Everquest did this with The Shadows of Luclin and it helped keep the game technically and visually competitive and interesting. I think the original WoW character models are pretty terrible and look very outdated now (particularly humans) – I’d love to see them get a visual overhaul.

Low Level Content

Everquest 2 is a fantastic example of using expansions to enhance existing gameplay for all levels and the entire player base. Both the Echoes of Faydwer and Ruins of Kunark expansions added a mix of low and high level content and I think it’s great way of attracting new players and keeping existing ones happy by letting them either roll new alts or try out the new high level zones. WoW seems to shun and ignore the low level gameplay and I think that’s a damn shame.

A 4th Talent Tree

Adding a 4th Talent tree to each class could be an inspiring addition to the game. Imagine Priests having a melee talent spec or Warriors with a support/buff/crowd control spec. Sweet.

Open Dungeons

Seriously, Blizzard, seriously. Open f’ing dungeons. Not instances. Not single group zones. Full, continual, open to everyone, dungeons. Now throw in a couple of PvP enabled dungeons and you’ve got a great bit of fun happening right there.

So that’s what I’d like to see. No new races or hero classes? Sure, I wouldn’t mind some new races (I love the Draenei) but I don’t think it’s as necessary as the other stuff I mentioned. A new hero class would be fun too but I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the Deathknight so unless Blizzard really push the boat out and try something original, I don’t think a new hero classes will be very exciting.