The Weekly Grind: Last Week in MMO News (Week of 5/11/2009)

“The Weekly Grind” is a new weekly feature for the MMOLife sites, collecting the past week’s biggest headlines for the most popular MMOs, free or not. If you want to catch up on what you may have missed in the world of non-free games, this is your chance to do so.

Your Prophecy in a Crystal – A few weeks ago Square-Enix released a mini expansion for “Final Fantasy XI” entitled the “Crystaline Prophecy” for merely ten dollars. The people over at World of Fighting?” The9, a Chinese website which owned (and lost) the property rights to the Chinese version of “World of Warcraft,” might be venturing into new territory with “World of Fighting.” Way to get back at the big guy, The9! Just make sure you don’t do any obvious copying…

Moogle groupie – The “Final Fantasy XI” community team is going on tour — a virtual tour! So if you wanna become a groupie, all you gotta do it follow them around. Check them out when they make their stops at popular “FFXI” podcasts such as Pet Food Alpha, He Says She Says, and Limit Break Radio. The tour will last from May 6th until the end of the month.

New kid in class – When one asks you who led the way to open RvR (realm vs realm) gameplay, many would say Mythic with “Dark Age of Camelot” and “Warhammer Online.” Well there is a MMO straight out of Asia that is expected to bring that similar RvR action to the states, for free. It’s called “Aika,” and you can check out the English teaser here.

Recycling talent – Sure, “Mythos” as we knew it might be dead (or is it?), but the team moved on as Runic Games, the studio that is in-development of a “Diablo”-esque MMO entitled “Torchlight.” When you have a team that consists of “Diablo” and “Mythos” vets, good things are bound to come out. I’m just glad they continue to use their talents in the right places.

Am I attacking with honey? – Betas are there for a reason, and that reason is for players to play a game that is still in-development and to help the developers out in ironing out the bugs and problems. Well for those who have not yet played but seen the video posted on combat in “Earthrise,” the action was just a bit too slow and not as hectic as everyone thought. Good thing the developers have ears and listen to their players, that’s what I call good BlizzCon is coming back in full force again later in the summer. If you plan on attending such an extraordinary event, you can start reserving your tickets on May 16th, or stream most of the show through pay-per-view Direct TV. Don’t you love choices?

And in this corner! – What would you do if the game you spent years making got a really low score? I’m talking a 2/10 score? Lead Developer Tasos for “Darkfall” is in this predicament, and he didn’t take this low blow nicely. In fact he wrote a long forum post about the whole situation. Ooh, I just love dirt; this could get ugly! In this corner we have “Darkfall’s” response, and over here we have Eurogamer’s response.

I’m leaving, and suing you for $24 mil – The legendary Richard Garriot (formerly) of NCSoft must be pretty frustrated that his game “Tabula Rasa” failed miserably. But did NCSoft fire him, or did he leave at on his own? Well the big difference comes down to contracts and finances; you can never be too sure. So Garriot called up his lawyer and found out he can sue for fraud, and so he did.

One massive world – You’ve got two types of MMOs: server based and non-server based. “World of Warcraft” is server based; you create a character on a specific server and you can only interact with those in your server. “Guild Wars” is non server-based in the fact that it’s run on one huge server and you “zone into” specific “rooms” of that area. “Champions Online” is planning on doing the same thing for their game, getting rid of the server shards and going one big massive world.

Happy 6th Birthday! – Boy, May is the month for MMO birthdays its seems. Our next lucky game is “EVE Online,” which celebrates 6 very successfully years in the MMO market. Along with celebratory rewards and events, CCP has announced that the game has over 300k unique subscribers. Congratulations, guys!

Happy but not satisfied – “Warhammer Online” has definitely had its ups and downs since its release last fall. From laggy end game to difficult class balancing, it has had its share of criticism. But for all of those players who stayed loyal and are sticking it out, Mythic is grateful. How many stuck it out you ask? Around 300k, which is good, but definitely not great, at least not for EA.

Dine with Turbine – Do you live in Europe? Do you enjoy playing ‘Lord of the Rings Online?’ Well today is your lucky day! Play.com has a special promotion just for you. To help celebrate the second anniversary of the game, from now until May 17th, you can enter to win a free trip from London to Boston to visit the birthplace of “LoTRO.’

Parks and Recreation – Are you telling me you never had the thought of one day naming a park? Well what if I told you that if you name a park in the new “Champions Online” you could win a beta key? Sounds intriguing, right? I’m sure it can’t be too hard — just name a superpower and combine it with a locale type and there you go. Maybe something like Towering Inferno Plaza.

Deep space update – For those of you interested in the up-coming sci-fi based “Black Prophecy” MMO, the community posted its second update with goodies such as interviews and explained game mechanics. Head on over and see what’s in store for us in this particular part of deep space.

The ring is back! – No I am not talking about “that” ring. I’m talking about the Anniversary Ring that you get with each celebrated year of “Final Fantasy XI.” Amongst other player rewards, the one that most players are clamoring about is the Anniversary Ring that gives you a boot in EXP gain. This certainly is a month of giving.

The Republic’s arsenal – Bioware recently introduced a new class for their highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” The Republic can feel a bit more safe when they find out they will have a bunch of gun toting Troopers running around protecting that what is right and sacred. This isn’t your regular run of the mill soldier, oh no, I’m talking Trooper, folks, find out for yourself.

That’s it for this week. Along with more birthday celebrations we talked about cool promotions, lawsuits, big summer events and virtual tours. That’s a lot for one week, but covering such a big part of the gaming sector doesn’t come easy. We’d like your opinion on the events that unfolded this past week, so drop a comment, and until next time, keep grinding!

Check out last week’s Weekly Grind here!

Posted by Demetri Kouvalis
May 11th, 2009

Published by Reinout te Brake

Reinout is a games investor and strategic business consultant specializing in the games industry. Reinout established his credentials through his own successful investments, start-ups, consulting and (advisory) board positions that led through time to strong bonds with key stakeholders in this fast paced industry. He is known for his outstanding results in the gaming industry. He has worked with many game studios around the globe and is therefore well known in the international gaming industry. Check out his games podcast; https://www.game-consultant.com

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