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MMO Update: Orcs in Space Edition

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Just take my money now.

Welcome to the MMO Update, a new weekly column that focuses on various happenings within the world of MMOs. This is where we talk about bits of news that probably didn’t deserve separate posts during the week, but are still worth discussing!

It was a busy week in MMO news. Champions Online is doing extremely well since its relaunch, Guild Wars 2 is hitting closed beta this year, EVE is getting a major update and – the biggest piece of news – Bungie is apparently developing a new MMO.

Let’s get started!

This week rumors started to appear everywhere about Bungie possibly working on an MMOFPS. While it is extremely unlikely that it has anything to do with Halo (as dreams of a Halo MMO have previously been crushed), certain sources via Kotaku have called it “World of Warcraft in space.” That sort of drums up a lot of interesting images. Orcs with plasma rifles? Space dragons going insane? An MMOFPS built on the WoW philosophy could certainly work.

What makes this development even more interesting is that Bungie recently entered a 10 year publishing agreement with Activision Blizzard. Last year a “design document” leaked, showing details of a Blizzard MMOFPS project called Titan, which brings up all sorts of fun questions. Would Activision really want competing MMOs? Are they going to be vastly different games? Or, my personal favorite question – could they be working on some sort of joint project?

I have to admit, that last one is incredibly unlikely, but it’s fun to dream, no?

evepicture

Ah, EVE Online. Endless amounts of space, huge starships, massive battles… gigantic spreadsheets.

The quintessential space MMO has been going strong since its inception, yet many have felt that something is missing in the game – namely, the ability to actually get out of your ship and walk around. This extra bit of exploration is what I, personally, have felt could push the game to the next level. Yet, while often promised, it’s basically the equivalent to player housing in World of Warcraft. This is to say, sometimes talked about but always non-existent.

Until now!

With Incarna, CCP, the developers of EVE, are looking to add in a “Captain’s Quarters” system to the MMO for both new and old players. Eventually, the developers would like to see this expansion spread from a single-player environmental thing to a full-out hook. Such an addition would let the player explore space stations and meet face to face with other pilots. Sounds pretty rad.

If you’re interested in more details, or you just want to look at pretty screenshots, check out the EVE development blog.

guildwars2

If you’re looking forward to Guild Wars 2, you’ll be happy to know that closed beta will be beginning in 2011, according to the game’s newly-updated FAQ. While this doesn’t mean the game is going to launch in 2011, it does mean that we are edging closer to a release.

Considering the FAQ mentions “small” alpha and beta tests, it’s also reasonable to assume an open beta is unlikely this year – or maybe even ever. While the first Guild Wars did have a mass testing event near the end of it’s development, it looks like this one might be different. Still, it’s always good to see progress being made.

Speaking of progress…

champonline

Champions Online relaunched last month as a free-to-play game, and, uh, it’s worked out pretty damn well for them. How well, you ask? Well, Massively is reporting a 1000% revenue increase. No, that is not a typo. 1000%. As a reward, they’ve given all of their players an item that increases experience gained by 20% for an hour.

Not bad! It’s no surprise that a free-to-play game is doing well, but it’s nice to see other MMOs succeeding in the North American markets. Diversity is never a bad thing.

So that about wraps it up for this week. What MMOs will you be playing over the weekend? I’m personally looking forward to raiding with my WoW guild. Cataclysm has been pretty fun so far, and I’ve really enjoyed the ten man raiding game.

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