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Issue 207, November 23, 2009
In the news
Ready to go boldly where no MMO has gone before? On January 12th, Cryptic Studios will open the doors and let people play the Open Beta version of Star Trek Online.

Read more here.
On November 18th, Cryptic announced a new lair on the way for Champions Online. Nemesis Confrontation will make use of the game's Nemesis System to bring people face to face with their arch rivals.

Read more here.
The Siege of Mirkwood expansion NDA came down on November 17th. This is the latest expansion to Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online. The game continues to expand geographically along the same route the books took.

Read more here.
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Star Wars: Old Republic - Imperial Agent
During a trip to the Bay Area home of LucasArts, Dana Massey got some time with Star Wars: The Old Republic. In the first of three articles, he gives his impressions of the Imperial Agent class:

"[The Imperial Agent] experiences the underbelly of the empire," we were told during a presentation by Jake Neri, a Producer with LucasArts, and Blaine Christine, a Producer with Bioware Austin.

The class seemed to be a combination of an RPG rogue and control class. It takes advantage of the Smuggler's cover mechanic, which allows it to jump into predefined positions within each level to avoid immediate detection and fire off some salvos with more security. The first couple of encounters they tried showed that Agents better be ready to do some fore-planning.

You can read the full article here.

More SWTOR content can be found on our site here.
Five Under Appreciated Devs
Freelancer Shannon P. Drake ran down a list of five under-appreciated developer roles within MMO companies:

"A modern triple-A MMO sports a team of well over 100 people (sometimes over 300 people), and only a handful of them get to be Internet Famous and the subject of fanboy rage slash worship. Most toil in obscurity, with their name in the credits and the satisfaction they take in their work the only rewards other than salary that they receive. The three or four guys that get credit for The Vision are backed by hundreds of people toiling in the code mines to bring The Vision to life, who seldom get any recognition at all, though they frequently get the blame when everything goes poorly. These are just some of the least-appreciated positions in the gaming world, the guys who seldom get noticed for their work."

Check out the article in full here.

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This week's Game of the Week is Runes of Magic. reviewer Sean Bulger recently took a look at this free to play fantasy MMO, echo general sentiments that while the game is a bit generic and formulaic, Runes of Magic still hits the mark and gives you good bang for your buck.

Free-to-play games have a certain stigma attached to them by most people, at least in the West. They tend to have less content, fairly simplistic gameplay, and are often little more than mindless-grind fests. I've played a number of these types of games in the past, and every time I do, I question why I haven't learned my lesson yet. Runes of Magic has shown me why: because there's always the exception to the rule, and hopefully one that will be a trend-setter. It is far from being a perfect game, but many gamers out there may find that Runes of Magic has enough to it to hold their interest.

While Runes was developed by Taiwanese company Runewalker Entertainment - it was localized for the West by the German company Frogster - it shares a surprising amount in common with Western MMOs. In fact, I would say that Runes of Magic is an excellent example of a formulaic, generic MMORPG. Everything from the classes, the world, the story, the quests, the combat... It is all very generic. Honestly, even the UI looks like it was ripped right out of World of WarCraft or Warhammer Online. Yet, the game does do a few interesting things to it and it does come at the low, low price of $0 a month. That's hard to argue with.

Learn more about Runes of Magic, or check out our game list here.
The Week that Was
Monday, November 16
Aion: Surviving PvP

Tuesday, November 17
LotRO: Siege of Mirkwood Preview

Wednesday, November 18
10 MMOs and Their Place In History

Thursday, November 19
Bridges, Cash for Players and CoDO

Friday, November 20
Have You Hugged Your Internet Lately?
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