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Issue 194, August 24, 2009
In the news
At BlizzCon, as expected, Blizzard announced the third retail expansion to World of Warcraft. The new add-on is called Cataclysm and features the Goblin and Worgen race, as well as Archeology, a new cap of level 85 and a 2010 launch date.

Read more here.
Jon Wood broke some big news on Friday: Cheyenne Mountain has secured some new funding to try and finish Stargate Worlds. The troubled MMO had been in financial peril for some time, and while the cost is not yet clear, this is good news for Stargate fans.

Read more here.
Brett Close has left 38 Studios to pursue other opportunities. The CEO job will be taken on by Jennifer MacLean. 38 Studios is hard at work on the Copernicus Project and made waves with the involvement of former pitcher Curt Schilling, author R.A. Salvatore and comic artist Todd McFarlane.

Read more here.
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Blog: Dragon Age Teaches MMOs A Lesson
Over on the Staff Blog, we had a special treat last week: a look at Dragon Age and what that single-player RPG can teach MMOs. Dana Massey was in Edmonton and reported back his initial thoughts:

"Dragon Age is a single player RPG. There's no way to even pretend it's an MMO, so we were a bit surprised when Bioware asked to go out to Edmonton and take a look at it.

"What we saw was a fascinating RPG title that throws back to the golden age of games like Baldur's Gate, but also advances the genre in significant ways. Ways that MMORPGs should pay attention to in the years to come."

You can read the full post here.

More from our staff blog can be found on our site here.
Sanya Weathers: MMO Booby Prize
In this week's edition of the MMO Underbelly, Sanya Weathers took a hilarious and unique look at how MMOs are marketed in a column titled "The MMO Booby Prize." Here is a taste:

"Last week, in the discussion that followed my column, several readers took deep, personal offense at my phrasing of a particular idea, because I addressed my comment to an "average" and imaginary reader. That concept: game marketing targeted at the 18-34 year old male demographic is usually reliant on women's breasts and guns, because it works. Although I was making a point about a general group, not an individual, some people can't bear to be lumped into a group.

"The rest of us are in the gutter and happy there. Don't believe me? At the time that I wrote this column, the following image was the wraparound ad on I assure you, it wouldn't be there (wrap ads are the most expensive ones on any website) if the ad's designer wasn't positive it would make his money back with dividends. Check out the way the gems are placed - subtle, eh?"

Check out the full column here.

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In just over a week, Cryptic Studios will re-enter the world of active MMO developers when they launch Champions Online.

Cryptic has been out of the game since they sold City of Heroes to publisher NCsoft, but their sophomore title hopes to knock that venerable super-hero MMO they created off its pedestal.

Champions Online is based on the popular pen and paper intellectual property and lets people jump into an action packed, but RPG driven experience. Unlike future competitor DC Universe Online, Champions is far more traditional and not focused on action mechanics.

That's not to say it's not fast. Players will bounce and fly around the world in epic, proper men-in-tights ways from day one.

The beauty of any Cryptic title is the character creation. Champions is poised to once again raise the bar for absurd costumes. Pretty much anything is possible and they do not intend to stop at heroes.

Players can define their own enemies in the Nemesis system, where players create their own Lex Luthor to their Superman. These player-generated characters then show up to thwart you at every turn.

Champions Online launches on Tuesday September 1st, 2009. Headstart for pre-order subscribers comes later this week.

Learn more about Champions Online here, or check out our game list here.
The Week that Was
Monday, August 17
Aihoshi: Two Upcoming MMOs

Tuesday, August 18
Top 10 Tightlipped MMOs

Wednesday, August 19
WAR: One Year Q&A

Thursday, August 20
City of Heroes Issue 16 Hands-On Preview

Friday, August 21
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Screens
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