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Issue 195, August 31, 2009
In the news
Cryptic Studios had a bit of drama on their hands this week, to say the least. First their lifetime subscription offer sold out, which upset many in the community who were unaware of any time limit. Then, later in the week, the offer came back.

Read more here.
Aion's Open Beta client is now available. The test is due to kick off in a week, but NCsoft has anticipated demand and made the client available in advance to get people right into the action.

Read more here.
Turbine has sued Atari over Dungeons and Dragons Online. Turbine alleges that Atari has not lived up to its obligations regarding DDO: Unlimited, among other things.

Read more here.
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Champions Online: Hands-On Preview
Champions Online launches tomorrow and to prepare, we sent Michael Bitton into the new Cryptic super-hero world to break things down and get us an in-depth look at what you can expect. A snippet:

"Like City of Heroes before it, Champions Online is sure to turn some heads due to the amount of customization options on offer, and this extends beyond simple visual customization. You see, in Champions Online, there are no classes. You'll get to select from a number of frameworks when you begin creating your character, such as ice, fire, gadgeteering, sorcery, or even power armor, but you're not limited here either. Those who find the available framework options too restrictive can opt for a custom framework, which allows players to select their first and second powers independently. For example, I may want Ice Shards as my first power and Fire Strike as my main blast power."

You can read the more here.

More BLANK can be found on our site here.
Garrett Fuller: Putting An MMO Out Of Its Misery
It's never been riskier to make an MMO. In his weekly column,'s Garrett Fuller examines the death and life cycle of these games in an article he called "Putting an MMO Out Of Its Misery." From Garrett:

"The life cycle of development for an MMO is risky. Game developers, publishers, and investors can look at the rewards all they want with years of revenue and subscriptions stretching out into the future, yet they have to build the game first. MMOs have a strange existence in the world. Developers secretly build them over with years of work. Marketing teams look to push announcements to build hype around the game and develop a following of fans and players to show to investors or publishers. Players get excited with years of announcements and hype surrounding the launch of their favorite IP as an MMO. Then... the cookie crumbles. The MMO is launched to the world with a sink or swim approach. Many MMOs die, but not every MMO gets to really live. Let's try to discover when development is too much and the game does not live up to the hype. Or even worse, when a game has lost its fun and should just go away."

Check out the full column here.

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The lid has begun to come off Guild Wars 2. The next big online RPG from NCsoft is on the way and as Aion nears launch, the folks at NCsoft's subsidiary ArenaNet have finally started to talk.

We finally added Guild Wars 2 to our game list this week, now that we have a fair bit more information to work with.

Guild Wars 2 is the upcoming sequel to Guild Wars. Currently in development at ArenaNet, Guild Wars 2 will offer the same free to play model as the original game series while introducing a host of graphical and mechanics upgrades.

Guild Wars players will find only their character names and achievements carry over, as everything else is planned to be completely new. Where characters could only move with mouse clicks, now there will be a full range of motion in 3-D for each character, destructible environments, a mentoring system to let higher and lower level players join forces, and additional layers to PvP.

The Mists, a new area, will offer large-scale world versus world battles in addition to the much-loved solo or guild versus guild PvP. PvP and RP characters will no longer be distinguished from each other, and the level cap will be higher than the original game's 20.

Notably, the land of Tyria itself will undergo shifts in terrain and structure following large-scale destruction vital to the game's plot. The plot is set 250 years after the Eye of the North expansion, and concerns the awakening of dragons long believed to have been defeated and rendered powerless in slumber. Their awakening not only causes panic but flooding and massive destruction as others rise up to try and stop this ancient force. A release date is yet to be announced.

Learn more about Guild Wars 2 here, or check out our game list here.
The Week that Was
Monday, August 24
Ultima Online Interview

Tuesday, August 25
Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer Interview

Wednesday, August 26
BlizzCon Recap

Thursday, August 27
Dreamlords Review

Friday, August 28
Weathers: Social Media & MMOs
Developer Blogs! plays host to several developer run blogs. They're a great way to chat back and forth with the people actually making these games. Check them out in our blog section.
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