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Issue 196, September 8, 2009
In the news
Cryptic launched a brand new MMO last week. Champions Online was open for business and not without controversy. A launch day patch set the community on fire.

Read more here.
Siege of Mirkwood will be the title of the next expansion to Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online. The Tolkien MMO continues to expand organically into the world of Middle-earth.

Read more here.
With the success of Free Realms, SOE is apparently in discussions with LucasArts to make a casual, clone-wars set browser based MMO in the Star Wars universe. Given the sometimes controversial handling of the Star Wars IP by SOE (see Galaxies), this is sure to set tongues a wagging.

Read more here.
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Alganon: Hands-On Preview
Alganon represents a dying breed of MMO: Independently produced subscription-based games from North American companies. This kind of start-up birthed the MMO industry in the West, but now they are few and far between. We visited QOL to get a look at their game and their company:

""[Alganon is an] MMOG that isn't biting off more than we can chew, but that still provides people with what they want," said President and Co-Founder David Allen as he demonstrated the game and the tools that built it.

"At launch, hopefully later this year, Alganon will feature two races and four base classes (that eventually expand into 12). It's a level based game, chalked full of quests and is set in a traditional fantasy world that visually clearly owes a lot of inspiration to World of Warcraft, but fictionally evokes memories of EverQuest and other more traditional fantasy."

You can read the full preview here and read about the company itself here.

More previews can be found on our site here.
Dungeons & Dragons Online Unlimited Q&A
Shortly, Turbine will become one of the first major North American developers to take an established subscription MMO and redefine its business model. Dungeons and Dragons Online: Unlimited is due to go commercial very shortly and we talked to Turbine about it. A sample: "Tell us about the choice to make DDO Free-to-Play? How did Turbine come to this decision?"

Fernando Paiz: "Turbine has been exploring Free-to-Play and micro-transactions based business models for several years now. We have seen the growing popularity of these models, particularly in the Asian markets, and we've been on the lookout for the right opportunity to bring a compelling offering to the West. We didn't know if that would mean importing and operating a game from another developer, applying the model to a new game, or something else..."

Check out the interview here.

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With Beta sign-ups open and Champions Online out the door, it's time to take a closer look at what's next from Cryptic Studios: Star Trek Online.

One of the dream intellectual properties for MMO development, STO has had a bit of a checkered history. Originally developed by Perpetual Entertainment, Cryptic came by the game and license only after that company folded. Many of the original developers made the jump, but ever since, Cryptic has been out to make their own game.

One signature of Cryptic titles is customization and they plan a lot of this in STO. People will be able to really make their character and their ship totally their own. They even boast that players will be able to invent their own races.

The game promises both avatar and space at launch. This means that players will be able to control their ship as a Captain or conduct missions out in the world. Both a hallmark of Star Trek lore.

The hype machine is just starting to ramp up on this one, but with their other project now launch, expect a lot more from Cryptic as the weeks go by. Of course, we'll be there every step of the way.

Learn more about Star Trek Online here, or check out our game list here.
The Week that Was
Monday, August 31
Global Agenda: PvP Q&A

Tuesday, September 1
Five Memorable MMO Lawsuits

Wednesday, September 2
Alganon: Hands-On Preview

Thursday, September 3
Dragonica Review

Friday, September 4
Dragon Age: Preview
Dragon Age
It's not an MMO, but we recently had a rare chance to look at this upcoming Bioware RPG from the perspective of what you - an MMO gamer - wants. Check out our blog on what it can teach MMOs and then our full hands-on preview.
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