NCsoft and Sony are Pals! I A Box Full of Eye
The Sun Never Sets on MapleStory I Dungeons and Dragons Walks the Heights
Comic Book MMOs in Layman's Terms I Avengers, Assemble (Somewhere Else)!
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Issue #83 And The Deathly Hallows
July 20, 2007

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Welcome back! Did everyone have a good time at E3?

As you can probably guess from this week's column title, I'm pretty excited about the new Harry Potter book. In fact, I specifically requested the day off of work in order to facilitate a speed read. I don't even take time off of work for games anymore.

So, once again, you get to read a preamble that involves Animatus writhing in wait for something obscenely nerdy. On the bright side, it's nice to know that I've always got something to look forward to, right?

As for you, you should be looking forward to all of this hot, juicy MMORPG news we've got for you! Stay home and read my column. Because if you take my spot in line at B. Dalton, you'll have to answer to The Fist. Unlike Animatus, The Fist doesn't like you.

  NCsoft and Sony Are Pals!

Last week, Sony announced that it has entered into a deal with NCsoft in order to bring MMORPG content to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable systems. Though no specific titles have been announced yet, the titles will utilize both existing NCsoft properties as well as new ones. Also unknown is whether or not existing games (such as Guild Wars or Lineage) will be making a multiplatform conversion or if the games made will be standalone versions of their existing counterparts.

Despite the lack of concrete information and the relative youth of the partnership, this still spells exciting things for Sony fans in the near future. We will, of course, have more info as it becomes available.

  A Box Full of Eye

Guild Wars: Eye of the North

The release of Guild Wars: Eye of the North is practically around the corner, and it's time to get the hype machine rolling. What better way to do this than with some good, ol' fashioned pre-order swag?

Hitting shelves this Friday, July 20, the Eye of the North pre-order bonus pack will allow players to access a sneak preview weekend of the expansion that is scheduled to take place in August. The preview will allow players to explore the Far Shiverpeaks region new to Eye. Everything that characters gain during the preview, be it experience, money, or items, will carry over to the live game.

Also included with the pre-order is access to three exclusive weapons, the winners of the recent Design-A-Weapon contest: The Glacial Blade, the Darksteel Longbow, and the Hourglass Staff. Finally, the bonus pack will include a trial DVD of the Guild Wars trilogy, allowing players to access all three main campaigns of Guild Wars for 10 days or 14 hours, whichever comes first. A smart way to allow players who have not yet experienced the game to get a taste before the expansion arrives. If all of this wasn't enough for you, pre-ordering Guild Wars: Eye of the North also ensures that a copy is available for you to purchase on launch day! What more could you possibly want?

As stated earlier, the bonus pack becomes available this weekend, so get your tail to your local entertainment software superstore now.

  The Sun Never Sets on MapleStory


Good news, Europe! Everyone's favorite ubercute side-scrolling MMORPG has finally become available in your region!

As if 67 million registered users weren't enough, Nexon launched MapleStory Europe earlier this week. The European version of the game is available in five languages: English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and German. The game remains essentially the same as its Asian and North American counterparts, including the Cash Shop, where players can purchase fake things with real money.

If you haven't already, European MMORPGamers, slide over to your very own MapleStory Europe official site to register and get a client.

  Dungeons and Dragons Walks the Heights.

Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach

Update 4.2 for Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach (DDO) has gone live, and with it comes a giant hunk of burning rock.

The Searing Heights volcano, the update's namesake, is home to the Sulatar Drow, a new Drow race, as well as the new CR 4 zone. In this update, players can explore the volcano and take on the pyromaniacal Drow before they can lay siege to Stormreach.

Along with the new dungeon come new spells and skills and three new equipment configuration slots, bringing the grand total to seven. Also included are the typical bug fixes and enhancements.

Anyone who is eager to throw themselves into a vat of magma can check out the patch notes here.

  Comic Book MMOs in Layman's Terms

Who better to work on Marvel Universe Online (MUO) than an actual Marvel writer?

Cryptic Studios, the folks behind City of Heroes/Villains and the aforementioned Marvel Universe Online have hired John Layman to write for MUO. Layman has been a writer at Marvel for some time, having worked on Gambit and House of M: Fantastic Four, as well as working on several independent publications. Layman also wrote for Scarface: The World is Yours and Metroid Prime: Hunters. Layman has been with Cryptic since last month.

Having someone who has worked with Marvel properties should lend quite a bit of credibility and authenticity to MUO. "Having a creator like John on our side really demonstrates to our players -- present and future -- that we strive for authenticity when we bring a universe to life," explained Cryptic CEO Michael Lewis.

Players will have to discover how authentic the MUO is for themselves when the game releases on PC and Xbox 360.

  Avengers, Assemble (Somewhere Else)!

City of Heroes

In other comic book MMORPG news, City of Heroes/Villains is allowing the super-humans of Paragon City to defend/ransack somewhere else.

Currently in testing, a character transfer service and a name change service will soon be available to CoH/V. For the low, low (estimated) price of $9.99, any hero or villain can pack up and move to the neighboring server or change their name. Should a character be moved to a server where a character already exists with the same name, the moving character will be allowed to rename for free.

Players balking at the price shouldn't start breaking things yet. The announcement continues to state that there is a possibility of the game going "Sever-less" in the future, letting players group regardless of server. But don't hold your breath -- this change is not set in stone, and there are no plans to implement such a system this year.

The transfer and rename features have just entered the Training Room test servers, and as such are not expected to be made available for the upcoming Episode 10 content update. There's no release date for the features, but MMORPGamer will be sure to let you know when you are able to get moving.

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Faux wand, check.

"I Trust Snape" T-shirt, check.

Now all that remains between me and Deathly Hallows is a few hours and a swarm of rabid, immaculately manicured soccer moms who are doped up on consumer frenzy. Luckily, I've been training for a full-scale zombie outbreak since the late 1990s, and the techniques required in this instance are strikingly similar. People be acting all like zombies up at the mall.

I'll make sure to spoil the book for you next week. I might even make a signature picture by then.

Matt Blake (mail me!)

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