My personal alt-aholic tendencies are driving me crazy this week. I've got three different lowbies all vying for my few and precious hours. In the meantime, I've put them aside to deliver a selection of this week's MMORPG news.
This week Gamespy released all the info they've gleaned from its hands-on access to Wrath of the Lich King. The info bridges many gaps in the past info released by Blizzard.
Though the four articles are all great reads, they're incredibly lengthy. Here are some highlights:
Death Knights will indeed start at level 55 in a Necropolis starting area, beginning with quests there and in the Eastern Plaguelands. They can be created by anyone who has leveled a character past level 55.
Death Knights will tank using parry stats and a new type of power bar called Runic Power. This works like rage but fills up with the use of rune abilities and decreases with time.
Death Knights will also have the ability to resurrect any actual corpse around them as a ghoul minion. This will include players, giving those players the controls of the ghoul for its short lifetime. This ghoul will have several abilities, including inflicting diseases on enemies.
All raid instances will be playable by either 10 or 25-man raids.
The info is mostly related to Death Knights, but there's a healthy helping to be read. I'm definitely excited to start a Death Knight. I know there'll be an avalanche of them, but I'm genuinely hoping to have a tank at a high level. Starting one at 55 is an added bonus.
Blizzard announced this week its plans to hold a third Blizzcon this fall. Although this breaks the summer tradition of previous Blizzcons, the company is returning to the same venue, the Anaheim Convention Center.
Blizzcon, for any who don't already know, is Blizzard's largest press event. It's a celebration of the Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo franchises and their respective audiences.
Usual attractions are discussion panels with the developers, contests, auctions, and other activities. With buzz around possible Diablo 3 developments and the slew of new Wrath of the Lich King information, there's a lot that the fans will get to say and see there.
Tickets will be the usual $100 each. They'll be on sale within the next few weeks. More details can be found at the official Blizzcon site.
Flying Lab has released info on two new pirate classes in Pirates of the Burning Sea. It seems the company and its developers have realized the inherent problems when a faction with only one class goes up against one with multiple options.
After what seems to be thorough planning, the devs are choosing the Buccaneer and the Cutthroat as the two new classes. The Buccaneers overall are likened to the mafia, "organized crime that attempts to hide behind a legitimate business front." These sneaky types have a wide range of situational abilities that enable them to take on large targets and have a large role in group, endgame PvP. In fact, they are designed specifically fo the latter purpose.
Details on the Cutthroat are not yet unveiled, but they're likely to be just as advanced a class as the Buccaneers. The "Blackbeard-style take no prisoners pirate" class will feature the ability to capture ships, a skill that the Buccaneers do not have at this stage of testing.
This is surprising for the sheer appreciation: Mythic likes what World of Warcraft has done to the MMO market. In this time of backstabbing among CEOs, it's nice to hear that Josh Drescher, EA Mythic's senior designer, has some nice words to say.
In an interview, Drescher says that "the post-WoW world is a great world to be making MMOs in." He points to the success of many other MMORPGs as proof. Many games are doing better than developers could have dreamed before WoW brought in such a large playerbase.
Even when baited with whether or not he'll try to lure WoW players to his game (Warhammer Online), he states that he doesn't think the MMORPG genre works as a "zero-sum experience." He acknowledges that many players have room for more than one game in their lives.
Although much of the kicking and biting has been among CEOs far removed from the development side, I'm glad to see that some devs haven't been affected and can look at other games as healthy partners in interactive entertainment rather than fierce, raging competitors.