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Last Week on Massively: The Elder Scrolls Online's PC launch

ESO
This post originally appeared on Massively from Editor-in-Chief Brianna Royce. At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO story last week, you've come to the right post.

After a few pre-launch hiccups, ZeniMax's Elder Scrolls Online MMO formally launched on PC this week. We celebrated with a five-part launch week diary, a guide to exploration, two livestreams, and a month-long Choose My Adventure series in which you'll boss us through playing the game.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Filed under: MMO Roundup

MMO Roundup: Guild Wars 2 launches, City of Heroes closes, and more

MMO Roundup Guild Wars 2 launches, City of Heroes closes, and more
Sometimes, you'd like to know that there are other MMOs out there, right? It's not all WoW, all the time! Our sister site Massively can provide you with everything you need to know about all of the other MMOs around -- past, present and future.
City of Heroes to sunset before the end of the year
NCsoft is closing Paragon Studios due to a "realignment of company focus and publishing support," according to a blurb just posted on the City of Heroes website. Community manager Andy Belford says that the superhero MMO will shut down before the end of the year, and recurring billing will be discontinued immediately.
Up close and personal with Torchlight II
Torchlight II is marching toward its September 20th launch date and Massively was given an opportunity to take the game hands-on at PAX Prime this past weekend. Hop over to Massively to see their impressions of the latest clickfest to come your way.
A critical look at Guild Wars 2
ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 launched recently and the game hit 400,000 concurrent users before the game even officially launched -- all 400,000 of those players coming from the pre-order head start event. Just about everyone agrees that it's a good game, but it isn't without its problems. Massively's Matt Daniel takes a look at the game with a critical eye.
BioWare's Matt Bromberg discusses converting Star Wars: The Old Republic to free-to-play
If you missed some of the analyst predictions flying around after Star Wars: The Old Republic announced it was converting to a free-to-play model, they were... zealous, to say the least. But general manager Matt Bromberg doesn't seem to share those opinions. When asked in a recent interview whether the conversion will make the game more money in the long run, Bromberg replied in extremely uncertain terms: "I don't know."
Massively's week in review
Don't let WoW Insider do all of the talking when it comes to Massively's best content of the week. The Massively staff themselves have picked out what they think is the best content their site has to offer in their own weekly roundup.

Filed under: MMO Roundup

MMO Roundup: Last week on Massively


Sometimes you'd like to know that there are other MMOs out there, right? Our sister site Massively can provide you with everything you need to know about all MMOs, including WoW! Check out this roundup of the latest news from the wider MMO world.
Free Realms launches today
According to a post on the Free Realms forums from Jason "Pex" Ryan, Community Manager, the servers will be going down this morning at approximately 8:00 AM Pacific, and will remain offline all day today while they push their final patches and run internal tests. They note that they will also be deleting all beta Free Realms characters as well.
Guild Wars hits the 6 million milestone
Just in time for their fourth anniversary celebrations, ArenaNet have announced that Guild Wars has sold over six million copies. Coincidence? We think not but it's still a remarkable milestone for this popular MMO. Remember that market leader World of Warcraft has 11.5 million players worldwide and is subscription based. Guild Wars meanwhile, is free-to-play (plus box costs) and only a few months younger than WoW.
LotRO two-year anniversary: Book 8 details announced
As our LotRO 2nd anniversary coverage continues, we're pleased to bring you some of the latest news from a recent conference call we had with Turbine. This call involved Jeffrey Steefel, Executive Producer of LotRO, Harry Teasley, Art Director for LotRO and Adam Mersky, Director of Communications for Turbine to provide us with a rundown of the last two years with the game and what the future holds.
Champions Online dated for release on July 14th
During an event in the UK today, Cryptic's Bill Roper revealed that Champions Online will officially launch on July 14th 2009 in both the United State and Europe. The launch date, while a tiny bit further than expected, is probably for the better since Jumgpate Evolution is releasing in the middle of June anyhow. If both of these games hit in the same month, we'd probably lose our minds.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Features

MMO Roundup: Last week on Massively


Sometimes you'd like to know that there are other MMOs out there, right? Our sister site Massively can provide you with everything you need to know about all MMOs, including WoW! Check out this roundup of the latest news from the wider MMO world.

Face-capturing tech to be "in-game soon" for Age of Conan
Lopping off heads in Age of Conan might soon be taken very personally, as ShackNews has reported that some fancy face-importing technology is being prepared for use in-game -- you're bound to be just a tad more put out when you see your actual face rolling away on a decapitated noggin. The technology itself comes from a company called Big Stage Entertainment, and you can already get a feel for how it works at their website by registering an account and creating your own 3D "@ctor".
SOE storms the internet with Free Realms beta promotions
This weekend saw one of the largest beta key giveaways in MMO history with tens of thousands of special codes being handed out at once by several different outlets. Aside from the normal MMO news and fan sites, the Free Realms Twitter account has been giving away a thousand keys at a time.
A rocky start for Warhammer's 1.21 patch
Patch day in an MMO is always hit or miss, but according to a number of sources, Mythic's 1.21 patch for Warhammer Online broke many core components of the game that still haven't been fixed several days later. A public acknowledgment appeared on the WAR Herald this past weekend, but some players are still furious.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Features

Worlds.com aims to sue over the virtual world of Warcraft


Business Insider (no relation) is reporting that Worlds.com CEO Thom Kidrin is intending to sue anyone who will not license their virtual worlds product through him, and since Kidrin claims they hold the patent to virtual worlds, everyone has to get a license. Since this is a legal issue I'll lay this out in a few easy to read steps:
    1. Thom calls up Blizzard, Linden Lab, etc...
    2. Thom says "Hey, I invented virtual worlds! Pay me money since you're making money off the concept."
    3. Blizzard and Linden Lab laugh and hang up, assuming it's a prank call.
    4. Thom goes to court.
That's the gist of it. Kidrin plans on going after a few other companies before knocking on Blizzard's door: notably, Worlds.com has already filed suit against NCsoft, which publishes City of Heroes and Guild Wars.

How did Worlds.com wind up with the patent to the idea of a scalable virtual world with thousands of users? Kidrin has said that they invented the virtual worlds with a product for sick kids called Starbright World back in 1997. (Though apparently the concept was thought up back in 1995.)

However, let's take a look at the definition of Cyberspace. It was first used in William Gibson's 1982 story "Burning Chrome" and again used in a few of his books, with "Neuromancer" being the most popular. Gibson's definition for Cyberspace reads:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items

Breakfast Topic: Are server outages driving you to other games?

I hate to be blunt about it, but I've heard quite a few WoW friends tell me that the rampant server crashes that have cropped up since Patch 3.0.2 have driven them to other MMO's until Blizzard fixes the problem. Many other games are offering Halloween/Fall Festival type activities including City of Heroes, Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest 2 and many of us have played those titles (and still do!)

Are you waiting it out, slogging through or heeding the siren call of other online games?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Does leveling again mean leveling alone?

With Patch 2.3 coming next week, a number of players are going to turn back to some of the old alts they've always wanted to play, and level them up now faster than ever before. If a group of friends had decided to start over from scratch, then all is well and good, but for many players who already have character spread out at different level ranges, friends used to spending a lot of time together may suddenly find themselves with a large level gap in the alts they're most interested in.

Especially considering the new and improved dungeon loot, many players will wish their friends could join them. Of course, their friends could just bring over their level 70s and rush them through, but for a certain kind of player, this is less interesting because it takes away all the real challenge and teamwork of the instance. They may be able to find PUGs at that level, but it likely won't be the same.

Douglas at the Elitist Jerks forums has been having this problem for a long time now. He and his friends very much want to play together, but have never been able to make their schedules work out. Before long, their characters inevitably level at different speeds and can no longer level up together. He says he longs for a "mentoring system" like City of Heroes has, where players of different levels can become one another's "sidekicks" and go to dungeons together as if they were at the same level. At first glance it seems like WoW could implement such a system too, to make something like a temporary downgrade or upgrade in ability power and gear quality so that friends could fight together across the level gap. But further discussion reveals some serious problems.

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Filed under: Leveling, Alts

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