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Posts with tag next-gen-mmo

What does brand advertising mean for the MMO? Part 1

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, and esoteroic topics that slip through the cracks.

Brand advertising has already been done in the MMO sphere. Anarchy Online's Free Play program has been showing users in-game advertisements for real-world products on in-game billboards since World of Warcraft launched in 2004. MMOs have survived since. Case closed.

Oh, you wanted more discussion. I see. It's been done before! Finally, we have some real precedent to talk about. Oh FunCom, you've finally managed to not disappoint me. Advertising models were one of the first types of campaigns to be applied to free-to-play versions of massively multiplayers that didn't hit perfection under a subscription model. In 2004, there were a tremendous number of MMOs to play, and people usually just stayed loyal to one. The fight for your subscription dollars was on.

Anarchy Online's Free Play program debuted in December 2004, just after the launch of the unknown but best-selling indie hit World of Warcraft, giving players a chance to play the game and its first expansion pack free of charge. Players subscribed to the Free Play game client would see advertisments in cities, towns, and other highly populated places in game for real-life goods, services, and companies. Advertising dollars paid for the game, as well as subscribers' choosing to pay and see fictional ads instead.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

WoW.com's April Fools Round-up

April Fools! Or at least it was yesterday. Some love the pranks, some find the pranks boring, some wish to see the pranks fall down a dark, dark hole, never to return, possibly to be eaten by a grue. Regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, we've gathered a short list of Blizzard and WoW-related pranks across the web:

Blizzard Pranks

Other WoW-related sites

  • El's Extreme Anglin': El reports on the latest Cataclysm feature: Aquariums!
  • MMO-Champion/Paragon/Premonition: MMO-Champion breaks the news that Paragon will be moving to US servers come Cataclysm and merging with the US Guild Premonition. Sponsored by AXE!
  • Nihilum: Nihilum breaks some rules and brings us screens and video from the Cataclysm alpha
  • Wowhead: Wowhead, er, TACOhead brings news of a new in-game item, the Hellfire Kickin' Taco Supreme!
  • Tankspot: Tankspot announces their change to Farmspot
  • Warcraft Pets: Breanni fills us in on some new non-combat pet... er... features coming out in Cataclysm
  • World of Raids: World of Raids reports on the new Observation Deck and Spectate features coming in Cataclysm
  • The Guild: The Guild proudly announces its new foray into the world of animation!
  • Curse.com: Curse.com fills us in on Cataclysm -- exclusively available for the IPad
  • WoW.com: And of course, there's us. Our day was filled with takeover after takeover, from Twilight to Muscle March to Saturn Six -- we've decided to return to WoW news. For now...

Love them or hate them, at least they're done for the year, right? Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief and start believing what we see again. Did you laugh? Did you see a clever prank we missed? Or did you hide indoors all day and fervently wait for it to all be over? Let us know -- and check out the gallery below for screenshots from the various sites listed above!

Filed under: News items, Humor

G4 talks to Blizzard about five years of WoW

We are quickly approaching the fifth anniversary of World of Warcraft's release (my calendar has it on the 23rd of November), and G4 has gotten a head start on celebrating -- they sent Morgan Webb over to Blizzard headquarters to talk to the team, including Tom Chilton, Alex Afrasiabi, and Jeff Kaplan, about what things have been like in the last five years since WoW's launch. There's nothing super groundbreaking in here, but there is lots of reminiscing about the game's early thinking -- Chilton talks about how dual specs were never even considered as an idea (until they, you know, were) and what things were like in the early post-launch days. Pretty stressful, sounds like.

Afrasiabi talks about how the quest team puts together and tracks all of the game's quests (he mentions both Metzen and the game's historian as the "lorekeepers" of the game), and the fact that they've put together "millions of words" of story and background lore for the game at large. He specifically talks about Cataclysm and replacing questlines, and says that if something does get removed from the game, they're hoping to replace it with something better, but most "fan favorites" will stay. And finally, Jeff Kaplan looks back on the early game itself, from unfinished zones to broken balance to launch day exhaustion. G4 teases something about the next MMO project, but all he says is that he can't talk about it. Oh well -- if we can't look forward, at least we get a nice look back from the folks at Blizzard who've been there since the beginning. You can see all four of the videos after the break.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Quests, Lore

Breakfast Topic: What BlizzCon announcement are you waiting for?

BlizzCon is just a day away now! WoW.com staffers are gonna be haunting the grounds in full force and are likely to leave some ectoplasmic residue (read: drool) on a number of demo tables and panel floors, depending on what's announced and shown at the event. And the announcements are, at least for most everyone but Blizzard, still a mystery. Popular opinion (and the ability to put two and two together) seems to indicate the unveiling of a new WoW expansion, but why stop there? After all, there are three other games that Blizzard is working on -- or so they say -- so it's quite possible that we'll see some big ol' infodrops about those titles too.

Or maybe Blizzard will through us for a loop and treat us to two days of Premonition raids and panels about J. Allen Brack's ponytail. It is a mystery!

So what are you holding out for? StarCraft II release date? Diablo 3 bombshell? Next-gen MMO reveal? Glossy eight-by-tens of Zarhym in shades and a leather jacket (so dreamy)?

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, BlizzCon

Finding Blizzard's Cataclysm

The other day, we posted that Blizzard had trademarked the name "Cataclysm," and right after that, the community exploded with speculation: is it the name of WoW's next expansion, Blizzard's next-gen MMO, or some other project? Nothing is guaranteed yet (is it ever with Blizzard?), but the Internets have pretty much landed on the new expansion as the answer. "Cataclysm" actually means "a momentous and violent event marked by overwhelming upheaval and demolition," but it also has a pretty specific relation to water, and that's got lots of people thinking that it's the name of the Maelstrom expansion. In fact, The Sundering, or the world event in Azeroth's history where the Well of Eternity was destroyed and the Maelstrom (that swirly thing in the middle of the map) was created, was referred to as "the Cataclysm." So there you go -- pretty solid evidence, even though, as I said, nothing is guaranteed until we hear it from Blizz.

Stropp's got an interesting piece of speculation that says though "Cataclysm" is still probably the next expansion, the event the word refers to has yet to happen. He claims that if Blizzard really wants to speed up the 1-50 leveling process, they should just destroy Old Azeroth as we know it, and just have all the new characters start at level 50. That would be pretty nuts, but then again, Blizzard's never shown a real affinity for the old content, and by the next expansion, we'll be heading up to level 90 or even 100.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions

Blizzard files trademark for "Cataclysm"


Is "Cataclysm" the name of Blizzard's next-gen MMO? This Tumblr blogger has uncovered trademark applications filed by Blizzard in the fields of computer games, paper-based products, and online entertainment services. Those trademarks are on the USPTO's website, and we can confirm that Rod A. Rigole has been employed by Blizzard as legal counsel previously, so these trademark applications, all filed late last week on June 26th, are all real.

Of course, that doesn't confirm that we're actually talking about the next-gen MMO, or that Blizzard is planning on releasing a game called "Cataclysm" at all (StarCraft: Ghost was also trademarked, and we all know what came out of that). It could be another WoW expansion (though you'd think that WoW would be in there somewhere if that was the case), or it could be a completely separate game. Not that we know of one, but Blizzard certainly is working on all kinds of projects that we haven't yet heard about officially.

So. "Cataclysm." Trademark Blizzard Entertainment. Keep an eye out for it at BlizzCon this year.

Thanks, Ryan!

Update: We noticed the domain wowcataclysm.com expired on June 26th, 2009. The domain was previously held and parked out in Australia. June 26th is the same day the trademark was filed with the US Patent & Trademark Office. The domain is also now held by GoDaddy, who we know handles Blizzard domains. That's just a little too much coincidence for us to stay quiet about. It's entirely possible Blizzard just acquired the domain name.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Pardo says Blizzard still not interested in bringing WoW to consoles

Blizzard has never been keen to put WoW on consoles -- while there have always been rumors, they've never bothered showing much interest. And in a new interview with IndustryGamers, Blizzard's Rob Pardo tells us why: the controller issue remains a problem (it's certainly possible to map WoW onto a controller, but not yet in any way Blizzard would approve of), and modern consoles have come up with even more problems of their own. A hard drive, says Pardo, would be pretty much required, since WoW is up to around 10gb so far, but even the Xbox 360 (which now commonly allows game installs on the HD) still doesn't guarantee players will have that much space available. And Pardo says that while they have been in talks with Microsoft about what the two companies can do together, he says he's wary of the patching process over there -- it's not exactly as quick as they'd like.

So it remains unlikely that we'll ever see WoW in its current form on any console systems -- while there's probably lots of money to be made, the game was designed from the ground up to be a PC game, and there are still too many issues flying around (and it's likely too late in the game's lifetime) for Blizzard to try and make the jump. But that next-gen MMO...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

Jeff Kaplan leaving World of Warcraft

Jeff Kaplan In a surprise announcement this afternoon, World of Warcraft's Game Director Jeff Kaplan (whom you may know from the forums as "Tigole," and whom those of you with a longer memory may remember as the guild leader of Legacy of Steel back in the EverQuest days) is leaving the WoW team to work on a their unannounced MMO. (What this means for how far along that project is it's hard to say -- are they perhaps bringing in a solid game designer because they're just now getting things started? Or to polish off the finishing touches?) Says Kaplan of his time with the World of Warcraft team:

I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I've switched roles here at Blizzard to work on our upcoming, unannounced MMO. World of Warcraft has been such a central part of my life these past six and a half years, and it's success would not have been possible without the tremendous community around it, so I wanted to say thank you to all our players who've shared this amazing experience with us so far.

World of Warcraft isn't going anywhere, however, as the rest of the team is remaining in place, including Kaplan's "partners in crime" Tom Chilton and J. Allen Brack.

Mr. Kaplan, while we haven't always agreed with you, we'll certainly miss having you around. And, since you're going, we have to ask... can we have your stuff?

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Blizzard's black ops title, and why it's a long way off


Our good friends at BigDownload have just posted a nice in-depth feature about all the "black ops" PC games being worked on -- that is, games that are being developed in secret by developers who haven't yet officially announced them. There are quite a few would-be WoW competitors on the list (BioWare's MMO is on there, which I like to think I officially uncovered, and unnamed MMOs from John Romero's Slipgate Ironworks, 38 Studios, and Bethesda's parent Zenimax Media are on there as well). But of course the biggest title on the list is also the most mysterious: we know that Blizzard is working on a "next-gen MMO," but we don't know thing one about it.

As with all of this "black ops" stuff, there's not too much to get excited about yet -- the reason these companies haven't officially announced any of these games is not only because their release is likely years off, but companies will very often develop games that they don't end up releasing at all (case in point, as Blizzard fans well know). So the reason we don't know anything about Blizzard's next MMO is because Blizzard likely doesn't know anything about it yet either -- will it be a successor to World of Warcraft, a much-awaited Starcraft MMO, or a completely new IP from the company that has conquered the MMO genre? Odds are that right now they're working on engine and code mechanics, and the final form that the project will take is just a gleam in a Blizzard employee's eye.

Still, it's fun to dream, isn't it? With the coming release of Wrath (and Diablo III and Starcraft II coming into focus), we've got plenty of Blizzard games to look forward to as it is.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard

The many MMOs of Blizzard

Our good friends at Massively have put together a feature on "the many MMOs of Blizzard," and we can hear you now: You're asking what they could mean by "many MMOs," since Blizzard only has the one. But Blizzard is working on, as you probably know, a next-gen MMO, and their writeup is all about the many possible MMOs they might have rumored to be in the works.

As much as everyone would like a Lost Vikings MMO, or even a World of Warcraft 2, or a long-rumored Universe of Starcraft, I'm going with the last answer: none of the above. Blizzard could adapt any of their worlds to the massively format (well, except for Rock N' Roll Racing, but Massively has included it anyway), but considering that Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 are already in the works as non-MMOs, my guess is that Blizzard is going to break new ground with a brand-new IP whenever they return to the MMO format with another game.

Of course, this being Blizzard, they're not likely to give any hints until they want to give them to us, and if for some reason the next-gen MMO never does come about, we'll probably never even know what it was. But speculation is half the fun. What would a Blackthorne MMO even be like -- maybe a free-to-play sidescroller?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

World of Starcraft could still be the next-gen MMO

Arena Junkies picked up an interesting tidbit by comparing two different interviews. Rob Pardo, Blizzard's EVP of Game Design, gave an interview to Onlinewelten in which he talks about the next-gen MMO. That interview isn't exactly news on its own. We knew since Diablo III was announced at the WWI that it probably isn't the new MMO, and Pardo confirms that in the interview. "..Diablo 3 isn't an MMO," Pardo says, "So we have another development team."

But what is that new MMO being developed? Some speculate it could be an entirely new property. Well, Paul Sams, Blizzard's Chief Operating Officer, has an interview with Gamasutra that indicates no new IPs are coming soon. "Are we ever going to release a new [franchise]?" Sams says, "I would absolutely say we will at some point. I just don't know when that day will be quite yet."

Okay, so Blizzard's still working on a MMO, but there's no new IP on the horizon. So, what's the next-gen MMO going to be? World of Warcraft 2? World of Starcraft? And if Diablo 3 isn't considered an MMO, then is there a possibility of a World of Diablo? For me, this just means that my hopes of Tauren Marines aren't yet dead.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Screenshot confirms that Diablo III is "Hydra"


Reader Oleg was kind enough to send along this Diablo III screenshot, which he found over on Blizzard's main site about the new game they announced this weekend. As you can see up in the corner, the game's internal code name apparently was Hydra, so that answers the question we posted way back in September of last year about someone overhearing the name "Hydra" being bounced around the Austin GDC.

And we also know now, of course, that Diablo III isn't an MMO, which means that Blizzard still has at least one secret project running: that next-gen MMO that we've been told about via job listings. Unfortunately, we probably won't hear much about it for a while -- unless Blizzard wants to ramp up their production, three titles at once is a lot for them to work on, and even at BlizzCon later this year, we don't really expect to see a new game announcement (although they might use the occasion, if Wrath really is released by then, to announce the next planned expansion).

Still, that's one mystery solved. Maybe we'll overhear another codename this year in Anaheim, and the rumor wheel can start spinning up yet again.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Screenshots, Wrath of the Lich King, Rumors, Worldwide Invitational

Blizzard's "Next-Gen MMO" project continues


Back in April we noticed that Blizzard had some interesting job openings on their web site. Specifically, they were looking for Lead Engine Programmer, a Lead Tools Programmer, and a Lead Technical Artist, all for what was only identified as a "Next-Gen MMO." And while we have no official news from Blizzard, we can follow this mystery game's development by keeping an eye on the job opportunities available at Blizzard. Recently, they've started looking for a Senior Graphics Programmer, a Senior Tools Programmer, a Lead 3D Character Artist, and a Lead 3D Environment Artist for their "Next-Gen MMO." (Hydra?) Whatever the project is, its development must be progressing as the team grows.

[Thanks, minimoose!]

Filed under: Blizzard

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