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Can Anything Challenge Warcraft?

May 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (or MMORPGs) have been around for a while and have proven extremely popular with gamers. There are plenty of titles to choose from, however, one title has stood out the most, World of Warcraft. No other MMORPG has come close to getting the number of subscriptions Warcraft gets. Over 11 million people subscribe to play in the lands of Azeroth, that’s a greater population than Ireland! Simply put World of Warcraft is the game to beat when developing a new MMORPG.

Many have tried to knock Warcraft off its pedestal and have crashed and burned in the process. Movie properties have tried to beat Warcraft, such as Codemaster’s Lord of the Rings Online game, the popular war games franchise Warhammer has even created an MMORPG to tackle the might of Warcraft. While being popular in their own rights, usually with the fans f said franchises, they have never come close to the numbers Blizzard boast about when referring to Warcraft. Heck even Dungeon and Dragons created an MMO and they didn’t beat them and they basically are responsible for what we know as an RPG!

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The reason Warcraft succeeded where others haven’t is primarily down to the fact it can run on virtually any machine, be it a low spec PC, high spec super gaming PC or a Mac. If you have a computer you can more than likely play World of Warcraft. People have even managed to play it on their Netbooks! Warcraft can play on a variety of machines because of the graphical choice the developers Blizzard made. Instead of top notch, realistic, intensive environments, Warcraft has its on cartoonish, fantasy world and it works. The first steps you take in Azeroth you admire the beauty of the world.

Blizzard also made sure they catered for all types of players – from a young audience to a more mature audience and casual players to hardcore players. The two different factions show this the best. The Alliance faction has more ‘nicer’ races to choose from that may generally appeal to a younger audience who want to champion the good, where as the Horde side is much more darker and perceived as more evil, is mostly played by a more mature audience.

If your just a casual player in Warcraft, you and your friends can roam around completing quests, or tackle an instance or even have friendly duels. To satisfy the more adventurous type, Blizzard created battlegrounds, where the two apposing factions could battle it out to control certain points on a map or capture the oppositions flag and fifty man raids against bosses that require tactics and skill to defeat. Arenas were created to increase the amount of player versus player (PvP) experiences, where players fought in gladiatorial style events. Blizzard catered for everyone and this is testimony to why they have so many subscribers.

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Now there is a new breed of MMORPGs on the horizon. Comic giants DC are wading in on the MMORPG business with their new title DC Universe Online. But can this knock Warcraft from the top? Probably not. While the idea of the DC Universe being open to us to create our own super heroes or super villain is super cool, its been done before with NCSoft’s City of Heroes and City of Villains. Also, the reason people love DC is for their great, charismatic characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Catwoman. What is the point of a DC game if you can’t control these characters?

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Another contender is Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. Based thousands of years before the movies, The Old Republic charts the battle between the armies of the Sith and the Jedi’s in a time that is relatively uncharted in the Star Wars Universe. And this is what will make it a real contender, there will be no Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia being badly voice acted (to us Star Wars fans as nobody other than the actors and actresses who played the beloved characters can voice them properly) will be present. The creators have free reign over how the story and game is developed.

Now this isn’t the first Star Wars MMO to be developed. Star Wars Galaxies, the first MMO, was a success in retrospect and had a very loyal fan base. The developers made a difficult choice to leave out the Jedi class and instead opt for a difficult journey to become a Jedi. This was a great concept, as Jedi’s where limited in the time period (between New Hope and Empire). Due to outrage of the fact you had to work to become a Jedi a slue of updates was released and changed the game from the one that the fans loved.

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With the time period chosen with The Old Republic, this can be easily avoided, Jedi’s and Sith alike are abundant and other classes can be chosen, like bounty hunter. And since World of Warcraft has nearly finished its lifetime, in terms of expansion packs and story progression, The Old Republic can come in and fill the void that will be left after Warcraft has ultimately finished.

These are only a couple of new MMORPGs that are being developed, many more like the Star Trek MMO have been announced, but since World of Warcraft is on its final journey with the Wrath of the Lich King and the many content updates that will come along in the next year or two that will lead up to the ultimate end fight with Arthas, a.k.a the Lich King, eleven million subscribers may need a new MMO to migrate to. There will be many choices for the gamers to choose from, but the one that will capture the market the way Warcraft did will ultimately by the game that succeeds.

Even if a new MMORPG comes in a takes the crown away from Warcraft after its end, Warcraft will still be perceived as the greatest massively multiplayer online roleplaying game ever. Until Blizzard release their new one that is…

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World of Warcraft – 3.1 Patch!

April 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Blizzard are releasing their first major content update patch for World of Warcraft, since the release of the Wrath of the Lich King. Patch number 3.1 will include some neat little updates to your characters. One is the ability to dual-spec your character. Instead of spending 50 gold whenever you want to change from raid spec to pvp spec, Blizzard have introduced a new spell, which when purchased, allows you to instantly respect your character they way you want them to be for the right situation. Obviously, there are limitations to where you can do this, like you can’t swap when in combat or when you are in an instance, as well as a cool down period once cast. Action bars and glyphs change as well so there is no need to redo them whenever you change.

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In addition to this cool addition, is a new end-game raid dungeon, Ulduar and expands upon the variable difficulty modes Blizzard have worked on. Ulduar will host 14 new bosses, 10 of which have an optional hard-mode, so the hardened guilds can get a more substantial challenge and once defeated, get some awesome items.

As with any World of Warcraft patch, more class balancing is at hand, as well as bug fixes and more user interface enhancements.

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Let Battle Commence!

March 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Blizzard have unveiled the brand new Battle.net, Blizzards very own online gaming service. If you are a Blizzard junkie, these improvements will make your life much more easier.

Online gaming, forums, World of Warcraft accounts, the Blizzard Store, everything, is linked to just one username and password. This is not all, Blizzard promise to add a lot more features, such as, tools to make it easier for friends to communicate between games.

Blizzard's upcoming titles, StarCraft II and Diablo III, will need Battle.net accounts. As for the many World of Warcraft players out there, it is possible to create a Battle.net account and merge your WoW account with it. However, this add functionality will require all WoW account holders to migrate to the Battle.net system.

For people still playing the likes of Diablo II, StarCraft and Warcraft III, you will need to keep your old Battle.net login details to play these online. Or you can skip the new Battle.net and keep the older service, which will be renamed Battle.net Classic.

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