This week has been a busy one for the MMO genre. World of Warcraft saw patch 3.0.8 release and it caused problems. What kind of problems you ask? Well, they basically shut down Lake Wintergrasp (a pvp-centric zone) and the Arenas were disabled for a short while. Mythic Entertainment, the creators of Warhammer Online, made massive layoffs this week. Actually, EA cut about 10% of its workforce within the entire company. These are tough times indeed.
Age Of Conan
An easy way to make money in an MMO is to allow server transfers for a fee. Some games decide to do this and others don’t. When Age of Conan developer Funcom announced a server merger they also talked about a one-time free character transfer to any server you’d like. Of course, there are a few restrictions such as no transfers to or from the "fresh start" servers Ironspine and Agony.
"As announced before the server merges, we are offering a free one-use character transfer option for all characters. If you wish to join a different community after the merge than the one you were allocated you are free to do so. This transfer is free of charge and can be used once per character. The service is available from your billing pages (https://register.ageofconan.
com) and it will be running for one month until 21st of February.
Some additional information about the character transfer that might be important to know:
* Every character is eligible for one free transfer.
* The time it takes to get the transfer completed will depend on the load. The standard transfer will take 30 minutes. If the load is very, very heavy it might take up to 72 hours for the transfer to complete so please be patient.
==> Please also note that you must not login to any character of the same account as long as a transfer is still running. You are able to check the status of a running transfer on the account website too (https://register.ageofconan.
com). The character transfer would get aborted should you login with any character during that time and you would have to start it again.
* If one, or more, servers become too popular we reserve the right to stop transfers to the servers in question at any time.
* Transfers to or from the "fresh start" servers Ironspine and Agony are not allowed.
* Transfers to all other servers will be available for all characters, regardless of rule set and language. Please be aware though that the allowed chat language is defined for each server. So no other language allowed in the public chat channels than the defined server language (for example English on Fury or German on Mitra etc.)."
Lord of the Rings Online
This week marks the third and final installment of developer Turbine’s solo guide to leveling from one to sixty. The final guide takes you from level forty to sixty and introduces you to the elven city of Rivendell and finishes you off with the new expansion. Of course, with the release of the Mines of Moria expansion it is a lot easier to solo high-level content.
World of Warcraft
On Tuesday, the Internet erupted when Blizzard released patch 3.0.8, not without a few hitches. You can find the full patch notes here, but I am only going to talk about a few patch-related things and what happened post-patch.
First off, once the patch came out, Lake Wintergrasp was killing servers, literally. As you hopefully already know, there are two factions in WoW (Horde and Alliance) and Lake Wintergrasp is a zone where these two factions clash the most. Wintergrasp is a siege-the-castle-style area with the winner being able to control the castle, leaving the loser to try to take it over with use siege weaponry. After the patch, the server would crash whenever control of the castle switched.
Another bug was the ability to create the new Hero class, the Death Knight, on any server as long as you had a character of level fifty-five or above. This was a quick fix by Blizzard, so it should be working as intended now.
Enough doom and gloom; now we can highlight what I feel are the top five best things about the new patch.
- Racial restrictions on mounts have now been lifted. My Night Elf can finally ride a mechanostrider. Think of it as a Chocobo from Final Fantasy, but a robot.
- Tapping: Basically, once a mob comes after you it will be tapped and another player can’t get experience or loot for killing your mob.
- Sixty new graveyards added to Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.
- Levitate (Priest spell) can now be cast on others.
- Run speed while dead has been increased by 75% for Night Elves and 50% for all other classes.
Last Friday there were some mentions of layoffs coming to EA. This week sees a substantial number of layoffs at Mythic Entertainment. The layoffs include twenty-one customer service employees, half of the QA department, and all of the playtest group. In a statement by EA on Joystiq they had this to say:
"EA’s corporate communications informed us that the publisher already announced a "cost-cutting initiative that includes facility closures and a headcount reduction," impacting about 10% of employees. The company doesn’t plan to make any further announcements outside of its scheduled earnings report and can’t give particular information about facilities."
Hopefully, the recently let-go EA employees all get back on their feet very soon. Now we have to start wondering how long EA will keep Warhammer Online around if it isn’t reaching a high enough subscriber count. Stick with it EA, Warhammer is a good game and just could use a few tweaks.