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News from the Wider MMO World: August 19, 2008


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The MMO genre is more than World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online. Here's what's going on in the rest of the world.

Battleground Europe launches new website
Playnet Inc.'s Amy-Lynn Engelbrecht informs us that the destination site for Cornered Rat Software's World War 2 MMO, Battleground Europe, has gotten a significant makeover. With a focus on providing information that's more helpful to members of its strong and active community, the new updated site also features an RSS feed for news, or the option to receive regular updates by Feedburner email. Join up and fight with a 14-day free trial!

Ankama Games announces new Wakfu features
The spiritual and temporal successor to Ankama's previous title Dofus, Wakfu is an up-and-coming 2D MMO with a currently unreleased launch date. However, bits and pieces of news trickle out from time to time, such as the following: There will be an Enchantment profession, in which items are dismantled for their runes, then grafted onto new items for special powers. Taking a page from World of Warcraft?

Secondly, Wakfu will have no NPCs to offer quests. Instead, the game will have "Dynamic Challenges" -- quests that arise when environmental conditions are right, such as time, area, etc. The types of Challenges include Kill, Ecosystem, Social, and Discovery. Each will be available in both solo and team play.

Pirates of the Burning Sea won't get skirmishes any time soon
At the recent Sony Online Entertainment Fan Faire event, Pirates of the Burning Sea developer Drew Clowerly admitted that development on skirmishes -- player-controlled PvP -- was no longer actively in the future, having been the responsibility of a developer who left the company. Clowerly also mentioned that Flying Labs was "short of developers at the moment", but that the studio is by no means in trouble. "We have lots of assets, it's just getting someone to implement them." Skirmishes are still being planned, as is an eventual expansion.

Runes of Magic to feature extensive character skills customization
More information on Runes of Magic's character skill development system have come to light. RoM offers a dual-class system, whereby the primary class may use its skills, but only certain secondary skills may be used, based on the secondary class chosen by the player.

In addition, the classes may be changed at any time, but classes will only level up if they are in the primary slot. Each class has its own special ability that may be used with a cost of an hour-long recharge time. Furthermore, skills will have elements assigned to them -- fire, water, wind, earth, light, and darkness -- and applying these skill in the sproper order will modify their effects, increasing their effectiveness in combat. For more information, check out the RoM site.

APB being developed for NVIDIA hardware
Realtime Worlds has announced that it's developing APB to run best on NVIDIA video cards, which feature the PhysX physics engine. "In order to fully realize the vision of APB ... we choose to standardize our development on GeForce GPUs and Nvidia PhysX technology, the combination of which has given our developers the power and freedom to deliver the first action and physics based combat gameplay into the massively multiplayer online space," says CEO Dave Jones. It's unknown at this time what performance on non-NVIDIA cards will resemble.

Jumpgate Evolution will be playable at the Penny Arcade Expo
In-development space combat MMO Jumpgate Evolution will be playable at this year's Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) at booth #712. The Expo will run from August 29 - 31 in Seattle, Washington and JE studio Netdevil will show the game on Alienware Area-51 m15x notebooks. This is good news for players with concerns over the graphical specs they'll need to run the game.

The Secret World not quite as secret anymore
Two screenshots of the until-now media blackout title The Secret World by developer Funcom have made their way to the Internet, "leaked" by the studio itself. Included in its quarterly report, the two shots seem to confirm the rumored Lovecraftian nature of the title's antagonists. Director Ragnar Tornquist remarks " ... no, of course it's not done. I think the game looks absolutely fantastic, but it's going to look even more absolutely fantastic when it's released."

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