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MMO Roundup: Last week on Massively

Shawn Schuster

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.

I can kill dragons, but I can't dress myself
So, I recently got the chance to run a panel at Tekkoshocon, the local semi-large anime convention in the area of Pittsburgh. This wasn't the first panel I've run at a convention, but it was the first panel where I got to speak on the topic of MMOs. The topic was free anime MMOs -- games people could pick up for little to no payment and actually play a quality game, rather than being tricked into another endless, rewardless grindfest.
City of Heroes spill the beans on their 5th birthday celebrations
Whilst being vague about exactly what's going on, the devs have an in-game event planned beginning 11am EDT on April 28th. Apparently 'all CHAOS is going to break loose' until 12am on the 29th. There's the promise of merits, badges and lovely XP. Also at 8pm EDT, there will be a special address from Lead Developer Positron; apparently he has some info to share. What could that be I wonder? The broadcast will also appear shortly after on the game's official website.
Spellborn launches in the US; subscriptions free for 2 weeks
Acclaim has officially launched The Chronicles of Spellborn in North America, and to mark the occasion, premium subscriptions are totally free for people registering before the 7th of May (and for existing accounts). The issue of needing "Acclaim Coins" to purchase subscriptions has been fixed in time for the launch, and when the free subscriptions run out, players will be able to keep them going using their credit cards directly.
Massively speaks with Black Prophecy development director Simon Bachmann
Massively is watching the influx of sci-fi MMOs very closely and we're happy to point out that gamers will soon have a number of options for space-based gameplay. While gamers will be flying and dogfighting in Jumpgate Evolution this summer, there's another dark horse in the running for your play time: Black Prophecy, a sci-fi MMO in development at Reakktor Media.
Guild Wars celebrates their fourth year in style
This Tuesday, April 28th, Guild Wars will be turning 4 years old. In true ArenaNet fashion, the game has kicked off an epic event that will last until Noon on April 29th. There is much of the usual festivities we've come to expect from Guild Wars, such as sugary treats, fireworks, Rollerbeetle Racing, the Dragon Arena and much more. Those characters turning four will receive their special four-year birthday mini pets on April 28th, but as an added bonus, those characters celebrating their 1-, 2- or 3-year birthdays will also receive a mini pets from their corresponding year.
A Calendar of Celebration
Life returns to normal in Lord of the Rings Online, after a brief and somewhat surreal few weeks of picking flowers and chasing chickens through a large, sudden and inexplicable hedge maze, all of which was presumably meant to celebrate Easter, after a fashion. Only of course, it being Middle-earth, you can't really get away with actually calling it "Easter", so instead it is the "Spring Festival", a curious mirrored event which parallels, but never quite touches, a popular celebration and holiday in our own lives.
NCSoft adds its titles to Steam
If you're one of those gamers who prefers the digital minimalist approach as opposed to having game boxes everywhere then you're in luck. MMO-giant NCSoft have announced they will be offering their titles -- including City of Heroes, Guild Wars, and Lineage -- via Steam. They're also planning to offer their latest, most anticipated and shiny MMO, Aion as well when the game launches later this autumn.

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