Planetside Next, Age of Conan Free Trials, and Battle.Net Accounts

In case you’re wondering, no, I still haven’t gotten my new debit card yet. It’s been just about two weeks and it’s starting to get really real, if you know what I mean. I’ve taken to playing Oblivion extra time in order to scratch the MMO-bug. Free Realms, fun though it may be, does not scratch that particular itch, and while I’m sure the newly “free-to-play-ised” Dungeons and Dragons and Dragons Online would do better in that regard… I dunno, I just don’t like the way it looks, that ever happen with you? It just doesn’t have a look that appeals to me visually.

Anyway, enough about my trials and tribulations, onto the nooz. John Smedley, head honcho, big kahuna and owner type person at Sony Online Entertainment has decided to stoke the fires of Planetside 2 anticipation further, via a blog post on his website. If you remember, just a few weeks ago SOE sent out an email survey to long time Planetside players (which I hastily filled out) asking what they’d like to see in a potential sequel. Ignoring the need to I dunno, announce that they were actually working on the game, Smedley instead jumped right into “what Planetside Next meant to him”, linking specifically to this legendary (to old skool Planetside players like myself anyway) account of a massive battle known as “The 1%“.

If you’ve got the time the article itself is a great read, it gives you an idea of the kind of experience Planetside offered at its peak.

Smedley then went on talk about some of the things he thought Planetside got right, and what needs to be improved upon in a sequel.

Planetside had a lot of great things about it, but it also had some frustrating things. The whole Sanctuary concept is something that slowed things down too much. We also didn’t get people back into the action quickly enough.

But the core of Planetside – massive battles with vehicles and infantry was something we nailed really well.

To me, Planetside Next means we get a chance to take the essence of everything that was fun in Planetside and make it a lot better. Massive battles on a scale no other FPS will touch. None of this 64 player stuff. REALLY MASSIVE.  With much better organisation, and a tight focus on making sure the action is always going on, with awesome graphics.

It’s hard to know how excited to be, SOE haven’t exactly been hitting them out of the park, what with the relative lack of success on EverQuest II and Star Wars Galaxies. Even so, the green shoots of recovery seem to be sprouting, the aforementioned Free Realms is fun, and it’s doing really well, despite my reservations, feedback on DC Universe Online has been almost universally positive, as have hands-on reports from their other in-development MMOFPS, The Agency.

You also have to wonder where Sony’s other Massive Action Game… MAG fits in with all this, granted it’s not quite an MMO, but 256 players is still a lot.

Now I’ve been looking around for an article like this one for a while, mainly because I want to prove to you guys that Age of Conan is a much better game than at launch, so much so that  if I were a betting man I’d even put down some AoC Gold on you getting caught up if you gave it a try!

Anyway, I would have written something like this myself but… you know, it’s hard work.  Not exactly news, but an interesting series of three articles from TenTonHammer looking at the changes made to AoC one year after its somewhat disastrous launch. Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

But why take my word for it when you can judge for yourself without even spending a penny? Age of Conan free trials are back! Go! Go! Go! And might I recommend the Assassin or Conqueror classes for a good time!

To round out this posts AoC news, here’s a link to an interview did with Tim “Didek” Donks (stop snickering in the back). Donks is AoC’s PvP developer, and the interview covers primarily er, PvP.

Coming in 2012, World of Warcraft: The Movie: The Game. Couldn’t you just see Activision cashing in on that? Good thing Blizzard would (probably) never let them. Anyhoo, the hip hoppers at snagged what I believe is the first interview with Spiderman director Sam Raimi about his plans for the World of Warcraft movie. (Link-a-dink)

Turns out WoW: The Movie is being written by Saving Private Ryan scribe, Robert Rodat.

We want to be really faithful to the game… to the Horde and Alliance and the mythology that takes place in the game, and the archetypes that the game presents. I think we would try and find touchstones within the game to make it accurate and true and choose one or some of the lands that are portrayed in the game with as much accuracy and authenticity as possible.

But we would have our writer, Robert Rodat, really craft an original story within that world that feels like a “World of Warcraft adventure”. Only obviously it’s very different ’cause it’s expanded and translated into the world of a motion picture.

This all makes sense to me, I expect the WoW movie to be well, a movie primarily about war being waged, so it sort of makes sense that Rodat, who had such success fleshing out the characters of Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan against the backdrop of World War II, would be tapped for the job. If I’m totally honest though, I still find it hard to believe this will ever get made, I’d love to be proven wrong, but for some reason I can just see this all falling apart before critical mass is reached.

The other big piece of WoW news is that starting November 11th, 2009, Blizzard will require everyone who plays one of their games online to log in using a account. In truth we’ve known this was coming for a while, we just didn’t know when. A account is basically Blizzard’s version of the universal login you might find on Steam, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. If you’ve already switched to, or are an existing WoW player who switches over on the 11th, you’ll get a free penguin in-game pet.

Remember last week when I gave you a link to some janky, off-screen footage showing the first gameplay of CCP’s Eve Online follow up, the free-to-play MMOFPS, Dust 514? Well here’s a nice, direct feed trailer with the option of sparkling HD. It looks soooooo much more interesting now doesn’t it?

Most of you already know I’m a confessed Trekkie, and I’m looking forward to Star Trek Online, actually, I’d probably play it even if you had to draw your own space ships with a paper and pencil and roll dice to score phaser hits. Here’s something you probably didn’t know, I’d rather play STO on console, it’s just a personal thing. I have more than enough PC MMO’s and I’d like to see what a console MMO feels like (never tried Final Fantasy XI on 360).

Anyway, you can imagine my disappointment when I came across this interview with Eurogamer, wherein STO Executive Producer, Craig Zinkievich talks about the difficulties of bringing an MMO to console. Here’s a hint, they’re not technical in nature, and they’ve got a lot to do with the platform holders.

Alright folks, that’s all you get from me today, I’m off to see if I can break the 100 hour barrier in Oblivion (yes, I’m weaksauce, I know).


Tekken live action fan made trailer. So bad, but great martial arts.

Best promotional image ever released by an MMO company.