Weekly News Roundup: Year in Review Edition
By Joshua Temblett (Dontkillmydreams), OnRPG Journalist
This year has been one full of new announcements, new game releases and new expansions. Perhaps you missed out on some of this news? Don’t worry, as once again I’ve got you’ve covered (I’ve always got your back, remember that), with this coverage of all of the big news stories of this year! Let’s dive right in shall we?
Big News Stories of 2009
Final Fantasy XIV: Announcement
As soon as I saw it, I knew Square Enix’s new MMORPG, originally titled Rapture, would be bigger and better than the rest. Rapture was “announced” way back in May 2005, when one of the lead developers of Final Fantasy XI revealed that they were working on a new online RPG that would be for the Xbox 360 and PC. A year later it was announced that it would also be for the PS3.
Come E3 2009, Rapture (now known as Final Fantasy XIV) was officially revealed to the world as a PS3 “exclusive” that would also be on the PC. Of course this is a lie, the game will be on the Xbox 360 albeit a little bit later as the engine Final Fantasy XIV is being made with, the Crystal Tools, has been developed from the ground up to be compatible with all next generation consoles, and the PC.
Anyway, back to what I was talking about, Final Fantasy XIV was successfully announced to the audience of E3 at Sony’s Press Conference. Here’s the official FFXIV trailer.
News is coming out constantly for this new game! Not only had that but recently Square Enix released the closed beta application, allowing anyone who’s interested to apply for the game and (hopefully) get into the beta. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this MMORPG.
Guild Wars 2: Announcement
I could ramble on for ages and ages about this announcement. But really, why bother? I know and you know, heck everybody knows, that Guild Wars 2 is going to rock the world. The first Guild Wars game was not only a beautiful piece of storytelling and entertainment, but also brilliantly designed and recognised.
On March 27th 2007, Guild Wars 2 was announced to the public alongside the Guild Wars expansion Eye of the North. Since that wonderful day information about the next game in this successful series has been sparse.
Then this year, ArenaNet decided that they would surprise us and by showing off what they’ve been working on and what we can expect from Guild Wars 2. Jaws dropped, people cheered and babies were born! This is the surprise trailer that shocked everyone! The question is, will this game be released in 2010? Well basically, no probably not. However we can expect to hear much more news and hopefully some information about a beta or two.
Tabula Rasa: Server Shutdown
Unfortunately not all of the news this year has been sunshine and roses. Tabula Rasa, one of NC Soft’s MMORPGs, had its servers shut down this year. Whilst it had been hinted at for a while by the company, no one ever really expected for it to actually happen.
Before Tabula Rasa was released, it was stuck in development hell as designs and concepts with regards to the game constantly changed. The game was eventually released in 2007, however it wasn’t without its problems. The game never really managed to recover from its rocky start and, with a constant decrease in players, was always doomed for failure.
On February 28th the game servers were shut down and Tabula Rasa’s story came to a close. Rest in peace Tabula Rasa, we’ll always remember you.
Dungeon Runners: Down and Out
Yet another game bites the dust. On January 1st 2010 Dungeon Runners, NC Soft’s free-to-play MMORPG, silently disappeared from the world. I played this MMO quite a bit, and I always thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s unfortunate that such a great game had to leave us. Rest in peace Dungeons Runners, we’ll always remember you.
The Matrix: Pulled the Plug
The Matrix Online, what an interesting MMORPG that was. Thankfully this often buggy MMO went out with a huge bang with incredibly successful, and fun, end event content. Whilst it didn’t live a glorious life, it was with us for a very long period of time and the game will always be remembered.
Dungeons and Dragons: Goes Free-to-Play
After a decrease in player base, this Pay-to-Play MMORPG changed to Free-to-Play in an effort to get more gamers on its servers and more money in the developers pockets. Well it worked!! The game is running perfectly with an increase in player base, media attention and profit. Dungeons and Dragons has received good reviews and has generally had a lot of positive feedback from both gamers and journalists alike.
Whilst the move from Pay-To-Play to Free-To-Play is not one that many MMORPGs take, Dungeons and Dragons showed us that it could be done for dying MMOs . Hopefully in the future we will see more P2P games follow this example instead of just being shut down for good when they face a loss in their player base.
Time is money, friend!
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Annoucement
This year, Blizzard announced a new expansion for their highly successful MMORPG World of Warcraft. This new set of content is bigger and better than anything Blizzard has ever done before, as they reconstruct the game world to fit in with the new expansion’s storyline and to give a change for all the long-term players.
This new expansion is very important for the MMORPG industry as it shows how you can mix up an old game and make it that much more interesting for your player base. I don’t need to wish this expansion good luck, as let’s just face it; it will sell by the bucket-load anyway.
Aion: Game Release
This year saw the release of Aion, a highly-anticipated Korean MMORPG that used the beautiful Crysis engine to render its vast world. Unfortunately, there was so much hype surrounding it that the game no doubt disappointed a few who had set their hopes too high. Nonetheless, the game went on to break MMORPG pre-order sales and is doing very well to this day. Keep it up NC Soft, and keep looking after your community!
Visually Stunning Aion
Champions Online: Release
Although this superhero MMORPG opened to a lot of controversy as the developers decided to release a patch completely changing the gameplay mechanics on the day of release, Champions Online still managed to be commercially successful.
With an excellent character customisation tool and some very stylised graphics and gameplay to match, this game rose to the top and offered something unique to those who had gotten bored of the status quo MMORPG gameplay. Whilst not without its flaws, Champions Online is still a great MMO and hopefully we’ll see many great things from it in the future. Maybe this year we’ll see the release of the Xbox 360 version.
Fallen Earth: Game Release
The big profile game releases just kept on coming this year! After a long beta period, this Apocalypse MMORPG launched to a world of eager gamers. Whilst there’s a somewhat steep learning curve, the game is solid and has successfully managed to capture many gamer’s hearts.
That’s a wrap!!
So that’s a look at the biggest news stories with regard to MMORPGs in 2009. Hopefully 2010 will bring us much more news, many more games and a lot more surprises. I’ll see you this Tuesday as we go back to the normal format and give you the best MMORPG weekly news round-up available on the web. I hope you’re having a wonderful new year and if you live in England and parts of Europe, I hope you’re enjoying the lovely snowfall. I look forward to seeing you next time!