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That's So MMO!: Love Thy Companion

12:00 PM on 09.24.2011 // David Moore

Hail, movers & shakers and welcome to another loot-filled bag o’ massively multiplayer madness. Let’s set those important delivery quests and faction grinds aside for a brief moment and get right down to it!

“Screw your crew” In addition to the just-revealed announcement of a release date of December 20th for N. America and December 22nd for Europe, BioWare has announced a major overhaul of the Companion Character system for Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s long been known that players will have access to five NPC crew members to help with missions and crafting and offer up rich story options. This week BioWare unveiled extensive cosmetic customization options and news that companions now level up, unlock skills of their own and can be given specific class roles; healer, ranged DPS, tank, etc. Companion AI will also be customizable much like party members in the company’s Dragon Age series.

It was also recently confirmed that in addition to opposite-sex romance options with companions, same-gender love storylines will be forthcoming post-launch. Whatever’s next? If these virtual buddies could order me a pizza and give me the occasional sponge bath I’d never have need to log-out. I’m onto you, BioWare!

 

“Die, Deathwing! Die!” The impending Patch 4.3 for World of Warcraft is looking even meatier than previously thought. In a series of interviews, Blizzard’s Greg Street has revealed three new five-player dungeons which culminate in an epic final battle with Cataclysm’s big baddie, Deathwing. On top of the previously unveiled armor Transmogrification system and Void Storage options, Street also described a new pair of “Legendary” Rogue daggers and a “Raid Finder.” The Lead Systems Designer also hinted that the next WoW expansion may be arriving sooner than anyone suspects. Blizzard vs. BioWare -- Fight!

 

“Dead. And loving it!” New details have come to light for CCP’s World of Darkness following a developer panel at the Grand Masquerade event in New Orleans. Looks like the long-in-development and still largely unknown game will feature a single server for all players, “Perma-Death” for human and vampire characters and adult content like nudity and buckets of blood. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one!

 

“Gratis Lantern” Citing the success Free Realms, DC Universe Online executive producer Lorin Jameson says an October conversion to free-to-play for the superhero MMO is due to customer demand, not lackluster sales. Jameson stated “This is the right business model. If I can be honest, the game ended up costing a lot more than we thought it would, and this was our preferred business model from day one.” Heroic honesty? Super!

 

“Wing Ding” NCsoft’s Aion is two years young this week and kicking off a 10-day party with a reactivation of old accounts, an Ascension Festival offering fun prizes and funny hats, increased XP and accelerated loot drop rates. Pretty fly!

 

“Radiation celebration” Post-apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth is also celebrating its two year anniversary. Despite a recent change of ownership from Icarus Studios to GamersFirst, FE is still kicking at the radioactive dust of a virtual Arizona and offering up free-to-play service beginning October 12th. Rad!

 

Salem it ain't so! Paradox Interactive has announced a delay into mid-2012 for “fantastical” 17th-century America MMO Salem. In spite of the set back, developers Seatribe will be showing off the Old World sandbox game via a live-stream demo on September 27th. Pretty high tech for a game featuring a cast of paranoid colonials!

 

That’s going to chop the head off the undead werebear for this time around persistent playmates. Keep those corpse runs to a minimum and keep it logged in. KK? GL!

 

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David Moore has run the site gamebunny.com for the past ten years and co-runs torwars.com, a site focused on all things Star Wars: The Old Republic.




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