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Keeping Up With DCU Online

Aug 18, 2009

DCU Online has been one of the more hotly anticipated new batch of MMOs. Taking cues from City of Heroes and the upcoming Champions Online, DC and Sony Online Entertainment have added the characters and storylines of DC Comics’ (publishers of Batman, Superman and the megahit, Green Lantern-centric “Blackest Night” summer event) to massive superheroic gameplay.

This week, our friends at MMORPG.com sat down with Marv Wolfman – a longtime comics scribe responsible for the critically acclaimed relaunch of the Teen Titans in the 1980s and the classic miniseries Crisis On Infinite Earths. Wolfman is handling writing duties for DCU Online, contributing to a story laid out by fellow superstar creators Jim Lee and Geoff Johns.

One of the things that Wolfman reveals about the structure of the upcoming game is that, while the game deals with comic book storylines current and classic are referenced in the game, the players are still important to advancing the plot of the game. “Since it is an MMO and players mean something,” Wolfman says, “your interaction in that story will change the story.”

To read more of Carolyn Koh’s interview with Wolfman, click over to MMORPG.com; while you’re there, enter their sweepstakes to win one of five LapWorks Gamer’s Desks.

Blizzcon 09 Available On…Pay Per View?

Aug 18, 2009

Even as a WoW player, I can’t imagine why you’d want to watch Blizzcon (Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft developer Blizzard’s annual megaconference) on Pay Per View, but if you’re chomping at the bit to be in attendance and couldn’t nab a ticket, the option is available to you.

What I find very hard to resist, though, is the lure of a new in-game World of Warcraft pet: Grunty the Murloc Marine. I’m an in-game pet enthusiast, despite the fact that they don’t actually do anything (other than be adorable, as evidenced by the original game’s special edition panda cub pet). In 2005, Blizzard gave con attendees another Murloc pet, the envy-inspiring ‘dancing Murky’. Other confirmed goodie bag grabs include a Starcraft-themed vynil action figure and a Starcraft-themed Battle.net authenticator. All this despite Starcraft II’s recently announced delays.

The event, which is coming up on Friday, is set to include performances from recent Blizzard celebrity pitchman Ozzy Osbourne and Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, Blizzard’s in house rock band made up of current employees (and the musical force responsible for instant classics like “I Am Murloc,” “Power of the Horde,” and “Rogues Do It From Behind”).

The less metal-inclined can still find news and announcements about the next Blizzard products in the pipleine, most notably Diablo III and Starcraft II. The rumor mill is also churning out some rumors about the next WoW expansion (playable Wogren, the destruction of a major Horde city and some odd race/class combos like Night Elf Mages), but I put most of those in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category, right along with people wanting to lay down $40.00 to watch the con on TV.

Champions Online Opens Open Beta

Aug 17, 2009

Starting today and ending on August 24, Cryptic Studios (who was involved with the original superhero MMO – City of Heroes) opens up the beta for their September 1-launching MMO Champions Online, an online game based on the popular pen-and-paper HERO System role-playing game (like Dungeons and Dragons, but with super powers).

If you can’t make the open beta, but have pre-ordered the game, you can get in on the Early Start for the game on August 28.  If you haven’t pre-ordered, the game will be open to everybody on September 1, 2009.  The game has drawn some fire from the hardcore for its incorporation of microtransactions (pay as you go content) for vanity items that have no gameplay affect, but has drawn praise for its gameplay and its cel-shaded look.