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Guild Wars Factions launch date I D&D Online's first expansion module I Bioware opens MMO Studio
WoW's stealth Stealth nerf, Instance nerfs I Quickies
MMORPGAMER
Issue #55 Power to the People March 15, 2006

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How ironic is it that someone who goes by the moniker "Powerlord" would have his column delayed by a power outage? Power was out here for 26 hours, and my cable Internet connection has been down since the power came back. Thank goodness for the college's computer lab!

It was pointed out to me that EverQuest had Alternate Advance points before WoW had Talent Points. While this is true, EverQuest 2 didn't add Achievement points until after I stopped playing, a considerable amount of time after World of Warcraft launched with such points already in place.


 Guild Wars Factions launch date

Guild Wars The first Guild Wars expansion, Guild Wars Factions, will launch on April 28, 2006. The expansion is currently available for pre-order, with a number of pre-order bonuses.

These bonuses include

  • Two keys for the Factions preview event on March 24
  • Two exclusive in-game items, related to the two new professions
  • Access to the expansion 24 hours before it's official launch
  • A tactical guide
  • A quick-reference card
  • A 14-day 10-hour trial for the original Guild Wars campaign
  • A CD with concept art, wallpapers, and in-game trailers

With the number of games NCSoft has done successfully, how did Turbine get the D&D and Lord of the Rings licenses?


 D&D Online's first expansion module*

D&D Online: Stormreach Less than a month after the game's launch, Turbine Entertainment has announced the first expansion module for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. Titled Dragon's Vault, the expansion module will add 15 dungeons and a new outdoor raid feature, focused on slaying a red dragon.

The price? Free to all D&D: Stormreach subscribers.

*Why do I keep using the term "expansion module?" It's a cross between the pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons term "module," and the MMO term "expansion." Both words mean approximately the same thing.


 Bioware opens MMO Studio

Bioware According to a press release earlier this week, Bioware, the creators of such games as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, and Baldur's Gate, announced that it is opening a new studio in Austin, Texas, USA.

Bioware Austin's first project is an as-yet-unnamed MMORPG. The development team will be lead by Richard Vogel and Gordon Walters. Richard Vogel is a former VP of development at SOE's Austin studio and former senior producer at Origin. Gordon Walton is a former executive producer at SOE and former VP/Executive Producer at Electronic Arts.


 WoW's stealth Stealth nerf, Instance nerfs

World of Warcraft In the 1.10 patch, now on World of Warcraft's public test realms, Stealth, Shadowmeld, and Prowl have had a major change. Before this patch, when casting a spell, using an ability, or using an item when stealthed would not break stealth until the timer ended. As of the 1.10 patch, it now breaks as soon as a spell, ability, or item is selected.

This change does not appear in the Test Realm Patch Notes, but has been confirmed as "working as intended" by Blizzard QA staff member Seismics, on Blizzard's official US WoW forums.

Players affected by this change are:

  1. Rogues using mounts or hearthstones.
  2. Night Elves using any abilities, spells, mounts, or hearthstones.

Druids in cat form are largely unaffected, as they can not use items, and no cat form abilities have timers.

In addition to the Stealth nerf, Blizzard has also lowered the instance caps for Black Rock Depths, Scholomance, and Stratholme to 5 players, as well as lowering Black Rock Spire to 10 players.

The stealth change doesn't really bother me, but I hate the changes to these instance caps. These dungeons can be difficult even at their current caps. Lowering them all by 5 players makes these dungeons that much harder. These four dungeons plus Dire Maul are the first five "end game" dungeons that you see, and should have their difficulty weighted accordingly.


 Quickies

Here's the news that doesn't really have enough info to have its own section.

  • Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach is being brought to Japan. Sakura Internet, Inc. is responsible for localization and distribution.
  • Puppetmaster has been confirmed as a new class in FFXI's Treasures of Aht'Urghan expansion.

 Log Out

Knowing my luck, the cable turned on as soon as I left home. I'll find out, as soon as I finish up this homework.

I am working on a new look for the MMORPGamer archives, based on The Saving Throw's archive template. I'm still working some bugs out of it, so you might see it next week. After that, I'm going to work on the main MMORPGamer column.

I've been considering opening a small section called "Ask the Readers," where I ask you a question, and you send me your response. Should we try it? Let me know.

May your blades never dull,
Ross "Powerlord" Bemrose

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