MMO Round-Up: How the Big Names Are Competing with TOR’s Launch
With all eyes on the Old Republic, other MMOs have been having a hard time making headlines lately. Let’s turn our attention to five other big names in the MMO world and see what they’ve been doing in response to TOR’s launch. Are they competing for the spotlight, or bowing in submission?
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft has remained surprisingly quiet during TOR’s launch. Apart from some more Patch 4.3 hotfixes, which mainly contain nerfs to the difficulty of some dungeons and raids, WoW is letting TOR have its moment in the spotlight. Or, more likely, Blizzard is gathering intelligence and planning a surgical strike that will have former WoW players dropping their lightsabers and running back to suckle on the Lich King’s frozen teat.
Apart from the game world receiving a holiday makeover complete with snow, lights, and decorations, players have access to event-specific gear, pets, and mounts. The third and final phase of the celebration began yesterday, which I’m sure has more to do with Christmas being around the corner than TOR launching.
However, after WoW undercut Rift with its Cataclysm content, it would not surprise me if the developers are more than a little concerned about losing some more of their playerbase to TOR.
Apart from the Crucible 1.0.3 patch, EVE also saw a Mass Test this week, in which Time Dilation was tested and participants received two million skillpoints on Singularity. If that wasn’t enough, players have also been receiving https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=553324#post553324">Holiday Gifts through the redeeming system, as of December 22.
Because it’s so drastically different from other MMOs, EVE is in a unique position in which it doesn’t have to worry about losing players to any major competition. However, the thrill of space exploration is shared among sci-fi fans, and there are more than a few Star Wars fanatics among that group.
Lord of the Rings Online
Turbine knows how to throw a holiday party. LOTRO’s Yule Festival will see local holiday events in the Shire, Ered Luin and Bree-land, as well as the Festival-themed mini-area of Frostbluff, in which there will be a town-wide celebration. Holiday events include scavenger hunts, horse-racing, dancing, eating contest, plays, snowball fights, and themed quests like building snowmen.
The fact that this event began December 20 suggests it may have been targeted for TOR’s official launch. With LOTRO’s free-to-play business model, the opportunity to freely acquire premium items is something players have a hard time passing up, and the Yule Festival is dangling a juicy carrot.
The Season of Frostfell is upon EverQuest 2′s world, and the EQ2 Community Relations team will be celebrating with players on December 22 and 23 on five of the game’s servers. Goodies will be given out, of course — what’s a party without free loot? But the biggest news in the EQ2 world is the A Goddess Risen live event, which began December 15 and runs until February.
EverQuest 2 is the grizzled veteran of the MMO world; it’s seen better days, but it has weathered the storm of titles released over the past seven years and is still ticking. The Goddess Risen live event lines up perfectly well with TOR’s launch and 30 subscription-free days, if you include the preorder head start. I doubt this was a coincidence — I think the folks at Sony knew exactly what they were doing. After all, there is a reason EQ2 is still around today, and preventing your player base from turning to the competition is vital to survival.