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What's going on in the online realm of RPG's? Let us give you a quick rundown.
World of Warcraft is set to release the new 1.9 patch. The patch will include a new area called The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj and will be opened by a massive world event. There are also several new armor models coming out and WoW will now have linked auction houses so if you put an item on one, it's in all of them. For the PvP crowd, the multiple battleground queues will no doubt be one of the best additions with 1.9. You will be able to que up in multiple battlegrounds and be able to choose which you want to join. Paladins will also get a serious update in this patch. Find the rest of the patch details here.
Anarchy Online will now let you upgrade your account to include all the new expansions for just $9.95. If you like sci-fi game play, this might be your ticket since AO is free to play without the expansion packs. This game continues to get regular updates and content, so it very well could be worth a look. From what I've seen the graphics are sub-par unless you have the expansion packs, but if your looking for an online RPG quick fix till you can get some money again, this might be your game since it's free to play without them. Try it out here.
Guild Wars is sponsoring a $100,000 World Championship. This is an exciting development since it's now possible to win money through strategy competitions inside an MMORPG (excluding farmers, ebayers, etc.). You can read the updated rules here.
Eve Online has released it's Red Moon Rising update. The new features can be found here. This game has went largely under the news radar compared to World of Warcraft, but gets good reviews from players. Red Moon Rising is the second expansion for the space-based MMORPG.
Games Coming Soon
D&D Online has been through two stress tests and is supposed to release on February 28th. This game is looking really good. If you have some time, check out some of the screenshots. The beta should be previewing soon.
RF Online is one game that seems to break the trend of the usual MMORPG by mixing in some sci-fi with traditional fantasy play. This should prove to be an interesting game and is one of the most hyped games out there right now. It definitely seems worth the time to sign up for beta.
Age of Conan is another MMORPG that looks to break some rules. You will play the first 20 levels in single-player, then move to multiplayer. They are hoping this will improve the player experience by developing the story line without multiplayer interference. Age of Conan is set to release in the first half of 2006.
Dark and Light, already reviewed here will be adding more "settlers" in January for all who are signed up. This game aims to stay in the fantasy realm but take out all the nuisances of online play in a huge world like loading zones, travel, and a more realistic environment. The beta called "Settlers of Ganareth" is open every Thursday through Tuesday.
Planeshift trumps them all if your wallet (or lack thereof) is most important to you. This is a completely open-source MMORPG. Free download, free per month. I can't promise you'll get the same experience as World of Warcraft, but for a free game, the developers have done great work. It's been in development for years, and really seems to be picking up speed now. Download the newest version here.
Some of the most exciting MMORPG's released in 2006 will be coming out in the next few months. Make sure and sign up for all the beta's, and take a few minutes out of your World of Warcraft day to see what's on the horizon.