DC Universe Online is going free to play next month

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Sony Online Entertainment have told IGN that DC Universe Online is going free to play in October, which is great news for anyone tempted by the prospect of a flashy, accessible superhero RPG that makes excellent use of the world of DC Comics.

It's good news, too, for DC Universe Online players, who have suffered at launch from the hacker attacks that closed Sony Online Entertainment's servers for a while earlier this year. Can the free to play shift reinvigorate the plucky young superhero MMO? Read on for more on the pricing system, and Sony's reasons for making DCUO free to play.

World of Darkness: a new vampire MMO from the creators of EVE Online

Tom Senior at

Eve Online creators CCP have revealed more about their sinister MMO, World of Darkness. It's all about being a vampire. It's based on the World of Darkness pen and paper RPG system developed by White Wolf, who CCP merged with back in '06. The same system behind Troika's flawed by brilliant RPG, Vampire: The Masquerade.

Massively have some fresh news from the White Wolf Grand Masquerade event that took place this weekend. Like Eve Online, the whole game will take place at night on a single server. You'll start out as a mortal, and will have to make the choice whether or not to become a vampire for the duration of your existence. Ironically, In a game about achieving immortality as a monster of the night, you will be able to die permanently.

Runescape Classic opens today for the last time

Tom Senior at

Jagex throw open the doors to Runescape Classic for the final time today. Classic takes players all the way back to 2004, a few years after launch, just before it received a huge revamp and upgraded to Runescape 2. Players can log on now for to enjoy the nostalgia of those ancient graphics, reflect on how far Runescape has come in the last ten years, and most importantly, get a free hood and cape!

Co-founder of Jagex, Paul Gower has answered a few of our questions about Runescape Classic, and Jagex have sent over a few screenshots that show the enormous difference between Runescape of old, and today's much prettier incarnation.

Guild Wars 2 trailer and screenshots show off the Asura

Tom Senior at

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The Asura are the tiniest of Guild Wars 2's races, and the most likely to frolic around the place making merriment. They seem to live in a giant stone Rubik's Cube held together by magic and giggles. They do demand some respect, however, on account of their exceptional intelligence, engineering talent and tendency to roll around battlefields in giant magical mech suits with golem companions.

They've got quite a torrid history, too, detailed in the updated Asura page on the Guild Wars 2 website. The Asura used to live underground, until they accidentally burrowed into the home of an Elder Dragon champion known as The Great Destroyer. That did not end well. Now they live in gravity-warping palaces that hang above the planet and use their high-tech portals to travel from land to land.

ArenaNet reveal more about how they set about creating the Asura's extraordinary homelands in their Asura environments blog post. You can see how the concept art turned out in the five screenshots below, which also show some of their pleasingly stompy magical golems.

Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard screenshots show new zones and great dragon

Tom Senior at

The Rise of Isengard expansion will add three new zones to Lord of the Rings Online in just two weeks time, including the rugged highlands of Dunland, the Gap of Rohan and Isengard itself. The level cap will rise to 75, new gear will be added and there will be a new raid to take down the "ancient evil of Draigoch," one of the last great dragons of middle earth. He's mean, he's got a beard, and it'll take a team of up to 24 players to take him down.

You'll find a screenshot of Draigoth from Massively below, along with eight new screenshots showing fighting bears Wargs, some smarmy but delectable golden armour and a man trying to hide inside some brackets. Rise of Isengard is out on September 27.

World of Battleships classes revealed, aircraft carriers confirmed

Tom Senior at

Aircraft Carriers are some of the biggest and most expensive ships to build, maintain and protect. There are only 20 of them on Earth. Their ability to launch fighters, bombers and reconnaissance jets from an enormous range lets them dominate a battlefield. They can win wars. In World of Battleships, you get to be one.

Blizzard three year schedule reveals plans for two World of Warcraft expansions

Tom Hatfield at

Gamespot bring us some news from the Citi Technology conference, where Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tippl has said that Blizzard will be producing six "proven property" games/expansions over the next three years.

The announcement reveals plans for two more World of Warcraft expansions over the three years. Could one of these be the Mists of Pandaren expansion we've previously heard rumours of? In addition, the first expansion to Diablo 3 will be expected by the end of 2014. The two planned Starcaft 2 expansions, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void, are expected in the same period.

By choosing to refer only to 'proven properties' Blizzard have left the door open for a new 'unproven property' to be released in that same period, such as the long rumoured Project Titan.

Star Wars: The Old Republic European beta testing delayed

Tom Senior at

Beta key holders in Europe will have to wait just a little longer to get access to the Star Wars: The Old Republic beta. In a forum post spotted on Eurogamer, community manager Chris Collins explains that beta invites have been delayed because of the imminent release of a major update to the game client.

Star Trek Online free to play features detailed

Tom Senior at

We mentioned last week that Star Trek Online will be free to play before the year is out. Cryptic have just released more information about exactly what free players will and won't have access to.

All missions, levels and zones will be available to free players, including daily quests and missions created by paying members using the Star Trek Online Foundry creation tools. The Foundry will be off limits unless you upgrade to gold membership by paying a monthly subscription of $14.99, this will also give you access to more bridge officer slots, the ability to join a guild, unlimited use of in-game chat and email features, and a monthly wage of 400 Promotional Points to spend in the item store.

The full list of features that will be available to non-paying players and subscribers can be found on the new free to play section of the Star Trek Online site.

Runescape Citadel update hands-on: floating castles, player-made PvP and The Abomination

Tom Senior at

The flurry of online games dropping their subscription fees over the last year or so might make the free-to-play model seem like a fresh new trend in PC gaming, but it's nothing that Jagex haven't done before, way back in 2001, with their browser-based MMO, Runescape. With relatively low-fi graphics and low marketing profile it's easy to forget how quietly huge it is. With 130 million unique users since its launch, Runescape is one of the most popular MMOs in the world and The Citadel update is the most ambitious update in the game's ten year history.

The new additions plan to build on the update that added clan support earlier this year. Citadels are huge floating castles, created to give clans their own place to hang out, make use of private facilities, take votes in the senate hall and hatch plots in private tents. I travelled to Jagex HQ in Cambridge to see what else had been added, and found that the best was yet to come. Within these floating islands, clans can create their own battle arenas, with custom rules and layouts, and then invite other Clans into their custom deathtraps to do battle, have a race or kick back and play a little chess.

Star Wars: The Old Republic video shows part one of the Eternity Vault raid

Tom Senior at

A while back, Bioware released a two minute teaser trailer of The Old Republic's Eternity Vault mission, giving us a glimpse of their top tier raid content. Now CVG have spotted the video above, a proper ten minute walkthrough that skims over the first stage of the quest in which players must shut down a 20,000 year old vault full of chocolate and puppies horrible unimaginable things to save the universe. After an introduction explaining the whole 'broken vault, ancient evil loose' deal, players are thrown off a burning ship into a hostile icy wilderness, where they must race to the gates of the vault before it's too late.

We recently spoke to Bioware about The Old Republic's accessible raids. They told us they're trying to take loot grinding requirements out of their top tier raid content, and ensure that all raiders get rewards for their efforts. What do you think, has the footage above inspired you to give TOR a crack?

Guild Wars 2 will let players host their own PvP arenas

Richard Cobbett at

That's according to, which caught up with the developers over PAX. No real details are available on exactly what form these will take, thought reports the plan is "for players to be able to create and host their own servers or games with specific rule-sets". The obvious is for would be arena and PvP matches, but there's no reason it couldn't extend to other modes too.

These servers are unlikely to be player-hosted dedicated servers though, with simply allowing groups to claim and configure an instance much more likely - and while a full on supported modding community would be incredible, it's far more likely that your management will be about selecting presets and locking strangers out with a password. With ArenaNet in charge though, nothing is certain...

Star Wars Galaxies to end with epic player-driven final battle between good and evil

Richard Cobbett at

It's always sad when an MMO closes down, but there's often a good side to it: amazing end-of-game events. Star Wars Galaxies is going out with a bigger bang then most, with September 15th kicking off an all-out civil war between Empire and Rebels. For the next three months, both sides will be gathering points, which will be tallied up at some point on December 15th. Winners will be given a glorious celebration in honour of their victory. The entire losing faction will be fed to the Sarlacc.

The Secret World opens for beta registration

Richard Cobbett at

Funcom's please-oh-please-let-it-be-good conspiracy MMO The Secret World isn't open for business yet, but you can sign up to be in the first wave (no relation to the rubbish Nostradamus vs. Aliens rubbish from 1998) of beta. So far, so standard. There's a neat twist to this one though in that signing up isn't just a case of putting your e-mail address into a form. First, you have to choose which of the three major secret societies to join - the shadowy Dragon, shadowier Templars or shadowiest Illuminati - either by clicking on one like a boring person, or taking a quick personality test to assign your allegiance.

Bioware's co-founder on Star Wars: The Old Republic and Dragon Age 3

Tom Senior at

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We spoke to Bioware co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka at Gamescom this year about Bioware's impressive lineup of upcoming games. He says that the studio are currently "testing the crap" out of Star Wars: The Old Republic, trying to squash every bug and glitch that they can find in TOR's enormous world before it's eventually released. He also talks about the polarising effect of Dragon Age 2, and how Dragon Age 3 plans to marry the best elements of the first two games into something that attempt to please both sets of fans.

Bioware: Origin won't hurt The Old Republic

Richard Cobbett at

...whether or not you actually want to buy it from EA's new Steam rival or not. At retail, players will have a choice of stores to choose from, but online, The Old Republic will be available exclusively on Origin. At Gamescom we caught up with Bioware creative officer Dr. Greg Zeschuk, and asked him whether The Old Republic's Origin exclusive status would have a negative effect on the game.

"Once you get into the digital space it’s pretty easy to get stuff," says Dr. Greg. " I don’t think packaging it on Origin is going to hurt it in any way - we’ll have such reach and demand that I think it’ll be fine. Our experience of working with Origin is that it’s actually pretty slick and works well. I wouldn’t say it’s totally a commodity to sell digitally but you know that’s an element of it, to create that digital download experience."

Star Wars: The Old Republic's accessible raids: rewards for all, no gear grinding required

Tom Senior at

Bioware have been showing off Star Wars: The Old Republic's high level Eternity Vault raid at Gamescom this week. We spoke to them recently about their approach to The Old Republic's endgame. One theme emerged loud and clear: accessibility.

That means high level players won't need to go grinding for an extra tier of armour to jump into a raid. It means a rewards system that gives loot to every member of a group. It means raid groups won't be punished should a player need to leave in the middle of a mission, and boss fights will revolve around intuitive visual cues instead of combat logs and ability icons.

World of Warcraft patch 4.3 to add Deathwing raid, Transmogrifier and Void Storage. Real ID party system now live

Tom Senior at

World of Warcraft lead developer Tom Chilton has been talking to about the contents of WoW's next big patch. MMO Champion spotted the article, which confirms that patch 4.3 will add the long awaited Deathwing raid, as well as a couple of intriguing new NPC vendors.

Guild Wars 2 trailer shows sea dragon, huge robot, shouty giant

Tom Hatfield at

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The new Guild Wars 2 trailer may start out slow, but don't let it fool you. At around the two minute mark a bloody great dragon jumps out of the sea, then the epic score kicks in and and the real action begins. There's some satisfyingly physical combat on show, along with some of the enormous bosses they mentioned before. In addition to the sea dragon there's a gigantic steampunk robot who fires eye beams and a massive, stompy giant who bellows in the faces of the party in a true brown trousers moment.

Plus there's airships, classical music and someone firing two pistols in slow motion. What more could you possibly ask for? Check out our preview to learn more.

Wildstar trailer has robot swarms and plant dragon

Tom Senior at

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Carbine are revealing their gorgeous new MMO at Gamescom this week. You can get the first details from our Wildstar preview, or check out the beautiful illustrated art style in the first Wildstar trailer above. It contains a good lesson for would-be adventurers. Don't touch the "dormant" giant robot, even if you really, really want to.