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It's December 1st, that means some people are already talking about Christmas, and video game developers are no exception. In this week's MMO Report Casey's back to tell you about Minecraft's staggering statistics, Firefall's delicate class balance, Rift's holiday celebration, and asks about your gaming memories in Uncle Casey's Mail Bag. Now bundle up, press play, and enjoy these short six minutes before your mother asks you for your holiday wish list.

The MMO Report: Thursday, December 1st »


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World of Warcraft Content Patch 4.3

The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm patch 4.3, Hour of Twilight is the one we've all been waiting for. It introduces new dungeon content, a raid finder, transmogrification, void storage, new achievements, class changes, an updated Darkmoon Faire, and of course, the long awaited Dragon Soul raid where the legendary Deathwing Encounter will take place. With the help of MMO-Champion we've digested all of the information for you in this handy guide, but first check out this footage from Patch 4.3 featuring all of the awesome content that awaits you.

World of Warcraft Hour of Twilight Gameplay Video »


Be sure to check after the jump for our breakdown on all of the great additions coming to World of Warcraft in patch 4.3.

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There's been a lot of talk about all the hours of voice acting Star Wars: The Old Republic had to record for their game, but there are a few other MMOs with just as much vocalization. Guild Wars 2 has been recording voice-over for the past 3 years and they're just now approaching the finish line. On this very special Thanksgiving edition of The MMO Report Casey Schreiner will part the curtain and show you what it takes to voice a cast of thousands for one of the most anticipated MMOs, while simultaneously trying to shoehorn himself into the game. Happy Turkey Day!

The MMO Report: Guild Wars 2 Voice Over Special »

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Blizzard has a new World of Warcraft ad out featuring Chuck Norris and a tiger. Following the vein of the Mister T Night Elf Mohawk campaign, this commercial shows off Norris' WoW character and explains why there are 10 million people still playing WoW. If you're wondering, it's because Chuck Norris allows them to live.
 



World of Warcraft is free-to-play up until level 20, and you can download it now at Warcraft.com.

MechWarrior Online To Use Crysis 2 Game Engine

Piranha Games is getting set to revive the MechWarrior brand with its upcoming MMO MechWarrior Online. Only recently revealed to be using a free-to-play pricing model, the developer aims to get gamers interested in beating up giant, customized robot suits with other giant, customized robot suits. Now Piranha confirms in a press release that you'll be doing said robot suit-fighting in style, as the game will be powered by Crytek's CryEngine 3.

It's the same engine that powered Crysis 2, released earlier in 2011. That game came to consoles in a pretty unpolished state, but anyone with a PC powerful enough to handle higher settings can attest to the power of CryEngine 3. Piranha sees an opportunity here to deliver an F2P MMO that feels like a AAA gaming experience.

Assuming development proceeds on schedule, we'll find out in summer 2012.

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 Happy Thirsty Thursday everyone! It's time for this week's edition of The MMO Report. Today Casey will tell you about Everquest II going free to play, how World of Warcraft can lose subscribers but still continue to make even more money, and announce the winners of our MMO Report Drinking Game Contest in Uncle Casey's Mail Bag! Now grab your favorite beverage and drink up!

The MMO Report: Thursday, November 17th »


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Star Wars: The Old Republic Jedi Consular Guide: The Force Is Strong With This Guide

The next Star Wars: The Old Republic beta weekend will be November 25-28. Happy Thanksgiving, from BioWare. According to the developer, this will be the largest Beta Testing Weekend yet, and it's specifically designed to help them stress test the servers in preparation for the launch of the game on December 20.

If you didn't procrastinate in signing up for the beta, then you're in luck as anyone who signed up for the SW:TOR Game Testing Program prior to November 11 will get invited automatically.

Are you going to be participating in the Nov 25-28 SW: TOR beta weekend? What kind of character are you going to make?



DC Universe Online Adds The Deadly Double Cross Update

If DC Universe Online suddenly seems a lot more appealing to you since embracing a free-to-play pricing model, then you'll be happy to hear that the game has been updated with a new content pack, called The Deadly Double Cross. The third and final release in the game's Fortress of Solitude raid series picks up where the last one left off, with General Zod having betrayed you and taken over Superman's arctic hideout.

The pack sees Supes teaming with Lex Luthor -- and, similarly, heroes teaming with villains -- to fight the Kryptonian criminal and his allies Non and Ursa. The update also adds new Kryptonian gear for you to play and shoot things with. DCUO newcomers also take note: the update is free for all players, subscribers or otherwise.


EverQuest 2 Goes Free-To-Play After 7 Years

The grandfather of MMOs, EverQuest 2 is going free-to-play sometime in December after a 7-year long run as one of the most popular RPGs on the market. After speaking with an enthusiastic Dave Georgeson, Executive Producer of EQ2, it seems that the transition will be a fantastic one all around and that longtime EQ2 players will especially be pleased with the move over to free-to-play.

"Part of caring for our customers is listening to you and hearing what you have to say," Georgeson said in an open letter to the EQ2 community. "Additionally, we need to be aware of changes in the industry, changes in player expectations, and larger economic trends in general."

With the move to FTP, Sony Online Entertainment expects that EQ2 will see a huge surge of players join the game. With more people playing, everyone benefits. The move also introduces payment flexibility, allowing you to pay how much you want, when you want to. On the dev side, by merging EQ2: Extended and EQ2 together, SOE will only have to focus on one game instead of two.

"We believe the key to meeting your expectations is to provide more flexibility and to deliver what you want when you want it, whether it's basic game content, full subscription access to the game, or something in-between," said Georgeson.

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DC Universe Online Shows Off Green Arrow In Latest Screens

While we thought it was impressive that DC Universe Online picked up 120,000 new users when it went free-to-play, we're even more blown away now that SOE has announced that the MMO has registered a staggering 1 million new players since its free-to-play transition.

"DC Universe Online's transition to free-to-play has been welcomed by the community and gamers with heroic enthusiasm. In just one week alone, 1 million new players have joined DCUO with a 50/50 split between PC and PS3," said Lorin Jameson, Executive Director of Development, SOE Austin.

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Star Trek Online

Cryptic Studios announced earlier this year that it would be turning Star Trek Online into a free-to-play MMO at some point in 2011, but that timetable has now been pushed back into 2012. January 17, 2012. That's the day Trek goes F2P, Cryptic now confirms.

You can get the details on how the new pricing structure will work on Cryptic's website, but I'll explain it here. The no-cost Silver membership gives you full access to the game but limited community and support features. Gold membership costs $15 per month and includes things like in-game chat as well as extra character slots and inventory space, veteran rewards and priority login on the game's servers.

Source: Star Trek Online website

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It's Thursday, and before you get in line for the midnight launch of Skyrim, why not find out what's going on in the world of MMOs. This week Casey discusses DC Universe Online's successful move to free-to-play, information on Star Wars: The Old Republic's servers, and then he takes a page from the FBI in WTF Second Life. Now go enjoy your last night of freedom and say goodbye to your friends and family. 

The MMO Report: Thursday, November 10th »


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Mists of Pandaria Overview: What You Need To Know About The New World Of Warcraft Expansion

World of Warcraft has had a pretty good run. The Blizzard MMO that launched in 2004 today still boasts more than 10 million subscribers today. Keep that in mind as you process the following news: Activision revealed during yesterday's third-quarter investor's call that the game's subscriber base has dipped by 800,000 over the past three months (via gamesindustry.biz), from 11.1 million to 10.3 million.

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said that the lost subscribers are largely in China, adding that the game continues to stand as "one of the most popular" in that country. He admitted that the game could stand to see a few improvements, though the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion is "really not intended to go out and drive new user acquisition." 

WoW is certainly in no danger of disappearing, and we'll probably see those subscriptions jump back up when the new content pack is released. That said, with Star Wars: The Old Republic just weeks away, it's hard not to wonder what the potent combination of Star Wars, BioWare and MMO might do to the WoW user base in 2012.

Source: gamesindustry.biz



Rift's been out for 8 months and has found quite a loyal following. Part of the reason their fans love the game so much is that Trion has been putting out content updates consistently. Their next patch, 1.6, is the largest to date and adds a new zone, new dungeon, new raid, and tons of additions to their already stellar gameplay. On this week's MMO Report we get a first look at the Ember Isle and find out what the future holds for Telara and the thousands of Rift players out there.

For more info on the update, including a guided tour by Rift Producer Adam Gershowitz, you can check out our Rift Update 1.6 preview.

The MMO Report: Rift Patch 1.6 Special »


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DC: Universe Online has gone free-to-play and has attracted a few new fans in the process. The DC superhero MMO ditched its subscription model on Monday and has since earned 120,000 new users. SOE president, John Smedley tweeted,"wow. Over 120k PC registrations in 2 days for DCUO PC. 4x concurrent increase. Big TV and online campaign coming later in November."

DC Universe Online Free-To-Play Preview »


Have you checked out DC:UO since it became free-to-play?

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