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DotMMO Roundup: Blizzcon 2011, New Releases and More

Sara Lau
Oct 26,2011  07:10 by
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The gaming world stayed alive as usual in recent weeks, with the celebrated Blizzcon 2011 event and many new games onstage. Still in the heat of passion, it’s high time for us to sum-up the active headliners, good and bad, which have in one way or another come into public, crying for attention. We will brief you on them under four sub-titles below; and if interested, you can always access to more detailed previews by clicking the links.

1,  Blizzcon 2011

BlizzCon 2011 has just drawn the curtain in the Anaheim Convention Center after its two-day events held in October 21st and 22nd. At the game carnival, Blizzard Entertainment feasted attendants with a wide range of activities, ranging from hands-on gameplay to panel discussion and to contests of different type. And what drew most attention, of all, are: WOW: Mists of Pandaria, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. In the following, we will take a brief look at these three stars.

Mists of Pandaria, the fourth expansion of World of Warcraft, was officially announced at BlizzCon 2011. Following the previous episodes around the feud between the Alliance and Horde, the new expansion hereby continues to spin around the warfare theme and only shifts the battleground into the ancient Chinese realm of Pandaria.

Against the new setting, it surely introduces new features to go with it: new class Monk, new race Pandaren and new talent Calculator. Core gaming mechanics is still of high quality, only under the cover of a new set of eastern graphics reminiscent of Kung fu Panda. Successive to the giant WOW, it’s expectedly acclaimed with good reason. Yet it also stirs up controversy in several in-game designs, with final says leaving to players.

Diablo 3 returns as the third installment of the popular franchise. Still set in the dark fantasy world of Sanctuary, the new expansion will continue to provide players with hack-and-slash actions, dungeon crawl designs and other typical Diablo features, only with more polish. To speak nothing about the graphics or sound effects, its core gameplay is diversified and rich enough to look at: five available classes are effortfully designed for both genders; varied combat modes are on offer to enable players to play Single Player, Cooperative or PvP; and the Hardcore characters that can be permanently dead if killed are offered too.

Starcraft 2, a sequal to the popular RTS game StarCraft, is set to be a trilogy. Divided into three campaigns, it will gradually promote them under sub-titles of Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void in chronical order. Each will have 30 or so missions and a final ending, with patches continuously updated to perfect it. Right now it has moved on to its second episode and released some information at Blizzcon.

2 , MMORPG

In the category of MMO, we focally direct our attention to two blockbusters: one is Mists of Pandaria already mentioned above, and the other is the Star Wars: the Old Republic by BioWare.

Star Wars: the Old Republic has just entered the closed beta testing recently. Much-publicized as it is even before the alpha test, it naturally makes a stir and claims great attention among anticipating gamers now. Equal to the hype created around it, the game has quite a lot to offer: an engaging back story based on the popular Star Wars films, in-depth class system, unique droid Companion design, sound-supported quests featuring full dubbing of dialogues, challenging instances requiring group cooperation, vast map to explore, and so on and so forth. As a game defies easy summary, it simply has what it takes to be the next hit in years to run.

3, Browser Games

Heroes of Myth simply repels pleasure. Against a sterile back story, the game seems solely reliant on the text-driven quests, which is loaded with lots of monotonous dialogues. Just leave them unread and blind clicks will get you through the no-brainer tasks. Available classes are numbered to three types; combat is automatic; and limited animation is so repulsive that it’s better without it. Graphics, repetitive though, show good artwork and fairly polished, which seems like the only shining point out of a crap.

Millionaire Legend is the adapted english version of an original Chinese game that is run on Renren(a social website similar to Facebook). It is just like Business Tycoon Online and Richstate: its whole gameplay is around business-related activities. In it, players choose from four industries, set up a company, hire employees, conduct business negotiation, buy and sell, and so on. Except superficial changes like the name and style of buildings, there is nothing new.

Dragon Slayer is originally a Chinese game developed by Oak Pacific Games. Featuring 2D turn-based combat, the core game is around action of slaying mini monsters of all species, including the mysterious dragons of course. Depite the seemingly new graphic and storyline, the game in the essence is no different from Neverland Online.

Call of Thrones, the English version of a Chinese game, is just around the corner now. Supported by the Direct3 plug-in, it is much-publicized as the first full-3D Chinese web game. Set in the Three Kingdoms period, it features fictional wars among Wei, Shu and Wu states. In-game avatars is customizable yet their looks is not desirable; battles are turn-based with manual and automatic modes to switch; and fighting pace is dragged down by the slow animation that is not able to skip. Also, browser-based as it is, it requires the download of a mini-client before playing.

Warspire is your very game if you are keen on PvP battles. Although it is a follow-up of another RTS titled SAGA, it cuts down on the city-building and questing gameplay, and focuses mainly on the PvP combat. It pits players against each other in wars among six factions. The army almost reprents the power of the country, so the strategic combat is at the core.

4, Facebook games

Facebook games on the whole remain high-calibre. The newly released casual games cover a wide range of themes, and bring about different gaming experience with invariable pleasure. No matter you are interested in crime-themed city-building, tile-based strategic fighting or the zombie-featured gameplay mingled with building and plant-growing, you can find the right one here.

Wasteland Empires is a hardcore social game made by CrowdStar. It provides a post-apocalyptic world mainly covered by rubble and teeming with potential menace. In it, the main tasks are revolving empire building, tower defence and strategic combat. Around the core play, players have a lot to engage: clear away rubbles and set up new buildings, optimize available colonists(e.g. population) using them as loborers to build or military units to fight, and train units and send them into attack, just to name a few.

Zombie Island offers diversifed gameplay, mainly revolving resource-collecting, plant-growing and city-building. It’s attractive, first with its zombie story and then the eye-feasting graphics. The three major activities are extended with detail and depth. Yet it’s still plagued by the repetitveness and for that, the lively animation makes remedy to certain extent. It mainly runs on free-to-play mode, but the premium plays a noteworthy role in it. And this is the first game that allows you to bury friends and get their hearts so as to drive your zombie helpers to work.

Woodland Heroes is simple and stimulating at once. It starts with a clear story about war between Racoon and Bear kingdoms,releasing the main gameplay: to use your Units (namely, weapons) to conquer the regions seized by enemy one after another on the map. Battleground is tiered from low level to high, unlocked as you proceed. Tile-based basically, each battleground is uniquely designed to offer varified gaming experience. Both luck and stragegy count for victory. Different battle, different strategy; simple gameplay, endless fun.

Mafia Wars 2 is a new game, despite the second installment in the Mafia Wars franchise. Unlike its heavily text-reliant predecessor, the game provides a 3D gaming environment and vivified animation. It fuses the crime theme with the city-building core play together, providing a variety of tasks concerning underworld activities, such as running casinos and banks and killing other gangsters to gain reputation and turfs, etc. And it is not a game for solo players, for a great many tasks can only be done with help from bands of friends.

Castleville is still on the way. Judging from its name, you would immediately know its developer: Zynga, with the series of Ville behind it. although it’s still not launched, what it turns out is quite predictable purely via the released information. It will allow players to build castles, craft items like potion and armor, visit and trade with friends, and even defend towns against the invasion of monsters. Chief executive Mark Pincus is quoted that they intend to make the game more of a World of Warcraft feeling. it’s not very likely to be a failure; and we only wait to see how good it will be.

Most of the times, I am only focused on Nexon’s MMO, and I am not sure when Nexon touches on social game field. Even they has already published two titles such as MapleStory Adventures, and Wonder Cruise. Lately, Nexon rolled out another new title called “Zombie Misfits“. It is a funny arcade game.

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