As Melmoth was pondering whether, in the wake of World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm, Turbine might revisit the starter areas of Lord of the Rings Online to represent the scouring of the Shire, news has started to reach us that other games are planning on far-reaching changes to their worlds…

Age of Conan, following Warcraft’s lead, have announced that a dragon will rise and sunder the earth. Unlike WoW, though, the starter area will remain unaffected as the dragon rampages around, destroys the rest of the world, and leaves only Tortage (also known as “that bit at the start that’s quite good for the first twenty levels”).

EVE Online are taking advantage of the launch of DUST 514 to introduce the New New Player Experience, a more gentle tutorial for the complex and brutal universe of EVE. Early feedback is positive about the ability to connect a console gamepad to control your spaceship, but players are strongly critical of the blue shell, insisting that it should be nerfed to stop skilled players building up a good lead then being hit on the final corner and losing to Bowser.

Lineage II are planning the most radical in-game overhaul yet, removing the need for players to grind through 10,000 Turek Orcs to level up. Instead they’ll have to grind through 10,000 Kerut Orcs, who wear slightly different hats.

City of Heroes are launching an unprecedented comic-based game event, where Alien Space Bats travel through time and assassinate a politician, turning the world against heroes and forcing players in the present day to battle for their lives against giant robots while trying to find a way of travelling back to stop the Alien Space Bats. Nobody really notices amongst the other 73 parallel worlds, including The One Where The Axis Won World War II, The One Where The South Won The Civil War, and The One Where Tottenham Won The 1987 Cup Final.

Dungeons and Dragons Online unleashed strange and powerful “Unlimited” magicks across Eberron, and though nothing had obviously changed in their wake, close inspection revealed little price labels attached to everything.

Auto Assault are planning to re-launch with an amazing world-changing event: as the post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland of the original game didn’t work out so well, an alien terraforming pod lands on Earth, restoring it to a green and pleasant environment populated by pre-war survivors who emerged from cryogenic storage somewhere. Centuries after that event the players take control of their original bio-mechanical cyborgs or green-skinned mutants, emerging from cryogenic storage themselves to face tough new challenges in the reborn world such as commuting to work in their be-weaponed war cars without picking up a speeding ticket, and negotiating the drive-thru counter of their local burger joint.

Aion in a brave move decided to skip the initial revision of the game that was released in Asia and launched in the West with the world of Atreia intact and a sundering cataclysm of epic proportions built into their server system instead.

Club Penguin are getting in on the act with Penguinaclysm, which will see a giant electric Mecha-Penguin storming around The Plaza chucking snowballs everywhere. Players are expected to be generally (*_*) or (o.O) with a bit of (?_?)

Darkfall are also set to overhaul their starting area, finally introducing proper impact PvP. Unlike the original namby-pamby system put in to appease pathetic losers who can’t handle a real game, where death merely results in a bit of lost loot, Darkfall: Teh Ubahclysm introduces permadeath. Not some sort of rubbish pseudo-permadeath either; if you’re killed by another player then your character can’t be resurrected, your account is banned so you can’t create a new character, your credit cards are blacklisted so you can’t create a new account, and an Aventurine employee comes round your house and smashes your PC up with a baseball bat. Eurogamer’s re-review of the game awards it a score of 9/10.

Posted by Zoso at 5:03 pm