Now that 2008 has come to an end we thought it might be fun to do a recap on some of the major news and features that you may have missed. Overall, 2008 was a great year for the gaming industry as a whole, with some amazing advancements in the MMO space. So sit back, nurse that coffee and take one final look at Allakhazam in 2008.
- Allakhazam visited the Consumer Electronics Show. The fun began on Jan. 7 as Tovin reported on the first day of activities, which included Sony’s announcement that the PSP would support Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider Skype and new rigs from Voodoo PC and Alienware.
- At CES, EverQuest and World of Warcraft were honored with Emmy Awards and AutumnKiss talked to Curt Schilling of 38 Studios about their upcoming MMO code-named Copernicus, which includes names like R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane.
- Day two of the event was just as crazy, and AutumnKiss got a ton of information on a pirate's life in both Pirates of the Caribbean Online and Pirates of the Burning Sea. Of course, the team also focused on the then-upcoming Age of Conan and delved into Legends of Norrath. Tovin also got a glimpse of all the tech gadgets, such as a wallet-sized USB flash drive.
- Speaking of Age of Conan, it was also announced in January that the game was being delayed until May as the game's new site was unveiled.
- Pirates of the Burning Sea saw its release in January, and AutumnKiss got the chance to talk with Content Director Jess Lebow about the launch.
- World of Warcraft reached 10 million players on Jan. 22. Blizzard recently announced that they had hit the 11.5 million mark, so it demonstrates the game’s rapic growth.
- Also, NetDevil announced that they partnered with Codemasters for the publication and operation of Jumpgate Evolution.
- Blizzard started off the month by winning a lawsuit against the gold-selling company In Game Dollar (doing business as Peons4Hire).
- To continue the World of Warcraft-related news, Upper Deck announced they were working on the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game, which was ultimately released on Nov. 11.
- Shane Kim, head of Microsoft Game Studios, confirmed that development of Marvel Universe Online had ended due to business model problems. Just days later, it was announced that Cryptic Studios was working on Champions Online, a game full of superheroes.
- If the Consumer Electronics Show wasn’t enough, the Game Developer’s Conference kicked off in February. Once again, the Allakhazam team was there. Developer Ralph Koster talked about why gamers should care about virtual worlds and Reuben Steiger discussed using the internet and games as a social medium. Also, we took a look at Earth Eternal, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Age of Conan, Stargate Worlds and Jumpgate Evolution.
- Also, the EverQuest team started its blog, Guild Wars surpassed five million units sold, and Dungeons and Dragons Online celebrated its two-year anniversary.
- Calthine and Kiara talked with Torrie Dorrell, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for Sony Online Entertainment, about the company’s G.I.R.L. program which is a scholarship for women pursuing careers in game design. The scholarship was announced in February.
- Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, sadly passed away on March 4 at 69.
- Turbine Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel announced Mines of Moria, the first expansion to Lord of the Rings Online, would be released in the fall. As we now know, it was released on Nov. 18. Steefel then talked with Allakhazam about the announcement.
- Kiara got the chance to attend SOE's Winter Summit ’08 and talked a little about Free Realms and The Agency.
- Blizzard kicked off the month with an April Fool’s joke, saying that Molten Core will be coming to the Atari 2600. (Little did they know a fan would end up making the game for fun.)
- Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment announced the opening of FireSky, a subsidiary of the company that will publish not only their upcoming Stargate Worlds MMO, but also their other upcoming online games.
- Also, registration began in April for the closed beta for Stargate Worlds. One day later, more than 65,000 people had registered.
- Co-publishers Funcom and Eidos announced that Age of Conan went gold.
- Electronic Arts announced that EA Land, formerly known as The Sims Online, would close on Aug. 31.
- Blizzard announced the opening of their new online store, which is still full of a ton of great items.
- While the closed beta registration for Stargate Worlds exceeded 100,000, Age of Conan open beta sign-ups topped one million.
- In similar news, the free-to-play ArchLord MMORPG exceeded 500,000 players.
- SOE announced that Rise of Kunark, the fourth expansion for EverQuest II, was the best-selling EQII expansion to date.
- Beckett's Massive Online Gamer picked its top 20 most influential people in the MMO industry, and Rob Pardo, Senior VP of Game Design for Blizzard Entertainment earned the top spot.
- Allakhazam announced our completely revamped World of Wacraft site, which added new graphics and features to our portal.
- The Dungeons and Dragons Online update “The Way of the Monk” adds the first new playable class (yes, the monk) to the game since its launch.
- The EVE Online team deployed The Empyrean Age, its free summer expansion.
- In World of Warcraft, Arena Season 3 ended and Season 4 began.
- Star Wars Galaxies celebrated its fifth anniversary on June 26.
- Blizzard introduced its authenticator, which adds an extra level of security to your account.
- Blizzard’s 2008 Worldwide Invitational was held, and included the official announcement of Diablo III.
- SOE awards its first $10,000 G.I.R.L. scholarship. Julia Brasil of San Francisco won the 2008 G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition.
- Blizzard announced that its team-up with Activision was complete.
- NCsoft combined the worlds of City of Heroes and City of Villains, making both subscriptions valid for all content.
- Blizzard won the first round of a legal battle against the makers of MMOGlider, which is software that automates gameplay in World of Warcraft.
- Comic-Con contains numerous announcements and panels, including the official unveiling of DC Universe Online. The Allakhazam team took videos, reported on the WoW Miniatures game , DCUO, Freaky Creatures, SOE’s Third Annual Block Party, Stargate Worlds and 38 Studios’ upcoming MMO.
- Cryptic Studios announced they are developing Star Trek Online.
- The first trailer for Mines of Moria, the first Lord of the Rings Online expansion, is released.
- The 2008 SOE Fan Faire began and you can read Calthine’s blogs for day one, day two and day three. We also conducted five mini-interviews. There were even live events. Also, Jeff “Allakhazam” Moyer announced the creation of ZAM.com.
- NCsoft begins offering ways for people to contribute to Operation Immortality, which is Richard Garriott’s mission to preserve mankind’s greatest achievements, including DNA, in space.
- Acclaim Games is announced as the U.S. publisher for the Chronicles of Spellborn.
- The Allakhazam Warhammer Online site is launched.
- The Final Fantasy XI team announces the level sync system.
- Turbine announces the 100th update for Asheron’s Call.
- Fiesta, Outspark’s free-to-play MMO, celebrates its one-year anniversary.
- Wired.com reports that Pentagon researchers are studying the possibility that terrorist groups might use popular games such as World of Warcraft to plan strikes against their enemies.
- OGPlanet debuts La Tale, its 2D side-scrolling MMORPG.
- SOE offers former Vanguard players the chance to return to the game for free for one month.
- Blizzard wins $6 million in damages in their case against MMOGlider producers MDY.
- RealU and dtp entertainment announce they are working on an Otherland MMO, which is based on Tad Williams’ series of science fiction novels.
- After 5 years, the first free trial for Final Fantasy XI is made available.
- The Allakhazam staff descends on BlizzCon for the latest news on World of Warcraft and Diablo III. Coverage of the entire event can be found on our BizzCon wiki.
- Richard Garriott launches into space as part of Operation Immortality with Jeff “Allakhazam” Moyer’s DNA in tow.
- Pirates of the Caribbean Online celebrates its first anniversary on Halloween.
- LucasArts and BioWare announce they have teamed up to develop Star Wars: The Old Republic, an MMORPG set 300 years after Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
- World of Warcraft surpasses 11 million subscribers.
- Gracia Part 2, the newest Lineage II expansion, is released.
- Atlantica Online celebrates its official launch.
- The Age of Conan team implements its PvP consequences system, which give consequences to players’ actions in the game.
- Prisoners of Prophecy, the eighth update for Dungeons and Dragons Online, launches with easier character creation and the addition of hirelings.
- Asheron’s Call celebrates its ninth anniversary on Nov. 2.
- The Free Realms Web site launches and beta registration begins.
- According to Dr. John Parmentola, Director of Research and Laboratory Management with the U.S. Army’s science and technology office, the Army wants to use MMOs to test out virtual human beings.
- Chapter 11: The Battle of Echo Base goes live in Star Wars Galaxies, bringing Hoth to fans in the form of a heroic encounter.
- The World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King launches on Nov. 13 with many midnight release parties. It broke 2.8 million copies sold in 24 hours.
- Mines of Moria and the Shadow Odyssey, the expansions for Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest II, both launch on Nov. 18. Jeffrey Steefel, Executive Producer for LotRO, talked with us about Mines of Moria and Tamat attended the release party for The Shadow Odyssey.
- The Tabula Rasa team announced they are shutting down the servers on Feb. 28, 2009.
- Square Enix announced the development of three upcoming expansions for Final Fantasy XI.
- Blizzard celebrates World of Wacraft’s fourth anniversary on Nov. 23 by offering all players a polar bear pet and an in-game achievement.
- IGG’s free web-based MMO Aurora Blade is accused of copying aspects of other games, such as Ragnarok Online and World of Warcraft.
- The City of Heroes team launches Issue 13: Power and Responsibility, which contains numerous updates.
- Cheyenne Mountain admits it’s having cash flow problems, but says Stargate Worlds is still moving forward.
- SOE launches Station Cash, a new microtransaction service, in EverQuest and EverQuest II.
- Squadrons Over Corellia, the first expansion for the Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game, is launched.
- After announcements that Richard Garriott was leaving NCsoft and Tabula Rasa is shutting down, he says he plans to return to his fantasy game roots.
Happy New Year! We look forward to providing you with quality content in 2009!
Andrew "Tamat" Beegle -------------
Darryl "Togikagi" Gangloff