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Exalight brings a new term: MMORG

At a glance, Sports, Galleries, Game Mechanics, Launches, New Titles, News Items, Races

In the world of MMO development, the pursuit of The New is a hard road to travel. French broadband provider Neuf Cegetel, however, is not only driving down that road, but racing along it. Jointly developed with virtual world development company F4, Exalight is a massively multiplayer online racing game -- an MMORG -- with an aesthetic and game mechanics that differentiates it from, say, Nexon's Kart Rider.

From the referring site: 'Each player takes on the identity of a racing driver chosen to personal taste from the members of the three clans that populate the Exalight universe. A highly sophisticated customization system means that each player's avatar gets a unique appearance. Players' experience, talent and skills increase as familiarity with the Exalight universe builds up, and as more races are run. The very challenging racetracks require drivers to show tactical intelligence, making perceptive use of special powers and, above all, outsmarting the traps laid for them and the manoeuvres of rival runners.'

More information is available at exalight.fr, but keep in mind that the site is in French only.

[Via easybourse.com]

Football Manager to bring MMOs to the pitch

Sports, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Football Manager Live

If ever there was a group of gaming fanatics to rival those that call MMOs their home, it would be those crazy footie fans that drive the sales of soccer simulators like the Football Manager series with their dreams of Championship League glory. While combining the two may at first appear like an unholy alliance, the off-spring of their union, Football Manager Live, is actually a much more intuitive blend than it might have seemed. Players customize their teams' looks, name, and home field, and are then given a small sum of cash to acquire their first players. From there they can then join online leagues catered to their skill levels and compete in matches that look largely like the Football Manager fans already know and love.

What makes it more than just an online version of Football Manager is the persistent elements that have been added in to the mix. Managers assign themselves skills and abilities, all of which affect their ability to control and develop players on the pitch. Players have to build their teams up from the ground-level in order to compete at the highest levels, and competition in that sphere will be intense. It's sort of funny to think of the Premier League as the sports equivalent of Black Temple, but it's apt. Football Manager Live is currently in its beta phase, and looks to launch later this year. Finally we'll have an MMO we can brag about at a bar without getting funny looks!

The Empire of Sports

Betas, Sports, New Titles, Previews, Empire of Sports

Playing as or battling against elves, dwarfs, monsters and aliens comprise the heart and soul of virtually every MMO on the market. So what would you say to a massive online game based around - not one, but many - sports? Being a sports fanatic, I'm sweating at the very thought of such a bold idea. A few weeks ago The Empire of Sports launched their closed beta. And what is this sporting MMO all about?

Players create a fully customizable character to interact, train, compete and attend events in several different spots disciplines including football, basketball, tennis, skiing, bobsleigh, and a series of training/fitness games. Additional single and team sports will be added as the community evolves. According to the website, these are not mini-games, but full blown sports games that feature unique controls giving players a different experience each time. Players will live and train within virtual city centers (which look like Olympic villages) that include all the facilities and services a world class athlete would ever need. Once you're ready you can test your skills against thousands of other players in order to build a virtual sports star existence.

Based on the screen shots EoS reminds me a lot of Epyx old Winter Games and Summer Games released during the mid-1980's. Good times. I can't wait to give this intriguing MMO concept a spin! The Empire is accepting beta applications, so if any of this sounds intriguing, shoot on over to their website and join the fun.

A glimpse of things to come from 38 Studios

Sports, Video, Interviews, New Titles, Comics

The keen eyes of Cyndre from the Kill Ten Rats blog has spotted rare images from 38 Studios top secret, as-yet-to-be-named MMO. On Friday, December 14, the Boston news channel NECN did a video interview (see above clip) with Curt Schilling (he, along with R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane comprise the new gaming company 38 Studios) regarding the announcement of their 1st Annual Game Design Challenge. Which is a very cool endeavor in and of itself.

According to Cyndre, right around the 1:16 mark of the three minute video interview you'll see images from their game. This has possibly been corroborated on the blog since someone purporting to be Curt Schilling left a comment saying that the animation shown was from pre-production, the phase they are in now.

Curt Schilling (famous professional baseball player) is an avid MMO player. Combined with supremely talented R.A. Salvatore (famous fantasy author) and Todd McFarlane (famous comic book artist and writer), the expectations for a spectacular gaming experience is very high indeed. Catching even a quick glimpse of what these guys have in store for gamers is news worthy.

Blue Mars sneak preview

Real-Life, Sports, Galleries, Screenshots, New Titles, Previews, Free-to-Play, Blue Mars, Hands-On, Interviews (Massively's), Hands-On (Massively's)

We had a chance to sit down with Avatar Reality's VP of Development, Li-han Chen, at E for All to get some details about their recently announced title, Blue Mars. Set on a futuristic, terraformed Mars circa 2177 AD, the world will be far more akin to something like Second Life than like other more typical MMOs; in fact, the company is calling Blue Mars a "massively multiplayer virtual world," or MMVW, in lieu of labeling it specifically as a game world. Two main mechanics will separate Blue Mars from SL: a suite of pre-programmed in-game activities (minigames, essentially) to provide a framework for socialization, and no user-generated content -- all environments and objects in the world will be coded by third party developers.

By the time Blue Mars enters closed beta at the end of 2008, Honolulu-based Avatar Reality hopes to have at least 3 of these minigames developed and ready for testing. With golf and vehicle racing listed as two of the activities, it seems clear that Blue Mars is going to cater to the more casual side of the gaming audience. If combat exists at all in the world, it will be relegated to specifically designated areas -- the core mechanic is casual socialization. Perhaps paradoxically, the game is going to be aimed at users with high-end machines and graphics cards (Quad Core CPU and GeForce 8800 or better) in order to feature the CryENGINE2-rendered "breathtaking graphics."

Gallery: Blue Mars

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NFL Rush Zone: Is it a MMOG?

Sports, Opinion

Whoa, wait a minute. Exactly why am I covering this on Massively? This looks like an overrated cartoon avatar enabled chat room with a few mini-games thrown into the mix. Oh look, it is -- but what makes it stand out from the crowd is that the game has an area for each NFL team (visual chat rooms), mini-games, customizable avatars! Oh snap, that's not all but players can "collect Gameballs, meet Rusherz, and check out cartoons in the theater."

Lolz, I can't wait guys. Looking at the graphics leads me to believe NFL Rush Zone totally ripped off the graphics from World of Warcraft. I kid, but seriously this is for the kids because I'm having a hard time imagining the typical 25 year old beer-guzzling NFL fanatic playing this and meeting their favorite Rusherz. ("Learn 2 pass the ball nub, I am the Law Giver!")

I recently wrote about the Virtual World Boom and how these types of games will become more popular than traditional MMORPGS. The problem with calling this a Virtual World is that web games like NFL Rush Zone that employ avatar chat rooms with some mini-games, more advanced than their predecessors which were called avatar chat rooms in their heyday, will diminish what a MMOG / Virtual World really is if they get lumped into the same category. I don't think it's fair that these types of "webby games" are getting labeled as Virtual Worlds, maybe Virtual Spaces and yes, there is a difference. If we label NFL Rush Zone a Virtual World we might as well label MySpace one and every other chat room.

Should NFL Rush Zone be classified as a Virtual World or should we write-it-off and never talk about this particular web game ever again? I vote for the latter.

[via: Virtual World News]

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