Well, it’s officially fall now and, after weeks of talking about conventions, card games and table-top stuff, I figured I’d head back to video games — and just in time, there’s some great stuff happening right now in the world of electronic gaming.
The biggest news is Tuesday’s release of “Mists of Pandaria,” the latest expansion for developer Blizzard’s online juggernaut, World of Warcraft. With about 10 million players, WoW is one of the world’s most popular games — and easily the largest massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG or MMO for short) in the world.
The release is perhaps most interesting given the wake of fellow big-name developer Bioware’s announcement this summer that their own MMO, ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic,’ the most expensive video game ever created, would be ditching the monthly subscription model sometime this fall.
It’s too soon yet to judge the impact “Pandaria” will have on “Warcraft” — or the quality of the content — but despite its millions of players, it’s entirely possible that it represents one of the last major efforts in the monthly subscription style.
Another nail in the coffin of the monthly model, the highly anticipated ‘Guild Wars 2,’ has been live for almost a month now and already has more than 400,000 players. It’s a great start and the reviews (not to mention what I’ve seen so far) seem very promising indeed.
Also dominating gaming news right now is yet another sequel, Gearbox Software’s “Borderlands 2,” a fun, frenetic mash-up of first-person shooter and RPG. I haven’t had the chance to play much myself, but Borderlands was basically the most entertaining game ever and if you like video games at all you should go out right now and buy its successor.
Seriously, get your keys or fire up your computer and go buy it. Right now.
Best of all, the fun doesn’t stop there: While these might be big sellers right now there’s a slew of highly anticipated games slated for this winter and early 2013.
There’s “Halo 4,” the latest incarnation of the hugely successful franchise from Bungee and Microsoft, ‘Dishonored’ from Arcane Studios and video game giants Bethesda, makers of both “Fallout 3” and last year’s “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim,” “Assassin’s Creed III” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” both slated for release in November (some platforms may see an Oct. 30 release date for Assassin’s Creed).
But personally, I’m most excited about “Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition” a modern remake of the 1998 classic that put Bioware on the map. It too is scheduled for release in November. That’s plenty of time to grab it before Christmas, just in case anyone I know is reading this. Hint, hint.