Expansions, All The Rage….

It’s been an eventful weekend in terms of announcements. Probably the most anticipated industry news for some time was the announcement of the next World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. This expansion, for those not familiar with the enormously-popular MMORPG, follows on from the first expansion The Burning Crusade and incorporates a whole host of new features such as the new character class of the Death Knight, an increased level cap from 70 to 80, the new profession of inscription, siege tanks and destructible buildings (which hopefully won’t be limited to battleground games) and new customizable haircuts, facial features and a new set of dance moves.

Whilst some players bemoaned the lack of a cinematic video, I think it was a good call by Blizzard to show solely in-game footage for the first glimpse of the new content – I like shiny HD cinematics as much as the next guy, but I feel that seeing the new continent of Northrend and the Death Knight as they’ll appear in-game is more important at this stage. You can check out the video here.

Also big news over the last few days is the more detailed information revealed regarding id Software’s new franchise, Rage. All jokes aside regarding id’s penchant for mono-syllabic titles, this looks to be one to keep an eye on. Speaking at QuakeCon07, John Carmack announced that Rage would be a blend of FPS, action and adventure, with strong racing elements and the option to extensively customize your vehicle. Speaking to Kotaku, id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead mentioned the non-linearity of the game’s plot:

It is an action-oriented game but with a lot of adventure elements. It will be story driven, but you can also choose your own route to go through things

This sounds great, and I’m sure id have done a great job of managing the delicate balance of structured progression and player freedom, although I’ll be eagerly anticipating some more solid details of the game’s plot, and how this plot is advanced through the decisions you make throughout the game. As we can see in the debut trailer the game looks gorgeous, with beautifully-detailed textures, fluid, realistic animation and the richly atmospheric lighting that we’ve come to expect from an id Software title.

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