More online worlds to explore on release of November's new games

Hamburg  - Fans of online role-playing games will have even more worlds to explore this autumn when game publishers release expanded versions the most popular titles.

World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online and Everquest are all set to release expansion packs this autumn. The Chronicles of Spellborn marks the introduction of at least one brand new online world. And for players who want to stay offline, there will be an apocalyptic world to explore in Fallout 3. If you just want to race a car, there's Need for Speed - Undercover.

Saying the name of the newest Warcraft game - World of Warcraft - Wrath of the Lich King - is a challenge even before you start the game. Fans have abbreviated it to WotLK. But once you have overcome this hurdle, you can focus on the second expansion to this very popular online game, which is already played by more then 10 million people.

The designer of the game, Blizzard, and the publisher Vivendi, have added a new continent for WotLK. Characters can now aspire to an 80th level, up from the previous limit of 70. Characters who have achieved the 55th level can also create a Death Knight - a new class of character being introduced with the expansion.

The game is set for release on November 13. The standard set will be sold for 35 euros (about 45 dollars), while a collector's edition will retail for about 70 euros. Players will also have to continue paying monthly membership fees.

Whereas knowledge of World of Warcraft is generally limited to its fan base, almost everyone knows about Middle Earth. Surprisingly, it took until 2007 for an online world based on The Lord of the Rings to be released. And to this day, the online version of Middle Earth remains incomplete. However, the November 18 release of The Mines of Moria expansion pack will add new areas and catacombs to explore.

Similar to other games, players work their way up through the levels. The expansion pack lets players aspire to the 60th level, up from the previous limit of 50. It should also add two new characters. Codemasters will sell the game for about 30 euros, while a package set with the basic game will cost 60 euros.

Everquest 2 started off as insider tip within the gaming community. The original game was released at the same time as World of Warcraft, but was never as successful. Nonetheless, a loyal core of fans continues to wander the virtual world of Norrath. Now they can look forward to The Shadow Odyssey, an expansion pack which is to be released by Sony Online Entertainment on November 18 for about 30 euros.

Chronicles of Spellborn is also considered something of an insider's game. A team in the Netherlands has been working on the game for years. However, the release has been delayed repeatedly and will be launched on November 27, promises the publisher Frogster.

The world of Spellborn is unlike other online fantasies as it focuses on a post apocalyptic world and new gamers have to learn a combat system as well and costs around 50 euros.

"Postapocalyptic" could also be used to describe Fallout 3 from Ubisoft. But this game is played offline, meaning players are alone in the virtual world. Players find themselves in the ruins of the United States following a nuclear war in the late 21st century. The game's publisher, Bethesda, has had other successful series such as The Elder Scrolls and hopes are high that Spellborn will also be a highly demanding and entertaining game. Fallout 3 should be available in November for around 50 euros.

Racing fans will also have plenty to look forward to this months. Electronic Arts has expanded its Need for Speed line with its latest expansion, Undercover.

The expansion optimizes graphics and adds a few new options. But, as usual, the goal remains to see how fast you can drive. Some gamers simply want more of the same with no added attractions. Need for Speed Undercover will be released on November 20 for 50 euros. (dpa)

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