Massively multiplayer online games are an extremely competitive field and audiences can quickly become quite fickle. In the last few years, we have seen many an ambitious MMO project become a virtual ghost town within months of going live. To have one successful game last several years is quite an accomplishment nowadays, but to have three? Developer and publisher, NCsoft has accomplished just that. City of Heroes, the Lineage series, and Guild Wars all celebrated milestone anniversaries on April 28, 2011, and the company wants to show gamers some love with free content and discounted DLC. To mark the success of these titles, NCsoft is offering gamers specific new perks within each game. Read on to see exactly what you can expect during NCsoft’s celebrations.

City of Heroes

Before there was Champions Online and DC Universe Online, there was the super-powered and addictive City of Heroes. CoH was the first MMO to feature super heroes, which was a nice change of pace from all of the medieval fantasy MMOs that were dominating the market at the time. In its seventh year, CoH still rules over its competitors in the comic book arena.

During the seven years of the MMO’s existence, NCsoft and developer Paragon Studios have created 20 “Issues” of new story content and players have created more than 40 million Heroes and Villains. Players have earned more than 15 billion experience points over the last seven years, which were earned by playing more than 1,600 missions, 40+ task forces or raids and more than 375,000 user-generated Architect missions. NCsoft claims that it would take a player a total of 3,900 days to complete this content, or just over 10 years of non-stop play.

In honor of these milestones, from April 28th to May 2nd, many Booster Packs and Account Services at the NCsoft store will be 50% off.  Additionally, Paragon Studios is allowing those players with accounts in good standing to come back to Paragon City for free to take advantage of the Seventh Anniversary Reactivation Week starting Tuesday, May 3rd up through Tuesday, May 10th where they can:

· Show other players their dedication [to CoH] with the Vanguard pack, anniversary badges, and the new Loyalty emotes; and

· Partake in a series of epic in-game battles to save Earth from the invading Praetorian army throughout the month of May.

Lineage 2

For the seventh anniversary of the Lineage franchise, NCsoft is adding new content to the Lineage 2 universe in the form of Shilen, the Goddess of Destruction, and her followers. Players will have to team up with a “nearly extinct race of Giants” in order to prevent her total victory. This new chapter will add the following features:

· Combat: Following the 4th Class transfer, an entirely new set of skills becomes available that offer updated graphics and animations that result in a stylish and strategic combat experience.

· Content: With more than 30 new hunting grounds, 60 new raid bosses and more than 400 new weapons and armor pieces, Lineage 2: Goddess of Destruction offers the largest content update ever. Players have 14 new levels to explore from 85-99, with new found powers to use on their way to the top.

· Classes: The Goddess of Destruction has vastly changed the world, requiring new heroes to awaken at level 85. High-level characters will evolve into one of eight new classes, featuring exciting new skills and abilities to use as they face Shilen and her minions

· Convenience: This massive update revamps seven years worth of content meaning that Lineage 2 players will enjoy a greatly improved leveling curve, new starting zone for all players, better item drop rates, and a myriad of other changes to improve the overall fun and convenience of the game. We are also excited to exclusively announce the addition of instance based clan housing, which will offer 200 instances that are renewed on a monthly basis.

Best of all, the Goddess of Destruction update is free for existing players and will release later this year.

Guild Wars

With the impending Guild Wars 2 on the horizon, NCsoft and ArenaNet could not pick a better time to celebrate the six-year anniversary of the original Guild Wars. Starting this weekend with a party in the Shing Jea Monastery and running through May 6th, Guild Wars will offer in-game contests, games, and races. In addition, new, existing, and returning players will have access to special anniversary sales and contests through Facebook and the Guild Wars website until June 9th. The weekly sales will include costume packs, character slots, mission packs, and other items reduced up to 50 percent in the NCsoft Store and will be updated every Thursday at noon Pacific.

There will also be an Anniversary Update that will provide additional content and the introduction of “Flux.” NCsoft explains what gamers can expect from this new content:

Players may remember the ill-conceived actions of the Lunatic Court as they tried to free the Mad King during Halloween. While these events have long passed, the aftereffect of this plot has caused instability to seep into the land causing fluctuations. This Flux will come and go monthly and cause alterations to PvP that will encourage players to alter their playing style in order to take advantage of the current Flux.

Other features of the Anniversary Update include:

High Resolution Textures in Town — Added option to use hi-res textures while in outpost.

Hard Mode Quests — Designed to challenge even the most experienced players.

Mutual Friends List — Displays the current location of your mutual friends through the Friends List.

Birthday Tonics — With over 30 new ones in total, all six-year birthday characters will receive a tonic!

Still a regular player of City of Heroes, Lineage 2, or Guild Wars? Or are you a former player who is considering a return in order to try the new in-game content? Let us know your thoughts on NCsoft’s anniversary plans.