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Lego Universe is an upcoming massively multiplayer online game being developed by NetDevil. It has been officially announced that the game will be released on October 26, 2010, with an early opening (October 12, 2010) for LEGO "Founders",[5] which will comprise of users who pre-order the game. It will be globally distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.[6] Its release has been delayed from original estimates of 2009,[7] late November 2008,[8] and mid-2008.[9] It will initially be available in English and German.[10] The game is currently in the Closed Beta stage of testing.

Plot

Lego Universe takes place in an alternate universe populated by Lego minifigures. Many years ago, a team of minifigures went off to seek the last essence of pure imagination. Once they found it, Baron Typhonus used the imagination to create a giant chaotic spider to demonstrate the power of imagination. The spider took him into the source of pure imagination and created a dark force known as the Maelstrom. This being of dark imagination is able to turn otherwise innocent minifigures and creatures into Stromlings.

After the creation of the Maelstrom, the remaining explorers formed the Nexus Force, an organization devoted to the protection of the remaining imagination. After the formation, however, the leaders were unable to agree on the best method of defeating the Maelstrom. Thus, the Nexus Force was divided into three Factions, each with a unique speciality: building (the Assembly), battling (the Sentinels) and exploring (the Venture League). The three explorers then recruited the Baron's former assistant, Vanda Darkflame, to lead a fourth Faction: the Paradox, devoted to Maelstrom research.

Once the Nexus Force was established, a headquarters was required to organize the many minifigs coming to help. Doc Overbuild oversaw the construction of the Nexus Tower, the base of the Nexus Force. The tower had two other purposes: to protect the last piece of pure imagination, and serve as a beacon of unity and hope for the future of imagination.

Now, great plans are in place to push back the power of the Maelstrom, and restore harmony to the universe.[11] Players will join together to help the people of the Lego Universe battle the Maelstrom and its Stromling army.

Characters

Early Characters

These characters were revealed on the Lego Universe official website.

  • Professor Brickkeeper - An inventor who runs the Creation Lab of the Lego Universe website.[12]
  • M.U.T.T. (Motorized Universal Technology Terrier) - Professor Brickkeeper's robo-dog. He is intentionally designed to be at real Lego scale.[13]
  • Bob - The plain minifigure seen on the front page and in the dancing videos.
  • Buron - The dragon found on the front page and in the dragon video.

My Lego Network

These characters have been revealed through My Lego Network on the Lego website.

  • Captain Jack Knife - The pirate leader of the Black Seas Barracuda, his ship is stuck on land and has not been out to sea for a long time. He is known to trade, drink root beer, and rely too much on his band of pirates.[14]
  • Numb Chuck - A ninja leader whose interests include sparring, reading, and karaoke. He often sleeps when nothing exciting is going on.[15]
  • Friendly Felix - A one-man band. A retired explorer, he lives in a public garden, regularly performing songs based on his adventuring days.[16]

Back-Story Characters

All information taken from the Great Minifig Mission unless otherwise noted.

As these characters are only part of the promotion they are not necessarily going to appear in the game (with the exception of the Maelstrom).

  • Baron Typhonus - A Lego Explorer of long ago. After finally finding the Last Essence of Pure Imagination, he fell in, creating the Maelstrom.
  • Doc Overbuild - A colleague of Baron Typhonus who joined him on his quest. He is the leader of the Assembly faction.
  • Duke Exeter - The famous warrior knight. He knows the location of an ancient structure on Gallant 5 that has significance with the imagination. He is the leader of the Sentinels faction.
  • Hael Storm - A space pirate who is leading the explorers to Duke Exeter. He is the leader of the Venture League faction.
  • Vanda Darkflame - The former assistant of The Baron who was left behind to carry on his work. Later recruited by the explorers to lead the Paradox Faction.
  • The Maelstrom - The dark force of imagination that formed when Baron Typhonus fell into the last essence of pure imagination. It infects creatures and people to turn them into Stromlings.

Dark Beings

All information taken from the Great Minifig Mission unless otherwise noted.

These are the evil minions of the Maelstrom. Once ordinary minifigures and creatures, their souls are now corrupted by the Maelstrom to destroy the LEGO Universe. These are presumably what were formerly referred to as "Darklings".

  • Stromling - Minifig researchers corrupted by the Maelstrom.
  • Stromling Pirate - Pirates overtaken by the dark energy of the Maelstrom and turned into Stromlings.
    File:Darkling Pirate.JPG
  • Dark Admiral - Ambitious Stromling Pirates, obsessed with the dark possibilities of imagination.
  • Dark Spiderling - Research subjects that escaped from captivity.
  • Maelstrom Ape - Corrupted by the Maelstrom in the Gnarled Forest and recreated in the Dark Menace's own image.
  • Maelstrom Mech - Security robots overwhelmed by Maelstrom energy and reprogrammed to attack.
  • Spider Boss - Little is known about the Spider Boss, other than it is as old as the Maelstrom itself.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Lego Universe is similar to that of Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. Its character creator will allow even more character customization than those available in previous Lego games. New parts for customizing can be unlocked as you play the game. There will not be any experience points or character leveling. Instead, statistics will be determined by a character's equipment. Weapons, which can be bought from NPCs and earned from quests, will determine your attack strength, attack speed and give special abilities.

Building and Stats

While playing, there are two major statistic bars: health and imagination. The health bar shows the player's current health. If a player loses all of their health, they become broken and must be rebuilt. Imagination is required to build models.[17][18][19]

The game offers many different opportunities to build with Lego bricks. There will be three building modes:

  • Quick Building, where you automatically construct a predetermined model
  • Modular Building, where you choose from a selection of modular chunks of bricks to arrange
  • Custom Building, where you have complete creative control of the model.[20] Players will have the option of making their creation smashable or not.

All players in the game will have their own private "properties" to build whatever they want with their bricks and models. Pre-built models can be placed around the area, and minfigs can enter "Brick Mode", which allows them to build their own models piece-by-piece. In addition, players can put "behaviors" on their creations to give them the ability to move and interact.[21]

All creative aspects of the game that can be seen by anyone are moderated before they are made visible. Once a creation has been made, it is sent to a server, where it is changed from multiple brick objects to a single gameplay object. This allows the creation to be interactive and move about the world. From there, it is moderated, and sent back to the game, where it is instantly available.[19] The exact duration of time this takes is not known, though in demonstration video footage it appears to be less than 30 seconds.[19] Player names are also moderated.[17]

Worlds

It has been confirmed that there will be several worlds, between which the main method of travel will be a rocket ship the player builds.[22] The worlds have been named so far are "Avant Gardens", "Nimbus Station", "Gnarled Forest", "Pet Cove" and "Forbidden Valley". Some of these worlds were mentioned in the CES 2010 videos.[17] In an article about the game that can be found in the March 2010 Game Informer, the editors asked NetDevil if there would the presence of licenced franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter in Lego Universe, and the team only stated "Not at launch". While there has been no confirmation upon this, it remains a possibility.

Racing

Players will be able to create their own racecars for their minifigures to participate in themed races in the different worlds. This feature will include over a hundred customizable parts of your racer and a leaderboard displaying the top racers.[23]

Pets

Throughout the worlds of Lego Universe various pets will be available for taming. Once tamed, pets will be able to activate tools and dig up treasure for players. 19 pets will be available for taming, including cats, crocodiles, dogs, dragons, and warthogs.[24] People who join in winter can taim a raindeer.To taim a lion, you need to taim all 18 other pets. I beliveve a lion requires 25 imagination points.

Player Interaction

Lego Universe will be cooperatively played with others to accomplish in-game tasks.[25] Each player's account will be linked to their My Lego Network account, where awards, equipment and player achievements will be showcased.[22] The currency of the game will be plastic, which can be used to buy Lego bricks.[26] The game will have both quests and achievements.[19]

Player Association

In the game, LEGO Universe players individually will be able to link with other players either as Friends or Best Friends. Friends can be anybody a player meets in the game, while Best Friends are for connecting with people he/she knows in real life. Also, players will be able to build teams to overcome obstacles in order to win prizes and status on the LEGO Universe leaderboards.[27]

Teams

Players can also create their own teams in the game with the "team" button. Any player can create their own team and invite other real players to the team that they have created.

Competitions

There will be two types of competitions: Player vs. Environment and Player vs. Player. Player vs. Environment will allow the player to battle creatures and explore the environment, while Player vs. Player will put a player against yourself or others in intense games of skill.[28] There will also be certain quests that require many people to cooperate in order to complete.[19]

Communication

Players will be able to communicate using two different chat methods: the MiniChat system, which only allows words that are specifically approved in LEGO Universe and the MegaChat system, which allows much more freedom. Friends can only use Minichat, while Best Friends will be able to use MegaChat to share more content.[27]

Promotion

Trailers

The original trailer, leaked around early 2008, showed early concepts of the game. These include character customization using the traditional Lego method, a workshop where a car is created from Lego bricks, a Lego city populated with sets from numerous different themes, and a short theatrical battle between an eye-patched Lego minifigure and a "Darkling". In January 2010, six new gameplay videos, an interview, and another trailer were shown at CES 2010 and released on the internet.[29] A theatrical-style trailer depicting the background story was revealed at the E3 Gaming Expo.[30]

Bradford Rant

In November 2009, a website for the fictional "Bradford-Rant Institute for Cosmic Kinesis" was linked on the Lego Universe web page. The institute was supposedly tracking seven Lego "Pods", which landed in various parts of the United States and Europe. Fans could track and find these pods, all of which landed between November 2009 and early January 2010. Once a pod was found, its data was put up on the Bradford-Rant page. After all of the Pods were found, a new trailer for Lego Universe and the tagline for the game, "Answer the Call: Save Imagination," was released.[11]

The Great Minifig Mission

In January 2010, the Bradford Rant promotion then was turned over to "The Great Minifig Mission" promotion in which Lego account holders complete missions in order to help minifigs enter the universe. The missions are released at an approximate rate of one every week when the site is updated. When the promotion started, it had a timer ending on April 2, 2010, at 12:00am midnight, GMT, which is April 1 at 8:00pm ET. On March 27, the timer reset to June 2, 2010, at 12:00am GMT, or June 1 at 8:00pm ET.[31]

E3 2010

On June 15–17, 2010, the LEGO Universe Team hosted an event at the 2010 E3 Gaming Expo, where attendees could play in the Beta. It was during this event that the global distributor of LEGO Universe was announced, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, along with the official release date.[6]

Testing

Alpha

Beginning December 8, 2009, members of the Lego Kids Inner Circle that had been members before December 7 were invited to test the game before the beta started.[32] Before this, the only people that could play the game were Lego employees and their friends and families. The game was in a very early state; only a few worlds were ready for testing, and the parts that were playable had several glitches. As time went on, glitches were fixed, and more worlds were opened. Several concepts tested in the Alpha test did not make it into the Beta and were scrapped.

Beta

In January 2010, Lego announced that, at the Consumer Electronics Show, there would be a demonstration and sign-ups for beta testing.

The February issue of the Lego Universe newsletter contained a link to the Beta page of Lego Universe, at which subscribers are able to sign up for a chance to be in the Beta Test. Members of My LEGO Network on Lego.com also received a message inviting them to the Beta sign ups. In March, the Lego Universe website posted a link on an article directly to the Beta sign ups.[33]

Purchase

Pre-Order

The game is currently available for pre-order on the Lego Universe web page. The cost for a DVD is $39.99 USD (£29.99). The pre-order comes with the DVD, an exclusive Lego Universe Astronaut minifigure, a code card that allows you to play as the Astronaut in-game, and a free 30-day subscription to the game. People that pre-order will also get early access to the game starting October 12, 2010.[34]

File:LegoUniversePre-Order.jpg

Cost

The standard subscription options for Lego Universe are as follows:[35]

Currency 1 month 6 months 12 months
United States Dollar 9.99 49.99 89.99
Euro 9.99 49.99 89.99
Canadian Dollar 12.99 64.99 119.99
British Pound 7.49 39.99 69.99
Danish Krone 74.95 374.95 674.99
Swiss Franc 16.9 79.9 149.9
Swedish Krona 99.5 499.5 899.5
Norwegian Krone 89.5 449.5 799.5
Polish Zloty 39.95 199.95 359.95
Czech Koruna 249 1249 2249
Hungarian Forint 2890 14450 25999

See also

References

  1. Filmmusicsite.com - Interview with Brian Tyler. Filmmusicsite.com. Retrieved on 05/08/2010.
  2. Lego Universe launch date announced!
  3. Can I run LEGO Universe on both Mac and PC?
  4. LEGO Universe -- How Can I Get the Game?
  5. E3 LEGO Universe
  6. 6.0 6.1 LEGO Universe at E3
  7. A Visit to NetDevil. Kotaku.com (2008-09-29). Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  8. The Lego Group announces Lego Universe as official title for branded MMOG. Lego.com (2007-06-07). Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  9. Lego MMO Screens and Info. Loot-ninja.com (2007-06-01). Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  10. LEGO Universe Help - Top questions
  11. 11.0 11.1 Reveal the Mystery at Bradford-Rant. Bradfordrant.org. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  12. Lego Universe : News Network - Challenges - Form something fun in the new Creation Lab!. Us.universe.lego.com (2008-06-04). Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  13. Lego Universe : News Network - General News - Professor Brickkeeper's new pet!. Us.universe.lego.com (2008-12-18). Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  14. Lego Universe : News Network - My Lego Network - Pirate captain sets sail for My Lego Network!. Us.universe.lego.com (2009-01-28). Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  15. Lego Universe : News Network - My Lego Network - Ninja leader slinking toward My Lego Network!. Us.universe.lego.com (2009-02-02). Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  16. Lego Universe : News Network - My Lego Network - Third new networker revealed!. Us.universe.lego.com (2009-02-19). Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Posted: Jan 8, 2010 (2010-01-08). CES Walkthrough Part I. Gametrailers. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  18. Posted: Jan 8, 2010 (2010-01-08). CES Walkthrough Part II. Gametrailers. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Posted: Jan 8, 2010 (2010-01-08). CES Walkthrough Part III. Gametrailers. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  20. Build: Dream Building in Lego Universe. Universe.lego.com. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  21. Build Your LEGO Universe Dreams: Part 3
  22. 22.0 22.1 Jon Hamblin (2009-10-23). First Lego Universe gameplay details News | MMO. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  23. Ready, set…RACE!
  24. Sneak peek at LEGO® Universe pets!
  25. FAQs - More on the Game: Will the game feature player vs. player (PVP) battling?
  26. FAQs - More on the Game: Can I get all the bricks I want?. Universe.lego.com. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Create your LEGO® Universe social style!
  28. Play: Worlds of Fun. Universe.lego.com. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  29. New CES 2010 videos. Gametrailers.com. Retrieved on 2010-01-16.
  30. LEGO Universe E3 Trailer
  31. LEGO Universe : The Great Minifig Mission. Retrieved on 2010-04-03.
  32. CES 2010: LEGO Universe Demo, Part 1 - Alpha testing mentioned at 2:28
  33. LEGO Group (2010-01-05). "Lego® Universe Welcomes Adventurers at CES 2010 with Hands-On Demos and Beta Sign Ups". Press release. http://www.verticalwire.com/releases/1651--i-lego-universe-i-welcomes-adventurers-at-ces-2010-with-hands-on-demos-and-beta-sign-ups. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  34. LEGO Universe pre-order
  35. Lego Universe Pricing

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