An avatar-based sci fi game is in the works from PitchBlack games of Phoenix, Arizona. Sub-based MMORPG.
Their site is here: http://www.primeonline.com/
With superb timing it manages to be highly evocative of Star Wars: Galaxies and also brings back DAOC's much-missed three way faction brawl. It also seems to be taking a leaf out of Trion's book in terms of professionalism (although early to say that, hope that doesn't come back to haunt me!). It certainly is looking more streamlined than the games that have influenced it.
The game has three factions that are unique races, 2 alien and one human. Each race has 6 classes. The alien classes are original and interesting while the human ones are very reminiscent of SWG including medics wielding stim packs and commandos wielding assault cannons. I think I'm going to play an Antelis http://www.primeonline.com/game/classes/antelis/
Character progression is a hybrid of class-based and skill-based. You will progress your skills by filling up boxes with experience points.
PVE is all of the expected standard fodder plus also dynamic events managed by a member of staff. They do this in Eve, there are quite frequent Live events, I got blown up at one recently. I just wonder if this features implies that they're aiming for a single server game. They haven't said so anywhere else but managing hand moderated events in a structure like Rift's (which had ninety-something servers at launch) would be a nightmare. Another key element of the PVE is a mission system - does anyone else here miss running 'naff missions out of Coruscant in SWG?
Another element I like is this: "There are a few "instanced" PVE areas that require a small group of 6 players, but most of Prime's encounters are open world and therefore it's up to the players themselves to decide how many players should comprise the group." I found in Rift, where I ran a raid guild it was much more comfortable all round doing 5 and 10 man raid rifts in the open world where I could bring any number up to 20 than trying to herd my cats to the specific demands of 20 man instanced raids.
PVP consists of open world pvp as you grow more powerful (I guess they mean higher level areas are more likely to be contested), large scale world faction battles, an arena system and a bounty hunter system. You can gain renown by surviving with high bounties on you.
The professions page implies a rich crafting system. Interestingly it states "Players will travel far and wide to purchase the weapons of a high-end Weapontech." That is not the case in WoW where everyone and his brother is a master crafter but it was the case in Galaxies. Of course that may just be marketing department flavour text. The resource surveying system is demonstrated in one of the videos (linked below). Looks like players will be in for a lot of resources hunting and that certain areas may be rich in specialised and valuable resources - an interesting design feature in a gameworld carved up into 3 pvping factions.
Combat is a straight forward tab target hotkey based system although there's no autoattack. Players have a health bar and an energy bar, HAM has not been brought back to haunt us. You drop harvested resources when killed - I can see an emergent playstyle already!
A blog piece is here (and is how I heard about it): http://www.keenandgraev.com/?p=5208
Interestingly Keen took one look at the SWG-style hotter/warmer resource scanning system and thought "I'm in." It's the little things...
Youtube has 6 videos that I found, 3 interviews (well technically I think they're monologues as no questions are asked) and 3 demos of gameplay:
Interview: Warren Weems CEO on the corporate and production background.
Interview: Lee Phemister Art Lead talks about the art team.
Interview: Zyad Khadri Art Director on the look and the feel of the art and design.
Short demo: Character creation. Pretty cool sci fi armour for the humans, nice monster look for the Rodons.
Short demo: Start area, UI, mob combat, resource surveying.
Long dev Q&A (55 minutes)
They have a careers page which currently has 2 jobs on it: