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Star Wars: The Old Republic's latest expansion marks the best the game has ever been

Nov 02 // Chris Carter
Let's start with some of the enhancements the expansion has made globally, outside of the confines of the new storyline. I immediately created a new character and found that there have been a ton of concessions to make it less of a slog. For starters, XP gain has seen a stark increase across the board, so you don't have to do nearly every mission on a planet to move on to the next one -- instead, you can essentially follow the core storyline and that's it. This is how it always should have been structured, as most of the sidequests are rather dull. It's also much easier to see what is and isn't story related (narrative quests have a purple tint). Gear statistics have now been simplified so you don't find nearly as much trash, and fast travel is enhanced thanks to instant access to flight paths. Companions have been severely streamlined when it comes to gear as well (in a good way), so you can basically choose whoever you want and fit them into any role you wish. Here's the biggest change: you can basically do everything, including required Flashpoints (dungeons), by yourself. It's silly to say since this is technically an MMO, but Old Republic has made a ton of concessions for solo players. For the most part when I embarked upon my journey to max out at level 50 years ago I played alone, but there were a ton of sections where I needed assistance or was required to grind to progress with the story. With the dawn of Knights of the Fallen Empire, that need is basically eliminated. In this way, it now truly feels more like a Knights of the Old Republic 3. In the past it was ludicrous to ask someone to pay a subscription fee to experience that by yourself, but it's much easier to swallow for free. As previously mentioned, the new narrative is actually quite good, and feels like a true follow-up to KOTOR. To start the Fallen Empire storyline (which now goes to level 65), you'll need to have a maxed out 60 character. By subscribing (and thus gaining access to the expansion), you'll net one max boost, so you can breeze past the previous Hutt Cartel (previously 55) and Shadow of Revan (previously 60) add-ons. From there it's dead simple to start up the campaign, as you only need to queue up the mission on your ship. Missions in Empire are now more pointed. They don't feel like a shoehorned-in excuse to justify an MMO and a subscription fee -- they feel like quests from a classic BioWare RPG. Everything is much more cinematic and imposing, and the dialogue feels more meaningful. They're also completely removed from the gamey elements of Old Republic, almost like a separate mode entirely, devoid of grindy, time-wasting activities. In essence, this is something worth paying for, especially if you have some free time and want to go through it in a month before unsubscribing again. Over half of the Empire chapters have been released, and others will subsequently be released over time. It's something I would normally get kind of miffed about (gotta keep people subscribed somehow), but given all the other improvements, I just took to creating another class instead. It took BioWare long enough, but Star Wars: The Old Republic's 4.0 build really feels like what the game should have been like at launch. Whether you're a new player jumping in for the first time or a disenchanted veteran who's cautiously interested in subscribing again, The Fallen Empire is worth a shot. [This impressions piece is based on subscription time purchased by the reviewer.]
Star Wars photo
'Knights of the Fallen Empire'
Man, I'm surprised Star Wars: The Old Republic is still trucking along. You have to give it to BioWare (and to some extent, EA) for staying with it after its mixed reception at launch, so-so expansion packs, and its tran...

Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV's patch 3.1 will once again feature Knights of the Round

Plus, a Pokemon-esque minion game
Nov 02
// Chris Carter
I haven't been playing Final Fantasy XIV as much as I'd like, mostly due to the content drought and other obligations. But that will change when patch 3.1 hits, which is set to bring a ton of new activities to the game. ...
TERA photo

TERA Online is coming to mobile devices in 2016

Android and iOS
Nov 02
// Chris Carter
TERA has slowly risen to the ranks of the most-played MMO on Steam, and has transitioned into a free-to-play experience in the past few years. Now, it's coming to mobile devices. According to 2P, Nexon has signed an agreement...
Neverwinter photo

Neverwinter's Underdark expansion launches on November 17

A questline written by R.A. Salvatore
Oct 30
// Joe Parlock
Jeeze, it doesn’t seem five minutes since Perfect World released Strongholds, the last expansion to their pretty great MMO Neverwinter. Now they’re already preparing to release the next major expansion for the ga...
Guild Wars photo
Do we make you thorny, baby?
Yo, check this out. Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns came out last Friday and I got ten codes for it. I bet that's more than you have. Lucky for you, I'm a super nice guy. Here's the deal: gave codes to Amazon who...

Star Trek Online photo
Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online hands out Back to the Future hoverboards

This one works over water, too
Oct 22
// Josh Tolentino
Are you tired of hearing news about Back to the Future day yet, especially now that it's technically over already? If you are...well, I'm sorry, but hey, this one might even be cool, because it comes from even further into th...
MMORPG photo

Black Desert Online won't be free in the West

New business model for the 2016 release
Oct 14
// Jordan Devore
You may not know Black Desert Online by name, but you might recognize its impressive character creator; that Tom Cruise lookalike makes me laugh to this day. The game itself, a massively multiplayer action-RPG, has been playa...
Rift photo

Rift's latest update is the biggest one since launch

That launch that happened four years ago
Oct 09
// Joe Parlock
Remember Trion’s Rift? I really liked it; it had a lot of excitement behind it before release, and then when it came out people seemed to forget all about it. The jump to free-to-play seemed to help a bit with getting ...
Destiny Exotics photo
Destiny Exotics

Destiny begins the quest for Sleeper Simulant today

Wake Up, Guardians
Oct 07
// Josh Tolentino
When it comes to Destiny's vast collection of fancy space guns, exotic weapons are the fanciest of them all. Every exotic weapon has unique qualities and is usually designed to bend or break a rule that governs one of the gam...
TERA photo

TERA now has weaponised undies to kill with your crotch

Super-duper underwear is now a thing
Oct 03
// Joe Parlock
I don’t know what the developer of TERA is doing… but I like its style. Here’s a trailer featuring hot men (and a raccoon thing) in tiny Speedos dancing to kill enemies. Watch as their bulges ripple and wa...

Soar the island-filled skies of Worlds Adrift

Oct 01 // Jordan Devore
[embed]313407:60583:0[/embed] There's Spider-Man-style swinging at 7:15. Ship construction, which is done by hand, starts at 10:50. Williams demonstrates flying at 19:20 and even alone, without the threat of other players, it looks terrifying. Then again, he clearly knows how to grapple and isn't afraid of plummeting to his death. Lastly, you can take photos (including selfies!) and frame them. See that at 23:20.
Worlds Adrift photo
But watch out for pirates
Bossa Studios (Surgeon Simulator, I am Bread) is making an open-world MMO about building airships, flying them to floating islands, and screwing over others (probably). You interested? The developers were in town, so we sent Rey to take a look at that game, Worlds Adrift, and he put together this in-depth video with narration provided by designer Luke Williams.

WildStar photo

WildStar's officially gone free-to-play

Born free, as free as the wind blows...
Sep 29
// Joe Parlock
WildStar has now finally ditched the subscription and gone free-to-play. The trailer is absolutely amazing. It’s got the vibe of a Borderlands trailer, and the animation style of a League of Legends one. Seriously, as ...
Aftermath photo

Want to play a zombie game by Romero? Check out Aftermath

The other Romero's son, that is
Sep 25
// Vikki Blake
Romero's Aftermath, George. C. Romero's MMO survival horror game, releases today in open beta. Film director George C. is the son of George A., who you'll know from feisty romcoms like Night of the Living Dead. The game offer...
FFXIV VR photo

I was face-to-face with Titan's crotch in Final Fantasy XIV on PlayStation VR

Clunky, but fascinating
Sep 18
// Chris Carter
One game I did not expect to see during my hands-on time with Project Morpheus PlayStation VR, was Final Fantasy XIV. I hadn't really heard anything about it being playable at TGS, so when I headed into the press section and ...
Blade & Soul beta photo
Blade & Soul beta

Blade & Soul getting closed beta just in time for Halloween

Nice art style!
Sep 09
// Steven Hansen
Korean MMO Blade & Soul was confirmed for Western release three years ago and it's finally coming to fruition. NCSoft has scheduled betas this year ahead of the game's early 2016 launch. The first starts October 30. Purc...
Free-to-play WildStar photo
Free-to-play WildStar

You won't need a WildStar subscription starting September 29

That's when it goes free-to-play
Sep 03
// Jordan Devore
Before WildStar released, I planned on playing it. Really, I did! But like so many other MMOs before it, when the big day arrived, I was preoccupied with other games and lost interest. With the relaunch closing in, I suspect ...

Guild Wars 2's base game goes free-to-play today, no purchase needed

Aug 29 // Chris Carter
Opening up the conversation, O'Brien talked a bit about how the core message of the game is staying the same, despite the move to free-to-play. "We don't want to ask for more money, and all of the additional purchases will stay the same" he stated. Going on, Mike noted, "What we looked at after the release of the core game, is things like 'how can players catch up with their friends' and this new model makes that easier to do. We've always said 'if you wan't Guild Wars 2, just buy the game, and we'll provide free updates for it for months.' We'll continue to do that for Heart of Thorns: just buy the expansion, and you'll get every update for free." Another big new change is the addition of raids, which will make their debut in Heart of Thorns. Speaking on this new adventure, Colin Johanson, keeping with the spirit of the game, insists that "this is our way of doing things differently, even with the traditional format of raids with other MMOs. We're getting rid of barriers to entry. The way Heart of Thorns is built is by way of masteries, which will upgrade your character beyond the typical gear-based setup of other games. In that regard, raids will still be relevant six months later, and won't be completely replaced by a new tier of gear." Going on, Johanson stated that "although you can't necessarily PUG (pick-up-group) these raids, they are skill-based. In other words, you can use any combination of characters to complete them." Upon probing him a bit, asking whether or not it was difficult to design raids around the lack of a trinity (healer, tank, and damage), he responded with, "it's not necessarily tougher but balance them within our game, but they will be more fun since everyone can fulfill any role. You don't have to wait 40 minutes for your healer to get online, and you can use any class you want to play. It really is all about skill." If ArenaNet and their team can follow through with these promises, an accessible yet challenging raid scheme would be an enticing prospect for players old and new. I'm anxious to see what they come up with when Heart of Thorns finally comes out.
Guild Wars 2 F2P photo
Heart of Thorns still a paid expansion
Nearly three years after the release of Guild Wars 2, the base game is going fully free-to-play. Instead of following a method where users are required to purchase the core package before they are greeted with a subscrip...

Guilty Gear photo
Guilty Gear

Haha, Guilty Gear is in Phantasy Star Online now

Following BlazBlue
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Back in July, BlazBlue invaded Phantasy Star Online 2. Now, Guilty Gear Xrd is getting a turn. Costumes for Sol, Ky (both male and female), Millia, May, and Elphelt are available as of the next update, scheduled for...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV's 'Rising' event kicks off this week

Lasts until September 7
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Starting this week and running until September 7, 2015, Final Fantasy XIV will run the "Rising" event, complete with rewards and a few "guest appearances." The items include two minions, and celebratory fireworks. The ev...
Steambirds Alliance photo
Steambirds Alliance

Spry Fox showing off bullet hell MMO at PAX Prime

Steambirds Alliance
Aug 26
// Darren Nakamura
Spry Fox (Triple Town, Alphabear) will be at PAX Prime, and in addition to the undoubtedly cute bear posters it's giving out for free, it will also be showing its newest title, Steambirds Alliance. In a newsletter, Spry Fox d...
Dragomon classes photo
Dragomon classes

Dragomon Hunter shows off monster hunting character classes

Chibi, colorful Monster Hunter-like
Aug 26
// Steven Hansen
That Monster Hunter-styled MMORPG Dragomon Hunter has put out a new video focusing on the available characters classes. All the classics are there: scout, mercenary, mage, buscemi, cleric, substitute teacher. The free-to-pla...
FFXIV photo

Final Fantasy XIV getting a 24-man airship raid, Pokemon-like minion battles

And a whole lot more
Aug 25
// Chris Carter
Final Fantasy XIV is already a rather large game thanks to the Heavensward expansion, but it's about to get bigger come patch 3.1. It was announced that in addition to new story quests, a new beast tribe questline is coming, ...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV tops 5 million registered users

That's a lot of Chocobos
Aug 22
// Kyle MacGregor
Final Fantasy XIV has amassed more than 5 million registered accounts across the globe since Square Enix released the popular MMO two years ago, the publisher announced this week. That figure doesn't quite rival market leader...
Funcom photo

Funcom's in a bad way after poor Lego MMO performance

Seeking merger, acquisition, or anything
Aug 12
// Brett Makedonski
Norwegian developer Funcom is seemingly in financial peril after its free-to-play turned pay-to-play game Lego Minifigures Online performed worse than expected. The company doesn't expect revenues from the Lego ...
WildStar F2P photo
WildStar F2P

WildStar's free-to-play closed beta is live today

Test out the free version
Aug 11
// Chris Carter
If you happen to currently subscribe to WildStar (or have obtained a code through other means), you're eligible to play the beta today, for the F2P version of the game releasing later this year. Alternatively, you can g...
Star Trek Online photo
Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online goes post-war in Season 11: New Dawn

A New Hope?
Aug 11
// Josh Tolentino
For the five years it's been running, Star Trek Online's story has been one of a galaxy at war. First it was a war between the Federation and Klingon Empire, then between an alliance of the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans...
Neverwinter photo

Neverwinter: Elemental Evil expansion is coming to Xbox One next month

Slowly catching up to the PC version
Aug 07
// Joe Parlock
It was only a month ago when Rise of Tiamat, the fifth expansion for the free-to-play MMO Neverwinter, was released on Xbox One. At the time, I noted that while it was a decent update, it still meant the Xbox One version of t...
New Warcraft expansion photo
New Warcraft expansion

Blizzard reveals new World of Warcraft: Legion expansion

New Demon Hunter class!
Aug 06
// Chris Carter
Blizzard kicked things off today at gamescom with a new expansion announcement for World of Warcraft -- Legion. It will of course continue upon the story so far in Warlords of Draenor, and Illidan is back, baby! It...
Knights of the Fallen Emp photo
Knights of the Fallen Emp

New Star Wars: The Old Republic - Knights of the Fallen Empire trailer shows off gameplay

Back to 'BioWare-style storytelling'?
Aug 05
// Joe Parlock
BioWare has shown off some more of its upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire, at gamescom. The newest trailer that actually shows gameplay can be seen above. The expansion will feature ...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft's at its lowest playercount since 2005

Lowest since vanilla WoW
Aug 05
// Joe Parlock
World of Warcraft isn’t at its strongest right now. In fact, according to Activision’s Q2 2015 Earnings Call, the subscriber numbers have dropped to their lowest point since 2005, with only 5.6 million subscribers...

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