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Guild Wars 2 photo
Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 adding first-person mode

Eat your heart out GTA
Feb 26
// Robert Summa
Typically, MMOs are third-person affairs and for good reason. Whenever you find yourself in any dangerous persistent world, you want a good idea of what's around you to have the best possible view of the battlefield. Well, so...
ESO cash shop details photo
ESO cash shop details

ZeniMax details The Elder Scrolls Online's upcoming pay-to-play store

The road to hell is paved with novelty skins
Feb 13
// Jason Faulkner
The latest MMO to go the pay-to-play route is The Elder Scrolls Online. Last month's announcement was a bit of a shocker to some, as going subscription free is an indicator of bad news for MMOs. However, ZeniMax is trying its...

Atari is making a new Asteroids game (Yes, really!)

Everyone freak out
Feb 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Atari just announced a new Asteroids game. No, you guys, I'm being serious. Stop laughing!  Asteroids: Outpost, as it's called, is described as an open-world MMO with survivalist gameplay. The experience casts players in...
Elite Dangerous Patch photo
Elite Dangerous Patch

Elite: Dangerous 1.1 patch brings pilots together and enhances gameplay

Todd 'Maniac' Marshall, at your service, ma'am!
Feb 06
// Jason Faulkner
Elite: Dangerous continues to mature with the latest 1.1 BETA update. The addition of Community Goals adds missions for groups of players to work towards, like destroying x amount of enemies, or hauling a certain cargo t...
H1Z1 photo

If you're new to H1Z1 and these guys show up, you're joining a fight club

I think I just broke one of the rules...
Feb 03
// Brett Makedonski
Like the Penis Brothers of yesteryear, some people in zombie survival games are less concerned with the undead, and more intent on messing with fellow humans. You know what they say: man is the real monster. This group in&nb...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV kicks off its 'Valentione's Day' event

It'll run until February 16
Feb 03
// Chris Carter
Final Fantasy XIV likes it keep its players interested by running frequent events, and the latest one kicks off today. It's called "Valentione's Day," and is obviously themed after the real life celebration in mid-Februa...
Sony Online Entertainment photo
Sony Online Entertainment

SOE sold by Sony, sees a new dawn as Daybreak Game Company

Sounds like plans for Xbox are in the works
Feb 02
// Brett Makedonski
Sony Online Entertainment -- developer of popular MMOs such as PlanetSide 2, Everquest, and H1Z1 -- is no longer a part of Sony's stable of studios. After 20 years, SOE has been offloaded. Sony recently sold its subsidia...
Aion photo

Aion update looks to ease the devil's RNG

Really but not really
Jan 28
// Robert Summa
I have a dirty little not-so-secret secret to tell you: I was a GM for Aion for about two years. What did I learn in all that time? That gamers can be the most gracious and little pieces of shit on the planet Earth. One of th...
Guild Wars 2 photo
I've needed this for a while
Guild Wars 2 is a pretty great MMO. It's buy-to-play, which means you have to purchase the initial package first, then there's no subscription fees or nasty progression-hindering microtransactions. You buy the game, and...

Cheap Guild Wars photo
Cheap Guild Wars

At $10, yeah, Guild Wars 2 is worth playing

Your next MMO?
Jan 23
// Jordan Devore
As a casual MMO player, I've always liked the Guild Wars series -- no monthly subscription fits my lifestyle, you know? I don't have to feel guilty about wasting money by not playing "enough," whatever that is. If you're of a...

Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.5)

Jan 21 // Chris Carter
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixMSRP: $39.99 ($12.99 per month)Released: August 27, 2013 (PC, PS3) / April 14, 2014 (PS4) In case you missed it, we've been covering A Realm Reborn since launch. Patrick initially reviewed the base game, then I covered up to patch 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4. For those unaware, Square Enix releases a massive update every three to four months, providing new encounters, dungeons, and raids for players to enjoy while they wait for the next batch of content. Patch 2.5, titled Before the Fall, is probably the most interesting delivery yet, because it's coming in waves. While the bulk of it (which will be covered here) is live in the game right now, the Gold Saucer, Chocobo Racing, Triple Triad, and the conclusion of the 2.0 storyarc leading into the expansion will come over the course of the next few months. It's an odd way to handle it, but it's ultimately acceptable because 2.5 is no slouch itself. And besides, the Gold Saucer has been hyped for so long it would be a shame if it was rushed. Full stop, the new storyline for Before the Fall is my favorite encapsulated tale since the original Realm Reborn plot. While it has been quite a ride to discover the origin of classic Final Fantasy summons like Shiva and how they impact the realm of FFXIV, the actual big-picture game world often took a backseat in favor of plotlines that felt secondary to the core narrative. Now in 2.5, the dragon arc that was set up with Bahamut in the intro is coming to a head, and the expansion is being put front and center. [embed]286422:56972:0[/embed] It's not just a tease of what's to come but an interesting look at the core cast, as they are put into situations that directly concern the kingdom. Instead of going off on what feels like a sidequest to quell Ramuh or some other god, the action comes to the city of Mor Dhona directly, with you in the middle of an age-old confrontation with the Wyrmking Midgardsormr. Square Enix has interestingly mixed in a Trial with the story on top of the traditional "new" dungeon, which is a thrill in and of itself. I usually find myself playing the story just to get to the other bits of content, but this time around I enjoyed the journey just as much. One of the biggest content additions is the Odin fight, which mirrors the encounter at the recent Fan Fest events across the world. He's not an Extreme fight, nor is he "easy," and players will have a really difficult time with him at the recommended item level, mostly because he has a hard damage-per-second check at 15% or seven minutes in (whichever comes first) that will cause you to wipe if you don't do enough damage. Odin takes you on in a rather boring circular arena in the forest, and fighting him mostly involves lots of dodging in addition to a very intensive heal check, since there's plenty of bleed effects afoot during the fight. It's fun to finally be able to fight Odin at will rather than chancing it with a random world event, but that initial awe and wonder wears off after you realize how simplistic the battle is. I've never wanted an Extreme mode so badly. The other big boss fight is Gilgamesh, who returns and seemingly closes out the joyous and goofy Hildibrand storyline. As the producers have maintained, this is a very casual string of content that will allow gamers of all skill levels to enjoy themselves. That ideology is encapsulated in the new "Battle in Big Keep" Gilgamesh encounter far more than it was in 2.4, which featured a rather complicated arena setting that relied on every player knowing exactly what to do. That previous fight ended up being a big problem for a lot of groups who couldn't figure out how to handle some of the more complicated aspects. Thankfully, 2.5 cleans things up a bit, and delivers a fun, simplistic battle that is pretty easy to pick up and play. Plus, with the closing of the story you also net Hildibrand's clothes, and his signature dance, which is a nice bonus. The last quest is titled "Her Final Vow," but the lovable character and his crew are expected to return in the expansion. At least, I hope so. Oddly enough, the new Trials Roulette, which picks a random boss fight for you to do daily for an increased reward, includes both the fun Gilgamesh encounter and the story Trial, but not Odin. Maybe it's because the developers realized that it was too difficult for casual players? Either way, it's disappointing that not every bit of content is put into the end-game hopper -- a concept Square Enix has handled perfectly so far. The three new dungeons include Wanderer's Palace (Hard Mode), Amdapor Keep (Hard Mode), and my personal favorite, Keeper of the Lake. The former two as expected don't look anything like their predecessors, and offer interesting boss mechanics. Square is learning when it comes to balancing dungeons, being careful to not make any one location that much "faster" than the other to complete, leading to the playerbase speedrunning one over all others. While some may find the arbitrary gating of checkpoints annoying, I understand the decision.Having said that, Keeper of the Lake is a standout winner for me as a dungeon. It has a very cool theme to it that hasn't been replicated since the Praetorium in the main story, and the setting, as well as the direct interaction with dragons, is an amazing lead-in to the expansion. Lore-wise it's one of my favorite locations, and the final fight is a really fun encounter with lots of dodging and a rather menacing feel to the main foe. Finally, the other big addition to 2.5 is the World of Darkness raid, which continues the Crystal and Syrcus Tower storyline and supports 24 players at once. Alliance-wide queuing was added to the game in 2.3, so you can go at it with a full guild if you want, but odds are you're going to be playing with random people so a balanced difficulty is important. In that regard, I think Square Enix nailed it. As a whole it feels easier to pick up than Crystal Tower, but more difficult than Syrcus Tower -- in other words, an improvement. World of Darkness is an incredibly cool-looking location, full of life and personality despite the fact that the realm is quite literally "dark." Plenty of iconic Final Fantasy villains return, and the last boss looks like she was taken directly out of a classic game like Final Fantasy III -- in fact, she was! There's relevance to the raid too with new gear to earn, which will help non-Coil players catch up and look cool in the process. In every way the gear is an upgrade to Syrcus Tower aesthetically.Before the Fall adds a ton of extra stuff too, like more personal and guild housing options. Hunts are relevant again after their massive downturn in 2.4, since the rewards have been increased, and the Unstained Mark Log drop rewards players with top-end gear. There's also some new hairstyles, mounts, and quality of life fixes, like an improved queue system and the ability to earn back all your cooldowns (ability timers) while in any Sanctuary, not just capital cities. My favorite addition is probably the introduction of a weekly raid quest, which earns players an endgame upgrade reagent for completing Crystal Tower, Syrcus Tower, and World of Darkness. This will funnel people into all the old 24-person raids all over again, which is a great thing. Like I stated earlier, Square Enix is the master of keeping things relevant -- a lesson many other developers could learn when creating new content for games like this. Patch 2.5 is definitely a table-setting update, but it's filled with good content while players wait for the expansion to get here. Since everything else will arrive over the course of the next two months, I'll be covering it as each portion drops, so stay tuned for that augmented coverage. While 2.5 may not be enough to woo old players back into the fray on its own, I have a feeling that all of the fluff coming before the expansion will be a perfect excuse to return. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
FFXIV review photo
Before the Fall
Final Fantasy XIV has come a long way. Although there wasn't any real endgame content to speak of when A Realm Reborn launched in its 2.0 incarnation, Square Enix worked hard to deliver in 2.1, and has continued to deliv...

Elder Scrolls drops subs photo
Surprise, right? Guys, are you surprised?
When I reviewed The Elder Scrolls Online back at launch I thought it had potential, but not enough to keep people paying for subscription time. Plenty of MMOs have enjoyed a subscription-based model, and games like ...

World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

Blizzard's sending a seriously cool gift to World of Warcraft's ten-year subscribers

A replica of its headquarters' statue
Jan 19
// Brett Makedonski
A decade is a decent stretch of time by any account, but it's an especially long time to routinely play an MMO. Blizzard wants to recognize the dedication of the select few players that have stuck by World of Warcraft si...
H1Z1 kerfuffle photo
H1Z1 kerfuffle

Sony Online offered H1Z1 refunds after pay-to-win complaints

'No questions asked'
Jan 19
// Steven Hansen
H1Z1, Sony Online Entertainment's bizarrely-named version of DayZ, was the center of a kerfuffle over the weekend that didn't even have to do with the game not working at its Early Access launch. Rather, the community le...
H1Z1 photo

H1Z1 community feels that the game is pay-to-win despite being told it wouldn't be

The developers refute the claims
Jan 16
// Brett Makedonski
H1Z1, Sony Online Entertainment's zombie apocalypse survival simulator, has recently come under fire from its own community. On the day of its Early Access launch, many who had eagerly tracked the game's development for month...
Neverwinter photo

Neverwinter Xbox One Closed Beta starts in February, sign up now!

Is Neverwinter about living in Los Angeles?
Jan 15
// Mike Cosimano
If you've got an Xbox One and have been hankering to play the Dungeons and Dragons MMO Neverwinter on a console, you might want to go ahead and register for the Xbox One closed beta. Registration begins today and the beta wil...
FFXIV photo
Maybe you should think about playing it now?
Final Fantasy XIV is gearing up for its new massive 2.5 update, called "Before the Fall." The patch will be broken up into two parts. The first of which will drop next week with extra main scenario quests, boss fights, ...

Weekly resets photo
Weekly resets

What do you think of 'weekly resets' in online games?

Tuesday is the best/worst day
Dec 25
// Chris Carter
Many, many MMOs and other such online games (Destiny) have weekly "reset" periods. They usually take place on a Tuesday, and allow you earn raid loot and weekly quest rewards again, as well as earn whatever tokens or currency...
Transformers Universe photo
Transformers Universe

Jagex and Hasbro terminate Transformers MMO

Turning attention to its own properties
Dec 16
// Brett Makedonski
We never got a chance to see if there was more than meets the eye with Transformers Universe; Jagex and Hasbro shut down the free-to-play MMO today while it was still in beta. The move isn't entirely unexpected, as it may hav...
Onigiri photo

MMORPG Onigiri coming to PS4, Xbox One in 2015

It's about oni slaying, not rice balls, by the way
Dec 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Onigiri is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One across North America and Europe in early 2015, developer CyberStep confirmed with Windows Central. The free-to-play MMORPG draws inspiration from Japanese mythology, t...
FXIV photo

Final Fantasy XIV deploys marriage patch this week

Same-sex marriage included
Dec 10
// Chris Carter
Want to get married in Final Fantasy XIV? Now is your time. The Ceremony of Eternal Bonding is now live, and to get married, all you have to do is submit an application on the Mog Station portal. Up to 80 guests can attend, ...
Black Desert photo
Black Desert

Korean MMO Black Desert releasing in North America and Europe next year

Dec 05
// Jordan Devore
Oh, good -- another chance to talk about Black Desert and reuse this Tom Cruisian image. The cool-looking MMORPG and its remarkable character creator will be available to North American and European audiences in 2015, develo...
FFXIV PS4 upgrade photo
FFXIV PS4 upgrade

That PS3 to PS4 upgrade program for FFXIV has been extended

Into 2015
Dec 03
// Chris Carter
In an effort to bring more people into the current era of consoles, Square Enix offered a special program that would allow players to upgrade their PS3 copy of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn to the PS4. This process w...
Black Desert photo
Black Desert

That Korean MMORPG with the spectacular character creator has the best smiles

Oh my god, this is great
Dec 02
// Jordan Devore
Black Desert may never see a release in the West, but that's not going to stop me from geeking out over its extensive character creator, perhaps the best I've ever encountered. Actually, scratch that qualifier. Now that I've...
Project HON trailer photo
Project HON trailer

Project HON's mech combat trailer is amazing and confusing

Mecha got a booty like DAYAM
Nov 25
// Nic Rowen
I wish everyday started with over 20 minutes of gorgeous mech combat. Project HON's impressively long trailer includes everything you could ask for from a game inspired by mecha anime: senseless destruction, giant guns, metal fisticuffs, weaponized grappling hooks, and transforming robots. Best breakfast viewing ever.
Good looking trailer photo
Good looking trailer

Korean MMO seems to outdo recent JRPGs

JRPGs getting out-JRPG'd by KRPGs
Nov 20
// Steven Hansen
Just aesthetically, Peria Chronicles looks better than all these budget, tropefest JRPGs that fill time between Persona installments. And it's more impressive when you realize that this is a (Korean) MMO with ...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft back up to 10 million subs after expansion release

Go go Warlords of Draenor
Nov 20
// Chris Carter
I have been heartily enjoying the new Warlords of Draenor expansion for World of Warcraft. It evokes feelings of the franchise that are more classic in nature, which is a great thing for those of you out there who didn't...
WoW photo

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is worth subscribing for again

Better than Mists
Nov 17
// Chris Carter
I've been playing World of Warcraft off and on since it launched in 2004, but the Burning Crusade expansion came at the perfect time in my life. Throughout the years I've been dabbling in the other expansions, ...

Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.4)

Nov 10 // Chris Carter
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer:  Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixMSRP: $39.99 ($12.99 per month, with a free PS3-to-PS4 license transfer) Released: August 27, 2013 (PC, PS3) / April 14, 2014 (PS4) Things have changed since my last review update with patch 2.4. Now, I'm not only a level 50 Ninja, I'm also item level 108. Before I get to how Ninja works in the current endgame meta, I'll talk a bit about the journey from Rogue to level 50. Simply put, I was surprised at how well Rogues and Ninjas function in the overall world of A Realm Reborn. The game's director noted how a "Thief" class wouldn't apply, and I can easily see that now after playing through the new class story. I enjoyed the whole pirate feel of the Rogue arc, and the complete turn with Ninja. The narrative is built in such a way to make you believe ninjas have been around this whole time, quietly watching everyone in Eorzea. After reaching level 30, you're on your way into this completely new world and are able to see the realm in a completely new way. It was probably the most enjoyable class questline I've played, and I have roughly half of the game's jobs at max level. So how was the process? Well, it was mixed. Like I said before, the queues for dungeons are horrendous. It's odd that Square Enix decided to release a dps class so early, without one tank or healer class to offset it. [embed]283551:56271:0[/embed] Yes, a Dark Knight tank job and presumably a healer will arrive in the expansion next year, but saving the ninja for later and adding a much-needed class now would have made queues better. Having said that, I've never had as much fun FATE grinding as I had leveling my Ninja. Everyone was friendly, and it's a riot to see 24+ Ninjas rip apart a FATE boss, running around the world using Mudra magic. FATEs are still a viable method of leveling, so while dungeon queues were a bummer, the worldwide comradery of leveling out in the world made me like the community that much more. Endgame content with the Ninja is a blast. Not only does it have a few perks like a teleport and an inherently faster move speed, but it also has a ton of full party buffs that make it worth taking up a coveted raid slot. The class can help restore the TP for one party member, it can constantly debuff enemies, and it can either stun or silence as needed on a swappable ability. The Ninja is absolutely worth playing and a ton of fun in my tests, but it presents one extra problem that hasn't quite been addressed yet. From what I've seen in many static groups, the Ninja meshes well with the Monk, and completely replaces the need for a Dragoon. As a Dragoon player who has multiple jobs over item level 100 I'm safe, but career Dragoons will likely not enjoy the current meta -- in fact, I've already seen a ton of them jump ship, and my static will likely prefer my Ninja going forward. Hopefully Square Enix will address this, but it's good news for prospective Ninjas. In terms of the other new changes, the new Poetics tome feels grindier as a whole than the grind in patch 2.3. Expert dungeon runs are currently the best way to earn Poetics, and Square Enix has taken away many of the other viable methods like Hunts. Hunts are abysmally slow, as only S rank hunts give a measly 10 Poetic tomes. I wish the company had added more ways to gain the new tome even if it was at a slower rate, because dungeon grinding is something I was glad to be rid of in 2.3. Thankfully, all three new dungeons are still fun to run. I love all the boss encounters (especially the Mummy King and the Yeti), and the actual aesthetics and new musical accompaniments are among my favorites. The other piece of the puzzle that I haven't covered yet is the Extreme version of the Shiva fight. After a full week my static and I have it on farm status. It's much more fun than Ramuh overall, and people seem to like doing the encounter more. There are more learning groups out there than there were for Ramuh, and the gear itself is a lot more valuable. This is a tank-centric fight that keeps everyone on their toes without requiring as much as Ramuh did; Shiva is how EX Primal fights should be going forward. From what I've seen of Final Coil so far it looks like a natural ramp-up from the first and second wings, which is great for players who are all about conquering endgame. I'll need much more time to give a full verdict, but all of the groups I play with seem to enjoy the challenge. Other changes include more housing wards, and a higher Atma drop rate. These two things alone should please long-term fans who had issues with those concepts. It's nice to see Square Enix fix multiple facets of the game, and not just go and add new content on top of problems. This is the major reason why I continue to play A Realm Reborn. While I would have preferred a tank or healing class instead of a dps addition this year, as well as a few more meaningful tweaks to the new tome system, the fact remains that Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is still worth playing. Newcomers will have a ton of fun playing a new class alongside all of the new Ninjas, and hardcore fans have much to look forward to with a new Coil to conquer. Although 2.5 seems much more interesting in terms of variety, 2.4 is still enough to keep me interested.
FFXIV patch 2.4 review photo
Dreams of Ice
The prospect of playing as a Ninja again in Final Fantasy excited me. After working my way up to level 50 in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the class ended up having so much style and substance that it changed t...

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