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4:00 PM on 11.17.2014

Review in Progress: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

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, ...

Chris Carter


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Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.4) photo
Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.4)
by Chris Carter

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 the game for the better, and I'll be enjoying it for months to come.

While the rest of the Dreams of Ice update wasn't as enjoyable as playing a Ninja at endgame, A Realm Reborn remains worth playing.

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Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.4) photo
Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.4)
by Chris Carter

I still can't believe Square Enix salvaged the original Final Fantasy XIV. I mean, it had the guts to make the game a core entry, so I'm glad the studio reworked it into A Realm Reborn -- this whole saga is just really interesting to me.

The newest update is Dreams of Ice, featuring a Primal/Summon many fans of the classic series know and love, Shiva. It also brings along the typical major changes and content bits, as well as one of the biggest additions so far -- a new class/job.

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Review: WildStar photo
Review: WildStar
by Chris Carter

I undertook a Review in Progress of WildStar at release, and due to a number of distractions and surprise announcements, it's taken me a while to see almost everything there is. But here I am with my Dominion Mechari Warrior, having experienced the leveling process, the community, and a number of endgame activities.

I'm pleased to say that although WildStar didn't blow me away, it's a fine MMO if you're looking for another realm to call home.

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Review: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas photo
Review: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas
by Chris Carter

This year, Blizzard embarked upon an interesting experiment. Instead of just charging people for card expansions, it bundled together an add-on called the Curse of Naxxramas, and released a different "wing" each week. To earn your cards you had to defeat the various denizens of the temple, which in turn unlocked more modes of play and new bosses to fight.

After completing the last wing, I can say that the experiment was definitely worthwhile, an hope Blizzard does it again -- just with a little more flair next time.

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Review in Progress: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas photo
Review in Progress: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas
by Chris Carter

When many Warcraft fans hear the name Naxxramas, it conjures up memories of late nights and pizza, while taking on the tough-as-nails raid in World of Warcraft (or as I know it, Naxx). It was one of the most enjoyable areas of the franchise lore-wise, as it focused on some of the more nefarious villains in the series' realm.

Archlich Kel'Thuzad returns as the big bad in Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas, but you won't be able to fight him right away. Yep, that's right, each "wing" of the DLC will unlock over the course of five weeks, and although the first wing is free, each wing will cost in-game currency or real money.

It's an interesting way to deliver DLC, and so far, it's more than enough to get me back into Hearthstone.

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Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3) photo
Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)
by Chris Carter

The last time we left off in our assessment of Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.3, I had experienced most of the tertiary level content, ready to face off against the big boss Ramuh himself in his true form, alongside of playing more Frontlines PVP and of course, more hunting.

Over the past week and a half I've tried just about everything there is to try, and I found that overall, it's getting people to do a diverse array of content -- as opposed to 2.2 which generally funneled people into a few venues. It's not the most balanced patch, but it adds a ton of stuff to do other than grind out end-game tokens, and I'm sure that makes a lot of former subscribers happy.

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Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3) photo
Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)
by Chris Carter

MMOs are constantly evolving beasts. Particularly in the subscription realm, developers are always searching for ways to keep players hooked, usually in the form of major updates -- big content patches that help ease the wait between even bigger expansions. The latest MMO to get an overhaul is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which is seeing its "Defenders of Eorzea" patch this week, bringing up the current version of the game to 2.3.

Since this update is even bigger than the vast majority of $60 retail releases, I'll be looking at everything it has to offer to supplement to our already existing review of A Realm Reborn, which covered up to patch 2.2.

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Review in Progress: WildStar (Mid-levels) photo
Review in Progress: WildStar (Mid-levels)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing WildStar over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our Reviews in Progress program.]

As we all know, MMOs can drastically change not only over the course of months of updates, but even from level to level. We have already given you an early look at the first 20 hours or so of the game, but as I climb the ladder of leveling more and more starts to open up.

Let's take a look at levels 14-30.

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Review in Progress: WildStar (Early-Access) photo
Review in Progress: WildStar (Early-Access)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing WildStar over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

The time has finally come for WildStar to back up all that hype. For years Carbine Studios has said that they will cater to all of the jaded MMO fans out there, as well as the most hardcore of players seeking a challenge -- and that's quite a tall order.

While they haven't quite succeeded with all their claims in the early stages of the game, there's still plenty of time to go on my journey to level 50, and I'm still having a good deal of fun getting there.

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Review: The Elder Scrolls Online photo
Review: The Elder Scrolls Online
by Chris Carter

It's been a long month in The Elder Scrolls Online, full of ups and downs.

At first, ESO wowed me unlike essentially any other MMO before it. Similar to Lord of the Rings Online but with much more bravado, the opening act of the game seeks to deliver a core Elder Scrolls experience that's worthy of the name, and at the start on a high-end PC, the world is just as astonishing as Morrowind, Cyrodiil, and Skyrim were for the very first time.

Although, once you reach level 15 or so the game slows down considerably, and the blemishes start to become more apparent. I enjoyed a lot of my time with The Elder Scrolls Online, but it's clear that it needs some more work before the console version drops.

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Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4) photo
Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4)
by Chris Carter

At this point, we've talked about the early-game mechanics of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and the trip to level 50. Now it's time to really put out a final verdict based on everything patch 2.2 has to offer, up to and including the Extreme Primal bosses and other pieces of endgame content.

After everything is said and done, I'm still loving it just as much as I did while leveling. There's so much on offer here for just about everyone, and incremental patches add such a monumental amount of content that it's hard to keep up.

As long as you're willing to brave through a few shortcomings, A Realm Reborn is one of the best MMOs in years.

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Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4) photo
Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4)
by Chris Carter

Last year close to its launch, we reviewed Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn -- so what's with the retread, you ask? Well, that was before we implemented our Reviews in Progress program, which was designed to cover games as a whole with a score down the line, including endgame content that MMO veterans may want to know about before dropping their cash.

The fact is, A Realm Reborn has had many updates since launch, including the massive 2.2 patch that was implemented recently and a PS4 port. In an effort to step up our MMO coverage, we'll be taking a look at the whole picture in regards to Final Fantasy XIV both at present and going forward.

It doesn't even feel like work, either -- I'm enjoying myself far too much.

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Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch) photo
Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

I've been hard at work playing Elder Scrolls Online this week (you can check out our initial impressions here), and now my low-level Imperial Dragonknight is sitting at a very formidable level 20. I've completed many dungeons, traveled to a heap of locations, and I've seen a ton of story-related quests.

So should you jump into Tamriel and pony up for the hefty $15 subscription fee? Well, it's complicated.

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Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access) photo
Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

In many ways ZeniMax is fighting an uphill battle with Elder Scrolls Online. In an era increasingly filled with free-to-play MMOs, subscription-based games are a tougher sell. Then you have the fact that Bethesda isn't involved in any capacity, and that this is ZeniMax's first ever MMO.

Yes, there are many things going against The Elder Scrolls Online, but based on my time with the live environment, it's still a serviceable game -- provided you're highly accustomed to the genre.

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Introducing 'Reviews in Progress' photo
Introducing 'Reviews in Progress'
by Chris Carter

For years now readers have been asking us to cover more MMOs and open-ended games, and we didn't always have the resources to do so. But starting this week all of that is changing, as we're now rolling out the new "Reviews in Progress" initiative, with the goal of covering larger games over an extended period of time. These projects are massive undertakings, but we're expanding our coverage to accommodate.

For larger games as a general rule, we'll cover the week of launch, then provide a recap of the first month, followed by a final scored verdict. You'll then be able to use all of these tools to decide whether or not a game is worth your time -- instead of waiting for one giant post.

The criteria for a final verdict will be stringent, and involve exploring a massive amount of content, such as endgame dungeons, as well as experiencing the game up to the maximum level cap. If we don't reach that mark we'll let you know the exact details.

We're kicking off the program with The Elder Scrolls Online this week. In case you're wondering, this isn't necessarily restricted to MMOs, but due to their nature that will likely be the central focus.

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