Formerly Hardcore #3: Adventures in BRF, Part 3

Hello and welcome to the 3rd edition of Formerly Hardcore, ZAMs column on Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft. For our third column, we’re continuing our look at WoW’s latest raid, Blackrock Foundry. So far we’ve covered the six of the ten encounters in BRF, as well as some talk about my experience with using WoW’s Group Finder tool and Looking For Raid difficulty. That leaves us with four more bosses to talk about.

Your Next: Can't Design Won't Design

This week, I have discovered the true horror of being a grown up. While I have the means to purchase a PlayStation 4 and Bloodborne, I’m not going to because it would be irresponsible. It is with a single, dignified tear rolling down my cheek I type this, a stoic icon of duty.

That has nothing to do with anything, I just wanted to share it with you to demonstrate how brave and remarkable I am.

Bloodborne, like Dark Souls before it, knows exactly what kind of game it is and every element of it is a cog in an elegant machine. The games aren’t for everyone, but in terms of design they are masterful, and have probably redefined the RPG for the next generation.

As you may be aware, I am a massive nerd for game design; it colors my thinking toward certain games to the extent that I need to be aware of it to be genuinely critical of the experience as a whole. It’s a little silly, but so is being a massive nerd for anything, so I find it’s best to just like what you like.

The Scrying Pool: Guardian's Cleric

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The Scying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.

Last week I gave my overall speculation for the Specializations that are coming with Heart of Thorns. This week I dive into the first of the profession specific speculations with my idea of the Guardian’s specialization, the Cleric.

Your Next: Incredible Blandness of Being

In the past I’ve made no secret of my personal dislike of The Elder Scrolls Online, so it was only as a product of some misplaced sense of duty I found myself downloading the newly dubbed Tamriel Unlimited this week. I actually let out an involuntary sarcastic chuckle at the thirty gigabyte download size, as if the game was somehow insisting upon my valuable time. It was my intention to give the game a fair shot, but apparently my self-righteous subconscious was having none of it.

With that in mind, I went in to the game determined to notice improvement, and happily I did. The new player experience has been subtly reworked into a shape less bloated, and the characters now move like they’re held together with organic matter. These are two things I always pay attention to at the start of a game, and while their value is subjective, it’s usually an indication of quality throughout.

It’s a pity then, that these features were fixed after the fact. To me, it’s a demonstration of the problem with ESO—massive amounts of effort spent creating the entertainment equivalent of beige paint: functional precisely because it’s so unremarkable. Or maybe something like artisanal porridge would be a better analogy, because no matter the skill and love that went into it, the outcome was never going to carry that passion with it.

The Scrying Pool: Spec Spec

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The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.

Heart of Thorns is coming to Guild Wars 2 as the game’s first expansion, so it only makes sense that the return of The Scrying Pool dives right into speculation about what this expansion is going to deliver.

Formerly Hardcore #2: Adventures in BRF, Part 2

Hello and welcome to the 2nd edition of Formerly Hardcore, ZAMs column on Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft. For our second column, we’re going back into WoW’s latest raid, Blackrock Foundry. So far we’ve covered the four easiest of the ten encounters in BRF, as well as some talk about my experience with using WoW’s Group Finder tool. Now it’s time to move on to the heavy hitters – compared to those first four bosses, these next six are far crazier and far more interesting. 

PAX East: ZAM Article Recap

ZAM had a great time at PAX East, and now that we've wrapped up all our content, we got a full article recap for you. We went hands-on, snagged some interviews, took a lot of pictures and jotted down some big announcements.

ZAM at PAX East 2015: Video Coverage Recap

PAX East 2015: Video Recap

Mike B and Lindsay Geektron hit the floor of PAX East last weekend to grab some interviews and footage of the show. They took a look at Alienware's Steam Machine, chatted about XSplit's latest version update, and snagged interviews for Gigantic, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Elite: Dangerous. Finally, they took a stroll through the Indie Megabooth to bring us an amazing megamix of 30 indie games in under 30 minutes.

Secrets of Ayanad: ArcheAge Post-PAX Interview

Secrets of Ayanad—the name given to the final 1.2 Korean version of ArcheAge—was launched by Trion Worlds this past Tuesday. We spoke to the newest and very passionate producer on the team, Merv Lee Kwai, about the update what it brings to the players.

"You know, I think it was our best launch to-date for ArcheAge! It was smooth, servers have been stable the entire time and we're really proud of the content we pushed out." Merv explained that one reason the team thinks that the update was such a success is thanks to two weeks of live player data collected on the test realm.

Secrets of Ayanad increased the level cap by five, so players can now go from 50 to 55 on all ten possible classes. There are five new skill points (one for each new level) available—raising the cap to 28—giving better flexibility in your class builds, and each class gets a new skill at 55.

Diamond Shores is the new zone introduced in this update, found to the northwest on the continent of Auroria and is part of the war cycle. The zone has a new housing area, "about 200 houses, only on the west coast."

PAX East 2015: Picture Gallery

We had a great weekend at PAX East! There's still more articles and videos to come from our weekend there, but today we wanted to share over 60 pictures we took in and around the convention. Check out a handful of images below and click here to see all the pics!