Eorzea Examiner #20: Inspiration From Nexus, Pt. 3

Hello and welcome to the twentieth edition of the Eorzea Examiner, ZAMs column on Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. For this weeks column, we're going back to look at the recently released MMO from Carbine Studios, WildStar. The last couple times we took a look at WildStar, I pointed out areas of their game design that I thought FFXIV could learn from and incorporate into Eorzea. This column’s going to be a little bit different. We’ll still be talking about something I’d like to see brought over from WildStar to FFXIV, but it’s something Carbine still needs to work on: Adventures.

Your Next: Genre Defining

As some of you know, I'll be getting married next week. She's cool—you’d like her. At times like this one's thoughts can't help but turn to the nature and idea of commitment.

It's something that's always struck me about the MMO genre, if it is a genre, these games are made with the hope that we'll be playing them for years to come. Many of us have, or still are.

We're all aware of how much competition there is for our valuable free time these days. With the rise of quality free-to-play titles, the Steam Sale and the Humble Bundle, the barrier of entry for the best gaming has to offer drops lower by the day.

It seems like an insurmountable task for a developer to create one game that could hold our interest for any length of time, let alone years.

Could this be it? Could MMOs soon be relegated to a niche curiosity with the odd nostalgia product aimed at an aging, dwindling crowd?

Firefall: Launch Review

Firefall is a surprising, enigmatic game. It doesn't feel like a blockbuster game, but it's incredibly addictive in all the right ways. The logical part of my brain wonders "Is this game actually good?", while the rest is just having fun and shouting "AWESOME!"

People have called Firefall the "Borderlands MMO." That's a good place to start: an FPS MMO with satisfying RPG elements. The games themselves share few similarities, and Red 5 Studios went further with Firefall than you might expect.

Considering it's free-to-play, it's definitely worth the download to try it out – and if you're like me, it'll stick around for months to come. To find out why, let's look a little closer.

Landmark Founder Pack Discounts: Right or Wrong?

Sony Online Entertainment launched a 48-hour Steam sale on their Landmark Founder's Packs yesterday. According to the official forums (as well as reddit and Twitter), this sale left a bitter taste in some people's mouths.

When it comes to controversial topics such as this (especially as an active member in SOE's gaming community), I try to be fair and see it from both sides of the coin. Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and put down the pitchfork for a moment, while other times we are completely justified in feeling wronged and slighted. Unfortunately, this sale seems to fall in a grey area no matter how I look at it.

Your Next: Looking for Guilds

Another week groans by, dragging behind it those of us hoping for a chance at a glimpse of what we're waiting for. How dramatic a pose we strike; after all, it would be ludicrous to feel like this over something that wasn't that important.

So, here it is, the calm before the storm and the insufferable wait. I imagine we've all been here before, at different times and in different parts of the world, refreshing home pages and bouncing around subreddits.

I'm glad that, as an adult, I've found something akin to the magic of waiting for Santa, but I don't think my inner child sees it that way.

I wonder sometimes, in passing fits of maturity, how it must feel on the other side. The weight of expectation, the doubts, that feeling of having a secret you just have to pass on before it bursts.

The feeling of excitement coming from those with new toys to share at SOE Live is palpable; they're proud, they're confident, and they can't wait to let us see what they have.

Why The International Matters

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The world’s largest eSports tournament ever, The International, just concluded on July 21st. It was a spectacle on many levels; whether it be a sold out arena, the massive prize pool, or the level of competition, the tournament was truly massive and an achievement in many different ways. With the dust finally settled a single question has arisen: why does this tournament matter? The unpacking of this question is simple, but it also speaks volumes about the gaming community as a whole.

The Crew: A Closed Beta Hands-On Story

This week, The Crew went into a short 5-day Closed Beta: started Monday, ending Friday. We've had a chance to run through The Crew coast-to-coast, and want to give you an idea what to expect with the full game on November 11th.

Your Next: Where's the Game?

In my part of the world, we don't do summer very well. The buildings are made to keep the heat in and the rain off, and my people turn a frightening shade of pink in the sun. But I cannot complain, because when I feel the sun on my face or shift uncomfortably on my leather desk chair, I think of the Mojave Desert.

In less than a month, the lucky and privileged among us will be in the costume-jewel of the desert, the shrine to the arrogance and hubris of humankind they call Las Vegas. We are called to hear the word and spread it throughout the unholy land.

The word, of course, of EverQuest Next.

It's been almost a year since the big reveal, and despite the world of EverQuest Next being built before our eyes, with weekly updates and above-and-beyond levels of community interaction from the developers, we still don't know much more about how the game will play.

What will a day in the life of the EQN player be like? We have a good idea of what it will look like, we have a pretty solid grasp of how our characters move and react to our instruction, but what about the game?

So far in Landmark, we can build, we can play, and we can absolutely have a lot of fun – but in my opinion it's still not really a game. Let it be known I am not using the word 'play' in a derogatory way, I'm not saying playing a game is somehow 'better' than just playing.

In my own personal universe, playing a game is about accepting challenges and working to overcome them. It's the challenges and the specific goal that transform the activity from play to playing a game. Inventing and playing games comes as naturally to humans as telling jokes or adultery, so how could we not wonder when the 'game' would begin?

We've talked so much for so long, it's tough for those of us without experience in making games to put into perspective how much progress has been made, how close the rock is to the top of the hill; when are we going to tip over the edge and feel the exhilaration of the downhill stretch?

What do you want to see in Vegas? What are your hopes for the EverQuest Next keynote? Dave Georgeson on the iWalk will be a sight (get well soon!), but what of reveals, announcements and surprises?

Your Next: Story Time

Another week in the development of EverQuest Next and Landmark goes by. Some nice new additions to Landmark keep the slavering horde at bay until SOE Live, the culmination of the Dark Elf Workshop and the Kerran winning the vote – leaving the Dwarves sidelined once again. Progress is being made, even in this lull before the information overload we can expect from SOE Live.

Just when you thought it was safe to coast along with the weekly updates, a partner of SOE has been making waves elsewhere.

Warlords of Draenor: Letters From the Beta

Three weeks ago I shared with you my impressions of the Warlords of Draenor alpha for World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion - focusing on the only new zone available at that time: Frostfire Ridge. Since then the game has moved into beta and Shadowmoon Valley has opened up, and so it is that I write to you now of this amazing location on Draenor.