Heading to Wintertide

It’s time to pull out those thick coats and strong boots, as winter is heading to Auratia.  Earlier this week, Dragon’s Prophet was hit with Game Update 0.2, bringing the new zone of Wintertide, raising the level cap to 70, and more besides.

To show off everything arriving in the latest patch, SoE senior producer Todd Carson took me on a whistle-stop tour of Wintertide and the new features it brings – quite literally, as we arrived there by train. Carson also revealed that he’ll be announcing a release date at SOE Live next month, although there’s more to come as open beta continues.

Hands-On With The Mighty Quest

A few weeks ago Ubisoft decided to celebrate the start of Closed Beta for their new F2P dungeon crawler/manager, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. They held an Open House event - everyone who had signed up for the beta before a cutoff date was invited in for a few days to try out the game. There were even prizes given away - a shirt and 1000 keys to stay in the beta once the Open House ended. I tried out the game some during the event, but not really enough to base my opinion on the game. Now that I have a key to the actual beta and access to the locked third class, it's time to dig in a bit further and see what TMQEL has to offer.

Take a Peek: Heart of Fear

The final chapter of the Rain of Fear expansion is expected to go live on Tuesday, July 16.

Here is a look at the new zones!

Heart of Fear

It's time. The desperate battles, relentless hunts, and cutthroat dealings of the past year have all been working up to this moment: the final confrontation with Cazic-Thule's terrifying power. The god of fear is dead, but brave adventurers must enter the final reservoir of his lingering power on Norrath, the Heart of Fear, to conquer its evil once and for all. But brave adventurers are not alone in their quest—a myriad of monsters both familiar and new inhabit the Heart of Fear, hoping to steal Cazic-Thule's power for themselves and ascend to become Norrath's new god of fear. Can you stop them all in time? Can you even find them? A betrayer in your midst is eager to teach you the new meaning of fear. Prepare yourself.

That giant shard in the middle of the Shard's Landing crater is looking a little healthier these days, and two emissaries of shadow have appeared at its side...

"Heart of Fear" is broken into three separate zones: The Threshold (the top level, a large mountainous area littered with creatures of fear and Alaran believers); The Rebirth (the middle level, a network of caverns that perhaps serves as the main "gestation" area for creatures of fear); and The Epicenter (the lower level, as its name suggests: The Heart of Fear).

(Screenshots of the new zones can be found below the jump!)

Final Fantasy XIV: Crafting and Gathering

With the rerelease of Square Enix’s second MMO, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, a few months away, a few of us here at ZAM have had the chance to try the beta and see what’s changed. We all tried out the combat and looked at some of the major system changes and you can find out more about those in Corey’s post. While I put in a good amount of time questing and fighting like the other writers, it wasn’t my primary focus this time around. What I wanted to know was this: did Square Enix finally give me full-fledged crafting and gathering classes like they were promising when the first version of FFXIV came out in 2010?

When Square Enix originally started talking about its second MMO, Final Fantasy XIV, one of the points it kept bringing up to show its game was unique was that crafters and gatherers were now true player classes. Players that wanted to dabble in crafting or gathering could still do so on the side, but those who were primarily interested in finding/selling crafting materials or in turning those materials into equipment and supplies for other players now had full-fledged classes to specialize in. There would be actual abilities you used, gear with crafting/gathering specific stats to get, and technique to learn beyond just clicking on an ore vein or hitting Create in a crafting window. When I played the open beta for v1.0, I was… well, I had a lot of less than kind things to say that are unfit for print, especially about crafting and gathering. Fast forward almost three years and a remake later, it was time to find out what had changed and if it was for the better.

Final Fantasy XIV:ARR First Impressions

Dating back to Final Fantasy I, II, VI, VII, VIII, IX and some of the more recent titles, Final Fantasy has always held a special place in my heart. With its great stories, tactical combat and mystical environments; it was like a series that could never be tainted. Then came Final Fantasy XIV.

Into the Dragons' Den

In most MMOs I’ve played, the gallant hero is asked by a desperate kingdom to slay the wicked dragon. Not so for upcoming MMO Dragon’s Prophet. In this latest free-to-play creation from Runewaker and published by Sony Online Entertainment, you get the chance to tame, train and ride dragons of your very own.

For all those eagerly anticipating raising a clutch of magical reptiles, the good news is that open beta starts in North America on May 30. Founders with VIP access will get a 24 hour head start, giving them early access into the world of Auratia. Closed Beta testers will also be pleased to know that the NDA has been lifted from today, freeing them to share their tales of daring draconic deeds with friends.

During the weekend I dived back in, mainly to see how development had progressed since my first look last month. Joined by ZAM regular Chris Rainey, we livestreamed our progress (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) from character creation to the giddy heights of level 20. As an extra bonus, I’ll be streaming a special session on ZAM's Twitch.TV channel from 4pm Pacific on Thursday May 23, where I’ll be joined by senior producer Todd Carson to answer all your Dragon’s Prophet questions.

WildStar: Postcards from Arkship EU

What does it feel like when a developer rolls out the red carpet? WildStar’s European fans were treated to their own Arkship-style fan gathering down in Brighton, UK recently, and I was incredibly lucky to snag an invite of my own. With the promise of plenty of hands-on playtime, some in-depth Q&A panels and a first look at both PvP arenas and instanced dungeons, I was drooling with anticipation from the moment it hit my inbox.

Dragon's Prophet: Exploring Beta

The world of Auratia is crammed with dragons. Legend has it that Elder dragons arrived many years ago, breeding with other creatures and creating hundreds of new species. From soaring fliers to graceful swimmers, each of them is blessed with a unique set of abilities that adventurers will be eager to make use of.

Dragon’s Prophet has a slogan: “Their Strength is Your Power”. But, as Senior Producer Todd Carson explained, this is about more than just a fighting companion or convenient steed. In this upcoming MMO from Taiwanese developer Runewaker and published by Sony Online Entertainment, dragons impact every aspect of the game, from questing to crafting.

Take a Peek: Chelsith Reborn & Plane of Shadow

Soon to be unleashed on live servers is the Shadow of Fear...

An extension of the Rain of Fear expansion, Shadow of Fear brings about two new zones: Chelsith Reborn and the Plane of Shadow. Here is a look!

Chelsith Reborn

While the shards of fear were falling on Norrath, a significant shard landed in a remote part of The Grey. It was discovered by one of the undead Shissar stalkers who delivered it to a Shissar, Vyzh'dra (one of the more prominent figures among the Shissar).

Not too long after this, a new city emerged in the middle of The Grey. It is a massive and pristine city reminiscent of ancient shissar architecture and designs, and outsiders seem confused as to how it came to be. No one has come out of the city since it arrived...

(Check out the Plane of Shadow below the jump...)

The Elder Scrolls Online: Hands On


The Elder Scrolls Online has caused frothing at the mouth for many gamers, either those who started flinging their money at the screen as soon as it was announced (hence an upswing in monitor sales before E3 last year), or those who found the whole idea of an Elder Scrolls MMO sacrilege.

Either way, interest for this game is higher than any upcoming MMO and it was with suitable anticipation that I visited ZeniMax Online Studios in Maryland last week. As part of the visit to the impressive locale, I was afforded the privilege of playing The Elder Scrolls Online for a few hours (for my first impressions back in October, read here).

Partly to overcome the staggering number of misconceptions that follow the game around (seriously, if I had a cent for every time I’d been asked if it had a reticule like Skyrim I would have $2.56), the ZeniMax team wanted to put the game in our hands. Whether that would mean the fears of some were assuaged or confirmed would be down to the game itself.