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World of Tanks: Generals - PAX East Recap

PAX East was an eventful weekend, and while there we caught up with Wargaming to get a look at how their collectible card game (CCG), World of Tanks: Generals, is shaping up.

This upcoming free-to-play title brings World War II warfare to the turn-based card gaming world. Just entering closed beta last week, the PC version of the game is completely browser-based, working best on Chrome but also supported by Firefox, Opera 15 and IE9 or higher. Wargaming anticipates the mobile version to also be available in 2015, which looked pretty solid when they showed off a tablet demo.

Hands-on With Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae

We had the opportunity to go hands-on with Square Enix's Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae on the PlayStation 4 at PAX East yesterday, and it definitely left us wanting more. From stunning visuals to the amazement over an open world in a Final Fantasy title, XV is set to not disappoint.

ZAM Reviews: The Escapists

The Escapists fully released on both Steam and Xbox One earlier this month, already having earned much praise from Steam users during its Early Access phase. A strategy game at its core, The Escapists will keep you busy as you gradually work your way toward a prison break, with varying difficulty depending on the starting map you select.

The game only has a brief tutorial before you move on to the action. While this tutorial emphasizes breaking out, most of your time in the actual game is spent gathering everything you need for that breakout. You'll find yourself performing favors to curry money and respect from other inmates, pillaging those same inmates' unconscious bodies and desks for items, craft supplies and more.

EQNext & Landmark Q&A Livestream (Recap)

The Daybreak EverQuest Next and Landmark team (above picture, left to right) of Rosie Rappaport, Michael Mann, Steve Klug, Terry Michaels, Darrin McPherson, Colette "Dexella" Murphy (community) and Emily "Pentapod" Taylor livestreamed a Q&A session this evening. Questions were taken from social media, the forums and leftovers from previous livestreams. Below are the notes we took, which are categorized for our sanity.

Highlights

There were a few important things mentioned during the livestream tonight:

  • Terry Michaels is leading the team; there's still many people (not all-new people, either) working on the games (see the pic of them in the hallway further down)
  • Daybreak is no longer working with Storybricks. They are utilizing the work that was already done, but the relationship between the two companies is now over.
  • Landmark open beta will be "when we're ready", according to Emily. They don't want to commit to a date; development is always moving toward it. Once the team has a date, they will share it.
  • Free-to-Play: There was an interesting response to whether or not Landmark and EverQuest Next will remain F2P. Terry stated that at the moment they think the games will keep that model, but they're unwilling to commit to saying that's how it will remain by the time it launches. Some more discussion ensued on the topic, basically saying that many monetization models could work for the game. (Personal opinion? Go with B2P, guys!)

Near the end of the stream, there was discussion over a question regarding a final plan for the game. Darrin pointed out that a lot of research and development constantly goes into a product like this, and the discussion was a bit unclear beyond that point from my end. My interpretation of this response, based on the earlier discussion of when Landmark will hit open beta, is that the team only plans the next several months at a time and may not have set in advance solid milestones to hit to say the games are ready to roll into the next phase.

Here's the rest!

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Announcement

Many people guessed that Heart of Thorns was going to be the first expansion for Guild Wars 2, but that didn’t steal the thunder from ArenaNet as Mike O’Brien took to the stage and showed off the announcement trailer for the game’s first expansion pack.

Battleline: Steel Warfare Beta Impressions

Approaching a game is never an easy task; bias has to go out the window. It's like reverting to a turn-based strategy game after playing years of real-time games. It's hard to consider the factors of what might go into a title when someone plays it for scoring. I'd argue a sequel should be scored harsher than its predecessor, especially if there's an expectation set by the community. In the rules of game development, nobody expects a sequel to have worse graphics than the prequel, because these are just fundamental rules that are not only followed, but expected.

DC Universe Online: 4th Anniversary

Sony Online Entertainment's superhero MMO, DC Universe Online, dinged level 4 on Sunday, January 11th. DCUO launched with fast-paced, physics-based combat, rich story arcs and the ability to play either a villain or hero while pairing up with well-known figures from the DC universe.

Since its launch the game has released a lot of content and features. To celebrate the 4th anniversary, let's take a quick look at how DCUO has grown over the years!


Fight for the Light

September 7, 2011

Fight for the Light was DCUO's 1st DLC, featuring Green Lantern and the introduction of the game’s seventh power set, Light.

In times of great need, the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps would give out “reservist rings” to worthy heroes or enthusiastic villains who will help restore the balance of the universe for their side; these players can be deputized into either Corps and fight alongside legendary ring-bearers. In addition to the new light power set, DCUO players were able to interact with characters and missions based on the Green Lantern mythos in all-new gameplay scenarios.

ZAM Game of the Year Awards 2014: Recap

This week we awarded our top gaming picks of 2014. It wasn't easy; there were many stand-outs this year!

Our Expansion of the Year award went to World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. ZAM's VP of Technology, Michael "Argo" Ender, said that "World of Warcraft fell off my radar a bit after Wrath. With WoD they made the WoW game I've always wanted to play. Thank you Blizzard!" President Cody "Micajah" Bye added that the release of Draenor "revitalized an entire game." Check out contributing writer Michael "Ragar" Branham's story about how Warlords drew him back to Warcraft in our Expansion of the Year article.

Consoles saw a lot of new titles this year, but Destiny took the prize home for our Console Game of the Year award. Bungie reached for excellence and delivered on many levels with the title that has half of our staff hopelessly addicted. It may not be all roses, as ZAM Deputy Editor Colt "ShdwFlm" Casey mentions in our Console Game of the Year article, but at its core Destiny is a fun experience with room to improve.

PC gamers were treated to a plethora of excellent titles this year, with BioWare's Dragon Age: Inquisition landing our PC Game of the Year award. The in-depth story and replayability ultimately won many of us over as we took the Qunari by the horns and laid waste to all who stood to oppose Thedas. Managing Editor Ann "Cyliena" Hosler talked about how DAI excelled on every level in our PC Game of the Year article.

Finally, we looked forward to what next year will bring and agreed that Overwatch, which Blizzard unveiled during this year's BlizzCon, is our Most Anticipated Game of 2015. Project Manager Katie Welka teared up at the epic cinematic trailer, while Colt admitted that he gets the feels every time he watches it. ZAM's Brand Ambassador, Lindsay "Geektr0n" Ferguson, teamed up with Ann to explain why Overwatch is the game we all should be eagerly awaiting in our Most Anticipated Game of 2015 article.


Thanks for joining us for another fantastic year in gaming! We hope everyone is having a great holiday week and look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring!

ZAM Awards 2014: Expansion of the Year

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

When I originally heard about Warlords of Draenor, I was excited, but a bit worried about the premise. As much as I liked the idea of fighting these big name Orc Warlords and seeing how powerful they truly could be when free of the Burning Legions corruption, when you mix in time travel and alternate realities into any fiction, things always have the potential to go off the rails and end up a mess. World of Warcraft has dealt with time travel in the past with dungeons and even the Mount Hyjal raid, but this is an entire expansion built around having an alternate reality invade our own? Can something like this really hold up to scrutiny? In a word: absolutely. For a longer description, Ill use my own starting experience to give an example.

Interview with Eternal Crusade's Miguel Caron

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade has had quite a busy year. They launched their Founders Program after E3, shown numerous demonstrations of the current build on their Twitch livestream, talked about their design philosophies, and constantly polled their fans to make sure they were both staying true to the WH40K lore as well as making a game that will actually be fun. As 2014 comes to a close, Behaviour Interactive will do their final Twitch stream of the year today at 1:30pm ET, but theyre planning on going out with a bang.

Theyll have a never-before-seen war zone, a Razer giveaway, and more! On top of all that, they released more details on what F2P players will get to experience on Arkhona as one of the Ork Boyz. To bring us up to speed prior to the stream, ZAM spoke with BIs Studio Head Miguel Caron to learn whats happening in this corner of the 40K universe.