Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Review

Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

It is amazing to me that a studio would be releasing an MMO at all in this day and age. We live in a time period where the fickle masses are buying games on a whim and usually own more games than they have time to play thanks to services like Steam. We live in an age where microtransactions are becoming standard and the masses have demonstrated that they will pay FAR more than a couple bucks a month to obtain that special look or feel they’ve been after for soo long.

Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

Yet here we are. Square has decided to bestow us with a reboot we didn’t ask for of their attempt at an MMO set in the Final Fantasy universe. While the game might be OK for the phony hardcore and awesome for the Brazilian huehue crew, it just doesn’t meet the expectations that the MMO enthusiasts and the hardcore have for these types of games nowadays. The pink elephant will not be caught here.

Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

On the positive side, the game has a very easy-to-digest questing and leveling system. Quest hubs are spaced out in such a way where you feel like there is a logical progression from one spot to the next. Scattered across each area are these random mini-events called “fates” which are pretty fun and provide an alternative means by which one can obtain experience as well as a special currency to interact with the NPC factions of the game. The commendation system implemented in patch 2.1 is a smart way to promote a positive culture in an environment that has the potential to be extremely toxic.

Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

A paragraph had to be specifically set aside to properly express the level of detail that went into the graphics of the game because they are THAT good … for a MMO. This game is one of the few which actually gave me a moment of pause when looking from a vista because of how beautiful it was. After obtaining a quest piece at the very top of this peak that took me a good 5 min to figure out how to climb, I couldn’t help but understand the feeling Ethan Hunt must’ve had at the beginning of Mission Impossible 2. From character modeling to shading to particle effects to terrain and flora, the guys at Square really made one of the prettiest MMO’s I’ve ever played.

Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

Too bad anything good I have to say of FFXIV:AAR stops there. The matchmaking and instancing is reminiscent of WoW’s very first implementation of the LFG tool. The level of grinding involved in attempting to raise more than 1 class or trade skill at the same time on the same character would make a Korean LAN cafe operator sick to his stomach. The inconsistency in voice acting on the main scenario quest is laughable. The tiered approach to gearing for end-game past darklight seems like an afterthought and not consistent with the level of polish that went into other parts of the game.

Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

Class balance is absolutely broken in the game and this has never been more apparent than in the newly released PvP system in patch 2.1. The housing system is hilariously expensive and simply out of reach for most. I could probably go on forever. It makes me sad that a game with so much potential and an excellent intellectual property couldn’t do better the 2nd time around with the same MMO.

Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

However, in all my years of playing MMO’s, I’ve come to one inescapable conclusion. The quality of the player in relation to the general community will usually dictate my appreciation of the game itself. Let’s put this into perspective, shall we? We can all acknowledge that there are some bad MMO players in the World of Warcraft. By bad, I mean like those people that play a healer and spend their whole time casting the same spell over and over again till they run out of juice. Or how about the melee DPS player who literally stands in everything he can and ignores mechanics.

Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

The second I drop into a virtual world – my assessment of the inhabitants of this world begins. Since I’ve always hated questing, I always try to be chatty and cool with my group mates while we endlessly grind instances to max level. Using my MMO gaming barometer, I can confidently say that FFXIV:ARR has one of the worst communities when it comes to MMO gaming skill in the history of the genre. Worse than DCUO, worse than EQ1 or 2, worse than WoW, worse than Rift, worse than CoH and worse than ToR. Thinking back, I feel like FFXIV is full of those tryhards from that WoW guild that people would use as a stepping stone to get into a real guild – yeah this game is full of people like that. While I’m sure this is due to the fact that the game exists on both PlayStation and PC and the clients can cross-play within the same realm … it doesn’t make the situation any more bearable.

So, for the hardcore and the enthusiasts that will always spend their time and money chasing that pink elephant of gaming; you will find no such joy here. Remember that inexplicable rush you got when you and your squad beat that other group to the Efreeti boots spawn even though they were there first? Maybe it happened on your first Ragnaros kill in vanilla. Wherever it was, that feeling will NOT be found in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.

Atlantica Online Review

Atlantica Online screenshot

One Sentence Review:
“A modern day MMO that’s a mix of Ogre Battle and Shining Force”

Overall Review Score:
8 out of 10

The Good:
– MMO version of a remake of Ogre Battle (SNES) and Shining Force (Sega Genesis).
– Free to Play MMO that for the most part has no subscription system.
– Laid back MMO for PVE.
– Great music creates a nice atmosphere.
– Great auto travel system.
– Gets-the-job-done auto combat system (for PVE).
– Awesome crafting system.
– Awesome party system for power leveling other players.
– Addictive.
– Daily and weekend special events.
– Many optimized gameplay functions that are taken from other great MMOs.
– Some quests require you to type something in reply to a question (making it more like a real RPG or old text adventure game).
– Guild to Guild, Nation to Nation warfare, cross server warfare.
– A guild can control one town and run it (infrastructure, improvements, population, etc.).
– Cross server based player crafting run economy.
– Referral and mentoring system for getting benefits of referring new players and power leveling them faster.
– World based on Earth’s map so you don’t need to learn the geography of some random fantasy world.
– The art style of the game looks a lot like Soul Calibur.
– Most of the time you can play the game while afk or alt tabbed, when doing pve.
– So much killing… oh and when you kill, you craft at the same time!
– All the concepts and items that can be bought with real world money can also be bought with in game money.
– In a high level area, a mob of mobs of monsters can potentially jump you. That makes the game a lot more challenging (feels like a last stand kind of fight).

The Bad:
– Addictive.
– Some game functions do require having almost like a subscription because they expire in X amount of days.
– You don’t get to directly do stuff with your high level friends until much later in the game when you are all top levels. The game feels like a single player RPG until then.
– The servers can’t sometimes handle the load of having many players on it, like on the weekends during special event days (when most people play).
– Some common known bugs in the game are not addressed by the developers.
– Quest givers are retarded.
– Some quests require you to type something in reply to a question.
– Some people use bot programs but there are ways to rob their stuff.
– Referral program does not have a URL link with your account name embedded where a new player can download the game to give you credit for the referral automatically.
– Western audiences might be turned off from the game looking like a Korean MMO but hardcore gamers won’t be.
– Most parts of the game will be too laid back for the pvp mmo crowd (the kind that shouts all the time over ventrilo or team speak).
– The AI is pretty retarded.
– A lot of grinding.
– Repetitive kind of quests (kill, collect, buy, go here) … just the setting changes.
– Pay to win “free-to-play” problem. Some super characters that can only be bought at the real money store cost about $50 EACH. This is a game breaker for most people. They should learn from World of Tanks and League of Legends and only make the premium characters about $10 each maximum. Although this is true, they do give you about $60 worth of free stuff (licenses) which makes power leveling a LOT faster. There are sales sometimes for premium stuff and rarely you can get them from a special in game event but most people won’t wait for that to happen.
– Some UI problems like it giving certain chat windows priority over others making you waste time clicking.
– There is an PVP execution called King’s Judgement where a guild leader that is in a level 5 nation can challenge a player to punish him. If the defender loses then he permanently gives the challenger a piece of equipment.
– More drama than a spanish soap opera, except without all the hot bitches.

Conclusion:
A great game to play at work or if need to go afk a lot.

Download Link for Atlantica Online:
http://atlantica.nexon.net/

City of Heroes Freedom

city_of_heroes_freedom

After several years and a ton of expansions, the first superhero MMO is set to offer a free to play version of its game. Recently publisher NCSoft and developer Paragon Studios laid out their plan to offer a free-to-play version of their successful MMO.

For veterans of the game you can keep your subscription and become a VIP member, which will grant you additional features, services and rewards. People who are new to COH will also be able to choose between the free-to-play game and the subscription service.

Here is a comparison chart breaking down the differences.

The move to free-to-play hopes to bring in new heroes to Paragon City. As expected with more MMO’s being created almost every month it seems and the addition of two other superhero MMO’s since COH’s launch it is understandable that this move was made. In addition, many MMO’s have decided to go this route and many more (cough – DC Universe Online – cough) look to be headed that way.

Free-to-play for City of Heroes is set to launch this fall.

 

Dark Age Of Camelot: The Second Coming


Hell yeah, I choose this deceptive title to make you think we had sort of insider information to a sequel for Mythic’s MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. You must be pretty upset with me for that and disappointed in the world knowing that a second chance at an upgraded DAOC isn’t coming any time soon. Grim days I tell you, reader.

Hopefully you haven’t left yet so I can tell you about what I really wanted your attention for. Yes, it does involve Dark Age of Camelot.

We’re listening, you fat piece of shit.

Thank you for staying tuned. How long has it been since you’ve enjoyed the glory of RvR? No, I don’t mean the abortion of RvR that was present in Mythic’s failed Warhammer Online game. I mean real RvR. The kind where three realms go head to head on a battlefield, sieging keeps, slaying epic beasts, forming alliances, and claiming the rights to the world’s most powerful relics.

I know your mind is fluttering with thoughts of a time long ago where PvP in an MMO was actually interesting and purposeful to your entire faction. What would you do if you had a chance to revisit the past? Would you take the reins of life and steer them into the right direction?

Yeah, Umar. Cool story, bro. We can always resub to DAOC and its dwindling population, new rule sets, or play on classic servers for a nominal monthly fee.

Yes, that’s true. You could do that or…

You could play the sonuvabitch for free on the Uthgard Free Shard server. Yes, I said free. It is a DAOC emulated server with all the classic rule sets and additional content added from the staff.

The population is healthy and the community is active. All the instructions to download the game and get it working takes no longer than 5-10mins once the game has been installed. Enjoy your crusade as a proud member of Albion, mystify the world with your fairy magics in Hibernia, or bathe in the blood of the mighty as a Midgardian. That’s it. I have nothing else to say. Go play, haters.

League of Legends: The Unsung Hero of the Online Competitive Gaming Scene

League of Legends Logo

If the title didn’t give it away, I have a very high appreciation for Riot Games because of what they have managed to do in creating League of Legends (LoL).  That isn’t to say they don’t have a few hiccups here and there but overall, LoL is a great game.  I will not delve into the HoN vs. LoL debate in this article but maybe I will tackle it at a later date.

What is League of Legends?

League of Legends falls into a genre that has more descriptors than I care to write out but a few of the more popular ones are “AoS,” “Dota,” “ARTS,” and “MOBA.”  AoS refers to Aeon of Strife, a Starcraft mod that has similar game play.  Dota refers to the wildly popular Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients which is still played today although its popularity has only held in Asia.  ARTS is short for Action Real Time Strategy and this term is used because the game action is based on real time, in-game decisions.  Also, Arena is sometimes added onto the end of this term since the game is played on a fixed map.  Lastly, MOBA refers to a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and this is probably the most widely accepted term of this genre of game.  The game is multiplayer (team-based, 3v3 or 5v5) and the objective is to defeat (battle) your enemy on a fixed map (arena).  I hope that wasn’t as painful to read as it was to write but it has to be said before I dive into the game itself!

To summarize the game quickly, you play on a team against another team and your goal is to destroy the other teams base.  You choose to play one of the over seventy champions currently in game.  While in game, you level by killing creeps (attacking AI units that each team automatically spawn which head to the enemy base down three in-game lanes) and enemy champions (players).  You get to choose your skills (which vary depending on the champion you choose) and you use the gold you earn (from killing creeps, towers and enemy  champions) to buy items that enhance your hero.  While there are hundreds of more details I can and probably should give about LoL, the above description is enough for the basic gamer to understand what the game is all about!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzMnCv_lPxI[/youtube]

How does Riot do it well?

First and foremost, LoL is free to play.  That’s right, you can go download and play it for free right now.  Not only is it free to play, you can earn all the champions and runes for free over time.  So unlike other free to play games, you can actually enjoy all aspects of the game (from a competitive standpoint) without being tricked into spending money.  However, if you like the game, you probably will shell out some cash so that you can grab a champion pack or some skins to make your champions look more mighty or goofy.  Skins only change the aesthetics of your current champion so they are by no means required.

If you are a new player, Riot is looking out for you.  They have in game tutorials and you can practice against bots so you can learn without having to worry about other people.  Of course, if you are like me, you just tell your friends, “I’m playing LoL now and you are going to have to deal with me until I get better so stfu and tell me what to do so I learn faster.”  This approach is less subtle but has worked for me in the past.  Riot understands that they need to cater to all their players  if they want continued success and have done as such.

Riot’s interaction with its player base is one of the reasons the game is going strong.  Riot releases new champions at a rate of about one per every two weeks.  This is smart on multiple levels.  First, the new champions keep players interested in the game and it causes a constant change to the dynamic of the game.  Second, new champions mean new skins and this results in Riot earning more money from its players who actually do spend money on the game.  Riot developers are on their official forums posting information and giving player feedback where needed.  Obviously, they cannot respond to everything but the fact that they give the effort is important.  Riot also addresses champion and item issues in a speedy manner trying to keep the game as balanced as humanly possible.

Riot also keeps the game simple by having a basic yet well-designed engine that will not kill your PC and will not have you screaming at the terrible graphics.  Some people think LoL’s graphics are a bit too cartoon-like but I have no problem with it.  Riot has also been redesigning certain champions and aspects of the game to make it a little more visually appealing.

League of legends gameplay

Diving Deeper Into League of Legends

Now that I have covered the preliminary topics, let us take a deeper look into the game itself because this is the real reason people play.  If the game was bad, people wouldn’t play!

Riot decided to add features into its game that increase the amount of action (the battles) that happen between champions throughout the game.  Even at the onset of the game, before the creeps spawn, teams are either protecting or roaming (well, they should be!) the map in an attempt to avoid getting killed or scoring an early kill.  Certain champions are specifically designed to have the highest impact by roaming and ganking.  This increases the intensity of the game.  The more action that is happening around the map, the more fun the game is.  Riot introduced “brush” which was sheer genius because it allowed for players to hide their champions strategically around the map to optimize ganks or use as getaway paths.  Moreover, summoner spells and runes add a level of customization to your champion that will help you in many situations by increasing everything from your damage, move speed, gold/experience earned, survivability and your overall ability to engage or escape a situation.  Riot has found a way to increase the action and intensity of the game without taking away any of the aspects that makes the genre great.

After you have played a couple hundred games and you start to get a feel for the game by having a moderate understanding of the champions, items, runes, spells, etc you will hit start to see more of the subtle aspects to the game.  Of course, Riot knows that not everyone is amazing and that if new players are constantly rolled because they are playing top players, they will quit.  So, Riot has a hidden rating for each account that controls the games you play.  Basically, if you are new, you will play against other new people until you get better.  This extrapolates all the way to the top where if you queue, you will play against some of the pros on a daily basis.

League of legends gameplay

League of Legends as an E-Sport?

LoL has tons of potential to be a very strong e-sport.  LoL has tournaments in some of the largest venues in the world: WCG, ESL, Dreamhack, etc.  Riot is not skimping on the prize money either.  However, my primary concern about the growth of LoL as an e-sport is that most players (even those good enough to be on a pro team) are focusing on the Solo Ranked Ladder because that is seen as the “place to be” so to speak.  Basically, I would like to see Riot “push” the online 5v5 scene because it seems lackluster.  HotShotGG of CLG, the best LoL 5v5 team in world has even said on his stream that their team has no real reason to practice because they don’t need to due to lack of competition.  However, as of late his team has been showing signs of rust and losing to some teams that they normally would not have lost to.  Maybe other teams are starting to practice more in anticipation of more 5v5 play.  Of course, I think Riot is doing a great job all around and this is one of the few areas I think “could” use improvement.  They may not agree with me.  Either way, LoL tournaments will continue to happen at major venues but I would really like the 5v5 online scene to grow so we can see some great games at these events.

Maybe they could do an online tournament that would force teams to be formed and force those teams to practice to get better so they can go for a prize at the end of the season.  The end result being that more teams get formed and the push for 5v5 competitive play grows to the point where Solo Ranked is not the “place to be.”  Of course, this tournament or season would need to be something done over time so that the change could slowly happen.  As I said above, there is a good chance Riot likes the current design they have because it has more focus on the individual player and the individual player is where they earn their money from.  Even though it would most likely never get to the point where 5v5 Queues reduce Solo Queues down to very low levels, it is still a potential risk that Riot doesn’t need to take due to the games popularity and success.

League of legends gameplay

Last Words

League of Legends is amazingly fun.  When you get bored of playing Portal 2 and are looking for something with a competitive edge, go try LoL.  You can play solo or with friends and it won’t cost you a dime to try out.  However, I cannot guarantee that you won’t get hooked quickly and may be spending more time and possibly money than you thought.   The sheer number of champions and items you will need to slowly learn about will keep your interest in game piqued for a long time.  Long enough so that when you finally “think” you have a good understanding of the game, you can try the Ranked Queue where you will figure out that what you knew was “LoL for Beginners” not “LoL for Advanced Players.”  If you are as competitive as me, this will make only want to make you play more.  😀

Overall Game Grade: A-

Games Coming Out In January 2011 For PC

Games Coming Out In January 2011 For PC by Honorabili

Great! Finally some games I have been looking forward to are coming out! This 2011 *might* be a good year!

DC Universe Online, January 11 2011

This MMO might be really fun based on all the teasers and videos I saw of developers giving us details about it, but let’s see how it really is when it is live. I’ll probably wait for my friends to get this (Umar, ahem) and tell me how shitty or great it is. Still, it looks fun, so it might be worth it for you if you love the DC Universe, even if the game is just okay. I actually got excited about this one when the first teasers leaked and I don’t care too much about most MMOs that come out.

Venetica, January 11 2011

Something about this game, just based on the trailer makes me think it probably won’t do that well unless it has something really unique to it.

Spellforce 2: Faith in Destiny, January 12 2011

These RPG-RTS games are pretty good. Although this expansion is not made by Phenomic who make one of my favorite games Battleforge, this is still made by Jowood who makes a ton of sleeper games that are actually very, very good.

Dead Space 2 Box
Dead Space 2 Box

Deadspace 2, January 25 2011

The first Deadspace was scary and brilliant. It was the total spiritually real successor to System Shock 2. Although Bioshock copies its formula every single freaking time from System Shock 2, Deadspace actually added a whole new level of horror and gruesomeness to the desolation and hopelessness of being stuck alone in a ship full of raving things that want to kill you, chop you up into a thousand pieces, and eat you.

Two Worlds 2, January 25 2011

Part one for Two Worlds was a fun game, although many people said it was pretty generic. I found the combat in the first one actually a LOT more fun than Oblivion, a game a lot of people always compare this one to. Yeah, it was generic but if the gameplay is fun, what’s the problem? Let’s see if Two Worlds 2 caters more to the hipster fanboys that hated the first one. ;]

Ask Kayhynn: Week 2, A Bit Late, But Not Short

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Developers Talk
World of Warcraft Cataclysm Developers Talk

Seeing as World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was released Dec. 7 and most readers and question submitters know I’m a WoW player, I received a number of WoW: Cataclysm related questions which I decided to put together for this week’s Q&A. Questions answered include what were major changes to the game, what do I love/hate about the game, new character experience and more.

Article Source: http://www.eogamer.com/node/189

DC UNIVERSE ONLINE

DC Universe Online logo

One of the most anticipated MMO’s DC Online universe allows you to create your own hero and fight alongside DC’s greatest heroes against its strongest villians.

Fact Sheet

Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Action Game
ESRB: Rating Pending
Developer/Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment LLC
Platforms: PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and PC

Game Description
DC UniverseTM Online is the only next-generation massively multiplayer online action game that delivers unparalleled physics-powered combat set in the DC UniverseTM. This genre-defining game puts the power of the DC Super Heroes and villains into the palm of your hands…The next legend is YOU!

Tera Online: World Origins Gamescom Trailer

TERA logo
TERA logo

En Masse Entertainment is pleased to release a brand-new trailer for their award-winning action MMO title TERA, as the game is unveiled for the first time to the European audience at this week’s gamescom 2010 festival in Cologne.

This new trailer details the origins and background of the world of TERA. When the gods turned away from them to make war on one another, six mortal races were left to make their own way through the war-torn world that remained. Now the splintered peoples of TERA—humans, castanics, poporis, amani, barakas, even the elves—must unite and take aim, control, and action to preserve the last glimmer of a future hope against the growing darkness.

Battleforge Guide: Raven’s End Solo Run

BATTLEFORGE

If you’re like me and have way too many things going on but gaming is one of your passions and you want to play stuff more efficiently, it sometimes helps to figure out in a game what’s most effective and stick to it, although experimentation can yield great results. Since lately I’ve been playing Battleforge like a crackhead, both in PvE and PvP games, I’ve decided to expand our library of articles regarding this game as I know some of my friends started playing it and rather than manually train them, they can now see how I get my level 100+ decks created in just a few hours.

If you don’t know what Battleforge is then click here to read my Battleforge review. If you prefer doing Battlegrounds to missions then you can click here to read my short general strategy guide on how to farm Battlegrounds.

I found Raven’s End played solo to be the highest yield of tokens over time with no way of losing, if you have the right deck, every single time. Of course, in order to take advantage of mission token farming you will need the Element of Conversion, to make upgrades into tokens, and Element of Creation, to double rewards. 300 BFP is not a high price to pay considering the hours of grinding you will save (plus I’m bored of level 9-10 solo battleground runs).

If you don’t want to see the videos from youtube and you would rather see my replay in game you can download my replay file here.

My main PVE deck consists of Nature, Shadow, Nature, Nature.

The foundation for the deck as far as Nature goes are Enlightenment, Breeding Grounds, and Wheel of Gifts. Enlightenment brings out Tier 4 units at Tier 3 and Wheel of Gifts grants healing first, then immortality through 8-12 damage resistance wheels, and then to speed things up 6-12 damage boosting wheels. Breeding Grounds save you 25% power cost (at level 3 upgrade level) in producing a unit and that power adds up. As far as Tier 4 units go, Giant Wyrm (my favorite CHEAP Nature card) and Primeval Watcher are all you need. Anything that shoots and/or flies is great for this map.

As far as shadow goes, Offering (Nature affinity), Embalmer’s Shrine + Furnace of Flesh combo, Unholy Power, Rifle Cultists, and Ashbone Pyro are essential. Offering (Nature affinity) let’s you kill a (ideally) low power unit and get +1 charge for every card you have in that Tier. I combine Embalmer’s Shrine to boost the multiplier effect of corpses which gives almost instant power refunds of Void Power from the Furnace of Flesh. Although Ashbone Pyro costs 100 Power, he has a lot of life so when combined with Embalmer’s Shrine he’s well worth the Offering. This is important because Furnace of Flesh refunds power based on the life force of corpses in its radius. Ashbone Pyro is also highly effective for defending bases and if you want to do a quick Siege rush you can’t go wrong with his damage/power output. Rifle Cultists are merely there to do Offering on to get charges for my other REAL Tier 4 units. ;-] Unholy Power is useful to give +50% damage output and 50% damage resistance.

Let’s get down to the replay so you see how I can do this mission alone under an hour with no rush or worry (sometimes I do parts AFK especially once my wheel of gifts for damage resistance come up).

Part 1 of 13: (don’t worry they’re short clips)

In this part, I focus on killing small units fast and kiting groups of enemies away from where they are getting artillery support. Near the end of this part, I kill those guys on the hill to activate the gate ONCE. Should you play the other side (which is a mistake because it’s MUCH harder) you would activate the gate TWICE.

Part 2 of 13:

One has to be careful not to aggro the wrong group at the wrong time if not you can lose most of your units. I prefer to use ranged units in that sense, in PVE, because they are more “civilized”. Notice the kiting to get out of artillery building range. The rageflame is REALLY annoying so he is a priority target. I screwed up in this part as you can see most of my guys died. Just because it’s not a perfect run doesn’t mean it’s time to give up! I ran, kited, and killed off the segregated enemy. Notice I focus fire to kill specific enemies as that’s really important. In this part you let the ship blow up the stonekin turret, then you camp to the side waiting for it to get within range of your base and jump it. If my guys hadn’t died he would have gone down. If you notice that he’s going to run away because he has like 50% health still and most of your guys are badly hurt don’t let them run after him because he will shoot you with cannons while he flies away.

Part 3 of 13:

Once that rageflame is history you focus on the stonekin dinosaurs that attack you with their back artillery mode. I mess with them by making any of my ground units run up to them at point-blank range. This forces the AI to make them do melee attacks instead which are less effective because they don’t knock back your small units. Once the hill is secure, hit Tier 2 safely as they never attack that hill again. If you didn’t kill the ship before, now’s a good time to do it. I like to piggy (Curse of Oink) him so that when he’s turning around to run away, I force ALL my units, even the shamen, to drill him into oblivion. Once the ship is dead he will never come back.

Part 4 out of 13:

This part consists of cleaning out the area that’s going to be your forward base. Once you secure the area, set up your third orb, a breeding grounds, and a furnace of flesh, especially near an area where the enemy and a few of your own troops may die. This will boost Void Power refund a LOT. I also put down the Embalmer’s Shrine just in case a lot of units die and I need to regenerate all the power right away.

Part 5 out of 13:

The first thing I build with Tier 3 is the first Wheel of Gifts, which is going to be the healing one. Just build one because healing does not stack. Kill off Tier 1 units and the Furnance of Flesh will just eat their corpses quickly for a huge power boost. With Enlightenment, I make a Primeval Watcher for defense whose ranged attack and melee range paralyzation is very useful. Now starts the part where he will defend, backed by Ashbone Pyros, which in turn will be sacrificed via Offering to keep pumping out those Wheel of Gifts! The Bandit Windhunters are to be a priority target because they in turn can paralyze your units. Take them out always as soon as possible and this map will be much easier.

Part 6 of 13:

Just defending some more, which is pretty easy, and the end of this part we see the activation of the Wheel of Gifts damage resistance wheels (near immortality). With 11 wheels up, you pretty much just finished all the hard part of the mission. That wasn’t that bad now, was it? 😀

Part 7 of 13:

Notice that I screwed up one of the wheels. I don’t like to build them where they are not right next to each other so it gets deleted and I get its cost back to the Void Power pool minus the penalty for building it. Notice how all the units are now pretty much immortal (gods). I start to bring out the Giant Wyrms, which are extremely useful in this map because of their mobility. Okay, so at this point the SLAUGHTER begins. You have to start cleaning up the Stonekin camp although care must be taken not to kill everything (leave the bottom 2 turrets alone; they won’t attack you unless you are close). You can just focus on the Stonekin area, although I sniped that Bandit Tent with my dragons just to save time.

Part 8 out of 13:

You can make a 2nd army of cheap units, like Ashbone Pyros, to go start to clean up the middle to upper part of the map on your side. Since the wheels make them nearly immortal they’ll be fine! I like to focus fire on priority targets such as the Windhunter and the Deepfang. In this part of the video I kill the Stonekin production building that kept sending those annoying troops to assault my forward base. No need to defend anymore because I am cleaning up the top with my Ashbone Pyros. I send a T4 unit to the top to speed up the mission run. For the Stonekin area, the only really hard part is the middle of their camp because of the two Hammerfalls and the other artillery piece there, which have that Gemeye guy to back them up. Just focus fire and they’re dust.

For some reason the game started to lag in this area but make sure that you take caution like I did to not kill the bottom two turrets. Leaving them alive will prevent the orb capping requirement (which has a timer) from happening until YOU WANT IT TO. Start capping the power wells of any area you cleaned out (so long as you do it in this order or if you know no enemies patrol there). Activate Gate C as soon as you can, although the reinforcements are pointless since you just finished nuking the Stonekin to the Stone Ages (get it?? GET IT?!).

It’s safe to pick up Tier 4 now, by the way! Not like you needed it!

Part 9 out of 13:

Goodbye Lenin, I mean Stonekin! Anyways, I split my dragons so they go kill and cap the area where the other players would have started at. The mid to upper left Bandit camp is taken with my small number of troops. You use the gate where B should have been twice so that your ground troops can cap 4 power wells in that are of the map. Always make sure to get those chests because this mission gives a nice amount of gold. Wheel of Gifts with the damage boost power construction has started. Kill any old buildings that you will not use for areas that are all clean. I establish a new forward base where the middle-top left Bandit base used to be.

Part 10 out of 13:

The forward base army now starts to attack to top left Bandit camp at the same time that the army on the right bottom to middle side of the map just finished cleaning up and capping. Use gate D to trigger more of the plot. Use E to keep going again. At this point the Primeval Watcher that’s been capping stuff alone regroups with the main eastern attack force. The top left Bandit camp is history and the middle and middle to top Bandit camps are history on the right side of the map. Use F and start getting ready for the end.

Part 11 out of 13:

The assault on the top right camp has started. I like to kill all the ships in the top middle because there’s a chest there and also because there’s 4 power wells. I’m hurrying to finish the damage boost wheels and now all camps are DOWN.

Part 12 out of 13:

Notice that I tried to go too fast and I make one of my Primeval Watchers go back to help cap. Since the game has a 120 population cap, half of your army stays at the top center and the other half goes to the bottom where the Stonekin camp once was (so long ago…). Basically, this means 6 mega units at the top and 6 mega units at the bottom. Make a breeding grounds at the bottom if you didn’t already build all 12 T4 units. Position your top units by where the treasure chest is. It’s time to end the mission so activate all remaining wheels. I use Offering on the Rifle Cultists (CHEAP) to quickly put out my T4 units for the endgame.

Notice the orbs… every orb on the entire map MUST BE CAPPED before you trigger the end of the mission, if not you will have a 3 minute time frame to do it and if you weren’t ready, you’re screwed. Once construction has begun on all of the orbs you can simply trigger the end by killing the last structures of the H Stonekin camp (those turrets I mentioned earlier). The top units will just annihilate Ravenheart and his posse, so you can just go afk because it’s game over, man! Make sure that you leave the bottom units at the chest and pick up that sweet gold. Make sure not to manually attack Ravenheart because if not your units will chase him and I’ve seen people lose doing that.

When I used to do this mission 2 player with my French friend Tigrou we would kill Ravenheart (Blight) so fast that the game would skip ahead too much and crash the Battleforge.exe 😀

Part 13 out of 13:

Notice that Blight is talking which I killed a WHILE ago. Too much DPS I guess?! Listen to the dialogue although I beat the mission a while ago. Now comes the good part, the loot. Although this run I didn’t get a lot, sometimes I get drops that give 36 victory tokens a piece. It’s just a matter of luck…

Well, I hope this guide can help you reach your goals in Battleforge, whether they be PvE deckbuilding or if you’re like me getting tokens to keep building PvP decks that are DEADLY! See you in game! (I’m MsFreeze in game btw and Honorabili in the Battleforge forums.)

If you want to see these videos in high definition visit our youtube channel.

Need for Speed World Trailer

NFS was classic racing and now Electronic Arts are working on releasing Need for Speed World which will be an MMO racer based on the NFS series. NFSW will feature single and co-op racing teams and something they are calling “epic online pursuits” which nobody seems to know exactly what that is yet, but we assume it has to do with chasing people across the game world. Nevertheless it sounds pretty cool.

Need For Speed World logo
Need For Speed World logo

 

The official website has a ton of new screenshots and information, but the real news is the beta. You can head on over to their beta sign up page by clicking here. Now for the trailer which comes to us from the official Obsolete Gamer YouTube page.

Sony Fan Faire 2010

SOE Fan Faire 2010 logo
SOE Fan Faire 2010 logo

Hey remember when everyone thought Blizzcon was going to be in Vegas, well it’s not, but this year’s Sony Fan Faire will be. You can register now for the event which will be held at Bally’s Las Vegas August 5th – 8th. Prices range from $39 for the basics like a t-shirt, gift bag, to $139 for the platinum pass which includes in-game items, a VIP lounge and private VIP events. (Sounds like premium servers all over again.)

Ah, I remember my first fan faire in Orlando.

What’s going on with Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Star Wars The Old Republic logo
Star Wars The Old Republic logo

Plenty, Jake Neri gave an interview to MMORPG in it he began talking about the development process and how they know there are a lot of expectations for the release of SWTOR. One of their main goals, he said, is keeping balance between the classes and it is something they understand is an ongoing process. He also stated one of the things they want to continue to improve on is the animation and cinematic quality of combat to make sure that overall you get the full Star Wars cinematic experience when playing the game.

On lore Jake talked about the benefits and challenges to having their own timeline. They are working closely with continuity experts to make sure they are moving in the right direction and not breaking any cannon.

As for how the game will impact the playerbase Mr. Neri said the following:

“We always start with the element of story and intertwining that into every mechanic that you have an expectation for. There are certain things in the MMO space that are important to deliver on because if you don’t you will alienate a player base. There are certain things that we won’t try to revolutionize, we’ll try to do to a AAA level, but we’re not going to impress your readers with a new amazing auction mechanic. Laughs. Those things are already done well in MMOs. So we are making sure we focus our time on areas that are compelling to the player base and reader base. Things like, hardcore folks want to know how the combat is going to be? Is it going to be epic? Will it feel interesting? We are putting a lot of emphasis on making sure people have a compelling experience from beginning to end. Also, that they have reasons to continue playing at the end, because of the fact that the classes are balanced and interesting and that they are Star Wars. That is one of the things I cannot impress enough upon people. With our classes we are trying to deliver the Star Wars fantasy of those classes. We think that has been ultimately successful in the movies. People have fantasized and dreamed about and created their own fan fiction and fan lifestyles around those classic archetypes and we want to deliver that in the game. We think if we do, that is something that no other MMO can have. So right there we have a huge pillar to stand on.

We understand that for some hardcore MMO fans they may or may not like the story, but we do feel like that is something that will be compelling and interesting that we will continue to work on to give players reasons to go through it and benefit from it with your character and your story. I think those are things that we are looking to do. We are looking to create the Star Wars fantasy at a high level in the end game for players. That is something we really want to do. We want to have activities that keep you interested, keep you coming back, keep you busy that feel like experiences in a Star Wars movie. That is a huge goal. It is set in a different era, you know we’re not in the movie time line, but it is reminiscent in what you know and that is a huge benefit for us. We’re going to try and do that and do it really well.”

You can read the full interview here.

In other news it was first reported on Eurogamer that Star Wars: The Old Republic is the largest most expensive project EA has ever tackled. Eric Brown, EA’s chief banker stated that most games cost around thirty million dollars to make, but said that any MMO costs significantly more.

For an example of cost Blizzard spent more than $100 million to ship World of Warcraft in 2004 and brings in about $100 million a month from subscriptions today. This gives you an idea of what EA is looking towards. While they may not say they are looking to directly compete against W.O.W I am certain they hope to bring in similar profit.

This brings us the topic three. Industry Gamer reported that EA hopes to bring in at least two million subscribers. Arvind Bhatia, a Sterne Agee analyst had a meeting with EA and said that;

“Earnings are somewhat depressed due to ongoing expenses of the Star Wars MMO (but), management has high hopes for this and believes 2M+ subs is possible.”

He went on to say that a little over one million subscribers are needed to break even. Well, we know that no company just wants to break even, the goal is several million subscribers the question is will they reach that goal.

Release Date for DC Universe Online

DC Universe Powergirl
DC Universe Powergirl

For fans of DCUO after months of videos and interviews and pictures we finally have a release date for this highly anticipated MMO.

At a Sony Online Entertainment event where they showed off some of their E3 demo footage the announcement was made that the DC MMO will be released in November just in time for the Holiday season.

In DC Universe online you will be able to create your own hero or villain and start off assisting heroes or going up against them. You’ll be able to do missions and fight alongside your favorites including, Superman, Batman and Green Lateran.

With this announcement the hype level should shoot right back up which is great for those waiting for the new demo being showcased at this year’s E3. As more information is released I’ll be back to bring it to you and hopefully a video of the demo so stay tuned.

Free Stuff – Fallen Earth Free Product Keys!

Fallen Earth logo
Fallen Earth logo

Everyone loves stuff for free and the folks over at MMORPG.com are giving away free product keys for Fallen Earth. There are limited number of keys in fact as of this posting there are just a little more than five hundred keys left so head over to their giveaway page here , and claim your keys.

ABOUT THE KEY GIVEAWAY:

MMORPG will be giving away one Fallen Earth product key per person to the first 2,000 people who register for a key. The product key giveaway is open to anyone, but you may only activate and use one of the free product keys from MMORPG if you:

  • Have not logged in to Fallen Earth within the past 60 days using a subscription and/or trial account.
  • Do not have access to the game based on a paid subscription.

To activate one of the free product keys, you will need to follow the instructions provided with your key to create your Fallen Earth account. Upon activation, you will be asked to select a subscription plan and associated payment method, but will not be charged until your free 30 days are up, at which point you may decide to cancel your plan or continue playing. The key must be activated by 11:59 p.m. EST, GMT-4, on March 31, 2010. If you haven’t activated your account, you will not be able to take advantage of the free 30 days of gameplay.

Cataclysm Stat & System Changes

World of WarCraft Cataclysm
World of WarCraft Cataclysm

In the words of the exploding fat lady’s head in Total Recall “Get ready for a surprise!” Actually it is not really a surprise. Anyone who was at last year’s Blizzcon knows that the new World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm will offer some major changes to the game. One of the big changes to players is the stats and Eyonix over on the World of Warcraft Official forums breaks it down for us.

Here are the highlights:

What You’ll See on Gear

Stamina – Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes.

Spirit – Come Cataclysm, this stat should only be found on healing gear. Non-healing casters will have other systems in place to regenerate mana, and we are designing special solutions for Elemental shaman and Balance druids who often share gear with healers (more on this below). Raid buffs that currently boost Spirit (such as Blessing of Kings) will only boost the primary stats of Stamina, Strength, Agility, and Intellect. We are also likely changing the five-second rule and other quirks of the current regen system.

Intellect – Intellect will now grant Spell Power (more on this below). Intellect will also provide less mana than it currently does.

Haste – Haste will become more attractive for melee classes by allowing them to recover resources such as energy and runes more quickly. Our intention is for Haste to let you “do stuff” more often.

Block Rating – Block is being redesigned to scale better. Blocked attacks will simply hit for 30% less damage. Block rating will improve your chance to block, though overall block chances will be lower than they are today.

Parry – Parry no longer provides 100% avoidance and no longer speeds up attacks. Instead, when you parry an attack, it and the next attack will each hit for 50% damage (assuming they hit at all). In other words, Dodge is a chance to avoid 100% of the damage from one attack, Parry is a chance to avoid 50% of the damage from two attacks, and Block is a chance to avoid 30% of the damage from one attack.

Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.

Armor – The way Armor mitigates damage is not changing, but the Armor stat has been rebalanced to mirror changes to the armor curve in Cataclysm. As a result, bonus Armor will go down slightly overall. We are also changing the mitigation difference among armor types so that plate doesn’t offer so much more protection than mail, leather, and cloth.

Resilience – This will only affect damage done by players and critical damage done by players. It will not impact crit chance, mana drains, or other such effects.

Strength, Agility, Hit Rating, Expertise, and Critical Strike Rating – These will all still appear on gear as well. Aside from situations mentioned elsewhere in this list, in general these will function similarly to how they do now, though the details — such as how much Hit Rating you might need to effectively combat high-level creatures (more on this below) — are likely to change.

Being Removed from Items

Attack Power – This stat will no longer be present on most items as a flat value, though it will still show up on some process. Strength and Agility, which will be present on items, will grant the appropriate amount of Attack Power (generally 2 Attack Power per point of Strength or Agility) depending upon which stat a particular class favors. Agility may provide less Crit than it currently does.

Spell Power – Spell Power is another stat that you’ll no longer see present on most items. Instead, as mentioned above, Intellect will grant Spell Power. One exception is that caster weapons will still have Spell Power. This allows us to make weapons proportionately more powerful for casters in the same way they are for melee classes.

Armor Penetration – This stat will no longer be present on items. Armor Penetration will still exist in talents and abilities.

Shield Block Value – This stat will no longer be present on items, since the amount blocked is always proportional to the amount of damage done. Talents and other effects might still modify the damage-reduction percentage from 30%, however.

Going Away Completely

MP5 – This stat will be removed from the game completely. Holy paladins and Restoration shaman will be redesigned to benefit from Spirit.

Defense – Defense is being removed from the game entirely. Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.

Spell Ranks – Spell ranks will cease to exist. All spells will have one rank and will scale appropriately with level. The levels at which you can learn certain spells are being changed in order to fill in some of the gaps, and we will be introducing some new spells to learn along the way as well.

Weapon Skill – This stat will be removed from the game completely. Classes will start with all the weapon skills they need to know and will not need to improve them.

What Else You Should Know

Combat ratings – All ratings will be much harder to “cap out” at maximum gear levels. Ratings will be steeper in Cataclysm, and creatures in later tiers of content will be harder to hit or crit, similar to how level-83 mobs are harder to hit or crit than level-80 mobs.

Reforging – While these changes will go a long way to making a wider variety of stats more attractive, we understand that sometimes you simply don’t want more Hit Rating on your gear or you’d rather have more Haste than more Crit. In Cataclysm, we are going to give players a way to replace stats on gear as part of the existing profession system. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll be able to convert one stat to 50% of another stat. While some conversions (like converting Stamina to Strength) won’t be permitted, the goal is to let you customize your gear more.

Gems – We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow. We’ll have more details on this in the future.

World of Warcraft: Patch 3.3.5 – The Ruby Sanctum

World of Warcraft dragon
World of Warcraft dragon

Hey guys remember when they announced Icecrown Citadel and how each week they would open another wing before you could fight the Lich King himself? Remember how everyone said that even with this delay you would reach the end long before Cataclysm would be released? Remember how everyone said there would have to be an additional raid zone after ICC ala Sunwell?

Well check out this Q&A Blizzard’s Tom Chilton participated in over at Game Informer:

For the final question, there’s been some rumors going around and I wanted to clear them up. You guys have wrapped up the main Lich King storyline. Icecrown is out there, which you guys have said is the final major raid for this expansion. But there are some rumors that there might be another content patch of some sort before Cataclysm releases.

That is a possibility. We can’t say for sure at this point, but we are looking into the possibility of having a boss in the Ruby Sanctum, which is another part of Wyrmrest Temple. It’s a little too early to have a lot of details on that, but I wouldn’t characterize it as a huge chunk of content. It’s not a patch 3.4 or anything.

At the time of that answer it was still a rumor, not anymore. On the World of Warcraft official forums posted Zarhym cleared the air:

As we prepare for the public testing phase of minor content patch 3.3.3, some players might come across information regarding upcoming content that isn’t yet available. To avoid any confusion, we’d like to tell you about an exciting new raid dungeon we are working on for content patch 3.3.5.

The Ruby Sanctum

A powerful war party of the Black Dragonflight, led by the fearsome Twilight dragon, Halion, have launched an assault upon the Ruby Sanctum beneath Wyrmrest Temple. By destroying the sanctum, the Black Dragonflight look to crush those that would stand in the way of their master’s reemergence into Azeroth and to ultimately shatter the Wyrmrest Accord – the sacred bond that unites the dragonflights.

The battle that is to come will surely deal a crippling blow to the Red Dragonflight, however, it is up to you to stop this unprecedented offensive and defend the Ruby Sanctum. First you must face the assault of Halion’s servants, Saviana Ragefire, Baltharus the Warborn, and General Zarithrian, before squaring off against Halion the Twilight Destroyer, a new and deadly force in this realm.

Star Trek Online: New Klingon Content forthcoming

Star Trek Online Klingon
Star Trek Online Klingon

STO is several days post release, but that doesn’t mean the fans cries for more Klingon content have gone unheard. As you may or may not know Klingon gameplay revolves around PVP, however, fans have submitted requests to Cryptic Studios to add more PvE quests for the faction.

In an interview with IncGamers, Star Trek Online’s executive producer Craig Zinkievich stated;

“Klingons will soon receive a new Star Cluster to explore as well as a brand new Fleet Action, with much more to come.”

There has been no timeline for release of this new content, but we expect it won’t be long. As more information becomes available we will keep you posted.

EVE Online: Tyrannis announced

Eve Tynannis cover
Eve Tynannis cover

When traveling across the vast reaches of space you will undoubtedly come across hundreds of beautiful planets and in EVE what is a better thing to do to these lush bountiful planets but to harvest the living hell out of them.

In the newly announced expansion, Tyrannis you will have that chance. EVE Online Senior Producer Torfi Frans Olafsson announced on the official website that players will be able to survey planets for juicy deposits of minerals and other goodies, build infrastructure to harvest them, store them, process them and launch them into space. Build complex networks of facilities and fine tune them for optimal production.

We are not just talking about a small number of planets. we are talking all of them, gas giants, the lava planets, the ice worlds, the water worlds and even the elusive plasma planets. Each type with their unique properties. Maintaining facilities on gruesomely hostile planets will be tougher and more demanding, but the rewards may be so much more “onturning.”

As for combat on the planets the word at the moment is no. This expansion is about exploration and industry. When something goes bad or breaks it is because of the owner‘s mismanagement, and when things are awesome and perfect, it is because of skill and hard labor on part of the player that runs the facilities.

In future expansions you will be able to project military force for attack and defense of planetary installations. That will be where DUST 514 will connect with EVE. But DUST 514 will not be coming out at the same time as Tyrannis, so that is at a later date.

Tyrannis has no set release date but expect it to be released before the summer solstice according to the blog.

For more information check out the original article here.

Battleforge

Battleforge Logo
Battleforge Logo

Battleforge Review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“The lovechild of Warcraft 2/3 on crack mixed with Magic the Gathering.”

Overall Score:

9 out of 10

Overview:

This is an RTS MMO by Phenomic and it is run by/published by Electronic Arts. The player takes the role of a Sky Lord, which is basically like a minor god mage that manifests units, buildings, and spells in the mortal realm. Every action in the game takes form of a card to represent the icon for the unit/building/spell which is played in real time whenever the player builds up enough power (mana) to cast/summon it. There are four disciplines of magic: Shadow, Fire, Frost, and Nature. You can make up your army of any mixture of disciplines. There are only two resources during battles, power wells which make power (mana) and monuments (orbs) which are your units/building/spell tier tech levels. Cards are bought using real money which buys one BFPs (battleforge points) either from EA or by buying the game. Trade in game is also possible so it’s not really necessary to buy the game at all if one wants to put in the time instead. The game is divided up into PVP and PVE. The PVP is divided up into unranked (practice), collection (any cards go) 1vs1 and 2vs2 (ranked), and tome (specific to cards bought that month in a random collection) 1vs1 and 2vs2 (ranked). The PVE takes the form of premade missions that are either single player, 2 player, 4 player, or 12 player. A new game mode has been added in Nov 2009 which adds random pve maps from 1-4 players and adds the reward system of the PVP system. As far as rewards go, missions give the player in game money (gold) and upgrades for unit/building/spell cards the player may or may not already own. The goal of the game is up to you, whether to own every card in the game, get all upgrades for them, or dominate the pvp ladders. The initial launch of the game in the US seems to have failed (as far as I know) and it’s relatively cheap to play it here vs the rest of the world. There is no monthly subscription fee and the game is “Play4Free.”

If you already know the game but would like my tips, click here to read my strategy guide on how to do battlegrounds properly.

Fun Factor:

It’s been 2 months since I started playing it and I am still lured back to the game. I hate MMOs in general but for what this is, the usual biweekly updates keep me coming back for more. It’s a lot of fun setting the difficulty higher each time to level up my real life micromanagement skills and I really enjoy sometimes being able to hold out 6-7 fronts throughout different parts of the battlefield all at once. I’ll give the fun factor score for Battleforge a 9 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

There have been times that I have been doing a mission with a friend for an hour on the max difficulties only to fail for not paying attention for about a minute or two. The difficulties for the missions scale very fast as there are 3 difficulties (Standard, Advanced, Expert) at the time of this writing. Let’s just say you better be good to play Expert. 😀 For the Random PVE maps, they implemented a bar that slides from 1 to 10 so it’s a lot more customizable and the game earns a lot of points in this category for that. For PVP, people have researched the living crap out of the game by now so there are pvp guides out there for people who just want to stick to other people’s strategies. I have myself countered some of the instawin bullshit strategies so I think the game has a lot to offer. I give the difficulty versatility a 10 out of 10.

Value:

Since the game is free, the game has a great Value score. You can download the full game from the main Battleforge website. With the Play4Free account one gets a limited amount of cards but it’s still possible to pretty much do everything in the game with them, although it will very hard to do so if just using these free cards as many basic cards are missing from the free account. To solve that one can trade gold for cards (risky because of the nature of the trade system in game) or if one wanted to be really cheap one can spend the bare minimum real money and add $5 through the EA website to their Battleforge account. That basically translates to one cent is one BFP and with those assets one can either buy two booster packs in game (which I don’t recommend) or buy a lot of cheap 2 cent cards in the auction house and then build up one’s army slowly. Those 500 bfps can also be used to farm the auction house and slowly start earning bfps through one’s buying out of and reselling in the auction house. It’s up to you if you want to put in the time and this can be a game in itself. I myself are notorious for my AH buyouts. (evil grin) If you opt out and buy the full game for $20, you get almost every basic card in the game automatically and 3000 bfps which you can use to buy boosters/tomes/cards in AH, etc. In the long run this is the best value for the in game economy of your character. Since the game has no subscription fee and it’s only $7 or $20 for many, many days/weeks/months of entertainment the game gets a 10 out of 10 in this category from me.

You can get the game from Direct2Drive or Steam for $20 or for close to 7 dollars on Amazon since the game is not as popular as they anticipated. This is by far the best value way to get the game.

Replayability:

The number of missions is limited but since there are three difficulties for each and each difficulty is completely different, these missions will offer at least a whole month worth of entertainment until you grow tired of them. The random pve can be a lot of fun since you pick whatever custom difficulty you want and it’s a random map/enemy every time. They can be extremely challenging. For PVP you can spend endless hours trying to fight your way up the ladder system. It’s up to you what your goals will be and you can always invent new ones. 😀 I’ll give the replayability an 8 out of 10. I do hope that they keep adding more content for this game if not this score will drop.

Sound:

The sound of the explosions and swords rattling is great. The voice actors they picked do a nice job as every unit has their own sounds, some which are funny, some which are generic. Overall I give the sound category a 7 out of 10.

Music:

Each discipline of magic has its own music score which sounds great, except to me the nature music which is kind of annoying (reminds me of the Lion King). My favorites are the music for Shadow (sounds like something out of Gladiator mixed with music from the Dawn of War games) and Fire (sounds like a mix of Assassin’s Creed music). The music can get repetitive, well if you play the game like I do (100 missions in a row, etc). Overall I still think they put a great effort on the soundscore and I reward this game a 7 out of 10 for the music.

Graphics:

The graphics for this game are simply beautiful! To my knowledge this is one of the first games to embrace DX11 and it’s sponsored directly by AMD/ATI (even gets promoted directly on their website and I saw the add for it when updating to the latest ATI video drivers). Each card in the game has its own custom icon which is very pleasing considering this is an RTS game. Special versions of cards (promotion cards) have an even more custom avatar for the units with a special skin and/or better graphics. I think this is one of the better looking RTS games out there and the graphics remind me a lot of Guild Wars and Age of Wonders 2, which as far as graphics go are a great thing! Graphics gets a 9 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

Overall the game is stable but…there are drops in connection/desynch when you least expect it. This might be because of latency issues between people playing far away but I had been playing this game with my brother which lives in the same house as I do and one of my best friends which lives blocks from my house and the match ends because of a desynch issue. This doesn’t happen all the time but I do want to bring it up because for an online game this is a deal breaker. As far as server up time, the servers are up 99.9% of the time with the only times I saw them down being for an update to the game which took about 30-50 minutes and one time for general maintenance. Compared to WoW or Eve Online, EA really does a much better job for quality of service. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 6 out of 10.

Controls:

The game implements the WASD scroll which is great and now makes other RTS games controls seem clumsy. Most hotkeys for commands of units are the same key which simplies micromanagement even further. I give Controls a 10 out of 10.

Performance:

I don’t run the latest hardware and the game runs like a champ on an AMD Athlon X2 5400 CPU and an ATI Radeon 3870 512 PCI Express MB video card. My brother is running the game playable on an AMD Athlon 64 3000 CPU and an ATI X800 AGP video card. Most gamers will be able to run this games on any modern gaming PC. I give it a score of 9 out of 10 for performance.

My history with this game:

I downloaded the demo for this game and I wanted it so suck so much but instead it was enough fun that I stopped playing most other games for a good month or two. I got most of my friends addicted to playing it, even those who hardly ever buy new games bought multiple copies of the game and we got a lot of members added to out gaming clan because of this game. I’ve been playing for two months and I have still a way to go before completing my card/army collection. Probably by the time this will happen another expansion will come out (there has already been one made) so that will keep me even more interested.