Hands-On With The Hearthstone Beta

Last Friday a wave of beta invites went out for Blizzard's new digital collectible card game, Hearthstone. A few of those invites made their way to various ZAM writers including me, so I've spent some time this weekend trying out everything I can find in the game. I'll be playing more as time goes on, but I have enough playtime in now that I can talk about the game's mechanics and other systems.

Final Fantasy XIV: Preparing for Launch

Almost two years after it was announced, the launch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is almost here. I've enjoyed my time in the closed beta weekends leading up to this point, but now that Beta Phase 4 is letting everyone in for the weekend, many of you will see Eorzea for the first time. Previous beta players are probably plotting how to best use this Early-Early Access window, since Square Enix has told us progress made during this Open Beta will carry over into Early Access and Launch, but for everyone else there are a lot of questions that still need answers. What classes can I play and what needs to be unlocked? Which guilds start in the same town so I can play with my friends? When can I start crafting/gathering? Hopefully, by the end of this post I'll have answered everything you need to know to get started in FFXIV and get a head start on everyone waiting for launch day.

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.

The Mighty Quest Holds Open House Event

If you're like me and watched Ubisoft's presentation at E3 this year, you probably already went and registered for The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot's beta right after they showed off the trailer. Of course if you wanted to jump in the game right away, you might have gone ahead and bought the Double-O Pack from the site for guaranteed beta access, but the rest of us have just been waiting for our chance to jump into the game. Luckily that chance is coming soon as TMQEL is holding an Open House event to celebrate going into Closed Beta and players who signed up for the beta or the Open House will have a few days to play the game as well as the chance to win prizes.

WildStar: Donatelli Talks CBT3

With cross-faction PvP now available to testers, WildStar has reached a special point in closed beta. The gloves have come off and players can proudly wear their Dominion or Exile loyalties on the field of battle. Meanwhile, somewhere in Orange County, Carbine Studios will be observing the carnage and taking notes.

But Closed Beta Test 3 isn’t just about PvP. With the Skullcano dungeon, the lunar zone of Farside, and Tradeskill talents, there’s a huge amount of content for all types of player to dig into. To help make sense of the patch notes, I interviewed content director Mike Donatelli about the huge range of additions and changes arriving this week.

Final Fantasy XIV Beta Impressions

For the last couple of weekends, the writers here at ZAM have been taking a look at Square Enix’s remake of their second MMO, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. After our first weekend with the game, Corey gave his general impressions of the game while I posted a mountain of text about crafting and gathering. Now that I’ve had time to see a bit more of the game (that and I’ve managed to make myself do something other than mining and goldsmithing), I’m ready to give my early impressions.

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: Dissecting Closed Beta 2


How do you beat the beta leakers and NDA breakers at their own game? According to the folks at Carbine it’s simple – release the patch notes before they do. Timed to coincide with the start of WildStar's Closed Beta Test 2, the team is being incredibly open about what the new wave of testers can look forward to.

In a mammoth WildStar Wednesday update fans can now dig into a stack of tradeskill information, theorycraft over the latest class changes and delve into new dungeon and battleground information. Milestone 31 contains over nineteen pages of patch notes (you can read them in full on the official site) covering every aspect of the game, from the new Mentoring and Rallying systems to the many UI enhancements.

WildStar Wednesday: Beta Stress Test

Carbine's had that "Sign up for Beta!" link on the WildStar front page for quite some time now. We've mentioned it in more than a few of these posts and I'm guessing most of you reading this have long since signed up and are wondering, "When can I play?!" Well, this week's WildStar Wednesday is here to give you some good news... sort of.

City Of Steam Beta Begins This Friday

Beginning this Friday many players will be able to take some of their first steps in the upcoming MMORPG, City Of Steam, uncovering the mysteries and dangers that await them on their journey through "The World Machine".