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Guild Wars 2 made three big announcements this weekend - Get the details here

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
News
Tags:
ArenaNet, Free games, Guild Wars 2, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, MMORPGs, NCsoft, PC games, release date

Guild Wars 2 made three big announcements this weekend - Get the details here

ArenaNet were very busy this week, delivering a trio of big announcements for its MMORPG Guild Wars 2. From a release date for the upcoming expansion Heart of Thorns, to the long-awaited reveal of raids, to the announcement that the base game is now free, we have all the details and reactions for your perusal after the jump.

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ArenaNet announce Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend for August 7th

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
News
Tags:
ArenaNet, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, NCsoft

ArenaNet announce Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend for August 7th

Ahead of a busy week at Gamescom, which kicks off next Tuesday in Cologne, ArenaNet have announced that the first Beta Weekend for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will kick off on August 7th, and end on August 10th. During that time those who have pre-purchased the upcoming expansion will be able to create a brand new level 80 character to test out all of the new class specializations. This includes the brand new Revenant Class, along with all four core legends (which change the abilities and playstyle of the class), including the recently announced Shiro.

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Free to be Wild at last – Why WildStar’s shift to F2P is the best thing for everyone

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, F2P, free-to-play games, MMORPGs, NCsoft, PC games, WildStar

Well, it’s now official – WildStar will be going Free-To-Play later this year. It was only a few weeks ago that we were were speculating on such a thing, but it appears that Carbine have been listening and are ready to start making their move. Best of all, the information we have been given so far has fallen in line with expectations and avoided the dreaded “pay to win” tag.

So, in case you haven’t seen the news, here’s what is happening. This Autumn, WildStar will be going Free-to-play with all current content – which includes all 50 levels, dungeons, adventures, raids, and PvP – available to everyone who downloads the game. Meanwhile, those who subscribe as a 'Signature' player will be given bonus XP and reputation gains, additional character slots, more costume slots, and extra bank tabs. This is on top of a microtransaction store that will deal in NCoins, allowing players to buy customisation pieces and consumable convenience items similar to subscriber perks.

Admittedly there’s still plenty of work to be done before then, and it’s a shame we will have to wait until autumn for this switch to happen, but I’m just glad more people will be able to experience WildStar for themselves. It is, after all, a fun and colourful theme park MMO.

Free to be Wild at last – Why WildStar’s shift to F2P is the best thing for everyone

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Nexus or bust: Why WildStar should tear down its subscription barrier

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMORPGs, NCsoft, Subscriptions, WildStar

Nexus or bust: Why WildStar should tear down its subscription barrier

These days, going down the subscription route is a dangerous road to take when you’re a theme park style MMO. After all, it’s all about getting good mileage from your monthly investment. This means regular content updates, ensuring there is entertaining and challenging encounters, and avoiding a repetitive grind. This is on top of providing balanced class abilities and PvP matches, ensuring competitive play is fair and fun, and hosting it all in an interesting and engaging world. During its first few months, WildStar managed just that, which is why I gave it 9/10 in our review last year.

Its combat was fast paced and required skill, its lore rather deep (if you went with the Scientist path), and its world filled with colour & character. However, I ended my assessment on an important point – “Providing the same level of quality & regularity continues with its content updates, there will be more than enough reason to stay on Nexus.”The sad truth is that after its first content drop finally went live it became clear that something was up. Content updates were pushed back to focus on fixes and balance issues, and when the much-touted World Story instance did arrive much later than expected it felt incredibly shallow in comparison to what we were expecting.

By December it was clear that large numbers of players had given up, but that didn’t stop Carbine from issuing those fixes and slowly delivering new content for the faithful that stuck with it. Today has finally seen the long awaited Invasion: Nexus patch, adding an arkship-load of content and a huge number of changes (too many to list here, so head over to the official website for details.) However, the monthly subscription fee had ultimately been found wanting, and a year on from its launch it’s clear a change is needed for WildStar. With last month’s reports of retailers sending back their unsold copies of WildStar (and a number of digital retailers no longer selling keys) the winds of change appear to be in the air, so we’re going to look at some of the routes WildStar could take.

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Down, but not out yet – Can WildStar turn it around for 2015?

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, Gaming articles, MMORPGs, NCsoft, PC games, WildStar

Down, but not out yet – Can WildStar turn it around for 2015?

Man, that’s a title I didn’t think I’d be writing six months ago. Despite my positive assessment of WildStar and the entertainment it gave me in its first few months, the momentum dissipated by the end of the year. While the latest content drop helped to keep the existing fanbase content for a spell, the problem was that it wasn’t enticing those who had tried the game and left, or those who had yet to even pick up a copy. As this was happening, old behemoths were proving they were still relevant with new expansions, a suckerpunch to what was meant to be a new home for disillusioned former WoW players. Meanwhile, titles like The Secret World and especially Guild Wars 2 were demonstrating how to do an ongoing storyline with style, putting the much-touted World Story instance to shame.

It was heart-breaking to see it happen, but it was ultimately understandable. Something needed to change, and fast. So with that said, this afternoon Product Director Mike Donatelli issued a statement over on the official website detailing the battleplan for WildStar. The summary of it was that Carbine Studios know "there are important areas where we can, and must, do better in 2015 — and we are.” As such, it seems to be a good time to take look at what Carbine have in store with both the announced and unannounced content and features, reflect on the issues from the last few months, and see if WildStar can restore some of that lost excitement from last summer's launch.

Down, but not out yet – Can WildStar turn it around for 2015?

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50% off both Guild Wars 2 & WildStar

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs, NCsoft, PC games, WildStar

50% off both Guild Wars 2 & WildStar

Not to be outdone by Blizzard's earlier zinga of a deal, NCSOFT have unleashed their own set of deals by halving the current price of their flagship MMOs. The offer sees both Guild Wars 2 and WildStar fall below the £20 mark, making it an excellent opportunity to investigate two highly enjoyable online experiences.

A few bits of housekeeping - Guild Wars 2 is subscription free but contains optional microtransactions for mainly cosmetic items, although they have recently started charging for access to previous episodes of its ongoing Living Story (which, from what I hear, is worth the investment.) Meanwhile, WildStar does have a subscription of £8.99 per month, but a purchase comes with 30 days of game time, so you'll have plenty of time to decide if life on Nexus is for you. If you need more details, before to check out our review for Guild Wars 2 and WildStar for the full lowdown.

WildStar Preview | Checking out The Defile

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbien Studios, MMORPGs, NCsoft, The Defile, Video Previews, WildStar

WildStar Preview | Checking out The Defile
I like WildStar. I've made no secret of that fact for some time now, but it's hard to deny that, after a launch period that was filled with hope for a long and enjoyable lifespan, the enthusiasm has waned for many players who invested their time and money. There are many reasons for this - RNG nightmares for gear stats, PVP balance becoming a hot mess, and top level characters not having much to do unless they were working towards raid content. Population issues also hampered the fun, and then in-game Christmas was cancelled. Oh, and there were redundancies. Basically, there was good reason to be worried.

However, the troops are re-mobilising over at Carbine, and with the megaserver merge now live and (kind of) fixed the population situation, the long awaited third content drop is almost ready to roll. With a stronger focus on the narrative this time around, The Mystery of the Genesis Prime will tie up many of the stories that have been going on since launch, while setting up the next chapter for WildStar. Of course, that's on top of the additional group content that will be found throughout the new zone of the Defile, and I was invited by Carbine Studios to get hands-on with The Black Focus - an area that will deliver 5-player group content. It's all in our latest video preview, as I give my impressions on what I was shown, what I'm looking forward to, and if this content drop will do enough to entice disillusioned players to return to WildStar.

COMPETITION! Win some in-game WildStar swag!

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, Competitions, MMORPGs, NCsoft, WildStar

COMPETITION! Win some in-game WildStar swag!

If you're a fan of that WildStar game that I wouldn't shut up about for 3 years, you may have seen many opportunities for get hold of some exclusive in-game goodies that were handed out at this year's Gamescom. They were quite the dapper pieces of swag, providing a top hat and monocle costume piece, a rather executive looking table for your house, and a unique dye to give your avatar a special look. You may have thought that your last chance to grab one has past... but I think you'll find that's not true. You see, I managed to procure 10 EU codes to give away, and we're going to have a little fun in the process.

So, how do you go about getting one of these codes? Simple - amuse me!

Click this link to find out how to win >>

VIDEO INTERVIEW | What's next for WildStar?

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, Gamescom 2014, Interviews, MMOs, NCsoft, Videos, WildStar

It's been almost three months since WildStar launched, and the team at Carbine Studios have already dropped two sizable content patches into the game. They're not done yet though, and so to learn a bit more about what is in store for the MMORPG I sat down with Lead System Designer Nick Roth at this year's Gamescom. We get the lowdown on the new zone of the Defile, the first in-game holiday event Shades Eve, and the all-new 5-man dungeon The Ultimate ProtoGames.

WildStar: The Evil Noob #8 – Knock Knock

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMORPGs, MMOs, NCsoft, PC games, Videos, WildStar

Last episode, we found ourselves desperately searching for a nobleman's daughter -- Lydia Horacos. Now, with Tideborn on our tails, and dangerous foes on all sides, Mechdusa and Bob clear out the Research Centre, and infiltrate the Eldan Tower where Lydia is being held. Will Corrigan Doon make himself useful? Can our heroes defeat Cortex Prime? What's the meaning of life?

All this and more in today's episode of WildStar: The Evil Noob.

WildStar: The Evil Noob #7 - Drunken Rescue

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMORPGs, MMOs, NCsoft, PC games, Videos, WildStar

After chasing down some illicit fraternising in the last episode, today's jaunt down to Nexus is all about a search and rescue. And killing giant birds.

Some rich noble's daughter has gone missing, and the adventurer sent to find her has gone missing too, presumed drunk. And the henchmen sent to give the drunkard a kick up the backside have also gone missing too. So it's up to us to venture into the local pub, siober up the sozzled mercenary, and try and find the daughter ourselves.

WildStar: The Evil Noob #6 - Filming Sex Acts In The Woods

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMOs, NCsoft, Videos, WildStar

Happy Monday folks! Some bizarre activity from Virgin over the weekend meant that there wasn't as much time for WildStar as I would have liked, but I did manage to squeeze in enough for another episode of The Evil Noob.

In today's dip into the narrative waters of Nexus, things get a little bit messed up as we're tasked with conducting some internal investigations. After breaking into Commander Toric's office and hunting for salacious evidence of depraved misdeeds, we're ordered into the woods to see if we can catch him in the act.

To be honest, I probably should have called this episode Mechdusa and Bob: Sex Police!

WildStar Review | Finale - A Cozmotronic Effort

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Carbine Studios, Games reviews, MMORPGs, NCsoft, PC games, WildStar

WildStar Review | Finale - A Cozmotronic Effort

Platform: PC

Developer: Carbine Studios

Publisher: NCSOFT

Here we are – finally at end of the review that just wouldn’t stop coming (blame Carbine accordingly for their gigantic game, I say.) There’s still a lot to get through before the verdict, but here’s a helpful hub if you’ve missed my previous instalments or want a refresher on my previous musings on WildStar.

WildStar Review | Part 1 – Initial Impressions | WildStar Review Part 2 | Blazing a trail with PvE content | WildStar Review | Part 3 – Arts & Crafts… for money!

We begin this instalment by taking a look at the Limited Action Sets and the AMP system, which acts as the skills and talent tree for WildStar respectively. As long as players are out of combat, the flexibility and user friendly nature of the LAS is one of my favourite aspects of Carbine’s efforts. Being able to swap out abilities at a moment’s notice ensures players can try new tactics and combos, along with the option of powering up equipped abilities with Tier Points to unlock bonus effects. On top of this, being able to buy new abilities from the menu without having to travel to a trainer is a godsend, as it means players no longer have to make their way back to the nearest one upon levelling up (something a lot of MMOs still do, annoyingly.)

WildStar Review | Finale - A Cozmotronic Effort

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WildStar: The Evil Noob #5 - The Hero of Levian Bay

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMOs, NCsoft, Videos, WildStar

Those dastardly Exiles play us for fools in today's instalment of WildStar: The Evil Noob. The Elder Cube is gone, the Dominion forces have been slightly overrun, and we're forced to make an incredibly tactical, not at all cowardly retreat.

Not until we've smashed some Exile skulls and beaten up their Warbot, though.

WildStar: The Evil Noob #4 - New Toys

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMOs, NCsoft, Videos, WildStar

Man, the Dominion really has a thing against house elves. On today's episode, we're once again massacring the big-eared creatures on the hunt for a special key to unlock the power of the Elder Cube. But really trhis episode is all about new powers, and the introduction of Mechdusa's shiny new artillery bot -- Bob.

WildStar Review Part 3 | Arts & Crafts… for money!

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMORPGs, NCsoft, PC, WildStar

WildStar Review Part 3 | Arts & Crafts… for money!

Platform: PC

Developer: Carbine Studios

Publisher: NCSOFT

Our in-depth and ever-growing review continues for WildStar - because if you're going to do something, you may as well drag it out for several weeks. Or do it properly considering the size of the game. Yes - let's go with that one. If you're a latecomer to the party that is my review, or if you're a swine who has been all like "MMOs? Nah," then I suggest you SHUT THE HELL UP and check out the convenient hub I've provided below for you to click on.

WildStar Review | Part 1 – Initial Impressions | WildStar Review Part 2 | Blazing a trail with PvE content

One of the biggest complaints about MMOs in general is the crafting and economy elements. Cries of “it’s too complicated!” or “it’s too boring!” can be heard from across the interwebs, as a large percentage of those that try it will simply go “nah, it’s not for me” before becoming a hoarder of all the crafting materials they can find, vendoring away at the earliest opportunity. Thankfully, Carbine have created mechanics that are not only varied in nature, but far more hands-on than first glance, providing a multiple levels of depth depending on the comfort zone of the player.

I won’t go all FAQ here with the details (if you want that you can find my rather in-depth article on it here) so I’ll give a quick overview - It’s the usual affair of selecting two professions out of the bunch that are available, some of which are better paired than others, while everyone has the ability to cook (labelled as a ‘hobby’ activity.) The strong theme with these crafting elements is that of player choice, providing players with the ability to customise items with stats needed for specific roles (or, if things are being made to order, with a specific balance of stats for maximum class build efficiency.)

WildStar Review Part 3 | Arts & Crafts… for money!

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WildStar: The Evil Noob #3 - Murdering House Elves

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMOs, NCsoft, Videos, WildStar

On today's episode of WildStar: The Evil Noob, we finally give our scanbot a name, retrieve intelligence from the corpse of an enemy, fight a bunch of robots, hack some Exile weaponry, and massacre a bunch of Dobby the house elf's cousins.

Why?

Because that's what bad guys do.

WildStar Video Preview | Strain Ultra Drop

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMORPGs, NCsoft, WildStar

We're still in the process of our on-going review for WildStar, but Carbine Studios are still busy at work and yesterday let us have a look at the content that will be making its way onto Nexus in the very near future. The Strain Ultra Drop will bring new zones, new enemies, new mechanics, and plenty of disgusting things to swim through if what we got to see is any indication. Carl provides commentary in this sneek-peek video that gives you a taster of what is to come when the content patch hits.

If you have yet to do so, you can get up to speed with our in-progress review of WildStar by checking out Part 1 and Part 2.

WildStar - Shiphand Mission Gameplay | Dealspwn Playthrough

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, Dealspwn Playthrough, Gameplay, NCsoft, WildStar

In our latest episode of Dealspwn Playthrough dedicated to WildStar, Carl provides commentary as he makes demonstrates one of the many Shiphand missions to be found throughout Carbine's newly-released MMO. As well as demonstrating the sort of activities these missions away from Nexus provide (including some sort of dance-off... no, really) Carl gives us his overview of how the game has been since launch.

If you have yet to do so, you can get up to speed with our in-progress review of WildStar by checking out Part 1 and Part 2.

WildStar: The Evil Noob #2 - Engineering Death

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMOs, NCsoft, PC games, Videos, WildStar

Part of being the evil empire means prioritising objectives to maximise your evilness. First impressions are important and all that. So it is that the first mission we find ourselves undertaking as soon as we set foot on Nexus involves slaying some indigenous creatures with our ludicrous shotgun.

Mechdusa now has the ability to stun creatures, which comes in very handy indeed as we romp about the beach, killing grizzly fidos, and combing the sands for ancient relics.