General News
Exclusive: ArcheAge's First Closed Beta Announced

It's a place that not many triple-A titles are hitting: sandbox games are left out of the Cool Kid’s Club, often times due to their limited nature. ArcheAge is the antithesis of limited--in a world plagued by too much choice, can a game offering the same truly be successful? Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about ArcheAge's first upcoming Closed Beta session and what makes the game so incredibly different.

Wildstar
WildStar: Strain Ultra Drop!

WildStar’s first patch is on the Horizon and it’s looking to be big one. As players are either making their way to level 50 or already trying to figure out how to stop the deadly threat that has been unleashed upon Planet Nexus, the next page in the epic journey gets revealed.

Get ready for the Strain Ultra Drop!

General News
The FEWW: Interview With Founder Floyd Bishop

In a high tech science lab, scientists have been experimenting with the elements to learn about the building blocks of matter in order to exploit their secrets for profit. One night, during a freak thunderstorm, the lab is struck by lightning, and the elements become self aware. You play as one of four elements as you escape the lab and ultimately destroy the evil corporation. You must fuse together different elements as you fight your way to the head of the corporation to shut it down for good.

A new Kickstarter for a side-scrolling, arcade-style "beat-'em-up" game, The FEWW (Fire, Earth, Wind and Water), launched earlier this week. The game is a nod to the arcade scrollers of the past and is being worked on by an experienced team of former AAA developers. We had the chance to chat with founder and lead animator Floyd Bishop to get more details about his ambitious project. Floyd is most recently known in the MMO community for his work on Sony Online Entertainment titles such as EverQuest Next/Landmark and Free Realms, with his animation also landing in TV and movies such as Ice Age.

Wildstar
WildStar: Beta Content and Beyond

As April nears its end and summer rapidly approaches, Carbine Studios, remains hard at work in preparation for the launch of its upcoming MMORPG, WildStar. This latest MMO, scheduled to hit the market in early June, takes place in an expansive universe that blends science fiction and fantasy elements into one action packed space. While this brand new IP has heads turning with interest, WildStar will still need to go blow for blow with some of the biggest names in the genre in order to come out successful. According to the President of Carbine Studios, Jeremy Gaffney, they’ll be battling with giants!

If you’ve been following my coverage of WildStar here on ZAM, then you probably know that one thing the game definitely has going for it: its ridiculous amount of in-game content. In truth, it will probably be the only MMORPG in history to launch jam-packed with this much stuff on day one. Coupled with the fact that, according to Jeremy, over 50% of beta weekend participants are giving WildStar a 5 out of 5 “fun factor” rating, it seems to be on the right path for launch. While long-time fans and beta testers may already be familiar with the game’s plethora of activities, new players just dipping their toes into beta may not know all of the options they have available as they make their journey across Planet Nexus. In order to shed some light for those players, I recently received the opportunity to sit down with Carbine’s Jeremy Gaffney himself to talk about a few different types of content that new players can expect, how beta has been faring in general, as well as the team’s plans for launch and beyond. So sit back and relax as we take a journey to Planet Nexus!

Starcraft II
StarCraft II: Patch 2.1 Interview

A few weeks ago, StarCraft II received one of the most significant content patches to date in Patch 2.1. The beastly new patch included a great deal of content, including:

  • "Arcade" features are now free: The custom maps of StarCraft II are contained in a portion called the arcade. It is now free with the Starter edition of SC2, and available for download. If you are new to StarCraft, I recommend starting with the games "Raynor Party" and "Mafia", they are great fun. Along with the Arcade, free players will have access to custom games and the beginning of the campaign.
  • New extension mods feature: Players can now create custom games with zany modifiers, such as moving minerals and all units exploding on death. This feature allows for smaller mods to be more easily used by average players.
  • New level cap for online play: The level cap has been raised from 30-35 for each race, and new StarCraft themed portraits can be unlocked.
  • First win of the day bonus: The first win of the day in competitive ladder (only available to players who have purchased the full game) now grants 100,000 experience.
  • Classic Soundtrack: The StarCraft: Broodwar soundtracks have been mastered and are available for free in StarCraft II.

If you haven't already, I encourage you to check out the StarCraft II Starter Edition, the quantity and quality of content available for free is overwhelming. We recently had the opportunity to talk to SC2 Senior Game Producer Tony Hsu about some of the patch 2.1 content.

EverQuest Next Landmark
EQNext Landmark Interview with Terry Michaels

We were on-site at Sony Online Entertainment at the end of January for their EverQuest Next Landmark alpha event. During the press hands-on session we took the opportunity to speak with Senior Producer Terry Michaels about Landmark.

"I can tell you that everything we're adding to the game—the whole idea—is that question: 'Is it fun or not?' We don't want to put things in there that are unnatural stumbling blocks or things to limit you because 'Oh, you have to do this 700 times, but it's not fun.' If we want you to do it 700 times, it should be fun to do each time. That's what we try to aim for with everything that we're doing."

General News
An Interview With Motiga CEO Chris Chung

Motiga is a Washington-based independent game studio packed with talented individuals. They stand on the principals of having a good time while making games, strong collaboration and being highly immersed in their project (as well as sending awesome holiday cards). What project are they working on? CEO Chris Chung will leave you wanting to know as much as we do!

We had the chance to speak with Chris, formerly of Trion Worlds, whose passion and excitement about their not-yet-unveiled title and his team has us on the edge of our seat.

General News
Brad McQuaid and Richard Garriott Team Up

You'd be hard-pressed to find two names more storied than Richard Garriott and Brad McQuaid. McQuaid's EverQuest and Garriott's Ultima Online were genre-defining titles that are envied and emulated to this day.

More recently, they've both returned to their roots with new crowdfunded development efforts. Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar funded on Kickstarter last year and recently released its first alpha build to backers. McQuaid's latest effort, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, has its Kickstarter campaign currently underway, promising a return to old-school MMO gameplay with modern technology.

Now, these two industry pioneers are teaming up to allow for some creative cross-game crowdfunding opportunities – and maybe even some cross-over content! I had a chance to ask Brad McQuaid a few questions about this collaboration; questions that should make fans of both games, and online gaming in general, very excited!

Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2: Edge of the Mists Community Q&A

Edge of the Mists launches later today in Guild Wars 2. Players will soon discover that no place is safe from the villain Scarlet Briar as the new World vs. World map is overrun with Aetherblade pirates. If things were not already bad, the major Living World characters Braham and Taimi have become stranded in the Mists. Players will need to help them while fending off Aetherblade attacks!

Last week, ZAM sent out a call for community questions about today’s patch and we had the opportunity to talk with Mike Zadorojny to get these questions and more answered. The Edge of the Mists was in a public beta test up until a few weeks ago which allowed players to see what would soon be coming to Guild Wars 2. It was then only natural that many questions would be about the new addition to the map: the Aetherblades.

Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2: Edge of the Mists Interview

Next week, the Edge of the Mists comes to Guild Wars 2. This new map will allow players to participate in WvW without any wait due to its ability to create overflows. Today, ArenaNet released a blog post detailing some of the other quality of life updates that will be part of next week's update.