Blizzard’s Latest Attempt to Lure Back WoW Subscribers Reeks of Desperation
The latest attempt by Blizzard to regain former World of Warcraft subscribers comes in the form of the Scroll of Resurrection. To the company’s credit it’s a hell of an incentive to get back to playing what is still the world’s most popular subscription-based MMO, but I can’t help but wonder if it comes across as so desperate that it will make it harder to keep players coming back in the future without the help of another promotion.
Last year’s big ploy, which continues to this day, was to offer the game for free up to level 20, a scheme I think is smart for WoW and other, non-F2P MMOs. (Blizzard also offered a free digital copyof Diablo III to anyone willing to commit to a year of WoW.) The newly-announced Scroll of Resurrection is geared towards bringing back former subscribers rather than trying to attract new ones.
Current subscribers can send a Scroll to anyone who previously had an account that was subscribed to WoW for at least 30 days at any point in time. By accepting, the recipient will receive a week of free game time, a free upgrade to the digital version of Cataclysm (the most recent expansion pack), a boost of any one character up to level 80 (preparing him or her for Cataclysm’s content and level 85 cap), and a free transfer to the sender’s realm and faction (which you’d ordinarily have to pay for). If the recipient accepts the invite and ends up resubscribing, the sender receives a special mount: the Spectral Wind Rider for Horde or the Spectral Gryphon for Alliance.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Gets Lightning Story DLC in May
Square Enix has announced more Final Fantasy XIII-2 DLC.
Beginning March 13th, players will be able to download PSICOM Officer Jihl Nabaat as a downloadable Coliseum opponent. Jill originally appeared in Final Fantasy XIII and will be available for 240 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live and $2.99 on PSN.
Square also announced new episodic DLC involving Lightning. A new episode entitled “Lightning’s Story: Requiem of the Godess” is set to be released in mid-May and will reveal “the battle scene of Lightning and Caius not shown in the main game.” More details will be announced soon.
PC Gaming Is So Dead It Made $18.6 Billion In 2011
PC gaming is a zombie! That’s how we can view this ancient one-liner after the PC Gaming Alliance have released their report. Together with the research unit DFC Intelligence, they’ve concluded that the global PC games market has seen a $18.6 billion tag in revenues in 2011. This would represent a 15% growth.
Apart from the heavy hitters Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim there were also a few surprises to accredit this wealth to. In particular, the bloom of free-to-play titles has been a large part of the increase. Companies such as FarmVille creators Zynga and and browser game specialists Bigpoint were noted as key players in the report. The latter is also responsible for the game adaptation of Battlestar Galactica.
Additionally, sports games were said to have “surprisingly strong sales” on a platform perhaps not known for the genre. Also, China as a whole made a large contribution, with a $6 billion growth number to its name.
Star Wars: The Old Republic 1.2 update on the horizon
After a ton of hullabaloo, The Old Republic’s heftiest update yet is about to hit. In the update, players will find improved UI customization, more refined visuals, and a few other tweaks. Content wise, there’s a new Warzone (PVP arena), a new Operation (a Raid), a new Flashpoint (Dungeon/Instance), and a few other minor additions like Guild Banks. But the flashiest update of all is the inclusion of the Legacy System (finally!).
For those who aren’t aware, the Legacy System is something that’s fairly unique to the MMO scene. It’s a mechanic that lets players intermingle and link all of their characters into one giant “family”, which allows for some minor upgrades and new abilities based on your account. The odd thing about this system is that the plans were actually in place at launch: once you reached a certain level, Legacy would unlock – it just didn’t do anything.
Because of this odd design choice, fans have been ferociously debating whether or not this is simply an awesome update, or the game was shipped unfinished and this is the “1.0″ patch. Personally, I got 50 as soon as possible, realized there wasn’t much to do, and quit. Now that the Legacy System is finally done, I might actually come back and work on some alts. The update itself will land in April.
Yakuza: Dead Souls Review
If you’ve played a Yakuza game before, you’ll know them as sprawling urban RPGs centred on the tensions and rivalries between different factions of the Japanese mafia, featuring plenty of beat-downs, kerb-stomping and bashing people over the head with tables. Yakuza Dead Souls is… kinda like that, but also with zombies. As a way to end the series in spectacular style (for now at least – Yakuza 5 is on the cards), SEGA has unleashed the undead apocalypse on its fictional version of Tokyo, turning the game into a zombie shooter rather than a brawler in the process.
Unfortunately this transition has been anything but painless. In getting rid of the satisfying hand-to-hand combat and replacing it with astonishingly incompetent shooting mechanics, SEGA has excised one of the best things about the Yakuza games. If you’re a fan of the series you’ll really want to like Dead Souls, but as the game goes on, its problems build up into an insurmountable tower of pain and frustration.
Like in Yakuza 4, there are four main characters that share the story between them: kind-hearted loan shark Shun Akiyama, insane pirate gangster Goro Majima, ex-Yakuza boss Ryuji Goda, and the star of the series, Kazuma Kiryu. As the game progresses so does the zombie crisis, and these four characters come together to try to put an end to it. They all have different weapons, and you can buy more and upgrade them as you go to expand their arsenal. The game’s about 15-20 hours long, depending on how much you indulge in mini-games, exploration and side quests.
from 1UP RSS feed by Ryan Winterhalter
The BattleTech series began life as an incredibly complex tabletop war game that required dozens of dice roles to resolve the simplest interactions, and despite maintaining a rabid fanbase, no developer ever tried to translate the experience over to a video game. Strategy games in the series, like MechCommander, looked nothing like the game they were based upon. Announced last month, MechWarrior Tactics sticks much closer to the tabletop template without directly copying the game. It replaces the seemingly endless and confusing equipment lists featured in the board game with an easy to understand collectable system. We received a hands-off demo of the free-to-play game game at GDC. Played from a browser, MWT requires no client download — unlike other web-based, free-to-play 3D games like Quake Live. Utilizing the Unity Engine, the game looks, feels, and plays like a traditional installed games. Any browser compatible with Unity’s plugin will run the game on Mac or Windows.
by Ryan Winterhalter
MechWarrior has always been a fairly shallow series at heart. Despite featuring endless customization options for mechs, almost all of the previous MW titles suffered from major exploits that rendered gameplay one-dimensional. Every MW 2 mission could be easily completed using nothing but long-range-missiles, while MechWarrior 3‘s gameplay boiled down to shooting off the enemies legs as fast as possible. The general rule throughout the series’ history has been that a heavier mech is almost always a better choice than a lighter one — armor always trumps speed.
MechWarrior Online aims to add depth to the series when it launches this summer by offering players a reason to choose a variety of mechs, “Ending the arms race,” as the game’s developers referred to it in a hands-off demo at GDC. The CryEngine-powered, free-to-play game’s 12v12 online matches require specialization and teamwork; each side will need light mechs to scout and report enemy locations to the rest of the team, as well as heavy assault mechs to lead and soak up damage alongside medium mechs equipped with specialty weapons and heavy ordinance.