Funcom today announced the adventure game The Longest Journey is now available in the App Store for iPhone and iPad. First released on Windows PC in 1999, The Longest Journey was met with rave reviews and is still considered one of the greatest adventure games ever made.


At the time GameSpot proclaimed it to be ‘one of the best adventure games in years’, bestowing upon it a ‘Game of the Year’ award. IGN handed it an ‘Editor’s Choice’ award, saying ‘…the game ranks up there as one of my favorite entertainment titles of all time, not just out of video games, but of all media.’ Read More →

Warlords of Draenor’s launch wasn’t exactly smooth and some consumers felt compelled to complain to the BBC’s consumer show Watchdog.

World of Warcraft took a bashing this evening following the problematic launch of Warlords of Draenor. They spoke with UK player Luke who had been “looking forward to the expansion a hell of a lot” and expected the expansion was “finally going to revive the World of Warcraft because it has been dying for some time”.

Fair enough. This expansion was highly anticipated and added lots of new features. Like thousands of other players, WoW player Luke couldn’t log in and he “knew immediately there was a problem”. He explained on the show that the “queues were going up and up and up”. He managed to wait three hours then it would disconnect which was an experience shared by nearly all players at some point over the launch period. The queues were massive with some players seeing queue times of more than three thousand minutes. Read More →

It’s fair to say that Guild Wars 2 sells its story pretty highly, as living world progress and story updates are a major part of its content strategy. Head of narrative Leah Hoyer stated in a recent interview that this is one of the core things that games as a whole need to embrace: Story is important in getting players invested. Hoyer went on to say that while story lacks the central importance in games that it has in media like television, it’s still an important element of player investment.

Story: let's me and you fight.

Still, she argues, it’s harder to tell a good story in a game than it is in a television show, simply because the latter is focused only on story while the former cannot be. This doesn’t mean that it’s less important, nor does Hoyer feel that it justifies using lore and background as an excuse for not telling a story; a good story requires immediacy. While she believes that lore is highly important, it should help support storytelling rather than replace it. There’s a lot of interesting thoughts in the full interview, so whether you like Guild Wars 2’s take on story or not, it’s well worth a look.

Star Wars

Star Wars: The Old Republic finishes up its series examining the class changes coming with the 3.0 update today with the Sniper and the Gunslinger. Why were those two the last on the list? Probably because they were hiding way in the back. That’s sort of how they do things. As both of the base classes (Smuggler and Imperial Agent) have seen some significant changes, some of the changes to Snipers and Gunslingers focus around keeping the core utility of the advanced classes while removing unnecessary or superfluous buttons.

Keeping it at arm's length.

Sharpshooter/Marksmanship are fairly unchanged from their current incarnations, save for a new ability replacing an older ability in regular rotation. Engineer/Saboteur is largely unchained, but the changes to abilities should produce smoother overall rotations. Last but not least, Virulence/Dirty Fighting specialties both gain a new ability that functionally replaces an older option and a new passive ability to spread damage over time. Check out the details on the new tricks on the official development blog.

Just a few months ago, the future wasn’t looking so bright for World of Warcraft, with subscriptions dipping down to just under 7 million and Blizzard employees stating publicly that they didn’t expect the subscriber base to grow going forward. What a difference an expansion makes, as Blizzard announced this week that the recent release of Lords of Draenor has pushed the game back over 10 million subscribers for the first time since 2012.

That’s up from 7.4 million subscribers reported in October and a low of 6.8 million reported in July, Blizzard said. More than 3.3 million people have purchased a copy of Draenor even prior to the expansion’s launch in South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau today. Read More →

A new report claims to know another detail pertaining to the teaser trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The teaser, which is rumoured for a Dec. 17, 2014 release, will supposedly also reveal the main villain in the movie.

According to Latino Review, the short sneak peek for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will debut the appearance of the movie’s chief antagonist. Sources have allegedly confirmed the teaser trailer will feature a montage of characters, old and new, and among them is the main villain. Read More →

Celebrating its launch across Europe and PAL territories, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Game of the Year Edition comes packed with a bunch of bonus content and two vouchers for a lot of free in game time.

The limited Game of the Year edition comes with a voucher for 30 days of free time and a digital voucher for 60 additional days. You also get a “Book of Diamonds” Grimoire box, and five exclusive art cards.

A Game of the Year addition wouldn’t be complete without all of the extra content released thus far so you can also expect to get the A Realm Awoken, Through the Maelstrom, Defenders of the Eorzea, and the recently released Dreams of Ice update content.

What a long strange journey

World of Warcraft has released its most recent expansion Warlords of Draenor, making yet another milestone of this game’s ten year tenure on the market. In that time, Blizzard Entertainment (a subsidiary of now Activision Blizzard, Inc.) became a focal cultural phenomenon for the entire industry of online games. The expansion represents a new era for the game and for massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming in general and continues a long term trend of Blizzard taking cues from the rest of the industry.

Throughout World of Warcraft’s (WoW) history Blizzard has tended to take what user experience mechanics other games did well and incorporated them into their own games.

Warlords of Draenor is no exception to this trend, but it might be worth a retrospective in how Blizzard has shaped WoW to remain the dominant online game.

Garrisons in Warlords of Draenor

The most recent example of WoW participating in taking cues from the rest of the MMO industry is from a feature baked into Warlords of Draenor: Garrisons, or better explained as player housing.

Player housing is something surprisingly missing from WoW since its inception and it’s taken ten years for Blizzard to finally implement some form of it. Housing has been a mainstay of the social fabric of most online games since the days of Ultima Online. So housing coming to Warcraft is actually a big deal, but it also comes with something else: Followers.

To sum it up, followers are rather like friends of yours who come over, crash on your couch, and eat your pizza, but unlike your friends they’re willing to work for their room and board—they’re also usually heavily armed. You can send your followers out on missions to collect goods, beat up bad guys, and even hire or rescue more followers.

This system is extremely similar to that from Star Wars: The Old Republic, in which players sent companions (who hung out on their ship) out on missions to collect resources and craft items. Although in SWTOR this also doubled as the crafting system (WoW has its own crafting system already.) And in Star Trek Online duty officers aboard the player’s starship follow an extremely similar role of being assigned to missions where they explore the galaxy, assist in research, do diplomacy, etc.

The World of Warcraft version takes the concept and simplifies it to a recognizable Blizzard interface, offers the player a set of missions and followers and off you go to the races.

The Reagent Bag

When Guild Wars 2 first game out it promised to be another interesting addition to the MMO industry—water colored, action-oriented combat, but it also had a button that read: “Deposit All Materials.” Selecting this button would clear out any crafting materials from the player inventory and move them into a special crafting item bank (accessible while making in-game items.)

In many MMO games inventory is a constant problem. In part because equipment, crafting bits, and trophies from within the virtual world begin to pile up—and some players (like me) happen to hoard unique items. In most MMOs crafting materials also take up a great deal of space, especially so because some items may take 3 or 4 other items to make just one of. So a button that clears the inventory of those items felt like a huge weight taken off my back (pun intended.)

Warlords of Draenor saw the addition of exactly this feature. It continues a trend of WoW simplifying the interface and collapsing collectables (by taking them out of the inventory.) Previously Blizzard added a mounts and pets tab with patch 5.0.5 during September 2012 as part of preparing for the Pet Battle System (aka Blizzard adds Pokemon to World of Warcraft.)

Outfitter and the Equipment Manager

People who play MMORPG games such as World of Warcraft often come to identify with their avatars in these games. Many players enjoy dressing themselves up, picking outfits, forming an identity and a “look” and this is so prevalent that many games can be described as “Pretty Princess Dress-Me-Up” when looking at the expansive wardrobe options available to players.

Once upon a time, WoW had an add-on called Outfitter. Add-ons enable development-minded players to write UI modifications that can change the look-and-feel of WoW and can basically entirely change how players interact with the game. Outfitter is one such add-on. It took the innate desire of most players to be able to build, save, and swap-to different outfits and gave it form. This add-on is so beloved that it is still maintained and updated.

Blizzard added an Outfitter-like UI mechanic called the Equipment Manager during patch 3.1.2 in May 2009. In essence, it gave the rudimentary functions that Outfitter provided to players—the ability to save, edit, and swap equipment sets.

The addition of this functionality is largely a quality-of-life improvement that didn’t change WoW’s gameplay at all; but it did change how players are able to approach the game. Aesthetically it’s nice because players can switch easily between different “looks” should they choose, but mechanically different outfits in WoW can provide different stats or capabilities and players may want to switch between them in order to take advantage of different game effects.

UI improvements lead user experience year-over-year

World of Warcraft has changed significantly since its launch in 2004, call Vanilla WoW by many of the veterans, and this is especially visible in terms of how gameplay has changed. The game has slowly gotten easier, more casual friendly, but also bigger in terms of world and stuff to do. In 2004 the highest level achievable in WoW was 60, now that cap is 100. Vanilla WoW consisted of two continents with approximately 40 zones, now there are entire new worlds to visit and almost 90 zones.

As players approach World of Warcraft there is a staggering world to explore, a full decade of content, and a history behind every rock. Quality of life improvements to the user experience by making the UI more accessible have followed the game’s trend towards being friendly to incoming users by getting complex weirdness out of the way, providing easier navigation, and easing the game play experience.

Garrisons using follower-based missions, the addition of a reagent bag, uplifting Outfitter’s capabilities to the UI—all of these examples show how World of Warcraft often takes the best user experience examples from the rest of the industry (or its own players) and incorporates them for a better in-game experience.

Blizzard has a near impeccable record when it comes to smooth World of Warcraft expansion launches, so it’s a surprise that Warlords of Draenor has encountered numerous problems since its launch overnight. In addition to a DDoS attack, the servers are currently unable to withstand the sheer amount of players attempting to access the expansion from the same location.

“Europe was our first region to launch, and we encountered a few issues due to the sheer number of players attempting to enter Draenor from a single location,” Blizzard wrote in an initial statement. “We worked to add multiple new ways to access Draenor, and this helped ease some of the initial rush into the new expansion as players were able to access it from their capital cities, as well as from the shrines in Pandaria.”

In addition to these, users are reporting servers timing out, which is affecting both performance and players’ ability to access the game at all. In its most recent update, In its most recent statement, Blizzard says it’s tackling the problem by lowering the realm population cap in problem areas.

“We’re continuing to work toward greater realm stability and address the service issues impacting latency. Our current biggest hurdle is the concentration of players in specific areas and zones, and an unexpected effect of that concentration on the realm stability,” the studio wrote.

“We’re continuing to maintain a lowered realm population cap to help with the stability, which is resulting in increased queue times. We’re seeing some increase in individual zones drop which are causing localized player disconnections as we get into primetime in the Americas, and if someone is disconnected they will quite likely run into a queue to log back in. Work is progressing on improving realm stability through fixes targeting individual in-game issues, as well as on the backend game and network services.”

Reckless Racing 3 Is On Sale for the First Time on iOS and Android

Pixelbite Games’s Silver Award-winning Reckless Racing 3 has had its first price drop despite having been released only a month ago.

Rather than £2.99 / $4.99, it’s currently £1.99 / $2.99 on iOS and Android.

If you’re a fan of the Reckless Racing series then you’ve probably already bought it. But if you haven’t, this limited-time discount is begging you to.

For those not familiar with the series you might be helped towards a purchase by what we said in our review.

“A shiny and sharp racer that gets the meat of the genre right, Reckless Racing 3 is well worth some attention,” is what we said.

If that’s revving your engine, if it’s greasing your tyres, if your windscreen is getting misty with the heat – you get the point – then you might want to throw your money at Reckless Racing 3.