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The Sims 4
Diving Deep: Journey Into The Sims 4

The Sims 4 released on the PC last week, nearly one year after it was first revealed. The lead-up to its release was a flurry of mixed emotions from longtime fans of the series; between concern over missing features (compared to Sims 1-3), the shift from an open world to single lot environment, the small introductory neighborhood size and more.

While I've certainly invested a lot of time into many other series such as EverQuest, Elder Scrolls and Civilization, the Sims franchise takes the cake for having devoted hundreds (or more *cough*) of my life to. I've been playing The Sims longer than any of my children have been alive (the eldest of which will be able to get his driver's permit next year). Let's just say my excitement for the announcement of The Sims 4 included many exclaimation points, and after my first 49 hours of playing it, I'm quite happy with the game, despite its spotty issues and omitted features.

This review is going to be extremely lengthy and touch on every aspect I've experienced thus far.

World of Warcraft
Wowhead Weekly: Episode 10

Party up with Olivia and Perculia for a new Wowhead Weekly: Episode 10! This week comes with a major bonus: comment on the Wowhead news post with your favorite Warlords item, and you could win one of 100 Warlords beta keys!

Now, for the topics covered in this week's episode:

General News
Your Next: Growing Pains

This week, I have mostly been quietly raging to myself, as an acute case of the man-flu sapped the energy required to do more.

It’s a funny time to be interested in games. By ‘games’, I don’t just mean the final product that we become the end-user, of course. The whole structure and mechanism around games is suffering from some chronic growing pains, and while wonderful new ideas and possibilities are opening up, teen tantrums seem to be coming along with it.

This time it’s even made its way into the mainstream press, and I see the look people give me when I tell them what I do in my spare time. Then we talk about Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn and I’m forced to smile and politely agree that ‘games don’t really matter, they’re just for kids anyway!’

Understandably, it’s a time of great change; we’ve all been guilty of identifying a little too personally with a commercial product. I can say that with some confidence, knowing this is an MMO crowd.

So we struggle to express our emotions; we make earnest, yet sophomoric, declarations (I’ll be case in point, here) that we know would solve everything if people would just listen. While we may be unsure what it is we want, exactly, we can smell which end of the bull what you’re giving us came out of.

So I’m angry this week; I’m feeling sick, for once I’ve been embarrassed to say I love MMOs and videogames in public and now I check to see what’s been happening and I see WildStar, ArcheAge and Destiny all spoon feeding us crap like we wouldn’t notice.

So forgive me if I take a break this week from talking about how bright our future is while I deal with this.

WildStar has seen the inevitable dip in its user-base and is exploring options for mega-server technology. I’m sorry, but are we expected to believe that Carbine Studios did not expect their numbers to drop after the first few months? I’m sure they’re not stupid, and I don’t think it’s humanly possible to be that arrogant, so they didn’t tell us about their plans. Seems like a pretty smart move, and one that will benefit players, so why not be up front about it?

On the other hand, they’re also claiming they didn’t realize how many players would want to play solo, and that the game is ‘too hardcore’ for many, so they’ll be introducing changes and new features to accomodate.

The plan seems to be to lie to and alienate the players who decided to stick around for the long haul. What a shame. I was really hoping WildStar would pull it out of the bag and be a success story - it’s incredibly well made and the team seem passionate about what they have - but if they carry on like this, I expect they’ll end up yet another casualty of the MMO grinder.

ArcheAge
ArcheAge Head Start Begins

ArcheAge, the free-to-play fantasy sandbox MMORPG from Trion Worlds and Korean game developer XLGAMES, has kicked off its head start for Founders. Players who purchased one of ArcheAge’s Founders Packs are able to dive into the game a full four days early, leading up to ArcheAge’s official launch on September 16.

Check out the trailer below, and for more information, visit the official site.

General News
Friday Update Arcade: Episode 2

Lindsay "geektr0n" Ferguson hosts ZAM's second installment of Friday Update Arcade! Topics discussed are:

  • Minecraft might be purchased for $2 billion?
  • Destiny touts much profit and may eventually see a PC release
  • Batman Arkham Knight gets a release date
  • FOOTBALL!!!??
  • DestinyDB's console giveaway

Final Fantasy XI
June and July Version Update Survey

Square Enix wants your voice to be heard! To gather information on the past two major version updates of Final Fantasy XI, a new update survey has been released. Did you enjoy the new high-tier mission battles added? Did you think that the various job adjustments could have been a bit better? Now's your chance to let Square Enix know what you think!

What are your opinions of the version update survey? Let us know over on the ZAM forums!

General News
Film Friday: Ten New Trailers - Part 2

Part 1 – Part 2