FIFA 15 Launched TODAY: Reviews Are In!

After weeks of anticipating, the big day has finally arrived: release day for FIFA 15 in North America! And the reviews are rolling in. How does this year’s installment in EA’s soccer sim series measure up to last year’s? How are gamers and critics reacting to the changes? Let’s check out the pros and cons of FIFA 15-where the game has evolved over its predecessor, and where it is lagging behind.


Realism and Emotional Intensity

These have been the big buzz words for FIFA this year, and no wonder: the players really do look absolutely fantastic, and so do the pitch and the audience. The player reactions are much more palpable-there are no more stiff faces on the field. Players behave like individuals, and react realistically to their triumphs and shortcomings on the field. They pout, they shout in frustration, they celebrate in victory. They interact with each other in realistic ways. None of this alters actual gameplay, but it feels a lot more natural. Crowd atmosphere is amazing, and really helps to individualize the stadiums themselves, which have been rendered in wonderful detail. Play at Anfield, and you’re sure to hear “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Subtle but Powerful Changes to Gameplay

Defenders are a lot more involved. Whereas in the past they would often just stand there being useless when they were needed, they are now much more likely to jump in and do their jobs.

Goalkeepers in particular have received a huge upgrade. This was a big deal this year, and EA has talked about it a lot, so we were excited to see whether the new goalkeepers would live up to our sky-high expectations. The goalkeepers really are doing a much better job this go-around. Enhanced ball physics has also removed some of the predictability out of shots. Surefire shots in the past are now much more randomized (and realistic). Coupled with the improved skill of the goalkeepers, it is now much easier to defend your goal and harder to score against your opponent. Some reviewers have been saying they now think the goalkeepers are overpowered, but these voices are a minority. We feel like they are much more balanced than they used to be.

More varied gameplay. We mentioned a moment ago how the goal shots are more true-to-life, resulting in more variation and less predictability. This applies not just to the goal shots, but to all the gameplay on the field. You can play a lot more hours on FIFA 15 than you could on FIFA 14 and experience a lot less repetition. In fact, so far we’ve been hard-pressed to spot any at all.

Game Mode Improvements

Career mode seems more intuitive than it did in the past (though not much), and there are a ton of options. This is great if you’re a big FIFA player and you know the ins and outs of the game, but may be a bit intimidating for some novices. Lots of different game modes have come back, including skill games, tournaments, Pro Clubs, Co-Op seasons, online play, and of course, Ultimate Team.

Ultimate Team is even better than Career Mode. It should be less tricky for new players to master. There are some balancing issues in UT, including defensive errors, and these do subtract from the game a bit, but not so much that it isn’t still a heck of a lot of fun. Another change is that you can no longer trade cards with friends. While this is a bit sad, they made the change to reduce exploitations that were inflating the transfer market prices way beyond anything remotely reasonable. This should keep top player cards within an affordable range . or at least, a less unaffordable range. As a reminder, this version of FIFA has introduced player loans, so you can sign on these hard-to-afford players for a few games to test them out, which is fun.

Planning is so much easier. Remember when you used to have to head over to FU Thead or FU Twiz to try and plan out the perfect team? Now you can do all of that inside the game using the concept squads feature that has just been introduced. You can test strategies and tactics, and it is awesome. Team Sheets may actually be our favorite new feature on the game. It is amazing to have this level of control for each player.


Every game has its imperfections, and FIFA 15 certainly isn’t without them. While player physiques look more athletic, they also look a bit more buff than seems realistic for the majority. There are glitches and bugs, some of which are rather funny-like a player passing his arm straight through his teammate’s body during a celebration. We have yet to see a player float through the air though, which is good! Career Mode could still use some polishing; hopefully next year they will make that a priority. Single-player gaming in general could use some work; EA’s focus seems to be on multiplayer.

In summary? FIFA 15 isn’t a perfect game. You can hardly expect perfection though when there are so many aspects to work on each year, and the developers are always forced to pick and choose. This year we saw a lot of work go into Ultimate Team and the graphics and realism aspects of the game. Next year, hopefully EA will focus more on Career mode. But for now, one thing is certain, and that is that FIFA 15 is the best FIFA game ever, and there are a ton of great reasons to buy FIFA 15 right now!

MMO ArcheAge is DDoSed before it even launches – ArcheAge news

Newsbrief: ArcheAge gold , the MMO from Lineage creator Jake Song that has been in development for eight years, is finally getting a Western release tomorrow — but its already being hit with DDoS attacks.
Song founded XL Games back in 2003, and in 2006 started work on ArcheAge, a sandbox-style MMORPG. The game will be released tomorrow in the U.S. and Europe, although its already been available for the past few days to players who paid for the Head Start bundle.

But these head start players have been hit with big problems, and many can only access the game for short periods of time. Now XL Games has stated that this is due to a denial-of-service attack, and the team says it is hard at work to get you back in the game.

DDoS attacks are becoming more and more common in video games. Just recently the PlayStation Network was brought down by such an attack, while earlier this year, Steam, Origin and all received attacks on the same night.

Is ArcheAge the Next MMO to Consume Your Life? Find Out When Closed Beta Starts July 17

The closed beta for Trion Worlds and XLGames upcoming MMORPG ArcheAge will begin on July 17 at 10 a.m. PDT, the publisher and developer announced today.

Like ArcheAges alpha, the level cap for the beta will be 50. And if you want to share your experiences with other people through video, screenshots, or live-streams? No problem, as there is no non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place for the ArcheAge beta.

ArcheAge gold was created by Jake Song, the man perhaps best known for his work on the Lineage series. The game aims to separate itself from the pack by letting players adventure through the world at their own pace and by blazing their own trails. You wont find pre-defined paths.

Like most other MMOs out there, ArcheAge also has a PvP system that lets groups of players duke it out–but in this game, you can do so on land or sea. You can also build a virtual home and build farms that impact and influence the games economy.

The ArcheAge beta will conclude on July 21 at 10 a.m. PDT. You can guarantee yourself a spot in the beta by paying at least $50 for Founder status. Trion Worlds also released a new trailer for the game today, which you can watch above.

XLGames is also working on Civilization Online, an MMO based on Sid Meiers popular strategy series.–Find-Out-When-Closed-Beta-Starts-July-17-80724.html

Adopt the Alterac Brew Pup—40% Off This Week Only

Bred for rescue in the forbidding cold of the Alterac Mountains, the spirited Brew Pup is ready to lend a swig of good “cheer” to dog-tired travelers everywhere. If you could use a hardy companion like this at your side, you can adopt an Alterac Brew Pup of your own for 40% off this week only (sale ends September 16, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PDT).

Raise a mug and a chew toy to your new favorite companion.

Fifa 15 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 Preview: Gamescom Comparison

Ten years ago, Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer’s rivalry hit the dizzy heights among gaming’s greatest. During the last console cycle, however, Konami and PES lost their way, leaving Fifa to overtake and far exceed the quality and success of its adversary.

With little rivalry in terms of sales, Fifa flourished where once PES and its near-perfect gameplay was the more popular title.

Back then, the allure of licensed players, clubs and stadia simply wasn’t enough in the face of PES’s exceptional gameplay.

Eventually Fifa worked its way to the top, backing up its realism with great gameplay as PES struggled to find a foothold on the new systems. By the end of the console cycle, it had found its old form but Fifa’s sales were insurmountable.

This year, both series will occupy the same next-gen consoles for the first time and I was lucky enough to play them at this year’s Gamescom in Germany. Here’s what I thought…

Fifa 14 has been a constant presence in my PS4’s disc drive for many months, my brother and I playing it on a regular basis.

Usually returning to a game so often shows how much we enjoy it but in the case of Fifa, it’s entirely about the competitive aspect and sibling rivalry.The game itself often leaves us hugely frustrated.

The problem with last year’s Fifa, though, was it always felt like you were fighting the game itself, rather than simply trying to beat your opponent.

It would always be trying to think ahead of you, switching players pre-emptively and passing the ball to areas it felt you had intended, when possibly you did not.

It was as though the game thought it was a better player than the actual player, when all that’s required are the tools to show off the player’s complete ability – no matter how good or bad they are.

Fifa 15 has made improvements in this regard. Players were switched for us on far fewer occasions and the gameplay by and large felt much more free – but there were still hangovers from its predecessor.

There were also many signs that the game’s biggest new gameplay feature – an overhaul of the goalkeepers – might have a big negative impact. You’ll notice the difference instantly.

Goalkeepers now parry rather than catch the ball a lot more often, even in positions when catching it makes more sense.

While in real life keepers often punch a ball away that could have been caught, here it happened far too often.

It was as though Fifa 15 was keen to show off its new feature, even though it was of little benefit to the player.

One goal I conceded was scored by Marco Reus from close distance, tapping it in with little effort as the keeper stood and watched.

Not exactly a promising showcase for “next-gen goalkeeping” and a waste of Tim Howard in a motion-capture leotard – as shown proudly at EA’s Gamescom press conference.

PES 2015, on the other hand, was much more impressive. Playing it I instantly felt more free, the choking feeling of Fifa now gone.

Gameplay was more fluid and fast thanks to Konami’s Fox Engine – which powers Metal Gear Solid V – introduced to full next-gen effect here. Konami boasted to me that PES was more about fun and individual play than accuracy for accuracy’s sake – as it proved in action.

Many PES fans will claim realism doesn’t matter as long as the underlying game is fun, and to an extent that is of course true.

However, EA’s comprehensive licensing agreement does mean a lot to its whole package and for players, it will always be better to play as Arsenal rather than North London just as it’s better to see the look of dismay on Joe Hart’s actual face than one that sort of, maybe looks like him.

This has a negative effect on PES’s look. Fifa simply looks and is presented better, which in the case of the player models at least is down to Konami having to look close to the real deal without creating an exact likeness.

PES 2015 is about recapturing that old magic and positioning the series as a viable alternative to EA’s Fifa.

On the basis of the few games we played with each, PES is back within close range of its competitor.

It plays better and is a little smoother but lacks the presentation quality of Fifa, making it more of the connoisseur’s choice.

In the case of Fifa, the latest version feels like little has been done to resolve key issues with the still fairly robust gameplay.

Cosmetic additions such as having all 20 Premier League stadiums are impressive in their own way but more needs to be done to fix the engine under that pretty bonnet.

Fifa 15 is out on 26 September and Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 is out on 13 November.

Megaservers are coming to WildStar!

First off, we’d like to apologize that we’ve been so quiet about the state of our servers; we wanted to be certain that our new tech was in a solid enough state where we could speak confidently about some exciting new developments we want to share with all of you. We’re close to finalizing a goal we’ve always had for our servers, something that will bring long-term benefits for our players and their WildStar experience.

In the near future, we will be implementing Megaservers for WildStar.

Going the Megaserver route means that we vastly increase server capacity allowing for greater critical mass of our player base, resulting in more people, more groups, more activity and more raids… more of everything that makes WildStar so fun. The Megaservers and their increased player capacity will give fans more options to group up and enjoy WildStar with friends and other players for a long time to come.

Under the new MegaServers, there will be one PvP and one PvE realm per Data Center. We’ll also increase the number of available character slots for each Megaserver. There’s lots more information to come, with some questions already answered in our FAQ and more on the way.

When the time comes, all guilds, arena teams, circles, mail and auction items will transfer to the new Megaservers. The normal “realm transfer” restrictions will not apply during this transfer. Unfortunately, one of the byproducts of this is that realm rule sets will be going away, so we will replace them with five region-wide chat channels – Roleplay, French, German, French Roleplay and German Roleplay. More details on this will be revealed soon.

Although we’re far enough in the process to begin talking about it, we are still some ways away from the Megaservers going live. One of the things we’re doing to make the wait easier is that as of this post going live, we have put free realm transfers in the game for all players.

There’s still a lot of detail to be worked out and shared with you in the near future. We did want to let you all know where we’re headed with our new Megaservers, because we are fully aware that the game servers in their current state are a very important subject with you, our players. As always, the devs are listening, we’ve heard your feedback loud and clear and we’ll continue to listen as WildStar grows.

We’re happy to be able to share our future plans with you, and thank you as always for your patience and support.

Team WildStar

As the Wall Street Journal recently noted

It’s been perfectly acceptable for years to list certain leisure activities on a resume, such as golf, bridge or even poker. But what about some of the more

modern and digital pursuits — say World of Warcraft, Minecraft or fantasy baseball?

Some avid video gamers are starting to include their gaming prowess on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. After all, many young people enjoy video gaming

instead of traditional leisure pursuits including golf and tennis, which have seen their popularity take a dive.

Catering to this audience, YouTube recently agreed to pay $1 billion for the game-oriented video service twitch TV, which claims to have more than 55 million

visitors per month. [Note: On August 25 Amazon (AMZN) announced it had agreed to buy Twitch for almost $1 billion, surprising many who assumed a

Google/Twitch partnership was a done deal.] And to succeed at a multi-player game like World of Warcraft requires skills that are also relevant in many

business jobs in fields such as finance and IT.

Still, excluding people who work at video game companies, less than 2,000 have mentioned World of Warcraft on their resumes on LinkedIn. More than 250,000

people list chess on their LinkedIn profile, mostly in the fields of IT, computer software and finance. That beats the 116,000 who list golfing skills,

mainly in the fields of finance, real estate and marketing and advertising. Poker is less common, listed on only 43,000 profiles, and about half are people

who work in the gaming industry. The rest, about 22,000, are concentrated in IT, advertising, and marketing and finance.

“I knew that Heather could ‘talk geek’ and that she would get where many of our students were coming from,” said Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason, dean of the U-M

School of Information.

John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, an information-technology staffing division of the Robert Half recruiting firm, said he has

seen few résumés that mention game skills. He added that his clients haven’t sought hires with game experience.

Still, hiring managers haven’t shown much interest in his game experience

In online forums, game players worry that touting their hobby will lead others to perceive them as lazy or socially awkward.

Peter Morris, a 50-year-old regional sales executive at New York-based analytics software provider Information Builders, is an avid player of “World of Warcraft.” But as a former hiring manager, he has warned fellow gamers against putting their game achievements on their résumés.

“At the end of the day, it’s all make-believe,” said Mr. Morris, adding that few recruiters understand how a leader in a fantasy game can be a valuable


Mr. Spafford’s fiancée, Mary Brenner, a freelance broadcast technician, includes her experience coordinating “World of Warcraft” meet-ups and other events,

on some versions of her résumé, but keeps it off for jobs that don’t involve event planning.

“I would feel uncomfortable with the judgment in a setting where it wouldn’t make sense,” she said.

Dmitri Williams, an associate professor of communications at the University of Southern California, said accomplished players of massively multiplayer online

games such as “Dungeons and Dragons Online” and “League of Legends,” demonstrate exceptional skills in strategy and team-building.

Most gamers use those traits both in and outside the game environment, according to Prof. Williams’s research, which focuses on the social and economic

impacts of videogames. Many of the prominent gamers he has interviewed are leaders in virtual and real life, such as a young player whose raid-leading

experience helped him understand how to succeed in college and the workplace and another gamer who led a guild and went on to manage a game-design studio,

later founding one of his own.

“There’s this misconception that when someone goes in the game that they act like someone else,” he said. “The research shows that the game world tends to

magnify what’s there already.”

There are two ways that those skills can come into play, so to speak. On the one hand, succeeding at video games can require some of the same teamwork, real

time analytics and composure under pressure that many jobs also require. Reigning supreme in a fantasy sports league requires statistical analysis, trading

acumen and focus.

But there’s also the business leisure aspect — sales people who bond with customers over golf or drinks might add some new pursuits. It’s even more likely

to become common as a team-building exercise in fields that are closely related to digital play, such as IT or finance.

Both reasons resonate with people who list card games on their profiles. “Poker and Bridge are two card games many people associate with as mathematical,

strategic and intelligent,” says Paul Howe, head of quantitative research at Oxbridge Capital who lists both on his LinkedIn profile. “Moreover, I have

played poker and bridge for a few years and consider them as a sports, much like my other interests in baseball (and) golf.”

For now, though, most video game players may have to just wait until the millennials start taking control as hiring managers — winning your fantasy football

league will be worth that much more.