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Choose My Adventure

Choose My Adventure: World of Warcraft and the shadowy priest

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

It's been one week since Choose My Adventure's voters sent me on the path of darkness in World of Warcraft, daring me to cast off my healing roots and adventure forward as a Priest who deals only in shadow. I've gained a couple of levels, tinkered with my garrison, and killed hundreds and hundreds of orcs. I've even managed to work out some of last week's confusion, finding a spell rotation that works for me and laying waste to any PvE enemies that cross my path.

I've also completed about a million quests, Warlords of Draenor-style.

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Choose My Adventure: I am so confused in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Last week's Choose My Adventure polls for World of Warcraft set me on a very unexpected path. Male Blood Elf? Really? If you had asked me to predict the result of the class/race/gender/faction polls, I would have been extremely super-wrong. I thought for sure Massively's readership was full of carebear Alliance sympathizers who spend their WoW hours hosting hug parties in Darnassus.

Anyway. This week saw me creating our new character, using the included-with-Warlords of Draenor instant level 90 character boost, and diving through the Dark Portal to experience the starting moments of Blizzard Entertainment's latest bundle of WoW content.

It was... something.

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The Stream Team: World of Warcraft's instant 90

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Choose My Adventure is heading into World of Warcraft this month, and it all begins with the creation of a brand-new character that will immediately receive an instant boost to level 90. Join Massively's Mike Foster as he investigates the instant-leveling process and explores the tutorial system Blizzard has put in place to explain dozens of skills to a fledgling WoW player.

The chaos begins at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: Can't stop the World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
It's been 10 years since Blizzard Entertainment launched World of Warcraft and ignited the great MMO gold rush of the aughts. In that time, World of Warcraft has grown into something more than a game; it's a cultural icon, an immensely valuable piece of intellectual property, and a brooding presence any new MMO has to consider before launch. WoW has gravity.

Just when World of Warcraft's numbers start to slide and the naysayers start planning their "WoW is dead" parties, Blizzard finds a way to make WoW resurgent. Warlords of Draenor, WoW's fifth expansion, launched late last month, bringing three million subscribers back into the game's warm embrace. For those keeping score: That's more subscribers than most MMOs ever see at their peaks.

Warlords of Draenor reworks some core World of Warcraft systems, changes up character models, implements a version of housing, and more. And with so many people returning to check it out, there's no better time for Choose My Adventure to join the fray.

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Choose My Adventure: The final Final Fantasy

Fantasy, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
It's amazing how time flies when you're punching things. Just a few weeks ago our Choose My Adventure-forged Final Fantasy XIV pugilist was an aspiring adventurer with no pants; today, she's a certified hero (still with no pants). It's been an impressive ride to say the least. Square Enix has done some things so phenomenally right it's hard to believe the studio botched the game so badly the first time around.

Final Fantasy XIV is definitely a traditional fantasy MMO. But it makes enough changes and innovates in enough places to make itself feel unique and compelling. If I had to pay a subscription for a game (which I hate doing), FFXIV would be the one to get my credit card number.

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Choose My Adventure: Final Fantasy XIV's thaumaturgery

Fantasy, Polls, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
One of the more frustrating elements of helming Choose My Adventure is that I start every game with hopeless incompetence and spend four weeks trying desperately to reach some level of understanding with that game's core mechanics. MMO players take for granted the basic masteries they have over the systems they command and forget that the first 20 or so levels of any new game are usually spent in a fog of half-understandings and misconceptions.

Because it's so difficult to continually learn a game's idiosyncrasies, I was a bit wary of last week's Choose My Adventure polls. Having just grown comfortable with our Miqo'te Pugilist and the basic rotations that power her damage, I found the thought of taking on an entirely new class fairly intimidating. Aren't Thaumaturges hard to play? Don't they have confusing ability combos and weird buffs?

Luckily, Final Fantasy XIV understands the challenge in switching classes and isn't afraid to babysit you while you re-learn the ropes.

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Choose My Adventure: So much punching in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Polls, PvE, Hands-On, Consoles, Choose My Adventure, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription, MMORPG

Final Fantasy XIV
Last week's Choose My Adventure polls on Final Fantasy XIV were very close. With a few more votes in one direction instead of another, we'd be playing a Roegadyn arcanist or a Lalafell thaumaturge. Unfortunately for people who hate human-animal hybrids, voters selected a Miqo'te pugilist by the hair on a cat's tail (Is this a saying? It should be a saying). Consider our character's cat ears the Massively version of growing a Movember moustache.

With our hero forged and her job chosen, it's time to start adventuring.

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Choose My Adventure: Final Fantasying

Fantasy, Polls, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
Final Fantasy, born in 1987 on the Nintendo Entertainment System, is Square-Enix's most successful franchise with over 100 million units sold in its 27-year history. Final Fantasy is essentially a constant in the games industry; there is always a current Final Fantasy game, and there is always an anticipated Final Fantasy game. No matter the day or time, thousands of people across the globe are playing one Final Fantasy or another. Final Fantasy is a Big Deal.

That's not to say everything has been sunshine and roses for the series. Fans are passionate about the brand and have had some less than stellar reactions to certain decisions in various iterations of the franchise. Perhaps the most notorious story in all of Final Fantasyland was the launch, un-launch, and re-launch of Final Fantasy XIV, which has been discussed in great depth here at Massively.

It's been over a year since Final Fantasy XIV became Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. And with a new expansion on the way and the massive patch 2.4 freshly live, there's no better time to leap into this title to see what we can see in this month's edition of Choose My Adventure.

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Choose My Adventure: Closing off our time in Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
I've spent quite a bit of time in Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman this month. Thanks to the unique layout of October 2014, Swordsman ended up getting an extra week compared to most Choose My Adventure endeavors. And while I'm ready to move on to the next game, it was nice to have some extended time with Swordsman before sending it to that magic hard drive in the sky. Sometimes a few extra days can give you time to see things in a game you didn't see before.

Swordsman is definitely a game that grows on you. The experience continually improves. If you're willing to stick through the slow opening and limited early experience, there's a pretty interesting game waiting to be discovered.

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Choose My Adventure: The once and future Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
For the last three weeks, I've been whipping and kicking every bad guy I can find in Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman in the hopes of understanding this peculiar wuxia MMORPG. My Choose My Adventure experience thus far has been mixed; I've enjoyed Swordsman's theme and setting, but its mechanics and hard-to-follow narrative have made the experience a touch less manageable. Swordsman from 1-30 seems at best like an extended tutorial and at worst like a game that plays itself.

That's not just my opinion. All of the feedback I can find on the game seems to point in one direction: Swordsman's early levels aren't the main attraction. The real Swordsman exists in PvP (unlocked at level 30), guild quests (unlocked at level 35), and instances (unlocked at 15 -- not bad). Last week's combat discipline discovery at 25 further cemented the idea that Swordsman is a game designed to reward players who stick through the initial grind.

I didn't have much time to play this last week, but I did get a chance to sit down with PWE product manager Gabrielle Heiland to talk about Swordsman's first expansion, the future of the game, and how Perfect World feels about the game's current "wait and see" design.

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Choose My Adventure: Clicking around in Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Polls, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
Three weeks into our Choose My Adventure adventure, I'm not sure what to make of Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman. The game boasts a deep literary pedigree and markets itself on its wuxia themes and combat-oriented design. It has a rich, beautiful world that is dripping with powerful design cues and historical influences. Like all PWE games, it is slick and easy to pick up and play.

Swordsman is a well-made MMORPG. It is mechanically sound and conceptually solid. So why am I so bored?

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Choose My Adventure: Cracking whips in Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Polls, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
In last week's Choose My Adventure poll, I asked two simple questions of the Massively community: Which gender should our character be in Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman, and what path should that character take among the game's 10 available schools of combat? The result was a resounding win for the female-character-exclusive Five Venoms school (probably because whips) and for the creation of a female character.

Since the polls closed on Saturday, I've created our character and spent a little time with Swordsman's intro sequence, tutorial missions, and the earliest chapters of its main storyline. I've whipped a bunch of dudes, summoned giant frogs, and set a few horses on fire. And while it's early yet to declare Swordsman a success, failure, or mediocre in-betweener, thus far I would describe the experience as decidedly mixed.

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Choose My Adventure: The proud wanderers of Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Polls, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
Since commandeering Choose My Adventure in August, I've been on something of a sci-fi rampage. First we took a second look at a post-release Firefall; then we spaced out with a beta build of Frontier's Elite: Dangerous. And while spaceships and rocket boots are certainly wonderful things, Choose My Adventure is as much about investigating new worlds and new genres as it is about checking out new games. Thus, it's time to leave the world of science fiction behind in search of something a bit more classical.

This month, we're adventuring into Imperial China -- as far from deployable sentry guns and pulse lasers as possible -- with Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman.

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Choose My Adventure: Basically Han Solo in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
When Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous eventually launches, I'm guessing there will be two primary types of pilots cruising its vast expanses: quiet, peaceful types who enjoy exploring and courier-ing, and destructive, violent types who prefer interacting with NPCs and other players via pulse lasers. Elite's loose structure has room for other archetypes, though, such as the savvy trader working the marketplace and the under-the-radar smuggler who lives on the wrong side of the law but avoids drawing attention to himself. Being peaceful doesn't mean you have to be lawful.

Last week's Choose My Adventure poll set me on the path of the smuggler, challenging me to secure illegal goods and to sneak those goods by the feds to net a healthy profit.

Results were mixed.

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Choose My Adventure: Exploring exploration via Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
Being an explorer is overrated. Sure, Lewis and Clark are remembered as bold adventurers who set out across the untamed American west, charting charts and mapping maps and becoming famous along the way. It's less memorable that the expedition frequently feasted on dogs, slept with more locals than a touring indie rock band, and included at least one accidental butt shooting. In other words, between an explorer and fame there lies a whole lot of gristle.

Last week, Choose My Adventure voters set me on the exploration path in Frontier Development's Elite: Dangerous. While exploration hasn't yet been implemented as a viable career, it's still a thing you can do just because you feel like doing it. It's also a pretty great way to see your life end in a cacophony of flames and shrapnel or to find yourself staring at a map in complete and utter confusion.

Still, it beats roasting a Labrador and passing it around the campfire.

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