Archive for August, 2011

A brand new Skyrim

So, if you’re a gamer that has lived anywhere but under a rock these past six months, you know of the latest addition to the ever-popular Elder Scrolls series: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. With Skyrim, Bethesda made some changes to the main mechanics from Oblivion, removing some things, combining some things, changing some things…all in the name of ”streamlining”.

Now, streamlining is mostly a good thing since it involves getting rid of unecessary extras. However, many Elder Scroll fans have
expressed disappointment at the Skyrim mechanics, saying that Bethesda’s streamlining went too far. So now I’m gonna have a look at the new stuff and share my opinions on them.

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Playful Personalities

Alright, today’s post is going to be a little different. Instead of looking at any one (or more) mechanics of a game, we’re going to be looking at the players themselves. Namely, their distinct play-styles. But, my dear readers, we are going much deeper than people usually go, analyzing my two distinct flavors for gaming, and hopefully getting a few of you to reflect on your own. We’ll be going beyond the position in the holy trinity of Tank/Damage/Healer, beyond the physiological classifications (Explorer, Killer, etc.) and into the specific of a single individual, just to see how similar and different we are even when fitting the same archetypes. So, without further ado, I present to you The Sadist and The Dualist.

The Sadist:

The more-or-less default behavior pattern I develop in open world games, and in any game dealing with a post-apocalyptic setting such as Fallout or Bioshock, but also in games with other players, given the character types sync up well enough. Pleasure comes from my enemies’ pain, and enjoyment from their suffering. To give a short example, think back to Bioshock 2. In a pre-established world where there are almost no detriments to your behavior in any way… I was quickly rampaging through the first level of the game, gleefully ramming the drill into targets and turning it on. A friend who was listening at the time told me to quit, demonic giggling + power drill was just creepy. Any time there is a power curve where I can gain the upper-hand, I will do so and near immediately inflict that power on those around me. Another perfect example of this: Warhammer 40k: Space Marine; you start the game way above your enemies in terms of power, and it is endless fun to pummel them into oblivion. So this means I really like big beefy monsters that maul everything to death, right? Well…
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Jedi Academy, a review/retrospect

Hey there! DDdreamer here with another look at a game I like. This time I’m gonna delve into one
of the classics of computer gaming: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.
Released in 2003, the game quickly aquired a following that persists
to this day.

However, does the game still hold up in
2011? Is it still a good game? With these questions (and a desire to
see what all the hallaballo was about) I played through the entire
game in three days.

I’m gonna divide my thoughts of the
game into four different categories: Sound, Visuals, Gameplay and
Story. Towards the end, I’ll make a summary of my general thoughts of
the game.

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Free Flamer Here!

Note: I’ve been told the Backburner actually does have Compression Blast. Not going to change anything because the point still stands.

Alright, so I mentioned before that selling power is a very, very stupid idea, but then immediately gave the most well known example, Team Fortress 2, a pass on it. What gives? Did I actually go mostly insane, or was there a method to the madness? (I’ll give you a hint, it’s probably the last one. Probably.) So today, let’s look at the kind of micro-transactions that are happening in the gaming world, and which ones need to stop.

Like I said before, let’s have a look at the Manconomy store for Team Fortress 2. All they sell is weapons and silly hats! How is that not evil/ridiculous? Well, the silly hat thing is ridiculous, but it makes for a good laugh at least. As for the weapons… Quick, what are the basic load-outs for each class? It’s alright if you don’t know them all off the top of your head, but it thought “freaking amazing” then you’d be right. Every weapon in the starting load-out is incredibly solid, and is extremely useful. In fact, I’d be willing to say that the store is harmful to new players, not because of any power shifts, but because of the way the new weapons subtly shift the desired playstyle of the player in question.
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League of Legends: Skarner

So, this is something new I’ve been planning for a while that I’ve really wanted to get rolling. So once a week I’ll take a look at one of my favorite games, League of Legends, and talk about various things from champions to maps to meta games. This week we’re going to be starting with the most recent champion to come out: Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard.

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“Standard Fantasy”

Why is it that we can actually say the phrase “standard fantasy” and have people understand exactly what we’re talking about? Think about that for a second. We’ve become so entrenched in a set form that fantasy actually has a standard now. Not standard Tolkien, not standard Dungeons and Dragons, just standard fantasy setting. We’ve been here too long folks, and it’s fine we got out. Let’s see something new, new races, new worlds, new ideas. We need something to really change-up the formula and get these fantasy worlds to be full of fantastic adventure again.

New Playable Races:
This is a big one that is really dragging things back. We need new playable races. Remember the standard fantasy setting, now think about it. Ready to name the first four races that come to mind? Elf, Human, Dwarf, Orc, in that order. Elves always live in the forest and are tall, magical, aloof buggers, Humans are generally the ones screwing everything up and are never really masters at any one thing, Dwarfs are short dudes who live underground and get sentenced to death if they ever speak without an Irish accent or are ever caught being sober, and Orcs are usually the villains, sometimes not, who are brain-dead lunks that run around murdering everything often with little reason outside of the enforced alignment of Stupid Evil. Hey, there you go, four races done to death in everything that can be described as fantasy. Sometimes you find a game that tries to break this mold, but hilariously it’s almost always for the Humans or Orcs. Think about World of Warcraft for a second. Yes, you know that game. Stop playing coy. Orcs in that game literally were Stupid Evil until very recently in the time line, and now fight to regain a lot of what they lost. Way more compelling that short guys who drink forever and pretty elves who live in a tree. It only took 2 expansion packs for those two races to really get anywhere fun. Blood Elves though, oh my the back story. On a whole the Horde were at least trying to break the mold from time to time, and often in very refreshing ways. But… they are still ‘orc’ and ‘elf.’ We need something new, or at least a new take on it. Enter Guild Wars 2…
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Alright, this is a little continuation of the last post, mainly to set an example of what you should not do. Blizzard is becoming the perfect example at this, and is quickly showing that they are either incompetent at market research or out-right lying to their consumers non-stop. Neither option bodes well for them. So today, let’s just jump straight into it, analyzing some quotes and seeing just how far away from reality Blizzard has fallen.  All quotes are from Robert Bridenbecker, the Vice President of Online Technologies, and you can see the original article here.

“We can provide a much a much more stable, connected, safer experience than we could if we let people play off-line.”

There is so much wrong here I don’t even know what to say… For starters, Blizzard, how do you provide a more stable experience than someone’s computer? This is ridiculous. The most stable possible the game could be is running as a stand alone copy on a computer without any kind of requirement. Stable? Ha, let’s see. That lovely game you just bought from Blizzard is completely worthless if…
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WTB Power, PST Price

Well, late again to the party, as usual. I blame the dreamworld, seriously, who dreams of  Resident Evil for 7 hours and calls it a nightmare? Obviously I’m more loopy than I thought, if I’ve sunk that low. But no one wants to hear about hilarious zombie dogs and insomnia, so let’s kick this week into overdrive, starting with a little controversial piece that’s filtered down the grape-vine. Yes folks, we’re going to be going over the new auction house system in Diablo III, and why it is the most retarded and blatantly uncaring thing Blizzard has ever churned out. And if you couldn’t tell from that statement, you’re in for a caustic hate-filled bombshell of a post.

First off, I want to reiterate something that Blizzard seems to have forgotten and just to make sure no one else ever forget. Do not sell power for money. I’m not kidding, do not ever do that. Why, you might ask, should game devs not do that? Well, my silent readers, there are several reasons. Let’s go over them all here for now. First and foremost, you will shatter your player-base. Players who spend money will always be, without exception, more powerful than anyone who doesn’t pay. Now, think for a second on who the devs are going to devote time and energy into balancing the game for. If Player A has double the power of Player B, anything you design with Player B in mind is going to be slaughtered by Player A without any trouble. But anything designed for Player A will be unbeatable by Player B because of the gap in power between the two. So you have this choice; create a garbage experience for one player and a balanced experience for the other, or an ever more garbage experience (if Player B can even complete it) for one and a balanced for the other. No one wins, and no, you can’t create content for both that’s deep enough to entertain for long. In today’s hyper-graphic gaming scene, content takes ages to produce and test, and very quickly players are going to be forced into groups of who gets content and who doesn’t. Which leads us right into the next point…
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