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Quote of the Day: “John Riccitiello Like To Play Games” or “An Illiterate Book Publisher”

June 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Apparently almost none of the CEOs of major gaming companies actually play video games. That’s like if Gillette had kept an unkempt beard. Or the Ford didn’t know how to drive.

“Could you imagine, say running a book publisher if you didn’t read? Or running a movie studio if you don’t watch TV or go to the movies?”

- John Riccitiello, CEO Electronic Arts

Categories: Bronte

“The Biggest PvPenis” or “Static vs. Dynamic”

June 20, 2010 7 comments

Returning to WoW

Since I came back to WoW, I have enjoyed a few key features introduced since I last weathered Azeroth’s tribulations. The Dungeon Finder is one such tool, and though I will religiously do a 5-man daily to accumulate those precious Emblems of Frost, the novelty wore off after a while, and the unused 400 Emblems of Triumph in my backpack became enough of an indication that the Dungeon Finder tool had outlived his functionality for my main.

So I started looking for alternate means to enjoy various other aspects of WoW. One of these was the leveling of a new character, a mage called Septimus (he was created originally as a bank alt on the 7th of July, 2007; hence Septimus). That too has it’s charms, as I am taking the time to explore each story and side-quest in WoW, trying to take in the breathing world before Deathwing comes along and fucks everything up.

Arathi Basin and The Burning Crusade

One other element that I have dabbled into with increasingly frequency is PvP. I have played World of Warcraft off and on for almost six years now. In those six years, I have PvP’ed during those lull moments in the game’s history, with varying degrees of success. It started with AB-premades. Our guild had killed C’Thun 4 months prior. We had 7/15 on farm in Naxx-60, and with The Burning Crusade looming around the corner, raiding became more of a chore with every passing day. People stopped showing up, those that showed up didn’t have their heart in the game. I was beginning to feel like I was losing all semblance of a cohesive guild identity. At first I was comfortable with the idea. After all, The Burning Crusade would necessitate that we remove 15 players from our ranks as it supported the 25-man raid structure and not the 40-man raid structure. But then I saw less than 10 people log on a primary raiding night, and I knew something had to be done.

And so the Arathi Basin farm group was created. There were close to 25 of us, rotating in and out, depending on who was online at the time, and we started learning the ropes of Arathi Basin. In the beginning one or two days, the battleground was a sweet and sour experience. We 5-capped a game, which gave us great confidence and momentum… to survive and regroup after we were 5-capped a few games later. By the end of December 2006, we were rampaging through Arathi Basin. The raid was divided into 5 parties as follows:

  • Group 1: Stables – 1 individual (preferably a rogue or cat)
  • Group 2: Lumber Mill – 3 individuals (two DPS, one healer)
  • Group 3: Gold Mine – 3 individuals (two DPS, one healer)
  • Group 4: Blacksmith – 4 individuals (three DPS, one healer)
  • Group 5: Hit Squad – 4 individuals (three DPS, one healer OR four DPS with a hybrid class that could heal moderately).

Tim Buckley cracks me up!

The function of groups 1-4 is fairly obvious. They would cap their targets and stay at the node to defend. The work, however, was cut out for the Hit Squad. They would ride with group 4 (Blacksmith), and depending on the scenario, several things could happen:

  • No (or light) opposition at Blacksmith, Gold Mine and Lumber Mill fight in deadlock or leaning towards us – charge Farm
  • No (or light) opposition at Blacksmith, Gold Mine or Lumber Mill in trouble – hit the respective node (if both in trouble, hit Lumber Mill) and reinforce
  • Heavy opposition at Blacksmith, reinforce Blacksmith team

The Hit Squad basic function was to serve as a traveling band of miscreants, bringing death and destruction to any and all challengers in our four primary nodes. If we secured all four nodes, then we would call up four additional reserves (1 from Lumber Mill, 1 from Gold Mine, 2 from Blacksmith), add them to the Hit Squad, and all eight would endlessly hit Farm, even if it meant endless deaths, because as long as you kept the enemy focused on holding the Farm, the pressure was taken off of the other nodes. In extreme cases or really dumb opposition, we even left just one person to defend each node, with eleven individuals taking on their farm. If we got four nodes in the first 90 seconds of combat, we normally ended up with a 5-cap win.

If, however, the Horde was moderately organized, and we could get only three nodes, the focus would be to get Blacksmith, Lumber Mill, and Stables. Lumber Mill, especially with the distance slider turned up, served as a warning system for the other two nodes, a liberty you cannot enjoy with the Mine. The groups would remain the same, except group 3 (Gold Mine) would split, with one member from the group reinforcing Group 1, 2 and 4 at Stables, Lumber Mill and Blacksmith. The Hit Squad would continue to reinforce nodes as needed or bum-rush into certain death at Farm, or utter uncertainty at the Gold Mine, the objective being to keep applying pressure to the Horde-held nodes so they never got a chance to attack ours. In a game like that we got a lot of HKs, and almost always came out with a 3-cap, drawn-out win.

The group had to be very tightly controlled and the slightest deviation from the plan could mean the difference between capping or losing a node. With such strict rules for PvP, morale management was a fairly major aspect of the pre-made. I had to rotate people between nodes to try and ensure everyone would see each node as everyone got cycled through it. While I tried to make it fun for everyone, I didn’t enjoy it as much because of the sheer level of organization that went into it. That is part of the reason I have such respect for Gevlon’s now-defunct PvP project and Bee’s notion that PvP cannot be fun.

Our win:lose ration over the course of 5 weeks of Arathi Basin PvP was 108:3. We lose 3 games in all, and we lost all three in the first two days.

PvP and Wrath of the Lich King

I can’t afford to do the afore-mentioned any longer. Partly because I am no longer the GM of a guild with 200-odd members. And partly because I simply can’t be bothered to lead anything anymore. Being a guild leader for three years does that to you. That being said, I have been PvP’ing with increasing frequency in the last few weeks, and it is remarkable how much more complex the game has become since those early days in Arathi Basin.

I started small, participating in a few Wintergrasp battles. And that was important, because it taught me the importance of group strategy and resilience. I got absolutely slaughtered by any rogue that could sink his daggers into me. More times than I care to remember, I was stun-locked from 100%-0% with both my lolbubble and trinket on cooldown. After that I invested my 1,500 or so Stonekeeper Shards and accumulated honor to get myself a full set of PvP gear, getting my resilience just above 900. I do much better now, and I can’t recall the last time I was stunlocked 100%-0% by an undead rogue named “Afkbathroom” (you bastard).

From there I went on to queuing for random battlegrounds. I know it is hard to believe, but up until three weeks ago, I didn’t even know what Island of Conquest or Strand of the Ancients looked like. I also started a 2v2 team called ‘Turban of Vengeance’, an homage to my old beloved guild, ‘Cross of Vengeance’. My partner in crime, Valisa, is a veteran PvP’er with several titles and accolades under his belt. Our initial run was last week, and in 14 games, we were 8 wins to 6 losses. Not bad for the first week, I think.

But the one thing I have noticed consistently in PvP is that no matter how many times you run a battleground, it is never the same. Every time you enter the skirmish, the experience is different, there are no pre-determined set of abilities that the boss character uses, there are no rules, there are series of events that define the experience (e.g., Kel’Thuzad will sodomize you at 35% health etc.) Each time I enter a PvP zone, I am unsure of the outcome, I have to react to the situation dynamically and on the fly, and I have to respond to threats in a logical manner, not in any pre-conceived pattern dictated by static variables and triggered by player actions. And in that, I completely agree with Christopher Cavelle’s assessment, that “the true test of any player’s skill is pvp”. I have been a PvE player for a very long time, and I know I am a fantastic healer. But there is just something about the dynamic, volatile, utter madness nature of PvP that piques my curiosity and gives my e-peen an e-boner. And in all bluntness, PvE, in my humble opinion, does not even come close to the sheer level of skill needed to be a capable PvP player, especially a healer.

“Battlestar Disappointica Online” or “Ronald Moore Touches Everything”

June 19, 2010 1 comment

I was really excited when I heard about a BSG MMO. It is my favorite Sci-Fi (or should I say Sy-Fy) show, second to none, except for, maybe, select episodes of Firefly. Then I found out it was browser-based, and I had nightmares of milking cows aboard the Botanical Cruiser, and running my own farm to keep my colony alive, and I freaked out.

E3 saw the trailer (embedded below) made me flash back to Ron’s re-imagined version of this great saga. It also irritated me. Surely a browser game couldn’t possibly look like that, so the trailer, to me, was misdirection, a clever marketing ploy to detract from the fact that I couldn’t experience my favorite science fiction universe in textured three-dimensional polygons.

And then, of course, came the preview from Xav de Matos at Joystiq. The game takes place during the second season of BSG, and instead of altering any of the plot-lines, it provides additional branches, what can be labeled side-content, to the main story arc. Additionally, most of the game will take place via space combat, and although players may be able to interact with each other’s personal avatars, out-of-ship interaction is fairly limited.

This element, in of itself, was a major turn-off for me.

BSG was a great action series, but what made it stand out from the crowd was not the pulse-pounding space dogfights or the artistic choreography of the visceral firefights; what made BSG special was the combat and the political drama and the inter-personal relationships. I’ll keep my eye on it, but the lack political drama and character relations is a huge let-down for me. The studio claims that they are working closely with Ronald Moore, and that may yet be the saving grace. But if I just wanted a space combat game, I’d rather check out Black Prophecy or Jumpgate Evolution.

Level cap will be 20. Ships and combat mechanics will be customizable. You can experience all content without paying a dime, or pay money to unlock cosmetic and combat upgrades immediately. The last part I especially appreciate

Sidenote, developer quote of the day:

“Ronald Moore touches everything.”

Orly?

“More Trine is Always Good” or “Best News I Have Had All Day”

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Two platformers last year blew me out of the water.

The first was Braid, a quirky adventure that made me question and reevaluate the most important things in my life and why they mattered to me. This isn’t just a random comment, Braid is in incredible experience, and one that cannot be described in words, regardless of how crafty a wordsmith I can be. If you haven’t played it yet, you should, because it is one of the greatest entertainment experiences you will ever have.

I am digressing. As usual.

The second game was Trine, an action-adventure side-scroller that gave you a leveling system vaguely reminiscent of an RPG, three highly varied and versatile playing characters, and an incredible world to explore through and the challenges contained within to overcome. I am not sure how on earth I missed this one, but following last week’s announcement of Trine 2 in development, they also released a full-blown trailer this week. It looks like a lot of the platforming and puzzle-solving will make a return, with, what seems like (say it is so!) co-op multiplayer, which would be like icing on the best cake you have ever had. And in this case, the cake isn’t a lie.

Categories: Trine 2

“4 Left Alive” or “The Movie Poster That Could”

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Via Kotaku, I thought this poster by Alex Griendling was sheer brilliance. Click it to get the full-size version.

Categories: Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2

BOOM! Headshot: “Crysis 2 Beta” or “Space, Soldiers and The Mafia”

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Here is a hodgepodge of information I came across this week regarding some of the shooters I am most interested in.

All that is cover is as follows; you can find additional details on each bullet point below:

  • Crysis 2 Beta Access
  • Star Wars: The Force Unlesahed II Piles On the Pretty
  • Mafia II ‘Made Man’ Trailer
  • Dead Space 2 Trailers are Disgusting
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Remix Trailer Capitalizes on Eminem
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Screenshots Are Nothing New To Look At
  • I Am Alive Trailer Attempts To Defy Irony, Fails Miserably

Crysis 2 Beta Access

Go here. Hurry.

Nomad fighting his way to the Crysis 2 beta! I know that's a lame joke. It's late. Leave me alone.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Gameplay Footage

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t frothing at the mouth after watching last week’s trailer for Star Wars: The Force Unlea – OK, that is too long a title, we will call it SW: TFU2 from now on. There was a also a very small (think: gameplay trailer equivalent of ‘The Truth’ video segments in Assassin’s Creed 2) gameplay video that shows what the final product may look like. In 33 seconds, you see the protagonist rip through the battalions of Storm Troopers with all the skill and grace we have come to expect from him in the first game.

And that may precisely be the problem with the second game, it feels too much like the first game, except with slightly improved graphics. For die hard fans looking for additional avenues to explore Skarkiller’s journey and be an all-round bad-ass, this may be the perfect setup. For a lot of others, we may see a similar backlash when Left 4 Dead 2 was revealed.

Several screenshots also accompanied the gameplay trailer, and they can be viewed below. I particularly like the giant spider bot, one of which Starkiller ripped apart in the spectacular trailer.

Mafia II ‘Made Man’ Trailer

Meet Vito Scaletta. Sicilian. Soldier. War hero. Family Man. This is a story about his fall from grace, and his rise to power in the Empire Bar crime syndicate. I think I am one of very few people who played the original Mafia from start to finish, completed the game, and craved more. That was 2002. Eight long years later, I will be awarded my wish.

Dead Space 2 Trailers are Disgusting

Fair warning: the first of the two trailers below is fairly average, showing Isaac Clarke battling it out against multiple necromorphed antagonists in. But the second trailer got to me. It is gut-wrenching, vile and downright disgusting. Watch at your own risk.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Remix Trailer Capitalizes on Eminem

When they released the launch trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Eminem’s ‘Till I Collapse’ shot up to the most sold song on the iTunes store, despite being, well, ancient. It seems Activision is going to milk this formula for all that it has got. They took the last trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops, Eminem’s ‘Won’t Back Down’, put them in a blender and the result is this trailer below:

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Screenshots Are Nothing New To Look At

The new screenshots released by Ubisoft aren’t anything special if you have already seen the gameplay footage for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier from E3 2010. If you have, skip to the I Am Alive trailer at the end. If you have no, they maybe worth a look.

The game looks great, although some might call the cloaking technology a direct rip-off from Crysis. Not that Crysis nanotechnology was a revolutionary novel concept, but GRFS features futuristic soldiers equipped with advanced gardware and armaments, including the ability to effectively turn invisible to the naked eye. Nomad is probably suing Ghost recon as we speak.

I am anxious to see how the game plays out overall.The new tactical display which identifies the tangos on-screen looks slick, as well as the holographic overlay which displays important information about your target, in a seemingly intelligent manner. Couple that with the ability to turn invisible at will, and you have the makings of a true Ghost Recon sequel. I do wonder, however, if the aforementioned perks will make the game too easy. But if the gameplay from E3 2010 is any indication, if you get into the thick of things, invisibility or no invisibility, you bleed just like everyone else.

I guess we’ll wait and see!

I Am Alive Trailer Attempts To Defy Irony, Fails Miserably

I Am Alive trailer proved that I Am Alive is, in fact, alive. *facepalm*

“Fallen Earth – Rising Fate” or “Altern8 Keys”

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

As if fate itself read my post from yesterday, I came across a press release from Altern8 claiming they had 50 product keys with 50 days of playtime for 50 individuals. You register for their website here, answer a question here (hint: it’s a post-apocalyptic MMORPG), and you are entered in the contest.

Hopefully I will be one of the lucky few, and then join in with the rest of the blogging community in toughing out the post-nuclear American wastelands.

Categories: Fallen Earth

“Run This Raid” or “99 Problems But a Glitch Ain’t One”

June 18, 2010 9 comments

CollegeHumor.com consistently manages to produce content that is not only funny, it’s also well thought out and a satirical reflection of, in this case, the raiding gaming culture. One thing is for damn sure: a bunch of people on the CollegeHumor staff are seriously addicted to World of Warcraft!

The lyrics are beneath the video if you are interested. Enjoy!

BLOOD ELF/RIHANNA
Friday night is finally here
Friends are out but I don’t care
I’m not addicted to this game
Just one more quest, I swear
Checking server status now
I’m gonna freak if Blackrock’s down
Phone’s unplugged but chat’s online
Now who’s gonna run this raid tonight…
Who’s gonna run this raid tonight…
Gotta find some n00bs to pwn

ORC/JAY-Z
We Horde
Yeah I said it
We Horde
The Warsong Nation
Fightin’ outta Ogrimmar
Lootin’ of a corpse, y’all
Top tier everything
Tier nine, soon ten
Top tier everything
Ya’ll chat in Barrens
Only play Paladins
I’d have more respect
If you weren’t always griefin’ us
Guild is my familia, playing since beta
So for now gonna head out to Darnassus
There’s a couple night elf chicks that we’d like to mana tap
We resist your debuffs, while ours are always stacked
We all crit for 6 comma, 3 zeros, dot zero zero.
Back to runnin’ circles round dwarves
While we stun em’
Level up

BLOOD ELF/RIHANNA
Real life is lame, it’s not fair
I’d rather chill at Darkmoon Faire”
In Azeroth I’m finally free
Just for one small monthly fee
No more escort quests tonight
Work sucked hard, I need to fight
Red Bull in hand I log online
Now whose gon’ run this raid tonight?

Heeeeeeeeey heeeeeeay
Heeeeeeeeey heeeeeeay
We’re gon’ run this raid tonight

ALLIANCE PALADIN/KANYE
Girl, I like your avatar, wanna cyber or take it slow, yo?
Unless you’re gaming cross genders, no homo
Come ride a real epic mount, no Kodos
Next time I charge in, you’ll see real aggro
Kill your boss orc, who cares he earned “Warlord”
This our life, we all game hardcore
Achievements?
You think we need to achieve more?
What you PvP for? Honor f@#kin’ rewards?
But you know I’m done level grinding
Killing creeps and mobs, that ain’t nothing
I came to fight a real war, not go hunting
Only gear you got is gear from gold farming
While you’re out spending all day in the real sun
I’m in-game, what, having real fun
Shift function, I’ll target you, son
Holy Light so bright you wish you had one
You like a n00b who don’t know how to auto-run
Hit my level cap you haven’t even begun
You sleepin’, AFK? Come on, pay attention!
This is Warcraft, not a Neopets session!
What’s that, Mom? Can’t talk, for real.
Great, look- Help! I need a full heal!
I’m laggin’ fighting this fag and he’s got dual wield
Killed him but his goblin bud
Just ran in for the kill-steal

BLOOD ELF/RIHANNA
That’s
Gayyy–ay-ay-ay-ayyyy
Gayyy–ay-ay-ay-ayyyy
Gayyyy-ay-ay-ay-ay-ayyy
Fuck this
I’m gon’ find some porn online

Categories: World of Warcraft

“Failing At Fallen Earth” or “I Wish I Had A Bigger Post-Apocalyptic E-Peen”

June 17, 2010 4 comments

I am looking forward to Fallen Earth.

Yes I know this title is already out, and I have already given it a shot, swayed by Syp’s endless ranting of how incredibly the game world was. The post-apocalyptic setting is one that has always held a special place in my heart. This is why I have a natural interest in games like the iconic Fallout series, and movies like The Road or the Book of Eli (to name two recent examples).

The reason I stopped playing Fallen Earth after the initial 14-day trial period, in all honesty, was two-fold.

First, graphical glitches. My Fallen Earth game crashed all too often, especially in the tutorial part when you are learning the ropes and trying to get your beatings. There were texture issues, and polygons seemed to undergo nuclear fission and disperse across my screen in stringy patterns. I tried upgrading my video drivers, reading up on forums, but after a few days to trying to rectify the problem, I gave up.

Second, Fallen Earth was too tough for me. I used to be a very hardcore player back in the day, raiding 5-6 times a week, butting my head against C’Thun tentacles with 39 other comrades trying to overcome seemingly impossible odds. But I am no longer a college student with a bunch of free time on my hands. I work a job that I am truly passionate about, where I feel I make a real difference and that I actually enjoy. I am also in a serious relationship that has started its inevitable march towards matrimony. And I have a very active and involved social life.

Long story short, I don’t have nearly as much time as i did back in the day, which forces me to play casual. This is part of the reason why Fallen Earth didn’t appeal to me. The game does almost zero hand-holding. It is the wasteland, you are one of the few survivors, you either get with the program and learn the ropes as needed or you tumble over and wither away in the wind. I felt like Fallen Earth was too much of a time commitment to properly wrap my head around all the complex intricacies, and I simply did not feel like I could spare that time.

That being said, a lot of fellow bloggers have started writing about Fallen Earth recently. And the post-apocalyptic bug has reared its radiation-mutated head again. I am twitching to try out another trial and see if I can make some headway this time. Perhaps I will ask Werit or Syp or Fool’s Age for their help with it this time around.

Categories: Fallen Earth

“30 Minutes A Day” or “Why I (Continue To) Play WoW”

June 17, 2010 2 comments

Why I Come Back to WoW

I got turned off by WoW:WotLK a while back. Part of the reason was because I just didn’t see the point. You busted your ass raiding, you got the top-end gear and in 3 months, a newer, easier instance came out and made all of the older gear utterly obsolete. It was an endless cycle to trying to replace your now-obsolete gear. After a while, I just couldn’t take it any more.

I came back to WoW for several reasons. The first and foremost being that I could find no MMO that I enjoyed as much as I had enjoyed WoW. Champions Online, despite a strong premise, suffered because of a lack of polish, and although Fallen Earth is touted as one of the best in the newcomer batch, I couldn’t really get into it because it was too unforgiving. I still play EVE Online off and on, but with an endless stream of war declarations on our corp and the inability for my alliance to adequately defend itself in hi-sec has rendered the game practically unplayable. Much like Tobold, I ended my EVE Online piloting days primarily because all I was doing was logging in and training my skills.

WoW in 30 Minutes

  • WoW is different. In a half hour, I can finish my fishing and cooking dailies, farm two frost badges, check my auctions and post news ones, and even participate in he tail end of a Wintergrasp struggle (although struggle here is a relative term since the Alliance holds WIntergrasp about 99.99% of the time on Eitrigg server.)
  • The next day, in the same half hour, I can kill Patchwerk for the weekly 5-frost badge farming, do 10 rated arena matches, and 5-cap the horde in Arathi basin.
  • The day after that, and again in the same half hour, I can farm some Oracles rep, respond to a PvP request from a friend who is soloing it out against three hunters in Wintergrasp, level up my coking 35 points, fish up enough Nettlefish to be prepared for our Thursday raid, repair, restock and park my main at the instance portal.

And I suppose for the casual player, therein lies the beauty. You do not need to commit yourself to hours upon hours of instancing, or farming, or PvP’ing. You can log in, blow off some steam, chat with some kids you have been playing WoW with for 5+ years, and log off to take care of other elements in your life.

I can’t really think of any other MMO I have tried that allows me to do that.

Categories: Bronte, World of Warcraft

Se7en Tidbits: “I Didn’t Like KOTOR Either” or “Blizzard Tucks Tail”

June 17, 2010 1 comment

Here are a few tidbits that caught my attention for one reason or another this week:

  • “Why would I pay – whether a subscription or a one-time access fee – for additional content that will pose no challenge to me because I have already outleveled it?” A biologist’s explains why the F2P model for LotRO has not been sold well to the player base.
  • “I was the one person I know who didn’t like KOTOR when it came out. I played it, because it was an Important Game at the time, but I didn’t think much of it. I played Star Wars Galaxies too, because I try almost every MMO that comes out (well, I did back when only a few came out every year…I guess these days I can no longer claim to try them all).” Pete is a man after my own heart. I didn’t like KOTOR when it first game out either (you’re not the only one!), and up until 3 years ago, i tried out about every MMO that came out. Not any more.
  • “Man I watched this trailer, and it was better then Viagra. The hate was delicious.” River has a tent in his pants.
  • “I don’t have hard numbers to prove it besides a lot of circumstantial evidence, the latest of wich is the announcement that they will be cutting a lot of the new features of the Cataclysm expansion. When you’re in a hurry, the new features are usually the first ones on the cutting floor.” Lonomonkey argues Blizzard is compromising content for strict timelines.
  • “A system that implemented this isn’t that hard to conceptualize (at least theoretically, real code always makes easy ideas hard). Right now, raid instances have an existence in the world. My character is tied to this specific raid instance, which exists even when my character is not online. And this has consequences. In the worst case, the raid id can be “stolen”, and the remainder of the raid completed by another group, leaving most of the people in first group out in the cold.” Rohan explores a comment on his blog about how Blizzard’s Real ID system will lead to a Raid Finder feature in Cataclysm.
Categories: Se7en Tidbits

“Crysis 2 Wallpapers” or “Maximum Screenshots” III

June 16, 2010 1 comment

EDIT: Older screenshots here and here.

Crysis 2 is shaping up to look pretty damn impressive. Which really shouldn’t come as much of a shocker to anyone who played the first game. The storyline was intriguing, but not mind-bending, the gameplay was fresh, but the repetition rendered it a tedious chore. The one thing that always served as the saving grace for Crysis was how incredible the world looked, even on medium settings.

Crysis 2 was showcased at E3 2010 this week, and a new gameplay video was shared with the audience which is embedded further below. There are also some screenshots, you can click them to view the larger 1920×1080 high-resolution images.

Click for 1920x1080 Hi-Res Image

Click for 1920x1080 Hi-Res Image

Click for 1920x1080 Hi-Res Image

Click for 1920x1080 Hi-Res Image

Click for 1920x1080 Hi-Res Image

Aaaand the trailer:

Categories: Crysis 2

They Said Whaaaat?: “Mass Marketing Ploy Effect” or “1000 Variables”

June 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m a huge Mass Effect fan and will surely by the third installment. That doesn’t bar me from seeing through marketing ploys like this one.

- Commenter Richard S @ Joystiq, commenting on BioWare’s announcement that Mass Effect 3 will pull in over 1,000 variables from Mass Effect 2, if you load your saved game from the previous iteration.

“Star Wars: TOR & TFU2″ or “The Force is Strong With These Trailers”

June 16, 2010 2 comments

I have no words. First up is the trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The second trailer is for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.

Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my shirt.

“All Things Ubisoft at E3, 2010″ or “Assassins, Ghosts, and Innergy: Pick the Odd One Out”

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Head on over to Explicit|Gamer and read my detailed synopsis of the two-hour Ubisoft press conference at E3 2010 yesterday. They showed off some cool titles that I am excited about, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Driver: San Francisco, and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier to name a few. And then of course there was some unusual nonsense like Innergy which helps you achieve, I kid you not, “cardiac cohesion”.

At any rate, if you missed it, I have peppered the post with trailers and press videos. Head on over and take a look!

Categories: Bronte

Article of the Week: “Father’s Day, Nerd-Style” or “I think a Recycled Tie Wallet Will do Nicely!”

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Father’s day is around the corner, and frankly, every year, my sister and I always struggle with with to get our father. With mother’s it’s different. She gets happy if you get her flowers, a cooking pan, a flower pot, a decorative glass turtle with its nuts hanging out, she doesn’t care. She’s always happy with what her children get her.

My father is not so forgiving. A few years back, I got him two Versace ties for his birthday. He opened the present, took out the ties, made a quizzical face, walked over to his closet, and produced the same exact two ties from his own collection.

So this year I have been on the hunt for something unique that I think will please him, and I think Techland’s guide for Father’s Day presents will come in quite handy! In fact, I think I am going to get him a recycled tie wallet, partially because his crumbling wallet now looks like it was salvaged from the wreckage of the Titanic, and partially because, well, given what happened two years ago, that’s just funny!

Although the nerdy cuff-links ain’t bad either…

Categories: Bronte

“Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” or “Multi-Stabby Stab Stab”

June 14, 2010 Leave a comment

The cinematic trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, slated to be released on November 16, 2010, is out at E3. For the first time in the franchise history, we will see elements of multiplayer. How the multiplayer fits into the larger narrative remains to be seen, because it makes sense for there to be cooperative multiplayer from a narrative perspective. But if it is competitive PvP combat, than that sort of defeats the purpose of there being a “Brotherhood” doesn’t it?

I think this trailer is the best one yet. The original game’s cinematic has been dethroned, and the cinematic for Assassin’s Creed II was, well, a little too Renaissance for my tastes. At any rate, you can watch it below:

Weekly MMO/RPG Crockpot: “Mummies, Super Heroes, Jedi and Revamping Jumpgate” or “BioWare Bonanza, Trine Sequeled and Dungeon Siege 3″

June 12, 2010 1 comment

That’s MMO slash RPG, not MMORPG. Every week all the random bits and pieces of news that I come across regarding my favorite MMOs and RPGs (or at least the ones that have piqued my curiosity) start piling up in the ‘temporary’ section of my bookmarks toolbar. This is an attempt to clean up my bookmarks.

The following is a quick list if you want to skip to something in particular:

MMOs

  • DC Universe Online Videos
  • Dawntide Beta
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic Dialogue Choices
  • The Mummy Online
  • Jumpgate Evolution Revamped
  • End of Nations Trailer
  • Lord of the Rings Online goes F2P

RPGs

  • Dungeon Siege 3
  • Mass Effect 2: Overlord DLC
  • Fallout: New Vegas Pre-order Bonuses
  • Trine 2!
  • Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 2 at E3

Here we go!

MMOs

DC Universe Online Videos

The developers of DC Universe Online, recently announced to be set free upon the masses in November, released more videos this week than BioWare, and that is quite a feat to accomplish. To start off, we got the DC Universe Online – Inside the Studio – Episode 5 this week, which addresses some key questions about the upcoming MMO, such as, can players create kid heroes in the DC Universe, e.g.: Teen Titans. Not exactly my cup of tea, if you know what I mean, but the video is embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

Next up we have a short video misleadingly titled “Life on the Streets”, where the game’s creative director Jens Andersen walks us through the “super speed” power and how it plays out in both traveling through the world, scaling walls and combat. It’s very short, barely under a minute (if you take out the time for the logos etc.), and doesn’t really tell us much of anything. Worth a look, especially if you are a Jay Garrick fan! I thought “Life on the Streets” would be about the living, breathing world. Guess I was wrong!

Finally, we have “The Suicide Slums Travelogue” trailer. It has to do with The Suicide Slums, and it is in trailer format. How apt. Chris Cao, game director, walks us through the ghetto of Metropolis, that location in every major city in the world that the so-called “civilized folk” dare not trespass.  There are a few threads of storyline and lore as it pertains to this section of the city, along with some fairly obvious information such as “villains can use the slums’ shadows to hide, whereas heroes can come to the slums to fight crime.” No shit. Trailer is below, it’s two minutes long, enjoy!

Dawntide Beta

This is old news at this stage, considering Eliot Lefebvre already posted about it well over two weeks back. But I caught wind of it just now, so I am going to talk about it. If you have a problem with it, go read another blog you pansy! (Yes I am having a weird day.) On May 31st, that would be exactly two weeks ago, the game went into open beta.

Dawntide stands out from the crowd because its central premise promises the creation of towns, cities, societies, cultures and the whole world of Dawntide based solely on player input. This concept is very intriguing to me, and I have yet to come across a game where player interaction shapes the world categorically. A small example would be the manner in which the Wintergrasp battle is fought in Wrath of the Lich King. One team defends the fort, whereas the other assaults is with siege vehicles, trying to take down the walls which will allow them entry into the inner sanctum. Once the final wall to the fortress itself has been breached, the game is over. The tower cap also works, especially if your faction far out numbers the enemy.

Battles of this scale and scope occur all over WAR, I am sure, as towns are captured and bases razed, but as Eliot points out, “PvP” is far too often regarded synonymous with “sandbox”. I hope Dawntide focuses on player input through social interaction and world questing to shape its lands, and not how hard can you stab the next guy. Whether it actually happens remains to be seen.

I will be trying out the Dawntide open beta with in the week, and post more thoughts here.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Dialogue Choices

BioWare has long touted story and character development as the fourth pillar in MMOs as one of its major strengths. Well that is until Derek Smart came along, and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Way to go douchebag.

Anyway, in a prior developer walk-through, BioWare explained how their NPC dialogue options were deep, engaging and laden with all manners of choice. These choices, they have now revealed, go beyond the cookie-cutter good and evil, and also delve into the flirty, whimsical, or purely cosmetic to accommodate for a greater set of play-styles and personalities. What I find really cool about the whole affair is that the dialogue options will vary for each class, allowing specific responses that may be tailored to reflect the class and lore. In addition, when grouped, multiple players will be able interact with the conversation, advancing the structured and segmented dialogue tree.

We already know SW:TOR has over 50 novels worth of dialogue and story written for it, and more is being added every day, and that every NPC in the game is fully voice-acted. So this comes as an added benefit, and one that I am really looking forward to.

Here is a quick poll, and your participation is kindly requested.

The Mummy Online

Branden Fraser is to mummies what Francis, Louis, Zoey and Bill are to zombies.  With three movies shot on the premise of ancient mummies, and a spin-off starting he who dares you to smell what the rock is cooking, I suppose it was only a matter of time before there was an MMO spin-off. The game will be set in the 1930’s and feature both player versus environment and player versus player opportunities.

Universal’s Bill Kispert had this to say:

“The Mummy franchise is chock full of exotic settings, supernatural enemies, exciting quests, and over the top action. It is ripe with gameplay possibilities, and we look forward to extending our relationship with Bigpoint to bring the world of The Mummy to life for gamers.”

There you have it, as generic a launch statement as it gets which can be summed up as follows: “We think this is a cool idea, you should too.” For the record, unless I see something groundbreaking, and despite my affinity for mummies, this is likely the last time I will post about this title!

You can find more about the game at it’s official website.

Jumpgate Evolution Revamped

I am a huge fan of the Jumpgate series, so it always pains me to see the game go through so many delays. In fact, next month will mark a full year since the original estimated release date of July 2009. With deafening silence from the developer for the last several weeks, fans of the series were finally given a questionable ray of light. Executive Producer Lance Robertson wrote a detailed forum post on the game’s development.

So what is with all the delays? Apparently the development team has scrapped most of the gameplay elements in the game and replaced them completely with a new vision for what the game should act and play like. Good news I suppose, considering it will always be better to have a game revamped and restructured prior to release and not after (*cough* Alganon *cough*). This does, however, imply that the game will be inevitably delayed even further.

*sigh*

End of Nations Trailer

Here is a novel concept: an MMORTS. Developer Petroglyph has been working on this game for a while, and there was an interview I came across on Bitmob that shed some much-needed light on the title. Petroglyph’s Mike Legg, alongwith the core of Petroglyph, has been working on the RTS genre tracing back to Westwood’s genre-defining Command and Conquer series, and even as far back as Dune 2.

In true E3 fashion, and in order to create some hype for the title, a launch title was revealed. The title itself sets up the storyline of the game, but does not give actual gameplay footage or indication of what to expect. Good watch for the lore and background buff, terrible watch for the anyone looking for massive armies wreaking havoc on the battlefield. I fall squarely in the former category, so I thoroughly enjoyed the trailer, lack of in-game footage notwithstanding.

Lord of the Rings Online goes F2P

This is likely the biggest news in this bunch, but it has been covered to death by Rubi Bayer over at Massively, so head on over to get all the juicy details. They also sat with the development team over at Turbine for an in-depth interview.

RPGs

Dungeon Siege 3

Dungeon Siege holds a special place in my heart, and that is because I absolutely loved the first one, and absolutely detested the second one. The first one needs to be put on a pedestal with a Parabolic Aluminized Reflector spotlight above it, whereas the second one needs to be fed to a pack of wild dogs, pissed upon, and buried six feet under. The first was a work of art, set in a unique world filled with mystery and twitch-based combat, whereas the second was a piece of crap so vile I couldn’t bear to get past the first few hours without throwing up. The first… well… you get the idea.

Anyway, DS3’s developers released some screenshots from the game that look suspiciously like artwork. You be the judge.

Mass Effect 2: Overlord DLC

In three days, that is June 15, 2010, the Mass Effect 2 universe will see it’s latest DLC addition in the form of Overlord. The DLC features a rogue AI and Commander Shepard’s race against time (why is always against time?) to stop it. The DLC will feature five missions set on the same planet, interspersed with more driving in the Hammerhead.

Shepard’s latest exploit will cost you a whopping 560 points, which is approximately $7. Pricey? You betcha! Worth it? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!

Fallout: New Vegas Pre-order Bonuses

Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, Amazon and Steam are all offering some extensive lists of exclusive content if you decide to line their pockets with your hard-earned doubloons. Here is a full list:

The Classic Pack, available when you pre-order through GameStop, contains:

  • Armored Vault 13 Suit – Extensively patched up and dotted with piecemeal armor, this outfit is an homage to the classic ending of the original Fallout.
  • Vault 13 Canteen – This handy device is useful for staving off dehydration and providing a small amount of healing in the Mojave Wasteland.
  • Weathered 10mm Pistol – A well-worn 10mm pistol that packs an extra punch despite its modest size.
  • 5 Stimpaks – Food and water are good for long-term healing, but when the fighting is fierce, Stimpaks help keep Wastelanders upright.

The Tribal Pack, available when you pre-order through Amazon, contains:

  • Tribal Raiding Armor – Pieced together from scraps of armor, this outfit provides protection without impacting mobility.
  • Broad Machete – This heavy-bladed melee weapon does high damage against limbs and can quickly deal out a flurry of attacks.
  • 5 Bleak Venom doses – Useful on any Melee Weapon, Bleak Venom makes short work of most living targets.
  • 10 Throwing Spears – If you would like to silently pin an enemy’s head to a wall, Throwing Spears are the way to do it.

The Caravan Pack, available when you pre-order through Steam and Walmart, contains:

  • Lightweight Leather Armor – This hand-modified suit of leather armor reduces its overall weight without impacting its ability to protect.
  • Sturdy Caravan Shotgun – Despite its rough appearance, this Caravan Shotgun will reliably fire 20 gauge shells until the Brahmin come home.
  • 4 Repair Kits – Useful for repairing any outfit or weapon, Repair Kits are a valuable tool for any caravaner.
  • Binoculars – The Mojave Wasteland is a dangerous place, but with these trusty Binoculars you’ll be able to spot trouble coming.

The Mercenary Pack, available when you pre-order through Best Buy, contains:

  • Lightweight Metal Armor – Modified for long-range travel, this Metal Armor sacrifices some protection for mobility and overall weight.
  • Mercenary’s Grenade Rifle – Though similar to other 40mm Grenade Rifles in the Mojave Wasteland, this model has a faster reload cycle.
  • 3 Super Stimpaks – When you absolutely, positively, need to keep your blood inside your body, Super Stimpaks fix you up in no time.
  • 3 Doctors Bags – Mercenaries and broken limbs go together like Iguana-on-a-Stick and Nuka Cola. Thankfully, these Doctors Bags take a bit of sting out of the inevitable crushed skull.

I personally like the Mercenary Pack, but considering there is no best Buy within, well, a few countries of my geographical location, I suppose my doubloons are only good enough for Steam’s Caravan Pack.

Trine 2!

Trine was a fantastic platformer. It was innovative, varied and presented you with a plethora of challenges that tested both your wits and your ability to pay attention to your surroundings. Despite the obvious solution, the game actually allowed you multiple solutions to almost every puzzle situation, which is why it stood out from the crowd.

Trine 2 has now been announced. That is all I have to report now. I will post more as more is (inevitably) uncovered at E3, but this title has my undivided attention. I just hope it isn’t like the Dungeon Siege sequel.

Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 2 at E3

Take a look at the following floor plan from E3 2010, courtesy of Kotaku. There really isn’t any additional information, but I am siure more will surface as E3 marches on.

BOOM! Headshot: “Trailer Mania” or “No Red Dead Redemption for the PC”

June 11, 2010 1 comment

Here is a hodgepodge of information I came across this week regarding some of the shooters I am most interested in.

All that is cover is as follows; you can find additional details on each bullet point below:

  • Vanquish Trailer
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Screenshots and Preview
  • Deus Ex 3 Concept Art Wants George Bush
  • No PC Port for Red Dead Redemption?
  • Crysis 2 Release Date and Trailer

Vanquish Trailer

When I first heard of this game, and watched the inaugural trailer’s armored marine, I almost immediately groaned in dismay. Haven’t we done this to death? Aren’t we all tired of Mars facilities being overrun by forces of hell and off-world planets being attacked by inexplicably hostile alien forces bent upon the total annihilation of, specifically, the human race? Oh this is on earth? Well alright then.

In the new trailer, unlike the three primary colors of Gears of War (brown, grey and muzzle-flash), Vanquish looked a lot more vibrant. The world seems alarmingly full of color and life, and the action, while over-the-top in some cases, was somewhat reminiscent of Halo.

I am not convinced just yet, but it does have my attention now.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Screenshots and Preview

Den of Geek had a chat with Treyarch’s Mark Lamia and Josh Olin, and posted a detailed preview of the upcoming shooter. You can find this preview here. Their synopsis stated that Black Ops will “feature explosions, shooty-bangs and gruff males shouting codewords and epithets while saving the world.” Sherlock Holmes would be impressed!

The Treyarch-fueled next chapter in the CoD franchise also released 10 new screenshots as bait to generate some pre-E3 hype. I’ll bite!

Homefront Preview and Trailer

This is another recent shooter which managed to grab my attention in the recent weeks. The concept of Homefront not novel, it’s enemy is not a particularly surprising choice, and it follows a cookie-cutter backdrop for the “world in conflict, war comes home” scenario. Where Homefront shines is its alleged ability to give the player glimpses of the vestiges of a once preperous era, refugees huddled around small camouflaged communities, resisting, running surviving.

Both Kotaku and Joystiq have in-depth previews up today, just ahead of E3, and although a lot of the information is the same, they are both worth the read.

Deus Ex 3 Concept Art Wants George Bush

Yes I know DE3 is more of an RPG than an action game, but my list of stories for tomorrow Weekly MMO/RPG Crockpot is about to burst at the seams, so this is going in here. I am sure in time and with proper therapy, you will get over it.

No PC Port for Red Dead Redemption?

A Rockstar admin wrote on the company’s news site “As of now, there are no current plans to bring Red Dead Redemption to the PC platform. If that should change, we will let you know”. In the past, we have seen (enhanced and botched) ports of the GTA titles to the PC, so there is always hope. That being said, this ominous-sounding statement from Rockstar may imply a change in the pattern.

Crysis 2 Release Date and Trailer

MCV has a trade ad suggesting that Crysis 2 will be released this autumn. It has been said earlier that we should expect the sequel to land Q3, 2010. In other words, it seems Crytek will stick to its original plan of releasing the game before Christmas season 2010.

I am partial on this one. My entire Crysis experience can be defined as follows: “Ooooooh pretty… wait, not this shit again!”. I am hoping Crysis 2 will go beyond jaw-dropping visuals and technology and have some actual meat in mission variety and gunplay. The trailer is below:

  • Vanquish Trailer
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Screenshots and Preview
  • Deus Ex 3 Concept Art Wants George Bush
  • No PC Port for Red Dead Redemption?
  • Crysis 2 Release Date and Trailer

“APB Beta Keys” or “20,000 Keys Still Left!” Pt. II

June 11, 2010 1 comment

Today marks the launch of the brand spankin’ new PCGamer website: http://www.pcgamer.com. And in honor of this launch, the site is giving out not one, not two, but 20,000 beta keys for APB. All you have to do is head on over to the website, and make register!

Hurry while supplies still last!

Here’s the official word:

“The first 20,000 people to register at PCGamer.com will receive a key to the city for Realtime World’s forthcoming cops and robbers game, APB. By registering, gamers will get the chance to grab give away trial keys, free MMO items, and access to PC Gamer hosted events.”

Why are you still here? GO REGISTER!!

Categories: APB, Beta
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