I updated my Games Radar to the left today. The following is a list of games I am looking forward to in a few months. I will talk about them individually over the course of time as well.
One thing that stands out to me is that my interests have diversified considerably over the course of time. Which is a good thing because diversity is the spice of life, and bad because, well, I have such limited time between family, work and social as it is.
I guess I better figure out how to operate on an hour of sleep a day!
MMOs on my radar:
- Black Prophecy
- Jumpgate Evolution
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- The Secret World
Non-MMOs on my radar:
- Assassin’s Creed II: Brotherhood
- Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Crackdown 2
- Crysis 2
- Deus Ex 3: Human Revolution
- Dragon Age II
- Fable III
- Fallout: New Vegas
- Gears of War 3
- Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
- Halo: Reach
- I Am Alive
- Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days
- L.A. Noire
- Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
- Mafia II
- Max Payne 3
- Medal of Honor
- Portal 2
- Red faction: Armageddon
- Spare Parts
- Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions
- StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
- The Witcher II
- Two Worlds II
Over the last week I have come across some really cool new games that I have added to my list of titles that I keep track of.
The first of these is Deathspank, which can be categorized as “Diablo with a loony sense of humor”. The latest adventure from Ron Gilbert, the creator of the of the ever-memorable Monkey Island series, Deathspank centers around the titular hero and his hunt for The Artifact. Doesn’t sound terribly original for a hack-n-slash RPG, until you read Kotaku’s preview here, and realize that part of the hunt for The Artifact involves you finding, of all things, the ingredients for the Spicy Taco. Developer Hothead promises thousands of items to loot incvluding weapons, armor and accessories, all of which will stand out from the standard fanfare because of Deathspank’s ‘special’ brand of humor.
Screenshots are trailer below. The game is due for release on July 14, 2010.
Privates is a double entendre. The first is obvious if you just see a single screenshot of tiny Marines running and gunning through a 2D-side-scroller universe. The hidden meaning has more to do with the human body. You see, Privates is a game about marine privates invading the private parts of the human body.
I don’t really have much else to say on the subject except that it sounds hysterical and an absolute riot, if a little gross and wildly inappropriate. And honestly, I am all for wildly inappropriate.
Finally, we have spare parts, a platformer involving two robot buddies Mar-T and Chip. the trailer features some whimsical pre-rendered CGI moments, and some actual gameplay footage that features some inventive co-op platforming and robot genocide.
Activision Blizzard’s Thomas Tippl on VentureBeat:
“The Infinity Ward situation was unique and unfortunate. We have been in this business 20 years. Seventeen game studios have joined us. We have never been in a situation like that. I don’t think we will be in a situation like that again because it was unique. We have great development talent. Two-thirds of the team is still there. We are complementing that with very aggressive recruiting and supplementing them with some of the very best resources we have in the company. We have made major investments in talent. We have launched the Sledgehammer studio with a very capable development team. We have added headcount. Treyarch is focused fully against Call of Duty. We have made big investment everywhere.”
“We are recruiting ninjas. We will also invest in pirates. We will have ninjas fight the pirates. Efforts are underway to resurrect Michael Jackson. Because everyone loves Michael Jackson. We have also invested in singing and dancing classes for our employees. We are working on improving employee morale by keeping douchebaggery to a minimum. We are also going to have picnics. Yes. Big picnics. Hundred of people. We will have Cirque du Soleil. Microsoft did it, it must be cool. We will also buy out Starbucks and give free coffee to our employees. Just please, please, stop asking us about Infinity Ward!”
[This is in response to Anna's Friday Five-Hundred: Midsummer Sun.]
Midsummer in Elwynn can be a sordid affair. Temperatures soar, as if competing with the hottest lava rivulets in Blackrock. The air grows still, and on the rare occasion it blows, it reminds me of that one time I got caught in Onyxia’s Deep Breath. The water levels in and around Elwynn drops dramatically, and owing to certain miscreants and their loose bladders, swimming in any of the lakes and surrounding water bodies is severely prohibited.
Being a human has it’s advantages, everyone likes you better, at least by like 10%. But it also has its disadvantages. I for instance, could have benefited in the summers by being almost any one of the other Alliance races:
- For instance if I were a dwarf, I could be resting comfortably in the cool temperatures of Dun Morogh right now, a land perpetually blanketed in a sheet of snow.
- If I had been a gnome, I could have used one of the many contraptions they use to keep themselves cool as the temperatures rise higher than a Netherwing Matron in heat.
- The draenei have a unique solution altogether, they call it “central air-conditioning”, a function of their now-defunct flying ship thing that crashed up north all those years ago. Apparently these advanced machines regulate air flow, and keep the inside of Exodar at a moderate, cool temperature, regardless of how hot or cold it remains outside.
- And then there are the Night Elves. Bloody shape-shifters and whatnot. Whatever they do to keep cool in the summer I am not interested in. I can’t trust anything that doesn’t walk on two legs at all times. Except for Woolly Mammoths. They’re cool.
The worst part about being the Paladin class is the plate armor. First of all it itches, in places you don’t want to scratch in public. Second, and as you can well imagine, being encapsulated inside a metal cocoon all day essentially gives me all the comfort and warmth of the industrial furnaces that power Ironforge.
I even visited the hair-dresser to give my head a smaller crop of hair, but even that seemed to have negligible effect on my predicament. I have tried wearing cloth armor, but after being universally mocked and made fun of, I have decided the heat is easier to bear than the unrelenting sarcasm and derision.
But I think I may have finally found a solution that works to my advantage. A friend of mine from the once mighty city of Gnomeragan, a gnome mage called OMGWTFBBQQQ, and I have struck a deal. I will charge him nay a single sovereign for enchanting his gear, and he will aid me by dueling me on hot summer days and lobbing an endless barrage of frost bolts in my direction. I am going to the Old Town to meet him, enchant his gear, and then engage in the “cool down” duel. I will update this post as soon as the duel is over.
Update: That double-crossing bastard! Now I have frostbite in Midsummer!
Here are a few tidbits that caught my attention for one reason or another this week:
“I guess the people who wrote the other versions of this quest were napping because this one is a doozy.” Tamarind is devastated by a DK starting quest that breaks his moral compass.
“Lifetime Subscriptions only make sense if you think that people will stop subscribing before the break point. I’m not sure that is a good assumption for anyone with a decent MMO to make.” Coriel wraps up thoughts about LOTRO’s recently announced F2P model.
“The bid ninja cannot end up second, unless either FG or SG make a mistake. Such mistake can be stopping before SGBP. But the 1/3 system strongly discourage it, since if BN is second, either FG or SG is third.” Gevlon elaborates on a spin on the GDKP system, and proves beyond the shadow of a doubt he is addicted to acronyms. Get some help you goblin!
“A MASSIVE multiplayer game needs to be seen from a massive number of views, and most casual blogs also treat foolish press embargoes with the disdain that they deserve.” Spinks mirrors my thoughts on the APB review embargo.
“Without a clear path, I am more likely to fall back on old MMOs with clear, well-trodden paths.” Ravious shares his frustrations with Dragonica’s limitations.
“Thus the Warden treads precariously along the tightrope of overpoweredness, performing a delicate balancing act between survivability and damage output, a fundamental issue with tanking classes in a lot of MMOs, where too great a damage output or too high a survivability means that the developers create a class that is a nigh-unstoppable killing machine.” Melmoth subtly admits that the Warden class in LOTRO pitches a tent in his pants.
“I think by pushing variety and keeping the fun more intimate its having some of the newer members getting more acclimated and more involved in the guild than in previous expansions.” Avatar talks about the pre-expansion slump in WoW.
APB was one of the three upcoming MMOs that I was very excited about. The other two being The Secret World, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Notice I said “was”, because I am no longer interested in what Realtime Worlds has to offer. There have been several reasons for this in the last few weeks, but the icing on the cake was a recent post on APB’s forums that hinted at Premium VoIP services for the game. The premium services remove in-game voice ads.
Allow me to elaborate in the shortest manner possible. APB, of All Points Bulletin, is an MMO-FPS, or more accurately, an MO-FPS since it is not all that massive in terms of number of players (200 or so per server). VoIP is in-game voice chat implemented in APB. Up until recently (and by recently, I mean four days before the damn game’s launch), no one had any clue that there will be a premium price for VoIP because the in-game voice chat will feature audio advertisements.
Can you imagine running and gunning in the game, only to be interrupted by an alien voice suddenly asking you to check out the capabilities of the latest iPhone 4G? If such is your concern, Community Officer Toxico over at APB forums quickly explained how the system works. You can only receive audio advertisements if you are entering a new zone, and that too only if you haven’t heard any ads in the last three hours of gameplay. Whether that is three hours of in-game time or real-world time, remains unclear. Because while both scenarios will disrupt gameplay, the former is much more intrusive.
This isn’t the only reason I lost interest in APB. As an FPS, APB inherently involves twitch-based, fast-paced, run-and-gun gameplay. Realtime Worlds has stated in the past that players will need servers in relative proximity to their geographical location to play the game competitively at all, and personal experience suggests that the slightest delay in overall latency can be utterly lethal.
In addition, the recent ban on reviews, which I found out about through Dragonchasers, also has me raise an eyebrow and give a quizzical look. APB is enforcing an embargo on all reviews till at least a week after launch. Their reasoning seems to make sense, in that the beta version of the game, one that everyone has tested, is not a true representation of the final product, and the final product can only be tested online post-launch. Sure beta isn’t the same as the release version, but it is pretty fucking close. Despite a seemingly earnest and logical explanation, I just derived a negative connotation from the ban: they don’t want anyone reviewing their product because they don’t believe in its commercial success themselves. If that is true, why on earth would I spend any money on the title?
Sorry APB, our courtship was fun, albeit a bit brief, but you’re too sinister and devious for my liking. Adios!
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter [Gamer Melodico]
The first is by Kirk Hamilton over at Gamer Melodico (Italian for melodic), and it reviews the new book by self-claimed former intellectual and current video game addict, Tom Bissell. I first heard of Bissell via the same Guardian article that Hamilton quotes in this brief review of Bissell’s latest book. The book is called “Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter“. Hamilton says:
“There is a lonely separateness that accompanies creativity; the act of building art is often an isolating, consuming undertaking. I can certainly attest firsthand to the powerful role that video games can play in that process, and so too can Bissell. That he does so with such courageous precision inspires in me both relief and gratitude. And beyond that, it simply inspires.”
I bought this book in digital format an hour after reading Hamilton’s post.
The second book is one that was released in April, and I already wrote about it sometime back. The book, The Guild Leader’s Handbook: Strategies and Guidance from a Battle-Scarred MMO Veteran, is penned by Scott F. Andrews, one of the authors at the ever-popular WoW.com. The book, which may also be in line for longest-title-ever category was reviewed by one of the many Annas over at Too many Annas.
“The Guild Leader’s Handbook is a solid introduction to guild leading and a good resource for anyone (RP or not) wanting to run a guild. A new guild leader, of whatever type, would do well to read The Guild Leader’s Handbook, and could glean a lot of information from it, hopefully avoiding some of the pitfalls of new guilds. While long-term guild leaders may already have picked up on some of the information, Andrews’ breakdowns, charts, and easy to read examples still provide useful “extra experience”, and having everything in one, easy-to-reference guide is quite helpful.”
I will never buy this book. I have great respect for Andrew’s writing, and I thoroughly enjoy his posts, but given my three years experience as a hardcore, dedicated guild leader, commanding over 300 troops, is all the experience I need. I won’t be doing it again, and as such, I have no need for Andrew’s pearls of Wisdom, useful as they may be to others.