Archive for November 18, 2009

Thought of the Day: “Uninspiring Inspiration” or “I Kan’t Haz Curbstompz?”

November 18, 2009 3 comments

In Dragon Age: Origins, anyone else feel that inspired by your leadership, the “perks” your companions get are rather underwhelming? Increased points in their primary stat? That’s it?

I thought at least Shale would gain “curbstomp” as an ability! Pigeoncrap!

“Champion Roper” or “The Art of Being Vague”

November 18, 2009 2 comments

Bill Roper recently gave an interview to Jeux Online. It’s a good read, and you can find the full transcript here.

Some things stood out to me.

First, I understand that as a journalist, you have to be diplomatic about what you ask and say, partly to ensure you have a snowball’s chance in hell of being given the same opportunity twice, and partly to maintain a civil, unbiased tone. However, this does not imply that you cannot ask the hard-hitting questions or ask questions phrased in a manner to soften the blow or even detract from the truth of the matter at hand.

On to the interview and Roper’s answers. I appreciated the fact that Roper was candid about the state of the game. Some highlights:

  • “[At launch we] definitely could have been much better balanced, especially in terms of overall difficulty curve and resource(in-game currency) allocation on day one.”
  • “…retcon pricing was very out of line early on.”
  • “The crafting system definitely needs a lot of attention, as does the auction house.”
  • (Not a direct quote) There was also a recognition of leveling gaps and a lack of content for the endgame players.

From the sounds of it, Roper is at least well aware of the issues Champions Online faces at the moment, which is a refreshing and encouraging thought. However, the vagueness of the following statements left a bad taste in my mouth.

  • “We definitely want to keep adding content into the game, both within the current leveling curve and also at the end game.”
  • “We’re working on different game systems right now that will allow players to do a lot of different things over the course of their hero’s career.”
  • “[New instances are] one of the many things we’re looking at doing.”
  • “I don’t want to go into TOO much detail on unimplemented systems, but the best way to put it is that we’re focused on creating extensible game systems as opposed to only making new missions.”
  • “Our goal moving forward is to combine the creation of new content with game play systems that together create many more options and hours of game play than we could achieve by making new instances or zones.”
  • “Moving forward we’re going to continue to create scenario-based PvP maps as these seem to go over the best with our players.”
  • “We’ll be making a pass through [the crafting system and the auction house system] at some point, but the sheer complexity of what’s there, combined with the work that is already on our “Master of all things Upgrades” is daunting.”
  • “The game is just getting better and better, and that’s our focus moving forward.”

There were a few cool announcements as well. Nemesis: Confrontation definitely sounds like a lot of fun. I posted earlier today about Cryptic upcoming secret feature next week. I am 99% sure this is it. Part of the reason this new feature is so exciting for me is because the Nemesis system is sheer brilliance, and one of the most innovative elements of Champions Online. An improvement on the system can only mean a good thing.

  • On the UNITY/Nemesis Crossover: “It’ called Nemesis: Confrontation. 5 heroes. 5 Nemesis. An epic villain of Legendary proportions bringing them all together in a distant locale. This is a repeatable Lair that has all-new rewards and threats. We’ve been spending a lot of time on it to make sure it’s challenging and fun for our level 40 heroes.”

Finally, they are also working on the next tiers of powers, the restriction being the next tier may reward specializing in one power tree. I am not sure if this is a positive step or a major blunder:

  • “We are already working early designs for Tier 4 powers for exactly that reason – to give players a real reward and goal to push for.”

So there ya have it! Some cool new upcoming things, an admittance of flaws, and a whole lot of vague!

Categories: Champions Online

“Effective Box Art” or “Is that Olivia Wilde in the Back?”

November 18, 2009 2 comments

Mass Effect 2’s box art has been revealed.

Looks pretty cool, but what does it tell us?

  • The game will focus heavily, perhaps more than the first one, on combat.
  • There will be new alien species introduced, some apparently suffering from jaundice.
  • Shepard may suffer from constipation.
  • The background is interesting, it looks like a ravaged (nuked?) futuristic city, a visceral point of conflict that may steer a significant plot-line in the game.
  • One of the developers (or at least graphics artists) has a secret crush on Olivia Wilde.
  • Weapons, armor, all looks to be more of the familiar, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective and preference.
  • Most significantly, at the time of taking this photo, something very exciting happened to the right.

Almost done with the first game. Can’t wait!

Categories: Mass Effect 2

“Why so Secretive?” or “Is it Polished Content?”

November 18, 2009 2 comments

Champions Online apparently has a big feature coming out next week. What is it? We don’t know, because it is being kept a secret.

Cryptic does need your help play-testing though. So you can participate in a public test tomorrow on the PTS. the only hint is that you will need to being 4 friends in addition to yourself, all at level 40, along with a Nemesis.

Transfer your level 40 character, or on the PTS, ask a contact outside the powerhouse to level up your low-life-level champion.

Here’s to hoping!

Categories: Champions Online

“Millennium City Blues” or “Blood Moon Benefits”

November 18, 2009 1 comment

MMORPG has a nice article up about the 5 additions Champions Online needs right now to be a great game.

Top of the list is zone-wide events. Now I have been quite critical of the Blood Moon event and how underwhelming it was. However, I have to agree with this article in that Blood Moon brought together the Millennium City zone community like nothing else. Prior to Blood Moon, the zone chat was filled with the infrequent announcements about a public mission getting underway or someone asking for help with a mission/instance.

Blood Moon kicked the chat in Millennium City into high gear. Players would call out gate openings and boss spawns over zone, several heroes would converge on the location to defeat the forces of evil.

I still stand by my assessment of Blood Moon. But I have to admit, the event did bring together the community like never before. Amidst all the criticism and rage over the lack of content and variety, at least Cryptic managed to

Categories: Champions Online

“Inheritence” or “Jumping is Overrated”

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Werit had a nice post up yesterday about how the production values for Dragon Age can be seen applied to SWTOR.

But I wonder if all the irritating things will apply as well. A short list:

  • You are a Jedi, or a Sith, but despite a being able to crush your opponents with a thought, you haven’t ever figured out how to jump.
  • Or swim. In fact, you are hydrophobic. You hate water to the point that you can’t even so much as walk in water, let alone swim.
  • Although you are a badass in the universe, and boast a complete mastery of the force, you can queue up only one attack at a time; multiple attacks cannot be queued. It hurts your brain to do that.
  • Despite an “advanced combat tactics engine”, at times you will enjoy standing around, admiring the scenery, while your friends repeatedly plant their faces into oncoming fists. You know, for fun.

This is one of those few times I sincerely hope I am wrong. BioWare has crafted a masterpiece, but there are some minor nuances that make some aspects aggravating.

Maybe the folks at BioWare exude their own lethargy into the lack of athletic activities in their games? What is the average BMI at BioWare anyway?