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Archive for May, 2012

“Can We Please Be Adults About Leaks?” or “Gamers Aren’t Idiots You Know”

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment

I need to get the following thought off of my chest: please stop referring to glossy, high-resolution screenshots, official documents, and trailers as “leaked” materials. Us gamers are not idiots, we know most of the time it is the developer trying to generate hype while maintain the (foolish) facade of not “sharing any crucial information until we are ready”. It seems every time I turn around, there is some new piece of news one of the gaming sites, claiming that the dozen or so 1600×1200, 300 DPI screenshots were leaked. For the love of god!

Here is an example: Leaked Copernicus Screens Look Like a Futuristic World of Warcraft

Are you kidding me? For those of you who are not aware of the Curt Schilling/38 Studios fiasco, here is a brief primer. 38 Studios was formed (originally as Green Monster Games) back in 2006 by former baseball player Curt Schilling. In 2009, 38 Studios even acquired Big Huge Games. Big Huge Games released one of my favorite RPGs this year: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. This helped further establish the groundwork for their ultimate project, codenamed Copernicus, a AAA MMO. Rhode Island promised $75 million dollars to lure 38 Studios to Providence, in exchange for creating jobs. The company defaulted on their latest loan payment, due on May 1. 38 Studios employees were stiffed on their salaries, and now apparently laid off. Harsh words were changed left, right and center, and the future of Copernicus seems bleak indeed.

Please understand that I loved Kingdoms, and I would really like to see Copernicus made and be successful. But this is not a leak. 38 Studios employees should be on mountain tops, screaming about Copernicus, sharing every image, beta video, and juicy morsel of information they can on the MMO. Calling it a leak is just annoying.

So, can we please be adults about this?

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“How WoW Influenced Diablo 3” or “The Previous Title is Misleading”

May 30, 2012 6 comments

My Witch Doctor died a lot in Nightmare. It took some time and painful calibration to figure out how to help him survive, and so I also read a lot of opinion on the class. Interestingly, the one piece of advice I found to be pretty consistent is: “Don’t be lazy, grind. If you are dying a lot, it is not your abilities, play-style, or curve, it is your gear. Don’t be lazy, grind.”

I want to say that WoW has influenced this grind subtext, and that the “Everything Must Take Longer (TM)” has permeated into the core of Diablo 3, but Diablo has always been about the grind. The major change is that you don’t grind to level-cap, you level-cap and then grind to endgame, but the basic structure stays the same. I feel that the grind of WoW may have influenced it a little, as one form of grind influencing another results in a more grind-oriented approach to game design.

For example, I am constantly short on gold in Diablo 3. I have to spend it on repairs, buying new items that are an upgrade for my incredibly squishy Witch Doctor, to upgrade my jeweler and my blacksmith artisans, combining or removing gems, and I have to buy more stash space. I understand that your stash space is permanently unlocked, as are your Artisan abilities for all characters (on the same regional server and not hardcore). But it still means all of that has to be unlocked once, and so (at least) the first character is extremely grind oriented.

Then again, the AH flipper in my tells me I should just play the AH, make a ton of gold, and do whatever the hell I want to after.

What has your experience been?

Categories: Diablo 3

“Diablo 3 Rare/Elite Mobs Abilities” or “Vortex, Nightmarish, Mortar, Illusionist, What?”

May 29, 2012 10 comments

Struggling through the rares and elites in Diablo on my hyper-squishy Witch-Doctor has been complicated by the fact that these mobs can spawn with any combination of lethal abilities. After some search, I found a very useful post on D3DB.com, which clearly details all the abilities that rare and elite mobs may possess. This is invaluable information, so I thought I should share it as well. Thanks for putting it together Everamilli!

Here are the abilities that any given unique mob will have. They often come in groups of three and some of them can be rather tricky:

Nightmarish – Will drop a fear bomb and will send you and your companions running in fear for ~3 seconds.

Molten – Will leave a path of lava wherever they go; it will cause a small amount of damage continuously while you stand in the fire. Can cause a floor full of hurt if in a confined area. Also, upon death, the mob will explode causing a large amount of AoE damage.

Teleport – Will randomly teleport to an area in close vicinity. Try to keep them stunned. If they do teleport, best to use your gap closers here.

Vortex – Will suck you in toward them at random times. If you are a ranged, use knock backs and speed boosts naow.

Mortar – Will run from you and fire a barrage of ~5 or 6 fireballs in an arcing path. They can be avoided rather easily if you don’t get tunnel vision.

Knockback – Will knock you back randomly. Nothing you can really do but use a gap closer here as well.

Plagued – Will drop pools of green poison. Just kite them out of the pools and don’t stand in them.

Frozen – Will spawn up to five frozen orbs that will explode after a few seconds, causing damage to anyone in close proximity and freezing you in place for ~3 seconds.

Waller – Creates walls that can often trap you and your companion if you don’t move.

Jailer – Similar to Freezer (see above), will conjure a red circle that will root you for ~2 seconds.

Electric – Will continuously emit electrical pulses that crawl along the ground in 360 degrees.

Fast – Increased movement and attack speed. You can’t really outrun them, better to use knockback / stun.

Illusionist – Create copies of themselves with about 20% of their original HP. Really dangerous if they are in pack, as if they all use illusion at the same time, you’ll get circled by the copy and unable to escape.

Invulnerable Minions – Must kill the champion mob, minions take no damage (hence the invulnerable). Once the champion mob is killed, the minions die instantly. First Seen in Hell mode.

Arcane Enchanted – Mobs will spawn an orb that shoots out an arcane laser that will spin in one full circle before going away.

Shielding – Casts a shield around one of your enemies.

Vampiric – Every landed hit (including projectiles) will heal the mob.

Fire Chains – Will cause the champion mobs to connect via a fiery chain that will damage you if you cross it.

Health Link – When pack of mobs is near each other they share incoming damage from the party and every mob take only a % of total damage done. If mobs are away health link is broken. Can be seen as a dark red chain between mobs. Animation in flashing every few seconds only.

Avenger – When one of the mobs die, others in the pack become stronger. Last mob in the pack is going to enrage (becomes much bigger and gain red colors in his texture). Enraged mob is much faster and stronger.

Desecrator – Mobs create fire circle under party members that starts to burn you with fire damage 1 second after its creation.

Horde – The mob summons additional minions.

Missile Dampening – Slows all projectiles and spells around the mob.

Suicide Bomber – Will kamikaze you and explode, causing massive amounts of damage, while dropping no loot.

Categories: Diablo 3

“And now, For Something Completely Random!” or “Elder Scroll Online World Map”

May 24, 2012 2 comments

GameInformer has been bleeding The Elder Scrolls Online information over the last few days. Their preview for the three playable factions included maps of their native zones.

I thought it would be nice to superimpose those maps over one another and figure out what the world of The Elder Scrolls Online might look like, and this is what I came up with. Enjoy!

The Elder Scrolls Online Map

click to enlarge

“The Elder Scrolls Online Announced!” or “Captain Obvious in the Hizzouse!”

Tracey Thompson, the PR Lady Extraordinaire (probably not her real title) over at Bethesda Softworks sent out a blast email this afternoon, officially announcing an Elder Scrolls MMO. I know some think this was inevitable and this email almost seems like a sneak attack by Captain Obvious, but I am tingly all over!

The game is being developed for both Mac and PC (/points at consoles, /laughs), under the leadership of one Matt Firor. Further details will be revealed in GameInformer (what is with this magazine and exclusives?) cover story for their June 2012 issue.

For those keeping score, the last Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, was released less than six months ago, and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

“Meet Mark: Publisher Critic” or “Finally Someone Says it Out Loud!”

May 3, 2012 2 comments

No pin intended!

I don’t hate publishers. I think hate is a very strong word. But I think the larger a publisher grows, the more it feels it can interfere, influence or even dictate developer decisions, features and timelines. I am probably wrong, but I don’t think a developer has just come out and said it point blank.

Mark Cern, the CEO over at Red 5 Studios, developers of the upcoming F2P MMO Firefall said that the pressures put on the developers by the publishers is death to the video game industry. He cites the very valid example of Riot Games, whose smash hit MOBA game, League of Legends, has no publisher, but has more concurrent users playing it than World of Warcraft. Yes Mark, that is kind of bananas!

I for one salute the man. It takes courage to state in no uncertain terms: “Who needs publishers any more? I certainly don’t. I couldn’t care less about them at this stage”.

Categories: Controversy

“What is my Definition of an MMO” or “MMO Existentialism”

May 2, 2012 1 comment

I am an MMO player. I have been an avid MMO players for some time, going on nearly 10 years now. I love this genre of video gaming. There is just something very natural and recognizable about a world where unlikely heroes coalesce and cooperate to defeat the larger threat. A world that goes on when you have logged off and gone to sleep. A world which has it’s own heartbeat.

Lately though, I have struggled to try and define for myself what playing an MMO means to me. Is it that you get to play with more than 30 people? Is it that there is a deeper sense of community through guilds/corporations/forces? Is it the ability to meet random people from around the globe with similar interests in gaming? Or is it something deeper?

The MMO genre has grown almost exponentially in the last decade or so. As the genre expanded, it has also evolved and the qualifications for what makes an MMO has also morphed significantly over time. These days almost anything that features a substantially large number of players playing together is called an MMO. The browser-based MMO reared its head, and today MMOs like Battlestar Galactica are approaching 10 million subscribed users.

I think for me an MMO is all about the people playing it, it is about the community, and the connections and relationships you make along the way.

It is the difference between the dread you feeling logging into Team Fortress 2, not knowing what batch of colossal idiots you might be randomly paired with on your team, vs. logging into a group of dedicated individuals that you trust to have your back in that battleground or that dungeon.

It is the difference between 14-year olds getting high on superior reflexes and calling your mother a orge vs. people that genuinely care for your well-being both in-game and in real life.

It is the difference between RNG screwing you over vs. RNG’s attempts foiled by a well-coordinated team of individuals that strive together for a common objective.

It is the difference between knowing that you won the game for your idiot team vs. knowing that unless you had your friends and guildmates sweating and bleeding next to you, you would never have accomplished that particular objective.

For a casual gamer like me, an MMO is a community, a band of brothers from other mothers and sisters from other misters (I had to!). For me, an MMO is about being able to log in, have fun, play to your heart’s content and have a team that backs you up.

For me, MMOs are all about people.

Categories: Bronte, Guild