Posts tagged video games
Ever been curious what it’s really like to be the owner of a comic book or tabletop gaming shop?
Layanor, Chris and Cari talk about some Breaking News brought to us by a listener, and how awesome Layanor is as a possum.
Chris, Cari and Layanor are joined by Amanda the winner of the CSTM Fellowship’s Walk Auction. She may never be the same.
Ever wondered what goes into making video game music happen? An Ace-team of panelists shares all the details!
Featuring Jesper Kyd, Michael McCann, Inon Zur, Martin O’Donnell, and Sam Hulick, moderated by Emily Reese.
Sorry for the technical difficulties in the middle! I assure you all I have been thoroughly chastised.
Yep… it’s that time of year again. Nerds, WoW players, cosplayers, Starcraft freaks, and Diablo fiends around the world come out of the woodwork and converge on one site, and press F5 at the same time in hopes of getting a good position in line for tickets to one of the biggest geekfests of the year: Blizzcon.
Taking place, as usual, at the Anaheim Convention Center in southern California on October 21st and 22nd, the first round of tickets went live at 10:00 AM Pacific Time saturday… and promptly evaporated 25 minutes later. Not that anybody’s surprised by the quick disappearance, but it still just blows my mind (and makes me grin) that Blizzcon sells out quicker than the Super Bowl. Sadly, finances and work-related issues will probably keep me from being able to attend, but for those of you in similar situations there are always other options. It never fails that within hours, Youtube will be flooded with videos covering just about every second of panel discussions, announcements, unveils, and of course the fan favorite cosplay contest. Of course, if you’d rather see the action as it’s happening, DirecTV will again be offering their “virtual ticket”, for live streaming coverage. All of the details can be found here.
The next batch of actual tickets for Blizzcon will go on sale this wednesday, May 25th, again at 10:00 AM Pacific time. Even if you’re not lucky enough to secure a decent enough place in line, chances are you’re not entirely out of luck. There are always contests going on for ticket giveaways… over twitter, on websites, in podcasts, etc. Look around, i’m sure you’ll be able to find something. Just *don’t* resort to buying scalped tickets on Ebay. That’s just a detestable practice, and it’s also quite illegal. I will try to keep up with any legit contests I find regarding Blizzcon tickets, and give out links and information as I find it in my weekly posts. Good luck to you, and try not to break your keyboards pounding that refresh key on wednesday. :D
My guild just recently went killed our 7th boss in normal modes, taking down the Ascendant Council in the Bastion of Twilight. I’m not saying this to brag, but I *am* saying this to point out that i’ve noticed a puzzling trend in boss encounters. In spite of all of Blizzard’s warnings… you are MEANT to stand in the fire.
I know. It was a shock to me too. Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying sit in the fire and don’t ever leave, but some of the encounters have been designed for you to take some damage to save yourself from… well… bigger damage. Take the Ascendant Council, for example. For those of you unfamiliar with this fight, it has become (not so) lovingly known as the “Captain Planet” fight. You face Fire and Water elementalists, the Air and Earth, and then they all combine to form: Captain Pla-oh, I mean, they form the Elementium Monstrosity.
Within this encounter the water boss will fire water bombs randomly throughout the room. Anyone it lands on gets a “Waterlogged” debuff, and the only way to remove this is to run through a trail of fire that his opposite leaves in the room. The earth and air bosses each have a “massive attack” sort of ability, that can only be negated by taking damage and recieving a debuff from his opposite. A tornado will lift you off the ground for an earthquake, and a gravity well will “ground” you for a thundershock. And that is to speak nothing of the third phase, which is basically a “can you kill us quick enough to outlast all the damage going out?” time.
The Ascendant Council isn’t the only encounter designed as such, it’s just the easiest to explain, and the first that came to mind. Magmaw, Omnitron, Maloriak, Argaloth, Halfus, Valiona & Theralion (V&T)… all of these encounters have unavoidable AoE damage, so the healers are already massively stressed, but that’s not even what i’m talking about. Some of them, there is extra damage that MUST be taken to make the encounter even survivable. V&T, for example, have an “exploding” ability that splits damage amongst everyone within 8 yards. Maloriak has a flame ability that splits damage amongst everyone in front of him. Halfus has drakes in his room that buff him to literally unbeatable levels, unless they are freed… and subsequently killed. This can cause MASSIVE stress on your tank depending on the drake composition (good lord I dread whenever the Slate Dragon is up. Stacking mortal strikes are lose).
What i’m trying to get at here is this. For all of the bluster about “don’t stand in the fire” (which has come from Blizzard itself even), there is a lot more to it than that. If you’re even semi-serious about raiding in our current tier of content, you just might get told go hit that puddle of bad stuff. The thing to learn now, is WHEN to stand in it.
I decided to take a couple of days off from WoW for a brief change of pace. With Dragon Age 2 coming out in just a few short days, I figured what better game to sink my teeth into than Dragon Age: Origins… again. It’s been about a year or so since I played it, and with my preorder of DA2 on the horizion, now was as good a time as any. One thing I noticed, very quickly, was that it played a lot like WoW, with a few noted exceptions.
I know, I know, it’s not an MMO. It’s a single player game, so it shouldn’t play like WoW, but there’s still some marked similarities. The action bar, movement, camera, settings menus, character sheets, are all similar to WoW. Of course, this shouldn’t be anything new either, because many games have them. One thing I *did* notice, much to my dismay, was just how much I missed tab-targetting. Having to click on every target, and targets with no bars over their head… it’s kind of annoying at times, especially when the party members are all running up to the enemies… even the casters.
Another thing that i’m having a lot of trouble with is the micromanaging of my party members. Last time I played DA:O was back shortly after it first released. Even aside from that, i’m no stranger to games with minor management of team members. I think the issue is that i’ve grown SO used to playing WoW (to the exclusion of just about every other game for the last year) that i’ve forgotten how to adapt within a single player game. I am so used to my teammates having brains and acting how they should–tank picks up the mobs, ranged stays out of the way, melee gets behind the mobs, etc.
Why am I focusing on Dragon Age instead of WoW? Well, it’s more than just Dragon Age that i’ve experienced this with. a while back I tried LOTRO and I felt myself feeling in a similar way. I played it for about 2-3 days before I uninstalled it. It simply wasn’t WoW and it didn’t feel right to me. Now don’t get me wrong. I love DA:O, and as i’m not going to give up on it because i’m having trouble readjusting. It’s just something to think about, the next time you plug in a new game, or even go back to an old favorite. Has WoW shaped how you think games should feel? I know it has for me.
This week’s Friday Update came in the form of what is best described as a Dev Diary. This time, we were treated to some words from none other than Blaine Christine, Live Producer on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. Bereft of anything in the way of specific details about the game, we catch glimpses of a few aspects of what is obviously a very fast paced, fun, and rewarding job.
I want to preface this entire posting by reiterating that everything I say is *my personal opinion*. You are more than welcome to agree or disagree with me. There’s been a hot discussion on the official boards lately about Blizzard’s seemingly endless use of hotfixes in-game to fix issues. The discussion has, as expected, brought up some heated opinions on both sides of the spectrum, whether hotfixing is a better way of “bandaging” issues, than waiting for patches.
Now, here’s my thought on the issue. I think that Blizzard has gone overboard with hotfixes to a point. When they are putting a new hotfix in literally everday for a week, or two weeks, or more, then it’s too much. But at the same time, these issues they’re changing are, by and large, minor things. They aren’t making major changes to mechanics or gameplay, or redefining class playstyles in hotfixes. Those are, still, being reserved for the major patches.
In spite of the massive amount of hotfixes, changes, revisions, reverted changes, and so on and so forth… I think that, by and large, they are a good thing. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing something completely broken with your favored class, and waiting 6 months for it to be fixed. Between Cataclysm’s launch and patch 4.0.6, Disc priests really struggled with healing at max level, in comparison to other healing classes, but 4.0.6 brought them up in line with the others… perhaps overshooting the mark a bit even. Since then, Blizz has tweaked a few numbers and increased the mana cost of Power Word: Shield, making it a *little* more challenging, making it about equal with the other healer specs. For another example, at 85 Marksman hunters and Beast Mastery hunters were doing *horrific* numbers in comparison to Survival hunters. With 4.0.6, Blizz brought up a lot of the BM/MM abilities, and toned SV’s numbers down a bit, bringing them a lot closer in line with each other.
So, if Blizzard is overdoing a good thing, what’s the solution? Unfortunatly, I don’t really have much of an answer for that. Do more PTR testing? More minor-ish patches? Maybe, but that’s far more time consuming, and won’t guarantee that any changes made won’t be reverted anyway. No, in spite of the seemingly change-happy style of minor twists Blizzard has adopted recently, I think this is a better solution than waiting weeks or months between major patches for things that… might end up reverted anyway. At least day-to-day changes made on live servers are a sure way to give certain, instant feedback on what the community does to adapt.