Monday, October 31, 2011

Sword of the Stars 2: First Look

I just can't help myself when it comes to 4x strategy games.  My plan was to wait for one of those crazy Steam sales to purchase Sword of the Stars 2, instead I bought it when it was released.  I deceided to make a First Look video, which shows my first 15 minutes with the game plus commentary.

Sadly, the launch of the game had some problems.  It is still playable (as the video shows) and they are working hard to fix the issues.

Friday, October 28, 2011

News from the Front: Trick or Treat

Sadly, I'm all out of candy.  Instead, I'll be giving out some links!  With the drop of the Wrath of Heroes NDA, articles and videos of the game have started to appear.  A number are these are by WAR blogger types and other players.  Let's get down to business!  While there may not be an official forum for Wrath of Heroes, Garaawarr has started up his own community site.  It's in beta this weekend, so head on over to and check it out.

The Arena.  Mykiel put together a video of some action in The Arena.

BETA Gameplay.  Yours truly also did a video, with the added bonus (or burden) of some commentary.  I mostly play Felicia and talk about what Wrath of Heroes is.

Zathis.  Mykiel has been busy.  In this video he shows off one of the new heroes, Zathis the Dark Elf Assassin.    There is also a lot of other interesting info about the hero.

Skins. put together all of the available skin options for heroes.  Customize the look of your hero!  This is still beta, so this might not be all of the options.

WoH at GDC. has an article from GDC up about Wrath of Heroes.

More Video!  Some nice quality video from youtube during yesterday's beta session.  Features Zathis and Conrad the Warrior Priest.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wrath of Heroes Adds Two Heroes

It's almost time for the next block of Wrath of Heroes beta testing.  That means news about what is coming up for the weekend.  Two new heroes have been added, and some are taking time off.  The new beta schedule is out as well, read on for more details.

As usual, check out the Wrath of Heroes Facebook page for the original.

Zathis.  He is a Dark Elf Assassin, who seems like he will be the first Hero with stealth abilities.  This is not to be confused with the Dodgy With Elf already in the game.  Not sure how I feel about more Elves in the game...

Conrad.  That's right, a new Hero with some Healing abilities!  Conrad is a Warrior Priest.  Finally Glowgob can take some time off after carrying every team on his back.  I'm guessing Conrad will do his healing through melee attacks, but we should know for sure tomorrow.

Glowgob and Felicia will not be in this weeks lineup.  Sounds like they want to make sure some other classes get tested well.

Testing times:
  • Thursday, October 27 – 4pm-8pm EDT (8pm-12am UTC)
  • Friday, October 28 – 10am-10pm EDT (2pm-2am UTC)
  • Saturday, October 29 – 12pm-6pm EDT (4pm-10pm UTC)
See you there!  In the mean time, you can watch some beta gameplay footage.

Scarecrow and Mr. Werit

Last month, Warhammer Online turned three years old.  As a part of the celebration, all players who have been subscribed for three years received some special gifts.  These are given out around the time you are first billed, so they have started to arrive in players Account Entitlements window.  I checked mine and there they were waiting for me.

I went with the Yellow Jack O' Lantern pet (out of 4 choices).  The scarecrow has a nice laughing idle animation. 

I also used my Box of Endless Dye: Blazing Orange and Chaos Black to make some Dye's to get in the Halloween mood.  The Demon Mood Rising Live Event is currently going on, so I could have added a nice mask too.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wrath of Heroes Gameplay Video

During last weekends beta test, I recorded a match of Wrath of Heroes.  I figured it would make a good introduction to the game, so I also gave it some commentary.  I drone on about what Wrath of Heroes is and give a little play by play of what is going on.  The match itself takes place in the Arena, which is a team deathmatch scenario.

I am playing Felicia the Flamekissed most of the time since I had a good amount of experience with her and wanted to look decent for the video.

Hope you enjoyed it.  The NDA for WoH is down, so if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Monday, October 24, 2011

There can be only one

Last week, I read an interesting post over at TAGN.  It turns out, EA is making a pretty big change to their Play 4 Free games.  Currently, each of them has its own currency system, after the change there will be only one.  Instead of paying dollars for an item, you instead purchase points.  The new currency will be known as Play4Free Funds and are shared between all of the games.

Why does this matter?  Wrath of Heroes is slated to be a Play 4 Free game.  So far we have not heard much about how the store will work, but it seems likely that it will use the new currency as well.

I hope that is the case.  The thought of buying items for dollars in the Origin store did not sit very well with me.  Using a new currency allows for a lot more flexibility.  Lets take Warhammer Online for example.  There are no plans to make that a Play 4 Free game, but it might be possible to award Play4Free Funds to subscribers so they can spend it on Wrath of Heroes.

BioWare Mythic has said they do want to give some bonus to those who subscribe, but so far we don't have any solid details.  I'd be happy if we received X amount of Play4Free Funds a month.  I'd be even happier if Warhammer Online was made into a Play 4 Free game, but that is a topic for another time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stat Tracking and Wrath of Heroes

With the return of the Wrath of Heroes beta, I received permission to post about the game.  I've been pretty anxious to write about it since I do find it to be an enjoyable experience.  This post talks about a new feature introduced in this weeks build, record keeping 

Note:  This information is from the Wrath of Heroes beta version and is subject to change. 

This is a feature I've wanted since the first time I played WoH.  Keeping track of your best scores adds a nice personal meta game aspect.  The game records stats from your best performances in categories like damage, kills, healing, objective captures and more.

It is very similar to how Team Fortress 2 does their stat tracking.  I've always enjoyed that aspect of TF2, so I'm glad to see it here as well.  The stats above are for a single life, rather than a whole match.  As you can see, Durrig the Engineer managed the most damage and kills.  I played Felicia the Bright Wizard a bit last night as well, so she claimed the other records.

Note: Beta Gameplay Video

The support stat is especially interesting.  Tracking things like Kills, damage and healing tends to leave support oriented classes out in the cold.  With this new stat, it seems they want to try and quantify contributions such as buffs, debuffs and crowd control.  We'll see how it goes.

Reminder:  There is another beta session today (10/21) from 10am to 10pm EDT.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fortress Q&A with BioWare Mythic

One of the big ticket items slated for Warhammer Online's 1.4.5 patch is the reintroduction of fortresses.  These imposing structures are currently sitting dormant, but the WAR team plans on having them house Relics.  The name is subject to change.  Players will be tasked with raiding an enemy fortress and bringing the relic back to their own, giving the realm a bonus.

WAR's Producer, James Casey, was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding fortresses.  Thanks James!


1)  One of the next big features on the horizon is the Fortress and Relic system.  Can you give us a high level overview of what you see these bringing to Warhammer Online?

The fortress/relic system is designed to bring an additional goal and mechanic to the Realm vs. Realm battle in Tier 4.  It is not the endcap to the campaign, nor a stopping point to the city, etc. like it was before.  It's a tough challenge that can be done at any time and will benefit the whole realm if captured and kept.

2)  Will Guilds or Alliances have a role to play with Fortresses? 

Yes. We are looking at introducing a mechanic that will allow guilds and potentially alliances to claim the fortress or areas around the fortress as a way to beef up defense of the fortress.

3)  Will Relics be open for capture at all times, or if the pairing is captured?

The current plan is they can be done at any time.  As we get closer in and take more feedback and test it out, this might change.

4)  What kind of obstacles or defenses will attackers have to overcome in order to capture a relic?

They will need to break down an entrance to the fortress, take out the guards and lords, and claim the relic.

Follow-up:  Is Play as Monster Lords and Guards still a possibility?

Yes.  We are still working towards that.

5)  When a relic is taken, will the defending realm be able to see its location in the zone/pairing?

The relic will ping the map every so often, but the update will not be real-time.  You’ll know where it was a few seconds ago, but you’ll need to hunt the person with it down.

6)  Once a relic is fully captured, what kind of bonuses will the realm receive?  Will there be any specific rewards for those who participated in the capture?

Bonuses are being built now, but we are looking at things that will be beneficial, but not just a rich get a richer thing. Ex. Racial bonuses based on pairing.  There will be rewards for the capture and we are fleshing those out now, but the biggest thing will be the challenge and getting the realm bonus.

7)  How do you see this playing out on realms which have an unbalanced population?  Will it just give the stronger realm even more of an advantage?

Hopefully, as noted above, it won’t be a decided ‘rich get richer’ situation, that’s our goal.  We’re also hoping that offering an alternative goal will give players other ways to participate in RvR and potentially even upset that imbalance a little.

8)  Anything else you'd like to share about Fortresses and Relics?

We have some ambitious plans, we’ll roll more out as we move forward.  We may do bits of the plan in phases depending on how they come together, but we’re jazzed about the prospects.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wrath of Heroes Returns

Beta e-mails were sent out today letting Wrath of Heroes testers know that there will be more playtest sessions this weekend.  Feels like it's been years, glad to see it back.  There is some big news to go along with it!  Well, big to me, especially if you look at the spiffy new banner at the top of the page.

A new Hero joins the mix, Durrig the Engineer!  You know who I'll be playing this weekend.  Also of note, tactics will be in this build it seems.  That means we can get a little customization going.

Check out the Facebook page for all of the details.

Here is this weeks schedule:
  • Thursday, October 20th – 4pm-8pm EDT (8pm-12am UTC)
  • Friday October 21st – 10am-10pm EDT (2pm-2am UTC)
  • Saturday October 22nd – 12pm-6pm EDT (4pm-10pm UTC)

They once again have some timezone maps to help avoid confusion.  Here is Thursday's...

New Banner

Last week, I decided to try out a new template for the site.  Overall, I liked it quite a bit.  One thing I did not like was that it didn't have much personality.  As someone said, it looked like a hospital :)  Today I put up a new banner which I think will remedy the situation.  What do you think?

Huge thanks go out to Greg from Jedi Gambit who made the banner for me.  As always, he does amazing work, so be sure to stop by his site and check out his other drawings.  Thanks Greg!

I think the banner does a great job representing two of biggest interests: Warhammer Online and The Old Republic.  I will, of course, be rolling a Trooper when TOR launches.  Seems like the logical extension of my Dwarf Engineer.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Glimpse of SWTOR PvP

First, it should be mentioned that Star Wars: The Old Republic is a PvE game at heart.  The driving force behind it is story based gameplay.  That being said, TOR will provide some PvP for its players.  I plan on playing the game mostly for the PvE, but I can't help but be interested in some Sith versus Republic fighting.

At Comic on in New York, they did go over some of what they plan to offer.

Warzones.  These are TOR's Scenarios or Battlegrounds.  Instanced combat which lasts about 15 minutes.  In a Q&A over the weekend, they confirmed that they will launch with 3 of them.  That's fewer than I would have liked, but I am spoiled by the dozen or so in WAR.

Server Ruleset.  I'm pretty sure they mentioned that there will be PvP Servers.  These don't really hold any interest to me, since the game is designed around PvE.  Usually when MMO's do this, it feels like an afterthought.

Ilum World PvP.  Now this is where things get a bit interesting.  Ilum is a planet which seems to have world (open) PvP objectives.  In the latest trailer, they show off some of it near the end.

I don't know how much of that is really what we'll see in the battle, but it looks pretty cool.  Vehicles, Droids, Artillery and a lot of action works for me.  It is a trailer though, so I'm not going to get too excited about it.

We also don't know what kind of battle will take place.  Will it be permanent or end up resetting every X amount of time?  I hope it is not that latter, Lake Wintergrasp never really did anything for me in WoW.  A little over 2 months to go until launch!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Drox Operative

It's no secret that I love myself some space games.  That's why I was excited to hear that indie developer, Soldak Entertainment, was working on one.  Soldak is known for its extremely dynamic action RPG's, and now they want to bring that to a space game. Their new project is titled Drox Operative, a space action RPG.

Basically, you take on the roll of a spaceship captain who can pick and choose which faction he supports or works against.  Since this is a dynamic world, they will all be vying for control with or without you with often unexpected results.  That makes the game a whole lot more interesting, since each time you start a new one it is different.

Here are some other features:
  • Explore a dynamic and evolving galaxy
  • Explore a unique sector of the galaxy in every game, with different "monsters", ship components, quests, and even races
  • Fight in the galactic war between the various alien races
  • Battle hundreds of different enemy starships
  • Build the coolest and deadliest starship in the galaxy
  • Outfit your ship with thousands of components and crew
  • Adventure with your friends with co-op multiplayer
It's due out sometime in the 1st quarter of 2012.  

Also,  Soldak is planning on doing pre-orders which get you access to the beta.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 5

It's time for Round 5 of the upcoming Tier 7 Armor Sets for Warhammer Online.  We still do not have official word on how to obtain them, but the new Fortress system is the most likely candidate. These are slated to be appearance armor rather than have stats on them.  That means the power gap should remain the same.  Let's get to the pictures!


This set doesn't do anything for me.  Then again, neither does the class.  I guess Elf lovers will like it though, as it seems very Elfy.

Black Orc

Now we're talking!  I do like this one quite a bit.  It's not very flashy and just plain mean looking.  Orc's don't need frills.


This set is pretty cool too.  It's not as mean and lean as the Black orc's, but it pretty Dwarfy.  I could definitely see my IB sporting this armor.

Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 1 - Bright Wizard, Chosen, Engineer
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 2 - Disciple of Khain, Knight of the Blazing Sun, Slayer, Witch Elf
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 3 - Marauder, Squig Herder, Shadow Warrior
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 4 - With Hunter, Zealot, Blackguard
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 5 - Archmage, Black Orc, Ironbreaker
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 6 - Magus, White Lion, Rune Priest

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Who would win?

Last week, BioWare released a new video segment called Choose Your Side.  It is basically what many of us did as kids, argue about who would win in a fight.  And by kids, I mean some of still do that now.  This first video was about the Jedi Knight versus the Bounty Hunter.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, so give it a watch if you have not already.  After the video, we will get down to business and answer the question.

So, who would actually win in a fight?  Not in the game mind you, but real life.

I think the answer is pretty obvious, even if I don't like it.  The Jedi Knight would trounce a Bounty Hunter.  First of all, they pretty much have super powers.  Some can see the future, control peoples minds, throw X-Wings and the list goes on.  Plus they have swords made of lasers.

I am no Force lover but even I have to admit that they'd probably win in a fight.  What has a Bounty Hunter ever done anyway?  Bobba Fett was a chump who never actually did anything.  His "father", Jango, didn't fare much better against Obi Wan.  What do you call the person you were cloned from anyway?

There is an exception, is the Bounty Hunter a droid?  If so, then they may have a chance.  It's been shown that Jedi have a problem defeating droids.  In Phantom Menace for example, the Droid Destroyers gave them a tough time.

In Empire Strikes Back, there was a droid Bounty Hunter named IG-88. He was also a boss in one of Star Wars Galaxies heroic instances.  He might have a chance against a Force user.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Centerpiece

If you were not aware, it is the 10th anniversary of Dark Age of Camelot.  Sadly, I never got to experience the game in its prime.  It sounds like something I would have very much enjoyed.  Anyway, as a part of their celebration they have been releasing artwork to the community.  The one for today really caught my eye.


Challenge Me

One of the common trends in MMO's is the simplification of the solo game.  Of course, it is all being done in the name of accessibility.  The challenge, and I use that word loosely, is put behind the velvet rope of group play.   As someone who enjoys the solo game, this ends up making a lot of games just not fun for me. 

My definition of challenge is simply having to think.  In many PvE games, very little thinking is required to get to the level cap.  Sure there might be a lot going on which appears to add complexity, but usually it is completely superfluous.  I want the decisions I make to actually matter.  I'd also like to have to prepare for a battle.  

Crafting is a lot of fun, until you realize it is not necessary.  It may shave 1 second off of the battle, but it isn't needed to actually defeat your enemy.  It's nice to get a ton of abilities, but what is the point if you really only need two or three of them?  Again it usually comes down to making the fight shorter.

Story is usually what makes PvE bearable to me, but what happens when the actual gameplay is not challenging?  You set out to defeat a great evil, and he dies in 5 seconds to a couple abilities.  That doesn't really match up with the idea of a heroic story. 

There are a number of games which do try and give their solo players and challenge.  Star Trek Online, for example, has difficulty sliders which affect all of their combat.  Raising this actually made me feel like my choices mattered.  Lord of the Rings has skirmishes which allow you to adjust their difficulty.  Sadly, that does not apply to their epic quest-line.   

One common suggestion is to seek out higher level content.  I find that it usually doesn't help, it is either still easy or impossible.  Combat formulas in most MMO's end up preventing you from really doing anything to a monster who is X amount of levels higher than you. 

I've done group content in my time, including some raiding.  I never actually found it challenging, instead it was just tedious.  Dealing with other players is hit or miss, and most group content is just following a script anyway. Besides, I just don't have the time to do that anymore. 

Is it too much to ask for some challenging solo content?  That's why I enjoy PvP games like Warhammer Online and League of Legends.  I still think there is a place in my gaming life for PvE though, I just need it to be interesting.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Look

Lately, I have not been satisfied with how this site looked.  Over the years, I've mucked with the template a bit too often and it showed.  This weekend I decided to change that and brought in a new template.  Like the last one, I am still going for a simple and clean look which loads fast.

What do you think about the new template?  If you are reading this on RSS, you shouldn't notice any difference.

Is it easy to read?  Are there any problems viewing it in your particular browser?

I will likely change the header graphic, to be a bit more graphical.  Nothing too crazy, but something more appropriate to the game theme of this blog.  Thanks for taking a look!

Friday, October 7, 2011

They may be on strike

But we can still enjoy their commercials.  These Fox Sports NBA commercials are probably my favorite of all time.  They aired close to 10 years ago, but are still pretty funny. It's been a slow week gaming wise, so I'm going to punt and show some videos :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Humble Merchant

I mentioned yesterday that I started to play X3: Terran Conflict.  For those that may not have heard of it before, it can be thought of as Elite on steroids or a single player Eve Online.  It's a massive universe sandbox which you can do pretty much whatever you want.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Good and Bad

It seems I have hit a little drought in stuff to blog about.  It is bound to happen sometimes, that's when a true blogger is able to dig deep and come up with some kind of fluff to fill the day.  The strange part is, I am pretty busy playing games which should mean I have something to write.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Use those Renown Abilities

Warhammer Online's 1.4.4 patch brought the ram into focus for keep sieges.  Knock out the ram and defenders can get a big boost to help push back their would-be conquerors.  One of the best ways to take out a ram is to use siege weapons.  To go with that, renown abilities received some import changes, continue on for more details.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Jedi Gambit

Since the release date for Star Wars: The Old Republic has been announced, I can't help but start to get a little excited about the game.  We still have a long way to go until December 20th, but the end is now in sight.  One of the sites involving SWTOR which I especially enjoy is The Jedi Gambit.