Diablo for days

Well here I am actually writing a post again after a bit of a break. Hmm, not so much a break as a time where my brain was melting from a fever, absolute mush and focusing on anything whether that be writing or reading. JUst wasn’t going to happen.

What I did do over the weekend was play a lot of Diablo 3 because surprisingly it’s a game that takes very little thought to actually play. You just keep clicking and killing and in that mindless repetitive state I would kind of feel better. With the level of simplicity in the gameplay you just get completely wrapped up in the moment, focused on the screen and the plethora of effects all around you. Continuing to click whatever few keys I actually use in the same sort of pattern.

It’s kind of funny how something so mindless and repetitive can be so enthralling in this regards. The industry seems to be going down the path of big effects, action combat and constant movement and there i was playing diablo 3 for many hours straight using 3 buttons… 4 if I was in trouble and due to the life on Hit i seem to be stacking well enough I barely even move during combat, even with the elites.

I think this is why grinding doesn’t bother as much, the less brain power the better in these circumstances. Grinding activities should be able to be done in larger times and it is the mindless nature that makes them more enjoyable. Being involved in hours of challenging gameplay, or just experiences that take a lot of thought and you’d burn out of it reasonably quickly. You can only take so much of that kind of difficult experiences that require constant thought, strategy and meticulous movements. I’ve raided for a few hours sometimes and you do tend to feel rather exhausted afterwards, emotional and physically. Also, at least with mindless activities I can watch tv as well.

Anyway, I ended up purchasing the Reaper of souls expansion this week and with being sick over the weekend, not moving and unthinking gave me plenty of time to play through what was there. If you haven’t picked it up yet I do have to say it is well worth it. It just adds so much more to the game and experience that really streamlines play while making it more interesting.

The Act v story is just excellent. The environment designs are amazing and while the tend towards the more linear sort of corridor design, being placed in a city the detail with all the buildings and pathways all around really sell the setting. There are some outdoor settings as well; a swamp and graveyard and these have a great design as well. Definitely my favourite places now when compared to the earlier acts.

Diablo III

They also come with a lot of places to explore. Buildings with people inside that need your help, or killing and lots of caves and places to explore outside One in particular stood out where you are trying to find Kylas friend and it was just good to see how they kitted out this young girl in armor and a sword because she was trying to protect her friend.

The story again follows a bit of the battle between heaven’s forces and this time the angel of death whom is now wreaking havoc amongst the living with their own plans for domination. Interesting story by itself and I wanted to see more. The fights with the bosses seemed far more challenging this time around too and I actually had to watch what I was doing and the mechanics unfolding in order to get my Hardcore character through. Even using pots and the health pools. that Urzael fight in particular had me worried for my character as I original just face tanked and had to change my strategy very quickly.

Diablo III urzael

 

The addition of Adventure Mode is great as well. It makes a lot of the earlier acts replayable while giving you a certain quest that needs to be completed. Most are pretty easy and maybe involve killing a certain amount of enemies and a boss or clearing out a cavern. Maybe even visiting a boss and the typical time seems to be several minutes.With them being replayable and rewarding decent experience it makes leveling up your character a lot easier, especially if you’ve already completed the entire story and still have a ways to go.

I ended up doing quite a bit of these and it didn’t take too long before I got my first level 70 hardcore character. It got quite close near the end there with a nasty pack of elites that had me surrounding again and really whittled down my health. My death save even got used up and the only reason I made it out of that alive was getting back through the portal and healing up.

Diablo III WD

What the Adventure modes also do is help you with gaining the Paragon Levels which have been completely redone for the new expansion. A route of alternative advancement that gives extra benefits to your character’s, now account wide; increasing the basic stats of a few areas that will probably make levelling another a lot easier. It’s not a huge advantage but it helps.

The adventure modes also seem to have a number of new events within them that can be reasonably challenging, especially at later levels. These are the cursed shrines and cursed chest that are timed events to defeat a certain number of enemies and will test your earlier builds. They seem to reward decent enough gear and even a legendary at times which is nice but not to much to be concerned with.

The new seasons mechanics has started now too which does sound interesting but I haven’t worried about it too much. I did start a character but wanted to focus on at least getting one character to cap first and then maybe going back there. It does seem to be something more for the really dedicated player though with getting world firsts and high leaderboard scores but there are new types of items to see so maybe.

The other new Mechanic seems to the greater rifts, A mode of play where you enter a previous map space that ha been filled with harder monsters and a great number elites within this space. Kill enough and you then spawn the rift Guardian that seems to be the standard kind of boss monster. There are leaderboards and everything for these and the difficulty levels with the new torment levels is quite extreme. the higher you go the better gear it seems to give as well to the point people are talking about a million dps and such. Maybe i’ll get there eventually… maybe not but it’s fun to get wrapped up in this kind of grind sometimes.

 

The Hot Hunks of Gaming

There has been a little bit of talk lately about gaming crushes, the hunks and hotties we get enamoured with in game. I like some others were a little dismayed to see that many people really couldn’t name that many characters that really stood out to them. That weren’t noticeable or developed enough to elicit any sort of strong emotions and that’s a rather sad thing.

Back in the dawn of my own gaming, when we were  just banging rocks together the emotional connection to a character was more limited by the amount of rocks.. i mean pixels. It’s hard to get connected to a blob of colours but the dialogue spurned on our interest. Now with all this amazing new technology and graphical power it seems we went backwards. We have some amazing looking hunks but without any sort of nuance in their personality beyond Meat-Head. Characters that are solely used to just move the corridor shooter forward via their indiscriminate Man Rage..

In the looks department it seems to have gone down hill as well. We either get some insanely similar looking pretty boys or a bunch of old, scared and leather faced war veterans and I don’t find either of those really that enticing. This is getting better in recent time with an increased focus on character development, spurned on by the popularity of adventure titles and popular RPG’s but I think the AAA scene still needs a lot of improvement.

Anyway, even in this time of rather slim pickings of characters both masculine, appealing, and engaging there are a still that make me tingle. Some more so than others of course and all for mostly different factors. Gamer by Design had a recent group of games and they just weren’t my thing so I thought I’d have a go at my favourite hot gaming guys.

Dante – probably DMC 2.. maybe 3. Not that pre-pubescent from the remake

The ultimate bad boy of gaming and while I’m not sure if he can be completely classified a Gaming Guy due to his demon heritage you still can’t pass him up. A strong sense of humour throughout the series and a dry wit that makes you laugh at either how bad it comes across or just how well it fits the scene. His amazing sense of confidence in himself and his abilities just draws you in and then those smooth moves seal the deal. I reckon he could beat up your hunk too.

dante

Nathan Drake

What would a list of hot hunks be without Nathan Drake, A popular character in an amazing franchise that’s more an interactive movie than a video game. Because of this they were able to develop this character with far more depth in the background, dialogue and banter. I think what I love most about Nathan Drake is his overwhelming positivity plus his loyalty. He always keeps looking forward with hope and he projects this towards others near him which really livens even the most depressive moods. He is just dashingly handsome as well.

nathan drake

Lee – Walking Dead

Apart from being a rather dashing male without a hint of the bone head jaw he really is more a reflection of what you wanted him to be. You can make he tough and a bit of an asshole, someone balanced around the moment or altruistic. I tended towards the more caring side of Lee and this coupled with the way he is both strong but flawed and nurtures clementine just made my heart melt.. melt to be replaced by a little crush.

lee

Ezio – Assassins Creed

The ultimate smooth criminal, the handsome rogue that I will always have a soft spot for… at least for one and he will always be it. He has always been quite the womanizer, a charmer whose voice melts hearts and well, they seem to melt mine as well. That accent … and that SMILE. But there is far more to him than that; he has loved and been hurt, he feels deeply for those around him and perseveres in the face of adversity. Even during his advanced years he still has that stately charm and confidence that makes you want to sit on his lap…hehehe….

Ezio

Garrus – Mass Effect

I’m not sure exactly what it was he said, or when it was while playing through Mass Effect 2 but my heart beat to the rhythm of Garrus. I tried to defend him with more fervour because of it and really thought about his placement in those final scenes while being terrified for his life.

He always knew the right thing to say. He lightened the mood with his banter during times of stress and then showed his innermost feelings to you time and time again. He was my one true confident throughout and a delighted in that budding romance that was both so heartfelt and awkward at the same time. But we make it work…. all… night… long. hehehehe

Mass Effect 2 Garrus Shephard

Adam Jensen – Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Oh wow does Adam Jensen do something. Those sharp Chiseled features, the dark brooding vibe he gives off and those cybernetic parts….oooooooooooo. He is smart, competent and knowledgeable and his voice is that deep rumbling that gets into the recesses of your brain and turns it too mush.  But yeh, This is pure lust for the flesh here. Doesn’t matter cause just.. ooooo… plus, I bet he plays rough… hehehehehehe

AdamJensen

Now for the WIld Cards cause I”m not done yet. Got to make more people uncomfortable plus share in the brilliant crushes you all missed out on.

Furry Fling

Animalistic relationships are a bit weird but I would go for Fox McCloud. I don’t know what it is about the fuzzy space fairy rodent, maybe the voice and dialogue, or it could just be those ears. Plus, it looks like he’s pretty dextrous… hehehehehe

FoxMC

Pretty Boy

I think it’s a little too easy here to pick from the wealth of Final Fantasy characters, they have that niche of the gaming community well and truly served (and serviced… hehehehe). Mine’s a little different and from Dynasty Warriors, a game I got really addicted to a the ps3 for a long time. It’s full of some rather memorable characters and while Lu Bu certainly steals the show at times it’s Jiang Wei that is the toy boy of my affection. No reason there really, the characters aren’t exactly developed although he was a competent killer and I guess that’s what counts here.

Jiang Wei

Pity Fuck

How could I go past poor, sad and dejected little Alistair. Those big desperate eyes, longing for you to be nice to him, talk to him and maybe move out of the friend zone. In the Recent Cat Context Podcast he was described as the Wet Blanket of the game, always trying to ruin in your fun that wasn’t involving him but you still can’t resist that adorable face which you just what to hug, and maybe more if it would stop him being so morose.

alistair

Going Gay

For this one definitely Lightning from the Final Fantasy Series. Strong, Confident, Sassy and incredibly skilled. It’s about just how detailed she is within the series, Square Enix’s ability to craft characters is unparalleled and the games and their cut-scenes really bring her to life. It’s also that look, funky plus spunky that kind of subtle says she prefers her own gender.

lightning

Progress Report: Animeted Adventures

Hello there intrepid travelers from far away places, come forth to the warmth of my hearth and share in these hearty Tales. Tales from lands far away; of strange places and people, of amazing animals and events. Of me sitting in front of a computer and mostly playing games.

My anime addiction continues on this week and I was wondering what to watch.

I’m back up to date with Sword Art Online 2 and those last two episodes (7 and 8) were great. The main characters in this series Kirito and Sinon have an interesting relationship and it’s  great how she isn’t some one dimensional girl placed in for the shows stipend of boobs. In game she’s confident, strong and talented and outside a far more uncertain but it’s the background of the character that makes these two personalities interesting. A coping strategy that seems to have become something so much more.

I really enjoy how he’s beginning to play with others about his appearance. before it was more a nervousness about it, especially around the `hulking brutes the game is comprised of. Now it seems like a joke, a little personal subversion that is rather amusing at times to see. It’s a little bit of a play on that act like a girl to get in game advantage idea that’s been going around for some time and while that could have been a rather irritating point it’s showed in combination with the lewd comments and behaviour towards Kirito.

SWO2

At the show is still very much focusing on the big bad storyline which was a failing of the first season. I want to know more about the world, it’s mechanics. I want to see more open world faction fighting and just general trade and interactions. I guess I can wait till Log Horizon comes back for that but I do like the world Sword Art Online always tries to present, it’s just mostly hidden from view.

I’m also caught up on zankyou no terror and this is a really amazing anime as well. It Follows these two boys who escaped from a government facility of some kind and their effort to, I think uncover the truth but also gain a little notoriety. The started out as good willed terrorists but now seem to be trying to unravel the forces pitted against them.

Now the premise isn’t that amazing I guess but it’s just the way it’s directed and produced. It isn’t particularly exciting compared to other animes, no flashy visuals and fight scenes but it maintains a sense of tension throughout the shows. Stunning artistic vision, amazing direction of scenes and a rather witty and verbose dialogue. Go see it, right Meow! ORRRR

zhankyou no terror

The other anime I watched a bit of involved an adolescent with immense untapped power that was only revealed after an event with a certain antagonistic force and who has been kept in the dark on it by their current care giver. Hmm.. that doesn’t exactly narrow it down much does it. It was Eureka Seven because MECHAS! I have gotten a few recommendations on twitter over the last couple weeks and I’m definitely going to get to them as well but this one caught my eye.

So far it’s ok, getting that feeling of deja vu from it all though as the general theme of the show is very common. Gundams fight other gundams in big aerial battles. The actions scenes aren’t that length though and right now it is exploring the characters and crew far more, their personalities and motivations and while Renton is still a bit of a whiny baby (aren’t they all) the show still has a good pace and some interesting stories.

Now for da games

I succumbed into buying another early access a game, a personal promise broken but one I knew I wasn’t going to keep anyway. Nom Nom Galaxy is a management style game from the pixle junk crew which I’ve been watching for a while and it was half price on the Humble store soooo.

So far it’s a decent game, decent but it seems still missing a few features that might extend play like you know, most early access games. The Base game involves you soup making base amongst a planets and then sending this soup of to hungry mouths elsewhere. The base building is fairly limited but with an emphasis on simplicity in design as you have robots staffing it that don’t have much of an ai. You place down corridors, soup machines and rockets.

From here you both collect ingredients from the planet by exploring and digging and then bring these back to your machines with different combinations making different soups.

NomNomGalaxy

The management part involves setting up up functioning system of supplying ingredients for the soup. This by farming some ingredients you find that grow bigger and give multiples of the ingredient that can then be harvested or souped. This takes a bit of time to get right as you need to rely on a variety of ingredients and continue to harvest and plant each day of play.

To break this up there are certain moving animal places to harvest occasionally that make more rewarding soups but can’t be relied on. Sometimes there are alien invasions as well and the bigger your soup base gets the more come and if they destroy your main building well… no soup for you!

It’s a surprisingly fun game but a lot more different than I thought. I’m kind of used to these kinds of games just involving you to make a base, balance the mechanics of in put and output and then leaving it to run and grow. This requires far more busy work than most of those having you go out to collect, kill, protect and farm each and every game day. The robot minions do help in this, if you’ve planned well but for the most part it’s still up to you to watch them as well.

straight bases work well

straight bases work well

The issue is that there is very little variability. the things to build are rather limited as are the ways you upgrade and manage. There just needs to be something more there but I’m not so sure what. Bigger bases that can sort of self manage to a certain amount. Variation in buildings. Different sort of defence types. Just ways to upgrade your character more meaningfully. There might be a little something different to the later planets so we shall see.

Overall it’s fun but still in the needs work column.

I jumped into Terraria for a time to continue my large building project. I stopped porting over gear for now and am building a few more boats as well as the start of the Fishing town. It’s fun being creative like this but I’m finding my builds a little bit simplistic.. needs more something. Oh and if you have ideas for a boat type I’d be willing to try.

Terraria

I also checked out the Christmas event for the first time with a group and that was tough, a lot harder than the halloween one. We didn’t come anywhere close to finishing the all the waves but we did end up killing a couple of those spectre bosses and gained some sweet lootz. Doing this though it really shows just how unoptimised my character is so I might just have to make an extra effort in the week to come to get some more of the end game gear set up… lots of farming involved.

The other was of course Diablo and leveling a couple of my Hardcore characters, none of which are at cap yet so I really have to make more of an effort I think. I did purchase the expansion and am so far loving all the extras it provides, well, I haven’t actually played the extra bits of content but I did start a crusader character which has the ultimate ERI SMASH moments.

I did nearly lose my witch doctor which made my heart leap out form my chest, I had finished up with act 2 a while ago but was busy farming it to be more ready for the next area. I was going through one of the maps when some regular blue elites came at me and I was a little too complacent. A stood still and began my barrage of spirit barrage and the elites, which were those large sand lizard things surrounded me to the point I couldn’t move. Antoher set of elites, those buzzy dragon flies started shooting at me as well and my health was dropping fast.

I couldn’t remember if i’d slotted in the spirit vessel passive either which would enter me into the soul realm on what would be a fatal hit… health dropping cooldown on potion still active and as that was seriously going down to the bottom I killed one big lizard and was able to slink through the gap, backing off a bit to heal further up again. It was intense and that’s what I love about hardcore mode.

This week also sees the 2.1 patch hitting the server two which comes with some great new additions. of seasons of play (trust blizzard to iterate on the Path of exile competition), leaderboards around this as well as new rifts and gear. It looks like a great big patch that should see more playing a bit more than usual. Might try and keep up with the guild for this first season, which starts on friday us time… so my saturday.

And dats it. Expect a lot of Diablo for next week, maybe an mmo of some kind and I’ve been hankering to get back into Project ZOmboid again.

Have fun all and may your innate power be unleashed in a time of need

Link Dead Radio: New Shinies

The Links

  • First up Braxwolf gives his personally reasoning behind wanting to  join in with this years involvement with the Extra Life Charity Event. He”s also seeking donations for this worthy event so maybe head over and support a fellow blogger.
  • Contains Moderate Peril gives the shout out for more submissions to the Podcast Directory, a great resource for  gaining more recognition or just if your looking for some amazing gaming podcasts to listen too.
  • I has PC Looks into the way new technologies it’s better for a new product to market towards the innovators of a population and then spread outwards for there with the increased talk. It might explain the use of early access and other such marketing.
  • Mr luvvaluvva wonders if the Survival Horror genre can recapture mainstream success and goes into a few examples with upcoming games and looks at the features that might help.
  • Herding Cats believes Game Journalism isn’t important anymore with how popular personalities are being paid for good reviews and how the nature of the field has far more in common with blogging than Jounalism in the more traditional sense
  • End Game Viable argues that Archeage is not a PvP gank fest, a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time. In fact I don’t even think people should be calling it a PvP mmo as that is just one mechanic for open world play. Anyway it comes from his own experience within play and he gives a few key points for why it’s not but also goes into how it’s an invaluable part.
  • Game Introspection thinks we are taking ourselves, and our games a little too seriously and looks at some of the lighter style of games. Those with a more campy sense of humour with a few examples.
  • Scree is getting excited for Everquest Next after the Soe Live presentation and goes into the aspects of an open world and dynamic environment that will make it truly revolutionary for him.
  • The Mystical Mesmer gives a short post mortem on Guild Wars 2 and a few factors that reduce the appeal including the end game organisation, feeling of reward and the characters more barbie styled dolls than characters.
  • The Random here Looks at features of group Finder and the lack of community that seems to result from it.

The Vids

Ancient Space – Space RTS

Legend of Grimrock 2

Shadowgate – weird graphic style adventure game

Destiny Venus

Star Citizen Gamescom Presentation – it’s basically a giant commercial, at least the first half

Civilization beyond earth part 1

part 2

super time force ultra on steam

Criterion of a Gamer

There has been talk of what a real gamer is in the community of late, a discussion point that has been around for a long time now but that in recent times has seen an increased focus. The gaming industry has been becoming broader in terms of the audience it seeks as well as the platforms of play and methods of distribution. It’s a huge medium in a way but way, that many would argue has diluted what it is to be a gamer.

It’s a weird label in a way as it’s revered so much more than that of any other hobby. It’s a meaningless term in many ways that a lot just use to abuse or make themselves feel more superior than others. I have touched the sky had a few criteria that basically summed up to spending any amount of time gaming whether it be thinking, playing, reading or writing then your eligibili towards being a gamer. That makes sense in a way.

Often times we spill certain experiences and or games from long past to add some kind of credibility to our claims. I played so and so on so and so box.. what’s those things amiga? commodore. I have know idea. Or I played through Dark souls, or played the bio shock series, system shock.. whatever. That’s all bullshit. Hmm not that, it’s mostly just people sharing in a hobby they love and yeh there is a little epeen to it all but at the end of the day each party is acknowledged.

The experiences matter not, neither does where or when someone started, or how much or how challenging. Really, the only required criteria that matters is your gender, that of being male going completely unquestioned and female treated as suspect.

Being male and saying you’re a gamer is an unquestioned fact. You could be just playing games on your iphone, the annual copy of Call of duty or Madden or you could be the kind that devotes all your attention towards the apparent master race of devices. It’s all immaterial when your male. There’s no exam placed down upon you once it’s claimed, no petty questionnaire to judge your legitimacy… I mean those things are nice but even with conflicting information the original “gamer” tag will still apply.

I feel all this when I’m gaming sometimes. The pressure to try and prove myself amongst other gamers. To somehow strive to the top or at least most of the Herd. I try and be better than others in the PvP battlegrounds and by extension study my class and the mechanics, to practice a lot. If I can’t do that then I tend not to bother. Even writing  I sometimes feel that every present gaze like I should be proving my gaming credentials in order to be taken seriously, to have my opinions matter and sadly I have seen comments about my work with the appendage, opinion of a girl.

Even in my guild, a guild I love being that’s friendly in the way it piss takes each other. A guild I like to game with and enjoy their company you still hear that “plays well for a girl” comment and that hurts far more than any sort of troll yelling over chat. I know those are just dickheads with far more blood running to their cocks than their brains but from a friend, or someone else close ” you play well for a girl” still enforces that aspect of trying to prove yourself and your gaming credentials.

In the grand scheme of things though criteria is irrelevant. The whole gamer label is mainly used more as an exclusionary tool, to bar people from certain space, forums or discussions. To invalidate anothers opinion and mostly that being the opinion of a female. It isn’t necessarily about the credentials of being a gamer at all and the mere use of it as an exclusionary tool makes a complete mockery of this hobby, a hobby I love. Gaming has the ability to bring people together and open new worlds and new ideas to people and as such, being inclusionary should be a major goal.

Now labels are important as it is the way our brains organise data, schemas of knowledge that we collect and the store within their categorisation that allow us to easily identify like factors. To make sense of our own experiences but we must understand that this is always merely a generalisation and one in which is bound by our cultural understanding. Due to schemas being so prevalent to our understanding it’s often harder to see and validate conflicting information but that is no excuse to the amount of misinformation going on within the industry as a whole.

Seeking a sense of belonging within a label is something we all aspire to and sometimes in spite of the negative connotations of the term I do aspire to that label of “gamer”, whether that is rational or not I don’t know. So what is a gamer? The more I think about it the more I believe it’s not necessarily a label, it doesn’t have criteria or a questionnaire that needs to be filled out prior to admission and I’m not aware of any sort of membership subscription cost as of yet. It’s a statement, something personal only to you and that you believe in… nothing more.

Crazy for Kickstarters

It seems to be a great month for picking up projects on kickstarter. Debate about the platform of crowd-funding all you want but it does seem to be a place that brings out some interesting and innovative projects. I’ve gone into a couple already with plans for a couple more this month and thought I’d show the ones I’m interested in.

Hive Jump

A colourful multiplayer action platformer with that gorgeous retro aesthetic. It seems to be both equal parts run and gun madness and rpg as you have some challenging and chaotic maps to get through but with a system of gaining resources and upgrading your characters and other Aspects

There is a also a campaign type mode that involves strategic decision making with where to attack and at what time as well as a map that changes based on alien movements. It Has 12 days left on the clock and is half way towards it’s funding goal. Murf was able to score an interview with the devs too that looked at some of the interesting multiplayer and competitive aspects.

Kickstarter Page

Dungeon Saga: Dwarf Kings Quest

I picked this one becasue I used to love Hero’s Quest growing up. Played it for many hours with my dad and cousins and we even developed a few of our own campaigns for it by drawing up the backstory, planning the dungeon and even creating new cardboard tokens for item, furniture and map pieces. Hero quest is no longer available except for insanely overpriced boxes on Ebay so that leaves Dungeon Saga

dungeon saga

 

In case you never played, take a dungeon crawling computer game and put it into real life. Dice rolling for attacks, people actually moving pieces with their hands and a campaign pack with all the details of each quest; the layout, special spots and placements. For this set there’s a range of map pieces, items, furniture and character sheets to use as well as a large advanced rule set that guides play. There are heaps of extras added to the $100 dollar pack as part of the kickstarter too so get in now.

7 days left and trust me, you want this

Kickstarter Page

Jenny Leclue

A mystery styled adventure game that will have you exploring a highly detailed environemnt with a lot of extra interactions for items and rewards for finding hidden details. It aims to be a true Detective style adventure game in that you will be the one looking for and uncovering clues and then piecing them together.

JLC

It aims to have a rich narrative that guides play weaved into the environment as well as in the dialogue with other characters and also for your choices to have an effect on the story as it goes and in future episodes.

Now the kickstarter has ended but you can still preorder through the kickstarter page with similar rewards but at an increased price.

Aegis Defenders

A platformer styled tower defence pixel game, an interesting combination of mechanic. It has you bouncing around the environment but then also defending certain locations with your abilities and shooting. You place traps and other turrets and the go between points adding help where it’s needed.

There will be a few classes to play as with their own style of defence tools and attacks with these classes also gaining in strength and then customizing your characters with new abilities and weapons.

10 days left and here’s the Kickstarter Page

#kickstarter #indie

Couch PODtatoes 10: Attack of the Clones

Welcome back people of the Pod. This week we welcomed back Doone, mainly to pick on him but also for some great discussion of ethics in the gaming industry. This week we delved into discussion about Cloning, not sheep but how creating copies of game mechanical or in spirit seems to be a common thing within the Industry.

The main point of discussion was around the game threes, a mobile game a lot of people seem to have played that involves combining multiples of three into higher and higher combinations. It saw a lot of clones pop up almost immediately, some which have become more popular, seen greater numbers of downloads and even make more money.

We tried to define what’s different within these clones ethically in regards to outright cloning or iteration on an idea in order to make something your own. A product that iterates can be a good thing in how it refines a mechanic or genre and can create some wonderful products that appease greater or different demographics. Overall it applies to MMO’s quite strongly as well as many companies seem to want to copy a game that has seen greater success but this doesn’t seem to work when they’ve already gained the greater market share.

Lastly we thought about how to actually solve the problem but the options provided don’t seem very likely.

Download / Libsyn / Itunes Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 10: Attack of the Clones (runtime: 1:10:35)

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 1:10)
Doone’s Digital Frontier: (starts at 21:28)
Idiots on the Internet: Jackie Chan’s Son (starts at 55:52)
Community Talk: Aggro-Range (starts at 1:03:33)

Idiots on the Internet article:

This week we looked at Jackie Chans son getting charged for possession of Marijuana with intent to sell in CHina. Discussed the legality and our own opinions on it.

http://kotaku.com/arrested-for-marijuana-jackie-chans-son-could-face-exe-1623744009

Community Spotlight:
This week we talked about a post over at Aggro-Range looking at the different Archetypes within the gaming community. We all gave our own opinions on what we are as well as what we thought each other were and it seemed pretty accurate. One thing we thought is that it does seem to change based on your mood although still pertaining to a certain structure. I definitely within the middle column at all times although I have been known to be all 3.

It also gave us some time to tease Doone.

Discussion Articles:
Authors response to clones
Gabriel Cuirulli response (original clone)
Gamedev.net “Why games don’t have to be good anymore”
Threes! on iTunes
2048 web game

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Doone
Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @trredskies

 

 

Gaming Questionnaire

SO this Gaming Questionnaire is going around at the moment from the site Cannot be Tamed. It seemed like an interesting list with a few questions I’ve answered before but also many interesting ones that really fill out what your gaming personality is. So here it is.

When did you start playing video games?

Properly playing I guess is rather hard to remember. I’ve been playing for a long time but I guess that main early play would have been on the Sega Mega Drive with titles like Desert Strike, Sonic, Aladdin, Road Rash and NBA Jam.

What is the first game you remember playing?

The very First games are the coffee table arcade style of Dig Dug and Galaga.

Digdug

PC or Console?

A little of Both. I’ve had a ps3 and a pc (laptop) for a long time now) and If I had the cash I would keep up with the newer generation of consoles by buying a ps4 and probably will eventually. FOr now I am at getting a functioning Pc first so I guess pc remains the bigger priority based on the flexibility and options it has.

XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?

Probably Playstation but I’m not all fangirl about it at all, they just seems to have had the titles I’m more interested in. Sackgal for life.

What’s the best game you’ve ever played?

Hmmmmmmmm… that’s a really hard one as how do you really determine the best from a variety of genre’s. Civ 2 is probably the best strategy game, Baldur’s Gate my favourite RPG, terraria for my favourite sandbox and Borderlands for my favourite shooter. Oh actually I choose Terraria for the king of all games here as I’ve spent the most time in it and been the most focused about it.

Terraria

What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?

Day Z. Now I usually don’t play games I hate. I drop them after the first instance of dislike and never come back. I also, generally, research what I’m buying so there isn’t as much issue with getting products unsuited to me.

The issue is this game could be good, could. The concept is there but it is mired in all the issues and mistakes of early access. It is unfinished garbage in every way; lacking a wealth of features, unpolished  in controls and look and a buggy mess that they have stated an inability to fix. There was also the crippling lag and server issues too that are completely the fault of the game and client. It is, both mechanical and in terms of gameplay the worst game.

Deponia is pretty shit as well.

Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

See above. It’s sold millions of copies and yet it is just utter, irredeemable garbage.

Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

Well I don’t know if it’s been poorly received exactly it’s just relatively unknown still. Project Zomboid is everything I wanted the survival genre to be. It has the zombie apocalypse aspect but a a fully realised vision in regards to health and psychology, day by day survival and eking out an existence within this space. You have cooking, crafting, building, fishing, medicine and many other features…in fact, I’m going back to it right now.

Project Zomboid

What are your favourite game genres?

I pretty much play everything with no genre left unplayed. I used to be far bigger into strategy style games but that has subsided a little as my interest in mmo’s has grown but otherwise I play the other genres pretty regularly.

Who is your favourite game protagonist?

Earlier games I’d definitely go with Tanya from the Command and Conquer Series.

Tanya

Manny Calavera was a great character as well.

From recent times I’m not exactly sure, Maybe Nathan drake. Even though he is a cocky overrated douche it’s a really well done character that I always enjoy watching. His dialogue is always great too ranging from deep and meaningful, philosophical statements and the wittiest of retorts.

Describe your perfect video game.

I already did in this post. Basically Eve in a wild west package where you’re creating outposts, towns and other types of infrastructure as well as controlling terrain.

What video game character do have you have a crush on?

Adam Jensen.. hunky, great bod and manly voice that goes deep but not into the batman realms of idiocy… plus I kind a have a thing for the techy bits

adamjensen

What game has the best music?

games have music? hehe. I usually game without sound or while either watching tv or listening to music. If it is on I barely notice, not enough to pick out anything discernible.

Most memorable moment in a game:

I tend to have a terrible memory so this is a hard one… hmm. For mmo’s it would have to be my first kill of Greenscale in Rift, it was amazing to feel that rush upon finally beating that beats. Always had some great times in GW2 WvW with the guild, so many amazing night running around there, killing and talking.

OOOOOOOOOO

just remembered. Borderlands 2 where that douche kills Bloodwing… having mained mordecai’s in the first and growing quite attached to it I had to walkaway afterwards.

Scariest moment in a game:

Resident Evil 2 where t]you are searching around the Police station and unlocking the puzzles. It is a time just so filled with tension and while it doesn’t tend to throw much out at you, when it does really makes you lose your nerve.

Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

Gone Home. I won’t spoil it too much but the game does such a great job of introducing the characters and their stories while never resenting them enough that you feel their jubilation but also pain. That ending too just.. teeeeeears. Walking Dead season one also had some of the saddest moments that really hit you, many because you were the one making the decision.

What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?

SO MANY and all on the side there.. actually not all of them so hmmm. Been meaning to update that for a while so guess what I’m doing on the weekend. I have a link dead radio post every week where I look at my favourite blog posts so that’s a great place to start.

What’s the last game you finished?

XCOM: Enemy Unknown and just finished it last week after a great suicidal run through. I don’t generally play tactical style games, especially not turn based but it was the perfect game of the genre. Interesting strategy and choice throughout.

What future releases are you most excited about?

The Division – survival shooter with a lot of cooperative elements

The Repopulation – sci fi mmo sandbox

Camelot Unchained – RvR PvP mmo sandbox

Grim Dawn – rpg

Black Desert – korean MMO with amny intersting sandbox elements

Wasteland 2 – rpg

Pillars of Eternity – RPG

Darkwood – survival horror

Do you identify as a gamer?

When it pleases me. Sometimes I feel like it is a very negative term, one in which the usual stereotypes of intolerance and idiocy are ingrained within. There are a lot of other negative connotations as well but yes… in that I play games more than any other interests in my life

Why do you play video games?

Because I enjoy them. They are a place for relaxation, where I can go to not think but be engaged. A place for challenge and to feel smart, powerful and feel a mastery over my circumstances. A place to imagine and create. A place to experience wonder and joy based on our environments and experiences. A place to see and hear stories you haven’t before that open up your understanding of the world. A place to meet others and be social and share in this wondrous medium

Everquest Next at SOE Live

I’ve been meaning to write this for a little bit now but with my regular popsts taking priority it kind of got pushed back.. WHATEVSSSSS

SOE live has been and gone now and I can’t say I was overly impressed. All I was really interested in from there was news and info of Everquest Next and while we did finally get a bit more info on the systems and presentations on the systems it didn’t seem to be that substantial as mpost we already knew or was just Unimportant.

Anyway here’s a little recap of the presentations I’ve watched so far.

EQN Keynote

If your strapped for time just watch this vid and be done with it as it gives a good view of where development is up to now. There was a brief overview of what the game will entail including exploration, Economy and a solid crafting foundation, Special abilities from items, Social interaction from guilds and hubbs, and Land having a high value for guild halls and town creation.

It started of with a discussion of the 5 Holy Grails that are guiding development and make it different form others, yeh, every new mmo apparently needs grails to live by now.

  • Destructibility – The aim is for everything in the world from the environment, to the building blocks and even the props to be destructability and this is a facet that is now complete within Landmark..you know, EQN’s testing ground.
  • Tiers of depth – this works in with destructibility in that you will be making your way down through the land into other spaces of increasing challenge. Currently working in development.
  • Emergeant Ai – What I believe to be the biggest challenge for the development of EQN. Creating new Ai is a hard thing already and the industry does seem to be plagued with rather poor creations due to both incompetence and Known restraints. They aim to have a system wherin the npc’s all have certain behaviours of their own and that this will run the dynamic nature of the world.
  • Rallying calls – These will be the large world events to get involved with.
  • Changing Core gameplay – they aim to change the way we’ve been playing mmo’s for a decade… Idiotic or impossible or our eventual saviours

Reimagining of the franchise and creating a new continuity. They aim to unveil a large part of the lore through a collection of books available now on their website for free and to come so as to flesh out the lore of Everquest next.

Music is of course by Jeremy Soule, the apparent musical whipping boy of the industry creating bland fantasy tunes over and over again.

Integration of landmark assets was a huge part of the presentation and they showed a lot of video looking at the dark elf structures. Looks pretty good for early development. Giving the players the concept art and other assets to create the foundation of the races and spaces as a community. t’s about changing and creating the world together and it seems like a great way of gaining even more artistic innovation and inspiration.

eqn dark elf

The aim to continually place in new new stories and events throughout the world. Permanent change will be based on these and what you engage in personally or communally and worlds will become unique based on these actions. It’s an interesting premise.

Basic Class recount where they shows the 3 released classes: Wizard, warrior and Cleric. A few gameplay parts of skill use and a rundown of their playstyle. Very.. colourful. Like most modern mmo’s combat will have an active nature and involve a lot of positioning in order to hit and avoid attacks.

EQN wizard

 

The EQN Classes

This panel had a lot of great information on the guiding foundations of the combat, what will guide progression and how the gameplay will play. It all sounds very interesting with a surprising amount of depth while trying to avoid the usual flaws.

The foundation for the system seems to revolve around certain elements. Each attack will have a certain element type that it relates to with classes being built towards a limited amount of them. There Will be (proposed) certain bonuses when using one elements against certain others and combos that can be achieved with others in order to improve the effect.

EQN Elements`

 

 

For combat you will be equipping skills from the available pool but also passives that will act as modifiers to these skills. The way they talked about this was having KEYWORDS to abilities that will be easy to see and then check for more modifiers. these relate to the origin (elements) and damage type (mechanic).

EQN skills

 

Classes also have an affinity towards certain categories or the origins they identify with and kind of draw their power from.

EQN class

These class origins will combine in a variety of ways to make the 40 or so classes planned for EQN, and irgin for the class and the element/s they use for attacking. These are the defining flavours of the classes that will be showed off with certain visual elements that make sense.

EQN class

 

Where this becomes interesting is with the gearing method as it begins to add certain other elements and effects to your abilities and open up new options and playstyles. What this looks like is bringing the passive elements from The secret world Skill tree, those passive buffs to skills or maybe mechanics like crit, healing, buffing and and placing them onto gear instead so that you begin to combine gear pieces and their bonuses to create interesting and powerful builds built around certain effects, elements or abilities.

EQN Gear

 

Achievements hunting will be a part of building your character as well with providing a certain amount of buffs to your character or abilities.

EQN achievements

 

Mutli-classing will be a part of the equation as well where you will be able have a primary class to choose abilities from but you can use passives from, it seems, any other classes. Classes might have an affinity towards others so I believe there will be certain restrictions based on the class type or elements involved.

This all adds up to a huge amount from your class, the passives from others and the way gear can augment all this.

It will be a rather free system to use too. They are still going for a more levelless design with the progression revolving more around collecting these classes and building your character through gear and other options. Classes will need to be levelled individual by using advancement points but then you don’t need to be playing that class in order to do that. Points earned at any time can be placed where you want.

EQN Story Bricks and Content

First a warning that this has terrible audio. It’s very distorted and hard to hear throughout with certain parts being completely unintelligible.

There was a lot of talk about the types of encounters and events within the world and how their new ai would be working within that. Enemies and Npc’s will have a certain role that the try to fulfill with modifiers to that. There were a couple audible examples here about that although hard to understand.

There was more iteration on player actions and and the impact this will have on the world. there will be an ecology to the world and disrupting that in one way or space can have consequences in other ways. The world will also be filled with a variety of factions and groups that will drive their own interactions based on this ai that you can either support, on both sides at times or avoid.

They did talk about there being no traditional quest hubs but still quest givers it seems but these quest givers will be more dynamic in what their asking and due to their own behaviour patterns. They move around and interact with the world to based on their own role.

A major element to help players with this new world is the Rohsong, a personally created book that you fill up with information on the world, inhabitants and creatures throughout your travels. This will also be the way they guide players towards larger events, story elements or their Rallying calls.

Most of this presentation looked at an example of how the ecology will work and the balnce to the world. A group of dark elves gaining to much wealth and being bombarded by another factions. This faction controlling a large part of this land now then expanding into the druid realms nearby. The druid realms losing there strength on their land and the protections being loosened letting strong shadow based mobs free onto the world in increasing amounts as this strength lessens. Hard to understand but seemed like an in depth presentation I would like to see with audio not under water, within a cavern full of angry building sized bees.

And that’s it really, The landmark Keynote was interesting to see how that development is going. They are getting combat and a whole range of other features around that very soon. Attack gaming had some decent interviews on EQN and landmark as well. Oh and reddit has the full list of vids pertaining to eqn and landmark

ANNNNNND dats it.. i know there’s mistakes but it’s late now and I’ll fix them in the morning.

 

Progress Report: A Strategic Simpleton

I WAS OUTSIDE THE HOUSE AGAIN.. OMG. this has to be some kind of record for excursion outside not including work. The EKKA, a large exhibition that started out as an agricultural show was back in Brisbane for the year. It has all that good stuff like rides, carni games where you pay a lot of money to not win anything, and showbags filled with chocolate and random crap that they could sell for the inflated price they were asking in retail.

It’s an environment you just can’t help but get excited for, once every few years and this year was my year. Of course getting a public holiday for the EKKA definitely helps too. I went with a friend from work and we had a a lot of fun here, the usual carnival type activities were fun but mostly all the agriculture activities are what’s interesting. We saw the GIGANTIC COWS… seriously.. massive.

MOOOOOOOOOOO

MOOOOOOOOOOO

A wealth of ducks and chickens of different types that I gleefully harassed within there cages, goat and the first time I’ve ever seen a Turkey. A gigantic, noisy and rather angry Turkey.

The other shows that happen are stuff like cat and dog showing, horse jumping, Sheep herding, wood chopping, actual horse shoeing including making them and a few other things. It sounds completely bogan to see but actually rather interesting when you see it all happening, plus I’ve always liked animals.

For shows I actually got around to watching Grave of Fireflies, A show I’ve been meaning to watch ever since a guy friends said they bawled because of it, uncontrollably. Now when you know an emotional hit is coming like that you tend to avoid it, I love shows that can provide an emotional response but when you know it’s coming it’s kind of like a jump scare. You avoid at all cost. It is just as emotional, heartbreaking and soul shattering as he described and nothing had diminished from the experience.

grave of fireflies

 

It’s not something that constantly hits you, no big events throughout that really wind you up, no deliberate heartbreak moment but what it does have is so much more. For the entire movie you really don’t realise how that emotional knot is being tied within you, each scene and set back keeps turning it, each cue as of what’s to come another, the derision of those around even more. It’s light hearted enough which I think helps that as it becomes a more natural tale but then that ending hits and BAM.. that knot unravels and you’re just sobbing. Your insides are bruised and twisted and you feel like curling up for a while. Even afterwards you carry that sadness, a sadness you kind of need chocolate to help out with.

Oh and I watched the new TMNT movie and it was… not terrible.

For Gaming I spent a lot of time in Xcom, in particular the last mission where you’re assaulting the mothership. Now, most of it isn’t too hard, there’s a couple trickier moments but it doesn’t overwhelm in the same way the other campaign missions can in being more dynamic with placement and movement. Here the enemies are purposefully placed and more managaeable it’s just that I was having some of the worst luck I’ve ever had.

Lots of missing key hits with high percentages and then getting punished for it. Amazing critical hits from the enemy, a time where a reaction shot from the mechs not only hit the target, killing them but also the person in cover next to them, nearly killing him. Oh and don’t forget trying to find the last mob in the map yet leaving behind the Sniper and my psyker in overwatch at the last door and then having those two elites spawn right on top after killing that rogue mob. No movement left it was 2 critical hits to both leaving one dead and the other on the brink. Oh yeh, and then my controlled minions turned on me when i wasn’t ready, killing a couple more.

XCom

 

 

And that’s not including inside that last room with 3 of those nasty psychic things that kept gaining control of my soldiers and mind bombing the rest.

Sigh… twas a tough time but I pulled through getting out the win. Going by my stats though it wasn’t a very impressive win hehehe.

XCom results

 

The other Game I played a ton of was DIABLO. I haven’t touched it on the computer since very near release. The online play was just that bad with lag and then the lack of meaningful rewards nailed that coffin. Now with the progression and loot improved I’m getting far more back into it. A lot of people are playing through the new expansion content getting up to 70 and gaining the new paragon levels and it’s been fun to join in with that excitement.

Now I haven’t picked up the expansion yet but that doesn’t really matter to much when playing with the guild because we pretty much just do Hardcore mode so there’s always someone trying to level another character back up. I seem to be doing quite well too with my new Hardcore characters. A monk is close to 40, a witch doctor in the 30’s and a couple around 20. I’ve only lost one this week which is impressive for me but it was my warrior, Joan of Fart *giggle*.

I also had a lot of play with my blogging compatriots Doone and Izlain. I dragged them along into Hardcore mode to level some characters which was a lot of fun Doone was getting rather tense with our run about dieing although I had turned up the difficulty without telling him hehehe. Oh, and getting Izzy killed was a highlight of the week. Came along on a lower character and one of those wall acid things killed him in one go after only a minute of play. I laughed.. a lot. Cause I’m evil like that.

I think I’ll have to get the Expansion eventually but only once I get a character up to 60, a feat I have no idea if is possible for me and my reckless style of play.

For the week to come I’ll probably be back into both these games. I just unlocked the expansion version of xcom with beating it once so I might see what that’s like. Close to finished with it now though. I have a firefall itch once more and yeh, I know I just ranted about it but whatever. I also picked up Nom Nom Galaxy for half price on humble this week which is a colourful management game I’ve been looking forward too.

Have fun out there and may your characters always die in a blaze of glory