Blood Bowl on sale

December 23, 2010

As some have already mentioned, Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition is on sale today on Steam.

It’s a great game if you enjoy turn-based strategy titles, and our league is going strong. I’d say with this sale, it’s a good time to jump in and get familiar with the game, as in a month or so we will be finishing season one and opening things up for season two.

Rift’s biggest issue? The hype

December 23, 2010

Has anyone seen anyone post about Rift? So hard to get info about that game…

I kid, and of course, I myself wrote about it yesterday, so pot kettle black blablabla. Head over to Virgin Worlds to find the latest (I’m too lazy to link to them here).

Now having read many bloggers who I respect (or just follow), I think two items are very clear: Rift is nothing new, and Rift is not broken.

I’ll get to the first point in a minute, but let me cover the second real quick. It’s sad that even in 2010/2011, not being broken is seen as a feature in MMO land. That “the game worked when I installed it” is still noteworthy praise kinda says a lot about our genre. Still, working is always a plus (though not required), so +1 for that.

Now that whole ‘nothing new’ part. I don’t see it as a crime, and I think there are a ton of gamers out there looking to do ‘more of the same’ with just a palette swap. The issue here, and what I think will ultimately disappoint some, is that the Rift devs claimed on day one of release Rift would “move the genre forward”. I don’t understand the motivation behind saying that, and I can’t imagine it’s because they actually believe it.

Look, you made PQs v2.0 and called them rifts. That’s not a bad thing, as the general concept behind PQs was solid in WAR (plus you help Mythic get one thing right, in that people would copy that feature. They need all the points they can get here!). But let’s not pretend rifts are some amazing new innovation to the MMO genre, and more importantly, let’s not hype them as that so people going in expect them to be so. Hype them as “PQs that work, and they move!”, and people will be excited.

Same goes for the character system. It’s not a revolution; it’s multiclassing that allows for more… multi in it. Again, that’s cool (assuming you can balance it, especially for PvP), but don’t hype it as something that will blow people away with its mega-innovation, because most will log in, see WoW’s system but with ‘more stuff’, and feel disappointed. Selling it as “more flexible talent trees” is really ok, people would buy that and look forward to it.

Finally, it’s curious that so many beta testers leave with “it’s nice, I’ll play it at some point, but I’m not dying for it”. I think that’s a little worrisome. Beta is always the time when your MMO plays best (in terms of everyone enjoying themselves, not the tech side), so if during that time people are still leaving feel just ‘ok’ about your game, that might be an issue.

I think the whole thing can go in one of two ways; Rift launches, does what a themepark does well, and while not blowing anyone away, keeps them happy enough to keep playing, ultimately leading to success because, well, a lot of people are looking to do more of the same. The other scenario is that a large portion of the player base goes in expecting greatness, finds ‘good’, and rages loud enough to upset others and start a downward spiral of negativity. We’ve seen this happen before, and while the Rift hype has not been anywhere near WAR levels, there have been a few silly things said about the game from the devs that might come back and haunt/harm them.

If the second comes to pass, or ends up causing even a minor issue, it might be a very clear example of just shutting up and delivering. If you have a solid product, just ship it honestly. Players will respect the honesty, and go in with measured expectations. Hell, maybe you will over-deliver based on your tame hype, and the players themselves will pick up the hype banner and run with it for you.

Rift talky talk

December 22, 2010

The Rift NDA is down, Syp has a nice write-up. As expected, the rift system is WAR’s PQ system but more. I think the make or break for Rift will be just how big that ‘more’ really is. Opinions about that are still mixed. Claims that Rift will ‘change the game’ on day one, as expected, were just silly Mythic-level hype. The genre needs to grow up in that regard, but eh, I don’t play games because of their ‘great’ marketing.

Someone today on the Darkfall forums brought up Rift as a potential competitor, and I think it’s rather clear it’s not going to be that. And that’s ok! I’m definitely in the market for a GOOD version of WAR. Not only do I know plenty of carebears (Inq and others), but I’m married to one, and we enjoy playing MMOs together. Just last night, as I was playing Darkfall, Aria again did her little “I just don’t get it” speech about the game, and it’s cool. Not for everyone indeed.

So yes, I’m looking forward to Rift. I signed up for beta, and if I get in, cool. If I don’t, I’m sure enough bloggers will do enough write-ups to cover everything. Come open beta I expect us to jump in and check things out. Best case here? WAR – broken system and directionless dev team + PQ 2.0 system. Bonus if the PvP is something above what WoW/WAR offers. If not, I’m sure we will have fun with the PvE and all that.

Darkfall: The Movie

December 21, 2010

37 minutes of pure Darkfall PvP goodness.

Screw L00se is the one calling the shots, and I love that vent is included in the video. It really shows off the coordination needed for top-end Darkfall PvP. Hats off to Zealots for following orders as well as they do, and for having such great awareness of the situation. They make it look easy, but in situations like that, when everything is absolutely crazy, staying that calm and collected is a true skill.

And as always, a fantastic editing job by Valroth.

Dragon Age 2 slipping off my radar

December 21, 2010

I think I’ve mentioned before that I definitely looking forward to The Witcher 2 way more than Dragon Age 2, but this preview from Warcry just tipped the scale even more in favor of Witcher. Anyone else read the preview and walk away feeling… WoW-ed?

It just sounds like every ‘improvement’ is aimed at making the whole thing easier, and I never found Dragon Age to be impossibly difficult to begin with. Rather it was a solid challenge in a genre that too often provides you with interactive cakewalks, and it was that challenge that masked a lot of the combat systems shortfalls (that became very apparent once things got easy towards the end). I doubt making an RPG’s combat more ‘actiony’ is really going to impress me either, especially since originally Dragon Age was intended as the spiritual successor to Balders Gate, a game certainly NOT about bash-em action.

Perhaps I’m just being glass-half-empty here (which would be a first), but right now DA2 is looking very much like a pass.

Steam Sale

December 21, 2010

I was going to say every game is 50% off or more , but then realized the exaggeration might cause some confusion. I then later realized it’s kinda accurate…

Anyway, Steam Sale, huge, check it out. Titan Quest for $5 again if anyone missed it before (only for a few more hours), new sales every day. Waiting on The Witcher to go  on sale personally.

Edit: Ha, The Witcher is 75% off today, $5 score!

Darkfall: Weekend update

December 20, 2010

I played a lot of Darkfall this weekend, mostly due to League of Legends interest having mostly dropped to only playing with Aria. Inq seems to be semi-inactive over it as well. While nothing of amazing interest happened in Darkfall,  like a huge siege or blowout battle, a lot of ‘little things’ came up that I think are blog-worthy.

Overall I’m really happy with my alliance, Flying V. For me it’s the perfect mix of nice people who enjoy the game while still having a competitive edge. We are definitely a PvP alliance, but we don’t pretend to be semi-pros who must defend their e-thug rep 24/7 (and when we do it costs us 2m, oops…) We have some amazing players, we have a lot of good ones, and we also have some (like me) who do their best to contribute but have long since realized being top X is not going to happen.

We had an alliance PvP practice night recently, and it went very well. At one point we had just under 40 people on, and we split into two groups and staged an attack on Apautan (AppleTown). A 20v20 fight is fairly realistic in terms of midsized engagements, and since it was practice, everyone pulled out good gear and played all-out. I’m still working the rust off and trying some things with my keybinds, but I had a great time and learned a ton. I believe this is going to be a regular event, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

After the town fights we had a quick 10v10 duel, and again it was a solid learning experience for me. Along with just being back in the game, I’m also trying my hands at Destroyer spec, and learning when to charge in and when to back out is tough, plus without all of the magic access you can’t ‘mask’ your mistakes as easily, and you are far more reliant on your team. I’m confident in the long run this is going to be successful thanks to the solid teamwork Flying V has going right now, and it’s something we are still working to really perfect.

I’m finding some really solid PvE around Apautan as well. In close proximity we have solo spawns (Gray Orcs), small group stuff (shadow knights, blood golem), and large beasts like the Fire Dragon. I’m hoping we also take a trip to kill the newly added Demon, and perhaps the Ice Dragon. As I recently purchased a large amount of Infernal armor to beef up my siege bags, my total gold is down a bit, giving me the perfect excuse/motivation to go out and farm. A major side bonus from this is my continued push to 100 Greatsword Mastery (82 atm), along with skills like rigor, ignore pain, etc. My current stats goal is to hit 100 quickness (79 atm), and to get 400+ HP (385 atm). Slow and steady and all that.

Along with PvP and PvE, I also have renewed interest in crafting. I’m currently just 11 points away from being able to craft r60 weapons, and a length 30 points away from being able to craft Infernal armor. I believe I also need at least 20 more points in Bloodcrafting to make bloodcrafted full plate helms. Normally it would be difficult to progress my crafting since it all requires rare ore, but again Flying V is helpful with this. Along with being able to buy rare ore for 500g a piece, we can ‘buy’ some of our city mines for a day at 20k. I bought Appletown’s mine Sunday, and ultimately pulled out over 1000 iron ore, 16 neithal ore, and 8 leenspar ore. My plan is to try and buy a mine anytime I know I will be able to jump online often, and also take advantage of the 500g ore until I reach my crafting goals.

So overall, lots to keep me busy, and lots of entertaining stuff, big and small.

On a final note, I was online (but sadly semi-afk as we had guests over) during the undead invasion event. I went up to the dwarf capital, and although I missed the main attack, I did catch some of the aftermath. Overall things were a bit chaotic thanks to some griefing players, but it was still fun to see NPCs attack a city, and to have some fighting inside the mountain fortress that is normally quiet. I was not able to grab one of the special event drops, but I am curios to see where Aventurine takes the storyline going forward.

(DarkFall-related post disclaimer/reminder. If you click the image link near the top-right of this page and buy a DarkFall account, I get paid 20% of the client cost. If you believe this taints my views and reporting on DarkFall, your opinion is wrong.)


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