Category Archives: Miscellany
According to the Blues, Blizzard’s F2P “Free to download, optional in-game purchases” Hearthstone will be released for real in a matter of weeks:
How close to the end of the beta are we? Don’t need an exact date, because I know that would be horrendous, but is this a matter of days or weeks or months?
I can’t say exactly, but it is soon. Not months.
Although there are a number of annoying bugs still kicking around, I have largely considered the game to be ready for Prime Time since the closed beta. The level of polish when it comes to sound effects, the implied physicality of the game pieces, and everything else is pretty astounding considering the size of the development team. For a while there were rumors floating around that the game wouldn’t be released until the iPad version was up, but it seems like that might be referring to the planned single-player Adventure Mode.
Whatever the case, I am very much looking forward to the release and any potential card tweaks that might go along with it. To an extent, it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and call the release of new card sets/expansions as “greedy,” but goddamn does it get annoying after a while when you see the same dozen cards get played in game after game. The metagame is in a healthy state of flux, but the core staples of most every deck do not.
In news that I likely care about more than any possible reader, apparently there is a 4th (5th?) entry in the Deception series called Deception IV: Blood Ties and it’s being released this month. While it is obscure as hell, the Deception series was a set of rather groundbreaking PS1 games that were the precursor to games like Orcs Must Die. Essentially, you set up a number of nefarious traps in a mansion and then must lure trespassers to their doom by controlling an otherwise unarmed Gothic lady.
Here’s a video from Kagero: Deception 2, which is the sort of foundation of the series:
The graphics were pretty hideous even by the time the 3rd game was released, and the plot was Japanese nonsense, but the gameplay? Equal parts brilliant and hilarious. A large part of the game revolved around chaining trap combos, both because traps had cooldowns and because getting the bonus currency was required to unlock more traps/upgrade existing ones (and there was no farming). A fairly simple chain would go like this:
- Bear Trap at bottom of stairs.
- Giant Boulder crashes down stairs, knocks target into back wall.
- Push Wall knocks target back onto Bear Trap.
Sounds quaint, right? Well, it should, considering Deception started doing it in 1996 and Kagero in 1998. Those were good years – FF7 was 1997, FFT was 1998 as was Xenogears.
…all of which happened almost 20 years ago. Sigh.
Basically for Tycho’s wordsmithing:
People like games for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps they are flattered by them somehow, told what they want to be told about themselves and vile, unnamed others. Oh! And occasionally games are fun. Even if they don’t model class tensions for some reason. Obviously, they would be better if they did!
You can also be surprised by a game, have it come outta nowhere and create for itself some immaculate mental foyer in your… brain house. Just run with it. It’s much trickier when a game is known to you. But what if a game is not just as good as you wanted, but was as good as they said? The annals of gaming yournalism are lined on each side with the crucifixions of perfectly good, even great games that simply didn’t conform to the narratives that they themselves created. But it actually happened this time. You know? They weren’t retroactively made a heap of fucking liars. Let ‘em ride that shit around for a bit.
He’s referring to Titanfall, so it’s somewhat topical to boot.
John Smedley, the president of SOE, did a Reddit AMA a little while ago and dropped some bombs.
If you could relaunch a shutdown title which one would you pick and what would you do differently this time?
SWG. I would do everything differently.
SWG PLAYERS – OUR NEXT GAME (not announced yet) IS DEDICATED TO YOU. Once we launch it… you can come home now. (source)
Here are some more snippets:
- The PlanetSide 2 pricing model is not a good gauge for EQN/L (and Ps2 prices may be decreased soon)
- There will be a Bard in EQN
- The Ps2 Player Studio will eventually allow players to create vehicles and even weapons eventually.
- EQN is confirmed to be coming to the PS4.
- The whole Storybricks/emergent AI thing is the secret sauce to EQN.
- You can expect EQN:L, expansions to EQ and EQ2, and an unannounced MMO in 2014.
- When asked about the closing of Vanguard, he admitted that they were actually running it at a loss for years.
His response to the closing of Free Realms was rather depressing:
1) Are you planning on adding more family-friendly options? First there was Toontown Online, then there was Free Realms, and CWA. Is there another youth-oriented game planned?
1) No. No more kids games. Kids don’t spend well and it’s very difficult to run a kids game. Turns out Kids do mean stuff to each other a lot. (source)
There was another question/answer that I felt was rather interesting, concerning card games:
Will Legends of Norrath also be sunsetted in the near future?
no. Actually after seeing what Blizzard did with Hearthstone it’s given us some other ideas…. LoN is an awesome card game. We can take that to the next level. (source)
The whole WoW-clone phenomenon is well established, but I still find it interesting seeing it take place in real-time.
The mystery of where Ghostcrawler’s next opportunity has led him has been revealed: Lead Game Designer at… Riot Games. As in, Lead Game Designer for League of Legends. Needless to say, some corners of the internet flipped their shit. A response from Riot Games illuminated some of the reasons he got hired on:
A lot of the things we want to focus on with game health this year (and preseason is a kick-off to this effort) is primarily around fixing a lot of the old problems. After finishing up support (IE the gold item particulars + Annie problem), we want to focus on adding choice and depth by taking a HARD look at “ball of stats” stuff so we can actually introduce interesting stuff with trade-offs.
I have never actually played League of Legends, so I cannot speak to any of the complexities of the game. But while the jokes about Ghostcrawler balancing things write themselves, it’s worth a slight reflection on how, pretty indisputably, WoW is more balanced class and spec-wise than it has ever been. My prediction is that he’s going to tank LoL all right… in the aggro sense. It sorta sucks how his reputation automatically makes him an undeserved (IMO) target of scorn. But hey, if you’re good at something, I guess getting paid (more?) to do exactly that thing isn’t so bad.
I had half a mind to forgo any videogame purchases this Black Cyber Fronday, because sometimes a 50+ game backlog just becomes ridiculous to consider adding to. (Un)Fortunately, the half of my mind that controlled the credit card was the other one. I picked up:
- Battlefield 4 Digital Deluxe version ($26)
- The Last of Us ($30)
- 12-month PlayStation Plus subscription ($30)
It could have been worse, of course. I did exercise restraint in not picking up Shadowrun Returns and State of Decay; not because they might not be worth it, but because I have no particular reason to have them right now. Perhaps after, I dunno, I get around to finishing The Witcher 2. And Crysis. And the half-dozen indie games I started but not finished. And…
This is post number 500. And we’re six days away from my three-year blogging anniversary: December 1st, 2010.
Included in these figures are the posts I imported from Player Vs Auction House, which was my initial foray into the world of internet punditry. If you want to count only those posts from In An Age for some bizarre, technical reason, then the starting point would be the Culpability of Questionable Design post on 8/25/2011. Which, incidentally, still feels like forever ago… probably because there are 419 posts between then and now.
In any case, thanks for sticking around. I don’t plan on going anywhere, so see you at post number 1,000 and all the ones inbetween.
My gaming time, when I actually use it to game, is all over the place lately.
While the Currently Playing sidebar is technically correct, I find myself at the end of the day spending crazy amounts of time playing an Android game called Dungeon Raid. I think the problem is that my current gaming menu is full of open-ended loot games that lack otherwise meaningful progression. While I am genuinely interested in the Tiny Tina DLC storyline in Borderlands 2, for example, I have a hard time treating it like a “normal” game. Could I plow through the story missions and call it a day? Certainly. But… it’s DLC. Skipping the sidequests feels like a waste – especially when the sidequests in BL2 proper are usually hilarious/fun – and that goes double when they are DLC quests. I don’t feel the need to find all the secrets, but the sidequests? I need them all.
Of course, not all sidequests are created equal. Spending 15-20 minutes on some boring chores saps the motivation to go further. And while I largely solved the gun issue I had earlier, I am approaching the other side insofar as I suspect I should be playing this on Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode. Which means finding a Slag weapon. Which means more grinding. Sigh.
I thought I was done with Hearthstone, but I came slinking back in a moment of CCG weakness. Finally did an Arena as a Shaman. Went 0-3. And while I was mercilessly curb-stomped in all three games, on a certain level I just had to be impressed with the thoroughness. One of the games was against a Priest at 12 HP who Mind Controlled my 6/6 creature with Windfury one turn, and then followed up the next with a temporary Mind Control on my Taunt blocker and then cast a copy of Bloodlust from my own goddamn deck. I mean, Jesus Christ, man… good job. My secret Arena MMR must be setting me up against fucking top-decking wizards whereas I never even had an epic card available to pick from.
If that is really what’s going on – as opposed to a huge coincidence of pro players after 9pm – it’s definitely a strike against what I thought was an awesome innovation in Booster Draft gameplay. You always had “that guy” in your Magic Online drafting group, but there were at least even-odds that you’d face similar players first. Scrubbing out at 0-3 when you spent four days doing dailies to get enough gold to get it is demoralizing, to say the least. Is asynchronous Booster play worth it? I’m not so sure anymore.
Card Hunter is as it was (i.e. excellent), but I can’t seem to get any information as to whether the campaign is actually any longer than it was in the Beta. Because if it just sort of peters out at where it did, then I’m not sure purchasing the 30-day subscription/buying the Treasure campaigns is worth the $20 or whatever. And as both I and Tobold pointed out, you basically need to make that decision early on, as it decreases in value/usefulness pretty quickly.
Path of Exile is alright, but after wondering whether my minions build (think Diablo 2 Necromancer) would actually be useful at the higher levels – the boss battle I did a few days ago was an exercise in frustration when she one-shot my zombies and there were no more corpses to resurrect – I more or less metagamed a bit too deep. Once you see things like this, there is no going back. Which is somewhat literally true, since I already “wasted” a lot of my talent points and PoE is “old-school” when it comes to respecing. Even my more modest goal of acquiring a Summon Skeleton gem so my Witch isn’t left defenseless during bosses appears to be best achieved by rolling an alt and completing quests in Chapter 1.
So as I muse on which game I want to play that leaves me least hollow and empty on the inside, I fill the void with Dungeon Raid. Which is a roguelike akin to 10000000 minus the assured progression. But it’s shiny, it’s on my shiny phone, and it’s goddamn addicting in that Candy Crush way without microtransactions.
Yeah, I’m scared too.
So I may or may not be writing this from a Nexus 4 (hint: I am). While these sort of updates aren’t going to be common, it’s worth mentioning because I barely know what I’m doing. In fact, this is my first smart phone. Prior to this I just had my “dumb” phone and iPod Touch.
So, basically, if you have any advice or recommendations for apps to get or things to do, let me know in the comments. So far, I just have SwiftKey and Reddit and obviously this somewhat annoying WordPress app.
P.S. I find it amusing that the swipe text feature refuses to recognise “iPod”.
Yeah, yeah, it’s a dev hack to get around the bizarre inability for iOS apps to figure out if the given device can run it. And the actual shark-jumping likely happened two years ago. But, still, it’s like… really? I’m not mad, just depressed about the first signs of the somewhat arbitrary obsolescence of my iPod touch. PvZ2 is not necessary by any means, but it’s still clear that winter is coming.