Important Stuff!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

[GW2 Review] A few hours in...

Random Quote: "You aren't allowed an opinion, you're a ficus." - Norn player to a Sylvari player

Now officially released, GW2 might not be the second coming of MMO Jesus and it may not be the game to step on WoW's throat, but it certainly improves on the formula. While dozens of other bloggers and reviewers have focused on the traditional elements...gameplay, endgame, sound, story, combat...I want to turn over a bit of a new leaf and look at some of the unconventional elements that still contribute to the game being enjoyable. Sadly I have only had a brief period of time to play because this also happens to be the beginning of my law school semester...much to my chagrin.

Friday, August 24, 2012

F__k that loser!

Funny that Diablo 3 might end up being remembered for three words, "Fuck that loser!", posted off the cuff on Facebook by Jay Wilson in what he thought was a private conversation. You would think a lead developer at a major gaming company would know that nothing is private anymore. In this post I aim to discuss why those three words mean far more, and how they represent a pivotal change at Blizzard. Given my previous discussions about professionalism in gaming, it seemed prudent to throw in my hat.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Individualism and Collectivism [@SheepTheDiamond]

Edit: Had some additional thoughts, and adjusted a few things! I do apologize, the post got a bit long.

I was reading Stubborn's post at Sheep the Diamond regarding how certain games push us towards Collectivist or Individualist thinking, and it got me thinking about some of my early games and first forays into the MMO-universe. I think Stubborn's scores (at least for the games I have played from the list) are fairly accurate, but I think I will aim to add to the list in this case and offer my perspective on a few of the other games.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

[WoW] Pandaria cinematic analysis

"Si vis pacem, para bellum." - De Re Militari

In my earlier post this morning I briefly announced and began some discussion and analysis of the new Mists of Pandaria cinematic.  I didn't have enough time to go into detail so I'll do it now. As always the CG quality is up to Blizzard's usual level of detail to the point of being practically photorealistic but with a certain 'fantasy' feel. I am not going to uphold it as a cinematic work of art as it relies on many tropes and cliches, but most of them it handles nicely. Comparing it aside the other WoW cinematics I actually would rank it highly because of well thought out use of subtext and content, but it does have some glaring flaws. I have relinked it below and there I go into analysis.

[WoW] Mists of Pandaria Cinematic goes live

I will happily admit that I am not all that excited about Mists; WoW has lost its excitement for him and once my raid cleared Dragon Soul our weekly raid became bi-weekly, then somewhat disappeared all together as we ran out of things we wanted to do. That said, I have always been a fan of Blizzard's cinematics...what can I say, I love CG. So I have linked the new one below and I must say I think it is a step back in the right direction. The previous two, Wrath and Cataclysm have both focused on the villains; Wrath was a nice poetic story and Cata was disaster porn, but they always felt like they had something on....the players! Vanilla and TBC both featured somewhat "generic" representations of the races and characters but to me they provided the "feel" of an MMO story; where there are many heroes and villains, all dependent on which perspective you have. In the Vanilla cinematic it is not really clear who is the "bad guy" in any of the small duels they show. TBC biased the viewer a little in its depictions of Blood Elves and Orcs but was still a solid watch. Some brief discussion of the video after the link....

Pandaria seems to be going back to those roots by having two more or less generic characters fighting a generic panda...which can be boring, but also allows the viewer to put their character in the view. That and the video is meant to focus on Pandaria, on the mystery. I think it is one of the better done...yes it lacks the poetic quality of Wrath but it "feels" more like a Warcraft movie to me. That and the animated Pandaria is gorgeous...I'm a sucker for cherry blossoms and fantasized Asian settings.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How you die in games matters

 "Our greatest glory consist not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
Oliver Goldsmith

The ways in which a person can die in a game are as varied as the games themselves. Furthermore, the effects of death on your gameplay are just as varied. You have Diablo 3 hardcore, in which death of a character is permanent and sets you back to zero, or games like Battlefield or Team Fortress 2 in which death is a temporary "you're out!" How that death comes about can matter a great deal; games are about learning and death should teach a player some kind of "lesson".

Monday, August 6, 2012

[Review] On Genocide (of Orcs)

\A week ago now Orcs Must Die 2 came out on Steam; having finally gotten around to playing the first game over the preceding weekend (which I enjoyed) and being without any other games currently occupying my attention, I dove on it (and at $15 it was worth it!). I would fully recommend it to fans of action games or tower-defense games alike...or heck, to anyone who enjoys gaming. My commentary after the break

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Steam's New Subscriber Agreement

Earlier this week Valve caused a stir when they updated their Steam Subscriber Agreement to include what is colloquially known as an "Arbitration Clause" which I have quoted after the break. Suffice to say this new addition has aggravated many, lending ammunition to those that want to claim that Valve is just as "bad" as EA and that it's "fanboys" are merely overlooking a myriad of faults in order to white knight their favorite system. Ironically, I am surprised less by the fact that Valve has suddenly included this section than I am by that it took them this long to get it in there.