Why Does Blizzard Still Push WoW into eSports?

Posted by on September 30, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_wow_arena_esports

Running through my blogroll today I came across a blurb from Kim Phan on World of Warcraft and eSports. Phan, Blizzard’s senior manager of eSports that’s been around the arena since the Warcraft III era (possibly earlier), admitted that WoW 3v3 Arena is “kind of hard to watch”. It’s no shock that Blizzard, one of the earliest supporters of eSports wanted WoW to have thriving eSports audience but when is it time to call it quits?

Arena matches were introduced way back in The Burning Crusade, the title’s second expansion. It was initially popular, as most new features are, adding a new way to scratch that PvP itch. I was on hiatus then, and, frankly, have never enjoyed WoW PvP since the Tarren Mills days, making it an easily ignored bulletpoint. BlizzCon after BlizzCon featured the final matches, then it began to decline as interest in the title itself and the competitive nature of matches did. Not to mention the rise of the MOBA genre. eSports leagues dropped it, then WoW Arena took second fiddle even at BlizzCon. Read more…

Multiple Paths for Endgame Gear

Posted by on September 29, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_rift_nightmare_tide_itemization_gearI haven’t been paying much attention to RIFT lately. To be honest, the title, despite numerous large content patches, kind of fell off my radar. It happened rather quickly to be honest, only a few months after its launch had I let Solidkieron fall by the wayside. The poor healer didn’t even approach level cap. Granted, the swath of distractions that Trion Worlds built into RIFT – from the dynamic events to fishing and cooking – gave me plenty to do outside of level grinding.

Subscription long lapsed with another MMOG character of mine in the mothball stage, RIFT is back on my radar thanks to a new itemization mechanic. The dev/pub has announced that Nightmare Tide, the upcoming v3.0 of RIFT, will introduce a single currency for players to acquire high end gear with.

I couldn’t be more ecstatic. Read more…

ArcheAge: Die, Spammers, Die

Posted by on September 29, 2014 - No Comments »

ScreenShot0113I’d intended to write an enthusiastic first impressions of my play in ArcheAge post. I logged in this morning, with the intention of bumming around, being social, maybe find some new friends to hang and level with, but…. gold spammers. Oh, gold spammers.

Anyone who’s ever played an MMO has encountered the dread gold spammers. It’s an old, dead, oft-beaten horse. So why beat it again?

I am beating that horse because in ArcheAge, the gold spamming is just that bad. It’s bad enough to send me into a near red-hazed vision rage. Bad enough to make me want to log out and never log in again. Bad enough that I think this is by far and away the worst spammed game I’ve ever played. I want to say Lineage 2 came close in its hayday, which is both interesting – because L2 was another Jake Song game – and likely inaccurate – because it’s been so long I simply can’t remember anything beyond that it was the gold spammers and farmers who caused me to ultimately quit.

Read more…

MOBA Monday: It’s the Incredible, Browser-playable TOME (Giveaway)

Posted by on September 29, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_TOME_immortal_arena_moba_monday_smite_orlonMOBA Monday is a weekly showcase of how to perform, eh, let’s go with adequately – we hope – in a massive online battle arena. The streaming squad features the hottest, upcoming or most interesting titles of their and the communities fancy for a few rounds of PvP shenanigans inour weekly Twitch channel staple.

The opening part of this week sees me back on the road which means one thing for the stream, the playing of games that can be handled by the mobile command unit. Oh, and you’ll have to delay swooning over my baby blues and beautiful beard for a little longer. Seeing as I’m sans a ridiculously powerful discrete video card today we’ll be diving into a title that is so slick, so expertly designed as to run seamlessly inside the browser you’re using to view this webpage (analytics tell me that Lore Hound still has a strong high-end desktop focus).

If you missed out on what Kixeye is aiming to do with TOME, then allow Shawn Carnes to catch you up his design philosophy. The company’s ingenuity with the popular Unity engine made one of those rare gems that took me by surprise at a PAX Prime. Focusing on accessibility and challenging numerous MOBA tropes, the designers are heading in an interesting, if somewhat uncharted, direction. Come join us in this Let’s Play session of MOBA Monday as we take our first look at TOME.

Today’s MOBA Monday didn’t feel like waking up today delaying the entertainment until 3:00 PM EST timeslot. Hit the jump or head directly to the channel page to watch live. Don’t forget to follow for all the updates and giveaway opportunities. This is especially important for TOME: Immortal Arena players as we’ve a nice collection of Diesel Orlon codes that will be given away over the next few weeks. Or would be players, as we’ve a few super-hard-to-find closed beta codes as well! Read more…

F2P Friday: Neverwinter Module Mop-up and Marvel Heroes Story Time (Giveaway)

Posted by on September 26, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_neverwinter_rise_of_tiamat_f2p_fridayF2P Friday is our weekly showcase of the growing free-to-play market, from MMORPGs to first-person shooters and beyond. The stream team will feature the latest, greatest and just plain fun games that cost you nothing to play. Ever. Granted, you should throw the developer a bone if you enjoy a title, but you don’t have to.

What the heck, let’s do an unprecedented triple dose of Marvel Heroes 2015 this week. Featured in a very special MOBA Monday Instance Gratification crossover and then its own Instance Gratification installment my Black Panther and his Fan of Knives build are keeping the entire metalworker brotherhood employed and well paid. We managed to sneak away with a trove of Random Costume Box codes after our interview with Ryan Collins. The codes are burning a hole on my harddrive so why not give a few more away during tomorrow’s stream?

Rolling around the streets of New York will only be half the fun. The other half will be spent attacking from the shadows in the dungeons of Neverwinter. Module fever has taken hold of me between the summer release of Tyranny of Dragons and this week’s announcement of Module 5, Rise of Tiamat. Too bad I don’t have a cache of experience boosts for my trickster rogue to blast through content like I have in Gazillion’s action combat title. Slow and steady it is.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream, which is scheduled to kick off at 1:00 PM and run until 3:00 PM EST. Read more…

Can Your Machine Run Warlords of Draenor?

Posted by on September 25, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_warlords_of_draenor_system_requirementsI partly got into the computer industry because of video games. Back in the 90s it was almost a requirement to be a PC gamer. From hacking INI files to dealing with the archaic networking protocols being able to deal with technology was part of the fun! That’s all behind me now. In the 10s I’ve moved on up to pimping out my computers with the latest GPUs and CPUs in LED light cases as tall as a desk. Fresh off a purchase of a gaming laptop, I haven’t made one of these disposable income draining creations in at least a year. That hasn’t mattered much due to a lack of taxing releases from the gaming industry.

Fortunately, World of Warcraft is an old relic. One that can’t crush a system like the latest FPS, but Blizzard Entertainment is certainly giving it a whirl. The bump in system requirements for Warlords of Draenor should make all those new models look sexy. My relative beast can handle it all, but I think I can make a good case to myself to upgrade anyways.

What about you? Check the new specifications after the cut. Read more…

City of Heroes: A Ray of Hope?

Posted by on September 25, 2014 - No Comments »

2007-07-14 22:07:58City of Heroes was a much beloved game for many. Roleplayers, superhero fans, comic fans.. well, it was a game that was, and still is, dear to the hearts of many. I preferred City of Villains to City of Heroes (thus the image!), but I myself still count my characters there as some of my nearest and dearest characters across the years and many games that I’ve played. When NCSoft announced its closure in 2012, a great cry resounded across the MMOspace, and there were many attempts to save it, with support from celebrities like Mercedes Lackey, John Kovalic and Neil Gaiman. NCSoft refused all entreaties, and the game was shut down.

There have been several spiritual successors started out there, although none of them have managed anything playable yet, despite one of them running a very successful kickstarter.

But a ray of hope has been kindled in the darkness.  Read more…

This Topic of This Article Should Be Obvious

Posted by on September 25, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_hearthstone_community_rankYou’re playing a competitive activity. It doesn’t matter what it is, a sport, a video game or a board game. There’s a ranking system that groups players or teams together. This system is largely responsible for keeping the activity competitive by moving opponents between ranks depending on performance. Naturally, there can only be a relative handful of people at the top of the foodchain. After all, there can only be one champion.

To me this is simply logical. Maybe I’ve setup too many tournaments and coached too many softballs teams in my life, because it is odd that Blizzard felt the need to do an entire blog post on the topic. Perhaps, like with the chosen title, the developer wanted to fluff up your opinion of deck-building and card-playing skills. Breaking Rank 20 is feel good what with securing a seasonal card back and all. You still reside with over 75% of the community. You’ll need to break below Rank 15 to enter into any area of a postseason run.

I knew when I began my Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft career that I stunk. There’s video evidence of this on the Twitch channel. Now with over 100 wins under my belt, an understanding of most of the cards and many common strategies I feel far more competent. Ideally, additional packs and experience will enable me to bust into the top quartile of players. Once that’s secure I think I will put “Top 5,000,000 Hearthstone player” on my resume.