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Instance Gratification 18: The Forgotten Realms Returneth

21 January 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

NW_PaladinScreenshot_010715Instance Gratification is the return of one of our premiere video outings. Originally featuring the cast of founder bloggers thrashing World of Warcraft dungeons and viewer runs of Dungeon & Dragons Online, the reinvigorated column heads to the realm of the Twitch channel. Come join us every Wednesday for dungeon dives, solo attempts and general loot hoarding in your favorite games.

Being completely honest with everyone there have only been two MMORPGs that have fully grasped by cerebral cortex and sucked me in for any lengthy time in 2014. And while I’ve documentedplenty of my return to World of Warcraft lately, the other has seen less op-ed attention (but plenty of on-air play, interviews and news pieces). That being the world of Dungeons & Dragons, the Forgotten Realms section specifically and, to be even more specific, Neverwinter.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that Cryptic Studios has been in the news quite a bit lately. What with the upcoming Xbox One version of the action MMORPG and the next module hitting the newswire yesterday.

Neverwinter hasn’t ever been dropped, steadfastly soaking up precious space on my small SSD main drive that La Juega contains. Yes, my computer has a first name. Its action combat is thoroughly enjoyable. The gameplay is perfectly designed for my lizard brain; getting in, getting something done and getting out. Let’s not kid ourselves, Cryptic Studios (and Perfect World Entertainment behind them) know how to keep us hooked. The development studio consistently pushes new content patches or teases the next as soon as the general community begins to hunger. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during the marketing/product meetings as they review metrics and come to those decisions.

At any rate, it’s out with the new Warlords of Draenor and WildStar and in with the old. At least for this week on Instance Gratification.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and general shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream. The show will kick off around at its new time, 7:00 PM EST, and continue until approximately 9:00 PM! The floggings will continue until the level has improved! Continue Reading

MOBA Monday: We’re Heading to a Dead Island, Little Buddy

19 January 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_die-weapons_moba_monday_customizationMOBA 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 in our weekly Twitch channel staple.

In this week’s episode of MOBA Monday we’re going to take you on a little boat ride to Dead Island: Epidemic. The MOBA-style game set in the surprise hit Dead Island universe has been beta labeled for ages despite holding an impressive 9/10 score on Steam with over 16,000 user reviews. That may be due to its unique 4v4v4 PvP mode and an inclusion of PvE missions that enables players to level their characters and craft without the need of a stressful match.

We’ve tackled DI:E in the past. Multiple times in fact. Those previous sessions have one specific aspect in common, they all featured the PvE Scavenger mode the entire time Stunlock Games’ product was on screen. There was a very good reason for that. Up until recently DI:E remained in closed beta. Like TOME: Immortal Arena and Orcs Must Die! Unchained the closed part kept the queues insanely long, even untenable. No longer as Dead Island: Epidemic is fully in open beta testing these days.

That means you’ll get to see me newbing it up in my first 4v4v4 matches as a wiley level 3 (or so) starter character. I’ve a feeling much death with be involved. Mostly my own character doing the dieing.

MOBA Monday will be during the afternnon, kicking off at 2:00 PM EST timeslot, for the final time. Starting next week all shows will be moved to 7:00 PM. 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. Continue Reading

F2P Friday: Marvel Heroes Story Time

16 January 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_marvel_heroes_f2p_friday_Xaviers_School_for_Gifted_YoungstersF2P 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.

I am by no means a dedicated comic book lore junkie. Certainly not a novice. The fact of the matter is that the lore around video games took hold of my interest somewhere in the mid 90s. Partially due to my town losing its only source of sporadic comic books. In my high school years I returned to the far flung worlds of Marvel and rekindled my interest. Large sums of money and a cavalcade of graphic novels later my knowledge is justifiably labeled as “nerd,” “geek” or “dork” by laymans. All of which I wear as a sign of pride.

You may be thinking “why watch the stream if he’s a comic newb.” Funny you should ponder that. I’ve three very good reasons. One: a Mr. Ryan Collins, the community manager and diehard comic book nerd, will be sitting in chat ready to answer any questions you (or I) have regarding Marvel Heroes and Marvel in general. Two: Developer Gazillion Entertainment has provided us with 100 Random Hero Box codes. That’s right, we’ll be giving away some serious loot! Three: There’s me.

Maybe that’s actually a drawback…

At least I’ll enjoy getting past Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. I hope. Be sure to subscribe tothe channel for all our streams, giveaways and shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream, which is scheduled to kick off at 1:00 PM EST. Continue Reading

SWC: HiRezKelly on SMITE eSports & Breaking Into Streaming

15 January 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_smite_world_championship_SWC_Kelly-LinkHiRezKelly wasn’t always the female face of SMITE eSports. Nope, she joined that crew after having her own successful stream over at HelloKellyLink. A stream that is still plenty alive with over 35,000 followers and a slim margin shy of 1.5M views. This not only means she knows a thing or two about the eSports industry, but streaming as well. Hi-Rez Studios, her current employer and the maker of SMITE, recently had a small shindig that enabled us to hunt down the girl in the little black dress for some Q&A on topics near and dear to the hearts of our community (and us, naturally).

Clocking in at under six minutes, our discussion includes the incredible journey of the prize pool for the SMITE World Championship from a delectable $600,000 to the incredible final sum of $2.6 million plus. But the discussion wasn’t focused on money. Rather, we took a tangential view from Hi-Rez’s recent “breaking into the game industry” video segueing discussion to the bombastic growth of eSports and the associated market of streaming. Most importantly to some will be a frank conversation on the competitive spirit, perhaps even social stigma, that causes some people to overlook eSports as an avenue.

After watching the video we’d love to hear your thoughts on the focus of the last two minutes or so of discussion. Do you find eSports an acceptable professional for any and everyone? Hit the jump to take a gander and leave us your thoughts in the comments. Continue Reading

SWC: Season 2 of SMITE as Told By Todd Harris

15 January 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_na_championship_smite_todd_harris_not_bob_sagat_hi-rez_studiosYes, there was a $2.6M prize pool at the SMITE World Championship, tons of action, cosplay and a first hands-on with the Xbox One edition of SMITE. For many of us all these activities only made us more excited. I mean, the company has spent countless dollars on promoting SMITE eSports domestically and abroad. Quite simply we wondered what else the company has been working on (besides Global Agenda 2).

Reading our minds the company spent a few commercial breaks detailing what Season 2 will bring to the community. First and foremost was the reveal of a new Conquest map. Altered to increase visual queues, form a tighter immersion with players and soak up a ton of the art team’s time, the upcoming Conquest map looks amazing. But there’s no way in Hel we’re going to let COO Todd Harris get away with a few softball questions about a map change. We query the man with a plan on numerous issue pertaining to Season 2 from the removal of Domination to increased competition. Even reactions from the PC SMITE community to the Xbox One version of the title are discussed, including the “marketing muscle” from Microsoft.

You may call the interview a spiritual successor to the Partnerships and Business interview from the SMITE NA Championship in November. Hit the jump for the six minute discussion. Continue Reading

WildStar & ESO: 2014 AAA MMOGs with Big News Today

15 January 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

WS_2015-01_Looking_Ahead_02One bit of news is official, the other is unofficial and certainly rumor. We’ll go with the rumor from an unsubstantiated source first and that is this; The Elder Scrolls Online is no longer investigating a free-to-play transition, but fully preparing to make the business model change. Reports from retail sources across the globe are seeing boxed copies of TESO removed from shelves. In late 2014, Bethesda removed long-term subscription options under the guise that players haven’t opted for them. On the other hand, the company gave out hundreds, maybe thousands of copies for free during QuakeCon 2014.

The official information for WildStar gives new light to the MMORPG’s future after a series of layoffs and departures that have put some, including this blogger, on eggshells. Not to worry, says game director Mike Donatelli in a new community update. The post details three pillars of focus for the first half of 2015.

  1. Listen to player feedback to make gameplay more fun and “less grindy”
  2. Support a multitude of play styles, not just the hardcore or solo, newbs or end game
  3. “Invest in, enhance and grow [the] game”

Continue Reading

Instance Gratification 17: Dare I Enter the Quagmire of LFR?

14 January 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_instance_gratification_wow_warlords_highmaulInstance Gratification is the return of one of our premiere video outings. Originally featuring the cast of founder bloggers thrashing World of Warcraft dungeons and viewer runs of Dungeon & Dragons Online, the reinvigorated column heads to the realm of the Twitch channel. Come join us every Wednesday for dungeon dives, solo attempts and general loot hoarding in your favorite games.

I’ve repeatedly stated that my return to Azeroth *cough* I mean Draenor, is entirely due to the Tenth Anniversary of World of Warcraft. The thing is that’s firmly behind us now. A whole 24 hours in fact. And while I didn’t get a chance to stream my Molten Core run as I had hoped that doesn’t mean Solidsagart didn’t score a Ragnaros kill. It simply happened so late at night that I was terrified of disturbing others in the house. Psylocke can be a real curmudgeon.

This means that not only am I level 100, finally, but I’ve increased my ilvl to the required ilvl 615 to enter the Looking for Raid conundrum. Considering I didn’t manage to throw ole Rags up on the stream the least I could do is make a few attempts at Highmaul. I hear the first Warlords of Draenor raid now has all of its pieces available for me to stumble my way through. I better get my crap together, revamp my action bars for the most optimized finger stretching and bring my A game or face the rather of unexplained kicking (which one can only assume is because you “sucked”). Here’s to grabbing a few sexy purpalz to increase my epeen before I am not summarily dismissed from a random group of strangers.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and general shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream. The show will kick off around 1:00 PM EST and continue until approximately 3:00 PM! The floggings will continue until the ilvl has improved! Continue Reading

SMITE World Championship: Day 3 Results

12 January 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_smite_world_championship_titan_cognitive_prime_team_profileThis is where the bread and butter is. What all the teams have trained for over the course of months and years, Day 3 of the SMITE World Championship. Making it this far firmly cements a squad as one of the greatest in the world. The number one seed Cognitive Prime comes into the championship game without dropping a set running through the winners bracket. Titan is more tuckered out after earning its way through the quarterfinals and past SK Gaming. The Consolation match features the heavy hitters of the regional championships, SK Gaming from Europe and Cognitive Red out of North America. Consolation is no joke thanks to Odyssey contributions pushing that award over $300,000.

Best of three Consolation Series

Cognitive Red vs. SK Gaming (2-0)

Cognitive Red refused to alter its strategy too much throughout the tournament. The consistent aggressive play off the backs of typical draft pick enabled them to force every team fight and gain map control. On the flip side, SK Gaming added some cheese to the match with less routine picks that ultimately got them in trouble. Red controlled the flow of both games at all points for a lopsidded series against their European equals in today’s opening and rather lackluster series. Even if you’re a Cog Red fan seeing such professionals as SK Gaming get outplayed so badly doesn’t make for enjoyable viewing. For instance, in game 2 SK Gaming scored its first kill defending the final push. Continue Reading