Author Archive

The Novel Post: The Witcher: House of Glass Review

8 October 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_the_witcher_novel_post_house_of_glass_review_coverThis review of the The Witcher: House of Glass novel by Paul Tobin is of the spoiler-free variety. Be sure to check out The Novel Post for all of our licensed intellectual property reviews.

CD Projekt RED is going for the year of The Witcher. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been the critical darling of RPG fans starved for the gritty, mature world of The Continent since the last entry in 2009. It’s rare that gamers see such a dark fantasy world, one that doesn’t shy away from anything adult oriented. Sexual encounters, recreational drug use, violence, there’s little off limits to Geralt and the people he fraternizes with. In House of Glass, Paul Tobin continues to spread his creativity expanding from his early all ages works to the very mature tellings of Geralt, a lone hunter and his estranged wife.

Tobin opens the story the way most of Geralt’s missions begin, random happenstance. Traveling through the dangerous Black Forest, the Witcher comes across a widowed hunter. A man of the land that offers the mutated stranger dinner, which quickly degrades into drink and trading war stories. Melancholy sets in when personal tragedies are exchanged. The hunter remains in the Black Forest to be near his not-so-dead wife, whom was taken by the Bruxae and turned into one of them. As they meander through the Black Forest Geralt’s magical medallion tingles, alerting him to danger. And his mind to intrigue. Continue Reading

Gaming Goals: Do You Have Them?

6 October 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

I’d like to point out that one of the two people have a better setup than the other.

If you’re new to the LoreHound community – shame on you! – you may not be aware that I log into games with explicit purposes. It’s plural because it is never a singular goal. I rarely, if ever, login for shenanigans. You’ll recall from MOBA Monday, Instance Gratification and F2P Friday that I consume, critique or conquer a wide variety of games. It’s partly to serve the community. To be honest, it is mostly to serve my ever-increasing gamer itch. I am interested in all genres. Every modification of them. Any way to diversify a product, business model or genre.

This is why I need goals when logging into a title. Frankly, there are so many games installed on my computer that I need an idea of what I hope to accomplish. Do I have an hour, ten minutes, three hours? That’s part of my decision tree. Am I looking for a story, popcorn entertainment or a way to tickle my intelligence? Again, a major decision factor. Perhaps I’m trying to finish a title on hard, hardcore or realistic difficulty. Or simply hoarding Achievement points. Each are accomplishments I strive for.

All I am saying is that I understand we gamers have multiple reasons to play. I’ve described many of mine. Why do you login every night to World of Warcraft? Why do you play League of Legends multiple times a week? What makes you return to DotA 2 every weekend? Is there a reason that first-person shooters see you for tens of hours a week and you never touch third-person shooters?

Inquiring minds want to know.

While you’re contemplating your conundrum you may want to pop a Wheely to clear your mind.

SMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained – Xing Tian

1 October 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

Why not use a Monty Python reference for a Chinese deity?

SMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained is a column dedicated to introducing prospective players of SMITE to its massive backstory of lore. From the Greek to Hindu, each week we’ll look at two characters from a major pantheon and provide a quick recap of their history and in what capacity their digital incarnation will represent on the field of Hi-Rez Studios’ new MOBA.

Lore: What do you do if you’ve just been bested. No, more than bested. You were decapitated. You die, right? But let’s say you’re immortal. You don’t necessarily die die. You’d probably admit defeat, move on to something new. Perhaps someone is looking for a sort of gorey bird bath.  Any deity, demigod or god that has the chutzpah to continue his modus operandi after such a loss deserves the title of The Relentless. Xian Tian, a mere deity, earned it exactly that way.

Living purely for the purpose of fighting the Supreme Divinity, Xing Ting eventually succumbed when he lost his head. Dude stood up, was all Monty Python and bellowed out “Tis a flesh wound.” That bellowing didn’t come from his new bowling ball. No, it came from his belly button, which he, through sheer will, morphed into a fully functional mouth. For eyes he put use into male nipples. His head became so pointless, such a vestigial distraction that he allowed it to remain buried underneath the Changyang Mountain. Continue Reading

The F2P Monetization That Irks Me the Most

28 September 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_scrooge-mcduck-swimming-in-money_free_to_play_monetizationI’ve written a few items around F2P monetization, from Blizzard’s application to a self aware review of how companies have goaded me into making justified contributions to work I’ve spent many hours in. Thanks to the Pope invading Philadelphia during my travels around the northeast I had a lot of time to think. Canceled trains, closed bridges, unknown returns provided me with ample time to continue the introspection. It led me to realize that I’m really only hung up on two aspects of the model: perceived value and ownership.

Perceived value is fairly obvious. Do I feel that the Founder’s packs are worth their entry fees? Do the items provide the benefit to earn the coin in my pocket? Perhaps most ironically and difficult to pin down, will I play the game long enough to make full use of the purchase? Or in the recent case of Blood Gate, will I even enjoy the game past the first 20 hours? Straightforward idea. Plenty of room for discussion. How do you perceive a purchase’s value in the F2P realm?

More difficult for me is the idea of ownership. I’m a long-time collector of video games having a historical archive dating back before my birth. Some items that’d even make it into the select museums. As such, ownership of what I am paying for remains important to me. You never own anything in a F2P game. You’ve zero claim most of the time, since you haven’t paid anything. Even when you do pay it’s in the Terms of Service that, naturally, you don’t own squat. You become uniquely aware of this issue when a beloved title disappears after you’ve spent time and money with it.

I realize that I own nothing in MMORPGs, F2P or the subscription model of World of Warcraft. That once I unsubscribe I lose all access to my character. I’ve struggled with the notion before. If only in a light passing. I rationalized the memories of the fun as the value.

Is this ownership concern a generational gap? Nope. I couldn’t care less about owning my music or movies. What about you?

Instance Gratification 38: Welcome Trauma & 20XX!

23 September 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern


Instance 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 Tuesday for dungeon dives, solo attempts and general loot hoarding in your favorite games.

Wow, what a summer. We hit so many conventions, through up so many YouTube videos, tossed up so many 140 character thoughts and took so many pictures that I don’t know where all the time went. Frankly, I think a few of us need a vacation from the summer vacation. Too bad, because it’s back to school season! As any quality raid leader knows that means progression attempts are on the docket. Heck, they’re all that matters!

We’ve a real treat for you this InstaGrat though. We’re pleased to introduce Trauma, a man that many of you know from our most popular QuakeCon video. Ever! Shh, don’t tell him that it was our second QuakeCon. Nor that we’ve never promoted a video so strongly. Or had such high production values (nice work, Jeremy!).

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and general shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream, which is scheduled to kick off by 7:00 PM EST and run for an eventful two hours. Here’s the introduction and the first 20XX run with Trauma! Continue Reading

A Severe Lack of Video Games at Dreamforce

18 September 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_dreamforce_xbox_one_giantEveryone in the Lore Hound Pound knows that we attend all the major industry events. We hit all the major shows, PAX Prime, PAX East and PAX South. Apparently, there are shows outside of the PAX moniker too, including E3, BlizzCon and NYCC. Those are covered on the regular. We even go international from time to time! What you may not know is that part of the crew has spread its wings, attending various conferences for related topics like technology. It’s this added experience that brought us to today’s headline. For multiple reasons we’re flabbergasted that video games companies, any video game company, don’t appear to attend conferences outside those dominated by the “target demographic.”

I’m writing this from San Francisco, the bed of Dreamforce. A conference that focuses on Salesforce and the cloud. We’re talking about a conference that rivals the size PAX East, one of the largest in the US at ~50,000 (depends on how you count ticketed people vs. vendors, employees, etc.) that completely lacked a single video game company. Video game companies that spend tens of thousands of dollars to be drowned out by dozens of other companies doing the same. Video game companies that have marketing budgets that rival movies, music and the companies at Dreamforce. Video game companies that would love to secure a diverse market segment with high disposal income (and their kids).

Yet, the only presence our keen eyes could locate was a monstrous Xbox One controller displayed in the Expo Hall. For seemingly no reason. No SMITE, no Marvel Heroes, no World of Warcraft. Nothing but the “gamification” buzzword bastardized to new extremes. Continue Reading

PAX Prime: Vainglory Keeps Rolling, Introduces Unique Hero Skye

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

lh_Skye_paxprime_vaingloryWe’ve caught up with Super Evil Megacorp a few times. Always a pleasant chat with those folks. Shortly ahead of PAX Prime 2015 the developer of Vainglory, the industry’s first great harcore mobile MOBA, announced the details behind Skye. The new hero blends a few abilities from your typical archetypes to create a unique kit that’ll require quite a bit of practice to execute with repeated success. She features a healthy mix of artillery support with incredible bursts of mobility. That bit of “bursts of mobility” is what makes her balanced. It’s unlikely she’ll get away from danger, unless she kills it.

Vainglory is the current League of Legends of mobile MOBAs, but the market leader is always in fear of disruption. Spacetimes Studios is right on its heels, hoping to release the eSports-ready Call of Champions to take a chunk of the Vainglory market. Super Evil Megacorp isn’t resting on its laurels. Patch v1.8 includes Skye in all her uniqueness and lore and numerous quality of life fixes and features. Weeks earlier gave us the reveal of Vainglory Seasons, the expected addition of an eSports league that kicks off in October. A few months earlier, the company released its anticipated Android client.

Wonder if the Rona players out there have figured out the revamp. What am I talking about, of course they have. Learn more from executive director Kristen Segerstrale. If only I could figure out how to stream Vainglory on MOBA Monday. Continue Reading

PAX Prime: Help Save Humanity in The Repopulation

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

lh_therepopulation_paxprimePherephassa really should be introducing the LoreHound community to The Repopulation. After all, she already has, repeatedly. Simply not in the video interview format we’re about to present to you. She’s the queen of sandbox MMORPG coverage, of which the indie title The Repopulation is most certainly a part of. Developed by Above and Beyond Technologies thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, the MMORPG is set in a postapocalyptic scifi universe. One that’s designed as a throwback to the original run of sandbox successes. The Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Onlines of the world.

A player’s choice is the driving theme of the world. Not a theme park MMORPG. In The Repopulation players are reacting to their decisions, good and bad. Blending RPG, third- and first-person shooter mechanics delivers incredible possibilities for one’s avatar. Are you looking to focus on being a bad guy? No, not a toxic player, but a villain that’s actually of interest to the universe of players. That’s entirely possible. In fact, it’s a fairly popular choice in the early access stage of TR. Toxic players, as Jennifer Chesnes describes in our interview, deals with their own kind of justice in The Repopulation.

Chesnes has plenty more to chew on. Everything from the incredible support of the community, the Kickstarter campaign and the indie house itself. Catch up on the postapocalyptic scifi universe after the cut. After all, you know it’s good since Pherephassa generated all of the questions! Continue Reading