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E3 2015: New Modes & Skins for Brawlhalla (Interview)

2 July 2015 | 1 Comment » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_e3_2015_bombsketball_catch_brawlhallaFrenetic beat-em ups and fighting games have always intrigued me. I put far too much time into the Marvel vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter franchises. My attention has made its way from these core fighters to those of the Super Smash Bros. ilk, which incorporate environments and items into the mix while doing away with static health bars in favor of dangerous edges. Enter Brawlhalla, a title that’s been repeatedly featured on F2P Friday for its excellent gameplay, giveaways and getting me overly excited. Not to mention playing Ranked once again.

Walking up to the PDP booth full of third-party gaming options I was surprised to see some new skins on Brawlhalla characters having played just a few days before. Executive Producer Zeke Sparkes saw my jaw drop and promptly filled me in on the details. Sure, some of these were actually available but many of these were works in progress. Naturally, Zeke spilled the beans on plenty of the goings on at developer Blue Mammoth Games. From the wackiness of the brawler’s two sports-themed game modes to user interface aspects, it’s all covered in our interview after the cut. Continue Reading

Instance Gratification 34: Wakanda Shall Level Cap (Giveaway)

30 June 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_instance_gratification_marvel_heroes_black_pantherInstance 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.

That’s not to say that the level capping will happen during today’s stream but you better believe my Black Panther, whichever sex I stick with, will be hitting the proverbial wall in the near future. My Marvel Heroes play has almost been entirely presented online via Instance Gratification and F2P Friday. This means you can check out almost every twist and turn in the original story from Bendis before diving into the Norse pantheons twisted by Marvel for their own purpose.

After sending a few flurry of knives at Dr. Doom I’ve made my way to the numerous other challenges presented by Gazillion. It’s really quite insane how much the company offers us gamers. Not simply content to group up and defeat, but hard modes, alternate crafting mechanics and ridiculous options for character, team and team-up customization. I’ve plenty of challenges and even a one-shot or two remaining, which’ll be tonight’s focus.

Frankly, I still don’t understand a lot of what’s still on offer. But that’s okay with me, in some scenarios, these days. As much as being the best is enjoyable, it’s also fun to find things out by mistake. Or from a group members, the community or a complete stranger. More recently I’ve realized that freaking out on a stream only to determine, for instance, that there’s a loot vacuum button and auto vacuum options. Doing so in this capacity ensures that I’ll likely never forget that feature. Because, well, it kinda made me feel like a jackass.

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. And yes, Random Hero Boxes will be on the line! Continue Reading

Blizzard’s Monetization of its F2P Games

26 June 2015 | 1 Comment » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_monetization_business_model_blizzard_f2p

If there was any doubt in the F2P model the success of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has made it perfectly clear that it’s not a nice and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It’s here to stay, simple as that. While World of Warcraft likely won’t ever be making a full transition it’s quite clear that Blizzard Entertainment is at least analyzing the model for its future titles, constructing Heroes of the Storm in this realm. Recently, Blizzard has touted some new content, even features for its two F2P universes.

The ~$10 price point for the hero portraits in Hearthstone, and skins and heroes in Heroes of the Storm come off as high. Begging the question is Blizzard over pricing these items, is Blizzard producing more “up market” items or, like Nintendo, does Blizzard believe the price points of many F2P shops are simply too low to be sustainable long term? Continue Reading

MOBA Monday: A Squirrel God You Say? (Giveaway)

22 June 2015 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_moba_monday_smote_founders_pack_xbox_one_release_launchMOBA 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.

We’ve been plugging along in SMITE for ages. Years actually. Unlike some titles, getting in on the ground floor is fairly inexpensive. Snag a Founders Pack and you’re in the game with full access. Naturally, that’s if you want to pay at all. Of course, I’ve found quite a bit of value in that pack. Years played and all. Conquest, the since-retired Domination, ages of Arena. That’s given me some skill in the game. Not much mind you. I’m stuck being a Bronze League scrub. Probably should practice more.

That’s exactly what’s going to happen later tonight. In addition to a collection of Conquest battles, likely seeing me rolling around as a guardian, we’ll be slipping in a little giveaway, or two, or three. We caught up with Hi-Rez Studios during this past week at E3. The team was camped in the Microsoft booth for a very good reason. SMITE will be dropping on Xbox One this August.

Oh, and the game has a freaking squirrel god from Norse mythology. Yeah, I can play as a screaming, gossiping squirrel. You thought bees was crazy.

All this and more shall begin around 9:00 PM EST. Hit the jump or head directly to the channel page to watch live. We’ll be giving away a god and recolor skin during the SMITE portion of the stream. Don’t forget to follow for all the updates and giveaway opportunities. Continue Reading

F2P Friday: How Does One Forge a Sol?

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

lh_solforge_game_mechanic_f2p_friday_upgrade_letsplayF2P 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’m not looking to fire up a game that demands incredible brain power or focus to enjoy hot on the heels of E3 2015 and the cross country travel it demands of me. That generally rules out any fast-paced competitive game. Titles in the realm of FPS or RTS are strictly forbidden given such stress-free requirements. You could argue that card games featuring deck building and in-the-moment decisions may fall into this territory, but I wouldn’t. In these confrontations we’re given ample time to think through a decision no matter how difficult it may be. That’s what makes them so enjoyable to stream in all honesty.

This is exactly why you’ll be joining me in SolForge later tonight. Why a new card game you ask? Well, unlike some people I find new challenges not as stressful as old ones. Being away from SolForge for the better part of six months allows my brain to absorb losses. The time away gives it pause. It rationalizes loses as an expected outcomes and wins as a surprise. After all, the combatants I’m challenging likely have been playing, theorycrafting and farming high end cards. That puts me at a substantial disadvantage. One that I understand and accept.

If there was a few million dollars on the line I probably wouldn’t be viewing this form of competition as so easy going.

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 around 7:00 PM EST. Don’t forget to check out our game of the week over on PokiContinue Reading

E3 2015: Gigantic News for Xbox One

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

lh_gigantic_e32015_releasedate_launchdate_xboxoneThis week we secured additional time with Gigantic, the freshman entry from Motiga. This is the first MOBA designed by James Phinney but the man has contributed heavily to quite a pedigree over the years in other genres. The likes of StarCraft, Guild Wars; original intellectual properties that have established themselves as juggernauts envied by entire companies. The last time we spoke to the Motiga crew was during the reveal that the third-person shooter MOBA would be heading to Xbox alongside the likes of SMITE.

E3 2015 hasn’t provided those earth shattering revelations. There’s a very good reason for that. You see, finally, after years of development, the fine folks over at Motiga are circling the beta status. Conversations we had with PR state that the team is struggling with exactly when to drop that NDA that’s stopped us from adding Gigantic to the #MOBA Monday roster. This is all thanks to that aforementioned Gigantic news. It’s coming to the public this August!

In today’s day that means beta access. It won’t be fully released to the masses then, closed beta protocols and all but we’ll let MO_Thor take the explanation from here. Don’t worry, you know we’ll have some codes for the Lore Hound community as soon as they’re available! Continue Reading

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn Review

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

the_novel_post_warcraft_bloodswornThis review of the World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn novel by Christie Golden is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

Bloodsworn is an odd duck in the massive, ever-growing extended universe of Blizzard Entertainment. What is being read was originally the opening story arc for the proposed Horde comic line from WildStorm. After years of missteps, restarts and C’thun knows what else it all fell apart. That collapse wasn’t fruitless. It delivered Bloodsworn, a graphic novel from Doug Wagner and Jheremy Raapack that focused on the dastardly Horde.

The graphic novel was set in the immediate aftermath of the Cataclysm despite being released towards the end of that expansion’s lifetime in late August 2013. Especially late considering it was initially conceived in mid 2011. As expected, Bloodsworn is a Horde tale through and through. A Horde of Garrosh through and through. In fighting, lack of trust, disrespect, heck, racist remarks are thrown about the core group comprised of orcs, tauren, troll, forsaken and blood elf repeatedly. These disagreeable, at best, individuals are selected by Horde decree of Garrosh Hellscream from each faction to fill the ranks of the Garand’kra, a militia organized to defend Horde interests from the pesky centaur tribes. Continue Reading

F2P Friday: Giveaway Random Hero Box Mayhaps? (Giveaway)

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

f2p_Wolverine_old_man_logan_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.

Friday nights are a great time to unwind. Not necessarily go out and go nuts or anything. Just come home and veg out after a week of a brain drain. I often take this opportunity to browse the local comic shop catching up on what’s going on in the industry with the shop owner. Chewing the fat as it were. That’s exactly what happened earlier this evening. Of course this means my wallet was a bit lighter after I left the shop.

I stuck with my Marvel slant snapping up a few oldies that I somehow missed upon their original publication. That’d be Old Man Logan and a bit of background for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy by way of The Infinity Gauntlet. Naturally, this leads me directly a desire for even more Marvel storytelling. As such I’ll be heading into the extended Marvel Cinematic Universe by way of Marvel Heroes. Come join me won’t you? I’ll sweeten the deal with some Random Hero Box codes!

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 around 7:00 PM EST. Don’t forget to try our game of the week on Poki. Continue Reading