Archive for the ‘General’ Category

SMITE NA Championship: Learning from Partnerships (Interview)

1 December 2014 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_na_championship_smite_todd_harris_not_bob_sagat_hi-rez_studiosSet in the backdrop of the SMITE North American Championship we caught up with Todd Harris. Our earlier interview with the COO focused on how Hi-Rez Studios, an Atlanta-based independent game developer and self publisher, has gone from a small company with one ambitious product to one with over 150 employees, three games and a sequel for Global Agenda, its freshman entry, in the works. It’s early products had only a handful of partnerships, be they technology integrations to expanding the community through localization support. That all changed when SMITE blew up.

SMITE started small. It was on the radar due to positive critical reception of Tribes Ascend. But it was in a genre that was, and remains, all the rage at the time: multiplayer online battle arena. The war between god-based pantheons past and current and a third-person perspective gave the title its unique features. Hi-Rez continued building it and a community followed. Then came the partnerships, from Twitch and Curse integration to international arrangements for Latin America and China.

But how does all this happen? What does it entail? Which company is reaching out to which? Why’s the sky blue and where have all the cowboys gone? Perhaps, like me, you’re more interested in how the non-obvious partnerships can positively impact the community. More players is great, as it begets more money for additional development, but we gamers want details on a direct impact. Our short interview with Todd Harris after the cut has the answers. Continue Reading

What’s Star Citizen Gonna Deliver for $63 Million?

26 November 2014 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

I’ve been following the meteoric riselh_star_citizen_kickstarter_crowdfunding_Gladiator of the self-funded Star Citizen since the original campaign. The multi-platform title from famed game designer Chris Roberts had a lot of steam behind it and only gained more after securing millions more than the Kickstarter campaign had requested. That $2+ million is just 3% of the current funds raised thanks to continued in-house fundraising. Yeah, the project has been so successful that it’s been split into multiple parts to be delivered at different times. That’s because they very well could be games on their own part. It’s effectively the definition of scope creep.

It’s got numerous people wondering exactly how all this is going to come to fruition. The expectations are through the roof. Stating the obvious is that Star Citizen is incredibly ambitious. It’s an understatement. The gaming community has seen many crowdfunded games collapse complete with lawsuits flung in every direction. It’s left a sour taste in many mouths, including my own, preventing further crowdfunding in at least one case. A project of this magnitude is bound to run into some issues, but the overall concern for backers is simply can Star Citizen ever come out? Backers have accepted the iteration approach and been rewarded with multiple pieces of the title. The question that many in the community have is when will Star Citizen in total be available? Or will we constantly be waiting for the next (appropriately timed) fix for the foreseeable future?

Roberts has tons of experience in envisioning a product and getting them out. He’s shipped games longer than many gamers have been alive. There is eventually going to be someone that can make a $100 million product come to fruition without using the old publisher model. There’s little reason to believe Roberts et. al. at Roberts Space Industries aren’t capable of that. But hey, still reason for concern.

SMITE NA Championship: The Business of Hi-Rez Studios

25 November 2014 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_smite_business_of_hirez_championshipLore Hound has had the pleasure of covering Hi-Rez Studios since it was a fledgling little indie tucked away in a corner of PAX. At the time it was showcasing an ambitious third-person class-based shooter by the name of Global Agenda. Launched and heavily updated, it never took off. Purchasing the much loved Tribes intellectual property and the release of Tribes: Ascend followed next. During this time was the rise of MOBAs, leading to SMITE being created as a third-person MOBA in the Unreal engine. And all this time Lore Hound grew beside them.

The business of a gaming website, hobby, professional, whatever, is fairly straightforward. First you get the hits, then you get the ads, then you get the money. For most gaming studios we’re left with a rather vague rendition of have an idea -> ??? -> $$$! During this weekend’s SMITE NA Championship we hoodwinked Todd Harris, the COO of Hi-Rez Studios, to address some burning questions that has led to the rise of SMITE as one of the first MOBAs featuring a championship with a purse over $1 million and counting.

In reality, we’re just trying to get on the bandwagon to that last step and thought these risk takers may be of a little help. After all, we’re still that little gaming website in a small corner of the Internet moving along the ranks slow and steady. This tortoise may just be a little jealous of that rabbit hosting a tournament likely to exceed $2 million. Why else head to Atlanta (*zing*)?

Hit the jump for the full interview covering all three titles, the prospects on Global Agenda 2 and how the company itself has changed in these ensuing years. Continue Reading

SMITE North America Championship: Results Are In

23 November 2014 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

IMG_6675The two-day party at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre thrown by Hi-Rez Studios has come to its epic conclusion. The winner of the weekend was, aside from SMITE fans that arrived, those that won our Guan-Yu 2014 Convention skins, and the digital cheerers was Cognitive. The California eSports group took first and second this year, knocking long-playing Team Dignitas and compLexity, who lost its jungler to Team Dignitas early this year, in the semi final rounds.

It was no surprise that Cognitive had a strong showing. The teams had a combined record of 31-9 during SMITE Pro League season one. Easily securing the top two spots and scoring them byes for Round 1 of the NA Championship. The seasonal outcome pit Team Dignitas against Fat Chunks, a team that coalesced late in the NA Pro League Qualifiers and placed second in the open invitation Play-in Cup. compLexity paired against Rambozos, the underdog of the sextuplet that earned their way in from the Challenger Cup. That being an open wildcard tournament.

Beyond the jump you’ll find all the results, photos from the event and more.

Continue Reading

SMITE North American Championship: In Pictures

22 November 2014 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

IMG_6708It’s not everyday that you’re part of the first of something. This weekend gave us at Lore Hound such an opportunity, the first group of people to attend the SMITE North American Championship. Attending before it’s cool is the only way to turn your nose at something later, so we snapped up the chance, grabbed a ticket and flew to Atlanta. The venue has changed from the Pre-Launch Tournament earlier this year and so has the god-based MOBA. And that change was only for the better.

Six teams are facing off for a chance at two spots in January’s World Championship. If you weren’t able to snag a ticket come join us and live vicariously through our expert photography. Cosplay, environment, staging, Internet famous faces and plenty more resides beyond that humble page cut. Click it to put your peepers on our exclusive SMITE NA Championship slideshow.

Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter for more chances to win a Guan-Yu 2014 Convention skin. Our Twitch channel will be dropping additional codes during MOBA Monday streams. Continue Reading

TOME: Immortal Arena Now Available on Steam with New Mode

21 November 2014 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

Colosseum_04TOME: Immortal Arena, perhaps one of the most impressive browser-based game to date and one that impressed us at PAX, is to no longer have that specific designation. Kixeye’s multiplayer online battle arena is now available with hundreds of other titles on the Steam digital distribution platform. The crossover of TOME beefs up the service’s F2P offers further, more so to the MOBA genre. Given the web version still exists, it’s not as if TOME is giving up a distinctive advantage.

Players that have been earning blessings, watching and joining our streams and farming artifacts don’t care right? Not at all. Steam adoption was the icing on the cake for this morning’s launch. The real draw, sorry Steam, is the new game mode, Sanctuary. The new map is home to 5v5 PvP and player vs. bots domination. The first that TOME has seen. Collective accessibility and matches of 10-15 minutes in length remain as Sanctuary expectations.

Oh, and do you recall how hilarious I’ve found the arena announcer in TOME? I just found out why. Bruce Campbell and his sarcastic comedic timing is the man behind the mic. Wonder if he wrote the lines too. Continue Reading

Designing Neverwinter’s Module 5: Rise of Tiamat (Interview)

20 November 2014 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

NW_Tiamat_3DModel_WatermarkedCreating and executing on a large expansion isn’t easy. Doing so while part of a licensing agreement for Dungeons & Dragons, one of the best known properties in all of gamedom, puts extra pressure on any development team. Cryptic Studios, the makers of Neverwinter, being no exception. Especially given how busy the company and its internal teams have been doing this year. But not too busy to give a little love to us here at Lore Hound. Jonathan Nascone, Senior Character Artist, and Michael Edwards, Systems Designer, took a few moments out of their busy schedule to follow up on our pre-launch interview of Rise of Tiamat.

Lore Hound: Thanks for your time. Members of the community believe that Tiamat is to be the culmination of the Season of Dragons. Is her introduction the next chapter or is there some truth to that assumption?

Michael: It is definitely a culmination of the Season of Dragons story arc in Neverwinter. When it comes to dragons, there’s nothing more epic than taking on the Dragon Queen herself.

Tiamat is a staple of the Dungeons & Dragons universes, having been an evil presence since the board game launched back in the 1970s. Was there any trepidation in her introduction to Neverwinter? A fear of backlash for not getting it right, perhaps? Continue Reading

Instance Gratification 13: Warlords of Draenor Servers Are Actually Playable!

19 November 2014 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

lh_bloodmaul_slag_mines_instance_gratification_draenorInstance 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.

*Warning* The odds of me mispronouncing one or a dozen of the names of areas, zones, boss names, etc. of #WarlordsofDraenor is roughly 100%. I can barely pronounce Draenor correctly with any consistency.

Oh yeah, you better believe I took the dive into the Iron Horde along with millions of other players. As I’ve mentioned on previous Instance Gratification episodes I’ve already purchased six months of this expansion. I don’t know if I will get full use of that time but I will definitely be around for the full brunt of the 10-year anniversary celebration, which is only a week away at this point. The evil virus that is the flu (sic) – not to be confused with ebola – won’t keep me away from IG the next two weeks (yay immunity!).

ilvl well above the required level of 500 there’s no doubt that dungeon runs will happen. Ms. Solidsagart is well on her way to 92 as of this post making her credibility as a healer more than if she was level 90. Yeah, I take small victories where I can. Slag Mines, Iron Docks, they’re both in the sights of…well a character that doesn’t personally perform violence but has no qualms with those around her murdering dozens for the sake of phat lewtz.

Come watch me watch others murder many without remorse.

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