BlizzCon 2015: Hearthstone Game Design Challenges

Posted by on November 26, 2015 - No Comments »

odPdnsKDid you hear the news? Blizzard Entertainment revealed a new Solo Adventure for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft during BlizzCon! Cool, right? Oh, and it’s coming out on Thursday, November 12. Nuts! A fact that enabled Ben Brode to reveal every single one of the 45 new cards. Craziness! Combine that with the normal secrecy around gameplay elements, save the Temple Run engagement, the design team pre-empted token questions. Fine with us, we hate asking them anyways! We get to the heart of the matter, the meat and potatoes of Hearthstone’s success, the numbers. Forty million people can’t be wrong, can they? Read more…

Black Desert: Interview with PM Balsazar

Posted by on November 24, 2015 - No Comments »

I expressed concerns in my previous post about Black Desert Online, regarding both the cash shop and the state of the game. When I first began watching it, it was aimed at a more challenge-oriented audience than it is now. Some of these concerns have been addressed in a recent forum Q&A with PM_Belsazar, a project manager with Daum, on the Black Desert Online official forums. Much of it was as I expected – they are not addressing concerns regarding the cash shop, for example – due to the nature of the process of bringing a game to the west. In other words: they cannot address certain things as they are still working out the details with Pearl Abyss.

The Vigor System is a discussion in progress. The Cash Shop is a discussion in progress; as are pay to win features, the in game economy, pvp flagging, and the adjustment of in game features. Quite a lot on that list! So what is discussed – primarily the closed betas, the founders packs, issues with megaservers, and serviced territory. Unrelated to the interview – throwing aside any discussions as to the merits or flaws of locked regions, I have to admit that I find locking regions to be rather ridiculous given how easy it is to set up VPNs.

But before I digress onto a rant about my lack of Asian games, let’s move on to the interview! Read more…

Video Games in Cuba: Expectations

Posted by on November 23, 2015 - No Comments »



In December 2014, Barack Obama and Raul Castro gave simultaneous speeches to their countries announcing that the United States of America and Cuba would, after decades, finally be normalizing relations. We jumped at the chance to see how video games exist, if at all, in the island nation that’s been, at least legally, so cut off from American cultural influence. We bring you LoreSabueso.

I’ve been a part of video games professionally for over 10 years having consumed them for nearly 30. Longer if you count holding a controller without it actually being attached. All of this consumption, thought, writing, reviewing and interviewing developers keeps my favorite digital entertainment on my mind constantly. But I’ve always come at it with a certain stance. A viewpoint that quite difficult to shake when you live in the United State of America. As the number one producer and consumer of the medium it’s always been a first world view. We make the biggest games, a vast majority of the money and, console peaks and valleys aside, generally dominate the market once held by the Japanese. Regardless of the whims of the console wars, we’re at the forefront. Cuba, which I’m heading to in a scant few hours, isn’t. Read more…

Brawlhalla Hits the Masses, First Bow Hero Unleashed

Posted by on November 20, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_brawlhalla_metadev_orionI’m going to come clean and admit that I’m writing this post purely to get rid of the Diesel Orion skin you see to the right. The closed beta codes are no longer worth the paper or ink their printed on – let alone the plastic sleeve! – because the platform brawler is now into its open beta testing phase. That was the first thing that returned my interest to the old staple of F2P Friday and QuakeCon 2015 societal grease. The second is Ember, a new Legend with a new weapon, the first ever bow. Read more…

Blade and Soul Release Date: January 19!

Posted by on November 19, 2015 - No Comments »

destroyer_02Followers of NCSoft’s upcoming martial arts MMO can call in their vacation time now – Blade and Soul will be releasing in North America and Europe on January 19th, 2016!

The game will be available in fully localized English, French and German, and those with early access will be able to begin playing as early as January 15th. The game is free to play, but as is the norm, Founder’s Packs are available, and will continue to be available until the head start.

At launch, Blade and Soul will have a level cap of 45, a 1v1 arena, and an additional 2 dungeons that were not featured in the closed betas: Blackram Supply Chain and E. Fleet Supply Chain. They intend to have a regular flow of additional content patches, with more details as to what is coming after the game goes live. Read more…

Introducing Black Desert

Posted by on November 18, 2015 - No Comments »

BDOI’ve commented on this before, but it truly is a sandbox lover’s dreamtime right now. All these years of starving for open ended games, and now it’s as though I’m at something of a buffet. Health concerns have been really preventing me from playing and writing lately otherwise I would have written about this one before, but let’s see if I can make up for some lost time with a bit of an infodump!

Black Desert is a sandbox game being developed by Korean company Pearl Abyss, and I’ve had my eyes on it since I became aware of its Korean progress in 2013. It was with much excitement that I saw it’s been picked up by Daum Games for a European and American audience. I am currently watching it as avidly as I can find the time to do so, hoping that it is not Westernized too much. Founder’s Packs are already available, as is an estimated release date of Q1 2016, so it’s looking like I might not be waiting much longer! Learn more about the game and watch the trailer below.

Read more…

Empire Earth: Defining a Genre

Posted by on November 18, 2015 - No Comments »

maxresdefaultSierra Entertainment, Mad Doc Software, & Stainless Steel Studios. It was one of the first realistic RTS war simulation games on PC, and in the words of EEHeaven, “Epic is definitely too small of a word”.

Three major versions were released between the gaming powerhouse trifecta as well as two expansions. I still favor the original with its expansion, The Art of Conquest. The war strategy timeline spans far more eras than most – if not all – games do even today, over 500,000 years so you can go from a caveman that only has a rock and a stick to far flung futuristic armadas attacking each other’s planets. The large-scale warfare of the game remains unmatched, even today.

Years before the game was released (prior to 2001) I was out talking to a friend about my ideal game. What I described was Empire Earth but nothing like it was out on the market at the time. There could be entirely different facets of warfare going on all at the same time. For example: having submarines at the bottom of the ocean attacking warships on the surface while those warships are attacking coastal defenses. Those cities trying to defend the civilization on land that is gathering resources to create their military. Launching airplanes and space vehicles who can then target those submarines at the bottom of the ocean; everything connected and happening simultaneously.

Read more…

Devilian Beta Event 3

Posted by on November 10, 2015 - No Comments »

devilianI love Trion games. Fighting dimensional hopping monsters in RIFT, shooting alien bugs in Defiance, playing legos in Trove, building farms in ArcheAge – there’s a lot to enjoy. I’m an inveterate game hopper, but I always end up returning to the Trion fold. If I weren’t bogged down in medical bills, I’d be dumping the bulk of a gaming budget their way. As it is, my last few game purchases have been theirs.
So, Devilian?  A new, action packed Trion game? I’m interested. Founder’s Packs are available for purchase, and the next beta event is coming up this weekend. Read more…