ArcheAge Founder’s Packs Now on Sale

Posted by on April 25, 2014 - 2 Comments »

I’ve been watching ArcheAge for a long time.  I think I first became aware of it in 2010, which in video game time is lifetimes ago. I love sandbox games, and at the time, ArcheAge was the only real one on the horizon. So I’ve been watching its slow progress toward American localization with mixed trepidation and excitement. Excitement because I want to play it, and extreme trepidation because usually the American localization waters games down to such a degree that I lose all interest once I’ve played for a few days. I like Asian games because they require time and effort, but the model here in the west has increasingly moved toward raining rewards from the sky, and I’ve said quite a great deal about that in previous articles.

But first, before further commentary, let me rain some enthusiasm – Founder’s Packs are now available for purchase! We have crossed that line that indicates yes, this game is coming, and it’s coming along well enough that the development team is confident it will be nearing completion in a reasonable amount of time! Perhaps I should put the classic TM that usually follows the word soon in dev talk.  Read more…

Fun Facts About Gaming in the United States

Posted by on April 24, 2014 - 1 Comment »

Gaming is an integral part of many Americans lives. That’s not a blanket statement because I am a video game journalist/blogger/marketing guru. It’s a cold hard fact. Well, it’s a cold hard fact that’s a bit biased. It’s a fact that came from a recent Entertainment Software Association, a lobbyist group that represents the video game industry in Washington, D.C.. Full disclosure: I admittedly dislike lobbyist groups in general, yet hypocritically support this one.

Anyways, the group released it yearly “Essential Facts” to the masses today (PDF). Gamespot has an interesting summary of the big data points. Go read it. We’ll wait…

Crazy right? I mean, 44% of parents claim games are a bad influence on their children. 41% have resisted the call of the digital media of video games and people over 30 are the average gamer and game purchaser?! It’s almost like the Atari/NES generation is getting old and has had children!

Oh, wait a minute.

Regardless of some of the obvious shifts in gamer demographics the news is positive. The report continues that half the US population is gaming, that there is no difference in gender purchases, that the ESRB rating is helpful, that “strategy” games took #1 honors for PC gaming (glee!) and that this is a run on sentence that must die in a fire.

The most divisive bit of information? Grand Theft Auto 5, which is not yet available on PC, took top console honors followed by CoD: Ghosts, which is. Neither or these took top PC honors, championed by StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm followed by the infamous release of SimCity.

SMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained – Zhong Kui

Posted by on April 24, 2014 - No Comments »

SMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained is a column dedicated to introducing prospective players of SMITE to its massive back story 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’ upcoming MOBA.

Lore: Adorning the walls and gates of home and shops, Zhong Kui is the Demon Queller of Chinese mythology. The former scholar now focuses his time on containing the ghosts and evil beings that plague the planes of men and gods alike. Capable of directing 80,000 of his captured spirits, Zhong Kui is revered by the populace despite serving the Hell King. How Zhong Kui fell into the Hell King’s realm is an unfortunate matter.

A bookish man, Zhong Kui traveled with his friend Du Ping to take the imperial examinations at the capital. After scoring top honors, Zhong Kui expected his ambitious to finally, after years of hard work, come to fruition. However, the emperor would not allow a disfigured individual to obtain top honors. The heartbroken Zhong Kui reacted in rage, throwing himself against the doors of the palace until he had bludgeoned himself to death. Read more…

Star Trek Online Enters Ninth Season with ‘A New Accord’ (Video)

Posted by on April 23, 2014 - No Comments »

Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios continue to drive the storyline of the Star Trek universe in new directions with the latest content patch for Star Trek Online. The ninth major content patch recently went live for the free-to-play title. A New Accord continues the story from the previous episode, A Step Between Stars, and sees the return of Star Trek regular Tim Russ, who played Lieutenant Commander Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager.

Other content changes and updates include:

  • An Undine reputation system featuring new gear

  • Undine Queued Events, including a pair of Space events and a Ground Event

  • Undine Persistent Battlezone in the Solonae Dyson Sphere

  • Redesigned Undine Ground and Space art designs

  • Increased player customization options for a game chock full of them

  • Remastered Undine/Borg Story Arc Missions

Hit the cut for the Season 9: A New Accord trailer and the latest stills from the Star Trek universe. And if you’re a huge Trekkie, be sure to check out the just-announced Star Trek Timelines. Read more…

All the Best of PAX East 2014

Posted by on April 22, 2014 - 11 Comments »

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PAX East 2014 Exclusive: Game of Thrones: Ascent Gets Every Chicken in the Room (Video)

Posted by on April 21, 2014 - No Comments »

Disruptor Beam is at it again, adding new content to its popular MMORPG Game of Thrones: Ascent at blazing fast speeds. CEO Jon Radoff catches the Lore Hound audience up on the latest features added since the end of HBO’s third season of George. R. R. Martin’s sprawling high court drama. Disruptor Beam isn’t stopping there. In addition to the new Alliance mechanics, the developer continues to roll with the story, introducing new houses, items – stay alert The Hound fans – and more to come.

Don’t get us wrong, content is fantastic, we’ve an insatiable appetite for it, but Disruptor Beam has finally broken away from the janky Facebook gaming platform. That’s something to celebrate! Radoff and iTZKooPA discuss the impact of the long-awaited iPad version of GoT: Ascent and its immediate change to the title’s consumption. So much so, that there’s cause to ask how the user base reacts before, after and during the episodes.

Second screening during Game of Thrones you say? That answer and much more in the 5-minute interview beyond the cut. Read more…

PAX East 2014 Exclusive: The Game Design Behind Li Li, Brightwing, Murky, Zagara & HotS

Posted by on April 18, 2014 - No Comments »

If you’ve followed Blizzard Entertainment, oh, for the last twenty years or so, you know that the company tends to keep everything close to its chest. Not so with its latest crop of games. Starting with Diablo III: Reaper of the Souls, the company has been very open about its development ideas, unleashing open betas and early access to the masses before quick launches. Hearthstone’s rampant development and openness appears to have set a new precedent as we move further into alpha development of Heroes of the Storm.

Still in the early technical alpha stage, a three person team of Game Director Dustin Browder, Senior Game Producer Kaeo Milker and Art Director Phill Gonzales were more than happy to parlay with iTZKooPA on the game design philosophy, skin direction and what sets Heroes of the Storm apart from other MOBAs. That last one came with some stock answers, but the rest was eye opening in a the casual conversation with the trio of Blizzard folk adventurous enough to come somewhere that sees actual blizzards.

Hit the jump to watch Dustin get giddy over Murky, Kaeo describe Li Li’s support capabilities and general shenanigans. Read more…

Don’t Get Sleepy with SMITE Patch 1.02091.1: Kumbakharna Awakes

Posted by on April 17, 2014 - 1 Comment »

I’ll admit, this new Hindu god sure makes me sleepy just trying to figure out how to pronounce his name. Is it KHUM-bah-karn-ah or KOOM-bha-karn-ah? I don’t know – and I think he barely knows as well considering he’s barely awake even for the team fights!

This patch also brings Isis a new skin; which is something she’s been begging for since she was first released.

Things of note this patch:

  • Updated tech for the client – it runs super smooth now (I doubled my framerate at maximum settings)
  • Qin’s Sais is back (finally); returning to its original passive of extra damage based on the target’s max health.
  • Bastet & Zhong Kui received a small nerf
  • Chaac is no longer immune to damage during his ult & Vamana no longer receives cooldown reduction on his ultimate
  • Odin, Thor, and Nemesis received sizable nerfs
  • Thor was given a slight buff

After the cut, watch the God Reveal video for Kumbakharna. Then check out the rest of the details in this patch.

Read more…