Neverwinter Dev Blog: Artifacts

Posted by on August 20, 2014 - No Comments »

f69cb7cee5698ede38444faffd699c731408467340Like some artifacts with your D&D? If you said yes, you’re not alone. The positive response to the introduction of artifacts encouraged the devs to improve and expand upon the system. In the newest dev blog, senior systems designer Ken “Graalx3″ Burd explains the improvement and additions to artifacts in Neverwinter.

Tyranny of Dragons introduces main hand weapon and belt artifacts. There are initially 6 belts added to the game, and 3 weapons for each class for a total of 21 new weapons. Their base power level is akin to top level items in Fury of Feywild, and they only increase in power from there. Sounds awesome! Now I just need to get my new warlock to endgame to test these badboys out…

Read more…

Instance Gratification 4: The Dragonborn and the Military Quarter

Posted by on August 20, 2014 - No Comments »

instance_gratification_dragonborn_hearthstone_neverwinterInstance 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.

Tyranny of Dragons is finally live and we can’t wait to get our hands on the new race, the Dragonborn, and play around in the the latest class from the Forgotten Realms, a Scourge Warlock. Granted, I’ve only recently cracked level 30, so the end game materials will have to wait. But we’ll still get to see some of this action during the opening of today’s stream as I plan on making a new character and taking a Scourge Warlock for a summer walk through the tutorial.

Neverwinter folk take notice. We’ll be giving away Neverwinter Vanguard Pack codes during your portion of Instance Gratification! Read more…

Swordsman Review: How Important is the First Hour? (Part 2)

Posted by on August 19, 2014 - No Comments »

2014-07-09 22-40-24For most reviews, I separate out the different parts of the game in question and evaluate them on their own (See Part 1 here!); What is the combat like; how does the character advance; is the community friendly. And I started to do that with Swordsman, and rapidly found myself frustrated. So for part 2, working on evaluating the meat of the game, I’m going to take a different tactic because I’ve found Swordsman exemplifies the absolute importance of a game’s first impression. There are far too many games out there now for designers to have the luxury of ignoring the initial 30 minutes of play.

Those 30 minutes, that first hour – they are perhaps the single most important period of time for any game. Take The Secret World, for example. I love that game, I really do. It has a permanent place on my harddrive next to Morrowind, and I have never for even a moment felt regret over the purchase of the lifetime pack. But every time I tell someone new about the game, I feel compelled to introduce it by telling them that they need to start playing it when they have time – because that first hour sucks.

Why do I bring up The Secret World when I’m here to talk about Swordsman? Because that first hour in Swordsman, that golden hour of gaming, makes the first hour of The Secret World look amazing. I have since come to appreciate some of what Swordsman does and I’m still playing it, but I’ll make no bones about the fact that it has the first few hours of the most boring play that I’ve ever suffered through. Read more…

Is the Warlords of Draenor Collector’s Edition Worth It?

Posted by on August 18, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_wow_warlords_Draenor_collectors_editionTo date, I’ve purchased every single World of Warcraft CE released with one huge exception, vanilla WoW. Thanks to a combination of an in-progress undergrad education, typical personal financing skills of that age a job of that rank and a girlfriend, the CE was simply out of my reach. Once those hurdle all lined up for a simple single leap I’ve managed to secure the remaining CE.

Blizzard has unveiled the Warlords of Draenor Collector’s Edition as part of its Gamescom 2014 reveals. Featuring your typical exclusive items, like a Dread Raven Mount and Dread Hatchling pet, a Blackhand mousepad, art, behind-the-scenes DVD/Blu-ray and the official soundtrack and cross-universe loot for StarCraft, Diablo and now Hearthstone, the CE is bigger than ever. Oh, and you’ve even an instant level 90 character this go around.

Release date, Draenor cinematic and more after the cut. Read more…

MOBA Monday: Fictional & Mythological Pantheons

Posted by on August 18, 2014 - No Comments »

moba_monday_heroes_of_the_storm_rotation_smiteMOBA 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.

What do you get when you mix the great mythological pantheons of our ancestors with some of the great fictional pantheons of gamedom? Why you get today’s episode of MOBA Monday of course. I’ll be traversing the planes of existence between StarCraft, Warcraft and Diablo during the Heroes of the Storm session. Spending most of my recent time in the Warcraft realm thanks to Hearthstone (really, it’s thanks to Naxxramas and flapping my hands around), I’ll be stuck offering this week’s free rotation as the staple.

Not so for the adventure into Earth’s past, and in the case of Hinduism, present religious beliefs. There’s no limits here. Every god in SMITE is at my disposal with a wide variety of skins to boot. This should help as I so arduously continue to farm my way towards League readiness. And I’ve more skins to give away this week. The which god is given away will be determined by you, the SMITE-adoring community. Read more…

How Long Do You Play a Game?

Posted by on August 14, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_comic_book_guy_time_spentThe upcoming tenth anniversary of World of Warcraft has me thinking about the shelflife that games have with me. After the rampant glee of a return to Molten Core for a Perdition’s Blade subsided my next thought was “Holy F&*#, I’ve been playing this game for a long a$$ time!” I then proceeded to spend the next hour or so attempting to determine exactly how long that’s been. A limited stint during the final moments of The Burning Crusade and an even more limited attendance for the opening of Mists of Pandaria will put that mark around a solid seven years.

No, you can’t have my /played.

WoW, without a shadow of a doubt, is the game I’ve spent the most time in during my long gaming career. It’s the exception to the rule. For me, and most gamers, it’s often one game to the next. The AAA sequel, random indie success or super cool original IP, they all fall by the wayside within a few months normally. Read more…

Steel Crusade Set to Eradicate Champions Online

Posted by on August 13, 2014 - No Comments »

CO_SteelCrusade_RoboPunch There be some busy bees buzzing around at Cryptic Studios. The developer announced a new content patch for its original free-to-play title Champions Online. Partnered with the upcoming second expansion for Star Trek Online and the August 14 release (hey, that’s tomorrow!) of Tyranny of Dragons module for Neverwinter the Perfect World Entertainment subsidiary has not taken the summer off in any sense.

The Steel Crusade update brings the superheros of Millennium City face-to-unique-face with Mechanon, a robot supervillain that believes sentient life is best when made out of cold, heartless steel. Players will have to explore new areas, snuff out a nanobot virus and crusade Mechanon’s satellite fortress to save the world.

Three new instances, a new mission hub dubbed with a ridiculous NASA-worthy acronym of UNTIL (United Nations Tribunal on International Law) and a new archetype are a part of Steel Crusade. Additional Mechanon-focused content will follow the September 4 launch of Steel Crusade in time with the fifth anniversary in late September.

We’re hopefully be getting some hands on of Steel Crusade at PAX Prime later this month. Until then the screenshots after the cut will have to hold you over. Read more…

The Idea of SMITE on Xbox One is Good Yet With Concerns

Posted by on August 12, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_smite_xbox_ramerica_News came out of Gamecom 2014 early this morning that touched the MOBA community in a sensitive spot. Yes, the no, no spot; consoles. Hi-Rez Studios will be bringing its god-based third-person massive online battle arena to Xbox One. Everybody okay, because Reddit wasn’t. Twitter was none too happy as well. But that’s a bit expected from the hyperbole of gamedom. The world is not over. Yes, the F2P community of SMITE will change as will development. The thing is, as with money from Tencent and Level Up, this only vets how much people like SMITE, your game, and will soon be a part of it.

Now before I slip into a rebuttal to the hyperbole that is part of the discussion there are some justifiable concerns, or to some extent, lack of details, that the community would like cleared up. For instance, please confirm that the title won’t be cross platform. Really, that’s an anticipated fairness. Along those lines one hopes that the Xbox has if not it’s own small team then some people dedicated to it so as not to impact overall development with the port. This includes not delaying patches to the tedious Microsoft review process. You should see a trend of the most obvious concerns and an easy way to address them; outside the actual gameplay and community elements, keep the titles separate. Read more…