PAX Prime: Call of Champions Compresses Competition

Posted by on September 13, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_Call-of-Champions_paxprimeWhenever we add a new title to the MOBA Monday rotation there’s one question that immediately comes up, “How long is a match?” It’s guaranteed, and having obviously played whatever game is being streamed, an easy answer. That doesn’t make it any less important. Players were originally conditioned to expect 40+ minute matches. That’s been on a precipitous decline as developers introduce new game modes and new titles look to diversify themselves by being more accessible.

Spacetime Studios is of the later. Dramatically. The former mobile MMOG specialist is bringing its incredible 15 million dollar technology stack to the world of the MOBA genre. But that enables the company to get a leg up, leveraging technology already created and perfected for a new title. That doesn’t necessarily diversify you game. Spacetime Studios is designing Call of Champions the way we consume mobile games. While waiting for our friends at the bar. Killing time on the train to work or the bus to school. Ignoring our parents – kids, you aren’t the only people that do this – or simply procrastinating for a few minutes.

Yeah, less than ten minutes. In fact, you’ll see an entire match spliced into our interview. Read more…

PAX Prime: Troll Your Frenemies in Sword Coast Legends

Posted by on September 12, 2015 - 1 Comment »

lh_paxprime_sword_coast_legendsArriving at the Dungeons & Dragons area in the expanded offsite part of PAX Prime I wasn’t to sure what to expect. Sure, there’d be Dungeons & Dragons, but I hadn’t had time to research the game I’d be playing past the universe and that it’d be some sort of co-op experience. My world view was quickly shattered. I was ushered into the Dungeon Master’s chair. Anxiety, fear, ineptitude, power. These are all feelings that quickly swept over me. I meekly stated that I didn’t think I’d be an interesting DM, having never messed with the game or rarely taken on the role in the fleshy world (I like digesting lore and critiquing. I don’t feel I’m creative in the sense to make new worlds, characters, etc.). A developer assuaged my concerns, letting me know he’d be there holding my hand the whole time.

Nerves settled I began poking around. I quickly learned that the experience is meant to parlay the table-top universe it’s based on as best as possible, but in a digital space. That means Sword Coast Legends isn’t your typical co-op game. It’s not a group of players rolling together. It’s “four with one”. Certainly not, four versus one. Power quickly went to my head. First it was spider eggs. I placed them all over the place after the first pull. The party was swarmed, but I’d used almost all my threat power. Seeing the imbalance I recalled a few minions, enabling the party to struggle through the encounter and save myself power for later. I played around with doors, traps and colors. Really, I kinda let them roll along at this point. I was busy with my master plan. A weak looking goblin that had 4 summons, heals and AE spells galore. He cost only five threat. I grouped them together like fire imps. I watched the mayhem cackling like a made man. On the inside.

I think I’m hooked.    Read more…

PAX Prime: Let’s Get Stuck in the Necropolis

Posted by on September 10, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_paxprime_necropolis_bridge_run_harebrainedschemesYou’ve been following our convention coverage for years, right? That’s good, then you’ll know that our YouTube channel is swarmed around conventions. Every few months we get to nerd out with other like-minded individuals over our favorite digital pastime. And every convention offers at least one surprise. An unexpected announcement, insane eSports moment, breakout surprise, a dud panel or all-consuming distraction.

Sure, we cover all the big PC games, the World of Warcrafts, WildStars and World of Tanks of the world. But we really love spending time finding the gems at the shows. Something that takes a ton of time, because they truly can be diamonds in the rough. The items on the sixth floor, tucked off site or hidden in the crush of humanity around the Indie Megabooth. Heck, some of the gems we’ve found way, way early in their development you’ll recognize, League of LegendsGlobal Agenda and Orcs Must Die! to name but a few.

Harebrained Schemes isn’t offering its freshman entry with Necropolis but it’s putting the independent company’s pedigree on the map in a big way. Necropolis is being developed as a roguelight/roguelike in the vein of Dark Souls. Expect to die. A lot. Featuring a subtle story that’s, quite frankly, all around you, Necropolis places challenges before you and leaves you to figure it out.  Or attack in another direction. Read more…

PAX Prime 2015: How the Community Altered World of Warships’ Design

Posted by on September 9, 2015 - No Comments »


We’re going to need a bigger boat pun list.

We’ve been tracking the development of World of Warships for what seems like ages. Long enough for it to have a mid-life crisis! This past week brought the exciting news that open beta testing has come to a close. In a scant few days World of Warships will be live in the wild. Will it follow in the successful footsteps of World of Tanks and World of Warplanes? Time will tell, but as senior producer Jake Neri articulates, two million registered during beta testing is certainly a good start. You know, before the game actually launches on September 17. While we found out that is diversifying its offerings, even expanding its wings with WG Labs, the core group is sticking to its guns. I know, punny! This is not simply through the general game design behind war machines, but also the core aspects of gameplay, customer service, support and how Warships will be monetized moving forward. First and foremost, it’s the one core tenet that interests our community. That has even sacrificed some of its famous historical accuracy to ensure an enjoyable, competitive and challenging experience. Read more…

PAX Prime 2015: WildStar Delivering More Than a New Business Model

Posted by on September 8, 2015 - No Comments »

WS_2015-09_FTP_Launch_Date_11Carbine Studios steadfastly designed WildStar to be supported a subscription model. Many, myself included, felt that the decision to stick with a seemingly archaic business model was odd by the time the title was launched in 2014. Convinced they had the goods the squad stuck to their guns. Two-hands of months plus and that proved incorrect. NCSoft and Carbine Studios through in the towel announcing, to incredible fan excitement, myself included, that WildStar would be joining the free-to-play conversion crowd. Months later and we’re finally seeing the fruits of that announcement.

F2P WildStar will be launching September 29, 2015!

PAX Prime gave us another opportunity to check in with creative director Chad “Pappy” Moore. A man we’ve interviewed a few times. Naturally, we kicked it off with those hard questions, how Carbine has retooled not only the current game, but future game design to fit the free-to-play mold. We took it a step further, inquiring as to how the community may need to be remolded due to these changes. Then we head towards the mind-boggling amount of currency juggling players new and old will have to undertake. This and plenty more on the incoming content, refresh and redesign of WildStar behind the cut! Read more…

Guild Wars 2 Now Free!

Posted by on September 8, 2015 - No Comments »

69e88Bandit-Boss-FlameLast weekend marked the three year anniversary of Guild Wars 2’s launch. To celebrate, ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien announced two things at PAX: the core game is now entirely free to play, and Heart of Thorns, the upcoming expansion, has a date. It will be launching Friday, October 23.  Expansions always get me excited for games, even if they are games I don’t actually play – I have a far greater urge to run out and buy a game if I see an expansion than I do for a launch.

It looks like this expansion will be dropping quite a lot of content players’ way, so lets take a look. Read more…

Hearthstone’s Increasing Card Count a Cause for Concern?

Posted by on September 4, 2015 - 1 Comment »

About to blast you with 10 hours of theorycrafting.

About to blast you with 10 hours of theorycrafting.

Blizzard Entertainment isn’t known for making content quickly. It has never been able to keep World of Warcraft stocked with fresh content. The StarCraft community was starved for 12 years. Diablo III’s been a bit better, but again, a huge wait between games/expansions. Those were all AAA core franchises. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm have been pleasant surprises. These more accessible titles have seen repeated rounds of content, such as two Hearthstone expansions and Solo Adventures, and the Eternal Conflict event in HotS. To name but a few. But, and pardon the “they can’t win either way” thought, is Blizzard making content for Hearthstone too fast?

Shaktaji, who is thoroughly an addict, and I, a player who has waning interest for various reasons, were discussing this concern over dinner recently. The obvious node of contention is potential current player burnout. Will players eventually get sick of learning 200+ new cards, how they interact and how they should be used every year? We put that aside quickly since, for many, it’s an expected and addicting part of the game. Then a less obvious point came up. Would the continued increase make the game less accessible over time? As more and more cards are released it becomes more and more difficult for new players to be competitive (a concern for its sister title in the MOBA genre too). Sure, those newbies should be paired up against other newbies but they’ll constantly be playing against cards they haven’t seen before. Will this freak them out or will the freshness interest them until they moved to a level of play with more strategy and thus, more homogeneous decks? Read more…

PAX Prime 2015: Master of Orion Exclusive Sneak Peak

Posted by on August 30, 2015 - 2 Comments »

MoO_Logo_Main_Version_PNGSeeing banners and general media surrounding this game about this brand new IP launched by Wargaming really didn’t prepare me for the pleasant blindside. It’s my personal blunder, perhaps, due to my age, and I didn’t realize this wasn’t exactly a new IP. A reboot of the Old 4X genre Master of Orion games – though I’m told this revolves more around the first – but remastered for the modern age. For those not familiar, 4X stands for: “eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate”.

Read more…