MOBA Monday: Gods and the Undead Come to the Small Screen (Livestream)

Posted by on July 14, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_moba_Monday_dead_island_epidemic_smiteThe LoreHound Twitch channel has long run with the Demigods, Deities and Gods of SMITE. Today won’t make any radical departure from that expectation. In classic fashion I’ll be running more Arena matches as I farm up my Mastery level to finally get into League play. One day people will learn to fear the name of iTZKooPA.

That is, seeing that name on their team.

The second half of the stream is following in the footsteps of the first F2P Friday stream by featuring a new title. This MOBA features battles against the undead and a three-way battle for supremacy of the living. Naturally, I’m talking about the unique extension to the Dead Island franchise by way of Dead Island: Epidemic.

Because I am once again featuring a brand new game the fair warning must be made. I may suck hard at DI: E. SMITE, while that entirely depends on which hero I decide to farm up this outing. The stream will kick off by 11:30 AM EST and run for about 90 minutes.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream, which will be replaced later with the recorded edition of the show. Read more…

Infinite Crisis Development Detour

Posted by on July 11, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_cardell_kerr_infinite_crisis_new-playerDuring PAX East I ran into a lot of developers, community managers and marketing people that are all vying to be the next big MOBA. From Turbine’s Infinite Crisis to a Russian entry in Prime World to the growing community behind SMITE or Strife, the second attempt from S2 Games: everyone of these is hoping to pull you into their battle arena. And yet, they can’t possibly all be the next League of Legends.

Keeping that in mind, I asked each and every person exactly what sets their title apart. What’s the differentiation? Why move from DOTA 2 or some other massively established title to yours? What’s the hook? Even though this is a question they should have been prepared for many failed to respond with anything strong.

Cardell Kerr, the Creative Director for Infinite Crisis, has taken the issue to heart and is going to do something about it. In short, his lengthy explanation to the community will see Turbine dramatically alter the development plan that we recently discussed.

  • Balance updates are to come roughly monthly.
  • Technical patches will be released alongside balance updates in the hopes of reducing crashes (thus AFKs)
  • Champions development will continue, but no new champions will be released until September.
  • Developer presence on the forum will increase

Read more…

F2P Friday: Gibbing Orcs & Flipping Cards (Livestream)

Posted by on July 11, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_f2p_friday_orcsmustdieunchainedYou’re going to receive a double dose of orcs in the inaugural F2P Friday livestream later today. Kicking off sometime around lunch time for the Eastern (US) time zone – that’s roughly 1:00-3:00 PM for me – the stream will not only be the first of this new weekly stream, but the first of our streams to feature either the tower defense/MOBA Orcs Must Die Unchained or collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

In case the title doesn’t indicate exactly what’s going to go on in this weekly livestream I’ll elaborate. To bookend MOBA Monday, F2P Friday will feature other titles with little-to-no barrier to entry of any genre outside the popular multiplayer online battle arena that’s taken the world by storm since 2010. Expect the likes of Hearthstone, OMDU, NeverwinterMarvel Heroes and many more titles that run on a PC, feature multiplayer in some capacity and cost nothing to get started.

Fair warning, I suck at one, possibly both of the games. Come help me get better!

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream, which will be replaced later has been replaced with the recorded edition of the show. Read more…

How Important Are Addons to MMORPGs?

Posted by on July 10, 2014 - No Comments »

The splitting of HP and shield is a nice feature.

The splitting of HP and shield is a nice feature.

I received an email blast from the PR firm directing WildStar’s marketing earlier this week. It’s not entirely relevant as a news post or anything, but it did get me thinking about addons and how crucial they have been for MMORPGs. That’s past tense for a reason. My real spark was how much it’s changed, how little they’re generally needed these days and how many games work perfectly well without implementing them or never having them catch on.

This brings up numerous other head-scratching conundrums: Are community-made addons still relevant? Have they remained as popular and as necessary as they did half a decade ago? And thus, give sites like Curse their continued reason for existence? Have developers of these products mined the community for ideas and included the most popular addons as part of the default user interface options? Was the fear of addons in WildStar not catching on the cause of the email blast by Carbine? Finally, were addons and their popularity a product of developer innovation or lazy development?

The answers to some of these questions are obvious. For instance, Curse will exist forever barring poor management choices. The site itself has long created its own technology to service the add-on hungry community and has grown beyond that. In a title like World of Warcraft, which like a lot of other features Blizzard included, effectively made addons a thing in the genre, addons have quite literally changed the game. Some times to the extreme, causing Blizzard to shut down the addons through code changes. Other cases are irrefutable evidence to Blizzard mining the community for ideas and innovation. Read more…

Will You Buy the Naxxramas Hearthstone Expansion for $24.99?

Posted by on July 9, 2014 - 1 Comment »

lh_naxxramas_cost_hearthstone_expansionThe digital card game from Blizzard Entertainment has been a love, hate relationship for me. Losing isn’t why I often abandon the game, although I do plenty of that. It’s something about the pace and often routine play that my reptile-nerd brain can’t seem to digest. Yet, since it’s intricately linked to Warcraft, has a card built after Solidsamm, my World of Warcraft character, and is an incredibly popular game among friends and the community, I get sucked back in. Every. Freaking. TIME.

The return of Naxxramas, as discussed in our PAX East interview with Eric Dodds and Jason Chaves, brings the raid that won’t die back to the forefront of the Warcraft universe. Featuring five wings, all the bosses and mobs you’d anticipate and tons of new challenges it delivers the largest update to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft yet. But at a price.

The content is free, should you opt to grind out individual wings at 700 gold a piece, or you can purchase the whole thing for $24.99. Not exactly low cost for a free-to-play digital trading card game. Blizzard smartly allows players to mix and match gold and IRL currency as displayed in the above image. Read more…

Perfect World Entertainment Snaps Up Warframe Developer

Posted by on July 9, 2014 - No Comments »

Developer purchases by publishers are always interesting. When the publisher is a public company the news is almost immediate and often tips the hand of the company doing the purchasing. Of course, that’s if the company hasn’t made it perfectly clear, already and that’s exactly what Perfect World International has done. It is looking to expand into the Western market aggressively.

The parent company of Perfect World Entertainment, the US arm in charge of Forsaken WorldStar Trek Online and Neverwinter, the latter two being developed by wholly-owned developer Cryptic Studios, has returned to the US market grabbing the maker behind the third-person F2P shooter Warframe. Although unconfirmed by either branch, the purchase of Digital Extremes will give Perfect World another genre that’s key to the domestic market; shooters. Read more…

SMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained – Kumbakharna

Posted by on July 8, 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’ new MOBA.

Lore: The difficult to pronounce Kumbhakarna is a jovial, pious deity twisted by his warrior’s code. A core part of the Ramayana, one of two revered Hindu epic poems, he is a giant of a man that routinely feeds, even on monks if only to showcase his power. Brothers to Ravana and Vibhishana, he often fights for the side of evil out of family loyalty to Ravana.

After performing a particular moving yajna to Lord Brahma the brave Kumbhakarna was rewarded with a blessing. Goddess Saraswati acting on behalf of a jealous Indra cursed his tongue causing the intelligent giant to slur ‘Nidraasana,’ or sleep, instead of the anticipated ‘Indraasana,’ or seat of Indra, which would have endowed him the realm and title of Lord of Heaven. Tricked, Kumbhakarna became the Sleeping Giant setting the mountains to rumbling with his snores. Read more…

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria Review

Posted by on July 7, 2014 - No Comments »

This review of the World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria novel by Micky Neilson is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

You may think that a comic released alongside Mists of Pandaria would revolve around the newly-discovered island in World of Warcraft but you’d be mostly incorrect. Nelson, who said the comic originated when The Burning Crusade was all the rage, wrote it figuring the Pandaria would never see its own expansion. The tale was to explore the (original April Fool’s Day) lore and culture of the Pandarian people and the famous brewmaster and wanderer Chen Stormstout. Instead the tale was opened up to span Azeroth, from Shen-zin Su to Stormwind that, at parts, almost feels like a travel agency’s pitch to why you should be interested in the universe.

Interspersed to the lush visuals and descriptions of various locations that have been masterfully drawn by Sean Galloway is a cute coming of age and generational story of Li Li Stormstout chasing after her uncle Chen that has gone missing and presumed dead by many on the Wandering Isle. And yet the story is filled with references to the famed beer cultures of the Pandaren and Dwarven people. A bit odd with a coming of age story. Throughout the tale Li Li maintains an upbeat and unflappable outlook on life, the world and its many people, which consistently annoys Stongbo, her protective companion and a former friend of Chen. Read more…