Instance Gratification 22: Technology Woes Meet Gameplay Woes

Posted by on March 3, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_instance_gratification_disenfranchised-world_of_warcraft_dungeons_garrisonInstance 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.

This week’s technology battle had nothing to do with my arch nemesis. Nope, Comcast deserve none of the credit for hampering my gameplay, for driving me nuts with random crashes, freezes and the unpleasant mid-game lock up. That, my fine readers, goes unequivocally to dust. Yeah, a nasty collection of human skin, human hair and Psylocke fur created a massive superstructure inside my AMD Radeon HD card’s fan cooling system. Of course the realization came after much time was spent looking at the software side.

Being able to play tonight unlocks a gameplay woe. That being my continued disenfranchisement with World of Warcraft, the game that crystallized my addiction to the MMORPG genre which has never let up. It’s not any one feature or lack thereof or replacement that’s caused me to slowly detract from WoW. Rather it’s a collection of game design decisions, competition, industry innovation – or at least, industry shift – and naturally, real life. Blizzard Entertainment has altered the direction of WoW a few times. Sometimes for the better, Wrath of the Lich King, and sometimes for the worse, Mists of Pandaria. Neverwinter has eaten into my quick fix for dungeons. MOBAs indoctrinated not just myself, but millions upon millions of competitive gamers. And, well, life.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and general shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream. The show will kick off around at its new time, 7:00 PM EST, and continue until approximately 9:00 PM! Read more…

Ascent – The Space Game Warps into Early Access

Posted by on March 3, 2015 - No Comments »

asteroidminingAscent – The Space Game is now available on Steam Early Access! This is a sandbox game with building, trading, exploring, mining, and politics. I am absolutely fascinated by its science-driven features; modeled on the actual Milky Way, Ascent’s universe features over 270 billion stars and a trillion planets to explore and discover! They use scientific modeling to craft the planets, suns, stars, black holes, asteroid fields and moons that populate the universe – and according to their website, exploring every system in their game is not possible within the span of a human life. I have to say – that makes me want to try! :)

This Early Access build features the ability to gain a variety of skills, such as asteroid mining and gas harvesting, and put them to work building up enough wealth to found your first colony on a distant world. With the management of that colony may come more wealth, more problems, and the ability to interact with galactic politics. This feature will allow you access to convince the other leaders to construct massively expensive hypergates to ease travel and trade to your system. Other political and structural improvements are in the works, as well as massive new systems for colonization, combat, and dynamic questing.

Sound exciting? Check out the official webpage for more information, or purchase early access on steam.

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SMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained – Hou Yi

Posted by on February 26, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_deities_demigods_god_explained_HouYi_Default_CardSMITE: 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: Houyi, aka Hou-i, Shenyi, and even simply Yi, is the famed archer husband of Chang’e, Faerie of the Moon, and is one of the more prolific deities of Chinese mythology. Often portrayed as the god of archery Hou Yi is seen as coming to aid all of mankind. His skills were requested by none other than Yao, the Emperor of China after the ten Sun-birds began to grow tired of their divine routine. Rather than appear alone each day the sun birds ventured out. Together. Their combined heat scorched the world, dried up lakes and decimated crops. The Emperor had to protect his subjects. Hou Yi, the renowned archer, was given the blessing of Dijun, the God of the Eastern Heaven, to frighten his mischievous sons. Read more…

MOBA Monday: Back Into the World of Blizzard Watch

Posted by on February 23, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_heroes_of_the_storm_moba_mondayMOBA Monday is a weekly showcase of how to perform, eh, let’s go with adequately – we hope – in a multiplayer 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.

There are few video game companies that enthrall a community quite like Blizzard Entertainment. You’ve got your Valve and Nintendo, perhaps the former Sony Online Entertainment. None of those have flipped the genre they enter upside down like Blizzard did to the MMOG, dungeon crawlers and RTS (sure, Nintendo has effectively created some genres, but I digress). The folks at Blizzard are looking for a fourth strike in the MOBA genre – excuse me, “hero brawler” – which it provided the tools for out of Warcraft III.

After repeated false starts, a lawsuit and numerous name changes we’re well on our way to the release of Heroes of the Storm. I’m not well on my way to possessing any dramatic skill advantage, but I’ve certainly put my time and interest into the universes. Oh, how much time and interest I’ve sunk into the worlds of Diablo, StarCraft and Warcraft. Let’s not start calculating. Instead, let’s see each other in game and let worlds collide!

Don’t forget that all Lore Hound Twitch shows have been moved to their new time at 7:00 PM EST. We still have the same great line up, the same shenanigans and the same daily dose of awesome. Hit the jump or head directly to the channel page to watch live. Don’t forget to follow for all the updates and giveaway opportunities. Read more…

Columbus Nova: White Knight?

Posted by on February 19, 2015 - No Comments »

For a while now, I’ve been struggling with my response to the Sony Online Entertainment acquisition by Columbus Nova. Hope, fear, worry, curiosity; I have run a wide gamut of emotion! I’m very passionate about my gaming. I already wrote a short blurb about my feeling hopeful; although what I didn’t really go into with much detail is the why. It goes beyond Terry Michaels’ impassioned defense of Daybreak. You see, one of my other passions is the stock market. I love digging into stocks and investments. I can’t help but respond to any change in the company of games I play with fear – but that is simply a fear of change. I react the same way every time a class revamp is announced. Or a balancing pass.

I am in no way attempting to compare the impact of a company acquisition and round of layoffs to a class revamp. It is simply that an acquisition in and of itself is not a harbinger of doom. Neither are layoffs. The gaming industry is very unstable, studios over hire, layoff, hire, layoff; it’s an endlessly repeating cycle. Don’t believe me? Dave Georgeson says just that, with more detail, in a guest post on mmorpg.com. Dave Carey says the same thing, in a post regarding the layoffs and Columbus Nova.

Then I came across a post on the Landmark forums by a poster named Nibbon.  Have you ever settled down to do something, only to find someone else has done it more brilliantly than you ever could? That’s Nibbon. I am sharing the post in its entirety for two reasons. I want to give Nibbon a shout out, because I really enjoyed his post a great deal. And also because he really did put what I’ve been struggling to formulate into words with a greater eloquence than I could have managed. So with his permission to repost, I give you…

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Tavern Talk Or Why Garrisons Are Killing WoW

Posted by on February 18, 2015 - 3 Comments »

lh_garrisons_killing_wow

This article has been in the making for months. Quite frankly, since I first stepped into my garrison, something I knew very little about despite being a steadfast BlizzCon attendee. It’s no surprise that the implementation of player housing in World of Warcraft has caused some friction among the community. First off, anything will given 10 million opinions. Second, it was an oft-requested, just as oft shot down idea until Blizzard felt the designers could bring something fresh to the table. The team behind Warlords of Draenor did exactly that. Producing an instanced version of your own private army – perfectly made for app play – that would help you in battle, grow along side you, aid you in your professions and even allow you to show off to friends.

Alex Albrecht and I touched upon our dislike of the hot new feature during the Tavern Talk panel at PAX South. Sticking with the panel’s topic, we strongly felt that garrisons as implemented in WoW have detracted from the universe. Instead of taking the risk of venturing out into Draenor players can sit safely at home a few times a day to perform the rather mundane and repetitive tasks of leveling up followers, earning them (or you) new gear or grabbing profession consumables. It’s a time save, something I very much appreciate. Unfortunately this time saving mechanic dramatically alters the experience. Read more…

Instance Gratification 21: Spider-man is Coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe! (Giveaway)

Posted by on February 17, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_instance_gratification_marvel_heroes_spider-manInstance 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.

There’s really nothing to it. Sony Pictures and Marvel Entertainment have announced that the pair will be working to bring Spider-man to life as part of the extensive Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve known that particular piece of juicy information for some time. Today, it was crystallized. The Marvel Twitter account announced that the two companies have hashed out the details, which includes delaying some of the old timeline’s announcement. That makes way for a Marvel/Sony Spider-man on July 28, 2017. Yeah, 2017 is further out than most of today’s stock holdings, but we nerds have the patience.

To celebrate we’re, of course, heading back into Marvel Heroes. Last seen during community manager Ryan Collins’ appearance, complete with giveaways, I continue pushing through the main story in hopes of actually completing it someday. Black Panther is fun and all, but I’m sick of abusing his AoE. Time to wrap it up and begin developing some new character I can dramatically break. Oh, and learn some of those sexy endgame systems, like the Omega dealie.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and general shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream. The show will kick off around at its new time, 7:00 PM EST, and continue until approximately 9:00 PM! The fan of knives spamming will continue until the Story Mode is wrapped! Read more…

MOBA Monday: Smitten with Smoting in SMITE (Giveaway)

Posted by on February 16, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_moba_monday_smite_gods_giveawayMOBA Monday is a weekly showcase of how to perform, eh, let’s go with adequately – we hope – in a multiplayer 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.

Aphrodite and Cupid are no longer be spreading romance across the universe of SMITE. That’s fine, I’ve been smitten with the MOBA for quite some time. That’s why we’ll be returning to the god-based MOBA for tonight’s episode despite the fact that I played a solid amount this weekend. I mean, I wasn’t going to let a heart-shaped icon past me by simply because I didn’t win one game in a weekend!

The odds are strong that I’ll once again be forced into a support role, which goes well most of the time. Granted, the team composition my force my hand into playing a particular god I am not familiar with. Or, of course, there can always be crucial disconnects and such to interfere. At any rate, you guys should really be cheering for that occurrence, because I’ll be giving away some god and recolor unlock codes. That’s right, there is a solid chance that a plural amount of codes will be given away during tonight’s episode of MOBA Monday!

Don’t forget that all Lore Hound Twitch shows have been moved to their new time at 7:00 PM EST. We still have the same great line up, the same shenanigans and the same daily dose of awesome. Hit the jump or head directly to the channel page to watch live. Don’t forget to follow for all the updates and giveaway opportunities. Read more…