Das Tal Adds New Kickstarter Tier: The Sentinel

Posted by on May 26, 2015 - No Comments »

4_buildingLast week, I discussed the kickstarter for upcoming PvP sandbox game Das Tal. The game itself looks pretty interesting, and I have to say, in terms of kickstarter campaigns that I’ve seen, the guys behind it are some of the most community responsive. They didn’t simply launch their campaign, they did prep work first to determine what their community wanted to see in backer tiers, what they didn’t want to see, and when they wanted to see it. The result is the current Das Tal Kickstarter campaign.

But they didn’t stop there. Read more…

Pulling Back the Mystery Around Heroes of the Storm Matchmaking

Posted by on May 22, 2015 - No Comments »

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It is fundamental that any matchmaking system be balanced to perfection in order for both new and experienced individual players to enjoy the competitive landscape. The focus today is on Heroes of the Storm, the upcoming MOBA from Blizzard Entertainment. Based upon its popularity and ingenuity, the matchmaking system has received mixed reactions from players necessitating changes to be made, fast. After all, the title leaves open beta testing and enters the realm of launch on June 2, 2015. Have no idea about what Heroes of the Storm is all about? Take a moment to understand how you’ll be paired against foes before proceeding further.

Heroes of the Storm

In this particular game, there are currently three modes that you can play. First, there is a Practice mode, which is aimed at training players to enter the other two modes, Versus and Cooperative. In each case styles differ and who you play against varies. The techniques of a practice mode are a far cry from certain victory against real life opponents, but the core elements of the game are anchored on strategies. Just like any online game, if you have a better strategy in place chances are that you will emerge the victor. Read more…

Das Tal Kicks Off Its Kickstarter Campaign!

Posted by on May 21, 2015 - No Comments »

EnvironmentCompostion01What better way to celebrate a departure from the sickbed than an upcoming sandbox announcement? You know I love sandbox MMORPGs..

Das Tal has begun its kickstarter campaign.  It is self described as the love child of a sandbox MMORPG and a fast-paced PvP arena. Sounds interesting to me – I love sandbox games, and I love pvp games – so long as pvp is a core part of the design. So many times pvp and pve are separate entities, leaving a difficult balancing act that seems to always result in one side or the other feeling like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.

One of the features of Das Tal that I find particularly interesting is what they call the time-boxed worlds. Each server runs for a limited time, ending with a climatic event, and then begins anew – with the players deciding which features the new campaign will have.  Read more…

Instance Gratification 29: Into the world of The Continent or Geralt of Rivia

Posted by on May 19, 2015 - No Comments »

instance_gratification_29_geralt_witcher_wild_huntInstance 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 Tuesday for dungeon dives, solo attempts and general loot hoarding in your favorite games.

I’ll be the first to admit that The Witcher III: Wild Hunt isn’t the most applicable game for this livestream show. I mean, it’s not even in our extensive MMO Game List and that’s because it lacks any online component to speak of. That being said the entirety of the game resides on a single instance; my PC. So single-player RPGs are the most instance-based dungeon adventures possible. Right? Well, that’s the case I made to the team when I pitched Geralt’s first foray into Lore Hound during this week’s Instance Gratification.

The fact of the matter is that The Witcher, the entire franchise, is one of the greatest RPGs of recent years. That’s not an opinion, scores and reviews back it up. An opinion would be more akin to one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Based in fact, but far less rigid. Having read the first compilation of short stories that launched the Polish fantasy franchise and the first novelization I was easily drawn when CD Projekt Red, a company I was already a fan of, adapted it years back.

New to the universe of Geralt of Rivia? Don’t remember where it left off? Or, perhaps more importantly, which choices you selected in The Witcher II? Fear not, not only can you reselect these, if you, like me, can’t find your save file, but you can opt to change them. Gamespot has an excellent summation to address all of these concerns.

Branching stories, monster hunting, mature content – yes, that includes sexual content – combat choices, beautiful graphics, replayability and a deep bestiary keep me coming back for more. The only hang up has actually been locating the game – a physical purchase includes a copy of an all-new graphic novel – rather than heading to the excellent Good Old Games or better known Steam for a digital copy. This conundrum simply means that’ll I’ll be running home to initiate the download in hopes of kicking off our fantasy foray in time for the 7:00 PM EST start time. Wish me luck.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and general shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream, which is scheduled to kick off by 7:00 PM EST and run for an eventful two hours. Read more…

SMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained – Ah Puch

Posted by on May 19, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_deities_demigods_gods_smite_ah_puch_build_Default_CardSMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained is a column dedicated to introducing prospective players of SMITE to its massive backstory 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 Maya pantheon has always been the most difficult to source of the SMITE pantheons. That should appear as a conundrum. The Maya civilization only recently collapsed thanks to the introduction of westerners to the Americas in the late 1400s. Cortes kicked it off by pitting alternative natives against their sworn enemies adding them to his impossibly small ranks. Other manipulation and later conquerors thwarted the entire civilization. Eventually. Pockets held out until shortly before the 1700s rolled in. Yet in 300 years a large amount of their largely spoken religious stories have been partially lost, conflated with other or been lost to time.

This is a roundabout way to say that Ah Puch is, largely, a fabrication. Sources we’ve used throughout the life of this column – now in its third year! – stand firm that this Maya death god is not authentic. He did not run Mitnal, the ninth level of the underworld, not have anything to do with Xibalba, the best known name for the Maya underworld, and where the Maya Hero Twins met their match. Read more…

MOBA Monday: Infinite Concerns for Infinite Crisis

Posted by on May 18, 2015 - No Comments »

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MOBA 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.

Fine, I admit it the title is a horde of hyperbole. I’ve my reservations and concerns for Infinite Crisis, but the amount of them is far from infinite. More in the realm of a large handful of gripes than a sideways eight. The largest, diversification from a highly competitive field, remains despite the efforts of Turbine Entertainment to redirect and refocus on a single map mode. Yes, consolidating development focus was the right play, but the general gameplay still feels incredibly familiar. Not that the numerous other MOBA titles differ themselves any better.

Smaller concerns include the general interface, more specifically the item shop. Itemization itself poses a challenge. A combination of the presentation and design leaving me, a well-experienced player in the genre, scratching my head for cookie cutter character builds that’ll get me started on creations tailored to my skills. We’ll discuss these and more during tonight’s chat for #MOBAMonday.

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. Follow for all the updates and giveaway opportunities. Read more…

The Novel Post: Marvel: The Avengers Vault Review

Posted by on May 17, 2015 - No Comments »

lh_the_novel_post_marvel_avengers_ultron_reviewThis review of the Marvel: The Avengers Vault by Peter A. David is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire The Novel Post column for all our reviews on game tie-ins or shared intellectual properties.

If you’ve been following our Twitch channel – you should be! – you’re well aware that I’m a big fan of the Marvel universe. Yes, yes, I’ve openly admitted that Batman is my favorite man in tights, but for an overall universe, general writing and the pushing of boundaries I fancy myself the collection that Marvel has put together over the years. But there’s something else I’ve also admitted about comics, I’m not a hardcore reader. I wait to consume the medium in packages. This allows me to save money and let the more hardcore fans weigh in on what’s out there. Kinda like what I hope to do for the video game community with my writing. That being said I make a concerted effort to keep my finger on the pulse of comics. It doesn’t matter if it’s Marvel, DC, IDW or Dark Horse, I attempt to consume the best. Certainly the massive annual summer story arcs.

These universes are repeatedly entering the mainstream and none has been more in your face than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The original Avengers was fantastic. A few weeks ago Avengers: Age of Ultron dropped. Ahead of that I had Marvel: The Avengers Vault and thought “this’ll be a good intro to the deeper storylines of the core Avengers.” Boy, was that a massive understatement. Almost as massive of this 150+ page tome of knowledge. Read more…

Poki Review: Minecraft and Lego Games

Posted by on May 12, 2015 - No Comments »

Minecraft POki gamesThere are many unique and fun ways to explore the world of Minecraft. Spawning as a very basic sandbox title, Minecraft and its variations have transformed into delightful MMO experiences. Thanks to gaming portal Poki, young and old fans from across the globe can interact throughout a vast array of wild adventures.

Games like Worldcraft and Block Story give players the chance to explore, build, and interact. One of the most addicting facets of MMO gameplay is leveling up and accessing new features. Minecraft is no exception, as players must gather resources for literally everything – tools and weapons alike. The more you find, the more you can do. This is the reason so many gamers are happily glued to their PC or tablet. Complete a quest, earn a reward, and benefit. Does that sound like an RPG to you? Well, you might be onto the secret that the popular Kogama series has discovered: the most successful Minecraft games are actually MMORPGs.

You create a character and begin a new life in a virtual world. Face obstacles, overcome them, and gain power. Create a home for yourself, make friends, and socialize in between quests. The true joy of Minecraft lies within the all-encompassing gameplay. And luckily, the treasure trove of MMO and RPG fun doesn’t end with Minecraft. Read more…