The Novel Post: World of Wacraft: Mage Review

Posted by on June 2, 2010 - No Comments »

This edition of The Novel Post is written by guest blogger, DJTyrant. For more of his manga reviews, check the byline at the bottom.

Tokyopop has upheld a strong tradition of providing quality stories in the World of Warcraft extended universe. The second in a series of class-focused “Original English-Language” manga is based on the Mage.  In World of Warcraft: Mage, written by Richard A. Knaak with art by Ryo Kawakami, there is a good balance of exploratory dialog and strong action sequences.

The story follows Aodhan during his training to become a mage. Through flashbacks, we can see that the nascent spell-flinger actually comes from a line of strong Warriors and Paladins, but is considered physically weak, and thus desires to prove himself as a Mage. Trouble rises, of course, as soon as the story begins, where Malygos and the Blue Dragonflight are laying siege to Dalaran. The situation turns dire for the Mages of Dalaran, unaware of the danger young Aodhan is venturing into when they send him to the Violet Hold.

What unfolds is a story of treachery, family history, as well as a deeper understanding of Malygos and the Blue Dragonflight and why some Mages have joined their side. We also learn a bit of the history of the Violet Hold, and the story gives a more detailed understanding of how it came into existence. Even a couple of monsters show up that you just might recognize.

The story written by Knaak is solid as always, but if you’re not a fan of his writing, this isn’t about to change your mind. Leader of the Kirin Tor and patriarch of Dalaran, Rhonin Redhair, also plays a key role in the proceedings. Kawakami’s art work holds its own as the character designs really fit into the Warcraft lore and in certain places his armor designs really shine. The action sequences are equally as good and it’s easy to follow exactly what is going on.

I think this is a great purchase for nearly every fan of Warcraft lore. The story is solid and provides some extra background information on Dalaran and the Violet Hold, while introducing a few new minor characters into the story. For fans who are not necessarily big on the lore aspect, it is still worth checking out. The read is brief and fun, but also a great introduction to the expanded Warcraft universe. The only major complaint I have with the manga is that it tends to drag a bit in the middle as one of the characters talks at great length (nearly half a chapter, of six) about Aodhan, his past, and his family ties. Other than that, it is a fun, light read that I recommend to any WoW fan looking to get a little bit more from the series outside of the game.

World of Warcraft: Mage is the second in a series of class-based manga that Tokyopop has planned. You can read DJTyrant’s  impressions of the first volume, called Death Knight, on About.com. Next up is Shaman, slated for October 2010, coinciding with BlizzCon and most likely hitting shelves after the release of Cataclysm.

Pocket Hound: Prince of Persia Retro on iPhone/iPad

Posted by on June 1, 2010 - 4 Comments »

The game already has been rebooted so many, many times. Prince of Persia, originally developed by Jordan Mechner and released in 1989 for the Apple II has since been ported to platforms including Atari ST, the PC (via DOS), Sega CD, NES, SNES, Game Boy Color and Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and most recently as an unlockable in the Wii version of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.

So it makes sense that, in conjunction with the release of the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time movie in May (throughout most of the world in early and mid May, but only in the US this past weekend), Ubisoft would release another version of the retro game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Unlike my last glowing review of Doodle Jump, however, I’m left a bit more conflicted on this one. I was excited to play the classic game that’s been the source of some excellent sequels. But perhaps it remained a bit too loyal to its original incarnate. Read on to find out why.

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SOE Announces Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Free-to-Play MMO

Posted by on June 1, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Sony Online Entertainment will once again be trying its hand at an MMO set in the Star Wars Universe with Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures. This time, the game will be more along the lines of Free Realms than Star Wars Galaxies, as it will be free-to-play and will include a collection of mini-games for players to experience as a Padawan, Jedi, or Clone Trooper.

Mini-games that are already being hyped include Lightsaber dueling, speeder bike racing, tower defense, and a starship shooter. In addition to the mini-games, players will get access to in-game housing and customizable pet droids.

Based on the popular, younger skewing Clone Wars animated series, Clone Wars Adventures promises to deliver to a different audience than that other highly anticipated Star Wars MMO. Check out the gallery after the break for a taste of what Clone Wars Adventures will be offering and head to the official site to see the video trailer.

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Reminder: BlizzCon 2010 Tickets On Sale Tomorrow

Posted by on June 1, 2010 - 1 Comment »

BlizzCon 2010 tickets on sale Wednesday, June 2 starting at 7:00 PM PDT, (10:00 PM EST).

In a little over 24 hours, round 1 of the BlizzCon ticket blitz will begin.  This year’s tickets have increased in price for the third year running.  Now requiring a cool $150 a head to attend.  Tickets will once again be sold through the Blizzard Store, which requires a Battle.net account.

Don’t forget, if you blow you chance this round you’ll have a second go on Saturday, June 5 at 10:00 AM PDT.  BlizzCon will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center on October 22 and 23.

Tickets will sell out in minutes, so be prepared.  Goodluck (to all those behind me in line).

I’ve cleared my schedule, increased my internet connection to the maximum speed, wardriven a neighbor’s wireless network as backup, resurrected an old PC and made pacts with various guildmates, friends and strangers to purchase extra tickets.  Clearly, I have all my bases covered.

Do you?

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Predicted to be EA's Most Expensive Title to Date

Posted by on June 1, 2010 - No Comments »

As mentioned in a Topnews.us article, EA has recently approved dropping a lot more coin into Star Wars: The Old Republic predicting that it will spend the most money EA has ever put into one of its games.

Chief Financial Officer, Eric Brown at Janney Capital Markets’ 2010 Consumer Conference confirmed that it is EA’s biggest splurg in terms of anticipated spending to get a game on the market, looking for a launch of March 2011. Although EA didn’t release specific information regarding how much has been spent so far, or how much they plan to spend in the future, this announcement means that EA has put a lot of trust in their latest MMO.

For the original article on Star Wars: The Old Republic: Predicted to be EA’s Most Expensive Title to Date, click here.

Storytelling in Icecrown Citadel Sucks

Posted by on June 1, 2010 - 5 Comments »

Whenever you have a universe as big as Warcraft, retcons and inconsistency are inevitable. There are so many things going on written by so many people in many places. To me, Icecrown as a zone and as a raid instance was the epitome of this unfinished, chaotic mess of storytelling.

Lets start out with my initial expectations of what I thought I was going to see when I first arrived in Icecrown. Back when Arthas was racing Illidan to the Frozen Throne (so that Arthas could “save” Ner’zhul and Illidan could kill him) during the last events of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, as well as the Arthas novel and other sources of lore, Illidan and his allies had arrived in Icecrown well before Arthas and were sieging the Citadel. They had built up considerable defenses, and Arthas arrived by exploring the underground tunnels of Azjol-Nerub.
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The 5 minute MMORPG

Posted by on May 31, 2010 - No Comments »

One of the biggest turnoffs the MMO genre has is the time factor because lets face it, if you don’t put in a lot of time into an MMO game you’ll fall behind. This time investment turns off a lot of gamers because they don’t want to go through the grinding and farming that goes on. Luckily for them there is a web based, free-to-play MMO that only takes 5 minutes to to hit max level!

The 5 Minute MMORPG is a game that prides itself as being the only MMO that doesn’t require countless hours to reach max level and is grind free.The game is actually quite fun to play and is extremely easy to pick up. There’s also a “lag” factor that the 5 Minute MMORPG incorporates which makes the game unique but I’ll get into that later.

Controls

The controls are very simplistic. Arrow keys are used to move your character across the map. “A” is used to swing your sword and “S” is used to shield yourself from an attack. Holding down the movement keys makes you move faster because it will que up the given commands.

Game Play

Here is where the game really shines. I mentioned earlier about a “lag” factor. The way the game plays out is as you move around the map you see projected images of yourself. This is the “lag” factor that the game implements. The challenging part of the game is trying to predict where a character goes and then pressing “A” to hit them with the sword. This may sound easy but it’s hard to do because all the movement and action commands you give have like a 2-3 second delay. Also the lag factor is based on how many players there are in the game.

As you move around there will be items that pop up around the map. The items look like rubies, treasure chests, etc. Moving over these items gives you a few levels.

End Notes

The 5 minute MMORPG is a very unique game that gets rid of the grind factor that all MMOs have. This game isn’t meant to replace a “real” MMO but rather be a fun game to play every now and then. The “lag” factor makes the game play a very unique and fun experience. Originally I wasn’t expecting much from a free and web based game but it defied my expectations. I would recommend this to any gamer since it’s so easy to pick up and play. The PvP action is just hilarious if you play with a group of friends. So go ahead and try it out!

Remote Auction House

Posted by on May 31, 2010 - No Comments »

The Remote Auction House is a feature for Wold of Warcraft that will allow you to access the Auction House from an iPhone and from the web. This means that you can buy/sell items and do all your Auction House things without being logged in to World of Warcraft.

Currently this feature is in open beta testing. If you want to try out the Remote Auction House by using a web browser go here. The iPhone version of this feature can be downloaded here. Also there will be a limit on the number of transactions a player can do. The beta has a limit of 25 transactions a day but the live service will have a 200 transaction limit per day.

The Remote Auction House feature will cost $2.99 a month once beta testing is finished. More info about this feature can be found by reading this FAQ.