PAX East 2010: Geek Chic Gaming Tables

Posted by on March 30, 2010 - 1 Comment »

As it turns out, one of the coolest things at PAX East wasn’t a video game at all. It was furniture. But not the kind your rest your grimy feet on while you stare blankly at the television. This is some serious, high-quality stuff, hand-made with all the ephemera a hardcore nerd would need in a gaming table. Geek Chic really does take everything into account, from special surfaces designed to make your WoW CCG card stay put to built-in cup holders so your condensating drink doesn’t sweat all over the quality wood finish and leave a stain.

Geek Chic‘s motto is “come out of the basement,” a sentiment which more or less means that your gaming habits shouldn’t remain a backroom habit. Their collection of tables and storage solutions practically beg to be shown off in your living room, and even when you aren’t using them as a staging area for your latest game of Warhammer (the tabletop version, not the MMORPG), they still brighten up the room. And, hey, even if you aren’t much into analog gaming, there’s plenty of places to stick all your other video game hardware and accessories when they aren’t in use.

iTZKooPA got a chance to talk up Geek Chic‘s founder, Robert Gifford, at the event and gives us a tour of the booth (and, therefore several of the tables) in the video below. Watch it, then come back and tell me you don’t have the sudden urge to blow several thousand dollars on a new piece of furniture.

PAX East 2010: Civilization V Developer Chat

Posted by on March 30, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Announced only about a month-and-a-half ago, Civilization V is one game that people are really eager to learn about. The latest in the, um, revolutionary series is set to change up the formula in some big ways. From switching to a hex-based grid system to taking cues from its highly-successful console counterpart, Civ V is set to deliver the same addictive gameplay in refreshing package. Not that a lack of evolution would ever keep fans from losing hours, days, and months the prized nation-building sim.

Unfortunately, footage of the game at PAX East was shown behind closed doors and video-taping any of it was a big no-no, but iTZKooPA managed to catch up with one of the developers outside the booth for a quick Q&A about what he saw. One tidbit that didn’t make it into the vid? Apparently, Civilization V will be making extensive use of DX11. For the rest of what we learned, watch the full interview below:

Star Trek Online: Season One Impressions

Posted by on March 29, 2010 - 1 Comment »

The first major content patch for Star Trek Online was released a few days ago, something Cryptic Studios is calling Season One: Common Ground. The patch includes a long list of fixes and additions, including some that address many of the major concerns that players have voiced in the weeks since STO launched. Some of the highlights of the patch are new missions, a fleshed out Klingon experience, and even more customization options.

At least some of the missions that have been added to the game are geared towards end-game players, an area where STO has been lacking content since the first captains hit the level cap. With an additional Special Task Force mission in Season One, the game should hold hardcore players’ attention at least for a little while longer. The additional content is welcomed, but there is still a bit of a dearth of activities for Admirals. Thankfully, Cryptic has been releasing new content on a regular basis, so the number of missions for level capped players should rack up quickly.

The rest of the new missions are mostly fleet actions, or large scale public missions. They are different enough to be fun for the first couple of times, but I’m not really one that enjoys grinding them out over and over. I find it’s usually worth weaving in story-based episodes between them to keep things interesting.

On the Klingon side of things, players finally have some PvE content that they can do between demolishing the Federation. Klingon players can now access some fleet actions including the new Big Dig fleet action. Again, this is a step in the right direction, but the Klingon PvE experience still needs some work. Klingons are also finally able to customize their ships.

Last, but definitely not least, players can now respec their captains’ skills. This simple and long awaited feature should make leveling a bit less stressful, as making the decision as to what skills to level is no longer binding for eternity but can be changed relatively simply throughout the leveling process.

All in all, Season One is a much needed chunk of content that should push STO towards being the game Star Trek fans hope it will be. It is by no means a fix for every problem (diplomatic missions where are you?), but it is a huge step in the right direction.

PAX East 2010: Fallen Earth Patch V1.4 Preview

Posted by on March 29, 2010 - 2 Comments »

My sit down with Dave Haydysch did not begin with complaints regarding cell reception or gazing at the screen of a GM.  No, we had a far simpler first conversation.  It turns out that the company is not only working on the most amazing mobile application for a video game ever, but also another immense patch for Fallen Earth.  Patch v1.4 has two main components to it, the addition of PvP by way of Blood Sports and the new PvE lands of Deadfall Point.

Players have been asking for PvP since time began and v1.4 is going to deliver a fleshed out experience thanks to the bankers of Fallen Earth.  The entrepreneurial-minded folks have devised four different ways for players to tear each other apart, all in the name of making a buck.  Players simply copy their DNA into the banker database – free of charge – and then they can participate in any of the four PvP modes thanks to clones.

Deathmatch and team Capture the Flag subscribe to the standard FPS game modes.  Survival is every-man-for-themselves as the soul goal is to not die.  Therefore killing isn’t rewarded, other than it means you did not die.  Assault is the most unique game type to Fallen Earth.  It pits teams against each other.  One is forced to run a gauntlet of monsters as the other teams tries to stop them.  Every mode caps out at 16 players, either in 8v8 teams or solo.  All of this is available without leaving your current line of progression, thanks to a handy queue from anywhere system.

Rewards include monetary gains, as well as marks to purchase additional PvP-centric gear.

Players that would rather see the fruits of their labor, and not that of greedy businessmen and women, should head out to Deadfall Point.  In this not-so-desolate area, players will be greeted with six new instances and 130 new missions.  Many of which are tied to the new faction, Sheva’s Favored and spread across a land the size of half a sector. You’ll want to be sure to complete them though, because v1.4 will also be raising the level cap from level 46 to level 50.  New crafting recipes, weapons armor and two new mounts (one of which can be seen in our random chat video) round out the offering of new content.

Last, but not least, is a technology upgrade to the tools the developer uses to make those gorgeous landscapes.  Dave showed off the ability for level designers to actually work with the terrain, instead of getting something to look like terrain.  Gone will be hard or jagged edges pulled and stretched across the ground under out feet.  The structures will appear more rounded, weathered, and natural.  Following the precedent set by the earlier graphical update, the sculpting ability will make every bit of landscape in the game prettier, not just the new stuff.

Patch V1.4 is set for release in the same time frame as the amazing mobile application, Q2 2010.  It is certainly shaping up to be a patch that has a little something for everyone.

LoreHound.com’s Haiku Contest

Posted by on March 29, 2010 - 19 Comments »

Ahh, the haiku.  This classic poetic structure allows almost anyone to amuse and entertain.  It enables the writer to be short and sweet, while still getting their point across.  It is also quite possibly the easiest idea to teach; three lines comprised of a maximum 17 syllables.  That’s all we expect from you, Lore Hounds.

Three measly lines of creativity.

Your entry (feel free to do more than one) can cover a wide range of topics.  Fair game includes what you expect from us, gaffes made in the recent video coverage, games we enjoy and play (WoW, STO, GA, DDO, etc), your feelings towards the site layout or even a rant on how stupid this contest is (ex. Best. Idea. Ever).

You can submit your haiku to our Twitter, or leave a comment on this very post.  Be sure to leave a legitimate e-mail address in case you win!

We’ll be selecting whichever haiku entertains us the most come next Monday,  April 5.  Here’s what you can win:

1st Place: Lord of the Rings Online Collector’s Edition

2nd Place: Sandbox Tiger loot card

3rd Place: Slashdance loot card

For the Hoard 1: The Elusive Venomhide Ravasaur Mount

Posted by on March 29, 2010 - 3 Comments »

Well, I promised you all some fun mount-hunting footage, and this is only the beginning. Join me as I tear through Un’Goro crater and complete one of the daily quests required for Horde characters who want to get their own Venomhide Ravasaur mount. Apologies in advance for the less-than-stellar video quality, working on getting that fixed for the next episode!

PAX East 2010: Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited Update 4 Video Preview

Posted by on March 28, 2010 - No Comments »

Before leaving Turbine’s booth, iTZKooPA decided to stop by and check out the latest additions to the company’s other chief property, the free-to-play MMORPG Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited. After a brief run through the history of the game, Producer Eric gives us a live gameplay preview of some of the new stuff in what is being called “Update 4.” Code-named “The Sentinels,” the content pack introduces five fresh dungeon adventures, an additional “epic” level of difficulty, guild airships, and the one thing that no self-proclaimed geek could possibly ignore: zombie pirates.

Though they clearly couldn’t give everything away, the footage below does give us a nice preview of a couple of the exciting new dungeons you’ll find yourself diving into as Eric talks over several of the key features you can expect to see once Update 4 goes live.

PAX East 2010: Lord of the Rings Online Live “Skirmish” Gameplay

Posted by on March 28, 2010 - 3 Comments »

Turbine’s done it, friends. They’ve found a solution! The elusive “third pillar” of content that exists somewhere between raiding and PvP, and you’ve got to wonder why nobody tried it (or took the concept seriously enough) before now. Skirmish is a new type of PvE gameplay being added to Lord of the Rings Online in the near future, and is comprised of a series of instances where heated conflicts are taking places between the good guys and the forces of Sauron.

Instead of working your way through a linear dungeon, semi-randomized groups of enemies will come at you in waves. Defeat them all, and you get to go toe-to-toe with the enemy General. The good news is that these instances are pretty much infinitely farmable, and since you might be running into different sets of baddies each time, the gameplay remains fresh over an extended period of time. It’s also meant to be accessible to everyone. You can go in by yourself (with the help of a few NPC allies) or alongside ten of your closest friends, with the level of strategy and reward scaling appropriately. The loot you receive includes the usual gear and special tokens that can be traded in for character upgrades such as cosmetic enhancements and improvement to AI partners that can be used in the Skirmishes themselves.

In the video below, iTZKooPA and one of the game’s developers walk us through one particular Skmirish dungeon focused around an assault on the Ford of Bruinen. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for a special twist ending.

/Shayamalan