For the Hoard 5 – The X-53 Touring Rocket

Posted by on May 5, 2010 - 2 Comments »

What’s this you say? A spare recruit-a-friend code that I had forgotten about? And the chance to use it on a shiny new mount? I’m there!

Join me on this quick episode of For the Hoard as I take the X-53 Touring Rocket out for a ride — and with a friend!

Thanks for watching! If you missed it, also check out my goodbye to the Zhevra, the previous recruit-a-friend reward. And tune in later this week for the conclusion to my run through Culling of Stratholme for the Bronze Drake.

The Novel Post: StarCraft: Ghost AcademyVolume 1 Review

Posted by on May 5, 2010 - 1 Comment »

This review of StarCraft: Ghost Academy Volume 1 is of the spoiler-free variety.

StarCraft: Ghost Academy is an odd beast.  It’s the fifth manga from Tokyopop set in the StarCraft universe, but it’s the first time one of the products contained a single story.  The StarCraft: Frontline series is built like Warcraft: Legends, a collection of shorts.  However, Ghost Academy isn’t a start and a finish, it’s the beginning of a trilogy surrounding Nova, a high-powered telepath.

That’s what makes it even more odd.  Nova was to be the main character in the scrapped StarCraft: Ghost console game —  A title that was so close to being done that Blizzard began marketing it with a tie-in novel, StarCraft Ghost: Nova.  The prequel book showcased Nova’s early struggles with wielding psionic powers and a troubled young life before becoming a powerful Ghost.  Keith R.A. DeCandido envisioned the original prequel novel, and returns to fill in the gap in his novel thanks to the three-part manga series focusing on Nova’s intense training.

Now that you know how we got here, hit the jump to find out if the story is worth reading. Read more…

Wrath of the Lich King gets "beat"

Posted by on May 4, 2010 - No Comments »

Saying you have beaten a game is usually reserved for single player games and not for MMOs like World of Warcraft but there are rare instances where MMOs are beaten.

Recently a player by the name of Caspi has beaten World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. It sounds ridiculous but check out Caspi’s armory. He has completed every achievement in the game giving him 1054/1054 achievements completed. This means he has beaten the Lich King on 25 hard mode, got a Gladiator title in PvP and completed every difficult achievement in the game.

That’s about the closest anyone will get to beating an MMO.

Champions Online State of the Game & Patch Notes Excite

Posted by on May 4, 2010 - No Comments »

I’ve been critical of Champions Online since securing a 6-month subscription, but that’s because I want it to succeed.  I truly have the purest intentions when I rib on it, turn critic or complain about what it’s lacking.  I want it to grow, rake in money and expand the market.  The last thing I want is another MMOG that’s outside the staple fantasy genre collapsing.

Cryptic Studios tripled up on the news today. Patch notes for the Super Powers Patch were deployed, exciting many.  Most players have not-so-patiently waited for Cryptic to balance the powers of the game.  The Super Powers Patch focuses on just that, putting melee and supernatural powersets in line with the more powerful flexibility and strength powersets.  Balance is definitely the number one aspect of the patch, hence the name, but new content is spread across the universe in the form of missions.  Dozens of them.  Yum.

After delivering on earlier promises, Rekhan decided to make some more.  The latest State of the Game addresses the aforementioned patch itself before beginning the forward-looking revelations State of the Game addresses often make.  The biggest eye opener is an upcoming adventure pack entitled “The Serpent Lantern.”  The Serpent Lantern will hit servers in June and includes veteran rewards, a review to Energy Builders and the addition of difficulty sliders.  Rekhan also announced that the Champions Online website will be receiving an overhaul “that will include a calendar of future updates as well as some navigation and visual improvements.”

Communication is always a plus in my book.

Last, but certainly not least, is the announcement of the Champs Referral Program.  Spam your friends with a 10-day unlimited trial code and if they play at all, then you’ll receive some action figures.  Play together and you’ll both receive an XP buff and other bonuses.  They can do you a huge solid by subscribing, granting you access to costume slots.  The more players that join your referral team the more you earn, ranging all the way to from free subscription time to Cryptic points.

Shameless plug time.  Shoot me a comment if you want to join my team!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Friends & Family Alpha Live

Posted by on May 4, 2010 - No Comments »

Want to play World of Warcraft: Cataclysm early? If you happen to be a friend or family member of a Blizzard employee, then you are in for a treat, as you are granted the honor of playing Cataclysm before anyone else.

Zarhym, a Blizzard employee and community manager for World of Warcraft, confirmed the Friends & Family Alpha.

Yes, we can confirm that the Family & Friends phase of the testing process for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has begun. The closed beta test phase has not yet started, but we will provide updated information when it does.

New screenshots of Cataclysm are appearing everyday via the game’s Screenshot of the Day gallery. The following image in particular shows off some nice water effects. Check it out below:

Keep on checking MMOCrunch for all the latest news on World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

Cataclysm: Deathwing Appears

Posted by on May 4, 2010 - 19 Comments »

Wow. That didn’t take long at all. What appears to be the first leaked screenshot from the Cataclysm Friends & Family Alpha has appeared on internet, and comes from none other than the infamous bastion of anonymity itself, 4chan. Tucked away in the video games section of the site, the following image appeared this morning and immediately caused a stir:

This is likely the first known picture of Deathwing’s in-game model. Now, to note a few things:

  • The source of the image (4chan) is known for its propensity to fool people and play internet pranks. The model looks pretty authentic and well-detailed, though.
  • Likewise, this appears to be the result of a model swap, which explains why Deathwing is hanging out on the bridge leading into Stormwind. It would also account for the tiny, blue name hovering above the dragon, which indicates that this is likely a player and not an NPC of some sort.
  • The model, while currently looking awesome, may not be finished. The head looks ace, but textures on other areas of the body seem to be of a lower resolution.

Essentially, while there’s a small chance of shenanigans, this model is most likely the real deal. Just like everything else that gets data-mined, it’s probably somewhere in the Alpha’s client files, which the player then modified to appear as his character (and from what I know of the technique, they would not appear as Deathwing to other players, as a result). I would also bargain that, unless it’s some graphic pulled from the login screen or otherwise, that it appears in an area of the game unable to be accessed at the current time. Not that I wouldn’t like to see him laying waste to Stormwind (For The Horde!).

Just to reiterate, this has not been confirmed, and nobody on the Lore Hound staff has access to the Friends and Family Alpha. This may not be our screenshot, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of getting a C&D to take it down later. I guess that’s up to Blizzard.

Until (and if) that happens, enjoy your first look at Deathwing stampeding around Azeroth.

Cataclysm Goes Into Friends & Family Alpha

Posted by on May 4, 2010 - 4 Comments »

Hark! Do you hear that sound? It’s thousands of people typing out hurried e-mails to Blizzard employees they’re friends with, flamed on the forums, brushed past at BlizzCon, or even currently stalking from a car parked across from the Blizzard campus (though those kind of requests are usually delivered in the form of cut-out letters on a sheet of paper, tied to a brick, and thrown through the front window).

The Friends and Family Alpha for World of Wacraft: Cataclysm has officially begun, and a few lucky people out there are already downloading, installing, and probably playing the heavily-anticipated expansion. This really doesn’t mean a whole lot to the rest of us for a couple of reasons:

One, F&F Alpha is usually a very small test group, meaning that you’re waiting in the same boat as most other fans and there are less people to party/play with. Two, it’s under heavy NDA. So, while I expect some information to leak out (it always finds a way), I wouldn’t expect many people to try their luck at smuggling images and content out until at least the closed beta happens. We may not even really be able to report much if they do, either, considering how harsh Blizzard can be towards those sites that do so.

Still, it’s a positive note, and it means that the closed beta phase should only be a few weeks out. Chances are if you’re accepted to this Alpha, then you already know someone who works at Blizzard and what e-mails you can trust. I urge everyone else to not fall for scams in the meantime, meaning don’t click on suspicious links, respond to fishy e-mails, or respond to any in-game messages that might promise you early access to Cataclysm. That’s just not the way Blizzard handles things.

Screenshot Of The Day 5/3/10

Posted by on May 3, 2010 - No Comments »

Today’s screenshot features yet another clearly dangerous Goblin invention: the rocket sled! Clearly not up to code, this combustible contraption looks like a theme park ride gone horribly wrong. But what is its true purpose? For what reason could you possibly want to be launched into the wild, blue yonder above what appears to be Stonetalon Mountains?

I’d like to believe it was for some misguided assault on enemy territory, but knowing Goblins, there’s got to be some ulterior motive. Some way to make a quick buck in the business of providing thrills to the down-trodden masses of Kalimdor. What other ways will they come up with to the cut the strings on your coin-purse? Thousand Needles River Raft Rides? Nesingwary’s Wildlife Armageddon Shooting Gallery? Moroes’ Tear-filled Teacups of Doom?

Check out the Goblins’ latest volatile venture, or peruse the entire official archive here.