Well I don’t seem to be very good at keeping up with this weekly Crier. Between Neverwinter excitement (I played Neverwinter all day the Friday I had access to it, and then spent ages writing my previews), a family emergency that kept me in the hospital all day the week after that, and a blizzard the week after that, it has been a while since I’ve been here to keep everyone updated on the weekly news. But we have lots and lots of snow outside! It’s cold and wet, and the perfect excuse to stay inside where it’s warm, drink hot cocoa and play video games.
On the game front, things seem to be somewhat quiet, although with PAX East on its way that is likely to change pretty quickly. I wish I could go! We have patch and update news for several games, PAX announcements, a giveaway, and the kind of news that always makes me a little sad – the shutdown of game servers. Hit the jump for links and details! Continue Reading
Before diving into the review proper, it’s important to note that Blizzard is releasing this book in a new fashion. Knaak’s latest work in the World of Warcraft universe will trickle out over the next few months in five installments. Each ringing up at $1.99, effectively costing more for those that purchase the full set. The serialized eBook is currently scheduled to wrap up in mid June. As such, this review will be concise.
Knaak returns to his dragonkind after their pyrrhic victory against Deathwing. The former Earth-warder gone only at the cost of the Aspects themselves. The Aspects remain alive, but without their powers leaving them to be known only by their proper monikers. Kalecgos, the former blue aspect after Malygos’ terror was ended, notices a disturbing change in the other, older comrades. They’ve given up, removed themselves from the struggle against the persistent evils of Azeroth. Leaving the chore up to the “younger” races.
Hit the jump for the full review of Part 1 of Dawn of the Aspects. Continue Reading
Headline aside, it’s far from all bad news for Activision. Yes, the elephant in the subscription-based MMOG room has floundered a bit, with a subscription rate of only 9.6 million by the end of Q4 2012. That’s down 4% from World of Warcraft’s Q3 2012 return to the 10 million mark. Still a dominating number in the (dwindling) subgenre of subscriptionn-based titles.
What’s the good news? Activision had no problem making an incredible amount of money even though WoW had a hiccup during the period. We’re talking billions. Yeah, with a B. The company pulled in an impressive $1.77 billion in revenue for Q4 2012. An increase of nearly 26% over Q4 2011’s $1.41 billion.
The added cashflow was largely due to the Skylanders product, the unstoppable force that is the Call of Duty brand and the combined PC power of Diablo III and World of Warcraft. CoD and Skylanders helped make Activision Blizzard the #1 console and handheld publisher in the West.
MMO gamers know that holding the crown of the largest subscription MMOG is becoming easier and easier as more and more companies opt to launch or change their business model to the F2P model. The arguement continues on if this is the future of the genre or a result of WoW’s dominance.
“RegionSelectionTooltip_App - Region selection is disabled when Diablo III is launched from the Battle.net Desktop app.” (Diablo patch notes)
“Battle.net App – developing the next-generation Battle.net desktop client.” (Blizzard Career Site)
What is likely to be included in such a desktop application? What features do I hope make it in long term?
I think that Battle.net chat is undoubtedly going to be in the app to interface with their games. Already, RealID/Battletag allow for cross-client chat, so naturally, it seems like it shouldn’t be difficult to implement in a desktop client. What better way to decide what game to play than to see what your friends are playing before you even login?
A unified downloader/launcher for all three games. Already, StarCraft II has moved to the same launcher used for WoW, and Diablo III launched with it. They all support game “streaming”, that is, playing a game before the game is finished downloading. Having one program to manage the installations for all three games allows for cross-promotion as well: a single click to get a trial edition of a game and download it in the background while playing your other games is a no-brainer.
Alright, fine, we know this is been in the making for years. Nearly far too long to bother with it until serious movement starts. But hey, this could be the start of said inertia. According to Toplessrobot, Duncan Jones, the director behind Moon and the more mainstream Source Code, has been attached to the unnamed Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. project.
Jones’ directing pedigree lies firmly in the realm of science fiction, making the choice a bit jarring at first. Without spoiling his work for you, there is at least one common theme in his filmography very applicable to gaming, yet unlikely to be implemented in a live-action World of Warcraft picture.
What continues to worry me more than a director is what Blizzard plans on doing/allowing to be done to the story. Will it be a new tangent on a current storyarc? Something new and original that’ll link to the game down the road? An open storyline as connected to the universe as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within?
The photo to the right pretty much explains my Saturdays.
The conundrum is very akin to the one most people spout when talking about fast food jobs:
Either you work at a place you hate, and hate your life and the place you’re working at 10x more, or you work at a place you love and hate it after you leave.
I find myself game after game – starting with Dragon Age II last year – analyzing every single aspect of a game. From the amount of control I have to customize my character, to the very story.
Every gamer does it, it’s part of the experience of gaming – the reflection on the experience. Designers do it as well – right in the middle of it, though. I literally spend 15 minutes to sit back and discuss something like this with my wife: “Now that’s stupid. It feels [blank] and if they had done [blank] it would’ve been better,” to a 1 minute cutscene. Continue Reading
Well it certainly has been a while since I’ve been able to post! The holidays have come and gone, I’ve moved to an entirely different state, have bought a house, and I’ve even started tabletop gaming again: a good old nostalgic game of 1st edition D&D. I’d forgotten the joys of calculating THAC0. Playing 1st ed D&D has had me reflecting a lot on how games have changed over the years – and I really do miss the old complicated, huge worlds that forced me to have to think about tactics, learn my character inside and out, and didn’t guide me around with glowing arrows. But no one has ever accused me of being a casual gamer – I like my games to be merciless killing machines. Dark Souls the MMO would make me a very happy girl indeed. If anyone has the time and inclination to post comments, I’d love to know what you all like in your games! Am I alone in pining for the days of death munching on XP and corpse runs?
In the world of MMORPGs, it’s been rather lively. Several games are looming on the horizon, there’s been an announcement of another joining the f2p crowd, and a few games have had content patches. I never thought I’d say this about a Cryptic game – but I am looking forward to Neverwinter! Every bit of news has me giggling in anticipation – one thing you can count on with Cryptic is their character generation will be excellent. Combine that with the Foundry and a fantasy setting, and it seems pretty tough to beat! I just love user generated content in my games; I will often spend more time going through mods than I will actually playing a game, even when it’s just UI tweaks. Anyone who likes reading what I have to say can look forward to me writing about mods once Neverwinter launches… which brings me to my second question of the day: What kinds of adventures are you hoping for? Hack and slash assault style play, dialogue heavy RP focused, some combination of the two, or something else? I’d love to know what you think!
Click the little button below for the week’s summaries and quicklinks to the articles.