Hi there Faceplanters, it’s me, Elrood. NOT, as Tophat would want you to believe, Elrood 2. I did miss last weeks article due to a combination of things, namely I’m about to move across the country and that the Prime Evil has unleashed demonic hordes upon the world of Sanctuary. I can see arguments from both sides as to which of these events is more important to me personally. As I’m still extremely busy I won’t going be going over Diablo 3 with a fine tooth comb here, but it’s a massive release from the biggest developer on the planet, so let’s hit some key points shall we?
It feels strange to speak of “the olden days” of gaming and be talking about 2004. That’s when Blizzard released World of Warcraft and basically changed how people thought about games with a monthly subscription. A niche Everquest audience was suddenly ten million people strong, all handing over cash on a monthly basis. On some level almost all the major players have been chasing that same thing since, be it Call of Duty with its Elite service (which for the record, according to an IGN article posted earlier this week, has about 10 million subscribers, go figure) or Bioware’s banking that the Star Wars license will make The Old Republic into the next behemoth of the mmo space. Sadly for them, it’s not. It’s not that the game is bad but that the market has changed. The future is free.
Filed under: Commentary, Games | Tagged: bioware, Blacklight Retribution, Free to play, League of Legends, Malphite, Matthew Lesko, MMO, Rift, Riot Games, sith army, TERA, The Old Republic, World of Warcraft | 1 Comment »
Hello friends. I was originally going to write about Mass Effect 3 for today since the internet does not have enough ME3 content on it. (Hint: sarcasm) Life threw me a curve though in the form of Blizzard granting me beta access to the next World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria. So I dropped all of that productive stuff I was doing…..ok yeah I stopped playing video games to play THIS specific video game. I found the servers surprisingly stable, with only a few random disconnects, which let me do what I’ve wanted to do since attending Blizzcon last year; create a panda monk and explore their starting zone, which also happens to be a giant turtle. A GIANT TURTLE. I’m sold already.
As regular Faceplant readers know (any of you? hello? internet?) Blizzcon is a big deal to me. I’ve attended it for the past three years. Two of those years, I became super annoying picture-taking guy for the sole reason of posting most of them on this very blog. It has become a tradition, an excuse to jet out to sunny California and spend time with my friends and an even bigger bunch of like-minded folk who share my love of Blizzard games. I was thus enormously surprised and kind of sad when Blizzard announced that in 2012, Blizzcon would not happen. Actually, announced is a strong word for it. It was basically a throwaway line in a small post, although I’m sure Blizzard was aware of the firestorm it would cause. This is not a OMG BLIZZARD WHAT ARE YOU DOING post. While having no Blizzcon to attend this year is indeed lame, Blizzard is not stupid. I actually agree with them. Overall, holding a Blizzcon this year was not a good idea.
It’s been a long freaking time. I played Diablo 3 the first time I attended Blizzcon in 2009. I’ve never played the original. I only dabbled in Diablo 2 for a short time, mostly because by the time I played it the game was pretty outdated compared to what else was out there. However, the appeal was clear. Dark fantasy setting, tons of different ways to play a character and LOOT. Oh the loot. There’s a shiny piece of awesome around the next corner if only you played for a few for minutes. Diablo has mastered this concept. After playing for the first time I was excited. Then I played it for a second time….at Blizzcon 2010. Then I played it for a THIRD time…..at Blizzcon 2011. IT HAS TO BE SOON! The beta is a very small dose of D3, but I can tell just from the very limited time I’ve spent playing that Blizzard will once again be the cause of tens of thousands of hours being lost across the world to this game.
So confession my dear readers (all…four of you?). I almost forgot to write this article because I was playing the game it’s about. In fact it took Tophat to remind me that it was Friday! We talked a bit about the latest MMO to hit the market, The Old Republic. And I think I said something quite telling about the game in that conversation, without even thinking about it. When he asked me how the game was, I responded with “I’m enjoying the single player.” Wait, WHAT?! This is an MMO. Massive Multiplayer is in the genre. As it stands now though, the game seems very divided. It’s this division that makes it both a unique game in the MMO space, but one whose power to retain a player base for a long period of time is in question.
Filed under: Commentary, Games | Tagged: bioware, empire, Jawas, jedi, LFG, lightsabers, MMO, republic, sith, Star Wars, talent trees, The Old Republic, UI, World of Warcraft, WoW in space | 3 Comments »
So Bioware was nice enough to grant me beta access to their biggest game ever; Star Wars MMO The Old Republic. And by grant me access I mean I could play the game for three days. I was hoping for more, but I managed to get a few hours in over thanksgiving weekend while working retail. Last I checked there are already over 2.5 million pre orders for this game, with many calling it the MMO that will finally beat World of Warcraft. The power of the Star Wars license is strong and will draw many to the game, but the real question is whether or not it has the staying power to keep people playing once the allure of having playing around in the Star Wars universe starts to fade. Obviously, I can’t answer that question based off my limited play time. However I can say that the game truly impressed me in some ways…and had me greatly concerned in others.
I thought Fallout 3 was a great game. I played it for sixty something hours. I played the main quest through in its entirety. I spent hours just roaming the countryside looking for interesting things, of which there were many. I used internet faqs and YouTube videos to find the bobble head dolls so I could get an achievement. So naturally, when Fallout: New Vegas was announced, I was psyched. New adventurers to be had in the fallout universe? In Las Vegas? Sign me up! It was a release day purchase for me. I played New Vegas a little over an hour on that first night…..and haven’t touched it again since. So what happened? I realized something when I turned on the game for the first time and got to the main menu. The menu was the EXACT same one as Fallout 3. I was about to play the same game. The characters were different, the story was different, I’m not saying there were no changes. I just realized while staring at the main menu that while I had enjoyed playing Fallout 3 I just wasn’t interested in playing more of the same. Now this isn’t true for every series. I’ve played all the Call of Duty’s, all the Assassin’s Creed games, both Bioshocks, both Gears of War, Halo 3 and Halo Reach. I am not championing myself as too cool for sequels. They have their place. I’m just growing concerned that developers might be cashing in, literally most of the time, on brand names at an amazingly high rate recently. I’m growing even MORE concerned that we, as gamers, only have ourselves to blame.
Filed under: Commentary, Games | Tagged: Activision, Assassins Creed Brotherhood, Bioshock, blizzcon, Call of Duty, creative ideas, Fallout New Vegas, Gears of War, Halo Reach, heavy rain, Modern Warfare 3, Nintendo, original IP, Plants vs Zombies, Project Cafe, Super Meat Boy, too many sequels, ubisoft, World of Warcraft | Leave a Comment »
Remember the time when multiplayer gaming was an enormous hassle? I recall renting a SNES multitap adapter ; a magical device that let four controllers be connected to one system. Fire up some Super Bomberman, get some friends to bring their controllers, and the fun would last for hours. Sure it might SOUND crazy for you and two buddies to drive to a friend’s house, whose not even home, and accost his mother to borrow a gamecube controller, but back before the internet was an important part of any console (except the Wii because Nintendo set sail for fail on that one) these were the kinds of things that had to happen to truly experience a game with friends. The present day is a different beast of course. Friends lists are one of the most important features on Xbox or PS3. However, even more so, the ability to just randomly jump into a game and shoot strangers in the ass, then virtually teabag them, is to me still a relatively new, strange, and completely horrifying experience. The ability to connect to the masses to play games is for me not quite as an awesome prospect as it probably should be. I wonder: am I the problem or is everybody else?
Filed under: Commentary, Games | Tagged: black ops, bomberman, Call of Duty, Crysis 2, cute pandas, fps, friends list, MMO, Multiplayer gaming, multitap, Nintendo, online gaming, PS3, RTS, starcraft 2, voice chat, World of Warcraft, Xbox | 4 Comments »