Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Teaching kids the basics of PvP since... oh.... A month ago

For the past month, the most popular game on the Wii U has been Splatoon, Nintendo's answer to multiplayer PvP games. 

And, naturally, what our youngest got for her birthday was Splatoon.

"You're a kid now, you're a squid now..."
From forbes.com
Splatoon is the first new Nintendo property in what feels like ages, and it has been a big hit.

The basics are pretty simple: you're a squidling, which is (effectively) a squid that switches back and forth between squid form and a humanesque form. The squidlings love to have "turf wars", which are 4x4 PvP matches where they try to cover the playing field with their color of ink. The players are selected at random and then assigned randomly to two different teams, so you could have a big bad veteran in one match and find that same vet on the opposing side on the next match.

The games may be a variation on area control PvP games, but they're still fun.*

Of course, along the way the mini-Reds are being introduced to PvP in a slightly more forgiving environment.


From forbes.com.
"AAAAAAAAHHH!!!" My oldest screamed. "I HATE THEM!!!!!"

She stormed over to where I was working.

"Do you know how some people will hang out at your respawn point and wait for you to respawn and then kill you?"

"Graveyard camping? Sure. I've played Alliance in Warsong Gulch, so yeah, I know graveyard camping."


"Ah." I considered putting on headphones but decided against it.

The match had ended in defeat, but my oldest ranted for a few more minutes. "AND THIS IS WHY I DON'T PLAY PVP IN MMOS!!!!"**

A half an hour later, she'd recovered and the games went on, but yeah, they're learning about PvP.

A lot.

Maybe they'll have some battlegrounds in their future. But excuse me, I'm going to put on some headphones.

*I still have issues playing due to headaches even though it's in 3rd person viewing angle, but in general the game is a lot of fun.

**And several less PG variations on the same point.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fading Away....

It's been a slow week.

Not much gaming going on, a whole lot of work going on, and no truly funny stories to mention.

Outside of the mini-Reds attempting to take down some bosses in Fornost in LOTRO, and on the first boss they did the exact opposite of what they should have done, which was to kill the adds. Even then, it was one of those "you had to have been there" moments.

I did think long and hard about potentially resubbing to WoW, however.

It feels odd that even after nearly a year away from the game I still think about it as much as I do. I'm not sure if that's necessarily a good thing, as it could be pointed out that's a sign of an addiction, but it is also likely that WoW is a game you simply can't ignore. It still is the reigning heavyweight champ in terms of MMO subs, and in my (extremely) unscientific survey the WoW blogs outnumber all of the other MMO blogs combined.

What made me think about resubbing? News that Blizzard was going to free up some more toon names that haven't been logged into since December 7, 2010.

None of my old toons would have been affected, but the thought of potentially losing them forever gave me pause.

Can't I at least get to keep Quel'delar?
I should have known this would happen. WoW is large enough that there's potentially truckloads of idle toon names out there, and a periodic purge would free up a lot of potential names. (Even the overused ones, such as 50 different iterations of Legolas for a Hunter's toon.) But as somebody who occasionally runs across his old character sheets from college, I find it hard to give up a toon that I've played for any decent length of time.

I think it likely that I'd have subbed just for one month, just to login with the various toons, and then let things be.

Then again, I didn't need to let things progress that far, so I don't know if I could simply keep it at that. And that is likely for the best.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

There may not be a free lunch, but there are some free RPGs

It's that time of year again.

Right around mid-June, a group of gaming companies band together to promote Free RPG Day.

No, really.


Even have the logo to prove it!

The Free RPG website even has a Retailer Locator, where you can find game stores providing the Free RPG Day games. Odds are also good that those game stores are promoting gaming all day* by running demos and hosting game groups.

If you're not close to a game store, you can even find some freebies on RPG website DriveThruRPG.com, free for the downloading. 

I've spoken of them before, but Evil Hat games has PDFs of their FATE Core rulebook and the FATE Accelerated Edition available at their website in a pay what you like format. Try it out, and if you like it you can shell out a few dollars for it. If you want a game that's quick to pick up and try out, FATE Accelerated is likely the one for you.

So get out there, roll some dice, and hang with some friends!

Sometimes victory or defeat comes down to a single roll...
From The Big Bang Theory

EtA:  NOTE:  This is not restricted to the US. I punched in Vancouver BC, London UK, Munich Germany, and Singapore and got results.

*Not as if they don't do that normally, you know, but....

Monday, June 15, 2015

Knights of the Fallen Empire, or Don't Mess With THIS Emperor

Well, SWTOR's moment in the E3 presentation has come and gone, and while the trailer isn't out on YouTube (yet, wait for it on this space), but there's a few things we do know now courtesy of the Knights of the Fallen Empire website:

  • The expac starts at L60, and includes Nine Chapters starting at that point. These are all new chapters, not continuations of the old ones. Now, I'm not sure if that means that the old game disappears or whether the old game remains*, but this expac seems to be much much larger than what we've become accustomed to with SWTOR.
  • The new faction, the Empire of Zakuul, has an Immortal Emperor (Valkorion -- which is uncomfortably close enough to Vitiate's name to make me wonder), and is the dominant faction in the game. 
  • The Sith and Jedi have retreated to their homeworlds, so this is essentially a reset of what things were like at the beginning of SWTOR with the Jedi having retreated to Tython.
  • How this meshes with the new LucasFilm canon is unknown, but I assume that LucasFilm does have some approval process in place.
Am I intrigued? Hell yes.

I am what we Cincinnati Bengals fans call "cautiously optimistic".** It looks big --very very big-- and I don't think that anybody who plays the game expected this expac to be as big as it is. Between what happened on Ziost and this....

Well, it looks like Bioware might just have some mojo back.

And no, I don't mean the teaser reveal of Mass Effect Andromeda.

EtA:  And here's the trailer:

EtA: A much better trailer:

*Unlike Cataclysm's rewrite of Old Azeroth. I honestly hope that's the case, because I really do enjoy the original class stories.

**One of our two favorite phrases, right up there with "wait 'till next year".

Friday, June 12, 2015

How'd I Miss this Noon (EDT) Press Release? Oh right, work....

Okay, NOW I'm curious.

EA's press release ahead of the E3 presentation promises a major new expac for SWTOR:

Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ – The largest story-driven expansion to date, Knights of the Fallen Empire, marks a renewed focus on cinematic storytelling in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The expansion will deliver on the hallmarks of what makes a great BioWare™ game: new worlds to explore, new companions to recruit, and a dynamic story that players will be able to shape based on the choices they make.

I know EA has taken their lumps --and deservedly so-- over the years, but maybe they're actually learning something from what their customers are telling them.

And here all I was interested in at E3 was what Nintendo had up their collective sleeve: a new Zelda game (likely), another major property (given the success of Splatoon), and some other new games for the Wii U. I don't have an XBox or a Playstation so their press conferences don't interest me, and anything new from Blizzard (likely) will be announced at Blizzcon.

Now, if some other MMO companies can get out there and generate some buzz, I'd be fine with that too...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Return of Attunement (sort of)

Apparently while I was away on vacation*, Blizzard backtracked and decided to allow flying in Warlords.


You have to do a few things, first.  Like gather an eye of newt and have Birnam forest come to Dunsinane, or something like that.**

Seems like they're saying "FINE! You can have your flying, but you'd better be willing to bust your ass for it." Which means that all of those who run straight to L100 and then want to raid will actually have to go out and do some of this "out in the world" stuff.

*NO, I WAS NOT BLOG FADING!!! I went on a real vacation for the first time in ages, so that's that.

**According to the Dev Watercooler post, the requirements for the Draenor Pathfinder achievement are:

  • exploring Draenor’s zones
  • collecting 100 treasures in Draenor
  • completing the Draenor Loremaster and Securing Draenor achievements
  • raising the three new Tanaan Jungle reputations to Revered.
And please tell me that they still teach MacBeth in high school.