World of Warplanes: Me 265 8 Kills Anniversary


Fun match for my anniversary event for my Me 265!

If you want to play this game for free, go here: http://worldofwarplanes.com/

If you want to see all our World of Warplanes Videos, go here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuqRuL_MxEq-Xn1Kn4Dy9H9rd-Itoc5N3

If you would like to join the World of Warplanes Community on facebook, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldofwarplanescommunity/

To view more of our Gameplay Videos, click here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuqRuL_MxEq_Mxw7tk0Dplg09MyOo6DSA

To check out more of our Let’s Plays, click here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuqRuL_MxEq9QTRukDPj3SKguwnTPLlLM

World of Warplanes: First Battle In The New Arsenal VB 10 (Ace)


In my first battle in the new Arsenal VB 10 tier 7 French Heavy Fighter we can see how overpowered the plane is. It literally shatters most enemies quickly and has enough boost to boost across the entire map in one burst. The VB 10 was earned via the 2016 Anniversary event for the game.

Amrack’s Gamer Profile

Picture of me 1

Hey folks, my name is Amrack, as of now I’m a platinum League of Legends player who is getting back into streaming. But before we get into anything present, let’s go over a little history about my past.

My Name: So my name originated from my youth (like most people). To me a name is like a connection to the past that you can never experience again; it’s a memory of what I once was. When I was little (~8 years old) I use to write crazy RPG adventure books. I used to stay up talking to my brother (because I bunked with him) and role played stories with him so I had more content to write in my chapter books. Though my characters changed from story to story their names remained the same. Names like “Drakis”, “Amrak” (yes, it’s misspelled for a reason), and “Larkins”, to name a few. These were my online names that I gravitated to choose when playing games with my brother.

I took more of a liking to Amrak more than any of the other names I created because, my family wasn’t very religious at the time but my mother use to tell us things like: “what comes around goes around”, meaning if we lied or misbehaved bad karma would come our way. Well, when my siblings and I were younger (some not even born), we used to travel to Newark, NJ to see family (or what is left of my outside relatives) and on these trips we played all sorts of road games. One that really stuck out was when we played the ‘palindrome game’, it didn’t last long but it was a good mind exercise. I don’t recall being able to shout one out, my older brother and sisters always beat me to it. But I did try to make sense of the word ‘karma’ since it comes right back at you (‘back’ being the keyword here, as in ‘BACKwards’). I thought I was clever in thinking: “What is the opposite of karma?” – “Well what is karma backwards?”. The word “Amrak” didn’t mean anything but I liked the ring to it; thus creating a main character in all of my stories.

– I dont know when but i’ll be posting a part 2.

Stream: http://www.twitch.tv/amracklarkins

AND REMEMBER!!!!

Teemo 420

Oh, I got RP for this. Be Jealous! 🙂

The Interview: Robby Zinchak: 8-Bit MMO

8-Bit MMO - logo

A few weeks ago, we showed you the awesome indie game, 8-Bit MMO. Well I had a chance to talk with Robby Zinchak, the brilliant mind behind 8-Bit MMO about the game and the development process.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBNBYwb5nZg[/youtube]

So in your words describe your game?

8BitMMO is a construction sandbox game, which essentially means you can build anything you want in a massive, persistent, retro-styled world.

What made you go the 8-bit route?

Nostalgia!  I grew up on 8bit & 16bit games.  I explored every nook and cranny of them.  It was at that age where the line between reality and fantasy hadn’t 100% cemented yet, and it felt like those worlds were infinite.  Those places felt real, like you could move in and become a part of them.  With 8BitMMO, I’ve tried to capture that feeling from my childhood and create a 8bit world where you really can become a character in the game.

8-Bit MMO - origin

Can you tell us about the character customization and being able to change so many things?

The project is an ongoing work in progress, and character customization is one of the areas that is in the works.  I just rolled out the first few items in character customization, including being able to change your color, or to choose a non-human race to play.  The first non-human race is the Zombie, which you can use to infect other players with Zombieism!  I’m also planning additional non-human races, as well as wearable clothing, for the near future.

Many people know the term “Sandbox” because of the game Minecraft can you tell us about the “Sandbox” aspect of your game?

In the game you’re free to build constructions of whatever you want.  Many players build houses, castles, even whole cities.  Often times players come up with new and interesting ideas – like building pvp arenas, or gauntlet courses.  It all takes place in one massive, persistent world.  Even just wandering around and checking out all the cool creations can be a lot of fun.

8-Bit MMO - town2

Now was this game made completely by you, can you tell us about the process and experience of making the game?

I started making the game around 2001, and have restarted development several times.  Most of the intervening time has been just me working on it on & off in my spare time, but late last year I left my day job to work on the project full time.  Before last year, I had experimented with a lot of different visual styles and engines, before settling on the current setup.  I like that it can now be played in browser, because it means many more players are willing to try the game since they don’t have to install anything.

Having the freedom to create and destroy is awesome in a world of MMO’s that make you march in line with everyone else. However, are you worried people can cause trouble in the game  as well with such freedom?

Fortunately, the town system greatly limits troublemaking.  When players create a town, they effectively own the surrounding area, and it cannot be tampered with.  The player can allow specific friends to build in their town, but otherwise they are safe from griefing.

8-Bit MMO - npc dialogue

With a lot of free to play MMO’s there is often al carte items that you can purchase that gives you an advantage. It is good to see there is no money advantage with this game. Did you consider adding special items that you could pay real money for?

There are several purchase-only items in-game, but they don’t give you any combative advantage over other players.  Players are able to enjoy the game without having to purchase anything — of course, I hope they will consider a purchase if they want to support development 🙂

Can you tell us about the NPC’s or Non Player Characters?

There are several NPCs in-game that will teach you the basics of how to play, or give you quests.  RobbyZ will teach you the basics of how to play.  Draco the Architect is a dragon who likes to build, and he’ll teach you how to use the construction system by giving you various quests.  Tutorial Zombie is a mercenary of sorts, and he’ll give you contracts to go out and kill the nefarious LawyerCats that plague the wilderness.  I am planning additional monsters & quest NPCs in future.

8-Bit MMO - edge shading

I asked earlier about giving people freedom and the possibility of griefing, however, there would be social consequences in the game if that happened correct?

Yes.  Griefers generally don’t have much success in their trolling, and they are generally shunned away from towns.  So it behooves players to be nice to others, or they’ll likely be playing alone.

Can you tell us about your video gaming background?

I’ve been in the industry for around six years now.  I got my start at Midway, then moved to Capcom, and then Microsoft.  I enjoyed working on some great titles with very talented folks while I was in the traditional industry, but I’m excited to now be a full-time indie.  It’s fantastic to be able to work on my own vision and interact directly with fans.

To play 8BitMMO, visit http://8BitMMO.net

8-Bit MMO

This is pretty cool for fans of classic and indie games. This MMO game allows players to interact in a top down world that is very original Zelda-style. It is pretty much a giant world or sandbox as they call it that allows you to build or movie buildings like castles or homes and fight something they call Lawyercats and there is even PVP.

8-bit mmo logo

Check out the video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBNBYwb5nZg[/youtube]

Here is the official press release.

A video game development project named ‘8BitMMO’ was publicly announced today. 8BitMMO is a free online videogame where up to 250 concurrently connected players can shape the world block by block. The game’s engine allows for a wide variety of player made buildings.  Players can build solo, or group up and create their own towns with friends for cooperative building projects.  In either case, a grief protection system protects the player’s creations from unwanted interference. The game is humorous in tone, with amusing quests and unusual enemiesThere is also basic Player vs Player and Player vs Environment combat.

8-bit mmo - gameplay screenshot

“I am amazed with the creations players are coming up with,” said the game’s developer Robby Zinchak of Archive Entertainment. “People are creating some genuinely cool architecture – everything from towering windmills to sports arenas. One player even made a huge statue of a flying dragon. The community is very inventive, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next!”

8-bit mmo - gameplay screenshot

The project was first started in 2001, but underwent multiple total-rewrites and art style changes. While the game is still currently in ongoing development, it is fully playable on the project’s website. As the project is Java based, it can be easily run on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Future updates to the game are planned to introduce more features and content.

To play 8BitMMO, visit http://8BitMMO.net

Games: Most let down, Most hopeful

The game should be ninety-nine cents on the App Store. The graphics are nothing special and the gameplay is all about jump kicking zombies and driving around an island never really feeling like you are in any danger. They also had to do what all zombie games do which is make all the zombies re-spawn which just kills the feel of the game.~J.A. Laraque

Games: Most let down, Most hopeful

The New Year is a time to look forward with all kinds of resolutions, most of them that you will not keep and it is also a time to look back on the year. When it comes to gaming there is always room for reflection and regret. There is also always that hope that the next game that’s coming is the one that will keep you enthralled for months or more.

A post like this could be long, but for me it’s simple. There are two games that I thought about the most in 2011. One let me down worse a blind date setup by your grandmother and the other brings me hope like a wink from that girl across the room.

Most let down: Dead Island

Less we forget, let’s take a look at this video.

[youtube id=”lZqrG1bdGtg&ob” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Seriously, how did we get from that to the game that was launched? I guess we should have known the game would be bad when a beta copy was released to Stream instead of the real version. I remember wanting this game thinking it would be a great experience. In the end I only loved the intro and only because of that stupid song.

The game should be ninety-nine cents on the App Store. The graphics are nothing special and the gameplay is all about jump kicking zombies and driving around an island never really feeling like you are in any danger. They also had to do what all zombie games do which is make all the zombies re-spawn which just kills the feel of the game.

The voice acting was nothing great and you never cared about the characters or yourself. I also hate games where they put up barriers to keep you from places you want to go, but it’s something stupid like wooden planks in the water or the world’s largest and steepest hill.

Totally let down by this game, I tried to do the boring missing and I even tried using weaker weapons for a challenge. However, in the end the game is just bad and it makes we wish I was that little girl.

Most Hopeful: Star Wars: The Old Republic

starwars-the old republic

Sure, the game sold a lot and with backing from Bioware and EA I am sure it will do better than the last Star Wars MMO. I still had my doubts and did not read too much because I did not want to spoil the game one way or another and then I played it.

First off, complete voice acting, good voice acting including multiple choices and side quests make a great RPG. For the first time in a long time I care about the story and can’t wait to see it unfold. I think about my decisions, how I act, what I do. I love the companion system that helps you solo or is great in a group and they talk and interact in the story as well.

[youtube id=”6zTRZZefmvM” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Old Republic even has great PVP within warzones and open world. Sure, there are bugs and if you read the forums you will see just as many complaints and whining as any other MMO, but if Bioware stays strong and adds more content, improves little by little and fixes bugs quickly this could be a game you will play for years to come.

Your list

So if you have one game to pick for biggest let down and most hopeful which would they be?

A little game called HuttBall

[youtube id=”UgHCYaN_V3Q” width=”633″ height=”356″]

The thing about games like theses is you can easily believe the goal is to kill people and sadly like many Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft people only care about their kill count.~J.A. Laraque

A little game called HuttBall

So this is not so much a full guide as it is a small explanation of one of the PVP battle zones in Star Wars the Old Republic. Hutt ball is kind of like Rugby with guns and light sabers. The overall goal is to take the ball that spawns in the center of the arena to the enemies end. This sounds simple enough except the enemy team can do anything to stop you.

huttball

The thing about games like theses is you can easily believe the goal is to kill people and sadly like many Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft people only care about their kill count. The arena has two main hazards that can be used to your advantage. One is several fire burners than are on a timer and if you get caught on top of one when they go off you are as good as dead. The second are two acid pits that when you fall in them kill your pretty quickly. Also, when you fall inside them you walk slowly so the chances of you getting out are slim.

Huttball_fire

Looking at the arena there are various platforms that can lead to the enemy goal line and many ways you can get knocked off pretty much guaranteeing you won’t score. This is where knockback abilities come in. Almost every class in SWTOR has some form of knockback and this can be used to knock you into fire, acid or off the platform.

Another very useful tool is stuns or things to slow you down. First off, everyone can sprint when not in combat so when fighting you walk slower. Pretty much all classes can slow you down or stop you in your tracks with an ability. Stopping or slowing an enemy can be used for people holding the ball and for those going after the person with the ball. To combat this you can pass the ball to people.

Unfortunately, most people don’t pass or even know you can. Passing is done by clicking the pass button and then moving the icon over to where you want to pass it. Keep in mind if the person moves or is killed then the ball falls and respawns in the center. An enemy player can also intercept the pass.

Huttball_arena

Passing is great if your team is split between defending the ball carrier and moving ahead in case the ball carrier gets trapped or slowed or caught in something. The winning teams learn to pass to the right people at the right time and when done right can mean a quick win.

There are a ton of different strategies to this game, however, most people just run around killing with only a few really trying to score or defend. Perhaps there is because the game is still new or because like in W.O.W some people really just suck at anything besides pressing a button to kill someone.

Overall, the game is fun with a good team and if you go in as a guild or with friends it can really be fun if you another good team. The best part is there are no ties, if the score is tied whoever has the ball when time expires wins.

Just one tiny part of Old Republic that makes it a really great MMO.

Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes Beta Impressions


It was announced yesterday that I could ultimately take my hands away from my blabbering mouth and finally get my chance to talk about EA-Mythic’s take on the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre with Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes.

Wait? Warhammer Online? The MMO? Is this an expansion?

Nope. This is its own separate game and it seems that Mythic is trying their hand at the growing popularity of online battle arenas. From what I have seen from interviews and differing blogs, this game will be free and will partake in the microtransactions economy many games are adopting.

Oh, I hated everything about Warhammer Online aside from the PvP. What is this like?

Wrath of Heroes is almost a copy and paste of Age of Reckoning’s PvP. As of right now, there are two maps. I’m not sure if I can pick either one but it always randomly places me into one of the two. For the most part, I get the regurgitated version of Mourkain Temple. For those that remember Mourkain Temple, you fought for a relic at the center of the map and ran away with it hoping your team would protect you. Wrath of Heroes’ version of Mourkain Temple has differing objectives though. There are three flag points that must be capped by your team. Once your team owns one of these key points, you may take the center cap point and gain significant points for your team. First team to hit 250 points wins.

That sounds interesting, Mr. Khan. I have one problem. What if the opposing team is dominating you? That doesn’t give you much hope in reclaiming the game.

Well if the opposing team is dominating you and they become focused on slaying you, who is going to stop the other team from claiming points?

Wait… did you say other team?

Oh, did I forget to mention this game is 6v6v6? That’s right. Three teams brawling against each other. People have been clamoring for a game that finally went for that third team perspective in PvP and Mythic decided “Hey, it worked in Dark Age of Camelot. Let’s do it again!” And guess what, reader? It does work! Having three teams constantly vying for control of the map’s objectives keeps everyone on their toes for the entirety of the game. No more spawn camping. No more sense of security that your team has a lead. Anything can change at any time.

The other map that is available in Wrath of Heroes, which I was unfortunate enough to get only once during the beta phases, is the Arena. This map is a ton of fun. Why? The only objective is to completely decimate the enemy in this three-way team death match. There is plenty of terrain to use as an amazing vantage point for your casters and also to use as a form of abuse with line of sight. There is nothing but complete and utter mayhem in this map and the fact that there is no real objective, no one team can get sneaky and capture a point while people are preoccupied fighting. Everyone has to be involved all the time.

Yes! There is a Skaven champion.

As for the classes, there aren’t any. You just play as a champion that resembles a simplified version of their Age of Reckoning counterpart. There is a marauder champion who drags people in, there is a Witch Elf that pops out of nowhere and stabs you in the butt, and there is a tiny little gobbo shaman who is using the Waaagh to heal. What are the differences in this game that set it apart from Age of Reckoning? Champions like the Bright Wizard and Sorceror don’t receive any backlash as they cast their spells but they also don’t get ridiculously more powerful as they weave their magicks.

Why don’t they receive any downside to spamming their abilities? It probably has to do with the way combat works. The entire game is about spamming all your abilities. Everything is just facerolling your keyboard because almost every ability does damage or buffs you so you do more damage. Cooldowns are short and every champion has one ability that does minimal damage but can be spammed while everything else is on cooldown. It doesn’t lead to a very unique gameplay. Some champions have something special that adds to their combat but why bother when you can just spam abilities? The only champion that felt added any depth of game changing because of their abilities, aside from heal spamming duo goblin shamans, is the Marauder champion. Why? Because he can pull people in, negate healing on them for x amount of seconds, and can root enemies in place. He has the most combat utility out of any other champion. His ability to pick a target and bring them into a bukkake of death is amazing. Unfortunately or fortunately, he isn’t as popular as other champions so you’ll barely see him roaming around.

One of the things in this game that bothers me are the champion skins. Age of Reckoning has some amazing armor sets that made a ton of the champions look quite simply amazing. There were artistically some of the best armors in any game. Wrath of Heroes merely takes the newbie armor you get in the MMO and pasted it on the champions. Pretty lackluster stuff going on. I know that there are multiple skins they will be putting into the game but I feel as though they should’ve made each champion look awesome from the get-go like other MOBA type of games such as League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients, and Heroes of Newerth. Instead, I feel they are going to make the newbie looking skins the free ones and charge for the cool armors, whereas they could have had one cool armor set for each champion and have the additional skins be the other armor set tiers from Age of Reckoning.

As of right now, those are my overall impressions of Wrath of Heroes. I will be reporting on it more often as the beta continues but I do feel that with each play test they are adding more and more to this project. Hopefully, it will be a good game for a ton of players to enjoy as a free to play alternative to Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning and not become another hit it and quit it project by Mythic.

Cosplay: Cataclysm in my Pants

Thank you for calling 1-800-Fappathon, we are not in the office right now. We are currently at E3 2011 getting fresh pictures for our next Fappathon Cosplay. Please enjoy these World of Warcraft pictures in the meantime and leave a message after the tone.

 

 

Dark Age Of Camelot: The Second Coming


Hell yeah, I choose this deceptive title to make you think we had sort of insider information to a sequel for Mythic’s MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. You must be pretty upset with me for that and disappointed in the world knowing that a second chance at an upgraded DAOC isn’t coming any time soon. Grim days I tell you, reader.

Hopefully you haven’t left yet so I can tell you about what I really wanted your attention for. Yes, it does involve Dark Age of Camelot.

We’re listening, you fat piece of shit.

Thank you for staying tuned. How long has it been since you’ve enjoyed the glory of RvR? No, I don’t mean the abortion of RvR that was present in Mythic’s failed Warhammer Online game. I mean real RvR. The kind where three realms go head to head on a battlefield, sieging keeps, slaying epic beasts, forming alliances, and claiming the rights to the world’s most powerful relics.

I know your mind is fluttering with thoughts of a time long ago where PvP in an MMO was actually interesting and purposeful to your entire faction. What would you do if you had a chance to revisit the past? Would you take the reins of life and steer them into the right direction?

Yeah, Umar. Cool story, bro. We can always resub to DAOC and its dwindling population, new rule sets, or play on classic servers for a nominal monthly fee.

Yes, that’s true. You could do that or…

You could play the sonuvabitch for free on the Uthgard Free Shard server. Yes, I said free. It is a DAOC emulated server with all the classic rule sets and additional content added from the staff.

The population is healthy and the community is active. All the instructions to download the game and get it working takes no longer than 5-10mins once the game has been installed. Enjoy your crusade as a proud member of Albion, mystify the world with your fairy magics in Hibernia, or bathe in the blood of the mighty as a Midgardian. That’s it. I have nothing else to say. Go play, haters.

The MMO Separation of Church and State

It’s been awhile, loyal readers. Yes, I know I’ve been away from awhile and even though some may not care, I am here. I will allow you a moment to shuffle towards your nearest box of tissues to clean up the mess your mayonnaise blaster just shot off.

Ready now? Good.

With that embarrassing mishap behind us, let me indulge with you a story of days past. Yes, the story will again involve MMORPGs as the major focus point but do not worry; I will stray from this tired path in the future.

Years ago, back in 2006 when some of our readers were still teething and dropping goat pebbles in their diapers, there was an archaic game known as World of Warcraft. I’m not sure if many of you have heard of it. The game is incredibly underground with a miniscule population.

In those golden days, PvP wasn’t about fighting another player for hours. It wasn’t about outlasting foes. It was like how PvP was in almost every other game in existence, including FPS. Fights were quick and fast paced. It wasn’t about every player being Batman and trying to pull off as much bullshit as possible. It was about an Enhancement Shaman with Windfury WTF raping their way to victory. It was about the Mage hiding in the back charging up a Pyroblast combo. It was about a rogue hiding and doing what rogues do best, assassinate.

For some reason or another, they decided that fights shouldn’t be so quick and involve such a maelstrom of destruction. Thus, resilence was born; a stat aside from PvE defenses where player damage could be mitigated. What were the reasons for this? Was it the ocean of tears from people that were getting taken out by one person? Could it have been the advantages a raid gear character had against hardcore PvPers? Was it so that Arenas weren’t filled with full DPS team ready to leave craters in the wake of their wrath?

All of those reasons are sound and legit. The one that I felt holds the most truth is the fact that raid geared PvE’ers were capable of casually going to PvP and whirlwinding their way to victory. It is for this reason alone that I believe there was a separation between PvE and PvP.

What is the purpose of this division? Why is that PvP’ers and PvE’ers must separate from one another? Why couldn’t there be one stat system that to keep things united?

I understand that PvE’ers are able to acquire gear through a lot of coordination and time and I also understand that PvP matches tend be much shorter than a raid encounter. It wouldn’t be just in rewarding them with equal gear as that would anger the carebear community.

Resilence only seemed to make sense for Arenas since you generally wanted to last longer in that kind of scenario and it is because of that where I believe Arena gear is the only stat difference that should be available. Mass PvP shouldn’t have this kind of separation.

Raiders can still raid to get their gear but there could’ve been a more inventive way to reward PvP players. Battlegrounds could have been divided by tiers of difficulty and/or objectives rather than how they are now. The first tier battleground could be the PvP mirror of a heroic where during the battle, mediocre gear drops off of fallen enemy players and whenever a tower was taken down or whichever of the multiple objectives in that match is achieved, a loot roll comes up for players with random loot and of course whenever each objective is completed they are rewarded tokens to use as currency to purchase gear as well. Essentially, it the same mechanic as a heroic instead it is applied to a PvP scenario.

The next tier could have a much more difficult objective to complete which would take a bit more coordination on the player’s part and so on. This style of loot progression would allow both PvE and PvP gear to be interchangeable. How come dungeons with new mechanics and situations are constantly added but battlegrounds have remained the same?

What’s sad about this situation is that since World of Warcraft is the staple of a success in the MMO genre, every game is coinciding with this stat system in their games even when it doesn’t make sense. Resilence always appeared to be an arena stat but was quickly pushed into every PvP scenario. Now games like DCUO have toughness instead of defense and Rift has whatever the hell they use. I think it’s toughness versus defense as well but I don’t give a shit. Games where these mechanics are applied don’t even make sense yet they seem to be adopting the format regardless. It causes the PvP experience to force someone in the PvE realm to start from the beginning again and vice versa.

Don’t these companies think player’s have already enough of this whole “starting over” situation every time a new expansion comes out and they have to grind new factions and gear? This shit isn’t needed. Stop pitting people into these situations and allow PvP and PvE to be interchangeable and not some form of morbid segregation.

That’s end of that rant but…

A quick note to other MMORPG companies out there,

Stop copying World of Warcraft and start being creative. This genre is becoming like the FPS genre where 90% of the games out there want to be Call of Duty and all we get are the same fucking things over and over again. Stop sticking to this format and start getting a creative team together. One day, Blizzard is going to become like Apple and sue you for copying their shit over and over again.

And before one of you asshole readers say, “WoW isn’t original. It copied EQ, and EQ copied UO, and UO copied Meridian, and Meridian copied—“ Just shut the fuck up. I don’t give a fuck who copied who. Each of those games was vastly different from one another and even the mechanics that were taken from either of those games have evolved from each generation and iteration. Fuck!

Faxion Q&A

faxion_logo_final_black

Faxion online is a upcoming unique MMO that offers combat driven gameplay set against the classic struggle between good and evil or in this case, Heaven and Hell. This free-to-play MMO will offer non-stop action as well as a robust PVP system. Currently, the game is in open beta, so head on over to their website to sign up.

Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with Mike Madden, Creative Director at UTV True Games about Faxion.

So tell us a little bit about Faxion?

Mike Madden: Faxion Online is our first internally developed product. Faxion is a persistent world MMORPG, build for the competitive player. Players will choose to join the armies of Heaven and Hell, and fight over key locations in the world of Limbo. Each Territory players can fight over is represented through the manifestation of one of the seven deadly sins.

How did the idea of this game come about?  The theme of Heaven versus Hell is definitely intriguing, what made you want to go with such a storyline?

Mike Madden: Actually it was presented to us as a concept that the company was kicking around. While we did not agree with the initial design, we really liked the idea for the setting. We also knew it was a chance to have some fun and not take religion and death so seriously. So we felt we could take a more “Family Guy” approach and really just take it all over the map in terms of religions, sins and other death related topics.

Faxion will cover the more serious aspects of Heaven and Hell and the Seven Deadly sins, can you tell us more about what that entails?

Mike Madden: If it’s too serious, then we failed! Heh.

While we certainly would love people to be introduced to a new religion in the game, by no means are we trying to educate people on one religion versus another. Giving player a few new jokes to use throughout life for various religions, yes, learning actual useable facts to make educated decisions about religion? Hell no…

We wanted to be sure to have a good time and really find ways of introducing players to the religions we are all familiar with, Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Muslins. At the same time there are some fringe religious groups and cults that offer us just as much if not more material. Scientology, Pastafari and even some cults like the Branch Dividians from our backyard of Waco Tx.

Faxion Gameplay Screenshot

Now the game will focus on PVP and territory control, let’s start with the PVP aspect. What will make the PVP in Faxion stand out from other MMO PVP?

Mike Madden: I think players will find quite a few things that will make the PVP in Faxion stand out compared to other games.

One area we as players really wanted to address was how stale combat can get. We wanted to increase the overall player movement and use of the environment when fighting other players. One thing we do to encourage this movement to our combat, is we use a series of ability cool downs to mitigate how often an ability can be used, and not the traditional casting bar. The majority of our attacks can be cast while on the move. This delivers a natural ebb and flow to the experience.

We also have our multi-classing system which does not dictate what you play as a character. Its freedom of character creation really adds to the mix of PVP, when you just can’t be all too sure what your enemy may decide to use against you.

The other thing we allow is that you can start PvPing as early as you want and you can progress through the entire game solely through PvP. Fighting other players (of the appropriate levels) will not only grant you experience but also item drops.

Can you give us some insight on how the territory control part of the game will function?

Mike Madden: The META game at play is each army is trying to claim and maintain control over the seven deadly sins. With each gained for a faction, they get closer to a total victory, which results in a final server wide event.

We always want players to be able to find a fight so territories will be open for conquest at various points of the day. During this window, players will be fighting back and forth over control points within the zones. We will be offering many familiar capture mechanics to start, with many diverse and exciting new ideas on the way. King of the hill and capture the flag, along with some interesting combinations and new mechanics, will demand teamwork and strategy to deploy a good offensive or defensive strike on any given control point.

Can you give us some info on the three worlds, heaven, hell and limbo?

Mike Madden: As much as Heaven and Hell are present in the game, the adventuring begins in Limbo, which is offering a very diverse set of locations and challenges. Each location of Limbo is representing one of the seven deadly sins. This really gave our artists and designers a much wider palette of both color and locations to work with. Forest and Canyons, Mountains and swamps, each location is going to offer the player visual differences that we find compelling and fun to play in.

Our Heaven and Hell are bringing classic views to life, but we have a few things up our sleeves as we move forward. This is an area we are already planning to expand into and really playing around with the various thoughts and visions different cultures and views of life bring to both Heaven and Hell.

The concept of death, heaven and hell, and even limbo all reside within Faxion Online. To us, Limbo actually exists in no particular band of time, but rather through them all simultaneously. Each religion, each period of history all eventually end up in Limbo, which is what makes up the bulk of the world players will initially explore. Each war represents the struggle for the living on a single planet or plane of existence. With each victory, the fate for that planet/plane is decided, and the endless battle continues on with the endless worlds of souls to fight over. Each player upon arriving from their own mortal demise is able to reach glory in ways they could not have dreamed.

Faxion Gameplay Screenshot

What classes will players get to choose from?

Mike Madden: The class system in Faxion does not limit nor define what you are or do. Your first class choice simply starts the journey.  Players will make choices limited to their initial class selection to start, but soon find the shackles are thrown off and they are free to take on a second class type of their choosing. We use a point system, where players receive ability points with each level earned. As it stands now in Open Beta, once 30 points are spent you can choose a second, and at 60 points, choose a third.

It allows you to craft your character the way you want to. A good example of this is say you want to play a “traditional” cleric. You can go two routes in Faxion; either start as a Crusader and multi-class by also buying Guardian abilities or do the reverse. Since the cost to train abilities is different based on what is your starting class, the individual who starts as a Crusader will probably be more melee-based while the other will be more of a healer… but both will be capable in melee combat and skilled in the use of magic. Even then, two players who start as a Guardian and take Crusader abilities may be vastly different because they have purchased different abilities.

That is just part of the fun, customizing your character to fit your play-style and wants.

Can you tell us about the character customizations and abilities?

Mike Madden: We have a solid customization system now, where at creation the traditional choices apply for face, hair, skin tones and such. We are constantly looking to expand in this area, as we feel people always like to try and match to something in their minds eye. The more options and choices we can offer, the closer we allow them to get.

With abilities, we actually take things quite a bit further. We have over 150 abilities in the game across all of our classes. Each ability also offers a total of 10 ranks that can be achieved. Ranking abilities is an online or offline advancement track and is really the crux of our investment in the character.

Each rank is offering an advancement to the ability it is tied to. As an example a rank 1 fireball is pretty straight forward, but at rank 4 it may get a Damage Over Time (DOT) component added to it, increasing the effective use of the ability. So, it’s not just a statistical change in that it costs less spirit or can be cast quicker, its more about adding new function that may alter the way it’s used at all.

Experimentation is fun and something we want to encourage players to do. Happily we are seeing this get confirmed in our BETA testing.

Faxion Gameplay Screenshot

Everyone hates the grind in MMO’s how is Faxion eliminating that aspect of MMORPG’s?

Mike Madden: Master the game not the grind is a mantra we had when we first spoke about character progression, and it became a constant for us throughout development. When we sit down to play any game, we are doing so to get entertainment, not a second job or a list of chores. If we look at other game genres and platforms, the grind feeling is not nearly as prevalent. But, for some reason, MMOs consistently deliver this feeling of work in order to have fun.

We wanted to shift this mindset, and allow players to enjoy the game experience when they sit down to actually play. Crazy concept, I know, but from our internal testing it’s working.

We are doing this in a series of changes to some areas of the game, like offering offline advancement. In addition we are really not putting the time sink into the actual levels, since so much of it is based on the ranks themselves. We really want to get players leveled quickly so they can get into the action and have lots of toys to play with.

Was there a specific MMO or perhaps aspects of different MMO’s that inspired the creative and development process behind Faxion?

Mike Madden: One of the bigger things that bothers most of us is how a single MMO demands players to not play any other MMO at the time. So it was not so much a single mechanic as it was creating a game that you can compete, at a high level and still continue to play other games and MMOs alongside Faxion.

While I can easily say every MMO has something to learn, be it from its mistakes or from its victories, it would be unfair to them all to say only one inspired this game over any other.

What aspects of MMORPG’s did you want to focus on with Faxion the most and which did you want to avoid at all costs?

Mike Madden: One goal the team has maintained and held true, is not allowing any player to “buy a victory” due to any RMT model. We adapted a “Time versus Money” concept early and look to apply it at all layers of the game. In a competitive PVP game, having the guy with the biggest wallet, automatically win just sucks. Hell he already has a bigger wallet and is winning in life with more cash! The rest of us want a shot to kick his ass too.

So basically, if you have the time Faxion is a true free to play experience with no blocked content. However if you do not have all the time, a few purchases here and there will allow a part time player to compete at the highest levels.

Faxion Gameplay Screenshot

How will loot and progression work in Faxion?

Mike Madden: We like giving away treasures! Players can get loot from questing, PvP kills, PVE kills, Epic Encounters (non instanced of course), Territory Control and a number of alternative ways. We have a complete equipment system allowing players to adventure for or purchase varying styles of armor to best reflect their vision for a character.

In addition, we offer wings as an equipment slot, allowing players to find and or purchase some of the more defining pieces to an equipment set.

Tying this system back into our ability ranks, players will need to rank their armor ability, which unlocks the function to equip the varying grades of armor, from uncommon all the way up to artifacts. All in all it’s a system players should be familiar with, but still find some fun things to tinker around to create a look they are happy with.

Can you tell us about the guild and social aspects of Faxion?

Mike Madden: Guilds are critical to us as gamers and as developers. While we have basic levels of support for guilds to form and communicate, we are ever expanding not only the management tools of guilds, but also the meaning of guilds within Faxion.

A guild is so much more than a label that floats 6 inches above your characters head. Guilds are a source of pride, a family in this world that you can rely on, and most importantly they provide just as many fun and funny moments in any MMO that a designer could never implement.

We want to embrace the above, by giving them things to call their own, to build and grow, and ultimately defend from others trying to take it or destroy it. This is a part of the game we are looking at expanding now as we sit in Open Beta, working with the players and asking them directly what they require and want from a guild in Faxion.

Faxion Gameplay Screenshot

Everyone always asks so we will as well, whats the endgame and raid content going to look like in Faxion?

Mike Madden: It’s going to look a lot like a big ass war.

Without instancing, even our epic boss encounters can turn into large factional wars. While the endgame is not entirely in play as of yet, part of that is due to us wanting to be sure to build it for what the players want from it.

Any endgame content, whether it’s a crafting system, a raiding system or some other game function, it’s important to us that it always feed back into creating and expanding the conflict in Faxion. Even dungeons can and should have elements of competition with guilds of the same faction, alongside the faction war that is always present.

Guild versus Guild or Faction versus Faction, players will find a break from the war, but never fully escape it…

What is the testing and beta process going to look like and when can fans get a test run of the game?

Mike Madden: We are now in open beta and invite everyone to come in and check out the game at www.faxiononline.com

We are actively working with our Beta Testers to highlight what they would like to see us focus on, while we continue to improve on what exists.

Fallen Earth Q&A

Fallen Earth logo

Fallen Earth Q&A

Tired of swords and sorcery, of level and faction grinds, of dragons and dungeons, well welcome to the apocalypse. Fallen earth combines the depth of a role-playing game with the action of a first-person shooter all set against a post-apocalyptic earth in the year 2156. This online game brings you all the things you like about MMO’s like player advancement, gear and weapons, crafting and clans and kept out the things people hate like grinding for gear and long boring raids.

Recently Fallen Earth released their state of the game address discussing such issues as PVP, new contact and end game raids. Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with Marie Croall, Senior Game Designer on Fallen Earth about the game and the coming changes.

Let’s begin with the basics for those who may not be familiar with Fallen Earth. The game is a hybrid of First Person Shooters and Role Playing Games, can you tell us about this combined dynamic?

 

Marie Croall: All of our weapons use a reticle that you need to have on your target in order to hit them, once you hit them we resolve damage based on stats, skills and resists.

 

 

So in a nutshell, the Shiva virus began to spread across the world and nuclear war broke out leaving a wasteland, sounds like the perfect setting for a story. Can you tell us about the world players will find themselves in?

 

Marie Croall: Fallen Earth takes place 150 years in the future; humanity has just gotten to the point where they are starting to rebuild when clones (players) start showing up. To some, the clones are the solution to all their problems, but to others the clones represent something to be feared or worse – exploited.

 

There are factions the players can join, each one showing how different mindsets handle the fall of civilization: There are the CHOTA—wasteland barbarians dedicated to returning to the “old ways,”  Enforcers—descendants of military and police forces trying to keep up  traditions, Techs—scientists, scholars and engineers, Lightbearers – spiritual healers trying to calm the warring world, Travelers—racketeers and con men out for their own profit and the Vista—guerilla warriors bent on stopping the exploitation of  the healing Earth.

 

Each faction has its own allies and enemies, but there is no guarantee that any member will be friendly. Clones have to watch their backs pretty closely in FE.

 

 

Now some fans liken the world to Fallout. We know post-apocalyptic lands are not owned by any one game, but were there any influences on Fallen Earth from Fallout or other post-apocalyptic games?

 

Marie Croall: We’re all huge fans of the Fallout games, but most of our inspiration came from post-apoc and dystopian books and films.  It’s a genre we’re all very much into and favorites range from “A Boy and His Dog” and “Road Warrior” to “Six String Samurai.”  We’re also pretty addicted to the Post-apoc shows on the History and Discovery channels.  “Life After People” and “The Colony” are two of the more entertaining ones.

 

 

 

Can you give us a breakdown of customization and progression in Fallen Earth?

 

Marie Croall: We are a classless system. As the player gains experience they gain AP which they can put into any of the attributes or skills.  At level 15, players can select a faction, start participating in Conflict towns and begin to develop mutation lines if they choose.

We have a fairly extensive crafting system—about 95% of items are crafted. Scavenging and exploration are large parts of the world and the player experience.

 

Now the world is open and as far as PVP, there are arenas or you can flag yourself PVP and fight other flagged players, is that correct?

 

Marie Croall: There are actually three different ways you can participate in PvP. You can flag yourself for world PVP at all times, you can enter Blood Sports or you can enter an open PvP zone out in the world.  The open world PvP zones are usually found with conflict towns (settlements players can fight to control for their faction), or Faction Control Points. Taking a town generates merchants and questors specific to the controlling faction, gaining control of the Faction Control Points gives a buff to faction members.

 

What would you say is the learning curve to play Fallen Earth; do you have to be a MMO or FPS pro?

 

Marie Croall: There is a bit of a learning curve, but we’ve worked very hard to make sure that the game is challenging rather than frustrating.  Our player base has MMO players, FPS players and those who are new to both genres.

 

Fallen Earth - Gameplay Screenshot

Can you tell us a little about Terminal Woods?

 

Marie Croall: Terminal Woods is a bit of a bridge between Kaibab and Alpha County. It’s got quite a bit of mission content and introduces players to the Scavenger Bosses—group encounters that players will be able to craft a lure for the Boss. Rewards from the bosses can be used to upgrade existing gear.

Can you give us a hint about some of the long-term projects you plan to add in Alpha County?

 

Marie Croall: We’ve got quite a few new features coming. Progress Towns, settlements that players can build and defend, World Events and a crafting augmentation system are some of the new features we will be adding.  We will also be expanding our skills set with two new skill lines for players to add to their builds.

How important has feedback from the community been to the Fallen Earth team?

 

Marie Croall: We work very hard at reaching out to our players, getting their feedback and incorporating it in a way that works for our design and for the benefit of the community as a whole.

 

Can you tell us about Blood Sports and the changes you are working on?

 

Marie Croall: The changes we are implementing for Blood Sports revolve around fixing stability and team creation bugs.

 

About raid content, in your state of the game address you talked about not wanting the have people grind raid instances for gear, what would be a raid style that you feel would fit with Fallen Earth?

Marie Croall: Although we want to maintain the strategic element to battles. we will be focusing on smaller team size  and goals that fit well with the existing Fallen Earth systems.  It’s important to provide compelling motivation.

 

Can you give us a bit more info on the large-scale instance you are working on to be release post Alpha County?

 

Marie Croall: I can show you some concept art, but further info gets a bit spoiler-y.

 

What are some of the classic games the Fallen Earth team likes to play?

 

Marie Croall: While not all of these may be classics in a traditional sense, our list includes: D&DDonkey Kong,  Final Fantasy Tactics,  Super Mario, Madden Football, Russian roulette, Planescape: Torment, Ultima games, Diablo, not to mention board game nights that include Dominion, Carcassone, Infinite City, Dungeon Lords, Cash & Guns, Civilization, and Castle Ravenloft.

There you have it. If you are looking for a new experience in the MMO world then Fallen Earth is right up your alley. You can pick up Fallen Earth using their Online Download for about twenty bucks. The subscription fee for Fallen Earth is $14.99 monthly.

Check out our Gamer Profiles on some of the Fallen Earth team members:

Jessica Harper

Marie Croall

 

 

Alliance versus Horde: The PVP Debate

Alliance_vs__Horde_by_Dawnchaser

Being a long time player of MMO’s since the Ultima days I pretty much grew up through my late teens playing these types of games. I can easily tell the different in not only my playstyle, but also my dedication to games, as I got older. While there was talk of kids versus adults in Everquest, it was nothing compared to the debate that rages on in World of Warcraft. This may be new to no one, but there really is little difference between the horde and the alliance when it comes to Player versus Player.

I for a very long time played Alliance and I have played in a ton of battlegrounds and have heard the calls from angry players about how bad the alliance is and that it is full of children. By now, we know that calling people children is like calling someone Hitler; it has been over used and really does not mean anything anymore. However, in all the screaming and nerd rage there is truth to many of the complaints, but the problem is on both sides.

I admit when I began playing on the horde side I expected to win many more BG’s and truth be told I do win more, but that does not mean the same mistakes happen on both sides. Let us look at some of the complaints and break them down.

Alliance does not follow instructions

Not following instructions

Alliance: Sadly, this is true, but the reasons go far beyond it being that they are kids. While it is true that more kids began playing alliance it is just as true that older people and people new to MMO’s also play alliance. Much of the time the reason instructions are not followed is many of the people are new to the BG and really do not know how to ask for help. The second reason is when someone screams calling you a noob and that you should die in a fire you really do not want to ask for instructions.

Horde: On the horde side you have children who believe the horde are bad and bad to them equals bad ass so you have just as many kids wanting to be the “pretty alliance” as you do that want to be the “evil” horde. Second players that are more experienced will go horde, this can be good and bad because sometimes they think they are too good or they think they should lead. What happens is everyone has an opinion and the fight over it and because of that instructions are never fully followed, but in the end more people tend to follow than on the ally side and so that is one reason for more wins.

Alliance gives up

Surrendering_kahjiit_vampire_by_katuysha

Alliance: I have found this to be true in some cases. Most of the time if the alliance really gave a strong push, say in Arathi Basin and the horde pushed back taking the lead from them I have found many will give up. Again, I think this is because of people who do not know the game and mixed in are some who just want easy wins. Age does play into this because often a child wants everything handed to him or her and if they try and look like they will fail, they give up. The result is everyone else suffers including those who are not experienced in BG’s.

Horde: I see less giving up on the horde side and a lot of the time it is due to the fact that the horde are used to winning and believe they can pull victory from the jaws of defeat. This can also work against them because some are so used to winning that if they think they will lose they want to quit and lose quickly so they can move on to another BG. In addition, many horde players almost border on role-play with how they believe the horde should not ever give up just because they are horde.

Alliance cares about HK’s and KB’s

Honor kills in World of Warcraft

Alliance: If the battle group loses a lot and they are used to it many alliance players admit they go for honor kills and killing blows over the win. Alliance will also work on getting achievements that do not require a win. When the allies are used to losing they just go for “fun” and sometimes that just keeps a losing streak going.

Horde: The horde weakness comes in when a player takes a kill seriously. Most of the complaints I hear are about a specific player who is either hard to kill, over powered or killing the same person over and over. I have also found if you offend a horde by doing a gesture when you kill them or heaven forbid using that flag of ownership, you can goat the horde player and sometimes even fellow team members into forgetting the goal of winning the game in order to get payback on a player.

Alliance do not gear properly

PVE gear in PVP

Alliance: Unfortunately, I have found this to be true especially in the lower levels. Many alliance players see PVP as an option where horde sees it as important as PVE. When you add in the younger and inexperienced players, you end up with many alliance players going into BG’s with PVE gear and finding themselves going up against a PVP geared opponent.

Horde: You will always find some people who do not gear up, but many of the horde know that since they win more BG’s then they lose they have extra honor points to spend and they do gear themselves. In the end, this helps the horde more adding to more wins and more gear.

The Turning Point

World of Warcraft PVP motivational poster

There is much more I could go into, but let us hit the key point. Many of the horde players are experienced in MMO’s and specifically PVP, once it was established that horde wins PVP the PVP’ers went horde and so it made them stronger. The point about kids versus adults does not come into play however because horde can be just as vulgar and obnoxious as any alliance, but these guys even if not children are man-children ranging from age 15 to 35. The bottom line is experience and if a young, older or inexperienced alliance player does not really care about PVP, they already start off at a disadvantage.

The horde side fights in the roads in AB, rush Van in AV with towers still up. The horde also ignores healers and tries to kill the tank and they care about the flag more than the bases in EOTS. The horde can leave the flag carrier along in WG and kill players instead of DEMO’s in SOTA and so on and so on. I have just found I end up with those who need to win more on the horde than the alliance side and that’s why I have more honor points than I can spend.

DC Universe Online: The Good, The Bad and the Future

DC Universe Online logo
DC Universe Online logo

So much of my time has been spent playing my Superman hating hero, Lineage in DC Universe online, but I had to take a moment to give my opinion on the game. While I had been looking forward to this game since its announcement it was seeing so many of my friends playing it that made me finally decide to buy it instead of waiting a few more weeks. I do not regret my decision, but there are pressing issues and long-term questions about this MMO.

The Good

I remember playing City of Heroes and thinking about how cool it was to make my own hero from scratch. Unfortunately, issues such are repetitive missions, level grinds and lack of custom powers quickly turned my love to loathing. With DCUO, I decided not to read all the developers notes or message boards. I wanted to come into this game like a child who received it on day one and make my decision of whether it was good or not based on firsthand experience not what is “coming soon”.

  • Character Design – Sure, it may not be as in-depth as City of Heroes is, but it is a great start. You cannot only make a completely original hero, but if you wish, you can pretty much copy any hero from DC, Marvel and beyond.
  • Power Layout – You have your two primary powers, but you also can choose from Iconic Powers that give you abilities such as Superman’s heat vision or Batman’s batarangs. This allows you to really customize your character whether you are a min/max’er or a concept creator.
  • Into the Fire – What I mean by this is you do not start of fighting purse-snatchers. From the beginning, you are going up against the big names from Scarecrow to Bizarro and everything in between. This makes you feel like a hero not some jerk in a mask.
  • Heroic TeamUp – From the start of the game you team up with well-known DC superheroes and this continues throughout the game. For those that though they only give you missions from police stations and the watchtower are wrong. Sure, often the heroes do not do much, but still fighting alongside them is very cool and I know there is much more to come.
  • Similar but different – Sure, most missions have you go to a location take out a bunch of bad guys and then rinse and repeat. However, there is enough variety in not only the locations and bad guys, but the story layout and endgame (mission wise not complete game wise) to keep you interested and wanting to play more.
  • Dungeon Tile sets – This was one of my biggest issues with City of Heroes, check out my report on it. When I say Dungeon, I mean an instance where only you or your team can enter. In COH it was always an office or a warehouse and sometimes a science lab, but with DCUO every instance is unique even if it is an abandoned warehouse. It makes the game seem much larger than it is and it keeps it from getting boring which is a very good thing.
  • Easy to Play, Easy to Level – There is some risk, but no more than what you will find in World of Warcraft and believe it or not this works for this type of game. You can get your butt kicked, but if you learn your role and play correctly, you can solo or group and succeed. In addition, you can level at a good pace, which COH should have learned does not mean you will quit once you max out. If there is more to do and added gameplay such as PVP, end game instances and other content you will continue to play or role a new character.
  • Voiceover and Cut scenes – They work in MMO’s and DC has given us fans of the Batman, Superman and Justice League cartoons a great gift with their voiceover work. Sure, some of the random voiceover gets repetitive, but the mission voiceover and voices from names we know makes it win win. The cut scenes just make you feel like you are part of the story and they look awesome to boot.

Now there are more good things I can say, but let us move on to the bad.

The Bad

One must always keep in mind that no MMO is going to start out perfect. There will be issues in any game you play and it will take time for the developers to not only fix the bugs, but also tailor the game in a way more people will deem favorable. Many people are spoiled because of games like World of Warcraft that while it still has its issues has been polished after years of patches and expansions. The key is seeing what will happen once the changes are made and if you like it now it will only get better.

Launch Bugs

Here are some of the most annoying issues at the moment.

  • Losing audio after a cut scene – For some people after finishing a mission arc and getting the cool cut scene they lose audio and only a complete restart of the game fixes this.
  • Vanishing Weapon – Sometimes when entering an instance, upgrading, or changing your main weapon even once you equip it the weapon does not take effect. The good news is all you need to do is un-equip and reequip to fix this.
  • Disappearing Power Layout – This one is weird because I am not sure what causes it. Sometimes your power layout, which is the number 1 through 8 keys where you can use your powers sometimes  disappears from the UI. Now you can still use the powers it is just that you cannot see them. Strangely, it will fix itself on its own randomly.
  • Windowed Mode No Save – You can select Windowed mode, but if you log out and log back in it does not save your preference.
  • Alt Tab Crash – Some people say they crash or lose audio when alt tabbing out to their desktop.

Playability

Here are some complaints about general gameplay. Keep in mind much of this is caused by people being used to what they can do in World of Warcraft.

  • Alt Tab Issue – In some cases, Alt Tabbing out to your desktop can cause issues including loss of sound or even a game crash. In addition to those issues if you select windowed mode you still have to alt tab out to use your desktop unlike World of Warcraft where once you are in windowed mode you can seamlessly switch between desktop and the game.
  • Chat and Social Issues – It will take time to get use to different chat interfaces, but with DCUO having to type in commands for inviting people to group, adding friends or joining a guild would be better if one could use their mouse to click within the UI.

Nit Picking

Some of these are good points and others would make Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons proud.

  • In PVP level 30’s greifing low levels – Welcome to PVP servers in MMO’s
  • Blurring of textures in the distance – The word is this is because the game was made for the PS3 and the PC together so while you can up the settings on your PC there will be limitations.
  • Random Bad guys/Good Guys saying the same thing repeatedly – Even with 50 million spent on the game each mob cannot have its own voice.
  • Sharing credit for a kill or having a kill stolen – You take the good with the bad. If you hit Funhouse three times and got the kill even though he would have stomped you into the ground then you have to accept that someone will steal the civilian you were supposed to save.
  • Mission repetitiveness – Welcome to gaming. Think about the best comic book you have ever read, in the end you still have random fights and a mystery and a boss fight. This is how much of gaming works and in an MMO it is a staple.
  • Gold Selling Spam – Welcome to MMO’s ignore and report feature coming soon.

There are more bugs and issues, but my too long didn’t read alarm is going off.

The Future

I have personally seen a lot of launches and some have stood the test of time and many have fallen hard to the bottom of the MMO well. The key to a MMO is not only the launch, but also how fast they can fix issue before the masses leave for another game.

Keys to DCUO’s survival

  • Bug Fixes – It may seem like a no brainer, but bugs can kill it for some people faster than others. Perhaps a PC or MMO vet will expect launch issues, but many ten year olds wont. SOE has to fix these quick or they may see a mass exodus.
  • Content – Since the level cap is 30 and you can reach that quickly the key is giving people a lot to do once 30 to keep playing just in case they don’t want to re-roll. Content at 30 does not have to mean end game. You can add missions and other thing to do that are not necessarily an end game raid, but it has to be fresh and fun and sooner than later.
  • End Game – There has to be big massive raids and fights that you would just not see during your normal missions. It is not always about loot, but about feeling you are on the forefront of the game fighting the big fight and not continuing on like a foot solider. Many people play these games to be the big shot and the end game is the big game.
  • Level Cap increase – It is going to come either way, but the key is knowing when to allow players to move on to that next level or ten as it were. You cannot just add levels for nothing, there must be a reason and all the added powers, gear and content to go with it.
  • Overall Story Arc – You have to keep the overall story going and going in a manner that makes sense and is fun to the player. Sure, we may love fighting against Bane with Batman, but we want to see Brainiac get his brain bashed or have him achieve a small victory that keeps the war going, either is good.
  • PVP – PVP can make or break a game because PVP can effect PVE and in the case of DCUO, PPV can extend the life of a game for those who rush to max level. While it is true the majority of people will PVE it is best not to ignore the PVP player or you might find some of your most loyal subscribers going elsewhere.
  • Intangibles – This includes everything from discovery quests and world events to special offers and give-a-ways. You can never over promote and if you keep your fans interest inside and outside of the game you will have a winner on your hands.

So much more

There is a ton more to say on the subject of DCUO, but for now I will continue playing and asking questions and hopefully get some answers from the developers. If you are thinking about getting this game, try it out. The game has buddy passes so you can try it before you buy it, but I think you will end up buying it. If you already are playing, stick with it, I have faith good things will continue to unfold and your voices will be heard.

I’ll see you in game.

The Daily Vid: Lineage tours The Watchtower

Batman Nightwing and Robin from DC Universe Online
Batman Nightwing and Robin from DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online was released this past week, this MMO allows you to create your own superheroes and fight alongside some of DC’s greatest heroes including, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. So far, the game still has some bugs to work out, but to this veteran MMO player the game plays very well and is a lot of fun.

Honestly, do yourself a favor and play on the PVP servers for a bit, I play on the Public Enemies server. In the PVP worlds, you can fight against villains at anytime and any level. The good thing is even if they are level 30 a team of level 10’s can take them out. I admit it is the most fun I have had in a PVP match since very early World of Warcraft.

As for the video, I had just finished my starting missions, which included escaping from a Brainiac ship with Superman’s help. My next mission was stopping Gorilla Grodd with the assistance of, The Flash from turning the citizens of Metropolis into apes. The Queen Bee was my next mission after that, she got stung, and now I enter The Watchtower to take a tour and get my next mission.

This game has the potential to be very good with a few fixes and changes. I will be bringing you a more detailed report with more in-game videos in the next future as well as questions answers by the DCUO dev team, so, if you have questions leave them as comments and I will try to get them answered.

Alterac Valley Noobs

World of Warcraft nub
World of Warcraft nub

Alterac Valley Noobs

I know what you are thinking, didn’t he write about being AFK in AV? Yes, this is true, but that was during my leveling stage. What I am talking about is AV at level 80. Did you hear, AV at 80 is its own bracket now? I can understand being under geared or even new to AV altogether, but this has gotten ridiculous.

I knew I was on the failboat when

When you load up into AV at 80 and there is about 10 seconds left before the game starts and you have no buffs, you know you are going to fail. I can only speak for alliance here, but since I am alliance and since we are all 12 can you please push the shiny button with Fortitude or Kings and for the love of God stop hitting the freaking Path of Frost button!

Here is a pro-tip noobs! Buffing in a BG before it starts uses no mana! Why do I see six mages and no mage table? Maybe you think giving biscuits to all for free is socialism. Maybe you think I should have my own food. Well you’re wrong noob! I have food, but its stat food and I need normal government cheese food! Hand it over you keyboard drooling loser muffin!

Warlocks, I know you only like hitting your three fear buttons over and over, but for the love of the Anti-Christ please make a soul well. I mean those soul stones come in handy when the real pros of AV are rushing to cap relief hut.

Is this thing on?

I know there are a lot of poop sock, hot pocket eating, super min/max playing ass hats out there and most of them are spamming some strat they read on the message board claiming it as their own, however, when we are trying to make a plan of attack at least turn back to the screen for a moment. That 48 year old you watch undressing from your bedroom window will be back again. Now is the time for gaming. Put down the lotion and watch the screen there might be useful information there.

There is nothing wrong with going for The Alterac Blitz, I know some of you think achievements suck, but maybe, just maybe you can try it you know, for this thing we humans like to call fun. How is it that so many people ignore BG chat? Do you just run around like Helen Keller with a potato sack over her head down to Galv every game? Maybe you are a BOT or more likely a dumbass. Do us a favor, stay AFK with the other 50% of the raid.

Like the girl you were stalking told you, don’t touch

You cheesy fingered, sunlight depraved, perma-virgins, how many times do we have to tell you not to cap Iceblood graveyard? Let me put it in terms you might understand. Remember when you wanted to masturbate real bad and family kept coming over the house? See if you went out to meet them they would leave you alone, but like the tool you are you stayed in your room being a social misfit, so, they kept coming to your door bothering you keeping you from getting off. This is called a turtle because it talks a long freaking time to get to the payoff! This is what you do if you cap IB, you make horde respawn farther back which slows down our advance which keeps us from reaching our goal quickly.

I need to take a breather

I have more to say, but to prevent TLDD I will break this up into another part. In the meantime, wash those crusty socks and dump out the pee jar. I’ll be back shortly to continue your schooling.

Paladin Hateraid

WoW pwn paladin
WoW pwn paladin

Paladin Hateraid

I tried being a nice guy, but it’s just not in my nature. I hate a lot of things and it’s time I started telling my adoring public about some of them. In this case since we are talking MMO’s, I will keep it focused on that.

In this inaugural issue we will cover one of the most hated classes currently in World of Warcraft.

My E-Peen was damaged

It’s not that I expected to win every fight, but I believe everyone should have a real chance to win against every other class. I mean when I’m not AFK in Alterac Valley I might want to stab a hoe in the back with my pig sticker.

I bide my time and find a lonely paladin at half health and think to myself, self, you got this. I close my eyes and think back to my boyhood days in the Catholic Church, channel my rage and attack. I’m screaming out in my small basement; “There were no cookies in the rectory!” while I unload on the helpless pally.

It should have been an easy kill. I hit the right buttons. I did everything the SpoonCraft guide told me too, but just as victory was in my grasp he became invincible. “Bubble bitch!” I cried out in a pain worse than that day in the rectory.

So I back away and try to bandage and to my horror it begins to heal itself. Now at full health it helps me relive that awful, awful day from so many years ago as it begins to spin and flash and rape my sorry ass.

As I laid there broken and battered on the ground the evil paladin did something to me I hoped would never happen again.

It was after a hard Friday night of D&D back in college. I had drunk way to many Zima’s and passed out in the lounge. Nicolas, who I had beaten earlier that night with my charisma warrior, was still pissed and wanted revenge. He stood over me, but I was in no condition to stop him as he pulled his pants down and settled his microscopic sack upon my forehead.

A picture was taken to commemorate the event. We didn’t have HD back then so you couldn’t even see his minuscule balls, but they were there, resting just above my eyebrows. I never played D&D after that and that day, like the one in the rectory, haunted me for years.

Now it happened again. That damned paladin tea-bagged me worse than a town hall protestor. I cried at my computer desk and downed a coke zero to try and alleviate the pain, to no avail. I walked away from my computer, defeated and whispered silently, nerf paladins.

How to Play Alterac Valley

World of Warcraft Alterac Valley dunbaldar
World of Warcraft Alterac Valley dunbaldar

This is a little dated, but I hope you will like it anyway

First thing you need to know is if you are Alliance Alterac Valley or A.V. is for you. The reason is Alliance are very good at the art of zerging and running away both which are valuable in A.V. There are also reports of imbalance with the map, but come on that’s just crazy talk.

Step one: Make sure you aren’t level 80.

 

World of Warcraft Mascott
World of Warcraft Mascott

Going into A.V. at level 80 is like going to an all-you-can-eat sushi joint on a full stomach, you just don’t do it. With the changes to A.V. now giving you experience points, this is a prime leveling area for your twink.

Pro-tip: You can get up to 20k per tower cap!

Step two: Watch everyone rush off.

 

World of Warcraft Alterac Valley
World of Warcraft Alterac Valley

I use to love sitting in my warm cozy apartment in Chicago on a cold winters morning watching all the fools go to work or school. You can relive that feeling in W.O.W. Hop on your trusty steed and watch as all your comrades’ rush off to fight knowing you will be comfortable sitting far away from the battle.

Step three: Find something to do.

 

World of Warcraft Alterac Valley
World of Warcraft Alterac Valley

You are not an A.F.K’er, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Even people on welfare who pump out babies contribute to society. They give us Jerry Springer shows and people to laugh at on the nightly news.

A pro A.V.’er knows there are things to do if you are not on the front lines; one such thing is going to cap your mine.

Now granted you might get your ass kicked by the mobs since you are such a low level, but hey that’s why the Blizzard Gods made resurrection points, am I right? Even if you do die it’s fine because you are giving back for all the experience you will be gaining.

Pro-tip: You can do the supply quest while you’re in here!

 

 

Step four: Keep an eye out.

 

World of Warcraft Alterac Valley
World of Warcraft Alterac Valley

Just like that old bag who gives you the stink eye every time you go outside your house, a good lookout can be useful, but mostly it’s just you killing time. From here you can wait and collect your experience points and wait for the horde to show up.

Or you can do….

Alternate Step four: Go laugh at Galvangar

World of Warcraft Alterac Valley
World of Warcraft Alterac Valley

Stupid shirtless bastard, I couldn’t fight him in my lower levels because his whirlwind would one shot me. Now, I still don’t fight him, but after he is dead I like to go laugh at him and you should too.

Pro-tip: Watch out for horde who like to camp in his room to one-shot laughers

Step 5: See what you could have been doing

 

World of Warcraft Alterac Valley
World of Warcraft Alterac Valley

Sometimes I like to go downtown and stare up at one of those big towers and dream of what I could have been if I didn’t become a loser. While you are at Galv’s lair check out Iceblood Tower. Your alliance friends may be guarding it or maybe horde has taken it back already. In the end it does not matter you job isn’t to fight, cap or defend, it is to level.

Step 6: Learn the hard way

 

World of Warcraft Alterac Valley
World of Warcraft Alterac Valley

Work is hard and here is some proof. If you are feeling guilty for milking experience go on up a tower and see how it feels to be one of the worker bees. Let me tell you, it hurts like a some-of-a-bitch! See what happened to me? Someone knocked me over the head and I woke up with a cow humping me. Never again!

Step 7: Say hi to the A.F.K guy

 

World of Warcraft Alterac Valley
World of Warcraft Alterac Valley

The difference between a thief and a scammer is technique. See, we experience lechers at least stay on our PC’s. So go into the alliance starting cave and wave at all the A.F.K’ers and report them while there. If it wasn’t for them you would finish you’re A.V’s faster.

Broken I win button

Win or lose you will gain experience and maybe even see a horde or two. Soon you will be 80 with a full set of welfare epics and will be ready for some real B.G.’s. Until then just follow this guild and you will be a pro in no time.

Confessions of a Keyboard Turner

sleeping baby on keyboard
sleeping baby on keyboard

Confessions of a Keyboard Turner

So I received this e-mail back in the day and I don’t know why because I was never know to be helpful, but rather to make fun of people, but hey, if God gives you lemons you find a new God.

Hi J.A.

I have been reading your articles and after seeing the one about playing A.V. I wanted to ask you about a horrible condition I have. See, the problem is I keyboard turn and I don’t know why. I have been playing wow for a few years and still do it and get totally owned. It has been so bad I haven’t left my room for days, please help.

Timothy Hayden

I use to be a keyboard turner, but then my other testical dropped and I began to use mouse look. Sorry, but too often the symptoms of a keyboard turner also include:

  • Lack of targeting skills
  • Inability to “dance” in Nax
  • Non-PVP’er
  • High pitched voice in Ventrilo
  • Stories about how your mom bothers you while raiding in the raid chat channel

I suggest you start to use mouse look, because it gets your wrist into shape and we all know World of Warcraft players could use a stronger wrist. Also, girls like mouse lookers because it tells them they know how to play with the mouse.

On the other hand I do hate the Counter Strike kids who play a rogue and run around you in circles, using sprint, spinning and jumping like they are on crack. This action makes me want to punch my monitor, but I paid far too much for it and it happens to be my television as well, so, I just try my best to slow them down and picture them nerd raging out slamming their face against the keyboard.

Okay, I will try to be helpful. What you want to do is go into Ironforge (I know you are Alliance, all keyboard turners are Alliance) then go to the great forge and enable mouse look and start walking and looking around. Once you get the hang of this try doing some quests with mouse look and finally log into a BG. You will get owned, though that’s mostly because you just suck at W.O.W, but a trial by fire can sometimes be the best way to learn. I learned in Quake 2 Rocket Arena, so yeah.

Remember keyboard turners are like blind guard dogs, sure they can still get you, but wouldn’t you rather be running at full capacity? Your group and guild will like you much better and tolerate your horrible D.P.S. if you can at least use mouse look.

P.S.

Please go outside and get some sun because I don’t want a letter from your mom about how telling you to learn to use mouse look led to your death. Maybe I should get her to take away your account and make this happen:

P.P.S. Yes, I know that’s a picture of facerolling.

Demon’s Souls

Demon’s Soul box
Demon’s Soul box

Demon’s Souls

If the hype surrounding the PS3 exclusive Demon’s Souls was to be believed, I was looking forward to a game with a brutal difficulty not seen since the heyday of Rygar and Battletoads; one that had a more terrifying atmosphere than Silent Hill; and with more varied and gruesome ways to die than Dragon’s Lair combined with Space Quest. In short, the ultimate challenge for the hard-core. With the bar set so high, it seemed likely to disappoint in at least some respects. What I found was a flawed but thoroughly enjoyable third person hack and slash/dungeon crawler that threatened to send me to a video game addiction clinic before I finally managed to best it.

The basic mechanics of the game can be summed up as follows: “Kill Demons, Get Souls”. Souls are released by killing enemies and they can also be found on the corpses of deceased adventurers. Souls are effectively the unit of currency in this game and can be used to buy items, repair or upgrade equipment, learn miracles and magic, and even upgrade your character’s stats. If you die, you start back at the beginning of the level as a spirit and with all of your souls gone. There will be blue-glowing bloodstain at approximately where the game determined you messed up (if you fell down a well, for instance, it will be just before you left the ground), and if you can reach it before dying again, you can get your souls back.

Demon's Soul character
Demon’s Soul character

Combat is action-packed and extremely unforgiving. Button mashers won’t make it very far, as many of the enemies have good shields and are only vulnerable after they attack. Defensive players can turn a fight their way with a perfectly timed parry/riposte combo or open themselves up for a flurry of blows. Almost anything can kill you, so situational awareness is a must-have to survive. The game’s wide variety of weaponry and shields can be equipped in either hand and there are spells and items that can be used to enchant them. Demon’s Souls has an item upgrade system where blacksmiths can fortify your equipment in exchange for various types of ore. Some of the benefits include adding poison, bleeding, or fire damage; health or mana regeneration; and bonuses to critical hits, to name a few.

Demon's Soul
Demon’s Soul

Player characters are customizable down to the bone structure of the face and there are several “classes” to choose from that ultimately only effect your initial equipment and stats. One is free to upgrade their combat skills as they see fit and pursue different avenues of magic or types of weaponry. It may take a considerable amount of stat upgrading to do so, but it is very possible to turn a robe-clad magician into a full-plate wearing berserker with a sword nearly twice his size.

The game consists of a central hub called the Nexus that serves as your home base and has passageways to the five worlds. Each has its own distinctive art style and feel including a European castle with all the requisite archers, pikemen, and a couple of fire-breathing dragons; a shantytown filled with plague-rats, mosquitoes, and leeches, all surrounded by some of the most disgusting swampland imaginable; a temple full of samurai skeletons and flying manta-rays; and a mine that seems to go the depths of capital H hell. Each world has three or four stages each with a boss Demon that must be defeated. The souls of the boss Demons can be traded to different NPCs in exchange for spells and miracles, and in some cases, can be used to create powerful weapons.

Demon's Soul nexus
Demon’s Soul nexus

One of the innovative features in Demon’s Souls is the world tendency system. Tendency ranges in a continuum from pure white to pure black and can affect many aspects of the game. The player’s health in soul form is higher in a white world tendency and lower in the black. The amount and difficulty of enemies ramps up the blacker you get, and the type of loot dropped is also a factor. Some NPCs will only appear in pure tendencies, and there are even portions of the levels that are otherwise inaccessible until a certain world tendency has been reached. There is a system in place for keeping track of character tendency as well but it has a less dramatic effect on the game except in a few select situations.

Demon's Soul nexus
Demon’s Soul nexus

Players navigate through the game’s areas while either alive or dead. In corporeal form, the player has more health and the ability to summon up to two Blue Phantoms (spirit form players) to help him defeat the stage’s Boss Demon. Being alive has its drawbacks: dying in a level will shift the game’s world tendency towards black. There also exists the threat of being invaded and killed by a soul-hungry Black Phantom player. Spirits gain bodily form by defeating a boss Demon or assisting a player as a Blue Phantom (both of which will shift world  tendency), successfully invading and killing a host player as a Black Phantom (world and character shifted to black), or by using a magical item.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

In addition to the relatively seamless co-op and PVP experience, players are able to see ghostly images of other adventurers in the same areas, as well as the ability to give them hints or lure them to their doom. One of the first things you’ll notice while playing online are pools of blood scattered around. These are grisly remainders of other players that have died. By touching a bloodstains, you are able to see the last four or five seconds leading up to that player’s demise. This can be a great way to spot traps and ambushes that would otherwise give little to no warning. Another way that players can interact is by leaving messages, which can be entered through a Madlibs-style system using a library of the game’s terminology. Players can vote up useful messages and this will reward their creators with health. There is no way to down-vote messages that are misleading, false, or simply situated in places that will kill you if you try to read them, unfortunately, but there are a couple of messages (“beware false messages”, “liar!”, etc.) that can be left as tip-offs.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

For players that manage to finish the game’s main quest, a NG+ is available to start at the beginning with a character’s weaponry and stats intact to fight through an even more sadistic challenge. The game’s difficulty increases the more times you beat it (up to NG+8, at least!).  There is an in-game hall of fame called the Pantheon to show off the players that have the highest number of souls, most trophies achieved, etc. and this can be helpful to see what sort of equipment is favored by the best.

I had been following this game for a while, back before it was announced that there was even going to be a North American version and many people were importing Demon’s Souls from Japan. Gaming forums were full of people trading war stories about how many different ways they died before beating the first level, and I think the average was about twenty. Import sales continued to rise to the point where Demon’s Souls was released stateside. I snagged a copy from Amazon but it languished on my shelf for a couple of months before I decided to break the plastic and possibly my spirit by playing it for myself.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

When I finally worked up the courage to pop this game into my PS3, I was immediately grabbed by its atmospheric soundtrack and the bleakness of the art direction. The tutorial level showed me the basics of the game mechanics and drove home the message that a scrawny demon with a broken sword and no shield could easily take me down if I didn’t watch myself in combat. More and stronger baddies are introduced including the dreaded blue-eye knights with the ability to bash your shield out of your hands, chain three or four attacks together, and heal themselves if somebody did manage to wound them. More advanced combat tactics were required, such as the parry/riposte combo. I eventually found out that if I could get behind an enemy, there is a brutal backstab attack that would make the TF2 spy blush. Past the knight was an even bigger foe: the morbidly obese Vanguard demon that swings a battle axe twice the size of your character. I was under the impression that this was an unwinnable fight to utterly demoralize new players since the tutorial level invariably ends with your death, but I’ve read that it is possible to beat Vanguard here, even with the newbie equipment.

Demon's Soul valley
Demon’s Soul valley

The next couple of hours were a blur of gristly deaths. I would get past one obstacle and find myself stabbed, ambushed, crushed by a trap, toasted by a dragon, stabbed again, filled with crossbow bolts, and impaled by the blue-eye’s tougher counterpart: the red-eye knight. I was nearly at the home stretch but missed a step going down a spiral staircase and found myself plummeting to my doom, landing right on the switch that opened the gate to the end-boss. Obsolete Gamer cohort Stirge dubbed this game “You Can’t Win” around this point, which I think has a nicer ring than my nickname: “Kill Yourself Dungeon 3000”.

Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

There are few things that I didn’t like about this game and I don’t want them drowned out in a flood of praise for the stuff that was done right.

  • The targeting system stinks; when locked on to an enemy, it changes the controls so that moving side to side will strafe around a target rather than turn. This is usually a good thing when fighting one-on-one, but throw two or three extra combatants into the mix, and I’ll find myself dodging right into someone else’s attack or even off of a cliff. Also, if an enemy is out of range to be targeted, it will reset the camera, usually to face the wrong direction.
  • The camera is your biggest enemy. Demon’s Souls has a pretty good third-person camera system assuming you’re in an open area without a lot of debris. The camera fails miserably when in underground catacombs, some of which can be quite twisty and hard to maneuver even when you can see where you’re going.
  • When logging into the server, the world tendency will be reset to the average of all players, which can make it very hard to get to pure black or pure white. There are some occasions where the tendency will be set to pure white or pure black, such as holidays or announcements from the developers, but aside from special server events, logging in shouldn’t affect anything.
  • You can get booted back to the main menu if your internet connection becomes broken while playing online. I’ve found it better to play offline than have to gamble with the PS Network logging me out.
  • Contra-lag. The game can slow down if there’s too much stuff on the screen, like in the old-school space shooters. In some games, this bug ends up like a feature; a free bullet-time mode when things got hectic. This is unacceptable in a next-gen title.
  • This one is a minor gripe, but there is no way to sell items to merchants, so the only way to get any currency is by slaying demons or eating soul items.
Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

Every time you die, you start back at the beginning of the level, where you will have to fight past the legions of demonic assholes that you barely survived fighting in the first place, just to get back to your bloodstain. Many times, I’d find myself trying to rush through the beginning wave of enemies only to find myself mercilessly swordraped by some of the weakest dudes in the game.

There is a good variety to the Boss Demons. Some are relatively human-sized, others stand two-stories tall; most can kill you with a single attack, even if blocked with a good shield. The Dragon God from World 2 (Stonefang Mine) almost seems to have been borrowed from the Scarecrow sequences in Batman: Arhkam Asylum, as keeping out of the Dragon’s line of sight is the only way to survive.

Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

The Tower of Latria wins my award as having some of the game’s most freaky moments. You start near the top floor of a prison in a medieval castle and have to go through all five stories of it to find the keys that will let you out. There are narrow walkways and breaks in the floor that can drop you to your death if you’re not paying attention. Through the bars of the cells, you can see the emaciated forms of the prisoners, some of which will drop to their knees when you go by, as if they’re begging to be put out of their misery, others will hide in the shadows and try and shank you to death. Several lantern-carrying guards walk slowly up and down the corridors, and the only sound aside from the gibbering and shrieking of the prisoners is the eerie tolling of a bell that gets louder as the guards get closer. It somehow manages to get more disturbing once you get out of the prison and into the cathedral but I won’t spoil all the surprises. I also wouldn’t recommend playing this part right before bedtime.

Demon's Soul valley
Demon’s Soul valley

I would have to give high marks for nearly every aspect of the game’s presentation. The quality of the in-game graphics are pretty good, but perhaps a bit lacking when compared to some of the cinematic cut-scenes that introduce some of the bosses and locations. The levels are well designed and nuanced for the most part. The sound design pops; there are tons of great weapon clashes, monster growls and squeals, and magic effects. There isn’t a whole lot of voice acting in this game, but what little there is benefits from a diverse cast of expressive voices. The music ranges from epic symphonic scores to stuff that would fit right in to a 1970’s horror movie, but what I found interesting was the way that music cues are held back for boss fights or other major plot developments; for most of your time exploring the five worlds, you will be enveloped in ambient sound. This, along with the ghostly images of other players’ phantoms, helps heighten feelings of isolation and strangeness unique to Demon’s Souls.

Demon's Soul warning
Demon’s Soul warning

Playing online can be a blast if you don’t mind the occasional PVP encounter, as Black Phantom players can and will jump in on your game if you’re in body form and attempt to murder you at the most inopportune times. I’ve been able to recruit a couple of Blue Phantom players the last time that happened, and it ended up turning into a huge brawl. Summoning Blue Phantoms can be a double-edged sword, as the bosses get much harder the more players there are.

I think it was on the second or third night of my Demon’s Souls addiction, after a three hour soul-farming bender, that I left a cautionary sticky-note on the inside of the game’s case; a warning to future-me to think about what I was getting into. Of course, I didn’t pay it any heed; this game is too challenging and deep to blow off just because it’s aggravatingly hard. Also, this is one of the only games in recent memory to give me adrenaline rushes when the action gets furious. In closing, Demon’s Souls is a cruel mistress and if you like to wear nipple clamps or enjoy a good flogging, this one is for you. I’d like to leave you with some survival strategies I’ve picked up from my time with the game.

  • Watch your equipment encumbrance weight. You can load up to your maximum with a suit of plate armor and a comically large battle-axe, but this comes at the price of maneuverability. One the things that will save your skin is the rolling dodge, and if your endurance is too low for that amount of gear, you will end up on the ground for a few seconds in a very vulnerable way. The magic number to stay under is half of your maximum equipment weight.
  • Weapon upgrades. There are a limited number of Crystal Lizards that will spawn in each world, some of which are the only source for the various rare ores needed to upgrade your weapons. If you’re trying to trophy-whore this game, I recommend looking up a guide to finding out where the spawns are in advance.
  • On Royalty and magic. When I found out that the Royal class started out with a magic ring that can regenerate MP, I dumped my Temple Knight build and started the game anew. Talk about easy mode! Royals have practically no starting armor or weaponry to write home about, but the Fragrant ring is a great item for a caster, not to mention the fact that they also come equipped with Soul Arrow, the magic missile equivalent in Demon’s Souls. Having a pure caster almost breaks the game, however, as I was able to storm through most of the worlds blasting everything that moved with my pea shooter spell and effectively unlimited ammo, given a book or a magazine to read while it replenishes. I cheesed out some of the major bosses by nuking them from a distance or even by casting poison and running away. I beat the game but I feel like I’ve cheated myself in the process. Now I’m in the process of playing through as a fighter and the game is so much more challenging.
  • Common sense. A lot of this game seems like trial and error, but your biggest defense is not being dumb: keep your shield ready, peek around corners, listen for footsteps, etc. If you see a pile of freshly incinerated corpses, keep it in the back of your mind that whatever caused that will probably like to do the same thing to you.

Multiplayer Pranks!

Trickster demotivational poster
Trickster demotivational poster

Multiplayer Pranks!

If there’s anything better than being a rapscallion in real life it’s being a rapscallion in video games. Nothing comes close to ruining someone’s gaming experience and nothing comes close to the kind of heart wrenching laughter that ensues. There have been many moments in local and online multiplayer that have left me in tears of joy. Sometimes, exploiting someone’s fun is just way better than actually playing the game. Let us all gather around our illuminating monitor screens with our favorite caffeinated liquid garbage and share some fond puckish stories!

Of course, what community deserves to be treated like waste right away? That’s right! The World of Warcraft community. I couldn’t help myself when I realized my Warlock could summon people. It didn’t take long for me to come up with a way to grief people in my guild. It took me awhile to convince my wife to assist me in opening the portal though. Every guild has a leech. They don’t help out but love to beg for assistance. Well once, my wife, a friend in the guild, and myself invited this one member who wanted to run Scarlet Monastery with us. He was in the group and in Ironforge with us when we decided to run together. Unfortunately, when we began to run he didn’t leave IF. He chose to remain silent and not say a word.

When we made it to SM we said “Geez, there are a lot of Horde outside the door PvP enabled.” (we played on a PvP server so now they could just face rape us at this point). Suddenly, our player who took a vow of silence broke his promise to God and spoke up asking for a summon to the doors. I was pissed because I knew he was just eating shit so he didn’t have to do the walk and waited for us to reach the monastery. In any case, we summoned him. We did the entire instance and of course… he kept hitting need on everything. When we completed the instance we all hearthed back to Ironforge to repair and sell our loot. The bloodsucker decided to stay behind in SM to PvP. He then had the nerve to ask for a summon back to Ironforge when he had enough. When I asked him why he didn’t just use his stone he told me he didn’t want to waste the cooldown.

World of Warcraft screenshot
World of Warcraft screenshot

This is where my brilliant idea kicked in. After insisting to my wife this was just, I ran over to the forge and made my portal over the lava pit in Ironforge. Our friend and my wife clicked the portal and the ill begotten fool accepted his passage into hell! I watched as his body entered the zone and pulled a Wyle E. Coyote as he must’ve looked down and then back at me. If there was a /helpsign emote it would’ve fit this moment perfectly. The lighting of the flames below pressed against my pixilated face as I looked down relishing his death at the hands of the forging fires. There was no way out. I saw him attempt to hearth only to have it interrupted. He died and I laughed.

The mischief doesn’t end there. After the release of Burning Crusade I decided to make a Draenei Mage. It was a ton of fun and I didn’t mind handing out food and water to people. Being a vending machine was cool beans and I didn’t care one bit about handing out replenishment. At least, I didn’t mind until the Mage Buffet Table spell was added and everyone begged me to make this table every time we entered Alterac Valley. I wanted to get my killing on, not supply you with a reagent required buffet. No one ever paid me back or said thank you for it. They just asked rudely. This is when I decided to really put a damper on their day. AV had a long queue and I knew their punishment would be severe. The plan was set. Time to see if it would work. I opened up the portal and told every to click to summon the table. In an instant, four people disappeared. Yeah, I did it! I opened a portal to Stormwind and the dumb asses started clicking it and got ported out of AV. They had to begin the queue again from the beginning. I felt like a Golden God laughing down at the pathetic peons of the mortal plane!

My tenacity for tomfoolery didn’t begin in World of Warcraft, though. Years prior to this, when Everquest was still managed by Verant, there were events in the game run by the Game Masters. These GM Events would have players running all over Norrath trying to complete the task handed out to them. Normally you’d be able to tell it was a GM by their “Anonymous” tinted name and their quest format speech. They would put key words to ask them in [brackets] so that the player would know how to proceed to the next step of the quest.

EverQuest logo
EverQuest logo

Well… one boring night, my cousin and I decided to find some newbies in Misty Thicket and pretend we were GMs. I was walking around the newbie area with my name tinted purple for anonymous. I began to say, in quest format, “Oh dear! Where is my cousin [Finkle]?” A group of players, somehow believing this to be a GM evenet approached me and asked “Who is Finkle?” I turned to them in reply and gave them a long block of text informing them about my cousin and how I couldn’t find him in Rivervale and that I would appreciate if they would speak to him for me.

As they ran into Rivervale, my cousin was set up the same way and told them they should go out to Runnyeye to find me as I was patrolling the goblin city and they shouldn’t be startled by my disguise should they find me. When he told me they were coming I hauled ass into Runnyeye and put on my Mask of the Deceiver. When they found me I informed the players Finkle required 4 spider silks and to meet him in Erudin. The players foolishly then ran around Misty Thicket looking for silk to further the quest. It was at this time we logged out and wondered if they actually ran to Erudin. For those who didn’t play EQ and have played WoW, running from Rivervale to Runnyeye is the equivalent of running from Orgrimmar to the Crossroads. We asked them to do this three times.

Of all of these pranks, my favorite one is still the one where I got revenge in Everquest in Lower Guk. On my server, there was a monk who just loved to train people in LGUK by feigning death near groups and also killing the LFG people at the entrance. He did this all day. He was heartless. A cold and calculating monster. A scourge amongst the undead froglok blight. I was getting tired of attempting to cheese it towards the zone line while sliding around on the grime covered floors of this cesspool. I decided to challenge him to a duel. This druid sitting at the entrance kept giving him conjured nourishment while I AFK’d for a bit. When I came back, I read that he said “Enough! My bags are full!” The Norse God Loki must have whispered this sweet decadent idea to me as my smile spanned from ear to ear. The monk was dual wielding Wu’s Fighting Sticks, a rather expensive item in the game.

I initiated the duel and we began our battle. The time to commence my plan was at hand. I used my disarming ability on the bastard! I know, nowadays, disarming someone just disable the weapon, but in Everquest it put the item back in your bags. When your bags are full, well… your item falls to the ground. I saw his staff on the floor, picked it up and zoned out. I made my way to GFAY and sold it immediately. I was never contacted by a GM or by this monk ever and I made it away clean with an extra 4k platinum in my pocket. Justice was served for causing all those death penalties in Guk you son of a bitch, I thought triumphantly to myself.

Those are my stories of malicious intent towards others in the gaming community but what we really want to know at OG is what you’ve done even more! Please reply and let us know what kind of a horrible person you really are!

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

PVP vs non-pvp PVE
PVP vs non-pvp PVE

Player versus Player and Player versus Environment was the topic for this week’s show. We were happy to have our good friend Edwin in the studio with us and had a great conversation via Skype with longtime Obsolete Gamer fan, Liz Poisonkiss.

We started off with a recap of last week’s show which featured MMO’s and then moved into our Facebook fanpage question of the week which asked which our fans preferred to play PVE or PVP type games. From there we talked about our Insider Discussion question of the week which asked our panel which had a bigger impact on PC gaming RTS or FPS games.

From there we dove right into the main topic discussing the differences between a FPS mindset playing games such as Quake 2 and the strategy side of RTS games such as the original Warcraft game. Edwin also talked about his online Street Fighter games and said that he preferred to play again a human which we all agreed.

We premiered a new feature on OGS called Skype with a fan where we talk with people who have participated on our Facebook page and Forums and our first guest was longtime fan Liz. Who shared her thoughts on being a gamer girl, fps versus rts and pvp versus pve.

In our final segment Ignacio, Edwin and I discussed our various experiences in PVP from MMO’s to X-box live to arcades. Overall we had a good discussion about an important subject in the world of gaming. So give us a listen and we will be back next week with a brand new show.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 6

MMO collection
MMO collection

Love it or hate it massive multiplayer online role playing games or MMORPG’s for short have played a big role in gaming and this week on OGS we wanted to talk about some of our favorite times and memories involving games such as World of Warcraft and Everquest. In addition during our research for a review on the documentary Second Skin I discovered a good friend of mine was featured along with her guild in the film.

This was our first show using Skype and we wanted to bring some of our longtime fans and friends on the show that either currently or in the past played MMO’s. First we talked with Edgar who gave us his take on World of Warcraft from him fighting off the addictive nature of MMO’s to how the gameplay had to be modified to accommodate new players who may not have the experience of more seasoned gamers.

MMO logos
MMO logos

Next we spoke with an officer from the World of Warcraft guild Amber Knights. Candice is also a good friend of mine and fan of Obsolete Gamer and we spoke to her about running a guild made up of friends and how it can differ from being in a guild of strangers. In addition we talked about her maintaining a happy marriage with her husband and fellow gamer Felipe and finally we chatted about being a gamer girl in a gaming world dominated by men.

Our last Skype interview was with Javier aka Vigo from the World of Warcraft guild Decent. Both Ignacio and I worked with Javier at Alienware (along with Edgar by the way) when World of Warcraft was released and we talked about how we all decided to play it and the choice to either PVE or PVP. The connection was a little bit off for this one, but it was still a good conversation and we were happy to be able to have a good discussion with our fans.

Ignacio/honorabili talks about his best experiences with Auto Assault, Global Agenda, Warhammer Online, and Battleforge. His most memorable memory from Auto Assault is running an elite guild and meeting a group of old gamers that have been playing together since Mechwarrior Online.

Throughout the show we played clips from my interview with Sairys who was one of the couples featured in the documentary Second Skin. We talked about how she got introduced to the Second Skin guys and how she first joined her guild (also profiled in the film) The Syndicate. She told us a heart filled story about how members of the guild helped each other even in the saddest of times and recounted hers and Ebony’s (he boyfriend) fondest memory in a MMO.

All in all a great show and we hope you enjoy it as well and as always leave us feedback and tell us how we did.


The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 6

Battleforge Guide: Raven’s End Solo Run

BATTLEFORGE

If you’re like me and have way too many things going on but gaming is one of your passions and you want to play stuff more efficiently, it sometimes helps to figure out in a game what’s most effective and stick to it, although experimentation can yield great results. Since lately I’ve been playing Battleforge like a crackhead, both in PvE and PvP games, I’ve decided to expand our library of articles regarding this game as I know some of my friends started playing it and rather than manually train them, they can now see how I get my level 100+ decks created in just a few hours.

If you don’t know what Battleforge is then click here to read my Battleforge review. If you prefer doing Battlegrounds to missions then you can click here to read my short general strategy guide on how to farm Battlegrounds.

I found Raven’s End played solo to be the highest yield of tokens over time with no way of losing, if you have the right deck, every single time. Of course, in order to take advantage of mission token farming you will need the Element of Conversion, to make upgrades into tokens, and Element of Creation, to double rewards. 300 BFP is not a high price to pay considering the hours of grinding you will save (plus I’m bored of level 9-10 solo battleground runs).

If you don’t want to see the videos from youtube and you would rather see my replay in game you can download my replay file here.

My main PVE deck consists of Nature, Shadow, Nature, Nature.

The foundation for the deck as far as Nature goes are Enlightenment, Breeding Grounds, and Wheel of Gifts. Enlightenment brings out Tier 4 units at Tier 3 and Wheel of Gifts grants healing first, then immortality through 8-12 damage resistance wheels, and then to speed things up 6-12 damage boosting wheels. Breeding Grounds save you 25% power cost (at level 3 upgrade level) in producing a unit and that power adds up. As far as Tier 4 units go, Giant Wyrm (my favorite CHEAP Nature card) and Primeval Watcher are all you need. Anything that shoots and/or flies is great for this map.

As far as shadow goes, Offering (Nature affinity), Embalmer’s Shrine + Furnace of Flesh combo, Unholy Power, Rifle Cultists, and Ashbone Pyro are essential. Offering (Nature affinity) let’s you kill a (ideally) low power unit and get +1 charge for every card you have in that Tier. I combine Embalmer’s Shrine to boost the multiplier effect of corpses which gives almost instant power refunds of Void Power from the Furnace of Flesh. Although Ashbone Pyro costs 100 Power, he has a lot of life so when combined with Embalmer’s Shrine he’s well worth the Offering. This is important because Furnace of Flesh refunds power based on the life force of corpses in its radius. Ashbone Pyro is also highly effective for defending bases and if you want to do a quick Siege rush you can’t go wrong with his damage/power output. Rifle Cultists are merely there to do Offering on to get charges for my other REAL Tier 4 units. ;-] Unholy Power is useful to give +50% damage output and 50% damage resistance.

Let’s get down to the replay so you see how I can do this mission alone under an hour with no rush or worry (sometimes I do parts AFK especially once my wheel of gifts for damage resistance come up).

Part 1 of 13: (don’t worry they’re short clips)

In this part, I focus on killing small units fast and kiting groups of enemies away from where they are getting artillery support. Near the end of this part, I kill those guys on the hill to activate the gate ONCE. Should you play the other side (which is a mistake because it’s MUCH harder) you would activate the gate TWICE.

Part 2 of 13:

One has to be careful not to aggro the wrong group at the wrong time if not you can lose most of your units. I prefer to use ranged units in that sense, in PVE, because they are more “civilized”. Notice the kiting to get out of artillery building range. The rageflame is REALLY annoying so he is a priority target. I screwed up in this part as you can see most of my guys died. Just because it’s not a perfect run doesn’t mean it’s time to give up! I ran, kited, and killed off the segregated enemy. Notice I focus fire to kill specific enemies as that’s really important. In this part you let the ship blow up the stonekin turret, then you camp to the side waiting for it to get within range of your base and jump it. If my guys hadn’t died he would have gone down. If you notice that he’s going to run away because he has like 50% health still and most of your guys are badly hurt don’t let them run after him because he will shoot you with cannons while he flies away.

Part 3 of 13:

Once that rageflame is history you focus on the stonekin dinosaurs that attack you with their back artillery mode. I mess with them by making any of my ground units run up to them at point-blank range. This forces the AI to make them do melee attacks instead which are less effective because they don’t knock back your small units. Once the hill is secure, hit Tier 2 safely as they never attack that hill again. If you didn’t kill the ship before, now’s a good time to do it. I like to piggy (Curse of Oink) him so that when he’s turning around to run away, I force ALL my units, even the shamen, to drill him into oblivion. Once the ship is dead he will never come back.

Part 4 out of 13:

This part consists of cleaning out the area that’s going to be your forward base. Once you secure the area, set up your third orb, a breeding grounds, and a furnace of flesh, especially near an area where the enemy and a few of your own troops may die. This will boost Void Power refund a LOT. I also put down the Embalmer’s Shrine just in case a lot of units die and I need to regenerate all the power right away.

Part 5 out of 13:

The first thing I build with Tier 3 is the first Wheel of Gifts, which is going to be the healing one. Just build one because healing does not stack. Kill off Tier 1 units and the Furnance of Flesh will just eat their corpses quickly for a huge power boost. With Enlightenment, I make a Primeval Watcher for defense whose ranged attack and melee range paralyzation is very useful. Now starts the part where he will defend, backed by Ashbone Pyros, which in turn will be sacrificed via Offering to keep pumping out those Wheel of Gifts! The Bandit Windhunters are to be a priority target because they in turn can paralyze your units. Take them out always as soon as possible and this map will be much easier.

Part 6 of 13:

Just defending some more, which is pretty easy, and the end of this part we see the activation of the Wheel of Gifts damage resistance wheels (near immortality). With 11 wheels up, you pretty much just finished all the hard part of the mission. That wasn’t that bad now, was it? 😀

Part 7 of 13:

Notice that I screwed up one of the wheels. I don’t like to build them where they are not right next to each other so it gets deleted and I get its cost back to the Void Power pool minus the penalty for building it. Notice how all the units are now pretty much immortal (gods). I start to bring out the Giant Wyrms, which are extremely useful in this map because of their mobility. Okay, so at this point the SLAUGHTER begins. You have to start cleaning up the Stonekin camp although care must be taken not to kill everything (leave the bottom 2 turrets alone; they won’t attack you unless you are close). You can just focus on the Stonekin area, although I sniped that Bandit Tent with my dragons just to save time.

Part 8 out of 13:

You can make a 2nd army of cheap units, like Ashbone Pyros, to go start to clean up the middle to upper part of the map on your side. Since the wheels make them nearly immortal they’ll be fine! I like to focus fire on priority targets such as the Windhunter and the Deepfang. In this part of the video I kill the Stonekin production building that kept sending those annoying troops to assault my forward base. No need to defend anymore because I am cleaning up the top with my Ashbone Pyros. I send a T4 unit to the top to speed up the mission run. For the Stonekin area, the only really hard part is the middle of their camp because of the two Hammerfalls and the other artillery piece there, which have that Gemeye guy to back them up. Just focus fire and they’re dust.

For some reason the game started to lag in this area but make sure that you take caution like I did to not kill the bottom two turrets. Leaving them alive will prevent the orb capping requirement (which has a timer) from happening until YOU WANT IT TO. Start capping the power wells of any area you cleaned out (so long as you do it in this order or if you know no enemies patrol there). Activate Gate C as soon as you can, although the reinforcements are pointless since you just finished nuking the Stonekin to the Stone Ages (get it?? GET IT?!).

It’s safe to pick up Tier 4 now, by the way! Not like you needed it!

Part 9 out of 13:

Goodbye Lenin, I mean Stonekin! Anyways, I split my dragons so they go kill and cap the area where the other players would have started at. The mid to upper left Bandit camp is taken with my small number of troops. You use the gate where B should have been twice so that your ground troops can cap 4 power wells in that are of the map. Always make sure to get those chests because this mission gives a nice amount of gold. Wheel of Gifts with the damage boost power construction has started. Kill any old buildings that you will not use for areas that are all clean. I establish a new forward base where the middle-top left Bandit base used to be.

Part 10 out of 13:

The forward base army now starts to attack to top left Bandit camp at the same time that the army on the right bottom to middle side of the map just finished cleaning up and capping. Use gate D to trigger more of the plot. Use E to keep going again. At this point the Primeval Watcher that’s been capping stuff alone regroups with the main eastern attack force. The top left Bandit camp is history and the middle and middle to top Bandit camps are history on the right side of the map. Use F and start getting ready for the end.

Part 11 out of 13:

The assault on the top right camp has started. I like to kill all the ships in the top middle because there’s a chest there and also because there’s 4 power wells. I’m hurrying to finish the damage boost wheels and now all camps are DOWN.

Part 12 out of 13:

Notice that I tried to go too fast and I make one of my Primeval Watchers go back to help cap. Since the game has a 120 population cap, half of your army stays at the top center and the other half goes to the bottom where the Stonekin camp once was (so long ago…). Basically, this means 6 mega units at the top and 6 mega units at the bottom. Make a breeding grounds at the bottom if you didn’t already build all 12 T4 units. Position your top units by where the treasure chest is. It’s time to end the mission so activate all remaining wheels. I use Offering on the Rifle Cultists (CHEAP) to quickly put out my T4 units for the endgame.

Notice the orbs… every orb on the entire map MUST BE CAPPED before you trigger the end of the mission, if not you will have a 3 minute time frame to do it and if you weren’t ready, you’re screwed. Once construction has begun on all of the orbs you can simply trigger the end by killing the last structures of the H Stonekin camp (those turrets I mentioned earlier). The top units will just annihilate Ravenheart and his posse, so you can just go afk because it’s game over, man! Make sure that you leave the bottom units at the chest and pick up that sweet gold. Make sure not to manually attack Ravenheart because if not your units will chase him and I’ve seen people lose doing that.

When I used to do this mission 2 player with my French friend Tigrou we would kill Ravenheart (Blight) so fast that the game would skip ahead too much and crash the Battleforge.exe 😀

Part 13 out of 13:

Notice that Blight is talking which I killed a WHILE ago. Too much DPS I guess?! Listen to the dialogue although I beat the mission a while ago. Now comes the good part, the loot. Although this run I didn’t get a lot, sometimes I get drops that give 36 victory tokens a piece. It’s just a matter of luck…

Well, I hope this guide can help you reach your goals in Battleforge, whether they be PvE deckbuilding or if you’re like me getting tokens to keep building PvP decks that are DEADLY! See you in game! (I’m MsFreeze in game btw and Honorabili in the Battleforge forums.)

If you want to see these videos in high definition visit our youtube channel.

Battleforge

Battleforge Logo
Battleforge Logo

Battleforge Review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“The lovechild of Warcraft 2/3 on crack mixed with Magic the Gathering.”

Overall Score:

9 out of 10

Overview:

This is an RTS MMO by Phenomic and it is run by/published by Electronic Arts. The player takes the role of a Sky Lord, which is basically like a minor god mage that manifests units, buildings, and spells in the mortal realm. Every action in the game takes form of a card to represent the icon for the unit/building/spell which is played in real time whenever the player builds up enough power (mana) to cast/summon it. There are four disciplines of magic: Shadow, Fire, Frost, and Nature. You can make up your army of any mixture of disciplines. There are only two resources during battles, power wells which make power (mana) and monuments (orbs) which are your units/building/spell tier tech levels. Cards are bought using real money which buys one BFPs (battleforge points) either from EA or by buying the game. Trade in game is also possible so it’s not really necessary to buy the game at all if one wants to put in the time instead. The game is divided up into PVP and PVE. The PVP is divided up into unranked (practice), collection (any cards go) 1vs1 and 2vs2 (ranked), and tome (specific to cards bought that month in a random collection) 1vs1 and 2vs2 (ranked). The PVE takes the form of premade missions that are either single player, 2 player, 4 player, or 12 player. A new game mode has been added in Nov 2009 which adds random pve maps from 1-4 players and adds the reward system of the PVP system. As far as rewards go, missions give the player in game money (gold) and upgrades for unit/building/spell cards the player may or may not already own. The goal of the game is up to you, whether to own every card in the game, get all upgrades for them, or dominate the pvp ladders. The initial launch of the game in the US seems to have failed (as far as I know) and it’s relatively cheap to play it here vs the rest of the world. There is no monthly subscription fee and the game is “Play4Free.”

If you already know the game but would like my tips, click here to read my strategy guide on how to do battlegrounds properly.

Fun Factor:

It’s been 2 months since I started playing it and I am still lured back to the game. I hate MMOs in general but for what this is, the usual biweekly updates keep me coming back for more. It’s a lot of fun setting the difficulty higher each time to level up my real life micromanagement skills and I really enjoy sometimes being able to hold out 6-7 fronts throughout different parts of the battlefield all at once. I’ll give the fun factor score for Battleforge a 9 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

There have been times that I have been doing a mission with a friend for an hour on the max difficulties only to fail for not paying attention for about a minute or two. The difficulties for the missions scale very fast as there are 3 difficulties (Standard, Advanced, Expert) at the time of this writing. Let’s just say you better be good to play Expert. 😀 For the Random PVE maps, they implemented a bar that slides from 1 to 10 so it’s a lot more customizable and the game earns a lot of points in this category for that. For PVP, people have researched the living crap out of the game by now so there are pvp guides out there for people who just want to stick to other people’s strategies. I have myself countered some of the instawin bullshit strategies so I think the game has a lot to offer. I give the difficulty versatility a 10 out of 10.

Value:

Since the game is free, the game has a great Value score. You can download the full game from the main Battleforge website. With the Play4Free account one gets a limited amount of cards but it’s still possible to pretty much do everything in the game with them, although it will very hard to do so if just using these free cards as many basic cards are missing from the free account. To solve that one can trade gold for cards (risky because of the nature of the trade system in game) or if one wanted to be really cheap one can spend the bare minimum real money and add $5 through the EA website to their Battleforge account. That basically translates to one cent is one BFP and with those assets one can either buy two booster packs in game (which I don’t recommend) or buy a lot of cheap 2 cent cards in the auction house and then build up one’s army slowly. Those 500 bfps can also be used to farm the auction house and slowly start earning bfps through one’s buying out of and reselling in the auction house. It’s up to you if you want to put in the time and this can be a game in itself. I myself are notorious for my AH buyouts. (evil grin) If you opt out and buy the full game for $20, you get almost every basic card in the game automatically and 3000 bfps which you can use to buy boosters/tomes/cards in AH, etc. In the long run this is the best value for the in game economy of your character. Since the game has no subscription fee and it’s only $7 or $20 for many, many days/weeks/months of entertainment the game gets a 10 out of 10 in this category from me.

You can get the game from Direct2Drive or Steam for $20 or for close to 7 dollars on Amazon since the game is not as popular as they anticipated. This is by far the best value way to get the game.

Replayability:

The number of missions is limited but since there are three difficulties for each and each difficulty is completely different, these missions will offer at least a whole month worth of entertainment until you grow tired of them. The random pve can be a lot of fun since you pick whatever custom difficulty you want and it’s a random map/enemy every time. They can be extremely challenging. For PVP you can spend endless hours trying to fight your way up the ladder system. It’s up to you what your goals will be and you can always invent new ones. 😀 I’ll give the replayability an 8 out of 10. I do hope that they keep adding more content for this game if not this score will drop.

Sound:

The sound of the explosions and swords rattling is great. The voice actors they picked do a nice job as every unit has their own sounds, some which are funny, some which are generic. Overall I give the sound category a 7 out of 10.

Music:

Each discipline of magic has its own music score which sounds great, except to me the nature music which is kind of annoying (reminds me of the Lion King). My favorites are the music for Shadow (sounds like something out of Gladiator mixed with music from the Dawn of War games) and Fire (sounds like a mix of Assassin’s Creed music). The music can get repetitive, well if you play the game like I do (100 missions in a row, etc). Overall I still think they put a great effort on the soundscore and I reward this game a 7 out of 10 for the music.

Graphics:

The graphics for this game are simply beautiful! To my knowledge this is one of the first games to embrace DX11 and it’s sponsored directly by AMD/ATI (even gets promoted directly on their website and I saw the add for it when updating to the latest ATI video drivers). Each card in the game has its own custom icon which is very pleasing considering this is an RTS game. Special versions of cards (promotion cards) have an even more custom avatar for the units with a special skin and/or better graphics. I think this is one of the better looking RTS games out there and the graphics remind me a lot of Guild Wars and Age of Wonders 2, which as far as graphics go are a great thing! Graphics gets a 9 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

Overall the game is stable but…there are drops in connection/desynch when you least expect it. This might be because of latency issues between people playing far away but I had been playing this game with my brother which lives in the same house as I do and one of my best friends which lives blocks from my house and the match ends because of a desynch issue. This doesn’t happen all the time but I do want to bring it up because for an online game this is a deal breaker. As far as server up time, the servers are up 99.9% of the time with the only times I saw them down being for an update to the game which took about 30-50 minutes and one time for general maintenance. Compared to WoW or Eve Online, EA really does a much better job for quality of service. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 6 out of 10.

Controls:

The game implements the WASD scroll which is great and now makes other RTS games controls seem clumsy. Most hotkeys for commands of units are the same key which simplies micromanagement even further. I give Controls a 10 out of 10.

Performance:

I don’t run the latest hardware and the game runs like a champ on an AMD Athlon X2 5400 CPU and an ATI Radeon 3870 512 PCI Express MB video card. My brother is running the game playable on an AMD Athlon 64 3000 CPU and an ATI X800 AGP video card. Most gamers will be able to run this games on any modern gaming PC. I give it a score of 9 out of 10 for performance.

My history with this game:

I downloaded the demo for this game and I wanted it so suck so much but instead it was enough fun that I stopped playing most other games for a good month or two. I got most of my friends addicted to playing it, even those who hardly ever buy new games bought multiple copies of the game and we got a lot of members added to out gaming clan because of this game. I’ve been playing for two months and I have still a way to go before completing my card/army collection. Probably by the time this will happen another expansion will come out (there has already been one made) so that will keep me even more interested.