Tuesday, 29 December 2009

End of Year Reads

I'll admit it, I haven't really thought about games in days and likely won't anymore this year. If I don't think, I don't come up with content and you don't get stuff to read from me.
Luckily, there's a lot more to read out there. Here are some things that might interest you.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas Fillings

I don't really have time for a serious post today - and to be honest, you should be out getting presents or decorating trees or whatnot as well. I handed in the thesis for my master's degree today, so you can expect some more focus on the blog after the holidays. (And after I've finished celebrating. Man I'm glad that that axe over my head is finally gone.)

Speaking of Christmas - Steam has a big Christmas sale that's worth looking at. I won't go into details, but what you should really do is get some of those ultra-cheap indie games. You can get Braid for €2,24 (you might remember that from the list of top games of 2009!), AudioSurf for €2,50 (I just played the demo so far but I'm definitely getting it now.), and World of Goo for €4,99 which was worth the full €20 when I bought it. Even if you don't like indie games, if you get these 3 that's going to be ten euros (or dollars or pounds or whatever heathen currency you use) you won't regret spending.

Also, you'd be doing a good deed by giving money to indie developers. 'Tis the season after all. Also, way more fun than a pandaren monk!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Monster Scaling

It’s been quite a while since I’ve played Morrowind, but there’s one thing I distinctly remember about the game: If you did a lot of sidequests and levelled through them, finishing the main storyline would become trivial. The game was designed as an open world and you could practically go anywhere in any order you liked. The opposite of an open world (or sandbox) game is a railroad game – one in which the player advances on a fixed path. In a railroad RPG, the player can never out-level the monsters because the game developers always know exactly how far a player will have developed at every point in time. The modern day solution of sandbox games for this problem is monster scaling.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Itemization 3.3: A New Hope (?)

Lately I've had a couple of people whispering me helpful hints on how I had forgotten to put my healing gear on. You see, my shaman is wearing two pieces of elemental tier nine gear in her healing set and her cloak has hit on it. This is far from uncommon with informed restoration shamans these days because in some cases the DPS gear is just plain better than that designed for healing, especially with the low emphasis on mana in current raid content.
Now I am seriously considering to get the elemental totem instead of the restoration one from the new tier of badge gear. Its bonus is triggered by Flame Shock - not normally a spell a healer would use - but is simply better than the bonus triggered by the restoration totem. The judgement is still out on which of these is better in the long run, but many shamans are already complaining about crappy itemization and how they shouldn't be forced to wear DPS gear when healing. I actually quite like it.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Where Would You Be Without an MMO?

2009 is drawing to a close and that means it's time to look back. Have you tried to make a list of must-have games of 2009 yet? No? Go ahead, I'll wait.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Icecrown Impressions

With all my ranting about 3.3 I was still interested to see how the new raid instance has turned out and was therefore actually happy to get selected for my guild's first foray into it. Well, technically our first two forays but Wednesday was, well, patch day. Advantages to patching a day later my ass.
Anyway, we actually got into the instance late Wednesday night and then without issues on Thursday. You'll find my first impressions from all four available bosses below the break.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Patch Tidbits

Patch 3.3 is upon us, or so they claim. I still haven't finished downloading yet and I would bet that the servers over here aren't even up. Reports indicate that the launch of Icecrown Citadel was riddled with lag and other server issues - as always when we get a new content patch.
With the patch we also get a new official cinematic, aptly called Fail of the Lich King.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Healing the Day After Tomorrow

World of Warcraft patch 3.3 is expected to hit the day after tomorrow (or tomorrow if you live on the other side of the Atlantic ocean), bringing with it the brand-spanking new Icecrown Citadel raid instance to entertain us for months and months to come. If you are raiding as a healer you will have noticed that healing is quite broken at the moment - even Blizzard has admitted that there are issues.
Some issues will be addressed in the patch, others will have to wait for cataclysm.

Friday, 4 December 2009

TOR: Hell is Other People

A selection of game journalists was invited over to the Lucas Arts HQ in San Francisco the other day to get some hands-on experience with their upcoming Star Wars MMO The Old Republic. You can find a list of articles with the experiences of those journalists here.
Aside from "revealing" two new classes (which had already been revealed to some magazines in Germany beforehand), the Bioware guys talked about companion characters.
That's right, just as in the Bioware single-player RPGs you will be able to meet NPCs that join you on your quest.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Mythos: Can This Possibly Work?

Remember Mythos? What started as a network code test for Hellgate: London was turned into a multiplayer action RPG eventually, developed by Flagship Studio's Seattle branch. If you don't remmber the game, that's because it was never actually released. Hellgate: Lodon flopped and Flagship Studios went broke during the closed beta of Mythos. Most of the guys from the Seattle branch went on to form Runic Games and eventually make Torchlight (which I've written about extensively.)
Well, it turns out that Mythos isn't quite dead yet.