This just in (Or not) – Wintersday’s is coming to town

 

Ah the Holidays people, the holidays are here. And there are no better celebrators of various holidays than the MMO market. World of Warcraft alone has created a half dozen real worldesque holidays, but for today let’s focus on Guild Wars 2. The ambitious one-time pay then free to play MMO has already did a Halloween themed event, and the Thanksgiving themed event (sort of), so you knows what coming next – Christmas, of in GW2 continuity, Wintersday. Now don’t get me wrong I love Santa, but Toymaker Tixx gives presents in multiple days instead of just one. And again Santa is traditional with his slay, but Tixx has a  massive airship toy workshop which is just awesome. I wish I lived in Tyria… Well we can do the next best thing between December 14 to January 3 and play there (and get some free holiday swag to boot).

 

 

In other news…

 

 

So in other worlds its like a normal Wii but smaller, has no wireless internet or online functionally (which is fine – remember video game console), and it only available in Canada (for now). No offense Nintendo but I’ll stick with the Wii U all the same.

 

 

 

Game Preview – Resident Evil 6 Demo

 

The Fall of Games is really coming on now; new expansive sequels are taking  over our lives (Guild Wars 2 & Borderlands 2 respectively), a sweet new console coming  around the corner (Wii U), and now this, the Resident Evil 6 Demo. Just to recap; you took down the evil Umbrella corporation, wasted an deranged cult (and saved a president’s daughter), and even took down insane eugenics mastermind Wesker in a volcano with rocket launchers. So you think  the world would be safe and Zombies went the way of the dodo, but nope. This time around unknown enemies are systematically attacks major (yet some of them fictional) cities with a biological weapons that infected most of their populace with, you guessed it, the zombie virus – including the president of the free world. So now old vets and new characters must team up to save the world the from a true Zombie Ragnarok. Sounds familar, yes! Still awesome, yes! Is there a demo to play now, yes! Get to it.

 

 

 

Game Review – Guild Wars 2

 

The original Guild Wars is a massively multiplayer online role playing game that had, at the time, did something no other online RPG has done before: be free to play. Sure you had to buy a copy of the game, but after that you could play and go on adventures with thousands of other player online til Doomsday – no subscription needed. Many people looked upon this with skepticism, even ridicule, but you know what? It succeeded far better than anyone could predict, well maybe not ArenaNet & NCsoft. Thanks to them more and more in the game industry are turning towards the f2p model; better profits for companies and more enjoyment for the games – a la carte gaming is on the rise. As for the creators of Guild Wars; they released a sequel to the series weeks ago, after years of equally successful DLCs and expansion packs. They’re trying to catch lightening in a bottle again, this time however by making this MMORPG break the static nature of its genre, making it more dynamic and realistic (well as realistic as a fantasy based reality can be). Does it succeed, let’s find out.

 

 

 

To be honest people I’ve played very little of the original game and know less of the mythology, but fortunately what happened in the first game doesn’t really apply towards this one. Here’s the real quick skinny: Dragons, the once great caretakers of the land of Tyria and who were in hibernation, are now awake and are threating all great races on the world. The great races were hurt by the dragons in the past individually so now they have to work together in order to survive. Those races are the Norn, Charr, Asura, Sylvari, and of course those loveable Humans; all with different ideologies, priorities, and experiences. They must put aside past (or even present) prejudges and work towards defeating the dragons or all will suffer; no matter who they are.

 

In order to change the face of MMOs Guild Wars 2 has done radial things to the standard formula, many of which I can’t list because I would be here all day. However here’s a few of the more important features. Any quest can be done cooperatively if you’re in a group or not; meaning as long as a player contributes in one way, shape or form they’ll get credit, gold, and experience points. Which is good, because another thing Guild Wars 2 does differently is that their whole world is one big random event. Almost as soon as you leave the your starting instance and enter into the world you’re greeted by an event, not a quest you get from a NPC (although they are still there too), but an event – that how well you and other players do will dictate what happens next. If you’re victorious in a phase of the event then you might go on the offensive and take it to the enemy where they live or fight the Boss or go collect mystical ‘whatevers’ from ‘someplace’. However if you lose a phase then you’ll spend the rest of the time trying to regain ground. Whether you win or lose at the end of it all, you still get unique interesting experience not often found in MMO’s. These are merely two examples on how the game really pushes the envelope to the good; and there are many, many more. However…

 

 

Ranking

 

 

The question was then, as it is now, do all these crackerjack changes work in practice as it sounds in theory? On the whole, yes. They have created one of the most impressive MMO’s I’ve played to date. The amount detail the creators put in their character models, individual effects, and the events and quests of their living world is down right staggering. Even the simplest things like resource gathering has been made convenient for all by letting every player mine the a node, chop a tree, or collect a herb without interfering or pouching from another player collecting from the same source – brilliant. But with such novel ideas, some come with a cost: the difficulty level for one. The game is relentless: pick a fight with the wrong enemy, turn down the wrong alley, or tempt fate by joining the wrong event too soon and its over. Their class system is equally tricky because they were specially made to eliminate the famed role playing trinity and thus be able to survive on their own. However thanks to the combined difficulty of crafting good equipment, finding good equipment, and the high end abilities not available til other abilities are unlocked, makes what there’s trying to do is stagnated a bit. Even the stories of player characters themselves, as diverse as they are, did nothing to make me care about them, their world, or why I should even fight to rid the world of the dragon threat.  It is these reasons (and a few more I chose to admit for fear of being a nitpicker) that this game didn’t get a perfect pass from me. The game is still incredibly good and a paradise to hardcore MMO gamers out there, but I can’t ignore what the game lacks either. It is worth $60.00? Yes. It is worth plowing through to level 80? I can’t say… It really depends on what kind of gamer you are: in my opinion Guild Wars 2 is for gamers who like challenge over emersion – who like to play the game rather than live in the world. And if that’s you then welcome home, your game has finally arrived.

 

 

 

This just in (Or not) – Guild Wars 2 release date

 

 

Well people another release date drops from the pipe, today (or rather on 6/28) it’s Guild Wars 2. Now hardcore Armada fans will remember at the end of my swtor review I joked that Guild Wars 2 will be the next big MMO. Don’t get me wrong, I still love swtor (even more now thanks to the group finding tool), but Guild Wars 2 has the potential to take MMO’s to the next level. The level of detail to characters alone is awesome as players can craft a unique back story and fighting style from numerous options. The world of Tyria is completely exploreable and host numerous dynamic events and skill challenges that not only improve your character but actually change the face of the world you inhabit, for real. Finally as to the cost to play this game, well after buying the game for the time you can play this MMO as much as you like – no charge. So to recap: Guild Wars 2 has the ability to customize your character in an infinite amount of ways; players can traverse a living world that your actions (or inactions) can affect it, and after a one time you can keep playing it til doomsday. Oh yeah people, if I don’t post around 08/28/12 you’ll know the reason why.

 

 

 

This just in (Or not) – Guild Wars 2 public beta goes live in three days

 

Well people in an direct response to the swtor free play weekend (well, I don’t have proof of this, but come on people it’s too freaken close to be coincidence) Arena Net is letting the masses play an open and public beta in three days’ time. A few cavitates however: 1) there is no guarantee to gain access to this or any future Beta Weekend Events accept for preordering the Guild Wars 2 game (which I’m going to do after I get done writing this). 2) You choice of races are limited (charr, human, or norn races respectively), which is a shame, I was looking forward to playing as an Asura (next time, gadget, next time). Other than that, the only limitations you’ll have is your own imagination and your ability to stay awake after your 18th hour of straight playing.

 

 

 

 

Game Review: Star Wars: The Old Republic – Endgame

 

It’s finally here ladies and gentlemen; after two and a half years of planning, prepping, dreaming, trailers, fan-fridays, forum flame wars, alphas, betas & early launches – Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally a reality. Now people I’ll own up to my mistakes, when I heard they were going to take the Old Republic series of Star Wars to the MMO field I was both worried and disappointed. In MMOs it’s easy to get lost in the ‘Massive’ part of the games; a player is reduced to a number on a server tally. Don’t get wrong I love MMORPGs but turning a series that prior focused on how the player’s actions could very well change the  universe into a game that is static and constant for the sake of multiple players was disheartening. Until I saw the first trailer – at that moment all my worries melted away. So were my worries unfounded, were they able to do the impossible and make an MMO like a single player game and make the player feel like they actually doing something other than grinding 10 rats for a leather shield?  Read on my friends, read on.

 

 

Game Info

 

 

The setting of this game is a long time ago (ether 200, 2000 or 4000 years before the Star Wars films – I’m not sure) in a galaxy far far away. Before there was an evil empire and the renegade rebellion; there was a separate, but still very evil, empire and the old republic. From here players will have to decide what side to stand on, what race to represent and of course which class to choose from. Once you tool up your avatar and start your game, that’s when the fun really begins. First you get treated to your own Star Wars narration crawl (the words at the beginning of every Star Wars anything), then a cutscene with your character in it interacting with the environment and people – fully voiced – in a MMO! Which until now, was unheard of for this type of game genre. But wait, there’s more! Players aren’t confined to being silent gofers for various quest givers out there, oh no, if you want to tell that little old lady off for losing her various dangerous items to the planet’s biggest mob, you go right ahead. Then ‘if’ you choose to help her, you can force her to give you more money otherwise you’ll use the various dangerous items on her, and it will work (mileage may vary)! Choosing how you’ll interact with these people will determine your character overall and their story, and yes I said ‘their’ story. Each of the eight classes has their own unique storyline to which players have an almost infinite way of affecting it. Oh sure it starts pretty standard: kill this, get that, you know the MMO drill. But then around level 8 something wonderful happens, they make your character part of something bigger. I can’t give you all any details, but sufficed to say with the name BioWare, not only will it will take you there, but it will make you want to see it through til the end.

 

Star Wars: The Old Republic is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Which means this is a game that still keeps going even after a player logs off for the evening. It also means that this is a very large game, so large in fact you would have to combine four single player RPGs to equal the content in a MMO. Players start (as they always do) humbly but must fight and complete ‘quests’ to become a force to be reconed with. Quests in Swtor are ones following your storyline or quests given by random people at different locations. Most can be completed by yourself but ‘heroic’ quests are tougher nuts to crack and require help from other players. Finally there are ‘Flashpoints’ which are special quests that requires four players to complete; they’re tough and tricky but I swear you’ll always feel epic completing one – plus the rewards are pretty B.A. too. Of course if crushing the heads of computerized enemies does nothing for you then go PvP and finally answer the age old question: are hooky religions and ancient weapons a match for a good blaster by your side?

 

 

The Goods:


 

 

Character class stories: By far the best thing about the game. Again I can’t reveal much about this fact here, but BioWare has an excellent track record for storytelling with their games and continue that proud tradition in Swtor. There are eight character classes in the game; each and every one of their stories are different from each other but they are all good. Ok, I’ll say this; I thought the imperial agent was going to be a lame duck class with nothing to bring to the table. During the beta I played him just to sate my morbid curiosity: I’ve couldn’t been more wrong. The character was fun to play and the story was downright intriguing, I seriously wanted to know more, but the beta ended. Now that the game’s out I can continue the Agent’s story as well as many others. Trust me, my words can’t property describe how awesome these stories are or how much I’m enjoying every one of them.

 

Improve combat: Tank, DPS (damage per second – damage dealer), and Healer. The holy trinity, as they call it, of all MMOs. In order to be truly successful in any MMO group you need at least one of each; otherwise the group will be decimated. Swtor makes being one of these roles a much easier thing to do thanks to ‘advance classes’; they add a little flexibility for players not be confined to a ‘role’. For example, my advance classes is DPS but also has healing skill, so I can field both spots well. Even if I further specialize in DPS or heal, the other skills won’t suffer. Though I won’t be as good as a healer if I choose to focus on damage dealing compared to someone who focused on healing. Also in general fighting enemies can range from fun times to a challenging test to skill without seeming redundant or mocking players intelligences. Finally no matter if you like lightsabers, blaster pistols, autocannons, or sniper rifles, every form of combat is respected here and no one weapon of war has an advantage. Well played again BioWare.

 

Spaceship combat: Forget all those nay sayers whose said rail flight combat was lame – it’s not. It’s simple to learn, tough to master ride through space and time where it takes razor sharp skills to survive. Like on planet side you’ll be given missions to accomplish; whether that protecting a transport ship of valuable goodies, or destroying a space station (stay on target), they’ll keep you busy all over the galaxy. Prove your flying prowess and get special rewards, heck you might even get a crack at the Kessel Run – the current record is 12 parsecs.

 

Companions: Another thing I was bummed about when they decided to make Kotor an MMO and that’s no more sidekicks. Delving into my allies psyche and finding out what makes them tick was a great amount of enjoyment to me; while others were less complex (Ah, HK-47, I could watch you kill meatbags all day). My point is, there was no way we could get that same ‘mechanic’ in a MMO – wrong again. BioWare has expertly crafted five different companions for each of the eight character classes in the game. Each companion is their own person, with their reason for fighting for you, and their opinions on the situations you’ll throw them in. By your actions they can either become your best friends or see you as a monster – whatever route you choose to take remember there is ‘no’ going back in a MMO so be careful.

 

 

The Bad:

 


Misc: I could not find one thing genuinely wrong with this game in a single area, but rather in spots like animation hiccups, quest bugs, and the like. But most MMOs have this problem in the beginning, give it a couple of months to update and patch out and game will be flawless.

 

 

Ranking

 

What can I say that I haven’t said already? Star Wars: The Old Republic is everything I hoped it could be and more. It is a MMORPG that will now set the standard in the realm of storytelling, design, characters, music, combat and anything else you can think of. Each world future players will visit holds more secrets than I’ve had time to experience in this short time – and just when you think you’re out they pull you back in. The Old Republic will not disappoint any fans of sci-fi, MMOs or a combination of the two. It will make you believe dreams can come true, it will make you see endless gaming potential, and most of all, it will show you that the one, true, WoW killer has finally come…

(So what’s a gamer obsessive going to do now that the game of his dreams came out? Find the next big time, groundbreaking, MMO to latch on to. Guild Wars 2 people, it’s going to be big.)

This just in (Or not) – Blizzfucius says; to play for free you must pay for a year.

 

Star Wars: The Old Republic will be out in two months, Guild Wars 2 is shaping up rather nicely, Dust 514 will open up the twitch shooter crowd in EVE Online, and almost every other major MMO has gone or going free to play – so that means Blizzard’s days are numbered, right?

 

Nope.

 

The king champ is ready to take on all comers; the proof is in the pudding – or in this case news.

 

So yeah, how do you top an end of the world scenario with all the classic maps being changed forever, new PVP modes, new races, more class access (human hunter – yes pls), reworked story missions, and a giant demon dragon cruising around the world and destroying it? By doing a complete 180. In the next expansion of the MMO juggernaut World of WarCraft, they introduced the mystical utopian lands of Pandaria. Where somehow both the inhabitants and the lost continent avoided all the events that has happened to Azeroth – til now. Players will not only have a new land to explore but a new race to play as: the Pandaren & a new class: the Monk. This reveal has caused mixed feeling in blizz fans but for me I’ll say this: if my future time didn’t already belong to swtor then I would totally try this when it comes out. Maybe I’ll still will.

 

Still on Blizzard news, remember Diablo III? No, it’s not out yet, but how bout this, you can get that game free of charge… Sort of. If you want the game free you have to sign up for the World of WarCraft annual pass, meaning you for full access of WoW for a year through monthly payments. You also get a special flying mount and beta access to the next WoW expansion; so for WoW fans this might be the best deal around but again thanks to swtor I won’t make much of this – at least for now.