Dear Blog. I apologize. I ignored you for a long time. Again. I know. But now I found another reason to write and that what’s important. The reason is Intel Extreme Masters.
It’s four days to the event, but we made a nice holiday out of it. Traveling with @Lucanaii and @Zephyriea, we took first half of the road yesterday, from Bratislava to Žilina. It was fascinating to see how much weather changed even with few kilometers up north. Luckily, nature was nicer too.
Everyone who wasn’t living in a cave past three years knows how big deal Minecraft is in gaming community. It’s a long way since modest purchases of alpha access to today’s boom of mods, servers, videos and mechandize. This success was unpredictable and it’s a beauty of indie games. But it’s also a hearth of problem I gonna discuss.
There are not a lot of games that can get away with story, where you can’t make any real decisions and still enjoy it. Transistor is one of them. It is basically an arcade game in its nature, but you will not get that feeling from playing through it. You will feel like you are playing a visual novel. (more…)
It’s just about an hour ago when CD Projekt RED & GOG.com Summer Conference ended, and I am full of emotions. Short, half an hour stream brought us a lot of news which can leave no gamer’s hearth calm. I am not sure if word “conference” is correct, but that’s not such a big deal. It was more of a presentation, or announcements from both companies on their Twitch.tv channel. With around 5000 attendees, they surely reached gamers enough.
FTL is one of those games that looks like something for “casual” gamers. And as “casual” tends to be a very bad word in hardcore gamers community, most hardcore gamers will never try it. And that is a shame, because this game has hidden treasure under its funky-looking skin. Lets see what it is all about.
In FTL, you command single alliance ship. Your mission is to carry very vital information about rebel fleet to your military headquarters somewhere on the other end of the galaxy. Note that nature of this vital information or about the world setting around you is excluded and will never be revealed to you. It is, perhaps, statement from the game developers that this is really not important for the game to work and for you to enjoy it. This is not a game about epic sagas and space stories with men and their laser swords. This is a story about one ship and one crew travelling across the galaxy, dodging the danger and fighting glorious space battles with pirates, rebels and, occasionally, giant spiders.
When in 2012 I first saw a kickstarter campaign for Shadowrun Returns i was excited. Not only one of the best tabletop RPG was made to a computer game (again), but one of the original game creators was also on board. And after backers pledged a whooping 1.8M$ (more that four times of the original 400K goal) there were no question about whether people really want this. But did Harebrained Schemes and Jordan Weisman deliver on their promises?
Monetization is a serious question for all business models. It’s especially important in industries, in which you are not buying what you need, but what you want. Entertainment is a very good example. We’ve seen revolution of making millions from gaming conducted by Blizzard and their World of Warcraft or enormous boom of Facebook games and their unbelievable profits for rather shallow content. We’ve also seen that everyone who tried to copy success of Blizzard pretty much failed. Companies tried Free to Play model and boy, it was a boomer! It risen Star Wars: The Old Republic from quite bad numbers and all MOBA games like Dota or League of Legends to sunshine and hope of future for e-sports.
It was just two days ago, when I was really disappointed by low population on once grand RP server, Arcadia. I returned, with new character and for faction I played last time in beta weekends – Templars. I was kinda unsure about how much straight-forward they will be. I loved gameplay for Illuminati, their power games, machinations and stuff. However, I love European traditionalism, architecture and gothic subtlety of London so why not?
I was ingame just for a few hours, waiting for a friend to finally solve his technical problems with the game. It turns out that playing it on integrated graphics in laptop was not a great idea, duh. However, this waiting was worth all of the time. I was just running through streets and wandered down to Underground station for piece of lore I know there is. And I found a… dance party. Couple of characters, just dancing in the hall, few watchers along the walls. I joined the watchers, listened to discussions of players. Even had one nice RP dialogue myself.
I know that this happens in every MMORPG. But this little something just reminded me that Secret World is not dead.
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In times, where MOBA games are born on daily basis, it doesn’t take much to notice their similarities. Just play LoL, HoN, Dota or even their new siblings, like Downgate. You’ll simply notice the same concept in all of them. It’s usually picking phase, calling lanes, pushing lanes, destroying towers and finally, the conclusion – win or loss. Now, I’m not here to trash these games or this gametype, I enjoy playing them, I really do. However, It took years to bring something really new on scene, something, that’s MOBA but makes you say “It’s different”. This is when SMITE from Hi-Rez comes.
Smite is third person MOBA by Hi-Rez. The basic strategies are similar to what we know from games I mentioned earlier, but the real catch is the fact that it’s third person. No, not the usual bird’s-eye view, but real third person.
When Smite was first published few years ago, nobody really knew much about it (or Hi-Rez in fact). But the rapid growth of it’s popularity made it visible for the best advertisers on internet – streamers and let’s players. In months, Smite grew popular also within professional players, which had a chance to compete at Smite Launch Tournament in Atlanta recently (March 2014). This event was watched by over 20 000 viewers on Twitch. This as well means Smite was in beta for several years and changed drastically several times until it reached the form we know today.
I was thinking about return to The Secret World. I remembered the good old beta weekends, when I was amazed by every single detail about the game and it’s universe. There is something mesmerizing about horror atmosphere, mysteries, conspiracies and all that Constantine-mystery-investigator style. I loved it, bought the game in pre-order, played it for quite a time.
I haven’t been online for months. MMO’s are time consuming and as far all of my friends stopped playing, I lost motivation too. I never really liked fight system in TSW, it was kinda complicated and non-intuitive. I always played it for the story. Fighting without friends was frustrating, I had to spend a lot of time just gaining XP, so I stopped soon after.
Now, one friend is considering to join, so I took a little sneak peek with my old character, Michael “Wries” Halen, Illuminati Senior Agent. I was really surprised what I found. A tons of new content. However, just few players to meet. I traveled to New York, HQ of Illuminati to found just few NPC’s. I moved to London, HQ of Templars and social hub of the game. I met maybe 10 players total. Tabula Rasa, place I remember to have a lot of RP sessions, spontaneous talks between strangers about their in-character adventures, was empty. For once crowded RP server, Arcadia quite sad story.
I will try to get back. I’ll find people who still play it. This game is worth it – just the storyline itself is worth it. But if you can recommend me where now players meet I would be much obliged. Stay tuned for more news from The Secret World.