Archive for March, 2013

So I’ve not written anything of any real substance for some time now and I’ve been busy lately with being ill and partaking in two betas. One of those betas being last weekends Neverwinter weekend. I went into the game not expecting much from a game that is being produced to be totally f2p. With no selling price on the game and no subscription I thought that the game would show a real lack of depth and playability but boy was I wrong.

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Not only is the game VERY polished (for being in Beta) but it actually plays as a AAA title mmo. First off, It’s game-play is on par with that of Rift and TERA, although the combat is much much more fluid than TERA. A lot of love has gone into this game and it’s plain to see for anyone who looks close enough. A lot of aspects come directly from other well established games and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. Graphically, this game is on par with SWTOR (A very good looking game) and actually not too far off GW2, which is the prettiest mmo game on the market right now. The engine seems to be able to handle what is thrown at it, which was a huge question mark hanging over the game due to it being f2p.

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Character creation is great. You have your typical selections of race, sex and the ability to pick from preset looks or make up your own for your avatar but when it comes to stats the game changes. With DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online) you built the character however you wanted, by picking where your stats went into but with Neverwinter you roll the dice and get what is handed to you. However, if you don’t like what you end up with then you can re-roll the dice until you get something you are happy with. Being a D&D player, I miss not being able to build my class how I want upon rolling it. I think if Neverwinter had gone down this road instead of what they have then maybe it would have been a bit better but this is just semantics really and not an issue that effects the over-all game play. I can understand their reasons for doing it this way. They didn’t want the game to be too difficult for the casual player to understand and hand an obvious advantage to the D&D player or anyone who is a fan of the other Neverwinter RPG’s.

The races available for this beta weekend were as follows..

  • Human
  • Halfling
  • Dwarf
  • Half Orc
  • High Elf
  • Half Elf
  • Tiefling

There has been a promise of Drow being made available on release so don’t worry all you Drow fans.

Classes were as follows..

  • Control Wizard
  • Trickster Rogue
  • Guardian Fighter
  • Great Weapon Fighter
  • Devoted Cleric

Although the classes released for the Beta were well balanced in terms of group make-up (5 people in a group), there are a distinct lack of your typical D&D classes. Most notably Sorcerer, Barbarian and Druid were missing, along with other mainstays such as Ranger and Favoured Soul but what struck me the most about the classes was the lack of ability to build however you wanted to.  Being a D&D player, the ability to build however you wanted was a great aspect that made the game unique. You would often find that your typical classes were used in different manners which then gave the ability for the party to be more versatile and to aid them in achieving different things that your standard classes possibly couldn’t. For example, In a campaign I played with friends I played a favoured soul who was neither a primary healer or a divine caster. She operated as a tank with  great self buffing. This ability to play however you wanted will be greatly missed in my opinion.

The classes themselves are fun though, don’t get me wrong. From the sneaky Rogue to the up-front powerful dps from the Great Weapon Fighter, the classes are well thought out and executed and the combat is fluid and fast paced. If anything, I’d say that the Cleric class was over-powered but that’ll probably be corrected before release. My only real gripe with it is that you are rooted to the spot when using skills. I think they could have taken a page from Guild Wars 2’s combat and allowed you to move while executing moves. Apart from that it’s great. In my opinion, it’s even more fluid and better paced than that of TERA, which prides itself on being pure action combat.

Story wise it seems to be well constructed and thought out. I only played a certain amount in two days over the weekend but from what I saw it seems very fluid and constructive with a good narrative. The game being voiced makes a difference too. Like SWTOR, all npcs are voiced, further lending itself to the story and giving a more realistic feeling.

I’m greatly excited about this game now. I’m looking forward to any further testing phases and the eventual release of the game but as a PURE (no buy cost, no subscription) f2p game, it’s certainly the best one I’ve seen. Other games developers take note on how to make a game a real labour of love. Neverwinter is going to be a great game. Watch out for this one.

Written by John Gibson

 

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I’ve been toying with the idea of looking into LOTRO lately. My earlier outburst was out of shock, so I ventured in after the latest ‘let’s fix the game’ patch.

So I logged on, ran about, replaced some gear, got more will, got more fate, but my power bar just stayed the same. Feeling like I’d just wasted my evening I ended up checking out Global chat and the forums.

The amount of unrest over fixing a bug was unreal. I get why people where upset, a raid had been launched and as per the first age symbols where dropping on T1. This then lead to groups farming the three raids to gain the shiny symbols.

So Turbine said NO! The fix was made and the fans then started to feel upset. So what do you guys think that Turbine should do? Just leave it as it is? Fix the problem?

My answer is none of the above. I want Turbine to either fix the content before they launch it to stop this problem because let’s face it, this always happens. Or abolish the T1, T2 and T2HM system completely. I guess this means abolishing all legendary items, and I am all for that.

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Why would it? I may hear you ask. Well the raids are made in structured for gear progression. T1 – Third age legendary, T2 – Second Age, T2HM – First Age. Meaning the better the weapon the greater the progression.

I started playing LOTRO after the launch of MoM so I am used to nothing other than legendary weapons at end game. But after playing other MMO’s I have come to the conclusion that these weapons are nothing more than a grind fest. Put in a game to make me feel like I need better all the time.

Now I don’t think that there is particularly anything wrong with this at all, but I do feel that getting a fantastic first ager at level 65 a month before the launch of ROI and feeling the need to crunch it as I got to level 75 is just wrong.

Gear should not be a chore, it should be fun. The days of the Rift and Helegrod should still be among us, and this is coming from someone who was never around then. Frodo had Sting from the moment he left Rivendell, we never had to hear about him stopping to crunch his weapon or to add relics to it as he wondered middle earth now did we?

Written by Emma McHugh

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Nvidia are giving away beta keys for Never-winters third weekend testing phase. You can grab a key at http://www.facebook.com/NVIDIAGeForce?ref=stream by simply clicking on the link which is near the top and following the instructions.

Just thought I’d let people know…

John

*UPDATED*

You can also get them at http://www.geforce.co.uk/games-applications/pc-games/neverwinter/deals-promotions if you don’t have Facebook or don’t wish to use it for this purpose.

Again apologises for the lack of posting, the flu has gotten worse and even today I feel the grey hazy cloud around me. I read about this on Sunday evening and have been meaning to write a blog about it ever since, but with lack of energy even to check such a mundane thing as Facebook then blogging went out the window.

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Basically a dad was playing Donkey Kong with his three year old. She wanted to play the Princess and save the plumber but her dad said that the game wouldn’t let that happen. She was pretty dismayed about the whole thing, as she would be. What little girl wants to be the plumber when she can be the princess?

So her dad went and did a little coding and changed Mario to Princess Peach and so on and so forth. This got me thinking about female heroines in video games, and wondering if Nintendo will bring out a Mario when he has been kidnapped and Princess Peach will have to save him or a Zelda where basically the same thing happens.

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The video game industry seems to be slowly catching up with heroines such as Chell, Lara, (Female) Commander Shepard and Lightning. But is it really equal? Are you fed up playing MMO’s where women have basically a piece of cloth on? Are you tired of playing men in video games? Or do you think that when it comes to video games equality shouldn’t be an issue?

I for one play games because I like the sound of them, not for the strong male or female lead. But as a woman I for one would like to save the plumber, after all, Princesses can climb ladders too.

Written by Emma McHugh

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Now I have only played a little due to what I discussed in my earlier post. But I did experience a good few crashes of Tomb Raider while playing yesterday with others not being able to get into the game at all. A new patch has just been deployed to hopefully fix this issue but it got me thinking.

NVIDIA and INTEL pretty much own the GPU market, let’s face it. It’s nothing towards AMD (which have never given me any problems in the past) but gamers genuinely seem to go for NVIDIA cards and INTEL processors. It’s just the way of things.

AMD developed the hair-rendering technology which is causing NVIDIA and INTEL platforms too stutter and fail. This is not to say that AMD meant for this to happen, or AMD customers have had it easy with the Tomb Raider launch. 

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But the past few years have saw AMD gaining more popularity, with the new generation of consoles going for AMD parts over their other competitors. So will this run continue? Do you think that NVIDIA will have to keep a keen eye on AMD too make sure that problems like this one don’t occur again, leaving their customers bemused and frustrated?

Yes, launches can be pretty much unstable at times but hopefully this is the last time that hair becomes as issue. Also I hope that this patch fixes the problem, so that you all (including myself) can have fun with the world’s best known Archaeologist … ok… best known female Archaeologist.

Written by Emma McHugh

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So it’s been confirmed that there is to be a new Tomb Raider movie sometime in the near future, on the back of the incredibly successful release of the latest game. While the details are very small at this point in time, I am already not looking forward to this latest attempt by Hollywood to break the mould and actually manage a good video game based production.

You just have to look at past examples of their attempts to cash in to see that it’s going to be an epic failure. The other Tomb Raider movies were of little to no substance and merely 90 minute long eye candy fests. The Resident Evil movies were destroyed on the first attempt by Paul Anderson and have now became so stupid that they’re not even worth watching for a laugh. Five movies later, we’re going to see Alice working along with Wesker to save the world from Umbrella. Up until the fourth movie, Wesker was still working for the Umbrella corp while anyone who knows anything of the Resident Evil lore would be able to tell you that after the mansion incident (The first movie), Wesker left and formed the HCF (Hive Capture Force) organisation. These movies are aimed at fans of the games, yet cannot even follow the basic story.

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I’ve just been informed that Megan Fox has turned down the role of Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider which isn’t a bad thing, but at the same time is. The fact that she was even being asked says to me that it’s going to be nothing more than another movie aimed at the pre pubescent teenage boy with 90 minutes of a girl running around with her boobs hanging out and not really giving the story any real sort of attempt.

So, here are my predictions for the Tomb Raider movie..

  1. Lara Croft will be played by someone with no real acting talent but she’ll have a nice rack.
  2. The movie will come with a 12 certificate to allow the teenage boys to go and stare at Lara’s breasts.
  3. It will make no attempts to actually go deeply into the story of the new game, but substitute the fight for survival with scenes of Lara covered in mud or just generally with a wet top.
  4. It will be no longer than 90 minutes long, 60 minutes of which will be body shots of Lara.
  5. It will be directed by someone with a less than successful pedigree in Hollywood.

I hope I am wrong about all this, I really do. I think that if written properly and given to someone with real vision and creativity to direct than it possibly could be a good movie. It would greatly depend on who is cast as Lara but with the way Hollywood is these days, with the bilge that is churned out time after time after time and with Megan Fox having been asked to play Lara, I seriously doubt I’m wrong.

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Just in case any of you were worried about us we are still around. But with illnesses we are both pretty reluctant to do pretty much anything. It’s that bad that I got Tomb Raider on Friday and I have only played around under an hour of it.

I currently have no motivation to do anything but sit about wrapped in a funky pink housecoat and watch feel good TV. My brain can’t even think of good posts too talk about as it’s too busy being poked and prodded by this little blighter.

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I hope to start feeling better by tomorrow, then I can start writing posts again about the random feelings I have towards video games and TV/Movies. But until then I hope the mad ramblings of a flu ridden adult are enough to satisfy your need for FTW content.

Written by Emma McHugh