PAX Vid – WildStar Dev Panel

I will confess – I’ve never been to a convention. Or an expo. Or any sort of geek/entertainment/video game Mecca event thing. It’s all secondhand to me, mostly because I’ve never been able to make time for anything more involved than watching a YouTube video of Nathan Fillion being awesome. Be that as it may, I’m not totally broken up about it, because other people can judge me all they want to and I don’t care.

But the people that make the videos and put them on YouTube so that I can enjoy them later are demigods to me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to share things like WildStar Dev Panels with YOU.

Random highlights for me:

  • The Halon Ring is the first zone we see, and there seems to be a nice mixup of epic adventure elements with goofy random aspects. WildStar loves variety. They don’t want it to be a grind and they don’t want the gameplay to get stagnant.
  • Paths get benefits from questing together in WildStar. Explorers let the rest of the group get easier access to zone areas, while Scientists might unlock features of the ecology to give allies a strategic advantage.
  • Protostar is once again confirmed as a largely unethical, opportunistic, blithely greedy megacorps. Fun!
  • Housing development is not only decorative, but as functional as possible. I fully intend to have a ridiculously, excessively fortified home for at least one of my WildStar characters. Weapons platforms everywhere. Still hoping it’s nothing like Farmville, though.
  • The placement/scaling tool looks GREAT. Very intuitive for positioning/orientation/sizing, and giving full control on the housing interior arrangement.
  • Crafters will be able to make something called ‘fabrication kits’ which are apparently self-contained installations for your housing plot exterior. They can also accelerate the construction of certain features.
  • Taxi stations (WildStar’s answer to WoW’s Flight Paths, I assume.) can be built at your house.
  • Most of the stuff you get doesn’t come from vendors – either you earn it yourself or you can get it from a crafter. To me, this reinforces the point that the player is the point of the game, and it won’t be a farming/turn-in focused experience.
  • Doing random crap and poking around at the interactivity unlocks new things that may not be apparent on first scan.
  • Exploding sheep.
  • The Esper has this spinning sawblade of death thing, but it looks to be a static placement on a delay, which makes me giddy with tactical anticipation. Check around 34:44.

That’s my brief cross-section of the content. What about you – did you spy anything I didn’t?

 

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Enter the House

“Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that:
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.”
– Shylock, The Merchant of Venice
I confess, I’ve never played an MMO featuring player housing. I hear the stories of Ultima Online and the crazy player-created housing market and all that it entailed. Once again, however, WildStar has thrown down the gauntlet for implementing layered mechanics and content, demonstrating that the conceptualization of player housing holds more than just a hilarious promo video.
Observe:
So not only do we have customizable personal space, gameplay mechanic benefits, and social platforming aids, but we have dynamic resource plots, crafting aids, questing hubs, portals, and who knows what else. I can easily see this taking the place of a banking system for those players with homes. If Carbine wants an inter-player economy, you could easily have a storefront option.
As long as this aspect doesn’t reflect Farmville too much, I think I’ll be happy.
Throughout the exposé, I was once again struck by the layering aspect of WildStar. This really looks like a game that wants everything to affect everything, and for players to constantly be exposed to different parts of the game without forcing them to pursue all of them. It stands to reason that someone who finds a housing decoration from killing a random critter is going to be more likely to try out the whole homeowner thing — and if they can put a resource node on their property, then why not see what this whole “crafting” thing is all about? And, oh wait, I can have friends over? Well, why not make some more friends and show this place off to them?
It’s objectively fantastic, at least for my personal value of objectively.

Wild#@%*ingStar Wednesdays

We’ve got a new WildStar trailer.

I love these guys!

Not only is the atmosphere and comedy and passion clearly evident, but this is an excellent summation of all of the key aspects of the game. Seriously. As I was watching it, my internal monologue basically followed this type of line:

“I wonder if they’ll mention – yup, there it is. I hope they don’t forget – nope, they didn’t. Ooo, they should totally talk about – yeah, about that thing there.”

I know I’ve been geeking out on WildStar in most of the posts on this blog, but I’ve generally been a sucker for genre-savvy tongue-in-cheek gaming. I laugh my ass off at lame puns in WarCraft quest titles.  I love the references throughout Team Fortress 2. So for me, the atmosphere of this game is nigh-unto a holy grail for me. I feel like this game is set in the outer limits alien-populated cosmos of Lilo & Stitch.

Also we get details on the philosophy of the Elder Game (yes, I trot that phrase out ALL THE TIME now, because it’s a] cool, b] very indicative of a much-needed change in MMO design paradigm, and c] an apparent Harry Potter reference. Therefore, made of win.) raiding content. Wonderful wonderful wonderful.

Also, Shoot Many Robots is free on the Google Play store now. I tried it on the Nexus (No, not that Nexus. This Nexus.) and it’s pretty damn fun. Yet again another quirky atmospheric game set in the (apparently) cybertronic-plagued Midwest. With guns! It’s a side-scrolling shooter/platformer that’s easy to get the hang of and difficult to put down. I recommend trying it out. See the “it’s free” bit there?

What’s not to like?

Shotgun Catch-Up

Hey gang! Yeah, it’s been far too long. I was out for health reasons. Still can’t handle direct sunlight. ENOUGH. ABOUT. ME.

I’m breaking out the ol’ scattergun to try and hit as many interesting bits and items that I can. There’s a slew of cool crap coming down the pipeline, and I might not be the first on board, but I’m certainly going to try to make up for lost time.

Albion Online looks ambitious enough. I like the concept of a far-reaching cross-platformer, and as you can all probably tell, RPGs are where I cut my teeth and do the most of my playtime. One thing that rocks a good RPG for me (at least in a mechanical sense) is variety, variety, variety – I don’t want my character to simply be another Variation on a Theme of xx_PaGaNiNiskullz_xx (that’s a Brahms joke for you non-musical types). And of course, the fact that I can steal crap from other people that they paid for gives my inner brigand a very real jolt of excitement.

I haven’t mentioned Watch Dogs yet, which is almost a crime, because it looks like a godforsaken amazing ride. I’m always a sucker for new mechanics, and the linking of hacking to combat to investigation to manipulation to plain awesome looks incredible. The atmosphere seems polished and if the gameplay is as customizable as the videos seem to indicate, I think we’ve got at excellent debut on our hands. Absolutely keep an eye on this one.

WildStar did another Uplink, this one on PvP, a topic that brings on a mouthfoaming debate whenever multiplayer games exist. So that’s fun. My take is that if any aspect of your MMO is a grind, you’ve lost the better part of your audience. Now, I’ve never done much PvP myself in RPGs, being that I’m a story junkie and a laid-back explorer type, but I’m always willing to risk another beatdown at the hands of my rabid diehard peers if it looks fun — so if WildStar tries to do as many innovative things with their PvP that they seem hellbent on doing everywhere else on Nexus, I’m planning to give it a go. Viva la curbstomp.

Also, Anita Sarkeesian has debuted her Tropes vs Women series. It’s a bit long, and her first episode isn’t earthshatteringly insightful right off the bat, but she’s beginning to establish her foundation. You might not be blown away by the introductory episode, but this bears watching. So go be objective about the entertainment field that we love so much and give the lady a hearing.

We’re also approaching Defiance. Post-apocalyptic, aliens, crazy weapons, superhuman powers, and a TV show to go along with it. It’s like the antithetical Captain Planet. Or something similar.

Last but not least, Shroud of the Avatar. I’m sure it’s a huge injury to my gamer cred that I’ve never played an Ultima game of any stripe, but even I know who Richard Garriott is. Considering that the man cut his teeth in game development for homebrew D&D, it gives me hope that I might have a future in the industry too. No, you did NOT just hear the sound of me kicking my 3.5ed books under the table.  Anyway.

Like everything else in this entry, we’ve got a highly ambitious project, and the fact that it’s starting as a crowdsourced/funded endeavor gives me some jitters. Once again, story-centric games make me drool and despite the unpolished look of the graphics, I want to see where this one goes. I want to see it very much.

Ciao!

I Heart of the Swarm

StarCraft was the very first game I ever bought with my own money. I sunk hours and hours into it, playing the campaign over and over, skirmishing against computer opponents, getting my ass kicked from Aiur to Tarsonis and back on battle.net. I knew that the Protoss were epic, ancient, and advanced beyond my comprehension; that Terrans were grimy, slapdash, and ultimately one of the most resilient species in the sector; that Zerg were implacable, unstoppable, and just a bit peckish for my innards. Despite being an RTS, StarCraft also showed me the for the first time how video games functioned as a viable storytelling medium. Somewhere inside, I knew that each of those Confederate Marines had buddies and memories.

So that’s why some part of me will go completely fanboy every time Blizzard does something new. Because it all goes back to the first time I was boots on the ground with Jim Raynor or flying the Gantrithor alongside my Executor into the maw of the Overmind. I eventually started in on the WarCraft series and have clocked more than my share of time trudging around Azeroth/Kalimdor/Outland/Northrend, but StarCraft is where it all began.

En Taro Adun.

These Dataz Speak…

With the PS4 announcement leading the headlines, a few of these bits may have slipped under your radar. Besides, I’m not a huge hardware nerd, so while everyone else freaks out about the verification of the controller layout and the compatibility of the old PS3 games and streaming and online play and all the other details – I’m still poking around at these upcoming analyses of community feedback from Carbine and Bungie.

Obviously it’s way too early for Bungie to be tipping a hand about much of Destiny’s features and elements and whatnot, but they were kind enough to open the inbox and answer a number of basic questions – and a few completely nonsensical ones. Plus, there are awkward photos to laugh at. Yay.

The gang over at Carbine also distilled the data from this past #WSuplink to get a feel for what the community is chattering about regarding WildStar, which appears to be everything, more or less. Seriously. MMO gamers tend to have their favorite little niches of game that speak to them, whether it’s housing, crafting, PvP, raiding… and the WildStar junkies want to know it ALL. Despite the immense variety of choices, though, Carbine seems to be sticking to their basic mantra of “make it fun,” which is really what it’s all about as far as I can tell.

And if you haven’t seen the Second Son trailer for the inFAMOUS series, observe:

Interview with a Cassian, Season Pass for BioShock Infinite, and more

Team WildStar can’t stop the funny (or just won’t), so they’ve opted to sit down with the Dominion’s flagship race and let us all bask in the ambient radiation glinting off the hems of their stylish garments.

Better than the best.

Also, the upcoming BioShock Infinite already has DLC in production and if you want to preorder, you can totally get in line for it.

Plus, we have more brutal mayhem from the lads and lasses at EA for those who have missed Army of Two’s latest update.