Thursday, 31 July 2014

Malazan Book of the Fallen: The Game


As I have read Steven Erikson's series of books titled Malazan Book of the Fallen, I came upon the realisation that I would love to play as a character in that universe. Another great realisation was that making a game after a book has turned a certain franchise into a smashing success, while it turned some into a gigantic flop. The latter I attribute mainly to the half-assery of the studio that was making the game. The smashing success are the Witcher games, while a gigantic flop is the Game of Thrones game. Both are role playing games, yet one really understands its universe, while the other is crippled on every twist and turn by the design decisions the developers made.

This alone should serve as a precautionary tale that a game based on a fantasy series can go both good or terribly wrong. As far as I know, CD Projekt RED took the Witcher world and built upon it using their own imagination while still staying loyal to the source material. While the developers of Game of Thrones game chose the easy path and payed dearly for it. Voices of the TV series actors, insignias from a TV series, locations like they were in TV series. When you are developing a game, you are given a gift that TV series cannot have. You can stay true to the source material. You do not have to use tricks or workarounds in order to make a castle. In a game, Castle Black can look like the Castle Black George R.R. Martin envisioned, not a provincial fortress TV series had to settle down with.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Blizzard's Lies about Tanaan Jungle


Some people are asking why are the rest of us upset with Blizzard over something as "trivial" as pushing the release of Tanaann Jungle on a later date in one of the patches. There are number of reasons, and all are valid. Blizzard was misleading us, lied to us, and treated us like idiots.

Imagine you are expecting a baby, you are really excited about it, and so is your wife, partner, girlfriend. Then, after eight months of pregnancy she comes out and tells you she had an abortion half a year back, but don't worry because you will totally have another baby in a year or so. She was wearing a pillow under her clothes all this time.

I will not say that the two situations are the same. After all one of those involves human life, while other just a game. But the sentiment is the same. Blizzard abused our trust.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

What is Aggra doing on Draenor?


It all started back at the Blizzcon 2013, when someone asked if we are going to see Aggra in the next expansion, and Metzen saying we will not because it's more of a boy's trip, as he described it. I admit that was a poor choice of words on his part, but truth remains that whatever he said would not be good enough. That is not true, in fact had he said, we will be seeing Aggra on Draenor, nobody would press the matter further. At the time, I thought not seeing Aggra on Draenor is not such a huge loss. When Metzen said "boys trip" I was hoping that would mean we would see the old band back together wreaking havoc one more time: Samuro, Thrall, Nazgrel, Rexxar, Rokhan, and Chen Stormstout. I have my personal favourites after all.

But then we got War Crimes, and as it was revealed in the book, Aggra is once again pregnant. When I read that, I thought this was a perfectly good reason why she would not appear on the next battlefront we open. I thought that Metzen's response back at the Blizzcon was perfectly fine as he probably wanted to avoid spoiling any details that would be revealed in the novel. And now, we see a screenshot showing her prancing around on Draenor. Aside from the fickle nature Blizzard is in these days, I am really curious in what state is Aggra present. I will be frank, Aggra should sit this one out back in Orgrimmar, not being present in the war zone. First, because she is pregnant, second, because she might have already given birth. Even if Thrall might be called greatest shaman in the known universe, I doubt he can lactate.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Hearthstone: Guide to Naxxramas, Arachnid Quarter


With the first Quarter of Naxxramas released, and by some already finished, it is time to give a helping hand, if needed, to the rest of the enthusiastic adventurers that decide to venture into the dark shadows of the flying necropolis. It is time to go through all the bosses you will encounter in the first wing of Naxxramas, the Arachnid Quarter.

First things first, what do we even have in the Arachnid Quarter? Well, we have Normal mode, Class Challenges, and Heroic Mode. In the normal mode you fight Anub'Rekhan, Grand Window Faerlina, and Maexxna. If you ever played World of Warcraft during the Wrath of the Lich King you are probably familiar with the three bosses presented. In Class Challenges you get to play with the premade decks that include the new cards. In Arachnid Quarter you can unlock the Druid's and Rogue's two cards. It is actually well done as it teaches you through the game how to make the most use of the new cards. As for the Heroic mode, it is same as the Normal, only difference being that now the ability of each boss is incredibly powerful.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Why We Transmog


Transmogrification is like Naboo Royal Starship, not Millennium Falcon.

There are probably hundreds of different reasons why we use transmogrification in World of Warcraft. Most probably each and every one of those hundreds is valid in their own way, and has some weight in this argument. The most obvious answer would be, that we transmog our gear because we like a certain look much more than the default look of the gear we currently deem superior in the merits of its statistics. I guess stats cannot always buy the looks. It much depends on a personal preference as well.

What sparked me into writing this post is the recent writings of Alternative Chat, she posted on her blog. The thing that did not sit well with me, was comparing transmog with Millennium Falcon, I think Millennium Falcon is the greatest example for the case of why transmog does not matter. Better argument could be made, comparing transmog to Naboo Royal Starship. It might get old, but it will still remain beautiful. While Millennium Falcon will be ugly as sin until the day they send it to the junkyard, but it will be superior when it counts. Like in battle, or running away, or racing someone. Just like all the newest gear. Ugly as sin, but in possession of superior stats.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Homo Mensura: Thoughts on the new Human Male Models


Not so long ago, we finally got a good look at the new human male model. Unlike the other models that might have been impressive, I tend to think that all need to be compared to the human models. This is because when we see human models, we see all the good, the bad, and the ugly without having our thoughts diluted by the models being something else than human. When we see a human model, and his wrists are not ok, we can safely say that something is wrong with the model. When you see the same discrepancy on the orc, tauren or draenei, you might even attribute it to the design of each race. Which is ludicrous.

That is not to say there is anything wrong with the wrists of the human male model. Quite on the contrary, the whole body seems to be according to the proportions, and is altogether a great improvement over the old models. Some might complain over the face, but the fact remains that humans have various beard option in order to use them, not to complain about that lower lip nobody would ever see if they used facial hair to cover it up.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Issues of Hearthstone: Deathrattle's Late Rattling


It has been close to half a year since Hearthstone was officially released, even more since the open beta. The game for the most part runs without problems, is solid experience, and at times truly entertaining. Of course at times it is frustrating beyond belief. But what I want to talk about today is not how unfair some of the rogue cards are, but instead turn your eyes to some inconsistencies in how the game behaves with regard to some of its mechanics. Namely why does the deathrattle trigger after the hostile attack is over, while other cards with abilities, such as Acolyte of Pain, trigger immediately once the damage is dealt.

It would be probably easier to explain with an example regarding the deathrattle problem. Imagine the situation where the opponent has on its field one Acolyte of Pain. The text of Acolyte of Pain states, that whenever he takes damage, the player draws a card. This means, if you use Arcane Missiles, or Avenging Wrath, if you hit him three times, the Acolyte will draw three cards for you before he dies. His effect is immediate, and precedes everything, even the attack he is currently under. The animation of Arcane Missiles stops until you draw a card.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Disappearance of WoW Bloggers


Recently bbr (I have a personal grievance with his choice of name, as it sounds like an abbreviation of something, and I do not know what that something is. Proposterous!) of Random Ravings sent out a rallying call to all World of Warcraft bloggers, asking where are they, what are they doing, and if so, why did they stop blogging about it. He even asked what do we think where our compatriots of Warcraft went. To all that I can hardly give an answer. I am in no regard an authority of any kind on blogging, let alone on blogging about World of Warcraft. I do it because I have time, and just the right amount of energy not to waste it on simply watching cats on the internet, or staring at the blue ceiling of my room and contemplating about the meaning of life.

Why do I continue to write about World of Warcraft, when the game is without a shadow of a doubt in decline? It is a valid question, to which I can only say, because it interests me. We could say I have a thing for Decadence as well. I know the matter, I am knowledgeable about it, and I want to share my opinions, ideas, and thoughts about the game with the rest of the world. If the world reads it, likes it, or disagrees with it, that much better, but the first and probably the only reason is that I like doing it. In my case, it could be argued that I do not write about World of Warcraft exclusively, I try to vary things up. At times there is more posts related to World of Warcraft, and at times more about other games, books, or even films and TV series.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Pricing of The Curse of Naxxramas


700 pieces of gold. Seven hundred pieces of gold. I just want this to sink in. This is the price of each wing in the coming expansion for a "free to play" Hearthstone. 700.

By God am I naive or what? And I was honestly certain they will not charge more than 200 gold in the blackest scenario imaginable. I wonder where all that optimism was coming from. But here comes the good part, where I say, but there is more. If you lack the ludicrous amount of gold, you can always buy the wings together or separately with the real money. And for some unknown reason, if you are using dollars it is the cheapest, while if you are using euros, or even worse, pounds, you are getting royally screwed over.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Pop Culture References I would like to see in WoD


World of Warcraft is a game filled with all possible references to music, games, books, comics, films, and probably couple of more media I forgot to mention in this opening sentence. We all encountered them at some point in the game, some of them we recognised, others slipped by unnoticed. And we all probably have one or two that we hold dear even to this day. We all know about Harrison Jones, or Harris Pilton for example. My personal favourite though, is the knight seeking challenge in the Un'Goro Crater, Maximillian of Northshire. A reference to Cervantes's Don Quixote.

To put it short, references from various media make World of Warcraft a richer, and more entertaining game, thus here is the list of references I would love to see in Warlords of Draenor. Some are from books, others from music, films, and comics. And I think it is high time for them to get their spot in World of Warcraft. Half of these would be appropriate for the Horde, the other half would be neutral. There is reason why none would be exclusive to the Alliance. I play Horde, and I want to interact with my ideas from the side of my faction.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Trine: A Thief, a Wizard, and a Knight walk in the Forest


Trying to think of a description of Trine in one sentence without ruining what Trine is can be hard. The game originally released in 2009, and collecting dust in my library until recently is much more than just a simple descriptor. It is a fairytale. Trine, if I had to describe it, is a sidescrolling game where you fight and solve various puzzles with the combined powers of three different characters. Those character being amorous wizard, rapacious thief, and a knight of simple taste.

The game was developed by Frozenbyte, and those guys show the love for their game even today. Just recently they released a visual upgrade that brought the first game to the standards of Trine II.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Heroes I want in Warlords of Draenor


We all have a list of heroes, soldiers, and individuals of varius degrees of respect that we like. In ten years of World of Warcraft, twenty years of Warcraft there are sure to be many of them dear to us. Some of them passed away, some of them we killed, and some of them will be available to our disposal in Heroes of the Storm or Hearthstone. But the number of heroes I want to focus today, are all still alive and kicking. They are not all big hotshots, many of them sort of slipped into past. Thus there is no better time than in Warlords of Draenor that they should emerge and be on their way to more adventures. On my list of individuals I want in Warlords of Draenor, majority are the veterans of Frozen Throne and its battle for Durotar and Theramore.

First on the list is Samuro. No, I do not mean the famous singer of a Horde's favourite name-changing band L70ETC. No, I mean the other Samuro, the blademaster that helped in dismantling Theramore forces the first time around, under the reign of Warchief Thrall. You know how awesome Samuro is? He single-handedly infiltrated Tiragarde Keep, destroyed the whole base with the explosives Vol'jin provided, and went on his way into annals of history. Now he waits to return and serve the Horde in its greatest hour of need. Samuro is determined, loyal to the Horde, and still had no appearance in World of Warcraft. He is probably playing some sort of a hermit of the top of most lonely mountain of Kalimdor, and that is just not fair, not for someone with the talent and skills such as Samuro, the one blademaster without equal.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Game of Thrones: My Dislike of Season 04


I finished watching the fourth season of Game of Thrones after I stopped at the first half. Since there might be some of you sensitive to spoilers, I am letting you know, there will be spoilers. But do not fret, I will focus only on the parts that should already be in the series. So, if you watched all four season, there will not be any spoilers. Cinsider it extended edition, directors cut or something as such. I can only heartily recommend you read the books, because they are so much better than the series. Another plus side is that the books do not get things wrong all the time, like the series does. I watched the remainder of the season four on the urging of my younger brother, who suddenly became a fan. The fact I was telling him years before that he would like the series does not seem to count. In any case let us just get over with this.

When George R.R: Martin started writing Song of Ice and Fire, his goal was to stage a setting so grand and epic it would be impossible to translate it to film or television. Mainly, because he was not willing to sacrifice parts of the story in order to get a product out of it. With his series it was always meant to be all or nothing. When the producers of the show first talked about what they want from it, they seemed to be in agreement with Martin. We could all understand that some corners would require to be cut, but in grand scheme of things, they appeared to be on the same page. Martin did warn them about butterfly effect, but it does not seem they took him seriously.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Gameplay Trumps Lore: Trying to Reconcile the Two


One would imagine that if you are in a constant state of war, you would not be trading with your sworn enemy. One might even imagine that if you were in constant state of war, you might aim for your enemy's economy instead of his capital. Because exhausting the economy is one sure way of how to weaken your enemy without moving a finger. The enemy will eat itself from withing. Riots, famine, civil unrest, terror aimed at the discontent among the mob. Sort of like how French Revolution started. Not because all of a sudden people had ideas about freedom and liberty, but because they were hungry.

I understand that the Horde and Alliance are currently not in war. But that can hardly be argued with the emergence of Ashran in Warlords of Draenor, where it seems both factions will clash against each other once more. Even when not in war, the Alliance and Horde are not at peace. They are in a constant state of cold war, if not that at war, never at peace. And this is what actually bothers me. The shortsightedness of the two factions wiling to grind each other to oblivion while there is always a greater threat just looming about.

[Review] Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Having enjoyed the first Kingsman film, deciding to see the second one in the cinema was not hard. The Golden Circle is a worthy sequel t...