Sunday, March 3, 2013

Age of Wonders III

This month I decided to play through the Age of Wonders campaigns again while waiting on Sim City. Progress was going well and I was having a blast. So one evening while forcing myself to stop and go to bed I innocently clicked the website link from the "dragon menu", expecting an old website with no updates for years, but perhaps some beautiful concept art or wallpapers. Instead, I was greeted with this:


Many changes seen to come with the game. Just from the images it looks like a mixture of Civilization and Age of Wonders. From the Overview description provided, it seems like races won't be as limited, since it mentioned that you pick a "starting race" and that the player won't be limited to "fantasy clichés like All Goblins are Evil".

The leader, which at first was a Hero in AoW1 and then a Wizard in AoW2 will now be more customizable and with specializations typically found in RPG games, which is shown in the trailer.

It is still very early, but I am happy that I game I've been playing for over 10 years on and off will come back in a new edition.


Official website: http://www.ageofwonders.com/aow3live/

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Wizard of Sanctuary


Between a lot of work and some more work, I've managed to finish Diablo III on a wizard. It was a good choice for a game, given it is easy to just log off and finish later, with the itemization and stats much more simplified when compared to the earlier versions of the game. I'll be quick to list the points of the game that impressed me the most:


The fashion designer of this team is better than WoW's: the gear looks pretty and makes you want to progress. No, really, I enjoyed getting new gear to look pretty in flowing robes as opposed to kill monsters quickly. Believe me, monsters die quick enough with the wizard.

It is not difficult to pick gear: aside from the brainless calculator, stats are easy to figure out and there is no more point distribution drama, to ponder about different builds and not being able to reset.

Runes are more flexible than talent trees: you can change at any point the spells you use. No more buying and regretting latter, no more build a spell just because it is required for the next level like it happened on Diablo 1. Same thing for the companions, you can change their skills at any point.

Gems are not set in stone: believe it or not, the jeweler in this game is so GOOD that he mastered the ability to remove a gem from a setting! So no more drama over socketing gems that are still not fully upgraded.

Everybody's got a journal: there are a lot of pieces of lore throughout the game, like bestiaries and journals that help you catch up with the story or find out what happened between Diablo 1, 2 and finally 3. Some have nice touches of humor, which is always helpful. Dialogues are also nice and to the point, with some humor here and there.


Online gameplay: I haven't tried to join public games, and I don't see myself doing it at any point soon, simply because I have a limited time to play, and would rather just be either by myself or in the company of people who already know my style of playing. With that said, I could have had the game as offline only, but the few times I played with friends, it was fun.

"Replayability": I intend to finish the game again with a different class, just not sure which yet. I'll also play it again on my wizard to reach the spells on the higher levels, and also to play with my friends in the more difficult levels.

Tristram Cathedral still exists: so unexplained. I personally would have imploded the place after the events of the first game, used some good concrete at the entrance and built a shopping mall on top. But these folks just like Tristram I suppose.


Overall, I think the game is too expensive. I finished it way too fast given I don't have much free time right now, and that I am the "explorer" kind of player who'll open all the maps and clear everything before moving on. The story is nice, but some of the plots I was able to guess, while others seemed too familiar with something I had already seen. It is a great game though, I had a lot of fun and know what I'll be able to play it again a couple more times and still be entertained. I suppose the "replayability" is the selling point when looking at the price tag.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Landscapes and inventory heaven (GW2 Beta Weekend)


This past beta weekend I didn't have much time or energy to play, but did spend some time with the game. In the end, I tried some more professions, explored and tried some crafting, and I am glad it was fun to go "the other way", where I did a bunch of miscellaneous things instead of just focusing on leveling up.

Inventory Heaven
In most games I turn off the public channels. Some rare ones won't be too obnoxious and actually have information, and since it is a beta, I keep an eye on it for tips and tricks, and that is when I found this piece of heaven: your bank has dedicated crafting space.

Yes, dedicated crafting space.


Doesn't end there. You can send gathered materials to that "collection" wherever you are, from your adventuring bag to the safety of your account wide bank.



I simply love this. One of the reasons I won't play LotRO somedays is because I know I have a huge game of tetris on my inventory to go through before I can head out into the wilds. The ability to simply send materials instead of having to go on a long trip to deposit precious materials in between adventures will make my hoardy-crafty self very happy.

Landscapes
I love taking pretty screenshots. Sometimes I never visit them back, but I like to take them for some reason. Might be a frustrated photographer inside or me somewhere.

Here are some I'd like to share, each one from one of the different capital cities, which have been a join to explore:

Divinity's Reach
Black Citadel
Hoelbrak and my Elementalist
Character Concepts

So far my favorite race is the human, and favorite profession the elementalist, which of course unite to be the character I played the most. While trying other professions, the ranger, engineer and mesmer were also fun, and I am pretty sure I'll have a norn ranger at some point. The mesmer I still can't think of a race that seems to match nicely, other than another human. As for the engineer, I am wanting a tiny asura.

I did try the Charr, but I just find it hard to have them match a profession other than something melee. It is silly, but I keep thinking they should just use those huge claws and fangs instead of a silly dagger or a gun.

Cooking

The amazing discovery that bread + butter could create this
The crafting I checked with detail is cooking, because it is the only one that made sense in my mind to try and play around with the "discovery" system. Basically, you can try to mix and match ingredients in order to discover recipes. While a lot of people have been saying that a wiki could kill that, what I say is that it only "kills" it if you read it, and I don't intend to.

Foods give buffs, and I found fun to do the discoveries. Also, some karma vendors (kinda like factions) sell special recipes that might touch the collector side of me. I did think about trying a more gear creation or alchemy oriented tradeskill, but failed at it. Maybe next time.

Final thoughts
I still need a guild! Might join some folks at work that are going to play, but I am not sure yet. The game has been fun, it is beautiful and I feel not only free, but also encouraged to explore freely instead of sticking to a "leveling patch".

What about you guys? Playing some GW2? Just looking and not sure yet about what you see and read?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

LotRO on Steam and picking a new game


A short weekend update: I need to pick between Diablo III, Skyrim or Guild Wars. So far I think I'll get Diablo III: the mindless aspect of the game seems to be a good choice to play after a long day. But then I am very curious to play Skyrim. And Guild Wars' trial was fun, yet lonelly. When I'll have the time to play the game I pick? No idea, it's a gift and I'll take it.

Also this weekend, I'll be playing my GW2 Elementalist in the Norn area. I checked the human area already and loved it, so to avoid spoiling it, I'll just stay clear of it. So far the snowy area of the Norn is not much to my taste in looks, I prefer green pastures and flowers. Their quests have interesting aspects though, with hungry bunnies attacking you and snow ball fighting.

I'd also like to remember Steam users about LotRO being available there now. I'm trying to convert my installation using this "guide". It should be good news for those who have problems with Pando Media, since the download can be done through Steam now.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The books about Tyria


As I move on into another series of books, I am very happy I took the time to read both "Ghosts of Ascalon" and "Destiny's Edge". At first I was unsure, thinking I'd be lost in the story and the world since it is about Tyria, the world of Guild Wars, a game I have not played past my short experience with the trial.

What I found out is that the authors were very skilled to make the books independent from the game. All the details that would have been explained in the game lore are there, and not with pages and pages of boring "let's go back and explain this". No, it is done through the story in very well measured amounts.

"Ghosts of Ascalon" is my favorite. It is dark but with humor, mystery and a good ghost story. A BIG one. It has elements of the typical fantasy book without being cheesy, without the "hey, since everyone is heading east, we are all best friends now". It gets realistic on that point, of how the characters have to "deal" with each other in a point where the races or Tyria are still trying to get used to each other. The events of this book, from what I understood, happen after "Destiny's Edge", and some of the events from that book will appear here, which makes it a book I'll have to read again at some point.


"Destiny's Edge" is a bit more cheesy, on a lighter mood and predictable in many points, until you stumble upon the twists, of course. The "light and dark" moods were put together nicely, and the authors are kind enough to skip parts that would not be interesting (something I've been wanting in books after so many 10-book-long series I've read). The combat is very well written, to me anyway. It never gets so complicated that I just want to skip a page since I got lost after the third somersault and four kicks in two different guys. It is simple, just enough for you to enjoy the book rather then hope it will take long before the next combat "scene". 

It is difficult for me to talk about the books without putting spoilers, so I'll stop. I just wanted to share that they are unique and a very good read if you are wanting to understand the lore in Guild Wars 2 a little better. Even if you are not interested in the game at all, they are two good "standalone" fantasy stories in a same world, Tyria. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thank you NBI!


The month of May has come to an end, and I am very happy I have participated in the Newbie Blogger Initiative as a newbie blog. My blog might be a little "old" but I am not an experienced blogger, and it was fun to post again more regularly and with lots of inspiration.

I also loved to meet new blogs and people. I will highlight three of them as requested by Ambermist's challenge:

I am not sure if this is the author's objective, but I really like his sense of humor and the way he writes, going on about something, then taking a turn somewhere else but being able to come back. Sure keeps me entertained.

Love the diversity on subjects and the easy to read design. This place doesn't help me and the way I'm avoiding to get Diablo 3 before I finish my other games.

The author is able to create long yet "not lost" posts, and as a "newbie", it is impressive. Not many can write long posts and keep me reading.

Special thanks!

Thank you Ambermist for all the challenges. It kept me both thinking and visiting different blogs, it was a ton of fun and inspiring!

Thank you Syp for organizing the whole thing!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A year of blogging


Today it marks the one year anniversary of my first blog post here. It feels it has been a much shorter time, and the number of posts also point out to me that I haven't "worked" much on the blog.

Since May 27th 2011, I have posted 70 times (71 with this one), mostly about games I play, and mostly about MMOs. I started with a blog post where I tell a bit about myself and why I was starting the blog. Also, the blog had a different name, "Games for Dessert", but it attracted people looking for recipes, and I didn't like the name that much, so I just changed it to my screen name. It also gave me more freedom to post about something else other than games if I felt like it.

On his defense, he meant centaurs

From that original post on why I started the blog, much has changed in my life, and just a few about my intentions on blogging. It used to be more about not forgetting how to write proper english and less about community, and now it is more about the later. Also, the NBI project helped me re-shape my ideas of posts to write and things to share.

Hopefully in a year I'll be making a similar post. Thank you everyone that joins me talking about games, and all of the folks from the NBI project! You inspired me to retake this blog and continue this hobby of mine to write about games.