Category: Event Coverage

15 Jun

E3 2015: Fallout 4 Showcase

E3, Event Coverage, Fallout, RPG by Tramell

Fallout 4 - E3 2015 Header 01

Late last night, Bethesda kicked off E3 with their first ever E3 press conference to showcase some of their upcoming titles. The healthy list includes games like Doom, The Elder Scrolls: Tamriel Unlimited, Battlecry and recently announced Fallout 4 and rumored Dishonored 2. Doom looked beautiful but with this long-established franchise you know what you are getting. I’m familiar with The Elder Scrolls MMO and they just launched on consoles so they are still going strong over there at ZeniMax Studios. Not much was shown outside of a trailer for Dishonored 2 but it still manage to peak my interest as we can now choose to play as a female protagonist, Emily Kaldwin, the daughter of the murdered Empress from the first game. All and All there were good showings but today I want to focus on what was revealed about the next iteration into the Fallout series, Fallout 4.

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest Fallout fan out there.Something about post-apocalyptic settings just never quite did it for me. The challenge in living in one is a curious thing, it’s just the bland brown color palette that populates it that turns me off. I’m a fan of color and I love variety so when the teaser trailer hit prior to the event I was genuinely interested. Using an improved version of the Creation Engine, the same engine that powers The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim their palette expanded greatly even though the setting has the same theme and tone. Even though a building is old and decrepit doesn’t mean it has to be only a few shades of brown. As people repair it and add-on to it into a makeshift whatever, different pieces are added, red panels from an old gas station, some metal recycled from vehicles to give it patchwork feel but stay true to that dysphoria theme. Everything really popped.

Spoiler territory going forward, so be warned. The game starts you off in futuristic Boston with a family before it succumbs to a nuclear attack . It begins in the bathroom where you pick your avatar and customize them. Character creation and visuals have been massively improved and are a far cry from what we have seen in the past, although I could still see people making a plethora mods that alter character meshes and textures. Once again you have the option of choosing between a male and female avatar and you customize them by simply clicking on various portions of the face and making your adjustments. To note, no matter what sex you choose they will be full-voiced. As a bonus a baby is also randomly generated depending on how you design your avatar and spouse.

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16 Apr

A Tailored Buffet [WildStar]

WildStar - Mailbox Header

Every since WildStar was announced in 2011 I found myself intrigued by the game. Perhaps you could attribute this to the art style but, I was genuinely interested in their design approach. Over and over, Carbine Studios stated that they just wanted to make a fun game and cater to as many people as they could. To create an environment that not matter what the played did, they could enjoy themselves. This lead to development of content rich areas, unique play experiences and, sandbox-like features that enables players and guilds to create their own footprint.

When I played the game at Pax East this year I was able to experience some of that philosophy first hand. Getting a taste of the Dominion faction in the Dredune starter are, a Draken tribal area, I started out playing as a Cassian Spellslinger who specialized in the Solider Path. Right out of the gate, I seen the wealth of content and how it all melding together. The first quest I received tasked me with proving myself by hunting nearby creatures, a basic quest to introduce combat. However, since I chose the Soldier’s Path during character creation, I also had the opportunity to test stick grenades on the same wildlife I had to hunt. Essentially I was completing two quests at once but I was receiving a tailored experience from my path.

The combat varies with each class but the fundamental rules apply, don’t stand in the fire and be aware of your situation and surroundings. The game has dodge mechanics as well as, free form moves that allow you to DPS as you manuever. Do note however, that there are skills that will root you in place. Monsters will telegraph any big moves they are about to unleash, they vary from conal attacks, charges, and some skills randomly target the surrounding area. There is a mix of strategy and on your toes reactions. Utilizing your skill set, you slowly learn what a monster is capable of and adjusting the way you do combat to take it down efficiently.

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27 Mar

Pax East 2013: The Giveaways – Krieg the Psycho

Borderlands 2 - Krieg the Psycho Header

Update: A winner has been picked. Thank you all for participating. There was a lot of interest in Krieg. I’d like to think it was the dynamite downed state.

While I was at Pax, I was able to gather a few goodies to give away to my readers and those of you I interact with through social media. I’ll keep it simple, if you are interested in any of these goodies, just shoot me an e-mail me Tramella1 -at- gmail dot com letting me know which giveaway you want to be a part of and the best way to reach you in case you are one of the lucky winners. This can be a twitter handle, dummy e-mail, anything you feel comfortable with. If you are coming here from Google+ or Facebook, you can leave a comment on the post and that will also act as an entry to the two giveaways.

On Saturday, March 30, 2013 around noon time, I will draw names from a hat for each prize.

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27 Mar

Pax East 2013: The Giveaways – Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Beta Key

FFXIV A Realm Reborn Logo 02

Update: A winner has been picked. Thank you all for participating. The turn out was great!

Another giveaway, same deal, send an e-mail me Tramella1 -at- gmail dot com letting me know which giveaway you want to be a part of  and the best way to reach you in case you are one of the lucky winners. This can be a twitter handle, dummy e-mail, anything you feel comfortable with. If you are coming here from a social media site, you can leave a comment with the same details on the post and that will also act as an entry to one of the two giveaways.

On Saturday, March 30, 2013 around noon time, I will draw names from a hat for each prize.

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25 Mar

Pax East 2013: Photo Dump

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For starters, I thought I would show some of the photographs I took during my trip. Forgive the quality, working with a seven-year old point & shoot. I will be doing more in-depth posts as the week goes on. I have to say, I think I went to more panels this time then I previously did, which isn’t a bad thing. I learned a lot this year and since I wasn’t with the media this time around I had time to explore some of the stuff I ordinarily wouldn’t have such as tabletop and the arcade areas.

Look forward to posts on the various panels I attended and some of the games I had a chance to check out, especially WildStar and The Elder Scrolls Online. Still recovering from my trip and settling back in. Enjoy!

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19 Aug

Videos of the Week: WildStar Gamescom 2012 Footage

Gamescom, News, WildStar by Tramell

Ever since Pax Prime 2011, Carbine Studio’s MMO, WildStar has been quietly being developed. Aside from the WildStar Wenesdays and #Wsuplink on Twitter information has been pretty sparse over the year. At Gamescom 2012, they held private demonstrations showcasing combat, world design, philosophy, and teasing future content. What I came away with after watching all the videos and what really impressed was their mentality of “keeping the experience fresh.”

The world design is expressive and varied. As the developer flew around you can see the environment constantly changing along the way. The monsters found within have unique way of attacking and with the way combat being very movement heavy, the environment you fight said monster in can offer a different experience. There are places where you can interact with the world such as, blue crystals embedded into the ground that allows you to jump higher and reach new areas that may have hidden gems. You can set off a box of fireworks to destroy enemies in the vicinity if you’re a stealth class. I really like that type of interaction, it makes me feel more connected to the world  because it break away from the “kill stuff, loot and repeat” mindset you develop as you play creating that dreaded laundry-list playstyle.

One thing that does worry me though is that they added tons and tons of content. I hope it is all meaningful and not just the same thing with a simple word swap. It’s inevitable but mask it a bit. Instead kill 17 this or collect 72 of that, I would like see a “research this node over here” objective and I just happen to kill 20 of tigerbear-magi pigs along the way. Perhaps something in the way of Guild Wars 2 and  provided varied objectives for a given area or simply hide the number count and players fill up a progress bar instead. Hopefully they can mask the grind well with varied objectives, visual elements and gameplay.

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06 Jun

E3 2012: That Old Chestnut

E3, Event Coverage by Tramell

So the conferences have come and gone, and what I released it that it’s the same old thing. Like previous years, Microsoft was pushing the Xbox 360 as the living room device, while Sony continued to cater the “core” gamer with lovely exclusive titles and Nintendo finally getting into the HD era with the Wii U; surprisingly they still suck with third party titles. Nothing grand happened during the conferences but, there were some interesting tidbits here and there.

With the imminent release of Window 8 for PCs and tablets, Microsoft is trying to bring it all together with the Xbox SmartGlass software platform. SmartGlass is designed to allow tables and phones to connect with the Xbox 360. The example they gave was a Windows 8 tablet transferring a movie from its screen to the TV connected to the Xbox 360. Nothing revolutionary but it is nice to see a big company like Microsoft add on features to an already decent experience. They also gave examples of SmartGlass functioning with games, although in concept form, a thought came to mind that SmartGlass would be used to combat the Wii U tablet controller functionality.

For example, a tablet could be used with the Madden NFL series to create custom plays on the fly or hot swap in players before a snap. In Halo 4, it was used as a platform to review the schematics of weapons and to see your friends and join their games on the fly. All neat ideas but, unless the tablet is baked on a screen I cannot really see a lot of people utilizing it unless they already owe the hardware. When you have to use another device besides your game controller, it does not seem to work. Hell, people do not want to talk to their Kinect let alone pick up another piece of hardware. Regardless I think the ideas are cool but I do not know how successful it will be until they can create an experience people cannot do without.

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01 May

Newbie Blogger Initiative

Event Coverage, News by Tramell

So, apparently I’m out of the loop. Syp over at BioBreak has spearheaded a month long community event called the Newbie Blogger Initiative. The goal of NIB is to inspire those who are on the fence about starting up their own MMO blog, by providing a medium for them to ask questions and receive advice.  It’s no small effort as there are countless bloggers already registered and prepared to dispense knowledge to anyone with questions.

I remember when I first started to blog, I sort of fell into it after being part of the now deceased MMOVoices community. I remember stumbling across the site looking for MMO specific podcasts; I liked what I saw and heard, and decided to try my hand at participating in the community. Reading everyone’s work about the games they love, they wrote anything from game journals, editorials, to plain screen dumps. I just had to try my hand at writing. Mind you, I have absolutely no background in writing aside from the crud I churned in school for a decent grade.

I launched my own WordPress based blog titled, Steel Harmony. At the time I didn’t even know what I wanted to write about let alone think how bad I was at writing, I didn’t know any HTML, barely did any image editing, and no idea how much of a command I had over the English language, but damn it, I was just determined to do something if anything. My first post was about a game that just launched recently, TERA. I don’t even recall what I wrote about, but the goal was to shed some light on the game since back then it was just a pipe dream for a few dedicated fans that were able to dig up information on the game.

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13 Apr

Pax East 2012: The Value of Feedback #DAW

I wasn’t sure how I would open in this but, this experience is something I wanted to share with everyone who reads my blog and those who are a part of developer appreciation week. During Pax East, I had the opportunity to attend both BioWare panels, one regarding the future of Dragon Age and the other about the Mass Effect franchise. The one in particular that I am going to talk about today is the Dragon Age panel.

It is easy to get absorbed in the internet and hop on the bandwagon to hate everything that ever existed, that developers are out to get gamers but sitting in on the panels reminded me of the fabulous side of the relationship between developers and players. Mike Laidlaw, David Gaider, Mark Darrah, Jessica Merizan, and Shane Hawco took the time to share their ideas for the next Dragon Age, as they since canceled the expansion for Dragon Age 2.

Mike Laidlaw and crew talked about some of the feedback they received from Dragon Age 2 and how they planned to implement it in Dragon Age 3. The three topics they focused on were equipment for followers, decisions that matter, and the reuse of levels. I guess one of the big things people missed was being able to gear up their companions. In Dragon Age 2, you just give them weapons and accessories but their look doesn’t change.

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11 Apr

Pax East 2012: A Recap

So, Pax East has come and gone yet again. I’ve come a ways since last year’s Pax East, which was my first time I attended a video game convention. I’m blessed with being able to write about games, although it’s not a paid position it helps me stay focused and work on improving myself. This year I was able to schedule a few appointments to check some of the  higher profile games as well as get some hands on time with around some of the smaller titles sandwiched in the convention center. Along with checking out  the games, I had the pleasure of meeting up with friends at the yearly tweet meet up. As you might have guessed, a few of us got into a rousing debate about the Mass Effect 3 endings and of course, MMO talk in general. Even with all that, Pax East almost never happened for me this year.

When I got in Thursday, I was shocked to have found out that something was amidst with my credit card that I was using to pay for the hotel. One thing lead to another and the money that I needed to check-in with was locked away until Saturday morning. I was very close to losing out on my reservation and would have been left waiting or at least scramble around looking for a place to stay. The ultimatum would be to turn tail and head back home because of my stupid mistake.

Fortunately, Steven, one of Jason’s buddies that I was rooming with could cover the costs when he arrived late in the night until I had access to my digital stash of greenbacks. After that, everything went smoothly but needless to say, I wish I had a better Thursday night.

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