Tag: PC

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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14 Oct

Screenshot Stories: A Bounty Hunter’s Tale [SWTOR]

Games, MMOs, SWTOR by Tramell

SWTOR - Kalani Sincliar Header 03

Star Wars: The Old Republic is known for its storytelling if nothing else. Within the game there are 8 classes to choose from with each of them sporting two advanced classes options. Regardless of which advanced class you pick, each class has a story to tell and your dialogue choices influences the flavor of the story being told.

Today in screenshots I present you Kalani Sinclair, my Mirialan Bounty Hunter. The story begins with Kalani being chosen by Braden, an older Bounty Hunter whose goal is to form a team to win the Great Hunt, a prestigious bounty hunter event to determine who is the best of the best in the bounty hunting trade. The Great Hunt is an event that pits Bounty Hunter against Bounty Hunter by giving them the same contract. The winner needs to complete the contract and “deal” with the competition. The last one remaining is the declared the Champion. As a promising hunter, he wants you to be the muscle of the team while the rest of the crew, Mako, Jory, and himself provide the support you will need to be successful.

Soon things take a turn for the worse as a fellow competitor, Tarro Blood, a Mandalorian who was severely injured in the previous Great Hunt decides to bend the rules and have his lackey kill off the competition’s support preventing from advancing so that he himself can take the glory that is rightfully his. In a resulting fire fight, Braden and Jory pay the ultimate price and the only people left are yourself and Mako. To salvage what’s left of the team you are left no choice but to continue your adventure on Hutta and gain the support of Nem’ro the Hutt and acquire a token that will allow you to participate in the Great Hunt.

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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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23 Feb

Return of the Gree and Galactic Reputation Impressions [SWTOR]

Games, Gaming Journal, MMOs, SWTOR by Tramell

SWTOR - Return of the Gree Header

Over the past week we received some fresh content for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Version update 1.7, Return of the Gree brought about a reputation system as well as, a fancy new world event that will recur over the year. The reputation system which BioWare calls Galactic Reputation adds organizations that you can earn a reputation with and receive special rewards and titles the farther you progress with them. The Return of the Gree event helps tell the story of the ancient race. The Gree are known for their technological prowess and they have arrived on Ilum to collect data on the two factions. The event consists of a number of daily and event specific missions that help players ease into the reputation system.

The system has 6 tiers of progression and by completing missions, you earn trophies that allot you a certain amount of reputation points. They vary in quality, the higher it is the more points you earn. There is a weekly cap to how much you can advance, so those of us with multiple characters don’t gain a significant advantage outside of earning trophies at a faster rate for the weeks that follow.

One thing to note however, reputation is legacy bound and transfers across faction. As an example, if you are playing your republic character and level up with the Voss, the same rank will apply to your character allied with the Empire. Also some organizations are mirrors of each other, such as the Republic Hyperspace Armada and Imperial First Mobile Fleet and the same example applies to them. I don’t have a strong opinion about the reputation system but, I like there is something else to be accomplished when I’m tired of my usual routine of completing flashpoints and operations or leveling my other lowbie characters – my children.

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19 Jan

Gaming Journal: Winter Thoughts [SWTOR]

Gaming Journal, SWTOR by Tramell

SWTOR - Winter Thoughts Header

Over the course of this late winter where I live, I’ve been jotting down notes to myself whenever an idea pops into my head or when I catch myself forming a strong opinion about something. I felt I should share them on my blog, since most of the time I was just using them to write longer pieces and I thought there might be another use for them. For now I’ll try talking one to three of these topics at hand and discuss them when I don’t have anything specific to talk about. Today’s blog post focuses on Star Wars: The Old Republic, I take a look at the Cartel Market, benefits of raiding, and upcoming content.

A lot of the more interesting gear and fluff come from cartel packs, which when broken down are pretty much packs you can buy that yield random goods. You open them up for a chance at rare loot(rare equipment, crystal colors, pets, etc…) and depending on your luck or how much money you invest you may or may not get the items you were looking for or items that are worth any value to recoup any of your initial investment. Essentially the packs plays on the gambling habit of the player.

At the end of the day, you are reduce to either waiting for the item to be put on the GTN at a fairly high price, good luck to you F2P players out there or, you can keep feeding money to buy cartel coins to purchase more packs. I have nothing against this particular method but it’s a real turn off for me when there is no alternative way to acquiring these items, and no, I personally don’t think paying an absurd price on the GTN as an acceptable alternative method.

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04 Sep

The Beginning of a Long Journey [GW2]

This past week has been all about Guild Wars 2, well mostly anyways. Since I pre-purchased the game, I was able to hop on for headstart and I never looked back. Starting off, I was unable to get the names I wanted but I was able to tact on a last name to remedy that situation.   Although, I named my human necromancer Cáde, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea since if I’m talking to some in PMs, I need to talk to them first or they need to dig in a menu for my name since most people are not familiar with alt key shortcuts for special characters.

Naming conundrums aside, I’ve been having a ball with the game. After reserving a name for a cherished friend I moved on to create a necromancer and norn thief. The human necromancer was a no brainer for me with the story I had setup for myself – street rat, lost sister, attuned to Grenth – but I made a bit of a gamble choosing a Norn to go with the Thief profession. I love the class a lot but, my early adventures with the Norn race during beta let me very disappointed.

During the early betas, all the dialogue felt like it was forced bravado. Everyone was gun-ho 110% of the time to the point where they all felt really one dimensional and it didn’t feel real. However, they a lot of changed that overall made the race feel a lot better while retaining that gun-ho super positive attitude that represents the Norn. So for the moment I’m enjoying my Norn Thief and sometime down the line I will pick up the Asura since I really enjoyed my time with the race during BWE 3.

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03 Aug

Not Just The Payment Model [SWTOR]

Games, News, SWTOR by Tramell

After just 8 months in, EA announced during their earnings call that Star Wars: The Old Republic will transition to a free to play hybrid model in the fall. Shortly after BioWare updated the game’s website with a slew of information going into some of the details of their free-to-play model. A cash shop along with its own set of currency called Cartel Coins, which I’m sure their conversion rates will milk an extra dollar as well as, rewarding current and past subscribers when the shop launches. With the transition the subscription will not disappear but, will act as the highest tier of service by granting you access to all the game’s features. Free-to-play players will be restricted in the usual convention means.

Those of you invested and the game and continue to pay monthly for access your experience won’t change. Those of you who are grandfathered into a free account will have limited access to the game. You’ll be restricted to how many characters you can create, how many space missions, warzones and flashpoints you can take part in per week. You will not have access to Operations or special travel features. Fortunately, if you can stomach the restricted access you will be able level up your character to the current level cap of 50. After that, they seem to hint that you will have to pay for additional content. If you have to pay piece meal or have to pay monthly after that I don’t know, those details aren’t available.

In the realm of things, I think we all could have guessed that SW:TOR at some point would adopt a free-to-play model. What the switch in revenue model does tell us is that people want options and when the only way for you to have access is to pay you judge the product based on what you release over time. Although BioWare have done well in putting together some major patches to the game that introduced new content and game changes, it wasn’t enough for most people to keep investing $15 into the game.

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27 Jul

Video of the Week: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Trailer

FFXIV, Games, MMOs by Tramell

Ever since the poor release of Final Fantasy XIV back in September of last year and the restructuring of the team, there was constant talk of a revamp for the game dubbed Version 2.0. It wasn’t long ago that Square Enix released new screenshots of Final Fantasy XIV version 2.0 to the public shortly after E3 to start the PR hype for the rerelease of the game that will transition in beta sometime in September. With the release of the new trailer, a proper name has been given to 2.0 in the form of, A Realm Reborn.

A trailer and screenshots can be found below showcasing some of the new CGI being made for the game. I’ve also included some of the screenshots showing off the new engine, monsters, and UI features found in the new version of the game.

For current players, a new blog post was added today detailing some of the discontinued features that will not carry over to a Realm Reborn. The item to summon a legendary Goobue mount will no longer be available. Guild Marks will be cut from the game as well as, some achievements, character history on the lodestone and reviewing current cutscenes.

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21 Jun

Packing up and Settling In [SWTOR]

As you might have heard, BioWare have started implementing server transfers for both the EU and NA servers. They are hand selecting a bunch of server to transfer to a particular server thus trying to carefully create high population servers. My guild and all my characters have moved from the Sanctum of the Exalted server to Ebon Hawke server. Ebon Hawke seems to be the default NA East RP-PvE server since all of the other NA East RP servers have Ebon Hawke as a destination server.

Though I am not sure how other servers are faring, the majority on SoTE made the switch as soon as it was available. Most concluded that since the server was designated as an origin server that can transfer to a destination server, that server would eventually bleed out and making a switch now would be for the best. Although the messaging from BioWare may have contradicted itself, the actual process of transfers seems to indicate they are trying to downsize with a plethora of servers being selected to transfer over to two particular servers of the same type.

Since my guild and I have made the switch, the game feels like it did a couple of months ago. People are shouting for groups, from hard mode flashpoints to daily quests. During the first few days of transfers Ebon Hawke’s Imperial Fleet actually had two instances, there was so many people hanging out on the fleet, one instance couldn’t contain them all. The server transfers have rekindled interest in the game, BioWare just needs to polish up 1.3 to give people the flexibility to form groups and finally have a system in place to give PvPers to take competition to the next level.

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27 Apr

Beta Weekend Event Prelude [GW2]

Games, Guild Wars 2 by Tramell

The long awaited beta for Guild Wars 2 is almost here. Many of us have watched from the sidelines for many years, a fortunate few, myself included had the opportunity to play the game at conventions, while others were stuck living vicariously through others via Youtube videos. Our patience is about to pay off. The first beta event kicks off this weekend allowing everyone who prepurchased the game or was lucky to attain beta codes at PAX East to play the game all weekend long. No more time-limit demos! For three days we have open access to a highly anticipated game that has plenty to offer.

Naturally some of us need a plan to gain as much insight as we can possibly muster and some of us just want to play the game and wring it for all that it’s worth .My plan of action is to focus on figuring out all the different professions as well as, testing my opinion of ArenaNet’s style of presentation in terms of the leveling game(journey). Will the Renown hearts areas and dynamic event bring a refreshing experience to the genre? The hot spots and dynamic events allows players to naturally explore the world and get involved instead of that ‘daily grind’ feeling when it comes to leveling using the traditional methods.

Along with that, I plan to play around with most of the professions and figuring out how they work in general and form a real understanding of how the function. I also want to mess around with different weapon combinations and fiddle with the trait system. I want to see how all the different professions perform when they try to fill certain roles. How can a Necromancer be tanky? Not in the “tank and spank” way but survivability and hardiness. What tools does a Thief have that allow it to support allies. So I’ll be doing plenty of profession digging throughout the beta.

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