Tag: RPG

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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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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28 Feb

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review (PC)

Games, Reviews, RPG by Tramell

When you talk about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, you cannot help but mention all the big names involved. Accomplished author R.A. Salvatore played an instrumental part in creating the world. Spawn creator Todd McFarlane spearheaded the art design of the game. Ken Rolston, lead designer for the The Elder Scrolls III and IV, started from scratch to create the fantastic combat found in the game. Former MLB great Curt Schilling brought the game back from the edge of the grave when he purchased Big Huge Games, following a falling out with THQ. Acclaimed video game composer Grant Kirkhope produced the game’s thematic score. With all these big names, did Reckoning become the blockbuster RPG that the creators hoped it would be? Follow along as I dive head first into the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The game starts you off as the first person to ever to be successfully revived by the Well of Souls, a device created to cheat death; to bring a soul back from the afterlife and create a body for it. As a result of this experiment, you are no longer bound by fate; you become the Fateless One. In Reckoning, everyone is bound by a fate that has a beginning, a middle, and an end; it can never be changed. Until you come along. In this world, you are somewhat of an anomaly and you have the ability to change your fate as well as the fate of those around you. This becomes the backbone of the leveling system and story.

Since you are a blank slate, you have quite a few ways to build your character. Borrowing MMO-like elements, there are three trees you can spend skill points on every time you level up. The Finesse tree handles abilities such as traps, poisons, daggers and faeblades. The Might tree is for people who want to play the role of a warrior. This tree focuses on improving sword and two-handed weapon as well as shield perks and other skills that allow you to become an unstoppable juggernaut. Lastly, there is the Sorcery tree. As you might have guessed, it deals with all things magic. Here, you can improve your sceptre, staff, and chakram proficiencies as well as pick up spells from the elemental planes, such as fire, lightning, and ice.

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17 Nov

The Magic of The Elder Scrolls [Skyrim]

I’m sure most of you by now have dug yourselves in with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The open-world RPG has been the talk of the town for the past few days with ZeniMax Media capping it off by announcing that the game has garnered roughly $3.5M in sales over a period of 48 hours. My experience with Skyrim has been stellar so far.

It’s the moments that make it magical

For me it’s all about the world and its many quests and tasks. There is so much to do in Skyrim that I don’t have that feeling of being rushed and okay to be distracted. Everything will eventually be completed right!? Even with all the content they packed into the game, each little slice tells a story. Even stopping to read a book containing a short story is food for the soul.

I recall roaming around near the beginner area and stumbling upon a beat-up shack. I investigate only to find a letter by the homeowner describing his eyewitness account of a dragon flying overhead. Reading on, his wife tried to convince them to leave but the man refused stating that it was okay to stay as long as we don’t bother the dragon it won’t bother us. Oh how he was wrong! My heart broke when I stepped outside and off to the side near a fire camp laid two charred bodies. I shed a single tear, although not before I pilfered some gold off the bodies.

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27 Oct

Review: Dragon Age 2: Mark of the Assassin DLC

Dragon Age, Reviews, RPG by Tramell

Bioware second content rich DLC Mark of the Assassin brings a few new wrinkles to the land of Thedas. There’s party mingling, flirtation, stealth infiltration, puzzle solving along with the goodies you come to know and love with Dragon Age 2. Mark of the Assassin takes us to the land of Orlais on the hunt for the “Jewel of the Many” being held in a private mansion of a powerful man.

Varric sets the tone early. “Let me set the scene. An invitation, an ambush, all because of Tallis.” And that’s pretty much it. The story has interesting twists and viewpoints, but overall it leaves you bewildered with unanswered questions instead of craving for more. The DLC opens up and drags you along for the experience. Although I was disappointed with the beginning of the story, I was wonderfully amazed by the entire experience. The story takes you from hunting for wyverns in the field, mingling with nobles, to infiltrating a castle. You may think that this is Dragon Age: Kasumi’s Lost Memories, but that is kind of a misrepresentation.

When you get into the swings of things, you immediately hit a few roadblocks. You’re supposed to be on a wyvern hunt, but the way they designed the environment that you’ll have to explore feels very sparse. It felt like I was on a picnic rather than a scene depicting an extravagant hunt for bragging rights.

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14 Aug

Gorgeous Character Screenshots [Skyrim]

Elder Scrolls, Games, RPG by Tramell

Reading all the previews and looking at all the videos, it is easy to tell how gorgeous Skyrim is but this week it really hit home for me as I’ve seen some of the new images being pushed out by various media outlets, detailing one of my favorite mechanics in a RPG, character creation. At QuakeCon, game journalists had the chance to tinker around with character creation before being be dropped head first into the world of Skyrim.

They created very distinct characters including a Bosmer, an Orc, and a Nord. The amount of detail has me itching to give it a go as well. I want to see a Redguard at some point since I always played them in previous Elder Scrolls games; hopefully I can create one that actually looks like me this time around.

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25 Jun

Dragon Age Legends: Shifting Momentum

Dragon Age, Facebook, RPG by Tramell

I’m still going strong with Facebook game, Dragon Age Legends but recently I noticed with all the recent tweaks & changes they are starting to possibly lose what made the game ‘fun’ for me. In my review I stated that I was enjoying the game because it was designed to be played in short bursts all the while making satisfactory progress and enjoying the gameplay enough to keep me coming back. With the recent updates I’m left wonder what exactly are they aiming for. Encounters are costing more and more energy and every fight is a long, grinding repetitive six waves of monsters with the newly released content. Overall it is starting to feel like a slow boring grind resulting in leaving me a bit burnt out.

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10 Jun

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – An E3 2011 Update

E3 has come and gone and I got the chance to watch a few demos of one of the most anticipated games this year, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. With its new Creation Engine, Radiant Story and artificial intelligence Bethesda has created a very immersive open world. I got a glimpse of the smooth sleek menu system, combat, shouts and dragons. Follow along as I detail what makes me want to move time forward as a RPG fan.

Attention to detail

Opening the demo you notice right away the rich environment of Skyrim. The area I saw was a lush forest with evergreens, mountains in the back and animals scurrying about. Here Todd Howard explained that they are paying a lot of attention to detail. He states “In an open world the player can go anywhere they want and we can’t hide anything.” Everything from flowers, rocks, to mountains are all handcrafted and every nook and cranny gets some TLC. As the dev traveled through the area I saw a fox run across the screen chasing a rabbit from the dirt path and into the bushes. Come to find out that even the animals have scripts that allow them to hunt for food or passively travel to their next breeding grounds: it’s all about the details. The animation system has received a rework so the player’s character runs differently and more realistic. Horses are in the game and they move like real horses with smooth transitions from trotting to sprinting. As you navigate the world with these fluid animations there is a lot to discover. Going downhill we were introduced to Guardian stones which functions similarly to altars in Oblivion as these stones bestow a buff on you that increase the rate you level up certain skills. When you’re in a town the townsfolk all have their own unique duties and when you speak to them it doesn’t zoom in like it did in previous Bethesda games and it provided a genuine feel and it kept you immersed in the world. In town you can take part in the crafts they do such as blacksmithing. They really want to suck you into the world no matter what you choose to do.

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28 Apr

Review: Dragon Age Legends [Facebook]

Dragon Age, Facebook, Reviews, RPG by Tramell

 

Bioware’s version of a Facebook game that they like to call ‘the first real Facebook game and after playing it I can’t verify their claims but I was impressed with the game. DA Legends is a turn based RPG mixed with a meta game of building up a castle that allows you to craft items you desperate need on your journey to become legendary. Featuring a strategically battle system and a robust castle/craft system with a sprinkle of cash shop makes this a very solid game.

Upon starting the game, you are promoted to create a character. You can create a rogue, warrior, and mage as well as a choice between male and female. They give you a few face shapes and good helping of skin and hair color. After creating my savvy female rogue, I went through a quick tutorial that shows you the inner working of the game how the game works. From walking you through combat by providing tips on digesting the information on the UI, How to attack, use skills and tips on using various items and explaining how to build you castle and setting you up with a apothecary and a worker to make you items. Outside your castle you are greeted with a simple painted map with direction lines that leads your character along a path to various points that when reached you either have to fight or pick up a reward. In the encounters, you are greeted with multiple waves of enemies each with their own weakness and strong points.

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