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.