Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PAX East 2014 - The year of the MOBA

So PAX east 2014 has come and gone, and with it, all semblance of sleep and a regular day pattern.  I spent all three days hanging out at the con, and thought I'd share some of my thoughts on what I saw there.

So the reason I'm calling this the year of the MOBA is that alot of the big name games there this year were MOBAs.  League of legends were of course there, with a massive booth in the corner of the expo hall.  Blizzard was there as well, showing of Heroes of the Storm and the new WoW expansion, Warlords of Draenor.  The new orcs must die game was also a MOBA, and a new one called Dawngate had signs all over, and gave out free beta codes in every swag bag at PAX.  Along with that, we also got new cards against humanity packs, league of legends skins and even some pwnmeal (oatmeal holding the cards against humanity packs) and some other small items we could now use.  There were some other big name games there this year, including the new Wolfenstein, The evil Inside, Battlemage Lickdom and of course, Wildstar.

Alas, I did not get a chance to play many of the big name titles, as the lines for the expo halls were long, and I did not get in early enough.  I did see one game that looked very interesting, a new RTS called Grey Goo, but the section of the con they were in kept dropping power, so I did not get a chance to play it either.  I did get to play the new orcs must die, which was alot of fun, and some indie games along the sides.

Honestly, this year was mostly me catching up with some good friends, seeing a few panels (one run by my new friend Ben, who gave a good panel on how to be a better GM) and of course, meeting new people in the lines, playing some tabletop games and just enjoying the overall atmosphere.  Looking forward to next year, where I hope to post a day by day synopsis.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Diablo 3 - Reaper of souls

So been a bit.  Not dead yet, just been working on some stuff here and there.  Let's get down into a new review shall we?  This time, we're hitting up the new Diablo 3 expansion, the Reaper of souls.

This is going to require a little bit of back story to understand why this expansion and patch were such big game changers to the game.  When Diablo 3 first came out, it had one big problem going for it.  The real money auction house, and the loot system tied to it.  For anyone who has never played any of the Diablo games, it runs a very simply formula.  You kill monsters, to get more loot, to kill even bigger monsters, to get better loot, wash rinse and repeat.  Diablo 3 kept to this style, but added an auction house to sell the items you did not want to other people for in game currency or real world money.  In theory, this could have gone very well.  In practice though, the loot that dropped was actually almost never useful to your character.  For example, let's say your playing a Barbarian.  Big hulking warrior, you need strength, vitality and possibly crit chance and such.  The problem being, you'd get items like wands, crossbows and non strength items, which were no use to your character.  So you had to trade for better items to progress through the game.  Gaining even one better piece of equipment in this game can mean the difference between trudging through a pack of monsters, or laughing gleefully as you rip them to shreds and carry onto the next group.  So to combat this problem, Blizzard recently released patch 2.0, nicknamed by the community loot 2.0 patch.

This patch addressed a few issues.  The first of course being the loot system.  With this, loot was geared much more towards your toons that you were playing, so barbarians got mighty weapons, while wizards would get wands and demon hunters bows.  It also increased the rate at which you got items, so you were constantly getting upgrades and improving your character.  This was also accompanied by a new paragon level system.  Once you hit max level, you were then able to keep leveling, acquiring paragon levels and using them to increase your stats, such as strength, life on steal, movement speed and others.  This gave a way for you to continue to level your character once you hit max.  Combined with the fact that all of your normal characters and hardcore characters share paragon levels, and it helps you begin new toons, giving them a nice boost to start the game.  They also changed the difficulty levels of the game.  Now enemies scale in level with you, and you can increase the difficulty to acquire more rewards for your efforts.

Now onto the expansion.  The actual expansion adds a new act (Act 5) a new class (Crusader) 10 more levels (making the max 70) and a new mode (adventure).  The crusader is a holy warrior, much like the paladin of diablo 2, wielding sword and mace in conjunction with laws and holy spells to smite their enemies.  Act five sees you chasing down the angel of death, preventing him from killing all of humanity in sanctuary and taking you through westmarch, the marshes and even Pandemonium, the battle field between heaven and hell.  The biggest draw of this expansion to me though, is the adventure mode.  This mode allows you to travel to any map in the entire game to fight whatever you desire.  Along with this, the game gives you random quests called bounties to complete.  These will give you gold, exp, blood shards and rift shards.  The blood shards can be used to gamble on new items for your characters, and the rift shards can be used to summon nephalem rifts.  These rifts contain random zones and monsters, along with a final boss in each that rewards you greatly for your efforts.  This to me is the real meat and potatoes of the expansion, and will keep me playing for a great long while.  If you own the original, it's in your best interest to get the expansion, as it only makes a good game even better.