Gaming in the Gaps
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 May 2015, 10:36 am

It is interesting to me that in this age of graphical fidelity where it is possible to create in great detail a nuanced, fully-fleshed world that a player can delve into, that with greater frequency I find myself drawn to games that tell the story of a world in many ways through abstraction.

A decade and longer ago I was, like so many others, obsessed with the seemingly limitless potential of improving graphics in video games. From the day I bought and installed my first 3dfx Voodoo 2 with its 8MB of RAM, it's promises of unlocking impossible resolutions such as 1024x768, and its ability to actually run EverQuest, a bold game that actually required 3d acceleration, I had in my head visions of someday playing photo-realistic games.

I knew in my darkest heart's desires that someday when hyper-realistic games were the norm, they would be all I’d play.

We could quibble on how close games are or are-not to this long held, photo-realism ideal, but by any measurable means were I to hand myself a screenshot of The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition or Grand Theft Auto 5 back in 1998, I’d have conceded that these games are at least close enough. And yet, more and more these are games I play and dabble with like a kid handed a plate full of brussel sprouts and peas. I metaphorically push the games around with a fork for a while and try to cover them up with a napkin while I ask to be excused from the table.

Instead my time is monopolized by games like Galactic Civilizations 3, Order of Battle: Pacific, Rimworld, Kerbal Space Program and, of course, my long standing obsession with Paradox’s Europa Universalis IV -- take a drink! -- all games that I find far more immersive and evocative than these other games with incredibly detailed and visually stunning worlds.

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This is Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited – Exploring Tamriel
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 May 2015, 10:04 am
With nine massive and vastly diverse provinces to explore—and Oblivion beyond—Tamriel is a land that beckons to the explorer’s spirit in us all. From hunting the forces of Molag Bal to gathering natural resources for crafting to plumbing ancient ruins for treasure, your next big adventure awaits in Tamriel. Spend hours walking the bustling villages […]

Board Gaming With a New Group
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 May 2015, 10:00 am
It's Thursday!  Typically on Thursday night I have a standing business meeting with a couple of my friends/colleagues.  Lately, we've been trying to build extra time into the night so that we can fit in a board game as well as work.

It's been awesome!  These guys are all gamers, so they're always up for learning a new game.  I'm loving it.

So far I've gotten to introduce them to Lord of the Rings LCG from Fantasy Flight Games and Ticket to Ride from Days of Wonder.

Lord of the Rings LCG is a co-op card game where you play together against the quest deck.  It can be very challenging but I've had a fantastic time every single time I've played it with a group.  It's not the most simple co-op game but it's also not the most complex.  It's truly a nice middle ground on the complexity scale which is why it was perfect for this group of guys.  I knew they would pick it up fast, and they did!

Ticket to Ride is low on the complexity scale, but it's still one of my favorite games.  Even the most complicated version - Ticket to Ride Europe - you can teach in less than ten minutes.  If you pick a simpler version like Ticket to Ride America it's easy to teach in five minutes.  The best part of the game is that there's enough depth that it's held my attention across multiple versions and more times on the table than I can count.  I introduced these guys to Ticket to Ride Europe because it's my favorite and I knew they would be fine with the extra rules and conditions.

I'm hoping to get more games on the table with this group soon.  A couple of my favorites that I'm most excited for are Small World and Citadels.  After we get a nice sampling I'm going to see what they'd like to dig into more and see if we can get a regular gaming session going.

As I said earlier, we don't have time for gaming every single week... but it's turning into more of a regular thing.  And I love that.

Good luck to Wildstar during the transition to free to play! A great game. Here’s to years of entertainment!

The Most Interesting Thread In the World … errrr Forums
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 May 2015, 7:12 am

Posted in OurDDOSyndicated

Community & MediaDDO
I mean, Gilbert & Sullivan? That has to be worth some kind of bonus points.

Media Link

Ragefire Progression – Day Two
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 5:19 am
After getting my gnome enchanter to level 3 I decided that I just didn’t want to have to fight with the throngs of players for mobs in steamfont, and I also decided that I...

Ragefire Progression – Day Three & Four
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 May 2015, 7:41 am
  How things change in just a short amount of time. I decided after day two that I didn’t actually want to play a tank “just because” I thought they may be needed. In...

Anyone remember Aion?
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 May 2015, 4:14 am
I love it that Azuriel's blog has a tag for "impending doom". His latest post on that subject discusses the financial situation of Wildstar, which dropped by half from Q4 2014 to Q1 2015. Wildstar is now making less money than City of Heroes before it was shut down. Thus "impending doom". But maybe NCSoft should consider another alternative than just shutting down Wildstar.

Anyone remember Aion? I barely do. I found it to be not a particularly good game at the time, rather generic, and then it went free to play. But this "free" game is now making 7 times as much money for NCSoft than the subscription game Wildstar. "Free" Guild Wars makes even more money. To me it appears obvious that it is the business model of Wildstar that is weighing the game down like a dead albatross around it's neck, far more than any issues of content or gameplay.

In my mind Wildstar is a far better game than Aion, it has a lot more character, and some strong features like the great player housing system. I don't see why it wouldn't make as much money as Aion if it had the same business model. I'm even playing World of Warcraft for free these days, so why would I consider paying a monthly subscription for any game at this point? I believe the monthly subscription model is way past the point of "impending doom", with The Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar having clearly demonstrated that the business model is dead.
Tobold's Blog

Ragefire Progression – Day One
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 May 2015, 5:16 am
  Well, technically I suppose this is day two, or even day three for me. Day one was taken up with the server issues that Daybreak ran into, which included level 50s being created...

Endowment effect
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 May 2015, 3:52 am
The endowment effect is a psychological phenomenon where people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them. It appears that Blizzard developers aren't very well versed in psychology. They caused a huge uproar by announcing that flying isn't going to be introduced to Warlords of Draenor, nor any future expansion. People pointed at their $25 flying mounts and felt cheated. Mount collection is a huge part of the game for some people, with players willing to run old dungeons and raids many times in order to get some rare flying mount. But those flying mounts usually look horrible waddling on the ground, so being told that they will become forever useless is hurting some people big time.

There are good arguments for and against flying, but I consider all those arguments to be irrelevant. The point is not whether World of Warcraft is a better game with or without flying. The point is that because of the endowment effect you cause more damage taking away a feature than you created by introducing it. I'm very much convinced that exactly the same thing will happen when the next expansion doesn't have garrisons or some equivalent form of player housing. People get used to features, adjust their gameplay to them, and then get angry when those features are taken away. It doesn't matter how good that feature is. Devs need to make the decision of whether a feature is good for the game *before* announcing and introducing it. Constantly adding features and then removing them again just makes it appear as if the devs don't have a plan and are simply working on trial and error instead of with some vision or design philosophy.
Tobold's Blog

Are self-hosted blogs making a comeback? Should they?
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 May 2015, 12:56 am
I have absolutely zero evidence — other than anecdotal — that shows personal blogs (this is a personal blog, for example) are making a comeback. It could just be wishful thinking, of course, a thought that makes me smile and say “All of those years writing on that thing… maybe they’ll pay off!” But seriously, … Continue reading Are self-hosted blogs making a comeback? Should they?

Unofficial PBE Patch Notes for 5/28/2015
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 9:57 pm

Prehistoric Cho'Gath

Prehistoric Anivia

Prehistoric Renekton

Champion Changes


  • Parallel Convergence [W] - Max damage to minions and monsters lowered to 150 (down from 400)

AGH while Leala uses my office, I’m reading one of those books with characters who all speak perfectly. People do not speak this way!

It reminds me of a Whedon production. Every character is witty and fill of “snark.” In real life, people like that are 1) rare 2) annoying.

Amazon Contest Lets You Show Your ESO Allegiance
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 9:29 pm
The countdown to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited on Xbox One & PlayStation 4 continues with a pretty great contest on Get on Twitter, follow @amazongames, and retweet this post. Six lucky winners will win one of the consoles above — representing the Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Convenant, and Ebonheart Pact. Note: Contest is […]

May 24th, 2015 – a pretty butterfly.
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 May 2015, 8:30 pm
Looks like a swallowtail. Asked on Twitter and, yes, that’s what it was. @Beau_Hindman Tiger Swallowtail, I believe. — Misty Jackson (@MistyDragon13) May 24, 2015

May 27th, 2015: Bunny see, bunny no-see
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 8:40 pm
I love how hidden these bunnies in our neighborhoods are. Sure, you can see this one pretty nicely, but often they will be right under your foot and you won’t know. We’ve discovered that the best way to keep them nearby is to keep talking. I think when it gets quiet, they get jumpy (who … Continue reading May 27th, 2015: Bunny see, bunny no-see

Woo hoo nerds talking nerd stuff like nerds!

Cities Skyline: Ogre Town 2015
Posted by Ogrebear's Thoughts [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 7:22 pm

I haven’t blogged about this game before, but i was super existed when it came out a few months ago. Last week they release the first big patch that added new maps, but also tunnel which is super helpful when your making towns. The City game simulates every day of every year (depending on your [...]

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Patch 5.10 Notes
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 5:00 pm

Patch 5.10 Notes

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)

Saludos, Summoners.

Welcome to the 5.10 patch notes - the one where supports get some lovin'. As we traverse the land in our diversity dirigible, we're still sussing out what impact the Cinderhulk changes had on the feasibility forest, so we've now turned our sights to sustain / utility-focused supports who have languished a bit in the diversity metrics. That said, rather than kicking all of the aggressive supports in the shins (except a small adjustment for Leona's E width to match the visuals), we realized we could probably introduce some new possibilities with utility mastery changes, sustain support item improvements, and some utility-focused buffs for champions more inclined to those ways.

I love the fact that this lovely nature animated gif makes it look like the tree is getting down on the dancefloor.

Might be hard to see unless you zoom in, but that squirrel across the street is giving my dog the finger.

Everquest Ragefire: Orc Camp Level 10-12
Posted by Ogrebear's Thoughts [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 1:34 pm

So as much as i enjoy Faydwer there seem to be better opportunities for grouping inside Antonica. I Found a pretty good solo spot in Commonlands between Orc camp 2 and the undead Tower. There are lots of blue/white and some yellow bears, cats, zombies. As long as your near the mountain none of the [...]

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Introducing the Abundance Talisman
Posted by Lineage II [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 1:20 pm
Defeating powerful monsters requires powerful items, and the Abundance Talisman is a new item that can help give you the edge. These mystical artifacts are already enchanted, but players will need to upgrade and craft if they want to...

To discourage their purchase
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 May 2015, 11:13 am
This post deliberately has the same title as Azuriel's post on the subject. That is because it basically is just a small addition to the discussion of Azuriel. The issue at hand is Apexis crystal items in patch 6.2 costing gold instead of Apexis crystals. Which makes the crystals pretty useless, and opens up Blizzard to conspiracy theories linking the move to the new WoW tokens.

Azuriel quotes a dev saying: "The high pricing is deliberate to discourage their purchase in favor of crafted items or raid BoEs.". Now I make a lot of money with little work by producing armor upgrades, e.g. Hexweave Essence, from the resources that my garrisons produce. And when I see the price list of the "Apexis" gear in gold, I must say that they are not highly priced at all. If you bought a crafted epic, then applied first an Essence, then a Greater Essence, and then a Powerful Essence to it, you'd probably end up paying more for about the same iLevel. I don't think the prices "discourage their purchase in favor of crafted items" at all, and in many cases the Apexis items are also cheaper than popular raid BoEs. The move is more likely to destroy my crafting profits than to discourage buyers.
Tobold's Blog

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