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Streaming vs. Blogging

I’ve been talking with Graev and our K&G Community for a long time about the rise of video game streams.  A couple of them were harassing me last night because I do tend to rant and “QQ” when it comes to this new found medium for gaming commentary and entertainment.  It’s big.  There’s no doubt about it.  Seriously, people are making a living doing it, all the consoles are building it right into their feature list, and game developers are starting to pay (too) much attention to those who stream their games.  Let’s break this down.

Streaming vs. Blogging

Yeah, it was inevitable.  Podcasts, Blogs, Youtube videos, etc., all had their big day.  Streaming is in the spotlight now and it will be for a long time.  About a year ago was when the start of the decline began.  We certainly haven’t let up around here, and never will, but we’re feeling the burn.  Streaming provides that TV level of visual stimulation.  I won’t lie — even I prefer watching streams over reading blogs!

I feel like blogs and written commentary typically provide a higher level of quality commentary.  Streams are entertaining, and blogs are more analytical / academic / theoretical / philosophical/etc. It’s watching a tv vs. reading a magazine or a book.

Streaming is becoming a money maker.  In all the time we have ever blogged we’ve never once turned a profit.  We run ads here and receive donations to help us cover costs, but we still lose.   I can’t even fathom how or why I would want to do this for a living — it’s simply not the feel we’re going for here.  Streaming on the other hand feels, as a whole, more like a capitalistic endeavor.  That’s really not a bad thing, but it sets a tone. [Read more...]

Random Loot Drops

I’m playing a lot of Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls lately.  The game has truly devolved (or evolved depending on how you look at it) to be all about running Bounties and Rifts to obtain random drops.  That’s really the entire game now, which actually brings it closer to what made Diablo 2 so great.

As boring as that sounds, my enjoyment has gone way up.  I’m putting hours into D3 now, and I feel this overwhelming urge to keep going. That next monster is going to drop my Mask of Jeram.  That next Bloodstone gamble is going to have my sword.  It’ s always that drive to see what drops next that keeps my going.  I am a slave to and worship the RNG.

Maybe there’s a powerful motivator here that can be applied to other games, or has already been applied in the past.  I look back to the days of EverQuest, and I remember camping the Cyclops of Ocean of Tears.  I remember Graev spent 2 days straight camping the Ancient Crocodile hoping that he would drop the pants.  I would camp the Efreeti Lord Djarn to try and get the Golden Efreeti Boots for days.

I like world drops.  I like random loot.  I think I find way more enjoyment obtaining loot in this fashion than I do from questing or earning points to buy things.  There are moments of pure rage when I get the same stinking random hat four times in a row, and still can’t get the one I want, but that’s part of the randomness to it all.   I’m a fan of open-world dungeons where people get into groups and simply fight monsters.  I like slaying monsters with friends in any medium.  Doing it known there’s a chance for a great item I need to drop — all the better.

Thoughts? I know much of today’s modern MMO and gaming scene will disagree.  Is there room for more RNG, more meaningful world drops, more camping, etc., in our games?  I think there’s something there worth investigating.

Why Greenlight AAA titles?

When I see a decade old game at one point published/owned by one of the largest gaming companies on the planet trying to Greenlight a game on Steam, I can’t help but feel perturbed.  Perhaps I don’t understand Greenlighting a game.  I thought this was a chance for games that otherwise stood no chance of ever ‘making it’ to be voted on by the Steam community.  I thought Greenlight was a platform to encourage upcoming designers and developers to have a means of getting their games out to the masses — it’s about the players getting they games they actually want on Steam.

I have nothing personal against EA.  I love most of their games.  Heck, DAoC?  You guys know I’m a fan of Dark Age and UO as well.  I just don’t think it’s fair for them to be on Greenlight. Aren’t these games on Origin?

Isn’t Greenlight the only way to get new games on Steam?  They say so themselves.

Nah that’s total crap.  Games get added all the time and never appear in Greenlight.  It replaced the submission form, the form people who don’t ‘know people’ use.  In other words, if you aren’t a publisher you had to fill out a detailed form to get Steam to even care about you.

Does it matter as long as gamers get the games they want?

I guess not.  To me it just clutters and tarnishes what I thought Greenlight was all about.

WTF do you care, Keen?

I feel like fighting for the little guy.  I have lots of friends who are fighting or did fight hard to get their games on Steam.  Some got there and others did not.  Seeing Dark Age of Camelot just truck on in kinda sucks.  We love indie game devs here, and we try hard to write about any great indie games we find.  Send us your indie games for us to try and if we think our readers will find interest in what you’ve made we will definitely share it with them in one way or another.

Healing in The Elder Scrolls Online

My character in ESO is coming along nicely.  I guess you can say I play a “Blood Mage.”  I’m a Nightblade with a Restoration Staff, and I plan to one day become a vampire.  I take the life force from others and siphon it off to heal myself and my allies over time.  I can also lay down some great ‘smart hots’ and ‘aoe hots’ (heal over time) abilities to a group.  Everything I do is based around living longer than the enemy, and killing them in the process.

Honestly, I haven’t spent a lot of time in PvP.  Most of my time is spent PvEing with Graev and enjoying the world.  My healer has been more than capable of all content I’ve encountered.  Graev (tank), our friend as a DPS, a random DPS, and myself cleared all of the 20-23 dungeons (3 of them) yesterday in a marathon session.  All of them were actually pretty easy for me to heal.  The hardest encounters are those with lots of monsters all activating abilities at once.  If people stay out of the red circles, block when they need to block, and play it smart then my spec works great.  I contribute to the DPS and keep everyone alive with moderate effort.

I say moderate effort, but it’s not quite the same as other games.  Healing can be frantic.  I feel almost like a Druid in WoW.  I won’t ever have the direct heals of a Paladin, and I have to keep everyone hotted up.  I don’t stare at hotbars and play wack-a-mole.  I pull out my bow and fire off some shots, cast lots of siphon spells, and contribute to the DPS as much as possible.  I’m enjoying myself.

The dungeons themselves have been pretty decent.  The boss fights are fairly straight forward, and the trash mobs are just enough to give you pause but not enough to feel like you’re wading through trash.  We’ll have to see how the later ones pan out.

My build is still missing 3-4 very key abilities that will make everything I do 10x better.  Part of that involves becoming a vampire, which itself is pretty involved and carries with it a series consequences like you find in previous Elder Scrolls games.  If I can convince Graev, well go into PvP tonight and I’ll be able to bring you more of those impressions.

Overall, I have to say my class choice has been superb thus far.  I can kill things quickly, live almost forever, and bring a ton of group utility. Check out a video of us killing a boss in last night’s dungeon run after the break. [Read more...]

Update on my Landmark Life

keen-landmark-garden

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Landmark.  Yep, I’m still playing!  I’m eagerly awaiting the upcoming patches, though.  Right now the game is still all about gathering some resources and making nice looking things.  Every time I write about Landmark I seem to say the same thing: I can’t make nice looking things.  Nothing has changed, but that’s okay.

Thinking back to the hundreds of hours spent in Minecraft, very little of it was spent making nice looking things.  Most of it was spent making things that do something.  I never cared that my house looked a certain way — I cared that inside was an automatic machine that processed my ore and sorted it into chests.

I look at my little garden I made in Landmark a couple nights ago, and I wished that I could make something that harvested the plants.  Heck, I wish the plants grew.  I like tinkering and decorating, not building.  The difference makes sense to me, and hopefully you get what I’m trying to say.

The near future of Landmark is going to be exciting.  Caves are being added, and that means I can go out and explore.  I hope they move resources underground and introduce rare items. I want to be the guy that finds the rare gems and sells them to the people who have the ability to make them look nice on a bookshelf.  I want to find rare recipes, discover unseen caves, bring back treasures, etc.  All in due time.

Keen-powered-pulverizer

Say hello to MY little friend!

Right now my current project is an underground gnome city.  I’m thinking lots of glowing gems, lights, little houses, etc.  It’ll resemble something between Mekalia and Ak’anon. My hope is that by putting it underground I can rely on the intentional imperfect look to disguise my crude building skills!

I just made a Legendary Powered Pulverizer.  I’m quite proud of the fact that I got it on my first try, and horribly saddened by the fact that it will be gone when they wipe next. :(

In general, I do feel inclined to spend less time in Landmark.  I don’t want to burn out on what’s currently in the game while waiting for more of the types of things I enjoy.  My current plan is to hop in at least 2-3 times a week for an hour or more and just continue working slowly on my little projects.