Looks Fun: Epic Tavern

Many years ago I had this idea to make a game where you run a tavern. I think I even wrote about it once or twice here on the blog. It started off as a Harvest Moon style idea then morphed into some RPG’ish management game then turned into more of a MMO-amalgamation of ideas. Ultimately, you had to run a tavern and everything you could possibly imagine that would be related to tavern life. You’d ultimately expand your tavern either by itself into some massive almost casino-like place or you’d become a city.

Like my Dad who came up with the idea for a heated ice cream scoop and my mom who had the idea for a book about a hamster class pet, I didn’t do anything with the idea but someone else had the same idea and ran with it.

I don’t support Kickstarters anymore, and I’m pretty vocal about that. So this isn’t a push toward supporting these guys, but I do like the game idea. They’ve gone with a Tavern RPG / management game, and it looks fun. They’re going with the RPG-management style and sending people out on quests as a roster management game. I’m thinking it might be like a WoW Garrison in that respect.

Neat idea, wonderful art direction, fun music, etc. Worth checking out and adding to my “buy when it comes out” list.

People Don’t Want F2P? You don’t say…

I chuckled when I read this article on Gamasutra about developers moving away from the F2P model.

In measuring pricing model preference, we found that 82% percent of US audiences, and 87% of UK audiences preferred games with a one time fee. [source]

My chuckle came because I’ve been saying this for years and years. I chuckle because I see developers who were once champions of the F2P model touting these findings when they were once the biggest offenders in the proliferation of F2P into the western market.

The push away from “buy-to-play” (aka “one time fee” (sad we have to call it that)) toward F2P — or pay-to-win, whale-to-play, whatever — trashed this industry hard. It nearly (or did) ruin the MMORPG industry by wreaking havoc on studios at a time when they were already trying to combat (or embrace) themeparkism, and left us with almost a decade of garbage games.

I’ll maintain my same position here that I hope F2P finally goes away, but I’ll caution everyone to watch out for its replacement: Premium. The new coy way of pricing games is this idea that you can get the basic game for $60, or even free’ish, but have a lot of the game cleverly hidden behind psychologically acceptable pay walls. Hearthstone, for example, straddles this concept of being “Free” and “Premium” where you can certainly play for free… but can you TRULY “play” for free?

Players seem hesitant to latch onto free-to-play games for fear content and progress will be locked firmly behind pay walls.

So they stealthily market the idea of free-to-play as bad, while hiding the same payment model behind something that feels like, “Oh you don’t have to buy that. No, that’s just there as an offer. Don’t even pay attention to that. I mean, if you want to you can. You can totally play for a low entry price and then enhance your experience with our premium status. No biggie.”  If you fall for where this is leading, you deserve it. You should be just as afraid of “digital premium titles” as you are “free-to-play” ones.  It’s like DLC on steroids.

Let’s fast forward five years from now when the polls show people don’t like “premium titles” and what they’ve done to the gaming industry, and they would like to return to games where you buy the box and get the full game.

Minecraft Wii U Edition & Mario Mash-up Pack

Minecraft Wii U Edition

Graev and I picked up Minecraft for Wii U over the weekend along with the newly released Mario Mash-up pack. That pretty much explains where my entire weekend went. The digital version is available for $29.99 on the eShop, and the physical version comes out June 17.

As a veteran to Minecraft, I’ve played a lot of what the PC has to offer. Graev is a purist and refuses to touch mods — he wants nothing to do with them, and says if he wanted something more complex then he would go and play Space Engineers. I haven’t played basic MC in years. I love Feed the Beast, Sky Factory, Tekkit, and all of the mods bundled with them. Minecraft on the Wii U is about as vanilla as it gets, sitting around v1.6.4.

Getting used to Vanilla MC again took me a little bit. I struggled to cope with going from wood to stone to iron, and there being no copper or tin in between. The resources are a fraction of what’s available. Nevertheless, these aren’t things I feel that I should ding the game for since I went outside the game to mod my experience on my own. After a few hours, I finally started to come around to what was available and began to realize there’s still potential to “make cool things that do things” (which is what I like to do in Minecraft), they’ll just take a lot more imagination and be a lot rougher.

My biggest gripe about the game is the lack of gamepad utility. It’s simply a duplicate if what you see on the screen. Huge opportunity missed here for easier inventory management or even gameplay like tapping blocks and placing blocks.

We got multiplayer up and running flawlessly in seconds. Minecraft Wii U edition comes with several texture packs, including the Mario Mash-up one which transforms a lot of blocks into Mario-themed goodies. Sheeps are Koopa Troopas on all fours, Zombies are Koopa Troopas, chickens are Goombas, plants are the Mario plants, flint and steel are the fire flower, etc. The music is also swapped out for all Mario music. It’s a TON of fun. More to come on this version soon.

Lots of other DLC packs and texture packs from with the Wii U version, but there are plenty of other bits of DLC for sale. The Skyrim pack, for example, costs $3.99 and the Star Wars Rebels skin pack is like $2.99.

Last night my wife and I also started our own split-screen world together. She’s never played Minecraft, but quickly started getting the hang of how it works. The hardest part for her is managing the controller. Two sticks at once in a 3D environment was a first for her, but she’s getting the hang of it. We made a little base underground, started mining, and getting the basics all set up.

I’m trying to figure out how to stream from my couch which is across the room from my computer. I think I’ll jerry-rig the laptop to try and stream through my Avermedia Live Gamer Portable. Should hopefully work, and I’ll be able to stream my awful vanilla MC noobiness.

Overall, tons of fun. I think 10 hours was gone in a second. I definitely recommend it for people like myself who enjoy variations on a game like Minecraft and won’t baulk at buying a game you already own on PC in order to experience it differently on a console. And of course the kids will love it too. I also enjoy the Mario goodies on the new Mash-up, and highly recommend you choose that texture pack when creating your world.

I’ll call this an early review, but I intend on showcasing the game more and talking more about the Mario texture pack once I have more experience with the game.

So Many Games. So Little Time.

I’m in some serious trouble here. There are so many great games coming out that even if I could play games all day there wouldn’t be enough time to play them all.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

View post on imgur.com

You won’t believe this, but up until just two weeks ago I hadn’t played a single game in the Uncharted series. Turns out, they’s AMAZING. I feel like this is what happened with the Assassin’s Creed series all over again. I never played them, then suddenly I had to buy them all and now I’m a diehard fan.

I picked up the Nathan Drake Collection (great deal) which contains the first three games. I’m bingeing my way through them now hoping to start up Uncharted 4 by the end of next week. Looks like the graphics are insane, and Drake goes full-spider-man.  I’ll write up formal thoughts on the collection as well as Uncharted 4 asap. I can already tell you it’s worth playing.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants in Manhattan

This one came out of absolutely nowhere. Graev texts me the other day asking which platform we’re getting TMNT on. My resounding “huh?” was followed by a few “how did I not know about this?” followed by opening my wallet again.

Graev and I have played the original TMNT games for over 20 years. When did the original NES turtles game come out? ’89? So pretty much most of our lives have been filled with TMNT. Loved the original cartoon series. Turtles in Time is still one of our favorite games. Co-op and turtles? Count us in for Turtles in Manhattan.

Overwatch

Overwatch New Blizzard IP

I’ve been on a rollercoaster with Overwatch since alpha. I originally thought it was generic, but then I found my rhythm and started to play a little more with the characters. Despite it being an absolute 100% TF2 rip-off without the mods and community aspect of servers, it’s still a really great shooter.

Graev and I are both getting Overwatch as well. In fact, I think 4-5 people from our community here are getting it and we’ll all be playing together as much as possible over the coming weeks.

Total War: Warhammer

Here’s another game Graev clued me in to. I’ve never been a Total War fan, but that’s not because I’ve played the games and haven’t liked them — I’ve just never played them. I like Warhammer enough that I think I’ll give this one a try. Of all the games on this list, I think this is the one I might wait on. Looks good though. Anyone here played the Total War games and able to share some thoughts on whether or not a Warhammer version would be good? Sure looks fun…


So yeah… games. Lots of games.  I didn’t even mention the fact that I’m having a blast with Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, Clash Royale, and World of Warcraft (finally don’t hate my Monk now that I’m tank spec). I also have a backlog of at least 5-6 more games. Ack.

Playing anything fun? Picking up any of the games I mentioned?

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X Continues to Consume Us!

I’m still having a blast in Kingdom Hearts Unchained X. In fact, my wife is too. She picked up the game almost 2 weeks after me, and is now so far past me that I’m not sure I can ever catch up. She says it’s a mixture of the Disney and the gameplay where it’s simple to understand but more strategic at times. Knowing when to use special abilities, swipe, tap, and how to build a good Keyblade are all interesting to her — me too!

I’m around level 120, and she’s pushing 170. We both have spent a great deal of time trying to maximize what we can get for free by making sure to play each day. Every day has new quests and events to do. For example, Tuesday is red (power) exp and evolve medals. Wednesday is Blue, and Thursday is green. Friday you get the evolve medals needed to go from 1-5 stars (Chesire Cat, Merlin, and Fairy Godmother). Saturday and Sunday are the more powerful evolve medals (Yensid and Sorcerer Mickey). Each day there are also events to get munny, improve your various Keyblades, earn gems, or get special rewards. Suffice it to say, there’s always plenty to do. In fact, I regularly feel overwhelmed.

KHUX Synthesis ChartThere’s a lot of meta game surrounding the accrual, leveling, and slotting of medals. Leveling medals is pretty straight forward. You put Huey, Dewey, and Louie medals into them to get them basic experience. You can also fuse like medals together (for example putting a 3* Mickey into a 3* Mickey) to synthesize that medal to increase its multiplier. Human nature of course leads us to try and find the most efficient way of leveling and synthesizing medals. The chart to the right shows the most efficient way to get to a fully synthesized medal.

Fully synthesized medals lead to a mechanic called Guilt. (Still with me?) Guilt is a trait found on 6* fully synthesized medals that acts like a second multiplier, and comes in multiple tiers based on the rarity of the medal. Rarity is probably the simplest mechanic: Some medals are common (Goofy) and some medals are rare (Mushu). Rare medals will have ridiculous Guilt multipliers, but are so rare that you’re likely to never fully synthesize a 6*. Common medals may not have as good of a Guilt multiplier, but some Guilt is better than no chance of ever having Guilt — that’s how my wife and I look at it.

KHUX Mickey Synthesis

For having spent nothing on the game, we’ve both put in a ton of time and never feel like we can’t play despite there being restrictions on how many missions you can run back to back (action points deplete). The last event was for Zootopia and had lots of neat unlocks to earn, and every night from 7-9pm there was a raid boss event for two hours where we could kill raid bosses together non-stop. That was lots of fun, and we got lots of neat little Zooptopia cosmetic items. The “end game” is the Coliseum, which I’ll talk about once I catch up to my wife who is already conquering it without me.

6 Star Mushu

KHUx has a lot more importance to the story than I initially realized. If you’re a Kingdom Hearts fan, you really don’t have a choice on whether or not to play KHUx — you sorta need to play. There will be references to this stuff in KH3. It’s free, and fun, and definitely worth playing.