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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.

Too many Games, too little time

Sorry for the slow few days around here.  We’ve actually been *gasp* playing games.

The Elder Scrolls Online

ESO launched two days ago, and I’m actually having more fun than I thought I would.  No that’s not an April Fool’s day psych-out.  I think it’s partially how we’re going about things.  Three days in we are still only level 8.  We are going really, really slow.  I long for the days when I could play 10 hours at a time — those are my weekends — but playing slow has helped avoid the burnout.  ESO is quest-heavy leveling.  The quests themselves are 85% boring and “go here do this” lead you by the nose stuff, but you don’t get lead one quest to the next — that’s part is less linear.  If I can actually get to 10, we’ll be able to PvP!  Stay tuned.

Live Streaming

We are making a serious push to stream more of the games we play and even upload to Youtube.  I got Graev a microphone, the new Playstation Gold headset, and a Live Gamer Portable.  He better stream or I’ll kick his butt.

Look for his streams every morning between 9am-12pm pacific time.  He’ll most likely be streaming a lot of Xbox One Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare.  Then look for me to stream in the evenings.  Probably a lot of ESO and EQ Next Landmark.  You can find our stream on Twitch.tv or on our stream page here on the blog.  Be sure to follow us to know when we go live!

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

Graev and I picked up RoS and started completely new characters.  We’re now on Act 5 and just (minor spoilers) beat Adra.  So far so good.  I think Diablo 3 has been patched for the better over the past year, especially in loot patch 2.0. The legendary loot drops are pretty sweet now that they have been tuned to give you pretty much a guaranteed drop every 2-3 hours.  Each boss you kill for the first time is also a guaranteed drop.  We’ll write up more formal thoughts once we finish the campaign and run some of the new Rift and Bounties.

It’s still, hard as it tries, not Diablo 2 .  Really fun though, and much improved.  Now that I think about it… D3 is probably awesome on consoles.  More on that in the D3 post to come.

So many games…

Aside from Diablo 3 and Elder Scrolls, I’m also enjoying the heck out of Landmark.  I claimed an awesome bit of open land where I’m going to build a a Harvest Moon style farm (pictures coming soon!).  It’s an awesome piece of property overlooking a lake and the ocean on a flat hilltop.  Man I love Landmark.  I’m also wanting to jump in and play more Albion Online, some original EverQuest, and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.  Sheesh, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

3DS Stuff: What I’m playing and anticipated games

yoshi-3ds-xl

I like the 3DS a lot. It’s  my favorite gaming device at the moment and probably has been for a while. Just recently I got a new special edition Yoshi 3DS XL and I love everything about it. Yoshi has always been one of my favorite characters in the Mario Universe, along with Bowser, so I was pretty excited to see the system announced around the time Yoshi’s NEW Island came out.

Plus, green is my favorite color so that’s a great bonus. That may sound curious since my Graev character has always worn a purple shirt but here is a fun fact: When the characters where originally conceived they were just made up, not based off us, and I had the dark hair, green shirt guy in mind. When I showed them to Keen he pointed to said character and said something like “Oh cool, that must be me!” and I was stuck with the the dumpy blond guy with the purple shirt. I’m not even sure I’ve mentioned that to Keen.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Stuff I’m Playing

Right now I’m actually working through Yoshi’s NEW Island and I will be doing a full write up on that soonish. Other than that I’m bouncing around in:

INAZUMA ELEVEN – A long time ago I heard about a game series that was like an RPG that played out in a soccer (football) game. I believe the games eventually made their way to Europe but they were never released in North America until recently. It was actually right after one of Nintendo’s more recent DIRECT broadcasts that they put the first game up on the eShop. I decided to give it a try since I heard a lot of good things about the game. The premise of the game is that you are a member of a soccer club at a school and you are trying to get your club up and running and your team put together.

The actual matches are played out in somewhat of a real-time strategy format. You have to use the touch screen to draw paths for your players to take and tap to have them pass or kick. It plays a lot like Blitzball from FFX, actually. When you come into contact with other players the game pauses you are given a choice of what to do to try and maintain, steal, or score a goal. Depending on your stats and who you are up against you will get different odds of success. Your players also get special abilities like powerful goal shots or ways to block shots if they are the goalie. If it sounds like I know nothing about soccer then you would be right, but I still find the game very enjoyable.

POKEMON BATTLE TROZEI – This one actually just hit the eShop today and I haven’t had a lot of time to check it out. Still, I love almost all things Pokemon and puzzle games. [Read more...]

MMO Gamers are Getting Smarter

MMO Gamers are getting smarter.  That’s the thought I had while driving home from work today.  Seven years ago when we started this blog, I realized that Graev and I had experience with games — particularly MMOs — not found among your typical “gamers.”  People simply weren’t thinking about games.  They played them.  Some wrote about them.  But most people were not formulating any additional thought around why they play a particular game, or whether or not a game would be successful based on the sum of its parts.  All of that is changing.

Places like Reddit are full of niche communities (and some not so niche at all) with brilliant ideas and ways of looking at games.  Although I often view Reddit as a hive mind, you can’t argue with their ability to see right the bs and get results.  Reddit gives CEOs of big studios a reason to comment, influences game direction, and has created an unprecedented level of transparency.  Blogs are incredibly common now.  Even the occasional live stream has someone with a decent amount of insight.

The WoW generation is becoming jaded.  This is a subject for another time, but I feel the WoW generation is over in the sense that people are no longer entering that group of people.  It ended in 2012.  Blizzard knows this.  Their marketing strategy has changed to one of increasing current user consumption.  Now that we have the old guard (1995-2003) and the WoW generation (2004-2012) each finding themselves removed from the current spotlight, there’s a power vacuum.   I honestly believe any MMO releasing in 2014 is going to be shredded by a failure to appeal to the older generations, and having no idea how to appeal to the newer ones.

WildStar is attempting to be the class clown.  They act ridiculous and zany to get attention and distract from the fact that nothing of real value is being introduced.  WildStar releases on the last leg of the WoW generation, but luckily someone there had juuuuuust enough insight to know they needed to do a throwback to a few older mechanics.  It won’t work in the long run.  That generation is finally too smart to fall for it.  I never thought I would say that.  Then we have ESO which  is simply being obliterated by common sense well in advance.  I feel bad in a way; someone there clearly saw the shift but way too late to do anything.  Now you have a game that won’t appeal to the MMO market it’s launching into, and won’t appeal to its namesake either.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m sure both will benefit from the fact that there’s nothing else to play.  That has 3-monther written all over it, though.

Marketing MMOs is going to become much harder now.  Who are the big publishers marketing to now that a third generation of players is beginning to enter the market?  Cinematic trailers and fancy graphics aren’t enough.   Heck, screw marketing.  What is going to be done about the DESIGN side of things?   Indie game development and consumption is on the rise.  Free to Play didn’t take off as a clear cut model for developing MMOs like many thought it would.  There’s this void waiting to be filled.  Who will have the next golden idea? Will it be EverQuest Next? Camelot Unchained?

This will be an interesting era for us to watch and write about.  Clearly it won’t be easy for anyone.  Many of our readers have already expressed to me that they haven’t touched their PC in a year, or stopped playing MMOs 6-12 months ago.  They claim nothing looks good enough to bring them back.  That’s both a problem and an opportunity.  This should be interesting indeed.

I should close here by thanking our readers.  I know you have many choices for your gaming commentary, and I thank you for choosing to include us.  Gaming discussion is being taken to a higher, more intelligent level.  I’ve noticed it from you in our comments, and I only hope to continue that in our writing.