The War Z Alpha/Beta Impressions

The War Z Logo

I’m currently playing The War Z in what is either an Alpha or Beta version.  Honestly, I have no idea.  Given my experience with the game so far, and my history with Day Z, I thought it would be helpful for me to share my thoughts on the game so far.

Overall Impressions

The War Z is a much, much, much more polished game than Day Z.  War Z is faster-paced, and slightly less realistic.  The gun-play is excellent, the movement is smooth, and performance is great (although I have an issue where sometimes my computer locks up when I load into a new server).  The War Z gives me a constant sense of imminent danger, and lots of anxiety when I see other players.  With a few important additions and tweaks, this can be a fantastic game.  More after the break. (more…)


XCOM: Enemy Unknown Impressions

XCOM Enemy Unknown AssaultXCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based tactical strategy game with sim elements.  That’s really the best way to classify the game because I don’t necessarily agree with using the RPG or Action labels.

The player is given a static base of operations to manage resources and research upgrades.  You can expand the facility with new types of buildings, monitor where alien attacks are happening around the world to know where to focus defending, and manage your teams that you send out.

Gameplay is turn-based tactical as I mentioned before.  There is fog of war keeping you from seeing the map.  Units can move a certain distance, perform an action, or dash to move much further but that ends the characters turn.    Once a rookie unit levels up he gains a ‘class’ like Sniper, Heavy, Support, and Assault.   As each guy ranks up they have a skill tree that allows you to choose one or between two abilities.  For example, when assault ranks up he an dash and shoot in the same turn, and the next time he ranks up you can choose something defensive or offensive.  So there are a lot of ways you can choose to specialize your units depending on the tactics you want to focus on in your gameplay.

Read more after the break. (more…)


DayZ Impressions

I've been playing DayZ long enough now that I feel confident weighing in with my impressions.  First, for those who haven't been informed, DayZ is a mod for Arma 2. …


5 Things We Like and Dislike about Diablo 3

We Like…

Skill Runes
You can use a skill one way for a long time, but then you use a rune and suddenly the skill can change completely.  For example, the Witch Doctor’s fire bats start as a cone with limited range but with the first rune you send out one big bat that does considerable damage and flies a bit further.  Upgrading the poison dart turns it into a 3 shot burst.  We like the added, and much needed, diversity.

Global Stash
Your stash (treasure chest in town) is the same for all of your characters.  Transfer items to other characters you play easily and stay organized.  This is a simple but great change from the way Diablo 2 kept characters on the same account very separate.

Crafting (so far)
It’s nice to have an alternative to selling all the magic items you can’t use.  Salvaging magic items yields materials used to craft upgrades with random stats.  In a way, it’s like gambling.  Crafting is also a money sink.  We have no idea how well the crafted items will scale through difficulties, but if they remain very competitive with drops it’s a nice addition to the game.

Individual Loot
This has been a real joy.  There isn’t a rush to pick up items when they drop.  There isn’t this nagging fear that you might miss something.  If something drops, it’s yours and you don’t have to worry about being too greedy or thinking about others.  Sounds totally selfish, but it works for Diablo 3.  It’s also mandatory given the RMT system — can you imagine the drama if something worth $20 dropped and it was a race to see who picked it up?

Convenience and Improvements to Ease of Use

There’s a minimap so you don’t have a map open all the time in your face. Joining friends is really straight forward and quick via the friends list.  The Banner system lets you instantly join friends by teleporting right to them.  That annoying stamina bar is gone. Taking up inventory space with a book of town portals and identify is gone, and it’s harder to quickly escape via TP.  Putting points into stats has been eliminated — let’s face it, there was really only one best way to do it.  These are conveniences that don’t hurt the integrity of the game and, in our opinion, allow for more enjoyment.



GW2 BWE#1 Wrap-up

I covered GW2 extensively over the weekend with my thoughts on questing, combat, Battlegrounds/Mists, and World vs. World.  I want to briefly wrap-up my thoughts from this weekend into one post so that someone wondering what I think about GW2 can easily find them.

Something about GW2 won me over.  I had framerate issues in WvW and sometimes in crowded areas, and it was clear that the game has a few months of Beta until it is read. However, I find myself sitting here wishing I could log on and play.  I miss playing.

WvW has a lot of potential if the players will stick with it while it matures.  If GW2’s community hits its stride and defends, attacks, and really invests emotionally into the World vs. World experience it will be a long-lasting form of entertainment that will give GW2 a lot of replayability.

I like the individual loot system because I don’t have to worry about something dropping and someone else getting it. There’s also very little BoP/BoE stuff, if I recall correctly.  Questing is a natural progression experience through each zone, and I like how I can go to the area and work with others to complete quests even though I’m an individual.  Playing with friends is extremely easy with the de-leveling in lower level zones.

The Cash Shop … I guess I should say, “What cash shop?”  It was as though the thing didn’t exist.  I’m not at all worried about the current state of the cash shop, but that’s perhaps what worries me the most because ArenaNet wants to make a profit.  I hope enough people want to buy those worthless (I mean totally awesome) keys and costumes.

I don’t know what’s up with the whole ‘mail everything’ system.  You can’t trade with anyone which will prove to be an oddity if stays that way.

GW2 is definitely a themepark, and there isn’t a whole lot of ‘new’ being brought to the genre.  ArenaNet hasn’t just copied WoW, though.  There is a lot borrowed from games like DAOC — qualified and proven features — that were ignored for years, and things like weapon swapping that feel innovative.

TLDR Impressions after the jump. (more…)