Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Comments Off on Blizzard’s Next Game: Starcraft 2!

Blizzard’s Next Game: Starcraft 2!

OK, so I was half-right

Starcraft 2

That pretty much says it all. ;-)

Comments Off on Beware the Warhammer Battle Squigs!

Beware the Warhammer Battle Squigs!

Warhammer OnlineJust read an interview on MMOG Nation with Paul Barnett, Creative Director of the highly anticipated Warhammer Online MMO for EA Mythic.

It’s a long interview, but I highly recommend reading through it because Barnett’s opinions are both informative and extremely entertaining. In fact, the real reason that I’m blogging this is because it made me laugh out loud.

First, a little background… “Pets” have become a standard feature in MMO’s. Basically a pet is an animal or non-player character (NPC) who accompanies you on your adventures and often fights alongside you. Unfortunately, some pets are much cooler than others.

Well, as Barnett explains, the developers are having fun with their implementation of pets in Warhammer…

The fact that we’ve got pet classes, right? Pet classes, just not crap. Here’s the problem with pet classes right? They’re rubbish, they’re all rubbish. Who wants to have a little widget that wanders off and fights for you? How bloody crap is that? It’s sort of like … I don’t know what it is. It’s like being in school, and threatening people only because you’ve got a big mate next to you. He’s a cretinous coward. So! What we did with pet classes is we have these Squig herders, little tiny goblins with big ears who are basically on speed. They’re great. They wander around, and they summon these Squigs. And one of the Squigs they summon is this battle-armored Squig; enormous, great big armored Squig with a ring through it’s nose! And the Squig turns around and he eats the Squig Herder. And he’s sort of in the stomach of the Battle Squig, and he grabs ahold of all the intestines and he pulls on the intestines to make the Squig bounce around the land and fight things. And the Battle Squig sort of chews people up. And then when it gets wounded it sort of staggers around and coughs, and spits the Squig Herder out of his gob, and he sort of flies through the air doing this: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuughh”. That, to me, is what our game is all about: because it’s Pet classes, just not crap. It’s fun.

Can’t wait to see that in the middle of a battle!

Comments Off on Vanguard: Saga of Zeroes

Vanguard: Saga of Zeroes

It’s something of an understatement to say that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is a game that failed to live up to its high expectations.

Even prior to release, the game suffered from some “old school” (i.e. outdated) design choices and insanely high system requirements. However I believe the main reason Vanguard crashed and burned is beta testing, which the game desperately needs six more months of. It was rushed out the door buggy with a humongous but mostly empty gameworld. Unfortunately, the state of the game has lead to real-life repercussions for the employees at Sigil, who developed the game.

From a couple days ago…

Sigil employees were told to meet outside. At which point they were terminated. On the spot.

More details came the next day in this announcement from John Smedley, President Sony Online Entertainment…

Today I would like to formally announce that SOE has acquired the assets of Sigil Games Online, including Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. As a part of this acquisition, we are bringing on approx 50 people from Sigil in order to insure that Vanguard continues to grow. SOE is dedicated to making sure that Vanguard is well taken care of and that we provide the same level of service we do for our other titles. In the near future we will come out with a publishing plan that will largely be driven by the strong player community that Vanguard has already built up. We plan on supporting Vanguard for many years to come, and you can expect many content updates as part of your subscription. Down the line we will of course be coming out with new expansion packs, but right now the focus is on making sure Vanguard is running the way it should be.

The Grouchy Gamer has details on how the game might’ve arrived at its current state…

Brad McQuaid has been an absentee manager at Sigil for months. Not only has there been a leadership vacuum at Sigil, with the employees there left twisting in the wind, but I have been able to confirm that Brad hasn’t even bothered to be at the office.

Since last year.

And finally, we get some dirt in a candid and fascinating interview with one of the disillusioned Sigil developers…

What people don’t understand, is the game that went out the door was literally created in the last 15 months. Design worked 12-18 hour days for 9+ months. Coding and Art worked insane hours as well, all trying to actually get something playable out the door.

And also… How was QA treated through the course of development?

Ex-Sigil: QA? QA.

Ex-Sigil: QA was one person up until about November… ONE. What.

Ex-Sigil: 100% serious. What? How? This is an MMOG.

Ex-Sigil: Vanguard had one internal tester for probably 95% of the design cycle.

Unbelievable. My best wishes go out to all of the once and future Vanguard developers.

Comments Off on Greetings From Middle Earth!

Greetings From Middle Earth!

Lord of the Rings Online is a gorgeous game. Every once in a while, you’ll be wandering the landscape hunting for that tenth boar head or last bear pelt and you’ll just have to stop for a moment and admire the scenery…

The Town of Bree
The Town of Bree

Rainbow in the Shire
Rainbow in the Shire

Dusk on the Shore of the Brandywine
Dusk on the Shore of the Brandywine

There are also opportunities throughout the game to interact with some famous characters from the trilogy…

Posing with Gandalf
Posing with Gandalf

Posers with Gandalf
Posers with Gandalf

Losers with Gandalf
Losers with Gandalf

We crack ourselves up! :-D

Comments Off on Marvel Universe Online

Marvel Universe Online

Marvel Universe OnlineDetails have been scarce since Marvel Comics announced the development of a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) called Marvel Universe Online based on their iconic superheroes Captain America, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Iron Man, Hulk, and many many others.

Cryptic Studios is developing the game in association with Marvel and Microsoft. Cryptic made the terrific City of Heroes/Villians games, so I am really looking forward to seeing what they can do with Marvel’s rich history of stories and characters.

Unfortunately, even as more information is published about the game, those pesky details continue to remain elusive. So here are a few resources for fanboys like me…


Comments Off on Blizzard’s Next Game?

Blizzard’s Next Game?

Blizzard EntertainmentBlizzard set the gaming world in a frenzy recently when they released that they would be announcing details of their next game on May 19th at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, Korea.

A gaming/MMO blog named Wandering has a terrific article titled A Handful of Facts, A Spoonful of Reason analyzing the various rumors and speculation resulting from Blizzard’s teaser announcement.

SPOILER WARNING! I tend to agree with WG’s analysis/guess that Blizzard will be announcing a Starcraft MMO.

One thing we absolutely know about Blizzard is that they won’t be rushed. I suppose we’ll just have to wait until next week to learn how and when Blizzard will be relieving us from more of our hard-earned cash. ;-)

Comments Off on Lord of the Rings Online: One Game to Rule Them All

Lord of the Rings Online: One Game to Rule Them All

Lord of the Rings OnlineLord of the Rings Online totally frakking rocks!!!

Whew! I’ve been dying to say that for weeks now.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a beta stress test for LotRO about a month ago, which ate up more than 15 hours of my time that weekend. I have since been invited to participate in the remainder of the beta phase for the game, which is scheduled to be released April 24, 2007.

A Non-Disclosure Agreement prevented beta participants like me from discussing the game publicly… Until yesterday that is, when game developers Turbine announced that the NDA had been officially lifted. Yay!

So now I can tell you how much I’ve been enjoying this game. I’ve played a number of other massively multiplayer online (MMO) games and can already tell that LotRO is going to be one of my favorites. With two more months of beta to go, LotRO is generally as stable (possibly even moreso) than some other games available now. <cough>

Character creation doesn’t stray much from the standard MMO formula. You can select your gender, race, class, and name, as well as customizing your appearance. You get to play one of the good guys in the War of the Ring: human, hobbit, dwarf, or elf. Each choice you make is accompanied by all the appropriate Tolkienesque lore to get you into the spirit of the game.

The newbie instance demonstrates immediately how much time and love the developers have put into the game. The graphics are lush and fluid, the sound is immersive, and the user interface is clean and attractive.

As with any MMO, the game is all about leveling, which happens at a satisfyingly swift pace for the first ten levels or so. The grind does manage to remain interesting, partially because you are running around in the same world as Frodo, Gandalf, and the rest of the gang. You even get to participate in the epic storyline in the form of special quests that come along every four or five levels. In fact, I already ran a quest for Strider, who I found holed up in the Prancing Pony in Bree. How cool is that? (Tolkien geeks are probably the only ones who truly understand that last sentence. ;-))

Of course, the game isn’t 100% solid yet and there are certainly some minor performance and design issues that I’d love to see addressed. But with such a terrific start, I can’t wait to see what else the fine folks at Turbine have in store for us.

Finally, any discussion of MMOs has to at least mention the 7 million pound gorilla that is Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. With that many subscribers and a major expansion published just a few short weeks ago, I don’t see how any other MMO is going to be able knock WoW off the top of the list. But if anything can, it might be Lord of the Rings. I know I’ll be doing my part to overthrow the evil empire. (Mordor, not Blizzard. ;-))

If you happen to be on the Meneldor server anytime soon, send me a /tell (“Deck” – level 16 Human Captain). See ya in Middle Earth!

Comments Off on Supreme Commander Demo

Supreme Commander Demo

Supreme Commander is a highly-anticipated real-time strategy (RTS) game from Chris Taylor, creator of classic games like Dungeon Siege and Total Annihilation. The 1.1GB single-player demo is available from WorthPlaying, FileShack, Gamespot, and Boomtown.

Comments Off on Starcraft 2?

Starcraft 2?

StarcraftAccording to this article on, an executive from Blizzard Entertainment hinted that a sequel to the smash hit Starcraft might be in the works.

“As a Starcraft player I can tell you that I hope it wouldn’t go a decade – we launched Starcraft in ’98 – I hope it wouldn’t go a decade before we stand here and celebrate the next Starcraft together.”

I’m not a very good RTS player, but I’ll be very interested to see what the almighty Blizzard might do with another Starcraft. We’ll see…

On a totally unrelated note, I apologize for not blogging more often… I’ve been neglecting to pass on the interesting stuff that I find day to day, but I’ll try to change that. Thanks much!

Comments Off on Red Zone Wrap-Up (2006 Season Final)

Red Zone Wrap-Up (2006 Season Final)

Springfield Bullhawks LogoHappy New Year! Especially happy right now are the Springfield Bullhawks (#1 seed) who are the 2006 ESPN Fantasy Football Red Zone League Champions, after defeating the Houston Inferno (#3 seed) by an ever-so-close score of 192-191. LaDainian Tomlinson had only 7 points for the ‘Hawks this week, but Steven Jackson made up the difference with a 43 point performance. However, the difference in the game was not points scored, but in missing points. Inferno RB Ron Dayne aggravated an ankle injury during pre-game warmups Sunday and did not play, resulting in a crushing 0 for the Inferno. Despite that, this was a terrific game between the two best teams in the league this year. Congratulations to Alan and Jeff for a great season!

Third place goes to my Spooky Boogeymen (#4 seed) with a 186-162 win over the P’burg PrairiePride (#2 seed). Despite a 5 point lead in this week’s match-up, the ‘Pride were unable to overcome the 29 point lead resulting from last week’s game. Congratulations to Bob (and me!) on a great season.

The Kentucky Mad Max (#7 seed), last season’s league champs, won fifth place this year with a 150-113 defeat of the Shelbyville Outkasts (#5 seed). Congratulations to Bret and Jack for a great season!

The Peoria OrangeCrush (#9 seed) crushed the Batavia Bulldogs (#6 seed) by a score of 210-116 for seventh place in the league. Congratulations to Charlie and Mike on a great season!

The Foreign Bodies (#10 seed) rallied this week to come back and beat the Petersburg PowerPuff Girls (#8 seed) by a total score of 169-136. So, the ‘Puffs will (probably) receive the coveted first pick in next year’s draft. Congratulations to Ben and Elizabeth on a great season!

So, here are the final winners for the Red Zone 2006…

We’re Going to Disney World Award 1st Place Springfield Bullhawks
The First Loser Award 2nd Place Houston Inferno
There’s Always Next Year Award 3rd Place Spooky Boogeymen
The Break Even Award 4th Place P’burg PrairiePride
Teamwork Award Highest team game score Springfield Bullhawks (157 points in Week 10)
Top Gun Award Highest player game score Foreign Bodies (51 points for RB Tiki Barber in Week 17)
Smackdown Award Highest team win margin Peoria OrangeCrush (81 point win in Week 16)

And finally now that it’s all over with, I’ll try to get back to a more regular blogging schedule about life, the universe, and everything (except for fantasy football ;-)).

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