Monday, August 25, 2014

Next "World of Warcraft" Expansion to be Released November 13


By Bixyl Shuftan

Blizzard Entertainment, the makers of the top MMO "World of Warcraft" recently announced the date that the latest expansion, "Warlords of Draenor," will be available: November 13. The new expansion is somewhat lighter in some ways than previous expansions: there are no new races or character classes. But the maximum level for player characters has been raised to Level 100, you get a chance to raise a starting character from Level 1 to Level 90 instantly, there are new dungeons and a new Player vs Player battlefield, a new continent: Draenor, and something new: player-controlled garrisons. One feature, updated looks for the various races, has already been in progress over the past several months.

In both terms of the plot and the gameplay, the game is a look back at its orgins. Garrosh Hellscream, the bad guy from "Mists of Pandaria" whom was about to be put on trial for his crimes, but escapes with the help of a time-traveler whom takes him back in time to Draenor, the homeworld of both the Orcs and Draenei. There, he stops the Orcs from being corrupted by drinking demonic blood. Instead, he offers them technology from the future and sets about creating an "Iron Horde" and building a portal back to Azeroth to invade it. It's up to the players to go back to this alternate past and try to stop him.

Players whom played the original Warcraft games will encounter characters such as Durotan, Ogrim Doomhammer, Kilrogg, and others. In some ways, the game resembles those "Orcs vs humans" games, "The age of the whimsical panda is over," one designer commented, "Warcraft of old is back."

But one thing that won't be back are the numbers of over 12 million players the game once had. Although the expansions have helped raise numbers back up for a time, "World of Warcraft" has seen a slow decline over the years to 6.8 million as of August 2014. One designer commented, "We really don't know if it will grow again. It's possible, but I wouldn't say it's something we expect." Still, while Blizard's Multiplayer Online Game may no longer have the numbers it once had, it's still the champion of MMOs after a decade. While some players might be a little disappointed over no new races or player classes, the makers of the game "are still sitting at the top of the mountain, and they've got no reason to shake the foundations."

"World of Warcraft" has made news in other ways recently. Earlier this year, Blizzard sponsored a short spinnoff of "American Chopper" - "Azeroth Choppers." Two teams built real life prototypes of motorcycles in the style of both the Alliance and the Horde, with an audience voting on which would be made available in-game. The Horde chopper won, and was made available to it's faction's players for free when the next expansion launches, provided they logged in before September 30. The Alliance bike was made available for it's players anyway, though they would have to pay extra for it.

Also, Robin Williams, whom passed away recently, had been an avid "World of Warcraft" player. A petition that he should be honored in the game with an NPC was soon answered by Blizzard that they were working on one. Shortly afterwards, the Wowhead fansite announced the discovery of an NPC "Robin the Entertainer" as part of the code for the upcoming "Warlords of Draenor" expansion. The image attatched was that of a blue djinn, a connection to "Genie" from "Aladdin" which Williams did the voice for.

Sources: BBC News, Massively.com, PC Gamer


Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Game Review: Saints Row IV


By Nydia Tungsten and Brandi Tungsten

   Like the first three games, you are a gang leader. But there is a twist. You save the world and become the President of the U.S.A. after the opening “how to” phase of the game. You freefall through the White House roof and POOF, next thing you know, you’re the “Prez."

    Then comes the Alien invasion….. and The Matrix Rip offs, i.e. all of humanity is in a “simulation” of the real world and once out, you try and free other past enemies whom become allies  as you hack the “simulation."  Then you get into the Tron rip offs, being thrown into a game to beat the Boss to get what you need. Saints Row 2 started with this one but I didn’t really notice it (bad Nydia, no biscuit).

    But to be honest, the rip offs in no way detract from the game other than slapping you in the face with it. Other than the blatant movie rip offs, I do applaud the creativity around the rip offs and how the story develops for each character, if ONLY they put some of that creativity towards your character when you chose female.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I was raised as a redneck tomboy, and I can shoot with the best of them. But if you choose to be female, you come across as a male with boobs with the same lines and same swagger that could have been a lot better in all four games.

   I know I have been bagging on this game pretty hard but let’s get to the positive side. Even with all these flaws, I have mentioned it is a lot of fun. Some of the lines given and interactions between you and the other characters are just priceless.

     When you get the chance to “romance” Kinsy, whether you are male or female, DO IT! I had to stop playing for at least 5 minutes to get myself under control, I was laughing so hard.

    Normally, I like to include a few clips of the game as I am playing it, and I recorded a few of the “romance” scenes. But this is a "workplace safe" paper and there is a lot of coarse language throughout the game, and I know Bix is tired of cleaning up my stories (smiles and waves to her editor).

   When it is all said and done, I really have to give this game an enthusiastic thumbs up. I have not finished it yet, but I am having fun with it and I will let you know how it turns out.

Until then,
GOOD GAMING TO YOU!

Images: Wikipedia, saintsrow.com 

Nydia Tungsten

Friday, July 11, 2014

Game Review: Robocraft


By Xymbers Slade

I haven't been in-world much (less so once I heard Linden Labs is making a second SL, so to speak) but I haven't forgotten about Bixyl and the gang, and when I was browsing Steam the other day and found something worthy of writing about (which is very very rare for me these days) I just had to bring it up here.

 The game is called Robocraft. released July 8 on Steam Early Access. It's effectively World of Tanks smashed together with Minecraft (well, in the extent that it uses cubes to build your tanks with) and there's real physics thrown in the mix (which surprised me), so if you make your tank top heavy or too light, you'll flip over and be powerless to move. Too many guns makes you heavy and slow; too few guns and you'll be blasted to bits.

It's a deathmatch; you are paired with others of the same "tier' (you advance tier by unlocking more powerful weapons/armor cubes and putting them on your tank) and the goal at the moment seems to be capturing the opponent's control point, like in Team Fortress 2 Control Point maps. There are only two levels right now (Mars and an ice planet) but as it's VERY Early Access (I did say it was just released on the 8th), I do expect things to be added to.

There are two methods of movement... flying machines (with "hover" platforms you attach, like wheels) and tanks (that use wheels).

The game is free to play (with microtransactions, unfortunately, if you want more cubes to build with without earning "robopoints" to spend; robopoints are earned via multiplayer battles), but there are -no- tutorials yet and the controls are unintuitive (right click removes a block instead of placing a block and left click places a block, controls I'd have expected to be vice versa). You can only have one kind of weapon (no paring submachineguns with plasma cannons) and weapon selection is limited (submachine guns for short range, plasma cannons for explosive, and rail launchers for long range)

I'm going to give Robocraft a rating of three dragon hoards out of five; it stands to be an exceptional game if done -RIGHT-, but there's a lot of features lacking at the moment. Microtransactions don't help any; as usual it's just a lure to get cash (though it probably goes right back into game development).

Xymbers Slade

Friday, July 4, 2014

Steam Summer Sales


By Nydia Tungsten and Brandi Streusel Tungsten

         You’ve seen talk about Steam and their sales all over the web and how Valve sucks us dry of every penny they can get, but let’s look at what they are doing for the gaming industry. With their sales, they are making is possible for many, (myself included) that are on a fixed income to be able to afford great games at a great price. Yes…some not so great to me, BUT fantastic to others.

    Here’s the draw back that I think makes everyone jump on the sale bashing band wagon. It is VERY easy to get caught up in sales and just start buying, after all, that game you want is only five bucks, or ten, or fifteen… Where you can get into trouble is not paying attention to how many you get. After all, even the great pyramids start with a single brick, and then just…..grew.

    At the time of this article, I have over 75 games just in Steam alone. Some have been bought for me to review but 99.9% of them I got on sale through Steam, and most I’ve enjoyed. But, we all have bought games thinking we will enjoy them and then have it turned out it just wasn’t what we were hoping for. But, at least if you got it on sale from Steam, you know you really didn’t spend too much on it. Out of all my games I have from Steam, I think about a quarter of them are no longer installed on my system for several reasons but none of them do I feel I wasted my money or was cheated on.

For those of you that don’t know what Steam is and have no clue as to what I am talking about, but want cheap and free games….oh yes, they have PLENTY of free games as well, here is the link.
http://store.steampowered.com/ 

  I remember who “inflicted” steam onto me, Treminari. I can’t thank her enough and I have since inflected many others for the simple reason I like playing with my friends and loved ones. It is a great way to keep in touch with those distant friends. I play with my son, who is stationed at FT. Carson, Co. as well as with other friends from around this globe we all live on.

   I know of no other site or service that offers this at such a scale and affordability. So, while they offer these sales at prices that make them almost impossible to resist, they also allow us to have some truly great fun with those we care about and that to me is priceless. You can also find likeminded groups that share your passion for a certain style of games as well from Star Trek and Star Wars, to the D&D flavored games.

So if you haven’t tried Steam yet, I cannot recommend them enough and hope you try it soon. After all, the price is right and they have some of the best deals out there.

Hope to see you there soon….who knows, maybe we like the same games, but as always, until next time GOOD GAMING TO YOU!

Nydia Tungsten

Friday, June 27, 2014

Game Review: Sniper Elite V2


By Nydia Tungsten & Brandi Tungsten

   I was told about this game being free on Steam for the day by several people, so I got it, as did my son, Kody. We sat down and played for a few hours and between the two of us, we had beat the game.

     It is a basic first person shooter taking place during WWII while the game designers took some liberty with the historical facts to create better missions. First thing I notice about the game is how the tutorial is buggy, so don’t worry if you can’t get all the way through it. While irritating, it is not game breaking, so go as far as you can then go to the missions. In this game, you can play with others in either co-op or PvP. Kody and I tried co-op.

   Another annoying aspect about this game is when we hit Continue, it threw us back into the lobby. So, we had to go through the list of missions to get to the next one. In my opinion, the developers of this game did not do a very thorough beta testing with this game. It has just too many things going wrong, nothing game crashing, but just annoying.

     Would I shell out money for it? No, so I cannot recommend it unless it comes up free again, but until then, I’d say leave it alone.

They have started pushing Sniper Elite III, but with the problems I am having with V 2, I don’t think I could trust it’s sequel enough not to have problems. I cannot stress enough that if they have a game that originally has problems, and then they release a sequel to it, leave that one alone. It is the only way we can get the message to the developers we will not stand for “close enough” games being thrown at us. Remember, we have the power to get our message across by not giving them money for unfinished games and Sniper Elite, while fun, was lacking in many ways. Not having enough missions is the biggest flaw. If someone can finish and beat the game in just a few short hours in co-op mode and have one of the players not even take the tutorial and just jump in means there isn’t enough content in my eyes.

And another thing is given that it never told us where to aim to destroy tanks. It took us a bit to figure that out as well and we STILL beat it quickly.

   So, save your money and wait for it to come out on another free day to get it, that is the only way I can recommend getting it. If you already have it, let me know how YOU like it and let me know if you think I am wrong.

And as always, GOOD GAMING TO YOU!

Editor's Note: At times when making a sniper shot, the view changes to show a slow-motion of the bullet traveling towards it's target. Just before reaching the target, the screen changes to an "X-ray" view which shows the bullet shattering bones, or if the shot's at the target's gonads, disintegrating testicles. Not exactly something for the squeamish. 

Nydia Tungsten

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Game Review: "Wolfenstein: The New World Order"


By Nydia Tungsten & Brandi Tungsten


   Basically it starts out as a WWII First person shooter, but that changes FAST!

   With this one, the Germans are winning the war through advanced technology that they developed seemingly out of nowhere. Then you are injured and spend time in a hospital….well a LOT of time. When you come to, it is in the 1960’s and the Nazis have won the war.

    From here, the writers delve into the alternate reality of a world dominated by the Nazis. In my opinion, they did too good of a job. I have German family and heard stories of the war. I asked why he was telling me this and his answer struck a note in me even then, “If the future doesn’t remember the past we are doomed to repeat it.”  The writers captured the possibility of this Nazi future extremely well, to the point where I had to stop playing it and walk away for awhile.

    I am not saying this game is ALL doom and gloom. I have found an Easter egg in the base in Berlin that pays homage to the very first 8-bit Wolfenstien game. If you find it, I think you will get a kick out of it whether you had originally played it or not.

   But, the story line itself is a dark one throughout the game. I would not recommend this game for anyone under the age of 16 due to the language, violence and the few sex scenes (it doesn’t really show much, but…paranoid parents, be warned).  But, just for the story line and I know there will be some that say “Nyd’s it’s just a game. How bad could it be?” When you see a Nazi woman hold out a baby from her, dangling it by its heel with the look of pure revulsion on her face, or an audio diary of a young girl searching for ways to kill the “Nazi baby” growing inside her….yeah….it gets a bit disturbing.

   Will I recommend others play this? I would have to say, “Yes.” Because, it IS a well written story and it DOES depict what life here could have been like had the Nazi’s been a little bit smarter. If you play this game, be warned…you may learn something and find yourself engrossed in the story and have it elicit extreme feelings within you too.

   Again let me know if you get it and what you think about it. I would love to know. Until then, good gaming to you!

Images from Steam

Nydia Tungsten

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

News and Commentary:Tropical Paradise Closes, IW/SL Connection Center Owner Involved


By Bixyl Shuftan

Earlier this month, the Tropical Paradise virtual world closed down. "Hypergrid Business," a newsletter that covers Opensim worlds, quoted staff member Thishan Dezno as saying the place was "shut down with no warning to either its residents or its staff ... everything - including the grid, the website, Facebook (page) and Twitter (account) - were taken down without any prior notice or warning to anyone" Hypergrid reported many residents and some staffers had both cash and content on the grid.

Normally the fading away of a small virtual world would have nothing to do with Second Life. But curiously enough a name familiar to some who travel back and forth between it and InWorldz is involved: Amore Crux (amore.xofan).

To those who don't know, Amore was the founder of the InWorldz/Second Life Connection Center . On December 7, Amore suddenly announced without warning that the center was closing. Nydia Tungsten, involved with the group stated, "I was blindsided by the closing of their welcome centers then found out it was a decision Amore had made on his own because of.... 'differences'... he had with the founders, his decision affected ALL their members and left them out of the loop as to why and what would happen ..."

Then Amore just as quickly partially reversed himself, saying the group would be open, but on a smaller scale. Behind the scenes, he was making accusations. He told the group, created to help people make the transition from Second Life to InWorldz, not to assist anyone outside it. When I ran into and questioned him in InWorldz, he told the following:

"im expanding the center to include another grid and we'll from now on be totally grid neutral ... its the Tropical Paradise its a new grid started in maj this year ... im as of now Project Director for that grid ... and it means i need step back to be neutral in here ... ill be making a gate to that grid in SL as well its about 500 active members and many of the big creators/merchants you know from in here is in there already ..."

A little later in the conversation, "we have a direct communication me and the founders and they will also be free to use my system thats bullet proof and it works for any grid owners since its not based on a technical system that can be scamed like it seems to have happen in here ... but its a later matter to solve we also looking in to other services and the main task now is to get the welcome area to work as our connection centers" "So your system is 'scam proof?'" I asked, "That's quite a claim." "yes it is since its all on record and its based on old fashion cash for cash"

Of his shutting down the IW/SL Connection Center group, "this was really meant that i would need to run my self as you know i just wanted to build and normal ppl does but it kinda has been the demand from the members that has forced me to make it to what it is today" "So the group's now run essentially all by you now?" I asked. He went on, "and as i said im now turning it in the direction it was meant from start a members helping members group only and hopefully with not much need of me personally so me to can do whats fun :) "

Amore then began taking greater control of what could be spoken in the group's chat, stating in a group announcement:

But i've now added a extra member title level in the group which means no one directly gets the chat access by just join the group it gonna take a request to get that access and of course misbehavior leads to lose that right as well. Most of you already got the right set already i know i've missed some few but im working on that so just let me know if you not got the right to chat yet and i'll fix it asap! Until i've find a person that is fully trusteed that i can delegate to handle the request to be upgraded to chat access you send to ME directly!

Soon after two people told me they were muted.

As time went on, less attention was paid to Amore. Following the Grid's closing however, attention was back on him. In the Hypergrid article's comment second, one person commented, "Oh, and was this the one that 'Amore ' guy went to after forming that sl/iwz connection group thing, then leaving that and dissing them, then disappearing?" I called Amore and asked him about the matter. He told me that he'd gotten out of Paradise Grid in March, "all you need to say is all our group members was warned about join that grid a long long time ago so its not directly any news thinks"

The IW/SL notice history only went back thirty days, and was blank. Amore passed me a notecard which He told me was of the announcement. He claimed changes in the Grid began to put his group's money at risk, "the SCARY PART! ... You're NOT allowed by your OWN hand to quit the grid (terminate your account)!!! You're obligated to inform them you are, either directly or by their support page! (read their TOS) " The statement warned not to get in Tropical Paradise, and if you had invested money, consider it lost, "it proves that anyone can be fooled to trust wrong ppl"

Once again, Amore found himself in a controversy, although a smaller one this time. Still, his behavior with his suddenly closing, then just as quickly reopening the IW/SL Connection Center over differences with the InWorldz founders without consulting even his business partner then shutting her out, and now his involvement in a virtual world that suddenly closed and took all money invested with it, one can be pardoned for asking ...

Just what has Amore been up to?

Bixyl Shuftan