Posts Tagged ‘ Games ’

Has the Age of Conan Already Past?

The website WoWRiot has an interesting article up today about Funcom stocks and AoC’s performance. I think a lot of us who played the game have been expecting this, and I am also predicting an even bigger drop on the 20th of this month (the chart only goes to the 15th), as the 20th is the 2 month mark for people who subscribed on release day, and thats the day peoples accounts would have expired if they canceled after their initial free month. The 20th was the day my account went inactive.

Here is some more from the article, it seems pretty biased against Funcom, and I couldn’t tell you how much is actually fact, but interesting never the less.

It has been hard to separate the truth from the spin in the ongoing Age of Conan saga, but we’re seeing more and more evidence that neither players nor stockholders are satisfied with Funcom’s campaign of misinformation.

After repeated misleading press releases, Funcom still has no answers for people wondering where all the players are going.  Populations on all servers are down, forum activity is dropping, and the community at large seems content to simply pack up and go home.  Funcom refuses to acknowledge this fact, and seems comfortable giving no response to its waning Conan fanbase.

This negligent treatment of customers has investors fleeing in droves, dropping the share price of FUNCOM.OL down by 60% since Age of Conan’s launch (see image above).  In a climate where customers are outraged and the “company line” reports no problems, serious trouble is the unspoken implication.

You can see the rest of the article after the jump. Continue reading

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Diablo III Coverage

So now that we know it is Diablo 3, there have been quite a lot of coverage. Lets see whats going on:

From Kotak:

by Lesley Smith

Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Morhaime formally announced Diablo III during the WWI’s opening ceremony this morning, not that this will come as a surprise to anyone with the Diablo III forums already active on the official Blizzard site and rumours running rampant for nearly a fortnight.

After recapping on the success of the previous Invitational held in Korea, Morhaime premiered a trailer and then demoed a level playing as a Barbarian and a Witch Doctor, showcasing some of the improvements over the original game as well as giving attendees a hint at what they can expect from the final product. This includes a new UI in place of the potion belt and the ability to play the game just by using a mouse. Similarly the health system has been augmented by God of War and Devil May Cry style red globes which replenish not just the health of the character but also those near by.

After the Fire Dancers had left the main stage and the crowds has dispersed, many jubilant, I headed for the jam-packed press conference where journalists got to give Blizzard’s Jay Wilson (Lead Designer on Diablo III) and co-founder Frank Pearce a grilling about Diablo III.

“It’s been in development for a few years. About four.” Wilson admits and of course, when asked the next Big Question: a release date, he gives the typical Blizzard response. “When it’s done,”

Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce was quick to add that, even after four years, “it’s far too early in development.”

Despite being vague on many points such as how much of the game was complete – a process Wilson described as ‘super fun’ – and the specifics of the storyline, He revealed the game is set twenty years after the War of Destruction and the events of the original games have become regarded as myth, indeed even those who were alive (and that’s not many) are either insane or convinced that nothing happened.

Unlike Warcraft, this is not a game about crafting your own unique virtual persona. Other than the classes and the gender, avatars aren’t customisable; instead the idea is to “dive right in and get to the monster killing”.

Being a Diablo title, it really wouldn’t be right unless there were plenty of monsters to slaughter and bosses to defeat. The monsters themselves are huge but even the obese charging abomination we saw steam-rolling towards a Barbarian – a giant in its own right – was just a mob. But the most impressive aspect was not the size of the mobs – it was a wall of zombies which managed to elicit cheers from the crowds.

While the assembled masses were shown two areas, a dungeon and a grassy wilderness, that was more than enough to show off some of the more interesting aspects of the Barbarian and Witch Doctor. The first, for example, uses a special attack called Whirlwind to send zombies and other trash flying to their deaths while the Witch Doctor makes use of pets who do their bidding. They can also summon swarms of locusts who devour enemies and anyone nearby. Like World of Warcraft’s priests and warlocks, they also have the ability to send enemies running using an ability called Horrify as well as mind control which is going to make for some interesting fights. Even more so when you consider that maps aren’t all static, some are random meaning the exit and entrance to an area might not be in the same place each time.

Oh, and for those of you wondering what really was with that Blizzard splash screen well the Diablo theorists were right. Wilson confirmed that the design of the splash screen was meant to hint at Diablo III but doesn’t know anything about that purple penguin.

From Gamespy:

Just a few minutes ago, Blizzard kicked things off at the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, and did it by officially announcing their latest project: Diablo III. After showing off a short teaser unveiling the game, co-founder Mike Morhaime brought up lead designer Jay Wilson, who gave the crowd a 20-minute demo of the game in action.

The demo, which showed that Diablo III will use a 3D isometric view, included a look at the Barbarian and Witch Doctor classes and talk of destructible environments. The announcement ends a week of massive speculation throughout the online gaming community, who’d focused on a teaser image at the official Worldwide Invitational site through the week.

The unveiling of Diablo III is just the start of the festivities in Paris: through the weekend, we’ll be going hands-on with StarCraft II and the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King expansion back, as well as chatting with members of Blizzard on hand. Check back regularly, as we’ll have more news and hands-on impressions through the weekend.

From IGN.com:

June 28, 2008 – We caught up with Rob Pardo, Blizzard’s executive vice president of game design following the Diablo III announcement at their Worldwide Invitational 2008 event in Paris, France. During the course of the interview he expanded on some of Blizzard’s design philosophy as it relates to Diablo III, its development process, some of the game’s features, and managed to eat about one half of a slice of pepperoni pizza. Development on Diablo III began way back when Blizzard North was still around and currently the team working on it consists of around 50 people. Initially the game’s visual design was closer to the older games than what we saw in the gameplay demonstration. “We probably did three rev[ision]s on the visual direction until we got to this and now we’re really happy with it,” said Pardo.

The gameplay was also given several overhauls. “We were pretty heavily influenced by some of the games that were coming out like God of War, a very visceral game,” said Pardo. “A totally different genre but you kind of saw games like that and we thought we really needed to update this game’s gameplay…it has to be much more of an action game.”

With many before the reveal buzzing about a potential Diablo MMO announcement, we had to ask: was there ever any thought to moving Diablo away from its overhead action-RPG roots? “It totally crossed our mind but this is the game we ultimately wanted to make. Obviously I love MMOs, I think it’s a great genre, but that doesn’t mean that other genres aren’t great too. I actually see a huge opportunity in the action-RPG genre because nobody’s really doing a lot of games in that genres and I don’t understand why, personally.”

Though there have been quite a few action-RPG releases since Diablo II, perhaps there weren’t as many as there should have been, or perhaps action-RPGs get labeled incorrectly. “What I think often happens with the genre, with the games that I’ve seen, is that they kind of get confused as to whether it’s an RPG that just happens to be real-time or is it just an action game,” said Pardo. “I feel like that’s oftentimes you get these games that are not quite doing both. I feel like that’s the big opportunity for us. If you look at Diablo and Diablo II, they’re really action games. The story was light, the RPG were very light and I think one of the things we looked at with Diablo III was that doesn’t have to be the case.”

Pardo cited what Blizzard did with real-time strategy design from StarCraft to Warcraft 3. “A lot of people in that time period were doing RTS missions where you just build up your base, slug it out against another base, do that 30 times and you’re done with the campaign. With War 3 we tried to come up with interesting scenarios and I think that’s the same thing with Diablo III. You guys may have been used to Diablo and Diablo II being really just kind of a point and click game…fun but not really immersive.”

Incorporating more involved questing and role-playing elements is something Blizzard is focusing on with Diablo III, but also make the gameplay more dynamic. “We had bosses in Diablo II but, again, they weren’t really involved. We really want to try to implement bosses that are much more epic, there’s much more gameplay to actually defeating them. We’re taking cues from games like Zelda, God of War, games like that, bring that to the action-RPG genre. We want to have side quests and scenarios that are much more involved…like defend the town from attack or something like that.”

Diablo III will be similar to Diablo II in terms of its overall structure. There’ll still be acts. There’ll be above and underground sections of maps, though the outdoor environment won’t be as randomized, as Blizzard wants to build more distinct personality into some of the game’s sections. There still will be plenty of randomization though when it comes to items, monsters, and dungeons.

While roaming around the game’s areas, you’ll have a selection of classes to pick from. At this point Blizzard is saying it’ll be similar to what was originally available in Diablo II before Lord of Destruction. Their official FAQ sheet says there’ll be five classes exactly. So far we know of the barbarian and all-new witch doctor, a spell-focused class that can summon minions, fear enemies, and summon walls of zombies.

Pardo had quite a bit to say about how Blizzard is going about the tweaks made to returning class skills and the new ones being brought in. “With any sort of sequel, and I’m going to go ahead and use Sid Meier’s rule because we use something similar…The way he approaches sequels is one-third proven, one-third improved, and one-third new. That’s pretty much how we approached StarCraft 2…some of the old units came in, some of the old units got improvements, we brought in some new units, and we also got rid of some units. I think you’ll see something similar [in Diablo III]. The barbarian as you saw has a ton of abilities that are totally new but we had to bring over things like whirlwind.”

So why announce Diablo now? We still don’t have release dates for StarCraft II or World of Warcraft’s Wrath of the Lich King expansion, which many were speculating would be announced at WWI, so why bring another high profile product into the pubic with yet another nebulous release date? “The announcement of our projects is usually when it’s time for that game to be announced,” said Pardo. “This project has been going for a while and it finally got to the point where it felt like it’s time to announce the game. We kind of have this rule of, ideally, we announce a game a year to a year and a half before the game comes out. That’s our theory, and then three years later [trails off]. We’re getting to be a bigger and bigger studio so we can’t just keep one game announced and everything else hidden. We have several games in development now.”

Finally, when might we hear something about another MMO from Blizzard? “I think it’ll be a while before we announce our next game.”

There you guys have it, release info on Diablo 3. Although I am sad to hear it wasn’t Starcraft Universe, a new Diablo is pretty awesome.

Starcraft Universe

Sorry. It is fake. But damn did I get excited for a few moments when I saw this. I would absolutely love a Starcraft MMO game done by Blizzard. Hell, reskin WoW with Space Marines and Zerg and I will be a happy camper. If they speed up the combat a bit I would be in heaven.

This image goes back to the teaser splash page that is up right now at the Blizzard website. For some more speculation and theory you can check out these pages:

Blizzard artist adds new image directory ‘Hydra’ to his site, promptly pulls it – the other folders on his site are Starcraft and Warcraft.

XFire pulls a mention of a new game announcement at WWI.

Digging into the .CSS file reveals more links to Diablo II.

Xbox 360 Info Leak

It seems that once again the guys at Neogaf have come across some information about games that haven’t even been announced just yet. The information comes from a marketing website, which featured some of the latest information on Activision and Microsoft’s future titles. 

As reported by Palgn:

First up, it seems like avatars will be coming to the Xbox 360. According to the image we’ve been shown, “Avatars are digital personas available this holiday for all Xbox Live connected members and this Spring [Autumn for us] for all new console owners. Avatars will be used in place of the gamer picture you have today and will give you a much more lifelike, animated and fully customisable persona for you to reflect who you are online”. 

First information was also revealed on Microsoft published games, Scene It? 2, Forza Motorsport 3 and Lips. The following is a direct quote describing Lips: “Lips is a music and singing game that includes 30 songs, 2 wireless interactive microphones, the ability to use and sing your own music or downloaded songs from an online service. Designed to have fun with friends, Lips scores you on your singing (pitch, rhythm, and tune) and overall performance. Wireless mics are interactive, with lights on the shaft of the microphone that pulse to the rhythm of your voice, and motion sensors that allow you to dance, move or swing to score points. Take songs from a CD or your iPod, and upload them into the game. The game will reduce the vocals so you can sing along and be heard, and score on whether you’re in tune. Lyrics can also be added directly into the song to sing along.” 

Scene It? Pop Culture Edition will contain trivia questions about movie, music and pop culture. According to the website, Forza Motorsport 3 will be a 2 disk title, with 100 tracks and over 400 cars. The game will feature “near limitless customisation options for car tuning and custom artwork” and will feature several new race modes, such as drag, drift, oval and point-to-point racing. 

In the leak, some new information was also released about Guitar Hero 4. Apparently the game will come with a new touch-sensitive guitar neck slide that opens up the “entire guitar neck for unbound solos”. The leaked document also states that some of the artists that will feature in the game include Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, System of a Down, Ozzy Osbourne, Interpol, Muse and “dozens more”. 

For more information on other Activision titles such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Spider-Man Vs Marvel Zombies and Transformers 2, head to Neogaf. It’s worth noting that Microsoft and Activision have confirmed none of these details just yet. When, and if they do, we’ll let you know.

 

Wotlk: Shaman Exposed

Great post on the new Shaman update for Wrath of the Lich King. Over at the WotLK Wiki. Since we get a lot of WotLK traffic here, I though you guys might like to see it, so here it is.

 

So far I think the Shaman has received the cleverest and most elegant update of all the classes today. You may be wowed by Rogue and balance druid changes, but this really is the Creme de la Creme.

Everything Shaman have asked for came. I saw another post where someone believe it or not was complainig, all I can say is that he should simply re-roll or give up playing if he still thinks the changes are poor or un-inspiring.

 

Hit the Jump for the changes and thoughts on them. Continue reading

Mega Man 9?

Mega Man 9 (ESRB)

It appears as though the ESRB has rated Mega Man 9……..

New Classic Mega Man and he couldn’t show up in Brawl. I am both excited for this game, and PISSED at Nintendo for being such asshats and leaving him out of SBBB.

Source: http://www.nintendoeverything.com/?p=1613

Blizzcast Episode 3: WotLK and Starcraft 2

Blizzard has just released Episode 3 of their Blizzcast it contains a bunch of information on the new expansion for World of Warcraft, Wrath of the Lich King and also some info on Starcraft 2. It is a long interview but filled with good information. 

You can listen to the Blizzcast HERE. You can also read the transcripts which are broken in to 4 parts and linked below, or you can hit the jump to read the Warcraft parts.

Interview 1: Dustin Browder on Starcraft 2 

Interview 2: Jeff Kaplan on Wrath of the Lich King 

Interview 3: Joeyray Hall, Manager of Video Production 

Q and A with Dustin Browder and Jeff Kaplan 

Hit the jump to read the full WotLK Interview.

Continue reading