Melbourne Video Games Unplugged

Video Games Unplugged is an orchestra playing game music while the screens show the graphics. Darn cool. What surprised the heck out of me was that the side-bar ad on Penny Arcade was actually relevant to me, and interesting. Click-Marketing actually worked.

Well not quite, as I can’t go that night. But sheesh, it would be grand. So I’m sharing this as an ad for Video Games Unplugged.

Melbourne Convention Centre on April 12th 2012, 7pm.

I saw opera as a movie, have watched classical perform movie theme songs, and happily bounded through all of them, getting my geek on. This feels the same.

Too soon: DKs in Panda Beta Testing

No news is, well no news. I’m waiting the feedback on beta testing for MoP to see where the classes are headed and if my beloved Death Knights will be fun or not. As a side distraction I’m also watching Warlocks, Paladins, Druids, and Warriors too as I enjoy those classes.

What I’ve found after reading around the regular wow news haunts is that the Beta process is still too early imho to trust that the information will be similar at launch. A case in point is the rather good Lichbourne column on WoWInsider, which has a summary of the current state of play for DKs in beta.

“With the Mists of Pandaria beta test under way, I’m reminded of an interesting discussion I’ve seen going around the death knight community. Coming out of Wrath, we were most definitely seen as overpowered, and starting a few patches later, we started off on a balance roller coaster we’ve never quite disembarked from, getting nerfs, de-nerfs, tweaks, and even the removal or redesign of entire spells and systems….”

The TLDR version is: still unknown on most items, its all about balance, and fundamentals are unresolved. But don’t trust me, go read for yourself as Daniel Whitcomb does a good job on the column.

What does this mean?

Well my guess is that its now the end of march and we have no clarity on DKs as either Tanks or DPS, so MoP is many many months away. If DKs are this unknown, then other class roles also could not be expected to be finalised either, as WoW will be aiming for “balance” between the classes as they work in a role.

Back to the distractions of blogs, games, and non-DK lives. Happy Killing.

Trial games and distractions

Recently the temptation to play Star Wars ToR for 7 days came up, and I happily took it. A free trial period is exactly what I need from a publisher so I can determine if their box is worth the money, or if the game is worth the subscription (see the later part of this post for the Star Wars thoughts). With no trial period I’m very unlikely to even try a game.

Overall my gaming philosophy at the moment is:

“I’m planning a short return plunge into WoW briefly before playing Diablo 3, and possibly SWToR. I’ll wait till Panda-randa is released, then decide if I pick it up.”

This is odd for me as I’m an avid fan of Warcraft and the games. I still enjoy WoW when I get to play it, but that is not often enough now. I have mixed feelings about Pandaria. I asked a long time ago to play a Monk in WOW, but the entire Panda expansion leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t think it was time to introduce “cute” into the game setting, and without much more information it still feels like a cute game trying to be Warcraft instead of just being Warcraft.

That said, the idea of killing Garrosh is appealing, and having a number of options on how to level in terms of zones is a flavour from Wrath that I liked. In fact if WoW wanted to get an easy $80+ from me they’d release an expansion very similar to Wrath. It has been my favourite so far. Some folks felt like the Death Knight was catering to the kiddies or was illogical, and I respect that view – but disagree. Death Knights are the coolest class in wow. Perhaps I’ll think Monks are that too eventually.

Given I’m an annual pass holder I am expecting to be able to make my assessment of the next expansion as a late Beat test. get in, decide or not if I buy it, and get out.

Diablo 3 is out in a month or so, and that means I’ll have a game to distract me for a fair while. I expect a very large amount of the WoW population (well 1,000,000 annual pass holders at least) to be playing, so the population should be good initially. From what I’ve seen and read it will be D3 in a way I like.

Looking forward to it. How many folks leave WoW for D3 and never return will be interesting.

Now onto Star Wars – The Old Republic.

Star Wars - The Old RepublicPlaying a game on trial account in SW-ToR was a blast. It was enough time to see that the story-telling basis of the leveling experience really is a great experience, and one that is well worth spending money on. Honestly it is that good.

I played a Trooper to level 10, a Sith Inquisitor to level 10, an Imperial Agent to level 7, and tortured a Jedi Warrior to level 3. Its a darn healthy game, which is in the most part exactly like Warcraft, except the Star Wars Universe. So honestly well done Bioware, excellent job.

Out of those four classes I think the Sith Inquisitor was the best to my taste, a bit of range damage, a solid melee call, and some nice knock-backs and buffs. The bloody Jedi felt like he was resource capped, and the “built your energy” approach felt just like why I hate Rogues in WoW – I’m not patent enough to build energy.

Conversely, you need a killer PC to run Star Wars as intended. I played with a lot of the settings on low and sometimes it looked like my character was cell animated on top of a moving backdrop. Almost a green screen add-on the the environment, rather than actually being “in” the environment. That is not the game’s fault at all – my cheap ass can’t afford a dedicated gaming PC and I’ve no room in the house to put it it. Laptops just don’t go fast enough.

I wish I had more time to play games.