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Hearthstone_Logo

Hearthstone was created by Blizzard that has entered its open beta on Janurary 14th.  I was able to get a beta pass prior and have played around with the game over the last couple of months as well in the open beta.  It is a player versus player game that involves cards.  These cards are used in combination to destroy their opponent’s cards as well as their lifepoint/health.  There are many of game modes you can pick from; from playing against the AI or against a player in normal or ranked matches.   You can gain cards through playing to earn coins to buy packs of cards, through “quests” or spending your own real money in the shop.

You can play as many different types of classes, each represented by a hero.  Jaina Proudmoore is representing the mage class and I found her to the easiest hero to play while I was learning the game.  Each hero has its own mechanics as well as unique cards to its own class.

Hearthstone was design to give card games an online interactive mimic of games such as Magic the Gathering and Yu-gi-oh.  Though they do not have a player trading card system to allow for players to trade cards.  They have created a more of a crafting of cards system where players take unwanted cards and turn them into dust to craft cards of their choice.

I had watched this game prior to playing it myself on streams of other players.  First starting as a “while I’m in queue, I’ll play hearthstone.”  The matches are short games where even League of Legends players played and finished while in the queue for games.  The scene for this game has grown to be quite large while it is constantly in the top five games watched on Twitch.  While playing this game, I found it as a novelty to card games that already existed and had hoped for something to be new.  While each class had its own difficulty as well as how well each were balanced against each other, I felt like it was still lacking.  The first couple of plays I did with the game were good and I enjoyed it but after it just wore off.  I felt myself falling into a bit of disappointment with both my luck in getting cards as well as just feeling like I was playing the same thing again and again.  I was never a person fond of cards and had my own few that I did enjoy.  The game itself is well designed and I would say it is somewhat balance but still in need of more balancing.  It is very enjoyable for those who favour both card games and World of Warcraft.

Cheers! Happy Gaming!

The Days of Past List

(Aka My Top 10 of Reminiscence)

Cafés are a great place for idea pondering or even the backseat of a car, listening to rock n’ roll while sleeping.  After having a talk about games that I grew up with, I started to wonder about what I would consider my favourite games.  At first I thought how could I even give this list a sense of order and understanding and thought about how many hours may have been spent playing them or even the memories I had of these games.  So let’s start with my two honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention #2: Mario

OH MY GOD! How can I put this down here? What blasphemy?  For me, I grew up with a Sega Genesis, Playstation and a computer, I rarely had access to a Nintendo system and when I did it was when I went to my babysitter’s for the afternoon or night.  Her two sons had it and constantly played Mario; though my memories of game was usually fighting and me sitting on a couch rolling my eyes at them.  Boys will be boys and no one wants to play Luigi it seems.

Honorable Mention #1: The Game That We Had For Sega But I Can Never Remember

As the title says, this game I remember playing but I never remembered the name.  It was a dungeon crawler game that the final boss was a dragon and it was a very dark and old gothic feeling game.  It used to give me nightmares as child and I had a tendency to hide behind the couch or my mum when it was played.  My family used to play on the Sega and the Playstation together, yelling and screaming and enjoying the time together.  I felt like this was one of my favourite games not because I remember how good or bad the game was but the time spent.  If anyone can remember a game that was dungeon crawler with a dragon boss in a keep, let me know. I would love to have this mystery solved.

Word Munchers#10: Word Muncher

A Dos game that I’m pretty sure ever elementary school had or the other game called Number Muncher.  Personally I was more leaning towards Word Muncher than the others because it was easier for me as a child to play with.  This was a game that tied into my love of books and I was proud to say as geeky as it was, I usually had the high score in it.  This game was one of the few that we had in our classroom for the computer until the Apple computers replaced the old computers in the library and the few computers each classroom had were removed.  It was a sad day for all since we couldn’t play on them during a rainy day.

Duck Hunt Dog#9: Duck Hunt

Classic, annoying and pretty sure many enjoyed this game for same reasons.  You didn’t get to play with a controller but the gun for the Nintendo system and EVERYONE wanted to shoot the dog.  Who wouldn’t?  That laugh was so annoying, always taunting you when you missed.  This game was a lot easier to share than Mario was between the boys so I’ve put it higher up on the list.  Good old nostalgia.

American McGee's Alice in Wonderland#8: American McGee’s Alice in Wonderland

Oh goodness this game.  This one has to be one of the first games that I ever experienced gamer’s rage.  My first introduction to this game was in Costco where they had it in such a large bulk on the table.  It was one of the few games that had a box tab and within the creepy images of the Cheshire Cat.  While the graphics weren’t exactly high on the list as the story was.  This game was the definition of cult classic and the story of Alice in Wonderland was a cult favourite childhood story. While Lewis Carroll’s version was a bit more of an LSD trip, McGee took the story to a horror level while appealing to the masses’s hearts on a darker version of their favourite story.

My biggest issues with this game was the controls and why it’s so low on my lists. Oh how many times I fell to my death while kiting.  The controls were either way too sensitive or barely there depending on how you adjusted them.  They would drive me crazy when I first played the game and again when I played it in my first year of college and when the sequel came out.  Gladly the controls for the second one was a lot better, less ragey for everyone.

Mortal Kombat#7: Mortal Kombat

Enough said.

I kid.  I think there is very few people of my generation and those above and below who have experienced this game.  This was the first game many people either played in an arcade or at home.  It was well known for it’s ‘Fatalities’ where you could brutally execute your defeated enemy when the computer told you to ‘Finish Him’.  While the game had an interesting tweak about the finishing moves, it had high level of bloody violence and gore which we were all excited about because not many other games where this crazy.  The series is highly successful as time goes by and the brutality got worse.  In the 2011 Mortal Kombat, the finishing move of Kung Lao against Mlieena is probably considered to be one of the most painful fatalities every created in the game.

#6: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

Warcraft: Orcs & HumansNo. This is not about World of Warcraft; there is no nostalgia there for that version for me.  This is about the first Warcraft that we have ever experience and it was the first one created.  I’m talking about the real-time strategy one.  My family was big into the strategy games such as Risk and while we did play Starcraft, I felt this one was more nostalgic for me.  I remember when my mum would work nights coming home about 4 in the morning and I would sneak down the stairs to watch her play and spend time with her before she sent me back to bed.  While playing this game with her and on my own, it gave me a sense of strategy that I would have to say I fueled into chess and playing League of Legends and other MOBA and RTS games.  I really enjoyed the phrases and little walk animations of the game; while the small side stories that were developed deeper into the second and third made a place in my heart.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo#5: Super Puzzle Fighter II TURBO!

While this one will tie a bit into number 4 I feel like it has a place of its own, just because it’s just a whole bowl full of awesome for me.  The title is a parody of Super Street Fighter II Turbo and it has a lot of characters from the Street Fighter franchise.  It’s cute and different way of tetris; I’ve still highly enjoyed this game even when they brought out the HD remix of it.  College parties with tetris have never been weirder.

#4: Tetris

TetrisPlusSingle… Double… Triple… Tetris!

Hearing those words bring such memories. One of the first games we ever owned as family was a game called Columns III for the Sega Genesis which was a kind of like tetris but more on the puzzle side.  We didn’t own a pure tetris game until we got the Playstation and from there we had a game called TETRIS Plus.  It had its own version of tetris with a small storyline and 52 levels of puzzle nightmares.  It also had a second game added to the disc which was the good old traditional tetris without the fancy puzzle levels.  Both are quite entertaining and I still like to crack open the case and play myself some old fashioned tetris but I have to say listening to the little professor in the puzzle tetris was quite entertaining.

Final Fantasy VII#3: Final Fantasy VII

I’ve heard it all ladies and gents, why did I pick VII? Simple, it was the first one I ever owned and I do believe the second or third game for the Playstation we owned. I’m quite confused on what came second so I’ll just take a rough guess.  At the time, this game was huge when it came out and was the first game that had a sequel created through Crisis Core which was really a prequel.  It also had a movie… but that has nothing to do with why this was high on my list.  It was the first game to use 3D graphics which made it three discs long!  I enjoyed playing through the game while I was a child and again as an adult only understanding more and more about the storyline I couldn’t as a child.  I enjoyed the franchise of the games considerably, owning and playing through almost all of them.  Hell I even own the animation and model book they released after the movie.

Baldur's Gate#2: Baldur’s Gate

This game was the first game where I was introduced to Forgotten Realms Series of games and to Dungeon & Dragons.  This game was so well loved in our house that the 3rd disc was so over played and scratched that you had to use turtle wax on it to keep it playing.  This game ran on D&D rules for the advance 2nd edition and it had some modifications for it to works as game.  This game was a huge tie in for everything I loved a child: fantasy, lore, knights, magic and DRAGONS! How can we forget dragons?  One of my favourite characters has to be this crazy berserker called Minsc and his animal companion named Boo which he believed to be a ‘miniature giant space hamster.’  Stay crazy Minsc… Stay crazy.

 And finally….

#1: Sonic the Hedgehog

I kind of thought as I was writing this list that I feel obligated and honor bound of putting this here.  My first console was a Sega and with it came Sonic.  I had all the Sonic games for the Sega genesis and had a blast playing them.  This was when they were actually good being with the new ones I find myself more and more disappointed but this is about what I enjoyed.  These games were a good mix of challenging and fun.  Some levels were more frustrating than they had to be while others seemed easy and whimsical.  These games were ones I can still enjoy as much as I did as an adult and that’s why I put them as number one.

Sonic the Hedgehog

This wraps up of the first one my top ten lists, stay tune for the next one. Who knows what it will be about? I’m not even sure yet.

Cheers! Happy Gaming.

The Legend of the Second

Wishing of Dead Branches and Trolling Your Friends

 RO2

I’ve always been a big fan of Ragnarok Online and when the motions of a sequel was brewing, I was a bit hesitant.  The first one was tends to be a gamer’s first big step into MMOs, it was a game you played with your friends on private servers because for years the only way to play it in English was to play on private servers created by people like you.  It was created by the Koreans in 2002 and simply known to us as ‘iRO’.  The private servers always tried to offer mods and incentives to play their servers, even though the game was free to play, yet running a server was more than a task.  This was the game where you had items that could even possibly summoned bosses even if you just starting. You always gave one of these items to a friend who never played before and told them the item healed them. Only to have a level 90 boss be summoned and kill everyone on the map.

In 2006, most of our wishes were heard.  There was going to be a second one created called Ragnarok Online: The Gate of the World and only joyous praises were heard.  Many had attempted at private or failed versions of a second before this announcement come out.  Until that announcement was given, we were stuck still playing the first one with its 3D environment and 2D characters; it’s little charm and fond memories always bring people back.  The beta was first opened shortly near the end of 2006 and the beta tests ran until 2008 but not all was well. Its first year of testing was huge and overfilled but only dwindled over the years of testing because the game was a huge disappointment. Many players had snuffed their noses at it and the company, Gravity Corp was left to scrap the game in 2010.  It was a sad day but we all still had the first one to play and even I keep coming back to play it.

On July 2010, Gravity Corp announced it would be creatinga new version of the second game and it would be keeping the system and mechanics of the first one.  It was something that their first attempt was missing.  It also announced it would be dropping the Unreal Engine and oh my, it did.  They also announced that they would be having North American servers for those who played here.  In April 2013 for five days there was an open beta for North American players to try it before its official release on May 1st 2013.   I had heard there were quite a few differences from the fond aspects of the first one.  At first, the card system was no longer in the game; the company believed that their rare weapons were over shadowed by the card system.  Being able to place powerful cards that gave huge stats and bonuses into low level weapons but it begged the question of how did you get powerful weapons without this idea of good cards in bad weapons.  Not everything was as simple as that.

I waited a couple months after the game first came out to test the waters of my first beloved MMO.  I wanted to give a wait for whatever major bugs to be fixed hopefully… little did I know.  I recently downloaded the game when they added a server for Aeria Games through Warpportal.  When I started the game, they had recently introduced a new race called the Noel and their own specific classes.  I thought it was a nice touch.

Straight from the get go of installing the game, I hit issues.  The game requires a graphics card update of PhysX.  Even if yours is update, the game may or may not encounter this issue; to solve it, simply uninstall PhysX and reinstall with the latest update, again then restart your computer.  After getting through that, mind you it was a 2 hour download and another hour figuring out why it wasn’t working, you get to start.  The game starts you off with five classes, no more novice and four job options.  You pick one of classes: swordsman, thief, magician, acolyte and archer and then one of the four jobs: chef, artisan, blacksmith and alchemist.  Each have their own benefits and helpful to what class you may choose, requiring to collect rocks, skin animals or pick herbs.  A chef creates food that replenish health and mana, as well as food that buffs stats while an alchemist creates potions instead of food.  Both the blacksmith and artisan make armor while the blacksmith also make weapons for all classes.  After choosing, you get a starting place and most start in the training grounds.  Like most MMOs, you gain both main quests and side quests, continuing along to get gears and levels.  The game has a bit of a tutorial on what to do but nothing is completely clear.

My first issue with this game is lack of explanation as well confusing menus.  At the right side, when you level or achieve something it pops up as an icon and you click it to proceed to where you add points or look at what you gain.  These menus even have side menus that you have to right click a tab and only if you notice the tab will you find it.  The achievements are your titles that provide bonus stats but it is completely up to you to manage and track.  You have to ‘challenge’ the challenges while making sure you have enough points to do so.  Some relate to quests you may gain so you constantly have to make sure you have accepted it, if not and you complete the quest, you may error and no longer be able to complete the challenge.  Some require a certain level to achieve them and it is a pain to constantly have to back track to other areas to complete them.

Which brings me to another problem I have with RO2. Being able to travel between maps and areas.  Most of them have the Flying Kafra like in the first one but these are much different. There are short range ones that may only fly in the same map or to certain points.  At times you may have to fly two to three times to get to one location, pay money each time because you can’t fly directly to point A from point B.  Only in the major cities like Prontera or Alberta can you find the long distance Fly Kafra.  For a lot more gold, they can travel anywhere you need to go.  The only good thing I enjoyed about this was the flying cinematic you got when you traveled by Flying Kafra.   The other mode of transportation you receive is a mount which is a Peco Peco. You can purchase others by using real money that only lasts for a certain amount of days.  At lot of the store items are limited time that have only short amount of days or a month.

Just before I started to play, they introduced a new race called the Noel.  They have a total of three classes, their starting class and two other branches.  One of their second classes is very much like a Soul Linker but not even close.  They use this as a healing DPS class while the other is a melee AOE dps.  I rather enjoyed playing as the AOE dps class for the Noel over a ranged class.  I had found the targeting system to be very buggy as a ranged.  Being ranged, the targeting system by pressing tab was less than desirable and I had constantly finding myself not targeting the next monster to me but something very far off in the distance.  There is very little slide casting as well you are constantly force to face the monster to attack; if you even accidently rotated yourself rather than the camera, you could find yourself face down in the dirt.

Flying Rock?

Flying Rock? I feel like I’ve seen everything now.

While the game is still quite new, I still feel like I am very much in a beta version.  There are still many invisible walls or fences that you run into but that are never there.  Even the models are buggy; constantly being glitched to look like you’re in the ground or even floating.  One dungeon I had run with a friend, he constantly wondered if I was in the dungeon with him or following.  My character was completely invisible to him while to me everything looked normal.  The dungeon themselves are instants rather than the large maps where everyone could go at once.  While this provides equal chance for everyone to gain gear it can mean lack of finding people to help but a lot a more than willing to help out.  Dungeons even have cinematic that show off the bosses or cut scenes between NPCs.

All in all, I have found RO2 to be only a little like the first one, understanding a lot of people’s complaints on it but if I don’t compare it direction to RO1, I find I am more accepting of it.  The graphics are more than well done and the maps are quite reminiscent of the first game.  The creators thought more of the little touches rather than the big things I do believe.  Recently they have brought back the card system though you can only slot the cards on yourself than weapons and armors and I find that is a lot better than what it used to be and quite happy to see it back.  RO2 is still a heavily in process game; not complete but not beta either.  While there is a lot wrong with it, there is a lot of small improvements made.  I’d say give it a chance but if you’re looking for something completely like the first one but with improved graphics, I’d say turn the car around and try another place this isn’t your stop.

From an announcement from Mr, Marc Merrill and Mr. Brandon Beck, this evening accounts on the North American server has been compromised.  They are asking people to change their passwords through logging in through the website or when they log in.  The information that was compromised was the names, account names, passwords and lastly Riot point payments made in 2011 though Riot no longer uses the payment system used in 2011.

I urge all those who play in the North American to change their password as soon as they can and good luck.

WoW

Back in January of this year, there had been rumors floating around about a WoW movie; not that every possible player wasn’t already dreaming of it happening. Throughout the last couple of years since about 2006, the rumor mill has been going only for it to be confirmed this year at Comic Con.  At Comic Con, they produced a test film teaser, and officially and finally, confirming the movie to be made.  The slated director is Duncan Jones, who directed Moon and Source Code and production is to start early 2014.

Digging a bit further into it, the movie is dated to come out in 2015, only a year’s worth of production to be had.  Will it be enough time to appease the masses?  Will the long awaited suspense of years desiring such a film have us become overcritical when it does come out?