New League of Legends Cinematic: A New Dawn

I mean this as no disrespect to the League of Legends videos of the past, but the new League of Legends Cinematic: A New Dawn just completely knocked it out of the park. If you’ve paid attention to Riot’s particular style in the past, the video primarily showcases the style of each champion in order rather independently. See A Twist of Fate below.

The fights remind me of dances and the only clear objective is to show off the style of each unique character. No reason for the battle is given and the scenes transition from champion to champion with choreographed grace. This is lovely when your objective is simply to show off all your characters, but I feel that Riot’s newest video does that and displays more of the themes of League of Legends itself.

In A New Dawn viewers are introduced not only to the champions, but the theme of the game itself: a brutal 5v5 team combat with a real objective, the Nexus. The teams are as follows: Leona, Ahri, Graves, Jax and Rengar vs Katarina, Draven, Darius, Zyra and  Nautilis. The battle is mostly seen through the eyes of Ahri, who is frustratingly passive throughout the fight. It’s clear that the objective is to keep moving towards a goal with team 2 trying to stop them. We are slowly introduced to each character in their style while maintaining the objective, a five versus five team fight with the nexus at the objective. Also given to viewers is a darker perspective. I have never seen blood in League of Legends cinematic and I welcome it’s addition as its tasteful use does a great job showcasing the brutality of arena combat, though deaths are tastefully implied, not shown. When I first viewed the video this morning, it had less than 500,000 views. Now the counter is at 1,258,000 at 12:30 US Pacific. I don’t doubt that it will eventually surpass A Twist of Fate’s nearly 30 million views.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Hey there sports fans. I hope you’ve been well. My own life has thrown me for a loop and I find myself in Santa Monica, CA. Along with the change of scene, my personal life and work life have had a major shift! Most of the changes have been good, but getting here has really been a wild ride. While my monster PC has been in storage, I hung onto my MacBook Pro until I find a permanent home (or as permanent as I ever get). This has slowed down my streaming career quite a bit, since serious PC gaming is a bit tough on the lappy. Even my PS3 is locked up until I move out. This has left me with Netflix, Nintendo 3DS and a lovely beach city to explore.

Walkable city and warm weather aside, I’ve been attached to my 3DS. My newly minted fiancé and I have been enjoying Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate co-op action. I’m a sucker for a solid co-op experience. For those of you who have played Monster Hunter before, this wont come as a surprise but the game has a steep learning curve. At first, (and at second and at third) the game controls seem clunky and slow. Each weapon feels as unwieldy as the next with the exception of the dual blades. I was shocked at first, so I did a bit of research on the topic and found a few schools of thought on those who complain that the combat feels clunky. 1) U suck noob, get better or stop playing 2) That’s just the style of the game, it’s hard on purpose to make it more fun and challenging. Perhaps these two views are saying essentially the same think that the player is slow and the monsters are fast by design. Each swing must be calculated, because if you plan poorly your lengthy combo leaves you open to devastating blows from your quarry. Although I’ve gotten then hang of ponderously swinging around my switch axe, I’m still not convinced this style of combat should be celebrated as genius design. It is certainly a barrier to entry so it makes people who are good at it feel good about themselves, it does give me a certain satisfaction when I manage to smash a wyvern’s face in with a clumsy hammer larger than I am.

Along with the awkward feeling combat system, the game design itself is a bit of a mystery to the uninitiated. You learn the game interface mostly by trial and error and the UI design is a bit of mystery even hours into the game. The game assumes the player knows things that are not obvious, where to go to start the quest you’ve selected, how resources work, what weapon sharpness means, how to set decorations into your armor. NPCs throughout the game give you tips here and there, but they aren’t always explicit about how things are done. Monsters themselves have mysterious loot tables that change based on what part of the monster you damage and whether you kill or capture your target. There is no obvious way to find a monster’s elemental or weapon type weaknesses without consulting a wiki. The wiki’s themselves are a bit mixed up since each wiki is not well filled out and mixes information from various MH games together in each entry. I guess I’ll just add all this to the steep learning curve mentioned above.

Now I guess this all seems very negative, but I wouldn’t have put 60 hours into it if MH3U did nothing right. The game rewards those who muddle through the goofy UI and gameplay. As I said before, once you master your weapon going out on hunts becomes addicting. You will need to hunt the same monster multiple times to build your armor sets, so you’ll find yourself repeating the same quest OVER and OVER to get that rare item you need. This can get tedious on your own. MH3U has two great mechanics to keep things fresh, well-developed co-op play and selecting a new weapon gives you an entirely new experience. I’m usually an archer, but I find the lack of a second thumb pad tough so I’ve been sticking to blades and hammers. The monsters themselves are glorious. They are big, tough and each has it’s own features and unique behaviors. Some fly, some burrow in the ground and others swim. The first time I battle a new powerful monster I get my rear handed to me until I get the hang of its behavior. Once I transition from butt kicked to butt kicker, the satisfaction is worth all the frustrations with the cumbersome game design. All and all, if you have a friend willing to sit down and play through the game with you, this purchase would be a no brainer, especially if you’ve got a friend willing to join you on the journey.

BZ BZ

I’ve had quite the gaming journey int he past few months. I went through a Guild Wars 2 phase. There have been some new developments that kept me interested, Anet has been rolling out frequent living world updates so that there’s new content every few weeks. Each event lasts a set amount of time then is gone forever, so it’s hard to tear yourself away if you’re a completionist like me. I managed to tear myself away for the last month or so and this has given me the opportunity to complete quite a few new games.

bioshock

I received Bioshock: Infinite as a birthday gift and I had the time to get through it once I got away from the black hole of MMO land. Like many other reviewers, I found the plot to be compelling and the gameplay engaging. I primarily blasted through tough spots with my Crows.  The best thing about crows is that when a foe dies to crows, a crow trap is left in his/her place. It’s like a super crow multiplier.
During my transition from MMO to Bioshock, I also picked up an additional gaming related hobby; streaming on Twitch.tv. Readers, you can tune in at twww.twitch.tv/latigress where you’ll see me streaming the most random games ever. So far my streams include Guild Wars 2, Bioshock: Infinite, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and not Outlast. After about a month of streaming, I feel I’ve gotten the hang of it, although I’ve attracted few followers. The whole experience is rather enjoyable so I’ll keep doing it regardless.
terraria
Next up, me and my friend (let’s call him Slayzer) are going to try to rig up my console to my twitch account to see if we can get PS3 games up and running. Then I can finally play The Last of Us and share the experience with my small pool of viewers. Wish me luck with all those wires.

Gilles de Binche

I’ve enjoyed my weekend immensely. I got home way too late on Friday do to much. Everything in the city center is closed after 7pm except some restaurants. Even the convenience store I tried to stop at was closed. A Steam sale and a suggestion from Rob prompted us to both buy Boarderlands 2. Everyone I’ve talked to as well as reviewers seem to like the game. Given the game’s 5.1 GB download, I wasn’t able to start playing until Saturday morning. I was able to try out the Siren and the Assassin class types. Though I’m not wild about the female Siren’s skill set, I can’t stand having Zero as an avatar. I find it annoying that the supposedly tough female character is the mage/support class. Why do women always get stuck with the support skills? It looks like we haven’t come far since Secret of Mana. Despite my conflicting avatar/skill set dilemma, I’ve been enjoyed the game both alone and cooperatively. Turns out, I find sniping the most entertaining, well that and setting my enemies of fire with the elemental guns available in the game. Headshots are almost imaba, it’s hard to justify play style that doesn’t focus on sniping/headshots, although that could be partially personal preference.

After spending most of Saturday playing games with my boyfriend, friends and brother, I was ready for an adventure on Sunday. A coworker and I attended day 1 of the three day festival called Gilles de Binche. Binche is the name of a City about 45 minutes drive from Brussels center and Gilles are. . . well Gilles. I’m not sure I can even come up with a US equivalent. I should note that I really did not wear clothing warm enough for the ~28F day. Though I had fun, I was constantly trying to warm up numb fingers and toes.

I have no idea what they were going for.

I have no idea what they were going for.

 

Gilles are exclusively men and boys from the small town of Binche. I thought at first that they would be street performers, but in truth, they are revelers who entertain crowds by marching around town to drumbeat while waving odd sticks. Why do they wave these sticks about? Traditionally, it was to ward away evil spirits in the 14th century, but now I think it is just fun for everyone involved. People come from all over Brussels and beyond to party in Binche. The mood at the festival is extremely lighthearted, the bars were full of tipsy patrons and the streets were crowded with children and tourists there to catch the fun.  The costumes the Binches wear on Sunday of the festival are whimsical.

 

 

Sora

 

 

They seemed completely random at times, and usually a large number of men (at least 5+) matched one another. There were also a few oddballs that didn’t match anyone, like this cosplayer I caught marching around. He seemed happy enough to pose for a picture. I also took the time to enjoy the architecture of the town.

 

 

 

 

 

Cathedral of Binche

 

 

Here is a photo of the old Cathedral in Binche. Catholic churches were simply the most interesting and beautiful buildings built in the early ages of European cities, so I always find myself fascinated by them during my travels. Whew it’s late, I’ll try to check in tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diablo III launch, both exciting and disappointing

Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve noticed that Diablo III launched today. Two AM was a bit late for this working woman to stay up to catch her first glimpse, so I’ve been playing  for the past five hours or so. It will come as no surprise to my audience to know that I’ve made a Demon Hunter named Tigress. Tigress is quick, lethal and a blast to play. I’ve noticed that gameplay FEELS like Diablo II. Combat works traditionally and enemies spawn in interesting ways. The environment is dark, dreary and beautiful. I enjoy stopping now and then on my journey to spend time soaking up the scenery, that I then proceed to splatter zombie guts all over. Although the gameplay is traditional, I can see where Blizzard decided to deviate from some small ways. The development teamhas gone back and forth on whether players should manually click to pick up gold, or if the player should have access to dungeon minipets to collect the resource for you. The team seems to have settled somewhere in the middle resulting and the player is now required to run over or near gold to collect it. Scrolls of identity have been completely tossed out the window, identifying is required for top quality items only and there is no scroll required. For those who are familiar with Diablo II, its almost as if you are can imagine the round table discussions of the development team straining their brains over these details. A lot of these changes have been made since the beta launch, so a lot of these tweaks are relatively last minute.

A lesson the whole gaming (and game development community) should note is the perils of the age of online only gaming. Producers are protecting themselves from game piracy by requiring users to be connected to Battle.net servers even if the gamer wants to play solo. There are some small advantages to this, data can be tracked serverside protecting users from lost data and duped items. The downside is that players must have an internet connection established to active blizzard servers even if they want to play alone, you know, without others, OFFLINE. This is enough of an annoyance if you’re in a location with poor or no internet. But imagine what happens if Diablo III servers go down at 10:30 pm central time on launch day.

I’m absolutely shocked that a company with Blizzard’s resources, experience and reputation would fail this hard on launch day. I doubt I would have bothered to blog here at all if the servers were still up. I guess this means it’s time to go to bed. As Blizzard’s”Temporarily Unavailable” Diablo 3 website states; “We’ll be back soon”.

Note that the site was quickly reworded to say that it’s “Down for Maintenance”. Riiiggghtt. . .

 

 

>Hello Gamers

>

I would like to start out by saying hello to all the gamers out there. This blog is for you (well for me too). Firstly, I would like to share another blog that I hold dear. Einhander Blog. This is a blog based off my Aion legion called Einhander. Einhander means “with a single purpose” or “one handed”. I thought it was a fitting name for a guild.

Also, I’d like to share that I’m going to enter my first Magic the Gathering Tournament tonight. I modified an old morningtide preconstruct called “Going Rouge” to be suitable for a casual type legacy tourny. I’ll share my decklist, but only AFTER the tourny :p

Wish me luck!

-Tigress