Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Going Home to the Convention




Last weekend I returned for the third time to the MCM Expo in London. For those that don't know this is Britain's version of the American Comic Conventions, and certainly the biggest event of the kind in the UK. As I sat there drinking a coffee, watching people in all kinds of costumes  come and go, I had an epiphany. The general populous may think it is odd that people dress up is comic, anime, game and movie characters, I came to the conclusion that those "normal" people  were odd because they didn't. I looked around and I could see more joy and happiness than I have seen anywhere else.

I think what I was really seeing on those happy faces was a passion and enthusiasm that you rarely see. Only here I was in a hub of passion and enthusiasm. People who have, like me, waited months to come together with those of a like mind. Even when people go on holiday they are rarely surrounded by such, well, not wishing to sound like a douche, waves of positivity. Why on earth would you not want to be a part of that, be a part of that glow. It just makes no sense to me.

Friday, 24 May 2013

I am afraid in the future we may all be (X)boned




I, like I suspect many of you, was distinctly underwhelmed by the Xbox One (can we please make Xbone it's proper nickname). While it showed the tech, which seemed pretty decent, it didn't really show many exciting games. However I am not going to write a blog moaning about the presentation, which was clearly for Joe Average, and plenty has been talk of this elsewhere, and talk about a feature that bothered me about the new console.

As you are probably aware the kinect is now an integral part of the console, coming bundled as standard. In the presentation it clearly showed the console turning on via voice command. This was confirmed by Microsoft that the console and kinect is always on in a low power state, ready to respond to the command to come on. You know what I took away from that? That the Xbone (seriously lets make it a thing), and in turn Microsoft, is always listening to your conversations, regardless of whether your console is on or off.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Finally found a (e)Sport I like





I don't watch sport, or partake for that matter. Being a male this somehow makes me in a minority with my gender, for reasons that I don't quite understand. However I am going to MCM Expo again this year, they are having a LoL tournament finals there. Given my recent attempt to play the game, we thought that we would watch the livestream of the quarter finals over the weekend, with the semi's and final on the con weekend. Given my relative inexperience with LoL (I know the basics principle but not the interagency, much like real sport I suppose), it was fascinating and exciting to watch, in a way that I have never found sport to be.

Given the small amount of LoL I had played I couldn't help but being impressed with the players, and almost found myself up on my feet at exciting moments. I could really see me watching replays of matches. So why was this exciting to me in a way that I never found "real" sports to me. I guess it is because I can understand the skill and organisation of a LoL team facing off against each other. However with sport, like our national sport football, it just looks like a couple of dozen people running around after a ball. Hell I know football fans that would willingly agree that a lot of matches are boring, with not much happening.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Got the competitive itch for Guild Wars 2




Following a conversation with my co-blogger Hex I decided to start playing Guild Wars 2 again. I have always had a great deal of affection for GW2, but I haven’t touched it in months. This was down to a mixture of other things to play and it being fun but uncompelling. But when Hex tells me that he is now level 75 (of 80), I think, “wow I need to get back into this”.

I have to confess that the urge to play GW2 again has little to do with the game, though I have had fun playing it again, it is down to the urge to beat, or at least catch up with Hex. I am far from a competitive gamer, however when me and my BFF Hex are concerned, I have always been, if not better, then at least ahead of the curve. Take Skyrim for an example, he only started playing it a couple of months ago, I finished it a year ago. The only exception really being LOTRO, which he is much further along in, but I don’t really like, so I can ignore.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

I am happy that Winter is Never coming




Cryptic aren't a great developer, I really truly believe this. Champions Online was mediocre, especially after the starting zone and Star Trek Online is so unappealing that I never even bothered. They are trite and unoriginal, and I have no enthusiasm for their games. So I am now really confused. Why do I like Neverwinter, the new mmo based on the D&D system, and to a lesser extent the pc games Neverwinter nights. It makes no sense, they are journeyman developers at best, but they have crafted such an amazing world (and tools, more on that later), that I really don't understand.

Neverwinter is currently in open beta, so everyone can try it, and there is a free to play store that you can buy the usual xp potions and such from. At the moment at least it has not been very money grabbing, though this may change as I get further into it. In many respects it is very similar to a lot of mmo's there are traditional roles like clerics, mages and rogues, who level up gaining skills. This is unsurprising given the fact that all mmo's and rpg's generally owe a debt to D&D. However the combat is a little different. Rather than tab targeting, you hit what you are pointed at, with a third person shooter style reticle, with no power bars aside from cooldowns and a dodge power bar similar to GW2's. As you level you get points to unlock new skills or improve existing ones. Interestingly to give the game a more action feel, attacks are keyed to mouse buttons and the Q, E, and R buttons, to make using them and moving easier. It is such a simple idea it is amazing more games don't do it. The number keys are for potions and daily abilities (which confusingly can be used more than once a day). These are super attacks that you build up resources to us.