Gibbets and crows: Rise of Isengard and the state of LotRO

It's only a model.

If you are unawares, you’ll probably want to know that my feelings on LotRO haven’t really been that nice. At least, that is to say that I’m less and less impressed with the things Turbine attempts to do in trying to continue developing for LotRO, an MMO that has drastically changed in one short year prior to its four years running. Once again we find ourselves waiting for what seems like eons (six months since Book 3—or, if you’re a true defender, I suppose you’d say five months because of the Rift coming back in June) for scraps from the master’s table. At the very least Turbine is still operating under their previous year’s update schedule, which essentially means they are only able to release one Book update before then spending the next seven months working on an “expansion.” Was it worth it? Has F2P actually turned the game around to pave the way for Turbine’s way of success?

The short answer: no.

The long answer: If by ‘success’ you mean ‘greed’, then yes.

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Apparently one title wasn’t bad enough: Crytek to pick up Homefront sequel

So I guess we all know my opinion on Homefront. I still haven’t played the game because I still would choose Solitaire rather than waste three or four hours earning the right to say, “I told you so.” Although I’m much less smug about it learning that Kaos Studios was closed down due to the failure of the game. Despite achieving some financial success, the backlash of Homefront led to a drop in THQ shares and, subsequently, painted Homefront in an even more negative light.

Now, to anyone else this would have been a rather clear sign that Homefront was a terrible, terrible idea. Some backwater country with thirty-year-old military hardware couldn’t even take over the Philippines if it wanted to. Couple this with a four-hour buggy single player experience and everyone knows why the game didn’t sell well…except THQ. THQ is convinced the game would’ve sold much better if it was handled by a “triple A” developer. And what better “triple A” developer could there be that specializes in making North Korea as the Big Bad if not Crytek?

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Take me out in to the black, tell ’em I ain’t comin’ back

I’m a sucker for 4X games, especially ones that deal with space theatre. So I guess it’s no surprise that when I heard about Star Ruler I gave it my undivided attention. After all, there’s been few successes in this genre of this particular theatre (in general of anything, to be honest), and, as an indie title, I was completely skeptical. After watching some gameplay videos and reading some testimony I decided the only way I could truly be sure is if I got my hands dirty. And boy, am I glad I did.

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Indie Developer Jones and the Temple of Greed

These days it seems that the once-innocent niche market of indie games has taken a turn for the worst. Indie games used to be low-key and they’d rarely be priced anything past a Happy Meal at McDonald’s—sometimes they’d be completely free. Why? Because its developer (or maybe developers if there’s another guy or two) would usually only develop the title out of fun or as some sort of pseudo political or artistic statement. Indie games were never meant for a mainstream audience with a mainstream wallet—that’s why they’re called indie games.

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The increasing demand of PC games on PC systems

No, this is not the precursor to a topic discussion about political correctness. I’m talking about one thing and one thing only: PC games. That’s right, I’m that guy. I’m the guy that flexes his muscles at being a self-proclaimed PC gamer. I like to flex that muscle. It makes me feel superior. I try to drop a mention how I’ve been playing Oblivion for five years now and each year it’s a completely different experience because of its extensive modding community. I schlep into conversations and drop the two-monitor bomb setup in Supreme Commander (totally bitching setup, by the way). I piss fluorinert and crap broken 8800GT’s. That’s how I roll. So why do I cringe when new PC games come out?

Don’t get me wrong. A lot of it is just flair—Brucie don’t think you’re genetically different just because you drive the junker and I’m cruisin’ in the beamer. No way. Games can be just as fun on consoles. I just don’t own one and really have no plans to own one. I don’t think I’d be particularly pleased if someone gave me one as a gift either. Not that I would be offended or anything ridiculous like that; it’s just that mainly all of my main interests are found on the PC platform. This is generally why I fly that flag every chance I get. Lately, however, that flag has been waning under the pressure of new releases. In this case I’m talking about what’s usually made as the strongest argument against PC gaming: the system requirements.

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Video games in crime-drama tv; please, just stop trying

What is is about television that insists that its viewer base is as stupid as their writers? I’m not talking about overly scientific data that might be misconstrued rather than interpreted as completely wrong; I’m talking about something as simple as every-day culture. Culture that you can witness with friends and family or even as you wait for your lunch. The title says “video games in tv,” so take a guess at where I’m going with this.

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Piracy: The Perfect Patsy

Bloody pirates, always stealing the latest version of Photoshop!

No doubt by now you’ve heard about Crysis 2 being leaked recently. The sequel to the popular series by Crytek, Crysis 2 is slated to release on March 22 for North American audiences. A full working copy was out on February 11 on torrent sites, however, a full 39 days before its actual release. This was amidst Crytek’s recent announcement that they were canning early beta releases to GameStop employees on suspicion of piracy becoming a culprit for the PC version of the game and wanting all gamers to have a “fair shot” to play the game at the same time.

Crytek hasn’t held back on the development, going full-retard, releasing the following statement to Kotaku:

“Crytek has been alerted that an early incomplete, unfinished build of Crysis 2 has appeared on Torrent sites…Crytek and EA are deeply disappointed by the news. We encourage fans to support the game and the development team by waiting and purchasing the final, polished game on March 22.”

Crysis 2 is still in development and promises to be the ultimate action blockbuster as the series’ signature Nanosuit lets you be the weapon as you defend NYC from an alien invasion. Piracy continues to damage the PC packaged goods market and the PC development community.” [Link]

This is also amidst Crytek’s previous claims that the reason the Crysis series was no longer a PC exclusive was also because of piracy. In fact, to display their new-found behavior to alienate customers that payed for their bills to survive early on in their first development cycle, Crytek went ahead and made the online beta to Crysis 2 exclusive to the Xbox 360. They’re apparently flabbergasted that PC gamers have been less than pleased with their decisions. Gee, I wonder why.

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