October 23, 2010

Blizzcon: A hit? Or a Cataclysmic miss?

So, Blizzcon started yesterday. It was good. I got to see some pretty new graphics for Diablo III. Even a few custom maps for Starcraft II, but that was really all. Their big announcement for the year was Cataclysm. Wasn't that their announcement a few months ago, too? They went through this whole stage show to get you into Cataclysm. Consisting of closing your eyes and listening to the clash of rubble caused by Deathwing's awakening.

Really? Was that it? What about this new MMO you're supposedly working on? It's being tested in house right now. Yet, it's not far enough along to actually be press worthy yet? Well, if it's being tested then it obviously has a concept. If it has a concept then it obviously has details to offer. I think a lot of people were disappointed that this announcement wasn't made.

I was one of those people. I watched in wait. Figuring "well, they released a little bit about it a few weeks ago. Surely they'll let us know a little more". However, that simply was not the case. Which ultimately left me with a bad taste in my mouth. This Blizzcon was definitely pretty dry. Metzen stated that all of the big announcements for the year have already been made. Maybe he's fooling us? Maybe there will be something big today. Maybe they'll come out of nowhere with it. If they do, then I'll immediately recant my statement. 

However, I found the bulk of Blizzcon's first day to be pretty uneventful. I know it's for the players, but the players expect to be wow'd (no pun intended). I really don't think they've pulled that off this year. I almost feel like I've opened a present on Christmas morning only to find out the box was empty. However, day II is about to get rolling. So, we'll just have to wait and see.

October 22, 2010

Company of Heroes Online: My experiences so far.

So, I'm not a big RTS player. In fact, the only RTS I've put any real time (no pun intended) into was Warcraft III. That was more for the Campaign than the actual game. Soon after, I dropped it and moved on to other things. The RTS genre is rarely good at keeping my interest. However, I've come across Company of Heroes Online in the last few days. All in all, it's a pretty solid game. I'm enjoying it quite a bit because the overall feel is a little more like I expect a strategy to be. It's not all about sitting on one or two bases and farming minerals. It's about squad based play and territory control.

It has some pretty interesting aspects that I feel bring a fair element of strategy to the genre. A little more-so than just tech trees and macro/micromanagement. It has that too, but it has a few things that set it apart.

Squad Based Gameplay: In company of heroes you don't work on individual units, for the most part. When you spawn a unit, you generally spawn a squad of 5-6 that act under a collective health total. Now, that is one unit in essence. However, it gives a much larger feel when conflicts break out on the battlefield. It also adds another element to the game. The squads are pretty large. Which means the micro has a little more to it. It's not incredibly complex, but I feel it's a little more than say Starcraft.

Commanders/Abilities: This is the first thing that I really think sets this game apart. When you first start the game you'll create your account. You'll then be prompted to create a commander once in the game. Now, I've only focused on American Commanders so far, but the game has two factions. Americans and Wehrmacht. American Commanders consist of three types. You have Infantry Commander, Airborne Commander and  an Armor Commander. Each are pretty self-explanatory as to what they actually do.

Well, I'll go a little bit into here for you:

  • Infantry Commander: The Infantry Commander is basically the guy who swarms with ground based troops. He's stronger with them than other commander types. His special abilities support his ground troops. As well as various other things.
  •  Airborne Commander: The Airborne Commander has control of the skys. His abilities consist of things like Strafing Runs or Recon Flyovers. He has the ability to paradrop in squads of troops on the map as well.
  • Armor Commander: The armor commander has control over vehicles and I believe defensive capabilities. His focus is on tanks and things of the like.
Command Tree: Basically, as a commander you will get abilities specific to your command sect. These abilities are equipped in the commander window. Things like Bombing Runs, Strafing Runs, Troop Drops, so forth. When equipped, the abilities provide a new skill that can be used in game. The Command Tree is a way to improve these abilities. Each ability you equip has it's own Improvement Tree. You can use this tree by leveling up. 1 level awards 1 Improvement Point. Think of them like Talent Trees. You can lower the cooldown on an ability. Lower the cost to use it. Increase it's damage and so forth. It adds an interesting level of tactic to the game.

Army Depot/Hero Units: Next we have the Depot and Hero Units. The Army Depot is a window outside of a match that displays all of the buildings you could possibly build for your base. Well, each of these buildings have special equip slots. Each slot can be filled with a different type of Hero Unit. Hero Units are special units that function like a normal squad. They'll generall be the Hero counterpart to the normal squads you already have, with a bonus. They can level up. They have a total of 5 levels and as they do, you gain a new ability for that unit. Something only useable by that specific unit.

The units have charges. Charges are uses for the unit. You'll generally use around 10 or so for that unit in a match if you play with them heavily. Don't worry, though! You get points called Supply as you play matches that you can use to buy more charges for that unit. Or, you can unequip the unit to stop using charges. They WILL use charges just for being equipped while in a game.

Now, I'm sure I've left a few things out here. However, I think I covered most of what I feel makes the game stand out. It's pretty solid so far, but I'm still learning. I hope to get a little better, and maybe even branch out into competitive play. It's been a while since I've looked at a game like that. I think this one provides enough of a challenge for me to do just that. It seems to have quite the number of people playing. At least a few hundred every time I'm online. So, it's pretty easy to find games and whatnot. Anyone else currently playing? Any thoughts on the game?

October 21, 2010

Warhammer Online: Love it? Hate it?

So, I've been in this discussion over the course of the week with a Blogger I follow pretty often. He and I have had a few heated words, but I don't consider it anything serious. I've stated my opinion just as he has. Well, the focus of the discussion has been Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. A game I am currently in love with, actually. I try not to fanboy it up or anything. I really just enjoy the game. It's moved forward a fair enough amount since release. The new, upcoming changes promise more as well. Things I won't necessarily go into right now. Maybe for another post later.

I was just wondering, guys. What are your thoughts on the game? I'm sure we'll come to a vast array of opinions. Some will love it. Some will hate it. It tends to be one or the other. Let's try and keep it civil, but I would love to hear some thoughts. Maybe the reasoning behind the love/hate. I've found it to be one of the better PvP experiences available right now. That's my biggest draw. So guys, thoughts?