Game of Thrones Ascent Review: A Facebook Game Set In The World of A Song Of Ice And Fire


Game of Thrones Ascent (developer Disruptor Beam) is the newest video game set in the world of A Song Of Ice And Fire, a recommended and extremely popular book series by George R.R. Martin. Game Of Thrones Ascent has been developed as a game for Facebook even though later in its life it might be converted to other systems. This however – contrary to popular belief – has not lowered its quality or made it a pay-to-win game. At the moment Ascent is still in beta phase.

Ascent is similar to other medieval browsergames like Grepolis or Tribal Wars: your goal is to build a city and destroy your opponents. You will able to add buildings such as a smithy, a sept, a market, and these can also be improved to increase efficienty. The game does not require you to wait immense amounts of time before certain actions are completed. Sure, sometimes you’ll have to wait some time, but it’s far better than in many other games in which you’ll buy speed-up items just because you’re irritated by the time that is left. This is definitely an improvement.

The game hosts a story similar to A Game of Thrones with some minor adjustments along the way, the story itself is cool and you’re really being involved in it as a random noble. You’ll be confronted with quests and you will need to make choices – what’s more important for you? The realm, your family, the olds gods, or the new? The choices you make have an impact on future happenings. Your quests will usually be completed by your Sworn Swords, units you can hire which have their own talent trees in which you will be able to invest points after they have ranked up. Your Sworn Swords can specialise in trade, intrigue, or brute force. They can then complete quests with actions such as “attack, swindle, steal, spy, harass” and so on.

A Sworn Sword working for me

A Sworn Sword working for me

You will be able to check your rank as a noble at the leaderboards. There’s also the option to create alliances, add/help friends, send messages, gain achievements and buy items in the shop with real money. All these systems work fine and you’re always confronted with a nice UI and every now and then a beautiful piece of artwork. The music isn’t bad either!

Questing

Questing

I really enjoyed playing Game of Thrones Ascent and I’ll not stop playing it soon. It’s a fresh and improved version over other similar games and most definitely not your average cheap Facebook game. A huge thumbs up for Disruptor Beam! On you go now, to defeat the challenges in Westeros!

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Allods Online Russia opens up subscription-based server


The originally Russian MMORPG Allods Online made an intesting move some time ago. The Russian variant of the free-to-play fantasy MMORPG launched a subscription-based server. Anyone playing on this server will not be able to “enjoy” the cash shop and thus players become relient on their skills again and not on the amount of money they have.

The European/American variant of the game isn’t planning to do anything similar at the moment although their playerbase has diminished severely after multiple confrontations with the playerbase concerning the cash shop. The new server has been welcomed with primarily positive feedback. Interesting to see how this will turn out.

 

Incredible Game of Thrones ensemble music videos


These two are definitely worth checking out! Spoilers for season 1 and 2 included.

Credits to the author which is Grable424, nice work dude!

 

Funding Game Development Through Player Donations?


Suppose you’re an independent developer. You barely have enough money to pay your artists and programmers. They do some basic work and love doing so. But since you only have a small team, only a small amount of work can be done and sooner or later your game’s players start to get bored because new content isn’t being implemented fast enough. What do you do?

Mortal Online‘s developers (the recently gone free-to-play MMORPG) decided to launch a player donations program. Every now and then a donation goal will be given (the latest donation goal is improved visuals and more) and players will be given the option to donate funds directly into the development of the game. So this is separate from your regular subscription, which will also pay for numerous other expenses. This enables the team to hire outside programmers/artists and thus increase the speed of content updates. Donators will also benefit from numerous feats not available to non-donators. The top donator of the month will be allowed to interview the CEO of Starvault, Mortal’s developer/publisher.

What’s your opinion on funding game development through player donations?

 

Black Desert Online: Next Generation MMORPG?


In development by game developer company Pearl Abyss, Black Desert Online is an upcoming massively multiplayer roleplaying game with a fresh, next generation look. The development is almost finished and currently some extra content is being created. The game will be published by the Korean publisher DAUM and GameOn Japan.

Black Desert Online hosts a seamless world, this means there are no loading screens when you’re walking around the world (but there are when you’re joining dungeons etc.). The game world consists of a number of regions, each with their own climate/weather. This also effects your gameplay: you obviously can’t fish in a dry area like a desert but you can raise camels (mounts) there.

The game has numerous ways for your character to advance:  solo play, party play, field raids and normal raids, raid dungeons, siege warfare, guild vs guild, chasing and numerous other features. Housing is also an option and you can fill your house with all sorts of furniture! The more cozy and full your house is the more NPC’s will visit your house.

It would obviously suck to traverse the lands of Black Desert Online by foot so you’ll have the option to ride a donkey, a camel, or even an elephant if you like. Pearl Abyss is still hesitating wether or not to implement a breeding system to turn normal mounts into special ones.

The combat system is similar to Vindictus/Tera (action!). You can choose to play either in first person or in third person, whatever your preference is. You can also fight while mounted, which is pretty cool! Currently the list of classes is as follows: Fighter, Magician, Archer, Predator, Tamer, Blader, Male Archer, Valkyrie, and Male Wizard.

Mists of Pandaria sold better than expected


Disproving any previous rumours, Mists of Pandaria’s sales proved better than expected. Over 2,7 million copies of the online roleplaying game were sold, and the total amount of subscribers once again counts more than ten million players. It would be wise not too draw conclusions too soon, however, since games like these are known to lose a lot of subscribers after the initial “honeymoon period” wears off.

 

Rumour: SEGA Europe Shuts Down?


A post has appeared on the French gaming website Gamekyo detailing the rumoured shutdown of the European branch of the well known game publisher Sega. After the layoffs and canceled games end March it seems Sega is now coming to an end in Europe. The focus of the developers under Sega should be moved to tablet and mobile games. Sega Europa’s last game to be published will possibly be a to be announced game by The Creative Assembly (Total War?). Sega has not responded to the rumours as of yet.

 

Sometimes I Wonder What MMORPG Developers Do With Our Money


Just take Blizzard, for example, an age old studio with bazillions of money at their disposal, and compare them to Trion Worlds, the developer of Rift which started out with nearly no reputation or whatsoever.  Both get quite a good sum of money for their efforts (Blizzard probably gets a deal more, but okay), but one of them does not manage to show off their immense wealth in the further development of their game. If you have no clue what I’m on about, I’m talking about Blizzard. Not Blizzard in general (because they are quite a great developer when it suits them), but Blizard in some cases. For years they have received subscription fees and money for cute little baby murlocs ment for cuddling, they are probably richer then some countries are right now, certainly richer than Trion Worlds.

But still they manage to sell us an expansion for money, containing less content than Trion manages to deliver for free (patches) in one year. Sure, the things they do deliver are usually top quality, but if it’s not (molten front grindfest) it’s just going to be a quarter year of grinding the same old stuff all over again. So why can’t studios like Blizzard behave in the same way as Trion Worlds? I’m pretty sure they have more resources so basically they should be able to do the same thing. And they do know they’re doing something wrong! Hell, they even announced they would be going to make content faster but about half a year later and I don’t see any big new changes? What’s up with that?  I think it’s time for players to demand new and fresh content for their subscription fees, reward the studios who manage to churn out top quality content in a fast way, and warn the studios who don’t.

Molten FrontBecause Molten Front isn’t worth $15 a month.

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Sandbox MMO Embers of Caerus Surpasses Kickstarter Funding Goal


More and more online games have their pleas heard in Kickstarter‘s crowdfunding programme. The newest success story comes from Forsaken Studios’ Embers of Caerus: an upcoming sandbox mmorpg. With still 20 days to go Embers of Caerus has reached it’s $25000 goal, reaching $27,583 at the moment of writing. This clearly indicates love for sandbox mmorpg games is still there. 207 people have donated Embers of Caerus so far in exchange for items and even diners with the developers! Personally I’m quite looking forward to this game, because in my opinion there’s no great fantasy sandbox mmorpg out there yet and this one does seem to hold a lot of promise. Just check out this video from Forsaken Studios:

Review: Pawn Stars And Big Ugly Bosses – Dragon’s Dogma In A Nutshell


I read some good stuff about CapCom’s new game Dragon’s Dogma, and thought why not just e-mail the good fellows over at CapCom and ask them for a review copy? You’ll never get one if you never ask! Besides, this blog has grown immensely over the past few weeks follower and reputation wise and it isn’t the little kid on the block anymore (although it’s still miles away from the real bad boys). CapCom heard my prayer and whoopdiewhoop, a few days later a press copy of Dragon’s Dogma arrived at my place. My hands were all too eager to touch my first ever review copy so I grabbed it and started playing right away.

So Dragon’s Dogma is CapCom’s brand new game, and I’ve got to cheer at them for having the guts to come up with something new and creative in the already hugely competitive world of role-playing games and also for – excuse the premature conclusion – making it work. Because Dragon’s Dogma is one hell of a game!

We all know CapCom for being the Japanese mastermind behind Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and many other great series. While Dragon’s Dogma is a venture into the unknown for CapCom there was a slight possibility of this turning into a Japanese RPG but that isn’t the case here. The game is perfectly enjoyable for Western players which proves that there are Japanese developers that can make good games for the Western market. When launching Dragon’s Dogma it’s right away clear that it concerns a CapCom game, hence the beautiful music.  Every time I launch DD and this comes up, grrrrrrreat!

But music is not the only thing in which DD excels, after the tutorial in which you get to kill a half lion half deer (?) creature using tactics (yes, tactics!) you’ll get to create your very own character and this too is done great. Your character will never entirely reflect yourself but it can come quite close to the real you. You can also edit your main pawn, pawns are summoned at “Riftstones” and they will always be at your side and help you throughout the game, it’s a quite interesting concept, really. They’re like party members in an MMORPG game, but these speak far more than your average MMO gamer and it seems they are so eager to defend you that they will almost continuously scream things to you about the environment. They make you feel less lonely though :)

They do have a use, if not too make them fight hordes of goblins in the night while you run off to the castle (cough, COUGH). I kind off stayed outside of the main city for too long together with my pawns while hunting bandits for some magical tome and just doing random shizzle out in the world when I noticed it was growing dark. While I did have a lantern with me and a bit of oil it was too dark to see the road so I went off in a straight line to the city. First my pawns warn me of a stench but alas I ignored them, and next thing I know big fat zombies are digging through the earth and attack me. God, I’ve never fought a more intense battle in a game, ever! I did kill them after a few tries (DD is harder than Skyrim, but easier than Dark Souls) and went off towards the city again but when I found the road again I noticed these tiny figures walking around with torches. Turned out they were goblins and while my pawns ran off to fight them I fled through them straight towards the lights of the city. I managed! But I had been chased by I don’t want to know how many goblins and worse.

So yup, I quite enjoyed the open world aspect of Dragon’s Dogma. There’s a ton of things to do and some side quests really offer a nice variation from the main story which is great and original too (I won’t spoil a thing!). There certainly isn’t a shortage of things to do in Dragon’s Dogma, whether it concerns killing huge bosses while utilising tactics, running on castle walls, driving people away or what else, DD’s got it!

And while there are some darker sides to DD they are pretty straightforward: the graphics aren’t that great and the pawns WILL break your ears, but if you’re in for a great and long RPG experience that can compete with Skyrim (yes, it can!) and requires some skill, Dragon’s Dogma is waiting for you! Nothing beats walking around a lively world filled with creatures, quests and the sound of great music.

 

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Dragon’s Dogma: Greatness From Small Beginnings!


So I received my Dragon’s Dogma press copy yesterday, thanks Capcom! I’ve already played this one for about one and a half hour and it’s a great game so far! I’m going to try to take my time to write a review so it will most likely be a while for the review to pop up here. Keep an eye out!

King Arthur 2: The Role-playing Wargame Review


I’ve played around with King Arthur 2: The Roleplaying Game for a while and I’m most happy to be able to present you my review of this medieval game published by Paradox Interactive and developed by NeoCoreGames.

King Arthur 2

King Arthur 2 is one of those games that has a light and a dark side on the internet. Positively, the game is a great mix of real time battles, an interesting storyline and beautiful graphics. Negatively, the real time fights themselfs have been very badly optimized, the controls are clumsy and the fights aren’t close to reality at all. This made me somewhat less tempted to try out the game but considering the storyline and the Rome Total War gameplay style I was tempted to test it anyway.

The Story

Once installed I put the graphics on medium to be able to fluidly do my playing and reviewing and started a new campaign. I was greeted by a very well narrated story that told the background story of what I was doing in the campaign. Apparently some Witch Queen decided to invade my country with her dragons and what else and she managed to deal the almighty Arthur a mortal wound. It is your job to assemble a great army and destroy the Witch Queen’s armies. It’s basically the old and well known “super evil villain, kill it!” concept but since that has always worked for other games why should King Arthur 2 be any different? The whole Arthur theme should be appealing enough.

Gameplay

So when I was done with the cutscenes it appeared some high born friend had been captured in his own castle by rebels and it was my, William Pendragon’s job to save the lord. The game’s events are happening as they are in Rome Total War, not in real time. You get a mission and you will have to move your army to the destination point to do something. This is something you’ll either love or hate, but the next part is sure to delight everyone! When I arrived at my destination I was presented with a very fun and well written story where I would make choices and the results of those choices are reflected in the story itself. For example, would you lead your army through dense woods or would you prefer to keep to the high road? I did not make the best choice I could have done, I ended up in the same prison as the great lord himself, but in the end I managed to escape and needed to fight a battle. So far King Arthur 2 seems to be an excellent game fit especially for gamers who love storytelling.

King Arthur 2

But I’m afraid it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with King Arthur 2: The Role-playing Wargame, as I entered this huge battlefield filled with soldiers my fears were realised and the complaints of the internet community were comfirmed. The controls are clumsy, check! Poorly optimized: it’s not great, but you should be able to live with that. An extreme lack of realism? Check. I led my cavalry into a charge against enemy archers but before my horses slammed them to the ground they almost halted completely and the archers were relatively safe. They should have been flung into the air! Buggy? My soldiers often wouldn’t listen or listened poorly and it would take some time before they would run away. I can say one positive thing about the battles: the animations and graphics are top notch if you can handle them, really! But that’s about it.

Final verdict: King Arthur 2: The Role-Playing Wargame has its pros and its cons, the narrative is great, the storyline is awesome and it graphics surpass the beauty of the latest Total War games. If you’re interested in buying this game for it’s huge battles however, don’t, (unless you’re an Arthur fanatic :), because while this is one of the bigger Paradox titles, this game stands less chance against the big series then this archer does against an horde of enemy knights:

Please note this review was based on the first official release build. Bugs might have been corrected in future patches but they refused to install.

King Arthur 2: The Role-playing wargame

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Diablo III Could Have Done These Things Better


It seems like the entire world is playing Diablo 3 right now, everywhere I walk I hear silent whispers and people discussing their loot drops and let’s be honest here: Diablo 3 deserves the attention. If you are one of the people who have played the original games and now hate and miss the modern variant because of it being “different”, then truly I feel sorry for you because Diablo 3 does lots of things right.

What do you think would have happened if Diablo 3 kept true to it’s deepest roots? What would have happened if Diablo 3 kept the dark, pixelized graphics, gothic style and hardcore difficulty of the earlier games? It would surely have been bought by the most elite Blizzard fans who have been waiting for the next Diablo game to come out the day Diablo 2 was released. But it would not have appealed to the young generation of games which is monstrolously big in numbers and of a huge importance to the continued success of a series.

None can deny Blizzard has indeed lightened the game somewhat to better fit today’s gamers. I think it is for the better and I don’t feel sorry. But there are a few things Blizzard could have done better.

  • For a start, I would have loved to be able to customize my character. Fiddling around with hairstyles, facial hairstyles, skin colors and dyes to make your character look as good as you want it to be should always be possible in any RPG but Diablo 3 lacks. There is no customization on the outside.
  • Besides customization on the outside, “real” talent trees have disappeared and it is no longer possible to spend hours to find out how to best distribute your points. You are led by Blizzard and they will tell you exactly what skill to unlock (there is no other option). What a pity.
  • Server stability: I know Diablo 3 is immensely popular but come on! We live in 2012!

Apart from the extreme lack of customization I feel the game is a bit too easy. I am playing on normal and I feel like it’s just a little bit too easy for my liking. It should have been just a tiny bit more difficult for the average gamer. The hell difficulty level is fine, but I think inferno should have been more difficult too since inferno has already been soloed (it should be soloed after months!)

All things considered Diablo 3 might not be the game you were looking for as an hardcore Diablo veteran, but it will most certainly suit your roleplaying needs and will be a great game no matter how different it is from the original series. Play it, you won’t regret it!

Please voice your opinion on Diablo 3, I love comments!

Diablo 3

Diablo 3 Release Trailer


Diablo 3 Release Trailer

World of Warcraft Cross Realm Zones Explained And Subscriber Numbers Remain Steady


Great news on the World of Warcraft website! Cross realm zones are coming to the beta! Probably in response to the immense amount of requests for free realm transfers Blizzard has implemented this cool feature into the game. It might – or rather, it will – seem pretty vague but it’s not that hard to understand. Whenever a zone is low-populated (just about every zone nowadays) the game fluidly adds players from other realms to that zone (it’s done fluidly without any loading screens or hold up or whatsoever) so you don’t feel like playing a singleplayer game. You can chat with them, party up with them and do quests, you can even visit another zone with him or her as long as you are both in the same instance! While this is great news because the world fill finally be filled with players again, there’s also a few negative sides to note, but who knows, perhaps Blizzard will think of something smart to fix those things:

  • PvE/PvP realm players who invade RP realms and ruin the party there.
  • Being from the same realm means even less now.
  • Nodes being stolen.
  • Some more difficulties.

In other news, World of Warcraft has retained it’s subscriber numbers of 10.2 million.

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Ogres are Dangerous Fellows: Warlock: Master of The Arcane Review


Paradox Interactive was so friendly to supply us with a copy of Warlock: Master of the Arcane to review and this is the result. Warlock: Master of The Arcane is a strategy game developed by Ino-Co Plus that has a big similarity to the Civilization series and the Catan board games, only Warlock is a fantasy game filled with ogres, dwarves, magicians and goblins. Just like Catan, the game features hexes on which units might move

The king of Ardania has fallen and three factions fight to decide who will be the new king. This is merely an excuse to rain fireballs on spiders, however, and the latter is quite satisfying. I started a new game (a multitude of difficulty options!) and instantly spotted a range of buttons to tell me what was going on in my “kingdom” and what I needed to pay attention too. So as I was told I constructed a  building for recruiting rangers and recruited a bunch of those jolly fellows to help me conquer new land. I moved them over a couple of hexes (limited amount per round) and discovered some monsteres which I killed. In my next turn I spawned some warriors which I send further down the road, I kept the hunters close to me. And soon my help was requested in the form of a quest, I needed to root out a bunch of goblins. Luckily enough, my warriors took quick care of them.

And on and on I conquered and fought and completed requests. I even conquered a fortress or two while being chased by a mad ogre. The spiders were taken care of very quickly but I made the mistake of sending my warrior squad against the ogre and SQUASH! Warriors gone. These are mean creatures and I was lucky it didn’t attack my fortress some hexes nearby. Which is either a failing AI, or perhaps the ogre wasn’t as aggressive as it seemed.

Leaving the dead behind on I progressed to conquer more land and kill more enemies and I noticed my army squads could raise in rank and be assigned perks (e.g. +10% damage) and I could research spells for my Magician. This was all efficiently explained every turn at the sidebar buttons and I couldn’t thank them more for helping me with my turns every time. I even captured a fortress near the sea and build a harbor with some ships. On I ventured into the wild sea but where I thought would be a quiet sea with dolphins racing near my ships, there was a massive beast and monsters near the coast almost anywhere. I wouldn’t go there just yet. But the land I had conquered for quite a bit was still filled with enemies so I fought and fought and used my spells.

At one point I even encountered a ratlike unknown magician and I offered him a peace of arms (Civilization, anyone?), later in the game I decided to honor his request of a parley and I had one less faction to worry about. Great!

Final verdict: combining Catan with Civilization seems to have worked quite very well for Warlock: Master of The Arcane. It has fine graphics, addiciting gameplay, enough dept for a game of this sort. Hell, I can even summon imps and unleash them on my enemies! One of the finest hex-based strategy games out there.

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Game of Thrones Book/Season 2: A Clash Of Kings Quiz


I’ve put together a Game of Thrones: A Clash Of Kings (season/book two) quiz to test your knowledge of Westeros and beyond. Answer these ten questions in your head and look for the answers at the end of this post. Tell us about your result!

Please do not attempt this quiz before reading or watching up to and including A Clash of Kings first, spoilers included!

1. When Ser Rodrick arrives at Winterfell, who does Theon Greyjoy threaten to hang?

  1. Jory
  2. Beth
  3. Talisa
  4. Luwin

2. Which of the following charaters was not included in Arya’s nightly lullababy?

  1. The Hound
  2. Ser Amory Lorch
  3. Queen Cersei
  4. Willem

3. Complete the following sentence:

Power is a ___ thing, it’s a _____, a ________

  1. mighty, danger, shadow on the wall
  2. grave, vile thing, vicious thing
  3. transparent, trick, shadow on the wall
  4. curious, trick, shadow on the wall

4. What are the Greyjoy words?

  1. We do not sow
  2. We do not slow
  3. We do not surrender
  4. We do not give in

5. Which town or city does not lie in the North of Westeros?

  1. Winterfell
  2. Torrhen’s Square
  3. Moat Cailin
  4. Qarth

6. Which one of these Kingsguard men is Sansa’s Florian?

  1. Ser Meryn
  2. Ser Dontos
  3. Ser Balon
  4. Ser Arys

7. Which of the following characters is not a wildling?

  1. Mance
  2. Ygritte
  3. Rattleshirt
  4. Qhorin

8. What is not true about the Night Watch?

  1. Deserters get killed.
  2. They are dressed in black.
  3. Qhorin Halfhand used to be a wildling.
  4. Mance used to be a crow.

9. What is not true about Mance?

  1.  He is Bael the Bard
  2. He has feasted at Ned Stark’s
  3. He is of the free folk
  4. He was singing a song when Jon first saw him

10. Which one of these is not a synonym for Arya Stark?

  1. Arry
  2. Nan
  3. Weasel
  4. Weese

Every correct answer is worth one point;

correct answers: 2,4,4,1,4,2,4,3,1,4

Moria Revamped In Update 7 – Lord of The Rings Online


In a recent news update by Turbine – LOTRO’s worldwide publisher – was revealed leveling in Moria will be a new experience in update 7. Many players of the popular roleplaying game had complained about the dullness that is leveling in Moria and Turbine has acknowledged, and honed their request. Update 7 will update half of the Moria leveling experience while further updates will enhance this. Great news for LOTRO fans, they can finally enjoy the great sightings of Moria without much pain. Here is an excerpt of the official news release on the LOTRO website:

Design Goals

  • Make sure each division actually offers enough quests from level to level.
    • When we looked under the hood, most zones came nowhere near this number. Some zones had as few as six quests available, but 30ish are needed to level from 50-60.
  • Improve quest flow so that players have a clear, efficient purpose to their travel.
    • Prior to the changes, the quest tracker would frequently point players to every corner of a division at once, or worse.
    • Some quest arcs had players navigating to a tough-to-find monster camp, fighting through it, going back to the hub, navigating back to the same camp, fighting through it for a different reason, and so on. This is not awesome quest flow for a place as maze-like as Moria.
  • Add quests to flesh out the quest count as needed to level.
    • Easy! There are now more quests in the first half of Moria.
  • Make sure players can see, especially on main travel routes.
    • Scarecrow wanted to keep Moria dark, but not so much so that players would be blind. He spent a lot of time carefully adjusting the lighting in the affected zones.
  • Make it easier to travel from hub to hub in Moria.
    • We don’t really want monsters attacking players when they’re trying to get from one quest hub to another on a major highway. The goats don’t like it either.
  • Improve quest rewards.
    • Rock helped to make more sense out of the quest reward stat combos, and also added some consumables to the Durin’s Way rewards.
    • Oh, he also put the tame goat for sale in the Great Delving, no rep required.
  • Reputation faction rewards are now banded by zone.
    • Revamped zones offer one rep faction reward or the other now, instead of rep being all over the place. For example, all Great Delving quests offer rep with the Guards, while the Silvertine Lodes area offers rep with the Miners. These will alternate for every zone by level.
  • Add travel where it is needed.
    • Each zone got a little travel love in spots where it was most needed. New stable routes have been added, as well as other methods of teleportation which should cut down on unnecessary travel time

More on this may be found at the official LOTRO site.

 

Putting My Brain To Work: Crusader Kings II Review


In the middle ages (500-1500) it was common for a king to divide his land and lend pieces of land to his dear vassals. These vassals would in turn offer the king economical and political support and what else. Those vassals were dear to the king for his land was usually too big to rule all by himself and therefore he needed to keep them close to him and treat them well. This is what Crusader Kings II is. You play a feudal lord and must control your land and gather as much wealth and land as you can before the game ends in a specific year. You have multiple “diplomatic” options in hand to reach those goals including ordering assassinations, arranging bethrothals, educating your children, handing out or removing titles and using your vast (or not) army. There is no -goal- and when the game ends it’s up to you to decide wether you like your result or not.

Crusader Kings II is a game published and developed by Paradox Interactive and anyone familiar with the developer/publisher will know what to expect: a very, very deep medieval game. Included with the game is a multiplayer component and extra content for purchase. And deep it was, for when I launched the game and tried my hand at it for a while I just did not know what to do because the amount of buttons at hand was just too big and even the hints did not manage to explain much. So I went back to the main menu and tried my hand at the tutorials section and oh boy, three tabs full of tutorials labeled basic, intermediate and advanced and while I tried the basic tutorial this made me only slighty more wise about what I had to do and really, I’m not dumb or impatient at all!

So I just fiddled around assassinating someone I did not like, I arranged a marriage between my character’s son and some girl and enjoyed the superb music while not knowing exactly what I was doing but enjoying the process of gradually learning the game.

Final verdict: I had hoped to write a better review than this, but playing this game is worse than playing a Games Workshop wargame without having read the rules and as we all know you can’t grasp the rules without hours and hours of reading and thinking I know this game is like heaven for any fan of a real deep experience and this game does give you a real experience. You get to be a medieval lord with all pros and cons of that combined and while I like history and like medieval games, this is just too much. Something I did not like though was the inavailability of real time battles so you are constantly looking at a map. But for the real Paradox Interactive fan and intense Risk players who can stand this behemoth simulation game, heaven has arrived, but it’s not as relaxed as you thought it would be.

Crusader Kings II

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The Elder Scrolls Online Announcement Negatively Received By Fans


In a time where next generation MMORPG’s are being hyped to the max Zenimax Studios announces The Elder Scrolls Online, the game most of us have dreamed of but noone have dared to hope for yet. The initial reaction by the fans was of course joy as The Elder Scrolls is the most well known series in the RPG genre. But as news and leaks flooded the internet joy soon turned into a massive uproar as it became known TES Online would be more like a Warcraft-style themepark than the open world realistic sandbox game most had hoped for.

As one of the few things we yet know TES Online will run on the HERO Engine (SWTOR) and this only removes the thought of a Skyrim like world. Further yet the game will feature hotbars, no real-time fighting and everything that has been revealed so far points to a wanna-be World of Warcraft MMO.

And in these next generation times where gamers have proved to be longing for innovation, there will be no space for a game like TES: Online which does not innovate but looks to be just another game with nearly no resemblance to the original series. The massive uproar on the mmorpg.com forums and more speaks for itself.

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Torchlight II Pre-order Incentive: Neverwinter beta


Perfect World and Runic games have just announced there will be a way to a special way to get access to the Dungeons and Dragons: Neverwinter Nights beta: you’ll get your access with a Torchlight II (Diablo style rpg) pre-order. You will have to buy Torchlight II through Perfect World though, buying it on Steam does not include beta access. Wether Torchlight II is your piece of cake is up to you, but you can’t go wrong with Neverwinter Nights beta access as the original Neverwinter games are considered classics.

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Skyrim Song Covered By Peter Hollens & Lindsey Stirling


We couldn’t resist placing this here – it’s awesome!

Muskets and Sabres – Mount & Blade Napoleonic Wars Review


Published by Paradox Interactive, M&B Napoleon Wars is a multiplayer only DLC expansion pack for the original M&B: Warband which is well known for it’s historical accuracy and multiplayer sieges. The original M&B: Warband took place in a medieval setting but this DLC package takes place during the Napoleonic Wars and looks to be somewhat based on the popular M&B mod “Mount and Musket” as it looks and feels the same.

Not being interested in the Napoleon era at but being a real Mount and Blade fan I entered the game in a mixed state, but as soon as I saw the great M&B artwork we’re so used to and the marching music kicked in, my doubts were taken away.

As I’ve already said Napoleon Wars is a multiplayer only addon, it’s not like Warband which has a separate singleplayer campaign but this did not remove any of the fun I’ve had. As soon as you start the game you can pick the looks, name and flag of your own soldier. You can then join a multiplayer server (there’s even 200 man battles!), pick your regiment (!) and class (infantry, cavalry & specialist) and spawn. The original Warband did not have the option for choosing a regiment, rather only a class but the mm_russia3 addon did.

Graphics wise the game is more or less improved over it’s precedessor (although the performance wasn’t too good as of yet), but you don’t play M&B for its graphics, you play it for it’s gameplay, and if possible, the teamwork. And teamwork there was! The addition of horses that can carry flags is great for it seemed mounted players carrying flags were barking orders and the footsoldiers listened. People were also making very good use of (destroyable) cover.

Mount and Blade Napoleonic Wars - Making Good Use Of Cover

While the footsoldiers were on foot hiding behind cover and the cavalry was riding around barking orders, the artillery stood at the end of the map shooting cannonballs over the map, and these are definitely a reason to keep into cover. These tiny things prove M&B NW is working!

Artillery - M&B Napoleonic Wars

There’s a multitude of maps and modes and players can make their own if they want. There’s players who can play marching music for the rest to hear, there’s players who can built fortifications and there’s the necessary fan base that provides organized events.

Final verdict:

Mount and Blade: Napoleonic wars is once again a great M&B game and it’s working as it should! Never will you see another game like this were people are actually working together to drive the enemy outside their fort and not randomly walking about. The fights are accompanied with great recognisable tunes you can’t resist to whistle. Negative sides include the lack of top notch graphics and an average performance, but these should not be a problem for the hardened Mount and Blade veteran. If you’re not acquainted with the series however, this is your time to get in!

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Incoming: Risen 2: Dark Waters


Tomorrow will be a big day for the Risen series: Risen 2: Dark Waters will make its way into shops and treasure will await us. For anyone unfamiliar with the series, the first Risen has proven to be the true successor to Gothic 3 instead of Gothic 4, which turned out to be a dissapointment for many. Risen 2 is expected to raise the bar to a new level but we will only need to wait and see if it will live up to that. In the meantime, watch the trailer below and prepare your ships and gather your crewmen, Risen is coming!

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Runes of Magic Browser Version Officiallly Launched: The Future Of Online Gaming has Arrived


Quite a long time ago it was said Runes Of Magic (Frogster Entertainment) would release a special browser version so players would no longer have to install the whole thing (which is quite big).

And starting today, 24th April 2012, players can finally enjoy this long awaited feature powered by Kalydo. The browser version of Runes of Magic can be launched here: http://www.browser.runesofmagic.com.

I have to say the browser version works surprisingly well as the graphics are quite sharp and the loading is definitely worth it. You can play both in fullscreen and in a window and honestly, fullscreen feels just like “the real thing”. Frogster has pulled it off and I have to congratulate them. Bravo, the future of online gaming has just arrived!

 

Legend of Grimrock rocking the charts!


And what a surprise, suddenly out of nowhere came Legend of Grimrock from Almost Human Games: a modern day dungeon crawler with an old school feeling to it. Being released by the indie company 11 Apr. 2012 Legend of Grimrock quickly climbed the Steam best sellers charts and is still present as of today. What sparked this sudden interest in old school dungeon crawles? No idea, especially not after the averageness that was Dungeon Siege 3. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the game being an indie title – developed by an independent studio – because these type of games tend to sell rather well since a while (Terraria, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Limbo etc).

The game is about a group of would-be criminals who are sentenced to a would-be death by dropping them in Mount Grimrock, a place filled with monsters and riddles. If they ever wish to live in freedom again they will need to find their way through the mountain.

Key features include grid based movement, a customizable party consisting of four characters, spellcasting, exploring and solving riddles. Oh, and there’s also an healthy amount of Steam achievements. The game has been receiving excellent reviews so far and has been recommended by over 2000 Steam players so it’s definitely worth checking out even if you’re not a fan of old school games.

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Mortal Online: A Ray of Hope In The Ever Imitating World of MMORPG’s


You may have or may not have heard of this one: Mortal Online. A full loot PVP sandbox put together by the Swedish company Starvault. I’ve never really dived into this type of game before but I did and tried the seven day free trial and was blasted away just because of the sheer awesomeness of this game. I had been playing stuff like World of Warcraft and Rift before (also called themeparks) but this was something new, something fresh, and I loved it!

It’s been there for over a year now but it hasn’t really garnered any interest by the masses, in fact, the population is quite low although the people who do play it are incredibly active and involved in the community (which does include a couple of trolls as this is a sandbox game after all).

As I already pointed out this is not your average game, there are no quests but the sand is there and you can make your own adventure. You can attack other players everywhere, at any given time as long as they are not new to the game and loot everything they have on them and this makes for some pretty intense gameplay outside of town, and even inside of town! While you can call the guards on thieves and murders they’re likely to have stolen or killed before the guards are alarmed and as of such keeping an eye out is a must even in towns.

There is no goal in this game – you set your own goal, wether that’s helping and protecting the new ones, capturing all zones and populating them with towers and castles together with your guildmates or just becoming a strong fighter and pitting your fighting skills against other players.

Mortal Online is  a game in which player skill still counts (active aiming for the win), and in which you’ll have to craft your own adventures with the constant fear of being stabbed in the back and your loot being stolen. And this is what makes Mortal Online an awesome game especially for PvP players, but also for PvE players when the new expansion Awakening hits which will include numerous PvE options.