Monthly Archives: May 2012

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.


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.