Archive for the ‘News’ Category.
Wow, I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for six years. I don’t stop to appreciate it much, but even though I don’t blog regularly in any sense of the word, I need to cut myself a little slack for maintaining a blog for six years, no matter how sporadically I post. And it’s definitely been sparse outside of Blaugust. Speaking of, I haven’t kept up with the “post every day” thing, but I hadn’t intended to anyway. I have been getting one or two in a week though which has been great. After looking at my archives, I don’t think I’ve been this motivated to post since 2011.
Anyway, I wanted to send out a big “Thank you!” to everyone who stops by to read and comment. Onward to year seven!
So it is actually true. Microsoft bought Mojang for $2.5 billion.
When I first heard the rumors, my first reaction was there was no way they were true. Then they persisted with no response from Mojang or Notch, and I began to think they could be afterall. With the official news today confirming the rumor removing all doubt, my first reaction was dread and the neither the Mojang post linked above nor this one from Phil Spencer at Xbox make me feel any better. Both are to PR crafted for me to take anything from them about what’s ahead for Minecraft, Let’s Plays, and modding.
To be fair, even if they had come out with specific promises and plans, I wouldn’t be feeling much different. As the saying goes, talk is cheap. I and a lot of other Minecraft players, modders, and YouTubers will be watching closely to see what Microsoft actually does with the property. I hope that given the amount of money involved and their prior relationship with Mojang that Microsoft has plans in mind, but I’ve worked for too many companies where management made odd decisions (almost always due to internal politics) to assume that Microsoft has a real plan until I see it in action.
Just to be clear, I don’t hate Microsoft and I don’t think they’re evil. Corporations are neither good nor evil. Public corporations like Microsoft exist solely to make money. Which makes me wonder though if Microsoft sees the YouTube and modding communities as a valuable enough part of Minecraft to adjust their policies to accommodate both groups.
The best thing I’ve read today about this was Notch’s note about the sale. From the Minecraft documentary and interviews I’ve seen, I fully believe that last part of this post:
It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.
I’m glad he found a way to get out on his own terms and I wish him all the best going forward.
P.S. This sums things up nicely:
Shadow Realms was announced at Gamescom and looks interesting but I have some concerns. I really like that they’re trying to bring computer RPGs back closer to their pen and paper roots. I think the idea of 4v1 PvP could work, but the execution is going to be tricky to get right. BioWare is hitting all of the right notes in their descriptions of the game at least, emphasizing episodic story content with fast-paced tactical combat and deep customization. It reminds me quite a bit of the Secret World, only fortunately there’s no mention so far of zombies, which I’m beyond sick of.
Initially I thought the hero classes were a bit too standard: warrior, assassin (thief in any MMO), wizard, cleric, ranger (nature pet class), warlock (demonic pet class). But after giving it more thought, I think it makes sense to help with the accessibility of the game. There’s room in that setup to innovate on the classic trinity without confusing prospective players. The Shadowlord class will be the big draw for people looking for something novel.
The producer letter from Dallas Dickinson promise transparency and changes based on player feedback and gameplay metrics. I was especially interested to see them directing people to a new subreddit /r/ShadowRealms. Using an open platform like that for the initial community is an odd contrast to the EA/Origins prompt that greeted me when I signed up for the alpha, which I assume means Origins will be the launcher for the game when it’s released.
I’m still a little skeptical about the game, but I really like this quote from the Lead Designer James Ohlen and I would love to see BioWare pull it off:
Shadow Realms isn’t just hearkening back to those early BioWare PC games—it’s finally bringing the magic of tabletop RPGs to the digital realm.
Day 13 of Blaugust
Cryptic and Perfect World formally announced the second expansion for Star Trek Online today, Delta Rising. I say formally because the initial announcement was made at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas last weekend, a video of which is linked in the announcement.
Voyager is not my favorite series, I found several of the characters either bland or annoying. That said, I was very impressed with Tim Russ’ reprising Tuvok for the Season 9 update so I was pleased that Garrett Wang is being brought on to voice Ensign Kim. Except he’s finally been promoted to Captain. Even cooler is Garrett only the first Voyager cast member to be announced, there’ll be more in the coming weeks. I’m really hope that Robert Picardo is figuratively waiting in the wings.
Game-wise the biggest feature, in my opinion, is the level cap increase from 50 to 60. I don’t think I’ve played any MMO that’s gone four years without a level cap bump. A new level cap means new story content which is sorely needed.
Cryptic is also adding a new post 50 infinite progression system as well as a new tier of starships. I’m skeptical about how infinite this new progression system will be. I imagine that either means it will be a massive grind to achieve anything or it will offer diminishing returns on improvement. The new tier of starships sound interesting as there’ll be something new with bridge officers among other hinted at features. Unfortunately with so little real information yet the forum warriors have already begun beating their war drums over concern that their current min/maxed Tier 5 ships suddenly won’t be as godlike as they are now.
Personally, I’m looking forward to more content regardless of any other changes. In the absence of a regular TV show, this is the Star Trek franchise for me.
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations Day 7 of Blaugust
The next Dresden Files book is due out near the end of this month and I’m excited!
I’ve been following a group on Youtube for a while now that’s been working on a fan film. While it’s hard to tell from the snippets I’ve seen, overall it looks really well done. Even cooler is they’ve made a trailer for Skin Game, check it out.
Not only is my blog five years old now, one of my favorite gamebook publishers is too.
Tin Man Games is celebrating their fifth anniversary by releasing the eighth book in the Orlandes setting, Curse of the Assassin. Their gamebooks are available on both Android and iOS. They have music, illustrations, and handle all of the combat and inventory mechanics, which makes them great for places where you don’t want to break out a pad of paper and a pair of dice. If fantasy isn’t your thing they have a scifi/humor series called Infinite Universe (currently only one book) that I really enjoyed, plus a great Judge Dredd book called Countdown Sector 106.
Authors from Starbase UGC have teamed up to make a six part series on the level of Cryptic’s Featured Episode series. I can’t wait to check the first one out come October 1st, while I really enjoyed the Romulan expansion my favorite character will always be my first Federation one, Bryn, and I’m looking forward to have some appointment playtime like in the first years of STO when Cryptic was doing their features.
Check out their teaser trailer.
You know how often you see something but you’re seeing what you want or expect to see and not what’s actually there? Catching up on my news in Feedly yesterday, I caught this story on The Mary Sue (who got it from CBR here) with the title “You’re Getting Post-Serenity Firefly Stories Thanks To Dark Horse.”
My initial reaction was, “More Firefly? Awesome!” Then as I read the article the wording of the title started to sink in.
I had always hoped that if/when the Firefly Verse returned that it would pick up where the TV show ended and just treat the movie like a Marvel What If comic. I didn’t hate the movie, but and I’ll try to say this without spoilers just in case, there were some pretty significant events in the movie that felt contrived to me. They just didn’t feel like they were necessary for the story, it felt to me more like Joss was trying to just go out with a bang.
Regardless, I’m sure I’ll pick up at least the first book when it comes out, because I can’t not at least give it a shot. Still, I would’ve really loved to have seen them pickup from the last episode of the television show and give us the graphic novel version of the series that Fox screwed up.
This has been, by far, the roughest year for me with blogging. I’ve been on a hiatus of sorts since April and only last week really started to feel the need to start writing here again. Really I don’t feel like I’ve missed too much as far as topics or news. It seems like it’s been a really quiet year overall for MMOs. Not that I’ve really been playing them anyway. I had a brief stint with Defiance before I got burned out on the clunky UI and severe lack of any social environment in the game. I also spent quite a bit of time with Star Trek Online this year, Cryptic did extremely well with their Romulan expansion, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t actually like Romulans much. No, what I’ve been spending most of my time playing this year has been Minecraft, specifically modded Minecraft. I mentioned back in April that I’ve found the Feed the Beast mod pack and since then have move on to customizing my own mod pack.
Anyway, I want to thank anyone that’s still stopping by to see if I’ve gotten off my lazy butt to write, and hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me for the rest of the year. It’s best not to make any promises, but I will say that I’ve finally managed to get into Dwarf Fortress after many failed attempts and that it’s unique among the single player games I’ve experienced in that it makes me want to write about the events that happen in the game. Beyond that, I’ve recently dropped back into Champions Online for more than a brief check in, so you all might finally see origin stories for a few more of my heroes like what I did for the Silver Hunter.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve been on an extended MMO break, but I still check in once a week or so on a few sites to keep an eye on things, which is how I found out that Cryptic’s Mark Valentine, h20rat, lost his battle with cancer. Mark did all of the marketing videos for the Cryptic games. He was very involved with the community and even had a spotlighted Foundry mission, The Rising Phoenix – Part One.
My thoughts and best wishes go out to both his Cryptic and personal family.