Archive for the ‘News’ Category.
On Friday as I was leaving work, I looked at the calendar on my phone to see if anything was planned for the weekend and saw that Sunday was my blog’s anniversary. I nearly missed it.
I hadn’t realized that it’s been almost exactly a month since my last post, but I guess it’s not that surprising to anyone who follows me on Twitter. Things usually get quiet around here when I’m in the obsessive honeymoon stage of a game affair. For most of the past four weeks that’s been Guild Wars 2, but the last few days have also seen Torchlight 2 take up some of my game time.
I keep intending to sit down and write up all of the notes I’ve been taking while playing GW2 but I always end up playing instead, which is a bit of a review in itself. Obviously I need to work more on easing up on the self-editing.
Anyway, thanks to everyone that’s stuck around over the last twelve months to read my ramblings and leave comments. Even after four years I always get excited when I see an email saying there’s a new comment.
Bioware announced the first single-player DLC for Mass Effect 3 yesterday, called Leviathan. At 800 Microsoft points it adds a new adventure to Shepard’s pre-Earth assault story.
I’m sure a lot of people will skip this since they already know how things end, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ll take any chance to spend more time in the Mass Effect universe, even better if it’s with Shepard and his team who I’ve gotten to know so well over the last five years.
While I was a disappointed in Rift’s PvP news (totally because of my own uninformed assumptions), I’m excited about today’s announcement of the Storm Legion expansion. Specifically the part where they mention 10 more levels, one new soul for each Calling, and tripling the size of the map.
Despite my best intentions, I always lose interest in a game once I hit level cap. There are a few games where I continue on, Star Trek Online is one of the few where I continue to play for content, both Cryptic-made and Foundry. Back in January, I was sure I wouldn’t be returning to Telara, but now I imagine I’ll be spending a bit more time there when this expansion releases. I have to hand it to Trion, they really do an amazing job of releasing content. They make all of the other studios look lazy by comparison.
From the crazed mind of Syp from Bio Break comes the New Blogger Initiative (NBI).
For the month of May, the goal is to encourage anyone that has been thinking of starting a blog to go ahead and do it. Throughout the month there’ll be articles posted here and on the other participating blogs to help get you started (see Syp’s announcement for a list). You can also head over to the forums and ask questions there.
I have a few ideas for helpful posts this month, but if you have questions leave them below.
Some interesting news today from Cryptic, Daniel Stahl is back as the Executive Producer of Star Trek Online.
I was wondering if he was going to take up his old position. He returned to Cryptic from Zynga in December after only two months away, but not to his original position. I assumed either Dan wanted to do something different or Cryptic had some candidates in mind for EP and they didn’t want to cancel interviews in mid-stream.
Whatever the reason, Dan is back, and now I’m wondering what will change. Are we going to see the Engineering Reports and Ask Cryptics return? I really hope so, although maybe the Engineering Reports probably need to have a blinking neon disclaimer added that its contents are not promises. I always understood that, but I work in the software industry and understand that plans change.
I’m also curious to see if and how much of D’Angelo’s style of producing rubs off on Dan.
One thing I don’t see changing is Cryptic’s approach to F2P. I read quite a few forum comments from people who seem to be expecting the direction of the game to revert to what it was months ago, and I don’t think that’s likely to happen. I really doubt it’s even an option for Dan to pursue. Regardless of the change in Captains, I expect to see more lotteries and special but rare ships in the coming months.
It’s been a really really really long wait. Really. But it’s almost over. The next Featured Episode Series for Star Trek Online, The 2800, starts on Saturday, February 11th, and focuses on the Jem’Hadar fleet lost in the Bajor Wormhole in the DS9 episode Sacrifice of Angels. I couldn’t be more excited, and I’m looking forward to running the first mission with Fleetmates.
Happy birthday, Professor Tolkien!
I’ve been a Tolkien fan since I read the Hobbit at 8 years old. He’s shaped my reading life more than any other author I’ve read. This year should be especially good with the first Hobbit movie coming out on December.
As surprised as I was about the release date announcement yesterday, today’s follow up is even more surprising. We’re getting the F2P patch a month before the actual F2P launch.
This is a mixed blessing as I thought it was good for the STO team to get an extra month of changes, fixes, and tuning in without inflicting instability on Holodeck players. However, it will be nice to finally get the Duty Officer system and other changes on the live server. It also helps keep players subscribed for one more month for those who were planning on dropping to silver accounts, and gives Cryptic a month long shakedown cruise before the (supposed) hordes of new players arrive.
If it all goes as planned, Star Trek Online should be able to open its free-to-play doors and be in the best possible shape.
The early stipend is not as much of a surprise to me. That’s a pretty standard gesture that other studios have done as well, both as a thank you and a way to keep any subscribers planning to switch account tiers around for one more month.
This announcement came out of left field. I really didn’t expect Cryptic to announce this for another few weeks. One the plus side, I think knowing that the free-to-play launch won’t be until January 17th of 2012 will help assuage some of the forum drama that’s been rampant lately with people worrying that Cryptic and Perfect World were going to try and launch in December.
The more interesting bit from the announcement is this quote from Stephen D’Angelo, Executive Producer on STO and Chief Technical Officer:
We’ve always wanted the game to be free-to-play, in fact we tried to make it free-to-play at the original launch, but our publisher (Atari) didn’t want us doing that so we didn’t do that.
I don’t completely believe that since STO was their second game for Atari and I never heard anyone at Cryptic say Champions was always intended as a F2P game. Then again, with the way sector space is laid out in blocks, maybe there is something to that. Certainly going with a combination of subscription and in-game store shows a muddling of both models.
There were two really cool Minecraft events over the weekend that I wanted to commemorate.
First was this post on Reddit:
On May 17th 2009 a little known user of the Tigsource forums made a post…
The link is to the first post by Notch about Minecraft Alpha 0.0.11a. I really enjoyed reading through the first dozen pages of the Tigsource forum post. Seeing how much people enjoyed the game way back in its primitive initial state. Looking at screenshots of the first builds and seeing how cool everyone thought they were while knowing the kinds of massive builds that people are doing now.
It’s a weird faux nostalgia. I wasn’t around at that early point in the game’s history, but their excitement about the game was the same as mine when first playing the game months later.
The second milestone was this tweet from Lydia Winters, Mojang’s Director of Fun, also known as MinecraftChick on Youtube:
Wow! Over 4 million sales. Congrats @MojangTeam. I am so proud to be part of such an awesome company! #Mojangstas4Lyfe
That’s amazing for any game, let alone an indy game, and especially for an indy game still in beta (although only for ten more days or so).