Posts tagged ‘dawnofwar2’

Looking Back at 2011

Xbox

Last January, I wan’t looking forward to much on the Xbox. In fact, there were just two games: Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Akham City. Unfortunately Mass Effect 3 was delayed, but Akham City more than made up for that. The game had everything I loved about the first Batman game but added improvements, and even though I’ve finished the game, I still pop it into my console occasionally to beat on some thugs.

Outside of Arkham City, my Xbox didn’t get much playtime, which I guess is why it decided to red-ring on me in December. I had hoped by waiting through the first few manufacturing runs and getting an Elite, that I had dogged all of the overheating problems with Microsoft’s console. I was wrong. The repair process was relatively painless: go online and submit a repair request, print out a label, box and ship it out. I just wish it hadn’t cost me $99.

PC

The PC had a few more titles I was excited about: Minecraft, Portal 2, Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2 – Retribution (could the title be any longer?), and Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. Well okay, Minecraft was a bit of a cheat since it was pretty much already released. Portal 2 was as good as I hoped it would be, and I got to have some extra fun by playing through the co-op version with MMOGamerChickDoW Retribution I’ve barely touched. I really really loved the original Dawn of War games, but the shift in focus from base building to boss battles has soured me a bit on the franchise. Space Marine made up for my disappointment in Retribution though, the game was over the top gory fun. Some people may try to tell you that using a chainsword on an Ork get’s old, but they’re lying to you.

Unlike with Xbox, this last year also had two big surprises for me on the PC platform. First there was the colossal disappointment of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This was a game I was not anticipating in the slightest, but ended up buying because of the wave of good press and excitement from friends. Unfortunately, I only put five hours into it before running headlong into a boss battle geared for the exact opposite type of character that I was playing. I realize I’m in the minority opinion on this game, but I still strongly believe that you don’t build a game around choice and then take it away during the central moments of the game.

The second big surprise happened in exactly the same way, but with opposite results. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim was another game that I wasn’t anticipating at all. Like DXHR, I hadn’t played any of the earlier games in the series, and even though the screenshots looked good and I thought I might like it, I was wary of letting myself get sucked along with the ground again. In the end, I did end up going ahead and getting it, and I’m so glad I did. Skyrim has been a Minecraft-like experience for me (which is ironic given the legal battle between the companies). Just like I got sucked completely into Minecraft last year and played nothing else for months, my gaming time was wholly subsumed by Skyrim. Today, I’ve put 117 hours into just one single-player game. One hundred and seventeen hours. That is incredible, considering a good single-player game usually lasts me no more than 40 (like Red Dead Redemption or Arkham City). But even more incredible is that after more than a hundred hours, I’m not even halfway through the main story line.

PC was much more exciting this year than I thought it would be. I’m not sure that 2012 will be though, but I’ll save that for later.

MMOs

Rift

Trion had the perfect situation this year. From January to November, they had the only new major MMO title. I think they capitalized in it very well too. They’ve been continually releasing new content and making tuning changes. Honestly if anything, I think Trion’s proved it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. They’ve been updating the game so much, that when I came back after a month away, it felt like I’d been gone for six months or more.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare ended up releasing much later in the year than I expected. This ended up being a good thing both because they had more time to get things right, but also because they managed to get through the hype backlash I was expecting before release (or even beta). There’s not too much more I can say about TOR as far as 2011 goes beyond I got in at launch, had no problems, have seen no queues, and am immensely enjoying the Jedi Knight story line.

Champions Online

Champions has been a fun game to hop into of f and on over the year, especially the few times I’ve gotten to play with Scott. The game had a successful F2P launch and has released some good story content with their first Comic Series and a third Adventure Pack. While I haven’t had that original love of the game rekindle, I’m sure I’ll continue to login anytime I get an urge to play superheroes.

Lord of the Rings Online

Last year, I was feeling pretty down on LotRO. The F2P conversion caused an explosion of gold store buttons in the interface that just got under my skin. My disinterest continued for most of the year, including well into the development cycle for Rise of Isengard. It wasn’t until I saw a developer diary with some video about the making of Orthanc for the game, that I had any interest in returning to Middle-Earth.

Once I got back in the game, I was motivated enough to finish Volume 2 of the Epic Quests, get caught up on Volume 3 in Enedwaith, and charge on towards Isengard. I didn’t make it to level cap before Skyrim started dominating my playtime, but I was really happy with the new work Turbine has done on the game and I’ve finally trained myself to not see the store buttons.

Star Trek Online

And lastly, we come to the MMO that I’ve had both the most and least fun with during 2011.

The game started out very well. We had an anniversary event, an excellent renovation of Earth Spacedock, and then a third Featured Episode Series, Cloaked Intentions. The Series 3 was the best one so far and featured great missions, fun voice work, and the music from Amok Time.

Unfortunately, that was the high point of the year. We did get the Foundry followed by a good revamp of ground combat in Season Four, but we also got Atari selling Cryptic, Dan Stahl leaving the Executive Producer role, Free-to-Pay announced, and no new story missions.

Whether it was Dan leaving, the change in ownership from Atari to Perfect World, or the announced F2P transition, the high level of communication and transparency that I loved in 2010 has vanished. The last Engineering Report was released in August, with no word about if or when it’s coming back. The last Ask Cryptic was in September. Granted, the temporary Executive Producer Stephen D’Angelo did write a lot of blogs during the F2P development, but I found them pretty thin on details.

Overall, it’s been a disappointing year for me in STO. I guess I have to have at least one MMO to be down on at the end of every year.

Looking Forward to 2011 – Console/PC

I debated just tacking this onto the end of my 2011 MMOs post, since it could be condensed down to:

Mass Effect 3! Mass Effect 3! Minecraft! Minecraft!

But that feels a bit lazy and January is way too early for me to give into laziness, that’s what March is for.

Console Games

There’s only two games I’m excited to play on the Xbox 360 this coming year:

  • Mass Effect 3
  • Batman: Arkham City

Do I really need to explain why? Fine.

Mass Effect 3

Bioware has shown marked improvement in the game-play from 1 to 2, I can only imagine 3 with be even better. Honestly, I’m not sure how though, the mining mini-game was really the only part that was below excellent.

The story, characters, and dialogue have been consistently good through out the first two games, despite my concerns based on the way Mass Effect 2 was marketed. It will be shocking if they somehow manage to drop the ball for the finale.

Batman: Arkham City

It’s the rare superhero game that really recreate the experience of being an iconic hero from the comics. Besides Batman: Arkham Asylum only Spider-man 2 and Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction come to mind. I’m very interested to see if Rocksteady Studios can pull off a sequel. Will they be able to improve on the combat and the detective mode issues without losing the magic from the first game?

PC Games

I’m sure I missed one or two, but this was all I had in my wish-lists on Steam and Amazon.

Minecraft

Obviously there’s going to be a lot happening with Minecraft this year. Notch’s company, Mojang, is up and running, he’s got developers and an artist helping out now, and he’s got big plans. While I’m excited to see Notch does this year with all the resources at his disposal, to be totally honest, I’ve already gotten more than my $14 worth.

Portal 2

I hate puzzle games and platformers, yes even Mario Bros. I loved Portal though. The game did an excellent job of training you on how to solve the puzzles in the game and the difficulty curve always managed to challenge me without causing my to break my keyboard. I’ve been on a complete media blackout regarding this game, all I know is that it’s scheduled for 2011 and I want it.

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2 – Retribution & Warhammer 40k: Space Marine

An expansion for DoW2 and a 40k shooter are both due out this year. I loved the single player game for DoW2 but it took a while before I really started to like the multi-player mode, mostly I just missed the base building. Still, I’m very excited to get to play my favorite race from DoW1, the Imperial Guard.

The shooter, Space Marine, looks interesting and given Relic and THQ’s track record with DoW 1 and 2, I’m definitely going to give it a shot. I’m assuming I’ll get the PC version, but there is an Xbox 360 version scheduled as well.

Miscellany

There were two drama’s this week that I got sick of really quickly.

The first thing was an article on Elemental by PC Gamer. Pete from Dragonchasers has already covered most of my feelings about Elemental, so I’ll leave it at that.

The second was the whole buying used games is piracy debate (and I’m using that word ironically). This whole thing was pretty off target, in my opinion. When I read Tycho’s post, I put the emphasis on the intent part of the statement and went on with my day. Then I got home and found half of the blogs in my RSS were talking about it in a completely different way from the way I understood his point. Since I’m so slow to post though, Tycho has already explained himself, so that’s that.

Moving on to more interesting stuff.

I’m reading the latest Mass Effect book, Retribution, and enjoying just as much as the prior two. This has started me jonesing to be back in that world, which is good because I still have DLC to finish. I had stopped playing halfway through the Firewalker DLC, so I finished that as well as the Kasumi missions. I was a bit disappointed that there was no real dialog on the ship with Kasumi outside of the missions, she does say some things, but she’s similar to Zaeed (which makes sense, but I was hoping for more). Her loyalty mission was still pretty fun though. I’m playing Overlord now, it’s the biggest DLC so far, and has a good mix of ground and driving sections.

I hadn’t originally planned to, buy I ended up buying SC2. Not to say that I was never going to buy it, but I had planned to wait until the sequels were out. I blame nostalgia and Twitter for my failure in self-control.

The funny thing about playing Star Craft 2, is that it has made me want to go back and play Dawn of War again. Ten years (or more) ago, when I played SC1, I’d never heard of Warhammer 40k, but now playing SC2, the similarities are is striking.

So, I’ve actually been playing a lot more DoW2 than SC2. I bought the Chaos Rising expansion during the last Steam sale, but hadn’t fired it up yet. Mostly this was because while I really enjoyed the original DoW2 campaign, the multi-player wasn’t as fun for me. This left me feeling a little cold towards the game. So I was pleasantly reminded of how much of actually enjoyed the single player when I fired up the expansion campaign. I’ve also started to enjoy the multi-player, I had a good night of CPU stomping in 2v2 with Oakstout, and I’m looking forward to trying Last Stand with Jayedub.

MMO-wise, I’ve just been dabbling. Played a little Champions yo check out the new update, popped into LotRO to get my house out of hock and catchup on my maintenance fees, and the rest of my time has been spent in STO. I made Vice Admiral, got my Discovery-class refit (my favorite looking ship in the game), and made Attaché in the Diplomacy ranks.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve also been writing quite a bit, but I’m having trouble publishing. Several times, this week, I’ve finished posts and just found no inclination to publish them. Apparently with venting, it’s enough to write it that I don’t need to share it, and honestly you’re not missing much.

I am curious though. If you blog, how much of what you write do you publish?

This is making me think about the dozen plus unfinished articles in my drafts folder. I really need to do some fall cleaning and either trash them or finish them.

Looking Back at 2009

I think 2009 was a good year for games, even MMOs. Sure WoW is still on top, Warhammer continues to struggle, there’s not been any revolutionizing innovation in the MMO genre, but I don’t really care about any of that. All of the games I started the year playing (EVE and LoTRO) I still enjoy, and I found a new game (Champions) that I like an expect to be playing through the whole of 2010. Continue reading ‘Looking Back at 2009’ »

Time Flies

Wow, has it been a month since I posted last?

Whoops.

While I have been finding some time to play, I haven’t had time to organize my thoughts enough to write anything.  Work has been especially crazy the last few weeks.  So, after working and spending time with my wife and son, I have just enough time to play some EVE or some LoTRO or some DOW2 before heading off to dreamland.

Dawn of War 2 is good.  I’m nearly finished with the single player campaign, and I’ve played a few multi-player matches against the CPU.  My concern about boss battles was totally misplaced, which I’m glad about.  I’m going to put together a more detailed review after I finish the single player campaign and try a few more multi-player matches, so stay tuned.

LoTRO is still fun.  I’m working my way through the rest of the current Volume 2 Books.  I’m currently on Book 4 and stuck on a fellowship quest.  Between trying to find a uninterrupted hour or two I can devote to playing and getting a pickup fellowship together, I might be stuck for a while.  Fortunately I’m not in any kind of rush, one of the best things about having a lifetime subscription is I don’t fret about not playing.

I’ve actually been spending most of my time playing EVE Online.  Mining and mission running are both excellent activities when I can only guarantee myself 20-30 minute blocks of play time.  If I’m not on baby duty, I know I can pickup a mission, finish it, and salvage it in a 10-15 minute play session.  I use a Vexor fitted with railguns and drones to steamroll through frigates.  If I can’t guarantee an uninterrupted play session, I’ll get out my Procurer mining barge and head out to the belts of Mirilene or some of the other nearby systems.  I can jetcan mine and relax without worrying about having to leave my keyboard for short stretches of time.

I do occasionally do level 2 missions, but I like minimizing my risks by taking a higher level ship than intended.  Towards that end, I’m training up my Battlecruiser skills and planning to get into a Brutix.  Including all of the support skills I’ve planned, I have about 30 days of training remaining.  I’m not in a hurry, though because I only have about 7 mil in my wallet and the cheapest Brutix I could find near my home was 21 mil.  The important thing with EVE is to have goals.

Boss Battles in a RTS?

I’ve been looking forward to and following news about Dawn of War 2 for quite some time now.  I have the original game as well as all of the expansions, including that last one (Soul Storm) which was rather weak.  Every tidbit of news and video clip that I’ve seen as served only to increase my interest in playing the game, until today.

Edge is running a story about boss battles being included in DoW2.  I’ve never been a fan of boss battles, especially as they tend to be a bottle neck to game play where the difficulty spikes temporarily.  In an RTS, this seems especially artificial.

It appears that Steam is running a beta so I’ll be rewarded for buying Soulstorm, so I’ll get a chance to check out the game early.