Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 March 2015, 10:00 am

This was a Star Wars New Canon Universe Novel.  I still don't know what the official terminology is for that.  I know that the old Expanded Universe is now called Legends... but I don't think the new books, comics, and games have an official classification.  I'll keep an eye out for it.

Anyway, this novel takes place between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back.  It happens to be the same time period that all the new comic books are in right now.  It wasn't ever explored very much in the Legends universe so it seems like they're finally taking a chance to flesh out more of what happens in the middle of the rebellion.

While the novel is about the rebellion, it's much more of a character piece about Luke Skywalker.  He's the main character and he's given most of the focus in the book.

Luke is just starting to understand the basics of the force and get experience in the wider galaxy.  He's breaking out of his farm boy roots and is excited to explore.  He's been left without guidance after Obi-Wan was killed and he's unsure about what to do next.  Generally, he feels adrift and he's trying to figure out what he should do to expand his Jedi skills.

Luke seizes on a chance to do a new mission for the rebellion and it kicks off the story.

Most of the main cast is absent, except for R2D2 and a small appearance by Leia.  On the other hand there are characters introduced specifically for this novel all of which are interesting and fit in well.  I don't anticipate any of them carrying over into future novels, but that's ok.  Everything is written in a way to keep the focus on Luke and, in this case, it works.

It's a good book, I liked it a lot, but I'm having trouble adjusting my worldview to accommodate the new canon novels.  I already know the Legends books so well.  Now I need to hold two universes in my head, with two different and overlapping timelines.

Despite that, I really enjoyed the book.  I would recommend it to Star Wars fans that are interested in easing into the new canon universe that Disney is creating.  It's a great point to jump in.  I recommend this over the other two books already in the universe, Tarkin and New Dawn.  It's definitely better than them and it's more relevant to the main characters in the Star Wars series.

Like many of the novels I read now, this one was partially read by me on my Kindle and partially listened to on Audible.  I still can't get over how well they sync, it's amazing.  The audio book production quality was fantastic with it's ambient sound design, sound effects, and music.  I wish all audio books had this kind of treatment.  You can happily pick up either format.

This is the first book in the canon universe that I can give two thumbs up and recommend to anyone.  All you need is a passing familiarity with Star Wars and you'll be able to enjoy the book.

Onto World Two
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 March 2015, 8:17 am

When I was a child, at an age still in the single digits, I had a tendency to restart games from the beginning. I'd play the first world of Super Mario Bros. and then shut the game off. After defeating Bebop and Rocksteady in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, I would power down the Nintendo and go searching for something else to do. I'd go no further than reaching Elfland in Final Fantasy, and I'd leave the rest of the solar system to the monsters from Planet X after completing the Earth level in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters. Each of these scenarios could have happened in a single day, bouncing from game to game only to stop myself when I reached a point that I assumed would be too difficult. The only time I would play further in a game – when I'd try to see it to completion – was when I was playing with my older brother.

I just assumed that I wasn't good enough to play through the entire game. I was just a kid, after all, and some of those early jumps gave me trouble. That first Labyrinth in The Legend of Zelda? Yeah, I could do that one fine. Maybe even the second! Anything after that, however, was best left to older and more experienced players.

Two months ago, I started my first real job. It's not a temporary contract, and it doesn't just have me copy-pasting into text fields and XML documents. It's a salaried job, and one where I'll be expected to put my knowledge of web development to some use. This is it: the real deal. A real job with real pay and real expectations.

All I could think during my first week on the job was how ill prepared I was. I wanted to hit reset and just jump right back to World One.

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Inside the Mind of a Producer
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 March 2015, 7:58 am

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There is no chance that Fernando would ever come up with a post that included clear and direct bullet points.

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A different kind of permadeath
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 March 2015, 11:05 pm

Posted in OurDDOSyndicated

Raid bosses seem to have it all – high DR, massive amounts of hit points, devastating attacks, teeming minions to beat on you while you’re trying to beat on the big guy (or girl). But I’m not so sure they rank overly high in intelligence or wisdom. There are two things you see at the […]

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Just a Couple More Tidbits on Blocklists
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 March 2015, 6:58 pm
Welp, I was hoping that the last post would be my last word on blocklists.  However, there’ve been a couple relevant and interesting bits to share.  First off, notorious libertarian legal snarkmeister Popehat has given his opinion about Why Mean Blockbots Probably Aren’t Defamatory. He does close with a couple of caveats. I speak here […]

DDO Screenshot of the Week #215
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 March 2015, 3:50 pm

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Raventhorn proves his worth in our 215th DDO Screenshot of the Week! 

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Free Champion Rotation
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 March 2015, 1:11 pm

This week's free champion rotation has been posted. These champions will become free to play starting tomorrow March 24th.

Path to The Force Awakened
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 March 2015, 10:00 am

There was a Polygon article last week about the path of the new Star Wars canon universe leading up to the release of The Force Awakened.  There will be about 20 different books, novels, and comics leading up to it.  They'll cover the time period between Return of the Jedi and the new trilogy.  It will give hints about what has happened with the heroes from the original trilogy.

I'm actually really excited for this announcement, especially the part about giving hints as to what the characters from the original trilogy have been up to.  If they're only giving hints... that means that the novels will be full of unique characters and situations that have real stakes.  They can grow the universe, put characters in real danger, and have true character growth.  It's hard to do that when your main characters have plot immunity because of the films.

My problem now is going to be keeping the Star Wars Legends universe separate from the Star Wars Canon universe in my head.  The timelines are going to begin conflicting with one another.

The Mad Bomber Piking with Larafay
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 March 2015, 8:02 am

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Larafay has no time to gloat; giants remain and she still has mana!

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March 14th, 2015 – Random
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 March 2015, 3:10 am

March 15th 2015 – Medieval Fairieieie
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 March 2015, 3:17 am

The TR that wasn’t
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 March 2015, 10:32 pm

Posted in OurDDOSyndicated

Winnie isn’t really UNhappy with being a Favored Soul, but it’s not really her mission in life. It just doesn’t feel right to be swinging a big ol’ greatsword around when one doesn’t have Cleave, y’know? So I’ve spent the past few weeks leveling her to 28, because I’m planning to TR her into a […]

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March 23 - March 29
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 March 2015, 9:20 pm

A solid-gold pedigree is hard to come by these days. With development teams numbering in the hundreds, it’s become nearly impossible to pin a game on one person (or even one studio) when it comes to the AAA set. After Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, Bloodborne’s Hidetaka Miyazaki has become a person that gamers trust to deliver, despite only having two major games under his belt. I stand with the optimists, Bloodborne is obviously game of the week.

Speaking of trust, how are we feeling about Obsidian these days? Pillars Of Eternity is their first Kickstarter game and it’s set to launch this Thursday. For years Obsidian has been under a great deal of scrutiny for releasing buggy, unfinished titles with a lot of potential, leaving it to numerous fan patches to try and unearth missed opportunities. Publishers' tight schedules were normally pointed to as the lead culprit. Now we have Obsidian’s first Kickstarted game hitting the digital landscape, backed by Paradox Interactive, who are playing a hot hand as publisher after a rousing Cities: Skylines release.

Lots to choose from this week, let’s see where we land.

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Crowfall’s Key Innovation and Why MMO PVP Fans Should Support Them
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 March 2015, 6:27 pm
As of this writing, Crowfall has three days remaining on its Kickstarter, and has reached most of its financial objectives.  However, they are very close to some very cool stretch goals, including Oculus Rift support.  Click here to see the Kickstarter, and if you want to help out, act now before the Kickstarter ends! It’s […]

The Flop Among Us
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 March 2015, 10:12 am

The Wolf Among Us was a flop for me.  I bought a season pass and played episode one when it released, but I hadn't gotten back to playing the other four episodes until this last week.  I buckled down, played episodes 2 and 3, and then gave up.

I gave this story plenty of time to grip me but it failed.  It was a murder mystery where I never actually got to solve anything.  It was very unsatisfying.

I know these Telltale story-based games are on rails.  There's not much you can do to effect the overall outcome.  But, while most of them keep me on the edge of my seat, this one completely failed to connect with me.

It's sad because I loved the Walking Dead and I've loved the episodes of Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands that have released so far.  I'm actually super excited that the next Tales from the Borderlands just released.  I never felt any of that excitement about The Wolf Among Us.

It would probably be different if I were already invested in the world.  I know a handful of people who have read the comic books and they all loved the game.

I don't know if I can put my finger on one major thing that drove me to give up after three episodes.  I think it was just too slowly paced for my tastes coupled with the fact that I never managed to connect with any of the characters.  The combination killed it for me.

Of all the Telltale games I've tried this is the only one that I haven't absolutely loved.  That's still a really good track record for the developer.

Bhagpuss mode
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 March 2015, 7:05 am
While technically I had unsubscribed from World of Warcraft, I continued playing for free the low-level characters that the "veteran edition" allows you to play. In what I call Bhagpuss mode, playing for relaxation without worrying about efficiency or trying to achieve much. World of Warcraft is a good game to play like that if you're tired after a day at work, it doesn't require much effort for the basic questing and similar solo gameplay. I first leveled a human hunter to 20, noticing by the way that I hadn't played the post-Cataclysm Alliance zones yet. Then I started a gnome monk. But at that point I got a bit annoyed at the free version not allowing me to do pet battles, which is also a nice relaxation mode of WoW. And so I ended up subscribing again.

One added advantage of subscribing of course is that it reactivated my higher level characters, specifically those with garrisons. I plan for them to continue to do work orders with the profession buildings, hoarding the materials needed to craft epics and upgrades. My thinking on that is that when the WoW token gets introduced, this will lead to a lot more gold flowing into the economy from currently inactive accounts, leading to more AH activity and inflation. The people buying gold for tokens will want to spend that gold on something, after all. As I can produce epics by just keeping my garrison production running with very little effort, I should be able to make a lot of gold, and translate that into free months of subscription.

One added advantage is that patch 6.1 increased the xp you get from mining and herb collecting in your garrison. So the characters I don't really want to play, like my level 96 shadow priest, are still slowly moving towards level 100 and a better garrison. On the silly side my level 100 characters are accumulating epic gear up to iLevel 670 just from missions, without even leaving the garrison.

But most of my time I'm spending on the gnome monk, collecting pets through pet battles, or tinkering around with cooking and leatherworking. Monk doesn't appear to be a very popular class for leveling, but if by level 20 I see that he doesn't work out, I can still switch to the hunter I already leveled to 20.
Tobold's Blog

Game Development Powerful Tools
Posted by Write The Game [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 March 2015, 10:48 pm
Just about ages back, online morphs were extremely popular compared to mobile functions but at this point mobile match is complementing the device games adjustable rate mortgage to shoulder complex joint. With multi-player along with 3D visuals making ones possess way closer to mobile winning contests industry, they usually have become trendy. The easiest way […]

Let’s Play Crusader Kings 2 — part 3. The war for Pictland
Posted by Ogrebear's Thoughts [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 March 2015, 4:08 pm

In this episode my only Duke (who own 4 of the 6 counties in the country of Pictland), has declared war on me. Will i be able to survive the battle as King of Pictland?

Related posts:
  1. Let’s Play Crusader Kings 2 — Part 1 starting out So I’ve decided to do a lets play with Crusader...
  2. Let’s Play Crusader Kings 2 part 2– Settling in Part 2 of my lets play ...
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Final Fantasy XIV: Crystal Tower
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 March 2015, 10:00 am

I did my first raids in Final Fantasy XIV!  After finishing my run through of all the level 50 dungeons I figured it was the next piece of content to experience.

There are two main sets of raids in the game at the moment, The Crystal Tower and the Binding Coil of Bahamut.  The Crystal Tower is much more approachable and newbie friendly, so that's what I did.

I had a set of guildmates walk me through the entire thing.  This is definitely the best way to learn the fights.  I'm sure you could find youtube videos too, but learning from real people is awesome.  Especially people who will answer your questions and not get frustrated that it's your first time.

They were all running it anyway because of the weekly incentive Final Fantasy XIV provides.  The game developers are so good at social engineering.  Once per week you can run through the entire Crystal Tower set of raids and if you complete all three raids you get an item that can increase the stats and item level of your top tier gear.

It's great incentive to continue running the raids even if nothing will drop there that you need.

The Crystal Tower had lots of good story.  There were big cutscenes and reveals between each of the three raids in the set.

Each of three raids looks and feels unique too!  It's nice to have a set of related raids but not be stuck in the same tileset throughout the experience.  The Labyrinth feels like an epic dungeon full of exploration.  Syrcus Tower, the second raid, takes you into the clouds and reveals secrets from the past.  The Dark World takes you to a different plane of existence as you try to patch up the gateway between it and the normal world.

These have made me much more excited to raid, which is surprising given my raiding experience in World of Warcraft.  In WoW I would hit max level, do a raid once, and then unsubscribe.  They never held anything of interest for me.  This newbie friendly raiding in Final Fantasy XIV is much more my style.  I love how approachable it is.

I'm not really sure what's next for me in Final Fantasy XIV.  I'll still do some work on getting better gear for my main job, but I'm starting to look at some of the other jobs and professions with interest.  I may try leveling up a healer.  I might just waste time with Triple Triad.  I dunno.  We shall see.

Final Fantasy Project Article List

The DDO Chronicle: Issue 134!
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 March 2015, 10:09 pm

Posted in DDO News ReFeedSyndicated

The latest bonuses, events, news, and more from the world of Dungeons & Dragons Online!

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DDO Community News Update – 3/20/15
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 March 2015, 7:42 pm

Posted in DDO News ReFeedSyndicated

Update 25 on Lamannia! More XPs and Lootz on Live! 30% Off Hearts of Wood and more. Get the latest DDO news here! NOTES: Lamannia Info: Twitch channel:

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Let’s Play Crusader Kings 2 part 2– Settling in
Posted by Ogrebear's Thoughts [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 March 2015, 4:08 pm

Part 2 of my lets play

Related posts:
  1. Let’s Play Crusader Kings 2 — Part 1 starting out So I’ve decided to do a lets play with Crusader...
  2. Starting My Let’s Play So In the Coming days i plan to take a...
  3. Let’s Play ESO: Part 1 Khajiit Assassin takes the field So my first Let Play, and i really have no...
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405 - The Instance: 10 Percent Means Something
Posted by The Instance: World of Warcraft Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 March 2015, 2:57 pm
On this episode of The Instance, They boosted our ilevels. There's a new story to tell. PvP damage is back. The movie is looking great according to director. Deathwing says hello to Skyrim. Your calls and emails and more!

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Meddler on Ashe and Darius Changes and More

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)

Wow, Darius buffs didn't last 1 week [...]

We're still effectively planning to make that change to Darius' ult. We decided today it would be better to have the ult refund 0/50/100% of its cost though, rather than having its cost drop (still allows ult chaining, but also means an OOM Darius can't ult which is something we'd like to preserve). Since we're right at the lock point for gameplay changes for the next patch we'll need to shift these changes a patch later to make that modification.


TLDR: Still coming, probably in two patches time.

Monster Hunter 4 Demo
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 March 2015, 10:00 am

I've wanted to like Monster Hunter ever since I first heard about it.  The premise of taking on giant monsters with 3rd person action skills appeals to me.  The problem has always been the execution and unfriendliness of Monster Hunter.  It's never been a game that's easily approachable for new players.

In fact, it's a game that's been extremely difficult for new players to figure out.  I think I would have gotten into it long ago if I had a friend to answer questions and guide me through the game.  But, that's never happened.

Everything I've heard about Monster Hunter 4 says that it's the most newbie friendly Monster Hunter game that they've ever made.  So, I gave the free demo a shot.  Thanks 3DS eShop!

I sat down and played the demo for over 3 hours the other night, just trying out all the weapons and attempting to get my head around the basics of monster hunting while in the beginner section of the demo.  I finally settled on two weapons that I like (after trying almost all 16).  It's tough, because each weapon feels almost like you're playing a different game.  They each handle in a unique way that doesn't translate to the other weapons.

I powered through, struggling with the different weapons, until I found the long sword.  It was the first weapon that clicked with me.  After going through almost everything else, I eventually tried the duel wielding swords and found those to my liking too.

With two weapons in hand that I kind of understood, I jumped into the intermediate level of the demo to see if I could take down a monster that was actually a challenge.  And I did it!  It was my first monster hunter kill that I was really proud of.  It was also the first time I hunted a monster and didn't walk away frustrated at the controls.  Spending that time picking the right weapons seemed to make a world of difference for me.

After pouring so much time into the demo, and hearing such great reviews, I downloaded the full game.  The demo did enough to convince me that Monster Hunter 4 might be for me.  The verdict is still out.  I'll let you know once I've had more time with the full game.

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