Marvel Unlimited
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 May 2015, 10:00 am

I need to stop saying I'm not a comic guy.  I bought a month subscription to Marvel Unlimited and I'm loving it!

For those of you that don't know, Marvel Unlimited is a subscription service where you get access to the entire Marvel back-catalog of comics.

I was convinced to buy into a month subscription because Marvel just put their old Star Wars comics onto the service.

I started poking around in the Star Wars comics on the service and I was severely disappointed.  They're old... they don't appeal to my modern tastes.  Then I thought I'd dive into the classic superhero comics.  They were super boring too.

So I just started clicking on comics I had never heard of and reading the first issue of different series.  That's when I started finding diamonds in the rough.  Apparently I like non-traditional comics.

Runaways is an amazing series about teenagers who discover that all their parents are supervillains so they run away from home together.  Then they slowly discover that they also have powers and abilities.  It's really good.

Then I found Mary Jane.  The comic, not the other thing.  It's all about high school from Mary Jane's perspective.  Spider-man is in the comic, but very rarely.  He's definitely not in every issue.  And it's SO GOOD!  Something about the high school drama in a superhero world is really working for me.

Dear readers, I guess I'm not a fan of traditional comic books, but can you recommend anything else in the Marvel backlog for me to check out?  I'd really appreciate it!

The Old Blood Offers (a New) Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 May 2015, 10:00 am
The Year is 1946. Your mission: infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein and retrieve the coordinates to General Deathshead’s compound. Watch the official gameplay launch trailer for Wolfenstein: The Old Blood That’s right, today you can download the prequel for Wolfenstein: The New Order on your PlayStation 4, PC, or Xbox One. Don’t have The New Order? Doesn’t […]

How much lore do you need?
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 May 2015, 8:46 am
I am between campaigns in Dungeons & Dragons, having finished the Favorites of Selune campaign and not yet started the Zeitgeist campaign. So I am busy preparing the new campaign, understanding the campaign world, and getting everything together we will need to create characters and start playing. Doing that I quickly ended up with a very specific question: How much lore do I need to tell to my players before character creation and playing?

Now it is perfectly possible to start a campaign with absolutely no lore whatsoever. A generic dwarven warrior, a generic elven ranger, a generic halfling thief, and a generic human cleric meet in a generic tavern in a generic fantasy world. Go! The problem with that approach is that not every player is a creative genius and master of improvisation. Given a generic fantasy world as background, a typical group of average players is going to end up with a history that reads like a bunch of World of Warcraft quest texts: Fun adventures battling more or less random monsters for not much of a good reason except for gaining treasure and experience. Hey, it works for World of Warcraft!

But imagine you want to play a campaign in the world of Game of Thrones, and you want your campaign and the stories being told interactively between the DM and the players to somewhat resemble a Game of Thrones story. Creating random characters and meeting in a tavern is probably not going to do the job. You would need to tell the players about the various houses, about the wall, about the different meaning of "winter" in that game world, about old and new faith, and about some other things. And then you might not want to give them total freedom in choosing their character background, because running that campaign with player characters loyal to different houses would be rather awkward.

It is basically the old question of high fantasy vs low fantasy all over again. A low fantasy campaign works well with little lore and lots of improvisation, because players only need to rely on their experience and knowledge of typical fantasy to tell a typical low fantasy story. For a high fantasy campaign in which the players are saving the world by throwing the one ring into Mount Doom, the players better know a bit about the world. Like where is Mount Doom, what is the difficulty in getting there, what are the consequences of failing to throw the ring in, and why didn't anybody offer them 100 gold pieces as reward for that quest?

Having said that, there is certainly a danger of presenting too much lore to the players. The Silmarillion is too much knowledge, even for a Middle-Earth campaign. Lots of DMs who created fantasy worlds went way overboard with creating extensive history and lore for that world which ultimately isn't all relevant for the campaign.

Thus the idea for my Zeitgeist campaign is giving an overview of the history of the world, the lore, the power struggles, and to which group in the world the players belong and are presumed to at least initially have loyalty. But only to an extent which is necessary for intelligent character creation and playing the first adventure or so, during which then of course more lore can pop up in play. The reason I want to explain lore before rolling characters is that I want to use the campaign specific background themes, and it is hard to expect somebody to play a "docker" or a "skyseer" without explaining what those are and how they fit into the world. I just need to work out how much lore is "enough".
Tobold's Blog

Messing with the player economy
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 May 2015, 3:45 am
There are a few players in World of Warcraft who choose their crafting professions by regarding immaterial aspects like role-playing. Of course a dwarven warrior should have mining and smithing as professions, otherwise he wouldn't be a proper dwarf! But everybody else tends to see professions as a way to make gold, which is even more important if gold now can buy you subscription time and save you real money.

Now Warlords of Draenor introduced huge changes to crafting professions. It made it easier to pick up a new crafting profession and level it up without having to go through all of the old content, you can level a profession like tailoring or smithing from 1 to 700 with only WoD materials. WoD also significantly changed the relation between gathering professions and crafting professions: It allowed everybody to gather WoD materials in the safety of their own garrison in sufficient quantities for crafting, and without needing to have the gathering profession at all. Gathering professions like mining or herbalism became unprofitable. While at the same time the crafting professions (with the exception of alchemy) were turned into a source of passive income: Just do your daily transmute and your work orders, and you'll make thousands of gold every month from your garrison.

As a consequence a large number of players dropped their now useless gathering professions and went for two profitable crafting professions instead. My warrior got double screwed by having herbalism and alchemy before WoD; now he has smithing and tailoring to "pay the rent". But as Azuriel points out patch 6.2 suddenly requires people to have maxed out gathering professions again, as it introduces a new high-level crafting material "Felblight", which is gathered in the new zone Tanaan Jungle using gathering professions. Crap, I haven't got a single high-level character with a gathering profession any more.

I don't think I am the only one. It was pretty evident and common knowledge up to this point that gathering professions had become somewhat useless (I don't even spend the time to gather the free resources in my garrisons any more). Lots of people dropped them. And I guess that will mess mightily with the supply of Felblight. Yes, you can level up mining or herbalism again in your garrison, but going from 1 to 700 will take over a month that way. And while the initial price of Felblight will be high, you never know how it will evolve in the long term and whether that justifies dropping a crafting profession and putting all that effort into leveling a gathering profession again.

I think Blizzard dropped the ball on crafting in Warlords of Draenor. Them now backpedaling on gathering professions only makes things worse.
Tobold's Blog

#BE3 Showcase – Registration Completed/Standby Information
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 May 2015, 12:00 am
Updated: Public registration is over, but… There’s still a chance to attend! Stand-by tickets will be available at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, June 14th and will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. Fans are encouraged to join the ‘Stand-by Tickets’ line along Hollywood Boulevard starting at 1pm on the day of the event for […]

The thing I kept thinking while watching the Kurt Cobain doc was “Before the internet, we played in bands.”

Champion Mastery Coming To Live Soon!

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)


After an extended stay on PBE, we’re almost ready to roll Champion Mastery over to live’s normal, teambuilder, and ranked queues! Here’s a quick rundown of the changes we’ve made to the system since we debuted it on PBE:

MMO screenshot #4927. Cannot remember this exactly, but think it closed down?

Ah, Gwendoline doth kicketh buttocks. YES.

Unofficial PBE Patch Notes for 5/4/2015
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 3:05 pm

Champion Changes


  • Ragnarok [R] - Now gains a 50/60/70% Movement Speed bonus towards enemies for 1/1/1 second.


  • Crescent Slash [E] - Now has a 0.4 AP ratio (up from .3) and Cooldown reduced to 5/4/3/2/1 seconds (from 7/6/5/4/3 seconds).

Item Changes

Skirmisher's Sabre

  • Mark duration reduced to 4 seconds from 6 seconds.

Other Changes

Super Minions

  • Damage increased from 180 to 306
  • Armor increased from 30 to 100
  • Magic Resist increased from -30 to +40

Free Champ Rotation
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 1:02 pm

This week's free champion rotation has been posted. These champions will become free to play starting tomorrow May 5th.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – Exclusive Gameplay Reveal
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 12:20 pm
By now you’ve read our hands-on preview of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. (And if you haven’t, feel free to check out Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – Playing with History. Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you to return.) Now, see the game in action in our latest video revealing all-new gameplay and some nifty Nazi-slaying details. […]

Star Wars Clone Wars Season 1
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 10:00 am

I finally finished watching Star Wars Clone Wars season 1.

For those of you who don't know, the show is set in between Star Wars Episode II and Episode III.  It details many of the events of the Clone Wars.  It has some of the main movie cast like Anakin, Padme, Obi-Wan, and a bunch of key Jedi but there are a bunch of unique characters too.

It's been a really slow burn for me.  Some of the episodes were great!  But, a lot of them were lackluster.  I liked the episodes that felt like they tied into a larger narrative, but there were just as many that were one-offs.

Everyone I've talked to says the series gets really good once you get a few seasons in.  So, I keep trudging through.

I'm generally enjoying it but it seems like I can only watch and episode or two at a time.  It's not a show I can marathon through.  If I knew the point where the show really starts to pick up I could probably push through just to get there.  I'm not sure when that will be.

I'll keep picking away at these episodes when I have time.  I see a lot of potential in the show.  I just need to see how the rest of the series unfolds.

#BE3 Showcase – Final Day to Register
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 9:00 am
Going to be in or around LA on 6.14? Today’s your last chance to register for our first-ever E3 Showcase. Visit

Swede Dreams: More Nightmares Coming to The Old Blood
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 9:57 am
With last year’s studio-debut title, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Sweden-based MachineGames established how they could move B.J. Blazkowicz into an era of story-driven, first-person shooters while staying true to the series legacy and roots. They also proved they can they can make a pretty good homage to the 1992 id Software original — hiding the […]

May 4 - May 10
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 6:25 am

There are no easy choices this week. The industry didn't make it easy. I was hoping, for example, that there would only be two releases for the PS4. That way I could have said, "This week I'm picking the game that was released on PS4."

And everyone could ask, "Which game on PS4?"

And I could reply, "Oh, Ether One."

Yes, I did work hard for that joke. Thanks for noticing!

Notable this week we have Cosmophony, a former WiiU exclusive, making its way onto the Sony platforms for today and yesterday; Syberia 2 on PS3, because that game is totally still relevant; and another Shin Megami Tensei game, which I'm sure will get its proper tongue bath from everyone in the 3DS thread who is not me.

High Strangeness is on my watch list because the marketing hinges on me knowing the difference between 8-bit ARPGs and 16-bit ARPGs, and I didn't play enough of either for that short-cut to tell me anything about what the game actually is. They also lose points for calling the game "12-bit" when the programmer in me knows the game is 16-bit all the time, regardless of how much space the graphics take up.

Sometimes, though, you just have to ask yourself: "What would the Game King do?" I feel like the answer is to flip a coin between Project Cars and Wolfenstein: Old Blood. Since I don't like racing games in general, that leaves me with Wolfenstein. If they don't let me blow up Hitler in a mech suit, I shall be sorely disappointed.

Let's see what everyone else thinks.

read more

The Newbie Blogger Initiative
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 5:33 am
Like most years I am not formally participating in The Newbie Blogger Initiative. I dislike the focus on MMO blogging, and I consider "hey, you should totally write a blog about MMOs" to be particularly bad advice to give to anybody. Having said that, I do have advice for anybody considering blogging, so this might be the moment to write that advice down.

You can roughly divide the life of an average person into three main domains: The private domain of family and relationships, the work domain of your studies and job, and the hobby domain of what you are doing for fun and relaxation. Blogs work for the last of those three. Your thoughts about your private domain are better held in a private diary with no public access. And blogging about your job is potentially prohibited by your work contract, and could get you into trouble or even fired. Blogging about hobbies is fine, because there are other people out there who share the same hobbies and might want to read about your thoughts, and you aren't likely to reveal private or sensitive information.

The main lesson that I learned about blogging about hobbies is that a blog has value to me as long-term archive of my thoughts. Everybody changes, but usually that change happens rather slowly. You are not the same person today than you were 10 years ago, nor than you will be in 10 years. Writing down your thoughts now helps the person you will be in 10 years to remember who you were today, or to document that slow process of change.

So my most important advice is to take future change into account. Don't make a blog about a specific class in a specific game, because as much as you might be concentrated on that today, that class or that game is *not* your hobby. Your hobby is probably a lot wider, at least different games, different types of games, or even things outside games. Do not write a "WoW Hunter blog", or even an "MMO blog"; write a blog about the totality of YOUR interests. Write for yourself, not for a hypothetical audience. Write what YOU think, what YOU feel, and don't worry if you consider that the same thought has been written before by others. The one person who might be very interested in what your thoughts on your hobbies are today is yourself, so write for an audience of one, yourself. Everybody else reading your blog, or willing to discuss your thoughts with you, is a bonus.
Tobold's Blog

What if there were several World of Warcrafts?
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 May 2015, 3:17 am
A decade later, with many people having long grown bored with World of Warcraft, and many MMORPGs having been released since, it is hard to remember the impact WoW had when it was released. By being far more polished and far more accessible than its competitors at the time, World of Warcraft singlehandedly changed the landscape of MMORPGs forever. A few months before WoW a financial analyst calculated that the overall market size for MMORPGs in Europe was 280,000. Then WoW came and sold 380,000 copies on the first weekend. Everquest II came out a month before WoW and people at the time considered that as a scoop that might "win" the war for SOE, but once World of Warcraft was released it just left EQ2 in the dust. As much as some people would like to deny it today, at the time World of Warcraft was far above its competitors in quality as well as accessibility, and we still feel the impact of that revolution today.

But what if World of Warcraft had been released onto a market where the already existing competitors were not so much different in quality? Sounds like a stupid hypothetical question, but I feel that something like that is happening now: Blizzard is soon to release Heroes of the Storm on June 2. It is a nice, accessible, polished game like pretty much all Blizzard games are. But it isn't much better or much more accessible than the competition. Yes, there is a training mode against the AI to test out new heroes, and some rules changes are designed to limit asshattery between teammates during a game. But it competes with a League of Legends with 27 million daily players, not an Everquest with 400,000 subscribers.

I am pretty sure that Heroes of the Storm will get millions of players, and that some people for different reasons will prefer the Blizzard version over the Riot version. But I don't see Heroes of the Storm being a "LoL killer". It will be somewhere in the list of the top 5 MOBA games, but not necessarily number 1. Blizzard is really late to this market (which is somewhat ironical, seeing how they could be said to be involved in starting the genre), and the existing games are already highly polished and accessible for a multi-million player mass market. The WoW/Hearthstone effect of "I'm taking a niche genre and make it accessible for the mass market" just isn't going to happen here. And thus I doubt that Blizzard will have such a huge impact on the future of this genre than it had on MMORPGs.
Tobold's Blog

Wow. Sounds so creepy and so fascinating at the same time!

Newest ep… we talk about making our in-game characters!

Why I Support the Honey Badgers and #GamerGate
Posted by Wolfshead Online [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 May 2015, 4:43 am
Liberty has always been one of the defining attributes of western civilization. The freedom to believe or disbelieve is essential to who we are. In the marketplace of ideas, good ideas prosper and bad ideas fail. This is as it should be as all ideas should be allowed to be subject to rigorous debate and intense scrutiny. Another hallmark of our culture is that one can believe what one wishes to believe or not to believe without coercion or force. The study of arts and sciences is all about the search for the truth. Without freedom of inquiry and the

GamerGate Bomb Threat
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 May 2015, 2:21 am
Hey, whoever phoned in a bomb threat to the GamerGate meetup in Washington, DC: you’re an asshole.  Seriously.  Stop it.

We’re discussing what inspires us when we make a character in game. I’m going with “pure survival ability.”

On Gamer Hangout, I mean. If someone else wants to chime in on the topic, lemme know! Recording in 10.

Free Comic Book day was pretty picked over, but we nabbed some pretty good ones!

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