Gaming: The Road Ahead + New Article

My gaming hobby has been in a bit of a lull over the last couple of weeks, due to my continued vacation from World of Warcraft, a content drought in The Secret World, my on -again off-again relationship with Neverwinter currently set to “off-again,” and a lack of interesting new titles. But the upcoming weeks are promising a lot more options, so I thought I’d jot down some quick thoughts on plans for the future.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II: Van Harder

The Old Town of Borgova in The Incredible Adventures of Van HelsingBy the time this is posted, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II will be released to the public. I’ve already got my preorder in, and I eagerly anticipate my return to Borgovia. The first game was far better than I had any right to expect from a $15 indie game, and I see no reason why the sequel should be any different.

Frankly, I think it’s worth the price of admission just for more of the banter between Van Helsing and Katarina. This is a case where I’d be perfectly happy if the sequel was nothing but additional content added on to the original game.

But it also boasts some interesting-sounding new features, including a trophy room for the Secret Lair with bonuses for which trophies you display, management of the Borgovian resistance, and your own pet Ink monster.

The Secret World: Tokyo Summer

It’s finally happening. We all thought it was a myth, but it’s finally coming.

Issue #9, The Black Signal, has finally arrived on the test server, bringing with it the new Tokyo zone. There’s still no official release date, but we’re now measuring the wait in weeks — maybe even days. My money is on Tokyo making it live sometime in early June.

Cover art for issue nine: The Black Signal in The Secret WorldI’ve been avoiding spoilers, but the people who’ve been testing Tokyo are already raving. Funcom may take its sweet time in delivering new content, but the finished product never disappoints.

The previews of the new characters are very intriguing. I particularly enjoyed reading about the ancient demon lord and his enchanted mask that he bought on eBay.

Only in TSW.

I’m also in love with the cover art for issue #9. While I’m not normally a fan of manga/anime, I do think it’s clever how they shifted their art style to be more along that line for the Tokyo cover.

I’ll focus on my Dragon for the first little while in Tokyo. I want to bring my Templar there eventually, but she’s still nowhere near Tokyo certification, and I’m not sure whether to do the scenario grind on her or endure the rigamarole of getting a forged seal.

I’ve somewhat lost interest in my Illuminati now that I’ve finished all the faction-specific content, but I may return to him at some point. And I still have the disturbed desire to make another Dragon.

Defiance: Take two

My character blasts mutants in DefianceI wasn’t terribly impressed when I tried Defiance the first time, but lately, I’ve been tempted to give it another go. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just that I’m missing the show. Maybe I crave the stress relief that shooters are so good at providing.

Whatever the reason, it’s been on my mind lately. Since it’s going to be going free to play in early June, this seems like a good opportunity to give it another shot. At least I can be a Yakuza space Elf (Castithan) now. I’ll still have to pay extra for the privilege, but…

I don’t know how practical this will be, but my plan this time is to spend less time on the painfully generic side quests and focus on the main storyline, which I did find pretty fun the first time around. I also might spend more time exploring, reading lore, and doing events. And I’ll make sure to queue for dungeons, because I liked those the first time around, too.

I don’t see Defiance being a long-term commitment, but it might be fun to play through once.

WoW: Continued ambivalence

And then there’s World of Warcraft.

Ah, WoW, what am I to do with you?

My warlock showing off her legendary cloak in World of WarcraftIt’s now been quite a while since I last dipped my toes into WoW. If this isn’t my longest break from the game to date, it’s close.

At the very least, I plan to return for a month or two to experience the pre-expansion event, but at the rate Warlords of Draenor is coming along, that might not be until the fall, and there are times when I miss the game.

The problem is that I just don’t like the direction WoW has been going. I’d barely started to get over my annoyances with MoP when they announced WoD and added a whole other list of things to annoy me. I don’t want to be one of those people who complains bitterly even as they continue to pay Blizzard $15 a month, so I’m voting with my wallet. I don’t see this as punishing Blizzard or taking my ball and going home — I’m just making an informed buying decision. There are better things I could be spending my gaming budget on.

It’s also true that I don’t have many goals to pursue in WoW right now. I’ve already seen and done pretty much everything in MoP that I wanted to. It’d be nice to do the legendary quest on another character for the story, but I don’t think I can endure the grind again.

I’d like to reiterate my belief that Blizzards attempts to extend the life of content are ultimately self-defeating, because quicker and more fun things have better replay value than epic grinds.

My Pandaren hunter running through the Ruins of Gilneas in World of WarcraftStill, the temptation is there. I very much miss my characters some days. Particularly my little panda huntard, who I had just started really getting into when I left. When I go back, leveling her more will likely take up much of my time.

Another thing I miss? Dungeons. That’s one itch TSW doesn’t scratch. There’s no dungeon finder there, so finding groups tends to be pretty painful, especially if you’re doing anything below nightmares. And I don’t much like the extreme difficulty of nightmares, so I’ve pretty much given up on five-man content in that game.

Edit: According to the latest patch notes on MMO-Champion, warlocks are losing the ability to cast on the move in WoD. So that’s another class I won’t be able to play anymore come the expansion.

Sigh. Every time I get tempted to come back, they find a new way to drive me away.

New article:

It’s Ghost Week on Nexopia, and I make my contribution with a list of some of the greatest ghost stories of fiction. Special thanks to Pandorahh and DarkGryph of the official TSW forum for helping me come up with ideas for the list.

Personally, I don’t believe in ghosts, but I grew up in a house where a previous owner had committed suicide, and my parents were convinced the poor fellow’s spirit was still lingering around.

So much for that idea of children being more open to the paranormal.

3 thoughts on “Gaming: The Road Ahead + New Article

  1. Yeah, I hate the way they’re “grounding” all the caster classes. One of the best things about being a Warlock is strafing around blowing stuff up. Now we’ll be back to the totally boring stutter step because we don’t want to break PvP.

    Maybe I should wait for the expansion that takes PvP entirely out of the game and puts it in it’s own game 😀

    • Between an expansion spent with the current KJC and playing TSW, I absolutely cannot go back to not being able to cast on the move. My muscle memory has changed, and it feels incredibly awkward and unnatural.

      At the current rate, it looks like the only classes I’m going to still enjoy come 6.0 are monk, hunter, and MAYBE rogue if I can get used to sub spec. It’s not an optimistic picture.

      While I’m not in the business of defending PvP, I don’t think it’s the sole reason for the changes to mobile casting. They’ve also talked about it being “good” for PvE quite a lot. This is partly due to the fact that ranged is currently favoured over melee DPS in raids. Melee used to have mobility as its niche, and as ranged became more mobile, they lost that.

      Turning all casters into turrets again isn’t the only way to solve that, though. One option I heard them discuss in the past — which I would be all for — is to tune melee with more survivability than ranged. There’s a thematically appropriate way to give melee an advantage again without hobbling spellcasters.

      But nope. Turret casting is the traditional way, so that’s the only solution they’ll take.

      Blizzard is far too in love with the past.

      • Yeah, you’re right. One would think after 10 years in the business they might come up with a better idea or have at least one person who can think out of the box and say “go for it.”

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