#Blaugust 31: Diablo is Fun Again!
Aug31

#Blaugust 31: Diablo is Fun Again!

Yes, this is post #31, which means that I have finished my Blaugust run. I would like to post a summary of the month, potentially with some interesting conclusions to this grand experiment, but I don’t have the time or inclination to write it today. Suffice to say that this was a lot of fun. The best part was the sense of community it created: I discovered a ton of new bloggers and made some new friends. 

Will I be writing every day from now on? AH HAHAHAHAHAHA OH HELL NO. 

I mentioned a few days ago that I picked up Reaper of Souls, the Diablo 3 expansion, during a sale and I was hoping to give the game another shot with the launch of Season 4. Since writing that I’ve had the chance to put about 10 – 12 hours into the game so I feel qualified to say: holy cow is this game a lot better now than it was at launch.

It’s not just the addition of Seasons, although that helps. As someone who forgot what all of their Barbarian buttons did back in 2012, it is nice to leap into a totally new character with friends who are also in totally new characters.

Diablo III-2015-08-31 11_11_50

The new Adventure mode system that was introduced in RoS makes it easy to hop on the game and bash some baddies for an hour, but still feel like you accomplished something. You just hop from town to town, completing bounties. Maybe you stop and do some side quests or a dungeon, or maybe you just focus on the bounty — it’s up to you.

The transmog system in Diablo is so easy and well-designed that I almost forgive Blizzard for calling it “transmogrification”. You just drag a piece of gear into the transmog UI, select what you want it to look like, and pay some gold. Pow! All legendaries that you find are automatically added to your transmog skin menu, and as you upgrade the enchanter NPC you gain more options and more slots that can be changed. I’ve heard rumors that this system might be repurposed for transmog in WoW, and I think that would be an excellent decision.

In retrospect, it is ludicrous that this game included an Auction House at launch. It is so instantly clear that this was a terrible design decision that you have to worry a bit about the minds at Blizzard back when D3 was being developed. Diablo is a game about exploding monsters through your mechanism of choice and getting their loot. It is not spreadsheeting your way to riches. (I love Auction House math, just not in Diablo.)

As someone who hasn’t played Diablo 3 since 2012, the improvements are dramatic and have totally reversed my opinion of the game. I’m already looking forward to tonight, when I can knock out a few more levels and find a few more legendaries. Bravo!

 

 

#Blaugust 30: Post-PAX Rundown
Aug31

#Blaugust 30: Post-PAX Rundown

Although for many folks today is the final day of PAX, for me the weekend is over and its back to work. Alas!

I enjoyed PAX Prime this year but for the first time the majority of my fun occurred off the main exhibition floor. Like everything else with games (and society, really) PAX has become more and more intensely commercial over the years and I guess I’ve just reached my limit in many ways. Five years ago PAX felt much more about players and less about.. marketing to players.

In 2015 the crowds are worse, the swag is worse, and if like me you’re not willing to stand in line for more than 10 minutes then you quickly run out of things to do. I can’t truly complain about the success of PAX because it means a wider group of people experience it now — at one point this year I was almost trampled by a herd of tween girls with badges trying to get to the Markiplier signing event, and that would not have happened 5 years ago — but it does make everything much more about separating people from their cash.

The only game I played the whole weekend was Gigantic, and that was mostly because clever Void showed me a separate playing area where there were no lines. It was fun! MOBAs are still not my thing, but Gigantic is cute and plays well.

(My problem with MOBAs, I think, is that there’s such a penalty for dying. I like rushing into battle and not worrying too much about whether it’s going to get me killed or not. In TF2 I’m always the pyro, and few things make me giggle more than running in and lighting up the other team when they’re on a point.)

Other game highlights:

* I am not interested, but my partner watched someone play the Mad Max game for a few minutes and declared that he would buy it
* Dreadnaught was described to me at Blogger Lunch as “just the space battles from EvE” which is a rather compelling summary
* Ultimate Chicken Horse is the indie version of Divorce Mario
* My favorite title was “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”, a VR game where you defuse a bomb

And now, some PHOTOS.

pax-iwata

Witcher 3 Unicorn?

Witcher 3 Unicorn?

It's dark in the Classic Arcade room.

It’s dark in the Classic Arcade room.

One of the more remarkable game titles.

One of the more remarkable game titles.

A ninja is playing Silent Ninja!

A ninja is playing Silent Ninja!

BLOGGERS!

BLOGGERS!

The Trion Worlds party was pretty swanky.

The Trion Worlds party was pretty swanky.

Something is happening at the Magic TGC Annex.

Something is happening at the Magic TGC Annex.

#Blaugust 29: And Suddenly.. Too Many Games!
Aug29

#Blaugust 29: And Suddenly.. Too Many Games!

I’ve been struggling to find things to play in my spare time lately. There’s FFXIV, of course, but it has regular maintenance and I like to diversify my gaming. There was the Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC (check out my review here on MMORPG.com), but that was only about 7 hours of gameplay.

So I’ve been kind of twiddling my thumbs a bit in my evening leisure time, getting back into SpaceChem and avoiding the 50+ hour epics still sitting uncompleted in my Steam library.

But here we are two days into PAX Prime, and suddenly I am spoiled for choice.

Diablo 3 just started a new season yesterday! I picked up the expansion, Reaper of Souls, about a month ago during a half-off sale. My partner plays a lot of Diablo, and it is exactly the kind of casual loot collector that I want to play sometimes. I knew I hadn’t played D3 in a long time, but I didn’t realize how long until I logged in last night and got an achievement for buying the 2013 Blizzcon Virtual Ticket. Short story long, relearning Diablo 3 is now suddenly on my list.

Yesterday at PAX I obtained a beta key for Gigantic, which is apparently the sort of MOBA that even people who don’t like MOBAs seem to enjoy. This title has a lot of buzz, so I definitely want to check it out. Also thanks to the Trion Worlds party I have alpha access to Devilian, the company’s latest localized Asian import. It’s an “action RPG”. I’m not sure it will be my kind of game in the long run, but I’ll definitely check it out.

Being at the Trion party last night sooooooooooooooort of gave me the bug to play RIFT a bit again, but I think that might just be the last of the free vodka working its way through my system. I know in my heart I will just log on and then be sad that it’s not Vanilla and all the cool stuff is in a cash shop. Sigh.

Also, this is happening.

Guild Wars 2-2015-08-29 12_10_37

I know, I can’t explain it either.

Anyway, BRB, playing all the games forever.

#Blaugust 28: The PAX Prime Experience (video)

I managed to get in a couple of hours on the expo floor at PAX Prime today, and I thought I’d record a bit of the experience. It’s loud, and crowded, and you walk a lot. It’s also a ton of fun.

(Note: this was just filmed with my phone.)

#Blaugust 27: What Am I Playing at PAX?

Today marks the beginning of PAX Prime here in Seattle, and I snagged passes for today and Sunday. There are a number of events that I’m looking forward to, such as visiting with Talarian at the Eon Altar booth, or the blogger lunch that has been arranged for Sunday afternoon. And of course I like just being part of the scene, man. PAX Prime, despite its ties to the Penny Arcade dudes, has always been a welcoming place where myself and others just chill out and enjoy the heck out of some video games.

But this year I realized that there aren’t really any games that I’m excited to check out. I’m much too impatient to hang around in lines without an extremely good reason. Any game that I like.. well, I’ll just play it myself when it comes out in 6 – 12 months. And I don’t want to stand in line for an hour to play a game that I’m not sure I’ll like! There are only a few big budget games that I want to play at the moment:

1) Gigantic. Everyone who has the opportunity to play this game says great things about it, so I wanna know what the deal is.

2) Overwatch. I actually don’t reeeeeeally care about Overwatch per se but a lot of other people do so I figure I should try and check it out.

3) No Mans Sky. Yes yes, I know the universe is huge, but what do you do in No Mans Sky?! WHAT DO YOU DO.

That being said I’m not going to wait for more than 30 minutes in line for any of the above, which probably means I won’t be able to play them.

That’s okay, though, because there’s always the indies! Every year I end up buying an indie game on the spot, like Escape Goat 2 or Containment: the zombie puzzler. In the indie section, the lines are short and the devs are happy to talk to you. It’s my kind of place. So what treasures will I discover this year?

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