Pax Prime Hopes

The Big Show

It feels like we live in this world where there is always another big games show around the corner.  I remember when quite literally all that existed was the Consumer Electronics show, at least for the United States.  Now we have dozens of shows sprinkled throughout the year, all of which vying for exclusive announcements.  As a result companies have to trickle information out so that everyone that attends one of the shows feels like they are getting to see something unique or special.  This weekend of course is Pax Prime, and I had hoped this year I would be attending.  The truth is however that Pax Prime will likely never be in the cards, as the husband of a teacher…  August is a HORRIBLE time for me to be travelling.  During this month my wife is in full on panic mode as she gets adjusted to another school year, and while for a bit I was bummed at not being able to attend, I am realizing it was ultimately for the best.  As a result I will be a loyal yearly Pax South attendee and pretty much brush aside the thoughts of doing the Pax Prime thing.  Instead at some point I will just go out to Seattle to meet my friends that seem to be pooling there, instead of trying to make one big combo trip.  Having been to a Pax, I have to say in truth the folks at home have a much better view of what is going on there through the live stream.  As a result I am looking forward to spending much of the weekend watching as much as I can.  Which gets to the point of this mornings post.  I thought I would talk a bit about the various things I am hoping to get out of Pax Prime 2015.

Final Fantasy XIV

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The thing that I want this weekend… is a release date for 3.1.  I know we are getting close, but I want to know a firm release date so I know just how long I am going to have to wait.  Right now Final Fantasy XIV is going through a bit of a content lull much like it did after the release of A Realm Reborn.  Quite frankly at this point I am tired of running Neverreap…  since that seems to be the dungeon I get most often.  Two dungeons in a roulette rotation simply is not enough, and I am honestly a bit concerned with the news that 3.1 is only going to add two more as well.  My hope is that they create a four dungeon expert roulette instead of moving Neverreap and Fractal to Hard Roulette and making expert just be the two new dungeons.  The other piece I am really looking forward to is the next 24 player dungeon the Void Ark, aka the creepy airship you sometimes seem flying around in the Sea of Clouds.  The game needs a shot in the arm of content, because folks are starting to slow down… myself included.  More so than this… I would like to see some future vision type stuff for 3.2 and beyond.  In the past we have usually had this list of things that Yoshi P had promised for “future” patches and we are a bit low on that right now.

Wildstar

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Similar to FFXIV…  and honestly a lot of the things I am going to talk about this morning….  I just want a date for when the Free to Play conversion will happen.  They keep putting new patches on the test server and it is starting to feel like maybe they are close, but what I need from them is a date.  I am enjoying Wildstar so much more than I have at any point in the past, and a lot of the changes that are coming in with the free to play conversion are going to be generally good for the game as well.  Past the free to play conversion… I would like to see some information about what their long range plans are.  I don’t even know if they have a presence at Pax Prime this weekend, but even if folks don’t they tend to time announcements around major shows as well.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns

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Since the expansion announcement at Pax South, I have had a strange connection with this title.  Traditionally speaking I do not really enjoy Guild Wars 2 that much.  That said I have to say the revenant looks more interesting than any of the previous classes. I fully expect that I will be picking this title up when it launches if for no reason other than the fact that it is once again “buy to play” and I have gotten my original purchase out of the game.  This has been the year of announcements completely unfettered by timelines, and it is starting to get frustrating.  Once again we have a big title looming on the horizon with zero date announced for when we will be expecting to play it.  I am expecting that this one is going to be a lot like Heavensward was, where they announce the launch date and it is only a few months away.  My hope is that Pax Prime finally is going to be the show where they talk about this at.  Give your fans some firm dates.

Blizzard Titles

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I am honestly not expecting anything new to come out of this conference from Blizzard.  They did their big reveal of the World of Warcraft expansion at Gamescom, and I fully expect that with Blizzcon coming up in November that they will be holding everything else closely waiting on their big show to reveal it.  I fully expect that they might announce a new Overwatch champion at Pax Prime, and potentially some more Heroes of the Storm champions or maps.  What I am really wanting from them is an announcement for when Overwatch testing will begin and a beta key delivered in my mailbox.  Everytime I launch the patcher and see that Overwatch button at the bottom of it…  I get a little sad in side.  I really want to play this game, and I sincerely doubt I will be doing so anytime soon.  Over the last few weeks I have come to the realization that I still very much love Blizzard games… it is apparently only World of Warcraft that I am on tentative terms with.  I would love beyond love them to announce something for Diablo 3…  like maybe another expansion?  They have already hinted that they might be doing a Warcraft RTS after they wrap up with Starcraft II… so that alone has me pretty pumped.

No Man’s Sky

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I am so irrationally hopeful about this title, even though I keep telling myself that there is no way it can deliver on everything it has been promising.  I love exploring new areas, and I love killing strange and interesting creatures.  No Man’s Sky promises to give me a procedural generated world where I can do this… over and over again throughout the galaxy.  On top of that the graphics are kinda cool as well with their hyper saturated version of reality.  Again…  all I really want from Hello Games is a release date.  I have a feeling that we will have an announcement for some sort of beta testing to begin soon.  Supposedly Amazon UK is already taking pre-orders so hopefully we will get a date this weekend.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

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At this point I just want more information on this title.  We saw a short trailer from E3 and I have been wanting more information since.  Once again I have no clue if there will be a presence at Pax Prime, but I am hoping!  I want to know more about the nuts and bolts of how this title is actually going to work.  I want to know if there is going to be a multiplayer aspect, or if this is just one big single player skyrim-esc sandbox.  I also want to know more about the world that surrounds the game.

Devilian

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With my recent foray back into Diablo 3, it has made me extremely interested in Devilian a Diablo like Korean game that Trion is going to be publishing.  I know Trion is going to have a good presence at the show so I am hoping we find out when the beta process is going to begin.  I ended up with a key from Gamescom and I keep checking my Glyph launcher expecting it to show up in the list of games that are playable at some point soon.  While on the topic of Trion Games, it is too soon to hope for a Rift expansion but I would still like to get more information about where that game is heading, and some more detail on the future plans for ArcheAge.  The folks at Trion Worlds are awesome so I am always interested in what they have to say.

 

 

Goodbye Names

Preorder Announcements

Gw2 2012-09-16 16-09-42-21 This is a topic I have mulled over for several days, and am just finally getting around to posting.  I have had a fairly rocky relationship with Guild Wars 2 that started with me bowing out of their alpha program and ended with me finally finding my groove a few months back and getting my first character to 80.  The game is enjoyable but honestly it is not the kind of enjoyable I had hoped it would be.  Which was all the more surprising when I found myself oddly riveted to the presentation at Pax South in January.  I thought maybe it was the energy of the crowd, but whatever it was I found myself actually looking forward to the Heart of Thorns expansion.  I have always liked Dark Knight type characters, and the Revenant looked very much like a character in my wheel house.  So as we moved into E3 I was looking forward to seeing more information about the game, namely about the release date, pricing information, and what the guild hall system would end up being like.  In all cases I pretty much got what I was hoping for, but upon seeing the pricing something struck in my craw.

As I looked through the options available on the website… the Standard, Deluxe and Ultimate versions all included the previous game.  I kept looking for the versions of the game for players who bought the game at launch and had no need for the base game.  Problem is there wasn’t one, and there was not planned on being one.  Ultimately what I was looking for was a $10 or so price break on purchasing the game, to acknowledge the fact that I have owned their game forever now.  The funny thing is… had they not mentioned anything about the core version…  it probably would not have annoyed me at all.  I guess I am not alone in my frustration because yesterday Arena Net announced that they would be giving Veteran Players an extra character slot to make up for the fact that they have owned the game so long.  This is a nice gesture, but for me… who already has two empty slots because I don’t care enough to roll more characters…  it still rings a little hollow.  For the time being I won’t be pre-ordering, and honestly not even sure if I will be playing…  just depends on what else I happen to be doing at the time this game launches.  If nothing else I am sure it will go on sale at some point and I will be able to pick it up then.

Goodbye Names

WoWScrnShot_110512_200150 I guess this morning is going to be a mixed bag of commentary from me, because another thing that mildly frustrated me yesterday was the announcement that World of Warcraft would be releasing all character names that had not logged in since December 7th 2010.  While 2010 is a very long time ago… I also happen to have a bunch of characters.  In fact I have a grand total of four different World of Warcraft accounts, and my primary and active account has managed to hit the maximum number of fifty characters.  I have characters spread out on dozens of servers that I have no clue when the last time I played on them.  So last night when I saw this news I had resigned myself to spending two hours logging every character on and off to make sure I reset the timer.  Apparently the plan going forward is to do this release of character names each time Blizzard releases a World of Warcraft expansion.  Personally I think that simply having an active subscription should be enough of a toll to pay to keep your names from getting the axe… but it seems that is not the case.

So while I was extremely frustrated when I first read that…  my frustration faded as I came to the sad realization that there are very few characters in World of Warcraft that I really care about anymore.  I have only had one foot in that game for the bulk of this expansion, and last night I realized I would far rather spend my hour making progress in Heavensward than logging characters in and out to make sure they did not get squashed.  Today should be a big day for World of Warcraft with the 6.2 patch content being released…  but I am finding myself not excited about it at all.  I have too much new and shiny going on in another game, and while at some point I will log in and get my Naval missions going, for the foreseeable future I am not planning on raiding.  That was really the last thing keeping me connected to that world was my raiding, and when it started to feel stale and forced…  I felt it was time to start quietly fading into the background.  So I guess at this point I am come around full circle, if someone really wants to be one of my old character names…  then awesome go be it, because I won’t be using the name.

In Other News

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-22 22-46-13-35 Last night was a pretty great night… once I was able to get through the login boss mind you.  I have some serious fears as to what tonight is going to hold in that department, unless Square Enix has something up their sleeves to make that problem magically go away today.  For most of the night I was held up in the main storyline trying to get to level 55, so immediately upon logging in I started trying to arrange some dungeons.  However other people in the guild needed stuff, so we arranged a very quick Shiva Hard trial for one of the guildies.  It is amazing how “easy” this fight is, but then again my scale is greatly skewed from having just finished the Shiva Extreme battle last week.  From there we ran another round of Sohm Al, which again dropped some nifty stuff for our alts.  I  think I managed to add one more piece of the cosmetic set to my inventory, which is awesome… because I absolutely want to complete the full set.  Ashgar mentioned earlier in the evening that he needed the first primal encounter, and we also had several others nearing that point… so we hung out for a bit letting them get caught up before taking on the primal and defeating it rather brutally.  That fight with a full guild group is a very different experience than with random players.

From there… we were bad people in that  we decided to  try and plant the seeds of raid addiction in a friend of ours.  Lately Shiana has been leveling in game, and he was our raid leader back during Vanilla WoW and has raided off and on since then.  I am not sure if it was Tam or myself that suggested it last night, but in either case we were both in collusion to get him into raiding.  As a result we started last night on Binding Coil of Bahamut Turn 5, and while we had two new players to the fight… we managed to get through it without much issue.  It was helped massively by the fact that both of the players that we grabbed were seasoned raiders in other games.  From there we moved into Second Coil of Bahamut aka Turn 9 and we struggled a bit.  Firstly with Ashgar gone by this point, I had to take over and learn the main tank role on the fight.  In my experience each time you change roles on a fight, it is like starting back from square one and relearning everything.  Then we had Shiana for whom this was just his second FF raid experience…  but all in all we managed to make what felt like a bit of progress.  At the very least I think I could fill in for Ash if I needed to, once I got over the whole Ravensbeak straight up murdering me bit.  It was a great night of gaming… and tonight I am hoping to get a run of the third dungeon in… that I just unlocked.

AggroChat 41 and Pax Day Two

A Tale of Two Days

PaxPlaysPokemonIt was not until today that I realized that yesterday at Pax was a bit of a downer.  I had a lot of fun playing around with various games that I had media appointments with, and I am so happy I caught moments like “Pax South Plays Pokemon” where a guy in a costume was accepting and mimicking commands just like Twitch Plays Pokemon.  The problem is I mostly focused on the four appointments I had, and treated the day like I was working the convention.  In theory I guess I was but the biggest thing that lead to this feeling was the fact that more or less I was completely alone.  Sure there were people at the convention that knew but since I was so focused on making sure I was on time for the four meetings I didn’t really focus on mingling much other than with the random strangers I stood in line with.  That was one of the things I found most interesting is just how comfortable I felt around strangers.  I think part of it is that I knew if conversation did happen… it would at least be about something I was probably knowledgeable.  It was like the entire weekend was this safe little bubble of geeks and dorks… and we all inherently sense we were among our own kind, and somehow safe.

gigantic_aggrochat_trio Today however was a completely different experience.  Upon arriving there I got into the line for the Guild Wars 2 expansion reveal, and immediately after that I met up with Ashgar who was also watching the panel but had arrived late.  Shortly after that we met up with Rae and her brother and from that point on at least two of us were together at all times.  This completely changed the entire dynamic of the show for me.  Instead of being about milling around looking for something interesting… it became about having this grand adventure with friends.  I of course had to sho them everything I thought was cool from day one, which involved trying to get them a play session of Gigantic.  Sure enough the folks were amiable to the idea of having two more members of the podcast playing.  While I wasn’t really expecting to play along as well we all ended up on a team opposite Angry Joe of the Angry Joe Show.  It seems like the Gigantic Live twitter feed caught us playing, and while it was an extremely hard fought match our team pulled ahead in the end and seized the day.  For those playing at home… faces right to left at the machines are Myself, Ashgar, and Rae…  with the every awesome Lonrem beside Rae offering words of advice.

Heart of Thorns

This morning of course was the big announcement of the Guild Wars 2 expansion pack.  The fact that it was happening was of no real surprise because apparently the ending of this most recently living story episode concluded with some heavy hints about the expansion.  What was a surprise to me at least is that Arena Net seems to be shoving aside the MMO tradition of releasing an expansion and raising the level cap.  Instead they are introducing an alternate progression path called Masteries.  This system will apparently be account based so once something is unlocked it is available to all of your characters.  Some of the unlocks will be quality of life things like a new hang gliding skill, and others will be as game changing as brand new specializations.  The only one that they gave examples of is that the Ranger will apparently be able to specialize into a Druid giving them access to staff weapon type and brand new druid abilities.

gw2boomstickhype The other big announcement for me at least is that they are adding a third heavy armor class to the game.  It seems their flagship character Rytlock has gone through a transformation turning him a warrior to the brand new revenant class.  It seems the revenant focuses on channeling the mist and gives access to retelling certain legends that give it special abilities.  In the video above it shows him summoning a giant dragon spirit, or dashing around the battlefield striking all targets.  I have to say both the trailer and the expansion content sounded cool, but at the same time I know my history with Guild Wars 2 in general.  I am not sure if the revenant is enough to make me care about the game, but it is at least a step in the right direction since I love me some “shadowknight” style classes.  They plan on trickling out information between now and the expansion about what will await players in Maguuma.  I had to share the above photo because people were pumped for the show… they gave us these boom stick things and folks were putting them to good use.

AggroChat 41 – AggroChat Game Club

Since we will be on the road super early in the morning I am writing this post after coming home from my last day at Pax South.  I had a phenomenal time and spent the day hanging out with some of my favorite people on the planet.  However since myself, Ashgar and Rae were all at Pax this weekend… we were unable to do our normal aggrochat recording thing.  We actually got our shit together and planned ahead for this eventuality and recorded double episodes last saturday night releasing the first as AggroChat 40, and then I have just published the second episode tonight through the magic of “publish on date” functionality.  With the second part we are announcing a new idea we had.  The idea is relatively simple… we have a book club but with games.  We will pick a game, play it through a given month and then record a show where we spoil everything allowing us to tear into the game completely.  We did this some time ago for Transistor, where we recorded a very non-spoiler show first… and later recorded a deep dive show about the plotline.

Leading up to this show we each compiled a list of games we wanted to nominate for the inaugural game club game.  During the course of this show I made the folks who posted each game defend their title, explaining why they thought it would be a good pick.  At the end of the show we arrive at title, but I am not going to spoil what our pick is just quite yet.  You can of course skip to the tail end of the show and find out for yourself really quickly, but where would the fun be in that?  In any case whatever game we chose… on Saturday February 28th we will record a game descending into the title and picking it clean.  From this point on we will figure out a more equitable scheme for picking games, to make sure we also get some “non-consensus” titles but I figured for the first pick it was probably good to grab a game we were all wanting to play.  As we play the game I encourage our listeners to play along and then share your comments about the game, but I will give more details on that later.  In any case… I am going to close down this evenings post and start packing up.  It was a great weekend at pax, but I am amped for life to return to normal, so see you all soon in the regularly scheduled social channels!