High Alert

EVE seems to be on the edge of an intergalactic war. The long-dormant, and cut-off section of space belonging to the Jovian Empire has seen some activity. Sansha’s Nation has somehow acquired technology that lets them create wormholes and place them with spot-on accuracy wherever they choose. At the same time, they are able to allow only those they desire to use the wormhole. Reports have been sketchy so far, as I’ve been laying low for the most part. But what I hear concerns me, and what I saw released of the probe data one capsuleer was able to capture has me frightened.

I’ll keep flying low and trying to avoid as much of whatever ensuing events unfold, but this may end up being a time where that’s not possible. My personal goals and missions may have to be set aside, and if I have to fly my Rifter into the fight, I’ll take out whoever I can while I do so. If the Jovian’s really have teamed up with the Nation, things could go very, VERY bad. With the future in doubt, the fog of my past seems to hold less importance.

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Resistance is futile

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about GOA and Warhammer parting ways. The split was announced on Friday of last week, by GOA and Mythic. Since then, Mythic has released a more comprehensive explanation of what’s going to happen, as well as a FAQ (FR, GER). Many of my European colleagues have started to comment on it some (has an english google translator), and seeing how they are the most affected, are probably a good sounding board of the situation. The long and short of it all, is that European servers are being brought under the full purview, control, and responsability of Mythic. The players will be allowed to transfer over to American servers if they choose, but to do so would mean loosing out on their more localy-placed servers (Germany) and have to deal with the ensuing lag.

Ahh Europe, you will become like us, one way or another.

As an aside, this has spawned conversation all over, including forums. One intersting result from a conversation on my home servers threads of discussion, is that apparently, Greeks are naturally better at history than anyone else. The proof is in this douche’s own words.

Some Shadow Warriors have all the luck

Snare Proc, woot!

And apparently, it’s my Shadow Warrior. I don’t play mine a lot anymore, mostly when solo, or when just farting around for a little bit of time. Or when my other characters are locked out of the city. He still needs to get RR70, and the rest of his set of Sovereign gear. So, when the city opened up Sunday morning, I took my SW in there all by my lonesome for some good, stance-dancing fun. After an instance full of split-arrows ward checking after being made a Champion, I was blessed with this insignia-trivializing weapon. I have no reason to do scenarios anymore outside of pure fun and renown gain. It’s my favorite part of the game, which makes me sad that I’ve lost a carrot, but happy at such a great piece (slight scoreboard brag after the jump).

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European Invasion

Woh.

That’s big news. Obviously a ton of questions need to be answered. But it’s hot off the presses. Considering what I’ve heard of GOA, I don’t think a lot of players will be upset by this.

CCP compensates EVE players

You may not be aware, but EVE recently had a long and extended downtime. The reason was that they were physically relocating the server cluster and had to do some  unexpected testing. They knew the downtime was going to be significant (about a day), but it ended up being significantly longer, by about 12 hours if my memory is serving me correctly. Most games would have people up in arms, throwing fits, and I’m sure EVE had its share, but overall, the shallow end of the EVE community I swim in seemed like calm waters. Still, in a game where training takes place in real-time, and skills advance in real-time and sometimes need days or weeks to finish a skill, that’s a good chunk of missed training potential. CCP realizes that, and is responding in kind to its customers in this unprecedented incident with a commiserate response. They announced a new pool of skill points to apply, that should be available in a hotfix on Tuesday, as well as another gift to all pilots.

Good stuff, and I have to say again, CCP and EVE is continuing to impress me with its ability, competency, and overall incredible vision and implementation. EVE is looking more and more like a game that could pull me away from WAR full-time if I let it, and I can’t let that happen till I hit at least RR80 on my Knight. My current social goal in-game is to check out the Red vs. Blue factions and see what some of the PvP is like, and my goal of increasing my security status still stands. Thankfully for the later, some helpful forum goers gave me the details on the system and how to best go ratting when trying to buff it up.

Artist Spotlight: Richard Anderson

I found this artist from Into the Pixel, which is a site that highlights and chooses the best pieces of video game art from submitted works. The works was shown at this years E3, and gives a chance to the artists to be acknowledged by peers in the industry.  They’ve been running since 2004, and a piece Richard Anderson has been in the selected top 20 for two of those years (yes, you’ll notice I linked his blog, and now his sketchbook). He also has a professional site.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see his personal postings of his sketchbook and all his art pieces. The second I saw his 2010 piece for Guild Wars 2, I knew his style was one that had captured my interest. All of his work has a very ethereal feel to it, but it can be brought to bare in both a light, airy manner, or come down as oppressive, and menacing. He appears to have a very strong bent towards traditional artwork mediums, of which I really appreciate, being that my own preferance falls within the same area.

I think one of my favorite pieces of his is the Band of Brothers image. It expresses both the emotional setting and the physical nature of the situation that so many of our countries brave soldiers faced upon Normandy beach. Also of note, are his series of negative space black & white drawings, that harkens to some of the more independent style comics and their visuals. His use of fine lines and careful destruction of a portion of an image makes the eye travel in a way to give the appearance of action and life.

This artist is incredibly talented, and is an example of a style I most aspire to in my own work. So, head over to his sites, look around, and be aesthetically pleased.

How can it be done?

 

Miniagures do not come prepainted.

There has been a lot of talk lately about new content in WAR. Everyone seems to agree that we need something, but we don’t know what that something is. When we taste the proverbial sauce of WAR pasta, we think that a dash of something would complete the taste for now. But if we could just figure out what that is. In the meantime, I propose we have some breadsticks and chatter amongst ourselves. Today’s breadstick is flavored with “Fortresses”. The dipping sauce for you to bring home, is a Collector’s Edition of the game. So, here’s what I would like to see from you guys:

If you had total control, how would you best reimplement fortresses into the game?

What I’m looking for are suggestions from readers by way of email to me (shadow.war.blog@gmail.com), or comments here. When I reach a healthy number of entries, I’ll do one of two things. Either select the one I think is most realistic/feasible/interesting/fun, or I’ll post a poll of the ideas and let readers vote.

As for the details of the Collector’s Edition box, I know most of you playing probably don’t need a second account. And since buying a second account is, well free, what you’re really getting from this are the goodies inside, as well as the codes for in-game items (or to give to a friend whom you want to start playing). I was one of the people who pre-ordered and bought a CE version, and I LOVED the stuff I got. The two hard-cover books are amazing. One is a collection of concept art that ranges across all races, zones, and items, and the other is a comic book that details the back story behind the war we currently fight. Last (and definitely not least) there is a tabletop miniature of  Grumlock and Gazbag (see them in-game in The Eternal Citadel destro!). For fans of the IP, it’s a pretty cool package. And no worries, I’ll pay for shipping to get it sent to you and won’t whore out your private information to anyone.

Edit: I should add, I’ll pay for shipping w/in the U.S. only.

Time Warp

It was this or Rocky Horror.

The work day ended at a bit after 5pm for me yesterday, same as every other weekday. I drove home, and found my wife watching TV with a bottle in one hand and the baby in the other. Leaving her be, I took care of the dog, did dishes and prepared dinner. Thirty minutes later, dinner was done (salsa chicken is super easy to make), and the baby was asleep in her food comma. I walked into the bedroom, changed clothes, picked up my PS3 controller, and plopped on the bed. Next thing I know three hours had gone by, the sun had set, and it was time to feed the baby again. What the hell just happened? BF:BC2 happened, I honestly didn’t expect that to happen.

I don’t want to turn into Doug, but man, I really am having a good time playing the game, and I really enjoy the advancement system. It’s an interesting development that I completely missed the progression on in competitive online games. Your character gains levels as you play, or “ranks” in military parlance. These ranks increase some special abilities you can use or slot. Additionally, as you use each of the four different “classes” you gain points towards that, and it unlocks new kits. These kits include different guns, scopes, sites, attachments, gadgets, and a whole slew of other things. The upgrades give a very minor boost to ability, but they add up over time, and it’s not a huge hinderance if you don’t have them (still, I’m VERY close to the red-dot site on my assault kit and I can’t wait!). I just made private third class last night (rank 3), and I was still able to kill anyone, and ended one match with 29 kills, 19 deaths. My KvD ratio is getting closer to 1 every night!

Learning the layout and valley of every map will go a long way to improving my ability. The more I play each, it becomes home turf, and that’s a big step toward victory. The maps are big however, huge in some cases, and that’s where vehicles come into play. Tanks, buggies, humvees, and even Apache helicopters. You can drive or fly them all and have others man the guns. In a lot of cases, you’ll want these to cross the map and move from objective to objective, just so you don’t have to hoof it the whole way. I’m happy to say, that by the end of the night, my wife was no longer able to make smart-ass comments to me.

That in itself is a victory worth celebrating.

Variety is a spice

This is my kind of variety.

I had a very relaxing weekend, and I think the primary reason for it was my relaxed gaming schedule. I’m usually pretty aggressive about getting some things done, or setting goals I want to achieve for the weekend to help make up for my lack of play time during the week. But this past weekend, I approached it very loosely, and floated around a bit. From consoles, to PC, to miniatures, I did everything and kept things interesting. Oh, and it was my first Father’s Day, so that felt odd, out-of-place, and like it should not have been an applicable holiday for me in the slightest. The whole “I’m a Daddy” thing still feels a bit surreal at times (6 months in, and me being responsible for another LIFE still strikes me as insane at times).

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2013!

Massively has an interview with Mark Downie of THQ about Warhammer 40k.

It’s not incredibly long, about a dozen questions, but we get a good chunk of information, and a good hunk of meat to chew on. The biggest of course, is his highly tentative release date mark of the 1st quarter of 2013. Yes, that’s right, this game is still three years out! That’s if it isn’t delayed at all. We all have a lot of time to happily put this in the back of our minds, and try to  not think about it too much, and play SW:TOR. I’m impressed at the amount of time going into the game, as in this same interview, Mark stated that they have already been working on it for a few years. I’m eager to see development cycles stretch into the 6+ year mark with MMOs if it means great games, and quality products.

Other than the release date, Mark talked a bit about their game engine, their relationship with Games Workshop, and how important it is to them to remain true to the 40k tabletop game, as it pertains to look, feel, and play. He says THQ isn’t breathing down their necks to finish it, and I hope this is true. The last thing the market needs is a game that gets published too early, and disappoints fans.