Guild Wars 2 – The Game That Doesn’t Change Everything

 We founded ArenaNet to innovate, so Guild Wars 2 was our opportunity to question everything – to make a game that defies existing conventions. If you love MMOs, you’ll wanna check out Guild Wars 2. And if you hate MMOs, you’ll really wanna check out Guild Wars 2.

That line is from ArenaNet’s MMO Manifesto video, which I embedded in a blurb I wrote a few days before Guild Wars 2 launched. As a rank MMO amateur who likes his single-player fantasy RPGs, the video effectively sold me on trying the game. After all, I was in the mood for a high fantasy RPG and since I largely hate MMOs, I “really” need to check this game out, right?

Among a host of other promises, the game promised a better combat model, a more immersive world in which you feel a little less like one of a billion other hosers all doing the same thing, and perhaps most significantly, no grinding. After roughly a dozen hours with the game, it’s hard to say that it really cashes in on these promises. No, you’re not collecting a dozen wolf pets every fifteen minutes and the game does solve a lot of problems that MMOs have, but it is most decidedly not a game for people who hate MMOs. If that’s you, do what I failed to do and just save your money. Dark Souls PC is just $40 on Steam. Maybe try that.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #141

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Joining us for Jumping the Shark #140 is the one and only Jason McMaster, he of Cap’n Patch Kickstarter fame. Now, I would tell you that nobody in their right mind would back a game who’s main character is a spider, but even I have to admit the little bugger is oh so cute. I mean he’s got a pipe and a spatula. What more could you ask for? Jason and I then talk up some Guild Wars 2 action. Given that he’s an MMO guy, and I’m incredibly not, it makes for a decent point-counterpoint. For those of you looking to see Bill get his PC Dark Souls on, you’ll be shocked to learn that he hates it. And I mean hates it. Except that he doesn’t. Who’d of guessed? Finally, Brandon is witness to the Fall of Cybertron in the latest Transformers game from High Moon Studios. Find out why the guy with an Autobot tattoo isn’t as blown over by the game as he’d hoped. All that and  little Bastion on the iPad talk is coming your way in this week’s JTS!

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Cowboys and Angels

The above video is a video that Bill sent to me today because, apparently, Bill thinks that I have a deep and abiding love of country music. I do not. In fact, when I listen to country music, I understand why some people think that all rap and/or hip-hop sounds the same. When I hear country music, all I hear are slide guitars and pickup truck commercials. I’m not saying that’s an appropriate response to a genre of music that is, most likely, as varied and multidimensional as the genres that I love, I’m just telling you what goes on in my little pea-brain.

Honestly, I didn’t get through the entire song because it was not my cup of tea (trying to be polite here), but it did leave an impression on me in that I think that the team-up of an angel and a cowboy would make for an excellent video game.

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The Borderlands Are Waiting

I’m just going to let this fantastic new trailer for Borderlands 2 speak for itself. My desire for this game is strong. Very strong.

The Hidden Gamers

Where are all the board gamers hiding? And why?

I’ve been playing games for a very long time – about 30 years for both video and hobby tabletop games of various kinds. I rather immodestly think of myself as being intimately familiar with most of the genres, and of being representative of the more obsessive end of hobby gamers generally. It therefore came as something of a shock when, shortly after discovering boardgamegeek.com in 2002, I realised that my taste combat-heavy, thematic and fairly random games was considered niche. It seemed that modern gamers generally preferred these new-fangled “European” games coming out of Germany.

I was further mystified when I learned that the foremost modern-day purveyor of the sorts of games I particularly enjoyed, Fantasy Flight Games, had become one of the largest game publishers in the world, ranking behind only mass-market producers like Hasbro and streets ahead of any other hobby-focussed companies. If my taste in games was considered niche amongst a community of board game hobbyists, how come the publisher that best suited that taste had grown so large? Who on earth was buying all their games?

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Cracked LCD- Tooth & Nail: Factions in Review

John Clowdus and his DIY company Small Box Games have made a name for themselves, and that name is quickly becoming synonymous with forward-thinking, outside-the-box card game designs with knockout looks. Omen: A Reign of War is the Small Box title most gamers would be familiar with and it’s also the one that most would consider Mr. Clowdus’ best work today. Fresh out of another successful Kickstarter campaign, Tooth & Nail: Factions gives Omen a run for the money- and it may even be the better game. Continue Reading…

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is PC-bound

I loved the original Rocketbirds from Ratloop Asia, so you can imagine my disappointment when Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken was announced as a PS3-exclusive. The scales of justice have tipped in my favor! Hardboiled Chicken is coming to the PC and can be pre-ordered at Rain Digital Games and GamersGate for $9.99.

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is also slated to hit Steam, although customers who pre-order through the above outlets will also receive a four-track EP from New World Revolution, which includes a remix of “Once I Was Lost.” I purchased the original New World Revolution EP two years ago, and it is most definitely worthy of a pre-order bonus.

Check out the Rain Digital Games or Rocketbirds websites for more trailers and screenshots.

Double Fine Goes Free to Play with Middle Manager of Justice

Free to play is all the rage with the kiddies these days, as witnessed by everyone and their mother throwing their hat in the free to play ring. The latest developer to make a stab is Double Fine with their newly announces iOS game, Middle Manager of Justice. In it, you play a middle manager in charge of recruiting, training and deploying a team of eight superheroes. As this is a Double Fine game, I’ll be more than happy to give it a try and see if they can avoid the same pitfalls as other free to play efforts, namely the brick wall players run into when they figure out that they can’t get any farther without dropping some serious coin.

Middle Manager of Justice will release “soon” for the iPad and iPhone.

Bastion Ventures to iPad Tomorrow

If you haven’t adventured with the Kid yet, or you just have a thing for gaming on mobile devices, Bastion from Supergiant Games is landing in the App Store for iPad tomorrow, August 30. This release of Bastion will include Stranger’s Dream (DLC for PC and Xbox 360), retuned weapons and Proving Grounds, Retina compatibility, and options for either gamepad-style controls or touchscreen controls.

You can check out the trailer after the break.

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Indie Megabooth at PAX Prime

I won’t be at PAX Prime in Seattle this year, but if I were, I could tell you exactly where most of my time would be spent. 10 games will still be showcased in the PAX 10, but no longer will other indie video game developers be confined to the peripheral tables wedged between vendors selling trinkets of dubious quality.

The Indie Megabooth will host 30 developers displaying 32 games, including Super Time Force, Mark of the Ninja, Snapshot, Yata, Chasing Aurora, Guacamelee!, Monaco, and Antichamber. If you’re heading to PAX and you get the chance to try out some games at the Indie Megabooth, let us know what you think. You can find a full list of games and developers at the Indie Megabooth website.