Category Archives: Gaming

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest LCG Comes to OCTGN

I’ve previously mentioned that Fantasy Flight Games has a new Living Card Game (LCG) coming out called Warhammer 40,000: Conquest. Needless to say I’m pretty excited about it… Perhaps not as overly geeked out as I am over Imperial Assault (see previous story), but it was one of the games I was most excited for prior to GenCon (since then Abyss has slid down a bit and Five Tribes has moved up to just below Conquest and Imperial Assault for the post GenCon stuff). Anyhow, I can’t wait for it to come out.

Sadly, I don’t have a play group to play it with. I’m sure plenty of people at the Boardgamers of Greater Akron will be playing it, but it is a bit of a drive to Akron from where I am, and I don’t know anyone local who’s into LCGs. So being able to play the game over the Internet is always a sweet deal. Sure one could use Skype and just put the webcam on the table, but that requires a playlist of people to play with a much larger table than my desk, and a few other complications. Lucky for us, there are methods of playing LCGs, TCGs, CCGs, and other games over the Internet. For card games the two main platforms seem to be OCTGN and LackyCCG. This post will focus on the OCTGN plugin, but I know there is development ongoing for a LackyCCG plugin as well (by another person than the one who did the Conquest one). OCTGN is presently Windows only (though they mention they would like to do a Mac version and touch screen version eventually), while LackyCCG is multiplatform including Windows, Mac, Linux and iPad.

Before we continue, let me note that I am in no way involved with this project, either the LCG itself (although, FFG, if you want me…lol), OCTGN or the plugin being discussed below.

So what do you need? Continue reading Warhammer 40,000: Conquest LCG Comes to OCTGN

Team Covenant Shows A Full Demo of Star Wars: Imperial Assault

I don’t cover board games nearly as often as I would like to or should. But at GenCon this year, Fantasy Flight Games announced a new title that has me really excited. Star Wars: Imperial Assault. The game basically is Decent with a Star Wars license and a 1v1 skirmish mode option… I mean I was excited that Abyss was going to be on sale at GenCon (though I wasn’t going, so can’t secure myself a copy… though if anybody is in the area and wants to gift me a copy, cover order goes purple, green, blue, red, pink/orange), and I was excited to hear more about another must have game, Warhammer 40,000: Conquest a new LCG from FFG, which I hear sold out in a couple hours, and of course their Star Wars: Armada game (another must have), but Imperial Assault took me, and I think everyone, by surprise. Huge reveal. The fine folks over at Team Covenant have posted a nice full playthrough… Haven’t watched it fully yet, so excited about it I had to share it right away.

What I’m excited for are the vast number of fan created scenarios. I’m sure they’ll modify the Descent campaign creator tools to this… Continue reading Team Covenant Shows A Full Demo of Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Nosgoth Gameplay and Mini Review

Nosgoth is a free-to-play multiplayer action game that is presently in Closed Beta. I got in late February and I’m finally getting around to talking about it. At the end of this article I’ll have a gameplay video so you can see it in action. You can apply for beta at the Nosgoth link, or buy a Nosgoth Founders Pack which will get you into the game instantly (part of why I’m bringing it up now, as I think it’s worth looking at). Like most Founders Packs on games that will eventually be free-to-play, they include plenty of in game currency to buy skins, faster access to classes, and your typical free-to-play, but not buy to win, game… and that’s an important note. Based on my time in Nosgoth, I never felt the need to buy things, or that those buying stuff had an unfair advantage. That said, there are some really cool skins and stuff that would be sweet to have.

A small disclaimer, I’ve never played any of the Legacy of Kain games, the universe that Nosgoth takes place in, so I won’t be discussing any of that aspect. All I know about the world is there are vampires and humans, and from the dialog I’m guessing the humans are the rebels… Nosgoth refers to the world, the planet we are on in this story. Kain has died and the vampire race is in disarray and the humans seem to think it is a good time to rebel… or something along those lines. Like Titanfall (as I noted in my review of Titanfall), there is a story told here via dialog. Perhaps not as heavily well as Titanfall’s story, but in this case it has a rich history behind it already so it just needs to be there enough to connect it to the universe that it inhabits.

Anyhow, let’s talk about the gameplay itself, as that is what’s important. Nosgoth pits Humans vs Vampires. Each match features two rounds. One round you will play as a human, the other round as a vampire, keeping the same team. Whichever team has the best combined score, wins the match. Continue reading Nosgoth Gameplay and Mini Review

ArcheAge – Screenshot Feature

ArcheAge has a really sweet screenshot feature that allows you to compose some really sweet screen shots. If you have a good eye for composition and the like, then you can take some very nice screenshots. You can adjust Depth of Field and add Bokah Effects.

Before I get to the video, here’s the super quick basics. Take screenshots with the F9 key. This will save the screenshot to the documents/archeage/screenshots folder. You can turn the UI on and off using the F12 key. CTRL-F12 brings up the screenshot mode menu and from there you can move the camera around, adjust the Depth of Field and the like.

ArcheAge Gardening and My First Trade Route

I just posted a video (made of four Twitch highlights, as who really wants to watch a long video of somebody walking?) of me doing some gardening and doing my first trade route in ArcheAge NA Alpha. Not much really to say but enjoy the video.

A small side note. I didn’t have headphones on and forgot that the mic might pick up the game audio (in the end it actually didn’t do too bad all things considered, it mostly just got me, and picked up a few of the louder moments of the game). So I killed the stream after realizing my goof. Still, the video offers a good idea of the first gardening/trade route mission for Nurian.

ArcheAge NA Alpha – Shader Corruption and Fix

There is a known issue in the ArcheAge NA Alpha where some textures will appear black until their shaders are loaded properly.

This video shows an example of it when the character enters the home and appears all black with no textures.

The fix is to exit the ArcheAge client, then delete the shader texture cache in \Documents\ArcheAge\USER\shaders, delete the cache folder and its contents and restart the game client. When you relaunch the game, you may see the issue for the first few minutes as it loads the cache, but after that it should be set.

ArcheAge North American Alpha – You Can Buy Your Way In

If you simply can’t wait for ArcheAge to release, or can’t wait for access via applying at the homepage and being active in the forums then waiting on luck, you can buy your way in. The game is still in closed Alpha, but it will be in Beta come sometime in June (not officially yet, but I believe that is the rumored date). There are three tiers of Founders Packs that can get you into the game before the official release (still not announced). All Founders Packs include a 4 day head start before the game releases. They also said there will be no wipes until the 4 day headstart. Beta has been termed “events” which might mean it is limited periods.

  • Silver: $49.99. Includes access to the Beta when it comes out. One month of the premium membership ($15 value), while the game is free to play, premium members get better labor point regeneration, xp bonus, ability to own house or farm and loyalty rewards, you can also pay for premium access with in game money. $20 worth of credits. A Founder title… and a special glider.
  • Gold: $99.99. Beta access. Two months of premium membership ($60 value). $50 worth of credits. A Traveler title, a fancier glider… 10 Everstones for breaking down for magical crafting ingredients. 10 Hereafter Stones that can teleport you to any visited location in the world (well… specific locations of those locations). Special platemail.
  • Archeum: $149.99. Includes instant Alpha access as well as the beta access. $75 worth of credits and 90 days of premium membership ($45 value)… basically you you get $120 worth of goods, so the extra $30 grants you Alpha access plus all the following. 6 Daru chests that have special items in them and include a potential special mount. A Trailblazer title, 10 Everstones and 10 Hereafter Stones. The same glider and platemail from the Gold pack. Regents to put your own crest in the game. 10 healing potions for your pets. Your own customizable cloak.

If you want in, or more details, check out the ArcheAge Founders Packs page. I’m already in the Alpha of course, so I’ll see you in game.

Overachieving in ArcheAge

I’ve mentioned a few times how one of the things I am most excited about in ArcheAge is the fact that you can overachieve a quest. Say a quest giver wants you to kill Carnivorous Bees that are harassing his sheep, and would also like you to get the wool off 5 of those sheep. Most MMOs would let you kill as many of those bees as you want and collect as much sheep wool for that farmer as you want, but your reward won’t change even if you go above and beyond the call of duty, but ArcheAge allows you to collect extra XP (I believe it is up to 50% extra XP depending on the quest and the XP available). I don’t know if you get extra gold/silver on some quests or not, but on the two quests I checked so far, I didn’t get extra money, but I did earn a bit of extra XP.

Here’s a video I made earlier today about overachieving in ArcheAge.

The screenshot in the Featured Image was made in game using the in game screenshot feature (accessed by pressing CTRL-F12) and turning on Depth of Field adjustments and Bokeh effects.

My First ArcheAge Character Creation Video

Here it is friends, family… strangers… my first ArcheAge video, the upcoming free to play MMORPG being released in North America (and a few other regions) by Trion Worlds.

I recorded this via Twitch, added my in progress YouTube into and this is the result. The video focuses on a quick intro to the character creator, and then moves onto a little game play.


Continue reading My First ArcheAge Character Creation Video

ArcheAge Content Coming Soon

I’m in the NA Alpha of ArcheAge, by what I’ll guess is pure luck, either way, a huge thanks to Trion. Anyhow expect impressions and other stuff coming soon. I know based on my experience with the Russian client, that it is every bit as good as it looks. As I type this I have 4 hours left on a download, but it’s way past my bedtime anyhow and I work extra early Tuesday, so I’ll need to get into the game and try to make content later this week. I might… might attempt a short stream on my Twitch channel as I create my first character to show off the customization, then I’ll upload that to my YouTube channel, or I’ll just record it, edit and upload to YouTube… we’ll see… Hopefully I don’t let the excitement get me too far ahead.

EDIT: I’ll upload it to YouTube soon with a test of something there, but here’s the first video:

Watch live video from JonathanStrangeBT on TwitchTV

My Idea for Insurance in ArcheAge

First off, yes, I’m reusing the same featured image as my last ArcheAge article I’m using a screenshot from courtesy of ArcheAge Hellas, a Greek ArcheAge fansite. Check out their other screenshots. I don’t have access to make my own screenshots… <cough> Trion and XL Games, Please Let Me Into ArcheAge </cough> as of 21 April 2014 about 11 pm I have access, content coming soon.

This is going to be a quick and dirty article as I discuss it enough on the official forums.

Okay now let’s discuss things here. There is a thread over on the official forums on if Should Stolen Trade Goods Be Split 60/40%? It seems that if you are making a trade run and another player who’s playing a pirate plunders you, the game splits the goods 60% to 40%, the pirate getting 60% of the goods, while the person robbed keeps a magical 40%. I voted no, they shouldn’t keep the split. IT isn’t fair to the pirate, and isn’t realistic to the person robbed.

That said, I don’t think it is fair to leave the trader with nothing, unless they forgo insurance as I’ll talk about now. To that end I proposed the idea of insurance (here, here, here and here, and endorsed at least in part here and here).

This would work one of two way (or both). Continue reading My Idea for Insurance in ArcheAge

New YouTube Intro In Progress

In an effort to step up my videos to a more professional level, I started work on a new Intro. It’s semi-okay as it is, but I didn’t really spend the time to make the music loop properly when I extended the clip’s length. I have some plans on how to further enhance it from here once I get some actual content to add it to. Such as ArcheAge if Trion responds to my letter to them asking to get into the game (EDIT: They didn’t respond directly but I did luck in to the Alpa so…), and/or Blizzard lets me into Heroes of the Storm (yep, got a letter asking them for access to that game too).

It’s based on a template by Laurent Caccia. I made it longer, which is why the music has an odd loop at two points, and I have plans on modifying it from where it is now. For example I have it showing me playing Titanfall in the BT, but that’d probably change to the game being played in the actual video, and a few other small modifications that might be coming if I can make it work out well…

If any talented artists out there want to make a header for here (1200×240), backgrounds etc for my YouTube channel (which I don’t think even works anymore, I need to check that out more) and my Twitch channel, there I’m mostly looking for better header images above each block and of course overlays for the channel on the rare occasions I might stream, and can do them for free, let me know. I need to work on a better one for my Twitter as well, though save for how hard it is to read the smaller text, I think that one is somewhat okay.

Hearthstone Expansion Curse of Naxxramas Announced at PAX East 2014

So one of the cool pieces of news to come out of PAX East this year is that Blizzard’s digital collectible card game, Hearthstone, is having an exciting new expansion coming “soon”, and said expansion, Curse of the Naxxramas will include a single player campaign. One of the things that most appealed to me about the Hex TCG, is that there are plans for a PvE mode. I think there’s lots of room to grow in that field. Fantasy Flight has shown how it can be done with some of their LCGs, like Lord of the Rings.

I am a terrible Hearthstone player, so I can’t comment on the new cards much.

The new expansion will be across all platforms, including iPad. I changed my store to the Canadian store in order to get Hearthstone on my iPad early (last I heard the worldwide release is a week or two as of 11 April). As I understand it, again, I haven’t had time to get full details yet as I just recently got home and my smart phone isn’t that good to keep up with all the news, there are 5 dungeons or so, and the first is free, the other 4 will be accessible with in game gold or real world money.

I really should play the game on stream one of these days… just to see how bad somebody can be at the game. Lol.

EDIT: Just how bad am I? I got in the Closed Beta on 21 October 2013, and I still haven’t beat the practice modes… of course that may be exaggerating a bit since I haven’t really played as much as I should/could.

Sadly I don’t see Battle.Net Balance Cards in Amazon to link them here…

Sylvanas Windrunner Coming to Heroes of the Storm?! Squeee!

Sadly this was too much to hope for, she’s coming but not in the announced four. Details after the initial article.

Blizzard recently released the image saved as a featured image to this article to highlight some of what to expect at PAX East come 11-13 April 2014. The highlight for me was Sylvanas Windrunner being featured on the image… She’s one of my favorite WoW characters and the one I most hoped to see in the game. The picture notes they will reveal 4 new heroes at the convention, while showing Sylvanas Windrunner and what appears to be a Diablo 3 Barbarian with Nova from Starcraft II who’s already in the game. One would hope Blizzard isn’t yanking our chain here and actually putting her (Sylvanas Windrunner) in the game.

As I noted with my article about how some say the hype is falling on Heroes of the Storm, I’m expecting some other big news from PAX beyond hero reveals. It would be nice if we see or hear about more maps, but the news I’m really expecting to hit is an idea on when closed beta will start… not that I’ll probably make it in the closed beta either, but at least it would be that much closer to reality.

Check out the full details of Blizzard’s PAX East 2014 Preview for Heroes of the Storm… or at least what they’re talking about so far at the link there.

EDIT 11 April 2014

She’s coming, but despite being on that image, she’s not in the four characters announced. We are getting a Murlock which sounds interesting. A Murlock has to be the most difficult thing to balance for the game. Blizzard has posted a nice recap of PAX East: Day 1. As of this edit (about 7:40 am Easter Daylight Time) I haven’t watched the panel, but getting ready to do so now.

Read on for the chance to buy things from Amazon, otherwise that’s it for this one. Continue reading Sylvanas Windrunner Coming to Heroes of the Storm?! Squeee!

Is Goat Simulator a Baaaaaad Game?

Is Goat Simulator a bad game? That’s not a simple yes or no question.

There is no question the game provides a few moments of humor, both from the premise and the physics. However the humor wears thin, and the title I use for this article is the sort one can expect. Blow up a gas station, earn the Michael Bay achievement/score thingy. The text to voice software provides a few moments of fun when you make it when I made it say “Ari and Sidd are doofy poopy butts”, which sent my ten year old laughing so hard he had to leave the room. It’s the physics itself of course that provide most of the humor. Being able to climb a construction crane’s ladder with your neck, the odd physics glitches. Those are the things that provide most of the humor. After a while though, as noted, it wears thin. You can see the same joke only a few times before it gets repetitive and boring. The humor is certainly not great humor like South Park: Stick of Truth, which is one of the most genuinely funny games, if South Park crude humor, ever. It’s more like, “Ha, watch how he gets stuck in the air if I activate this power and see him rag doll around.” The second time you push that R to deactivate the power and fall back as the moment is gone. One will watch a funny movie several times, and find it funny each time, but this isn’t the same with Goat Simulator where you just start rolling your eyes at it after a short while, and without the humor moments the game loses most of its appeal.

There is a bit of a game inside the physics sandbox portion. There are some statues hidden around the lone map that the game ships with (though there is another map coming sometime in May) that you want to collect as many of as possible. Collecting them and finding certain hidden areas and doing the challenge there, give you upgrades. For example, in the goat fighting circle, defeat four goats and you get a muscle power goat. Don’t hurt anything for 5 minutes get the Angel Goat, drag five people to the pentagram and earn a devil goat and lots of others. These powers, once unlocked, can be used in a custom game mode, and combined for some semi-funny combos, some of which are needed, apparently, to unlock other modes. There are a few odd challenges to try and attempt like getting on the hang glider, jumping on each trampoline in the game only once without touching the ground in between them, and a few other odds and ends. These are what makes one actually come back to the game off and on. Continue reading Is Goat Simulator a Baaaaaad Game?

Heroes of the Storm PAX Pack 2014 Giveaway

Heroes Contest Pic Want to win lots of cool Heroes of the Storm gear? Like a signed Heroes poster, a Heroes T-Shirt, a Heroes Lanyard, A Blizzard Fuko Pop! toy. They will be giving 25 of these sweet prize pacs. All you have to to is follow this link here: http://splur.gy/r/kNDqX/r/2KMty6dNYSW.

It is one of those contests where you like the official page on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and all those sort of things to earn points.

Need to catch up to date on my Heroes coverage? Continue reading Heroes of the Storm PAX Pack 2014 Giveaway

Ready for Titanfall

I’ve been looking forward to Titanfall ever since the announcement. Made by Respawn Entertainment, a company formed by the people who created the Call of Duty franchise after their rather public firing by Activation, it held promise to deliver a new FPS franchise to rival the others. The question would be could they deliver?

The TLDR answer? Pretty much. The game delivers a very entertaining multiplayer experience. The wall running, parkour elements add a great deal of fun. The Titans themselves make for a nice replacement for the usual driveable vehicles. The Source engine, while a bit outdated, holds up reasonably well and with the promised fixes coming to at least the PC version, I think it will deliver a solid experience visually. Is it perfect? No, but it is a very good multiplayer FPS, so long as that is all you are looking for. Want more details, then read on after the break. Continue reading Ready for Titanfall

The Sky is Falling on the Heroes of the Storm Hype Train

The sky is falling on the Heroes of the Storm hype train… or so one would think reading the Heroes subreddit or even the official forums.

The basic argument is that the subreddit has little discussion compared to a couple weeks ago, the game has fallen off Twitch’s games list from the top 5 or so down to the top 70 or so… therefor the hype must be dying and people are losing interest in the game. The conclusion then is that the game is possibly doomed to failure if Blizzard doesn’t do something soon. Of course they say that as if the game showed up on their account tomorrow they wouldn’t play it to death.

Here’s the thing. The game is very early alpha. Yes, it is perhaps more stable and feature complete then many games that are in beta, but it is still early and Blizzard really isn’t trying to hype the game a lot yet. The same doom and gloom predictions came in the Hearthstone subreddit when Hearthstone was in early beta. They were saying how the ability to sell Hearthstone keys and Blizzard’s way of handing out keys was going to doom the game. As if a subreddit and Twitch community represent the whole of gaming. Continue reading The Sky is Falling on the Heroes of the Storm Hype Train

Keeping Up With Heroes of the Storm

My open letter to Blizzard about Heroes of the Storm done, it is perhaps time to tell my regular readers and casual people stopping by, exactly what is Heroes of the Storm (Heroes) and places to keep up to date with all the news as this game develops. (I’m just making this a quick post right now, but I’ll update it as I go along.)

Okay, first Heroes of the Storm is a new video game coming from Blizzard, the company that made World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Hearthstone and a few others. It is a multiplayer game in that you play with others against a team of other players. It is typically thought of as a MOBA, though Blizzard calls it more of a multiplayer hero brawler. The game pulls its hero selection from various heroes/villains in the various Blizzard universes. On 13 March 2014, the game entered Technical Alpha, and unlike most games in early alpha/beta there is no NDA (non-disclosure agreement, which prevents the participants from talking about the game they are playing, for example while in the Wildstar beta I couldn’t discuss the game)… The best way to understand is to watch some Heroes of the Storm games on Twitch.

Reddit is a great source for information, and the Heroes of the Storm sub-reddit is no exception. Lots of great information there and generally distills it quickly for you.

There is an Official YouTube Channel.

HeroeNexus is a Curse related site relating to the game and a good general news site for it.

Heroes Gamer is a news site dedicated to Heroes of the Storm.

Stormable is another fan news site dedicated to Heroes of the Storm.

EDIT: Some of the key things I like about Heroes over other MOBAs.
No last hitting. Other MOBAs have started doing that as well.
No Item shop. You don’t need to learn what items to buy in a million and one different situations. Some really hate that, but I think it’s great.
Leveling is across the team, not just player. So a good player can help the whole team while a bad player doesn’t overly drag the team down with feeding.

EDIT 2: Apparently HotS refers to Heart of the Swarm in Blizzard speak, so the proper abbreviation for Heroes of the Storm is just Heroes, so I changed the abbreviations.

Dear Blizzard, Please Get Me Into Heroes of the Storm

Update. As of 25 November 2014, I’m in!! Now to get into Overwatch.

My dearest Blizzard,

How are you my old friend? I know I’m not the oldest of your customers, I came into World of Warcraft after Wrath of the Litch King and commited to the game until a few months after Cataclysm. I just recently got Mists of Pandaria after a long wait and jumped in for another month or so of gaming… I’ve still got my old Warcraft 3 here. I got into the Hearthstone closed beta a couple months before you stopped sending invites and opening it to everyone. I got Diablo III at or near launch (possibly even pre-ordered it, can’t recall now, but I’ll likely pick up the expansion as well). My 10 year old son, loves Starcraft and I’ll be picking that up Starcraft II for him (trying to decide if I should make his own account for that so he can play at his house, or if I should just put it on my account so he plays here). I’m not the most overt Blizzard fanatic, but I’m a reliable fan and customer.

You recently put out Heroes of the Storm, a MOBA (or at least MOBA like Hero Brawler) into Technical Alpha that I’d very much like to feature on this webpage, my YouTube channel, and on occasions even on my Twitch channel or my Hitbox channel. I know at first glance that I may seem too small time to really give my account access, but I’d argue that many of those you’ve granted access to, especially via the random invites, are much smaller.

Beyond providing promotion for your game and company, I can provide valuable feedback for the development team. I’ve noted before my noted past in gaming, where I’ve helped some other developers with games, and look forward to providing your dev team with valuable feedback. That post doesn’t go into details about tests that I was on NDA on either. I always strive to provide fast and accurate information to the devs when I get into alphas and betas in order to make the game the best the devs can make it. Continue reading Dear Blizzard, Please Get Me Into Heroes of the Storm