diablo

Hardcore Mode: poetry in death

Screenshot007

Yesterday, Mentum died. Who’s Mentum? Well, Mentum is…uhm, was, my hardcore Crusader in Diablo 3. He was strong, willful, proud. Most of all, however, he was stubborn. Raised to fight evil in every corner of Sanctuary, Mentum would not retreat from the hordes of demons standing between him and the Prime Evil that must be put to rest. No matter how large the pack, Mentum would leap right into the fray, smack his shield into an ugly visage and strike with his blade, calling upon a wrath fueled by divine purpose. No one could stop him from smiting evil. No one…but death.

(more…)

Advertisements

Reaping souls, hardcore style

crusaderLet me be honest with you: I think some of the best features of Reaper of Souls were already implemented before the expansion was released. Yes, having a new Act to plow through is great, and I’m sure the Adventure mode will be fun once I get to it, but the re-worked loot system and tweaked skills that came with the pre-patch really made the game interesting to me. You might make the assumption then that today’s release of Diablo 3‘s expansion didn’t thrill me much. Well, up until a few hours ago, I would have said “yes”, but then a Crusader came along and dragged me into a play mode I hadn’t explored yet.

The Crusader, Reaper of Soul‘s new class in shining armor, instantly fascinated me. Being a fan of the Paladin class in Diablo 2, seeing the Crusader brandishing shield and one-handed weapon, smiting foes with his righteous fury intrigued me, and so I was sure to roll one once the expansion hit. Well, as soon as I would have finished Act V on my Demon Hunter. And as soon as I got tired of playing the Adventure mode. Oh, and after I decked aforementioned Demon Hunter in all-new Legendaries, and…you see, the Crusader was pretty far down on my to-do list. Was.

Enter Hardcore mode. Since quite some of my friends have returned to Diablo 3, Hardcore mode is what they are all about. And who can blame them? Knowing you can just return from the dead makes Diablo 3 a harmless game of hacking trash monsters for loot to partake in some hamster-wheel progression (much as C.T. Murphy describes over here), but once you add the fear of dying permanently, losing your entire character, the game changes. Every pull becomes exciting, every engagement with an elite monster a blood-pumping thrill. Suddenly, you take more time to plan your skill loadout, to stock up on potions and to maybe, just maybe, don’t go all Leeroy Jenkins and pull a room full of monsters farting lava and burping laser beams. In short, blind genocide turns into strategic murder.

Wow, that came out wrong.

Anyway, what has the Crusader to do with Hardcore mode and vice-versa? Well, after getting bored progressing through the fifth Act alone (I don’t want to speed through it with groups yet), I decided to dive into Hardcore mode, a mode I had played fifteen minutes during the launch week of Diablo 3, picking the Crusader as my class. And boy, is it awesome! Sure, I’ve only cranked up the difficulty to Hard so far, but the Crusader is a fun class to play (wielding two-handed weapons in one hand? Sign me up!), and having the danger of seeing him truly die gives the game a whole new twist.

So, do I enjoy Reaper of Souls so far? Mwah, it’s okay. Do I have fun playing an already available mode with a class that is just damn fun to play? Oh yeah! I’m reaping souls, hardcore style, and I bet Malthael can learn a thing or two from my Crusader when it comes to mass murder.

Releases, releases, releases

Malthael-ROS

Another year means a slew of new titles to be put on our plates, waiting to be devoured by our hunger for some good gaming. So far, 2014 looks interesting for people like me. And when I say “people like me”, I mean people who love some new massively multiplayer online games. Okay, almost everything is “massively multiplayer” these days, but you know what I’m talking about. I’m stoked for some of the games waiting on us, especially when it comes to the following three.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
Until a few weeks ago, I couldn’t care less about the upcoming expansion for Diablo 3. After binge-playing the day for two days after its release, I felt like Diablo 3 was nothing compared to its predecessor. The game started to gather dust on my PC, just to be uninstalled a few weeks after its launch, never to be installed again…until that fateful day.
Yes, that fateful day was the day the pre-expansion patch hit. Suddenly, Diablo 3 was fun. The loot was more fun, the game felt more fun and finally it started to step out of the shadow of its older sibling and other hack ‘n slay games. This patch alone has convinced me that Reaper of Souls will be worth my money, so I can’t wait until the end of this month to start my crusade of righteousness through Westmarch.

WildStar
Do you actually still believe so-called “leaks” about games are actual leaks? I don’t, and the “oops”-moment that revealed WildStar’s release date today feels more planned than accidentally. Anyway, knowing that early summer will bring this colorful space MMO cheers me up. The game has been on my radar for a while, but the lack of any release date to look forward to kinda bumped me. Knowing I’ll only have a few months to go  means that I can start making those tough choices, like: which class will I play? Are the Mechari worth joining the Dominion? Will I break the habit and not roll a support and / or healing character this time? We’ll know more on 3 June of this year!

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
As much as I love their games, I wouldn’t want to work at Blizzard. Imagine all the hate you get for a great announcement like the start of pre-orders for Warlords of Draenor. After taking some critical feedback about the price tag for the level 90 boosts (and for the actual existence of these boosts), the entire community goes apeshit about the possible release date of 20 December 2014. Sure, it’s far away and chopping your way through the Siege of Orgrimmar over and over again will make you hate that place even before the Dark Portal re-opens, but guys…come on. Spew your bile, unsubscribe and play something else until then. Hard to believe, but World of Warcraft is not the only game around.
My taste for Draenor isn’t spoiled though, and it won’t be long before I reserve my spot on the frontlines against the Iron Horde.

Well, that’s the releases I’m looking forward to. Feel like I’m longing for the wrong things or want to share your “I can’t wait any longer”-titles? Hit me up in the comments!

How random do you like your pinata?

Merch-pinata

The recent pre-expansion patch for Diablo 3 changed a lot of things. Next to already teasing us with the presence of the Crusader in the character creation screen, the patch has also taken the liberty of changing how loot works, making the loot tables “smarter”. Instead of filling your bags with a lot of stuff you will just sell to your newest vendor or smash to pieces on the blacksmith’s forge, monsters and treasure chests now hold less, but more relevant loot. Shortly after the patch, players reported how quickly they could get a hold on upgrades to their existing loot, and even a legendary item here and there. Belghast wrote a nice post about this, so why don’t you hop over to his place before I just repeat what he already said?

While I agree that the pre-expansion patch is a blessing for Diablo 3, the changes to the looting system got me thinking: is “smart loot” in the interest of a hack-and-slay RPG? Being raised on Diablo 2, part of the fun was getting that one killer item after sifting through mountains of vendor trash. Getting your digital fingers on that one weapon you needed for your character felt like you won the lottery (which you did, in a way). While smart loot tables certainly help in gearing your toons, do they not rob the game or even the genre of a part of its appeal?

Personally, I don’t mind. As much as I like hitting pinatas, I certainly like knowing that at least some of the candy falling out of it has a flavor I like. When making time in my busy schedule for a game of Diablo 3, I like to know that the hour or two I can invest is invested well. Then again, I didn’t have a real “Oooh, shiny”-moment since the patch. Even the sight of legendaries gets boring after a while…

What do you think, dear readers? Do you like your pinatas filled with randomness, or do you prefer that someone thinks about what they put in them? Let me hear your voices!

A Marvelous Weekend

marvel heroes roleplaying action cortex

“Marvel Comics presents cvr” by Elde;gado

Next to having too much fun during a birthday party and a Mark Knopfler concert this last weekend, I found a way to make Friday till Sunday even more awesome by squeezing in some Marvelous pastimes. Yes, that’s Marvelous with a capital M, since both of the games I played this weekend use the Marvel universe as their setting. Together with Dee, I explored the rules of Cortex Plus and the Civil War campaign in the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game, while I was also able to take a quick look into the final beta weekend of Gazillion’s free-to-play game Marvel Heroes. What’s my opinion about both games? Well, read on to find out.

(more…)

Walking down the Path of Exile

fishing hat templar

Even though I did not have so much gaming time this week, I decided to spend the few hours I had on a fancy game called Path of Exile. Developed by Grinding Gear Games, PoE (what a poetic abbreviation, hah) is more than just an homage to hack ‘n slay RPG’s like Diablo: it’s a daring playground for some things we have seen never before in this kind of role-playing games, and my fisher hat-wearing old guy and I will tell you all about it!

(more…)

My gaming 2012 and a look into the future

While the teenagers from my neighbourhood are busy blowing everything up with fireworks,  I sit inside my apartment and ponder about what a great year 2012 was. I achieved my bachelor’s degree, immediately found a job and met a totally fantastic girl. I’m physically healthier than ever before, and more confident than I was ever in my life. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but 2012 was pretty much my year.

Personal achievements were not the only thing that made 2012 glorious. From a gaming point of view, the past year has been freaking fantastic as well. In this post, I want to honour digital and tabletop titles that made my year.

(more…)