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Monday, August 10, 2009

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City Of Heroes: The Struggle To Customize Power Colors
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Voodoo Extreme 3D recently posted a new developer commentary from NCSoft's Matt Miller about upcoming changes to the comic book themed MMO, City of Heroes. Miller's discussion covered the topic of power customization in the Issue 16: Power Spectrum update.

It’s worth noting that date. Spring 2008. We’ve been working on the feature that long. When we told the players that it couldn’t happen because it would take too long, we weren’t kidding. In my address to the player community for the fourth anniversary (in April of 2008) I begged my bosses to let me announce the feature. Since we were never sure when it would be done, it was decided that the information should not be divulged. We had to sit on that for over a year until we were really, really sure when we could get it into the hands of the players.

When we showed the results off at the San Diego Comic-Con this past July we were blown away at how well received this “cosmetic” feature really was. Players were checking out all the different ways that powers looked under different color schemes. They played around with the “Bright” color palettes and “Dark” color palettes that some power sets offered, and were very happy to see some alternate animations for Super Strength and Martial Arts as well. Overall the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive.

Even if you never thought about it, being able to customize your character’s powers with multiple colors to match their costume or their theme is something that nearly every player will want to do, whether at level 1 or level 50. And since you can have different settings per power, and per costume slot, we wanted to make sure you could make the best of this feature when it goes live. To that end, every character in the game will receive a free Tailor session for every costume slot they have unlocked, when Issue 16 is released on the Live servers this summer/fall. This is our special thanks to our players for never giving up on suggesting the feature to us, no matter how “impossible” we might have said it was to do in the past.
Read more at the link below.

Voodoo Extreme 3D: City Of Heroes Power Customization
City of Heroes
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World Of Warcraft Call Of The Crusade Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

IGN has posted a new review of World of Warcraft's latest update, Version 3.2: Call of the Crusade. In addition to the usual bug fixes, balance changes, and content additions version 3.2 introduces the Isle of Conquest battleground and Crusaders' Coliseum dungeon.

The more hardcore raiders need not worry though. There's an entire hard-mode instance dedicated to their voracious appetite for challenging content! After completing the normal mode instance, players will unlock the hard-mode instance. This instance will limit the number of wipes your raid can have during a raid lockout period, making it much harder and requiring people to think on their feet.

With the release of the new dungeon, Blizzard has also introduced the next tier of gear as well. For the first time, players will be able to purchase their entire tier set using emblems and trophies gained from the Coliseum raid. As we're getting closer and closer to the final encounter with the Lich King; Blizzard seems to be taking the same path it did with Sunwell. The company is throwing epics at players! All heroic and raid instances with the exception of the Coliseum raid will drop Emblems of Triumph. This will allow players to get Ulduar level gear with half the effort in half the time. It's likely this change was made to help more people get ready to see Icecrown Citadel before the next expansion.

While this new instance is being eaten up by the raiding community, it's not the only new thing in this patch. PvPers have several additions and changes they can look forward to as well. Patch 3.2 means that Season 7 is just around the corner! In the meantime, the Isle of Conquest awaits! This island in the Frozen Sea north of Icecrown is a new battleground. This is sure to bring more strategy back to the battlegrounds front as there are several different ways you can win or lose.

As if that wasn't enough PvP goodness for you, battlegrounds will now grant experience! Twinks have the option of turning off their experience gains from battlegrounds but doing so will ensure that you will only be placed in a battleground versus others who have their experience turned off too. In a mood rarely seen in World of Warcraft, it seems that both twinks and non-twinks are happy about this change.
Click over to the link below for more information.

IGN: WoW Patch 3.2 Review
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
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Diablo III: Item Drops, PvP, Difficulty Escalation
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In his most recent post on the official Diablo III forums, community manager Bashiok discussed the item drop system, PvP integration, and difficulty escalation. Diablo III is Blizzard Entertainment's long awaited return to the popular action RPG franchise.

On the item drop system:
We don't want to bias the drop system into only giving you items you want or can use, it would be a trading and economic killer. We want to encourage trading and encourage people to see worth in items even if they can't use them - give them to friends, use them for other characters, sell them, trade them, etc.

Along those lines but somewhat off-topic we do now have some restrictions on weapon types usable by each class. It's been part of the game for a while now. Allowing every class to use every weapon type was actually going to require a huge amount of time and effort and it would have meant cutting out or cutting into other features. We evaluated really how often people would want to have their class holding a weapon type that (traditionally) contradicted their class-style versus that work going in to other features - specifically having a lot more skills and a lot more skill-rune effects. We made the obvious choice which is making sure there are a ton of awesome skills and rune effects to choose from.

Because I can see the conclusions being jumped to RIGHT NOW in my old cranium - let me state that weapon types do not dictate stats. At least not wholly (barbarians can't use staves so there's no point in allowing fury related stats on them). We understand that the game is about variation, customization, and experimentation in class builds. We're not World of Warcraft, we're not looking to make weapon stats "optimal" for the types and classes that will use them. Which is to say, we're not going to put specific stats in specific amounts on each weapon of a specific type because we're making assumptions about what each class wants out of their stats. We want variation, and experimentation, and all that good stuff. These restrictions don't affect those goals, it really just means you probably won't see a wizard lugging around a two-handed axe. Kind of a bummer, but then think about what it affords us to work on with more and better looking skills, a more robust rune-skill system, etc. We want to spend our time and effort on what makes sense to making the game better.
Head over to the GameBanshee page below to read more.

GameBanshee: Bashiok Diablo III Comments
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
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DEFCON Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

PC Cohort has posted a review of the PC version of DEFCON, Introversion Software and Ambrosia Software's RTS that allows players to dabble in the world destroying fun of global thermonuclear war. PCG gave the game a score of 8 out of 10.

From the review:

Defcon performs quite well as far as “good” things are concerned. The game is, quite simply, very fun.
As if that wasn’t enough, it is also relatively balanced, looks quite nice, and has sounds effects that really add a lot to the game’s atmosphere.
Fun is a largely subjective term – to some, “fun” doesn’t usually involve killing millions of virtual people in video games. However in this author’s opinion, the mere concept of a nuclear holocaust and the extinction of the human race is “fun” – throw in a balanced game, and you have “very fun”.
Balance, as I said, seems to help the game quite a bit. Every unit and strategy has a counter, and proper utilization of units and strategy counts for much in Defcon. While the balancing is largely made simply because the unit count is relatively small, this does not negate the solid balance that has been achieved.
Defcon looks nice – it’s not quite an Unreal engine game, but Defcon’s graphics serve an old and very pressing need: the need to convey information and make the game appealing. In this vein, Defcon performs admirably.
The sounds also add much to the game. The simple ambient music, explosions, and simply chattering and bleeps of the game’s interface remind me very much of “the big board” in Dr. Strangelove.
All told – the sound and the graphics – give the game a very distinct and unforgettable look.
Check out the full review at the page linked below.

PC Cohort: DEFCON Review
Ambrosia Software

Mac Games News for Friday, August 7, 2009

Scrabble Plus Now Available1:39 PM
Penumbra Collection For $5 This Weekend Only10:00 AM
Apple Games: The Growing Importance Of Digital Downloads6:00 AM
IMG Reviews Hoyle Puzzle & Board Games 20096:00 AM
In-Poculis Mahjong 2.77 Released6:00 AM
Playing Among The Stars In EVE Online6:00 AM
The Sims 3 Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, August 7, 2009 on one page

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