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Wednesday, September 30, 2009



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Eschalon Book II: More About Combat Feats
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In recent forum posts Basilisk Games revealed a new collection of feats available in the upcoming Eschalon: Book II. Based on weapon skill levels the feats add more depth to the game's combat system. Book II will continue the storyline from the previous game and feature a variety of new skills, new creatures, and a larger world to explore.

Does this mean that during Alpha development, the 'Piercing Weapons' skill has been modified somewhat, so the player won't get a chance at 3 strikes per round at Level 20? Or does this mean that the 'Feat' the player would implement at Level 20 in Piercing Weapons would involve 3 strikes in that round instead of just 2?

BasiliskWrangler: Good question! Well, it turns out that the idea for "multiple strikes for piercing weapons" worked really well, and it was clear that all weapon skills should have some sort of "special ability" tied to them. So from the original multi-strike piercing weapon idea came the Skill Feats idea.

The Piercing Weapon's multi-strike ability was altered slightly to behave more like the other Skill Feats. Rather than being an automatic ability based on a chance of occurrence (which is how all Skill Feats were originally implemented), it is now a feat that "recharges" between uses, and can be used at will rather than randomly or automatically.

As for two or three strikes- right now it is set for two (Double) strikes and as it is, a double-strike Piercing Weapon can be extremely powerful. An example would be a Dwarven Steel War Spear, striking twice- if by chance you get a critical roll on both To-Hit checks (damage x2) , and high damage rolls, you can deliver a ridiculous about of damage to a target. It's rare for all the rolls to go just perfectly, but when it does it is devastating to an enemy. Based on this observation, it has not yet been determined if we will raise this back to allow for triple-strikes at level 20 or not. More balance testing will be needed.

These are feats based on your skill level in the following categories:
Swords: Gains "Masterful Parry" blocking all enemy attacks in a single round.
Cleaving: Gains "Great Cleave" - strikes primary target and adjacent target.
Bludgeoning: Gains "Critical Pummel" - Maximum weapon damage x2, and permanently reducing enemy AR by 50%
Piercing: Gains "Double Strike" - delivering two separate attacks in one attack round.
Bows: Gains "Intense Focus", a guaranteed precision attack on a vital spot delivering 3x damage
Thrown: Gains"Overwhelming Volley", up to eight weapons thrown at once, showering the target and adjacent tiles.
Unarmed Combat: Gains "Fury Strike", a powerful fist blow delivering 4x damage to one target.
Check out the rest at the links below.

Basilisk Games Forums: Book II Combat Feats Q&A
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II



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IMG Reviews Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift
6:57 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the strategy-puzzle game Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift from Gogii Games. Help Mr. Jones achieve his dream of having the biggest, bestest graveyard around! Here's an excerpt from the review:

In Graveyard Shift, the player controls Mr. Jones in a top-down environment that looks a lot like playing an RTS title like Warcraft III. Mr. Jones can be directed around the board by selecting the walk icon and left clicking (right-clicking will always prompt him to walk), or he can pave a pathway, cut down a tree, pick up and move an item, dig a grave or chisel a name on a tombstone.

Periodically throughout each day, clients will drive into the lot to ask for Mr. Jones’ services. You can tell the quality level of the client by the kind of vehicle they bring in. A beat-up pick-up truck means small time client. A helicopter means you’re dealing with someone special, and very rich.

Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift
Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift
Gogii Games
Buy Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift


Majesty 2 Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Games32 has posted a new review of the Windows version of Majesty 2, the sequel to Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim. Featuring the unique melding of sim and strategy mechanics of the original, Majesty 2 includes a 16 mission campaign, several quick missions, and the chance to play with up to 4 others on a variety of multiplayer maps.

Constructing a second identical guild is possible at least in theory, but just like towers, building more structures of the same time is extremely expensive. It's better just to construct one guild of each type, and train a mixed army or rogues, rangers, warriors and wizards, then focus on leveling them up fast. Heroes will level up after each accomplished mission and as you progress with the campaign, their role will be increasingly important, but losing them in battle comes with a high resurrection cost as well.

Resources are the backbone of most strategy games, but in Majesty 2 they only play a marginal role, since they can't be harvested or acquired by trading. Instead, the wealth of the kingdom comes from its citizens, who pay taxes and from buildings that research desirable items your soldiers will purchase. To maximize the profits, you can also set up trading routes and send caravans, but they are extremely vulnerable to attacks and must be guarded at all time. If everything is carefully planned and works smoothly than the flow of cash should be steady, allowing you to focus more on the military side.

Micromanagement will never become an issue in Majesty 2, as troops can't be individually controlled, but instead they are only motivated to take a certain action by pledging an alluring ransom. The system is easy to pick up and revolves around a couple of flags that can be places in both uncharted areas of the map and enemy territory, each with its own purpose. You can decide between attacking an enemy building, defend a friendly structure or explore a distant area, but one thing you should always have in mind is setting the appropriate bounty.

The AI is very competent and your heroes will rarely risk their lives for insignificant prizes and are even capable of deciding between similar missions, depending on difficulty and bounty. Furthermore, troops trained in different guilds may have resentments against each other, such as elves and dwarfs which will never fight alongside. Beside choosing between these sides, one should be willing to spend a few moments grouping similar heroes into parties to facilitate progress, by using their abilities in the best way.
Virtual Programming is bringing the Mac version of Majesty 2 to gamers sometime this year.

Games32: Majesty 2 Review
Virtual Programming



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The State Of Mac Gaming
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 39 comments

The Globe and Mail has published a new article focused on the current state of gaming on Apple's Mac computer platform. Starting with a flashback to Halo's early days as a Mac title, the article explores the current status of emulated titles, casual games, and more hardcore gaming fare on Apple computers. The examination includes commentary from Transgaming's Vikas Gupta, PopCap Games' Edward Allard, and Blizzard Entertainment's J. Allen Brack.

“There is definitely a large group of customers on the Mac who crave simplicity and ease-of-use,” explained Edward Allard, vice president of development at PopCap Games. “This fits very well with PopCap's emphasis on extremely fun and accessible games that are designed for a very broad audience.”

“We're making games for whatever platform makes sense,” explained J. Allen Brack, production director for WoW. “If you're looking at the Mac, there are certainly people who would not play World of Warcraft if there were no Mac client.”

While developers such as Blizzard recognize the Mac's casual reputation, World of Warcraft's success has proven the platform is just as viable for the hard-core crowd. More importantly, the Mac may prove even more influential than its PC counterpart, introducing formerly casual users to a new world of gaming.

After all, the days of Halo are now but a footnote in Macintosh history, but perhaps it is the casual gamer that will ultimately determine the platform's fate.

“We're making sure that we target games that fit really well for the Mac,” Gupta concedes. “We know that from a hardware perspective and from a performance perspective, we're not going to be able to do what a 360 or PS3 can do.”
Read the full article at the page linked below.

The Globe and Mail: What If Halo Had Launched On A Mac?



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EVE Online: COSMOS Release Schedule, Features
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

CCP Games' website has revealed the release schedule for COSMOS, its planned social networking tie-in to EVE Online. Planned for initial release with EVE's winter expansion, Dominion, COSMOS will feature integration with the game, allowing players to keep track of their game information and converse with other EVE enthusiasts.

Dominion: The first iteration of the all new in-game mail system along with all the back-end wizardry to make it work.

Post-Dominion (Likely early in 2010): The first iteration of the COSMOS web application, with all the features outlined below plus the Calendar.

We think that this delay for the web application is the right move because we have always had our sights set on the long game for COSMOS. The first release, while crammed with good stuff, was always intended to lay the basis for the ground-breaking innovations to come. Rushing COSMOS out with less polish didn´t make sense in this context, we want to impress from day one. CCPOveur will have a lot more to say about this in his FanFest presentation and there will be chance for discussion and feedback in the COSMOS roundtable also planned for FanFest.

Another positive of this approach is that we now expect to be able to get the Calendar into the first COSMOS web release. Personally this is one of the COSMOS features I am most excited about, it´s going to make scheduling corp and alliance ops a lot easier. Add to that the new mail system, corp status updates and the future release of integrated corp and alliance forums and COSMOS will significantly reduce management overheads for all corps and alliances.

The asynchronous release is made possible because COSMOS is a web application and is not as interwoven with the EVE Client as most of our other features. This will make it possible for us to continue to release smaller batches of COSMOS features outside of major TQ releases in the future, when it makes sense to do so.
Visit the page below to read more about the features of COSMOS.

EVE Online: COSMOS Release Plan
CCP Games
TransGaming
EVE Online


Mac Games News for Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Adventure Building In The Sims 3: World Adventures6:00 AM
Diablo III: Glorious Violence, Creature Design, Player Duels6:00 AM
More About Hybrid Classes In Din's Curse6:00 AM
Pipe Mania Reviewed6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, September 29, 2009 on one page


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