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Thursday, December 17, 2009

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Eschalon Book II Q&A Updated
8:50 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Basilisk Games has posted some new information about the upcoming Eschalon: Book II, the second game in the planned old school RPG trilogy. Recent updates to the Q&A topic covers the game's single character focus, multiple ways to open locks, spell books, and the amount of time spent on programming and development.

Is there the possibility that you will allow for a party of two characters in Book III? That would greatly enhance character creation even more. Imagine the possibilities; like an uber-char and a useless mule with all the support skills, or a pure fighter and a pure mage; and could a Virtuous Paladin and a Nefarious Rogue even work together at all? Just a thought (wish).

One final question about replay value; in Book I, it seems anyone can do anything. Thieves pick locks, mages unlock them via spells, fighters just smash them. There wasn't a single chest in the game IIRC my fighter couldn't smash. There wasn't a single trap he couldn't just walk through. I'm guessing from the interviews you've given that Book II will play out a little differently though.

- Book III will finish the trilogy as a single-player, single-character game. We have at least two other games already cooking deep in the labs, and they will feature party-based play.

- As for characters doing anything...yeah, we made it that way for a reason. In all my time playing cRPGs, I never understood why some locked doors were completely impassible due to not having the key, yet I was carrying a massive axe that could split the door wide open with a single blow if only the game allowed me to. For Eschalon, I wanted the player to really feel like anything is possible if you put the effort in. Now in Book II, tasks like this will be more challenging. Heavy doors will take more effort to break through, locks will be tougher to pick, etc. This will require a greater amount of focus on your character's skills to be successful. But still, how you play the game is up to you.
Click over to the site below to read more.

Eschalon Book II Q&A
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II

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StarCraft II: Q&A Round 56
8:50 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has released the 56th installment of its Q&A sessions focusing on the upcoming sci-fi RTS, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Q&A Batch 56 is made up of questions and answers from fan site StarCraft 2 Source. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will return players to the storyline a few years after the end of Brood War, and will feature both an extensive single player campaign and new multiplayer action.

1. Are you still developing new units or are you satisfied with the amount of units for each race and, therefore, more concerned about the fine tuning and balancing?
Our philosophy has always been to keep the amount of units for each race to a certain number to keep the gameplay tight, and we are satisfied with what we have right now in terms of that number. Once we head into beta we definitely evaluate the role of each unit and will potentially add or drop units as needed based on feedback.

3. In the campaign of StarCraft II, there are many optional objectives to do so that the player can choose how to play through the campaign. But there are players who want to see every cinematic and play every mission. Are there missions where you have to decide, which way you go (e.g. the Terran campaign in StarCraft I, where you decide to choose nuclear weapons or Battlecruisers), or will the player be able to play the whole campaign in a linear progression? Will there be a menu were you can replay already completed missions? If so, can you also unlock new missions in that menu?
As you play through the campaign, there will be a few cases where you must make a distinct choice that could change the outcome of a certain side plot or the fate of a specific character. These choices will be made very obvious to players, and for those who want to see all the possibilities, you’ll have the ability to go back and choose the other path. We will also have a way for you to replay completed missions or cinematic cut scenes via the story mode interface as well.
Read the rest of the Q&A at the page linked below.

SC 2 Q&A Batch 56
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Apple Games Features Brain Challenge
8:50 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games has posted a new game article, this one featuring Gameloft's Brain Challenge. The title presents players with a series of challenges designed to improve skills in five categories: Memory, Visual, Logic, Math, and Focus. Apple's article includes an overview of Brain Challenge's features and a list of tips and tricks for success.

Each time you embark on a daily test, you can choose from a brain test, stress test, or kid test. The first one serves up a sampler of challenges while the second offers the same with various distractions, such as critters crawling around the screen or mini-games where, for example, you must answer correctly to keep a panda balanced on a ball. Kid tests feature simpler versions of the challenges — they’re perfect for the younger members of your household or even for those times when you want to ease into the tougher brain teasers.

Stress tests are also available in the training room, where you’ll find the new challenges you unlock during your daily tests. The training room lets you work on challenges at easy, medium, or hard difficulty, so you can build your skill in that area and put it to work during the next daily test. Brain Challenge’s difficulty system is self-adjusting, so, for example, if you exceed at the easy setting, you’ll find some medium-level teasers thrown in so you can push your abilities. And if you begin to struggle, the game will switch to easier tasks.

When you just want to unwind and relax, head for Creative mode, where you can create drawings, construct mind-bending mazes, or set off spectacular fireworks displays. That last one sounds perfect for celebrating your latest Brain Challenge achievement. Are you ready to get that noggin in shape?
Head over to the page below to read the full article.

Apple Games: Brain Challenge

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Diablo III: Difficulty, Magic Find, Monk Duelling
8:50 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In new posts on the Diablo III forums community manager Bashiok has revealed new information about the upcoming game. Discussions covered include game difficulty, implementing magic find on items, and the Monk's duelling ability. Diablo III is Blizzard Entertainment's long awaited return to the popular action RPG franchise.

First, a disgruntled player voices his concern that the game and monster encounters are becoming too easy.  It’s an interesting theory considering we really haven’t seen the majority of the game.  Bashiok, unafraid, responds with this:

Bashiok: Depending on the random affixes a champion or rare enemy rolls up, they can be extremely challenging.
I’ve seen a barbarian spend (literally) five minutes trying to kill an “ice” skeleton mage with the “teleporter” stat. Meaning the mage is casting his normal ice spells which slow your character and he’s able to teleport and effectively kite you forever. And they do. The barbarian could only get close enough to do a couple hits before the mage would teleport and continue its barrage. But the barb never gave up and it became this self contained little event, completely random, but made it so much more than just plowing through enemies. When he finally defeated him we all cheered, it was an extremely gratifying little encounter.
Now of course if it was a wizard or witchdoctor with a lot of ranged attacks, maybe not such a big deal, but throw affixes like “thorns” and “vampiric” on a rare creature and again you’re looking at an involved fight.
So, yeah, the champions and rares truly are like mini boss fights if they roll some affixes that happen to specifically challenge your class or skill set.

On the topic of magic find, Bashioks reiterates a point that I’m certain he’s explained in the past:

Bashiok: I think the trick with magic find, or any sort of tertiary stat that doesn’t directly relate to player power, is to make sure that it’s an actual trade off. A lot of times and specifically for certain classes in Diablo II you could stack magic find and still be perfectly able to fight and kill. So what it really comes down to is properly weighting stats on items and ensuring that if you do want to stack something like magic find, that it’s clearly going to limit your power in downing enemies. Auto-stats to a degree also help out in this regard as you can’t effectively stack stats as easily to offset the loss of stats coming from items that might otherwise help keep you alive or kill at an acceptable pace.
That said magic find isn’t fully drawn up yet, there’s not a complete pool of itemization where we can begin tweaking balance to a degree where we can ensure MF doesn’t get out of hand. It could turn out that we need to take an alternate approach, but, if I had to guess simply weighting the stat properly would be enough.

Visit the page below for more information.

BlizzPlanet: Diablo III News
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

Mac Games News for Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Aspyr Offers Force Unleashed Pre-Order Discount6:00 AM
Avernum 6 Version 1.01 Update Available6:00 AM
Din's Curse Spins A Questing Web6:00 AM
Irukandji Released For Mac6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, December 16, 2009 on one page

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