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We had to act quickly because Gabriel told us the ride was over - he was quitting League of Legends for the whateverth time due to a string of nightmare losses.  I was in one of those games, a game we managed to lose even though the opposing team had fewer players, and it recalled the days when you were playing on dial-up and your foes were on broadband.  That was a thing, and not a good thing.  That night’s malefactors were having a LAN party at a crossroads, no doubt, their ears stuffed with demonic counsel.

What we determined over various tiny dishes heaped with pickles was that his Darius addiction had become a problem.  Darius is an asshole - look at his asshole face - but when shit goes south, he doesn’t have much of a response.  The trouble is that his “ultimate” ability is too fun.  You’ll play a whole round as him just to use that ability: called Noxian Guillotine, but more commonly called The Dunk, he jumps way up the air and then comes down on your head with a huge axe.  The animation is weirdly fast, and almost…  funny, as funny as a decapitation can be I suppose, but that’s not all.  If you kill a target with it, you can do it a second time.  This loop is incredibly addictive, but might not be a good overlap for his overall style.  The menu we cooked up looks like:

Wukong, who is a kind of Monkey Person,
Irelia, Magic Sword Lady,
Jax, Some Sort Of Guy, and
Talon, The Invisible Asshole.

A few roles to choose from, then.  Also on the list, anybody champion who beats you so bad you want to quit.  There’s this fucking fish dude one of us took up purely because it drives us nuts to play against him.  At this point, we just want others to suffer as we have.

As the last person on Earth to reach level 30, I have to learn other characters now.  At the level of play I’m shooting for, the requirement to

- Ban Characters, and
- Play As a Unique Character

means you can’t just play the equivalent of Ryu in every game; somebody else might be playing Ryu, or they might decide they don’t even want Ryu hanging around.  What this means is that I need to expand my roster.  And what that means is that I don’t win anymore, and I might not for awhile.  I’m cool with it now, I’m building the franchise.  But I do wonder what they’ll tell me, when I decide that being continually pulverized does not constitute a leisure activity.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 days ago

Submit Questions For Our PAX Panel

We’re doing another PAXAus in a month or so, Melbourne, and I’m ready to deliver a premium Q&A Experience.  The only thing we’re missing is The Questions, which you can stock us up with here.

(CW)TB

Disney Infinity’s Marvel Toys Are Looking Great!

I just happened to see this article over on Kotaku about the new Disney Infinity Marvel toys looking “a bit rough”. Just as a counterpoint I figured I would share my experience. Fahey suggests that perhaps he got a bad batch and I think he might be right. He posts his Nova as an example of the sloppy paint jobs. Here’s a shot of mine for comparison. I think he looks awesome.

I am sure I received a very similar box to Fahey and when I cracked open all the figs I was really impressed. They certainly seem to be of similar quality to the original 1.0 figures I own and in some cases I felt like the sculpts were significantly better. The Hulk, Spiderman and Drax stick out in my head as being especially awesome looking toys.

And they really are toys in my opinion. These are not hand painted collectibles they are mass produced toy figures. This is how my four year old plays Disney Infinity.

My kids love these toys. My guess is they get played with just as much in the real world as they do in the virtual one. If you’re one of these people that buys toys and then puts them up on a display shelf that’s cool. I’m a nerd about a lot of stuff but that’s not one of my things. I think toys should be played with.

It sucks that the free toy Fahey got had a scratch on it but don’t let that worry you. These are awesome toys that you and your family are going to have a blast playing with.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 3 days ago

I knew that once The Tracksuit had weighed in on Destiny, the conversation would get interesting.  And it has.

Much of Halo’s most savory material has been in the margins of the actual core products: books, hidden journals, and forums devoted to parsing it.  My favorite Halo story - that is to say, the best Halo story - was, technically speaking, an advertisement.  Even before the release of the original Halo, it had already passed into legend: angular, hostile communiques from some kind of Sentient established a frankly intoxicating set of parentheses around a game which was at that time about driving a jeep up a hill.  That isn’t here.  And there is a lot to talk about, regarding whether or not you can Go Home Again.  I would argue as others have that you cannot.  Creating the successor to Halo is an inconceivable undertaking, and I think it’s possible to have too much budget, and the documentary holo-film which catalogs this enterprise a decade or so hence is something I would very much like to see.  Or sense in some other way; it depends on where the technology is at then.  I’m down for smelling what happened if that’s what’s up.

The big picture and the little picture of the game aren’t really stitched together.  With Destiny, they’ve tucked a bunch of worldbuilding away on some of these unlockable cards you’re always unlocking.  They evoke with their art but it doesn’t seem to pay out; I mostly find myself scrunching up my face when I hear the condescension dripping and pooling off the voiceover track.  They broke away from Microsoft because Halo had become a prison, and they achieved escape velocity, but the expectations are always there and they can’t be outrun.  And maybe that’s not fair.  But nobody gives a shit.

What is weird - and I don’t have a USDA Choice explanation for it - is that I have a great time in there.  These things I’ve described are vital to a certain kind of player, and they scaffold long term engagement, for me.  They’re not anywhere near as important to someone like my cohort.  When I’m with him, it all reads as Pulp.  The shooting and the interface itself are very accomplished, the soil is good.  I think back to the first Assassin’s Creed, where there was a delta between what was being made and what was perceived as being made; I think about how that “failure” stands astride the world now with millions of copies sold annually.  It was strong bones, in need of flesh.

(CW)TB out.

Destiny!

I have to say that despite the garbage story and the horrible voice acting I’m not having a terrible time in Destiny. In fact I like it a lot more now than when I first played it. There was a very early alpha phase that we played and it was pretty disheartening. I went back through my email and found the mail I sent to Jerry at the time. This is right after I had played Destiny for the very first time.

On Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM, mike krahulik wrote:

They are fucked.

Now to be fair Bungie is obviously not fucked. I’m pretty sure the game sold a bajillion copies. There was an embargo at the time so I couldn’t talk about the game publicly but even the sanctioned previews that came out around that time had an odd tone. They are getting beat to shit in the review department right now but let’s be honest, reviews don’t really matter.

My initial impression of the game was not great but now that it’s out I find myself not hating it as much. If I can get a couple friends in there with me it’s actually not a bad way to spend an evening. I think the hard part is untangling the experience they delivered from the one their marketing promised. I am not going to “Become Legend” in Destiny but it’s fun to shoot aliens with my buddies. I think when measured against the hype Destiny feels pretty underwhelming but if you can forget about that it’s a decent game. You could argue that they have squandered the games potential but I don’t think “potential” is a limited resource. Bungie did not start with five pounds or potential, flush it all down the drain and now they have no potential left. There is still the potential to tell an incredible story in Destiny and there is no reason they can’t do that with future updates.

For my part I don’t understand why they would not reach out to an established Sci-Fi author to help them craft some of this stuff. When you have a game with a budget like Destiny why don’t you make a phone call to someone like Alastair Reynolds, John Scalzi, or Hugh Howey. This is your big new property. You’re building a brand new Sci Fi world. Get someone with a couple Hugos under their belt. I’m not even a big story guy and Destiny just feels like a big mess. Like I said though, that’s something that can get sorted out.

Today’s comic was fun for a couple reasons. First it marks a return to shitting on Bungie which has been a staple of the comic for more than a decade. Second, I actually made the Pee-Chee in real life. I thought about trying to do it all digitally in Photoshop but then decided against it. I had to go to a few different stores but finally found a place that still sold Pee-Chees, then I got some ball point pens and went to work. It was really fun going back to my school days and remembering all the shit I used to doodle on my folders. I may actually hand this folder off to Jamie for the Child’s Play auction this year. Maybe someone will want it.

-Gabe out




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