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Dear Australia,

Dear Australia, I am very sorry but I will not be at your PAX this year. You might remember that I had to cut my trip short last year due to my anxiety. I wrote a big post about it at the time and apologized for the inconvenience. You can still read it right here and it’s all still very true.

I am very fortunate to have the job I do. Traveling has always been the most difficult aspect of it for me though and as much as I love PAX, I am much happier away from big crowds. The flight to Aus and the reality of being so GD far from home…as my friend Amy would say, “it’s a lot.”

Just like every other time I’ve talked about anxiety on this page I have no doubt that you all will be very understanding. I’ve spent the last twenty years meeting gamers from all over the world and I have to say, being shy and worried all the time is pretty common for our people. There is a very good chance that I will be “appearing” at the show via the magic of technology. I know it’s not the same but as being there in person but this way I can answer your questions and not wear pants. 

Honestly, I feel very badly that I can’t be there in person. I can tell you that my family is itching to visit Australia and having them with me would be a huge comfort. Next time I am down there I’ll have the entire Krahulik crew with me. Trust me, you would much rather meet happy/chill Mike instead of nervous/diarrhea Mike.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

Most of the levels I’ve gained since the Forsaken expansion are from Gambit.  It’s early days for the mode, which is the part I like generally for new systems, where the continents have not yet cooled and it’s possible to succeed with great communication as opposed to Raid-like mechanical rigor.

I came around to Crucible in D2, and I may be completely alone in thinking that four players per side makes for a far more legible, more skill based, less swingy battle.  But that’s not what I’m here to talk about - I only mention it because it is very, very distinct from the rest of the Destiny experience.  Gambit marries what you might call Real Destiny with multiplayer combat in what I’m prepared to call a “genuinely new idea.”  You don’t even see the opposing team during the round.  Except sometimes.  Read on.

You might say that Gambit features a liiiiitle bit of MOBA genetics, insofar as the mobs you crush in your personal round are like Creeps.  But where creeps are a resource - source of currency and experience that informs the overall round arc, and thus must be apportioned to individuals for maximum benefit - the individual mobs here can and should be murdered by anybody.  What’s important is that you bank the little goodies they drop, called motes, in your bank at the center.  Ultimately, you want to get seventy five of them in there.  That’s what releases the Primeval, something like a Boss.  If you kill it, you win the game.

Here’s where it gets kinda whacked out.  When someone deposits five, ten, or fifteen motes at once - a dangerous risk/reward strategy - it not only closes the opponent’s bank, but also creates a “blocker” mob on their side.  The bank doesn’t open again until they leave.

At twenty-five, fifty, and seventy-five motes collected, a portal flares up on your side and one of your teammates can go attack the other team.  So imagine a situation where you have blocked them, and they’re all running around trying to kill blockers, but they’re plump with motes they have nowhere to put.  Imagine how devastating a successful invasion would be here and, and just take a moment to vibrate at this frequency.

In the strategy we employ, I don’t touch motes unless I do it on accident - I use scout and sniper rifles to generate motes, and it’s my job to clear blockers so that when Gabe comes back with fifteen motes stuffed into his cheeks he has some place to put them.  Also I got a bunch of motes once and what I learned was that I can’t be trusted with motes.

Interesting competitive games often feature “catch-up mechanics,” and creating catch-up mechanics that don’t have a rose emoji, sorta “redistribution of wealth” texture to them is tough.  Gambit has two of them nested within a kind of Noble Helix that allow for ridiculously tense rounds.  The first is that once a team has reached seventy-five motes and summoned their Primeval, they’re no longer sending blockers to the other side.  They don’t even generate motes.  That means if you can accelerate collection, you can do so unimpeded.

The second is that when you send an Invader to the other side while the enemy is fighting its Primeval, every time you down one of them their fucking Primeval eats their soul and heals itself.  Like, a lot.  So a timely excursion while your allies are getting your own Primeval on the field can buy you a ton of time.  Maybe, possibly, hopefully, enough time.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I don’t know if he actually brought it home or not.  I do know that he is a different person when he’s wearing it.  There’s something about him raising up his left hand to tuck back an errant hair that is so out of place it doesn’t even get filed like extra stimuli; it just coats the top of my brain unabsorbed.

  I have lots of memories that are still condensing out of the show; one that I think is particularly fascinating is that even though so, so many games are there and so, so many people are there, and these two abstract entities commingle in a variety of scenarios, the only game I have heard anyone say anything about is Untitled Goose Game.

It’s a hundred percent.  I know for a fact there were other games - for example, I checked out The Division 2, Artifact, Falcon Age by my friend Eka, all kinds of shit.  Multiple floors of games were on display.  No!  There was a single game there if you ask most people and it is a game about a malevolent goose.

I’m fucking exhausted, I’ll tell you that much.  I don’t close the tag on a PAX until we’ve honored the Enforcers at the afterparty, which was just last night.  They delivered the best convention there is, again.  I’m back on my bullshit though!  Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team is back, at 4:00pm PDT on our Twitch channel.  Join us as our stalwart heroes try to secure a valuable, imperious “Wildcard License” from their loathsome nemeses.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

It’s always a novel experience to wake up on Monday and remember that a news post is required.

A lot has happened!  Holy shit.  Uh…  Let’s see.  We announced our Magic: The Gathering show, The Magic Hour in the fleeting moments before last night’s Acquisitions Incorporated game.  That felt novel, also.  It’s gonna be a real weird show and I hope that’s alright.  I’ll get the trailer up for you when it hits the channel; I think this one made it to the show on a jump drive.

If you’re looking to catch last night’s Acquisitions Incorporated, featuring our good friends Patrick Rothfuss and Holly Conrad, look no further: we’ve got you right here with the Twitch VOD.  We cut them all out later, but you’ll find the AI game at or around the 7:23 mark; I think it might be prefaced by the Magic trailer in-line…?  What happens in the theater for the video feed isn’t always one to one on Twitch.  I can’t really check it because I am in a hotel chock full of nerds and a nerd is a creature who subsists largely on wireless fi.  I would describe the current level of service as “porous” if not “wholly imaginary.”  If you see this post at all, know that a miracle occurred this day.

If you were with us in person, or in spirit, you know that Gabe - which is to say, Jim - has been the recipient of a fairly substantial costume upgrade from Dani Hartell.  Here’s our group shot after the game, taken by the inimitable Dabe Alan:

The strip we did for Saturday’s Make A Strip panel, also known as Today’s Strip, makes reference to the very real heat generated by the outfit and also includes an actual quote by Kara.

Just a couple more panels to go!  Then I’m going to find meat and eat it until I pass out.  And I’m not particular about the meat.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 weeks ago

It’s day one of PAX Prime as I tip-tap this post on the bed, get some kissy pins on my Lanyard, and make my way down to Benaroya Hall which is much, much too nice a place to have someone like me in it.

Our kids are now at a point where they can attend PAX and actually enjoy it, but even beyond that, Noah actually wanted to cosplay the event which Gabriel did his absolute best to enable.  We’ve worked with our friend Dani Hartel on a heap of really sophisticated props and costumes, but even an off the shelf 3D printer puts some real power in the hands of the enthusiast.  I’ve seen photos, but I can’t wait to see it in the flesh.  This rite of passage definitely seemed worth immortalizing in the strip.

Alright, so.  This summer has been absolutely packed with projects.  A couple of them get announced at PAX Unplugged out in Philly, some real big ones, but there’s a couple that erupt here at PAX West also.  Here’s one of them:

There’s gonna be a whole story campaign for AcqInc in Neverwinter. We wrote all of it, voice acted our characters, and we also brought Amy Falcone’s Walnut Dankgrass along with us.  In the last “C” Team game, the party passed an Acquisitions Incorporated cart on its way to Neverwinter - this is what they were sent to do.

See you at the show!

(CW)TB out.

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