More Time

So, I have a beard.  Well, perhaps not a full Gandalf beard, or a biker bear but enough for my liking (and my wife’s apparently).  It’s enough.  I trim it on a weekly basis out of habit with a mechanical trimmer.  This week, from lack of attention, I set it at the lowest setting.  So now I have stubble.  Which reminded me of a joke I once heard.

What’s the difference between a good haircut and a bad one?  Two weeks.

And I think that accurately reflects the status of a lot of things.  Give is a bit and things tend to even out.

What with the release of WoD in a day, and me being on Stormrage, one of the only servers I know of that still has a queue on regular days, it certainly looks like launch day is going to be a crapfest.  Wait 2 weeks and things’ll die down enough, what with free server transfers a near-guarantee.

Which is sort of akin to all MMO launches I guess.  You wait 2 weeks after the date they are going live and then things are stable.  That initial wave of players simply goes back to work and moves on.  Plus for me, things are sort of on a decent run right now.  WoD is a few weeks before the Revan expansion in SWTOR, which is a couple months from the FF14 expansion too.

Then there’s the steam sale…oh boy.

Holy Bangarade

10 weeks on parental leave and back to work now for 2. It’s annoying when you delegate work and nothing at all got done. Now I have 10 weeks of work to do in a few days. Quality!

Suffice it to say I need a mental breather some nights. Lack of time means minimal investment though, so I’ve been giving F2P games a hit.  No RIFT, GW2, WoW, or any game that I can’t simply drop within 2 minutes.

The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot

This one is in open beta and a lot like Dungeon Master and Diablo in that you can set a castle full of traps and run other people’s castles. It has upgrades with timer (where the F2P stuff comes in) which is fine I guess. The gameplay is horribly balanced though where the tanky class can run through anything without batting an eye, even 6-7 levels above them. The other classes have no chance. But it’s beta and the concept is solid. Maybe in a later patch.  The file size is rather small.

Infinite Crisis

I got into the beta, which is beta.  You’re comparing LoL to a game with an admittedly limited character roster.  You might have 4 flavors of Batman but it’s still Batman.  There are technical bugs, some serious balancing issues but overall the game is pretty solid.  Community management is going to be the real kicker here.  Current playerbase is nice enough, since it’s test.  But once you get the crud coming in, there needs to be a way to filter that out.  The learning curve is extremely high but that’s expected in beta.  Oh, and it needs way more maps.

Dragon’s Crown

I don’t play a lot of console games, only when I’m on the bike.  This one is pretty solid, with a link back to the arcade D&D games.  Is it worth 60$ though?  No.  Maybe once it hits 30$.

Marvel Heroes

A new patch (1.2) fixed the defensive skills, added a ton of itemization and huge balance changes. This is what the game should have launched with. It even has 3 difficulties making the trek from 25 to 60 different than running the same zone for 20 hours. The itemization and skills are the polar opposite of Diablo3, which is good.


Just a few days in, tried a new Monk build. Cost me about 25 million in gear to make it work due to the way itemization works in game. And this isn’t even for hard stuff, just regular Inferno. What’s the point of upgrading gear if you need to swap nearly all of it to change builds? Maybe 1-2 pieces but not 10.

And of course the AH is going away in 6 months – likely the launch date for the expansion. It annoys me that Loot 2.0, which is what the consoles got, has been getting great reviews but the gamer base has to wait so damn long for it. Anyways, the AH simply focused on Jay Wilson’s poor direction for multiple systems. A loot system that dropped inferior gear even at high difficulty, itemization that drove stats to absurd levels to even compete, the requirement for “perfect” rolls for the item to have any possible value and a difficulty setting that made no sense. All of those systems by the way, have been or will be removed.  The game today is wildly different than launch and the console version is yet another massive leap forward.

Listen, the AH was a good concept to avoid gold farming and scamming. If I knew I could get upgrades while playing (I have never once with my monk past 60), then the AH would just be a slight nudge. When I can see that a single item on the AH can raise my damage by 10% and costs 20 minutes of gold farming time, there is a massive problem in the loot system.  Shutting down the AH is one thing, shutting down the RMAH is another, as that thing certainly brought in a sizeable amount of income.  It takes some pretty large brass to through that away – baby and bathwater.

Games You Should Play

We’re a couple days out of December and less than a month to Christmas (we need to find a more offensive name for it) and people are going to start making lists about top games and whatnot. Let’s fall into the pack shall we?

This list is going to include games released in 2012 and that I played. There are other games out there, such as Journey and Darksiders 2 that I found interesting from other people but never had the change to play. Without further delay, I give you:

Top games I recommend, based on play in 2012!


Long have we awaited a return to form for the classic XCOM game. While it does remove a fair amount of strategic elements, the difficulty remains as does the attachment to the crew, which were mainstays of the first game. Play on Classic and Ironman to get the real feel.

Borderlands 2

Rarely does a FPS game hold my attention for any period of time. Put on RPG elements, a lottery style itemization structure and you have a hell of a hook. So much so that two F2P games are coming out to replicate it (Wildstar and Firefall). Great story, solid controls and lots of replay make for a great game.


Like the game itself, this one kind of snuck in there out of nowhere. Set in a dystopian past, this combination of Thief and Assassin’s Creed makes a strong contender for game of the year for major sites. I really like the pacing and exploration portions of the game, with some slight reservations around combat. Sound is really good, as it should be with any stealth game.

Legend of Grimrock

Back to old school dungeon romping. The simplicity of Grimrock is the real selling point. That you’re able to have an atmospheric experience, worried about what’s around the corner while trying to explore every nook and cranny, speaks volumes around the developers’ ability to get the core gameplay down solid. Considering this game is under 5$ now with most vendors, it’s a must buy.


Indie game that came out of nowhere really, and supplanted my want for Star Commander on the iOS. A space rogue-like game under a time clock is one thing. Being put into perpetual no-win scenarios and still going back for more punishment is another. Don’t let the simple interface and graphics fool you, this is a near perfect representation of what rogue-likes should be.

Torchlight 2

This is what Diablo 3 should have been.  Choices matter, progression is near infinite, the art style is cohesive and there’s no massive penalty for bad design.  Every single frustration I had with D3 I found solace in Torchlight 2’s arms.  For the price you pay for admission, you get a super solid balanced gameplay, enemies with interesting abilities and always, always have the feeling you can get through a tough spot.