Overwatch: Blizzard Theftolution

Scribed on November 7, 2014 by Scree.

No one can question that the audience was pretty excited about Overwatch. For good reason. Blizzard has absolutely adopted an approach to game making thats worked. Copy the best ideas of a previous generation of game-genre and improve upon it. Apply the Blizzard coat of polish and wham; let the money rain down upon thyself.

Overwatch, a new title announced less than an hour ago at Blizcon is absolutely and clearly an evolutionary attempt applied to the venerable Team Fortress 2. From the cartoony characters to the class-based approach clearly present from the gameplay trailer. Its pretty obvious where the roots of this title come from.

So the more obvious question is when does this tactic backfire? The last true genre-making Blizzard did was back in the original Warcraft and Diablo era. Ever since the company seems addicted to #Theftolution; the process of merely applying minor improvements and polish to an existing game genre.

Some might say the industry thrives on the said process; and you’d be mostly right. It seems fewer and fewer studios, however, have really taken any risks lately in pushing the boundaries. Blizzard clearly seems comfortable “borrowing” and polishing. More importantly, we seem to be okay with it.

Whether or not Overwatch is fun, a brief fad (much like TF2 was for me), is beyond the point Blizzard has unintentionally made by revealing this title. I fully expect that Overwatch will likely be as much fun as or potentially more so than TF2. I suppose thats what near limitless budgets can do when you’re a developer.

Will I be playing it? Frustratingly… yes.

#overwatch #blizzcon

The All Things Scree, Update.

Scribed on November 7, 2014 by Scree.

Its been a crazy few weeks. I grew a bit busy with my time during the peak of WildStar and things grew fairly quiet here as I weaned myself off of that title. WildStar has been transferred to a backup hard drive and my years worth of C.R.E.D.D turned in so I don’t have to worry about them expiring.

Despite having a years subscription for my economic manipulation, I have little if any interest in logging back in. WildStar proved two things to me; The market isn’t interested in “Hardcore” anymore and also that I’m not “Hardcore” anymore.

Having a wife and an actual career, hobbies that interest me outside of gaming, has all been a significant impediment to me tackling a “hardcore” experience. WildStar was just my wake up call.

I have been tackling several other titles, none of which many of you follow (HEX for example?). HEX has been a fascinating reminiscing trip down memory lane for me; I highly enjoyed Magic the Gathering back in my highschool days. This title allows me to relive those days, without needing to actually meet most of the scummy trolls who inhabit that franchise. Its also allowed me to take up a CCG as its created, getting me in on the ground level so to speak.

HEX has several major milestones its going to reach before the end of the year and the first of which, a secret “open beta” phase, in which the developers don’t tell anyone its open has just been hit. The second and more interesting milestone should come this November month when they launch Set 2. Set 2 is fascinating because the game feels incomplete, despite having a significant card pool to choose from right now. Many of the archetypes of play I enjoy do not have sufficient card support to play at competitive levels.  This is likely to change and very quickly.

Also important to note is that HEX plans on getting into PVE experience before years end. This means lots of interesting things, all of which I’ll save for its own post.

Finally I’ve been passing my time waiting for these additional milestones in HEX by playing a mix of Battlefield 4 (of which I’m still moderately terrible) and more recently Shadows of Mordor. Shadows of Mordor is fascinating in that the open world approach is actually interesting. More to the point, a lack of “levels” makes the game feel more realistic (in the sense of that world anyways). It feels like a more horizontal and not vertical approach to advancement.

I’m planning on a less frequent blogging approach than I’ve done to date. Several of my projects require a laser-line focus to keep me interested and progressing in them. Don’t be a stranger and hit me up on Steam or Twitter though! I miss talking with my fellow bloggers/gamers ;)

HEX: Analyzing Set 1

Scribed on October 10, 2014 by Scree.

First off, I was taken back a little when a few players picked up my article and posted it on the official forums. Its nice to see that a small time blogger like me can get some positive feedback on an official forum anywhere (they are usually full of trolls and intensely vitriolic). So to those of you who posted it and put up nice comments, you have my thanks. Hopefully my future posts won’t discourage you from visiting ;>

I took to experimenting with a few HEX decks over the last few weeks and honestly was pretty impressed by the range of archetypes the various colors seem to offer. While most of the colors seem limited to two distinct “themes” (with cross support from another color), largely the cards in set one feel fairly unthematic. What I mean is to say the cards themselves don’t seem to pigeonhole you into the two thematic archetypes. I found myself experimenting with numerous decks within Blood and found many of them viable at a given level. Read More »

Improving HEX: My Wishlist

Scribed on October 6, 2014 by Scree.

HEX just recently went through a fairly major patch which upgraded some of its underlying code and more importantly enabled a newer version of the graphics engine powering the game called Unity. During my review of the games patched changes, I hinted that I’d been saving some of my more direct criticisms for a subsequent article. Instead of criticizing the changes in the patch, however, I’ve opted for a much more positive-in-tone post by merely listing a few items I’d like to see eventually make it into the game.  Read More »

The Best Cards of HEX: Shards of Fate

Scribed on October 4, 2014 by Scree.

Set 1 and I have had a few weeks together and its begun shaping up to me what cards are the most influential of the set. I took a queue from the HexTechs.tv crew which posted this top 10 list. Unfortunately I think most of the list is misguided. While Countermagic is a staple amongst CCGs it hardly deserves a place at the top of the list. In terms more appropriate for the interrupting power it brings, its more a “staple card” than a “power cards”.  Likewise on their list is Menacing Gralk; which while it is certainly a powerful card, its fairly difficult for any deck except mono-blue to play.

Factors that go into making a card the “best of” include a cards playability. Being restricted to a mono-color deck (which basically any 3-threshold card should be), really limits the cards ability to be played frequently in the scope of all cards of set one. In fact, most of these cards require mono-color. While I am not opposed to the concept of Mono-color, at this early stage in the game with only one set out, its difficult for a single color to cope with the threats a dual-color approach brings to the table (perhaps with the exception of Blood?). Read More »

HEX: The Patchening

Scribed on October 2, 2014 by Scree.

Big news from the HEX front I suppose. Having only played it for about 2 weeks now, its been obvious to me from the grumbling on the forums/twitter/in-game chat that players were anxiously awaiting ANY update on the game. Known bugs have been running around for weeks with little to no help in sight. Add to this a statement that Set 2 would be released in August, only for it to not be. It’s little surprise the fan base was restless! Read More »

HEX The TCG: A Closer Look

Scribed on September 16, 2014 by Scree.

So the big WildStar experiment seems to be coming to a close for more than just me.  As it does, I’ve looked around for new things to fill my time. Coincidently, a HEX closed beta key showed up in my email two weeks ago. So as it stands most of my free time has been spent playing a lot of HEX.

You probably won’t recall, but almost a full year ago I posted about this title when it concluded its Kickstarter and Hearthstone was announced. Its interesting reading back on my initial thoughts and contrasting them against the time I’ve spent with the game this week. Read More »

The Archeage Dilemma

Scribed on September 9, 2014 by Scree.

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, and most of that’s due to my ongoing love affair with WildStar. What struck me most about trying to write about this topic was WildStar is guilty of the same sins I place at Archeage’s feet, with one exception (which we will get to in due time).

If you were to challenge the makers of Archeage to describe exactly what NEW thing it was they were bringing to the MMO table, I’d assume the answers would center around a few key areas;

  1. Naval Warfare
  2. PVP
  3. “Gliding” version of Flight.
  4. “Free” to Play.

Read More »

EQ Next and the Coming Genre Evolution

Scribed on August 23, 2014 by Scree.

I have mixed feelings coming out of the SOE Live 2014 event. On one hand, the event proved to me that SOE has no idea what they have on their hands. On the other, it proved that SOE isn’t afraid to take some risks.

I personally have not played an SOE game except during a brief revisit to EQ2. I found the crafting system engrossing and spent vast sums of time learning various tradeskills, for free mind you, for over 3 months. I purchased SOE points and unlocked different races and classes and had a lot of fun for a game I had written off shortly after its original launch. Read More »

SOE Live: The Day of Truth

Scribed on August 15, 2014 by Scree.

Its been a long time coming that players like myself get hard news surrounding the now-forgotten and sparsely mentioned EQ Next. I wouldn’t have thought, after last years SOE reveal of this upcoming epic title that the only news surrounding the game would come only during its reveal.

If they hadn’t captured my imagination of the possibilities of a procedurally generated, populated and truly living fantasy world, I wouldn’t even be writing this. Yet a full year later, we’ve only seen the tinkering world-building tools get enhancements in Landmark.  Read More »

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