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An E3 for the proletariat: Impressions Part 2

posted on May 12th, 2006 by golden jew

As last time, coverage is by our street team of Golden Jew, Horatio, Noah and Ben.

World of Warcraft (PC)
At this point, you probably know all the data you need to from the internet, so I’ll focus on some chats I had with one of the Blizzard reps that was patrolling their demo area. When I asked what he was most excited about in the expansion, he said sockets. My main question was if sockets would be more helpful than most current end game crafting (ie, everything but alchemy except for resist gear), and he said for sure. He also indicated they will be adding to end game crafting in the expansion.

I asked about release dates for Naxxramas and the expansion, and all he would say for Naxx was “Summer.” He told us that everything has been pushed back. Although there would be patches between Naxx and Burning Crusade, there will be no new dungeons. This scares me, because we could be looking at a four month gap or more between Naxx and BC.

This brought me onto my next two topics. First, how “finished” would the expansion be: would everything be there, or would it be a release with a lot of unimplemented content? The answer received was that “most” of the expansion would be done, but he said all that’s “completely” done so far is Karazhan and Hellfire Keep. Also, there is a huge section of the Outland that is blocked off and empty. Whether this was “planned” or not, he wouldn’t say. Though he did say that he has “heard” they may make a dungeon that is only reachable via flying mount, so it will be a “right of passage” to get your raid fully flying. Another definition for this is “cock block.”

Speaking of Cock Blocking, I asked why the fuck they made Ouru and Cthun unkillable, and if they actually test the encounters (I also mentioned we were World 7th, US 5th, and he HAD heard of us, go Scions Of Destiny/The Guardians!). He said that they do test the encounters for balance, but that “they might balance it a bit on the hard side.” He also admitted “people would be pissed off if they could race through the new content quickly.” I said “Well.. people also get pissed off for wiping for a month on an unbalanced boss.” He agreed. My guess is Naxx is the biggest cockblock ever. Also, one of the other guys here with me asked some Blizzard guys in the lunch line about raid balance, he they also claimed they could beat their own encounters (such as old school Cthun and Ouru). My colleague’s theory is that they have VERY advanced UI mods, particularly in terms of positioning, so they know exactly where to go and where to stand to maximize their effectiveness. I think that’s probably the only way they could beat some of those fights.

Lastly, talents. Nothing announced yet. Apparently it’s debated how they’re going to do it–straight up new points, new trees, extension of old trees, or what. Overall, the new stuff looks good, but I’m really nervous about the long wait times and anticipated cockblocks that will be incoming for Naxx and BC.

No divergent evolution? If Stephen Jay weren’t partying with John Paul II, he’d be rolling over in his grave.

Spore (PC)
Looks very, very good. The demo shown was for the creature part and the space parts of the game. The graphics style, as shown in the trailer, is somewhat childish but very appropriate. One of my colleagues here observed that the characters are very similar to the creatures in the movies “Monsters Inc.” Creature design is totally fluid: you can meld and add whatever you want. Each body part, such as eyes, arms, etc, had some 60 options. One interesting thing is there seem to be certain definitive “technologies” if you will: such as “hands” which let your critters use tools, an essential advancement for any society. The space end of the game looks very cool as well. You can abduct people, but in some cases, they fight back: in the demonstration by the developer, their attempt to abduct a citizen of a city was met with the town’s laser defenses. “Not as primitive as we thought,” the demo guy joked.

The game progresses from cell to creature to tribe to city to civilization and finally to space. Once you go forward, you don’t go back: you are evolving your people as a whole. You can still make critters at the lower levels (say, you’re at the city level, you can make creatures to enter your world). There is a multiplayer aspect as well, where everyone has other planets. No word yet if this aspect is subscription, or what. According to what the developer says, the AI takes over when you log off, but it’s not clear how this massively multiplayer aspect will operate.

Halo 3 (360)
Just a teaser trailer. Looks cool, but no gameplay shown.

Gears of War (360)
FPS game–futuristic style. The premise is campy: there’s an alien race hidden in the earth that bursts out on “emergence day” and kills most of civilization off pretty quickly. You play as a former military prisoner. Some aspects of gameplay: like Battlefield, your accuracy while moving sucks. While reloading, there’s a built in timing aspect that can cause you to reload faster, or jam your gun (based on timing). When you die, you have a 15 second bleed out time, where you can be executed for bonus points, or resurrected by an ally. Also built in is a “cover” system, where you can find safe spots to fight from, and the game will show you the next “safe” spot to jump from. Grenades have a reticle where you can see where the grenade will go (including bounces) via blue trail. This should reduce those nasty “friendly fire” incidents. You can wield two “shoulder guns” (rifles, shotguns, etc), and a pistol.

They only showed the single player campaign, but there will also be a multiplayer aspect. The campaign is very fluid, with multiple paths that you can take for each one. So overall, very awesome game. Sadly, actual playable demos were limited to the Media only.

Enchanted Arms (360)
First real RPG for the Xbox360. Graphics look very good. The battles are similar to the Mega Man Battle Network games where you have grids for each side, although they are turn based, not real time. Different moves affect different areas and shapes for spells. Looked promising for an RPG for the Xbox360.

God of War 2 (PS3)
Looked godly. We watched our hero tear out the eye of a Cyclops, and dismembers hordes of orcs. Fans of the original should be very pleased with this game.

2 Comments

  1. Billy said on May 12, 2006:

    Lore wise BC is a massacre of WoW. Sargeras was one of the creators who was corrupted by an evil race of demons. Now those demons (under a new name) are the new alliance race and the lore (conflicting on 2 parts of Bliz’s own site) Is differnt. They were good guys and Sareras (ya know the creator?) enslaved them basically and made them destroy stuff..despite him being…the creator.

  2. Dan said on May 18, 2006:

    I am wondering, did anything come out of the Blizzard camp that didn’t involve WoW? I have always seen them as gods who came down to earth to make video games and bring happiness to all. But, WoW is getting kind of old, and I want them to move on.

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