Lots of game news this week! Today Blizzard released a new webcomic for Overwatch, and the internet is abuzz because, well, lesbian.
In an ideal world this would scarcely be news, but instead we have the usual bigots and homophobes commenting their denial, and probably far more keeping hatefully, or guiltily silent, if Trump’s election is any indication of the preponderance of these people in the American heartland.
Let’s just call the American heartland “Trumpland”.
Eurogamer reports that Russia is blocking the webcomic because it is illegal. Any gayness violates Russian laws against gay “propaganda”. So if you’re not following Garry Kasparov on Twitter, or otherwise have no clue about Russia, there you go.
Lord of the Rings Online
The LotRO team announced this week that they are buying out LotRO and DDO and forming an independent company called Standing Stone Games. SSG will be published by Daybreak.
I’m not sure how I feel about this, except for surprise. One has to think about the almost unthinkable idea that LotRO could keep running for years to come.
As long as my for-life sub keeps going, that’s fabulous. My second account subscription runs out in one month.
For more information, and a good rundown, check out Bludborn’s video on Youtube, or visit the LotRO forums, which of course exploded.
2017 RPG Lineup: Torment: Tides of Numenera Leads Off
Torment finally has a final release date of Feb. 28th, 2017. This is basically the only game I’m looking forward to, at the moment, in 2017. Mass Effect Andomeda is also out there, and Star Wars Battlefront is looking at a new installment for EA next fall.
There is also Bard’s Tale IV from Inxile, which seems low-budget, but that classic in Unreal Engine 4 is worth watching.
Hearthstone: Mean Streets Of Gadgetzan
Hearthstone released a new Xpack at the first of the month, ushering in some very powerful cards that completely defined a new meta. Unfortunately, data shows this is the most unbalanced class distribution that I’ve ever seen in any class-based game.
I have a feeling this was planned for the purposes of greed. And that’s why I’m betting on Blizzard. Unfortunately, my card packs from the preorder were horrible, so I’m a little limited.
Last night I installed one of Hearthstone’s competitors: Elder Scrolls Legends. I’m still learning the game, which is far more complex and interesting in mechanics than Hearthstone.
I’m really interested in creating Elf-only decks in Legends, which is surely possible because of a superabundance of pointy ears in Tamriel. On the other hand, ESL is missing a certain something.
One thing I’ve identified is that cards in ESL don’t feel like characters. In Hearthstone, you know who Loot Hoarder is, or Ragnaros, or Piloted Shredder. The cards feel more unique and special, as well as sparkly.
There are so many cards in ESL that they become more like regiments in a deck than close-knit teams. There are also a lot more “win more”cards so far, but ESL has a systemized comeback mechanic, rewarding more card draws as the opponent beats you further down. It’s also nice to be more flexible in the hero portrait you play.
I’m not sure how I feel about the lack of a “hero power”. Hearthstone’s hero powers strongly force classes into certain appropriate archetypes. Is that a good thing, or bad thing?
So this month a lot of good players have come back to Hearthstone, and I’m playing against T1 legend decks at rank 14-15, which is brutal. I may or may not repeat rank 10 again this month, despite having an official T2 deck with my dragon priest.
NVidia’s stock continues to soar vertically in the Trump rally. AMD’s stock has tripled since I bought it a year and a half ago. Unfortunately, I sold both of those stocks a long time ago, because I failed to follow basic investing principles.
In my defense, NVidia is now more highly valued on earnings than Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft, and a big part of that is based on an idea that the future is smart cars and VR. I remain unconvinced. There is also rumor of a chip oversupply from NVidia right now, after a shockingly incredible quarterly report.
Here is a good article on NVidia.
I think 2017 is going to be a Trumper-Coaster of ups and downs. So I’m lurking, continuing to hold Blizzard and Tencent in my gaming stock portfolio.
Sony (SNE) has declined to reasonable levels along with the China markets in general, so I’m watching those to possibly add. I was up so far in Tencent that I’m still up even after the huge pullback.
Part of Tencent’s pullback may be due to new Chinese laws that require game companies to publish all loot box odds on their websites. I assume this will include Blizzard operating in China, so this may be news for Hearthstone, in terms of more transparency for odds when opening card packs.
I’m also back to working every day on my game project, at least a little, in addition to my lame, underpaid job.
Happy holidays, and a happy New Year.