Tag Archives: review

New Year 2016: Looking Forward And Back

Pink Bed

I spent New Year’s on social media. I didn’t feel too alone. I was in bed with my computer. One time I told my guild in LotRO that I couldn’t do a dungeon run because I was ‘playing in bed’.

This image is what I mean, boys.

Last week I purchased Divinity: Original Sin on sale on Steam. It’s a really polished game, and I was having fun exploring and solving puzzles. At level two I was suddenly told that I was the saviour of the world, and the enemy is a void dragon.

I haven’t played Divinity in several days. I was also dying too much in fights. The same formula made me quit Skyrim: dragons, dying, and ‘chosen one’.

Looking Back At 2015

This was Activision Blizzard‘s year. They were called out yesterday on CNBC as up 92% on the year, the third best performing stock in the S&P 500. They were also cited on Bloomberg as the winner of Christmas based on Call of Duty sales. COD won’t match Star Wars, but it’s in the same ballpark.

Meanwhile, EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront debut was a critical fizzle, a disappointing lump of pretty-looking mediocrity according to this kitty’s most trusted Jedi of truth-telling.

Acti-Blizz also bought King Digital for a ridiculous sum of course, and the breaking news today is their purchase of Major League Gaming.

I’ve mentioned on this blog the large amount of debt Blizz is carrying already. Can they really crush it as the 1000-pound gorilla, or can nimbler studios pull the rug from under Blizzard’s efforts to counter the outflow from WoW?

Even though EA’s stock has sold off on their latest (perceived) IP fumbling, it might still be a better long-term investment, especially if Star Wars sales numbers are solid with casual console players.

Some high-profile Wall Street analysts are making this prediction, calling EA a strong buy in its current trough. I sold at 72. I’ve learned to not sell Blizzard.

Of course, the stocks will now probably go in opposite directions because that’s what happens to the stupid kitty.

What I’m Looking Forward To In 2016

Mafia 3 ~ Not. I’ve been looking forward to this game for two years, but Take Two ruined it. They turned the classy, artsy feel of this game into a knuckle-head brutality fest.

I can’t even bear to watch that trailer again to compound this kitty commentary.

It looks like they just GTA-ified this great franchise. That means it’s GTA, but they changed the Italian ‘family’ into a ‘family’ Lousiana style – or something.

I just know I won’t be playing as that bicep-busting caveman. Goodbye forever, handsome Vito. Thankfully we have another shooter –

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 ~ Yes! I recently found out the game offers a choice of gender! Can this kitty love Acti-Blizz even more? I hope so. Thank you Blizzard. I’m looking forward.

Dogma: Eternal Night ~ The Kickstarter for this vampire-themed labor of love failed miserably this month, and it’s looking more like a shiny pipe dream. I hope those guys get hired by the big companies with zero balls to spend real money on vampires.

You know who you are. (Massively coverage.)

Everquest: Next ~ Who knows! You’re better off watching kitten videos on Youtube than watching EQN news.

More Hearthstone ~ More Hearthstone unless I have heart failure. I hit rank 15 again and quit this month. I feel like I can go a lot higher with my Dragon Priest (yes, I’m aware of the irony).

Hearthstone is giving me a panic attack. That’s the problem. I wish I could just relax and play Hearthstone, with no more anxiety than tossing a ball at a wall for an hour.

The World of Warcraft Movie ~ I’m skeptical I can enjoy this without knowing the lore but who knows. Blizzard is already building a movie studio so this first film needs to be profitable, right? Otherwise a movie studio would be a bad idea.

In other news, this was an all-time record year for Hollywood with 11 billion box office sales in North America. So maybe Blizzard is crazy like a goblin, a very wealthy goblin.

Since I’m ‘meh’ about Black Desert, Blade and Soul, and Camelot Unchained, that’s about it. I’m still working on my ‘bi-adventure’ game project. Here is an image of my first map.

Happy gaming and best wishes for the new year.

adventure map

More Reading: Massively’s 2016 post.


Devilian Headstart: Of Horns And Heroes (Mini-Review)

devilian mmorpg screenshot mount

Devilian headstart was yesterday. Another doomsday has come to a devastated land (and to a bunch of overworked game developers at Trion). So it’s time to become a half-succubus and save everyone.

I’ve had a lot of fun leveling so far to 25. I got the same names as my characters in Rift (Leonore and Leonora), which is nice since character names are region-wide (NA or EU), not server-based. I bought the cheap $20 intro pack for head start access.

Today the game has been disrupted a few times for maintenance issues. Yesterday I saw three or four minor display issues that cleared when I restarted. Most of the typos and grammar issues have been cleaned up since beta.

The intro movie is now translated into English. It’s pretty good, and even delivered a few chills of anticipation. Part of the impact is the excellent Devilian soundtrack.

The game has a lot of quirky, unique characters with sometimes endearing and sometimes goofy voice-overs. The story is understandable and keeps you going.

You’re a half-devil, and the devils are the enemies to the humans, so some don’t like you. They still need you.

Devilian focuses a little more than normal on the player character and ego-stroking, and tries to make the non-player characters memorable by giving them unique roles or making them quirky. This economical strategy is delivered very well.

The anti-heroic stature of the “big bad” looks a little questionable at first glance. He isn’t a dragon though, which is refreshing, at least not yet.

The fun, smooth gameplay, combined with the interesting art and landscapes, added to the music, plus the mostly-nice UI and unique grouping features, are a formula that makes the game feel fresh enough and not like you’re doing the same old thing over again.

Since I’m happy enough with the limited but equal-opportunity character options (two male, two female classes, more are supposedly coming), the only things turning me off are too many currencies (although the local zone currencies are used very well), and the middle-screen alerts when another player gets a legendary/relic item.

I’m also not thrilled about the legions of animals that you have to slaughter, like the “Blood-Drinker Bear”. I didn’t like killing bunches of bears and boars, even while they converged to attack.

How would a bear feel if he watched humans play-slaughtering bears? I’m trying to think of a human equivalent in games to this racial conflict, and I can’t really. I haven’t played Postal.

I don’t enjoy killing animals, so maybe I’m making progress in being more like a real-life elf. Devilian is supposed to launch free-to-play for all today, and it’s well worth checking out.

devilian mmorpg screenshot NPC

Weekly Wyrm ~ Devilian Beta Impressions, Etc.

Rift spinderella mount imageThis kitty just got a Devilian beta invite, along with a Rift fall festival announcement, which advertises a “Spinderella” spider carriage.

I haven’t checked in on Trion lately, but they’ve been busy. The Spinderella might be the craziest cool pied-à-terre mount I’ve ever seen in my life.

It looks like a lavish mech-gift to a Drow elf bride from her Deep Gnome husband, to compensate for the nigh-fatal shortcomings later in the bedchamber.

Unlike some other horrible F2P come-and-buy-all-this-stuff advertising I’ve seen recently, the Rift festival blurb also leads with a bit of roleplay and a reference to a well-known satyr character being ready to revel. I often feel Rift writing is weaker than it could be, but this is professional.

Quick Devilian Beta Impression

I played the Devilian beta tonight, and I was impressed. It’s slick, fun enough, and probably worth playing at launch. It’s like a cross between Diablo 3 and Aion, but it’s a little more fun, in that it doesn’t take itself as seriously.

The music is good. The gameplay is fast and fun. You use flash-dodge moves to avoid red circles like in Neverwinter.

The quest panel is brilliant, and the entire interface is really slick. Alt-tabbing is a breeze. Pets seem to be only temporary, so you have to replace them. They offer real perks though, like storage and buffs.

There is an “attendance” panel, where you accumulate perks based on how regularly you log into the game. Quest direction indicators are very well done, as is an autorun feature to get to the next quest, in case you’re confused.

The main shortcoming of Devilian so far is the four gender-locked classes. The gender equality is appreciated, but the female customization options boil down to two options: a short and cute loli gunner, or a tall and cute wizard with bouncy boobs.

So equality, but not. The guys look properly big, bad, and heroic. The girls look like girls. My first loot drop in the game was a corset. I didn’t think boobs could bounce in an over-bust corset, but there it is. Have fun with it.

The writing and lore seem a little sketchy, as do the settings and NPCs, but there’s a somewhat understandable story. The Trion devs vouched on stream for Devilian’s clever writing and humor, so the kitty needs to see more before she starts pissing on everything as usual.

Since Devilian is being streamed, this kitty won’t post screenshots. I might have a full, empathetic review at some point, and I’ll probably play at launch unless I’m just too busy.

I can say I just purchased Diablo 3 a few days ago (finally), and I’d rather play Devilian tonight.

Hearthstone And Diablo 3

This week I pulled my third legendary Hearthstone card from a pack – Bolf Ramshield. It’s a terrible card, but a lot of good dust. I decided Hearthstone is too stressful for popcorn entertainment, so I bought the Diablo 3 combo pack this week.

I was thrilled to find the female Crusader looks and sounds exactly like my LotRO Warden! I thought I’d never see my blonde Elf Warden again, and it’s like she’s living and breathing again in Diablo 3. I need to find a nice spear for her, and I have a feeling there will be Hell to pay.

Video Game Stocks

For various reasons, the stock market also soared this week with Nvidia, Microsoft, Blizzard, and EA all in the green. Microsoft was up 10% today. Like I predicted several months ago, their cloud is going to eat Amazon’s lunch at some point.

Microsoft announced a cloud deal with Akamai last week, which is another stock I picked last spring, along with Equinix.

I also predicted the PC is going to make a comeback. Microsoft announced last week that they are rolling out a big media campaign to advertise the power of the PC, in a joint operation with the big PC makers. We’ll see.

I really hope the fear and nail-biting is mostly over, and I can ignore Wall Street and my investments like a normal human adult. It looks like the market bottom was literally when all of the experts and big names were saying to get out.

Jim Cramer, Carl Icahn, and other big hedge fund guys said the economy could be headed for a disaster a few weeks ago, and everything was going to die in a blaze of fire. It still might, but those guys were buying, and so was I.

I’m polishing my first three book covers and studying popular fantasy novel covers to get a feel for what readers want to see. I’m not putting my name in huge letters, bigger than the title, which is too much ridiculous cult-of-personality narcissism.

Weekly Wyrm ~ Oct. 17th, 2015

HBO Now review

HBONow and Amazon Prime

This is a long, boring post. We’re waiting for Blizzcon. I have one eye on going back to SWTOR. In August, I signed up for HBONow for a solid alternative to Netflix. I’m canceling.

The HBO Now tablet experience is smooth, but the navigation is bad. On a PC, it isn’t much better, and the blurb beside the player window tells you everything that’s going to happen in the episode. HBO Latino is very short on content. There are no Spanish episodes of Game of Thrones, which is disappointing.

So I signed up for Amazon Prime. Its interface is a little better maybe, but compared to Netflix it’s also inferior. It doesn’t have episode or language selection dropdowns on the player like Netflix. It has the first season of True Blood – but only the first season. HBO Now has all seasons, but only in English. I’ve seen them.

Amazon also demands a yearly subscription. I use Amazon, but I don’t really like Amazon for various reasons. So I’m canceling both of those. The act of watching a show just seems boring compared to actually being the hero.

This month I’m working on getting my completed novels on Amazon (first). I’ve spent almost all of my free time in the last two weeks developing my website for both the novels and game project.


I’m still playing Hearthstone every other day. I disenchanted my Paladin and Shaman cards, so I almost have enough dust for another legendary. I’m not sure what card I want. Ragnaros? Confessor Paletress?

Deathwing is a fun one. Or should I go epic with Piloted Sky Golem and Lightbomb? I also want a Recombobulator!

I wish Blizzard would release a female priest hero. Some rumors say a new Hearthstone adventure pack will be announced at Blizzcon. More players seem to want new heroes than a new adventure, if the general forums are any indication.

Gaming Stocks

On Thursday, Mattel (the toy maker) announced mixed results, but analysts made some bullish comments going into the holiday season. Mattel noted a further > 10% decline of Barbie brand sales in the quarter, citing increased use of tablets and video games by young girls as entertainment instead of dolls.

CNBC analyst Brian Kelly notes the increased use of video games (among younger kids) has been the trend for a while, so it’s no surprise. This is ironic, since Mattel tried to target this demographic in 2006-2007, but their kid-priced HyperScan system was considered one of the worst game systems ever.

Even with a dividend yield > 6% Mattel is probably still not worth looking at as long as they are on the sidelines in the real game, while Activision-Blizzard and NVidia continued to go parabolic, and Electronic Arts is catching a bid on positive analyst reports on the Star Wars Battlefront beta.

The analysts cited “record-breaking” interest in the Battlefront beta, but as any veteran gamer knows, this doesn’t mean that much. EA announced three more game modes last week, but supposedly there is no single-player story mode, which is real shame and will disappoint a lot of players.

A few weeks ago, I dropped AMD for NVidia, and it’s already the best performer in my gaming portfolio. I dropped AMD because the stock’s chart was reflecting rumors of a takeout by Microsoft, which didn’t happen. Instead, Microsoft announced further support for NVidia (in cloud imaging-related chips iirc).

When the reason you bought a stock is no longer true (chart putting in a bottom, but not on one-time news), it’s time to sell. AMD may still have a bottom though, buoyed along with bids on Intel and Micron, both reporting solid results this earning season.

The week before last was the online gaming scandal, with Nevada senator Harry Reid quoted as saying:

“-online gaming is a real scary thing and we’d better look at all of it.”

Draft Kings announced last month they are taking fantasy sports to eSports, starting with League of Legends. Of course, we all know about gambling and lottery mechanics in all of our favorite F2P games, so this is something to watch. As a Nevada senator, Reid is defending the established Nevada gaming industry, of course.


We already covered this. I’ll be publishing my novels in the next few weeks. I spent the last year final-polishing the final drafts. My support site is up, such as it is, and I’m polishing the book covers and writing blurbs under the name Jacquotte Fox Kline.

I’ll finally have 15 years of work over, except for the fifth and final obligatory apocalyptic vampire novel. I still need to finish with the vampires, and then I can get on with being a tired old elf wannabe with my books finished, like Bilbo.

Weekly Wyrm: Aug. 18, 2014

razer blackwidow ultimateI’m finally catching up with the news that Firefly Online is in development, but it’s for iOS and Android (as well as PC i.e. Steam). So that makes three of my favorite great IPs ruined by game developers.

Something Old: Vampires And Fireflies

A few months ago, years of World of Darkness development were thrown in the northern Atlantic ocean. Last year, Neverwinter was developed as a distillation trap of F2P cash shopping and currencies.

The current official Neverwinter site is now a redirect to a generic game portal, which appears like a storefront loaded with ads and prices for lockboxes and “booster packs”, a fantasy game world converted into an evil borg-like credit card interface.

How can anyone have pride playing that game? How can Cryptic pretend to be the torchbearer of the great and storied Dungeons and Dragons legacy in video games with a presentation like that? They can’t.

The legend ended when Bioware ended, and for me Neverwinter Online ended with my halfling cleric in beta. And now the elusive dream of a Firefly MMO ends with a low-budget IP exploitation mobile game with the original actors lining up happily for their paychecks.

Like with Neverwinter, it’s disappointing. Nothing will ever be more disappointing than World of Darkness though. Some let-downs you should expect. Others you should never forget. Or forgive. Stay bitter until your bitter death.

I don’t know what to look forward to at this point. At least I missed the first two Everquest boats, so that whole scene is new to me, and voxels look cool and unusual.

Something New: Rainbow Razers

A few months ago, I bought a brand new Razer Blackwidow Ultimate from Fry’s Electronics off the shelf, and it was very dusty, had two of some caveman’s knuckle hairs stuck to it, and a key didn’t work. Not kidding.

Since then, I found a keyboard at a thrift store that I tried, and that hurt the fingers too much, so I tried again for a Blackwidow Ultimate, this time from Best Buy. So far, I’m liking it.

I tried to buy any brand other than a Razer, but I couldn’t. They were either too cheap and ugly, overpriced, or didn’t have the audio jack in the side. The jack is the kicker, since I’m so tired of that long headphone cord getting in the way.

Now the cordage is tidy. I can keep on gaming, I hope, without more pain. I also have the backlighting, so I can type this post much faster, saving some time. The default backlighting was eye-searing at first, but the Razer control software has a dimming option.

Razer has a new Chroma keyboard coming out that offers a rainbow of choose-your-own color, but it’s releasing at $180, which is completely cray-cray. I suppose you could call $140 for a keyboard completely cray-cray too.

Something Borrowed

My game development is going slowly. I’m burned out for the moment. It’s nice being able to either do art, write dialog, or code. It’s like trail mix for the soul. I really need to be developing full time, though. Unfortunately I’m too old to live with my parents like some indie heroes these days get her done, and too no-talent to borrow money for this thing.

Angry Joe has an entertaining review up of the Last of Us Remastered. I love that Angry Joe is so Playstation now, while he used to be an XBOX dude who got his angry on hard for Microsoft, and then switched sides. That’s all for now. Kitty out. Happy gaming.