Mordor Open Beta
This weekend the character model updates arrived on the LotRO beta server, and honestly they look very good. The newly aligned Standing Stone developers clearly have a mind for pushing improvements for LotRO.
Last weekend I played through the High Elf introduction on LotRO’s Mordor beta server, which involves a flashback to the Last Alliance at the end of the second age in Middle Earth.
In looks and animation, High Elf is sort of a cross between Elf and man. I found the intro sequences to be epic and entertaining, just long enough to serve the purpose, but not long enough to be boring.
Hardcore lore-monkeys and other serious-business types in the LotRO forum lambasted the High Elf production quality, however.
Some criticism, like the wet dog scraggly hair modeling, might be justified, although they have already improved that in the third beta weekend.
I thought the little story was fine. The elf does Night Elf-style dive-rolls. Most low-budget MMO’s these days don’t even have racial start areas.
Hearthstone announces Knights of the Frozen Throne
Blizzard announced Knights of the Frozen Throne yesterday. Frozen Throne might bring more deathrattle cards for my priest, which is nice.
Knights is especially exciting for players who like PvE story content in Hearthstone, because this xpack will bring that back after a year hiatus, and the discontinuation of adventures after Karazhan last year.
Also Blizz is running a promotion for the next week for double gold earned from quests. So if you’re on a break from Hearthstone, you should probably check in and knock those down for 100+ gold per quest completion.
Last week I sold Blizzard (ATVI) at $59.50 near the recent high. Today I bought back into the GAMR ETF, as shown in the image above. After an almost $1000 gain, I was just holding too much Blizzard.
It was easier for taxes to sell it all instead of taking half off the table. Also, I do not trust the U.S. market right now, or the inflated Blizzard stock price, or the profit margins on Blizzard’s impressive eSports productions. If they are going to have a lackluster quarter, it could be this one.
Today Blizzard, EA, and TTWO saw big buying demand on a market bounce. They were well above any other stocks I track. Clearly a lot of people are eager to shove their money into video game companies.
If you’ve been wanting to get into Blizzard, today was a solid bet. Blizzard is bouncing off of the top line of a straight trend channel started last February. The MACD oversold indicator (at bottom of images) is also good.
I would rather see Blizzard break and fall down into that channel before I re-buy, i.e. around $54-55. Or I’d like to see a broad market meltdown or flash crash.
This year has been horrible for retail in general. A lot of stocks have been smashed. Food. Clothes. Now auto parts. Some of this weakness may bleed over into video games, or maybe just real estate, health care, and tech companies are devouring everyone’s lunch money.
For now, I opted for a more global diversity in my video game investment. It’s interesting that the GAMR ETF holdings do not have Blizz, EA, and TTWO in the top 10. I like that. I’m also still holding NVidia, Tencent, and Netease.
NTES was my gaming pick in my last blog post in May. It is currently up 11.47% since I purchased it. According to a chart comparison tool, NTES has outperformed Blizzard slightly during the last two months. I wouldn’t expect that to continue, but it’s nice.
I also sold Silver(SLV) for a small gain at 16.30. It’s now down to 14.73, and I’m looking at it again. The problem is that both it and the dollar are much lower, which is a big problem. It would be better to buy the dollar if it turns (symbol UUP).
Other names on my current radar are Patrick Industries (PATK) for secular need for cheap housing, a trend shaping up and good PE, PEG ratios, Autozone (AZO) for oversold due to panic over O’Reilly’s released numbers, and telecom ETF (VOX), which was picked by an analyst I like (Tom Lee), and it’s a Trump trade.
edit- Today, Monday morning, I bought a bit of JD.com (JD) at 39.90 on heavy volume against a very good stop out level at 38.40. This is a small, low-risk bet for big potential gain after a very strong last earnings report and a period of consolidation.
edit- Also,as of Tuesday the GAMR ETF now has Blizzard at #7, so apparently they are buying the current weakness.
Tunnels And Trolls App Still WIP
I checked on the T&T app this week, and apparently Metaarcade is still working on it.
They’ve put up a few updates in the last week, however, and the blog post suggests the team is fighting the 90-90 rule:
The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.
Yes, that sounds about right. I’m in the same situation with my own game project, which is currently looking great. The hardest problems still need to be whipped into shape, however. My next blog post will be about that, with my first module ready for play-testing.