Thursday, February 11, 2010

Excitement for Bad Company 2

A lot of the gamers I know have been playing the PC beta with me since it was made public, and I have to say there is a big degree of excitement for this release.  Apparently the beta has been downloaded around three million times.  Quickly making it one of the top downloaded demo titles of all time!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bad Company 2 Preview


In Bad Company 2, DICE has really made an effort to keep the essential Battlefield gameplay, but improve on it further.

The multiplayer demo and PC beta really introduce us into the majority of the gameplay essentials.
It's hard to compete with Modern Warfare 2 for a similar game world timeframe, but Battlefield will always have the edge with the large scale maps, vehicles, and a veteran multiplayer team that loves dedicated servers.

In the beta, they plunge you into Rush Mode.  Rush is a gameplay mode where there is one team of attackers, and one of defenders.  The attackers goal is to destroy the M-COM stations (That look like large boxes of rocket ammunition with computers strapped to the top) by either planting a timed explosive, or using remote C4 charges.

The map in Rush also changes in a new way.  Imagine a linear map being diced into four distinct chunks.  Players begin on the first "chunk" until the first two objectives are destroyed, then the map shifts.  The attackers now spawn where the defenders were, and the defenders have to fall back and defend a brand new position with added defensive bonuses.  By the time you're at the final defensive area, the defenders have the high-ground and a Blackhawk chopper to deter attackers.  Like any Battlefield game though, if the attackers have excellent communication and coordination, they can still dominate the defending team. The same could be said of the defenders.  A well coordinated defense team can keep the attacking team from even destroying the initial map "chunk" and cause the attackers to run out of lives.

Even though I personally favor the Conquest mode of Battlefield over almost every other FPS game mode on the market, Rush mode has given me some new considerations about how "capturing" points should be.  I seem to have a new favorite to add to my multiplayer gaming career.  

Bad Company 2 is certainly going to be purchase-worthy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Fall of the Lich King

The conclusion to the six year Arthas saga is here. It brings a large degree of closure to the majority of the Warcraft fans out there. For me, just a reminder of how decent storytelling and standards can be corrupted by wealth and fame.

Let's look back at Arthas's tale. The quick rundown is...
-Arthas is a mighty paladin for the Alliance serving under Uther.
-Arthas gets manipulated into killing innocents by believing they are under the effects of the Scourge.
-Arthas finds the mighty sword, Frostmourne, and supposedly defeats Muradin Bronzebeard.
-Frostmourne begins to corrupt Arthas making him into a Death Knight.
-Arthas feels his power diminishing and heads to return to Icecrown.
-Arthas defeats Illidan at Icecrown and dons the Lich King's armor as his own.
-Arthas is now the Lich King leading the Scourge against humanity.
-Apparently Arthas's heart still exists and there is a degree of humanity left within him and that is the reason that the undead have not overwhelmed Azeroth.

So that brings us to Blizzard's conclusion and story manipulation. As the player enters Icecrown Citadel for the 10/25 man raid encounters, they listen to Bolvar Fordragon resisting the Lich King's corruption.

The rumor is, the life-giving fire of the Red Dragonflight has fused itself with Bolvar and makes him resistant to becoming undead. So now he is this elemental being of fire with Bolvar's consciousness and memories.

Now here's where the internet made me disappointed. After browsing numerous forums and internet boards, the majority of the fanbase doesn't even really understand Bolvar's background. I would venture to say that the majority of these WoW players have begun their Warcraft experiences AFTER the first expansion had been released. Only a very select few of the original "Vanilla" WoW players remember Bolvar from the Onyxia questline where you discover that Onyxia has had a presence in Stormwind and Bolvar valiantly fights off many dragonkin with ease. Giving you the first glimpse into his might. Most of the player base only remembers the Wrathgate cinematic and that's how they know who Bolvar is and what he has done. It hardly does the character justice. This leads to the eventual conclusion I was making about Blizzard.

Blizzard might as well have phoned in the ending to the Arthas saga to Hollywood. Oh, Arthas is dead, but there always needs to be a Lich King to control the Scourge, so naturally since Bolvar is barely human anymore, but still a beacon of light in the darkness, he should take the crown. So we've resolved nothing and instead created a more powerful being of darkness once his corruption has completed. It took Arthas around seven years to become fully engulfed by evil, and it may take Bolvar longer, but it continues to leave the end of the Lich King very open ended. It leaves the possibility for additional expansions to be created for WoW while re-using old content and lore behind the Scourge.

Here's what should have gone down. If Bolvar had taken the crown, and still had his sanity, why couldn't he have used the power of the Lich King to destroy all the Scourge abominations that plague Azeroth? Why could he not call them all to his side and trap them forever within Icecrown and leave the lands of Azeroth safe from the undead? Why couldn't Tirion have destroyed the Lich King's armor after this had been done? It seems like a real cop out to simply end Arthas and just replace him with another. I agree with many that Bolvar is a much more "badass" Lich King than Arthas was, but it still doesn't create any permanent solution for the races of Azeroth.

I stand by my opinion that I believe the Icecrown Citadel instance and the end of the Arthas saga was far too rushed in order to keep players engaged in the franchise and they could have been much more creative with their plot.