Infinity Wars–Healing Kills

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Deck in action (YouTube).

The main objective of this deck is to bring out Celestial Dragon and Corrupted Celestial Dragon. With Corrupted Celestial Dragon in the support zone, Celestial Dragon will do 40 damage instead of just 20.

The commander choices are to get some early attacks and disruption happening, and the deck is full of abilities to kill the forces the opponent brings out and buy time until late game is reached.

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I AM AN AIRPLANE.

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April Fools Day for Guild Wars 2, featuring old style visuals (flickering sepia), and our characters running around pretending to be airplanes.

What a time to be alive.

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Tell me I’m wrong to hold off on GTA V.

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I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting. GTA V is finally coming to PC. I’ve held off on playing it on consoles, wanting to experience it in all it’s glory on my ideal platform.
Now it’s here though, I’m finding myself hesitant and skeptical of it. This is in part due to it realistically being a 19 month old game that still costs $80, but there’s one main issue that has me worried.

See, GTA Online is the thing that appeals to me most. Multiplayer GTA in a massive scale sounds amazing and is something I want to be a part of.
However, I’m really put off by what I see on the Steam Store page for the game:

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So if a person pre-purchases the game by the end of the month they will start off with one million dollars in game. This might truly be insignificant, but judging from what I’ve read, it isn’t.
You see, apparently things you buy in GTA Online aren’t just restricted to weapons and armor. You can also buy cars and places to store those cars, as well as home properties.So already, you have players able to own cars before people who don’t pre-order.
Next, according to an excerpt from an old IGN article:

Rockstar has also said, in an interview with Game Informer, that Heists will require at least one player with a larger home with an office for planning the jobs

The minimum price of one of these buildings, which are apparently the 10-car garage apartments, is $200,000. Now I don’t know how hard it is to get money yet, so it might be really easy to get this. However, the fact that players who pre-order have an advantage over other players in that they get to do Heists quicker as well as having weapons and cars faster feels bad.

This may all be a non-issue, but based on the information I have, it’s definitely unappealing for the person like me who can’t spend $80 on a game. Once again as stated in the title, if you can convince me otherwise I would love to hear it.

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I may buy Elder Scrolls Online

Actually, I will be buying Elder Scrolls Online. When it’s on sale for really really cheap, of course.

I have had a change of heart because Zenimax have finally caved and proclaimed that not only will the game be coming to consoles, but as of the 17th of March, there will not be a mandatory subscription. In essence, the game is adopting the “Buy to Play” structure games like Guild Wars 2 utilize.
If you like the game, you will apparently be able to pay a completely optional subscription fee for ESO Plus, which will give you access to all future downloadable content for as long as you stay subscribed (If you are not subscribed or your subscription lapses, you will need to purchase the downloadable content separately to play it), plus “monthly benefits” and a monthly allotment of crowns to spend in the store. What those benefits are and what will be on offer in the shop is unknown to me, but as long as it doesn’t fall under the rather vague label of “pay to win” 1, then I’ll be fine.

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This is a good thing for a player like me, who jumps from game to game and gets burned out quite easily when it comes to MMOs. Being able to take breaks and jump in whenever I want is important, and probably why Guild Wars 2 remains my favourite MMORPG of all time.
How they move on with development from that point on will secure the game for me as something to play, or something to uninstall and occasionally think about. As long as there’s plenty of free content added adjacent to the paid content, I will be happy.

Zenimax, do not mess this up. Also, announce Fallout 4.

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1. For clarification, “pay to win” –for me at least– means being able to pay for advantages over other players in a competitive environment. For example, being able to buy a weapon for PvP that normal players can not obtain without paying.”

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Heart of an expansion

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The Guild Wars 2 community has been on the hype train recently, which shows no signs of derailing as more and more of the upcoming expansion Heart of Thorns is revealed and teased.

xIx84dlNo brakes indeed.

They have a lot of plans; a new PVP mode, a WVW 1 map, and a whole slew of PVE content. The PVE content involves a new class, class-specializations and new forms of progression. There’s a lot coming, though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed there hadn’t been any announcements regarding dungeons. I hold out that they are just saving the best for last.

Where I have concerns though, is that this is confirmed as an expansion pack you have to buy. This is the first of the game, which up until now has released it’s content updates for free as the “Living Story” progressed.
This introduces an interesting variable, in that some of the features coming in HoT seem like they would have to be part of a free update release simultaneously to the expansion, lest they risk shutting off a chunk of their users who are unable to buy an expansion pack.

  • Guild Halls are a good example of this. Guilds have existed in the game since the beginning, and the game thrives on the communities built in the form of Guilds. After years of this feature being requested, a home instance for guilds is finally being implemented in Heart of Thorns.
    But if it becomes part of the paid expansion rather than free, it means guilds would end up divided internally into those who can enter their Guild Hall, and those who can if they shell out X amount of money.
  • Stronghold is the name of the new PVP game mode, and it’s another one that could have an interesting and possibly detrimental effect on the community if it is part of the paid expansion. Right now, the whole PVP community plays the same pool of game types and maps, and games are found relatively quickly (in my experience).
    If you could only play Stronghold if you pay for Heart of Thorns, you would separate the community into two smaller groups that will have less players to play with.
  • A new WVW map could make the game mode suffer similarly as it did when they added the Edge of the Mists map. EotM features a better reward system to normal WVW, and splits the community. Instead of having the entire server banding together to dominate WVW, you have a chunk of them chasing loot in EotM. You can’t begrudge them for that, but you also can’t deny that it’s had a bad effect on the main WVW game.
    If they had the reward system of EotM in this map without revamping the original maps and bringing them on par with it, then it will further pull people from the main maps.
    It gets worse if the map is only playable if you buy the expansion. In my server, we travel as a large group jumping from map to map fighting where we need to. Imagine you have a group of 40 people and you needed to jump into that map for the fights, but only 25 people in that group have the expansion. Suddenly your group is nearly halved and you are at a major disadvantage. Wouldn’t that suck massively?
  • The Living Story is the last thing to bring up in this series of points. It’s one of the games big draws, and despite a shaky start as they tested what worked and what doesn’t, it’s pretty cool. The basic concept is that even when you aren’t playing the game, the story is moving along. Every few weeks, the next chapter of the story is released, and you can play along with it and participate, unraveling the plot as it goes. This has always been for free up until now, taking us all over as we uncover secret plots and dragons are awakened.
    However, Heart of Thorns will apparently take us deeper into the Maguuma Jungle and give us new maps to explore in the main game. The Living Story will beyond a shadow of a doubt take us into these areas.
    So, if those areas weren’t free, those users who for years have been following the stories and events of Guild Wars 2 closely and participating in everything suddenly hit a wall. We were left on a cliffhanger at the end of the second season of the Living Story, and it would probably kill it for a lot of people if ArenaNet suddenly held out their hand and said “You have to pay for the rest”.

That’s most of what was revealed though…

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Yes, outside of their masteries progression system (which looks awesome and is confirmed to be expansion-only content), new classes and class specializations, there isn’t much that was revealed that I feel can be paid for unless it’s cosmetic (like Legendary weapons. I’m happy having to pay for more alternatives). This is purely because you have to take into careful consideration not impeding a player’s enjoyment of the game if he chooses not to buy the expansion.
It’s with that belief that I hope we haven’t had everything revealed to us. We have heard absolutely nothing about dungeons for example, and they’re some of the content that seems to get the least attention. There’s still no release date set for the expansion, so maybe when whatever date they have planned gets closer, they’ll refresh us and get the hype train going again with fresh news.

I’m curious as to how they will maintain the delicate balance between those who buy the expansion and those who don’t. I’ll be buying it regardless, but I hope ArenaNet have learned how to hold the community together.

If you’re interested in what the expansion offers, I suggest checking out WoodenPotatoes YouTube channel. He covers, theorizes and speculates about lore and other aspects of the Guild Wars universe, but with Heart of Thorns being the hot topic, he’s releasing multiple videos discussing and dissecting what we know.

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1. Server versus Server mass-scale PVP

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What’s that sound? I hear someone spending money!

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H1Z1 was released on Steam Early Access a few days ago, and I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve played it. When I say the time I’ve played it, I mean the time not spent sitting in a queue to enter a server (Which totals at around an hour for me, altogether). I do not mind though, it’s a sign that the game is currently popular and I’m going to end up on a decently populated server.

It’s a good early version of a game, but unfortunately a lot of the discussion on the game has been controversial and surrounding the monetization aspect of the game. You see, H1Z1 is $20 to buy into Early Access but will eventually be Free To Play when it is released. The way they plan to make money is with a few items you can buy with real money. These are as follows:

  • Keys, which open crates containing cosmetic skins to style your items. Crates are apparently earned as you play, and the skins can only be applied to items you have already found.
  • Tickets to special server types, such as Battle Royale. I am yet to do anything along these lines, but I have one or two Event Tickets so I very well may in the near future. The cool part about these is that you can either earn them over time while playing, or buy them for a dollar each if you don’t want to wait.

The final item doesn’t get a dot point, because it’s the focus of this post; air drops. Air drops cost five dollars and initiate a special event on a server provided it has 120 players at that time.
Once an air drop is called, a very loud plane moves slowly over head, deploying a package that descends slowly. That package has beacons on it, and when it hits the ground it spawns a cluster of zombies around it. The air dropped package contains a bunch of items including food, water and weapons.

When the game first released a few days ago, drops were not tweaked properly, and you had people calling airdrops that would fall within 250 metres away. Since they were close, they were able to run, grab the items and have an advantage. To everyone who saw or heard of this, it sounded completely “pay to win”. Now it has been corrected with a whole bunch of changes (including slower descent/deployment, and it can now drop almost three times as far away from the calling player).

People are still crying Pay To Win because to them, the fact remains that you can pay five dollars to deploy these things with food and weapons in the game. I absolutely disagree here.

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Madden gifs are still amazing. And you can’t tell me what to do, mum.

We need to look at this a different way. From where I stand, I don’t see people buying weapons and food. Instead, I see people paying to initiate a major event on the server. An event where you have to fight players and zombies alike to get to the reward at the end.
Think of it like you were playing a game such as World of Warcraft. You’re on a map that is reasonably full, but there isn’t much happening in the way of events. Now imagine you could pay a few dollars to activate a special event everyone could participate in. The players who score or perform the best during that event would be eligible for the random rewards on offer. I don’t know about you, but that sounds awesome.

It sounds awesome, and that very hypothetical situation is pretty much what is happening here. Sure, there is loot on offer if you can get it, but that’s not what you’re paying for. You are paying to create something. Imagine if twenty people see that drop and run over to it, all fighting each other to get to it. Further still, imagine if several groups of survivors ran to it. You very well may have created a fucking bloodbath, as people struggle over a reward that could just contain a bow and torch. You made drama.

I would pay five dollars to see that.

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The real issue in the Street Fighter V exclusivity drama.

The other day Capcom announced Street Fighter V to the masses, and that it would be exclusive to the Playstation 4, and PC. There would be no Xbox One version, apparently ever.

This has caused confusion and speculation galore, with people suggesting it’s because of money, it’s because Microsoft refuse to allow the game to be crossplay, it’s because the Xbox One didn’t sell well in Japan. There’s a lot of suggestions, but we won’t know for sure.

I couldn’t care less about that, as I don’t own either console. I do however own one contender, who seems to be completely ignored.

Interest-in-the-Wii-U-Surges-After-Nintendo-s-E3-Presentation-Report-451910-2Forget about someone?

Where’s my Wii U version of Street Fighter? Where’s my Street Fighter vs Smash Bros. crossover? Nintendo, Capcom, you’re really dropping the ball here.

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Target Australia removed GTA V from it’s shelves.

It’s been a hot topic on the Internet and among gaming communities. I wanted to put my thoughts on it right here, then move on to better things. I might make a hot coffee or something.

The main concern put forward in the petition is that it encourages players to commit violence against women for fun and rewards. People at the forefront of the group who started the petition have said that the game will groom yet another generation of children to tolerate violence against women.
This of course, ignores the fact that GTA V is in fact an R18+ game, and cannot be sold to minors. So those kids who are exposed to the game are only exposed to it because the parents gave it to them.

With that in mind and the other misconceptions put forward in the petition, I find the whole issue to be completely backwards and something I would have expected to happen during the release of GTA III back in 2001. That is well over a decade ago, when we were all a little naïve and Jack Thompson ran rampart protesting about video game violence. We all know what happened there.

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In the end, as much as I disagree with it, I also realize I should not care. I do not currently shop at Target for games, and given this I probably won’t in the future either.
My only desire is that people remember that violent video games do not make people violent.

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I swore it was the end.

I still remember looking at you, wishing I had the will to keep loving you. There was something so inviting about you this time. You promised me so many new things, and delivered on them. I was ready, my body was ready, to embrace you whole-heartedly. I wanted to love you, so why couldn’t I?

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This is the eighth time I’ve let you back into my life.

I was barely able to bring myself to get two badges out of eight in the game, arguably the first “unique” Pokemon in years. It offered rapidly new visuals and mechanics to make the game fun, but it wasn’t enough. It still felt like Nintendo’s version of Call of Duty; near-yearly releases that do not deviate from the tried and true design of it’s series.

Nostalgia

I’ve been a semi-dedicated fan of the Pokemon series of games since the beginning. I remember being given a copy of Pokemon Blue for my birthday. I spent until eleven at night 1 playing, and didn’t get any further than Viridian City. This wasn’t because I was invested in the lore or wanted to experience the game to it’s fullest –though that’s how I passed the time– it was actually because I didn’t pay attention at the start and didn’t realize I was meant to go to the Pokemart to get Oak’s package. I spent four hours in the first area of the game before I realized what I was meant to do.
This of course shows that my being terrible at games is clearly something I was born with, but still. That was my first memory of playing Pokemon. I went on to collect all 151 pokemon 2, and loved every minute of it.

I got older

The games are still great. But as you get older and go through nine iterations of what is effectively the exact same game with a new skin, you start to feel a bit of a grind. Every game, you convince yourself the next one will be different. The evil corporation has different motives! This time your rival is your best friend and it’s just friendly competition! This time there are sixty nine hundred pokemon to catch!
It doesn’t matter what they use to try to lure you, it always feels the same, and it sucks.

Why am I writing about this?

Why indeed. Well, after I found myself unable to bring myself to get past two badges in the last two generations of game (Black 2 and X), I promised myself I wouldn’t spend money on another Pokemon. It just wasn’t worth it if I didn’t plan to play the game all the way through 3.

Of course, then I found out about the midnight release of the latest games, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Next thing I know, we’re at our local store, lining up for a copy. I swore I’d only buy a copy for my sister and partner, but with all the Pokemon remixes blaring in the store and the cosplayers, I got swept up in the hype and ended up with my own copy of Omega Ruby.
I feel bad, because I worry I’m going to find myself unwilling to play the game. It looks cool, but so did the last game. The idea of being able to create my own secret base and share it online sounds great, but will it be enthralling enough?

The final question I pose to myself, is will this game finally be the Pokemon I need, or was I better off spending this money on the season pass for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare?

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1. That was what a kid like me considered “all night”.
2. Yes I even got Mew, then made a business at school of cloning it using a glitch and selling them to other kids for a dollar.
3. We’ll of course ignore that I have finished less than twenty of the 350 games I own on Steam.

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Fixed Camera Survival Horror?

I like Resident Evil 6. There, I said it.

It’s something a lot of people do not, though. It comes from a love of the series old mechanics and gameplay. It doesn’t seem to be purely nostalgia, but a genuine love of how it worked.

RE 2Beautiful, right?

There’s a general dislike for modern games in franchises like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, and how far they’ve moved on from what they were originally. Talking to a friend, a thought crossed my mind that I posed as a question to him:

If the mechanics are so beloved, why aren’t they present and popular in modern games?

We discussed why, covering a plethora of ideas as to how a whole gaming subgenre 1 could be seemingly forgotten, or if it hasn’t why no-one has attempted to fill that niche.

It occurred to me that it obviously must have. There were people remaking the original Resident Evil 2 and putting it in a modern third person perspective. There are people who speed-run or just generally stream these games and have fairly decent sized audiences while they do so. Surely there would be people with an interest in keeping the genre alive.

Well, I looked and it looks like the genre is alive, but for some reason these games just didn’t get that much attention. At least, not enough attention that I was able to notice. If they did and I’m just an idiot, feel free to inform me. Anyway, I thought I’d share the games I found that at least claim to be classic survival horror, released in the past few years.

Blacksoul: Extended Edition

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The game reports to being a third person survival horror game, and reviews claim it is the “answer to the classic survival-horror fan’s prayers”. It references Resident Evil and Silent Hill in reviews, because of course it does. The screenshot above looks like it could play similar and have a decent atmosphere. Other screenshots on the store page look devoid of colour, but it still has potential. For two dollars I’m willing to give it a go, anyway.

Long Night

A Steam game that looks like they’re planning to release episodically. So far there is only one episode of three, but the next is supposed to be released in the next few months (This was claimed in July, so I guess it should be soon?).
Steam reviews are a good way to determine if Long Night is the sort of game that deserves to be on the list, and there is definitely indication from other players that this feels like “old horror adventures” “from the playstation era”. So that’s promising, and hopefully worth a look.

After those two, it’s hard to determine what is actually Fixed Camera Survival Horror without going to a lot of depth and watching videos, which would give away parts of games.
If you read this and know of any games that fulfill what I’m after, please share them!

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1. I feel these games should fall under their own “Fixed Camera Survival Horror” genre, as these games are vastly different to the likes of Amnesia and Dead Space, which also fall under the “Survival Horror” title.

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