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The Music of Mists of Pandaria

The Music of Mists of Pandaria

The music of Mists of Pandaria is some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard in World of Warcraft. It’s not like the previous Cataclysm soundtrack, which featured a lot of ominous strings and chanting to make you feel uneasy. Instead, the Mists soundtrack is calm and soothing. Part of this is due to the nature of the traditional Chinese instruments used—the guzheng, a plucked zither; the erhu, a two-string fiddle; and the dizi, a transverse flute. The composers had to learn how to compose music for these instruments; Western music (aka classical music) typically uses a heptatonic scale—seven notes per octave—while traditional Chinese music uses a pentatonic scale—five notes per octave. This radically different composition brings a new character to the world, and it fits the new continent of Pandaria quite well.

I think my favorite part about the Mists of Pandaria soundtrack is that you can’t tell who composed what. It’s a seamless soundtrack. It’s very difficult to hear a piece of music in game and think, “oh, this track was composed by Neal Acree.” The soundtrack is one with itself, which is again befitting of Pandaria.

Spartan Ops Episode 6 After Show

Spartan Ops Episode 6 After Show

Hello and welcome to the Spartan Ops After Show, where we talk about Spartan Ops after the show is over! It has been six weeks since the Spartan Ops mid-season cliffhanger. Episode 6 is out now; it’s called Scattered, and it’s pretty amazing. We’re here with the main cast of Halo: Infinity. Today, the actors who play Crimson team are going to be sharing their thoughts about this week’s episode. If you haven’t seen it for yourself yet, there might be spoilers!

Note: Since this is the internet, we’re going to spell this out very clearly. We’re not talking to actual actors, or even anyone from 343 Industries. These characters are just literary devices to convey my thoughts on the Episode in what I hope is an entertaining way. The personalities you’ll be reading are all fictitious.

Spartan Ops Season 2 Musings

Spartan Ops Season 2 Musings

The next five episodes of Spartan Ops Season 1 are available! That’s Episodes 6 through 10. It’s a 2.21 GB download, available for free on the Xbox Live Marketplace to owners of Halo 4 with an Xbox Live Gold Account. That last bit sounds redundant considering that a Gold Account is required just to start a chapter, but whatever.

The package has only been available for 20 minutes as of this writing. As I wait for the download to complete, I have to wonder what’s in the package. In the teaser 343i released, I counted the number of new environments we’ll see. There are at least six, including one that is onboard the UNSC Infinity. These all needed 3D models and possibly new textures.

What else is in there?

World of Warcraft: Musings On PvP

World of Warcraft: Musings On PvP

I don’t really player vs. player (PvP) combat in World of Warcraft that much. If I feel like I have support, I’ll try to gank players who are flagged. Otherwise I do not engage in PvP. I don’t even have a set of PvP gear or a trinket! I’m not involved in PvP, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I only have impressions to go by, mostly from developer interviews, comments, and conjecture on my part.

Comments from the community and developer interviews have left me with the impression that PvP is out of control. Blizzard has acknowledged that burst damage is too high, and that outside of those burst windows it’s really difficult to kill someone. Blizzard already has plans to reduce burst damage. Crowd control (CC) is whack. Many abilities are instant cast, and that doesn’t sit well with the developers. They’d like to shift CC abilities over to a cast time, but perhaps there is another way?

Halo 4: A Recap of Spartan Ops Episode 5

Halo 4: A Recap of Spartan Ops Episode 5

How are you doing? Have you been enjoying our recap series for Spartan Ops? That’s nice; it’s Friday so it’s time for another installment. This week we’re looking at Episode 5, “Memento Mori.” If you’re not familiar with Latin, it translates to ‘remember your mortality.’ Fitting in more ways than one, because this is our last entry of the recap series. However, we’re not done with Spartan Ops yet. Next week, we’ll be covering the new episodes as they come out. It’ll be great!

Since this is the last recap, we’re going to be doing something a little different. This week’s cinematic will be embedded behind the cut, same as always, but we’re not going to be discussing it. In fact, we’re not going to be discussing the episode very much at all this week.

I mentioned in our overview that I didn’t care for Spartan Ops so far. It has its moments, to be sure, but it’s still very lackluster. However, I never really expanded upon that thought because I knew we’d be doing a recap; my intent was that you would have seen me air my grievances with the content each week. I’ve certainly aired some grievances, but not all of them. The past five weeks have been leading up to this point, so I’m going to be driving that nail home.

I Used to Play Super MNC

I Used to Play Super MNC

I really enjoyed playing Monday Night Combat (MNC). I enjoyed playing it on the Xbox Live Arcade, and I enjoyed playing it on Steam. I have very fond memories of the game. When Super MNC was announced, I was excited; when I heard about all of the changes Uber was making, I was wary. I tepidly signed up for the beta anyways.

I didn’t enjoy Super MNC at first. After participating in the beta for 60 hours, everything suddenly clicked. I would later go on to play Super MNC for over 200 hours; I actually played Super MNC more than I played MNC. In fact, Super MNC is my third most-played game of all time, with World of Warcraft and Halo 2 coming in at first and second, respectively. There were typically over 1,500 players online in Super MNC at a time, with peaks of 2,500 players, putting it among the top 50 games played on Steam.

I haven’t touched Super MNC since May, and having 200 players at peak hours is a rarity these days. What happened? I can’t speak for the thousands of players who have moved on, but I can tell you why I stopped.

World of Warcraft Would Not Work on Consoles

World of Warcraft Would Not Work on Consoles

Over the weekend, Bob “MovieBob” Chipman tweeted:

“Hey, Blizzard? Here’s how you put WoW on consoles: Make a WoW-specific controller/keyboard, sell it with the game. PROFIT.”

Were it so easy! World of Warcraft wouldn’t work on the current consoles. I’m not sure if it would be feasible on the next generation, but I have my doubts. Now, that’s not to say MovieBob’s idea is bad. He’s a rather insightful guy who seems to know games as well as he knows film. In fact, it’s not unprecedented for console games to go beyond the standard controller—just look at the custom hardware made for games like Rock Band. A controller specific to World of Warcraft could work, especially if Blizzard could work something out with Razer and ship Nostromos for the game.

However, accessing Azeroth from a console would not be as simple as shipping a custom controller.

Halo 4: A Recap of Spartan Ops Episode 4

Halo 4: A Recap of Spartan Ops Episode 4

Is it Friday already? I guess that means it’s time for another installment of our Spartan Ops recap. I apologize for the lack of content this past week, but between my cold, the holidays, and Super Secret Stuff™, it’s been kind of difficult to get anything done. There will be non-Spartan Ops content next week. It’ll be sick, unlike me, because I’m kicking this cold’s ass.

This week we’re looking at Episode 4, “Didact’s Hand.” You should know the drill at this point; this review will show you the cinematic, a discussion about the cinematic and the chapters, commentary bashing/praising the episode, and an invitation for you to come back for more next week. That’s all happening below, after the jump. “Didact’s Hand” isn’t going to be nearly as bad as Episode 3 was, but it’s not going to be quite as good as Episode 2 was either.

Halo 4: A Recap of Spartan Ops Episode 3

Halo 4: A Recap of Spartan Ops Episode 3

It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for another recap of Halo 4’s Spartan Ops! This week we’re covering Episode 3, “Catherine.” As usual, the episode cinematic is embedded after the jump, and there will be a bit of commentary following it. However, this week we’re doing something a little different.

Our format so far has been to embed the cinematic, talk about it, and then quickly cover the chapters. To mix things up, instead of covering the cinematic beat by beat, I’m just going to discuss two scenes. This episode doesn’t warrant much more discussion than that. Also, spoilers: this episode is bad. Double spoilers: if you haven’t played the campaign, you may be slightly more spoiled.

Blog Azeroth’s Furtive Father Winter 2012

Blog Azeroths Furtive Father Winter 2012

Since 2009, Blog Azeroth has been hosting a Furtive Father Winter event for bloggers who talk about World of Warcraft. The concept is simple and endearing. Bloggers put their name in a virtual hat and are assigned other sites at random. Once you have your assigned site, your job is to learn about your blogger and “create a gift post using prose, poetry, music, graphic art, screenshots, or anything else that inspires them.” It is a secret Santa for writers who gather inspiration from a common source, and I think it is a lovely idea. This year was Clever Musing’s first year participating. I was assigned blogger Stubborn from Sheep the Diamond and I highly recommend perusing his blog when you get the chance. This morning I was excited to see that Amerpriest from AmerPriest Blog was our secret Santa!

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