Nearly every week, Blog Azeroth proposes a shared topic to be discussed by World of Warcraft bloggers. For the week of December 9, 2012, the topic is: What raid-drop pets would you like to see? In Patch 5.1, Blizzard added battle pets as drops from certain raid bosses in Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and Naxxramas. An achievement called Raiding with Leashes was also added. It requires players to collect all of the new raid pets and it awards a pet of its own, Mr. Bigglesworth. Patch 5.1 also changed it so that players could enter old raids without being in a raid group and the mechanics of certain bosses were changed to make them easier to solo.
Spartan Ops in Halo 4 can trace its roots back to Halo 3: ODST’s Firefight game mode. In Firefight, up to four players would band together and defeat increasingly difficult waves of Covenant. Players were granted life based on an arcade-style lives system, and once everyone died the game was over.
To call Spartan Ops the newest iteration of Firefight would be an understatement. Spartan Ops takes the short, combat-centric focus of Firefight and combines it with story elements. Spartan Ops takes place 6 months after the events of Halo 4 and is a continuation of the story. The goal of Spartan Ops is to keep players coming back to Halo 4 week after week, so all of this extra story content is broken up into episodes. Each episode begins with a pre-rendered cinematic (aren’t they all?) and is broken up into five missions—or chapters, if you prefer.
Players giving Spartan Ops a try will find themselves in the role of Crimson Team, who then end up being sucked into every major development. It turns out the Infinity is a very small ship, despite being over three miles long and having over 800 decks.
Of the ten episodes made for Spartan Ops, five are currently available. I’m not a big fan so far.
Tormishire is a game independently developed by James Whitehead. It is an adventure platformer with quasi-experimental gameplay. Tormishire draws similarities to Cave Story, Super Metroid, and Turrican, but it’s not quite like those games, and it’s not lacking in action; it’s best described as Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow meets Metroid.
Astrada, the world where Tormishire takes place, was inspired by Whitehead’s own local caves and landmarks. A resident of Saddleworth, England, Whitehead lives near several natural—and constructed—caverns and mines. The Speedwell Caverns, the Titan caves, and Dovestone Reservoir have all been cited as inspirational, albeit romanticized to some degree. Naturally, Tormishire takes place in a large cave system.
With so many sources of inspiration for both visual aesthetic and gameplay, Tormishire is the coolest indie game you haven’t played.
While I was playing through the Halo 4 campaign, I didn’t really notice the music. I heard music, but it never really jumped out at me. I can’t recall a firefight where I was pinned down by the Prometheans and had to fight my way out. I can’t recall a time where I was just walking along a majestic cliff vista. There are some cool moments in game, but the music just isn’t there.
In our review for Halo 4 I quipped, “the score is little more than background noise.” What makes the soundtrack lackluster?
Over a decade has passed since Bungie launched Halo: Combat Evolved for the Xbox. Halo broke new ground for both Bungie and Microsoft, redefining how first-person shooters play on consoles. The popularity of Halo spawned a whole new franchise for Bungie, and since then we’ve seen three sequels and a prequel under their leadership. Now, the mantle has been passed to 343 Industries, a studio spawned by ex-Bungie developers while also bringing in new talent.
Halo 4 is 343 Industries’ first foray into creating a new Halo game. It came out on November 6, 2012 for the Xbox 360. We’ve played the campaign both solo and in co-op, and we’ve played the multiplayer. We also played Spartan Ops, but the episodic nature of that content makes it difficult to review, so we are not including it here.
On October 24, 2011 Clever Musings officially opened for business with Adam’s look at Gears of War 3. Taking a look at what we’ve accomplished in that year, we’ve written some popular articles about Skyrim, looked at the legal issues surrounding Zynga’s blatant clone of Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower, and did a lot of talking about World of Warcraft. We really like World of Warcraft, (or at the very least, we have a lot to say about it). It’s natural to take a step back when reaching a milestone like this to assess how things went and where things should be heading. Join us as we share our thoughts on the one year anniversary.
In 2007, Ronimo Games started working on a game for the Nintendo Wii called Snowball Earth as a group group graduation project at the Utrecht School of the Arts. It was their first game as a new studio, but they stopped production on the title in 2008. Fast forward to earlier today: Ronimo has released a demo for the game. It’s not a proper demo, in that the game is still cancelled; it is a prototype, but it’s fully playable. The basic premise is that a little robot accidentally freezes the Earth and starts the Ice Age. As a punishment, the robot—controlled by the player—is sent down to Earth to melt the snow and undo his mistake.
Going just from the screenshots and trailer, I think this would have been a very cool game to play. Hit the jump for link to the download, official screenshots, an additional combat trailer, and the prototype’s press release.
In the background, I have World of Warcraft running as I level my death knight’s professions. I’m following a guide so she can hit 525 blacksmithing as soon as possible. After that, I’ll be grinding out her leatherworking skill, following a guide to minimize my material investment and maximize my skill point gains.
Dammit, I have to buy ten stacks of iron bars, and they cost 20 gold each on the auction house. I might have to start doing mining runs on my main if I want to cut costs.
Right now in World of Warcraft, we’re at the end of an expansion, literally hours away from the launch of Mists of Pandaria. I don’t know why I’m bothering to level my professions now when I know the cap will just increase by another 75 points (to 600) in less than a week. I’m just going to have to grind them out when I reach 90 anyway, right? This brings me to the actual question: why do we not like professions? (While this talks largely about WoW, these same ideas can apply to other games with crafting professions.)
I’ve been leveling a tank the past two weeks in World of Warcraft. I’m leveling a Death Knight in the Blood specialization. I first made the character back in 2008 and completed the starting area that same day; Death Knights start at level 55 and leave the starting area at level 58—59, if you’re not rushing through it. Once I got to Hellfire Peninsula, I found I didn’t really care for playing a Death Knight.
After I read people were discontent with the classic Blackrock Depths dungeon, I decided to pull my Death Knight out of retirement and run a group through the Dark Iron capital. Much had changed since I first lead groups through flawlessly on my Paladin. The talents had received their Cataclysm overhaul—Frost, which was the spec I had originally intended for my Death Knight to tank in, is now purely a DPS spec—and the dungeon itself had been streamlined to expedite the new generation of leveling players. And now, with the latest patch, things have changed all over again.
At this time during World of Warcraft’s release schedule it would be typical to feel a certain sensation of pre-expansion excitement. Having played World of Warcraft since The Burning Crusade, I fondly remember being excited about both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. However, with under a week left until Mists of Pandaria’s release, my feelings on the expansion can be summed up with “meh.”
I want to be excited about Mists of Pandaria, but I am finding it more and more difficult as the release date gets closer. One of the things that got me hyped about the previous expansions was the pre-expansion world events. The Scourge Invasion preceding Wrath of the Lich King is probably my favorite, but even the Elemental Invasion set the mood for Cataclysm. It seems Mists of Pandaria will not contain any pre-expansion world event. Blizzard has instead opted to use a Scenario called “Theramore’s Fall” to set the stage. Was it enough to bring some needed hype to Mists of Pandaria?