August IGC Preview

August is already here (practically) and looking back I realized it was around this time last year that I started posting about the instant game collection. So here’s to a year of this column (of sorts), and more years to come.

We’re in the second month of the new format, where we get two games per platform (PS4, PS3, PSVita), although in the notes for this month, it appears that a few of the titles are cross buy, so it ends up being more than two each. However, we’ll still be getting them all at once. First up, the video. Skip that if you would prefer to read 😛

Alright readers, here goes.

On PS4 this month, there’s a new title releasing called “Road Not Taken.” It’s a “rogue-like puzzle game,” in that some of the elements are procedural, but I didn’t hear mention of permadeath. It’s puzzle-like because there are a limited amount of moves per room, and you have people to rescue before you move on to the next. This seems like an indie game that will end up on other platforms as well, so check Steam if you aren’t a Sony guy/gal. The second title is Fez, which we had a little bit of a talk about on the podcast not too long ago. Remember the Phil Fish stuff? Yeah you do. Regardless, this is a title I haven’t played so I’m willing to check it out, though that dude’s attitude kind of makes me want to skip it. That one is cross buy across all three platforms. It’s a platformer with some puzzle-y stuff.

On PS3 (aside from Fez), there’s Crysis 3, which seems to be a popular series. I played the 2nd one a couple of years ago for a few moments and don’t remember being overly impressed. It does seem to have some cool features but they keep using the word sandbox in their description of the game, and I just don’t see it being that. Keep your eyes open for the next podcast, and you’ll hear more about what I think makes for a sandbox game. Still, it’s cool that they’re still giving us AAA titles for free, even if they’re old. I skip a bunch of them anyway due to hardly ever boarding the hype train. The other title is a game called Proteus, and I do remember seeing this one when it released earlier, both on Steam and PSN. It truly looks like a walking simulator, no sarcasm intended. Apparently the music changes with the mood of the world, and the island is procedurally generated, so no two playthroughs are alike. I’ll probably fiddle around with it, but nothing really exciting here.

On PSVita, the best game of the bunch (most likely) is Dragon’s Crown. I bought the game last year when it released (almost to the day if I remember correctly) and had a blast with it. It does have some ridiculous character models, but the game is a lot of fun especially if you loved Golden Axe type games. It has more depth with items and levels and all that good stuff, plus local or online multiplayer. This one too is cross buy, so PS3 owners will get a copy. Maybe I’ll go back and play it some more. I did beat the game on normal, but there’s further difficulties and more stuff has been added via patch since I last played it. Lastly, another new released specifically for the Vita, called Metrico. It’s another simplistic platformer, and I really can’t say much else about it.

Looks to be a pretty decent month, particularly if you don’t own any of the games. If anyone has a PS4 and tries out Road Not Taken, let me know how it is.

#instantgamecollection #playstationplus #igc

Sona Rework + Gnar Reveal

A new patch is coming down the pipeline in League of Legends. This time around it’s number 4.13, and with it comes a lot of tweaks and fixes like a normal patch. It’s been a long while since I went over some patch notes or really paid attention to the game, but outside of the Doom Bots mode that I talked about recently, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on. I know the pros are doing there thing and I haven’t been really watching. I like when the action heats up in the fall, that’s when the best games happen. So yeah, it’s about time some news came out of League that I really care about. I’ll leave the link to the patch notes here, so you can read them if you’re curious. One part that I did find particularly interesting was this little tidbit:

Toasters rejoice!

  • Improved match loading speeds by 10-30%, particularly for older machines

Not only is that pretty damn funny, since I’ve made the toaster joke countless times, but it’s also a great improvement. Loading times can be atrocious, and that sometimes makes me not want to play the game. On a serious note, there are some nice fixes/changes in the full notes, but I didn’t want to spend too much time on that. The biggest part of this patch that I’ve got my eyes on is the Sona Rework.

You might recall that I spent some time at the end of season 3 trying to promote out of bronze. It was my first season of ranked play, and I didn’t take it very seriously, but I wanted to get at least to silver, and I managed to accomplish that. I ended up using Sona in a large portion of the ranked games that I played, and had some success. I really enjoy playing the support role (though solo-top Shen was a blast too), and I loved playing Sona. So much so, that when given the opportunity to play her in ARAM still feels like a treat. She’s been one of my favorite characters for a long time, so seeing her get some love is a great. The question is, is it really love? Or a hidden nerf?

Looking at her skill updates, I feel like it’s nice to have a visible aura rather than the implied one, but apparently they’ve actually reduced the range of the auras, and rather than being a continuous passive, the passives are better but only for a couple of seconds. All of the added benefits when using power cords seem to be better, but since I haven’t tried her yet, I’m not sure if this rework is going to be awesome or not so hot. I know that other reworks I’ve written about ended up being for the better (Master Yi, Rengar, among others), but time will tell on this one. I hope they didn’t ruin one of my favorites.

They did give her a visual update as well, and though I’m not overly fond of her base model, the Pentakill skin looks better than it did before. I look forward to trying her out.

Another reason why I’m excited to talk about League again, is that there’s finally a new champion on the horizon. It feels like so long ago that Braum came out, but I realize it really hasn’t been that long. I picked him up not long after his release but I’ve been on sort of a break from the game so I haven’t messed around with him all that much. I hear he’s been pretty well-liked on the pro scene. Anyway, the new champion was teased a while ago (which I somehow missed) and was revealed earlier today. His name is Gnar, and he’s one angry Yordle.


I love Yordles. At least a couple of them. I don’t understand my affinity to short races, but it’s there nonetheless. Gnar is an interesting champion in that he has the two form thing going like a few others do (Elise, Jayce, Shyvanna), but it’s based in a different way so as to stay fresh. Basically, the little guy has a couple decent abilities and as he does stuff, he builds rage. That sounds like Tryndamere or Renekton, I know, but he actually changes form after an ability is used once his rage bar is full, or after a few seconds of it being full. This means he’ll take a little finesse to master. His abilities change once in this form, and he has to be “Mega Gnar” to use his ultimate. When he’s Mini, he is more agile and has some poke, when he’s Mega he’s more in your face brawler. I like the trading of styles like that so I think this champion will be a fun solo-top champion.

It never fails, I’ll take some time off from League of Legends, but I’ll always be back when cool new stuff is there to try out. More on this as I know more.

#leagueoflegends #gnar #sona

State of the Game: I have a Problem

Don’t worry, it’s not a new problem, and most gamers have it:  “the new shiny.” The ever expanding free to play market doesn’t help things much. That means even a gamer on a budget cannot escape their problem. Maybe that’s why people sell their children to traffickers… but I digress.

This week I played more Hearthstone than anything. The Curse of Naxxramas released last Tuesday, as you all know, and with it came numerous challenges. Then it was back to the quest grind for gold for the upcoming wings. I’m pushing 2k gold, so I’m not far off from owning them all. I’m sure I’ll have enough gold saved with each release. You can read about my playthrough of the first wing here.

As I mentioned, I did do quite a bit of dailies throughout the week, so I had time to experiment with some of the cards. I have since modified my zoo deck, and thought I’d talk about that. Here’s the cards:

Click to enlarge

This is still basically the same deck I’ve been using for months, with some tweaks. I added in four new cards from the expansion, x2 Haunted Creeper, and x2 Nerubian Egg. These cards synergize well with the elements of this deck, because a 1/2 that pops out two 1/1’s on death is great, and probably not worth wasting a silence on. Not to mention if a Knife Juggler is already on the board, that’s two free damage. The Egg has great synergy for similar reasons, but it’s a 0/2 and will draw silence, because the 4/4 that pops is a greater threat early on. I also like to throw buffs on it from the Cleric or Argus, and use it for some damage, gaining the 4/4 in the process. I also added in a hellfire for mirror matches, and a molten for those oh shit moments when I need to turn the tide. I will probably change things around again as new cards become available, so expect more discussion about decks in the future.

I rejoined an old friend a couple of nights ago. I hadn’t played League of Legends for a month. We’ve had that kind of relationship — off and on — for a few years now. The new featured game mode drew my attention. It’s called “Doom Bots of Doom” (creative I know), and it’s a pain in the ass. Basically it’s a co-op vs. AI match on Summoner’s Rift with a twist. They did seem to “skin” the level like they used to do around the holidays, but just to give it a darker tone. It looked really nice, but nothing compared to the remake that’s coming. The bots have significantly increased abilities, to the point of being unfair. I made a recent similar comparison with Naxxramas Heroics. Annie’s ultimate creates a Tibbers that is 3x his normal size. Chogath shoots up spikes in multiple places. Galio can taunt long range, and doesn’t get stunned in the process. It’s insane. The group that I was in was fairly well balanced, and we had a fantastic Rengar in the jungle, but my lane was the only one able to hold its outer turret for long. I was playing as Caitlyn on bottom with Taric, and we were pit against Galio and Wukong. It was a nightmare, but I got an early kill. We made a push on the turret, but met resistance, and were consistently pushed back/killed. The whole team was folding upon itself. We couldn’t pull ahead, and we fed hard. Finally we started making headway (I got farmed up and started doing some damage). They were in our base when we killed a couple bots, and I split push on bottom. For whatever reason, they killed all of my team mates and never came after me. I took out their Nexus towers by myself, and they totally forgot about me. I’m not sure we would have won otherwise. It’s gnarly to say the least, but the mode ended as of Sunday.

I ended up with a new-ish game on Steam, another Rogue-like. This time around it’s a FPS, but not like Delver, an actual sci-fi type FPS. It’s called Tower of Guns, and it’s made by a developer who obviously has a AAA pedigree, because it’s well done. For a single developer that is. It’s not without it’s limitations, but overall I love the art style and the twitch gameplay. It also has the procedural generation, loads of guns and imaginative enemies. It’s Serious Sam (bullet hell) meets The Binding of Issac (each room presents new challenges and there’s random power ups). You might have heard me talk about it on the Podcast, so I won’t go into it too much more. To give you an idea what it looks like, here’s some shots from my adventures:

2014-07-23_00003 2014-07-24_00001 2014-07-24_00007

Lastly, I downloaded yet another MMO, but it was mainly for research. I made a statement about Wildstar, saying that it’s combat seemed similar to TERA’s, but I hadn’t ever played TERA. I figured I should rectify that, and with the game being free to play I could do just that. I ended up trying out a Sorcerer, Warrior and Slayer. I can’t decide which I like better. They all seem to control fairly the same, at least in the early game. I’m sure there’s a lot more to the game than the sample I’ve had thus far, but I’m honestly not sure that I’ll play much more. The same goes for SWTOR. I wanted to try the games that are out there so that I can say I have, and to compare mechanics, markets, and ideas. I still haven’t found a game that hooks me to the point I want to play it an nothing else. That hasn’t happened since I first fell in love with Everquest II, and most people would laugh at that remark. If WoW wasn’t your first love, there’s something wrong with you… I can hear it now. But seriously, I’ve been looking for a long time for something to fill that MMO void, and I’ve played a lot of games. Some people might say “the game doesn’t start til you hit the cap” or other such nonsense, but I can’t be bothered with that logic. I feel like a game should sink it’s claws into you and not let go. If it doesn’t do that, it hasn’t succeeded. None of the games I’ve played recently, despite positive or negative commentary, have hooked me. But there’s more games on the horizon (Firefall will be live on Tuesday and the Archeage beta I was invited to starts Wednesday), so who knows, maybe one of them will do the trick. If not, there’s always H1Z1 or something else I haven’t heard about yet. Time will tell, but for now the hunt for a new MMO home continues. I might still dabble in some of these regardless. No promises though. I will say TERA was a hell of a lot better looking than Wildstar.

That’s about it for this week. Until next episode.

#stateofthegame #gaming #roundup

Soapbox Derby

I think it’s time to put some things to bed.

First, let’s cover the back story. Syp over at Bio Break, recently wrote a post about ArcheAge. I should also make clear that I have yet to play ArcheAge and I haven’t been following it all that closely. I know there was a paid Alpha, and I know I didn’t spend money on that. I was recently invited to the closed beta that’s starting next week, but that’s not clouding anything I’m going to say here. Regardless of my knowledge of the game or lack thereof, I was presented with some opinions about the game and it’s community in his post.

I should also mention that I didn’t read his post first. I actually read J3w3l’s response which lead me to his, but that’s not super relevant because I read both blogs almost daily. I basically read both posts at the same time, and here’s the gist of them:

Syp believes that because ArcheAge is an MMO, it should cater to all audiences. ArcheAge was apparently (correct me if I’m wrong) built to be a open-world PvP-only game. This means that even the most basic systems were composed with PvP conflict in mind. Something like that is rarely done, and Syp himself is part of the reason why. He isn’t a PvP player. People who aren’t PvP players would prefer PvE servers that at the very most have instanced PvP, but preferably none at all. That’s fine, to each their own I say. But the dilution of the MMO industry has occurred because of people who don’t allow games like this to be untouched, meaning the developers get to make the game they envision. Next thing you know, a game like ArcheAge is another run-of-the-mill themepark, just because someone who doesn’t like PvP games demanded that a PvE version be made.

J3w3l was a bit more hostile in her reply, though knowing her and her personality, she’s mostly joking. But the passion is there, and that’s what’s important. Passion makes good games. Good games don’t always cater to everyone. If you want to knock it down to its most basic level, there are many other MMOs on the market that already cater to everyone, and have a little bit of both. Go play one. But when a game that’s breaking out of the mold comes along you cry that it needs to be more of the same. That’s a shame, and as a result we’d never see anything new again. I’m glad some developers are still willing to take risks.

So that’s the basic argument, with a splash of my opinion sprinkled throughout. On J3w3l’s post, I commented:

The PvPers manifesto right here.

I read Syp’s post, and I too felt as combative as the players on the forums that he referenced. The entire industry (outside of instanced pvp or the call of duty series or MOBAs as a whole) is built on PvE. PvAI more like. And I’ve been a major supporter of PvP because it does create ever-changing dynamic content. Sure there are RP servers that do some pretty amazing things in other MMOs, but it’s still not dynamic, and it usually equates to do some frivolous stuff and standing around a bunch. The ability to have the dynamics that games like EVE had (and I’m glad Wilhelm brought that up) where PvE players can still participate in farming/mining/economy — whatever — is where PvE players could still get some fun out of PvP games, and maybe even learn to enjoy them. Supposedly the majority of EVE players stay out of the PvP areas.

One way or the other, I am all for diversity amongst games, and not just with race/class/sex issues, but also for the types of mechanics they use. There are very few successful PvP-only MMOs, and if ArcheAge is able to bring a new one to the fold without catering to the entitled folks, I’m all for it. I actually just got a closed beta invite yesterday, so I’ll be checking it out myself next week.

Kudos for the article. Well done.

That went unnoticed for a couple of days. Sure enough, it wouldn’t be for long. My buddy Doone, ever the antagonizer, had this to say:

I see people throw this term around a lot. Dynamic suggests unexpected things can happen in game, and to that end whenever there are players around doing ANYTHING, the game is dynamic. The constant threat of losing assets you spent a lot of time to get doesn’t add dynamism. It just adds risk. So what is this dynamic gameplay you all are referring to which can only be present when players are killing each other?

The funny part about all this is that Doone doesn’t have a problem with PvP, he just likes to argue. So I responded again, and I think I made my point clear:

The dynamic you are missing is that killing isn’t necessarily what is meant by PvP. It’s the dynamic element of HUMAN INTELLIGENCE which eclipses that of AI, and can create conflict from nothing, can create situations that wouldn’t occur when it’s a program run by a script. Tell me that running the same stupid pattern in a dungeon or raid over and over again doesn’t get old fast. Tell me that it would be more fun if you knew the enemy was able to actually ADAPT to what you’re doing, rather than wondering why he can’t hit you with the fire, but some other dumb player will stand in it?

I think that people who swear off PvP are afraid of a challenge. Each camp has its trolls, sure, but I think pro-PvP gamers are mostly looking for something dynamic and engaging. We are tired of the rails.

Now, I know that this isn’t speaking for the entirety of PvP players. I’m sure there are plenty of assholes out there who love to grief, and who might take things a bit too far. But there’s a breed of PvP player who feels just like the paragraph above, and I think they would agree that it puts the argument to rest. It won’t ever stop, but I feel like I got the best word in.

EDIT (7/28):
The discussion has continued, beyond comments here and on the posts linked above. Syp has posted a follow up to his original post. You can read that here. I’m sure we’ve all been entitled players at one point or another, so I’ll agree with him that we’re all hypocrites. But at the same time, I still stand firm that if a game was designed to be an open-world PvP sandbox, it shouldn’t have a separate PvE server. I also think that the way PvP servers are added in as an afterthought to PvE-centric games is stupid. I’m not against PvE games whatsoever. I simply want the market to continue and try new things, so we aren’t stuck with more of the same over and over. I think it’s a pretty logical position.

#opinion #gamediscussion #pvevspvp #archeage

Couch Podtatoes Episode 6: Successful Sexism


Welcome to another episode of your new favorite podcast! It’s been a month since we’ve had Doone on our show, and it’s time for another “Doone’s Digital Frontier” segment. This time around, Doone wanted to talk about Sexism — done right. This means that the author acknowledges the content created has sexist content, but is using it to create a discussion in a positive light. You’ll understand more clearly by listening, I promise 😛 Otherwise, the usual idiots are still doing stupid things on the internet, and we’re highlighting the Blaugust initative that was started by Belghast of Tales from the Aggronaut (see link below or on sidebar).


Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 6: Successful Sexism (runtime: 50:36)

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 1:53)
Doone’s Digital Frontier: Successful Sexism (starts at 16:00)
Idiots on the Internet: AREAL Fail(starts at 39:09)
Community Talk: Blaugust (starts at 46:08)

Host Contact information:

Blog: Me vs. Myself and I

Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @trredskies

Idiots on the Internet article: and related:

Community Spotlight:
Belghast: Tales from the Aggronaut
the article:

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Shattered Like Glass” by Warbringer (from the album Worlds Torn Asunder)
“Built For Sin” by The Black Dahlia Murder (from the album Miasma)
“Hello” by Going Quantum (from the album Monstercat 2011)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming