State of the Game: Blaugust Edition

Here we are again with another State of the Game roundup. I don’t know why I ended up stopping this ever so briefly, because it’s a great way to touch on the little things, bits and pieces from my week that I don’t necessarily talk about until the round-up post. I’ve grown accustomed to reading other’s round-ups as well, and it’s fun to see how each person does theirs. If you need more examples, try J3w3l’s Progress Report and Link Dead Radio series, or Murf’s Weekly Encore. Blaugust is growing in scope, from ~30 posts per day to more like ~40. Belghast is pleased, as he should be. I’m pleased because this community we have all helped to build is coming together once again, just like we did for the NBI.


One thing I hadn’t mentioned that came as a result of Blaugust, was getting signed up for Anook. It’s a new-ish social media site that is currently in beta, and it’s focused on gamers. This means that all of the pages on the site are either gamer’s profiles or pages for actual games. You can see my profile by clicking the link that says “follow me on Anook” on the sidebar (scroll down a bit). The remainder of the site is for Nooks that users create, be it for their gaming clan, blog, or just to have a forum for a particular game. I got to thinking about it, and decided that it would be a good idea to start up a Couch Podtatoes Nook, just to get our name out there among another community. I might also make a Twitter for it as well, but I haven’t decided. So far Anook feels a lot like a mixture between existing social networks, though I am partial to the dark tones used in its design, and I like the fact that you can set up blogs, forums, and other bits for your nook on the fly. It has some other cool integration features as well, though I wish there were more “gaming identities” to choose from.

So this week my gaming was a bit more focused than most weeks. Of course I got started with the new wing in Hearthstone’s Naxxramas expansion, the Plague Quarter. This one felt a bit more challenging than the last, but rather than bore  you with more screenshots of cards that I picked up (which you probably already have by now), I’ll just let you know that I beat all of the new bosses on normal, beat the class challenges (yay new Hunter card!) and stumbled on the Heroics. I also mentioned in my last post about the expansion that I wasn’t sure what was going on with the Heroics, as in why there wasn’t a reward for beating them all. Turns out, beating all of the bosses on Heroic for each wing will ultimately net you with a new card back. That’s cool and all, and the completionist in me will see me doing that, but I don’t feel the pressure to beat the bosses as quickly as I did last week. As a result I have turned my focus back to dailies and will just attempt to beat all the Heroics before this whole thing is over. So rather than doing the play by play, I thought I’d share some of the decks that have benefited from the new cards:


My Zoo deck changed ever so slightly, dropping the golems and lone defender of argus for 2 Sludge Belchers and Loatheb. Loatheb is a great legendary, and found a spot in multiple decks right away, it’s a great counter to damn near any deck except for zoo, and in that case it’s still a solid 5/5 5-drop. The Belchers are good for defense and spawn a new minion with taunt once they die, so that helps to slow down aggro decks.

The new Hunter card, Webspinner came out with this wing, so I threw it into my existing deck. I feel that it’s a decent 1-drop, but the random effect of the card can sometimes be detrimental. Getting a Captain’s Parrot or a Crab when you could have just about any other beast sucks. But it does open up the possibility of getting beasts not found in your deck, and that’s a good thing in my book. Just have to pray to RNGesus.

I’ve been running this Coldlight Rogue variant for a while, since I lack some of the cards needed for miracle to really work (and I prefer decks based around minions rather than mostly spells). Loatheb is the only card added in, but that card is nice and will help for mirror matches against miracle.

Lastly, I don’t usually work with Warrior all that much, but that deck seems to always be stuck with Rogue when it comes to dailies. As a result, I saw some of the new cards as viable with Warrior, and have been playing with this deck a bit. The deck I had prior to Naxx was basically the same, but it had a few different minions. I decided that it would be fun to try out the weblord, so I stripped out any minions with battlecry except for Loatheb. I also added in the unstable ghoul, cause his deathrattle can benefit me if certain minions are on the board. I also went with the Sludge Belchers, cause reasons. And before you say it, I know Gruul is pretty crappy, but he’s actually won me a day or two, and I’m not disenchanting legendaries for next to nothing.

My dad gifted me a copy of a pretty cool game called Pool Nation. I remember hearing about it before, but honestly, who jumps up and down with excitement over a pool game? Still, this ended up being the absolute best pool game I have ever played. It feels more like a simulator, despite the menus and “dude-bro” attitude being a lot more arcadey. The game play is where this game really shines. The physics feel spot on, the controls are smooth, and it’s nice to have the option to play either 8 or 9-ball. It’s also super pretty:

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On the MMO front, I picked up Firefall on Steam and it has officially released. I haven’t spent as much time with it as I would like, but if you want a super detailed rundown of things that you can do in the game — a getting started guide, if you will — head over to Healing the Masses. J3w3l wrote a post that explains things better than I could. This game is a bit different than the traditonal MMO, in that the game just starts — there’s no character creation at the start. You get some cinematics and are thrust into combat almost immediately. You can choose to roll around in 1st or 3rd person, but I prefer the game played as an FPS. You’ll get new skills as you go, and your “frame” will level as you play.


I chose to start with an Engineer, because turrets. I ended up not liking his normal weaponry though, and ended up switching to Recon after I got out of the tutorial, and that made a big difference. I liked having the range of a sniper rifle, and having an SMG as a sidearm.

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It’s also really cool that you get a jetpack (though its use is limited) and later get hang gliders to get around easier.


J3w3l has been talking about the game for a while now, and we got together and ran amok for a while, and that was fun as well. I love the fact that once you’re done with the tutorial there really isn’t any hand-holding, and though there are job-boards that you can get quests from, it’s completely optional. I spent more time gaining xp from just killing stuff than worrying about quests. The world feels pretty large as well, so I felt like there was plenty to do outside of themepark amusements. Overall I like the game and will continue to play it.


Last up, I got into the closed beta event for ArcheAge (probably because I played Rift not so long ago). I immediately see some correlations to Rift in this game, especially with skill sets being much like souls, and graphically it feels like a similar art direction. I started off the game by creating Haranya Firran. Basically I took that as the “evil” side, and I have always liked cat-people (Vah-shir, Kerran, Khajit). I decided to go with what my usual class choice is this time around, and rolled Shadowplay which is basically like an assassin.


It appears that all classes have access to ranged and melee combat, along with the differing skillset combinations, so it feels rather free-form, but it takes a while to get to that point. There’s also a neat mechanic where you play your instrument to regen health/mana while out of combat, and you don’t even have to be a bard! (though there is a bard-like skill set) I ended up playing this character up to level ten, and though the graphics are great and the game play is smooth (animations are nice, world is detailed) I was still getting an overall themepark feel, when we were all arguing about this being a PvP sandbox last week. Apparently that doesn’t start until you are post level 30, and that felt like a bad decision to me on my first day with the game. I logged out dejected, and felt that I wouldn’t give it any more of my time. Then I fired it up again last night and tried the opposing faction.


I created a Nuian, from the continent Nuia. They’re essentially Human, but with only Human and Elf to choose from, the choice was obvious (who plays elves, really?). I decided to go with a more spell-oriented character, and started off with Occultism. This class reminded me a lot of my Warlock from WoW (minus pets) with curses and DOTs. I then added in Witchcraft and Auramancy and ended up with a special class name that I can’t remember at the moment.

So what sets this game apart from other games out there? There are certain features that feel completely unique, like raising your mount from a baby to full fledged horse:

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Also, boats:


And then there’s the ability to build a house and PvP is supposedly pretty involved with naval combat. I haven’t gotten to that point, and don’t know that I will before tomorrow when the beta ends. Maybe I’ll get into another beta later, and can report more about it.

ArcheAge feels like a step in the right direction, as does Firefall. They might not be the perfect examples of the game I’m looking for, but they just might do the trick in the meantime.

#blaugust #stateofthegame #hearthstone #archeage #firefall