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5:39 PM on 08.02.2011

Diablo III: What the Auction House REALLY Means.

Note: Wow, so it's been two years since my last blog; figures it would take Diablo III to bring me back into writing. Hope you enjoy!

-Less than $5 for 6 characters worth of amazing gear

The Reality

Blizzard has consistently taken the stance of "if you're going to do it anyway, just go ahead and do it our way" by doing things like adding damage meters, loot tables, boss tactics, and most notably voice chat all built completely into World of Warcraft. Adding a monetary auction house option into Diablo III follows the exact same mentality, with a bit of "if you can't beat them, join them" thrown in.

This isn't a new concept whatsoever, guys. People have been using ebay and other sites to buy D2 items for a full decade now, and if it's any indication, people aren't willing to pay more than ten dollars for a full set of gear (except the slim few willing to pay premium for the very rare "perfect" items). I'm familiar with this because I've actually sold a few 7% small charms on ebay! Capitalism is in full effect here and customers are always going to buy only the cheapest listings first, keeping prices low. All of these items were farmed and subsequently sold by real people. Blizzard isn't starting a micro-transaction apocalypse here, nor are they artificially inflating or hindering the in-game economy because every item has to come from someone's effort; there aren't infinite listings of Breath of the Dying Colossus Blades for only the rich to buy. What's happening now is Blizzard is making outside vendors useless by giving players access to purchasable items without having to alt-tab and wait for mules - and now they get to net the auction fees associated with listing/winning transactions.

Even though none of this is new, I will acknowledge the fact that it's never been condoned, 100% reliable (are the ebay items even legit or duped, set to disappear after the next patch?), and definitely never this easily accessible. With that in mind, I was initially worried about what effect this would have upon the famous Diablo trading scene. Who would trade away the best gear when there is an easy way to make a dollar or two out of it?

-I have a feeling these prices are way far higher than they will be once the game's released

The Effect

Anyone familiar with the early Diablo II trading scene knows that the Stone of Jordan ring, or SOJ, was clearly the most common form of currency in the game economy. Items were all compared by their corresponding value of "how many SOJs" they could bring in. Even though D2 moved on to a more traditional bartering system, that kind of economy is probably what you'll see in Diablo III. From the looks of things, in-game gold will finally have a real value in the community, and can be used to purchase what you want. With the auction house, Items will have a quantitative value set by the community, so that everything you want can be obtainable through a standard currency. You will now be able to literally sell your items (for gold or dollars) to pay for what you want. This isn't a one-way street of having to buy items as your only option. I'll repeat that for those just skimming through:

You will now be able to literally sell your items to pay for what you want. This isn't a one-way street of having to buy items as your only option.

The biggest change that will occur, I think, is how the trade system will be impacted. I'm absolutely positive that trading games and channels will still exist; If you find gear and want to barter, I'm sure it won't be impossible. The thing is, though, there're can't be a very large amount of players willing to go through the hassle of haggling and bartering when you can simply throw your items up on the auction house for gold/cash.

That's a hardcore badass

In the end, just remember, this is only available for people who are building softcore characters. I know I'll be making a Magician for farming, and a Monk for kicking ass in PvP... but the real trading will be where all the badasses are: Hardcore, bitches! I'll be the bad motherfucker with the pile of bones next to my player banner.


Other Toughts

If you've ever played Diablo 2 online, you'd know that the only way you could access your character is by logging into Battle.Net. Even if you wanted to play your character solo 11 years ago, you still had to have access to the internet. It is pretty stupid that there is no option for a LAN or real singleplayer, though.

I'm still bummed that it's 4-players max. You can't even make a game with each class, and that's just dumb. /sadface

The level cap doesn't really mean much to me, but I'm glad I don't have to focus on advancing skill progression for every single level. I'll make a build, finish inputting my skills, then tweak their abilities for the remaining 30 levels of the game while getting gear. I also appreciate that every skill has a useful purpose. D2 used most skills for synergies, which was clever, but it's nice to actually sink points into several skills knowing I'll be using them all.   read

9:17 PM on 08.24.2009

Why I love Destructoid


aLSO, COCKS!   read

3:27 PM on 08.18.2009

Capcom's Comic-Con Zombie T-Shirt availabe via Pre-Order

Remember that awesome Resident Evil shirt Capcom showed off just before Comic-Con?

See gallery below for more pictures!

Well, it turns out it will be available to more than just convention atendees! Like with Metroid Prime Trilogy, GameStop is handing out a free game-related t-shirt with the pre-order of an anticipated title, this time Wii's Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles!

According to GameStop's website:

"Reserve Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles and receive this insane Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles Zombie Face T-Shirt. This T-shirt is the perfect way to camouflage yourself during the coming zombie apocalypse, and can also be used by the ladies to really freak people out during Mardi Gras. Available online and in-store while supplies last."

Currently, does not match this pre-order incentive like they sometimes do.

For those of you, like me, who have an ECA membership (which was complimentary with a PAX ticket!) and wish to take advantage of the 10%-off every Amazon game purchase, there's still hope! GameStop makes no mention of the shirt being an "exclusive" bonus, which is something they love to brag about when that is the case, as seen with Metroid Prime Trilogy's shirt. Hopefully this makes its way to other distributors!

Personally, I was already dead-set on buying this game, but the chance of getting that awesome shirt may sway me to go the way of GameStop depending on shirt availability. I can think of a certain bearded samurai that will likely also be all over this deal.

Note: There's no mention of available sizes... I hope it's not just XL+ only like some other t-shirt swag.   read

8:22 PM on 07.14.2009

What'd You Get? - A LOT! and Going to PAX! Edition

Through very generous friends, a bit of luck, and not much money at all, I've managed to amass a pretty large sum of goodies in the last couple of weeks. Be sure to look through the gallery for more pics.

Awesome Gifts:
First, I was given a Nintendo DS from fellow (incredibly awesome!) Dtoider, ShadokatRegn, who graciously passed on her original handheld when she came into possession of a DS Lite. This is actually my first portable console since I got a lime green Game Boy Color back in '98!

Just mere days later, I get a package in the mail. My friend returned my entire loaned-out GameCube collection, albeit later than I expected. Also inside, much to my surprise, was their old Wii, as well as accessories and games!

Completely by chance, I happened to find a picture from a decal website that had a set of patterns that I couldn't resist. Having just acquired a DS and Wii for free, I just had to splurge; the pictures will let you know why:

What? Your NINTENDO WII is evolving!


I can't get over how well the retro DS and Wii skins look together.

JoeCamNet's Sale:
I was interested in several titles from Joe's long list of games for sale after he decided to thin out his collection for personal reasons. Being the complete action-genre addict that I am, I couldn't pass on a large portion of his stock, plus a few extras, for a reasonable price!

Joe was completely honest in his descriptions of the games, carefully listing each (very minor) nick or dent to the extent of a professional collector. Being used to GameStop-condition boxes and not-very-accurate Ebay descriptions, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised at how precise his descriptions were; each game was in amazing shape, and every superfluous scuff was already mentioned.

Sneak King, Too Human, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Otogi, Bujingai, Chaos Legion, Crimson Tears, Drakengard 1-2, Samurai Legend: Musashi, MGS: VR Missions, Zelda: Twilight Princess, Zelda: OoT

If you're interested in any of his games, definitely send him a message. He's quick to reply, very honest, accepts very reasonable prices, and ships almost instantly. Good luck, Joe!

GameStop Sale:
If you don't know about this, you should definitely check things out. I was able to score Prince of Persia in excellent condition for $12; less than two weeks ago it was $35! Depending on the store, you may find tons of classic PS2 and Xbox games for 50% off.

Thanks to a $50 gift card I had lying around, I was able to pick up a huge stash of games without paying much at all!

Bionic Commando, Prince of Persia, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, LotR: The Two Towers, Mega Man X1-8, Shinobi, Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven/Fatal Shadows, House of the Dead 2&3, Tenchu: Shadow Assassins


I'm registered, booked, and ready to go. I can't wait to see everyone there!   read

5:29 PM on 06.04.2009

Regarding E3: Konami and Kojima's Action-Genre Twins

Let me start off by stating that I'm an absolute action-genre junkie. Hacking and slashing, quick reflexes, unforgiving enemies, frame-based timing, and acrobatic skills that put 13-year-old Chinese gymnasts to shame --- essentially any game consisting of these concepts can keep me occupied just about indefinitely. Some of my all-time favorite gameplay can be found in the likes of Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden series.

Now, why would I invoke Kojima's name in a blog focused on the action genre? There are two reasons, actually: the newly announced Metal Gear Solid: Rising and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
[Keep in mind that not much is known about these titles, so the entirety of this blog can safely be considered conjecture.]

Castlevania: Lord of Shadows

With Konami's conference complete, a satisfying amount of in-game material has been shown on this title. Announced last year and re-announced as a Castlevania title by Hideo Kojima himself, the game will actually be produced by Dave Cox and developed by MercurySteam, with what seems like merely topical support from Hideo to help "give birth" to the old franchise's new direction. Players control the protagonist Gabriel, which is just about all we know. The trailer hinted at the desire and ability to bring back the life of his recently murdered wife, but what's more definitive is the few seconds of action shown in the second half.

All of the series staples look as though they've found their place at home in this completely new entry of Castlevania sans the Belmont family protagonist. We're shown glimpses at how platforming will be presented with footage of Gabriel sprinting through a vine-filled tunnel and leaping at the end. Without much to go on, I imagine the focus of the game will fall inline with previous entries to the series: battle through enemies as you explore areas to find upgrades and items, and taking down bosses in intervals along the way. With hints at horse (and werewolf) riding sections, and ridiculously large and impressive bosses, I'm pretty hopeful for a varied experience without repetitive action to dilute the gameplay experience.

Whip it good!

That gameplay, however, is precisely the type of content that I'm interested in. Gabriel's whip is used to attack in what can loosely be described as God of War-esque combat mechanics. I'd say that's the most accurate comparison because the combat doesn't look nearly as technical as what you'd find in DMC or Bayonetta, but there are moderately-paced, wide-arching whip attacks that are familiar to anyone whose played GoW. It seems players will have a litany of special abilities at their disposal, including a whirlwind-styled whipping storm, as well as a windmill-mimicking series of uppercut slashes.

One technical aspect that particularly impressed me about this engine (aside from the graphics) was the camera's ability to follow the action on-screen. Whether it's panning across the an area to follow a dashing spider, keeping the focus on your character even while surrounded by enemies, or following Gabriel as he scales a giant, the camera seemed smooth and efficient, a request many Ninja Gaiden players express.

Dracula's Castle - Castlevania: LoS____________________________________________________________ Fortuna Castle - DMC4

Ultimately, I'm really looking forward to this game as something much, much more than just an action title. I'm hoping the titular Lords of Shadows themselves offer a refreshing premise for the series, but ultimately, I think the scope of the castle and story are what this game relies upon the most.

Media: E3 '09 Trailer, Debut LoS Trailer, I've also stuffed the gallery with all sorts of images for you to view, though you may have already seen them on this site and elsewhere.

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

The newly announced Metal Gear Solid: Rising promises to feature the return of Raiden, who donned the cybernetic ninja uniform throughout MGS4. There's no clues about the game's setting, but we are promised a new form of gameplay: Lightning Bolt Action! Kojima's role will be more removed for this title, as it's being run by the Kojima Productions "youngbloods" and taking advantage of already existing technology.

I was hoping more information would be revealed during Konami's press conference, but we're left to speculate on what type of gameplay to expect, or what the game is even about. There's an interesting theory that's worth checking out about who else might be a protagonist, as well as what the setting might be in Genki-JAM's Cblog, and it's filled with convincing and thought provoking photoshops and clues.

What really interests me is how these two titles will represent action. We know MGS:R is recycling "existing technology" from MGS4's engine, which I'm sure can be vastly altered to encompass a faster paced style of gameplay.

I can't help but imagine the landscape in MGS:R being utilized by players to create a veritable playground for a cyborg ninja to leap around and hack 'n' slash his way through, with no more than a Tenchu-reminiscent style of stealth, and CV:LoS hosting an expansive, rich, gothic tale of action and adventure. With supervisory input from Kojima on both games, I'm wondering if there will be a homogeneous theme, or perhaps a Yin-Yang contrasting effect for their release.

Other E3 '09 titles that interest me:
Since I already have your attention, I just thought I'd share just a few of the games that interested me at this year's E3:

Beyonetta - A highly technical action game that looks like it's capable of one-upping the DMC legacy! There's no way I could go without mentioning Kamiya's newest action game!

Metroid: Other M - One of the best announcements from E3, IMO. This title may be in development by Team Ninja, but the gameplay is completely unique - at least when compared to Ninja Gaiden games. I recommend checking out Phoenix Gamma's Cblog sleuthing for additional information on what's looking like it will be an outstanding game!

Edge of Twilight - Largely overlooked, but very interesting trailer. The action seems brutal, and the settings are diverse.

Warhammer 40K: Space Marines - An action-RPG (heavy on the action) placing you in control of a futuristic badass with a gun and a sword. Seriously, just check out these videos here (early alpha footage) and here (recently released trailer)!

Trine - An interesting 2D co-op fantasy game that focuses on teamwork between a mage, soldier, and thief. Check out the game's homepage here.   read

4:13 PM on 08.20.2008

Diablo III: Two Less Talked-About Changes

[First off, I've been sitting on this blog for a while now and thought I'd might as well flesh it out for publishing in true community-contributing fashion, particularly since Dtoid was kind enough to give me something! (Woot!!!)]
[Also, I call these two features "less talked-about" because most of the discussion I hear about this game revolves around the new art style, potential Battle.Net subscription costs, and new kickass class skills.]

Diablo III's lead designer Jay Wilson spoke to IGN a while ago for a two-page interview speaking about two topics - potion and inventory management. Both are inherently relevant to gameplay and seem interesting enough to post my opinions on their interesting deviations from previous games.


Wilson had this to say about the current state of potions in Diablo II,

"A lot of people, I think, would say that's a hallmark of the Diablo series, the potion system. We looked at it and said, 'No, that just makes the game worse, [...] It doesn't make it play like a better action game, it just kind of gives the player infinite health. It's actually a fairly poor recovery mechanic because it forces the designers to design monsters that have to deal with a player that has infinite health"

The introduction of health orbs was showcased in the announcement footage and more recent trailers, but that only accounts for half of the plan to remove focus on those delicious bottles of HP and mana.

"The goal is to have players use skills where previously they would have used a potion, [...] If I've got to deal with an enemy, I'm going to go in, stun a whole bunch of guys, and circumnavigate them to reach a health orb. Or I'm going to stun them and take out a bunch of guys with the hope that I'm going to get a health orb, and if I don't, I'll use some other kind of mechanic to deal with that threat."

Using strategy against mobs - Anyone adept in playing a 'Tiger Strike/Dragon Tail' Assassin from D2:LoD would already be familiar with this tactic after using Cobra Strike to completely refill health and mana when combined with powerful finishing moves. I welcome a balance in powers between players and enemies so that it encourages one to be self-sufficient and not rely on an infinite amount of potions.

Strategic Gameplay:
Pretentious Hype-o-Meter Rating: 15/15 Potions

+ : Adding strategic gameplay elements to Diablo sounds perfect!


The next alteration Wilson addressed was the change in how inventory management will be handled.

As it stands now, D2 players are forced to deal with incredibly small amounts of space to store incredibly large amounts of shit. There are indeed some antiquated mechanics that should be addressed - such as: limited storage sizes, obtrusive charms, and how to manage consumables.

On this side: Small chested (lawlpun!) ___________________________________ On this side: Me lucky charms!

The new solution to be found in D3 pits all items as equal 1-slot entities.

"The one really great thing that most people wouldn't argue with was the grid-based system allowed for very large icons which made the items feel better. So one of the things we don't like about the current inventory is the icons are smaller than we'd like them to be, so we're working on sizing up the icons themselves to be very large, much larger than say World of Warcraft [...] What we don't want is the grid-based Tetris sort of system."

I've always thought this would be a fine solution to implement in the storage stash. Players would no longer have to create countless mules or risk transferring gear if there could be an account-wide storage chest that holds dozens of items, all condensed to a single block.

Keys don't take up as much space as guns or rifles!

Unlike Resident Evil's item management systems, Diablo characters don't have to lug around their currently used gear in their inventory - it's stored on the characters' bodies. Actual inventory space is used to hold consumables (potions, scrolls, and tomes), the "cube", and gear that's deemed good enough to sell or trade. With the advent of charms, this leads to belts overflowing with potions into the inventory to suck up remaining space, leaving characters' inventories barely enough room to hold vendor trash or worthy gear.

Personally, I love the pseudo-realism found in managing different sized gear. If Blizzard had addressed the issue of space directly, they could have created consumable-specific pouches to alleviate space, as well as increase bag size/amount, and kept the mechanics similar but now effective. The one-slot solution just saddens me a bit.

Universal 1-Slot Inventories:
Pretentious Hype-o-Meter Rating: 5/15 Potions

+ : Storage space is far less of an issue.
- : An iconic gameplay element is replaced with a WoW-esque feature instead of directly addressing the actual antiquated issues.
[Note: 5/15 urine-colored thawing potions because I think the changes especially stink]

In actuality, Blizzard could completely remove the inventory system from D3 and it would still be my most anticipated title, period. I'm ready to be addicted to another Diablo game!


Source:   read

9:25 PM on 07.22.2008

Nintendo Apologizes for E3 and My Thoughts

Nintendo Apologizes for E3 and My Thoughts

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata speaks directly to 'core gamers' with an apology for their misguided presentation at E3.

"If there is any perception that Nintendo is ignoring the core gamers, it's a misunderstanding and we really want to get rid of that misunderstanding by any means," says Iwata. "We are sorry about [the E3] media briefings, specifically for those who were expecting to see Nintendo show something about 'Super Mario' or 'Legend of Zelda.'

Mentioning Mario and Zelda specifically is sure to pique the interest of those hoping the company would stop "milking" proven franchises, but it's still a sign that they are developing titles that require more than just shaking a WiiMote and actually run a risk of the player failing.
Personally, I'd like to see more coverage of new IPs (or at least newly resurrected IP - Kid Icarus, anyone?) from both First and Third Party developers.

While I'm far from believing that Nintendo is on the verge of completely abandoning any intensive games that would be labeled "core", their direction in E3 was confusing to me.

Using a gaming convention to market material targeted at the majority of its customers (who pay no attention to said convention) while singlehandedly ignoring the majority of content that interests fans (who actually pay attention to said convention) seems pretty stupid and useless.

Iwata continues with,

"However, the fact of the matter is the so-called 'big titles' need a long, long development period. ... We really didn't think this year's E3 media briefing was the time to do so."

Sure it wasn't... but I know that there are games that would interest us though, so when will we see those!?

(Edited) Dtoid-Source!:   read

5:34 PM on 06.17.2008

In-Game XMB officially confirmed!

Eric Lempel, director of PSN operations, has confirmed in his blog that 2.40 firmware update will allow for Trophies as well as in-game XMB!!!

(Now with 100% more Playstation 3, and 100% less shirt)


Great timing for all the people such as myself who have just purchased a PS3 with the release of Metal Gear Solid 4!

Just as awesome, the update "will improve system stability with specific PlayStation titles." I'm seriously hoping this includes PlayStation 2 titles such as MGS3, which plays like shit on the 80GB's software emulation.

Great news all around, folks!

Source:   read

11:58 PM on 06.11.2008

Wal-Mart 80GB MGS4 PS3s... (Update)

If you're interested in buying one at midnight in your respective time-zone, be aware that (as far as I know) every Wal-Mart outlet will be receiving ONLY SIX 80GB BUNDLES.

This is true even if they have claimed every day since Friday last week that they haven't gotten any, won't get any, and won't be selling them. Those were lies.

I found this out after driving to the Wal-Mart on the far side of town that said it had received a shipment of bundles. Getting there at 11:50pm, I found a quaint line of six people... all of whom told me that "every store was getting only six."
I told them about the outlet only minutes from my house which said it wouldn't be selling any, and the employee told me that they've had six as well.

Cool, so that store lied to me every day for a week.

When I finally get back to my side of town, I see a group of guys walking out of the stores with the last of the white bundles.

In case anyone is planning on purchasing the bundles from Wal-Mart specifically for the $100 giftcard, make sure to arrive unreasonably early; they will only have six to sell.

Don't worry, though. Best Buy is matching their deals by offering their own $100 giftcards for every BluRay player.
(or so I thought)

So I arrived at Best Buy this morning, which was smart enough to stock a whopping 40 bundles in a nice mountain to the right of the entrance, and I snagged the glorious PS3! W00t!!!

(Make sure to read the fine print)

Unfortunately, Best Buy's policy to honor the Father's Day $100 giftcards is completely dependent on local Wal-Mart inventory. Since the three Wal-Marts in town were sold out, they technically weren't offering the deal anymore, and according to Best Buy, that absolves them from having to honor it as well.

I was eventually told that if Wal-Mart gets any in stock before their Father's Day offer ends, I can have my receipt altered to give me the $100.
Great, it looks like I'll be calling each store daily until Sunday to see if they receive any more.

Wal-Mart's business model already had me uneasy about shopping there, but after lying to my face about stocking the bundles (which I'm sure was some kind of twisted policy to prevent any from being sold early), they have absolved me from ever having to shop there again.
And now that Best Buy wants to hide behind their competitors' inventory numbers to prevent me from obtaining a gift card for which they said I was eligible, I'll be less likely to shop there as well. I guess that makes me a bad customer.

Oh well, I'm definitely glad to have a brand new, backwards compatible, shiny PS3!
Here's to enjoying FNFs with the other half of Dtoid now!   read

12:51 PM on 04.09.2008

My God! Ikaruga is even better now!

I'm not going to claim that I'm anywhere near decent at Ikaruga. I will, however, say that I've loved the game since my friend popped a homemade disc of assorted shooters into his Dreamcast several years ago at another friend's apartment. Its quality was obvious compared to the other games on that disc and it still really stands as an interactive piece of art.

(See? Art.)

As soon as I got out of the shower this morning, I hit up Xbox Live to snatch a copy before heading to class. This is my first time actually owning a copy of the game. Before, I was relegated to calling 'dibs' on my friends' copies, and though I miss playing it on an arcade stick (I can't say I enjoy the shitty D-pad on my 360 controller), I'm ecstatic to pick-up-them-sticks whenever I feel like it!
Seriously, anyone who enjoys this genre needs to contribute their part toward ending the Ikarugitis Plague, which afflicts everyone who doesn't have the game.

Really, though - I'm sure most people here know all that's needed to know about this game - it's great. The point of this post was just to express how amazing the online components of the newly ported XLBA version are.

With the new additions, not only can you play with friends (or some random douche bags) online, but you can actually save your best attempts as replays to watch later. There is a slight drawback, however; the replay function only works on the game's default settings - 3 lives, no continues.
But don't fear! anyone whose high-score replay is saved is sharing it via the XBLA Leaderboards! Just peruse your way to the top of the list and revel in the ability to save the person's exact play. You're even given 50 save-slots! I'd say that definitely makes up for the restrictions on when you can save.

(Want to see level 5? You don't need the U-toob anymoar!)

I remember years ago scouring 'teh intarwebz' for videos of what came after level 4, and finding only several small sites with one or two videos of each level. Granted, they were unbelievably awesome videos, but limited selection always sucks. Now, though, I can watch all the latest bad asses do their thing - and not in shitty video quality, but the in-game engine!
I now have perfect video evidence of my failings at this game, and I love it.

This gives players the largest single source for amazing Ikaruga gameplay. I've already seen half a dozen different strategies that I really want to try out on my own. As small of a feature this may be, I see it extending the life of this game that is otherwise already addictive even more.   read

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