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Tales from the Neighborhood: New Games and Old Tricks

By Jessica Cook on April 01, 2015 | Columns | Comments

New Games and Old Tricks

Want to know what everyone’s talking about this week? It’s time for another episode of Tales from the Neighborhood!

If you’re wondering what the story is behind some of the latest industry news and game releases, the blogosphere is an excellent place to start looking. With so many blogs out there it’s easy to find one that specializes in a particular gaming niche and is eager to share their specialized knowledge with readers. On the other end of the scale, doing a quick survey of multiple blog headlines is a great way to discover which games have clearly found an audience and which quickly disappeared from the public eye and were never heard from again.

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This week we’ll look at some fantastic reviews and overviews of newer games Pillars of Eternity and Crowfall, visit a post that sings the praises of current RPG offerings, and highlight news from LOTRO and WildStar that you may have missed. To the blogosphere!

The crowdfunding success story Pillars of Eternity was released this week to non-backers, and it has clearly got the blog world very excited. Over on Nomadic Gamers, guest blogger PKudude99 wrote an excellent first impression of the game, praising its lack of difficulty scaling for mobs and Baldur’s-Gate-style retro RPG charm. She also gives some helpful tips for new players who don’t want to want to be completely surprised by the game’s mechanics, and summarizes each class so you’ll know exactly what you and your fellow party members can contribute in battle.  

Rohan from the esteemed blog Blessing of Kings is so impressed with the game that he devoted two posts to it, covering both “First Impressions” and “Further Thoughts”. In “Further Thoughts” he grapples with the decision to turn on the meta-information option for conversations which tells the player which traits are associated with which conversation choices and makes it easier to earn specific traits. While it’s a more precise and calculated way of creating a character, Rohan suspects it might just be more fun to pick a reply in the heat of the moment, roleplay a bit, and see where the character takes you. Overall though he calls Pillars of Eternity “a triumph of Kickstarter” that “delivered exactly what the backers desired”. That’s a pretty positive review!

Over at the hilarious Killed in a Smiling Accident, Zoso is coming to grips with the current surplus of RPG releases. Playing Pillars of Eternity just reminds him that he still has to complete Dragon Age: Inquisition before he forgets who his Inquisitor was dating and why they’re fighting things in the first place. And that in turn reminds him that The Elder Scrolls Online is free-to-play now and probably worth a spin, even if everything has very silly names. Zoso is right: so far 2015 has been a great year for RPG fans (but a bad year for time management).

Speaking of Kickstarter success stories, you’ve probably already heard some of the buzz about Crowfall. The game just completed its Kickstarter campaign and raised a whopping $1.8 million from almost 17,000 backers after asking for a mere $800 thousand. If you haven’t been following along with news about the game or just want to catch up on what we future players know about it now, Isarii from The Errant Penman has written an excellent overview of all things Crowfall. He covers everything from the game’s use of voxels to the unique “campaign” format to the class archetypes that have been announced so far. Isarii’s overview is an epic resource for anyone who is even the least bit curious to discover what has everyone all excited about this new MMO title.

Until recently Braxwolf Stormchaser from Gaming Conversations has been focused almost entirely on Lord of the Rings Online, so he’s the perfect person to examine a bit of strange news from the 2015 LOTRO Players Council selection process. In his post “LOTRO: Bloggers are Press, Streamers Aren’t”, Brax details how the Players Council page was recently amended to state that “members of the professional, indie, or fan site press” cannot be selected to serve, leaving out bloggers, podcasters, and other news sites. At the same time the game’s Twitter account confirmed that streamers and YouTubers are eligible to sit on the Council, even though as potential members of the official LOTRO Stream Team they could be subject to a conflict of interest. Braxwolf points out that Turbine’s policy is more confusing than anything, but it’s a strange line to draw. Are hobby blogs and fan sites really more like “official press” than streamers?

(If you enjoyed his post, you can hear more from Braxwolf every other week as my co-host on the Game On podcast for MMORPG.com.)

Carbine has been adding a ton of new features to WildStar since its launch last year and in Drop 5 they’ll be adding a system beloved by MMO players everywhere: companion pets! Chestnut from Gamer Girl Confessions is creating a visual guide to the new pets and this installment of the series is called “Vendor Mania”. She’s documented every pet that players can buy from a vendor, including their name, their price, and the vendor’s location. Plan ahead and be the first person on your server to have that Tiny Blue Splorg.

And those are the highlights from around the blogosphere for this week! If you know of a great blog post that you would like to see mentioned in a future column, leave a link here in the comments or send a note on Twitter to @Liores.

Jessica Cook / Jessica "Liore" Cook is a longtime MMO blogger, fan, aficionado, and community goodwill ambassador. She hosts the MMO podcast Game On, and writes the weekly column: Tales from the Neighborhood. You can read more at www.lioreblog.com.