Bearwall. Because I don’t care about pageviews and I have no interest in breaking this up into a week-long 5 part miniseries to keep you coming back for more.

In fact, what I’ll do is break this up into two parts and post them both today, so it’s easier to ignore one of them!

Just part of our customer disservice. Discouraging readers since… oh, heck, day one, really.

I have a new obsession, and its name is Borderlands 2.

Yes, I am well aware this is a game from 2012 that most everyone else seems to have played already. It’s so old the sequel prequel is coming out soon.

Borderlands 2 is not an MMO. It’s a cooperative first person shooter RPG set in a futuristic anarchistic apocalyptic world…. ic.

Does old game automatically mean bad game? Or tired and stale game? NO!

Unless the graphics suck, but hey, this is only two years old. I think the cell shaded graphics are perfect and crisp, and give me a ‘styled and smooth like WoW but not WoW’ vibe that I’m loving.

I’m not just gonna talk about Borderlands 2 and why it’s got me crapping rainbows. I’m going to start by dissing on World of Warcraft, and then explain how Borderlands 2 is filling a need I didn’t even know I had until the warm fuzzy feelings were gotten.

If I were to name three issues I have with World of Warcraft, it would be that the endgame content is too dependent on a massive playerbase, there are too many abilities crammed onto my bars/buttons, and the PvE ‘fun’ abilities are constantly screwed over (I mean ‘tuned’) due to PvP balance issues.

I’m pretty good with everything else. Yes, even long daily quest grinds and stuff.

In WoW, I am perfectly happy having long term goals that will take much logging in and questing and collecting and stuff to complete. I like having goals I can’t zerg through. Sometimes, it’s nice to push that stone up the hill a little ways and take a break, knowing there is no way you can roll it all the way up RIGHT NOW no matter how hard you try. So that’s not an issue for me, your kilometers may stray from baseline.

My first real issue is needing tons of people at endgame to get anything done.

The whole WoW thing is designed around being a massively populated world, and the top level challenging and rewarding content in the game requires large numbers of players to complete.

This leads inevitably to needing to get all them peeps. If you want a regular play experience, you need to gather up a large group of people to ensure you can do the content when you want instead of standing in a city yelling “Hey, anyone wanna raid?”

Guilds full of people, raid organization and application processes, solo players begging for ‘Looking For Group’ mechanics so as not to be left out, etc.

Here is my problem with it. You’re starting with a need for bodies to reach a certain number before you can access the content at the highest challenge level. This means first you need the bodies. Once you’ve got the quantity, then you can start selecting for quality.

Anybody ever hear a variation of the following statement in your raid team? “We’re still short three people, we need one tank, one healer and a DPS. Can anyone swap to a tank? Can anyone swap to a healer? Okay, now that we’ve done our best to control the quality of tanks and healers, anyone got any friends? No? Shit. Okay, then I guess we’re either calling it, or looking for some mouth breather from the Trade channel.”

“Let’s just call it, strangers suck.”

What is the optimum experience you can hope for? That your guild and raid teams are full of nice friends that all like each other (or get along well without drama), are skilled at playing their class, dedicated to maximizing their main character as best they can, and that have the time to play with you consistently.

That’s the best you can hope for.

How many of you have to settle for less than that to make sure you get your raid on? And of the things you settle for, does your raid aim for skill and dedication first, and if they’re friends or not, or even decent human beings or not, well, you can’t always get everything you want out of life?

And if you DO prioritize friends… does that mean sometimes you’re taking people you really like, but who suck at playing their character and that adds a fresh level of hell all on its own?

Yeah.

So, if you raid, sometimes you just have to accept that some of the people you’re playing with either don’t like you, or you don’t like them, or you love them but they suck, or you hate them but they rock the DPS charts so nobody will ever say boo to them.

But that is the price you sometimes have to pay to play the challenging content, right?

What about number of abilities?

I like having a good variety of abilities. It’s fun to have cool stuff to do. Where I’m at, though, is realizing that to truly excel at playing my character in a raid I should have all of my key abilities, and I mean ALL of them, either macro’d, bound to quick access keys, or bound to mouse buttons for fast blind usage while focusing my eyes on the screen and targets.

To play at the top of my game in a raid, I should never, ever be looking at the button bar on screen to click something. Those fractions of seconds are precious.

But I have a regular keyboard and a mouse that, while nice, only has two extra buttons near my thumb. And there is only so far my fingers will reach to hit keys.

There are plenty of mice out there that have rows of mappable buttons, and there are also several gaming keyboards with button bars and extra keys to bind as well. Professionals noticed this need for mappable keys a long time ago, and there are many products to fill that demand, products with high quality, durable and sensitive to the touch.

That’s fine, but I don’t own any of those. I should buy one if I’m going to keep raiding, the Razor mice with the programmable buttons are amazing, but I don’t have one now, and I feel the lack.

It’s doable to play without it, but at the same time it feels kind of silly to be thinking that in order to play my character in the game properly, I really should invest in some top of the line peripherals, because I can’t cut it as a clicker. Clicking’s a noob move.

What if I don’t have $150 to drop on a new mouse and keyboard combo? Well, get over it, right?

I’m not arguing the point. I don’t have to have that to play, I can sort of get by without it, it’s totally optional.

I’m saying it’s something to keep in mind, that part of playing World of Warcraft at the top level involves more than just buying a game and paying a monthly fee and trying really damn hard. If you want to be competitive (or at least not the worst player in your raid group), you need to do what it takes. And in this case, it might mean a new mouse and keyboard. And trying to wrap my brain around muscle memory programming for a main character and also any alts I want to raid with, too.

Or maybe I should spend that time learning a foreign language. Might be a bit easier. Always wanted to learn Gaelic. It’ll have just as much application in the real world, too, so bonus!

Oh wait, I’ll be able to say really cool toasts over Guinness. Points to Gaelic, set and match.

Then there is the last issue I have.

Adjusting what I can or cannot do with my character around what is ‘balanced’ for a PvP player.

Also known as;
“Why can’t I do that?”
“Because it’d be overpowered against other players in the Arena or BG.”
“So? Fuck them. I don’t PvP, I couldn’t give a shit less. I want to tame and fly a fire-breathing dragon and burn down towns and stuff.”
“Tough shit.”

PvP is why you can’t have nice things. Because the team of dragons you’d like to command to descend upon your enemy for five seconds of glorious roflstomping and munching is the burst damage some other player will scream about being too OP to defend against.

PvP means everyone has to have balanced abilities. If you’ve got high survivability, your DPS has to be shit. If your DPS is super high, you’ve got to be a glass cannon in a field of thrown stones. If you can take control of a character away from someone else, everyone else has to have access to blocks or breaks.

PvP ensures that any crazy WTF ability that might look really cool or do something nuts against a computer-controlled opponent is automatically ruled out of the game.

You’re supposed to be super… but everyone else has to be equally super. And once everyone is equally super, nobody is. Yeah, I know movie quoting is cliche, but damn it, it’s true. In a game about crazy sorcery and wild magic and demons and dragons and barbarian warriors and ancient beings that can crack open the planet and drink the guts like an egg, we’ve got to make sure all the players are perfectly matched in potential power because stunlocks suck.

World of Warcraft. Wish spells need not apply.

It is what it is, and I have a lot of fun playing it, warts and all. I’ve never really had cause to voice these issues before because I have had no solution, and pointing out problems without a solution is whining, and screw that. Is it fun to play anyway? Heck yes. So, ignore and move on.

But.

But what if there were other games that took a different route? They weren’t a complete replacement, but they did fill that gaping void? A game that satisfied the itches that need scratching!

I’ve found my personal backscratcher in a little game called Borderlands 2.

As I said before, it’s a first person shooter RPG with up to 4 person scaling cooperative play.

All three of my World of Warcraft points are addressed right there.

It’s a first person shooter.

I don’t know how it is on console, but the keyboard/mouse controls are a dream. The only buttons I’ve had to remap were melee attack, grenade throw and crouch. And my mouse just happens to have thumb buttons for two of those, and crouch on right control feels natural.

I never, ever have to look at a button bar to do stuff in Borderlands 2, within minutes the controls felt 100% natural without macroing. No worries about special keyboards or mice. Well, my mouse with the two extra thumb buttons came in handy, but I could have remapped them to something else and gotten by. I still have many attack choices, too, through a scroll-wheel-controlled weapon list, each weapon doing something wild and crazy.

It’s on Steam with up to 4 player cooperative play.

And it’s real drop and bop coop, anyone on my Steam friends list can see what I’m doing, start up their game and drop right in, joining me wherever I am on the fly. And vice versa.

Don’t want them dropping in? Then don’t have them as friends!  Or log in as invisible maybe, I dunno, maybe you can do that. I wouldn’t know.

Borderlands 2 is becoming my gateway game to multiplayer outside of WoW and Minecraft. I never had anything to do with multiplayer on Steam before, and BL2 has made it so seamless and easy it’s got me hungering for more coop in other things. What’s next, coop Portal 2? I think so. I really do.

Since the game scales difficulty based on number of players both up AND down on the fly, I don’t HAVE to have 3 other people to play. There is no forced incentive to find three bodies to join me, whether I like them or not, except more crazy out of control fun.

I can play a cooperative player vs environment game, and ONLY EVER PLAY WITH ACTUAL FRIENDS.

My favorite moments in WoW have always been playing with friends, and some of the best of those were during Burning Crusade, when I had no aspirations to raid, and it was okay to do 5 person regular and heroic instances for fun. All Druid and Rogue stealth missions, things like that. Fun with friends. When it gets to be a 10 or 25 person raid… how well do you really know everyone else?

In BL2 I never, ever have to wonder who in the group actually thinks I suck and doesn’t want to play with me but they needed that extra body to fill the group because none of their real friends were online.

You just play with friends. And if someone has to go do real life things, they go. The game carries on. You don’t have to restart, or find a replacement, or begin again at a save point. It’s… it’s revolutionary. In fact, it’s so awesome I could almost cry.

World of Warcraft is starting to build this in, but with the holy trinity of tank/healer/DPS, there are limits to what they can do with Flexible modes. Take a first person shooter where there are no tanks, and watch it fly.

To only ever play with friends. No drama. No bullshit. No unspoken undercurrents.

It’s kind of terrifying, when you think about it. Entire blogs would fade away with the lack of bitching about strangers in LFR groups.

And balancing?

You’re kidding, right? Who needs to be balanced when you’re just blowing away computer-controlled opponents? Go ahead, have giant robots and turrets you can summon, base an entire character class out of controlling an opponent, freezing and floating them in place and making them your puppet, or out of having ginormous honking guns on rock and roll. Why not? Why not have a class that is super challenging to play, and another that’s kind of easy mode. Who suffers in the long run? Why the hell not?

The thing is, Borderlands 2 isn’t an MMO. It’s doesn’t have to complete with a persistent online world. This ain’t a game where you’re setting up shop and moving in.

And I’m starting to realize, it’s perfectly fine to play games that aren’t MMOs. In fact, it might be a damn good idea to just avoid them all for a while and focus in on what are the most important parts of playing a game.

Having fun, either alone or with friends.

Borderlands 2 also scratches that RPG itch for me.

Skill trees, loot drops (in all the normal colors of the rainbow, as long as your rainbow is Green, Blue, Purple and Orange), and leveling up.

Oh, but in keeping with that whole ‘playing with friends and not competing’ thing, there are no such things as soulbound legendaries. A friend drops in and gets an amazing Legendary weapon he can’t use, well, just open trade and give it to someone else. or if you have Legendaries that are too low level for you, and a friend just started up the game? Drop in on them and trade ‘em over. Nothing says you can’t. Nothing is soulbound because why screw you over that way in a coop game without PvP?

Can you imagine a world where you play a game, and say, just as an example, a right-hand binding drops for a Legendary weapon, and you could trade it to someone else that could use it… or mail it to your other character that has the left-hand already and has never seen the right for years and years? And it would seem normal to do that, because why on earth wouldn’t you be able to? To what end do you prevent someone from making use of a drop or giving it to someone that could?

Ah, but then that cheapens Legendary weapons, right? I mean if anyone can have one without spending a year or two to get one… if any scrub, any loser, any filthy casual…

But wait a second.

What if… what if we were just meant to play this game for a while and have fun with it, and may after a while buy a different game instead of spending 8 years in this one obsessing over being the coolest kid with the most rare Legendaries that you can’t use because they’re not current content and weren’t when you finally finished grinding for them in the first place?

It’s kind of a different state of mind, isn’t it?

World of Warcraft and other MMOs certainly have their place, and that place is to create a long term persistent world to live in… forever. To reject reality and replace it with your digital playground.

I’m delighted to have found something else that has grabbed my passion as well, and has me shitting rainbows in delight.

Comments 7 Comments »

This looks really cute, so I wanted to share it with you.

I am playing and submitting bug reports for the Warlords of Draenor Beta, playing my hunter Horde side.

The follower and mission interface is available in your Garrison, and I was browsing through the possible followers currently listed in the Follower tab when I noticed this and it made me laugh.

First, here is Fiona.

In the Follower tab, at least the one I have on Horde side, there are many Fionas available, each with different traits or classes, but all female Worgen with the same appearance.

This particular one has the Engineering trait, meaning she can be a permanently assigned Follower in your Garrison.

Fiona-Garrison

So Fiona can be assigned to your Engineerings Works, if you place that building in your Garrison.

Cool, right?

Then I noticed this particular Follower, Goldmane the Skinner.

GoldmanetheSkinner2

Goldmane the Skinner has the Skinning trait, and can be permanently assigned to your Barn structure.

And Goldmane… is clearly a cat person. He’s a fricken’ mountain lion, just standing there, all being a feline version of the Worgen and stuffs.

Dogs and cats… living together.

There, I said it.

Garrison-MassHysteria

I just… this is so cute.

I don’t know the circumstances in which we can unlock these Followers yet, or what the cultural significance of Goldmane and his people might be in game, and even if I did I wouldn’t spoil it here.

That being said, am I the only one hoping that we can look forward to some hilarious interaction between the two of these in our Garrison once the expansion goes live?

The only thing that could possibly improve this would be a BigBearButt pandaren Follower with a small bacon stand set up between the two, always sighing and trying to convince the both of them to chill out, and asking them, “Why do you fight? Slow down, and enjoy some of this delicious bacon instead.”

I can see Fiona doing one of the Worgen patented “Sniff Sniff Sniff” emotes, and Goldmane replying with a little paw scratching in the sand… as if pretending to be burying something. Something which we shall not name, nor question overmuch as we try to run a classy blog. Stay classy, Bear!

Ah, the potential of all this.

Of course, I’m not speculating on where Goldmane comes from. I hope this will be a pleasant surprise in game. I’m afraid to look on WoWhead to see if there is a full lore explanation. Let me build my cathouse in the sky while I can. :)

Comments 7 Comments »

I sometimes see people wonder where writers get their ideas.

For me, there is no answer to that question. Ideas come whether you try to have them or not. Ideas don’t really give a shit if you wanted to have one, or whether now is a particularly convenient time.

In fact, I think my ideas wait for me to be taking a shower or driving to work so they can slam into my brain, stun me with how awesome they are, and then slip away so I can’t pin them down and make them work for me.

I get to a pad of paper and think, “Where are you NOW, you prick? Get back here! I wasn’t done with you yet. That was good dialogue, don’t leave me like this. Grrr.”

I do think if you don’t spend some of your time investing in your daydreams and letting your mind wander over the cool and the weird, you’re not going to have as many chances to get ideas, but maybe that’s just me. I like to think I’ve made my head a friendly welcoming home for the occasional wacky idea to come set up shop, stay a while.

Here is my latest idea, which I had yesterday and then vocalized in a burst of enthusiasm in vent last night;

What I’d love to see in Warlords of Draenor is a new Caverns of Time raid, a BIG one. A raid that gets unlocked by doing some hardcore stuff in the normal progression raids, the way Raden only got unlocked when you completed heroic Lei Shen.

You know, a rewarding, insanely challenging boss fight and the flip side of Siege of Orgrimmar.

What I’d love is, once the normal progression of raids is complete in Warlords of Draenor and we have seen where the storyline will take us with the Infinite Dragonflight interfering in events, we have to prevent a big all out push for an ultimate weapon.

As part of the Timeless Isles weekly quest chain, you empowered the hourglass and saw visions. One of those visions is what would have come to pass in Stormwind if Garrosh won.

In the War Crimes book, which I have NOT read, I have heard that the Infinite Dragonflight makes a reappearance, something we thought was inpossible with the closing of the Nozdormu/Murozond loop in Cataclysm.

What if our empowering the hourglass has been the first true event that causes the Infinite Dragonflight to come once more into being, and we’ve armed them with the power to travel the timeways again. Now they’re bound and determined to create the world that the Black Prince tried to shape in Azeroth, a world united under one banner prepared to defend against and win against the Burning Crusade. Only the world they’re going to shape into a weapon against the Burning Crusade is one without the corrupting taint of the Old Gods that drove Nozdormu insane; Draenor.

Nobody says it has to be the same Infinite Dragonflight as before, with the same goals, right? That is why Garrosh travels to Draenor to inspire and unite the world under the banners of the new Iron Horde; to be united and strong in the face of the incoming Burning Legion.

But what do we do? We follow Garrosh through the red portal, we interfere, we undermine the Iron Horde, we divide them by uniting with the Frostwolves, we emplace our Garrisons and prevent a single, strong Iron Horde from ever rising ready to fight.

Then the Burning Crusade crashes down.

After all of that major questing and story development, what if we had one capper of an all-out last ditch play by the Infinite Dragonflight, their attempt to get an ultimate weapon to turn the tide, an unstoppable leviathan of destruction so overwhelmingly, ridiculously overpowered that the Iron Horde would have no choice but to follow such a leader and along the way crush the Azeroth forces?

What if the Warlords of Draenor ‘Raden-style’ boss was set up for us to go to the Caverns of Time and be sent to a Stormwind from an alternate timeline where Garrosh won. You know, that timeline you see in the Timeless Isle hourglass quest visions with Stormwind in flames?

Your goal is to prevent the Infinite Dragonflight from capturing Garrosh, who is riding through the streets of Stormwind on the back of a tamed Thok.

Can you see it?

Garrosh, fully empowered by the Old Gods but in full control of the power instead of an unwitting pawn, an avatar of unspeakable might, riding through the streets of a Stormwind in flames on the back of Thok, the mightiest mount the world has ever seen, riding the edge of it’s blood fury and together tearing apart the city?

And you have to drop in on that and destroy Garrosh and Thok in a massive final battle where not only are you dealing with them, but also the attempts of the Infinite Dragonflight to stop you.

The great thing about it from a story point of view is that it wouldn’t matter which faction you were, your goal isn’t to save the city because it’s from another timeline. The goal is to deprive the Infinite Dragonflight of their ultimate weapon.

And come on… dropping down into the middle of a Stormwind in flames, with Alliance troops trying to slow down Garrosh so refugees can flee, and work to block waves of True Horde forces from reinforcing him while you try to reach him and destroy him?

If Horde characters were transformed to look like Alliance the way Escape from Durnhold changed our appearance to better fit in, so much the better. Can you imagine having to try to rally Stormwind forces so they can hold the line against True Horde reinforcements and keep them from making your fight against Garrosh more difficult?

I’m squeeing in delight just imagining the fight.

It doesn’t matter where ideas come from… all that matters is that we enjoy the hell out of them when they get here.

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Battleheart-Legacy-featured

On the off chance you decided to try out the iPhone and iPad game Battleheart Legacy, here are a couple character builds the Cub and I are using and having a lot of fun with.

I find the guides at Appunwrapper to be very helpful, with tips on how to unlock each trainer as well as what all the upcoming skills will be for each class at each tier, so I can plan ahead on what I want to level towards.

I, apparently, am an in-your-face mauler at heart.

My chosen class combination is;

Barbarian/Knight with some Ninja/Monk moves

My main stats are STR, Skill and END, although I have leveled others up just enough to get a few other abilities from Ninja/Monk.

I use a Colossal two-handed weapon, the heaviest plate armor I can get my hands on, and accessories that give me +weapon power and +crit or instant cooldown (which gives you a chance your special abilities will instantly come off cooldown).

Active Skills:

Power Attack – default special melee attack.
Cleave – 2nd tier Knight special, melee frontal cone AoE.
Whirlwind – 3rd tier Barbarian powerful AoE.
Savage Pounce – 6th tier Barbarian special attack and pounce, I use this for chasing around teleporting healers and crushing their bony skulls.
Karma Kick – 3rd tier Monk special – flying attack that takes you right to the enemy, great for chasing down those  teleporting casters or wyrms.
Frenzy – 7th tier Barbarian special, greatly increases your attack speed and cooldown speed.
Smoke Bomb – 4th tier Ninja special, creates a cloud of smoke that hides you from view. Makes ranged attackers come into your melee range. Suckers.
Intimidate – 6th tier Knight special (I use it to freeze all the enemies in place and let me pound on their healers).

I am only level 28 right now, so I’m not done with this build. I intend to take the 13th tier Barbarian special next, Quake Strike, and replace Karma Kick with it.

Passive Skills:

Colossal Weapons – 2nd tier Barbarian passive. Let’s you use those honking big colossal two handed weapons.
Adrenaline Rush – 10th tier Barbarian skill, when you kill an enemy, you get back some health and get much faster movement speed for a bit.
Armsman – 5th tier Knight skill, +10% blade weapon damage
Lethality – 5th tier Ninja skill. Increases critical damage by 50%. This is why I like +crit on my armor and accessories.
Flurry – 7th tier Ninja skill. Increases attack speed by 10%. Still not entirely sold on this one.
Grit – 8th tier Knight skill, Increases weapon damage by half of your endurance, AND reduces the duration of negative status effects by half. Damn nice.

I’m thinking of replacing the Flurry passive with the Rogue Lethal Edge, which increases dagger and sword crit chance by 10%. I haven’t yet because I don’t know if colossal swords are considered swords or not for the skill, and I’d have to do some serious number crunching over time to figure it out by the averages. I’m having too much fun to do that right now.

What I really want is to work towards the 10th tier Ninja passive, Silent Assassin. When you kill something, your next moves Teleports you BEHIND your next target. I can see chaining my kills, Teleporting around the Colosseum like a rabbit on crack. The thought makes me grin.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Cub, on the other hand, has been trying to level everything up at the same time.

He started with some Knight and Barbarian, and then found the Necormancer and Wizard, and has been mainlining Intellect as a stat. But he’s not focusing as much as I am, and he isn’t looking forward to upcoming tiers like I am. He’s been leveling a little here, a little there, and trying a bit of everything.

At the moment, he’s higher level than I am at 29, and he is solidly running a;

Witch/Wizard/Necromancer

And he’s kicking butt.

My build, I can get to 115 ~ 125 killed enemies in the Colosseum without much problem. His character just did the Colosseum and got to 160 enemies.

FYI, if you kill 100 or more enemies in the Colosseum in one session, you are guaranteed a Legendary weapon or armor drop. So hitting over 100 every time is a milestone worth reaching. I didn’t start hitting that mark until level 23 or so with my build, and it took the Cub level 27 with his spellcaster build to do it.

The keys to his build are slowing AoE spells and Teleport. Also, using a Mummy as a tank. Teleport into the middle, drop a Mummy (if it was dead), Teleport instantly to the outer edge and begin shelling with slowing Tornadoes and Blizzards. It’s crazy.

His character uses staff weapons with spellpower, robes with crit, and accessories that are pure Instant Cooldown or reduced cooldown speed. He has the Azamoths Cursed Eyeball for +15% chance for Instant Cooldown and the Almanac of Annihilation for +20% cooldown speed. Faster specials are GOOD.

Active Skills:

Wandering Plague – 3rd tier Necromancer spell, an everlasting poison that does a lot of damage to the target, and when the target dies it hops to another and keeps on going.
Chain Lightning – 1st tier Wizard spell – You know what this is.
Tornado – 11th tier Witch spell, the Tornado moves in a straight line to your target, slowing anything in it’s path and doing good damage.
Blizzard – 5th tier Wizard spell, sends a blizzard towards your target, slowing anything in it’s path and doing good damage. I’m detecting a trend.
Meteor – 3rd tier Wizard spell, Blasts target and those around it with AoE fire damage.
Drain Life – 1st tier Witch spell – vampiric attack, hurts your target and heals you.
Teleport – 6th tier Wizard spell, this is AWESOME. You cast it, and your next 5 moves will teleport you where you click on screen. No time limit. Cast and save.
Summon Mummy – 5th tier Necrmancer spell, he’s big, strong and durable, and things in the Colosseum like to chase him instead of you.

Passive Skills:

Army of Doom – 7th tier Necromancer skill, increases the health and duration of summoned minions by 50%.
Dark Arts – 5th tier Witch skill, Increases poison and unholy damage by 10%.
Staff Master – 2nd tier Wizard skill. Let’s you use magic staves.
Wild Magic – 4th tier Wizard spell, Increases critical strike chance with spells by 10%.
Life Leech – 12th tier Witch spell, causes ALL of your attacks to heal you by 5% of the damage done.
Mass Destruction – 9th tier Wizard skill, Increases the damage of all AoE attacks and spells by 10%.

He’s planning on working towards the 12th tier Wizard passive skill, Student of the Mind, which increases cooldown recovery speed by 15%. Probably replacing Wild Magic. Also looking towards Calamity, the 13th tier Witch spell that is basically a single target nuke, which this build lacks.

The Cub let me try his character out, and let me tell you, in the Colosseum there is a joy to the play style that is amazing. Casting Teleport and holding them in reserve, popping to one side of the room, dropping a Mummy, then targeting something, Teleporting to the other side of the group from him, sending Tornadoes at him so they run through the whole group, let them slowly get close then Teleport to the other side and send more back the other way, Blizzards raining down, Meteors dropping from the sky. It’s chaos, a big game of keep away, and with Life Leech healing you from your AoE damage on an entire pack, the mobs are screwed.

Conclusion

I have no idea if anyone else intends to play this simple mobile app/game, but we’re really digging it.

I have about 10 hours total played on my character at level 27, and the Cub has 18 and a half hours on his level 29. Considering this is mostly in spurts of a half an hour here or there, driving in the car, sitting on the, um, waiting, yes, waiting for, um, things, that’s an incredible amount of gameplay for us on $5.

I think the main questing story is going to be complete when we hit around level 35. There is one big multipart quest from the King, and it looks to me that it might be done and the game over when it’s complete. So, say about 15 hours of gameplay for me, and probably about 22 or 23 for the Cub. After that, it will be replaying from first level trying to focus on a few class combinations and max out their stats for the biggest punch.

Certainly not an ever-living MMO, but for a mobile game, damn, this has been the best I’ve seen.

When we’re done with this, I think I’ll be giving their first game, Battleheart, a try.

I hope these builds are of some help to you.

Comments 5 Comments »

Penny Arcade had a little news blurb up a week ago or something, where Mike Krahulik talked about some games he was digging.

One of those games was for the iPhone, called Battleheart Legacy, and it like costs real money so OMG.

BUT.

Mike Krahulik loved the game, and it’s an action RPG, and the screenshots looked cute as heck. Also, I don’t generally see people talking about great iPhone games they’re playing. I’m starved for recommended options.

Okay, game looks good, love the art style.

After seeing it and knowing I like what I saw, I was still left with a burning question. “If I drop $5 on this game, is that it? Am I done? Can I enjoy the whole game now without any nickel and dime bullshit?”

Welcome to the new age of gaming. What I look for in a game is, “If I buy the game, can I play all of the game or not? Will there come a point where it’s getting really good, and then I’ll hit a paywall where if I want to keep playing the game for even more awesome fun, FORK OVER MORE MONEY BITCH.”

This is what I look for now. Not how many classes, or what level you can reach, or how many hours of entertainment. I look for micro-transactions to tell me if the company hopes to suck $30 a month out of me on the average.¹

I did a little research on Battleheart Legacy, and it was hard to find any review that mentioned anything other than content. I never did find a review that explicitly stated whether or not there were in-game purchases after you buy it.

I sucked it up and dropped my $5 and bought the game.

I won that round of micro-transaction misery. NO IN-GAME PURCHASES! Once I bought the game, by God I owned the game and I could play it without worrying about paywalls.

It’s been so long. It feels weird to have a game on my phone that is really fun, without being pestered to buy stuff all the time.

I’ve been playing it, it’s great. I love it.

This isn’t a review about the game, I’m just saying I love this little RPG hack and slasher. It’s so fun to mix and match skills and abilities and gear to be whatever the heck combo of character I want, and if I come up with some insane OP mish-mash hodgepodge it’s okay, because there is no PvP to make losers whine about getting crushed OMG nerf Monk/Ninja PLZ.

I can take my character and mainline Knight/Barbarian with Colossal weapons, and toss in some sweet Ninja and Monk moves with a little Necromancer raising skeletons from the bones of the dead thrown in and ain’t nobody to tell me that’s wrong.

The point is, we’re driving around and the Cub is bored in the back seat, and I hand him my phone with Battleheart Legacy up and running.

Did I mention the game lets you make multiple characters, swap between them easy, copy them for multiple options, and even upload saves to the cloud and play your saves on multiple Apple devices on your account? No? Huh. Well, it does.

So he could make his own character without worry, and I let him go to it.

He’s got over seven hours logged into that thing now. He plays this iPhone game at home a few nights this week instead of playing the computer games. He played three hours last night! Only stopped because he killed my battery stone dead.

His character is nothing like mine. He’s running a dual-wield Ninja with a side of Witch powers, life draining enemies and, yeah, some Necromancer skeleton army stuff. Okay, so we both like skeletal minions.

Here is the hilarious bit.

He narrates everything he does.

It’s got to come from spending the last year watching Let’s Play videos on YouTube.

All these Minecraft video makers like the Yogscast spend their time doing Let’s Play videos playing games, and the whole time they’re narrating everything they do while they’re playing.

His favorites are the ones with Yogscast Lewis and Simon, and also Yogscast Duncan.

They all do the same things (but with various degrees of awkwardness). As they play games, they narrate everything.

Now my son does too.

It’s freaking hilarious.

See, he only does it while playing video games, and it seems to be automatic. He doesn’t do this at any other time, but if he starts playing a video game, the mouth starts narrating. Constantly. CONSTANTLY.

It’s wonderful.

Normally, he sits next to me all the time so I don’t think Cassie even knew he does this as much as he does, but it’s summer break now, and he’s home with her.

All day.

While she tries to focus on work.

Cassie works from home as a contractor making twice as much as I do because she’s smart and has an education, and I’m an idiot wage slave.

There she is, all day, working away in her home office…

…and there is our son, sitting in the living room playing video games and talking non-stop, describing everything he’s doing and how cool things are and this sword is awesome and I can totally kick that green slimes’ butt and on and on. ALL DAY.

It’s great, I heartily encourage him to share with me everything he is enthusiastic about. I figure I’m about three years away from him realizing I’m the enemy because I’m a parent, and never wanting to talk to me again. I’m going to enjoy every sweet moment of this I can, even when I really wish he’d be quiet for five seconds and let me focus on this chapter I’m trying to write, focus Bear, FOCUS.

We’re not going to discourage him from being happy and gushing and chatty.

But oh my, the look on my wife’s face at the end of the day yesterday when I came home, and she shared with me her true joy at spending the last eight hours listening to the narration of whatever games he happened to play that day.

Priceless. Just priceless.

¹Seriously, look it up. Marvel Puzzle Quest’s CEO makes it clear their goal, and the goal of all game companies in the sector is to use micro-transactions and clever content gating to net $30 out of each player per month on the average. $1 ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User). If the idea of paying $30 a month to play a phone game because of content gating a buck at a time so it’s hard to notice the real cost doesn’t sicken you about the direction of games publishers, I don’t know what will.

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