If you stepped into the dwarven capital of Ironforge on September 13, 2005, you would find only bones. Lots of bones. The city, along with every other major population center in World of Warcraft, had been ravaged by a plague that slaughtered players by the thousands, their bleached bones covering every street.At first, no one understood what was happening. Almost randomly, gouts of blood would begin spilling out of a player, and then another and another. Before long, entire cities became wastelands. And then the curse would subside, life would return to normal for a minute or an hour, and then it would happen all over again.For those trapped inside the afflicted zones, they would die, run to their corpse, resurrect, run a few more feet, and die again. While thousands of players were throwing their hands up in the air in frustration, Blizzard employees were watching in horror. "It was really scary when we didn't know why it was happening," World of Warcraft lead engineer John Cash … [Read more...] about How Blizzard coped with World of Warcraft’s blood plague and other early disasters
How much developer to use with bleach
The Dragon Ball franchise is in a weird state.As noted in my review on Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, there’s something about the franchise that has been able to maintain its rather overwhelmingly large and dedicated fanbase for decades since its debut back in 1984. And yet, the games have always had a hard time of capturing the core of the franchise, of making what could be called the quintessential must-have, be-all, end-all Dragon Ball game, though many have captured a part of it. But there’s just something so epic, so grand in scope, that’s hard to dissect and contain in one disc, cartridge, cassette and on. At least, so far.So how do you make the a better Dragon Ball game? What kind of steps can be taken to revive the franchise, to invigorate it, as if resurrected by the dragon balls of game development? And how can future games bring something new to the table? Do People Even Care Enough?First, let me get this out of the way: yes, yes they sure as hell do. People … [Read more...] about Is It Time For The Dragon Ball Z Franchise To Do Something Completely New?
Street Fighter 2 is one of the only games that truly deserve to be called "genre-defining" -- today, 25 years after SF2's release, we can see that practically every fighting game out there has adopted its core game design principles as industry-standard gospel, with only a few tweaks here and there to stand out from the crowd.If you're the average consumer or dev, or even if you're an experienced fighting game competitor, you probably aren't all that familiar with all the games that have tried to make major changes to the fighting game template.So, in celebration of SF2's 25th anniversary, I'm going to walk through some of the fascinating deviations and beautiful experiments that fighting game devs took to try and change SF2's fighting game formula. Studying these games may inspire you in your own designs, or may suggest ways to tinker with the paradigm you're currently wokring within.I'm going to try to avoid the other well-known franchises (if you know Street Fighter, you probably … [Read more...] about 17 mold-breaking fighting games that all developers should study
I will admit to a certain wateriness in my eyes when I heard the music. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was and is, I believe, almost more a state of mind than it is a roleplaying game. A strange and desolate place, built upon a foundation of distrust, it is almost aggressively lonely. As an RPG, the precursor to Oblivion and Skyrim is all over the shop, but that never mattered because it was a place to disappear into. The mist, the mushrooms, the menace. The music. Elder Scrolls games since have been playgrounds first and Other Places second, and I don’t know how they can go back now.Going back is exactly the plan. Morrowind is a standalone expansion-cum-relaunch of The Elder Scrolls Online [official site] (ESO), Bethesda’s massively multiplayer spin-off of the series that gave us Skyrim. It’s due for release this June and I’ve taken a look.ESO: Morrowind is designed as a clean entry point for new players, and also to dangle the juicy carrot of nostalgia in … [Read more...] about How Morrowindy is Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind?
Bleached white bone is the new black, undead immortality is the new 30 and death is the life of the party. Playing as Total War: Warhammer’s undead faction, the Vampire Counts, injects some fresh mechanics into the long-running strategy series’ blood and provides plenty of evidence that this will be far more than a fantasy paintjob applied to well-worn rules and mechanics.There are two main reasons for my newfound faith: the ability to resurrect the fallen and the existence of giant flying monstrosities that eat archers for breakfast. Welcome to Sylvania, the rotten heart of the Old World.Both the strategic map and the tactical battles of Total Warhammer are clearly cut from the same cloth as those in The Creative Assembly’s historical titles. The interface is similar, the landscapes are populated by similar troops of tiny people, and settlements follow a roughly approximate path of building upgrades. If you were to play the game with your historical hat on, … [Read more...] about Hands On With Total War: Warhammer’s Vampire Counts
This is an excerpt from BATTLEFIELD 3: The Russian by Andy McNab and Peter Grimsdale. Copyright © 2011 by Electronic Arts Inc. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved. The Russian is scheduled to be released alongside Battlefield 3 on October 25, and it can be preordered from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Moscow, 2014 Dima opened his eyes, a second of blankness before he remembered where he was and why. The call could come at any time, they'd said. It was just after three. Bulganov's voice was thick with fatigue. He told him when and where. He started to give directions, but Dima shut him up. 'I know where it is.' 'Just don't fuck up, okay?' 'I don't fuck up. That's why you hired me.' Dima hung up. Four- thirty, a stupid time to choose to swap a girl for a suitcase of money, but he wasn't making the decisions. 'Remember: you're just the courier,' Bulganov had said, trying to swallow his pain. Bulganov had wanted to use … [Read more...] about Sneak Preview: Battlefield 3: The Russian
This is an excerpt from Battlefield 3: The Russian by Andy McNab and Peter Grimsdale. Copyright © 2011 by Electronic Arts Inc. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved. The Russian launches alongside Battlefield 3 today, and it can be ordered from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more on The Russian, check out our Q&A with author Andy McNab, as well as the first two chapters of the book. Al-Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan/Iran Border It was a hundred and four degrees Fahrenheit inside the Stryker and the smell wasn't getting any better. The shift had just stretched into its thirty-second hour, which would do nothing to improve the personal hygiene of the inmates in full kit: Kevlar helmets, bullet-resistant glasses, heat-resistant gloves, body armour, knee pads, elbow pads, 240 rounds of ammunition for their M4s in pouches attached to the body armour. It was like being in an armour-plated coffin, but not so spacious. Up until a few … [Read more...] about By the Book: Battlefield 3: The Russian
If you’ve missed last week's recap of this two-part story, then I recommend checking that out before reading on. Previous discussion topics will be revisited, some will even be dropped in light of new evidence. All things considered, I guess what I'm trying to say is that any Doctor Who recap is going to be a "timey wimey" exercise, so do your best to try and keep up. If you get confused, then drop down below and ask for clarification in the comments. There is a lot more to unpack here compared to last week, so let's start off the recap with what came before.PREVIOUSLY The Doctor, Clara and Missy have been brought to Skaro, home planet of the Dalek race by a servant of Davros named Colony Sarff. It turns out that the Twelfth Doctor previously met Davros as a child at some point between the last Christmas special, "Last Christmas," and the season opener last week. That’s right, Missy is back once again and still causing that type of havoc that only a Time Lady can.With … [Read more...] about Doctor Who Series 9 recap: The Witch’s Familiar
At the Bethesda Gamers Event in Las Vegas, representatives from the Doom and Quake studio showed off Rage, their action game based on a new IP. We previously had a chance to see the game, which you can read about here, but this time, the developers walked us through several areas to highlight the diversity in the environments and the characters. The presentation began with Tim Willits, the creative director, who talked about how the idtech5 engine allowed him to do something different and change expectations about id Software. He wanted to create something unique and special that definitely had to be an "awesome first-person shooter." Willits explained that Rage, at its core, is an action game, but other elements like vehicle combat make it stand out. The story of Rage takes place in the future where an asteroid has hit the earth and destroyed most of civilization. You play as the sole survivor of an ark that was buried underground and damaged when the asteroid hit. The government … [Read more...] about Rage Updated Impressions
Sony's conference has just barely wrapped, but already E3 Media & Business Summit attendees are rushing from the Shrine back to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the next press event. Specifically, French publisher Ubisoft is looking to continue this, the first day of the show. How, exactly, Ubisoft plans to wow audiences is a bit of a mystery, considering the publisher just recently held a massive press event in France, UbiDays. As part of that May gathering, the publisher rolled out Shaun White's Snowboarding, Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party, a reboot to its Prince of Persia franchise, and new looks at a number of its other titles, including Tom Clancy's EndWar. Be that as it may, Ubisoft has dimmed the lights, donned its berets, and taken the stage. [2:27] It's Ubisoft's turn to take the stage at this year's E3, and journalists and other attendees are starting file into one of the larger meeting rooms at the LACC. [2:28] Pop rock cranks out of the sound … [Read more...] about E3 2008: Ubisoft conference Alive with POP, Shaun White