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Elder Scrolls Off The Record: Episode 122: The Road To Update 4

August 27th, 2014 Posted by Elder Scrolls Off The Record - Elder Scrolls Off The Record An Elder Scrolls Online & Elder Scrolls Podcast, Podcasts No Comment yet

Evarwyn, Liz and Rob are joined by the highly popular addon creator, Wykkyd! This week the crew discusses “The Road Ahead” released on August 20th that highlights Update 4 (Including news updates on Upper Craglorn, Champion System, Dragonstar Arena, Spellcrafting and the Imperial City, development) and beyond, as well as whats in store for you on the PTS with Update 1.4.0 and why you’re going to want to get involved, plus this week’s community news and emails. In Game discussion comes from Elder Scrolls Online.

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Elder Scrolls Off The Record: Episode 122: The Road To Update 4

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Classic Elder Scrolls Night 19: Let’s Discover Cheydinhal!

August 27th, 2014 Posted by Classic Elder Scrolls, Elder Scrolls Off The Record - Elder Scrolls Off The Record An Elder Scrolls Online & Elder Scrolls Podcast, Podcasts No Comment yet

This episode we welcome Mike as one of our new hosts to hit this series! As we roam around the countryside of Oblivion, we make our way over to the city of Cheydinhal, nestled in the Nibney Valley and tucked to the west of Morrowind. We discover this city’s hidden inner beauty and delve into its history. We also discuss “What Would You Do?” from the official Elder Scrolls forums, a question being asked in the face of the decision, should you EVER sell a TES game? You can also expect our “Fast Question of the Week” and an email from the community.

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Classic Elder Scrolls Night 19: Let’s Discover Cheydinhal!

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Elder Scrolls Off the Record: Episode 121: Welcome to Update 3!

August 15th, 2014 Posted by Elder Scrolls Off The Record - Elder Scrolls Off The Record An Elder Scrolls Online & Elder Scrolls Podcast, Podcasts No Comment yet

This is the first week to feature our brand new cast members: Liz “Mistress Lebeau” and Rob “Rage Philosophy” along with a slightly modified format, including a community guest! This week, we welcome Jake from Deltia’s Gaming and Tales of Tamriel to our show! We discuss our experience playing Update 3, as well as showcase the new video for Update 4 and other community news. Kick back and relax guys: because this is the episode live viewers are calling “Fun again!”

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Episode 121: Welcome to Update 3!

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Classic Elder Scrolls Night 18: Forelhost Crypt

August 1st, 2014 Posted by Elder Scrolls Off The Record - Elder Scrolls Off The Record An Elder Scrolls Online & Elder Scrolls Podcast, Podcasts 1 comment

We welcome Krispy to our show and a brand new segment: “Tales From the Dungeon” that she will be presenting. This week we jump back into Skyrim and discuss “Good Locations to Explore” and “You Know You’re Obsessed With Skryim When…” as well as our “Fast Question of the Week” and an email from our community.

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Classic Elder Scrolls Night 18: Forelhost Crypt

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Shank’s Spiel: Uncovering My Destiny

July 31st, 2014 Posted by Shank's Spiel 1 comment

Destiny was perhaps the most confounding puzzle I’ve had to solve in a while. Specifically, I wanted to figure out exactly what Destiny is. Now, Dave will tell you that it’s nothing more than a Defiance clone in his endearingly trollish way, but I don’t subscribe to this.

It took me ages to figure out, but I finally puzzled out just what Destiny truly is. The answer may very well be different to those of you who played the beta over the last week and a half simply because your experience with the game was inherently different to mine. And that’s fine. But for me, I really needed to understand what this game is and crucially, what this game isn’t.

I admit that I was on an emotional roller coaster ride with the beta. And I don’t mean this in the way that The Last Of Us left me emotionally drained (and will do so again after I play through the Remastered edition…possibly next week’s Spiel). I began the beta with excitement, which then quickly deteriorated into disappointment.

I was disappointed by the seemingly repetitive gameplay, the shallow open play spaces, and the frequent and definitely noticeable frame drops. The Crucible, Destiny’s PVP, simply wasn’t compelling enough. I didn’t feel the urge to explore. The honeymoon was over.

It was during this disappointment lull when I realized I would have to tease out what Destiny actually is. This process took the better part of a week, but in the end, my findings were well worth the effort. And perhaps surprisingly, what I found wasn’t all that surprising.

After I made this realization, I began to have fun with the game again. I saw the game for what it was and understood what it wasn’t. Slowly but surely, I became cautiously optimistic for the game again.

And this is where you come in. You want to know what I puzzled out. My findings are multifaceted, so let’s explore them thusly. First and foremost, Destiny is absolutely not a “next gen” experience, nor did I ever take it for one. The term “next gen” is pretty much meaningless simply because I own a PC that is quite literally 3.5x more powerful than my PS4. Even on my older PC build from 2011, I was already enjoying “next gen” with the likes of Battlefield 3 with components more powerful than my PS4…in 2011.

Destiny is not some groundbreaking new experience that wasn’t available before. Sure, it may not have been possible on previous consoles, but this type of game has existed for years and years on the PC. Just because this type of experience wasn’t available on consoles does not make it “next gen.” It’s just “catching up” to PCs.

As a brief aside, what I experienced in The Crew beta truly blew me away. That is an experience I haven’t seen on consoles nor PCs. Even though an experience like this could have been done on PCs for years, the fact is it never was. While the visuals were average, a truly seamless open world United States on such a titanic scale is something I have never experienced before. Because of that, The Crew looks to be one of those upcoming titles that will provide a truly new experience.

Destiny is not an open world game either, despite the misleading marketing implying the game’s open world nature. The play spaces are too small to provide for truly rewarding exploration, with random “missions”…if you can even call them that…scattered throughout the world.

These missions are so banal and derivative that one wonders what Bungie actually intended to accomplish with the structure of these Explore missions. They are half-assed, weak, and provide no incentive to actually complete them. This Explore mechanic is by far and away Destiny’s weakest component.

Bungie should have either ditched these missions entirely and focused only on the story missions and multiplayer Crucible, or, they should have created a true open world where you really can travel to the distant horizons shown off by the skyboxes. The fact that Bungie failed to do either is an absolute travesty of what should have been.

But no, these useless asinine Explore missions are not why I am cautiously optimistic about this game.

The greatest realization I made about Destiny, the one realization that liberated me from my cavernous disappointment, is this: Destiny is simply Bungie’s next evolution of Halo. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Bungie learned a lot with Halo. You can see this learning throughout the games they worked on. Combat got tighter, movement more fluid, and story more epic. The culmination of a decade’s worth of development and learning is brought to the forefront in Destiny.

Even though I was exposed to a short sliver of the campaign during the beta, there is clearly something larger at stake, and understandably so, as Bungie wouldn’t have wished to reveal substantial plot points during the beta.

The gunplay, movement, enemy AI, gorgeous soundtrack, sound design, and skybox all scream Halo. The Crucible multiplayer, which is what you’re watching now, is quintessential Halo. Even reloading the shotgun feels so very classic Halo.

This isn’t a bad thing at all. I absolutely love Halo. Even though Bungie is near the bottom of my list of developers who push tech, they are near the top for art, storytelling prowess, and gameplay mechanics. In this regard, I can really appreciate what they’ve done in Destiny.

And this was the piece that took me so long to figure out. Destiny felt familiar while simultaneously seeping cognitive dissonance into my experience, thus leading me to my disappointed phase. The art and storytelling was compelling enough, but the the utterly disappointing Explore missions and overall free roaming experience left me puzzled and frustrated.

But then I began to take a closer look. Destiny is unquestionably Halo. What Bungie have done is retain what made Halo great, that is, retain the epic scope, art design, compelling multiplayer, and shooting mechanics, while introducing RPG elements wrapped in a newly crafted story.

That is Destiny.

To many, this is a bad thing and entirely unattractive. To me, however, this is great. Is this a “next gen” experience? Absolutely not. Is this this something that’s never been done before? No. Is this a revolutionary new experience? Certainly not.

Destiny is none of those things. What Destiny is, however, is Bungie’s spiritual successor to Halo. And this, more than anything else, has me cautiously optimistic about this unbelievably over-hyped game (IGN).

Now, you all know my stance on preordering. I don’t preorder anything unless I implicitly trust the developers and publishers and I believe in their product. They need to earn my trust. On top of that, I absolutely do not support the segmenting of content only to be repackaged and sold to the consumer as “Day 1 Edition.” Destiny has not earned my trust yet, and neither has Activision. This is a game I will not preorder.

Instead, Destiny is a game that I will wait for reviews for and seek out additional gameplay footage post launch. I still have outstanding questions regarding campaign length, level cap, and story variation. If I like what I see, I will buy it. If not, I won’t. It’s that simple.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play more Last Of Us. Console Master Race.

Elder Scrolls Off the Record: Episode 120: Into The Future Feat. Nick Konkle

July 24th, 2014 Posted by Elder Scrolls Off The Record - Elder Scrolls Off The Record An Elder Scrolls Online & Elder Scrolls Podcast, Podcasts No Comment yet

Lead Gameplay Designer, Nick Konkle, joins us to discuss last week’s major headlines from “The Future of ESO” panel and QuakeCon. After the first hour, we discuss our week in-game, plus Lou’s “The Elder Scroll”, where he presents “Second Era: Part 1” and your emails!

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Elder Scrolls Off the Record: Episode 120: Into The Future Feat. Nick Konkle

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Totally Heroes Episode 53: Tomodachi Life

July 24th, 2014 Posted by QGN Classic Podcasts, Totally Heroes No Comment yet

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Brian’s not dead this week! The Masterful Triumvirate gather to discuss hardware sales, software sales, and analyze the performance of the PS4 and Xbox One so far. Shank presents Destiny Beta graphics comparisons across the PS3 and PS4. And we ask, will we see more betas on console in the future?

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Totally Heroes Episode 53: Tomodachi Life
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Shank’s Spiel: Last Gen Shackles

July 24th, 2014 Posted by Shank's Spiel 1 comment

Admittedly, I spoke about this topic a few months back, but I find it necessary to revisit. In part, this is due to the influx of games that are still releasing exclusively on last gen machines. More damagingly, however, are the upcoming games that are releasing on current gen and last gen.

This makes me angry. I can’t begin to describe just how frustrated I become when, week after week, we hear of more upcoming titles that will release simultaneously on current gen and last gen. Again, I understand the reasons why these publishers push for continual support and release of games on the last generation of consoles. As Brian bluntly put it on Totally Heroes, there is a lot of money to be had in the last generation machines.

It’s a simple fact that the install base of last gen grossly outweighs the install base of current gen, even though the adoption rate of the new consoles is higher than it was at this same point in time for their predecessors. In other words, generation over generation, adoption rate has increased. This is a good thing. But…this still doesn’t matter when looking at pure margin.

I will be the first to tell you that while I understand the reasons why these big publishers push to develop games for last gen, I simply don’t care. I completely disagree with them. I really only care about one thing in this industry: progress.

“But Shank,” you decry, “I thought all you cared about is graphics.” To that, I submit the notion that graphics are a result of progress. And I don’t mean progress with respect to storytelling, gameplay, etc. I mean pure technological progress. I firmly believe that a narrative as phenomenal as The Last Of Us could have been written in 1998, but there is no chance in hell that it would have been nearly as impactful then. Similarly, there’s no way that the gameplay would have been as intense in 1998.

Why?

The technology simply didn’t exist in 1998 to support the storytelling and gameplay experience that Naughty Dog wanted to bring to life. In other words, storytelling and gameplay can always be improved at almost any point in time. But without the technology to bring them to life, they simply aren’t as impactful nor meaningful.

Still don’t believe me? Ok. Take a look at Final Fantasy VII on the Playstation. It was a great game. Great music, awesome story, and fun gameplay. Now imagine that game running on modern hardware, with all the gorgeous DX11 bells and whistles, while keeping the music, story, and gameplay intact. You can’t tell me that the modern experience wouldn’t be more immersive, fluid, and just more fun. All things equal, better tech will lead to a better, more impactful experience.

And that’s what I care about most. That technological progress.

What does this have anything to do with last gen, you ask? Simply put, by continuing to pander to the lowest common denominator, the industry will continue to be shackled to the technological boundaries presented by last gen hardware. A perfect example of this is the Destiny beta, which is currently underway.

Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry did an analysis on the PS3 and PS4 version of the beta and found that while the gameplay and other elements are pretty much the same across both platforms, the PS3 version looks decidedly worse than the PS4. And before you begin to retort with, “you can’t compare 8 year old hardware to a brand new console”, you are wrong. I absolutely can compare 8 year old hardware to a new console simply because the same game is on both machines.

This is not to say that the PS4 beta is ugly by any means. It’s quite pretty. But just imagine how much better the graphics would be if Destiny released solely on current generation consoles.

And this is exactly my point. These cross generation games are being crippled visually just so they will be able to run on grossly inferior hardware. Surely, the PS3 version of Destiny can’t be the full realization of Bungie’s vision for the game. And simply because the game is running on PS3 and holding back the PS4 version, who’s to say that even the PS4 version meets Bungie’s full vision? It is a catastrophe if developers are compromising their vision for their game just because publishers want margins in the so-called security of last gen install base. It’s a cowardly outlook on the industry.

By the way, console gamers, this frustration you’re feeling now is exactly how we PC gamers have felt for years…but that is an entirely different topic, one which I may cover in the future.

Additionally, by continuing to release cross generation games, the publishers are discouraging gamers from adopting the newer hardware. Why buy a new console if the same game is also releasing on my old console? I’m willing to bet that most consumers won’t dish out $400 just so the same game can look marginally shinier.

Without games exclusive to the newer consoles, these consumers have no incentive to upgrade. For example, upcoming games like Assassin’s Creed Unity are exclusive to the new consoles and PC, however, there are all-but-confirmed rumors that an Assassin’s Creed experience will be coming to last gen machines.

This may discourage those last gen gamers from buying a PS4 or Xbox One, because even though they won’t be able to play AC Unity, they’ll still get an Assassin’s Creed title this year.

This is horrible. It’s such an incredibly backwards mentality that it makes my blood boil. And all because these publishers want return on margin.

I am a gamer first and foremost. I don’t give a damn about margin. All I care about is that my games are the best that they can be. I want to know that my new consoles and PC are being pushed to their absolute limit. I want to get my money’s worth.

In short, I want progress. This poisonous mentality of releasing games for vastly inferior last generation hardware needs to stop. It’s fueled by an industry run by cowards who are too damn scared to take risks and leap into the future. Instead of paving the way forward, they are clinging to shackles of the past.

And that is a pitiful outlook on the industry.

SWTOR Reforged: Episode 44: That Manaan Factor

July 21st, 2014 Posted by Podcasts, SWTOR Reforged No Comment yet

This week the guys gather on the Ebon Millennium to discuss some new info that may suggest Manaan may be the setting for our new expansion, plus a minor update from JJ Abrams from the set of Star Wars Episode VII and some very interesting information that came out of a recent visit to BioWare from Ootinicast’s, Chill, on Galactic Strongholds. Agent Olan discusses “The Galactic Republic: Galactic Experiment With Democracy” in The Intelligence Report. Later on we present our Star Wars recommendations of the week, the SWTOR Fansite/Podcast Weekly update and your tweets, plus our week in game!

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“SWTOR Reforged: Episode 44: That Manaan Factor”

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Classic Elder Scrolls Night 17: Morrowind: The Unique and The Familiar

July 21st, 2014 Posted by Classic Elder Scrolls, Elder Scrolls Off The Record - Elder Scrolls Off The Record An Elder Scrolls Online & Elder Scrolls Podcast, Podcasts 1 comment

This week, Evarwyn and Shank take a look at Morrowind and compare and contrast it against the games they are more familiar with in the TES series.

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Classic Elder Scrolls Night 17: Morrowind: The Unique and The Familiar

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