Monday, December 2, 2013

The Playlist - November 27 - December 2, 2013

Unfortunately, poor decision making on Friday night led to a completely unproductive Saturday (typically one of my more writing intensive days). In short, I didn't catch up as much as I was hoping to last week and am unlikely to do much better this week due to a busy real-work schedule. In any case, I hit most of my usual targets so quite a bit of stuff went up. Gaming wise, I only played two games this week as I worked on getting my yearly MMO fix out of my system.

What's Coming Up
On Geekbinge, my review for Might and Magic: Duel of Champions went live as well as a a short piece on the recent PlayStation Playroom Twitch debacle. I am working on my next Danny's Descant which is aimed at providing a second take on Jared Russo's review of The Stanley Parable and will be participating in the weekly podcast where we aim to talk about Ultra Street Fighter 4 among other things (recording this Friday, probably posted Sunday). Time permitting, I will aim to have something else written but don't want to make any guarantees with my hectic work schedule.

For Studentcom, my Holiday Buyers Guide finally went live but I am still waiting on two articles to hit the site (a piece on Nintendo and a piece on Netbook gaming). I am putting the finishing touches on a bit about the 'Evolution of Difficulty' over the last 20 years and will have this submitted early this week (I honestly don't know the publication schedule and have recently been assigned a new editor so we'll see how long it takes to go live). If anyone is just dying to see a pre-release copy, drop me an email and I will forward it on. I will have something else done for submission by the weekend but haven't quite narrowed in on a topic (I am toying with resurrecting my 'Cheating in Games' work).

For this blog it will be another light week with only the regular two pieces expected again (sorry for this, I will do my best to get started on a Sofa Story for posting next week!). I am also working on a special Twitch stream that's requiring a bit of legwork to get going. Come hell or high water I will be going live Saturday after missing last week's stream for stupid reasons, whether it is with this special format remains to be seen.

What I've Been Playing
I am surprised that I only played two games last week as I usually like to dabble in a bit of everything, but I chalk this up to satiating my MMO fix. I will definitely be playing a few more this week in relation to the Twitch stream I am working on.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
I can't believe that it has been almost two years since this game launched (time flies). I mostly dropped this a few months after launch but have kept my eye on its evolution. The transition to a free-to-play model has apparently been a success attested by continued support and the launch of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion. In just a few days, full-fledged space combat will be implemented and I must say that I have been hooked by the trailers. Rationally, I know that it will probably be watered down PvP falling into all the same traps of gearing beating out skill but I am excited nonetheless (expect a full analysis once I have sunk my teeth into the content). This week, I opted to re-roll to a Sith Sorcerer and have been zapping foes to a crisp with lightning; the dark side is borderline comedy as I seem to be finding a way to kill pretty much any story NPC I meet. I have been a bit disappointed that temporary double XP gains have been implemented as they have really screwed the leveling curve and I find I am speeding through some of my favorite zones because they offer no rewards. Ah well.

Outlook: Absolutely still playing this next week and am crossing my fingers that the space combat addition doesn't overload the servers.

Duel of Champions
I have continued to refine my deck and have emerged victorious in a few Swiss tournaments. In a sign that I am grasping the overall strategy, I managed to crack 1100 ELO rating and am winning more games than I am losing at this point. Most of my losses are coming from decks specifically designed for rushing which seems to be a weak point in my own deck. I rely on controlling the field until I can unleash some heavy units but struggle against extremely fast decks. That said, if I can weather the early storm it is assured victory. A new expansion is looming on the horizon but I'm not sure if I will continue to play once it is released; I suppose it will depend on how gameplay mechanics are tweaked.

Outlook: Still on my radar but likely to only get significant play if The Old Republic servers are having problems.