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By on Sep 11, 2014 at 7:00 am, in Gaming, Interview  |  Comments: 1 comment

This week, I sat down with Nick Robalik, the creator of Sombrero. Nick is a one-man show, doing all of the development and art work for the game. Sombrero is a 2-4 player multiplayer platformer for Windows, OSX and Linux. Players can choose different game play styles like a classic “capture the flag” or a free for all “deathmatch”.
You can find Sombrero at

Candace: I’ll start with basics. Tell me a little about Sombrero and what it is for people who don’t read websites?

Nick: Sombrero is a competitive local multiplayer game with a bit of a spaghetti western-tinged theme. I say “tinged” because, while it’s mostly western, there’s also some odd characters that pop up, like aliens, robots and the like.

It has the usual deathmatch mode, but also some interesting twists on capture the flag-style gameplay as well as what I’m calling “loot”-style so far, where the player has to grab as many bags of cash on the map as possible, while capturing campsites that act as score multipliers, and the player with the most loot at the end of the round wins. So far, people have been getting pretty pumped up playing that one.


Candace: How are players able to play Sombrero together? Do they need something like Hamachi or is the multiplayer support already in the game?

Nick: It’s local or “couch” multiplayer as of now. I suppose it COULD work over hamachi, but I haven’t tried that yet. In the long run I do plan on looking more deeply into internet-based multiplayer, but as a single developer doing all of the art, animation, sound effects and development – the music is being done by Nathaniel Chambers of Bubble Pipe Media – I need to pick my battles carefully so I don’t get end up working on the game for the next 10 years.

By on Jul 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm, in MMORPG  |  Comments: 1 comment

We’ve got a guest post here today by T. Striker, my brother in arms, giving you his initial impressions of his return to Asheron’s Call 1 the first month it became buy-to-play. Stay tuned for a future article where Striker and I explore various parts of the game as veterans coming out of retirement to see the world’s new changes.

I just logged off from a game I played over a decade ago. After two very different play sessions, I still feel like a stranger, and not a veteran. I’ll start from the top since that will make more sense. After just getting word that my old Asheron’s Call accounts were reinstated,  I had to find out what happened to my old characters that I spent so much time on.

By on Mar 17, 2014 at 9:08 am, in Article, RIFT  |  Comments: 2 comments

pvp dimension header

During last Friday’s live stream extravaganza, Daglar and the team showed off a PvP dimension that Kiwi created on the PTS (Kiwi also, by the way, conducted a pretty cool interview regarding PvP dimensions with Pithos if you haven’t checked it out yet). PvP dimensions, as we knew from before, are arena-like in function, allowing players to form 2 or 3 teams that go head to head in a dimension that players create using all kinds of new goodies that allow dimensioneers to create boundaries, scoring methods, starting points, timers, and even environments that cause participants to take damage.

All’s fair in war, right? Well, in this case what’s fair is in the hands of the dimension creator, which gives our intrepid creators a pretty big– and fun– challenge ahead. PvP dimensions will not have any official leaderboards or rewards simply due to the fact that players are ultimately in charge here (and exploits therefore are a high risk), but I think it’s safe to say that if the playerbase tosses together some PvP dimensions that are truly epic (and c’mon, we know they will), Trion wouldn’t hesitate to turn one or two into a real warfront.

By on Mar 10, 2014 at 9:10 am, in Article, RIFT  |  Comments: 7 comments

oracle header

In quite a surprising move, Trion announced late last week that our four new souls that were originally slotted for 3.0– the Arbiter, Liberator, Oracle, and Physician– will be going live in RIFT‘s next major update, which will be 2.7. The team revealed a teeny bit about both the new Warrior soul and the new Cleric soul. The Oracle, which was originally dubbed ‘Crusader’, is a support-based Cleric soul armed with magical spells originating from the Death and the Water planes and is both a fierce ally and a force to be reckoned with. The Liberator is a healing Warrior who excels in raid/group healing and absorption shields.

We’ll find out more info about the other two souls– the Arbiter, the Mage tank, and the Physician, the Rogue healer– in the next couple of days. Trion has already stated that these new souls will be purchasable in a bundle on the RIFT Store, but we don’t know the exact price details yet. We also know that there will be at least two major content updates before 3.0, which means that aspiring Arbiters, Liberators, Oracles, and Physicians will have plenty of time to discover awesome soul setups before the level cap is extended.

By on Feb 24, 2014 at 10:00 am, in Buzz, RIFT  |  Comments: 2 comments

conquest power title

During last Friday’s live stream, Daglar talked a bit about the fact that Trion is finally considering getting rid of Conquest Power altogether. The idea originally popped up in this forum thread earlier in the week asking for player feedback. So far, the feedback seems to be leaning in favor of nuking Conquest Power into orbit.

Daglar shared his thoughts on what this would mean, exactly, and stated that on the PvP side of things, the loss of the stat bonuses shouldn’t harm PvP whatsoever. For raiding content, however, some groups may feel the loss of the stat bonuses provided through Conquest Power. He said that for Tier 1 and 2 raids, the plan is to automatically provide the extra stats for all groups that enter the raids while Tier 3 raids will be tuned without them. This will let guilds continue progressing without feeling as though they are going backwards.

So, what do you think? Is this is a good move?

By on Feb 10, 2014 at 10:39 am, in Article, RIFT  |  Comments: 4 comments


During last Friday’s Trion live stream, we finally got an update of sorts about PvP dimensions, which we first heard about quite a few months ago initially (back in July 2013, in fact). Earlier this year, we were told that they were still in development but had to be pushed back in priority. Now we finally heard some good news!

OverloadUT and dahanese said that PvP dimensions will not be coming with RIFT 2.6, but they will be coming shortly after. Specifically, they hinted that we’re talking about a time frame of weeks rather than months, but weeks could also mean 5+ weeks. In all likeliness, this hints to a time period of somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks.

Now, as to what PvP dimensions are exactly. Greg went into some detail. PvP dimensions take place in normal dimensions, but they have to be set up as such. They can be set up to either be a 2-team battle or a 3-team battle. The items that can be placed within the dimension are how rules and designated fighting areas are decided upon. As we know from before, this includes the areas where players zone in and choose their team. The scoreboard dimension item, as one example, will allow players to interact with it and set the time limits for matches.

By on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:20 am, in Buzz, RIFT  |  Comments: 2 comments

RJ Dev Tracker

A few months ago, the RIFT community was told that while PvP dimensions are very much still in the making, the team has had to put them on the back burner of sorts due to other features that had priority. Pithos, the developer who has been personally working on PvP dimensions, gave us a new update yesterday on the official forums. He basically told us where he’s at on creating them and that he plans on touching bases with Daglar and telling us more soon. Here’s his full post:

Originally posted by Pithos (Source)

I’m the one that has been working on PvP Dimensions when time allows (which has been rare!)…

There’s still no official release date set – it largely depends on how many features we want to launch with, and how often other tasks take priority.

I’ve got a very basic version fully functional now. Current working example: Click a banner to join a team, get teleported to your team’s start point, fight, get a point (or points) each time you kill someone on a different team, when you die and hit respawn, get teleported to your team’s graveyard and resurrect, and then at the end, declare victory for the winning team (or a tie!)… All of this within a dimension of your own creation, of course.

I’ll be talking with Daglar some time soon regarding when & how we want to release this.

Sadly we don’t have a release date yet, but soon hopefully!

By on Nov 10, 2013 at 8:52 am, in MMORPG  |  Comments: 1 comment

Saturday’s panels at Blizzcon focused on a bunch of areas, but there were a few panels that highlighted more of what we’ll be seeing in WoW‘s next expansion– World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard talked more about the item “squish” and the major itemization changes that will be happening across the board. The team also published more details about what’s coming in the expansion for PvPers and held a lengthy Q&A session that answered a whole bunch of questions attendees had about the expansion.

One of the definite highlights was learning that daily quests will not be a major part of Warlords of Draenor. Hooray for lessons learned! Ready for the rest of the highlights? Make sure to take a look at Part 1 of our Blizzcon World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor writeup if you haven’t already.


The Big “Item Squish”

It’s been something WoW players have talked about on the forums for quite some time and something that the Blizzard team themselves have eluded to more than once. Simply put, the damage, health, and healing numbers are so large (and would get even larger with 10 more levels) that they’re kind of ridiculous. Lower numbers would be easier to display on the screen, view in combat logs, and process overall. To do this, the overall player power and item level will not go down, but the displayed damage/healing/health numbers will.

  • Player power will not change at all and players will still ultimately be much more powerful than they are now.
  • The relative power of 5.4 gear will not change.
  • The time to kill mobs in comparison to now (with the same gear) will not change.
  • Likewise, the ability to solo old content and raids will not change whatsoever.

A sample of how stats will be affected is shown in the header image above. Everything that is displayed will be dropped by a certain percentage, but the actual power and item level of items will not.


Other Itemization/Armor Changes

warlords of draenor itemization changes

We went over some of the basic itemization and armor changes yesterday, but here are all of the changes that will be made:

  • Armor won’t be stat-specific and will just be type-specific. There will be no more Intellect plate, for example. All plate wearers will want the same armor.
  • Instead, armor will automatically change to the stats you need when you switch specs.
  • Jewelry, cloaks, trinkets, and weapons will be more role-focused in comparison to armor.
  • There will be less gear slots that can be enchanted, but those slots will have a greater variety of enchant choices.
  • There will be less gear slots with gem sockets, but gems will be more powerful as a result.
  • Gem socket bonuses and meta gems are disappearing.
  • Gem sockets will provide bonus stats and won’t count toward the overall stat budget.
  • Reforging is disappearing. Blizzard felt there was simply too much micro-management needed for every new gear piece.
  • Hunter weapons will be getting revised. Bows, crossbows, and rifles will be available. From the sounds of it, hunter character models may get a visible quiver too.
  • Hit and expertise are disappearing.
  • Dodge and parry are disappearing.
  • Some items will have new tertiary stats such as lifesteal, extra AoE avoidance, etc. These bonus stats won’t count toward the item budget at all.


More on Garrisons

  • Some starter Garrison buildings include town hall, mine, farm, and fishing shack. The town hall is the main building where NPCs are hired, etc.
  • Some medium-sized Garrison buildings include pet stable, trading post, lumber mill, barn, and inn.
  • Some large Garrison buildings include barracks, infirmary, armory, stable, academy, and mage tower.
  • Garrisons will allow players to cast powerful buffs on themselves. One example is a 4-hour buff that persists through death and increases crit.
  • Garrison followers can even be sent off to take on a scenario, dungeon, or raid. This takes a full group of followers, naturally.
  • Guild halls are eventually a possibility, but won’t be added just yet.


More on Leveling, Questing, and Raiding

warlords of draenor leveling

  • The main raid included in launch will be Blackrock Foundry and consist of 10 boss encounters. It will be non-linear, much in the style of Ulduar.
  • All raid difficulties except Mythic difficulty will be cross-server from the first day they are available.
  • Each difficulty of raid has its own separate lockout.
  • While leveling to level 100, zones will feature a lot more dynamic content featuring multi-stage events similar to RIFT‘s zone events from the sounds of it. The map UI will reflect dynamic content.
  • There will be chances while leveling to 100 to obtain rare and epic items as quest rewards.
  • There will be more optional quests while leveling that can be skipped entirely if players wish to just stick to the story quests.
  • There will also be more treasures and rares to discover while leveling and on endgame maps, much in the style of Timeless Isle.
  • We won’t be seeing too many new active abilities while leveling to 100. Most talents are passive bonuses.
  • The amount of daily quests will decrease by a ton. Instead, there will be different types of endgame activities for players to take part in and more variety.
  • There will be a new way for players to find groups. This can be used to find groups for world content, old dungeon content, etc. May be similar to Open Raid. LFD is still sticking around as well.
  • There will be a new bonus called “Stacking the Deck” that will grant players bonus Valor when they join an LFD queue with friends or re-queue with the same group.
  • Blizzard may do more things like Troves of the Thunder King using pieces from the environment.
  • The new dungeons being added include Bloodmaul Slag Mines, Blackrock Depot, Auchindoun, Arakkoa Spires, Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, Iron Barracks, and Upper Blackrock Spire. Yep, that’s right– a return to UBRS! UBRS will be play a critical role in the main storyline.



  • The new persistent PvP zone called Ashran will feature revolving objectives, creatures to summon, faction-based vehicles, and items to gather.
  • Players can enter Ashran before level 100, but it may be perilous to do so.
  • Ashran will feature cross-realm technology.
  • A new statistic called Battleground Score will appear on battleground scoreboards at the end of matches. This score will take objective goals, returning flags, stopping enemy captures, healing, and damage dealing into consideration.
  • Flag and objective timers will show on the map.
  • Battleground participants will be able to win random potions and BoE items at the end of matches similar to LFR goodie bags.
  • A new competitive PvP feature is being added called Trial of the Gladiator. Trial of the Gladiator will be similar to the arena system, but solo players will be able to queue for it. It will be based on seasons and reward special gear.


Other Tidbits:

warlords of draenor concept art 1

  • Justice Points will probably be going away.
  • WoW is not going F2P anytime soon. In an interview with Eurogamer, Production Director J. Allen Brack said, “We didn’t make the game to be free to play. We would have to rework the game pretty significantly in order to make it free-to-play. It’s not something we’re currently considering.”
  • Draenor will be accessible via the Dark Portal. Outlands will be accessible via Caverns of Time.
  • There won’t be a patch 5.5. Instead, Blizzard is working full time on the expansion.
  • The ability to instantly level a character to 90 will come included and can be used once when Warlords of Draenor is purchased.

Extra Sources: WoW Insider’s coverage from Saturday and Blizzard’s Warlords of Draenor PvP preview.

By on Nov 8, 2013 at 8:14 pm, in Buzz, News, TESO, Uncategorized  |  Comments: 2 comments

teso mushrooms
The time has come! Zenimax has answered the questions form our Q&A. We didn’t get all of our questions answered, but Zenimax was tackled a lot of them, and I think you’ll find the information to be interesting. Because these questions came from our site, I’ll be providing some commentary!

First, let’s see how they tackled a question from the most cantankerous character over on rerolled:

Approximately how long has The Elder Scrolls Online been in development? What were some of your original concepts before landing on this one? – From Utnayan
ZeniMax Online Studios was founded in 2007, and from the very beginning we knew we wanted to create an epic online Elder Scrolls experience with three-alliance PVP. Though the project has gone through many changes over the years, as most games do, we have stayed our original course. The Elder Scrolls Online has been our singular focus all along.
While the core original concept has always been to make an online Elder Scrolls game, we have made quite a few changes and improvements to the game in the past couple years. Some examples include adding a first-person mode, an Elder Scrolls style compass, and refining the graphics and art style to give the game a more authentic Elder Scrolls look and feel.

Zenimax is sticking to their guns, here. I think Utnayan was trying to get at the rumors that say ZOS has changed their game design based on the success/failure of other recent MMO games. I think it’s understandable that ZOS would refine and improve their game vision based on outside factors, especially fan demand, so I’m not sure there is much of a story here.

By on Oct 29, 2013 at 9:15 am, in Buzz, RIFT  |  Comments: 7 comments

underwater content quest giver area

After last Friday’s news about RIFT 2.5 and the road leading toward 3.0 and the Plane of Water, Trion chose a pretty cool time to drop a new update on the Public Test Shard (PTS). Yep, the Ember Isle underwater content that’s going to serve as a prelude to what we may see in 3.0 is now available for player testing! The team is holding a special playtest event Today, October 29th at 3 PM PST, but the new content is playable outside of that time frame as well. Keeper Ivan in Tempest Bay (next to the porticulum) will take characters directly to the action and allow players to test out the new story quests, daily quests, carnage quests, rifts, and even a zone event that will be debuting during the test today.

Aside from that news, Daglar also posted a couple of updates for the PvP community regarding the new warfront matchmaking system and 5 vs. 5 matches that are currently in development. Keep reading to take a look.

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