Blog 547: Back to Basics: The Oasis

While revisiting material for the SPRPG Diaries, I’ve ended up replaying as many unsavoury maps as I have classy ones that I’ve eventually presented to you. Even so, some of these have got me to thinking that I do actually enjoy the very basics of WC3 RPGs: RTS controls on a single hero with a pleasant suite of abilities. (By the way, if you’ve spotted something that might be worth a punt for the Diaries, do drop me a line.)

I attempted to play a very recent RPG campaign release a couple of weeks ago, and I was struck by how… Well, crap it was. It had lavish terrain, all the HD imported art you could imagine — but the game itself was pretty much nonexistent, even in terms of attack-move-and-unload-spells-to-win. How difficult can it be to set up a compelling little hero with meaty abilities and set him loose on a world of creeps? Apparently too difficult for some. (I guess “don’t fill him up with passives” is a good start. Critical Strike and Evasion may make for a “realistic” combat system, but it’s hella boring to operate.)

So I got to thinking about going back to basics, stripping away all the weapons systems, backpacks and triggered knockbacks, to see if WC3 can actually stand on its own out-the-box RPG-lite hind legs.

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Aside 26: Cult of Personality

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An associate recently remarked to me, on the subject of this blog, that the game reviews and so on are so much less personal than… well, things like this, and much of what came before the move from MySpace.

It got me thinking… I’m not sure that’s true at all. While an obviously personal story might be obvious, I’m sure that the reviews (and, hell, the developer diaries) are just as revealing, if in a slightly different way. You can tell a lot about a man by the things that he likes and the way he works, and I reckon the minutiae of what I focus on in each blog probably speak louder than any real-life anecdotes from the grim world of work and pubs. (The The Day I Made an Arena Sequence springs to mind as a good illustration, being both a technical chronicle and an unbroken train of throught.)

As a real-life friend once noted on attempting to play This Wreckage, “every character sounds like you”. All the entries here sound like me… Don’t they?

Blog 546: The SPRPG Diaries: Rise of the Lich King

Right from the beginning, I was all up in Warcraft III‘s singleplayer RPG scene; a combination of a long attention span (which, I have to admit, has since diminished) and limited internet access made it the natural choice. We might have exhausted the supply of maps that defined my own works, but there is still plenty of interesting stuff out there to have a go at…

Today: the indefatigable Rise of the Lich King by Armelior

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Aside 25: Million-Pound Question

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Why do you blog?

Well, it’s not like anybody puts up with my smack-talking in real life. I try to pretend I’m all wise and only say important things (“better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”), but actually if you set me going on the right subject I won’t shut up and… Well, here I’ve got an entire internet to rail at. It doesn’t necessarily have to respond, but it’s nice when it does.

Blog 545: The SPRPG Diaries: The Troll War

Right from the beginning, I was all up in Warcraft III‘s singleplayer RPG scene; a combination of being competitive but terrible and limited internet access made it the natural choice. We might have exhausted the supply of maps that defined my own works, but there is still plenty of interesting stuff out there to have a go at…

Today: the curious The Troll War by Makuza

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Aside 24: Decisions, Decisions

Aside

How are you more likely to make an important decision — by reasoning through it, or by going with your gut?

I like to go with my gut, because it’s all about the truth of what’s going on inside. Over-thinking is a dangerous game that usually causes more problems than it solves, ending up with an outcome that just doesn’t settle. Things have got to feel right — and when it comes to feelings, the gut knows much better than the grey mush at the top.

This probably lands me in a lot of mess, but where’s the fun in doing things the easy way?

Blog 544: OMD — English Electric

When I was a young man, and I was first introduced to Dazzle Ships, I remember taking my parents’ original vinyl to my gran’s house so that I could listen to it, because we didn’t have a record player anymore. I had absolutely no conception of the possibility that Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark might one day reform, let alone produce new material. It was just one of those things that was in the past. Gone. Over. Finito. The mosquito trapped in amber with its precious payload of saurian DNA.

And then they came back.

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Blog 543: Heart of the Blog

So Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty was a fabulous non-starter, a bit of a “damp squib” as they say in the business. They promised a thirty-mission epic story, and instead we got a slightly-above-standard fifteenish-mission main story with a huge pile of fairly disposable side quests. It’s pretty and plays fairly well, but seems somehow unsatisfying.

Even so, I’ve been suckered into purchasing the expansion pack Heart of the Swarm because I hate to leave a narrative unfinished (no matter how questionable its quality may be). So let’s see where this takes us…

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