Ah, the great outdoors! The sun, the mass exodus of weekend warriors to the lakes and the province wide fire ban. Yep; it’s summer on the prairies all right.
You know what that means…
…Steam Summer Sale!
It’s back and slightly different from the usual sale we’re used to. Yes, you can still expect flash sales, daily deals and yesterday’s deals as per usual. What has changed this time around is we now have to earn special discounts on titles by joining the community in playing a game made just for the sale. The ‘Monster Game’ is an in-browser team game where you fight waves of enemy monsters and bosses by joining a group of Steam users and working together to reach daily milestones to unlock the next days’ special deals.
It’s a great idea, except the game was borked for the first two days, with many Steam users getting an ‘unable to connect to game, please try again’ error message, or getting lagged to death. Today was the first day I was able to play, and it is addictive.
You start on level one and earn in-game coins by killing monsters that spawn in three tracks, which you can pan between. You can then use the coins to upgrade your weapons, armor, and get upgrades to help out your team.
Although the game is fun, it’s a click-to-shoot, where you are spamming the left mouse button until your wrist falls off. Not much diversity. Another point is there’s no way to coordinate with your team as there’s no way to communicate with anyone. There is a feed that says who used what item, but that’s it.
Yes, it has flaws, but it’s a game made solely for the summer sale, so you can’t fault Steam for much. A nice touch is that once you’ve joined the fight, you can leave and your character will keep collecting levels and gold, which is awesome, as the upgrades become more expensive as you progress.
It’s a game that gets people involved in the sale and you earn summer sale badges from. I’ll take it happily, though my mouse will likely kill me.
Blizzard heard the rage, and LISTENED
I know; a company actually listened to its consumers. Crazy, right? And in the gaming industry, no less!
World of Warcraft Patch 6.2 will be the next big patch, opening up the long awaited Tanaan Jungle area, complete with new factions, dungeons, and baddies out to kill you in record time. When the patch notes were originally released, it was stated that there would be no flying in the expansion at all, as Blizzard wanted to keep the experience of trekking through the world as immersive as possible, and the ability to skip over entire sections diminished that.
As you can imagine, players weren’t happy, some going as far as to cancel their accounts after filling the forums with rants and rage. I get it. I have been playing since vanilla, and have a vast stable of mounts, many special flying ones.
As of last week, however, Blizzard has released an amendment to the notes, saying they listened to the feedback of the WoW community and changed their plans. There WILL be flying in Draenor, but it will require players to quest and work for it. Sounds good to me! I actually prefer the challenge instead of just getting a “DING! Grats you can fly now!” just for hitting the level cap. The community seems appeased; now let’s hope the patch pleases those who have gotten bored of running the raids and grinding out dailies.
Bring it on.
Oculus Rift comes to mass market next year
It’s official; the Oculus Rift, the darling of Kickstarter and Let’s Play streamers alike, has reached it’s final form and will be available for purchase in the first quarter of 2016.
The headset is still wired in (at least it’s just one small cable on one side), but offers the comfort of being able to accommodate glasses for bespectacled players, and the distance of the lenses is adjustable for a more personal fit. A built in camera will track your head for a more fluid reaction in game. As for the sound, you can use the included headset or swap it out for your own.
The part I liked is the controller. Although each headset will come with an Xbox controller, Oculus is planning on releasing a motion controller, the Oculus Touch. The Touch is two small controllers that fit in your hand. Although each are equipped with the traditional analog stick and trigger buttons (it looks like they cut a standard controller in two), the Touch has sensors that track gestures, allowing for a more immersive feel as you play a game.
No price has been confirmed as of yet, but rumor is the full set, both the Rift and the Touch will set you back around $1,500.00USD. Preorders aren’t open yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Humans need water to live, who knew?
Buy our smart water bottle, because you’re too dumb to remember to drink. That’s what I took away from a rather interesting Kickstarter product that made its way into the Trending feed. The campaign for HidrateMe Smart Water Bottle assumes that you’re so busy this day and age that you need a physical reminder to drink. The premise is that we’re not drinking enough water, so fund this smart water bottle that will send you a message via your smartphone to stop whatever you’re doing and drink, dammit. It even tracks your water consumption. I can only wonder if I get a gold star for remembering to stay hydrated.
Now if I can only find a plate that launches food at my head in timed intervals so I remember to eat I will be set.
The face that this campaign has not only met its goal of $35,000USD, but is currently sitting at $300,849USD with 29 days to go not only amazes me, but scares me a bit. The people that need a reminder to perform a basic action every other carbon based life form instinctively knows how to complete without a second thought are out there among us, driving vehicles and making decisions.
I’m done. I’m just…no.
RIP Sir Christopher Lee
We lost another great actor this past week. Christopher Lee, best known for his recent portrayals of Saruman in LoTR and Count Dooku of Star Wars, has passed away at the age of 93 from respiratory problems. His acting career spans 70 years, he served in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he even played a Bond Villain (Man with the Golden Gun)!
Thank you for playing so many memorable villains, sir. You will be missed.
Update: Hot Topic will not be acquiring ThinkGeek
In my last news post I mentioned the pending purchase of ThinkGeeks’ parent company by Hot Topic. Apparently that deal has since been cancelled, as GameStop outbid them. This seems like a good thing to me, as ThinkGeek’s catalog includes a large amount of video game related items. Another fair point is, have you noticed how much random gaming related items are in GameStop/EB Games? There’s a whole wall dedicated to gamer apparel, mugs, board games, and other sundries. It makes sense to diversify a bit to help bolster the sale of physical games in an age of the digital download, but with ThinkGeek now a part of GameStop, it will be interesting to see how that wall o’ stuff changes, or how this affects the ThinkGeek website, if any changes are even made.
It’s a better fit than Hot Topic, which caters to whatever’s currently in style at that moment with the tweens.
Does that make me a geek purist?
Now back to watching Let’s Plays of Splatoon, while I yet again debate the purchase of a WiiU for the sole purpose of playing a handful of games.