The next World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, and many of its new features were announced this weekend. I sat in on some of the BlizzCon panels, where many of these additions were explained in detail. These include the new (neutral) Pandaren race, the Monk class, a level cap of 90, a complete redesign of the talent trees, a PvE scenario system, dungeon challenges and leader boards, and many new zones, battlegrounds, dungeons, and raids.
But in my opinion, the best feature that is going to be added to World of Warcraft is the new pet battling system.
This is basically the game I've been wanting since I was in the second grade.
Let's break it down.
At one point in my World of Warcraft pet collecting career, I had over 150 pets, putting me in the top five in the world for number of pets owned at the time. Since I stopped playing World of Warcraft, dozens more pets have been added, and the top collector has almost 200 pets. I never really cared about raiding or gear, all I cared about was getting the newest, coolest pet (and mount), and having everyone ask me where I got it, how long it took me to get, or how much gold I had to throw down for it.
That was when they were called "non-combat pets", and they did absolutely nothing other than follow you around. I don't think it will be the Pandaren race, Monk class, or the nine new dungeons and raids that will pull me back into WoW. I think it will be the release of what will essentially be a Pokémon MMO.
While complete details weren't available, we learned quite a bit about this new system from a BlizzCon panel.
The almost 200 pets that are already in the game will be able to battle right from the start. All the pets you have are combat ready, and if you've been hoarding pets, your hoarding disorder is about to pay off.
If you don't have a huge stockpile of pets, there will be new wild pets that you can catch and train. To keep track of all of this, you'll receive a "Pet Journal" (read: Pokédex) that tells you about all the pets, where to catch them, and what you need to do to get them to join you.
If you're too lazy to actually go out and catch the pets yourself, many of them can be traded with other players. Your pets well be stored on an account-level, and will no longer bound to a single character. meaning you won't have to spend another 20,000 gold to buy a second Hyacinth Macaw for an alt.
Battling with your pets is similar to Pokémon as well. You can go into PvE or PvP turn-based battles with a team of three pets. If you win, you'll gain experience to level up your pets. As your team gets stronger, you can take on the "Pet Masters" (read: gym leaders) scattered around the world. Beating them gives you a master ability (read: Hidden Machine) to teach your pet.
While the system is planned to be large, don't expect to level up to 90 by just battling pets. Blizzard has said that the pet battle system won't be providing any rewards that will affect your general PvE or PvP progression. It's something to pass the time, not a replacement for questing or battlegrounds.
That's most of the information that's been released so far. As the unknown release date for Mists of Pandaria approaches, we'll likely see more specific information, screenshots, and more details on the actual pets themselves.
Rest assured, though, I can already tell you that my Kirin Tor Familiar is in the top percentage of Kirin Tor Familiars.
China Warrior takes a lot of shit for being a terrible game. Fuck the haters, this Turbo Grafx-16 classic is worth playing for beat-'em-up and fighter fans from now until the end of time.
Released in 1987 and packaged with the Turbo by Hudson, China Warrior (aka "The Kung Fu") puts you in control of a Bruce Lee clone out to kick everyone ass. Kick people to death as you fight for victory. America wouldn't get the game until 2 years later, but keep in mind this was before Super Mario Bros. 3 was released as well. Altered Beast and Final Fight had not yet hit arcades, so beat-'em-ups were in considerably shorter supply. Don't mistake this context for apologia, China Warrior is a great game in its own right.
The four stages (fields, temple, palace grounds, cave) are broken up into 3 sub-levels. Each sub-level has a boss, and some of these fights are a serious challenge. The 1-1, 1-3, 2-1, and 2-3 bosses can be beaten by perfectly timed attacks easily enough, but everyone else will make the weak of heart cringe.
Strategy revolves around backing away from your opponents attacks, and then moving in and punching. Sometimes pushing right+punch will trigger a superfist attack, although I have not been able to do this move reliably (I suspect it's a random chance to do the attack even if you push the buttons correctly). Countering three punches will initiate a flurry fist attack (a la Dragon Ball Z, Fist of the North Star) that also deals 3 points of damage.
Stages must essentially be memorized, and even with the three continues (accessed via a secret code, see below) you will, I promise, be well acquainted with stage 1-1 by the end of your journey.
The 600 point Wii price tag is a fair deal, and you're better off with China Warrior than a Big Mac Combo. It's a well-known fact that Hudson basically created China Warrior to show off the power of the TG-16, and the nice graphics and simple gameplay make a nice combination. Consider the 1989 release date, ignore the hate, and save the empire. Hudson are masters at making deceptively simple, yet highly addicting games, and China Warrior is a sadly underrated classic.
Finally, a few secret codes I took from some website:
Hold Up and press Select + I +
II to skip the first level. Hold Down and press
Select + I + II to skip subsequent level.
Hold Up + Select + I + II
and press Run at the title screen.
Hold Run then hold Select to reset the
game, keep the buttons held, then release Run and press
Up when the title screen is displayed. Release Select
and press Up three times, Right six times, Down,
Down, Left, Left. Invincibility and level
select will now be enabled.
Hold I + II + Right and press
Run, Run when the phrase "The End" appears
after game play is over. Alternatively, hold I + II
+ Down and press Run at the title screen after game
play is over. The game will continue up to three times from the
start of the last level played.
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If you're like me, you grew up reading Diehard GameFan. The magazine was as close as we had to a Destructoid back in the 1990's; independent, opinionated, and more focused on the love of games than getting rich. What a lot of people don't know is that Gamefan is actually still in print, though finding an issue in the wild requires more luck and perseverance than acquiring a Shiny Ponyta.
GameFan's Editor in Chief Dave Halverson is rightfully disillusioned over that situation, and he lays the blame partially on the priorities of today's publishers; particularly their marketing departments. Among other things, he says- "Never has so much money been spent with so little regard. Knowing what it takes to make a great game it kills me to see how they're treated once they leave the studio. Like these so called "events" that have taken the place of proper objective coverage. Massive parties pilfering 10s of 1000s of dollars from a game’s budget to basically liquor up individuals who, for the most part, could give a rats ass about whatever game happens to be on display--unless it's one they're supposed to like."
As someone who's been to his fair share of press events, I know what he's talking about. The amount of money that publishers waste on providing the gaming press with swag, expensive cheeses, and gigantic parties is just ridiculous. Knowing that all that money could have been spent on actually making better videogames is painful indeed (but not so painful that I'm going to let that cheese go to waste).
For more from Dave and the rest of the GameFan staff, check out their Facebook page, and don't forget to scour every inch of tall grass for the new GameFan on shelves soon (featuring Dtoid's own SBC Slam. You go girl!)
According to our own Jim Sterling, Kirby's Return to Dream Land belongs right up there among New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns in the upper echelon of modern-day multi-player platformers. That's party due to the game's visuals, which Jimothy described as "... damn beautiful, despite the standard definition. Character animations bubble with life, and environments are bright and gladdening."
I can't say I disagree, though I'm still left wondering, could the game somehow be more bright and gladdening? Under differing circumstances, could Kirby's Return to Dream Land have been... the gladdeningest? From the looks of this image gleaned from a recent Iwata Asks interview, it looks like the answer is "yes". At one point in the game's long development cycle, Nintendo employed a cel shaded visual style that is almost seizure-inducing in its levels of sugary sweetness. Everything looks so cute and colorful that I just want to eat that entire screenshot (which makes sense, given Kirby's own proclivity for gluttony).
There was also a time where the game was more of a 3D experience. I bet that version of the game got the axe shortly after New Super Mario Bros. Wii went on to sell more than double what Super Mario Galaxy sold. The people have spoken, and they want their Nintendo platformers in two dimensions (and with multi-player). Expect Nintendo to follow that trend for at least a little while longer.
So what do you think of these alternate versions on Kirby's latest Wii title? Do you mourn for what could have been, celebrate what we have, or both?
Discover the Secrets of Grey Mist Lake! FBI Agent Claire Ellery has discovered another Strange Case and she needs your help to get to the bottom of a set of strange circumstances. Explore a town only spoken of in legend in this incredible Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure game and save the day. Dive into Strange Cases: The Secrets of Grey Mist Lake and uncover an incredible story with shocking twists!
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The third entry in WayForward's Mighty series is just around the corner. I can feel it in my bones! The anticipation is eating away at the calcium and leaving me a brittle man.
To drum up more excitement, WayForward has unleashed a follow-up to last month's teaser trailer. It is once again exclusive to the 3DS eShop -- though I'm sure an off-screen YouTube capture will appear eventually -- and it reveals even more goodies that we can expect from the game. There's a new variation of the main Mighty series theme, a bunch of prison bimbos who need rescuing, and cannons that launch you or your foes around like Sonic in Oil Ocean Zone. Oh, and there's a giant mech suit, naturally.
I'm itching to spend some money on the eShop. C'mon, WayForward! Let the lead out!
The Hidden is a great example of exciting content mixed with compelling technological innovation on...
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Dance and Sing to 30+ Hits from your Favorite Country Artists Including Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley,...
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If you haven't heard, the United States began the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq in March, 2003. In late 2004 there was a joint offensive in the city of Fallujah, an insurgent stronghold. What followed was some of the bloodiest and most intense battles of the Iraqi occupation.
Controversy and games share a long, sordid history. We are no stranger to the sensational, unscrupulous and the ill-informed. Most of the time, the incessant bleating of fools fades into the background rather quickly; lost in the collective short-term memory of modern society. It is unfortunate then, that the one time a project was cancelled to legitimate and reasonable fear, an opportunity to do real good was lost.
Six Days in Fallujah was the first project of Atomic Games. They had been asked by returning soldiers to make the game, because they wanted to tell their story. Sadly, when the press heard that a video game based on one of the worst battles in recent U.S. military history was in the works, there was an incredible backlash. In many ways, their anxiety was completely warranted; it was a recent, very sensitive topic and I'll be the first to admit that games don't have the best track record of handling these sorts of issues with anything that resembles tact or finesse.
I had a chance to talk to a family friend, Reed Omohundro. I had no idea he had worked on the project until I watched an older Fox News interview shown in an episode of Extra Credits. After seeing that, I thought he deserved another, better chance to tell his side of things.
Destructoid: Why did you join the military?
Reed Omohundro: Ever since I was a young boy, I wanted to join the military. I was fascinated with legends and lore of knights, samurai, and Roman Legionnaires. Most of my family had spent time in the military, and I was enamored with the stories they told. I was drawn to fulfilling that sense of "duty" to my country.
How would you say public perception of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan differs from your own experience?
Most of the public is limited to viewing the stories and recollections of U.S. media. In our culture, we relish in "sensationalism." Every reporter wants to make a name for him/herself. Every media outlet wants higher ratings. As a result, a majority of Americans see the negative aspects of war. Stories that reflect positive images of what America and NATO Forces are doing are more often than not given little notice. My most remembered comment by reporters is "This event has been the bloodiest day in the war." I heard that saying so many times I just renamed it as the "bloodiest day since the last bloodiest day."
You served in Iraq for several years, could you briefly describe your tour of duty -- where you were, who you were with, time served, etc.?
The first time I deployed to Iraq was in 1990 as part of Desert Shield. Later, the operation changed names to Desert Storm. My portion of the war was brief and I saw little to no combat operations. As part of Brigade Service Support Group (BSSG) 5, we made our way to Kuwait by ship. The majority of our operations were from Kuwait.
In June 2004, I deployed to Iraq for combat operations as an Infantry Officer. I was the company commander for Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. Initially, we established a Company Outpost in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq to secure an Ammunition Supply Point (ASP) that was continuously being looted for IED-making supplies. In October 2004, we relocated to Fallujah, Iraq. In November 2004, we participated in Operation Al Fajr formerly known as Operation Phantom Fury. I led a company of almost 200 Marines into combat operations to secure the city of Fallujah. We returned to the states in January 2005.
Later, I redeployed to Iraq in February 2007 as a member of an eleven man Military Transition Team (MiTT) to advise an Iraqi Army Battalion. During this tour, we operated in Al Anbar Province between the city of Haditha and the city of Al Quaim. Our primary accomplishment was being able to progress this battalion to a point where they were capable of sustaining operations within our sector with no American support. We mentored them in all aspects of military operations, logistics, and civil military actions.
Do you play video games often?
Yes, but not that often. I find it difficult to allow myself to believe the construct of the game. More challenging for me is getting the controller or keyboard to perform the actions required. For this reason, I almost never play military combat scenario-based games that involve modern military weapons. Trying to believe that a hand grenade can destroy a house, or that a rifle can continue to fire indefinitely is difficult. When I do play, I stick to Fantasy Role Play primarily. Swords and spells are not things I can associate with on an everyday occurrence. So my ability to "participate" in the construct of the game is easier than allowing myself to become annoyed with the unrealistic action of modern military weapons. Perhaps a better example of this is my frustration with driving games. When you can’t feel the action of the car, it's difficult to judge when you're about to lose control. The feeling of being knocked back in your seat from a hard acceleration has yet to be developed for in-home gaming.
How did you get started on this project Six Days in Fallujah?
I got started in 6DF when the producer Juan Benito sent me an email and later called regarding the project. He had been in contact with Gary Livingston, the author of Fallujah with Honor. Livingston had recommended that Juan Benito contact me. Juan Benito and James Cowgill met with me and showed me a demonstration of the game. For the first time, I saw a concept of how Atomic Games planned to incorporate a documentary into a video game format. I felt obligated to participate and get the story as correct and accurate as possible.
What was your goal with your involvement in this project?
My goal with this project was to assist in getting the audience to understand what occurred during the Second Battle of Fallujah. As a military advisor to Atomic Games, I acted as a consultant. I would work with the designers in ensuring the characters demonstrated correct military actions. We tried to ensure that the demolition aspects of explosive devices resembled the results of actual military ordnance. More importantly, I wanted to ensure that the story those Marines experienced was told in a format that would reach a greater audience.
Having commanded and fought in the Second Battle of Fallujah, do you think the game, from what you saw, tastefully and effectively handled the subject matter?
Yes. Atomic Games went above and beyond any effort I have ever seen to ensure accuracy and legitimacy for this product. Several times we had conversations regarding what stories could or should be reenacted or told. At one point, we had a dilemma as to whether or not to reenact a scene in which a Marine was shot. The company consulted with the parents of the Marine in order to get their approval. Atomic's Director of Development, John Farnsworth, even sent out letters to the family members of fallen Marines to explain the process of the game and how it would be developed as a documentary. Additionally, Atomic exerted an enormous amount of effort in getting the graphics and characters actions to resemble real life as much as possible.
Do you think personally think it is appropriate to use videogames to tell these kinds of stories?
Tough question. But, yes, I think it is appropriate to use a videogame to tell this kind of story when it is incorporated into the documentary construct that 6DF used. Medal of Honor , formerly Medal of Honor: Operation Anaconda, was able to tell the story of those special operatives, but had to change the construct to a fictitious environment. EA Games saw the public opposition to Six Days in Fallujah and diverted the attention by portraying the storyline in a fictitious environment. 6DF planned on allowing its audience to view real interviews of Marines. By seeing these interviews, the player would gain insight to the objectives and decisions the Marines had to accomplish in order to achieve mission success for the scenarios a player would participate.
Are movies or books or other media better equipped to handle the emotional weight of modern warfare?
I think that books and movies do an outstanding job in allowing an audience to see "a" perspective of a single story. Movies and books relay the perspective of the author. The audience gains little understanding into the decision-making aspects that each soldier or Marine faces when involved in a combat situation. 6DF planned on breaking this barrier by allowing the audience to gain insight before the scenario, and allowing the audience to feel the emotions of making a decision that directly relates to the action of others. The understanding is that a game will never allow a player to experience the actual effects and emotions of such a decision making process, but at least they would have a better insight.
Do you have any hope of seeing this game revived?
I do have hope that the game will be revived. Just not in the near future; perhaps in a decade. The public seems too attached right now. As with the outcries of war photos from WWI and WWII, and movies about emotional events in combat, the public will eventually agree to allow a documentary in videogame format. Perhaps it will work out better to wait for this type of documentary. As technology increases, so does the gaming format. In years to come, this type of documentary may be better suited for a platform not currently developed.
Is there anything else that you would like our audience to know?
This game was being developed strictly to break the barriers of today's modern way of gaming, in both technical design and story format. By retelling the actions of Marines in combat through a documentary/videogame format, a wider audience would be reached. Not only would the audience be able to achieve a greater appreciation for what combat operations involve, they would gain an insight that no movie or book can provide.
In no way shape form or fashion did the development of Six Days in Fallujah seek to dishonor or detract from the sacrifices of the participants of that battle. Instead, it sought to honor those that served and allow their story to be told in a medium that would provide greater insight to those that were not there.
If you still have yet to experience the unique blend of breathtaking action and true detective work...
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