The highly-anticipated release of Capcom’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is almost with us. After being teased at 2014’s E3, gamers have long been marking their calendars for the day they will finally be able to slide this baby into their consoles. Well—the time is almost here. On January 24th, we all can pretend to line up politely then make that relentless mad dash to the checkout counter. Excitement is understandable, but let try to be a “little” civilized folk. I love throwing some elbows as much as the next guy but remember to BREATHE. We’re all gamers waiting for our copy, no fight club, please.
We’re looking at an incredibly stacked year for gaming in 2017. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard will be the first of the big games to drop. The horror-survival game looks incredible! Presented in the finest format available; the 4K resolution is truly awe-inspiring. The long gameplay demo release at this past year’s E3 conference showed an improved stunning environment. From the eerie rooms and hallways, the life-like look of the weapons, even down to the unbelievable effects of the wounds on the body and the blood.
For the first time, you will play in the first person. Making it even more horrifying to the user experience. If that’s not enough for you, Resident Evil 7 for the first time ever will also be available on VR (virtual reality) for PlayStation VR. Imagine submerging yourself into a first-person horror-survival game where all your senses are essentially being attacked while being forced to keep yourself alive. It sounds…so much fun! I honestly can’t wait for the hundreds of YouTube videos of people’s reactions to playing this on VR. Someone’s definitely thinking outside the box over there at Capcom.
In terms of gameplay, the creators have stressed: “not to expect a shoot-off”. Making it sound like you will need to manage your ammunition wisely if you aim to make it to the end. Calling for the much useful real-life skill of improvising. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect some of the lethal weapons at your disposal. You’ll be able to wield: the always handy chainsaws, powerful explosives (grenades, etc.), flamethrowers (because who doesn’t love a flamethrower?), and the original classics like handguns and shotguns.
Some of the new features include puzzle solving and healing ingredients, like herbs. The healing herbs are a huge benefit to the constant chaos and damage you’re sure to encounter throughout the game. The interesting new thing I believe is puzzle solving. I mean think about it, imagine trying to deal with a puzzle of some kind and being attacked in waves by monsters and infected people. That battle of focus will undoubtedly be challenged to epic proportions while trying to solve a puzzle. It sounds so stressful…I can’t wait!
I’ve been trying to be patient with the release of this game. Truth is, it has happened. One of my best friends asked for this game for her birthday and I jumped for joy by preordering it as her birthday gift. She went crazy, as one sane person would. Getting the gift of joy. Of course, that joy comes in a box of horror with ominous noises. But besides that, pure joy.
We’re coming down to the end now; Under 2 weeks until the release date. This early contender for GOTY (Game of The Year) should delight fans as the past 10 have. The new improvements with gameplay, design, and format, set this game up to be played day after day. For all the gamers of the world, prepare yourself for Resident Evil 7. It’s one not to be missed or delayed in playing. Don’t let your friends tell you how good it is, go experience it first. Check it out on January 24, January 26th in Japan.
Things weren’t off to the best start with some of the first cards we saw being added with One Night in Karazhan, but the full list is now available and we can make some definitive statements on what we can expect in Hearthstone‘s near future. Hearthstone Let’s see if this update saved its best for last and how it will shape the game.
The developers are really pushing for Discard Warlock to be an archetype and this one card could be what makes it a reality. The biggest drawback to discarding has always been that, even with a hero power that draws cards, it quickly drains your resources and you simply can’t regain momentum.
Malchezaar’s Imp allows you to maintain momentum even while discarding several cards and has a strong stat line to keep it alive long enough for a considerable effect. The one caveat is that the deck would have to be aggressive in nature if you’re discarding that many cards as you can’t risk losing anything too valuable.
Given how powerful aggro decks have been for so long, I welcome something like Violet Illusionist into the game with open arms. Granted, she won’t be enough to counter aggressive decks on the same level as Antique Healbot on her own, but she’ll offer more survivability across the board without being overpowered.
Hey, neutral beast-synergy that isn’t junk. It also works with dragons and murlocs, but only one for each. It’s a bit of a strange concept, but you really only need it to hit one of your minions for this to be good. Even if you have to play it on it’s own, it still has a decent stat line on its own. It’s less so now that 3/4 minions are becoming more and more common, but it still looks like a decent card. It’s just strange to think of where it will find its place in constructed with how sporadic its effect is, but just remember that you don’t always have to get maximum value out of card for it to be good.
The final prize at the adventure’s end, Medivh, is interesting for a couple reasons. For one, it shows that characters who are already playable heroes can also be cards, which could have some interesting results in the future. Second, he gives you a neutral weapon that spends its durability whenever you cast a spell to summon a random minion matching the spell’s cost. We’ve already seen this effect with Summoning Stone, but the Atiesh weapon has greater potential as your opponent won’t have an easy way of removing it. Cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze can counter it, but it’s not something that is going to drive cards like that up in the meta on its own. The high cost and unpredictability will probably make Medivh too niche for most competitive decks, but he will definitely find his place in certain control decks.
♫The rich get richer♫
♫And the poor get poorer♫
♫And Ben Brode lauuughs at your pain♫
I certainly hope that the bosses in this next adventure are at least fun, because One Night in Karazhan is undoubtedly the weakest Hearthstone expansion in terms of a meta shift. Between Firelands Portal making Mage stronger and Purify making Priest weaker, this expansion is not only maintaining the status quo, but actively cementing it. There are a few new archetypes that can emerge from some of the new cards, but most of it merely supplements what is already dominant in the game. All signs point to Medivh throwing a lame party and I already feel like I have a remorseful hangover.
What are your thoughts on One Night in Karazhan? Do you have more optimism for what it can offer Hearthstone than I do? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
One Night in Karazhan is bringing some of the most fondly-remembered boss fights from World of Warcraft into Hearthstone and, while they’re always fun challenge, it’s the cards they award that make a lasting impact on the game. While adventures introduce significantly less cards than card packs, just one or two especially good cards can turn the entire game on its head (e.g. Undertaker, Grim Patron, Tunnel Trogg).
Let’s go over some of the new cards that have been revealed and see where the game may be going with this update. Be sure to also check out the announcement article which briefly discusses three more new cards that won’t be examined here.
One of the themes for new cards being introduced with this expansion are the portals. There will be five different portal cards, each for a different class and each with a different effect, and the Firelands Portal will be the first one you get as one of three cards rewarded from the free prologue mission. For constructed play, this portal probably won’t see play as a simple Fireball is much more reliable in most situations.
In Arena, however, this takes Mage from being incredibly strong to outright broken. Having strong removal and a strong summon combined into a single card is incredibly powerful in Arena’s playstyle, even for 7 mana, and the fact that this is a common card is bound to make Arena Mage’s almost impossible to beat. It wouldn’t be so bad if it had just been made a Rare card, and Arena is the only place where rarity of adventure cards has any impact. It’s just another friendly reminder that the Hearthstone developers don’t play their own game.
To play Moroes, you’re first going to need a meta-shift where everyone stops playing board control cards. Once people stop putting cards like Flamestrike, Ravaging Ghoul, Lightning Storm, Explosive Trap, and Consecration, then Moroes can finally find a spot in your deck as a worse Imp Master. Granted, there are cards like Steward of Darkshire and Hobgoblin (at least in Wild) that Moroes can synergize with and we may get another card along the same lines in this expansion, but there’s no chance Moroes will ever see competitive-level play.
This is an interesting inclusion, although its viability is a tough call. It’s essentially a defensive version of Unleash the Hounds and that could be a potent play. It’s a card that demands your opponent’s attention and could turn the pace of the game in your favor. However, it’s highly vulnerable to AoE effects like the ones I mentioned under Moroes and that alone could render it unplayable. It’s usefulness is going to rely heavily on the current meta, but it should be able to find its niche. It should at least be a handy Arena card with how much room it gives you to turn the tide.
This is easily the coolest new card being added to the game and the best part is that he’s free to everyone with the prologue mission. That’s very important as his biggest benefit is that he’ll allow new players and those playing on a budget to play around with legendaries they haven’t collected yet. He’s also a neutral demon with a lot of viability, so we may actually see Sacrificial Pact enter the meta. Finally, he has a new type of effect that automatically triggers at the start of the game just from having him in your deck. That’s a fascinating ability and there’s plenty of potential for more cards that work along the same line.
Hey, have you heard of this new game called Chronicle: Runescape Legends? It’s a really cool digital card game with great production values and a unique premise. Instead of summoning monsters to fight for you, you battle your own creatures and create your own mini-adventure with the goal of growing stronger than your opponent for a final battle at the end. It’s free-to-play and you can check it out for yourself here. Maybe it will have the decency not to sell playable versions of underpowered cards.
Okay, so One Night in Karazhan isn’t exactly getting off on the right foot with some of it’s early reveals, but there are some really good cards mixed in. Sadly, aside from a couple of really cool legendaries, this is looking to be the weakest adventure yet in terms of meta-shift. There are still plenty more cards left to reveal and we may see something grand emerge down the line, but I’ve never wanted to switch to a different card game more than after seeing some of the terribly designed cards featured above. At least the boss fights should be fun.
What are your thoughts on One Night in Karazhan? Which of the new cards is your favorite? Which one most needs to be thrown on a bonfire? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
Another Hearthstone expansion is around the corner and, fortunately for me, Blizzard didn’t immediately reveal the entire set when they announced it. That means it’s time for another look into the future for the popular digital card game and all the eldritch horrors lurking within it. Hearthstone’s next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, will introduce 134 new cards to the game centered around four of the most ancient evils that plague the world of Azeroth.
C’Thun, Yogg-Saron, Y’Shaarj, and N’Zoth are beings of such horrific power that even the fiercest villains that you’ve faced in your journeys through Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain are trifling in comparison. Ragnaros and his fellow elemental lords were created by the Old Gods essentially to serve as action figures in their games of war, and the black dragon Deathwing that single-handedly caused the Cataclysm is like their adorable puppy. Even killing an Old God does almost nothing to quell its power, as Y’Shaarj has been raining mayhem across Pandaria for millenia using its final breath alone. Trying to kill the Old Gods is already an extremely bad idea on its own as many of Azeroth’s races, including dwarves and gnomes, are the result of the Curse of Flesh that the Old Gods cast when the world was young and breaking the curse would result in Azeroth’s destruction. Needless to say, the Old Gods are not to be toyed with and depicting them in our silly card game of robot clowns and grumpy poultry has probably doomed us all. Well, might as well have fun while we’re still alive and not sprouting tentacles everywhere!
Our first card is the first of the Old Gods that World of Warcraft players came face-to-face with. The all-seeing C’Thun loves being the center of attention and has plenty of cultists to give it just that. On its own, C’Thun is actually a really bad card with a weak stat-line and an underwhelming effect. Fortunately, it has plenty of worshipers that help make it significantly more potent. Cards like Beckoner of Evil and Twilight Elder will buff the power of your C’Thun, even if its sitting somewhere in your deck. C’Thun definitely looks like a card designed for combo decks where the cultists control the early game and C’Thun comes in for the grand finale.
While collecting all those cards sounds like a hassle, there’s good news. Opening your first card pack from the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion will instantly award you C’Thun and two copies of Beckoner of Evil on top of the usual five cards. The best part is that all of the cultist cards revealed so far have great stat lines and can easily hold the board while your waiting to play C’Thun. For example…
Here’s a good example of what C’Thun’s worshippers are capable of. Even without her ability to buff C’Thun, a 4/2 with divine shield for 4 mana is very strong. Considering that Piloting Shredder is being rotated out of standard mode, C’Thun’s Chosen could be a suitable substitute and is playable even in a deck without C’Thun. The fact that C’Thun’s servants are serviceable without him is great news for Arena as drafting C’Thun in that mode is already going to be next to impossible and will only become more unlikely over time. Giving them good stats not only makes C’Thun decks more viable, but it also prevents Arena from being flooding with garbage over this one expansion.
The Old Gods are well known for their corrupting influence, and many familiar cards are going to have twisted reimaginings introduced. One example is the bane of every new Alliance player, the gnoll gangleader Hogger, being mutated into the monstrosity pictured above. The corrupted Hogger certainly has better stats than the vanilla version that we’ve had since Classic, but his effect is now much less reliable. However, the Doom of Elwynn could serve as a counter to C’Thun. Not only could he tank a large chunk of C’Thun explosive entrance on his own, the additional gnolls he summons would also absorb a lot of the damage. That said, I can’t help but feel that the Grim Patron card already does that job and does it better. Maybe a new Patron Warrior deck will find space for Hogger, but he’s currently one of the least promising new cards. For the record, these corrupted cards are going to be their own thing and won’t replace the existing ones. You can run both the corrupted Hogger and the original one in the same deck.
One new set of cards that WotOG will introduce is the Forbidden Spells line. All nine classes will receive one Forbidden Spell, and each will have their level of power based around the amount of mana you currently have available. While they all cost zero mana on the surface, they actually spend all of your remaining mana crystals and will have a greater effect with the more mana you spend on it. I see a lot of potential in these cards already as they’re highly flexible and you can get exactly the amount of mileage you need out of them. Only three have been revealed thusfar, but I already expect that several of the Forbidden Spells will become mainstays in a lot of future decks. Paladins will get a healing spell and mages will be able to deal spell damage to a minion, but the one that’s captured my attention the most is Forbidden Shaping for priest.
Granted, there is a lot of randomness involved in what you’ll get out of the card and there’s a good chance that you’ll get stuck with a weak battlecry minion like Faceless Manipulator after spending most of your mana. However, I feel like the amount of flexibility that it gives your deck may just be worth taking that risk. No matter what point in the game you draw it, it guarantees you a minion that you can play on curve. You can even play it for zero mana for a Wisp if you’re especially desperate to just get another body on the board. It’s certainly something I could recommend in an Arena draft, though even I’m not sure what kind of constructed deck it could actively benefit. On a final note, I’m very curious to see what Druids are getting as their use of mana has always been crazy.
N’Zoth is the most mysterious and possibly the most powerful of all of the Old Gods. Little is known for certain about this reclusive horror, but there are countless rumors of its influences. One example is that the corruption of Deathwing is believed to be its doing. N’Zoth has yet to actually appear in World of Warcraft and it seems that Hearthstone has received the honor of revealing its true form to the world. That, or this is simply Innkeeper Stonebrew’s personal interpretation of the creature (or Tysmurph’s interpretation since he actually did the art for the card, but I’m roleplaying here) and the real N’Zoth remains to be seen.
While N’Zoth’s stat line is fairly poor, its effect easily makes up for it. As Curse of Naxxramas has shown, deathrattle minions are some of the most powerful in the game and filling your board with them is insanely good. N’Zoth definitely looks like it will be one of the new high-level legendaries and can benefit almost any deck. The fact that it doesn’t die to Big Game Hunter is also a bonus. There are just a few things to keep in mind to get the most out of it. For one, it can only summon minions that natively have deathrattle, so cards like Unearthed Raptor and Explorer’s Hat won’t interact with with it. Second, while I don’t know exactly how the card is designed, I assume that it will prioritize minions based on the order they died. That means that your stronger deathrattle minions like Sylvanas won’t be summoned because you played too many smaller ones like Loot Hoarder early on. Still, a board full of deathrattle minions is nothing to sneeze at. The last thing to keep in mind is that aggro decks exist and will shut this down hard.
That will be enough to cover for now, but there are still plenty more exciting cards left to look over. Next time, we’ll look at a card for warlocks who are sick of being warlocks, new legendaries for shaman and priest, and more.
Earlier today (26/02/16), fans of the Pokemon game series waited anxiously to hear news and potential confirmation of the newest installments to the series leaked the day before. However, after a very tense wait, the details leaked prior were confirmed and the squeals of excited Pokemon fans echoed worldwide, Pokemon Sun & Moon are officially on the way, due later this year (2016).
Now, in correspondence with the order in which the Pokemon games are usually released, fans were expecting more of a Pokemon Z release, especially after the X and Y game releases followed by the Ruby and Sapphire remakes (Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire). I appreciate this makes little sense to those outside the community of avid Pokemon fans however, those within these borders will understand that it was what we were expecting. Now, that said when the titles Sun and Moon were trademarked, it was fair to say we were surprised however, the excitement for these new installments is still present regardless. Now, let’s look into the reveal video itself.
Although a brief video, we can make several assumptions about what we can inspect in the latest installment. The first notable thing we can see in this video is the new assumed flying type Pokemon, resembling either a woodpecker or humming bird of some kind. This leads us to believe the obvious that there are in fact going to be a number of new additions to the Pokedex in Sun and Moon. Could this mean some more mega-evolutions are going to be unveiled also? Furthermore, we can see numerous conceptual designs for vehicles. The most recent incorporation of cars and land vehicles in the Pokemon game series was in X and Y in which Lumiose City possessed a taxi service to help to traverse the enormous city. Could this be hinting towards a potential follow on to Kalos much like Black 2 and White 2? As it no longer seems we are getting Pokemon Z, or for a while at least shall we say.
Pokemon Sun And Moon Theories
As expected of the dedicated Pokemon fans, many theories of the new installments have already arisen in regards to the new designated region, new potential mega-evolutions, legendaries and generally about how the new games are going to tie in with it’s predecessors.
From what I have gathered so far, there are several reoccurring ideas:
Zygarde and it’s newly released forms are to be associated with the sun game. This is because of it’s forms needing photosynthesis in order to develop.
Sun and Moon are definitely going to have some relation to Kalos, whether they actually be based in Kalos or islands situated around Kalos. This is due to references in X and Y for instance, the sundial in Anistar City (Pokemon Sun).
Potential Mega-evolutions of Solrock and Lunatone both representing each of the games, possibly posing as exclusives.
All of these are relatively plausible ideas seeing as Zygarde’s new forms would seem redundant if only used in the new Pokemon movie. Futhermore, it would seem out of character for Nintendo & Gamfreak to not incorporate Kalos into the new games in some shape or form also considering how they are due a Pokemon X and Y follow on of some sort.
As this year progresses more teasers are bound to be put out there to taunt us but until the profoundly awesome moment in which these new games are released, it is fair to say we are going to let our minds run wild with these brilliant theories in order to get by.
The new cards for The Grand Tournament expansion coming to Hearthstone are rolling out quick, so let’s waste no time in taking an in-depth look at ten more cards, including some of the new Shaman and Hunter cards being added to the game.
One of the goals of TGT appears to be making totem decks a thing, as we have four new Shaman cards that all revolve around totem minions. First, we Tuskarr Totemic, which finally brings the lovable tuskarr people to Hearthstone. Totemic summons a random totem from any of the totem minions that exist in the game, be they from Shaman’s hero power or collectible cards. At worst, he’s a 3/2 and a 1/1 totem for 3 mana, which is better than having Razorfen Hunter at least. Getting a free Stoneclaw or Wrath of Air Totem is pretty good, while getting a Mana Tide or Flametongue Totem is great. However, the best one you can get is…
When Dark Cultist was added with Curse of Naxxramas, it blew everyone’s minds for being the first 3/4 for 3 mana minion in the game. Then Spider Tank brought that same stat line to every class. Now, Shaman is ready to make people weep by dropping that on turn two. Yes, Totem Golem will overload you for 1 mana, but the level of board presence you’ll have at that point makes that a moot point. The reason 3/4 minions are so strong is because most 3 drops have 3/3 stat lines and most early damage spells deal a maximum of 3 damage, so a 3/4 is incredibly hard to clear early on without falling behind. To make this card even nastier, people will now have a reason to run Totemic Might as that can result in a 3/6 on turn two. Keeping your totems alive is going be more important now, anyway, because you’ll need them for…
The obvious point of comparison for Draenei Totemcarver is the Frostwolf Warlord. In the worst case scenario of having to play on an empty board, Totemcarver is better as you have to dedicate less mana to a 4/4. The downside is that she’ll only grow based on how many totems you have, so it’s more likely that she’ll end up as a 4/4. Even with all of the totem synergy cards being added, I can’t help but feel skeptical that they’ll ever be prevalent enough to attract players to this card. Still, even a single totem will make this worth more than the mana you’re putting into it, and it’s not like Shaman has a hard time coming up with them.
Being a 3/6 for 5, Thunder Bluff Valiant has decent stats, but it’s his inspire effect that makes him incredibly strong. The biggest weakness of most totems is that they have no attack power and have to act more as utility tools rather than minions in their own right. Your opponent will have a decent chance at shutting him down, but he can quickly seal the game in your favor should he last. It’s worth noting that he’ll buff the totem that spawn with your hero power as well as any you already have on the field, so you’re bound to get something good from him every time. The buffs also attach directly to the totems, so you won’t lost them once Valiant falls. Even if you’re not running a totem-focused deck, this is still a card that can serve you well.
Ever since Starving Buzzard was nerfed to oblivion, Hunter has been lacking a reliable draw engine and its options have been limited as a result. However, Hunter is still one of, if not the, strongest class in the current meta game and handing out a generally good draw engine would only make it more powerful. Lock and Load hopes to hit that sweet spot of enabling new Hunter strategies without playing even more into the high aggression playstyle. It’s a curious spell as it actually does nothing on its own; you have to combo it with at least one other spell to have any kind of effect. If you save up a lot of spells for a late-game combo, you can easily come out of it with a fresh hand still intact. However, think about the kind of deck you’d have to run to make that kind of strategy viable. Plus, you never know what you’ll get out of Lock and Load. It may be a spell that you can easily extend your combo with like Arcane Shot, or you end up with Houndmaster or King of Beasts for a deck that has only a few beasts. Not only will you need a supply of cheap spells to chain with, you’ll also want to tailor your deck to work with every Hunter card to some degree. It’s a very niche card and it’s hard to imagine where exactly it will find its place.
For as intimidating as throwing a cluster of live spiders at your enemies sounds, Ball of Spiders isn’t making a strong first impression on people. The effect is useful enough as Webspinner has proven itself to be a very useful minion that keeps you supplied on beasts. Getting three of these out of a single card should be a great deal. The problem is that the mana cost is far greater than the board presence you’ll get out of it. Yes, you’ll get more cards out of it, but you’ll still need to pay the individual mana costs of each of those cards and you may have seriously fallen behind on tempo by that point. Honestly, it looks like this is being added more as a counterpoint to Lock and Load than something intended to be played on its own.
This one needs some correction as this card was shown on a previous article, but it turns out it wasn’t a proper representation of the card. That version was based on a mistranslation that claimed that King’s Defender could gain durability for every minion with taunt you control while equipping it. As it turns out, it can only gain a maximum of one extra durability if you have any taunt minions. It’s certainly a letdown, but it still has potential in certain situations. While it won’t be pulling Warrior out of its current rut with Arena, a weapon that can potentially trade three for one is still a pretty good deal. Taunt is something that appears in almost every deck, but having it out early enough and surviving to then play this on curve is another story. It does work really well with Annoy-o-Tron, but having both of them is something you can only really count on in constructed where there’s really no reason to use this went you’ve already got Fiery War Axe at your disposal.
The ability to reuse your hero power several times a single turn was too good of an effect to reserve for Mages alone given the introduction of inspire effects, so it’s good to see that Garrison Commander is bringing it to every class. Granted, his effect is a lot more limited than the Coldarra Drake, but that’s just the kind of concession you have to make with neutral cards. While you typically want a 3/2 on turn 2 that can trade up on most 3 drops, a 2/3 is still a fair stat line that can give you enough longevity from this card for it to make a significant impact. This is definitely worth picking up for almost any deck.
On the one hand, there aren’t many good 5 drops in the game and Clockwork Knight looks like a great option for mech decks. On the other hand, the good 5 drops we do already have are extremely good. Azure Drake, Sludge Belcher, Antique Healbot, and Loatheb all make for stiff competition for turn 5. However, none of are perfect fits for mech decks and Clockwork Knight can still find his place in the meta game. It’s just a matter of seeing if people are willing to give up the utility of those cards for a deck that fully dedicates itself to mech synergy.
Unless Blizzard has something really crazy hiding up their sleeves, this is looking to be the best new legendary to come out of TGT. While her stat line is incredibly weak, her ability to permanently upgrade your hero power easily makes up for it. For reference, here is how she’ll effect each hero power:
Note that she won’t be able to upgrade your hero power a second time, and she won’t effect special hero powers like those given by Jaraxxus or Majordomo Executus. Only starting hero powers can be changed by her. Still, essentially doubling the effect of your power is incredibly potent and there couldn’t be a better time for this effect to be introduced. Warlock may be the one to gain the most as easy card draw is an incredibly power effect. Shaman will also benefit greatly as its greatest weakness is the randomness of its hero power. Getting the totem you need on command is going to be extremely powerful. Mage, Paladin, and Warrior only need their powers doubled for this to be useful, and Priest can follow up with Auchenai Soulpriest to become a living nuke. However, the last three classes may not get enough out of it. Druids only use their hero power as a last resort and doubling it isn’t going to change much. Hunter already has a perfect storm of aggression and Trueheart would, ironically, only slow that down. Finally, Rogue is getting it the worst with a single, underwhelming attack point to the daggers. Given the fact that Rogue already has spells like Deadly Poison and alternate weapons like Assassin’s Blade, investing a 6 drop to improve the standard dagger just seems redundant. Still, the potency that Trueheart has for so many decks makes her the first must-have legendary of the next expansion. Unless something even better is revealed, this should be the first TGT card that you craft.
The next big expansion for Hearthstone, The Grand Tournament, is on the way, and the biggest new twist being new interactions with hero powers. This includes the new Inspire keyword that triggers an effect whenever you activate your hero power while that minion is on the board. Sadly, all the theory-crafting that we would see planeswalker-like cards or mounts enter the game was proven wrong. Still, we’ve got plenty of fascinating new cards that interact with hero powers, including some of the newest mage cards.
The Lowly Squire offers a look into the basics of how the new Inspire ability will work. Every time you use your hero power while he’s on the board, he’ll gain an attack point. He’s a decent one-drop on par with Undertaker and Cogmaster. While his effect isn’t as expedient as Cogmaster’s is in a mech deck, his potential growth can outweigh the Undertaker as you’ll always have access to a buff for him. The difference is that hero powers can only be used so much at a time, so his growth is bound to be slow. He’ll probably become a popular pick in Arena drafts given his versatility across all classes and decks. For constructed play, he’ll fit in best with Face Hunter as that works best with aggressive plays and regular use of the hero power.
This card definitely has a lot of potential, although we’ll need to see more Inspire cards to know just how much. Cutting the cost of your hero power in half can open up a number of new plays to you, and the amount of health gives her a good chance of lasting for a few turns. Combined with the right Inspire cards, there are plenty of possible deck builds that can be made with her. It’s worth noting that the effects of multiple maidens won’t stack, so you won’t be able to cast your hero power for free under any circumstances. Still, this is a card worth keeping your eyes on.
This card looks insane at first, but think about the kind of game you’d have to play to discount this. For the first ten turns, you’d have to use your hero power almost every turn to get an advantageous cost for him. Hero powers are usually used when there are no better options sitting in your hand, so it will take a long time to get this guy’s price down. Maybe the introduction of Inspire effects will make power-spamming a viable strategy, but I have my doubts that it will become that prevalent. Even then, the popularity of Big Game Hunter makes it likely he’ll just be knocked down in a flash. He’s also unlikely to take a place in Handlock decks as they already have all the muscle they need. Warrior might have the best shot at making this card work given its penchant for longer games and heavy-use of its hero power. However, this is bound to become a monster in Arena as decks don’t need to be built around it to get its cost down to zero and it can have a massive presence when your opponent least expects it.
For 8 mana, you can get two 3/5 minions and use your hero power for free off of one card. It’s actually not that big of a deal on its own, but combo-focused decks that rely on having a lot of bodies on the board will certainly benefit from her. Plus, if she sticks around, you can easily call in even more. If you see your opponent bring one of these down, you’d better knock her out ASAP or you’re going to have a lot of angry rhinos beating on your face. It’s worth noting that, while the rider herself isn’t a beast, all of kodos she summons are. Also, the War Kodos won’t have the same effect attached to them as the rider, so this won’t grow out of control like we’ve seen with the Grim Patrons. She can be useful in Arena, but she will be very situational given her high mana cost. Still, most other epics are useless in Arena, so a situationally good card is better than getting stuck with Hungry Crab or Junkbot.
Now the hero power interactions are really getting crazy. I hope Nefarian enjoyed his stay, because Saraad shows much more promise. Playing him on curve can be risky as there’s a good chance your opponent will be able to shut him down immediately. Also keep in mind that you can get any collectible spell from any class in the game. There’s a fair chance of getting a useless spell, like Deadly Poison as a Mage. At the same time, you could get ahold of one of the most powerful spells in the game for little effort. It’s not a legendary that’s going to set the meta game on fire, by any means, but it’s worth playing around with just to see what you can get.
This brings us to some of the new Mage cards, and we’ve got an insanely good one to start us off. Coldarra Drake is worth playing just for being a 6/6 dragon at 6 mana, but the unlimited use of your hero power opens up a lot of possibilities. Admittedly, you’ll often be better off playing cards from your hand, but it’s a very handy option that can keep you well ahead of your opponent. Let’s not forget about the Maiden of the Lake who makes for an incredibly potent tag-team with this drake. However, I think they still need one more friend to really shine, like…
Let’s do the math: Two Fallen Heroes + Coldarra Drake + Maiden of the Lake + full mana pool = dropping the sun on your opponent’s head. Alright, that’s not a very realistic scenario, but putting any of these three minions together will make your hero power extremely powerful. The 3/2 for 2 stat line is also irresistible. This is absolutely going to be a card worth tracking down.
Finally, we have a new secret card and looks incredibly powerful. After losing a minion, you instantly get a new one on the board of the same mana cost. It could be any minion in the game, including ones exclusive to other classes, so long as they match the cost of the target. The obvious comparison is that it’s a Recombobulator as a secret. It definitely has potential, but there are two major downsides to it. Being a secret, it can only trigger on your opponent’s turn and this means they’ll get to decide which minion triggers it. Having any kind of body on the board is better than none, but you can easily get stuck with the worst possible result. Second, there are plenty of minions that have their mana costs tied to battlecry effects that won’t factor into being summoned by Effigy. Getting a Novice Engineer, Defender of Argus, or Faceless Manipulator off of Effigy is certainly going to be a let-down. This kind of backfire is the same reason why Recombobulator sees little action, despite being a very strong card. If you want to maximize its effect, you’ll want to save it for the late-game when your board only has high-cost minions that will most likely get you something great.
These are just the start of the 132 new cards being added to Hearthstone with The Grand Tournament. We’ll be looking at more new cards very soon, including new Shaman and Hunter cards, so keep your eyes on VgamerZ. Until then, remember to never drink and joust and don’t forget to tip your squire (I’m sorry I’m not sorry).
Picture this: You and your crew are driving through the wet and dreary streets of an unknown city in some rust bucket of a van. So are you thinking, what is the masterplan? On your last heist you picked up an advertisement for a minimart bragging that their prices were so low, you’d end up leaving with more money than you came with. And that’s exactly what you plan to do.
A bead of sweat rolls down your face as you pull up to the minimart because you heard the owner’s got an extensive security system and is packing heat. The quelling sound of the rain hitting the pavement does little to calm your nerves.
As you enter the convenience store your partner notices a secluded door in the back of the building that leads to the camera system. You see that the clerk monitors the cameras from the register, so you wait until the clerk leaves for the bathroom to run through the door, past the camera, and to the switch to turn off the cameras. So guys, we are going to reveal the masterplan.
At the same time your partner follows the clerk into the bathroom and holds him up. The clerk is too scared to notice that your partner is only packing a toy gun. On your way to the bathroom you run by the register, grab some cash, the clerk’s shotgun, and then you knock the clerk out. When he lands on the bathroom tile a key falls out of his pocket, which leads to another back room and a safe. Your partner breaks the safe with a safebuster, and the two of you make a mad dash back to the van to make a clean getaway.
This, my friends, is The Masterplan.
So, What’s the Masterplan?
The organic excitement bred in the heist I described above is from one of the earlier missions in the game, but you actually start off breaking out of jail in one of the wonkiest tutorials I’ve experienced to date (mobile games aside).
You’re lead up to the tutorial with a little backstory about your character, Joey Green, who was an honest working man until the Nixon era did him in. Left unemployed, Joey is left to selling drugs because it’s the only way to make a living. After finding some initial success, Nixon fabricated a war on drugs and Joey ends up gunned down in cold blood by some crooked cops. Fortunately, Joey survives and wakes up in said jail cell where the game begins to teach the mechanics in the clumsiest way possible.
In the cell you learn the basics on how to control your character, but even more interesting, you’ll learn how your character can control others with intimidation. In the tutorial you’ll find a plastic gun with no ammo in a cake (a possible Portal reference) and you use this gun to force the only cop on duty into getting the key, unlocking your cell, and letting you escape.
The power of intimidation is one of the game’s most inspired mechanics and plays an integral role in every heist you’ll pull. Whether it’s using it just to lead your victim to their secluded death or forcing them to commit atrocities for you, there is no denying its effectiveness.
Oddly enough, it’s a mechanic that is incredibly flexible. Players can choose to just knock out bystanders, kill them, or simply manipulate them. Taking any of these paths will dramatically change the way a heist is pulled off, and can make seemingly easy heists become much more difficult.
Pulling off a perfect heist requires a lot of careful planning, however. You’ll usually have multiple objectives you need to hit and there are plenty of things to go wrong. Civilians are perhaps the most annoying variable in the game. They just come and go as they please and if they see anything suspicious then they run off to go call the cops.
Security guards and security cameras are other obstacles in your way, though they can be easy to deal with for the most part. Both have field of view cones, but you can be spotted by a security camera and be totally fine if no one is there watching it. And even if there is someone then you’ll have a few seconds to get out of the cone before they become suspicious and check things out. Security guards on their own will ignore you until they find you somewhere you aren’t supposed to be or they catch you doing something illegal.
Difficult by Design
To be frank, most of the game’s difficulty lies in its level design. Dealing with guards and security cameras are simple until the level is arranged in a way that you’re forced to deal with them in uncomfortable or high pressure scenarios.
Most of the people in each level have their own patterns of behavior which creates opportunities to pull off fun things. Knocking people out while they’re on the can is always a favorite of mine. But the game can be a bit frustrating when there is a maze of masterplan corridors and each door seems to be locked by a different color key. So, while I mostly enjoy each heist’s layout, I also find myself wanting to turn the game off when it seems like I’m going to have to painstakingly crawl my way through a dungeon of locked doors and security cameras.
To be honest, I thought this game was going to be a lot like Monaco, but I’m pleasantly surprised to report that it plays more like SWAT 4 or Door Kickers. So you know about our masterplan? The art design will undoubtedly be hit or miss for a lot of players. I personally thought the characters looked like blown up sprites from GTA II, and the art style really kind of fits the game’s overall presentation. Everything is a little bit cheeky and fun — even when the game’s not. The not fun parts are far and few between, though.
Everything about the game feels really organic. New heists are unlocked by finding memos of interesting places littered about the world, guns are unlocked by finding suppliers, and you can hire fresh blood by choosing from a pool of potential candidates. Even the heists feel like the NPCs have their own routines and you’re just there to mess it all up.
I did find some of the controls to be clunky. For instance, picking up items on the ground requires a right click which is the same button to open your character’s inventory screen. So when your character is standing on top of items you’re trying to pick up then it always prioritizes the inventory action over the pick up action. Fortunately, these are minor issues at best.
The Masterplan retails for $19.99 on Steam, and while I haven’t played through the game fully yet, I absolutely love what’s here. Players that like methodical games where you have to manage multiple team members to solve what is essentially a glorified puzzle will really like the game. For those of you still on the fence, wait for a sale.
Nintendo killed it at E3 last year. From Zelda to Yoshi’s Woolly World, it seemed that everyone had at least something interesting to look forward to. Out of left field Nintendo announced Splatoon, a third-person shooter for the Wii U. It looked vibrant, colourful, fresh, and full of character.
It was a game that intrigued me despite a few worries I had about the product, and having played it during the global test, I’ve learned a lot more about what the game has to offer.
Playing With Friends? I Think Not
I’d like to get the obvious out of the way and say that I’m puzzled at Nintendo’s choice to completely shun any sort of party and friend play. In the 90s Nintendo dominated the multiplayer scene, and yet they seemingly skimp as much as possible when it comes to modern multiplayer.
Why can I not play with my friends in a party? Why can’t I hear them speak? Why must I use third-party applications to have fun with your game?
I shouldn’t have to ask all of these questions, as all multiplayer games offer at least some sort of party play.
Matchmaking Since 2015
As I just mentioned, most multiplayer games use a tried and true formula that makes the experience smooth and enjoyable, something Splatoon seems to have completely disregarded.
Half of my time with Splatoon was spent looking at menus and error codes. Whenever I’d try to join a public match, I’d be told that the lobby was full and promptly booted to the main screen again for another try.
Instead of reaching for say, ten accessible lobbies to try and place the player in, it seems that the game tries to connect to one random lobby (I hope it’s at least based on ping) and if it’s full or the connection is bad, you have to start the entire process over.
Why do we have such archaic framework for your prime multiplayer experience? Why can’t there be an algorithm that searches for several lobbies at the same time, putting the player into the best and quickest fit with the least amount of trouble? At the very least give us some half-functioning browser like Battlefield has. At least then I’d know if my lobby is full before joining.
Motion Controls Are The Future
The Gamepad is a remarkable controller. It feels comfortable and light while offering several beneficial and innovative features. Why, however, Nintendo feels the need to force motion controls on us at first is beyond me.
To learn the game you have to play the tutorial, yet the tutorial only offers motion control rather than a prompt asking the player what they’d prefer. I felt sick swinging my viewpoint around with the Gamepad, and I don’t think it’s viable at all in any sort of competitive setting where quick aiming is a must. I’d much rather use thumbsticks, which are thankfully not entirely disregarded.
I would like to say that for what they are, the motion controls function well. It’s probably one of the best implementations of motion control for aiming, but it still doesn’t jive with me.
Options Menus Are For Punks
Most games allow the player to pause the action to change up some key settings that anyone might want to customize. Not in Splatoon however, as it seemingly revels in the fact that it disregards basic game functions.
Want to adjust your sensitivity? Do you feel that the volume is too high or the brightness too low?
None of these settings are accessible through the pause menu, rather, you must exit to the main screen just to change these settings; an extremely inconvenient and annoying prospect.
Something like camera sensitivity or inversion is essential to a player’s ability to play the game. Something like this might only need a slight tweak to get that perfect feel, so having to go in and out of games just to adjust your sensitivity is beyond ridiculous to me.
I had to put up with several bad matches just so that I could test out the sensitivity until I found something that I felt fit my style of play. Furthermore, if you consider the bad matchmaking system in place, it makes doing this time-consuming and utterly frustrating.
Class Changing Ain’t Easy
This is yet another misstep that turns out to be agonizing for no good reason. If you want to change your class in Splatoon, you can’t just do it upon death like almost every other class-based multiplayer game. Rather, you have to again drop to the main menu and start the matchmaking process over again.
I’ve now mentioned twice how bad the matchmaking is handled, so you can see the problem with all of these drop-outs.
It seems that the paint-roller class has some balancing issues. While other classes slowly take away the opponent’s health or have a large charge time for long-distance shots, the paint-roller nearly instant kills anyone it comes in contact with. You essentially just roll the paint on the ground and charge enemies like a bull, racking up kills left, right and centre.
The downside to this class is that you can’t engage anyone that isn’t directly on even ground with you, but it hail’s in comparison when you consider how easy it is to downright slaughter other players.
I admit that it is probably too early to start yelling OP, but the paint-roller seems to be the obvious choice for not only kills, but how quickly you can paint the map in your favour. (a key factor of who wins and who loses).
One Map, Or Two?
I am having a lot of trouble remembering whether I played one map or two maps. I am leaning towards two but they were both so grey, white and samey that I couldn’t really distinguish what map was which.
It is probably too early to make this point a bad point, as I am sure Nintendo made the rest of their maps varied, but the two maps we got to test felt so similar that I am still wondering as I write this, how many I had access to.
Give Us Smooth, Give Us Silky
It is no secret that Nintendo loves colour. Every game they create has beautiful, vibrant visuals that age incredibly well. Splatoon, while not as colourful as something like Yoshi’s Woolly World, is still a vibrant and colourful experience.
The maps start out pretty basic, but as your team and the enemy start slinging paint all over the level, it becomes increasingly messy and colourful until you’re fighting in what appears to be a neon rave.
It’s really pleasing to the eyes and the OCD to have the ability to literally add colour to the game, especially in a competitive multiplayer setting.
I previously mentioned how awful the matchmaking and connection issues are, but what I left out was the one saving grace to all of this nonsense: a loading-screen mini-game.
I am a sucker for mini-games and this doesn’t disappoint. Whenever the game is doing any sort of matchmaking, you are left to play a jump-centric platformer game on the Gamepad’s screen.
It certainly doesn’t fix the issues I’ve presented, but it makes it much more enjoyable to suffer through!
Lag Is A Thing Of The Past
With any multiplayer experience, it’s probably too early to tell how the game will function after launch, but if we can take anything away from this experience, it’s that we won’t be suffering from a lot of lag.
Splatoon runs like a dream when it runs, and that is saying something. I encountered no lag or framerate issues, nor any sort of choppiness with the other players in the lobby. It was nice to see no rubber-banding, no warping, no lag spikes. All of it felt great and smooth, and I’m grateful for this after spending months with Battlefield 4, or, as I like to call it, ‘a test of patience’.
Prepare For Battle
Splatoon doesn’t have much downtime when you are actually in a match. It’s actually surprising how frenetic and consistently engaging the action is. You hardly spend time wandering around, as the maps feature many tight corridors and many flanks for sneaky engagement. Couple this with your ability to spawn anywhere you please (as long as you land on your paint), and you won’t be searching for things to shoot very often.
The addition of your squid form makes it all the better as well. When you’re a squid, you can quickly swim through your ink and hit big jumps for mad air that give you the boost you need to enter the fray as soon as possible.
It makes for fast-paced gameplay and it makes you feel more active in your pursuit of victory.
I think that one of the best aspects of Splatoon thus far is just how well executed the gameplay is. When we get past the pretty colours and the fluidity of movement and map design, we’re left with what is essentially a tight shooting experience.
The classes are varied and they possess unique abilities such as a bubble shield or a paint radar that obliterates everything in it’s proximity, The weapons all have their unique feel and functions that vary in importance depending on the encounter, The controls feel responsive and fluent; you don’t have to spend much time fighting with them.
When you partner all of these things with nuanced maps that compliment the gameplay exceptionally well, you’re in for a great time with a game that knows what it is trying to do.
I’ll Be Damned If It Doesn’t Feel Good
When all’s said and done, Splatoon is a game that feels great to play. The controls are tight, the action is consistent, the classes are varied, the mechanics are unique and engaging, and the art and sound design is top-notch. Nintendo nailed the gameplay, despite the fact that they almost completely disregarded some of the important UI and matchmaking tricks that modern shooters utilize.
It was a very flawed experience, and despite that, I am still anxiously waiting to play more.
Blizzard has revealed some of the new cards that will be added into Hearthstone with the Blackrock Mountain adventure set to release next month. Some of them look like massive game-changers while others fail to impress. If you haven’t already read my first impressions of the cards that were shown off at the reveal event, I recommend getting caught up with that first. Here, I’ll be going over four new cards that Blizzard has announced since then and going over the potential strategies that they can offer.
First up is the Warrior-exclusive Axe Flinger (pictured above). As it turns out, each class will receive two new exclusive cards with Blackrock, one common and one rare. For the record, the Rouge exclusive Dark Iron Skulker discussed last time is a rare. This is certainly good news to accompany the Axe Flinger reveal because he doesn’t have much to offer the Warrior class on his own. Dealing damage to the enemy hero is really only relevant in highly aggressive decks and Warrior tends to find its strengths in slow-paced board control. Yes, he can potentially deal 10 damage on his own, but that’s pretty wishful thinking. Aggro Warrior is certainly possible in constructed play, but the biggest problem with the Flinger is that he’s 4 mana for a 2/5. As I’ve said before, turn 4 is one of the most crucial in Hearthstone and you need minions that can deal with the fearsome stat lines that tend to come out at the time and Flinger certainly doesn’t do the job. The worst place for Axe Flinger would definitely be Arena mode and the last thing Warrior needed after Goblins versus Gnomes was more bad Arena cards. Here’s hoping that the new rare turns out better than this guy.
Next is the Shaman’s new rare, Lava Shock. As spell damage goes, 2 damage for 2 mana is pretty bad. However, this card’s ability to unlock your overloaded mana crystals is incredibly promising. The Shaman has a number of cards that have their mana costs divided over two turn with the overload effect, locking up mana crystals that you could otherwise use on your next turn in exchange for playing something cheaply now. The problem with overload is that, if your opponent is able to respond to your previous play, you’re left with less options for your follow-up and could quickly fall behind. Lava Shock, if played at the right time, could actually generate more mana than you spend on it and allow you to burst ahead of your opponent with incredible results. Not only does it free up crystals that were locked for this turn, but also ones that were currently set to be locked on your next turn. It’s an incredible new twist on the Shaman class that is sure to lead into some fascinating new decks.
For a new neutral card, we have Dragon Egg. The obvious comparison for it is the Nerubian Egg that was introduced in Curse of Naxxramas and, between the two of them, this is definitely the weaker option. Nerubian Egg is useful not only for its ability to generate a 4/4 fairly easily, but it also acts as a counter to area-of-effect spells. Your opponent doesn’t want the egg to hatch and will be forced to avoid damaging it. In Zoolock, where AOE is one of your biggest threats, Nerubian Egg has remained a staple. Dragon Egg simple doesn’t have that same intimidation factor as a 2/1 is easy to deal with. It does have the ability to spawn multiple Whelps to swarm the board, but it demands a good buff for that to even be possible. I should also mention that, while the Whelps count as dragons, the card itself doesn’t and lacks any kind of dragon synergy based on the cards we’ve seen so far. Cards like Velen’s Chosen and Cruel Taskmaster can get good value out of it, but a Nerubian Egg or even a Worgen Infiltrator will give you more consistent effects. What makes this card especially disappointing is that it makes Hungry Dragon that much more of a threat. If your deck isn’t already designed to support a card like this, your opponent can safely ignore it as a wasted spot on the board. I’ve been hoping to see more good one-drops appear to help offset the Hungry Dragon’s incredible stat line, but this is pretty much the exact opposite.
Finally, we have the Dragonkin Sorcerer. It’s effect is a bit odd, but I think the best way to describe it is like the added spell damage effect applied to buffs. He grows stronger whenever you target him with a spell and buffing spells would naturally become much more potent when used on him. You could trigger his effect with any targeting spell, but a +1/+1 buff generally isn’t going to useful if your just dealing damage to him. Also note that he doesn’t grow stronger when your opponent targets him. Being a dragon type with a decent 3/5 for 4 stat line, this will certainly be a strong card for Paladin, Priest, and Druid decks. A deck with access to a lot of spare parts cards would also make this minion devastating.
That’s all of the cards we know of right now, but we’ll be sure to keep you caught up with any new cards that are revealed. Until then, be sure to let us know what you think of the new cards and what strategies you already have planned for these new cards.