Yes indeed. Wibblefish. It’s tricky coming back to the blog after these gaps. I never quite know whether to just plough onwards and avoid mentioning the fact I got distracted by other non-blog stuff (like that giant fluorescent elephant that enjoys sitting in the corner of the room), or to apologise profusely while crossing my fingers behind my back. But then I realise – hardly anyone reads this anyway, so why pay it any mind at all? :roll:

One does not simply log in to Diablo 3.Okay. Let’s get back into things with a predictable start. Diablo 3 is out, and many yays were heard across the multiverse! I have it. It’s a good game and I’m enjoying playing it. There’s no doubt that it’s polished with the usual addiction-causing Blizzard chemicals and it’ll absolutely keep me playing for many more hours than what I’ve already put into it. The inevitable “but”, though, goes like this: It feels more like My First ARPG than a true Diablo. I find it hard to overlook the dumbed-down character stats and slow-paced itemisation. I don’t think the method of drip-feeding new item mods into the game really works, and playing through on Normal difficulty becomes snoreworthy after your first playthrough. Then there’s that always-online-Battle.net-DRM-error37 thing, which is a whole internet meme in itself…

In the end, I’ve endorsed it by buying the game, so I guess I’ve partly signed away my right to complain. Still, its insidiousness – and terrible reliability to date – are a considerable downer. If I had to give D3 a score, it wouldn’t get any higher than 85%.

Fortunately, in a related and also completely predictable topic of conversation, Torchlight 2 should soon be pecking its way out of the Fabergé egg that Runic Games seem to be incubating it in. Briefly, I played a few hours of the beta, and I think it’ll turn out to be as good as, if not better, than Blizzard’s behemoth. I know enough to say that it’ll be completely unpossible to get more value for money in any game this year – assuming you like clicking monsters to make them drop shiny items to kill bigger monsters with. And who doesn’t, really?

I won’t crowd this post out any more – I’ll leave the rest of what I wanted to say for next time, to try and give me an excuse not to fall into a weird pocket dimension that apparently doesn’t have access to blogs. Notes to self: Endless Space, Mordor: Chronicles, Guild Wars 2. Possibly Definitely marmots.

Diablo III logoI think I can sense a lot of diary-clearing going on! Much as I would’ve liked Runic Games to be the ones to announce their date for Torchlight 2 first, I’m still happy to finally have a firm date to look forward to.

Presumably as a reference to the 15th anniversary of the Diablo series, Blizzard will be releasing Diablo III to the general public of Earth on Tuesday, May the 15th. Fwee! Just another two months of nail-chewing to endure before we can all finally get our hands on the latest entry to the series that defined the term “lootfest”.

With it being such a short time away*, it makes me feel somewhat less impatient at not having gotten into the beta. :roll:  I’m hyped!

* Note: 2 months in “Blizzard time” is barely enough to have a nice cup of tea in, so yes, for them it IS a short time.

Guild Wars 2 logoTo mark the beginning of the Lunar New Year, ArenaNet have made an announcement that will surely set MMO gamers everywhere trembling with squeeish delight.

The latest post on the Guilds Wars 2 blog confirms that the waiting game is nearly over, confirming a full release for their eagerly awaited title some time in 2012. They also say that after a press-only beta next month, future testing events will be “aggressively ramped up” from March onwards. Cor! After five years of anticipation, it’s all starting to kick off!

Best get to polishing those applications, folks. It’s going to be one of the hottest tickets of the year…

Quote would be sad, tooCave Story+, the PC port of a Mac port of a WiiWare port of a PC freeware game, has apparently come full circle and is now available on Steam. I am a huge fan of Cave Story and, I like to hope, a reasonable person. Like many others I admire “Pixel“ - Daisuke Amaya - for creating the original version and releasing it back in 2004. Aeon Genesis deserve some credit as well for the English translation patch. It is a charming game that has done a great service in boosting the indie gaming scene. That said, I will most certainly not be buying into this thinly disguised cash-in – and I’m actually shocked and quite disappointed that Nicalis had the cheek to go so far down this road.

So here’s the story: After a chain of poorly-communicated delays spanning through 2009, the $12 / £10 WiiWare release of the game in North America last year was deservedly well-received but expensive and somewhat glitchy. It included one particularly annoying bug with music playback when the original music tracks were selected instead of the default remixed tracks (which some people – including myself – didn’t like). Not only did it take eight months to get these problems patched out but it took ten months after the NA release for the game to get to Europe. Meh. So far, so mediocre.

Then there was the DSiWare release for portable gamers to enjoy Quote’s adventures. Cool. But a year on from the Japanese and North American releases last November, it still isn’t available in Europe, despite a suggestion from Joystiq it would be out around Q2 of this year. It seems likely that Euro gamers will now never see that version due to the incoming Cave Story 3D for the 3DS (which – who’d have guessed? – has also been delayed). Based on their track record, who knows when the 3DS incarnation will arrive in Euroland…

Surely things can’t get any more ridiculous. But wait! Yes they do!

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I don’t know what game it is, but apparently a beta started for it yesterday or something? Could be anything, really. Has this weird logo though marked “Blitz Hard” on it… or, wait, was it “Blizzard”? Yeah, that’s the one.

The Diablo 3 Launcher

I guess with a name like that it must be a racing or driving sim of some kind. The demon-like thing in the screenshot is probably the artwork that appears on your hero’s car bonnet.

I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with any news about this completely new and hitherto unknown game as it arrives on my desk. A bit of breaking news, though – someone just told me it contains zombies! Wow! A driving game with zombies in it! What will they think of next…

(And no, don’t be silly, of course I didn’t get a key. :evil: But if you want to watch some videos while you wait for yours to arrive, I recommend this suitably hilarious playthrough courtesy of the Yogscast.)

Stumbling upon PC Gamer‘s Big 10 of 2011 list of the games they’re anticipating for this year, I was rather surprised. PCG is one of, if not the most respected gaming magazine in the industry, and I’m sure there’s more than a little bit of insider knowledge going into this particular article of theirs.

PC Gamer logoThat said, the reason for my surprise was twofold. They think that both Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 are going to be out this year! Whoooooaaa there, Nelly. As much as I’d be in RPG heaven were this to happen, I just really can’t see it… though of course there’s that leaked release schedule document which was all over the interwebz last month suggesting 2011 might be the year after all. Perhaps a combination of waiting this long and being generally cynical about everything has made me over-patient.

Anyhow, as I switched my brain into “lurk” mode in work today, I got to thinking about what games I’d like to play – if elephants could fly – this year. Daydreaming is fun! Keep reading after the jump to find out what I came up with.

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Just hours ago, an entire corner of EVE‘s universe was plunged into confusion when GoonSwarm – a dominant force for several years and one of the game’s longest standing alliances – started disbanding. Judging by the frenzied activity on the game’s official corp and alliance EVE Corporation, Alliance and Organisation discussion forum discussion forum, it seems they have now dissolved completely and will not be returning.

GoonSwarm were founded by members of the Something Awful community and achieved notoriety for being one of the least restrictive groups to inhabit the outer reaches of space, operating under the philosophy that anyone, regardless of skill, should be able to get a taste of what life can be like in 0.0 territory. Their sudden departure from the region leaves a massive vacuum that may well trigger a widescale conflict for control of valuable resources.

No official explanation has yet been given for why the alliance has broken up in this way, but whatever the reason, it’s definitely a pivotal moment in EVE‘s history.

One of the Guild Wars 2 homepage Guild Wars 2 developers recently chimed in on a Guild Wars 2 Guru Forum - Footsteps and Sounds forum thread dicussing the sound effects of the game. They went into the details of exactly how they’re going about the job, and revealed that several effects such as footsteps and armor noise are generated procedurally. If you play with sound enabled (especially if you use headphones a lot like me), one of the things that can break the immersion of a game is listening to the same two or three footstep sounds over and over and over again… so it’s good to know that GW2 hopefully won’t have this problem!

They also linked to a selection of photos capturing their sound-recording men in the field. They look like they’re having a great time – I’d love to have their job… :)

For more Guild Wars 2 news, check out its Guild Wars 2 news website.