Issue time11:07:00 am, by Damon   2759 views
Categories: News, Fallout

Here it is, we've been waiting with anticipation for ages about whether or not Fallout or The Elder Scrolls would be announced at Bethesda's E3 convention, and minutes ago Bethesda updated their cover image on Facebook with an updated "Please Stand By" graphic that was used in older Fallout titles, and the Fallout Bethesda page on the website has the same old TV "Please Stand By" image with a counter that will expire in approximately 23 hours, as of the time of this writing.

I am so excited for this release that I can't squeeze out words for it, and in under a day we will know what's new in the world of Bethesda's Fallout IP.

I am not one for speculating on locations, quests, factions, etc, but without any knowledge about Fallout, I'd like Miami to be on my wishlist. It seems like it would be awesome to see a bunch of abandoned, destroyed resorts, the ocean, the Everglades, mutant anacondas, etc.

But, that's my own wish. In less than a day we will know more, and I'll definitely be making a big, excited blog post cramming my thoughts about everything Fallout 4 related in the next day or two.

Please Stand By.

Issue time11:47:00 pm, by Damon   7934 views
Categories: Games, News, Analysis

Continuing my trend of blogging about game announcements that interest me, I'm going to showcase that the official DOOM Facebook page has posted this new banner image stating that there will be a worldwide gameplay reveal for a new Doom title on June 14th at Bethesda's E3 conference.

At last, we've received some kind of news about what things are going on at Bethesda Softworks with regards to them, the Zenimax subsidiaries, and the IPs owned by the company and its subsidiaries that BethSoft will act as publisher for. Honestly, this game as a hit in the dark to me, personally. I missed the prior teasers for Doom that were released over the last year or so, and since Doom hasn't had an update to the series since Doom 3 in 2004, I never gave much thought to the possibility of there being a new entry to the series, a rebbot simply titled "DOOM".

Anyway, there will be a new Doom entry to the game, and I'm definitely intrigued, though I wouldn't say I'm as excited as I would be if the game were for Fallout or Bethesda, or even Assassin's Creed, for that matter. Still, Doom is an iconic, and in some ways infamous game series from the nineties, and it was popular even up to the 2004 release of Doom 3, and it's one that I personally enjoyed, although like the baby I am I tended to jump out of my seat a few times trying to play Doom 3. So, while I am not going to hold my breathe in anticipation for this game, or go out to buy it on the release day, it's still exciting news, and it's news about Bethesda's first ever E3 conference that we've been waiting for information on. That's important to hear, at least.

With a new Doom title being announced, which is sure to bring in money for id Software, Bethesda will be busy as a publisher at their special conference.  There's still time to see if we can hear things about other games that could be worked on that Bethesda is associated with, and this is only one item at what I'm sure is going to be a good,  busy conference, and with the list of categories Bethesda registered under, for both current and last-generation consoles and numerous genres, it ought to be a good one.

I'm still crossing my fingers for a reveal for a Fallout title to be announced at E3, personally.

Issue time10:36:00 pm, by minor edits   4477 views
Categories: UESP, Analysis

Vordur Steel-Hammer, resident geographer of the UESP, has been tackling a much needed overhaul of Lore place articles in the Iliac Bay region. In TES II: Daggerfall, the game world was divided into a series of city-states, so the capital city and the surrounding region typically got the same name. And now ESO has thrown the Iliac Bay back in time a thousand years, and things are understandably, but frustratingly, different. What will become the name of a Daggerfall city-state is in some circumstances an entirely different region with a different political framework. It's been a mess, but thanks to Vordur, it's finally being sorted out.

Other projects continue, of course, while some are still being fleshed out. And little fun facts keep cropping up here and there. For instance, we're still getting insights on M'aiq the Liar's Skyrim dialogue. And over the last few months, it seems, people on youtube, reddit, and elsewhere have been puzzling over the skeleton of a Snow Elf king in the Forgotten Vale. Hey, it's news to me. One of the big delights from hanging around here is, every once in a while, you learn something new about games which have been out for years.

Zenimax released The Tamriel Chronicle, Issue #85 three days ago, and today gave us the latest entry in the Loremaster's Archives, Rituals of the Divines. It's always fun to see an Imperial try to speak authoritatively about other cultures.

Has Daggerfall always had a lot of mod support, or is this only been picking up since the game went free? Regardless, in case you haven't seen it, check out Daggerfall Tools for Unity - Mod Showcase 1:

I repeat: this game is free.

Issue time01:54:00 am, by Damon   5010 views
Categories: Games, Analysis

Ladies and gentlemen, the hype is up! As I mentioned the other day, Assassin's Creed was about to have a new entry to the series, and today (well, yesterday, since it's just past midnight as I write this) the game has been announced as Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.

The game will be set in 1868 in London, and we open up to see Big Ben and other English landmarks as our hero opens up his monologue with "It's a bloody marvelous time to be alive", and indeed it is, as the Industrial Revolution is in full-swing. This trailer reveals to us the first hints of modern technology that we've seen in an Assassin's Creed title. We see steamboats in the water, we see King's Cross station with trains running, as well as another scene of our Assassin hero fighting on the train, amongst other snippets of London.

The monologue tells about technology advancing and the rich man becoming richer, though none of the gold ever makes it back to the broken backs that built up the town, which implies to me that we will see a Robin Hood of sorts in our hero Jacob Frye, a gangster assassin fighting for justice on behalf of London’s enslaved working class.

The second half of the trailer is set to music and is a fighting and action montage to demonstrate some of the Assassin's actions and combat, which while flashy, is the same thing that Unity gave us before actual gameplay was experienced, so I'm holding my breath for a while longer until I see more gameplay than what was accompanying the trailer in this alpha build gameplay. From what I can see, though, assuming that the game gets a better polish than Unity did, it's going to be a great entry to the AC series. For me, at least, because I have a bias for English culture and that particular time period.

For gameplay, the most interesting thing that I see in this, aside from the trains, carriages, and steamboats, is the "rope launcher", as it was called in the gameplay. A  grappling hook and zipline that the Assassin can deply to quickly scale buildings or traverse the cityscape. This looks exciting, and it would certainly make scaling the large structures like Big Ben significantly easier, because in Unity, even with Arno's fairly fast climbing ability, it was a pain to climb 1:1 replicas like Notre Dame, which dominated the skyline as one of, if not the tallest buildings that could be accessed.

New to Syndicate will be the ability to use the environment against the enemy, and during the gameplay reveal, we see Frye use his phantom blade to shoot a pulley system and drop barrels on an unaware guard, something that will open up exciting opportunities for the player as they maneouvre to defeat their enemies, and there will be new weapons like hallucinogenic darts that can be used to turn enemies against their allies, as we see when Frye liberates a borough from the Templars in a fashion similar to the older titles where you perform deeds for the borough and then assault the Templar leader for that borough.

This game will come out on October 23, 2015 for the PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox 1, and while I am hopeful about the game's potential, I am cautious following the failure that was Assassin's Creed: Unity.

As I said before, I think that this game has to deliver on what Ubisoft is giving us, because with their horrible track record and with the failures of Unity, the fans are demanding something to make up for it, and I have made it quite clear over the years that with Ubi's PR and release failures with most major titles and Unity's horrible gameplay, I'm one title away from pulling out from the series and cutting my losses... Still, as it stands, there's a small bit of a fanboy squeal of excitement inside me right now.

Issue time07:31:00 pm, by Damon   10809 views
Categories: Elder Scrolls, Analysis

For those of you who haven't played Morrowind (heresy!), the premise of the game is that the Emperor personally ordered the release of a prisoner from the Imperial City's prison who appears to fulfill the Nerevarine prophecies, which speak of a reincarnation of the Dunmer war hero Indoril Nerevar, a being who will repel the attacks of Dagoth Ur, an enemy of Morrowind, see the fall of the Tribunal, who are the religious leaders and demi-gods of the Dunmer faith and nation as a whole, and possibly restore the independence of Morrowind outside of Imperial control.

The Emperor, at the start of the game, sees the prisoner, who will be the Player for the events of Morrowind, as fulfilling at least part of the Nerevarine prophecies, and after speaking with his advisors, he commands the prisoner to be shipped to Morrowind and released as a free man with orders to make contact with Caius Cosades, the head of the local Blades in the area. Through directions given to Cosades via a coded package, the player speaks to informants to learn about the Nerevarine Cult and the Sixth House, and then is initiated into the Nerevarine Cult as a prospective Nerevarine.

Ultimately, the player acquires Nerevar's Moon-and-Star, a ring cursed to kill anyone who wore it aside from Nerevar himself, thus proving that he truly is the Incarnate, then he gathers the support of the ashlanders and Great Houses by being recognised as the reborn Nerevar and Hortator (a war leader who leads the unified Great Houses in times of war), and gets the attention of Vivec himself, who recognises that the player is destined to end the Tribunal's divinity by defeating Dagoth Ur and saving Morrowind from the blight.

Now, I bring all this up, because the question I've always had is "Why?" -- Why did the Emperor research into and then start pulling the strings to fulfill an ancient prophecy related to the Dunmer? The Nerevarine Cult believes that, in addition to defeating Dagoth Ur, who is a dangerous threat to the stability of the province,  and proving the Tribunal to be false gods and dismantling the Tribunal Temple's religion, he or she will also drive the Empire out of Morrowind.

Did the Emperor just happen to be studying ancient customs and prophecies and recognise Dagoth Ur's threat to Morrowind and eventually to Tamriel as a whole and then decide that keeping Tamriel as a whole protected was worth it at the loss of control over Morrowind (looking more into the short-term)? Most of Morrowind is wrapped up in their own customs, with only the Hlaalu truly being integrated into the Empire and enthused about the relations between the Empire and the proud Dunmer people, so it could have been argued that letting go of Morrowind wouldn't be badly taken by the Dunmer people, and he'd reckon that despite initial turmoil from the Temple being destabilised, the people as a whole would thrive under a reborn Nerevar once free of the threat of Dagoth Ur's tyranny. 

Or, did he see the Nerevarine, should the prophecy be true, as a true leader of the Dunmer who could protect and lead the Dunmer people in the near to distant future and be a leader in a way that none of the Tribunes or the mortal monarch of the province could manage (more of a long-term look)? That's equally possible, because at the start of Oblivion, the Emperor tells the player that he's seen visions of his death and the coming of dark times for all of Tamriel. And, the Emperor's health had been failing around the events of Morrowind, which had resulting in the recalling of Legions to Cyrodiil and orders to recall key members of the Blades to the capital to aid in the succession, meaning that while attention was focused on the capital, the day to day affairs of the other provinces were being less scrutinised.

Without conclusive proof that visions of the Oblivion Crisis only started to happen relatively soon to the event (which happens six years after the events of Morrowind and the rise of the Nerevarine), it's entirely possible that the Emperor was acting to stabilise the province by removing internal threats and then pulling strings to unify the Great Houses and the ashlanders under one competent leader, in the event that the Emperor was incapacitated, that the succession issues lead to war, or in the event that visions of the Empire's destabilisation were true and were coming to him years before the actual event.

This long-term look at the stability of the province against many threats, rather than just the threat of Dagoth Ur alone, as I posited in my first theory, is the one I believe to be most legitimate of my two theories, based on dialogue from Caius Cosades, who says to the Nerevarine, "You're no fool. The days of the Empire are almost over. When the Emperor dies, nine hells're going to break loose. Forget about the Imperial City. Think locally. Worry about the Sixth House and Dagoth Ur. And squabbles between the Great Houses and the colonists. The rest of the political nonsense doesn't amount to a plate of scuttle." This clearly foreshadows the fall of the Empire in Oblivion and sets up that thngs will become really bad in the imminent future, and that a true leader will be needed entering the final years of the Third Era and the Fourth Era, a role that the popular Tribunal wouldn't be able to fill as their powers diminished and as Dagoth Ur grew powerful or was defeated, breaking the Tribunes and Dagoth Ur's unnatural divinity.

We might never know Uriel VII's motives for believing what many thought was an ancient superstition and sending a prisoner to change the political and religious landscape of Morrowind, but it's certainly fun to think about.