Is an MMO Worth Playing?

I can still remember how my first love broke my heart. We were together for a little over 8 years, spending time together almost every single day. I worried occasionally that we would eventually part ways– I knew it wouldn’t last forever– but when the end came, I wasn’t prepared. Saying goodbye was more difficult than I expected. I thought about all that we had done together and all the things that would remain undone. Even now, years later, it still makes me sad to remember the love I felt for City of Heroes and I have to ask myself “is an MMO worth playing?”

An Age of Heroes!

I first heard of City of Heroes sometime in 2003, I believe. I know it was several months– maybe 6– before the game actually launched. At the time, I was playing a lot of another superhero game, Freedom Force, and really enjoying it. When I saw the early ttrailers for City of Heroes (CoH) I fell instantly in love. I wanted the game right then and there. The idea of building my own superhero, with whatever powers I wanted and a costume designed by me was really exciting and was something I’d hoped for for years. I never expected to be able to do that outside of a pen-and-paper RPG. The only thing that didn’t thrill me was that it was an online game.

Back then, I had no real experience with online gaming. I’d played exactly two other games prior to then that allowed me to play with other players online. The first was a Star Trek game that I can’t even remember, and the second was the original Neverwinter Nights. I thought the idea was kind of cool, but I preferred the idea of playing a powerful hero who could handle the archvillains on his own. I also didn’t want to be dependant on other people to complete missions.

When I first started playing, I mostly played solo.I probably would have continued to be a solo player if not for my wife. I was working a ot of nights at the time, and so she found herself looking for things to do when I was not there. What she found was CoH.

My wife made a couple of friends in Paragon City during her time playing. The first, she played with only a few times, but soon she found a couple of other players that she started to team with regularly, Not long after, I found my schedule changing somewhat, which allowed me to start playing with her and her group. To my surprise, it turned out to be an awful lot of fun to team up with a group of other players, but with that fun, came some concern. I started thinking about the long-term playability of the game. It wasn’t that I didn’t think the game would continue to hold my interest– I knew it would– but rather I was concerned about the game being shut down at some point.

I started asking around about what would happen if the servers would be shut off. Not knowing at the time how MMOs operated, I hoped that I would be able to continue playing as normal, but without the ability to team. I was sad to discover that this would not be a possibility.

My time playing CoH was amazing. I made some great friends, one of whom I was able to meet in real life. I wrote tons of background info and stories for my characters, including at least two short novels. One of the other players joined me in the story writing, and all the group’s characters started to tie together in one large, complicated soap-opera. It was awesome.

The came the day I’d been dreading: we were told that CoH would be shut down,

It was quite a blow. A wonderful community had formed around playing CoH. Perhaps it was becaus we were playing heroes, but most of the players were generally good, kind, helpful people as opposed to the players we always heard about in other games. The CoH community worked together to help each other, in the game and out of it as well. They even did fundraising for charities.

I was there for the last moments of the game, before everything went dark. Logged in as the very first character I had made, I stood together with other players, torch held high, counting down the minutes and then the seconds like some dark, twisted New Year in a mirror universe.

And then it was gone.

Several years of playing, hours of creating and developing characters and untold missions with friends had ended with a disconnect message. The sun had set one last time on Paragon City. The heroes and villains that had given me so much pleasure were no more.

The fans didn’t take it well. Efforts were made to rescue the game. Some of them continued literally for years. Ulimately, nothing could be done. Players, suddenly set adrift by the loss of their online home, began searching for other games, but generally ended up disappointed by what they found. The Age of Heroes had ended.

However…

When it became clear that City of Heroes would never really return, a number of successor projects sprang into existence. Though none have released yet, tremendous progress has been made in their development. One game in particular, Ship of Heroes has caught my attention, coming seemingly out of nowhere to suddenly become the game that I am looking forward to the most, although all of the successor project appeal to me for different reasons.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy…

I have to admit, though, as great as these new games look, I don’t know if I will be able to bring myself to play. After the experience with CoH, I find myself wondering if I really want to invest time and money into a game that I am, effectively, renting and never really owning. The idea that I could spend hours creating new characters and becoming invested in their stories only to potentially have them snatched away from me fills me with dread. I don’t know if I want to go through that again, especially if the community is half as good as the one that CoH had (which seems very likely given that the CoH players are all watching and waiting for a game to arrive).

Not too long ago, Marvel Heroes became available for the PS4 and I downloaded it partly for myself, but also for my younger son, who is on a superhero kick at the moment. I thought it could be fun to play together. Now, only a few months after we started playing, it has been shut down. (It was due to be shut down last Friday, but was still playable as of yesterday, Sunday. I am not sure if it is still accessible or not. Even if it is, it won’t be for long.) 

I just don’t know if I trust online games anymore.

I know there are many games out there that have been up and running for many years, and still have large,active communities, but at some point, pretty much every game will turn of the servers and shut players out. When that happens, even if you are still loving the game and playing daily, you are just out of luck.

I know I am kidding myself. I will try these new games and likely get hooked on them. But knowing that I may find myself unable to play at some point through no fault of my own kind of diminishes my enthusiasm, and that’s why I have to ask if an MMO is really worth playing.

What do you think? Do you worry about this sort of thing or is it just me? Is it enough to keep you from trying a game? Share your thoughts below!

Craig

 

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: Dead of Winter

Do you want to try you hand at surviving the zombie apocalypse, but video games aren’t your thing? Or maybe you just want to have some companions with you during the struggle? Dead of Winter allows you to face off against the hordes of undead– and potentially other players– in a tense, fun board game experience.

It’s co-operative, but…

Dead of Winter sees you and your friends playing a group of survivors trying to get through the winter during a zombie apocalypse. Struggling against not only the zombies themselves, but also nature and one another, players have assorted goals to accomplish to win the game, including potentially betraying the other survivors.


Choosing a scenario, details the specific conditions of victory for the group. Each of the 10 scenarios has a “Hard” variant for added challenge. Each player then chooses two characters that they will play, representing their own faction within the larger community of the colony.

Each of your survivors has scores in Influence, Attack and Search, as well as a special ability. Will your survivor be efficient at killing zombies, or at finding resources? You’ll have to play to each character’s strengths to survive. Is your character helping to build the colony, or will you stab the others in the back to save your own skin? You will have to make decisions throughout the game, prioritizing the survival of the group or your own goals.

Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter

Each round, the colony faces a crisis of some sort, adding a short-term goal that needs to be achieved to overcome a significant penalty. Failing means a drop in the colony’s morale or something even worse, while success might provide the colony with a boost.

During each round, your character may move around the colony, scrounging for resources, but this is always a risky proposition, for it may result in frostbite, injury or a bite from one of the seemingly-endless numbers of zombies. Will you risk it your life looking for supplies? If you don’t, well, what are you going to eat?

While resource management is important, as is constant vigilence against the undead, much of the real tension in the game comes from not knowing which of the other survivors ou can trust. Or perhaps you are the traitor, attempting to meet your personal goals without being discovered. If you are not aggressive enough in the pursuit of your goals you will fail, but become too obvious and the colony may ostracize you, forcing you to try to survive on your own.

Zombies!
Zombies!

If you are looking for a tense, fun game full of zombie-bashing and potential betrayal, check out Dead of Winter. Just remember to bring snacks for everyone.

Have you played Dead of Winter? Tell us what you think!

 

 

 

 

What’s in Store for Action Comics 1000?

Many comics celebrate “anniversary” issues, such as issue numbers 25, 50, 75 and 100. Long-running comics may reach impressive milestones like 200, or even 500. Now, eight decades after his first appearance, Superman is set to break the 1,000 issue mark.

What could DC possibly be planning for such a momentous event?

Action Comics Volume 6
Action Comics Volume 6

There are plenty of rumours, of course. It is virtually a given that the issue will be a giant-sized issue, with some speculation that it will be a trade-sized book. Upcoming trade collections of Action Comics can be pre-ordered on Amazon, with Volume 5 containing issues 993-999 and Volume 6 containing issues 1,001- 1,006. Clearly, issue 1,000 will be too large to include in these collections, which raises the question of how big it will be and what it will include.

We know that issue 1,000 will be preceeded by a hardcover book celebrating 80 years of Action Comics and looking back on the introduction of characters like Brainiac and Supergirl. Details on the actual issue, however, are scarce, though we know it will contain multiple stories, including one by Geoff Johns and Superman the Movie director Richard Donner.

Then of course, there is the speculation from Jon Bogdanove in one of his Facebook posts from April 11″

 

“Hey, about this business with Superman’s shorts– or “The Modesty Briefs Affair”, wherein people, including me, have speculated that the reason Superman doesn’t wear red trunks anymore is because Siegel and Shuster’s heirs figuratively “sued the pants off him” (to quote a FB pal): I want to reconfirm that everything I have said, and will say here, is just that—SPECULATION. It is based entirely on rumors I have heard from various current and former DC folks and other people inside the industry. Let me reaffirm: I could be wrong…

“…Someday, I would love to read the settlement that finally ended the nearly 70 years long legal struggle of Superman’s creators and their surviving heirs, to recoup a bigger share of the profits generated by their invention…

“…I think this final chapter of the war— this final case— came down to a fine-tooth, point-for-point argument over specifically which defining characteristics of Superman were actually created by Jerry and Joe before they came to DC and started laboring as “work-for-hire”.

“For example, Superman’s red boots replaced his Greek lace-ups AFTER Jerry and Joe signed him over. Likewise, the “S” emblem continued to evolve from the original while Jerry and Joe were under contract, as did much of his likeness and appearance– EXCEPT for the modesty briefs. Apparently, that’s the one original characteristic that persisted unchanged from before the boys ever approached DC until the resolution of this case.

“As a result, the briefs are the one thing Jerry and Joe’s family were able to hold onto– or regain. DC can’t use the pants without paying the heirs a little something— or so I’m told. Word on the street is that someone at DC or Warners is angrily determined never to pay for those shorts, so off they came!”

Bogdanove goes on to say that he feel there is a case being made for the return of the briefs, perhaps in issue 1,000:

“Now, there is also buzz that Dan Jurgens, and others in the company, have campaigned hard in favor of the traditional, classic, populist brand, appearance and costume– and that Diane Nelson or someone up top recognizes the dollar value of that brand as being worth much more than what it costs to rent the shorts from the heirs.

This buzz suggests that Superman will be restored to his true self in ACTION #1000– which would be awesome in the extreme… I think the effects would be restorative across the industry.”

There aren’t too many things that divide Superman fans they way the red briefs– the so-called “underwear on the outside”– have done.Some love them as a part of the classic Superman look, while others feel they are ridiculous.

Put me in the first group.

The briefs are iconic. They have been a part of Superman’s costume for longet than the majority of his fans have been alive. From a visual standpoint, they also serve as a visual “break” between his upper and lower body. The current red belt helps, but not as much as the briefs did.

Personally, I think seeing the briefs again would instantly bring back memories of better days in comics. We can break away from the doom and gloom that is still popular in many mainstream comics. As I have said before, I think we are definitely due for a return to more heroic heroes, and I think that restoring Superman to his classic appearance would be a step in that direction

What do you think? Should the briefs return, or are they best forgotten? What would you like to see in Action Comics 1,000, or in the ongoing adventures of Superman and the rest of the DC universe?

Please share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you!

Craig

 

 

 

The Millennium Falcon from Lego

Well, now. Looking at the Millennium Falcon from Lego, I just might have to change my mind about those little bricks.

I have to admit something: I never used to like Lego when I was a kid. Sure, we had some in my home, as did most of my friends, but it wasn’t like today, with all the fancy sets and cool figures. Nope. What we had was a large cardboard box with a bunch of miscellaneous pieces. I don’t think we even had a single Lego figure.

One of my friends was very good at creating things. I remember him building a Veritech fighter (from Robotech/ Macross, if you aren’t familiar with it) that actually transformed. I don’t mean it could be taken apart and reassembled in the new form, it transformed from jet to robot and back again. I was in awe, considering that my Lego abilities consisted of making squares and rectangles. If inspiration struck me, I might add wheels, thus creating a “car”. At the height of my creative powers, I was able to create what looked like a stick man out of mismatched pieces.

My first son became a big Lego fan when he was young, falling in love with Ninjago. As a result, I found myself playing with Lego, to my great surprise. My son was too young to build the sets that he was interested in, so I wound up helping him. Before I knew it, I was also watching Ninjago with him, and I found that it was actually quite good. By the time the Lego Movie came out, I was officially a Lego fan, but mostly for the various shows. I had grown to like some of the toys, but not exactly love them.

Now, we have the Millenium Falcon, and even I have to admit it is pretty sweet. With an incredible (and daunting) 7,541 pieces, and a reported assembly time of 36+ hours, I am not sure if I could successfully build it, but boy, would I like to try…

Some reviews have been mixed, with many of the poor reviews citing the exorbitant price as the main negative point, but I know Star Wars fans who would happily pay in the thousands for this set.

Check out the video below and see if you are brave enough to tackle this monster. If you are, it is still currently available through Amazon, but with limited quantities pushing the already-high price through the roof.

Lego (LEGO) Star Wars Millennium Falcon 75192

Pax West Trailer for Ship of Heroes

Just as a follow up to my previous post about Ship of Heroes, here is the new trailer shown at Pax West on September 3rd. The game is coming along nicely, and I just know I will spend hours with the character creator alone!

What do you think of the new footage? What are you most excited for in Ship of Heroes? Let me know in the comments below!

Ship of Heroes Looks Like a Worthy Successor to City of Heroes

City of Heroes remains one of those games that I would very gladly play again, and play almost exclusively, if given the chance. All these years later, we still remember it fondly, and many of us still have some resentment over how it shut down.

I have always loved comics and superheroes, and when City of Heroes arrived on the scene, I jumped on it right at launch, playing daily until it was shut down 8 years later. There was a huge effort on the part of loyal fans to bring the game back, but that has never happened (rumours of private servers notwithstanding….) There are several successor games in the works, however, and the one that stands out for me right now is Ship of Heroes.

When I first heard of Ship of Heroes, I honestly thought it was a joke. I had been following the various other projects to one degree or another, but SoH appeared seemingly out of nowhere. I was the first person I know of to start sharing news of it to all the various CoH groups I was a part of. Most of the people I shared it with at that time took a similar view: it had to be a fake.

Over the past several months, however, we have seen that not only is it a legitimate game in development, but that it seems to capture the spirit of City of Heroes quite well. It is a bit early to know for sure, of course, but what I have seen and heard so far leaves me feeling pretty confident that this will become the type of game that I will play for hours at a time. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing.

I look forward to having a game that I love so much that I could lose myself in it. It has been a long time since I experienced that. It will also likely see me neglecting all my other games though, which I have mixed feelings about. Plus, these days I have much less gaming time. Still, I think it could be fun to play with my kids. My wife and I played CoH together for the longest time, and our elder son was just starting to play when it shut down. He never really got to experience how fun it could be. Maybe now, he and his brother can join me and my wife to fight crime as a family!

We’ll need more computers though!

I will also have to start writing again, as I am the type who loves to flesh out his characters with supporting fiction. I wrote two novellas and countless short stories with my characters and the character of those I played with. Although it could be akward given the setting, I am hoping I will find a way to continue the tales of Maiden Canada, the Faceless One, Doctor Valiant, and all the others.

Ship of Heroes, you can’t come out soon enough.

Are you looking forward to Ship of Heroes, or one of the other successor games? What are your favourite memories from City of Heroes?

Marvel Defenders Review. How bad Is It?

That’s a question I have been hearing lately. It’s like people are just assuming that it will be pretty bad, especially after the way so many were disappointed with Iron Fist season one. So how bad is it?

The first review I saw included the complaint “it’s so boring. It’s all talk and no action.” The second review I read mentioned how “it’s hard to connect with because there isn’t enough story between the constant fight scenes.”

Later, I came across a review by someone who was upset that the characters weren’t presented very well and that “Defenders undoes everything that the characters accomplished in their own series.” That was followed by a review that said the best part was that the series built upon what went before and actually had a significant impact upon the characters.

So… what did I think?

To me, this was one potentially the best Netflix Marvel series yet. I won’t say it was without flaws, but it was quite enjoyable, It was a good culmination of the previous series’s storylines and did a good job of involving the many characters. I’ll try and tackle a few of the key complaints and give my views.

The Heroes

I think everyone was pretty well-presented. I thought that they were all consistent with their previous appearances and each character was impacted by the story, which was nice. Often in this type of thing, there is no real character development because that is saved for the character’s own show, but each character had at least some growth– though Iron Fist and Daredevil obviously benefitted the most from the storlyine, as it tied in directly to their origins.

On the topic of Danny Rand, I never personally had any issue with him. Yes, he’s dumb at times… well, fairly often… but he is well-meaning and I think he is representative of how a lot of people might react in his situation. Remember those days when people liked Marvel heroes because they tended to be flawed, “normal” people?

I like Danny because he is a good person, who manages to screw up, but wants to do the right thing. He has been through a lot, and I personally think it makes sense for him to suffer from PTSD given the loss of his parents, the training/ beatings he received in K’un Lun and the mystical, possibly rather-mindbending experiences he has had. He is deeply flawed, but it leaves a lot of room for growth, and he experiences some of that here.

Matt Murdock has his own arc involving his desire to stop being Daredevil and live a normal life at the start of the show, to realising that “this is my life” later on. He accepts his role as Daredevil and seems to come to terms with it, at least for now.

Jessica Jones starts the series in an even darker frame of mind than in her own series, but likely because of the resolution of her enounter with the Purple Man (Kilgrave). She is even harder-drinking than before (if possible) and seems to have abandoned any concern for anyone outside of her immediate circle of Malcolm and Trish.Her attitude and nasty quips are what make her fun in this series, however, as she continually mocks both Danny and Matt– especially when he’s in costume. It’s actually the interraction with Matt that gives her some development however, as she starts to show some respect for him and by the end of the series, genuine concern. By the last time we see her, she is ready to start being part of society again.

Luke Cage probably has the least development, but even he has some nice moments with Jess, a brief nod toward the comic book relationship he has with Danny, and he gets to act in a couple of scenes as the moral compass of the team. I may or may not be the only one who is hoping to see him back with Jess at some point, so I was happy to see that there remains real affection and caring between them. Jessica even suggest that perhaps they will “have coffee” again sometime.

Even the supporitng characters have roles to play, to one degree or another. The big winners here are Colleen Wing– whose story wraps up her experiences from Iron Fist nicely– and Claire, who continues to be a voice of reason and a grounding force for the team.

The Villains

I know that some people are pretty sick of the hand, though honestly, we haven’t seen that much of them, when taking all 4 series (now 5) into account, and the fact is that they are supposed to be massively influential and integrated into all parts of society, so it kind of makes sense that they would be, you know, present.

I happen to really like Madame Gao. I find her interesting, quite possibly due to the portrayal by Wai Ching Ho, but also due to her mysterious past, which is elaborated on here. Despite being one of the primary villains, I found myself constantly hoping she would survive the series.

There seems to be some difference of opinion about Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra, though most of the negative views are centered around the character as written, not her portrayal. I thought she was great in every scene she had, though I agree that she never really exuded the sense of menace that the writing tried to portray. She had one brief physical encounter with Stick, which was meant to show her fighting ability, but I had a hard time taking it seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I think she is a geat actress, but I am glad they didn’t try to do too much of the physical stuff with her.

Rounding out the villains were the other leaders of the Hand: Bakuto (last seen in Iron Fist), Sowande and Murakami. Each of them, like Alexandra and Gao, had once studied in K’un Lun, but eventually turned their thoughts from healing to immortality and were cast out. Having lived countless lifetimes, they build the Hand into a global organization with massive influence, all while remaining hidden.

The In-Between

Then there’s Elektra, Matt’s former lover, brought back from the dead by Alexandra to somehow help the Hand fulfill their goals in New York. I put Elektra somewhere in between the heroes and the villains because even though she is definitely much more on the villain side, there is still good in her, as Matt keeps trying to convince her, and she continually passes on opportunites that she has to kill not only Matt, but one would assume the other Defenders as well.

Elektra is not my favourite character in this series, but she is clearly the most effective physical presence on the “villain” side and thus one of the biggest threats throughout.

The Story

Ok, so, let’s be honest: the story is not spectacular. It certainly isn’t as bad as some are implying, but it is a bit weak and does have it’s share of illogical moments and inconsistencies. The entire Black Sky storyline with Elektra is fantastically anti-climactic, and the ultimate goals of the Hand remain somewhat nebulous. Their stated intention of returning to K’un Lun is all well and good, but the focus of their efforts is entering a sealed dome under New York, where they expect to gain more of the substance, which is responsible for their longevity and ability to resurrect their members.

It’s implied (at least, I took it this way) that the Hand has undertaken this sort of endeavour before in places like Pompei and Chrnobyl, resulting in mass destruction. This time, however, they encounter a new difficulty in that the dome beneath New York has been sealed by a previous Iron Fist. Gao says that this is the first time that they have encountered such a thing, and all implications are that this one particular location will be the ultimate culmination of centuries of work by the Hand… The only problem is, they never say what’s so special about it. Once the seal on the dome is boken, there doesn’t seem to be anything that they haven’t encountered dozens of times in the past.

At the end of the day, I didn’t complain too much about this because the story was basically just a means to get the characters together, but if too much time is spent contemplating it, it becomes increasingly frustrating that they didn’t follow through on years of build-up.

Overall

I am not going to be too negative about the Defenders. I enjoyed it. I loved seeing the characters together, I liked the hints of what could come (Heroes for Hire, Daughters of the Dragon), and it did manage to set up the characters for their respective series’s returns.

It may not have been everything we hoped for, but overall it was fun and enjoyable. It was the only Marvel Netflix series to date that made me gasp audibly at one event, and shed a few tears at another.It has given me renewed hope for the Marvel Netflix universe.

At least until Disney pulls out. But that’s another story for another time.

What did you think about The Defenders? Let’s talk !

No Man’s Sky Reviews Agree: It’s Getting Better

When No Man’s Sky released, I was so excited. From everything I had read, I was sure that it would be the game I had dreamed about fo so long.The sheer size of it and the open world (universe) aspect of it appealed to me immensely and I had all sorts of thoughts about the things I would be able to do and see in the game. Saying I was excited is actually quite the understatement.

Not Quite What We Expected

When the game actually released, it seemed like virtually everyone I knew was disappointed. No Man’s Sky reviews everywhere seemed to be rather negative. I had friends who had bought it, but then like a number of others, sought to be refunded. I didn’t want to refund it, however. I just wanted it to be a great game.

For the most part, when I first started playing, I actually liked it. I had some issues with it, such as not likeing some of the controls and the ridiculously low draw distance that had things popping up only when I was almost on top of them if I was moving too fast, but I actually liked it. I liked the idea that I would be the first person– and given the size of the game, perhaps the only person ever– to set foot on a given planet. I would be seeing things that no one else was seeing. I would be experiencing a totally unique game.

There were some story elements that I didn’t like though. Given the size of the game, I couldn’t understand how the alien races encountered could be spread out over such a massive distance. I didn’t understand how the Sentinels could be on every single one of the 18 quintillion or so planets… That broke immersion for me.Plus, the game was just too open for me. I like to have some back story. While I appreciate (love, actually) the ability to make my character be anyone I want, I also want to have a bit of story to fit them into the setting in a logical manner.

So Much Variety With So Much Repetition

One of the selling points for NMS was that everything would be procedurally generated and we would be seeing, in theory, so much unique content. That kind of fell flat,  however, when after taking a couple of hours to explore my starting planet, I set off into space and eagerly warped to my closest planetary neighbour, excited by all the new discoveries I was sure to make. Sadly, even though this was only my second planet, I found that everything seemed to look the same. Same plants. Same abandoned alien buildings. Remarkably similar creatures.

Still, despite that disappoinment, there was something that I just liked about the game. The exploration was pretty chill. Wandering around collecting the resources I needed was strangely relaxing, and there were moments when I did come across a rather attractive landscape. I thought that this could be a great game to lose myself in.

After a couple of days, however, I’d had enough. I wasn’t getting any sense of a narrative in the game, and collecting resources to power my ship so that I could fly off somewhere in order to… collect resources to power my ship grew very tiring. I still had a strange affection for it, and I still really wanted to love the game, but I found that I just couldn’t maintain the interest to keep playing when I had other games vying for my attention. I stopped playing, then after a couple of months of not touching it, I uninstalled it.

Laying a Foundation for the Future

When the Foundation update was released, I was drawn back to the game. So many cool new things had been added! I was excited all over again! However, much like my experience with games such as The SIms, the idea of building a base was much more appealing than actually doing it. The Foundation update was a great first step in adding content and variety to the game, but I found that it wasn’t quite enough for me personally. I found myself playing for a couple of hours, only to uninstall it yet again.

I started watching videos for games like Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous, and they both caught my attention in a manner very similar to the way NMS had done before it released, but both had the added appeal of more realistic graphics and settings, with a greater concentration on story. While I doubt I will have a PC capable of running Star Citizen any time soon, I started to obsess over Elite: Dangerous, thinking that it could very well be the game that I had hoped No Man’s Sky would be.

When it came out, I grabbed Elite: Dangerous and immediately put in a number of hours exploring and getting to know the universe. I loved it, even though many people complain that there is “nothing to do”. Just the simple act of exploring space was enough for me, especially with the ability to create a character that I could actually see and enough of a backstory (which I am still learning) to allow me to invest myself in the lore.

I kept reading up on No Man’s Sky, however, as part of me missed the game and still had hope for what it could become.

Atlas Rises

Buy it now at Amazon
Buy it now at Amazon

Now, a year after release, we have the latest update, Atlas Rises, which once again brings a host of changes and improvements to the game. What I welcome the most, however, is the addition of the Mission Agent, who hands out various tasks to be completed for rewards, and a new story, which is promised to run approximately 30 hours.

After all this time, No Man’s Sky has given me enough of a story to sink my teeth into and become invested in the game. I have done a number of Mission Agent mission, which are pretty simple, but seem to offer decent rewards, and have started upon the new storyline, which has proven to be more engaging than I had anticipated.

I have even put down Elite: Dangerous to return to No Man’s Sky’s universe and am actually considering creating a base at long last.

If you have tried No Man’s Sky in the past and found that it fell short for you, you may just find it worthwhile to give it another shot. I am personally quite happy witht he improvements and additions, though I was also somewhat predisposed to likeing them, as I have been pulling for the game to succeed despite my on-again, off-again relationship with it.

This universe is worth exploring again.

If you decide to return to No Man’s Sky, or if you are trying it for the first time, let me now what you think. I’d love to hear some other reactions to what it now offers and what is to come in the future.

Craig

So, What’s Happening Here?

I was doing well for awhile there, posting regularly and updating this site. Now, however, I have gone a couple of weeks with almost no new content. So what gives?

Well, I am going to try to get back on top of things as soon as possible, but at the moment, finances dictate that I stop reading comics, and I don’t want to write about anything without firsthand knowledge. If I recommend something, it’s because I have read/ used/ played with it most of the time. Periodically, I will mention something (like the Story Cubes) that looks interesting to me and that I haven’t tried, but in those cases I try to be clear about it.

So I hope that you guys will bear with me for a little bit until I can get things back to normal.

Thanks for reading!

Craig

Cool Storytelling Tools: Rory’s Story Cubes

I don’t know how I managed to go so long without learning about Rory’s Story Cubes. I mean, these are right up my alley and look like a lot of fun. I plan on snatching them up to use with my kids, and also maybe to use on my own to generate story ideas for my own writing.

For any of you who have also managed to never hear about them, Rory’s Story Cubes are 6-sided dice with various icons on each side, which when rolled to get random images, the player puts together to improvise a story, as can be seen in this introductory video:

I think this can be a fantastic way to spend some time with your kids, entertaining one another while developing creativity. Aside from the basic set, there are (as can be expected) various expansions covering Actions, Voyage, Clues, Enchanted Action, and even things like Batman and Doctor Who!

Seriously, I am going to have to buy all of these…

If you’re looking for something quick and fun to play with your kids, friends, or even alone while flexing your creativity muscles, check them out!