- We played a second session of Mouse Guard. It went well and I think both the players and me as the GM are starting to get more comfortable with it. A session report is forthcoming...
- I've also started reading Trail of Cthulhu (again). Call of Cthulhu was a true RPG stable for us back in the day and I'd love to re-visit the setting in these new mechanics. Also I hear a lot of good things about the adventures that Pelgrane Press has published for it.
- Next up on my must-read-RPG list is Apocalypse World. It sounds really interesting!
- This has been an unusually dry month. Me and Anders played a quick game of Gears of War, using the Roadblocks scenario, but failed miserably yet again. Haha!
- I'm eagerly waiting for the reprint (and slightly updated) High Frontier as well as the second edition of A Game of Thrones. Also, kickstarter project Exile Sun has caught my eye, it looks interesting.
Painting and Modelling
- I did do some painting this month although it was commission work for Khurasan Miniatures again. Jon asked me if I'd be willing to paint his new Kilo outpost, which I was. You can see the result above. It's modular and if you buy some extra wall sections you can make it a lot larger.
- My Yu-Jing are staring at me from the shelf and I've decided to get at least one miniature into the Christmas painting contest. Haven't started yet though. Also the new Crane rank Agent is absolutely spectacular!
- Speaking of Infinity I'm seriously tempted to get some Shasvaasti...
This one will actually be quite lengthy, and it's all because of SWTOR. Just scroll past it if you don't care about video games. I've played some other stuff as well, so let's just get those out of the way first.
- I got The Missing Link DLC for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I had forgotten all about it so was really happy to get it and sneak around as Adam Jensen again. It might be slightly overpriced, but if you're a Deus Ex fan I still think it's a solid purchase. Quite liked the story!
- Play.com had some bargain prices so I got Singularity and Rage. Unfortunately I couldn't play Rage because I have a Japanese Xbox and Bethseda/ZeniMax often region lock their games (bastards!!).
- It was all forgotten once I got The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim though. It's just as great as everyone says! Go get it. Now. Even if you didn't really like Oblivion (like me) you'll like Skyrim. I think it has to do with the more realistic feel of the world. Cyrodill, where you spend your time in Oblivion, always felt kind of cheesy to me, in a cheap American fantasy tv-series kind of way. Skyrim, with its roots in ancient Scandinavian culture feels a lot more real. And the snow is lovely, not to mention the northern lights! Or the music! Or Max Von Sydow!
Indeed, Skyrim would have been the game that would have taken most space in this secion had it not been for me playing in the beta/stress test of Star Wars: The Old Republic this last weekend. And oh what a weekend!
I was let in late afternoon on Friday and could play until early morning Tuesday, and since I had the whole weekend off I could get a lot of gaming in! As I've mentioned before I'm an old SWG player and with all its flaws I still hold that game in high regard, my other MMO darling is EVE online, so although I was hoping SWTOR would be great (hey, it's BioWare!) I was kind of expecting it to be World of Warcraft in a different attire. And sure, it does owe a lot to WoW. But just as much or more is actually taken from BioWare's single player RPGs like KotOR or Mass Effect. And who doesn't love BioWare RPGs?!
So the story aspect is great, how about the game play? Well, it might look WoW-esque on the surface, but the creators have made a lot of subtle changes, creating a game that feels very different. First of all you're pretty heroic from the get-go. For example, the bounty hunter get the Death From Above ability at level one, and it's pretty darn spectacular (and powerful!). Also you're constantly fighting several enemies at once. This might seem trivial, but juggling between the different targets, using your different abilities to control the flow of battle and then take them out one after one (or all at once!) is very satisfying! Finally I think they've managed to capture the essence of the different classes very well. I'm not interested in wielding a lightsabre, so don't know about the jedi/sith, but the four other classes feel right. As a smuggler you get to live out your Han Solo fantasy, just as bounty hunters can get their Boba fetish on (loved having all those tricks up my sleeve as a BH!). The Imperial Agent is the James Bond/Jack Bauer of the game and the trooper is the heavily arme soldier he should be. Naturally it comes across in the story and cut-scenes, but also in their abilities and how they play. I'll be playing a smuggler at launch with a bounty hunter alt. For starters.
Just like any other BioWare RPG you also find companions during your journeys and they then form the crew on your ship (every class get an appropriate large spaceship. Think Millenium Falcon). Your companion works kind of like a pet in other MMOs except they also have a story to them and you can actually talk to them. They also make up the crafting portion of the game, basically staying busy tinkering with stuff back on the ship or going on crew missions on their own. The crafting game actually seems pretty cool. Not as deep and complex as say SWG's or EVE's but definitely a step up from WoW. I think my smuggler will be a cybernetics expert, dealing in illegal blaster mods. "You need some extra kick in that Czerka model 19 rifle? Well, I just happen to have something that might fit... if you have the credits."
Urm... well, I could go on, but I really shouldn't. Basically I found myself liking the game a lot more than I would and I went ahead and pre-ordered a copy (need the early-access!). If you like Star Wars and/or BioWare RPGs and are not particularely adverse to MMOs in general chances are you'll like it. It certainly has its share of flaws, but it's pretty damn fun!
- I mentioned The Reality Dysfunction (plenty of spoilers there, watch your step) last month and how I had started listening to it but not really got into it yet. Well, now I have and I'm hooked! It's hard sci-fi but with living starships and satanism! What it really reminds me of is George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series in terms of scope. There are many different factions maneuvering for position, a huge tableu of characters and you learn early that they are all expendable. Almost done with the first book in the series.
- Watched some movies as well. Enjoyed Captain America, although I can't really recall much about it now. As I started watching the new Conan movie my hope climbed during the first 10-15 minutes only to come crashing down as the film continued. It just felt like a waste of such a good character and world! While John Milius might have got the character of Conan wrong he at least got the world right! Marcus Nispel (who?) didn't manage to get either one right. Conan felt like some brooding emo child, and the Hyboria seemed to be made up of four people - Conan, the princess, the bad guy and the bad guys daughter. Yes, there were some mooks here and there, but you got no sense of scale. Not socially nor geographically. Blergh. A disappointment.
I think that's about it this month. Sorry for the long SWTOR bit. Hopefully some of you found it interesting. :)