[TT] Dominion: Intrigue

While you could play most of forever using the base set of Dominion, it now has a lot of expansions. The first of them is an expandalone, which contains a second set of the base cards so you could play without the base set or play 5- to 6-player games. (They now sell the base cards separately as well.) Intrigue cards have with more flexibility than the original game.
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[GW2] Wuv Downtime

I find it interesting to see what happens with the Ravious household when Guild Wars 2 is not pumping out updates every two weeks. This happened earlier during the winter holiday break, and now it is happening again as we wait one more week for the feature patch update (4/15).

First, I’m back to doing Tequatl. I have fun with that “raid”. I like how TTS does it. Zubon muses on the new event timetable that will be coming in a week. I know I am line generally with the comments in his post. With Tequatl, I’ve been on a timetable for quite a long time. Some nights Mrs. Ravious and I do world bosses, and we’ve headed to fan-made websites that use the Guild Wars 2 API to tell us where to head. For me the timetable is just incorporating something that I (and many others) have taken for granted anyway. Continue reading

[GW2] World Bus?

As the design of a game, this timetable makes perfect sense. As the design of a world, it makes me sad. “Go forth, hero, and make your legend by following the attached schedule of events.” Someone already made that legend? No problem, the enemy will spawn, disappear within fifteen minutes, and respawn again on schedule no matter what you do.

We may have overshot “theme park” and started approaching TV re-runs.

While the content has always been completely mutable and timer-based, something about making an explicit schedule of villainy weakens the illusion.

: Zubon

Offline Games: Also Bugged

I think I am somewhere around the middle of the story mode of Batman: Arkham Origins, although it is tough to tell without looking up something spoiler-tastic. The Arkham games really are some of the best around. I am, however, becoming rather frustrated by the poorer quality control at WB Montreal (makers of this game) versus Rocksteady (makers of the first two).
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Everyone Wins?

Asynchronous PvP creates the unusual possibility of having something called “PvP” that never brings you into direct conflict with another player, where everyone playing wins, and the computer takes the losses on behalf of the players. Reward-seeking players will often create nigh-asynchronous PvP situations.

Given the chance to pick the fight, most people pick fights they know they will win. Given three potential targets to attack, with equal rewards for each, most players will pick the weakest target. Or the weakest (for them) — if you play Scissors, you will choose to attack Paper while you are online, then your offline team will be attacked by Rock.

It can be frustrating to have offline losses you cannot do anything about, particularly if those are scored for competitive rewards, but if PvP must come out to 50% wins on average, everyone seems happier when the computer takes almost all of the 50% losses.

Most of my links there cite examples from Marvel Puzzle Quest, where indeed you almost always win any fight you choose to participate in and lose most of the offline fights. Reference also Guild Wars 2, where karma trains are 90+% PvE content under the name WvW, where everyone gets more reward from trading captures on undefended towers. Look back to the less extreme case of early LotRO PvMP, where most people won most of the time because each team flocked to the battlefield where it was winning.

I can’t say it is much/any worse than the regular PvE grind, apart from the design time half-wasted on PvP content that will not be used for PvP. Maybe I should be pleased for the species that self-interest makes cooperation a favored path even with an explicitly defined competitor. But it seems hollow.

: Zubon

[RR] PDF Roleplaying

It seems like only a few years ago when Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition (D&D 3e) came out. I remember how almost everybody in our gaming group had the Player’s Handbook. A few of us had the Gamemaster’s Guide, and there was one or two Monster Manuals lying around. Now things are incredibly different.

Tabletop roleplaying has gone digital. Our gamemasters (GM’s), including myself, often have a laptop propped up for reference. Players learn the rules with free quickstart versions of the game. Most of us have printouts of abilities and spells, which stem from portions of pdf’s and other digital files. This is the tabletop of this century. Continue reading