March 29, 2013
MMORPG Update: The WoW and Hearthstone Mini Edition
March has been a super busy month, I’ve dedicated much of my free time to levelling my Worgen Priest, Lursaduras, through the available WoW dungeons and practicing healing on my 5-man group. Our group is pretty laid back when it comes to running dungeons but we must be doing something that works because wipes are pretty rare. This week has been great and I’ve only been finding totally amazing gamers on my WoW server, I’m just drinking it the good vibes and help instead of the abuse and it’s been great to share the good experiences with you all on Twitter, if you want to check out our streams you can find me @cat792k and all our blog posts @gamersblogbytes!
Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
In addition to playing WoW, I’ve now become a total Warcraft fiction addict. I’ve recently posted about Richard A. Knaak’s most recent series on the blog, Dawn of the Aspects (http://www.thegamersblog.com/mmorpg-update-dawn-of-the-aspects) and the good news is that the second part of the series is now available for download. In the first part we saw how the former dragon aspects are on the brink of going their separate ways to find new destinies since their original purpose as the protectors of Azeroth seem to be no more. Kalecgos has uncovered a mysterious artifact that allows him to see through the eyes of his late predecessor, Malygos, and he has been sucked into the past, literally sharing Malygos’ body, where dragons must fight for survival and he encounters the terrifying alpha dragon, Galakrond. We left Kalecgos in the clinches of Galakrond at the end of the first part – will he and Malygos share the same fate? The answer is, of course not, but what he finds next leaves him more troubled, enter the undead. Alongside this new discovery a stranger from the past begins to appear in the present and Kalecgos fears for his own sanity. Part 3 of the series will be available for download on the 22nd April 2013. At the moment you can discuss this series and also The War of the Ancients series with @WowWellRead on Good Reads at http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/88038-warcraft-well-read.
Also on my radar since it was announced at PAX East is Hearthstone, the new Blizzard digital strategy card game (http://www.thegamersblog.com/hearthstone-heroes-of-warcraft). Fans of the amazing podcast, The Instance, will be excited to know that they’ve got an interview lined up for next with with the Hearthstone team, you can keep up-to-date with what’s going on with the game and the team @PlayHearthstone. Although the initial beta testing will only be available on the US servers according to the current plans, it’s possible this might change so stay tuned. If you do want to get signed up for the beta test just visit www.playhearthstone.com to opt-in with your Battle.net account.
January 5, 2013
Escaping Titan: When science and gaming collide
Escaping Titan sounds like just another space-based RPG, but it’s not only the game that interests me, it’s the science behind the game.
Escaping Titan is a post-apocalyptic single-player RPG, developed by Broken Crown Games, where our solar system has a new governmental order with Saturn’s moon Titan at the center of it. You are an individual looking to escape the corruption of the new capital city, you must acquire a ship, recruit a crew, haggle for supplies, and determine your destination, all in your attempt to escape Titan. Broken Crown Games aim to describe the game saying that “a simple, but not perfect, way to describe it would be to mix the sci-fi RPG elements of Mass Effect with the plausibility and educational value of Oregon Trail”. But the fascinating aspect of this game is the thinking behind the storyline, Broken Crown Games, have recently launched a forum, ‘Science Behind the Sci-Fi‘, which will serve as a platform from where the studio can bounce ideas between gamers and actual scientists, covering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics. This forum is comprised of a panel of four scientists in fields related to the science-fiction used within Escaping Titan:
Paleobotany: Jamie Boyer, Ph.D.
Neuroscience: Robert Hampson, Ph.D.
Astrobiology: Jacob Haqq-Mirsra, Ph.D.
Astromony and Astrophysics: Amitai Bin-Nun, Ph.D.
In order to draw attention to the scientific content from the panelists the development team will be using previews of the game on the panelist blogs to illustrate how the science has been using to create the story within Escaping Titan. They will be able to focus on all those questions that science fiction throws up in relation to existence as we know it, e.g., How will we breathe on a planet with no atmosphere? What will we eat and will it be nutritionally sufficient? What shelter will we need? What effect will the environment have on the human body? Introductions and biographies of the panelists are all up on the forum now, as well as the first post from Jamie Boyer, ‘What’s for dinner?‘.
Additionally we shouldn’t just think of this interaction between gaming and science as an isolated incident, if we look back to 2011 gamers actually solved the structure of a retrovirus enzyme whose configuration had stumped scientists for more than a decade, the results were then published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology – the positive associations work both ways.
Broken Crown Games also has two additional games in pre-production: Surviving Mars and Colonizing Keplar, with Escaping Titan having a planned release date of
quarter four 2014 for PC, Mac, Linux, OUYA, (and possibly Xbox 360).
I think this is something I’ll follow and I’m looking forward to hearing what the panelists have to say. For more information on Escaping Titan and the Science Behind the Sci-Fi forum visit the Broken Crown Games Official Site: http://brokencrowngames.com.