What We’re Playing – 2011.05.26

Jason (Top 10 List Style Because I’m Lame and I Broke My Brain.  Me broke brain?  Uh oh.)

1.  It’s polished and relatively bug free.

2.  Which is awesome, because most (all) new MMO’s ship out with a plethora of lame bugs that don’t get fixed until months or years after the fact.  Kudos to Trion.

3.  It was built with PvP in mind.

4.  And yet the PvE content doesn’t feel like it was tacked on at the last second.

5.  It has everything the average MMO fan expects out of a game in this genre.

6.  And that’s the problem.

7.  It follows the same tried (tired?) and true recipe that every other MMORPG has used before it.

8.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because hey…Trion’s gotta eat, right?  Why deviate from the norm and create something original when there is a boatload of money to be made shoveling out the same thing wrapped in a different color wrapping paper?

9.  But it sure is purdy.

10.  Unfortunately, looks aren’t everything.


Well, as luck would have it the League of Legends Tribunal is live, as a feature for level 30 players. It allows players that have been Reported to face a peer review and either be punished, absolved of their crimes, or for the timid, given an undecided judgment. It works incredibly well. It shows how they fared in the game (kills/deaths/assists), what the complaints were, and a full color coded chat log is provided as evidence. With these articles of evidence, it is fairly simple to ascertain their guilt or innocence. I’m not sure anyone knows yet what the consequences are as far as a “time-out” or a limited or permanent ban, but the judgment process is quite enjoyable and, I daresay, addictive.

Beyond judging my LoL peers and enjoying the feeling of holding their respective fates in my slightly imbalanced hands, I’ve been playing The Witcher. As usual, the release of a sequel to a game I haven’t finished has triggered some response in me that forces me down the long dark road of playing the original. This time I will finish it! (Said with head back, defiantly shouting into the sky!)


Man, oh, man am I psyched that League of Legends finally has multiple Mastery pages. The reaction in the LoL forums was akin to my statement just now– we’re so thankful for this– but there were some other reactions that were equally appropriate, such as, “it’s about damn time.” Perhaps in recognition that this core functionality that’s so necessary when you want to play one champion instead of another, and therefore need an entirely different skill tree allotted with up to 30 little points, developer Riot Games is not charging us for up to 10 Mastery pages. Meanwhile, the other side of user-customization champion enhancement, Rune pages, only comes with three free pages (which is pretty sufficient, unless you’re playing 10 different champs all the time), and you have to pay near $30 of real-world cash to get 7 extra Rune Pages in your account.Whatever. The fact that Mastery pages aren’t being charged for does a little to let the steam out of frequent whiners who claim that Riot’s new Chinese microtransaction-obsessed owners (TenCent) are set to nickel and dime (no pun intended) us to death. If that were true, we’d be getting only three Mastery pages free and paying for the rest. So the whiners may rest… for now.

League of Legends - Screenshot - Mastery Pages
Don’t play LoL? This is the Mastery Page setup I’m talking about. 3 Skill Trees per Mastery Page.

Amusingly, the only thing I’ve done in League of Legends since the Mastery enhancement is set up three Mastery pages. I haven’t played. I did play a little last Saturday, pre-update, and finally had a game against a Vayne and I promptly felt the character was overpowered as she owned our entire team over and over. I’m quite happy she’s been nerfed (same update that has the Mastery stuff) and I’m also excited to try my hideous Kog”Maw again now that he’s been buffed in the update as well. Shoot, I’m going to play Garen again too! ‘Course, that means I need to play Jax, too… my current Channel Massive Legends homework. But now with Multiple Mastery Pages (emotional capitalization FTW) I can play all those, and Evelyn, too!

Man I’m addicted to that junk.

Also I’m continuing on in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem and, oh snap, it just got hard. Only a few “worlds” of levels left to go, though, so I’m not sweating it. Still love the game.

I also got a few more bouts with Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in (Morrigan’s voice acting is hilari-diculous!) and am 65% through Enslaved, the 360 game I mentioned getting into again last week. At first I was really excited to play another game with a hero escorting or accompanied by a companion– it’s worked so well in Ico, Prince of Persia (360) and Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Yet impressive, charming and endearing the girl in Enslaved is not. She’ s a bossy, self-entitled, petulant hippie chick who I grow ever annoyed with having to save. Adding insult to injury, the developers have your hero, Monkey, warming up to her in the game’s script. After one boss battle that she spent hidden in a metal box, bitching at  you to hurry up, she actually tells Monkey he did a good job. And his response? It wasn’t just him, but the both of them who took the monster down. Say what? The lady was in a BOX doing nothing!

Enslaved - Screenshot
Enslaved’s Trip, getting her whine on again. Take that, L.A. Noire!

She is a constant liability (if she dies, you die– part of the nifty functionality in the enslaving headband she threw on Monkey’s head), and you spend a lengthy level chasing her through her hippie commune town as she brings loads of assassin robots down on you– and miraculously, for as ineffective as she is at fighting (she is purely a hacker and has no weapons) she manages to never get hurt, no matter how many robots she’s apparently passed. And you got it– once you finally catch up with her lame butt, she’s hiding in yet another box.

If the person you’re escorting is going to be this much of a PITA, the least the developers could do is make her shut up or not bring problems to you, like the girl in Ico, who you had to leave in safe areas but wasn’t causing near as many headaches. Conversely, I’m all for a kick-butt, attitude-spouting heroine who can take care of herself, as Elika is in Prince of Persia, but Enslaved‘s Trip is a total loser, however hot she may be. If developers Ninja Theory (who also conveniently litter the game with photos of themselves when Monkey has mental flashbacks of pre-apocalyptic Earth– apparently only males existed then because no women are in the photos) somehow redeem Trip to be rationally likable by game’s end, I’ll feel better. But I won’t know for sure until this weekend– when I hope to finish the game.

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