Posts Tagged ‘ gaming event ’

Xbox Announcement: Temper Your Expectations

It’s official, Microsoft is making a new Xbox! I mean, everyone has known this since forever ago, but Microsoft has finally admitted it themselves, which is the key announcement we needed. Earlier today Microsoft put out invitations to many games and tech press outlets to go to Microsoft’s own campus in Redmond, Washington to see the next generation of Xbox. Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked that the last company has admitted their next-gen exploits and am looking forward to the announcement.





If you’re going in to this announcement expecting some E3 style bonanza, then you’ll be pretty sad. In fact, if you watch the event expecting more than “some” of the announcement being about video games, I think you’ll be very disappointed. This May event will more in common with an iPhone announcement than an E3 press conference. Sure, there will be games (we’ll probably receive a sizzle reel or even an announcement or two), but Microsoft will be saving most of their gaming announcements for E3 proper. This event will be mostly about the hardware build and the consumer services it will provide. You know, like a tech announcement.


Wait, why are you mad? Haven’t you complained about Microsoft’s E3 events being too focused on Kinect games and TV stuff? Well, this is one way Microsoft will be able to reign their E3 events back to a more gaming centric focus than they have been in the past couple years. The May event will allow them to really dive into Kinect functionality, family appeal, and general media hub usage. Microsoft will talk quite a bit about its integration with Windows 8 devices, social networks, and existing cable/satellite/internet providers. This will be an event catering to Microsoft’s larger non-gaming audience without any buzz from other events from Apple, Google, or Samsung or the general hubbub of E3 and the slew of post-E3 events (Comic-Con, PAX, Gamescom, etc.).

Don’t worry. Let Microsoft take the time to get this out of their system. The more about Kinect they talk about in May, the less we’ll have to hear about it at E3. And really, the turnaround is pretty quick. It’s less than three weeks between the May event and their Monday press conference for E3. We’ll get a taste for what Xbox will be bringing to the table in May and get a full helping 19 days later. Be patient. Before we know it, it will be June 10 and we’ll be sitting down to watch eight straight hours of unadulterated next-generation goodness to kick off a whole week of announcements. Just don’t be hating when May isn’t as satisfactory as you liked.


Thank You!

Once again, thanks for your time. Despite my cautions to not get you hopes up, what are you hoping Microsoft shows off at this event? And please, don’t just say “New IP”. Be specific.


What We Know About BO2 Multiplayer (so far) And How I Feel About It (Pt 2)


Perks And Weapon Attachments

What It Is:

Yet another staple system since CoD4, Perks and Attachments are ways for players to customize their style of play. As a player ranks up in levels they unlock Perks they can apply to their character to alter their characteristics, such as reducing their hipfire spread, reloading weapons faster, or hiding the player from the enemy’s UAVs. Since MW2, Perks have also included an unlockable Pro version of the perk. By completing certain challenges for each Perk, the player was able to unlock more abilities within that perk to further its specialization. As a player used their weapons they unlock attachments for said weapon. Attachments have ranged from simply replacing the gun’s iron sights with a red dot to increasing the magazine size and attaching a grenade launcher. While perks and attachments have varied and increased with each iteration of the game, the basic principles of the systems have largely remained the same.

In BO2, the Perks and Attachments will become more independent from one another. Perks will no longer affect the capabilities of the player’s weapon, only attachments will. So instead of picking the Hipfire Perk to reduce your hipfire bullet spread, the player will slap on a laser sight instead. Slight of Hand, the Perk that reduced the reload time of your weapons, will instead be replaced with Fast Mags.

Perks will only apply to the player’s character and will be far less “absolute” than in previous. The example they gave is that the Ghost perk, which has traditionally kept the player invisible to enemy UAVs and other spotting equipment will now only keep the player hidden when they are moving. If they are sitting in one spot, the perk will not be active. The Ghost perk has also been split across three different perks now. Ghost keeps the player hidden from UAVs, Blind Eye is necessary to keep AI controlled Killstreaks from targeting them. The third perk, Cold-Blooded, rounds out the old perk by providing the player a resistance to enemy lock-on equipment, but does not make them immune to lock-ons. Treyarch is hoping that by splitting up these Perks into multiple abilities across different tiers will help balance the game more and prevent the use of traditional “Power Perk” setups.

What I Think:

I can’t say that I’m particularly thrilled about these changes, but I’m not really opposed to them either. I think that this will be one of those things that I’ll get more comfortable with as I play the game. Looking over the list of Perks and Attachments Treyarch is including, I do worry that it may be more difficult to fill out a class to fit a particular role. Maybe that’s Treyarch’s intention, but I’m not seeing a great “anti-Killstreaks” setup I can put together. I’m just going to have to reserve my judgment until I can get my hands on the game and put some time into it.

Progression and Unlockables

What It Is:

The progression system introduced in CoD4 is viewed by some to be CoD’s biggest draw outside of solid gameplay controls. As players racked up kills, defused bombs, and killed other players with their own explosives, they earned experience points. When the player reached a certain number of experience points they earned a level. Every couple of level the player unlocks a weapon, a perk, or a piece of equipment. The original Black Ops is the only title in the series to change up this mechanic. Players unlocked weapons and perks at various levels, but they could not use them until the player bought them with the in-game currency Treyarch added. Treyarch still wants to stick with the idea of purchasing items you’ve unlocked, but have ditched the currency system. Instead, each level the player gains gives them a point (up to 55 max) which they can then use to unlock perks, weapons, and equipment. There are more than 55 items for the player to unlock, so they will have to pick and choose what they want to have available to them in their arsenal. Players will need to Prestige in order to reset their points to unlock other items.

What I Think:

At first I was pretty upset about this. CoD has always been about being able to change up your playstyle whenever you feel the need. After thinking about it though, I cannot list any CoD game where I’ve used 55 different weapons and equipment at any given time. Heck, aside from World At War, I ignore the sniper rifles almost completely. I also tend to stick with one or two styles of play with each Prestige and don’t change it up until I Prestige and start over. So ultimately I think this will have little effect on my play, and probably that of most other gamers out there. And if Treyarch really want to stick with this unlock-then-purchase type of system, I’d have to say that this is a much better implementation than the CoD Cash from the first BO (which was horribly imbalanced and became useless way too soon). Here is a complete list of all the unlockables Treyarch has said will be in the game.

So that sums up all the major changes Treyarch announced for the upcoming BO2 game. They did also go into some detail on the shoutcasting and streaming integration into the game, but, as it doesn’t apply to the gameplay of BO2, I’ll talk more about that separately. So what do you think? Is Treyarch doing enough to keep the series fresh? Are they changing too much? Will this bring back any of you that have left the series or avoided it so far?

What We Know About BO2 Multiplayer (so far) And How I Feel About It (Pt 1)

This week marked the passing of Gamescom. Where E3 is the largest industry event in video games (and pretty much kicks off the upcoming gaming season), Gamescom is the largest gaming event, period. Over 270,000 gamers flooded the streets of Colon, Germany to get their hands on the working models of games announced at E3 and anything else that wasn’t covered at the event. Gamescom also marked the first time the public would see the all the upcoming changes (and similarities) that gaming studio, Treyarch, has made to the Call of Duty series in the upcoming Black Ops 2. After 4 days of events to show off what the next CoD title will bring to the multiplayer space, we can look forward to some of these changes and updates:


What It Is:

First introduced to the CoD legacy in CoD4, the Create-A-Class system has largely been untouched. The system in BO2 hasn’t changed much in its form and function, but it will be introducing a brand new way for players to truly customize a class that fits their playstyle. Instead of requiring a player to always have a side-arm weapon or 3 perks to their loadout, BO2 will instead give the player 10 points that they can use to pick and choose what they want to run with and leave out what they don’t need. The new 10-Point system gives each weapon, perk, and equipment a 1 point value, letting the play mix and match what they want. Don’t want a side-arm? Use that point to give yourself a second attachment for your main weapon. The 10-Point system will also carry a list of “Wild-Cards” the player can use (at 1 point a piece) to really get nit-picky with their loadout. Grab the card that allows a third attachment for your gun, or get two Tier-1 perks. Heck, run around with nothing but a pistol and 6 perks! Developers from Treyarch said they got the idea from an old card game.

What I Think:

I like that this is an attempt to give the player more control over their class. I’m definitely excited to see how well this is implemented. However, I can definitely see this as a limiting factor on how you set up your loadout. Being such a drastic change from the traditional system may require some getting used to, and it may even force some players to change how they play as they may not be able to rely on having so many tools and gadgets on their body at one time. Overall I think this is good, but I’m definitely reserved when I say it.


What It Is:

Also introduced in CoD4 was the Killstreaks system. After a certain number of kills, without dying, the player was awarded Killstreaks bonus. Originally capped at three Killstreaks (UAV at 3 kills, Air Strike at 5 kills, and Attack Helicopter at 7 kills) the system has exploded with options for players to choose what awards they receive in their streak. The system got somewhat of an overhaul in Modern Warfare 3, which divided Killstreaks into two categories: Assault (awards were all offensively based and reset after players death), and Support (awards were more aimed at helping your fellow teammates but did not reset after the player’s death). They also added a third streak system that allowed the player to unlock extra perks after every two kills and eventually unlocked every perk for the player. MW3 also added the ability to earn points toward your Killstreaks by destroying enemy Killstreaks equipment and completing objectives.

BO2 will be taking notes from MW3 by making its Killstreaks system aimed at objective based play, but ultimately goes back to the series original systems.

Like previous iterations of the Killstreaks system, the Killstreaks in BO2 will reset themselves upon the player’s death. But like how MW3’s system was designed to encourage players to do more than kill, the player is awarded points towards their streak by completing objectives, defending objectives, and destroying enemy Killstreaks. Players can even earn additional points by getting double kills and even get points for enemies that are killed during the life of the player’s UAV. However, BO2 does not appear to be keeping the “class” streak systems. So to counteract the player’s score resetting upon death, points awarded by non-killing means are often two to three times worth the points awarded by killing. The streaks are still customizable with a large list for the player to choose from.

Deathstreaks, awards players gained from dying a certain number of times in row without getting a kill, will not be making a return in BO2.

What I Think:

I love the idea of awarding players more points for doing objective-based actions like planting/disarming bombs or destroying an enemy helicopter, but I am a little concerned about going back to the reset-score-on-death mechanic for streaks. MW3’s take on the system and allowing players who are more team-oriented to help despite a low K/D was a refreshing experience. While it did contribute to me having the lowest K/D in any CoD title to date, it opened up my options for play. Domination and Demolition modes are finally enjoyable for me to play. These objective-based modes have always classically played by two different types of gamers: those who play to win the mode, and those who play to camp the objectives to rake in high Killstreaks rewards. The modes basically encouraged players to not play the objective because all that would end you up with was a low K/D and feeding the enemy players free experience points and Killstreaks rewards. The Support Pointstreak system introduced in MW3 helped mitigate that problem by awarding players with points towards their own Killstreaks awards but did not reset them upon the player’s death. While the Support Killstreaks aren’t as damaging as the traditional Killstreaks awards, they allowed players who captured points or planted bombs to actually contribute to the fight by giving them UAV Jammers and EMP Blast awards to mess with the enemy team’s effectiveness. For once players could actually help their team despite their lack of Rambo skills.

With the Treyarch apparently dropping the Support Pointstreak awards, objective-based modes sound a lot like they did in the previous four iterations of CoD: pointless without much fun to be had. I understand Treyarch is trying to solve the loss of Support by making objectives worth more than kills, but what good does it get you getting three points for capturing an objective if you die from the enemy’s grenade as soon as you earn them? I appreciate Treyarch for trying to change things up, but this is one decision I wish they would rethink. As it is I’ll probably once again be relegated to Team Deathmatch modes only.


NEXT: Perks and Progression