Steam and the Great Gift Pile

This year Steam has granted us with more Christmas discounts but this time they added a little "fetch the achievement" game.

 Every day Steam selects six achievement that range from "open your inventory" to doing some in-game achievement. Once completed you are awarded with a gift or a lump of coal. You can trade 7 lumps of coal for a gift which is either full game or a coupon, games and golden coupons can be used immediately while regular coupons like the lumps of coal must wait until the event ends.

Honestly i don't see the purpose of the coupons, so far i have gained 3 of them and the discount they give is smaller than the ones Steam are doing for Christmas, so why would i use a coupon if i can get it cheaper now... its ridiculous!

After the event in January 2nd everyone with 10 items in the wishlist will enter in a contest where the top accounts with more lumps of coal may win some awesome prizes:

As you might have guessed, this is an effort to showcase and sell older and lesser known titles, which are even cheaper with the Christmas discounts and not all bad, in fact, some of the most entertaining and innovative games out there are small titles.

So far i am actually having fun doing these achievements and trying out new games i never even new existed, some of them have potential, others just aren't my type but they were fun for the short duration i played, i am however still hoping to get a full game as a gift...

Aion is going Free-To-Play!

  After 2 years in the European and North American market(3 years since the Asian release) with a subscription model, it is now going to use a mix of both free-to-play and subscription.

  There will be 3 payment models now:
  • Starter: this one is the most basic with limited amount of character slots, chat, trading.
  • Veteran: basic for old players and upgradable for Starter players, they can play the regular game with no limitations.
  • Gold: this is the subscription model which gives significantly lower instance cooldowns, several xp and reward bonus.
  This also brings a bigger change, NCsoft will no longer publish Aion in Europe instead this honor will be bestowed to GameForge the leading European publisher of free to play online games that brings us well known titles such as Metin, OGame and 4story.

  Hopefully this change will bring to this game what any MMO needs to have... a larger player-base.
  Have you played Aion in the past? Will this change make you try it again?

Guild Wars 2: Engineer overview

  The Engineer is an uncommon profession in a fantasy MMO mainly because it is a technological class and since most fantasy games are centered in medieval times there isn't much room for guns and explosions.

  Of all professions the Engineer is the one with the least weapons and the only one with a single weapon set.
The Rifle and the double Pistol can be used to a good extent in long and close range as both have a immobilization skill however i am going to give the advantage to the Rifle because Jump Shot is an incredibly adaptable skill and i will explain why.
Basically this skill will make you leap forward while doing an AOE at both your current and targeted area, this can be used in several ways:
  • Charge: use it to get close to your target while he gets hit by the landing AOE and then you can use your flamethrower in his face.
  • Flee: put some distance from your target if you need to make a run for it.
  • Double AOE: select the area beneath you and who ever is nearby will get hit by the AOE two times.
  • Travel/Positioning: since you don't need a target you can use it to reach your destination or to gain access to some locations faster.
  The Shield comes with 2 abilities one to protect you and your team while the other is both defensive and offensive as it absorbs a projectile which you can then redirect at a target.

Tool belt
  This is the Engineers special feature. It give you a predefined additional skill for each of your healing and utility skills making it a total of 4 extra abilities. In the image bellow we can see that the player chose "Med Kit" as his 6th skill and gained "Bandage Self" shown in the F1 slot.

  This type of skill is unique to anything we have seen before, what this does is replacing your curret 5 weapons skills with 5 new things according to the Kit until you turn it off, as an example we can look at the above image and notice that the player is currently using the Flamethrower weapon kit which as replaced the first 5 weapon skills.

  My personal favorites will probably be the Flamethrower, Mine Kit and the Med Kit the last ones being the most simplistic as they only let you drop 5 bandages/mines but they have the highest strategic value.

  They are deployables that help us reinforce our site and you can have more than one as long as they are of different types, so it is possible to have a Flame turret, a Rifle turret, a Healing turret and a Thumper turret(aoe) at the same time... i am looking forward to test this.
  I have however one problem with the Rifle Turret... it's REALLY UGLY! (see image bellow)

  Overall the Engineer is one of my favorite professions, the arsenal at his disposal probably the largest of all professions and it has a lot of support skills giving this class one of the best tactical advantages in the game if you plan the fight ahead of time.

Guild Wars2: new class revealed!

  After nine long months of waiting ArenaNet finally decided it was time to show us the eighth and final profession available in Guild Wars 2: the Mesmer, which honestly was not a surprise to anyone as they already had announced it was a known magical class so by process of elimination it had to be it.

So what can we expect from the Mesmer profession you ask?

Illusions & Shatter
  The Mesmer main class mechanic is their ability to summon illusions(Clones or Phantasms) which take form of several(up to 3) uncontrolled NPCs that look like the caster and the ability to Shatter them on command applying several effects on nearby targets.

  Clones are exact copies of the player designed to confuse and they deal minimal damage so my initial thoughts were "that's awesome", but in practice it might be horrible because in order for it to be convincing you need the AI to behave like a player(unlikely since even the ranger pet which is a class mechanic is dumb as hell), or you can behave like a NPC meaning you most likely have to run in a straight line to your target which may not be the best idea, either way the player will be easy to spot and the clone will only be good to Shatter.

  Phantasms resemble the caster as well but they are translucent and purplish, they use illusionary weapons to damage or hinder your target, are more resilient then their cousin Clones and they have specific behavior according to the weapon they hold which varies depending on the casters weapon when summoned.

No more Hexes
  That's right, Hexes have been turned into visual illusions so players don't have to stare at the debuff bar like most typical MMOs which i find refreshing, however there is one particular example that they talked about i find weird... the old "backfire" hex is in the game and works exactly the same way(damage is dealt if the target uses an ability) but since it now takes the form of a illusion i imagine you get this weird npc looking at the target until it does something? how creepy is that?

  My only concern at this time is that Engineers have turrets, Ranger has a animal companion, Necromancer has minions, Elementalists can have a Elemental, Mermers have Illusions, even Guardian can summon a flying hammer for a time, that is 6 out of 8 profession have "pets" so the game may or may not turn into a summon fest which will most likely ruin gameplay for me, hopefully there will be lots of skill combinations to choose from so it will be unlikely to happen.

  Other then that i think the Mesmer essence from Guild Wars is still there and it will be extremely fun to play with. What are your thoughts, is the Mesmer what you expected?

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