Monthly Archives: March 2014

Reaper of Souls Bosses

This is going to be a first hand look at the Reaper of Souls bosses.  The expansion to Diablo III followed the example of Lord of Destruction, the popular expansion to Diablo II, by focusing on one more “Act” in the story.  The largest difference here was the scope of the Act.  You travel to three new areas and have to face three new bosses, along with some sub-level bosses throughout to add to the story.  On our YouTube Channel you can find a video review with gameplay and a video unboxing of the Collector’s Edition.

Reaper of Souls Bosses

Reaper of Souls Bosses - Urzael Angelic Form

Urzael looks very angelic when he drops from the sky into the tower, but since he had just rained fire down on the city of Westmarch I figured he’d transform pretty quickly.

Reaper of Souls Bosses - Urzael Fire Form

You don’t actually fight Urzael in his angelic form, but he does make a slight transformation toward the end of the battle when he ups the ante by using a flamethrower ability very reminiscent of Diablo’s from Diablo II.

Diablo III Adria the Witch

In Reaper of Souls, your character has a pretty big beef with Adria.  I played through as a Wizard, and couldn’t wait to face off against her.  A Horadrim even follows you through some of the quest to keep you from killing her until you get the information you need from her.

Reaper of Souls Bosses - Adria

Like with Urzael, you won’t fight Adria in her human form.  She immediately transforms into a demon-touched monster that resembles the Queen of Blades on steroids.

Reaper of Souls - Malthael Angelic Form

We’ve all seen what Malthael looks like thanks to the beautiful cinematic that starts the game, which was also the trailer for the game.  You will fight Malthael in this angelic form for 75% of the battle.  After that, he does something very surprising…

Reaper of Souls Bosses - Malthael Demonic

Malthael destroys the Black Soulstone, absorbing the power of the prime evils, and giving himself some of the demonic powers.  One of which is a Diablo inspired fire sweep, only this time it’s doubled.  Malthael is a ridiculously hard boss and requires more than a little finesse to take out.

Those are the three Reaper of Souls bosses.  After defeating all three you get some tasty story which should only serve to whet your appetite for more Diablo.  Which of these three is your favorite boss?  Let us know in the comments!

 

40 Years of Adventure and Wonder: Thank you Gary Gygax

On March 4, 2008 the gaming world lost a true pioneer of role-playing games. One of the creators of Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) and visionary behind the world renowned Role Playing Game, Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax left us but his memory lives on. Through 40 years of adventure,  the gaming community around Dungeons & Dragons has gone through many changes from edition to edition and I thought, what a better way to emphasize this legacy than to share my collection with you all.

40 Years of Adventure

40 Years of Adventure - 1974 Original D&D Pamphlets

In 1974 TSR released a box set of three pamphlet-like books titled Dungeons & Dragons. Each of these books had no more than thirty-five pages in them but the magic they possessed created hours and hours of entertainment for those brave enough to delve through their pages. These books, in a fashion, could well be considered zero edition. The writers of these powerful tomes, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, could not have imagined the legacy they were creating at that time, but most likely caught on to what they started.

Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition

By the late seventies, Gygax had written and published what is now known as the first edition Advance Dungeons & Dragons. I remember when I first saw these books, they were sitting on the top of my dad’s office desk in our garage. I didn’t know what they were then I just loved the cover art. Little did I know that I would become the mad gamer that I am today. I have to admit, I like being a second generation gamer.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition

However, my love for the game began with second edition Advance Dungeons & Dragons. After the loss of my father my uncles took up the mantle of my upbringing in some aspects. At the age of nine is when I crawled through my first dungeon with my first character, Tarantus. In this edition I had many characters and enjoyed every minute of the game. I enjoyed it so much that I was hesitant about the next evolution of the game, you might say I rebelled against it in the beginning but soon saw the light.

3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons

The late nineties brought the birth of third edition Dungeons & Dragons. When I got to play this edition I came to understand this simple rule: all games need to evolve, that is how they get better… and it did! Third edition was a turning point for D&D. The rules were simplified to the point that younger generations could enjoy the adventure, even families could get in on the dungeon crawl and the hunting of the dragon’s horde. I remember thinking, ‘It can’t get any better.’ But it did.

brock4

Third edition, like a lot of good games, had some flaws but instead of ignore them Wizards of the Coast, the new publisher of all things D&D, gave to us 3.5 edition D&D. This edition solved many of the issues, though not all of them, that third edition had. It was nearing epic levels and we couldn’t get enough.

I may not play fourth edition D&D but 3.5 is one I happily continue to play with those that have not been enlightened by the greatness that is Pathfinder but I will always go back to it because it was a good game and to honor the memory of the great Gary Gygax. He may be gone but the game must go on.

Roll for initiative!

Reaper of Souls Preparation

Blizzard’s Diablo development team threw together a playlist on Spotify® earlier this week in continued promotion for the release of Reaper of Souls.  So, for my Reaper of Souls preparation, I decided to turn on their playlist and level my Wizard all the way to 60 and get some of these Paragon levels my friends have been talking about.  I blew through the campaign at release (getting to level 35) and unfortunately hadn’t been back to the world of Sanctuary since, even though I knew the game had gotten even better.

Diving Back in to Diablo III

When I left the game for a temporary hiatus, my main character, a Wizard, was sitting at level 35 with some ok equipment and some decent gems I was leveling up.  I had finished the campaign on normal mode and attempted the next difficulty.  I didn’t make it very far and decided I would instead replay some of the previous zones.  This got boring fast to me.  So many people were just grinding through the campaign and moving up in difficulty, and I couldn’t do it.  Not with a toddler running around and college classes or homework calling my name every night.  When I got back in, due to a tip from a friend who also plays Diablo and World of Warcraft in his regular game rotation, there was a community buff of 50% extra experience going on.  That buff has now been boosted to 100%.  The loot system changes that were made were in effect and for my level I was very well outfitted.  I moved up to the next difficulty and began blasting my way through demons left and right.  I did this for only a couple hours before moving up to the next difficulty level.  Through the last few days I made it from 35 to 60, and more than 25 Paragon levels.

Blizzard is pushing Reaper of Souls hard!

They are making it a no-brainer if you want to get back in.  Showcasing all the changes at last years Blizzcon, the developers have continued with spotlights, videos, articles, and Q&As proving that it is much better game going forward.  On top of game improvements, Blizzard is also offering a ton of goodies for purchasing this game.  My Reaper of Souls preparation also involved looking into all these goodies, since I almost exclusively play Blizzard games.  Since I have purchased the Collector’s Editions since StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm released, I’ll focus on everything someone gets for preordering the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Collector’s Edition.

For Diablo 3 itself, you get a Spectral Hound minion to run around with you throughout the world of Sanctuary.  Also included are several themed transmogrification items for the new transmog feature.  Transmog is a feature I loved in World of Warcraft.  I’m not sure how it will pan out in Diablo 3.

For World of Warcraft you get a Treasure Goblin pet.  Pretty standard fare nowadays.  Collector’s Editions usually include a pet or mount for WoW.

For StarCraft 2, Reaper of Souls’ holds new portraits and decals themed around the new Crusader class coming in the expansion.  I’m an all around Blizzard gamer, but I really do wish they’d come up with something a little cooler than these.  Maybe something for arcade building or a custom map to play.

March 20, Blizzard decided to sweeten the deal even further by giving away 3 expert packs of Hearthstone cards (for Collector’s Edition, 1 pack for the regular edition).  If I weren’t already playing Hearthstone in my regular routine, I’d certainly make it part of my Reaper of Souls preparation!

demonhunter and wings of valor

The same day, Blizzard announced a bonus for pre-ordering the game.  Wings of Valor, which look pretty amazing, are an aesthetic add-on you can wear anything by clicking the in-game item you get.  I love my Tyrael and Kerrigan wings.  The Valla the Demon Hunter hero for Heroes of the Storm is a big move toward promoting that game.  The previews and gameplay really showcase the playability of the Demon Hunter.  (I’m still not in the beta for Heroes of the Storm, but if I make it in I’ll let everyone know)

March 21, to further get the news out, Blizzard announced a new store promo.  If you spend $66.60 (see what they did there?) you get the Diablo set of Funko Pop vinyl toys.  Awesome!  These sold out before the second day of Blizzcon 2013, but fortunately for me they were back in stock for Christmas.  $66.60 is pretty much the price of the digital Collector’s Edition and anything thing else in the store.  Like I said, they are pushing this game hard!  Works for me, because I get to take advantage of all these goodies.

What’s your Reaper of Souls preparation?

My actual game day prep involves keeping lots of water and snacks on hand.  I’m sure a lot of gamers will have stacks of energy drinks, soda, and beef jerky on hand, but I’ve found that you can go a lot longer if you stay hydrated with good ole water.  I try to drink about four times as much water as caffeinated beverage.  My caffein of choice is black coffee.  I’m not looking for the sluggish crash sugar can bring about.  Whole grain chips and beef jerky go a long way too.

Leave us a comment and tell us what you’re doing to get ready for the expansion this Tuesday.

Warhammer 40,000: The Chaos Space Marine Codex

One man’s journey through the Chaos Space Marine Codex, and his excitement at all the new goodies.

“I am the Arch-fiend, the Despoiler of Worlds, and by my hand shall the false Emperor fall.”

Abaddon the Despoiler

These are the words of Abaddon the Despoiler, the new Warmaster after Horus’s fall to the hands of the Emperor of Mankind …and the one general I have yet to field in a Battle Report (I will change that soon, just you wait). I recently did an article about my three favorite new additions to Sixth Edition Warhammer 40k. With this article I wanted to go over my three favorite things with the new Chaos Space Marine Codex, and how I plan to use them in my army.

Dark Apostle

Technically not really new to Chaos, but the title is new to this type of character. My first recollection of a Dark Apostle was in fourth edition and was simply called a Chaplain. In essence that is what a Dark Apostle is, just with a Chaos twist. Dark Apostles are HQ choices for a Chaos army. They are the unholy priests of Chaos and add that zealotry to any army. They can be given a single Mark of Chaos to fit any army you want or no mark if you are going for a theme …which I plan to do.

Thanks to my uncle, whom also shares the same love for the game, sending me the Horus Heresy novels, I am now adding Word Bearers.  They are one of the more common Chaos armies with history in the Warhammer universe, and I cannot wait add them to my army, and plan to have the Dark Apostle leading the way.

chaos space marines codex

 

Cultists

Cultists are yet another addition that is not really new per se, but still a happy addition. Chaos Cultists are citizens of the Empire of Mankind that have seen the Primordial Truth and have sworn allegiance to the Dark Gods of Chaos. They are a Troops choice although not men-at-arms, more like zealous militia, and are treated like cannon fodder but still add extra small arms fire to the battle.

Much like the Dark Apostle, Cultists will be a part of my Word Bearers detachment. They are the loyal servants to the Dark Apostle and will lead the charge to the enemy lines. When it comes to some of the Mission Options for battles, it would allow them to be scoring units that can hold objectives, but because of their almost lack of armor they will mainly be used to soak up shots. And with them being incredibly cheap, point wise, I can field scores of them in large squads.

chaos space marines codex - helldrake

Heldrakes

One of the biggest changes to Warhammer 40k has been the inclusions of fliers. Every army has been getting air-support and Chaos, in my opinion, has an awesome one. While a few of the armies have two or three different types of fliers, Chaos has only one: the Heldrake. The Heldrake are great, winged daemon-engines of the skies and death for those on the ground.

There are two things I like about the Heldrake:

  1. An attack option known as Vector Strike. Vector strike is a swooping attack that can happen against both infantry and vehicles.
  2. One of the weapon choices, called the Baleflamer. Like other flame weapons, it uses a template when it hits. This means all those models under the template are hit by it. It is such a beautiful weapon for such a vicious army.

 

Conclusion

These are just three of the new elements added to the Codex for this edition. There are a few others that I did not mention but are pretty cool but I am not sure if I would add them to my army. It is always best to have an idea about what you want your army to become before you build it but it can get hard especially with all the sweet looking new models that Games Workshop rolls out.

Warhammer 40K: Three Favorite New Rules in 6th Edition

With every new edition of Warhammer that comes around there are rules that make the game greater than the previous edition. Some rules carry over from edition to edition, some get scrapped. Warhammer is now on its sixth edition and I wanted to take this time to point out my three favorite new rules in 6th edition that I am truly happy with.

favorite new rules in 6th edition

Warlord Traits

When it comes to creating your army list you are also picking your warlord. Your Primary force will always have a single warlord no matter how many detachments you have (I will explain this later). As a way to represent this, your warlord has a specific trait that benefits the army in some fashion. There are two places to select your warlord trait from.

Rule Book

First way is to select it from the rule book. There are three categories that you can randomly generate it from:

  1. Command
  2. Personal
  3. Strategic

Army Codex

The second is to generate it from your army codex. While the rule book has generic warlord traits an army codex has tailored traits fitting to the armies history and specific flavor.

Allies

In every battle situation, what helps you to win is not always what you have in the way of weapons, but who is standing beside you. Introduced back in third edition (I honestly do not recall it in second ed. when I first started playing) was the force organization chart. This is the minimum requirements for an army to be formed.

Specifically:

  • 1 HQ choice (your warlord)
  • 2 troop choices (basic infantry)
  • Also, you can choose:
    • up to one more HQ choice
    • four troops choices
    • three elite choices
    • three fast attack choices
    • three heavy support choices

As a way to supplement this you have an option to bring allies. The allies force organization chart is a minimum of:

  • 1 HQ (not your warlord)
  • 1 troop choice
  • with the option to bring:
    • 1 more troop choice
    • 1 elite choice
    • 1 fast attack choice
    • 1 heavy support choice

Vehicles

This has got to be my number one favorite rule. When it comes to vehicles, there are two types of hits when shooting at them in combat: glancing hits and penetrating hits.

Glancing hits are when the combined strength of a weapon used and roll of the dice equal the armor rating of the target vehicle.

Penetrating hits are when the total amount exceeds the armor rating. But before you had two charts that you would roll on after those rolls and results are resolved to find out what happens to the vehicle.

There was always a chance that you could destroy a vehicle even on a glance hit. Not anymore. Now, there is a new stat incorporated on a vehicle profile: Hull Points.

Hull Points are a bit like hit points. If Hull Points fall to ‘0’ then the vehicle is wrecked. How do vehicles lose Hull Points? Each glancing or penetrating hits takes away a Hull Point but if it is a penetrating hit then the shooter rolls on a separate chart to see what else the hit does. It can cause anything like weapon destroyed, immobilized, or vehicle destroyed regardless how many Hull Points are left. It makes it worth it, points wise and cost (money) wise, to bring vehicles now knowing they cannot be destroyed on a single glancing hit.

There are several other different rules that I like, these are just my top favorite new rules in 6th Edition.