Tag Archives: Early Access

Haven Editorial: Heated Steam Changes

Haven Editorial: Heated Steam Changes

Steam has for the longest of times been a hive of scum and villainy, like few others. It practically made Newgrounds look sparkling clean when compared. The platform is great for people to publish and distribute their own games in hope of gaining money and fame. Naturally this brought the opportunistic fools whom think they are great, whom will attack you with vicious rabid layers if you say their game is crap. Due to the number of games I’ve played and tried over the years I’m quite biased indeed. Especially when it comes to badly made trailer trash. Criticism is a way to improve and get better. Accept that not every one will agree with your opinion. Do not be afraid to have your views challenged and admit that you might just be wrong. In my eyes a person is not a responsible adult until they start talking it out, instead of acting like angry kindergartners. Yes people are very passionate about their projects and their beliefs. However that is no excuse to not act civilized. That primal rage reaction is unfortunately an evolutionary leftover.

Which brings me to my topic. Steam is doing massive changes to fix the plumbing on their junk clogged toilet. To a lot of people this will be a harrowing change of epic magnitudes. To me, it’s magnificent, watching it unfold. Change is good, especially when things have grown stagnant. Basically the current system is based around a small fee to publish as many games as you want. With the community being the only quality assurance to rely on. Essentially someone has to buy, download and play the game, then leave feedback on it. Hoping that the publisher of said game is not deleting the comments or making fake accounts to boost popularity.

I’ve seen some weird things in the Steam jungle. People posting movies, World of Warcraft and many, many other copyrighted products made by infinity more successful people. The changes being put in place will cause steam to become a lot more moderated and hopefully more quality will come from it. There are only so many versions of Unity Asset flip games with horrible controls and survival elements one man can take. Before he turns utterly and totally bonkers.

Sure some new and aspiring developers will be hurt by all of this. However that is the price of change. Someone will get hurt, others will get butt hurt. Meanwhile the rest will accept it and make the new system work. Remember there are other platforms that Steam out there after all.

I like the changes, I look forward to how it will turn out and I hope everything will get better.

http://steamcommunity.com/games/593110/announcements/detail/558846854614253751

Njål H Sand

Early Access: Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises

20160530112031_1 Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises is a multiplayer-only, real time strategy (RTS) game in Early Access. When I say multiplayer, only I mean that there is no single player story mode. There are only single player practice rounds. At the start of the game you choose one of five factions to join, each of which gives you a slight bonus to things like starting gold and reduced resource requirements for certain units. From here you can play three separate types of games:

1. Empire: This is the largest. It pits you against other players or AI for control of the world. You battle over different regions in the name of your faction. There are a lot of teams on the board and this game can take a while to play through.
2. Conquest: This is the standard match. You start with a castle and a few peasants who can build or harvest for you. You slowly build an army and take on other players or AI in practice.
3. Battle: You create an army list by choosing from several units, then you just send your army after your opponents.

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Playing against the AI is a huge pain in the ass, especially for someone who has rarely played RTS games. The AI builds much faster and more efficiently than you do. It can create huge armies very quickly and wipe you out by the time you create your first few units. I’m sure someone with much more experience in this genre could deal with the enemy a lot easier. However, since there is no way to change the AI difficulty, new players are for the most part shut out pretty early on. Playing the practice modes was about as much as I was able to do. Every time I tried to get into a human match the game reminded me that there were only 4 people playing. I waited in a queue for a while but was eventually unable to find a game.

In terms of game play, there really isn’t anything new or interesting here. Everything Avalon Lords does has been done already (and much, much better). The tech progression is fairly bog standard. You build buildings to get different units. You upgrade those buildings to get better units. You can build places that will research buffs for your units, or what have you. You have a central focus on gaining resources like iron, gold or wood with peasants in order to build. There’s really nothing in this game that you wouldn’t find in any other RTS. On top of that, the generic medieval theme has been done to death.20160531112829_1

The controls are finicky and unpleasant when you try to drag over a bunch of units to select them, or try to move the map to get to where you want. You sometimes end up on the complete opposite side of the map from where you intended. The developers have recently announced that they are making the game free-to-play. So in the future be wary of this game not only being out-shined by other RTS games (including many free ones), but also being filled with micro-transactions. This is speculation, so we’ll just have to see.

The most fun I had with Avalon Lords are the short battle games. Here you just choose units for your roster and send them out against your opponent. I found it was best to send them all in one large clump, since that’s mostly what your opponent will being doing. Here you just watch them all fight and die. Then the game ends, nice and simple. No resource management or building nonsense; just a quick fight. You can choose the configuration of your list so that you can have all archers or crossbowmen, or all weak sword guys, or heavy shielded guys…or any combination thereof. It’s over in under five minutes, and then you can do something else with your time.

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-Jordan Kamm-

Early Access: Herolike

This article is for the Early Access version of Herolike.

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Calling itself “The next Diablo”, Herolike is an isometric ARPG. Herolike is mediocre at best, only sporting two characters (at this time) who have no sort of progression. Leveling up is only a way to increase the damage of your spells and your health/magic bars. After choosing your character you are brought to a map filled with little flags. Each flag represents a different type of encounter.

There are friendly encounters which give you some poorly written piece of role-playing, where you get to make a few choices. They all end with you gaining or losing gold, and adding a number to your renown. I never entirely learned the purpose of renown, but I think something told me it added difficulty to combat; although I never experienced that. There is also a gambling encounter. The only difference between this and the friendly is that the outcome is random, rather than choice based. There are two combat modes: hostile and defense. Hostile puts you into a small square of terrain in which you must kill all the enemies that spawn. I guess you also have a thing that can be damaged by enemies that you need to protect. Those four things are the only encounters in the game. You need to do them again and again 50 times.20160318143133_1

This game also has rogue-like elements, which is developer-speak for “perma-death”. If you die you must start over from the beginning. Luckily there is a way to expedite the process each time you die. Well, sorta. From the world map you can go to your town. You can unlock new shops and buildings in the town to help you on your next journey. You can buy potions, weapons and armor here. In case you’re wondering, no you can’t place the buildings yourself. The town sounds like a good idea, but winds up being fairly uninteresting.

The most interesting thing about this game is nothing that the developers made. More so that they added a ton of content created by someone else. Herolike is an Asset Flip. Now using pre-bought assets isn’t illegal in anyway, but it is a pretty scummy practice. An Asset Flip is where the developer purchases pre-made assets from a store rather than creating their own. This can lead to random collection of characters and environments, seemingly from all different games. This game is no exception. I was able to track down the asset packs where many of the playable characters and monsters came from. The addition of all these assets have come together to make a haphazard game. This game is still in early access so much of this can change. However since the game is full of pre-bought assets and mediocre mechanics, I don’t think things will be much different upon full release. I have a feeling Herolike will never come close to being the next Diablo.

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The first screenshot was taken from the Unity Store and Is marked as Afro-Shaman, while the second is the shaman class from the game. Clearly the same model.

orcspack

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The first picture is the orc bundle pack from the unity store and the latter two are screenshots of the orcs in the game.

zombiepack

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Again the first picture depicts the zombie pack from the unity store followed by two pictures of those assets appearing in Herolike.

-Jordan Kamm-