Lore Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Lore RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network *Potential Spoilers* Battle For Azeroth: Speculation Sylvanas and Jaina https://www.gameskinny.com/ugg8s/potential-spoilers-battle-for-azeroth-speculation-sylvanas-and-jaina https://www.gameskinny.com/ugg8s/potential-spoilers-battle-for-azeroth-speculation-sylvanas-and-jaina Mon, 13 Aug 2018 16:23:43 -0400 GabrielKross

With World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth's launch pending, and what we know, Sylvanas has received a lot of heat from both Horde and Alliance players. Rightfully so, she has gone off the deep end a bit since Greymane thwarted her in Stormheim. Unfortunately, that means her equal in terms of deep end crossing Jaina has gone unnoticed.

Warbringers:

Blizzard launched two Warbringers videos in prep for BfA. Sylvanas and Jaina, which clearly marks each as the frontrunners of the upcoming conflict. View those in the links if you haven't done so yet.

With Jaina, we don't really get the turmoil that we did from the end of Warlords and the beginning of Legion, but she has been on a path to the darkside for some time now. I was actually surprised that she managed not to turn to the Legion this expansion. Her video just proves her final resolve to the fight, getting a flying disco ship that is shown in the new scenario. It is a bit unusual that the Alliance frontrunner isn't the Alliance leader, but how much will Anduin be influenced by Jaina in BfA?

Sylvanas is newly arrived to the full scale crazy that these two characters embody on their respective sides. What many people who have been commenting on Sylvanas' trip down the rabbit hole seem to forget, is that her path started with Greymane's interference in Stormheim. If Sylvanas had been allowed to claim her prize in Stormheim, would she have been so crazy while on the path to BfA?

Back at the beginning of Legion, especially in the prepatch, Sylvanas led valiantly and made the hard decisions that needed to be made. Pulling out of the battle was one of those hard decisions. Unfortunately, it was misunderstood by Greymane as Sylvanas betraying the Alliance, and is most likely why he got involved with her plans in Stormheim setting her down her current path.

Who Lives? Redemptions and Reconciliations?

If there were only one questionable character, I would consider the general consensus of Sylvanas being the next Garrosh-like raid boss. However, add in Jaina and there is no way that both will die in BfA. Actually, it is highly possible that neither die. Sylvanas is likely going to step down as warchief at the end of BfA, Jaina will probably return to her people. 

There is a video on Youtube that suggests, as one option, that Sylvanas is just playing her part, making the decisions that no other warchief could ever make. As someone who has already died once, Sylvanas does not seem to fear anything in the waking world, meaning she is free to carry those burdens. It is very likely that the end of BfA will make her intentions known, that she only did what she had to do for the good of the Horde, maybe for Azeroth as a whole. There is even some hope for Sylvanas' redemption in the comic with her sisters. 

Jaina on the otherhand, already seems to be on a path to redemption, even while perpetuating her own grudge against the Horde. Her people chose a neutral stance, preparing to stand against the coming battle on their own. Jaina seems to accept their fight as her own, though in secret. It is likely that her people will discover her protection later and may forgive her past.

What are your thoughts on Battle for Azeroth? Do you think one or both of these Warbringers might die? Will there be redemption in this expansion? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Article header from https://worldofwarcraft.com/en-us/news/22021369/the-battle-for-azeroth-begins-august-14?blzcmp=app

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Destiny -- Beyond Science Fantasy https://www.gameskinny.com/n8800/destiny-beyond-science-fantasy https://www.gameskinny.com/n8800/destiny-beyond-science-fantasy Fri, 10 Nov 2017 12:18:04 -0500 Kengaskhan

In some of the interviews Bungie had leading up to the release of the first Destiny, they referred to their game’s setting as “mythic science fiction.”

That may come off as a bit odd, given that they could’ve simply called it a science-fantasy world. It could have just been a marketing trick to give their game a fancy label, and in some ways it probably was -- however, "mythic science fiction" is a pretty specific (and intriguing) description.

So what, in the eyes of the devs, sets Destiny apart from other science-fantasy games, films, and literature?

Destiny Embraces Fantasy Tropes

To start with, all works of science fantasy draw from classic fantasy (or sci-fi) tropes to some extent, but Destiny in particular is almost too on-the-nose with its implementation of some of these generic conventions.

Atmosphere and Aesthetics

While you’ve got some decidedly futuristic locales like the Titan arcology and some Bladerunner-y synthwave-ish tracks like Nessus’s exploration music, the European Dead Zone alone has a few settings that’d feel right at home in any traditional fantasy game.

There’s the Blackened Forest that may as well be Destiny’s version of the Mirkwood -- except instead of being enchanted by Middle-earth magic, it’s home to a shard of the Traveler. There’s the Farm, which has a rustic fantasy feel that manages to cut through all that science-y tech stuff that you’ll find there -- maybe it’s the music.

Fantastic Beasts

In Destiny, each of the enemy factions is tied to a specific real-world group -- the Fallen are pirate themed, the Cabal are Roman themed, the Hive are Medieval themed, and the Vex are Greek themed.

At first glance, it may seem like the only thing that ties the Vex war machines to ancient Greek mythology are the names: there are Vex Minotaurs, Vex Harpies, Vex Hydras, Vex Gorgons, and more. But there’s even more to it than that.

For example, in Destiny 2, most players are introduced to Radiolaria,the liquid found flowing throughout the alien landscape, when they first arrive on Nessus.

In a way, Radiolarian fluid (or Vex mind fluid) can be seen as a sort of ichor, the blood of an ancient, mythical race -- anyone who’s fought the Vex will know not to shoot their heads but instead their mind cores, the glowing pods that contain the Radiolarian fluid.

Like the blood of the ancient Greek gods, Vex mind fluid has a few special properties -- most notably, it burns any Guardians (and probably any living non-Vex creature) that touches it. Funnily enough, in Greek mythology, it was the blood of Nessus the centaur that poisoned and killed Hercules when it touched his skin.

None of these tropes are unique to the Destiny series; however, what is unique about Destiny is what it uses to inspire some of its fantasy.

Weapons, Armor, and Magic

“An ancient weapon, battered and worn -- but it still fires true. Perhaps it’s been waiting for you.”

The Khvostov is the first weapon you’re given in Destiny, and it makes no attempt to hide what it is: it’s that rusty iron longsword you start with in every fantasy game, an heirloom from battles long past.

And that first set of uncommon armor you’re rewarded with after the tutorial may as well be your Leather Armor +1.

There’s also the fact that many class supers involve "enchanted" medieval weaponry: Dawnblades wield flaming greatswords, Arcstriders dance across the battlefield with electrified staves, and Sentinels pummel enemies with shields forged from Void light.

Destiny Is Steeped in Its Own Mythology

The developers didn’t just use “mythic science fiction” as a buzz phrase to help market the game (although I’m sure that’s part of it). Unlike a lot of other works of science fantasy, Destiny really does draw heavily from a rich mythological culture: its own.

Destiny is a game that focuses on the past -- just not our past. The first Destiny begins around the year 2700 -- a future so far removed from present day that the past they reference isn’t our own but a past hundreds of years in our future -- starting with the Golden Age.

Nearly every piece of lore regarding humanity, their worlds, and their culture is drawn from the centuries between the start of the Golden Age and the beginning of the first game.

The Khvostov 7G-02 isn’t technically a sword, but it's what people used hundreds of years ago in the world of Destiny -- kind of like how we still used swords in the 1400s.

There are many historical figures and items in the game that are treated with reverence, like the Iron Lords, the Gjallarhorn rocket launcher, or even the Khvostov. Some legendary and exotic gear pieces tell tales about their origin or of the guardians who wielded them long ago. There’s even a game mode that’s named after a character: the Trials of Osiris.

Players will often find themselves delving into the remnants of human civilization, be it the run-down Cosmodrome in Old Russia or the entombed ruins of the Clovis Bray research lab on Mars. Players will dig up artifacts and engrams so old they’ll have to bring them to a crypto-archaeologist to identify them.

This focus on the game's fictional history helps to create the sense that there’s a real mythology behind the guardians and their actions, that they truly are living legends.

---

While Destiny may have nailed most of the elements common to the science fantasy genre, that alone doesn't necessarily warrant a brand-new label for the game. However, Destiny does take things a step further, using its fictional mythology to inject a sense of wonder into its science fiction world.

Destiny doesn’t just embrace fantasy, it embraces the fantasy of its own mythological past, and that is what sets Destiny apart from most other works of science fantasy.

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5 Pieces of League of Legends Lore That Will Change How You See Your Favorite Champions https://www.gameskinny.com/h84y3/5-pieces-of-league-of-legends-lore-that-will-change-how-you-see-your-favorite-champions https://www.gameskinny.com/h84y3/5-pieces-of-league-of-legends-lore-that-will-change-how-you-see-your-favorite-champions Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Ashley Erickson

With the launch of League of Legends Universe Beta, the world of Runeterra has become more detailed. A portal to all the regions and champions who battle on the rift, Universe Beta contains a plethora of lore. The following tidbits are just a small sampling of the stories its vaults contain, but they will forever change how you view some of your favorite champions.

Elise, the Spider Queen

Elise was once a powerful and wealthy mortal in Noxus. Manipulative and cunning, the only thing that matched her thirst for power was her beauty. Marrying her way into a powerful house, she twisted her husband until she was the one wielding the reins. Sick of being the laughing stock of Noxian society, he poisoned Elise. Becoming disfigured, she killed her husband with a knife to his heart.

Vanity running strong, she made a pact with LeBlanc to have her beauty restored, as long as she returned a powerful athame from the Shadow Isles. While there, she was bitten by the Spider God and stabbed by the athame. The magic and venom combined, granting her beauty and immortality, but it came at the price of disfiguring spider legs growing from her back. Making an agreement with the Spider God and LeBlanc, in exchange for sacrifices, Elise would be granted beauty from LeBlanc and she would bring back powerful artifacts from the Shadow Isles.

Elise, Elise the Spider Queen

Veigar, the Tiny Master of Evil

Veigar started off as a normal, yet overly inquisitive, yordle. Sent to prison after being framed, his time in solitary confinement twisted him. His thirst for dark power led him to escape from his captors. Learning from all the dark wizards across the land, Veigar plans to end all conflict by bringing all city-states to their knees before him.  

Veigar, Veigar the Tiny Master of Evil

Singed, the Mad Chemist

Singed came from a long line of Noxian chemists. Extremely gifted, he became the apprentice of Warwick, a master apothecary. He quickly absorbed all there was to learn. Death and destruction followed his creations as his lack of morality lead him to unleash his concoctions on friend and foe alike. Called in when retreat was impossible, he decimated Riven's regiment with his toxic gas even though they were allies.

Taking his twisted experiments further, Singed captured a cutthroat from off the street. Performing surgery and chemical experimentation on him. Looking to create a chimera bent on killing, he subjected the man to a transmutation, causing his bones to break and his hand to fall off. The man ended up dying then coming back  to life, Singed had created a monster.

Singed, Singed the Mad Chemist

Twitch, the Plague Rat

Twitch first came to light when he attacked a lab looking to create baby formula from toxic sludge. Enraged that people were taking his "juice", he ruthlessly charged at the attendants, laughing maniacally. Equipped with a chem-crossbow and tossing toxic chemicals, he caused the destruction of the lab. Only two of the scientists survived. One blinded by Twitch, the other missing her tongue and jaw. Now he plans to end all of humanity, whether killing them with his crossbow or melting them with sludge.

Twitch, Twitch the Plague Rat

Brand, the Burning Vengeance

Brand is an ancient entity, old and malevolent. Trapped as a towering flame encased in ice, frozen in an attempt to stop its fiery rage. The man who released him, Kegan Rodhe, was not a good man either. A seafaring marauder, he traveled far and wide stealing treasures wherever he found them. Taken over by Brand he made his way to Valoria to exact his plan of burning all humans and yordles and the world they loved.

Brand, Brand the Burning Vengeance

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These are just some of the secrets hidden in the lore of League of Legends. Check out Universe Beta for more stories and champion backgrounds. Who is your favorite champion? Do they have a dark past? Let us know in the comments!

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Pirate Software Talks about Heartbound's Journey of Emotion https://www.gameskinny.com/mzv1s/pirate-software-talks-about-heartbounds-journey-of-emotion https://www.gameskinny.com/mzv1s/pirate-software-talks-about-heartbounds-journey-of-emotion Sat, 25 Feb 2017 09:50:28 -0500 Angelina Bonilla

In the middle of the night, you awaken to a terrible storm. You go to put on some clothes and then, when you turn on the lights, you’re electrocuted. Your best friend, a dog named Baron, asks if you’re okay before you two venture out into the hallways to get him something to eat. Yet, something doesn’t feel right about this night -- something feels off and you can’t quite put your finger on it. Even with the house’s normal disarray and the eerie quietness outside, something isn’t quite normal.

After falling asleep again, you find your house trashed and Baron missing; now it’s up to you to figure out just what in the world is going on. This is only the beginning of the demo for the game Heartbound, an emotional story driven RPG looking to be funded on Kickstarter. This is its first attempt at being crowfunded, and its being developed by the ambitious team over at Pirate Software.

I sat down with Pirate Sofware and asked them a few questions about their upcoming RPG, one that’s going to deal with complex interpersonal stories involving the hopes and fears of many of its characters.

GameSkinny (Angelina Bonilla): What motivated you to create this independent game by crowd funding rather than proposing this idea to a publisher?

Pirate Software (Jason Thor Hall): After speaking with a number of publishers in the beginning, I really felt it was better to keep us independent. With our community growing around us organically, I get to spend a lot more time with them and be a part of the action. This also helps me get feedback and develop the game in a way that more clearly portrays the story I am trying to tell.

 

GS: The main characters of the story are Lore, Baron, and Binder; what sort of character dynamic do these three have, and are we going to see some banter between them?

Hall: Lore and Baron have a very interdependent relationship with one another. Lore deals with a lot of troubled thoughts and Baron is always up to the task of cheering him up and keeping him happy or taking him on adventures. In turn, Lore helps mitigate Baron’s intense fear of isolation and loneliness. While they have their issues, the two lean on each other to get by.

Binder is a bit of an oddball when it comes to relationships. He has his own motives and objectives to get through and keeps himself very guarded in most social situations. In terms of banter, there is quite a lot of that throughout the beta and you can expect more of that later on as well. That being said, they are by no means the only characters in Heartbound everything up until now is setting the stage.

 

GS: Environment-wise, the game is beautiful, from the unsettling space-like area Lore gets transported to through the clock, to the outside of Lore’s house. Within these environments, you mentioned that small things that you do or don’t do can change things in major and minor ways. Does this mean the players should pick up every sock they find or to just be aware of their surroundings, taking special note of oddities in them?

Hall: It entirely depends on the kind of player that you are. If you want to interact more with the world, then it will be more interesting and full of different things to interact with. If you want to be colder to people or actively avoid exploration, then the world will be more in tune with that. Right now there are quite a few events, dialog, and storyline that change in small ways based on these minor actions. In the full game I hope to add more storyline paths and arcs for these different kinds of playstyles.

GS: Were there any games that inspired Heartbound, whether in combat system, story, art style, or anything like that? What about inspirational books, TV shows, or films?


Hall:
Wario Ware was a heavy inspiration for the combat system. I always loved the wacky, fast-paced mini-games that made up all of the iterations of Wario Ware. I was also heavily influenced by a lot of the RPGs of the SNES period. Games like Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Illusion of Gaia, and Earthbound. For more recent games, I turn to things like OneShot, Off, and Undertale because of the unique qualities each one brought to the table. For films, I would say A Boy and His Dog. It’s a pretty rough film and not really kid friendly, but definitely something you should watch. If you have ever played the Fallout series, that’s where Dogmeat got his name.

GS: The battle system is a little unique, as you've made it have all sorts of mini games like dodging, popping pods, or memorization puzzles. Does each enemy have their own multi-staged way of defeating them or do some have similar methods?

Hall: All of the enemies have their own mini-games that are heavily varied in objectives. Additionally, as fights progress, the mini-games get harder, change objectives, or more mini-games enter and leave the rotation. As Heartbound doesn’t have random battles it leaves me free to develop unique games for every fight and tune them heavily to the story of the character you are fighting. One of the major planned features is how combat ends in an exploration game where you play through a memory of that character from their perspective. My hope is to show that in a lot of cases good and evil are just perspective shifts.

GS: When you say you get to “rebuild the town of Animus,” did something happen to Lore and Baron's hometown? Was it decimated by a disaster or was it completely abandoned by lack of jobs? 

Hall: Animus is a place that players haven’t experienced yet. The grand majority of characters released during the Greenlight campaign live and work in Animus. In total, there are five worlds at play in the entire story. I plan to release another beta a few months from now with additional content leading up to the discovery of Animus, so stay tuned on that front.

GS: Lore’s relationship with his father appears to be distant and not very positive when we first see him in the demo; do you have anything big planned for those two? Or does Lore’s dad continue to be a shadowy figure, ominously looming in the background?

Hall: Lore and his father have a broken relationship and their perception of one another is entirely out of sync. There will be a lot more to see between the two of them, but nothing I can reveal right now.

GS: Regarding those optional cryptograph puzzles that could be solved by the community, will those give hints or clues about the game’s lore, or will they just give fun messages from the developers? Or are you planning on doing a lot of things with the secret codes?

Hall: They already have extra hints and clues about the game’s lore actually! Everything in the ARG is part of the story, but not in a way that is mandatory for progression. You can learn a lot about the darker undertone of the game through them or the backstories and true feelings of different characters.

GS: Will there be customizable outfits for the characters or will they remain in the same clothes throughout the game?


Hall: Depending on how you progress or where you are in the game, there are a lot of different outfits that are possible. Nothing really on the side of truly customizable but your actions and discoveries can change your outfit.

GS: With mentions to sanity and relationships affecting things, were there any particular issues or hard questions you set out to tackle and explore in designing this game?

Hall: How to explore these kinds of concepts without being overbearing and pushy was something I dwelled on for a long time and still do whenever I’m writing dialog. I rework things dozens of times, up until the exact minute I have to release the game.

 

GS: Do you believe that this game has an emotional core, and if so, what do you believe that core is?

Hall: At the core I feel that Heartbound is about experiencing thoughts and motivations through other characters' perspectives. These kinds of explorations can happen through objects in the world, interacting with the character directly, or living through their memories after combat takes place. I plan to release the memory system at a later time as I want it to feel perfect before I put it out there. It’s something I am actually working on right now and may release in a quick update to the beta sometime soon.

GS: What platforms can we expect Heartbound to be on?

Hall: Windows, Mac, and Linux!

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I would like to thank Pirate Softwares's Jason Thor Hall for taking the time to answer my questions. It appears that Heartbound will be a game that'll tug at the heartstrings and more by the time of its release, which, judging by the title, seems just right.

Check out Heartbound'official website or Twitter for more information. If you want to show your support, there's still time to back this project on Kickstarter as well.

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Telling Stories: The Importance of Lore in Video Games https://www.gameskinny.com/ow6z1/telling-stories-the-importance-of-lore-in-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/ow6z1/telling-stories-the-importance-of-lore-in-video-games Mon, 28 Nov 2016 09:02:53 -0500 Pablo Seara

Writing the story of a game is one of the most important tasks in video game creation. A compelling, well-written narrative can draw players in, and make them feel all sorts of emotions, like a good roller coaster. 

A fulfilling tale can -- and will -- stay in the memories and even hearts of those who have experienced it. However, there is  one more step, one more element that can push the gamers even further in their involvement with the title: the lore.

The lore of a game is its backstory, all the elements that complement the principal narrative. These details add depth and richness to the universe of a video game, expanding its history outside the main plot. It is an aspect that is sometimes overlooked by developers, which is a mistake. Good lore writing is essential to engage players, and a good way to offer them more than the base title.

In the following lines, I will explain some of the keys to lore building with both good and bad examples, and why it is so important.

The Elder Scrolls: An Optional, Compelling Universe

The Elder Scrolls (TES) is a well-regarded franchise, with lots of followers. Many of them love the games for their fun gameplay and interesting world. Fans often choose to get deeper into the history of Tamriel and its different reigns. The lore of The Elder Scrolls is an extensive one; full of gods, demons, and important historical events that influenced the current state of the world in the franchise.

Every new installment in the series expands on its universe, one of the richest and most consistent lores in gaming history. This is possible because the vast majority of Bethesda employees work with The Elder Scrolls, making sure everything blends into a cohesive, overarching backstory. This is also the main reason why many TES fans do not like The Elder Scrolls: Online, which is developed by a completely different team, that has not been able to successfully expand on the backstory.

However, all of this information is optional. Not all the players like to delve into the lore of a game, and they just want to play the main story. The lore of The Elder Scrolls is presented through all the dialogues and books you can find in the different titles. It's also available as external products such as comics and or books. It is a reward for those who want to learn more about Tamriel and its history.

The lore of The Elder Scrolls also serves to add more context to many subquests that deal with deities or  events enmarked in Tamriel's History. Knowing about the past of the world can make you appreciate the experience even more. This is also the case in other excellent series like The Witcher or Fallout, which have great world building.

Dark Souls: A Community in Love With the Lore

Dark Souls is another excellent and different example of good lore writing, which takes a different approach to it. Instead of thoroughly explaining the history of the world throughout documents and events, Dark Souls is more subtle and open to interpretation.

The franchise only has a handful of cutscenes that directly teach the player about its lore, but most of the events that take place during Dark Souls cannot be understood without the proper information. However, this knowledge can be found at plain sight, if you know how to search for it.

Newcomers get into Dark Souls for its difficulty, but they stay for the lore

There are plenty of lore details around the games, in the different areas, in the cryptic dialogues, in the odd character interactions and in the mysterious item descriptions. All these clues are brought together by the faithful community of the franchise, that work together to understand Dark Souls' universe.

Dark Souls demands a lot, both from the gameplay and the lore. To understand the game you are playing, you have to work for it. That is the secret of Dark Souls: it treats the player with respect and intelligence, and rewards him accordingly, with interesting information and awesome world building. Newcomers go into Dark Souls for its difficulty, but they stay for the lore, an achievement many companies should learn from.

No Man's Sky: One More Failure

We all know No Man's Sky was a  failure, but you may not know that it failed in delivering good lore as well. A sci-fi game about travelling the galaxy, meeting new alien races, exploring planets and discovering ancient civilizations should have an interesting, developed background story like Mass Effect, but this is not the case.

No Man's Sky introduces the players to its lore through different artifacts, shelters and pieces of dialogues from the aliens they encounter while travelling. It takes a mixed approach between TES and Dark Souls. However, it does not manage to be as interesting and compelling as those other franchises. This happens because there is absolutely no events in the game that are enhanced by No Man Sky's History.

In No Man's Sky, there are no interesting characters whatsoever

Let us take World of Warcraft as example. If you have done your homework, you probably know about the heroes and villains that populate Azeroth. When the time comes and you fight these characters, the prior information makes the battle more thrilling and exciting. It is not the same if you fight a random person, than going against Arthas, the Lich King.

Meanwhile, in No Man's Sky, there are no interesting characters whatsoever. All the creatures you find during your journey are unknown aliens, that do not add anything special to the story. Once you find out about the nature of the universe, it does not improve upon the lore. Everything the game teaches you is bland, superfluous, and even boring.

A good backstory could have helped the game to be more successful, even a little bit, by encouraging the remaining players to learn more about its universe. In the end, all they get is a repetitive, dull experience, with zero impact and no reason to be.

As shown by the previous examples, a good, worked lore can drive players to get more attached to a game. It can improve a story, by adding lots of interesting information about the world and characters that live in it. Like a good book, it can trap us and move us to get engaged with other fans, discussing theories and talking about the backstory for endless hours. Conveying a good background story is an achievement to strive for.

What do you think? Is there any game you love because of its lore? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Scalebound to Receive Comic and Book of Lore from Titan Comics https://www.gameskinny.com/nbmg0/scalebound-to-receive-comic-and-book-of-lore-from-titan-comics https://www.gameskinny.com/nbmg0/scalebound-to-receive-comic-and-book-of-lore-from-titan-comics Mon, 05 Sep 2016 01:15:39 -0400 Greyson Ditzler

Platinum Games' upcoming dragon-packed action RPG Scalebound is to receive tie-in comics and a book of the game's lore, both from Titan Comics, which was announced on the game's official Twitter earlier this week. 

Titan Comics will be releasing both the lore book and the comics sometime in 2017, although not much else is known about either of them as of yet. The lore book is claimed to be titled The Book of Sages, and will be an in-universe book written from the perspective of several of the main characters present in Scalebound. 

The comic books related to the game are planned expand on the lore present in Scalebound, and will, according to Titan Comics Sales and Marketing manager Ricky Claydon, "...appeal to an even wider audience," presumably than the game itself. As of now, it has not been made clear if the comics will be a limited series to fit in with the game, or an ongoing series of some sort.

Scalebound's The Book of Sages as well as the comics are planned for release in 2017, as is the game itself on Xbox One and PC. 

You can watch a recent trailer for Scalebound below:

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The Shinto Origins of SMITE's Izanami, Matron of the Dead https://www.gameskinny.com/s8ihx/the-shinto-origins-of-smites-izanami-matron-of-the-dead https://www.gameskinny.com/s8ihx/the-shinto-origins-of-smites-izanami-matron-of-the-dead Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:00:01 -0400 ThndrMge

SMITE, the popular third person MOBA by Hi-Rez Studios, is well known for its representations of religious and mythological deities. These deities are faithfully accurate in their depictions and histories, but most of all they are also respectful of the faiths from which they originated.

Within the last year, Hi-Rez has added a new Japanese pantheon to play with. Though not the first eastern religion to be present within the game -- that honor goes to the Chinese pantheon -- it was one of the most requested pantheons to be included by the game's community.

The latest addition to the Japanese pantheon is Izanami, Matron of the Dead. Izanami is one of the most significant deities of Shinto mythology, akin to the role of Anubis or Hades in other religions. She reaps the souls of the dead and brings them to the afterlife. But how accurate is the portrayal of Izanami? Let's compare her lore from SMITE with her real world historical lore in Shinto mythology.

In the Beginning

Iznami (Left) and Izanagi (Right) from In Japanese Shinto mythology, Izanami-no-Mikoto, is a goddess of both creation and death, as well as Izanagi-no-Mikoto's former wife. She was born from the divine will of the first gods Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi, a divine being charged with creating the first land. Together Izanami and Izanagi journeyed to the bridge between heaven and earth and, using a divine spear, churned up the waters of the world to form an island that they would call their home.

Izanami's beginnings are not clearly stated in her bio for SMITE. This may be due to the nature by which their lore flows. Often times the lore of each deity can be seen in various other deities' bios. The connection between Izanami and Izanagi may expand on this when Izanagi eventually joins the Japanese pantheon in SMITE. For now however, without knowledge of the Shinto myths, you would have no idea where Izanami came from.

Love, Birth, and Death

The Shinto legends continue. After descending to the world, Izanami and Izanagi married and bore many children. These children became the islands of Japan, as well as the deities ruling over primal aspects of the world -- such as Amaterasu, goddess of the Sun (who was the first Japanese deity to be added to the game). However, tragedy struck and Izanami died during childbirth of the god of fire, Kagu-Tsuchi. Izanagi buried her atop Mount Hiba and in a furious rage fueled by the grief of his wife's death, he murdered his own child, Kagu-Tsuchi.

In SMITE, Izanami's bio states the following:

As Izanami gave birth to the god of Fire, his searing skin scorched her flesh. Fearful she would die, her husband, Izanagi, the man with whom she had created the world, held her close and wept. But it was too late. So grievous were the wounds, Izanami succumbed to death.

These two stories are very much identical. While SMITE takes care to omit a few names and includes some fancied up words for dramatic effect, it remains true to its origins in Shinto legend. Her death is an important moment in the mythology, as we will soon understand.

Yomi, the Land of the Dead

Izanagi-no-Mikoto grieves for his deceased wife. Lamenting her fate he begins a journey into the shadowy realm of the dead, Yomi. He searches tirelessly for her, and eventually finds her among the darkest shadows of the land. Izanami hides amidst the darkness, preventing her husband from seeing her, but Izagani is overjoyed by his success and pleads for her to return with him and leave Yomi. Izanami declines, stating that she had already partaken of the food of the underworld and had become one with their lands. She could no longer return to the world of the living, but would seek permission from the gods.

Though he is shocked by the news, Izanagi refuses to leave without his beloved, remaining in Yomi. While Izanami sleeps that night, Izanagi uses a sacred comb which bound his long hair and sets it ablaze to use as a torch. Having pushed back the shadows and darkness he sets eyes upon his wife Izanami once again. Her body is decayed and rotten, covered in maggots and other foul pests.

In SMITE, Izanami's bio continues:

To rescue her soul, Izanagi traveled to Yomi, the realm of the darkness and death. Through the black maze he searched, until finally he came upon her, hidden amongst the shadows. He implored her to return with him. She could not, for she had already eaten the fruit that grew in Yomi. Izanagi insisted. He would not leave her in this place. He swore it.

Izanami agreed to take her husband to see the Gods of Yomi, to implore them to free her. Meanwhile, remain in darkness, she cautioned him, for the realm of the dead was not meant for the living to see. Taken by foreboding, Izanagi lit a torch and laid eyes upon his wife. No longer the graceful, elegant beauty she once was, Izanami now appeared a rotting corpse, hollow and decayed, maggot-ridden and foul.

SMITE once again does a good job of portraying the story in a dramatic yet respectful way, including even the horrifying reveal of Izanami's new form. Though they may have taken some liberties with Izanagi's motivations they remain true to his devotion to finding his deceased wife. Who it is that speaks to the rulers of Yomi is unclear in the original tale, with Izanami merely stating that she would need permission to leave. However, the end result is all the same. Izanagi's curiosity leads us into the final chapter of this bitter tale, his escape from Yomi and the fate of Izanami.

Yomotsu Hirasaka in Higashiizumo, Shimane Prefecture, Japan

The Curse of 1000 Deaths

Crying aloud after seeing his wife's rotten form, Izanagi flees in terror and disgust. This outburst awakens Izanami, who shrieks in horrid anger, commanding the dead to seek out and capture Izanagi. However, Izanagi eludes them and escapes. Exiting into the world of the living through Yomotsuhirasaka -- the cave entrance to Yomi -- he seals the cavern with a giant boulder. Izanami rushes to the entrance, seeing her fate sealed within the underworld she cries out a curse upon the living, vowing to destroy one thousand lives every single day. In furious sorrow, Izanagi shouts back to her that he would give life to one thousand five hundred each day in return.

In SMITE, Izanami's bio concludes as thus:

Frightened and disgusted, Izanagi broke his vow and fled.

Through the bowels of Yomi he ran, pursued by the fiend that was once his wife. Escaping the cave entrance, Izanagi rolled a boulder in place to block it. Sealed within, betrayed and cursed, consumed with wrathful anger, Izanami swore, one thousand lives would she take each day. One thousand to pay for the broken promise he made.

Since then, Izanami has kept her vow, each day reaching beyond the grave to pull souls to Yomi. But war has broken the boulder that once kept her sealed away, and Izanami has emerged, cold and lifeless, but burning with a vengeance against all that lives. One thousand souls will not be enough.

The finale of the story remains mostly identical, once again honoring the original tale as closely as possible. SMITE concludes its story by adding on its own spin of why Izanami once again walks among the living, free of Yomi's cursed lands.

Overall, SMITE has been very faithful to the origins of Izanami and to Shinto mythology. Though her appearance emphasizes more on the side of her beautiful original form rather than her disgusting maggot-filled one, I believe we can all agree that is a decision that we can all live with.

If you want to try Izanami for yourself, you can play SMITE for free on PlayStation 4, XBox One, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS. Patch 3.16, "Fatal Awakening", for SMITE is expected to go live on August 30th, 2016.

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5 Characters in "World of Warcraft: Legion" with awesome lore https://www.gameskinny.com/t88i5/5-characters-in-world-of-warcraft-legion-with-awesome-lore https://www.gameskinny.com/t88i5/5-characters-in-world-of-warcraft-legion-with-awesome-lore Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:22:38 -0400 Sean Handler

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Xavius
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While this big guy does look sort of like Illidan, Xavius is a very different animal. He is the progenitor of the Satyr race and was once a Night Elf. Similarly to Ilidan, he was transformed into a twisted mockery of the Night Elven race. Before he became a Satyr, Xavius was a powerful mage who was known for two things; his skills with political manipulation and his rather creepy lack of eyes, replaced with two black and crimson crystals. 

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When he was brought back as a Satyr, his eyes were left red and black as a reminder of his appearance he had in his previous life. Needless to say he lost whatever good looks he once had as a Night Elf, in favor of the twisted appearance of a Satyr. 

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In Legion, Xavius currently dwells upon the Broken Isles, with rest of his Satyr kind deep within the Emerald Nightmare which he hopes to bring to Azeroth. The battle against Xavius will be one of the first large-scale raids available in Legion when the expansion releases. 

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These are just a few of the prominent characters who will make appearances in the "Legion" expansion. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

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Moroes 
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Moroes may not be as infamous as the prior three entries, but he earns a place here since he will be a very prominent character in the next content patch. He was formerly the steward of Kharazan, and is one of the bosses of that particular raid. 

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When living, Moroes acted as steward for the powerful Archmage and Guardian of Tirisfal, Medivh. Since his death at Medivh's hands, he has become a twisted undead reflection of his former self, either by Medivh/Sargeras' influence or the dark magic polluting the tower of Kharazan. He continues to act as steward of the shattered tower, heralding the arrival of his master. Whether he refers to Medivh, or Sargeras himself remains to be seen.

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Sylvanas Windrunner
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Known for being one of the most popular ladies in the World of Warcraft fandom (at least, if the sheer amount of sexy artwork is any indication), Sylvanas Windrunner was once a member of the High Elf race, until she was killed and brought back into undeath by the Lich King to serve as his Banshee Queen.

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She broke free of his command along with many of the undead and eventually became their ruler, retreating to Undercity. There  she dwelled for a time to command the Forsaken, other undead who were freed of the Lich King's influence. The Undercity is located in the ruins of what once was Lordaeron, an area familiar to players of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

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In Legion, Sylvanas gets a promotion from Queen of the Forsaken to Warchief of the Horde. She ends up succeeding Vol'jin, and upon his death promises vengeance. To many of her fans however, she is often still referred to as "Dark Lady". 

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There are many out there who believe the newly appointed Warchief isn't quite all there, and some of her lore actually suggests that she is slowly going mad. Her sister abandoning her plans in favor of Anduin Wrynn and the Alliance has recently broken Sylvanus' trust in the living, and the repercussions may be quite serious. 

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Vol'jin 
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Vol'jin is the enigmatic leader of the Darkspear Trolls and Warchief of the Horde. Or rather he was, before getting backstabbed by a demon. Among the characters in World of Warcraft, Vol'jin has long been a brave and stalwart hero among the leaders. He gets away with essentially flipping off Garrosh Hellscream, the Warchief at the time prior to him, and tells Garrosh that he will, "Be the one that puts an arrow through ya dark heart." 

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Unfortunately despite his boasts, Vol'jin does not deliver the killing blow to Garrosh. However he does pick up where Garrosh left off and prior to Legion serves as Warchief for the Horde for a year.

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After the War in the Broken Isles, Vol'jin is on his death bed, having become wounded by a demonic blade. If you are a Horde Demon Hunter, you are treated to a cutscene soon after finishing the initial starting quests that reveals Vol'jin dying and telling Sylvanas that the Loa spirits told him that she would be the next Warchief. Despite the fact that Vol'jin never trusted her, he relents to the spirits and names Sylvanus his successor. 

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It makes one wonder if Vol'jin's last words will have any impact on what will come in the expansion... 

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Illidan Stormrage 
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Here is the most prominent character in Legion and one of the most popular within the World of Warcraft fandom. Illidan Stormrage embodies the concept of the "broken anti-hero" whose good intentions twisted him into the half-demon he is today.

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Once a powerful mage among the Night Elves, he slipped among the Legion's ranks as a double agent and ended up becoming corrupted just like them. After having his eyes seared out by Fel magic and eventually consuming the Skull of Gul'dan, Illidan took on the features of a hellish looking demon and was reviled by his people. 

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Illidan was always known in the Warcraft universe for his ambition which extended to creating an entirely new Well of Eternity after the first was destroyed. This act is what earned him the title of "Betrayer" as in the process of defending himself, he killed several of his own people. For his crimes he was sentenced to imprisonment beneath Mount Hyjal, where he waited for 10,000 years... until he was released once more to fight the Burning Legion's hordes. 

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Over time he became Lord of Outland, usurping the demon lord that previously lived there and taking over the Black Temple, where players can battle him in World of Warcraft: Burning CrusadeIllidan acts as master of the Illidari, the elven demon hunters that players can now create. 

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With the World of Warcraft: Legion expansion soon to release, there are many characters that players will encounter that will each reveal new storylines and content as time goes on. With that in mind, here are five of characters in World of Warcraft that make an appearance in "Legion" and have the most some of the best lore. 

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"}]]]>
Never played World of Warcraft? Here's why you should start with Legion https://www.gameskinny.com/ogaa9/never-played-world-of-warcraft-heres-why-you-should-start-with-legion https://www.gameskinny.com/ogaa9/never-played-world-of-warcraft-heres-why-you-should-start-with-legion Wed, 10 Aug 2016 08:33:50 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

World of Warcraft is launching its sixth expansion soon. Very soon, in fact; Legion is scheduled to launch on August 30th. But let's assume that this doesn't matter to you, because World of Warcraft has never mattered to you. It's something other people play, not something you play. You prefer other titles -- you don't go for the MMO, even after years and years of operation and people saying that you should try it out.

And yet maybe now is the time to break that streak.

For someone who has never played WoW before now, it might seem like there's no reason to jump in this late in the game. But Legion is the perfect time to start out, giving you a chance to see the best of what the game has on offer and experience a whole new side of the game. If you've never played before, Legion's launch is a perfect time to start, starting with the fact that...

You won't have to level

Buying the base game and Legion means that you get an automatic boost to level 100 right off. That's the current level cap, and it's also the same level everyone will be going into Legion with. You even get the chance to go through multiple class trials, trying out each class so you can see which playstyle appeals to you the most without having to actually use up that valuable level boost.

If you're worried about not being able to jump into the game with the boost, that's been handled, too. The trials slowly walk you through your class abilities, what your talent choices do, and how your class will play in the longer run. By the time you're done in the training wheels section, you'll have a collection of abilities that you know how to use, whether you're a veteran of other MMOs or you've never picked up a similar game before. You'll still be new to the game, yes, but you'll be new to the game with a full selection of tricks that work in a way you can feel comfortable about.

The leveling has a new wrinkle in Legion as well, insofar as the game's areas are not divided up by level. Every area's quests and rewards will automatically scale to your character's level as you move toward the new cap of level 110, meaning that you can explore whatever you'd like without worrying that you might be too low-level to experience everything. So not only will you start on equal footing with everyone as you go into the next expansion, you'll also be able to experience leveling in a much more quiet and personal fashion. You can see things without worrying if you're seeing them in the right order; everything will scale.

In short, you aren't going to be playing catch-up. You'll be caught up and ready to go on.

Classes are more flexible and more distinct

For a long time, one of the big things locking players into certain roles in WoW has been the idea of respeccing. The short version is this: your character has a specialization -- and once you've picked it, it's both time-consuming and expensive to change that. If I've been playing my Warrior as a tank (Protection), I can't make that warrior into a damage-dealing character (Fury) without getting a whole pile of new equipment and stopping by a city specifically for that purpose. It made it much easier to just stick with one thing.

Slowly, that's changed. At this point, playing a Warrior is more flexible than it's been. A Warrior isn't constrained to a single spec unless you want to be; instead, you can freely switch between all of your character's various specs as long as you're in one of the game's many rest areas. And it's not just your spec that's flexible. If you swap to a new spec, your gear swaps with you; going from being a Feral Druid (with an emphasis on Agility) to being a Balance Druid (with an emphasis on Intellect) will see all of your gear swap to account for your new primary stat.

It goes further than that, too; if you decide that a given talent isn't working as well as you'd like, you can freely swap that at a rest area as well. Having trouble with a quest? Try out more survival-oriented talents. Need to wipe out larger groups of enemies? Use more area abilities. You don't have to be locked into one-size-fits-all builds as you quest out in the world; you can try new things and experiment with your options.

Each class also gets its own Order Hall and Artifact weapons in Legion to help celebrate the flavor of each specific option. It's not just a matter of being able to shift between different specs, it's a matter of what your class is. A Paladin and a Warrior can both be doing damage with a big two-handed weapon, but the Paladin is the leader of a cross-faction order of holy knights dedicated to fighting the demon invasion of Azeroth, and the Warrior is an exalted champion of battle within the halls of the honored warriors of eternity. Each Artifact is distinct for each spec, but multiple Artifacts can be wielded by a single character; you can have your artifact weapons for multiple roles allow you to do many things at once as you quest and run dungeons.

The stakes have never been higher

If you're wondering why this is the point at which players are getting such powerful weapons and an entire order dedicated to a single class, it's because the stakes of the story are incredibly high. Azeroth isn't in the middle of a war between its two major factions; it's in the middle of a war against the Burning Legion, an endless tide of demons devoted to wiping out all life on the planet.

The Burning Legion has tried to invade Azeroth multiple times in the past, but each invasion has been cut short. This time, the invasion is coming on in full force; the Legion has opened a portal at the Tomb of Sargeras, the resting place of the fallen Titan who founded the Burning Legion. The very essence of the world's creation will be needed to seal away the portal that has been ripped open, threatening to engulf everything on the planet.

Story-wise, this means that nothing is off of the table. Former villains are coming back as allies in the struggle to save the world, including the new Demon Hunter class (accessible to everyone with the expansion and a leveled character, including a boosted character). Demon Hunters served directly underneath Illidan Stormrage, the villain of the game's first expansion pack, but the desperation of the fight against the Legion has brought both the Alliance and the Horde together with these former enemies. Demon Hunters are mobile weapons that fight back against the demons, channeling demonic powers to defeat the Burning Legion while struggling to contain their own fierce energies.

This means that there's more story for players to explore than ever before, a chance to delve into the history of Azeroth and the stories behind many of its enduring mysteries. If you're familiar with the story of the game's history, you will learn new things from this expansion; if not, you still have every reason and opportunity to learn about these factions and what they represent. And it's in the midst of the game's most epic and far-ranging conflict yet.

It's a huge fantasy adventure

It's possible that what has put you off from World of Warcraft in the past is pretty simple: people. Sure, most people playing on a PC these days play games with other people, but there's a lot of difference between jumping into a quick queue in Overwatch and having to play alongside others for months on end. That's kind of intimidating, and it's the sort of thing that's turned people off of the genre for good.

But thinking of it that way is kind of missing the point, especially with this expansion. This is an adventure, the sort of grand fantasy romp that you usually see in single-player games. Your character isn't a nameless cog in the machine; you are a hero, one of the greatest heroes of your faction, and you will be instrumental in either repulsing the greatest threat to the world ever seen... or sealing your fate.

And you're not doing it alone. You will be alongside other players, other heroes, fighting for the safety of this realm against marauding demons who exist to destroy everything you hold dear. Chaos threatens to overwhelm everything, and players are the only line of defense. There are stories to be told, experiences to be shared, leaders who will fall and major changes to the game's lore in ways that you can't anticipate. You'll experience all of it alongside others, grouping up with them, working as one in a big fantasy battle that you normally wouldn't get outside of a big AAA single-player game.

But it's not a single-player game, and that makes it a team effort. You'll make friends as you experience the story, both real people and NPCs. You'll share in triumphs and defeats. Above all else, you'll be a part of an emerging saga within the game world, one that will change the face of the game forever, for good or bad. Imagine your favorite sprawling fantasy game, and imagine you were running through it with other people, all working to build up your individual order halls into a force that can stand against this overwhelming threat.

Sure, you might never have gotten into the game before. But now is the time to do just that.

And if you're looking for guilds or other people to play with, you can check out our sister site Gamer Launch, which hosts hundreds of thousands of community sites and offers community, roster, and recruiting functionalities for World of Warcraft and many other games. 

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Nordic Games is releasing a retail version of Ori and the Blinds Forest https://www.gameskinny.com/o2omi/nordic-games-is-releasing-a-retail-version-of-ori-and-the-blinds-forest https://www.gameskinny.com/o2omi/nordic-games-is-releasing-a-retail-version-of-ori-and-the-blinds-forest Tue, 24 May 2016 18:31:45 -0400 JunaeBenne

Four years after its release, Ori and the Blind Forest will see the shelves. Fans have been begging for a physical copy of this game, and it’s finally happening.

Nordic Games partnered up with Microsoft Studies and Moon Studios to bring Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition to retail.

The Definitive Edition is packed with new and additional content, such as new areas, new abilities, more story sequences, multiple difficulty modes, fast travel between areas and much more. Naru’s past is revealed in two new environments. Along with being able to explore a lot faster with your ability to teleport there are new skills to master like Dash and Light Burst.

Thomas Mahler expresses how happy he is to accommodate the fans:“We hope that all of you will be pleased with what we’ve put together for this retail release of Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition.”

There will be two versions available: Standard and Limited Edition.

The Standard Edition is 19.99 includes:

  • Premium Packaging
  • Quickstart Guide
  • Game DVD
  • A3 Poster

The Limited Edition is 29.99 includes:

  • Steelbox
  • Quickstart Guide
  • Game DVD
  • Audio-CD OST
  • 2 Postcards
  • 2 Double-Sided A3 Posters

The Definitive Edition will available to everyone who owns it on Xbox One in the Microsoft Store and will hit the shelves on June 14.

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A Look Inside World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 https://www.gameskinny.com/0ad09/a-look-inside-world-of-warcraft-chronicle-volume-1 https://www.gameskinny.com/0ad09/a-look-inside-world-of-warcraft-chronicle-volume-1 Thu, 17 Mar 2016 14:49:07 -0400 Joshua Potter

Have you ever been wandering the hallowed depths of Uldum or exploring the burning deserts of Tanaris and thought to yourself, "I have no idea what's going on here"? Maybe you've been closely following Hearthstone's newest expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods and you want to learn more about who or what these "Old Gods" actually are.

World of Warcraft has an almost overwhelmingly rich story, with hundreds of non-playable characters with their own agendas and histories, and World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 does its best to try to compile all that information in one tidy package.

Written by the master of Warcraft himself Chris Metzen, this book travels to a time long before any previously explored in other World of Warcraft media. Using several detailed maps and beautiful artwork by Blizzard's own Peter C. Lee, the book establishes an easy to follow timeline of events that shaped Azeroth into how we know it in game today.

The attention to detail in the artwork is phenomenal, and falls under everything you would expect from Blizzard's demand for perfection. Not content merely an artbook, this book also reviews the history of a variety of the races of Azeroth over the several hundred millennia of the world's existence. Some of these races have never before been covered in a World of Warcraft book, including the history of the Vyrkul, (those big angry viking guys in Northrend) the Aqir, (those sentient bug monsters from Ahn'Qiraj and Ahn'Khanet), and the Burning Legion (who the upcoming World of Warcraft: Legion is titled after.)

   

This book is excellent for anyone who has always wanted to learn more about Warcraft's rich lore but doesn't know where to start. Priced at $23.99 on Amazon, the book is surprisingly cheap given its size and artwork. There are also contributions from acclaimed authors who have lent their skills to the Warcraft universe before, including Christine Golden and Richard A. Knaak. 

This book is an excellent gift for anyone you may know who enjoys Warcraft, or for yourself if you just want to get ready for the next expansion. For those of you eager for more story and less history, you can look forward to Blizzard's first book with publisher Random House -- Illidan: World of Warcraftwhich is releasing next month.

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Fallout History 101: Nuka-Cola, Sunset Sarsaparilla, and Hubris Comics https://www.gameskinny.com/e990s/fallout-history-101-nuka-cola-sunset-sarsaparilla-and-hubris-comics https://www.gameskinny.com/e990s/fallout-history-101-nuka-cola-sunset-sarsaparilla-and-hubris-comics Thu, 17 Sep 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Chelsea Senecal

This Fallout History is all about the iconic collectables and consumables that make the Wasteland fun. For a complete list of the 101's: Here is a hub page to aid your curiosity.

The oldest of these is Sunset Sarsaparilla

Sunset Sasparilla is the Nuka-Cola cousin of the Mohave. However, the lore behind it (like a lot of Fallout lore) is somewhat conflicting. Festus, a robot in the Sunset Sarsaparilla factory, tells us that its an old family recipe. His story: 

A saloon owner one day decided to make a new type of soft drink. He asked his customers what flavor they would want it to be, but they were of no help. A stranger at the end of the bar suggested him to make a sarsaparilla flavored drink, and would give his family's recipe to the saloon owner if he got to sample a bottle to make sure the recipe was being followed to the letter. The saloon owner agreed, thinking it would make him rich. The stranger then left to meet him the next day at sundown. The following day, the saloon owner was told by the sheriff that the stranger was killed by bandits on the side of the town road. Cursing his luck, the saloon owner closed his store early, just as the sun began to set. After he locked the doors, he found a bottle with a note under it sealed with blue wax in the shape of a star. Opening it, he found out that it was a recipe of a sarsaparilla-flavored drink. After sampling the contents of the bottle, and finding it singularly delicious, he began selling Sunset Sarsaparilla. However, this is likely to be largely a promotional story which may only have a hint of truth in it.

The conflicting part of the story is when Festus tells us that the favorite beverages at the time were Nuka-Cola and water. 

Which brings us to Nuka-Cola-

-which wasn't founded until 2044. By far the most popular drink before and after the war, Nuka-Cola tried out several variants like most soda companies do. 33 years after the original, Nuka-Cola quantum hit shelves. It advertised as having twice as much of everything: Taste, calories, sugar, and caffeine. To make it stand out, a radioactive isotope gave it the wonderful blue color it maintains in the wasteland. The blue color was decided after 86 out of 100 people polled said they liked the blue bottle better. Also, it turns your urine blue.

Nuka-Cola Clear was next to replace Quantum. Because Quantum had questionable side-affects, Nuka-Cola decided to soften the blow with Clear and advertised it to only cause "a minimal loss of life." However, this version never made it to the shelves. 

Then you have Nuka-Cola Quartz, only found in the Mohave, that gave drinkers "low-light sight". And finally Nuka-Cola Victory, also in the Mohave, that seemed pretty tame compared to its precessors due to "normal" side effects. 

 Hubris Comics

Going backwards a bit, Hubris Comics published 14 issues of Grognak the Barbarian (akin to Conan the Barbarian) in 2021. The pre-war series is considered to be very rare and worth a whole 23 caps. Hubris Comics published several comics found in the Fallout universe, such as Tæles of Chivalrie, although Grognak was by the most influential and prevalent. The AntAgonizer and other weirdos with alternate personalities in the Wasteland often derive their personas from these comics. Hubris Comics went on to make television show The Adventures of Captain Cosmos (akin to our Superman). Cosmos is seen throughout the wasteland in rather odd places. Apparently, select boxes of Sugar Bombs contain a Cosmos decoder ring.

These comics, like a lot of real American comics, were used as propaganda during the war. The Fallout universe is no stranger to propaganda posters and even the reading material littered through the wastes served a pre-war purpose of "educating" the public. Specifically, Tales form the Front showed overly patriotic symbols and themes for the Resource Wars campaign while Duck and Cover! taught children the drill for nuclear attack. Alternate propaganda, like that of The Patriot's Cookbook (akin to the Anarchist's Cookbook) shows a slight dissent in the American outlook of the war itself.

There it is, Fallout History of the wasteland's tasty beverages and reading material. For more info and a complete timeline, check out the Fallout wiki, a huge resource for all things Fallout. 

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Who should be the alternate Hearthstone heroes? https://www.gameskinny.com/mrwkn/who-should-be-the-alternate-hearthstone-heroes https://www.gameskinny.com/mrwkn/who-should-be-the-alternate-hearthstone-heroes Wed, 02 Sep 2015 07:07:56 -0400 Perchance to Game

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Warlock - Kael'thas Sunstrider

\n

This was a tough one.  Finding a notable warlock not closely affiliated with Gul'dan was hard enough, let alone an Alliance warlock that wasn't a minor NPC.  Kael, while a Blood Elf (who are part of the Horde) and a villain as of Burning Crusade, seemed the best fit.  I don't think he's ever outright called a warlock but he makes extensive use of fel magic and allies with the demon lord Kil'jaeden.  If it walks like a duck.... 

\n

Also, declaring "Only a setback!" upon defeat would just be too perfect.

\n

Who do you think should think best personifies the playable classes in Hearthstone?  Are you even going to buy the new heroes and do you think Blizzard should make more or was it a failed experiment?  Discuss!

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Priest - Sen'jin

\n

Trolls tend to be the race associated with the priest class in the Horde.  While Vol'jin would be ideal, he's already in the game as a legendary priest card.  His father, Sen'jin, died back in Warcraft III. But death didn't stop Uther from joining the fun, so why should the former Chief of the Darkspear tribe be any different?

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/3/4/234fa8e2069e88e95a8fb9f7609f57f4.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/2/3/4/tiny_234fa8e2069e88e95a8fb9f7609f57f4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"82001","description":"

Rogue - Garona Halforcen

\n

The half-orc, half-Draenei Garona served as Gul'dan's magically enslaved personal assassin and spy, essentially making her the original Horde rogue.  I can't think of anyone better to represent the class in Hearthstone as she embodies it perfectly. 

\n

With the selection of Alleria and Medivh, Blizzard showed they're willing to dig deeper into their lore.  Garona Halforcen played a major role in Warcraft I and II, though had little, if any, mention in Warcraft III.  Alongside Khadgar and Lothar, she helped slay the corrupted Medivh.  More WoW players will probably recognize her now as of the Warlords of Draenor expansion when she attempts to assassinate Khadgar and the player has to chase her down and capture her so Khadgar can free her from Gul'dan's control as he did in the original timeline.

\n

While the current rogue is a Blood Elf and therefore technically a Horde race, Valeera herself is a special case.  Valeera and Varian Wyrnn (the High King of the Alliance), along with the Night Elf druid, Broll Bearmantle, fought together in the arena as gladiatorial slaves, establishing an intense bond of trust between the three.  This bond remained after Varian reclaimed his throne, so while Valeera may not owe allegiance to the Alliance itself, its king certainly commands her loyalty. It's hard to classify her as a Horde aligned character.

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Druid - Hamuul Runetotem

\n

Hamuul Runetotem learned the druidic arts from none other than Malfurion Stormrage, becoming the first Tauren Druid.  He now passes on the teachings to other Tauren at Thunder Bluff as well as being a member of the Cenarian Circle, a group of powerful druids working to heal Azeroth from Deathwing's destruction. Overall, an ideal representative for Horde druids.

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Paladin - Lady Liadrin

\n

Just as Nobundo leads the Alliance shamans, the Blood Elf Lady Liadrin leads the Horde paladins.  You might recognize her better as the Shattered Sun Cleric minion. 

\n

While she's technically already in the game, she isn't a named legendary, so I think she's still in the running.  Originally one of the Blood Knights, Liadrin returned to a more traditional Paladin route after Velen restored the Sunwell.

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Shaman - Farseer Nobundo

\n

A tragic hero, Nobundo was the first Draenei shaman.  He taught natural spiritualism to others of his people and now serves as a teacher for all aspiring shamans in the Alliance.  He would be an ideal counterpart to the Horde's Thrall, the most famous shaman in the Warcraft franchise.  Nobundo's background, which is more than a little heartbreaking, is told in the short story Unbroken.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/63eb1b80a1520c34394871fe21fc7c50.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/63eb1b80a1520c34394871fe21fc7c50.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6738","description":"

While the player base may still be divided on whether or not the alternate Hearthstone heroes are a worthwhile purchase, Blizzard almost certainly has more on the way. 

\n

At the very least, this is going to continue until every class has a minimum of two characters to choose from.  If the first three are anything to go by, there seems to be a pattern of Alliance and Horde counterparts (Magni/Garrosh and Alleria/Rexxar) or failing that, good and evil (Jaina/Medivh). 

\n

While a level 58 Death Knight is one of the less plausible suggestions, let's take a look at which heroes of the Warcraft universe seem most likely to pay a visit to the Inn for a game or two by the hearth.  

"}]]]>
Fallout history 101 part five: VIPs and select locales https://www.gameskinny.com/q6z73/fallout-history-101-part-five-vips-and-select-locales https://www.gameskinny.com/q6z73/fallout-history-101-part-five-vips-and-select-locales Thu, 27 Aug 2015 06:30:23 -0400 Chelsea Senecal

Fallout history part five will detail the characters and places that make the game come alive. It's hard to decide just who is the most interesting or which destination is the most important. This lesson includes non companions whose story is worth mentioning and places that are not essential to the story, but create the depth of history we know the series to have.

Origins of The Brotherhood of Steel

Other posts in this series begin as early as possible. However, the people mentioned here are not around until after the bombs drop. Lets begin in 2077, among the chaos of war. Roger Maxson, a military officer, and his men desert the oath of service after executing several scientists in the Mariposa Military Base. Maxson and his men found human experiments for the FEV and, in despair and confusion of witnessing this, assumed control. His men and local families not only survived the nuclear attack in the base but also prevented the FEV from leaking into the Wasteland. Afterwards, the group migrated to the Lost Hills bunker and created The Brotherhood of Steel.

Arthur Maxson is the last descendent of the legendary Roger Maxson 

Harold and The Master

Five years before the war, Harold is born and kidnapped and taken to Vault 12 by a robot that stunned him. Vault 12's weird experiment involved the inhabitants being no more than 15 years old. Harold managed to escape the same year and went on to become a merchant. He first settled in the Hub where he was successful, although the fear of mutant cattle became alarming to his work. In an attempt to explore the problem, he and his friend Richard stumbled across the Mariposa Military Base and was infected by the FEV. Richard fell into a pool of the FEV and Harold assumed him to be dead. Richard later became The Master of the mutants by experimenting on those who wandered into Mariposa. He is later successful and creates his army called "the Unity".

The Master

He later woke up already mutating. A few years later, a tree begins to grow out of his head. Harold travelled for almost 150 years until the tree in his head (Bob) became ill. He revisited Vault 12 and they took him in and cured Bob's disease. Harold's memory of the vault was had faded over a long life and felt like "a new experience" because of it. He stayed with Vault 12 for a while and eventually left to wander the Wastes again. Bob continued growing and eventually rooted himself in the Capital Wasteland where he gained the attention of a cult-like group who also planted themselves in that spot called Oasis. 

Quickies

Children of the Cathedral

The Master created a false religion called the Children of the Cathedral. This religion, or cult, was a coverup for the Master's plan to implement the FEV into humans as a baptism. 

Shady Sands and the NCR

Shady Sands was founded in 2142 and quickly emerged as a peaceful, progressive, and an economically viable homestead for many travellers. Because of their success, mostly due to the town elder's daughter, Tandi, Shady Sands was eventually renamed The New California Republic. They continued to grow in influence and eventually became the dominating political force in the northern California/Oregon area.

The Enclave

These guys. Jeez. Ok, they're a pre-war organization composed primarily of top-tier government officials and they knew nuclear war was inevitable. So they did a bunch of shady stuff like develop the FEV to create a mad-scientist-esque army of mutants (that didn't happen) and they stole weaponry from RobCo and REPCONN to make power armor. They ordered all the freaky experiments for Vault-Tec to test any scenario that might occur in space travel. Yeah. The plan was just to annihilate earth and start over on another planet to slowly destroy that one too. They pretty much pulled the strings for everything before and after they left their safe oil rig in the middle of the ocean.

...or, whatever.

Alright, that's all for part five. There are so many important people and places so this should be covered again. Next time, Fallout History 101: Candy and Comics. 

Sugar Bombs! Grognak the Barbarian! Sunset Sarsaparilla!

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Five Nights at Freddy's true ending might never be solved https://www.gameskinny.com/4gaub/five-nights-at-freddys-true-ending-might-never-be-solved https://www.gameskinny.com/4gaub/five-nights-at-freddys-true-ending-might-never-be-solved Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:51:31 -0400 David Fisher

According to the official news section for Five Nights at Freddy's 4, Scott Cawthon is considering not releasing what is in the box found at the end of the game. In the same news release, Scott stated that the October 31st DLC for Five Nights at Freddy's 4 will still be released, but there are two big changes.

First, the DLC is no longer a paid DLC as fans believed. Instead it will come as part of a regular game update to version 1.1. This update will contain new content for the extras menu including: a cheat menu, a challenge menu, and a new mini-game that will offer a boost when playing challenge modes.

Second, the DLC will not reveal what is inside the infamous box at the game. While fans have anticipated the upcoming DLC for that very reason, Scott feels as though it might be best to leave the ending ambiguous. In his own words:

You know, when I released the first game over a year ago, I was amazed at how quickly everyone found every bit of lore and story. Then the same happened with part 2, fans and youtubers dug in and found everything. Game Theory did an incredible video on part 2; getting almost everything right. Then part 3 came out, and once again the story was uncovered by the community. It seemed that there was nothing I could hide! 

But then I released part 4, and somehow.... no one, not a single person, found the pieces. The story remains completely hidden. I guess most people assumed that I filled the game with random easter eggs this time. I didn't. What's in the box? It's the pieces put together. But the bigger question is- would the community accept it that way? The fact that the pieces have remained elusive this time strikes me as incredible, and special, a fitting conclusion in some ways, and because of that, I've decided that maybe some things are best left forgotten, forever.

Fans were quick to rush to the comments section, begging for Scott to release the contents of the box. However, without a single fan theory coming close to the true answer we may be doomed to never know. As it stands, several fans have challenged Scott to release the contents of the box if they are able to find out what the true story behind FNAF 4 is. At this point in time Scott has yet to release any reply to these challenges.

While I have never played the Five Nights at Freddy's games myself, I have always been interested in the fan theories surrounding the game. In fact, it was because FNAF has such a twisted and well-hidden lore that I added it to my list of favorite games for storytelling and lore. The gamer part of me truly wants to know the meaning of the box, but the fiction author part of me feels like Scott might be right. If the ending is left ambiguous it could stand as one of the great Gothic stories of the 21st Century, and giving away the truth of the infamous pizzeria might just ruin it.

What do you guys think? Do you feel like gamers are getting ripped off by being denied the true ending? Is the game ending the way it is the perfect Gothic story? Leave your opinions in the comments section below!

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Fallout history 101 part four: Vault-Tec https://www.gameskinny.com/kmj8o/fallout-history-101-part-four-vault-tec https://www.gameskinny.com/kmj8o/fallout-history-101-part-four-vault-tec Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:17:29 -0400 Chelsea Senecal

The Vault-Tec corporation is perhaps the single element of the Fallout lore that allows the games to even exist. All surviving humans in the Fallout universe either came from a vault or have ancestors that did.

It's hard to forget the feeling of leaving one for the first time in either Fallout 3 or the original. The desolate waste sprawling in front of you as far as the eye can see. And then stumbling upon a decayed and desolate vault, its mystery waiting for you to unpack it.

Some of the lore (the FEV in the primer, for example) mentioned in this article refers back to the previous parts of this series. Links to previous parts for the lazy: primer: plague, oil crisis, and the Great Warpart two: Weapons and Robots; part three: SPACE!

As I stated in part one, the Fallout wiki and the Fallout Bible are thorough resources for all who seek a more comprehensive explanation than what I am about to outline. In preparation for Fallout 4 this November, I present the shortened history of Fallout, Chapter four: Vault-Tec.

In short, Valut-Tec corporation worked with the government to offer refuge in case of nuclear holocaust.

This is what the public believed anyway. In reality, the years leading up to the Great War pressured every corporation to seek government contracts for the opportunity to create huge corporate wealth that is often associated with war.

In doing so, Vault-Tec offered their services as test facilities for either social or scientific experimentation that would make Josef Mengele mad with desire. 

 

We're still accepting applications for the panther experiment...

Because of the imminent nuclear threat, many vaults practiced drills for their inhabitants ad-nauseum. The result of these excessive drills caused many vaults to lock without any inhabitants (who later learned the hard way that it wasn't a drill after all). These empty vaults often housed spare water-chips and G.E.C.K.s raided by outsiders hundreds of years later. 

Most vaults planned to house around 1,000 inhabitants, although a few had special orders. Vault 112, for example, only housed 85. It experimented in cryogenics and virtual reality. Instead of serving as a "temporary" shelter until the "all clear" signal, Vault-Tec meant for 112 to last indefinitely, with the 85 inhabitants in a controlled stasis.  

Vault 77 intended to house only one man (AKA Puppet man) in an experiment on isolation, and well, what he does with crates full of puppets.

The seemingly normal vaults, such as 8 and 13, served as control groups to the other, more insidious ones. Vault 101 is another example of the false normalcy. Vault-Tec intended 101 to be sealed forever, even after other vaults received the "all-clear" signal. This experiment would test genetics and the effects of breeding among a small population over several generations.

Most vaults were to last about 900 years although some vaults were designed to fail in the radioactive fallout. Vault 87, the home of the supermutants, is one of these cases. Unaware of the FEV leaking into the vault, the overseer blindly followed orders, causing mutations almost immediately. For the next 200 years, the mutants kidnaped wastelanders to expose to the FEV to create a mutant army. This eventually ended when the FEV ran dry, forcing the mutants to migrate in search of more.

Vault 108 (my personal favorite) studied "conflict for leadership" and provided a large armory without any entertainment in a vault meant to last only 20 years. Therefore, it is the most decrepit and dirtiest vault without working computers. The story of 108 is unclear, however, the only survivors are clones of the original inhabitant, Gary!

Gary. Gary? Gary! 

Many housed social observations:

  • Vault 11 - the psychological toll of sacrificing fellow inhabitants
  • Vault 19 - study of paranoia and the segregation of dwellers based on arbitrary colors
  • Vault 68 - 999 men, 1 woman
  • Vault 42 - dim lighting
  • Vault 43 - a panther is thrown into the mix

While others housed scientific experiments:

  • Vault 22 - growing and surviving from plants grown exclusively in the vault
  • Vault 106 - the effects of hallucinogenic drugs on mass population
  • Vault 92 - study of white noise (under the guise of musical preservation) to better understand hypnosis for soldiers
  • Vault 12 - the effects of radiation leaking in from a malfunctioning door (leading to ghoul mutation)

Out of 122 vaults, the Fallout Wiki lists 31 that Vault-Tec purposely sabotages to experiment on "survivors." Even more exist outside of the canon. With their twisted agenda, it's a wonder how anyone survived.

Thanks again for checking it out! Next time, Fallout history 101 part five: Important people and places. It's more interesting than it sounds.

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Fallout history 101 part three: SPACE! https://www.gameskinny.com/jkgv4/fallout-history-101-part-three-space https://www.gameskinny.com/jkgv4/fallout-history-101-part-three-space Fri, 21 Aug 2015 09:55:38 -0400 Chelsea Senecal

In part one of this series, I briefly outlined the over-arching political influences that eventually lead to the Great War and then the Fallout universe as we know it. Part two then focused on how the military developed and used weaponry and robots that the main character encounters through their journey of the Wasteland. This time, the focal point of our Fallout history lesson is space. 

As I stated in part one, The Fallout wiki and the Fallout Bible are thorough resources for all who seek a more comprehensive explanation than what I am about to outline. In preparation for Fallout 4 this November, I present the shortened history of Fallout, Chapter three: SPACE.

Aliens and abductions

In the previous two parts, we began roughly around 1942. This time, and actually the very first notch on the Fallout timeline as a whole, is 1600 - when Toshiro Kago, a samurai, is abducted by Mothership Zeta (making him the oldest living man in the Fallout universe). 97 years later, Andrew Endicott, from Salem Village, is also abducted. This is followed by Morrison Rand in 2041 and the Lone Wanderer in 2277. 

It is believed that Mothership Zeta orbited the earth from the time that it abducted Toshiro Kago until the 2280s, when Fallout 4 takes place. It is believed that Zeta sent out recon crafts for unknown missions, thus explaining the crashed UFOs in several of the games. 

In Fallout 1, while wandering through the wastes, the Vault-Dweller is stopped to check out random strange happenings. One of the more famous "stops" is the crashed UFO. Although, the crashed UFO is not on the official timeline, the UFO reads, "Property of Area 41, please return if found." So we can estimate that the military acquired the UFO and then aliens took it back sometime before 2161.

Space travel and exploration

Moving along, Carl Bell becomes the first human in space for 12 minutes before crashing down to earth and dying. This is disputed by both China and the Soviets. In 1969, Virgo II lands on the moon - the Fallout world equivalent to Apollo 11. The capsule is the placed in the Museum of Technology found in Fallout 3. Virgo III and Valiant II land on the moon again later that year.

Virgo II in the Technology Museum 

Space travel is stagnant until 2020, when the U.S.S.A (Fallout's NASA equivalent) commissions the last manned rocket to the moon, Delta IX. The rocket eventually launches in 2054. 

Delta IX 

This launch influenced the creation of the highly successful REPCONN. The original purpose of REPCONN was to manufacture space fuel with fission energy; however, plasma energy was found to do the job. Both Poseidon Energy and RobCo tried to buy REPCONN out and RobCo eventually succeded. 

Poseidon Energy still pulled some strings through corporate espionage between Carl Rook (the head of REPCONN) and his sources inside Poseidon. 

REPCONN stole schematics from Poseidon to create the Q-35 matter modulator - a plasma rifle. The military funded its development to replace old plasma rifles that were reaching the end of their lifespan. This Q-35 is the plasma rifle found through the wastes that we know and love.

Anyway, the military repurposed the Delta IX rocket as a weapon and loaded it down with nukes, although they were never used.

Yeah, okay REPCONN.

There you have it. Thanks for checking it out! Next time, we'll look at a quick history of the weird and insidious corporation: Vault-Tec!

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Fallout history 101 part two: Weapons and Robots https://www.gameskinny.com/qqdgz/fallout-history-101-part-two-weapons-and-robots https://www.gameskinny.com/qqdgz/fallout-history-101-part-two-weapons-and-robots Thu, 20 Aug 2015 05:09:34 -0400 Chelsea Senecal

In part one of this series, I briefly outlined the over-arching political influences that eventually lead to the Great War and then the Fallout universe as we know it. While these influences are the forefront of how the Wasteland came to be, other facets also contributed to the pre-war crisis. These facets, therefore, still shape and mold the culture of Fallout’s pre-war era that the Courier, the Wanderer, or the Vault-dweller experience in the Wasteland.

As I stated in part one, The Fallout wiki and the Fallout Bible are thorough resources for all who seek a more comprehensive explanation than what I am about to outline. In preparation for Fallout 4 this November, I present the shortened history of Fallout, Chapter two: weapons and robots.

Nukes

I chose to outline weapons and robots in the second part because these two elements closely tie in to the global war machine that eventually wrecked the planet. Let’s begin in 1942. The famous Sierra Army Depot is created north of Reno. The Depot originally held weapons for the military (in preparation of the Japanese threat) although its purpose changed several times before the Great War, 135 years later. It was only a year after this when nuclear testing began in the Mojave for the Manhattan Project and three years before the test bomb actually dropped.

Then we have the timeline split from real world to Fallout lore. The military performed lots of covert testing during this time (1940s-1960s). This includes the B-29 crash into Lake Mead and the reclamation of this artifact would later become a main quest for the Boomers. However, weapons don’t really get interesting until the 1990s when the Sierra Army Depot changes its purpose for the first time.

The race for robots

The Depot’s mission did a 180 to actually rid the US of weaponry deemed harmful the country or planet. Military downsizing caused a race for the technological advancement of robots that General Atomics International eventually achieved in 2037 with Mister Handy. The Mister Handy units become fairly popular and are eventually improved upon when Robert House opens RobCo in 2042. RobCo is responsible for Liberty Prime, Pip-Boys, Protectrons, Stealth Boys and the most popular operating system (2075) in circulation until the Great War- and is perhaps why Fallout 4 did not change the look and feel of the computers.

 From the makers of Stealth Boy and security robots: The best OS in the land. 

Power Armor and AI

The rest of the 2040s and 2050s are in a constant state of global chaos between the Plague, famine, and war. In 2059, the technology race comes to a head when artificial intelligence is born from automated personality. Think the Sink in the Big-MT evolving into Yes Man or Victor. Meanwhile, automobiles become obsolete due to oil depletion and this pressures scientists to hurry the development of fusion energy.  

"Did I just say "exploiting"? That's not a very nice word!" 

Six years later, Power Armor is introduced. Although the prototypes were cumbersome and inefficient, the precedent set forth a second wave of technological advancement for military purposes. The T-45d Power Armor is perfected by 2067, in time for Operation: Anchorage. Because of Power armor development, the fusion cell is developed the next year.

Although originally meant to provide power to the US during the energy crisis, it was not enough to rebuild the static US. Because of its development, Chryslus Motors invents the fusion-powered car in 2070. 

The Great War

By 2077 (The Great War), Robert House goes into stasis and Power Armor is used on rioting US citizens. The Sierra Army Depot is evacuated, the Platinum Chip (a data storage device that contains offensive and defensive information and sought after by Robert House to protect “the strip”) is developed, and virtual reality is tested.

After the Great War, several vaults and bunkers sit empty with the exception of robots and vermin. By 2081, Sierra Army Depot’s AI, Skynet becomes self-aware. The survivors of the war spend the next two hundred years recovering and building upon the pre-war artifacts for defense and education. Among the more organized, The Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave continue developing and testing Power Armor, manufacturing robots, and eventually perfecting Liberty Prime (originally intended for Operation: Anchorage). 

"Death is a preferable alternative to Communism." 

Next time: Aliens, abductions, and space travel!

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Walking the Gangplank: Riot answers for merging lore and gameplay in Bilgewater https://www.gameskinny.com/hvlpc/walking-the-gangplank-riot-answers-for-merging-lore-and-gameplay-in-bilgewater https://www.gameskinny.com/hvlpc/walking-the-gangplank-riot-answers-for-merging-lore-and-gameplay-in-bilgewater Sat, 08 Aug 2015 17:55:56 -0400 Destini Islands

Riot Games has disabled the champion Gangplank, leading to controversy among the League of Legends community. Why did they do it? For the sake of story, it turns out.

According to George Krstic, Seb Rhee (owner of ChampUp) came up with the idea. After Gangplank was "killed" by Miss Fortune at the Bilgewater, Rhee suggested "turning off" the champion to keep the gameplay consistent with the narrative.

"But it wasn’t that easy, Krstic said, "we basically scared everyone at Riot."

No kidding.

Champion updates and changes occur all the time, but Riot disabled one to add more "umph" to an optional story that had nothing to do with a game-breaking bug. This reason isn't good enough for players who were disappointed over Gangplank's disabled state.

The Bilgewater event

"The story tells a complete arc, that introduces a new status quo rife with new opportunities. The main characters, TF and Graves, their story is basically complete at this point, at least as far as Bilgewater is concerned. But for MF and Gangplank, for those two, and for the city, the battle for Bilgewater is hardly over."
 -Scott Hawkes, Riot Games

Riot Games has many events that temporarily change the game mode options to give players more variety (and thus more reason to keep logging on). On April Fools, players had a blast with Ultra Rapid Fire (U.R.F.) mode. Other times they've had a blast in One For All mode. Most recently, players were invited to participate in the now-controversial Bilgewater event. In the Bilgewater: Burning Tides event that ends August 10th, Riot has intertwined gameplay with lore.

The new game mode, Black Market Brawlers, didn't just change game mechanics like health and mana rejuvenation, but introduced brand new items, the ability to upgrade and customize minions, and a near-complete re-haul of aesthetics. The game mode is a compliment to the lore update of certain champions, serving as an advanced interactive narrative. But Riot Games didn't just give people the option to mix up their gameplay - it took away the playability of a champion across all modes entirely.

For more insight on the Bilgewater event, continue reading here.

The reasons behind the Gangplank changes

First there was outrage and conspiracy theories on the part of fans, then there was quiet acceptance and relief across the League of Legends community when Gangplank "rose" from the dead and was playable again.

Many people thought disabling a champion was pointless, and they may be right. Surely Riot knew this, Or perhaps they thought fans would be wowed enough to not care? Some of the Riot team members had a roundtable to discuss the Gangplank decision and why it was made. Here's the Skinny from the roundtable.

1. Gangplank recieved the "biggest update since Sion" because in-game Gangplank didn't match the lore.

Developers thought the champion was too over-the-top (A.K.A the living embodiment of a stereotypical pirate in children's books) when his story paints him as a cruel mastermind.

2. Developers were considering player feedback that complained about nothing ever changing.

This is a years-old problem; champion introductions include backstory and in-game dialogue exchanges if they are on enemy teams, but that's usually it. Periodically, older champions receive visual upgrades and ability changes to keep them current, but rarely do any alliances or rivalries change. Fans had been asking for more dynamic lore, and Riot tried to answer the call.  


3. They didn't want to change Gangplank too much, but to compliment the emotional update, they added a physical change so that players can see it.

Riot removed Gangplank's arm to show the ramifications of Miss Fortune's actions when she blew up his boat and took over Bilgewater. But, because the developers didn't want to change the essence of who he was, there were many debates over things like removing his pirate's hat, and no debates on keeping his laugh and orange ability. To compliment the lore change, they replaced his poison sword with a fire one, since it's far more menacing to burn traitors' bones for fun.

In a game with 126 characters and counting, Gangplank had an average pick rate of 6% across all game modes (minus Howling Abyss, which picks characters at random) before the events of Bilgewater gave him traction. This means that for most League of Legends players, they hardly missed him in their games anyway.

Is Riot justified in a decision that admittedly had little impact on the majority, or is it the principle of it that matters?

Do you think "killing off" Gangplank really made a bang? When he was re-enabled, his play rate jumped to a whopping 50% on the first day. Speculation says yes, but reality says that players know if they play a game with him, you get a free skin.

To read the story and make your own judgement, head over to Bilgewater. Or let us know what you think in the comments below!

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7 Great Games and Series with Amazing Lore https://www.gameskinny.com/kz1dd/7-great-games-and-series-with-amazing-lore https://www.gameskinny.com/kz1dd/7-great-games-and-series-with-amazing-lore Thu, 06 Aug 2015 02:30:01 -0400 David Fisher

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And there you have it, 7 great games for those of us looking to get immersed in a whole library of lore!

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This is where I turn it to you guys: what games would you have added to this list? Do you disagree or agree with what's already here? Do you play games that have great lore even if they are lacking in gameplay? Leave your suggestions and opinions in the comments section below!

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Five Nights at Freddy's

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Those of you who have been on the internet anytime between August 8th, 2014 and the present day knew that this game would be in this list, and for good reason. As if the millions of let's play videos, and the hundreds of Five Nights at Freddy's themed music tracks weren't enough, the mad speculation and theory building behind the game's lore puts this game on top.

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Five Nights at Freddy's does everything a horror game should: scare people with a mix of suspense and jumpscares, make the protagonist relatable (i.e.: you working in a part-time job), and provide a sinister backstory behind what is otherwise nothing more than your everyday killer.

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Perhaps the best part about this game is that the lore is near invisible. Through the calls with the "Phone Guy" we learn almost nothing about why these animatronics are after our blood, the only obvious one being that we supposedly look like an endoskeleton outside of its suit. However, by looking at magazine clippings on the walls, or playing hidden minigames in the sequels, we learn that Freddy & Co. are possessed by the spirits of dead children. What's more, a security guard killed them, known to fans as the "Purple Guy".

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Sort of makes us wish our protagonist didn't take up the first security guard job that showed up, huh?

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As much as I would love to rant on about all the crazy theories surrounding this game, there's no better place to look for them than online. If you want to learn more about this game's lore, the Five Nights at Freddy's Wiki, or the Game Theorist series on the Five Nights at Freddy's lore are great places to start.

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The Elder Scrolls Series

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The Elder Scrolls is the Lord of the Rings of the gaming world. With 6 games under its belt, and almost 10 expansion packs shared among them, The Elder Scrolls is perhaps one of the largest video games in terms of world building.

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Skyrim alone has some of the most interesting lore in its two main quests: the battle between man and dragons, and the battle between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks.

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With the battle between man and dragon you have an entire political background ranging from the dominance of man by dragon, and the eventual uprising with the aid of the Dragonborn. Then you have the link between The Blades - a group who acted as royal guards in Oblivion - and an ancient society of dragon slayers.

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Meanwhile, with the Stormcloaks and the Imperials you learn a lot about the political landscape of Cyrodil. Gone are our impressions of the Imperial Legion being this team of "good guys", and in comes the image of the Legion being a bunch of oppressive power mongers. The flipside, however, is that the Stormcloaks are a bunch of radical racists who want nothing more than to liberate Skyrim of anyone who is not of nordic descent.

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If that's not enough for you, how about you take a look at the hundreds of books in the Elder Scrolls series? I'm not talking about physical books, I'm talking about in-game texts. These books range from harlequin romance and erotica, to holy texts and scientific knowledge of the world. For example, did you know that Nirn - the name of the world in The Elder Scrolls - is a geocentric planet? That means that the sun and the stars orbit the planet. On top of that, night is not a result of the lack of sun, but rather the blackness is the plain of Oblivion itself blocking out the heavens. Cool, huh?

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Like Majora's MaskThe Elder Scrolls has also cultivated its own groups of theorists who have argued everything from who the true gods are, to whether or not the "Dragonborn" is the same person in a different body each time.

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For its impossibly complex backstory and sizable collection of lore, as well as its ability to spark the minds of theorists, The Elder Scrolls series could possibly take the spot of being the greatest game for lore in history.

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Pokemon

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Some readers might be confused as to why Pokemon made this list, but there is method to my madness.

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Let's start with the basics: Pokemon literally gives you a book of lore at the very start of the game. In fact, your job as a Pokemon Trainer is to acquire more lore, so that the professor of lore can have more lore to share with other professors who are discovering lore. Is that too much of a mouthful? Well let's simplify it: your Pokedex is the guide to the Pokemon universe.

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That's right. Your job this entire time as a Pokemon Trainer was to do exactly what Bioshock was doing with its audio books: gather lore. The Pokedex is perhaps one of the most interesting lore books in the history of gaming in that it provides information on every single creature you capture, and each installment of the series provides players with something new. What is even more interesting, however, is that the Pokedex - particularly in the older titles - has some very dark secrets about Pokemon.

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For example: did you know that Duskull gets kicks out of watching children cry? Or how about that Yveltal pretty much kills everyone the second it dies? How about that the Pokemon world itself is actually Earth? We can find this out through Delibird's Pokedex entry where it tells us that it helps people climb Mount Everest!

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A lot of backstory is told through NPCs and books as well. Through the lore we can discover that our rival in the 2nd generation of Pokemon was actually the son of the Team Rocket Leader, Giovanni. We also learn in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire that the 1st through 3rd generations of Pokemon take place in an alternate universe, explaining the reason why the remakes exist. The amount of stashed away world lore combined with the Pokedex makes the Pokemon series' world seem deceivingly simple.

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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

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While most of its lore isn't exactly "hidden" per se, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask does a good job of sparking speculation in its players. The reason? Even by fantasy standards, Majora's Mask is a mindbend that makes no coherent sense without looking at the game through a literary lens.

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Take for example the "Link is Dead" theory. Just like the name implies, the "Link is Dead" theory surrounds the possibility that Majora's Mask is actually a game about a dead Link. After venturing into the Lost Woods without a fairy, Link is turned into a Stalfos, for this is the fate of all Hylians who venture through its labyrinth. This theory has been supported from various fronts, ranging from Ocarina of Time's Link being the Hero's Spirit from Twilight Princess, to the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief symbolized by each region, to even the reused character models that are prevalent throughout the game.

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Another theory that is popular with Majora's Mask surrounds the origins of the mask itself. Some theorists have considered the possibility that Termina is not a separate world, but rather a form of the Twilight Realm. According to this theory, Majora's Mask may have been created by the Twili before their banishment to the Twilight Realm.

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The theories aside, Majora's Mask also hides a lot of its lore in the game itself. For example, due to the game's constant revolving around three days, Majora's Mask ensures that players cannot discover all the lore in one playthrough. By traveling to different areas at different times of day we can learn everything from the results of Anju and Kafei's love, to Romani being put into a stupor by Cremia during their final hours so she will not feel the pain. The game's dark undertones cast a shadow over many of its themes and backstory, forcing players to constantly reset the clock to find out more.

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Blizzard Entertainment Universes

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Blizzard is an interesting company when it comes to lore. While each universe has its distinct genre, their worlds are carefully thought out. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Blizzard was the pioneer of commercial fantasy and sci-fi in video games when it comes to lore.

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Take for example World of Warcraft. Originally starting as an RTS game, Warcraft has managed to captivate the masses with bundles upon bundles of deep lore. Almost every single character you meet in the RTS or MMO games have relationships to at least two other characters, and those characters can have even further relationships to others. With enough perseverance one could possibly link a random NPC to the Lich King. Towns and kingdoms have rich backstories as well, with some dating back to the earliest games in the series.

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Starcraft similarly has great backstory behind its characters, and its planets. Everything has a purpose, and it is a prime example of mythopoeia gone wild. Even units have their backstories, and while the backstory might not be about Joe Doe doing this or that, every unit has a purpose for its existence from the Zergling to the Terran Goliath.

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Diablo has also made sure that each game fits in with the last installment, sometimes retconning details such as the Warrior from the first game being the Dark Wanderer from Diablo II. Similar to Warcraft's web of characters, the Dark Wanderer can be linked to King Leoric, who can be linked to Diablo and so on.

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All of these games have spawned entire wikis filled with hundreds of entries, the likes of which take days to read through. With Heroes of the Storm acting as a non-canon mash-up of all Blizzard heroes, I would not be at all surprised if somebody found a way to prove the game is actually canonical. Maybe they could start with Diablo in Starcraft II, Tauren Marines, or the Hydralisk found in Warcraft III?

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Metroid Prime Trilogy

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Those who have read my Metroid Prime Rewind Review will know that Metroid Prime is great for lore. Similar to Bioshock, Metroid Prime feeds lore to players through the use of the Scan Visor. This allows players to pretty much learn anything they could possibly want to know about anything they see.

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What does this animal do to survive? Scanning...

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How does this plant live in magma? Scanning...

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How much health does this energy capsule heal? Scanning...

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I wish I was exaggerating, but Metroid Prime pretty much lets you scan everything. The best part is that Retro Studios put a serious effort into explaining the existence of absolutely everything in the game, something that most Metroid games leave up to the player.

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Furthermore, the scans also allow players get information on the planets themselves. By scanning dead aliens (or humans) as well as scriptures and so on, Samus has access to the entire backstory of each game - sometimes including info from past titles.

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Bioshock Series

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Bioshock has some interesting lore... for those who are out to look for it. While the lore in this game isn't particularly "hidden", it does require you to look for it in the form of audio diaries. What is hidden, however, is the backstory of Rapture and Columbia. Everything from the fall of Rapture, to the development of vigors and plasmids are all revealed through these audio diaries. This is simply something that could not be done without awkward plug-ins to the main story.

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Lore... Lore is what makes an interesting story into a great one. Lore is what makes fanboys out of players. Lore is what builds a video game's world into something more than a button masher. Lore is what compels players to dig deeper into a game to find out new information that a casual playthrough will not reveal. If you have yet to guess it, lore is what we will be looking at today.

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These seven games may not be the only games with great storylines; however, these games had the ambition to do more than just present us with a face-value story. They are games that have given us interesting stories, or maybe just interesting gameplay, but have also snuck in some interesting little factoids about the game's world that players have to rather unlock or search for in order to learn.

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Like the great mythopoetic authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien or C. S. Lewis, these games have created immersive worlds that are interesting on the surface, and yet they still have much more to present for the ambitious Easter Egg hunter or completionist.

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Without further ado, let's take a look at these 7 great games with impressive worlds fueled by lore!

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