Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis Retires From Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses today issued the announcement that EG and esports veteran Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis is retiring from the player’s hot seat. He is, however, remaining with EG as an active coach for future EG Dota2 lineups.

His retirement is effective immediately, with Fear citing his personal health as a priority. In a brief statement on EG’s website, he recognizes his accomplishments and gushes about EG and Dota. “I still have a passion for Dota and for competing,” Fear begins, “but the long term health of my arm has to come first.”

clinton-fear-loomis-eg-dota2

The sudden removal of heavy-hitters like Fear is sure to make a splash. Teammates and many redditors who Bleed Blue are bummed yet supportive. Teammate PPD said this of Fear: “Fear helped me reach my potential, and I believe he will continue to do that for players in the years to come.” Of his prospective coaching abilities redditor /u/prolepatriot thinks, “considering how much ppd and others on EG have praised fear for being a calming presence as well as helping with the drafts…i expect fear to be one of the best coaches in the scene.”

With an empty chair now in the lineup EG plans to announce its new Dota2 roster tomorrow.

Endless Legend: Tempest DLC Details are Trickling In

Amplitude Studios is in a great place right now. Endless Legend continues to have a devout following. Dungeons of the Endless pounced upon the masses out of nowhere and was warmly received. Sega recently added Amplitude to their publishing roster. Details about Endless Space 2 continue to tantalize even the most innocent of bystanders. And, above all, their new Games2Gether platform encourages gamer involvement in the development of the studio’s future titles.

Dadgum.

Amplitude’s attention to Endless Legend specifically illustrates the work ethic this developer practices. Each of the game’s three major DLCs introduces a new faction or addition that alters the player’s way of 4X-ing his way to victory.

Endless Legend Tempest Logo

Endless Legend: Tempest is the latest DLC and is currently in the process of initiating a closed beta. Details continue to trickle out from the devs, including this most recent post on the site’s forums. And what we see here looks so incredibly promising and so incredibly fun. Some of the highlights include:

  • The oceans, where once they were just obstacles to overcome, will become alive with activity.
  • The “Morgawr” faction will not only make the thrive on water but will need to manipulate minor factions on land if they want to make any headway there. (This reminds me of how The Cultists operate.)
  • Sea Fortresses are buildings that land-based factions can sack in order to gain an advantage over the seas as well as the Morgawr.
  • Naval Battles will be a completely different beast compared to land battles. This means new naval units! This means embarked units are hella vulnerable. This means any naval endeavor is shaping up to be a ‘high risk, high reward’ venture.
  • Sea Weather! Details are a little fuzzy here, but Amplitude intends to make weather enough of a factor that it will include its very own mapmode! This is more than just the Winter/not-Winter cycle that is already in place. We’re talking wind strength and direction. Maybe lighting storms. Maybe fog banks. We’ll have to keep a keen eye on this.

There is no set release date for Tempest yet. But, as mentioned above, there may still be an opportunity to participate in the closed beta. Whatever your prerogative, Endless Legend and its existing content is available on Steam and GMG.

From the Ground Up: Four Recent, Upcoming PC Strategy DLCs

As unfavorable as the rest of the world has viewed Anno Domini 2016, fans of PC strategy games certainly have reason to rejoice. The bounty of quality new releases and DLC/expansions continues to be harvested – even now, well into the second half of the year and showing no signs of abatement.

For every quality base game release, additional content is sure to follow. Such is the business model nowadays, of which I do not bemoan. Even for a few select games released prior to this year, developers are continuing to support and add content. And, when I say ‘content’ I do not refer to cosmetic packs or exclusive bonus maps.

Listed below are some of the current and more hefty DLCs, and details about their place within the greater fabric of its franchise.

Crusader Kings II: The Reaper’s Due (Paradox Development Studio)

Love them or hate them for it Paradox are unrepentant releasers of DLCs. Their DLCs even have DLCs.

Crusader Kings II, now well into its fourth year, has a staggering list of content to consider. Naysayers will spat at this, citing abuse of their gamer base. The gamer base who knows better sees each expansion as just that – one that expands the medieval playing field and adds relevant mechanics to that particular location. As a brief overview of which DLC does what check out this fantastic Crusader Kings II DLC infographic by @AsaTJ

A Plague Rages in Crusader Kings II

A Plague Rages in Crusader Kings II

The Reaper’s Due puts Eurasia at risk, infesting from the inside out. Plagues are already possible in provinces but this addon handles the sickness like a medieval epidemic rather than an isolated case of illness. To combat this outbreak a new courtier position is available; Physicians are hired in to aid in containment and eradication – should you, as ruler, choose such an approach for your population. And you too, as ruler, are not exempt from the reaper’s due. Indeed, you must decide what to do with yourself while the plague rages, of which alters your ability and methods of ruling.

Crusader Kings II: The Reaper’s Due is available now for $9.99 on Steam

Order of Battle: Winter War (The Aristocrats)

Order of Battle takes an almost episodic approach to playing WWII. The base game, free of cost and released in April of last year, and the bundle of paid expansions released throughout this year, each visit a specific simulation of a campaign of the great war. All are turn-based hexes and utilize specific units, weapons and stats particular to its respective DLC.

Winter is a whole different battlefield

Winter is a whole different battlefield

The most recent DLC is Order of Battle: Winter War. This one is thusfar unique in the lineup. A majority of the four other addons are focused on the pacific theater. Winter War moves its attention far inland and northward towards the Russian/Finnish borders. The primary draw here is to play as the Finns as they try to protect their lands from waves after waves of Russian military who seek nothing more than conquest and protection for their great western cities. International politics, landscape and ball-shriveling winter weather all play a role in how you design and implement your strategies.

Order of Battle: Winter War is available now for $14.99 on Steam.

Offworld Trading Company – The Ceres Initiative DLC (Mohawk Games)

Offworld Trading Company incubated in early access for a few years and was officially launched in late April of this year. It is unique amongst the lot of strategy games in that the focus is economic superiority instead of military – You buy your enemies out for chump change instead of stomping them into gore soup. What makes this premise even more interesting is that all this takes place during early Mars colonization efforts. You must set your sights to the heavens if you are to build yourself a true offworld trading company.

The Ceres Asteroid is your new home.

The Ceres Asteroid is your new home.

… And it just so happens that The Ceres Initiative DLC takes a step in that direction. Indeed. It moves your base of operations off of the martian surface over onto Ceres, the largest asteroid in the belt just beyond Mars. Here, the core concept remains except now the resources are more scant and will even deplete as you mine them. Luckily, as in the base game, there are questionably ethical work-arounds in overcoming the challenges at hand. It’ll be interesting to see how the co-op can work if one player is on Ceres while the other remains on Mars. Cool stuff.

Offworld Trading Company – The Ceres Initiative DLC is available for a very humble asking price of $4.99 on Steam.

Endless Legend: Tempest (AMPLITUDE Studios)

AMPLITUDE Studios is on a roll. They received a surge of media facetime recently when Sega added them to their publishing roster, joining the likes of other strategy game developers like Creative Assembly and Relic.

What this means for Endless Legend could mean divers things. Perhaps we shall see what Sega’s publishing power can accomplish for the newest DLC of the divisive strategy franchise. Endless Legend: Tempest will be entering closed beta on September 1. AMPLITUDE is holding a closed beta contest.

The seas will be yours to control.

The seas will be yours to control.

Tempest will develop EL’s homeworld of Auriga even more, promising to make the planet’s seas a more viable homebase instead of just an obstacle that must be overcome in order to reach more land. The Morgawr is a major faction that will be introduced in this DLC. This aquatic race will be able to alter the tides and weather of Auriga, thus making them another strong factional contender for the control of the planet.

I love how, with each expansion, Auriga, the mother planet, is becoming more a tool and less of a passive theater upon which EL’s factions faceoff. This fits in with the lores very nicely.

And that is what I love about quality DLC for strategy games: They offer a new vantage and new avenues to accomplish objectives within the same grand space. Obviously, the above four titles are not the summation of all expansions for 2016, but it is just enough to keep us busily digging deeper and deeper.

TI6, EHOME vs. EG: How EHOME Faltered, EG Staged a Comeback

In what can confidently be declared as one of the greatest matches of DOTA2 in the history of everything ever, game 1 of the EHOME vs. Evil Geniuses went to EG, having bided their time, staged a clutched throne rush and producing a thrilling last minute comeback. The fallout of the nerve-wrecking 75 minutes match witnessed EG moving on and EHOME dropping to the lower bracket.

Dagon

EHOME had all of the radiant T1 and T2 towers down by the 20-minute mark. They were ahead in farm, in kills, in XP. IceIceIce as Timbersaw kept the lanes pushed out and Old eLeVen as Beastmaster provided vision all over the radiant side of the river. EG were hesitant to do anything; PPD was picked off nearly any time he happened to leave base. All the while old chicken continued his free reign in the enemy jungle for farm and items for his Juggernaut. EHOME must have taken Roshan at least four times. Fenrir had a stash of that sweet, stinky cheese in his inventory.

There came a point where an EHOME victory was all but certain. So, what the devil happened? Why was Key Arena filled with thousands of EG fans ejaculating “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” Prompting PC Gamer’s Chris Thursten to Tweet:

Two factors led to EG’s victory: 1) Their ability to read the situation, and 2) EHOME’s mishandling of an early advantage.

Put simply — and as nicely and professionally as possible — EHOME’s early advantage went to their heads. Contrary to the more controlled and paced play style they generally favor, it seemed that this early aggro gave them a little too much confidence. To be fair, this dominance was rightfully earned; EG did not give this to them. EHOME just played smart…

… that is, until they started sieging radiant high ground. Old chicken specifically was overextending himself too often. Iceiceice seemed to forget that the DOTA2 user interface has a map in the lower corner, often getting ganked because of zero (0) awareness. The supports did the best they could to maintain dominance of the radiant side, but EHOME’s cores started getting too cocky and thus team composition started breaking apart.

Dagon

EG saw this. Even though they had less vision, they read how EHOME was behaving when besieging and capitalized on this. Using PPD as Ancient Apparition as bait, EG would stage counter ganks, relying on the head-strong EHOME cores to come in for the kill. With those threats removed Universe would then drop some damn effective chronospheres while SumaiL dropped the stars on remaining the remaining EHOME roster.

And so it went for nearly another 60 minutes. EG paced themselves, resetting fights and reacting to EHOME tactics. Iceiceice kept the lanes pushed. Juggernaut kept farming. Roshan was highly contested. Buybacks were commonplace. But it seemed with each passing minute EG somehow kept gaining ground back, and EHOME was consistently underestimating their opponents’ draft.

There came a point after the 60-minute mark when EG had to get creative and act fast. Iceiceice was become too tanky for rightclicks and old chicken’s six slots made it hard for Universe to trade punches with him. What to do… What to do…

THIS!

THIS!

SumaiL was the first to purchase a dagon. Then Zai. By the time they both had a level 5 dagon, PPD starting getting in on it. Evil Geniuses were having themselves a laser party. And that party came a’knockin on the dire’s front door.

Yes! EG chrono’d, brawled, and zapped their way back across the map, dodging golems and saw blades. They rushed mid, took out the barracks. In the last few minutes, both teams fought dirty right there in front of the dire ancient. Kills were had. Buybacks were bought. Both teams sent their carries on a Hail Mary mission to the opposing side, and the game quickly turned into a base race. EHOME had siege creeps flooding the radiant base.

The clutch moment was when we got the notification that Universe was now equipped with a Divine Rapier, giving him the edge in the race. He activated his Boots of Travel, plopped right in front of the dire ancient and demolished that sucker before EHOME had time to preemptively declare ‘gg’.

Commentators were speechless. The crowd was bezerk. I still can’t even. I think all the the Dota community still can’t even.

The fallout of that spectacular 75-minute match carried over into game 2 where EHOME was clearly deflated and tilted. In a rather unspectacular match, EG was the victor mere minutes before the 40-minute mark.

And this is only the semi-finals.

Props to both teams for giving us so damn good Dota.

The International 6, Day Three: Evil Geniuses Vs. EHOME

The schedule for The International tonight is quite the humdinger. This stage of the tournament is when the games get scrappy, dirty, increased in variance and tremendously fun to watch. Four teams will move on, two teams will be shown the door – and still quite a handsome consolation prize.

The tournament will open with the lower bracket matchups which consists of Alliance vs. Fnatic, and Newbee vs. Liquid. Alliance will most certainly wallop Fnatic. And, regardless of who emerges this victor between Newbee vs. Liquid, that team will most certainly wallop Alliance tomorrow.

After the deciding lower bracket match of who exactly is going to wallop Alliance tomorrow, we’ll move on to the upper bracket where the first matchup is between MVP Phoenix vs. Wings. Both teams have had a rather even-keel climb, winning some, losing some. MVP specifically have stuck to generally tried-and-true drafts, with QO performing competently in position 1 as predominantly either Juggernaut or Phantom Assassin.

The real battle tonight — the one I am already surging for and hate that I have to wait until the very end — is EHOME vs. Evil Geniuses. This one… hooo baby. This is going to be some serious Dota.

DOTA 2 ESPORTS TEAM EHOME

From the very beginning of TI6, EHOME has been solid. Starting as a wild card, they scrapped and fought their way into the upper bracket where they currently sit, pitted against EG. As a team, as a business entity, they aren’t nearly as conspicuous as EG. This unassuming presence also translates into their playstyle. They draft and play in an unorthodox way that, while may not be the most bombastic spectating experience, still yields results. They are all about the slow burn, flexibility, making versatile heroes do tremendous things.

This is why I love them. They skirt around the meta and thusly totally befuddles their opponents. Their position 4 is just as effective as their position 1. Take, for example, yesterday’s second match against Alliance. Team leader iceiceice as Sven seemed almost like a position 1 decoy alongside Fenrir as Shadow Deon, while old chicken as Mirana, old eLeVeN as Sand King, and old LaNm as Elder Titan constantly rotated lanes, chained stunned for miles, and took objectives with the ease and grace of a flock of swans. old LaNm on ET was especially fantastic, totally the unsung player for that match.

Evil Geniuses EG SumaiL DOTA2

Evil Geniuses on the other hand has had a successful, albeit rocky, series of engagements whose outcomes have placed them where they are now. The champions of TI5 seemed a little rattled from the group stage but still readily pounced Newbee last night.

What makes me most nervous for EHOME in this matchup is SumaiL. A versatile player, SumaiL alone could bleed EHOME dry. Where EHOME dodge the meta with unusual tactics, SumaiL can potentially be EG’s tip of the spear; all he needs is one crack in EHOMEs armor and the damage will be deep and irreversible.

If SumaiL goes with a Storm Spirit or Huskar pick I will be sweating bullets for EHOME. If he goes for position 3 or lower, then I’m going to pop some popcorn and watch these yankees go down.

EHOME vs. EG — East vs. West — Champions vs. Underdogs

GonBGud

Huge Discount on AGEOD Games For a Limited Time

Drop whatever insignificant, meddling activity you are doing right now and head over to Bundle Stars. Right now the Grand Master Bundle is offering a discount so stupefyingly deep that your head may just cave in from the pressure.

The bundle contains nearly all AGEOD games that are currently available. It is broken up into a 3-tier system.

Tier 1 is a mere $2.49 and hosts the Roman map sprawler Alea Jacta Est and its bevy of DLC. We skip ahead a few centuries and arrive to Pride of Nations as well as its four DLCs. Pride of Nations has received lukewarm Steam user reviews but still promises to utilize some interesting mechanics.

Tier 2 will set you back $4.99. This includes the fan favorite Civil War II and its expansion Civil War II: The Bloody Road South DLC. The internal strife continues in the one-off Revolution Under Siege Gold, which side of the Soviets you choose is up to you. Tier 2 finishes off with Rise of Prussia Gold, which is an all-in-one edition with the game’s expansions already included.

Tier 3 is a modest bump in price up to $6.99. This tier includes the games in the tiers below it as well as the WWI romp To End All Wars and its expansion To End All Wars – Breaking the Deadlock DLC. Topping off all this goodness is the recent release of Thirty Years’ War.

Added up, the total price for all these games is just a pinch over $300. Some simple computation reveals that, should you pony up and go for Tier 3 – which you might as well, and farking should, do – the savings here are somewhere in the, oh, 97%-ish area.

Man, even if historical strategy games aren’t your jam, this bundle is still worthy of serious consideration. I, for one, am all over this. I am ready for consistent historical strategy games that are made by a someplace other than Paradox Development. And the epochal coverage available in the Grand Master Bundle is more than I even know what to do with, but I’ll certainly lose sleep trying.

The Grand Master Bundle ends in eight days. But that hardly matters because you nabbed it before even finishing this post.

Ggwp.

DDoS Attack on Blizzard’s Battle.net Servers Ended

As of 10:30 pm EST, Blizzard has successfully nullified the most recent DDoS attack on the battle.net servers.

Blizzard called the doctor, and the doctor said...

Blizzard called the doctor, and the doctor said…

For the bulk of the day today the blizzard forums were flooded with gamers who were reporting slow connections speeds and/or horrendous latency problems. Blizzard Customer Support reported that the cause was indeed a DDoS attack. A group by the name of @poodlecorp is claiming responsibility for the attack.

Speculation abounds, for sure, some saying this is a reaction to Blizzard banning a massive number of Overwatch users earlier this week.

No matter. Blizzard customer support just tweeted the following:

The DDoS attacks from earlier have ended and players can now log into BattleNet. We are investigating reports of World Server Down in WoW

– BlizzardCS (@BlizzardCS)

Game on!

Thea: The Awakening ‘demo’ now available

It is with utmost pleasure and anticipation that I would like to announce that there is now available a demo for MuHa Games’s Thea: The Awakening.

But, this is not just a demo in the traditional sense. This is not just a glop of the first several hours of gameplay which is then abruptly ended by the game sending you to the Steam store page. In a fantastic gesture of confidence MuHa Games has made the entire game available for a trial run, albeit the Early Access version from last fall. But, even in that, even in its nascent stages, Thea was, and continues to be, something really special.

Thealogo

It is a hard game to describe without going into details because it does not conform to any archetype. To say it is a 4x would be wildly misleading, for there is no expanding or exploitation. To say it is a grand strategy would be erroneous because in-game events can suddenly bring your campaign to a bloody, and sometimes unfair, ending. And yet, to call it a Roguelike would only hold true in that any progress made in a campaign – any XP – however piddly in amount, is accumulated to help in unlocking and leveling up new overlords to play as in subsequent playthroughs.

To say it is a tactical game can likewise be misleading because all encounters – whichever of the half dozen types one may be – are not handled in a traditional point-and-click hex arena but rather in an innovative and fun table-top card game setting.

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The survival aspect of Thea is my favorite part of the game. The hunting and gathering, the resource management, the personnel management, the crafting – it is an integral part of gameplay and not just utility, another thing you have to handle and worry about. The crafting, especially, is more than just lumber + iron = sword. All the basic resources have several derivatives with values that can have tremendously different effects on the attributes of what is being crafted. These items have very real and functional numbers that can aid in gathering more resources or talking your way out of an encounter or attracting different types of populace to your single village. The choices made in crafting and equipping matter, and…

… And there I’ve done it; I’ve gone into details. #sorrynotsorry

Thea: The Awakening is just one of those games that is best learnt by playing because it is the sum of so many parts. It is a brave endeavor. And the love that MuHa has shown for it – the growth and free DLCs, updates and features – is only making the game that much greater.

Even if the ‘demo’ is the entire game in its Early Access state, it is still but a tantalizing taste to what MuHa has done to it since official release, and, no doubt, what they have in store.

The demo is available on the game’s Steam page.

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Awesome News is Awesome: Hand of Fate 2 is Happening

Gaming news has not really been part of the regularly scheduled programming here at ButtonMashing – or, for that matter, neither has regularly scheduled programming.

But this news is too great to pass up.

Defiant Development recently announced the existence of Hand of Fate 2, sequel to their 2015 deckbuilding-RPGish-brawler hybrid. It is projected to be released around this time next year. Details are scarce at this point, but what is known sounds very, very promising.

Destructoid speaks of things like new weapon types, an improved success-fail card draw sequence, new opportunities and limitations in deck building, companion warriors.

Kotaku was privy to a few more juicy details. Here we read about a greater emphasis in varied deck building, as opposed to min-maxing your way to the top. Defiant plans to address the brawl sequences hoping to make them far less buttonmashy as the first game’s – as they, admittedly, can tend to be. Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, in speaking of game director Morgan Jaffit, explains: “The impression Jaffit gave about the game is one of improvement rather than reinvention.”

Further investigation shows that Defiant are focused on the right things.

Indeed. Both of the above links, in varying degree, touch upon an improvement that I am most excited for. As a primer to this, I draw your attention to the trailer below.

Yes. The Dealer is back from the abyss from whence you’ve banished him. Half a scared face is evidence of his determination – “… to this mortal realm,” he spats. The table has changed as has the setting. Whereas before, the two of you sat inside a grand hall, light failing to reach the distances of the corridors that surround the table. Now, the setting is a little more cozy, perhaps as humble re-start to the dealer’s efforts of flaunting life & death. I mused in a previous post about the dealer’s steely eyes looking into mine, how mine compared to the others who have sat in this player’s chair. Now, it seems the player may have the upperhand; we may gaze into his eyes and see glares of defeat, of spite, of vengeance.

Hand of Fate’s presentation is remarkable. The setting. The dealer. The music. It is a mysterious place I loved being inside. The themes of games, life, death, and power permeate in nearly everything you do, punctuated by the dealer’s own quips and criticisms – if he is not directly dealing you cards or handing off tokens, he is in the shadows spectating your every move. Hand of Fate operates on different planes of reference, some more obvious than others, all of which may or may not cycle through each other. There is an undeniable presence of mysticism. And then there are the fundamental questions such as: Who exactly is this dealer? What was that vortex that swallowed him up at the end game? Why does he spite this mortal realm so? Is he a slave to it or the fabricator? Or both? What exactly is at stake?

Who is the dealer? What is that vortex? And where is the Vortex leading to?

Who is the dealer? What is that vortex? And where is the Vortex leading to?

Plus, I would be absolutely remiss if I do not mention the fantastic compositions of Jeff van Dyck. The music is a primary element to the setting of Hand of Fate. Tracks can elicit sensations of contemplation, thoughtfulness, foreboding, wonder, determination. The music works in fluid harmony with the rest of the game, enhancing the situation through atmosphere or a driving tempo, and never overextends itself.

All these things considered, the game is a compelling experience in that there could be so much more under the surface, in the shadows, in the words left unspoken..

… Or not.

And that uncertainty is, at least in my head, utterly intoxicating.

Unfortunately, the journey that the player takes in Hand of Fate does little for the game’s setting. Though there are distinct storylines buried in the cards, each with its own affects and rewards, there is a definite lack of cohesion between these stories and the one-off situations that may be drawn.

The improvement mentioned, in varying degrees, in the Kotaku and Destructoid links that has me most excited is the proposal of quests and storylines. There seems to be planned a more call-and-response approach to the player’s actions and decisions, instead of the player just hopping from one downturned card to another. Totilo explains, “… Defiant Development can tie the different possible outcomes of those battles to different branches of a mission.”

The cards of Hand of Fate 2 may have that longed-for cohesiveness in line with the mysteries of the game’s tiered setting. Each card may a vignette that could either answer some of these essential questions listed above, or, more preferably, enlarge the cloud of mystery – to answer a question with a question.

I could very well be flying off the rails with all this pondering. Again, as stated above, there could be more to this mystical setting or there could very well be not. But, Jaffit explained something to Kotaku that I find tremendous comfort in. When speaking of intended improvements, Jaffit gives an example whose implications tell me that Defiant’s thinking is on the right level.

Some of Jaffit’s ideas for changes are charmingly specific. It bugged him, for example, that players of the first game could buy cards in the stores that they could encounter from turning over a shop card while playing through a deck. “The shop system is wrong,” he said, “not that anyone has called on it.” Since the game showed the player’s character walking into the shop, players were essentially seeing something from the card level come to virtual life, as they did the cards that spawned real-time battles. By that logic, he lamented, there shouldn’t be cards within the shops. There should be rendered items that the cards would have represented. “It’s the wrong philosophical layer of abstraction and it actually bugs the crap out of me.” It sounds like he’s going to address that with his team in the sequel.

This is not a ‘charmingly’ specific attention to detail. I perceive much more gravitas to this example than it being merely charming. It shows that Defiant see the necessity of creating a multi-layered setting with stronger, more convincing continuity. And I can only hope that this line of thought extends out to the quests and storylines.

Xbox One: What I think

So I, with half the internet, watched this afternoon’s Microsoft Xbox ONEne Reveal. (Is it “ONE” or “One”?). Here are a few thoughts that I think pretty much sums up a lot of the feeling I got watching Twitter and chatting with fellow blogger James during the event.

  • Games: Where were they? This whole EA partnership makes me feel icky and the lack of NCAA among the four “Pillars” of games was disappointing. I would bet real American Dollars that NCAA games sell better than both UFC games and NBA games (but of course couldn’t touch FIFA or Madden). I could take or leave Call of Duty: Ghosts. The feed I was watching wasn’t in HD, so I didn’t get the full effect of the compare and contrast to MW3 and MW:G, so maybe that could have made an impact, but EA and COD did not get me excited about playing games on the Xbox One.

    I will play games on this machine, right?

  • Details: Sure, they had a few technical details (processor speed, RAM) but what about the harddrive? The optical drive? I know it has been reported elsewhere that the new Xbox would have a Bluray drive, but I would really like to have that confirmed.
  • That controller: It’s a thing of beauty.

Xbox One Controller

  • The other stuff: The TV/Cable/DVR integration is really, really slick. I know a lot of people poo-poohed it, but I think that if it seamlessly, it’s going to be awesome.
  • The Kinect 2: The new Kinect has promise. Clearly there is potential there. If nothing else, telling the Xbox to turn on and it recognizes me and logs me in, that is pretty slick.

So, am I getting one? Probably. Most likely. For a host of reasons (brand loyalty, the Halos, the achievements). But is it possible I’ll opt for the Playstation 4 this generation? It’s a possibility. A slim one, but a possibility nonetheless.

Will you be getting one?