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George Clooney

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  1. New expansion announcement today, and the culmination of this years sets is (predictably) Alliance vs Horde themed with Fractured in Alterac Valley, based on one of the original battlegrounds in WoW. New features are a new keyword - honourable kill. If you deal the exact amount to kill an enemy, then you get an effect happen. Example shown was a mage spell that deals 2 damage and if it honourably kills, reduces the cost of the cards in your hand by 1 mana. There are also “objective” cards, which are spells that have an effect that lasts 3 turns. Examples were a rogue spell where for 3 turns your deathrattles trigger twice, and a paladin spell that buffs any minions summoned for 3 turns by +2/+2. Lastly, as the big payoff to the mercenaries stories that have run this year, each one is getting a class hero card as well. They’ve shown 2 so far. Guff is 5 mana and sets your max mana crystals to 20, gains you a mana crystal and draws a card. Your hero power becomes choose 1 - draw a card or gain a mana Crystal. Cariel is 7 mana, deals 2 damage to all enemies when played, and equips a 2/5 weapon that doesn’t lose durability and halves any damage you take. Hero power buffs a random minion in your hand by +4/+4. So to start positively, I really like the continuity this year with the heroes, and how they’ve scattered more storytelling in the game. Even the quest lines had a lot of flavour or nods to larger stories in them, and some of them have been good. And the book of mercenaries stories have been good, especially the Roane sisters which gets very dark in places. However, the meta is the worst I’ve known it, plagued by popular decks that swarm all ranks of standard and are super unfun to play against. Each time there would be about 3 decks that made up 90% of your games that either were super non-interactive or easily set up really unfair feeling plays that you couldn’t counter. The announcement of hero cards does not fill me with hope that this will be better as I can see it being that at least a few have op effects that do something that makes them bs to play against. We’ll see. it arrives in 3 weeks, in the meantime you can pick a legendary for each side in some event. The side that wins the most during the event gets a diamond version of it.
  2. Yeah chatterbox is easily the best thing on the radio in 3 (though I’d say soundtrack wise it’s the weakest of the series). I used to love just driving around listening to it, and some of the sketches there are genuinely really funny. I reckon it’s one of the things that helped build such a grounded feeling world In game, and it’s the reason why in any new game the first thing I do is switch the radio to the talk stations when I get in a car. Ive listened to it recently as well, it’s not aged too badly really and there isn’t much that sticks out as particularly inappropriate now. That honour goes to San Andreas which as a few segments that certainly push it a bit. I think chatterbox still may be the most entertaining of the talk radio stations, though I do like Integrity 2.0 from IV, which funnily enough is Lazlow again in Liberty City but this time doing a talk show on the streets himself because radio stations won’t hire him. IVs other 2 were ok, but it’s then it leans quite a lot into “we make fun of both sides equally” by having a liberal based, and a conservative type station, which they continued in V (and they split the tv stations similarly). I like most of 5s stations too, especially the ones on Blaine County Radio like Bless Your Heart. I think Vice City’s stations are the worst, as they’re just pretty forgettable.
  3. Someone paid nearly half a million dollars for the “overly attached girlfriend” NFT. I can’t see an industry that shamelessly monetizes things as they do already using NFTs in any way that could benefit the player and make the experience better. I haven’t seen a single suggestion that benefits players that couldn’t be done with current technology if they really wanted to. The article linked by Wiper does a really good job of laying down the multitude of issues with the positives that people are coming up with and why they don’t suddenly become possible thanks the NFTs. Games companies could do them now if they wanted to. Instead what we’re likely to get is NFT collections being released alongside the game that give you cosmetics. This’ll be on top of the normal preorder/deluxe/ultimate editions. Sure you’ll be able to sell them yourselves to other players. But that’ll likely be it. They’ll be very careful to not NFT anything they can get repeat sales on so I can’t see then using it for much in the way of DLC like expansions or something so you could trade them when you’re finished. They’re only going to implement them in ways that benefit them. If players get something out of it too, then that’s a by product. But they won’t change anything that will cut into their bottom line
  4. I thought Shang Chi was a lot of fun, did really well with some of the martial arts stuff too.
  5. Nah there’s no slow mo in the film at all, Synder would have a fit at that.
  6. I enjoyed this but it deffo suffered from too many characters that could have interesting stories about them, but didn’t have time to do enough to show that. Like, they set up juuuust enough for the idea that they all have a bunch of things that have shaped them or that they’ve done over the 1000s of years they’ve been on earth, but they never get any time. And some of it I could imagine being really good! A number of them have quite clear and logical moral dilemmas due to their powers and how they fit that into their place on earth and how that shapes them. But they get a brief flashback at most. Other than that it was ok. The deviants were a bit pants and the main one just kind of came out of no where. Spoilers for the next bit including a shot I really liked at the end….
  7. I'd say The Worlds End is massively underrated - for some reason its not had the same buzz as a lot of his stuff, but I thought it was excellent.
  8. Not sure what they're going for with the mini set, though thematically, I like the parrot theme of the repeating something that happened previously. Nice work whoever came up with that. However, more draw for DH isnt needed, and the pirate package for warriors is already very strong, defias canoneer sounds nuts in that context. Shadow aggro priest is also good, so that minion is really good for that deck. I like that they've actually done a bit more with the tradeable mechanic - felt like litereally the only other way it got used was with that rubbish legendary, now there are cards where trading actually does something else as well, which is nice. I'm still occasionally playing mercenaries as mechanically its quite fun. Its just super grindy and cost wise its wildly overpriced - you can a Jaina pack that gives you her and some coins, but its over fifteen quid, and that insane for one character and enough coins to upgrade her level 1 abilities to level 2.
  9. So I've been grinding away to complete the reward track and started wondering if it was worth the effort. Mainly because this expansion and the last, it feels like standard is entirely made up of people playing a very limited range of decks that have been lifted from the top slots of the tier lists. Even at low rankings, I'm playing against about 3 decks repeatedly, never much variation, and usually they've been decks that are super unfun to play against. Not going to go too much into it as I have before, but decks that generate cards like crazy, and still take forever because they do about 10 things on a turn. However, I've found a way to make it much more enjoyable. Play wild. Seriously, I didnt even think to as I thought thats where you'd find people playing super unfair decks that do tonnes of bullshit (and you probably do at higher ranks) where there are some seriously broken things going on - and quest warlock was bad enough in standard, it was worse in wild because of some cards that were busted with it. But then I saw a vid with an evolve deck that looked good, and evolve shaman was always one of the decks I really enjoyed (and its not good in standard now) so I gave it a go. To my surprise, the deck variety I've played against has been shockingly wide. I dont think I've played against the same deck twice, and it feels like a lot of people are just playing what they find fun. I've seen more people playing Uldum/Un'goro quests than the new ones, meme decks like the sword of 1000 truths deck (that actually beat me because they got lucky with their combo pieces, and a few weird ones where people have blatantly built around some cards they saw to try and see if it would work. The current decks I'm playing are evolve shaman and odd quest hunter. Quest hunter is so much better thanks to that twinspell card which virtually completes the quest for you and gives you a 0 mana 3 damage nuke. But it means you can run a more rounded deck and still get the quest done early, where its obviously loads better than standard. Evolve still has the issue of having a pool with loads of trash, but you can do things to mitigate that easier, and its easier to line up turns to drop your things that clone and evolve them all. If you've not liked the state of the game recently, seriously, give wild a go. Its so much better than playing standard, it silly.
  10. *Shakes Cane* I remember back in my day having to pay £65 for an import version of some SNES games....AND games cost 40-50 quid anyway!! And we did it because we were TRUE gamers, not like you youngsters...... Obviously, I'm joking, and this isnt to say back then was like it is now or worse or something (though apparently £65 from then is worth about £130 now....yikes). Games nowadays certainly can seem more like a rip off with sketchy pricing models that incentivise pre-orders/"deluxe" editions, and in game purchases or lootboxes. Plus value is relative - back then, 40 quid for Mario seemed more than reasonable. Now....well, theres not many games I'd pay full price of £60 for. Even less I'd pay upwards of £90 for the bells and whistles version. But at the same time, I dread to think how much I've spent on WoW over the 15 years + I've played it. Easily a grand though. This seems like a weird thing to compare. Titanic wasnt just dumped onto DVD for a tenner. It had a run in cinema where it sold in the hundreds of millions of tickets. It actually sold more on VHS than DVD at the time, where it sold as many copies in the US alone as GTA IV. It also wouldnt have been a tenner on release. Im not saying games arent overpriced at the moment (a lot are for sure) but I'm pretty sure James Camerons marketing plan involved a bit more than "right, thats done - whack it on DVD for a tenner now mate, yeah that'll get us the £200 million this film cost back"
  11. Still skeptical. I loved the first three games at release - they were incredible achievements for the hardware at the time in terms of the scale of what they did. But I've played the PSN releases of all of them recently and while they are still enjoyable, there is a bunch of things that would need to be done to convince me to re-buy. Though being honest if they do these, I possibly would. First, the graphics need to be more than the same models uprezzed with some lighting effects. Unless they can do some witchcraft that makes it look at least on par with GTA IV on the 360, then I dont think I'm that fussed over what I have. Second is the controls. They were servicable at the time but very much designed around not using the R stick to aim (SA did have this, but even that was clunky). This meant the camera was often pretty bad and awkward to get where you wanted it, especially in enclosed environments. Lock on was ok, but could be temperamental to get the target you wanted, so shootouts werent great and it was super easy to end up with a camera in pointing the wrong way while you're getting shot to shit by people you cant see while the lock on targets a random person. Particularly in the first 2, some missions felt more about setting up to get around the controls, and in Vice City, i made a habit of using cars as weapons as much as possible, because it was often easier than a shootout. Again, if they upgraded to IVs controls for on foot, that would be tempting. If they came out saying they were doing a full on remaster with graphics on par with previous gen GTA V and using the same controls, I'd be in. The settings themselves are great and while IIIs writing is a bit like someones first mob film, the second 2 step it up. Certainly better that IVs story which starts fine, then feels like someone didnt know how to finish it. I like 5s story, but I get the complaints about the protagonists, though I do like the 3 person mechanic, and from a point of "roleplay" when messing around in the world, it feels a bit like a reaction to complaints that Nico (or to some extents CJ) are written a specific way that makes going on a murder rampage out of character for them. Also someone mentioned "problematic" content in the older games. While replaying, I was kind of surprised by some of the stuff in there that I never really noticed or thought much of when I first played it. GTA SA has an autoshop called "Transfenders", which has the byline of "Get the body you want". There's a few times on the radio station (some of these may be in 4) where they play for laughs that a women is actually a man. I'm pretty sure theres a Lazlow section in one where he is making excuses about something and blurts out "I didnt realise she had a dick!". There's quite a lot of bits referencing closeted homosexuality, like the show "my 5 dads" where the child asks why she can never get in on the group hugs and a camp voice calls her a bitch. Theres a few fudge packer references - one directly referencing a company, one with a football team called the Packers, who are sponsored by a fudge company. IV has a mail company called "Post Op" which has the tagline "No longer just Mail". Some of it comes across as harmless jokes or puns, but theres deffo a few instances where characters a kind of "eewww, homos/transgenders"
  12. So mercenaries is out and it feels a bit….well, it’s some solo content I guess but it not super engaging in my opinion, and I can see it being super grindy too. And yet I’ve found myself occasionally dipping back in to have a go. Part of the issue I have with it though is that it seems a bit like it’s designed to try and get you to part with your dough. Shocking I know. But not in ways that give you particular value, I don’t think. One is that synergies often seem to be put with rarer cards. Want some fire synergy? Rag and Alextraza are both legendaries and make up that synergy with Antonidas who’s epic. Next is how you get mercy in general, which is not worded great on the packs but someone worked it out. Your “guaranteed” slot applies to rarity, so that slot rolls what rarity itll produce, then rolls from there. If you have all the mercenaries from that rarity, but are missing ones that are higher, you don’t get a higher merc, so you can roll packs with no mercy in after a bit. The non “guaranteed” slots can roll mercy but do similar - roll rarity first, then roll for a small chance of a merc in that rarity. Some people were a bit annoyed because they read it as “you get a merc each pack, guaranteed”, but that ends reasonably quickly and id argue the value of pack drops a tonne after that point. Id opened about 30 and was getting just tokens in packs so it’s pretty low - id suggest spending no more than the fiver on the welcome bundle. You can craft mercs but the amounts of tokens needed are so high foe the good ones that I don’t think it’s something reasonable to aim for. You can spend cash but the tokens you get are random so you’re probably spending a lot. It’s worth a mess about with, but it’s not something that is worth your money, so stick to free stuff from it is my suggestion.
  13. It Came From the Desert, off the Commodore Amiga. Back in the early 90s, my best mate had an Amiga, and knew loads of people who were into copying rings, so he had loads of games. One summer, I'm pretty sure all we played was It Came From the Desert. The simple description of it is that is a Lucasarts game that was heavily inspired by old B movie sci fi/horror films, where you played a reseacher (I think) who was currently staying in a desert town, which weird things start happening in, and you discover (amongst a bunch of other things like cults) that the town is in danger from giant ants that spawned from a meteor that landed. The game involves you investigating whats happening and looking into reports of things like livestock mulilation, having to convince the town that there is a threat they need to deal with, and eventually helping to destroy the invaders. The game is split between navigating the town map, talking to townsfolk and the occasional mini game. The appeal for us was that this was the first game we played that had an in game clock, and some events happened only if you were in the right place at the right time, meaning there was loads of stuff that could change playthrough to playthrough depending on where you went and when. For example, there's a love interest character that its entirely possible to miss completely if you arent at certain places. Pretty much every play through we had felt very different, which was partly because some of the encounters were randomised as well, but these were things like bug attacks or where you could find evidence. I also think there were a few different venues to do some things which was fun messing around with. We used to play it and note down when things happened to try and figure out ways to do things. I think there's probably some rose tinted goggles, but at the time, it felt like a world we affected more than anything I'd played prior. There are definitely some things that would need upgrading. I mentioned mini games, and these were often pretty poor. Either too easy (you could hold left/right to win knife fights, and you just held accelerate to always win at chicken) or they were silly hard (the hospital escape was the worst - never did it, which meant we always took the penalty to stay in, which was several days and rather harsh in terms of setting you back). But, if they could capture the feel of the setting, as well as the sense of the story changing quite drastically for your actions, I'd be day one for a remaster.
  14. I only noticed this because James Gunn retweeted someone from the cast saying about taking the "vow of silence" but hadnt heard of it before that. I've enjoyed Flanagans stuff so far, I think the "master of horror" title I've seen people bestow on him is a bit overblown, as most of his stuff isnt that scary - there were a few good bits fright wise in Haunting of Hill House, but most of his stuff (Bly Manor, Hush, Doctor Sleep, what I've seen on this) havent been that scary. Hes a good film maker though, and the strengths of his stuff is usually the other stuff around the horror elements, he just happens to like using that to tie things together it seems, and uses it well to set the tone of his stories. HoHH was more (for me) succeeded for me because it told a really strong story about the family overall, which ended up being surprisingly tragic. So far I'm just on the last episode and its been what I'd call typical Flanagan - well shot, not that scary but makes up for it with story/characters, and the horror elements are there to hold it all together. There even seems to be a lot of stuff he typically seems to put into his stuff, as well as the cast being a who's who of people who probably have made most their money in the past 5 years working with him. I was suprised about a few things - as I mentioned, there was a lot of talk on twitter from Flanagan and the actors saying to not spoil it for other watchers, and some spoiler free reviews made it seem like there were a lot of shocking twists and turns, and I dont think there have been. There's obviously(spoilers if you have watched episode 3 yet) but i think it actually telegraphs this pretty clearly so its not really a massive shock. But its very different to what I think I would have expected (though I do like it, which I'll go through in spoilers in a min) so avoiding talk of it till you see it I think is better, but at the same time its not going to ruin it if you know in advance. Spoilers regarding the main stuff thats happening I've really enjoyed it, and the ending of episode 6 was deffo intense, though I'd say I prefer Hill House still at the moment. Looking forward to the last episode later today!
  15. Really enjoyed this, I think they nailed a lot of the stuff in there, and the minor quibbles I had dont detract too much. The main reason I wanted to see it was that I looooooove martial arts movies and was really interested in seeing how they'd do a hero who is all about the fighting on the big screen. I was interested in Iron Fist for the same reason, and they bodged that up (season two was a bit better for fights, but the first give the Mortal Kombat TV show a run for its money in terrible fight scenes). Marvel films often end up getting decent choreography in for the fights that then gets lost in the edit/directing. Winter Soldier is the best example I can think of, where they've shown us behind the scenes footage of Stan and Evans doing that super quick knife fight themselves and it looking great, but the edit is cut to convey the scene being frentic, so you dont get to see it as clearly as you could. I was concerned that a director with no experience of action films at all would make similar choices, even with Brad Allen (who is incredibly talented, or was - RIP) on board. However, they did really well with the fights - Allen was on the Jackie Chan stunt team early in his career, and you can see some of that rubbing off in how well they're structured so that things happen that make sense to, and the fights arent just 2 people wailing around with little purpose, you can see what people are trying to do and actions lead to reactions, and because of that the fights are more interesting. The actual skill on display is top notch as well, and they hold on things long enough for you to be able to clearly tell whats going on, while still making them fast paced where they needed to. The pace and tempo of a few of the fights very much reminded me of Crouching Tigers fights, in a good way. Story wise I liked it too - I enjoyed the characters and thought it handled the relationships between them well, so by the time they went into the "grander" cgi stuff at the end I was actually caring about what happened. I think the main issue I would say though is that it didnt feel like it really did much until the end credits were revealed. I mean the stakes were high, yet they didnt really feel it, coupled with (spoilers regarding the state of how the character is left at the end) Other than that, deffo in the top 10 somewhere, but probably not top 5 for Marvel films.
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