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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Too Hot To Handle


Nope, sorry, NOT HAPPENING. 

Being the mum to two competitive kids (and one dad) can sometimes be a thankless task.

Yes, there are days where you step up with everyone else, because one of the most significant life lessons most kids will learn at a point in their existence is that if you want something? You will have to work for it. So really, that process of pushing and fighting is an essential part of evolution. Except there are days when that's the last thing you want to do whilst enjoying yourself.

Here's where gaming can become an issue, especially for someone like me.

Yes, someone has to be last. WOMAN UP.

Somebody has to be last.
That can be a bitter pill to swallow sometimes, especially if you're one of those people who has to do their best regardless and can't handle defeat as well as perhaps others can. You don't have to be a failure to take that spot: sometimes you do it to allow others the opportunity to feel comfortable and deal with their own notions of self. You deliberately hold back, but then there are times where however hard you try, things just won't go to plan. Your brain begins to be your own worst enemy. Even the most simple of tasks becomes a mountain. Then, you make a conscious decision: fight or walk away. As a mother, the fight option has to be the default, because you don't get to walk away when you're a Role Model. You keep hitting your head until it bleeds, and you like it, you enjoy it, and you look past the self loathing and disbelief.

Because you will sacrifice yourself to make sure the next generation gets to live a better life than you do.

DON'T CARE.

I'm come to the point in my personal life where the decisions I make are affected by a fairly standard number of factors: do I enjoy this? Is it good relaxation? The latest one I've had to contend with is quite morally complex: do I get paid for it? If I do, then that means a different set of rules, because professionalism matters to me. This blog however has always been intensely personal and very much my emotional reaction to how gaming works in my head, and that's not ever going to change. The more public I get, the more people remind me that 'getting grief' is part of that process. I've decided that this is absolutely fine, but if people start handing it out they better be damn well ready for getting some back. Because playtime is officially over.

If you're paying for me to do a job, the rules are different. This is my place, and as a result? Anything goes. Nope, there's no tip jar or 'Buy me a Coffee' button here because I'm STILL not doing this for any kind of thanks, and as a result? Giving me money would change the game. Yes, I may now write for a living, but not here. This is my flop pad, the comfy chair I use to sit back and look at the gaming world, and as long as I feel the need to go off on the occasional rant-filled aside? That's the way it is. Like it or lump it. No apologies, and no rewards seems a a fairly decent trade off, at least in my mind. I can still be a decent, passionate human being with an opinion, and you can still take massive offence and rant.

Pretty much the best of both worlds if you ask me.

Before the Dawn

Another successful day at the Office... :D 

Do you ever think about how your character is regarded in game?

There will be those of you who RP, inevitably, that have an implicit understanding of where you stand in the social hierarchy, of your reputation and situation. In you mind you'll know what matters and doesn't, and how this then affects your actions on a daily basis. Similarly there will be those of you who don't give a stuff about any of this and just do as you wish, logging when it suits, maybe just for raids at present. This is an odd time, after all, in the doldrums between the end of one thing and the beginning of another. Except today for the US, there's the chance for many to get back the one thing they felt was missing from the game, that returned a vital part of what Warcraft was about.

Freedom.

I make no bones when I say it genuinely amazes me how many people feel flying's a vital part of game play, that it grants immersion and restores balance. It unsettles me more that many of those have chosen to make this point in no uncertain terms as a 'victory' over the existing plans of the people making the game. Though it would be difficult not to argue that the force that changed the direction of Draenor was not significant, I find myself wondering how many of these people actually play their game, because for me flying simply remains a convenience. It's not vital to existence, or to preserve a sense of 'unreality' in the gaming world. It gives people the opportunity to skip content and bypass gating in order to effectively make large sections of planned content both redundant and trivial.

It's not just about screenshots, you know.

As if to make this point Blizzard's introduced a slew of 'flying only accessible' mobs into the shells of the existing Instances it has had to redesign to allow this change to happen. The sense of irony in this, at least for me, is quite strong, and I actually feel quite disappointed in the reactions of some that getting what they wanted remains a victory. Because I always thought that to win something meant that everyone was happy at the end. I don't feel happy with what's happened in the last few weeks, the almost gleeful mocking that some have presented in their moment of perceived triumph. I also feel as if the hard work and effort I put into a lot of the content previously is about not only to be cheapened, but will be made largely redundant. The ultimate irony of course is that Blizzard have turned the whole situation on it's head, and by putting mobs in the flying-only areas? I'll have to use the skill I didn't need until they put it in-game to obtain them.

I decided therefore I'd write a post about how I feel introducing flying to 6.2.2 is wrong, and a concession... and realised that some will undoubtedly (and gleefully) point out that I called those who wanted flying 'whiners' back in the day, and here I am doing exactly the same thing because they got their way. Yup, that's me. I'm a big whiny baby because I feel that the game's been compromised by those players who can't L2P or need a hand to get stuff easily. I'm not going to get the hump with anyone on line and threaten them as a result however, and I certainly won't bombard Blizzard daily with angry calls to reinstate the no-fly zone. Because I get that sometimes you have to give in to the popular opinion to make progress, or to give you vital breathing room to make your next move. So, whine away at my inability to be a good sport. You have my permission :D

The boyband, the female lead and the bear arse.

I've also realised that part of the reason I've gone back to levelling from scratch and am having far more fun than I have in game for some time is that I'm tired of how the current end game works. It's not just the endless stream of collectables and achievements now, it's the people who live there too that bother me, which is unfair to a number of that same population whom I count as friends. But the facts are stark: if I don't want to raid, or I have no interest in Achievements or Collecting? What the Hell do I do? I'm not interested in playing Tanaan if I'm forced into the sky to target mobs faster than other people. Actually, I'm not interested in chasing anything like that any more, if truth be told. The key isn't the content that's flawed either, of that I should make the point now, and in bold. The content works, it's my relationship with a section of those playing that doesn't. I've taken my own steps to sort the problem and they are working fine, and you'll hear more about that later.

For now, I'm quite happy now to be looked down at in game and in RL for having an opinion that's unpopular. I'm sticking to my guns, and that's the benefit of choice to begin with, because there are no right answers, simply options.

The fact remains that I maintain you don't need independent flying in Warcraft, and you never should.

Monday, August 31, 2015

That Man


Here he is again with his Mrs Jones... ^^ 

Blizzard, a word in your shell-like if I may.

I know Fishing's pretty low on the priority list after everyone got the hump about professions. I understand that QA's not that important when you've pretty much abandoned an Expansion as a bad idea. But I need to tell you about how this just reflects badly on the product, because it does. Nat Pagle is making everybody look bad, and it has to stop. Maybe it's just the alcohol getting to him after all these years, who can tell. But really? GIVE THE MAN SOME GLASSES PLEASE.


NO IT'S A BLOODY FRENZY DAMMIT.

If we could fix this in 6.2.2 that would be great, thanks, because every time I hand my Tanaan spoils in? Knowing Nat can't read is not helpful. Yeah, it could be an ironic gag, but we both know you just copy-pasted the last one in the list and forgot to change the text ^^ I'll tell you what's worse though, especially due to the fact that I can't be in two places at once to complete my chores. Nat really has got this time travel stuff sorted, and not only can he exist in two places at once, the Universe doesn't come to an end when he does :O

THIS IS JUST WRONG.

This also demonstrates to me something of a metaphor for where immersion has gone wrong in Draenor. It's a great concept to have Nat come visit and encourage you to fish, don't get me wrong, but the script/programme/string-set that runs that should ignore his visit when he's within 35 yards of his NPC, right? Because that's just dumb. It's like when you're fishing using a water walking buff and Nat dies as soon as he tries to leave (one assumes because of collision indication or water existing or something equally mystic and designer-y.) The idea is great, but somewhere between idea and implementation, something got missed. In the old days they would have called it 'polish' but you guys know that has to happen in Legion so I won't have to worry about this kind of thing again, right?

Except actually? It would be lovely to get it fixed.


Old Content DESERVES Fixing.

I am aware of how one thing breaking in this game can affect so much else, I really am. But sometimes, the bugs of the past just make a mockery of the game we play. It's not cute or funny, if it can be made better or pushed to work 'as intended' then really, I think that should matter just as much as the current content. Ignoring the past is all well and good, but it sets a dangerous precedent. I'm not asking for a complete do-over of everything, but when someone points it out? You should try and fix it.

The is game, after all, is the sum of ALL its parts, not just the current iteration.

Tunnel of Love


Reminder of the familiar. 

I've not forgotten the fact that 6.2.2 launches this week, oh no, and once I've written this post there will be a login sequence for the Senior Pherian to get myself sorted for what will be a fairly significant change to events: 'Weekends' have been cast aside for five days of play on each of the 'World Events', starting with some purple carrots on the Timewalking side. It is almost as if someone heard the complaints about the loot for these events outside of the gear being worse than woeful, and now there are mounts, Rep gains and so much more. The one that made me smile the most? Mark of the Ashtongue. I've been using that screenie for a while, after all :P

This should also give Mr Alt an excuse to log in after the holidays for the first time to boot.


Listening to everyone is important.

What this change shows, at least in my mind, is that Blizzard are beginning to understand the significance of rewards outside of Raiding. They're also putting more value on displacement activity than has been previously shown: this actually incentivises people to log far more than it would were it simply for the gear rewards which, for someone like me are largely irrelevant. Being offered a mount on completion of X dungeons? Very sound move, Blizz, we like the fact you have acknowledged that the carrot of time is finally worth contemplating in the rewards equation. I hope to see new currencies for other areas of play in short order... which leads me to incentives in lower-level play, which I've been doing a fair bit of this weekend. It occurs to me that if you want a way to push people back into that area of interest, currency is also a way to go. You can either gain it in 15+ Dungeons in a Sack of Helpful Goods or... how about we get some Chests back into the low level world?


Each building should be worth exploring

One of the joys of Vanilla play for me was searching buildings for chests: every barn and abandoned Inn was potentially a place for treasure to be found. My game designing friend tells me that actually, that's largely impractical these days (remember chest farming in Maraudon and the Mechanar, history fans?) unless I can present non fiscal rewards. Well, that's easy: give us the currency system and a vendor in every capital city, who will give me useful levelling items in exchange for the 'coins' I find inside the chests that could now be spread across the World. Give each one a chance to drop Toys, Vanity pets and Mounts too and BOY would I be out there faster than a thing that moves with some speed. Just to search the World again for many people would indeed be glorious. I can't write that in big enough letters by the way, that would need neon to make the point.

It would also be a fabulous way to re-introduce lots of people to the joys of the Old World.


The lure of the Rare Mob is STRONG.

Incentivising low level content's never been a priority for Blizzard, it seems to me, especially that now with a wad of cash you can simply buy a new L90 off the shelf and not bother with the journey, simply the destination. Except, of course, the journey in an MMO is probably more important than the destination will ever be, especially in terms of entertainment, and that's a factor Blizzard's dropped the ball on in Draenor. All the toys and pets and mounts in the World can't disguise a world without a soul, after all.

Maybe Blizzard could learn a thing or two by actually going back to their roots.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

L20: Old Friends


Shifted to Stormwind. Almost deserted :(

As promised, I'll be doing a blog post every time I hit a multiple of ten levels on my US Hunter. This happened late yesterday afternoon after completing the Westfall quests, and now I'm going to divide my time between Duskwood and Redridge in order to make it (probably) until 30. But I'm getting ahead of myself: it's been an interesting journey so far.


This is a decent gold total IMO.

I didn't pick my server deliberately for gold making potential, but I've managed to scrape a decent sum together on the knowledge I have. A large chunk of that was from being deliberately guildless and signing a Guild Charter: the guy who made it did even offer to help me level, which was politely declined. I've also deliberately checked Stormwind/Ironforge daily for a Blingtron, which can provide some decent items to collect and immediately vend. That also means Fishing and Cookery dailies, and then selling my Skinning/Herbalism gathers. I am trying to sell even stacks (it's a thing for me) and the larger the better. There is money to be made still for low level items, despite the changes to professions at end game.


Neophyte Transmog.

I can't transmog until 40, sadly, because of my leather to mail switch. However, I am quietly collecting mail pieces for possible use, but am hoping I can gather a decent set of quest gear to do the job with. I love the low level items, they're beautifully designed and I'm hoping that if I complete all the quests in suggested order in the Eastern Kingdoms I'll have enough to make a decent ensemble. Some of you may be wondering why I'm not doing the Northern (Dwarf) quests: well, when I was first levelling, I did so with my husband and he chose the Human path. I really enjoyed Duskwood especially, and so to come back is particularly entertaining. I died for the first time on the run through the zone of the first time yesterday, but I've managed to defeat every Pet Trainer up to Raven Hill. There are lots of thoughts too on how low-level questing could be tweaked too. I think we'll find a post for that during the week.


Mages are show-offs. OFFICIAL.

I've done the Loremaster achievement post-Cataclysm, so none of these quest lines are new or surprising, but it doesn't make their completion any the less interesting. Remembering where you came from is a good exercise, and without heirlooms there are still things that require some thought. I deliberately died on a quest so I could run to the area as a corpse and work out what I needed to do. Some of you may deem this as weakness, but it's always been the way I've played this game. Trying to keep everything level in terms of professions has been really simple to do, with herbalism always being the last one to be covered. But I get there in the end. Now I'm 20, I can also go get Archaeology and start on that too, so if you'll excuse me I'll be off to see Harrison Jones in Stormwind...

No Escape

Your Battle.net linked accounts are calling... ^^ 

Yesterday, I had an epiphany on the nature of playing the Alt game, and how actually, convenience may have finally destroyed the notion of freedom for me in Azeroth. All those calls for centralising Achievements and putting Heirlooms in one place are all well and good if you want to keep playing the same account, but what if your problem is just that? What if you've decided to have a fresh start, and actually the LAST thing you want is to be reminded of the past you've left behind? I found myself rationalising the concept in a familiar manner: I've been working hard this year to lose weight and get fitter. That meant redesigning my life around regular exercise and not eating rubbish, and ultimately placing my biscuit tin (always full of temptation) away for good.

My EU Battle.net account is roughly akin to that same tin: full of things that ultimately have become bad for me. All those mounts, the toys and the Achievements are a constant temptation, pulling me back to End Game, where actually I don't want to be, because if the next six months of my life are going to revolve simply around what lies there? I'm going to go insane. There, I said it, because I'm not one of those people who can just switch off and ignore all the things I know are wrong with the process at max level any more simply by smiling happily and playing with the ones I enjoy being with... because they've all stopped playing and left. Here is my problem. I don't need people to be smart or try and be helpful about playing at 100, because as of right now that's making me unhappy and cross. I don't need to spend months in Tanaan or wear myself down any more chasing items. I want a break, a change, a new direction but I don't want to leave Azeroth.

Every time I've tried to change my outlook in the past, the game's dragged me back to the biscuits.

'GO OUTSIDE' they said... ^^

Heirlooms negate the joy of levelling, and speed up a process that then becomes further redundant at 60. I don't want to sprint to 100, anything but, because when I get there I end up in exactly the same situation I'm currently experiencing. I'll do end game when its interesting again, and the desire currently to level all those 90 alts gathering dust in their Garrisons? Virtually zero. If I picked up a new L1 on my EU account all my Achievements come with me and actually? That's wank because there is no sense of you know, ACHIEVEMENT, when you know your points are already banked. Also, I'm haunted by my previous mistakes: I can't complete all this stuff because I'm not good enough, or I don't have the time, and the weight of my previous life literally drags me down to a point where I just give up and walk away. The motivation to start completely fresh however, to leave everything aside and go to the US? That's different.

It is still my 'life', except it genuinely is a fresh start on my terms.

RARES EVERYWHERE.

For me, this is why no pets (except the ones I got from Virtual Blizzcon tickets) and only one mount (that Hearthsteed) are actually hugely liberating. I don't have to do Achievements, because there's no contest in my head. If I get them in the course of doing my stuffs? It doesn't matter. You could argue, of course, that I could simply ignore all of that and simply level regardless, and I suspect if I had more willpower I could. But when the biscuits are there, you'll always have the temptation to eat one. And once you do that? You're back to the old ways and yet again, your motivation disappears. I realise that actually the notion of convenience has ultimately destroyed my desire when there's no emotional tie to game play. No people around to inspire and motivate, no content that makes me want to stay in end game. I need to find my own spark again, and rediscover the joy of simply playing Warcraft, and not racing for the end.

Putting the biscuits away is absolutely the best thing I could have done.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

You're the One to Blame

White spaulders, grey weapon, NO PRESSURE. 

I tweeted yesterday that people should stop blaming Warcraft for their own personal failings as players. That's also true for unhealthy accusations. I've been doing a lot of finger pointing lately, and ultimately that's never wise. It's also hugely counter-productive in the long run. It doesn't matter that there's many people I know playing who only have their own interests at heart. That's no different from any other branch of reality I inhabit, after all. In the end, what is more significant is how I play and live, and how to successfully integrate those lifestyle choices into the rest of the World. My 'experiment' in levelling on the US Servers therefore has become more significant in the last twenty-four hours, as I came to grasp the importance of my choices when I'm not obsessed with a destination, and it really is just about the journey.

Somewhere between 2005 and here, a part of me has been sacrificed for the greater good.


(Coffee) Bird is the Word  :D

To make things work when raiding and GM-ing for nine years, I became something I never was: a leader. I'd bench myself to keep the peace and maintain harmony. I'd try and prevent the drama before it happened, but ultimately it backfired on me. However, what it gave me was a chance to see people for what they really were. People still lie to me in game, even now, and I know when it happens. I'm sad that people can't just be honest and tell the truth, but that's the way the World is. Some believe that deception somehow makes their agendas less obvious, but that's just not true. If you can't tell someone what you really want to say? Really, there's no point. I realised yesterday that by going and starting from scratch in another region, all that baggage simply gets left behind. Not just other people's, but mine as well. This gives me a chance to just forget everything that's happened and briefly wipe my metaphorical slate clean.

This is probably the best thing I can do for my soul right now as a result.


Duskwood's right, left to the Lighthouse... ^^

So, here I am doing everything I want to just get from A to B without the worry of what is expected from me when I get to the end. I can replace a white weapon with a grey one if the straight dps gain is greater. There's no issues about making money to buy the best gear because I only wear what drops or what I get from quest rewards... and suddenly I want to watch those people who have laughed at me for being happy I don't raid any more and realise that actually just don't get the point. Because, ultimately, you are the architect of your own demise. The only person truly pushing for the best is yourself, and if you choose to walk away? You just walk away. Letting go of things is hard work, but when it's only pixels? Easiest thing in the world, right?

You can stop any time you want.


It begins. AGAIN.

My Battle Pet Teams are so much more fun at L5. Running to places isn't a chore or a bind, and because of the unique way Blizzard works I even have a Hearthsteed waiting for me at L20 which means I won't have to buy a single mount. This journey is about rediscovering my groove, and things are off to an amazingly promising start. Because, as a good friend told me yesterday, when you know how much you enjoy something and then that feeling is lost, blaming anything but yourself is always the easiest option. The hardest thing you ever do as a human being is to stop and look at yourself for answers, but it is the most important thing you will ever do in your life. Yes, even in a stupid bunch of pixels.

You're the one at fault sometimes. Then it's up to you to make things better again.

Friday, August 28, 2015

L10: New Kid in Town

A truth, understood...

I realised whilst on holiday that Warcraft as a concept doesn't really annoy me much at all. The people who play it however are more of a problem, and this year has proven that fact in spades. As it happens, most of my real issues in the last twelve months had very little to do with Azeroth and rather a lot more to do with those who inhabit it. As a result, I decided to start again on my terms. Taking advantage of 10 days free play in the US I've re-rolled a Hunter (unsurprisingly) and I'm now playing on a medium population Server.

That's it, there's really nothing else to it.

Extra XP = WIN.

The ultimate plan, of course, is to use tokens to pave my way to a monthly sub. However, to get to that stage will take some doing. If I haven't asked you to be a Battle.net friend or I turn down your request I'd ask you not to take this as a personal affront, because I'm really not here to use the client as a chat channel either, or as a way to boost me through to 100. In fact, that's the last thing I want. This exercise is about remembering where I came from as a Dwarf, the process of pottering and faffing (which has been much lacking of late) and simply playing the game. I've done some Pet Battling already, got levelling under way in all the key skills (apart from Archaeology and Fishing which I'll get to tonight) and I've not left the Dun Morogh yet. Okay there was a brief flit to Loch Modan for a quest hand in but apart from that? No pressure. I'm not even sure I wanna go into a Dungeon either unless its on my own terms.


YES I'M HUNTING RARES WHAT OF IT?

The key, in the end, is to find a way to escape from what end game has become, and to give me a chance to think about what my future holds. Early indicators are that actually, I'm really enjoying the process of not being able to cheese anything: a firm knowledge of the game makes the shortcomings far easier to accommodate. There's also the understanding that a lot of the game at low levels could still be simplified earlier, especially with reference to Cookery and First Aid, but more on that as time goes on. The sole purpose of this is to see if I can survive the grind without caving for a boost, and to do one full sweep of all five Expansions before Legion hits.

Needless to say, you'll be hearing about my life every 10 levels or so as we go :D

Billy Don't Be a Hero



Perception, as has been mentioned on numerous occasions around these parts, can be quite the divisive factor when it comes to what matters when gaming. When the man who makes the in-game Cinematics asks a question like this publicly via social media, alarm bells ring in my head. If I have to explain why? Well, that's easy: I'm not 'target audience' for the concepts of patriotismjingoism, or even heroism when they make their way into games I play. I understand however how significant these concepts are not simply in that sense, but for many in their daily lives. Giving people inspiration has often been far easier to accomplish by presenting situations where heroes are the figureheads to aspire to, the notional targets to try and reach. Except for many, their 'heroism' is never seen or acknowledged in such terms. The real 'heroes' in my Real Life are rarely ever seen, and even lesser celebrated for their work. That's just not right.

Therefore, I'd like to answer Terran's question in a blog post. Because there are some points to be made here that I feel might be overlooked by the designers if they're looking to make Legion an improvement on Warlords. This isn't necessarily about making players aspire to figureheads or epic moments.

For me, this is making people understand that heroism isn't just about the stuff you get to see.

The Top Billing isn't all there is.

Obviously it is far easier to elevate certain characters to 'top billing' for the purposes of selling your story. You can't give every NPC an equal footing in your 'story', after all. Except in Warcraft? Every player has a potentially equal footing and so actually? You need to pick your heroes with care, because if you're hoping to allow as many people as possible an association with at least one? There needs to be affinity. Undoubtedly one could argue that the major failing with Warlords was just that: the cast of the story itself. When it was announced, and the lineup shown? Pretty much a Bunch of Orcs. No variety, and no thought given to anyone who a) didn't like Orcs or b) was looking for any kind of race/class representation APART from Orcs. Yes, I KNOW there was a Token Draenai in there but they were dead by the time you left the starting zone. The female character that succeeded him? Now effectively consigned to the bin of failed ideas. That's why this time our cast above covers faction, race and class far more effectively.

Except this isn't actually solving the problem, it's simply creating others.




One could reasonably argue you cannot generate heroism successfully, it just happens from circumstance. If you look at superhero rationales, for instance, most of that heroism is generated from the mind of the individual: knowing to use your powers for good is great, but ultimately there are those that feel that being the Bad Guy's just as acceptable (and is often far more fun.) Then you have your Suicide Squads and Deadpool types who walk the line between the two, and those people are, I'd argue, the more interesting characters to explore. If we use Mr B. Fordragon (yet again) as my favourite metaphor in Warcraft terms? Here's a guy just doing his job. Day in, day out, he's simply turned up and hit bad guys until he dies, which means his heart is pure and his rationale is sound. The fact he takes the hat and becomes the Lich King? Added bonus for everyone. That's just one less thing to worry about when we get up in the morning.

So in those terms, heroic moments could be defined as doing the jobs nobody else wants so everybody survives to see another day. That means that Azeroth is chock full of heroes, but most of them aren't even given a second thought.


Gone and often forgotten.

The next time you go back to a zone that's largely deserted, wherever it is in game, take a look at the NPC's. You may have moved on but these guys are forced to remain, waiting every day in the vain hope that maybe they'll see a traveller interested in engaging with them, that possibly their existence will be brightened by a new face and some conversation. Yes, I *know* what you're thinking, these pixels are not people to associate with or to aspire to, yet that's exactly what Blizzard want us to do with that NPC cast-list above. The game makes these people worthy and heroic, just as news media and governments pick specific people to be considered heroic and to stand as aspiration to future generations. That's my whole problem with these concepts: there has to be a figurehead, someone to cheer (and boo) at when actually? These people are no more or less worthy of the accolade than anyone else. EVERYBODY can be a hero, but only a few get to be picked, often by a pretty arbitrary set of criteria.

This might sound pretty woolly and new-age to many of you, and that's actually fine with me. I get the concept that gaming presents of identifying with certain characters and using them to guide action. However, in gaming terms, I'd argue the hero is always you, even if you don't want to be a hero to begin with. So when I'm asked for a 'heroic moment' in Warcraft History I won't be able to provide one, because for me all of the things I've seen don't inspire me to be that kind of person. I just want to do my job, and get the work done and then go back to being myself. What I'd consider faction pride is a lifetime away from those who still celebrate the concept. I'm no use to a designer who wants to capitalise on such a concept, because those kind of ideas will actually end up driving me away. So, I just have to be honest.


Not everyone's playing games to be a hero, after all.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Have I Done to Deserve This?

...and you are? ^^ 

This week, after I don't know how many weeks since he went live (start of the Summer, doofus) Archimonde is finally available on LFR mode. For the first time in what will be many years, I won't be completing this guy on any difficulty until he's doable (soloable) as Legacy.

However good this fight might be, I simply have no justification to see it.

It doesn't matter how clever the mechanics are, or how hard it may be currently on any difficulty to complete. I don't have an incentive to finish a Legendary Ring, or to obtain gear that keeps me at optimum iLevel either. All these 'carrots' that are supposed to make me hungry are largely irrelevant, and the reason? I know how this fight turns out. The need to place an end of game cinematic to show me that fact rather than embed the 'denouement' inside the actual game? This negates the requirement to turn up for someone for whom all the other reasons for doing this boss have become redundant. It has also pretty much destroyed any enjoyment I would have for running the entire Instance, and that's something I'd hoped that Blizzard had learnt from Pandaria. It's not like I could try and avoid the spoilers either, unless I withdrew from the Internet and social media completely.

Basically, I completed the Citadel three months ago without even having to step inside.

TRUFACT.

That's what happens when you decide that plot is irrelevant to mechanics, amongst other things. That's probably the biggest single buzzkill in a game that used to weave the two with skill and humour, and did so in Pandaria. The problem back in the Siege (again) was that end cinematic and the need to pretty much wrap up the plot in cinematic form, which might work with a stand-alone 'adventure' and was acceptable when the event didn't demean the journey you'd already taken (as was the case with Arthas' death scene in Wrath.) The need to use Raid Instancing as the coda to the Expansion storyline works, of course it does, but if you see that SEVERAL MONTHS BEFORE you're allowed to access the content on the only difficulty of Raid Finder that's currently accessible to you?

Motivation to go there when you have to wait that long to be allowed? What's the point when you know how it ends?

Mind. BLOWN!

Gating your content is all well and good, but in the end that needs to be consistent. Waving a carrot is perfectly acceptable, but if you sugar-coat some and leave others plain? That's ultimately going to backfire too. However, for someone like me for whom the lure of raiding simply isn't practical any more because I'm not prepared to sacrifice the time it would require in my life but still want to play in Azeroth? LFR is now an unmitigated failure when you spoil the ending before I even make it to the start of the 'story.' Except, of course, there was no story when 6.2 launched. Archimonde only became relevant three weeks ago, which makes that cinematic even more pointless.

It also makes me wonder why we even bothered going to Draenor at all.