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Monday, February 08, 2016

It's a Mystery

So, I have a problem. 

I was involved in a quite serious discussion Friday night over how Blizzard makes this game. A lot of very relevant points were made, and it became apparent in my mind that there is a fairly serious issue with the path Warcraft has taken in terms of its 'development' cycle. The problem is beautifully simple: the Big Red Reset Button of Doom is no longer fit for long-term use. For the purposes of this post, I really don't care what new features Blizzard wheel out for Legion. Content in this debate is completely irrelevant. What is causing the bigger discomfort, and is now abundantly apparent from where I sit, involves the time it takes without anything different being presented as content from the end of one Expansion to the start on the next.

Let's be clear here, I'm not asking for a shortening of the timescales between Expansions. As far as I am concerned you can take three years to go from Legion to whatever happens next. However, if you leave a year with no new content to cover the shortfall? Then nobody has learned anything. A company really can't announce the end of organised raiding and then take over a year to get the next bit of the puzzle into place. That's just unacceptable when Blizzard's other slew of titles are perfectly capable and keep producing rolling, organic updates. More importantly, I cannot see how Blizzard in good conscience can 'sell' another Expansion like this again. It's painful and frankly embarrassing to watch the 'let's reinvent classes again and see if we can get it right' and 'oh yeah change all these mechanics too in the hope that things are enticing and people stay for longer.' Also, having Alpha/Beta as some kind of 24/7 marketing jamboree cannot realistically be a long term solution, because the people you're using to do so will we burnt out husks by the time the game launches and that's just wrong.

Should Legion finally bring some much needed sanctity to Azeroth's almost perpetually altering mechanics? Could we just leave the damn thing alone and stop fiddling with it?


I've lost count of the number of things I've suggested ought to be changed over the years, and this isn't about the nuts and bolts any more. Here is the basic concept that you buy this game, and then you play it. Blizzard finally got the memo that said 'if you don't get new people into Azeroth this is Game Over regardless' and now anyone with a cinema ticket to That Movie could end up with what for me was several hundred pounds worth of investment for probably less than a tenner. That stings a bit to start with: the investment made over the years in this game, devolved down to the price of a ticket to see a film about a place that bears only a passing resemblance to the concept it's being used to sell. However, that is nothing compared to the slow strangulation I'm watching of 'new' content that, let's be honest, may not be available for the majority of the population for close to SEVEN MONTHS. This is ridiculous, that I watch websites making news out of something that doesn't even exist for 95% of the active subscriber base except on their webpages, or in Twitch broadcasts, or on You Tube.

Yes, I know that includes me. That actually bothers me most of all, because the people I would want to share this with aren't those who'll make me money from clicking through my adverts, or subscribing to my stream. Many of them are friends who have said they don't want to know what happens because otherwise it'll be lame and sad to play when Legion goes live. I'm beginning to see their point.

*sigh*

And so on Friday night there was an epiphany of almost earth-shattering proportions. Yes, I'll test Alpha this week, and Beta, and whatever else I get given, but this has to stop. Why can't we just have rolling, constant updates like Hearthstone and Heroes? Why can't Warcraft stop reinventing what actually exists, sticking new maps on top of one another because people won't play unless the content is 'new:' really, truthfully, there is only so much you can shove into your Universe before people lose interest. This isn't about big and showy any more, it's the process of maintaining a living and breathing world long term in time-scales that are at present not being met or even adequately considered. That's just dumb. More significantly, the long-term marketing objectives of this title need a do-over, they really do. The mystery and excitement of this Expansion can be hyped to kingdom come for the new people, but I'm beginning to get a real sense that Blizzard's lip service to the existing player base is just that.

Maybe the suits could stop selling the upcoming stuff and genuinely consider producing new content all the time, that covers the end of Expansions and that keeps things ticking over every day, regardless of the long-term objectives. Is that possible? Could we at least try that at the end of Legion and see where it takes us, because honestly I'm not sure that the title will keep supporting the amount of money you keep asking from people to do so, and when that stops, we're all out of a job.

Mostly, I'm tired of watching people making money from something that doesn't actually exist for potentially another seven months.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

High and Dry

IS IT RELEASED YET? 

It's February, and we're still in Alpha.

The thing is, you see, the game's not ready. Legion's so far away from being done that actually, it is beginning to make some people cranky. I can't blame them, especially when Blizzard's *running a contest between the EU and US* to see who can do new content that nobody else can in the fastest time possible. I can understand why people are getting upset when all they have is Guides and Videos and websites full of brilliant things they can't play yet. In fact, all of this is great for the people who are able to take part, but a pretty sad state of affairs for anyone else. Because ultimately, if you're in, its a wonderful time. If you're not and want to be? There's no amount of spin to put on the concept to make it better. However, and this is crucial, this doesn't matter to everybody, only those who are closest in gravity to those with the Alpha invites. It's only irking the people who are bored and need something different, because they ran out of stuff to do on Live. For everyone else, they're still happy with Warlords.

Except, is that actually true?


Have we learned NOTHING from Pandaria?

I've spoken to a fair number of people I know, and I'm beginning to think were reaching a crucial tipping point. Right now, the votes are pretty much straight down the middle. It's 50/50 for yeah still got stuff/bored now need summat new. For every person happily killing their way towards Archi there's someone contemplating playing something else, for each person piling up gold in a Garrison there's another looking for something with more satisfaction than a repetitive grind. It's probably no wonder that whole 'we're considering free stuff with the movie' marketing e-mail went out this week (oh and that also asked what band you'd like to see at Blizzcon too, just as a FYI, so no moaning if you don't get someone you like.) But the movie's still four whole months away. I'm still waiting to see if Blizzard are gonna implement the pre-Expansion event on the PTR or not, which might explain why there's nothing of note on Alpha in that regard, but we're still waiting for the second part of the Demon Hunter introductory experience, amongst an awful lot of other stuff that simply does not exist yet.


And so, here we are. Again ^^

The key difference this time around, why this isn't Pandaria, is that the vast majority of people don't seem to be that fussed. The very action of giving people an 'on or before' date has done something interesting: the pressure's off. People seem to be just accepting of the understanding that it'll be done when its ready and as long as things aren't as bad as they were in Warlords? People will come back. Blizzard clearly know how many people have pre-ordered, and even if that isn't of the magnitude that it was before, it won't matter, because now there's a plan to attract people who've not played before/haven't played since (insert Expansion name here) using that Cinema Ticket Ploy. So, here we are. There's nobody screaming for blood, because that doesn't happen any more with this system.

I'm not sure this is the bright shining future I signed up for, you know.

Okay, now you're scaring me.

What makes it all so much more galling is when I watch how everyone else in the Blizzard 'family' seems to be doing business these days. Okay, Starcraft had to wait like 136 years for an Expansion, but all this Hearthstone rolling expansion stuff and even Diablo getting new content and then Heroes and the 'a new hero every 45 seconds or so it feels like' and really, truthfully, it does sometimes feel like being kicked in the non-existent gonads. I then ask myself the question: WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS ANYWAY? Why does there need to be a permanent talent reset and then all the new stuff about fantasy and couldn't we just get *some* content now and how hard would it be to stick that on the PTR

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddd

Yeah. I know.

It's cold and wet outside, and lots of people just want new content. If this were like Heroes, they could stick a couple of new Quest areas into Draenor and that would work. They could even have properly updated the Lunar Festival, until you realise that for some people this will only be the second year they've had the chance to complete as is. And that's when you realise that YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. You're a card-carrying, 100% positive Vanilla Player who's gotta just live with the fact you've been here ELEVEN BLOODY YEARS. Some people only just arrived. Maybe you could cut those people a break, and Blizzard as well. Maybe everyone would benefit if you just went off for a while and did something else.

Then you look at your mate who's having a fucking brilliant time playing the game, and you wonder where your enthusiasm and joy went.

That's the bigger problem. I get that now.

So, you stay for your friends. You remain in hope, talking on social media, and to occasionally reminisce about what it was like, and what you hope it will be like for that brief and glorious period when nobody's ahead of anyone else. Blizzard may market Alpha and Beta to death, but there'll still be that beautiful period when everyone's the same, if only for 24 hours and until someone exploits summat to get to 110 in 20 hours straight. It's the summer vacation you're looking forward to, the dream couple of days when you can book time off work and pretend you're 10 years younger. Mostly, this is the blog post I've written in one form or another since Wrath became Cataclysm.

Legion will be here when it's ready. Just be patient.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Exit Music


Oh, what a fuss they made. 

Yesterday, a Ukrainian-based eSports 'club' posted a blog that, quite frankly, was clickbait incarnate. It suggested the pros and cons of 'women' in eSports: firstly, the list was mostly cons, and secondly... well, no. I'm not going to even give the rest of the subject matter air (ill-advised graphic above should ring alarm bells frankly,) and the fact it's now vanished from the Internet completely should say all that is needed on why you don't publish certain articles without thinking through the consequences first. However, for someone like me, what it does highlight is more than just the fact that there's a set of expectations at play for eSports as it stands. All you people who keep telling me how great this 'revolution' is for gaming are singularly failing to grasp some basic truths that, as a woman over 45, just make me laugh so much I eventually hurt my face.

Because eSports will never be taken as seriously as actual sport until it becomes truly inclusive.



It is fair to say that currently, a lot of people assume that eSports is simply a young man's game. Except sport is NEVER simply for one particular age-range: if it is genuinely a sport, age or sex, cultural background or sexual orientation should NEVER be a barrier to entry. As long as you can find a team to play with, and opponents to challenge? The sky's the limit. The problem, it seems to me, is that advertisers have decided that this isn't just about sport. It is primarily and exercise in generating advertising revenue: clickthroughs, referrals, hits to sites. Then there's the lucrative marketing rights in the future: replica shirts, stadiums, bums on seats paying season ticket fees. Mostly, if you have your cynical hat firmly affixed so it totally covers your vision, this is taking the most marketable elements of a concept and basically pushing so hard you're sure there's no blood left.

That' the world we live in, and it's happening everywhere, not just in gaming.




When her kids were born back in 2011, actress Jessica Alba started a company with Brian Lee to sell baby products. The Honest Company's looking to go public 5 years later, being valued at an impressive $1.7 billion dollars. That's not bad for half a decade's work, all told, and just shows that if you have an idea enough people want to involve themselves with, you'll make it happen regardless. That's not unlike what Blizzard's doing with its eSports division right now, but that's not being marketed at anyone over 30. The sole interest there is the lucrative 18-30 male demographic, and it doesn't matter how many surveys tell you that the majority of people playing games now are female. This isn't about including that fact in anything when it comes to luring players into the 'sport.' If Blizzard weren't deliberately targeting their focus you wouldn't see Heroes of the Dorm just being offered to college students. We'd have Seniors of the Storm, or Women of the Storm. The fact remains, neither of those sectors of the marketplace is the ones that are going to be used to publicly establish this new direction, and while that fact remains, all the focus is on one place alone.

There's a damn good reason for that too. That's not where the teams are to begin with.


When high profile players of diversity such as @RenegadeMaria leave the professional stage, it is going to make news. Ironically, I'd argue that it wouldn't matter if there were female-only tournaments or circuits: regardless of segregation, some people just won't be comfortable playing in front of an audience. What I know lots of people seem to want is for eSports to show men and women together on stage playing as teams, because this would be entirely feasible whereas in many 'real' sports it wouldn't be simply because of physical differences. That's all well and good, but if an article like the one I mentioned at the top can be published and the people writing it not realise what a fuss it will make? There's still quite a long way to go before women actually feel they can play with men without the abuse and stigma that current accompany such actions. However, this still doesn't include anyone over 30, and one assume that once the current generation of 'older' men hit that age and are sent to Carousel made to retire, only then will there be a thought for a Seniors League to sustain them.

You tell 'em, love.

Lots of things make me angry right now: what makes me absolutely livid is that everybody has an opinion, but so many of those never get past the 'tweet' stage. It's really easy to sit and be righteous behind a screen, but pretty fucking hard to make those dreams a reality. If all you want to do is be critical of failings in society without consequence? Welcome to obscurity. You might think you're a big man because you play a game and a few people watch you, but if you want to be a legend in eSports, just playing isn't enough. You have more chance being remembered for exploiting the trend than you may ever have of being recorded in the eSports Hall of Fame. Mostly, it can all be summed up in 140 characters and a .GIF:

Friday, February 05, 2016

No Surprises

So, about that date...? 

Sometimes, you just need to be in the right place at the right time, and discussion topics just drop into your lap. As an example? I'd like to thank Nyn (@Lawilc01) for posting the following last night:


Blizzard are known for using market research to 'test' potential ideas with the Community before they go live. I've received them in the past, and often they appear in a run-up to an Expansion to guage interest in certain features. In this case? I think it's fair to say Blizzard have decided they could concievably use the Movie for some kind of incentive/tie-in. It's not like anyone could blame them, this cinematic experience is pretty much a major deal for everybody. For those of you who just think this is already TL;DR?


And LO, the floodgates of speculation did open, and many things were discussed. However, for some of us, what wasn't on the table was of far more importance. Didn't stop some people from pulling out the celebratory GIFs, mind:


There was also, of course, some speculation on what that 'in game item' might be:


There were other options of course: mounts, pets, vanity items... you name it, someone suggested it. More importantly, this won't just be an offer for the existing player. If anything, it would be deliberately weighted in order to bring in new players, giving them a free month in June/July/August just before Legion releases in order to be a part of the game on launch.


This is all speculation, of course. There's no confirmation that ANYTHING will happen. All we know is that the survey is legit, as a Blue confirmed that part of the equation via Reddit. I know what I'll be doing now.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Change


And now, Story Time. 

Warcraft changed my life.

People seem to say this quite a lot, especially in my experience. I've seen film stars do it, and many, many ordinary people. This MMO, having been part of the gaming landscape for over a decade, is undoubtedly going to affect lives in different ways. Yes, it will give you a safe space to discover what you really are. It can offer you solace from the realities of a harsh world. Inside Azeroth you are no longer constricted by the issues that reality throws at you. You can be something else, you can feel better and more liberated. Yeah, I get all of that. However, Warcraft doesn't pay the rent, it won't look after you when you're sick and it certainly can't help you if you get attacked by a moose... hang on...

I stand corrected.
From https://www.nextnature.net/

I get paid to write about Warcraft every week, as it happens, so I could also argue that yes, it can pay the rent. However, even I would be hard pressed to argue that it's all you need in your life for completeness and harmony, because that's so not the case. That means, like it or not, you need to be able to function as a human being outside the confines of Azeroth as well. I know many people who can do both with remarkable ease: nurses, engineers, writers, dancers... the list is endless. People who share the same passion, that inevitably leeches out into their daily lives, that manifests in all manner of forms. For me, Warcraft has provided confidence I didn't previously possess to allow me to take steps back into a world I should have been living in and not afraid of. I used to be able to do it, but the birth of my second child caused a schism that ultimately undermined everything I'd ever been. Picking up the pieces after this, I took some fairly radical steps to clean the slate and start again. There were reasons for this, and not all of them I am yet capable of admitting in public, let alone with text.

Needless to say, after that I needed to find confidence to begin again.

A way forward.

Slowly but surely I am now finding my way. Not every day goes well, far from it. There are still issues to face and hurdles to jump, but I feel it is a measure of my progress down this path that I can lie in bed and not worry about what I did that day as being wrong, but rather I can analyse what went right, too. Once upon a time I'd obsessively worry about every drama, now I pick and choose the battles. Mostly, life with depression is about understanding the signs, and knowing how to deal with them when they occur. Once you have that basic, everything else just works around you. Of course, that's an issue for some people to begin with: that's why I don't spend every day talking about this to you. I don't want my mental issues to be what defines me, I want then as a part of the overall person I am, and often as small a part as I can possibly make them. Yes, often I'll use that darkness as fuel, but not every day. It doesn't have to rule my life. I make those decisions now, nobody else.

You can escape your own personal hell. I did it, and others have too. Warcraft changed my life because it gave me the means by which I could find both strength and confidence with words to start talking again. You can too.

Find #TimeToTalk to someone about your concerns today, and change your life for the better.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Freedom 90



For a while, it's not been huge fun to play a Rogue in Warlords, and a lot is about to change in the upcoming Expansion. The alterations the class receives in Legion haven't really gone done that well in many quarters: having a spec renamed has thrown a lot of people's world view out of kilter, for starters. For all the hordes of people who rejoiced when the Outlaw 'ideal' was announced, there have also been a share of detractors, many of them with fairly sound reasoning behind their disquiet:


That's the biggest problem for many players with this notion of 'fantasy': you actually have to buy into the version Blizzard's chosen to highlight. If you think that outlaw = outcast, that might make adapting to the world view a lot harder than those who are happy to go from being establishment to edgy. If as a designer you're only considering the narrow band of opinion that you work with, it could come as a surprise when millions of players get your ideas and start de-constructing them. What however is most telling, at least in the Subtlety changes above, is that the idea Blizzard had just won't sit with the people its being presented to. Because if it did, there wouldn't be as much negative feedback as has so obviously been received, digested, and is now being acted upon. If you thought the Warcraft Devs don't respond to constructive criticism? Think again.


However, from where I sit, over in Social Media Corner, that first tweet is probably more telling than the information contained within it. Because this is the @WarcraftDevs *actually using the medium correctly* to communicate a change of intention both instantly and efficiently. No link just to a forum post most people won't click on, far more better a screenshot of the relevant passage, attached as an image. All your relevant information is communicated visually, and there is no need for anything else in this case. Intent is clear, and dissemination accurately assured. This, frankly, is a stroke of media genius. Blizzard finally got someone behind the Twitter Bus wheel who knows how to exploit the route to its maximum advantage, and that is no bad thing at all, especially at this stage in proceedings. Rogues should feel that genuine issues are being addressed, and the rest of the Community sees that finally, using Twitter to communicate with the Development team has real and tangible benefits.What is more important of course is that this is a victory for feedback, but there are caveats still attached.


This is the more significant point: players get to change only part of the game plan. Rogues are not responsible for an amendment of the 'core fantasy' of the Subtlety class, simply the mechanics that define it. There is a clear and distinct line in the sand being drawn here, and I think that, as players of any class, this delineation must be made repeatedly and firmly right the way up until Legion releases. Yes, you get to change how your spec plays, but you aren't allowed to alter the exposition. That means that the Sewers will eventually grow to be your new home, like it or not. You can choose to hang out there or you and some friends could use Ravenholdt on your server to make a home that better fits your class fantasy. In the end, the place you end up with in L110 Content is only there to remind you of what there is to do in current canon. Everything else is yours to dictate and decide. The problem for so many players is that they seem to believe that is Blizzard's job too, when it never was to begin with. As players, our own desires should eventually exceed the confines of our playgrounds. If you live in a world where you expect Blizzard to do everything for you? That's a pretty blinkered means to live any online life.

Mostly, what this development does is put the change players can affect very squarely into their own hands. If you really don't like how a class plays on Alpha and you're lucky enough to be there? Time to make your case. There's still time to affect change, but only if you grasp what is actually possible and realistic within what is presented to you.

Away you go.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

#7YearsofAlt :: This is the Day


And here we are: seven years down, and it is just getting better and better. There'll be a MASSIVE GIVEAWAY later, but for now, here are some more of your Memories of Azeroth. Gonna start today with one of my favourite bloggers (and people) who'd doing the business in the UK. Here's Steve's Favourite Places in Warcraft:

==



WRATH: Back then, my main was my Paladin, then called Patrianna. I
didn't care for a lot of Wrath, to be honest, but I joined at the tail
end, so things were winding down I guess? I just found it all bleak
and miserable. The exception to me was Dalaran. This amazing, purple,
bustling city full of people! My first foray there (and in Stormwind)
took my breath away.


CATACLYSM: You know, I really liked Cata as a whole, though I never
raided during it until LFR happened with Dragon Soul. Deepholm was my
favourite place here. The questline was engaging, it was awesome to
work with Therazane, and the general scenery was otherwordly!


MISTS OF PANDARIA: Still the best expansion, and so full of amazing
places, but I had to go with Halfhill. I loved the farm, I loved
making friends with the characters there, and I loved the scenery
around it, rolling hills, crop fields, lush greenery! I spent so much
time here, and a few of my characters still have their hearthstones
set there, even at level 100.


WARLORDS OF DRAENOR: Well I managed to enjoy this expansion too,
despite all the criticisms I have with it. Before I played it, I
thought Nagrand would be my favourite area, but in the end Spires of
Arak took it. The story with the Arakkoa, Reshad and Percy, Admiral
Taylor's Garrison of Gutpunching... And the ambience! The music! The
mountains wherever you look, and the rylaks soaring in a sky we
thought originally unattainable!

Steve writes a most EXCELLENT BLOG with a Warlock slant, unsurprisingly called Grimoires of Supremacy. You can also find him @ikralla on Twitter.

==

Then, I wanted to make sure that I included Navi in today's selection: her presence here is particularly important, as she's been a part of the landscape for as long as I have! In fact, if I read her Blog correctly, she's been posting about Warcraft for six years now herself, so also deserves HUGE SNACKS AND RESPECT.


7 years already Godmother! Look at how your blog has evolved! 
Years ago you wrote as a guild leader, as a hunter, as a raider, as a community member. 
Now, you are a well respected, with opinions that are heard all over the globe. You are a massive engager of the community, on Twitter and on your blog and your podcasts - is this the same Godmother I met so many years ago? 
I remember when you were so secretive about your identity - and now you are a celebrity! I am really proud to have known you all this time, and to see how far you have gone, and though I am only one small part of your readership and following, I am happy to count you as my friend :) 
Happy Bloggybirthday!


Nav will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart, as do so many of the people who have followed me from the start of my journey. I am indeed very happy to call her a friend, and I want to thank her for reminding me of the day she came and found me on my Server from several continents away.

Find Navi's Blog at The Daily Frostwolf and her good self on Twitter @NavimieDruid

==

Finally in today's selection? Someone who I met via my travels online, and who has become a genuine inspiration in making me fitter and happier in both body and mind. Brandy's sent me a selection of  screenies, and we'll use them all :D


Congratulations on achieving 7 years of drafting, writing, rewriting, gifing, bolding, tagging, and publishing on your blog.  That is an incredible achievement!  I am in awe of all the work you have done and continue doing there.  I I enjoy reading your work and appreciate the way your writing also awakens my critical thinking skills.  Consistency is not one of my strengths so I do truly admire that about you. 
On that note I've attached three photos.  Each new expansion I tend to go with a totally new main so I've put them in my favorite places from some of those expansions.


My warlock in Nagrand since I love the floating islands and waterfalls there.  Plus the atmosphere of Nagrand always feels so laid back and in harmony with a simpler way of living, more peaceful and in tune with nature.


My rogue in Grizzly Hills because I always think of that giant fallen tree and the little village of furbolgs inside.  Living in a tree like that sounds so nice. 


And last my mage in Valley of the Four Winds because I am after all just a country girl who can appreciate some giant ass produce! 
Thank you for being amazing, thank you for writing your blog for 7 years, and please keep writing for many more years to come.  I will keep reading!! :D

Thank you @brandyflare for inspiring me to bigger and better things in 2016, it is greatly appreciated. And thank you to everyone reading and taking part as we move into my seventh year \o/

Monday, February 01, 2016

Unexpected

This was not today's first intended post, that will be along later. This is a bonus for everyone, but especially for me. Because about an hour ago my best mate surprised me with a gift. Needless to say, I love surprises (assuming you're not sticking me on a rollercoaster or chucking me in a pool) and this? Well, this is beyond awesome.

Yes, that would be me, then ^^

That's my character up there, under the errant elbow of my best mate Julia, who after a conversation on Friday contacted the designer of said piece, one Hugshot. I've always loved his work, and the conversation over dinner covered just how distinctive and different his style is, and how I wish more people were drawing generally in the Warcraft Community. I know there are an amazing number of talented people out there, many of which I've commissioned and you can see the result of their labours all around you. This was not only unexpected but a BRILLIANT way to begin my birthday week. Thank you to Julia for being the weight on my head, I wouldn't let anyone else do this (well, maybe a select few) and for the record? Dwarves are NOT furniture. We're a proud and noble race, so treat us with respect.

So to Huggy, a massive thank you. Trust me, I'll be making space for this on a webpage weal soon and it will be permanently attached to the Site.

This day just got considerably more awesome.


EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

#7YearsofAlt :: Hello Again

Next week is almost here, seven years done and dusted of words and pictures. Today I'm going to share some more of your memories, mostly because you've been kind enough to do so with me. Thank you for taking the time to do so.

First up today, this is Lorne Lehrer's favourite place in Azeroth:


Every day is a School day :D

While I was first crossing a bridge, I heard singing. An NPC suggested I go down and listen to the lesson. Lorewalker Ruolin sang the song of Liu Lang while Lorewalker Amai explains the song to the children. 
To me, this perfectly captured the best of the Mists expansion. The world felt alive, and the voice acting and music only drew me further in to the story. 
The only thing that came close was the shadow that passed over my heart during the Horde-side scenario The Divine Bell. When Anduin rang the bell and Garrosh winced-- the tragedy was impossible to ignore. We brought Garrosh to a beautiful land, and it brought out whatever darkness was still unexpressed in him. Redemption seemed to be beyond his story, and that hurt. (To be fair, there wasn't much left unexpressed by this point, but he hadn't yet ruined the Vale)  We should have left him in Outland instead of restoring his pride. 

Next up, @lesliech0w on Twitter is short, sweet, and to the point:


Reality Check time.

The best place in Azeroth for Leslie is simple: Any place my raid group is. It's a cautionary reminder to people like me who don't raid any more that actually, this is still the bread and butter of this game's livelihood. Groups of people who just get together every week to kill stuff and have fun together, scattered across the planet. Their aim is simple, and their goal is clearly defined: that guy there is the end of the road, and these people have reached that together. May I offer therefore my congratulations to 'No Big Deal' on their downing of Archimonde. I really need to get around to seeing that fight at some point. YES I'M A SLACKER.




Moonwillow Peak in Shadowmoon Valley, Draenor : I think that tree is gorgeous and for me it's one of the prettiest places in Warcraft - 
NuruDruid




No zones, as that would be mainstream, so these pictures kinda shows who I am, random and weird! -  
@Heallarious on Twitter

Finally for this post, I'm honoured that someone that I fight in game on a regular basis has offered some screenshots. I reckon most content creators would be happy with an NPC named after them, and I'm really happy to have had Cymre Jones on my Blog List for many, many years now. Next time you're in Gorgrond go fight her vanity pet team because frankly they're a real challenge even now, and suspect they will both frustrate and annoy players for quite some time to come. That 'back from the dead' thing for starters is an utter pig :D


In Uldum, you can pretty much take your pick but I always gravitate towards those visually stunning landmarks.


Not sure where the original file is but I find this spot really peaceful, not to mention my love of water lilies. (Tian Monastery)

You can find Cym on Twitter @Cymre and the extremely wonderful bubblesofmischief.com

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I'll be back tomorrow with more images, a great big THANK YOU again to anyone who's sent them in :D

Saturday, January 30, 2016

She's the One

I'm taking both gun and cannoli here ^^ 

Yesterday, I took a day off from Warcraft. I went into London and I had a massively great time, but I was still listening to Twitter and enjoying my interactions. However, it is fair to say that I was not obsessed with the game all day. I have a conversation the previous evening with a very good friend, and we both discuss the fact that we know that Legion has the potential to drive a lot of 'old' players away with the demands it is making through change. We both understand that maybe, this is the time to be thinking about our futures as well of that of the game, but with a greater emphasis on the former. Neither of us are that worried about this: sure, we get upset by certain things but we're adult enough to be able to move on. The choice is ours to make. In both cases, Warcraft matters, but not as much as the interactions that we've made as a result of it.

Then I am reminded of the people who don't seem either to have grasped this or indeed have moved passed the obsession stage.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU TOOK A DAY OFF? :O

This morning I woke up to a MASSIVE Twitter rant from someone who didn't even follow me but decided I'm clearly the person to rope in with the Warcraft Devs account about they hatred of no flying in Legion content from launch. I know why this is, I accurately predicted it in an article on Wednesday about guess what? Managing expectations. I don't normally quote myself but for the sake of this post? Here's what I said:

Blizzard themselves learned how damaging and destructive Twitter has the potential to be during the run up to Warlords, and the Great Flying Incident of 2015 still raises hackles whenever I mention it. In fact by doing so right there I can guarantee someone will turn up in my Twitter feed and try and start a fight, literally months after the issue stopped being relevant. That’s how long some people hold their grudges, and it’s also how long it’s taken for Blizzard to finally adapt the platform to suit their needs.

It still happens, because there are those of you out there who aren't able to accurately separate your own obsessive behaviour and the fact that this remains a computer game. I saw this yesterday: people who weren't reading my feed, yet continued to ask me questions about the game when I wasn't even near a computer or playing it. Those who, if they'd actually read and paid attention, would have known I was taking a day away and yet still thought about what they wanted ahead of everything else. The last time this happened a member of my growing Block List almost joyously informed me that it was my job to take this shit. That was what happened when you disagreed, it meant you had to be willing to both argue with the stupid people and not get cross when they did so. Well, in shock news, that's the biggest pile of bollocks on the planet. I get to choose what I do with my life and you don't, and if I don't like it you don't get the right to either run me off Twitter or fill my Inbox with shit.

It's not my fault you don't get the fundamental truths here, that's all your own doing.

The other side of the affair. 

The smart people would tell me I shouldn't keep mentioning it, but that's like saying that there's no room for improvement in your life. You're so perfect you don't need to do anything to make it better? If your existence involves late night rants to people you never met in the vain hope they can make the computer game you live and breathe easier? I think you're probably in need of a wake up call. It isn't your choice. I may object to my Class Hall's composition, I may feel that my specs don't provide adequate fantasy and may even shed a tear that all that Plate gear can't be mogged on my Druid. The fact remains, it doesn't matter. None of that breaks the game, just like flying doesn't ruin it, simply creates more of a challenge. If all you want is to breeze through life without consequence, what the living fuck are you doing starting random spats online with people you've never met to begin with? Is this also a way to massage an ego so distorted it thinks this post is clearly about them and as a result you've won some kind of battle by being noticed? I'm so obviously and utterly crying into my Bran Flakes this morning with how much your words have hurt me.

Seriously, get a fucking life. Step out of your narrow-minded, egocentric bliss and realise the real truths. If by now you don't grasp this is just a game? What are you doing with the rest of your lives?

AS WELL YOU SHOULD RON.

I had a lovely day out yesterday and you never get to ruin that by poisoning my mind. You don't 'run me off Twitter' through bullying and obsessive behaviour. Stupid, narrow minded and ultimately empty-souled people never win, because I am better than that. You could be too, if you went outside more often and stepped away from the blinding obsession the Internet now provides you with. There's an amazingly fabulous World out there that you can shape with your own thoughts and feelings. You just have to believe it is possible.

Needless to say, I have no time for such ignorance and arrogance any more.