Sunday, May 18, 2014

Any Day Now

Any day now, we'll have a new Alpha build.

I'm not the only one waiting here...

Yesterday, someone pointed out on Twitter I was 'reporting' on a piece of news they were fairly certain was already confirmed weeks ago, in the Alpha Patch notes. As I pointed out there and I shall reiterate now, this has been my life, more or less, since November. Yes, there is 'news', after a fashion, perhaps as often as daily if one takes the time to trawl through the hundreds of tweets that the designers produce in response to any number of comments from players. The thing is, there is no ACTUAL news. There is the 'promise' of news, the reiteration of existing commitments or plans by Blzzard , and the expectation that some day soon, eventually, there will be something both new and exciting. However, there continues to be no client. In shock news, it appeared I called the reasoning on that as well.

I'll take 'kind of' in this context :D

This Tweet serves to illuminate a few things in Blizzard's current development 'cycle.' Clearly the game IS in an Internal Alpha phase, and is being tested (presumably) on a daily basis. However, one strongly suspects that this 'build' Blizzard is working on bears very little resemblance to the 'test' build currently available to dataminers and for the public to at least see. This one will be working out the kinks, applying that much-talked about 'polish' and presumably ensuring 'zone integration' is sound. That phrase is quite significant, at least for me, because it would seem to confirm my belief that this feature is pretty much as vital a part of the quest experience as doing quests and gaining XP. Of course, as is the case with everyone else, I have no proof of this, only the possibility that this is what I'll see. there is no news, only my belief, and at this point that's actually all I need.

Any day now, we'll know for certain.

European queues. Very stylish.

We have discussed at length in this parish that patience is something some people are better at than others. For me, in the position where I want to write every day, this has caused some interesting quandaries in the last couple of months. I'd tell anyone wanting to start writing that a daily routine is vital in order to build confidence and allow people to feel comfortable with their writing 'style.' It can often be nigh-on impossible to do that when the game you're focussing on offers you no new inspiration. That's why we've gone off piste quite a bit, why we've become a fair bit more philosophical and thoughtful, and why that trend will continue as long as there's actually NO NEWS. You only have to check places like Wow Insider or Wowhead to know that often 'news' is talking about Hearthstone, or a new feature, or looking forward to what WILL happen. Eventually.

I realise for a lot of people, this is not fun. It's not exactly easy at the sharp end either, because keeping enthusiastic about something that's doing nothing but you KNOW will be a game everyone will want to talk about SOON (TM) is actually quite hard work. However, with every post I write like this, where the subject matter is a topic that's already been discussed on many occasions, my determination actually strengthens. I do want to write about this game every day, whatever happens, because I'm really very excited about garrisons, about what Blizzard are going to do with the game, how these changes will effect the dynamics of players and the motivations of various social groups. I want to see how the storyline stands up to being transposed to a place where many people think it will be unsustainable. Most importantly of all, I want to see if the wait justifies the result.

Any day now, I'll have those answers.

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