Author Archive: Isey

World of Warcraft – Random Thoughts About the Expansion

So, Warlords of Draenor.

I have had a long tenure with World of Warcraft. From hardcore raiding through Vanilla, multiple accounts, multiple licences, to guild leadership in a progression guild through WOTLK. Half way through WOTLK I gave up on WoW and the sub model. It remains the one game I have spent the most money on (historically/total) and I still go back each expansion to say “hi” to my more consistent/stubborn friends (who still play), get to the next level cap, and bid adieu.

I have a lot of emotional experiences in WOW – all positive. So many good gaming friends (that I miss – some still in touch with, but most have gone to non-gaming pastures of “real life”) and I would probably play WOW still if there wasn’t a subscription. There is a comfort and familiarity there that is still fun, and I find the 5 mans smooth. The 30 minutes in and out is good for my current lifestyle as well. I have invested so much time and cash into it they should probably thank me and give me a lifetime subscription. Customer Service is not the inter-webs strong point.

Couple Random thoughts on what I have learned about the expansion:

Mists of Pandaria lost me because you HAD to do daily quests to advance. In WOTLK you could grind reputation through dungeons, but not in MoP. I can’t stand doing dailies – its the WORST part of WoW for my playstyle. They are getting rid of them as a gating mechanism in WoD.  Hopefully this is a push towards allowing players to enjoy the game the way they like the most. WoW gates at every step – at least let players choose which gate they have to walk through.

You get a free level 90 (any class) with the expansion. Waiting on specifics here, but EVERY new character should be a free level 90. 1-89 teaches nothing of the game anymore.

The best (and smartest) news I have heard is that they are pushing for ONE gear set regardless of spec – and that when you switch specs, the gear will switch intelligently to reflect the item budget you need.

I called this a good move in 2008.

If Blizzard really liked you (us) they would change itemization – not provide a double-grind to the already solid grind. Easy in some cases, harder in others. I like to use arbitrary numbers, so here goes. ONE raid gear set regardless of spec. Change how your character USES that set.

And my final initial takeaway, to make Wolfshead happy, is that WoW is down to about 7M members. The giant is dying. At the rate of decline, it will still be #1 for the next 5+ years.

I have been gaming all sorts of odd games – and I will be back to share some neat things I have sorted out, including what it is going take to make a MMO that captures the awesomeness that WoW (and MMO’s) were.

 

Against My Better Judgement

I went back into SWTOR.

I love the Star Wars Universe. I was in early Beta Tests for SWTOR and like many others, believed if the game was launched as a single player experience it would have done amazing. Really, it is just a better, shinier KOTOR.  Dragon Age in the Star Wars Universe. Mass Effect-esque gameplay in a Star Wars backdrop. It could have been a perennial giant seller as a single player game such as the COD series or even Assasin’s Creed. I went back knowing that it really isn’t an MMO but the storylines I did in beta were pretty well done – and I wanted to see some of them through and maybe experience a couple new ones. I was willing to invest my time (and depending on the experience, money)

Wow, they have really messed it up. During my three hour play experience last night:

1) You can’t get certain quest rewards without being a subscriber. Major quest rewards are unattainable. Really? PRE-LEVEL 10? The starter experience?

2) The restrictions on chat make group very, very difficult (and there are heroic quests that require you to have a group as early as level 6-7)

3) XP gains have really been throttled (not surprisingly though)

So after spending a lot of time (and money) in League of Legends, someone who does Free To Play exceptionally well, it was a letdown. I want to spend time in EA’s Star Wars Universe, I want to give them my money – but I want to feel like I am rewarding them for good programming and business decisions. If I gave them a dime right now it would be the exact opposite.

League S4 Goals – Failed!

And I am just fine with it. Taking the plunge and focus into ranked play, but starting at the bottom of the barrel was a LOT to overcome. The truth is the Solo Queue ranked system seems to rewards games played. Bad streaks, bad luck, whatever – as long as you plow through you’ll end up where you want to be.

I just ran out of time.

Bloodstone-Lissandra_io1scg

To test the whole ranking theory I leveled up a second account and it placed me a full league ahead – and didn’t force me to trudge through 200 games. So I actually *reached* my goals by not using the established system. It will be interesting to see if they work on improving that at all for season four. They already have a ton to work on with Jungle/Support fixes, items, a stale meta, etc. I did find two new champs I am deeply in love with playing – Lissandra (above) and I’ll save the second for my next post. Truthfully, I am even getting ‘meh’ on League.

I am accepting that I am not really a gamer like I used to be anymore. I used to keep up on the news, be excited for releases, try everything, get into every BETA possible… and now? I think I am just more of a hobbiest. I am coming to terms with that. What I am really excited for isn’t any upcoming game or title (well, for one there is another ‘memory lane title’, and another that won’t be out for years). The thing that has me excited again is seeing my old friend Wolfshead posting again. He is covering a bit on the next iteration on the EQ franchise and his initial observations seem to indicate that gamers like he and I should accept which gamers are being targeted now. And hey, even if they finally DID make the game I always wanted, having gone from hardcore to hobbiest, I’m not even sure if I would end up playing it anyway.

 

 

 

Odds Are in My Favour

Still playing League of Legends and I am nearing my placement matches to move up from Bronze (crap) to Silver (less crap). it has been an arduous climb, but somewhat of a positive experience. My top laners (Wukong, Pantheon) continue to be my bread and butter and I have recently added Rumble – and have an over 75% winrate with him. He has been ‘nerfed’ as of late but since I have seen him exactly zero times over 100 games what I suspected is true – no one knows how to play against him.

Rumble is that cat like creature (yordle) riding his mechanized contraption and is a fun character conceptually, and plays hella fun. Anyway, hopefully I can ride him to silver.

Back to the title – what I have realized in the untalented, cesspool that is bronze (which I am so fond of being a bronzie myself) is that if you don’t suck, that means you have an up to 80% chance of having sucky players on your team. This is a benefit because the other team has an up to 100% chance. So the odds are definitely in your favour. Assuming, of course, you don’t suck. (Sometimes I do).

I have hit a neat spot where your League Points get ‘clamped’. Whereas before clamping, you could get 20 LP for a win, now its 3 to 6. This means you really have to power through matches to get to your promotion matches. Also a nice way to slow you down to stop and smell the roses. Or at least the other available scents in bronze.

Dat Wukong (aka “That Wukong”)

Great observation by Zubon over at KTR, and I am living that efficiency. He hasn’t played ranked yet so he doesn’t share that you can use ‘Dat’ or ‘Dis’ in place of the proper words, and it looks like he won’t stick around to learn that part. Despite the trash, despite the hate, despite the racism, I still stick around League of Legends for the competition. It’s an interesting setup and gives you something to shoot for.

Once you have the requisite amount of champions (16) and levels (30) you can enter into the dreaded abyss that makes Barren Chat look like Sunday school and play Solo Queue Ranked games in League of Legends. Solo Q matches you with four random strangers on your team, and 5 random strangers on the other, after being “matched” through Riot’s super secret system. You then “discuss” what roles you want to play, throw together a team, and go off to get MOBA glory. If you win, you get League Points (LP). If you lose, you lose LP. The amount you gain or lose depends on who the secret matchmaker things should have won. Win a game that you are supposed to and you get little gains. Lose a game you are favored to win and see the points melt away.

Once you hit 100 points, you get put into a best of 3 situation to move up a League. I need to backup a second – BEFORE you enter ranked, you play 10 ‘placement’ matches which will put you in a skill group and category. Currently it goes from Bronze to Platinum, with each metal having ranks 5 through 1. I was placed in Bronze III. Back to the 100 points. Once you earn 100 LP in your bracket, you are put into a best of 3 situation. Win 2 of 3 and you move up the scale (for me, Bronze III to Bronze II) and once you get into the “I” division of your color, win a best of 5 and you move up to the next precious metal. Bronze to Silver to Gold and so on.

I just won my second of three placement matches and moved up to Bronze II and unlike MMO achievements, it actually felt like an accomplishment. Against the feeders, ragers, AFK’ers, and racists – I persevered and now have earned the distinction of a Bronze II League placement. I have set a goal to make Silver I so wish me luck.

And oh, although I still haven’t had 10 games without trash, I did reward Riot for enjoying this stint of games and bought a skin – General Wukong. I am 10-5 with him in ranked and am proving someone efficient with him.

 

Playing the Free to Play Field (Non-Committed)

Kind of feels a bit like speed dating.

As good a time as it is to be a gamer these days with all the free-to-play options I am actually a bit sullen. Unlike my wife, I just can’t commit to any games. I could argue it is because of the game themselves but I am starting to think it is more because of the payment model.

I have downloaded a lot of FTP games lately.

Star Trek Online: I have updated it 3x, logged in only once, and haven’t been past character select

Star Wars The Old Republic: Perfect to play as a single player game to check out the storylines now that it is FTP, but I have only managed 8 levels and 3 play sessions over the past 30 days.

EQ(1): Nostalgia. Log in and run around with the old toons. Cannot be bothered to figure out how to play it again =)

GW2: I update it and log in but I never got the feel or enjoyment from this game. I call this FTP because there is no sub!

LoL: I play a match daily still, and it’s getting my best playtime.

Of them all League of Legends is the clear cut winner as I am navigating through a SoloQ ranking system. So there is an investment there, a goal, something to measure my playtime against. I so very badly want to give the others a fair shot but my time is at a premium and I just don’t feel invested – or have enough carrot/stick to GET invested.

When I jumped back into WoW I had a goal to reach max level, and gear up enough to get into Looking For Raid. And since I was paying a sub to play there was an automatic investment.

Maybe that is it – the sub fee helps commit you to the game. Do you find the same thing?

200 Posts

Not incredibly special considering some of  the other options but the truth is there were a few times were it looked like I would never hit it. 200 posts over 5 years isn’t a ton, but hey, that is my on again off again post style. Trying to fix that – don’t hate!

Maybe if I start playing more interesting games and/or writing more pertinent and/or interesting posts, I’ll make another 200. Just as long as it’s not by 2018 =)

(mis)Quote Of The Week

We always have opportunities to strip down, tear open, expose, pump up, or otherwise put emphasis on the female chest.

Riot art designer Ironstylus on his thoughts on Champion remakes – Sivir, especially.

Go read the original article though, he actually has a chesty, large, bouncing point – although the misquoted version is way better.

(also tagged this as politics, because this demonstrates a skillset to be a press secretary or something like that.)

Mantheon

Continuing my series of posts on LOL I present to you – Pantheon! Anyone who is a fan of Spartans, the movie 300, or just general Manliness loves this guy. He is a mid-game beast in League of Legends, and helped me make my best move of the entire season last night.

In LoL there are neutral jungle creeps that give gold and some give buffs. One in particular – Baron Nashor (a giant worm-like creature) gives the best team buff in game – so ensuring the other team doesn’t get it later in the game is really important. We were winning early game, but our bottom lane was doing fairly poor. We tried to help them out but everytime we walked away they were dying. By mid game we were dominating every lane EXCEPT the bottom lane. In LoL this is bad – the bottom lane contains your Attack Damage Carry that, when properly fed with kills and farm, usually wins you games – regardless of how other lanes are doing. If you can keep them alive.

Their AD Carry was really strong and as we transitioned into late game we were at a severe disadvantage suddenly – our earlier gains negated. We were pushed into our base to protect our Nexus (the ultimate objective to destroy in the game) and, as expected, the enemy team went to take Baron while we protected our Nexus. They had him down to 2% when I timed my “Ultimate” move (every player has one – Pantheon can leap half way across the map, and damage everyone within a certain radius) perfectly. It was timed perfectly.

I used my Grand Skyfall (official name) right onto the Baron, stunned their jungler, and threw one spear at Baron – stealing the buff for my whole team. We then ‘aced’ their team right after, and caught up on some towers.

We ultimately lost, but it was one of those plays that are fun to pull off and you tend to remember. It’s like hitting a half court shot at the buzzer in basketball, an impossible hail mary pass in Football, etc. etc.

The frustrating part for me of it all was not that we lost, but the *way* we lost. By all accounts, if our bottom lane had just played safe we had the advantage – but they kept pushing their lane and dying needlessly, lowering their own power and raising the power of our opponents. Even more frustrating is that I was one win away from playing my ‘promotion’ games – which is a three game series where you can move up a league. Two losses in a row and now I am three games away from that – and only if I win all three. (LoL has an odd way of granting and taking away points on their random matchmaking.)

I have had extremely bad luck with Fizz, my preferred mid lately and I am feeling like he isn’t the right mid laner for me to be good at right now. My wins with him have been dramatic but I have been less useful than I had hoped in most of my matches. I may try with Pantheon mid as well (he is doable there)- as I have had great games with him lately despite my win loss with him.

Master of None

 

I have been mostly just playing League of Legends lately. It does free to play exceptionally well. Sadly, my experiment isn’t going as I had hoped although my sample size is small. Through 27 games, 7.41% are decided by an intentional feeder, 7.41% a Troll Pick, 11.11% from an AFK, 55.56% of my games are heavily lopsided. That leaves 18.52% of games that are close and “good” (meaning a marginal improvement at best). Since I am taking the game a bit more serious I realized that the champs I played the most I am the best at (oddly enough, eh?) but I like to mix it up a bit -so I end up not playing optimally.

So, Jack of all trades, Master of none.

My new experiment, along with the outcome tracking, is to only play with 8 champs total – two options per lane. (I don’t jungle, which for non-LOL’ers is a needed role. I never bothered to learn and don’t feel like it. I’d rather support – which teams love to hear -so I can always get out of jungling.)

I am picking my favorite 8 and whatever role I am playing I am solely going to play from those 8. I’m curious if  I will improve enough on those champs that my experience will change. With each LOL article I write I’ll include a picture of one. Wukong (last LOL article linked at the top) is my preferred top laner, and I love playing Fizz (above) mid or top.

I haven’t given Riot money in a long time (mostly because I only get 1 good game out of 5) but for fun I am running 10 game challenges. For every 10 games in a row that don’t have an AFK’er, Intentional Feeder, or someone who needs to be banned (racist, homophobic, typical internet ass-shatery type) I will buy a skin from Riot. (around $10). We’ll see if I have to spend a dime. That is the only part of the game that irks me. Bad part is that I am doing my provisional games for s3 ranked so the scales are definitely tipped in my favor.

And oh, ARAM games don’t count. Although it is a really fun way to play.

Worth Playing – Gods Will Be Watching

It’s HTML 5 and give me headaches in Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8, but works great on Chrome.

It’s part of Ludum Dare 26 which is a weekend gaming contest of some sort (too busy trying to beat the game instead of researching).

Go play it – it’s fun, and I haven’t won yet which is really getting to my self esteem.

My critical analyis is that it needs to be more theme-park and less sandbox. Or, it’s just a Friday morning and I am being silly.

18.07% Fun

 

 

I played a lot of League of Legends during season two. It is a game that fulfilled my PVP spirit and as my first (and only) MOBA had a lot going for it in the way the games played out. It is kind of like baseball – your individual effort really has an impact on the team as a whole, but you can win (and lose) regardless of how you do. The team and it’s ability to work together at the end of the day is how winners are determined. One amazing player on the team can tip the scales, and LoL has a pretty neat sweet spot of group vs solo play.

Add in a ranking system, roles you can’t auto-join as (but must be filled to win the most effective way) and internet anonymity and you get the expected ass-shattery. So much so that I decided to quit. While Riot has a team of PhD’s and behavioral studs doing some interesting work in the space, the truth is, the results weren’t there.

I started tracking how my games were ending up to personally judge my experience in the game. I focused on removing my emotions from it (in the name of SCIENCE!) and to be as accurate as possible. The goal, for me, was to see what it took to have fun games in LoL – I didn’t have the aggregate data to play with that team PB&J (Player Behavior and Justice – for Riot – fun name!) had, but I had my hours. I tracked 167 games – which average around 45 minutes each. That’s over 125 hours of gaming for me. Here is what I found.

9.64% of all games were decided because of a troll pick or intentional feeding. (someone purposely meant to lose)

15.66% of all games were decided because of an AFK (one team missing 20% or more of their team)

56.63% were lopsided (20 minute surrender or should have been. Only one team had a legit chance of winning)

All of that means, only 18.07% were ‘close’ or ‘good’ games. That’s around 1 in 5, and if that is what it takes to make a good MOBA, then you can count me out.

I am only bringing this up because I recently read/watched this article at Gamasutra that talks about player behaviour and the things that Riot are working on in that arena.

I am going to try and replicate my own experiment and see if it has gotten any better. I loved the game – but the investment of  only getting 20% ‘good’ time while playing it wasn’t worth the headaches of the other 80%.

 

More Lawsuits

Got this little Diddy hot on the heels of the EA suit.

“If you had a PlayStation Network account, a Qriocity account, or a Sony Online Entertainment account at any time before May 15, 2011, you could get benefits from a class action……”

for more information clicky here

I’m guessing I got it because I am in their database already. I’d rather have Canadian Tire Money than Station Cash though.

MMO Bucket List

One raid boss that Ascension always had issues with was Al’ar. Not sure why, but he was particularly nasty. So much so, that while we got everything down around him, we never killed him in particular. I hated Al’ar.

I remember one night, when I was on healing duties on the add pickup (good old GreenTeaBag, Druid), everyone had died except GTB and Al’ar was under 1% and he was last druid standing. he ended up dying, and that was the closest we ever got. It’s historical in our little group of friends and raiders because that was the night he threw his mouse against the wall in frustration. Oh, Al’ar, how I hate thee.

Today, I logged into my 90 Prot Pally and killed him in minutes. Not nearly as satisfying as it would have been in the old days, or in our 25 man raid group that bonded and was a great team – not even close to that. It never can be.

Still, I can cross it off my MMO bucket list, at least.

Do you have anything on your MMO bucket list?

I Am So Weak

Despite my obvious and clear negative reaction to the original thought of supporting Mark Jacobs, a couple things happened that was a tad silly and makes me a soft person. No no, not that kind of soft but mushy nostalgic soft. First, I tried to find the Stratics boards which were the main boards I used to chat it up about DAOC. Weren’t they the official boards at one point? Either way, they are changed but still there. It shows that I have made over 700 posts there back in the day, but alas, only a handful of them are find-able. I guess they migrated and/or scrubbed the hell out of the old boards.

A little google-fu took me to these boards where I recognized names from the server from 2001. And it felt strange yet nice to reconnect and then I realized – the same feelings that made you dislike or distrust a dev (fairly or unfairly) are the same that made you feel connected to the people within that gaming community. And that’s the key, isn’t it – that there is any feeling whatsoever, in a MMOSCAPE dominated by apathy. Who cares what happens in any recent MMO that doesn’t require people to make the game great in the first place.

So heck, go support Camelot Unchained. The $5 you spend might just make meaning in an MMO again. Even if it doesn’t, that’s just one less trip to Starbucks this week. I even give you permission to cancel your WoW subscription 10 days early this month so you can afford it.

(yes, I know it doesn’t work that way. But it should, no?)

Funny enough, I managed to convince a DAOC rep (now EA.. damn you!) that I had enough intimate information about my old account, that even though I didn’t have the email address for it anymore.. its mine again. There is no free trial, no ‘welcome back’  not a thing! But hey, I’ll buy a month – if only to remind me why it badly needs updating and that supporting CU was worth it.

 

Scarcity and the Canadian Lynx Story

The Canadian Lynx is an interesting predator. It lives almost solely on the snowshoe hare – and is very effective at catching, killing, and eating them. While that is not particularly interesting in itself (a cat predator eating a bunny for dinner) what is fascinating is the lifecycle the Canadian Lynx is doomed to repeat.

Because the Lynx is so effective at catching and killing the snowshoe hare, and as the Lynx breeds and adds more to its family, they end up almost hunting the snowshoe hare to extinction. At this point the Lynx population start dying off because of the scarcity of food. There ends up being a tipping point where the Lynx has almost hunted itself to a dangerous level of near extinction – at which point, the showshoe hare starts repopulating. Rinse repeat. Every 10-14 years or so.

Nature works in such fantastic ways – ideally, if Nature were sensible she would introduce another predator to hunt the Lynx (humans can hunt them, but they are typically in very remote and unseasonable locales) thereby keeping the lynx population fairly consistent, also keeping the snowshoe hare consistent. This does not happen.

In gaming terms I do not believe the population of gamers is growing to the extent to support the companies that make the games, and the excess of titles that are on or coming to market. We are the snowshoe hares and companies are the Lynx. I think we are seeing the result of the nature of the market adjusting for this realization though as games are funded in other ways and the profileration of the indie genre as a viable way of game making once again. This creates different payment and cost styles and overall is healthy for the environment. It is a positive adjustment.

This Lynx metaphor is also a good one for our economy which requires being in a perputal state of growth. Eventually that growth will not be realized and things will reset. Hopefully we are smart enough to not be doomed to repeat like the Lynx.

EA’s Hat Trick

CEO resign? Check.

Voted America’s WORST Company (again!) ? Check.

Part of a class action settlement, that anyone in the USA who bought any (or all) of three titles, on any (or all) of four platforms? And you can make up to 8 claims for a total of $162.96. ?

Check.

http://www.easportslitigation.com/

This is old news, I am certain, in blognation but I am always out of the loop.

(I know the order is wrong too – but hey, that’s the order I heard of the events.)

I Am Alone In My MMO

Amazing things have happened in MMO advancement. Graphics, systems, play styles, game modes, etc. etc. etc. We have come a long, long way from multiple week grinds to get a level and losing all of your items (and even levels) upon death. Most of us, while we may look fondly back on the memories of those times, never, ever ever want to go back there again.

It was good when it was good. It was all we knew.

It forced us to need each other.

Not just EQ, with it’s punishing death penalties and XP bars that wouldn’t move for days.

I’m talking DAOC as well. In that game if you didn’t have players you didn’t really do anything. And when you were doing anything you had to always be on your toes in case there were other players.

Both had their own special magic because of the other player component. Both of those games made ties that have lasted the test of time, wow clones, and free-to-play bonanzas. Is anyone making them now?

GW2 – beautiful game. I leveled to 40 on it without being in a group, and barely working alongside other players. Granted, I went into that game solo, but wow – trying to talk to people in that game left blank stares and worse. After 40 levels of solo content, I just stopped logging in.

Even WoW – in a guild there, but WoW is so antisocial now. Log in, solo dailies, do a 5-man heroic, logout – all without typing a word. There are people there, but they might as well be NPC’s. It’s like I’m dancing with myse-elf. And sadly, I’m in a guild. What happened to epic guild chat? Green /gu flying up and down the screen? Too many buttons, and no downtime happened.

The only conversation I have had with anyone is my foray back into Blood Bowl. Matchmaker online puts you 1v1 and there are 2:00 min turns – turn based. So you have 2 minutes to chat to your opponent while he is making his moves, and he chats back while you are making your moves.

Downtime = Chat. Chat = connecting. Connecting = sense of belonging/camaraderie. Which all equals paying the monthly fee, continuing to play, contributing to the community, etc.

Maybe I am doing it wrong, but what I wouldn’t give for some downtime.

Les Miserables

No, the headline isn’t even a half ass metaphor for the emotional state of the typical MMO veteran player right now.

It’s about the movie/musical/video game (wait – what?)

Les Miserables is one of those instances where I really am reminded how little I know, and how uncultured I am. The movie is the first experience I had with Les Mis (that’s the trendy short form, right?) and of course was driven by my wife’s desire to see it more than mine. She had participated in the school play when she was a kid.

I just thought Les Mis was a play, and always was. That is certainly what it was to me. Cue instant Wikipedia interest article to learn that:

  • It is a book written in the 1860’s
  • The English version is 1500+ pages
  • Has a really engaging and interesting plot line
  • Is ruined by singing

Maybe that last line isn’t fair, since Les Mis is most famous for that – but after reading the plot summary of the original works – damn, that would make a really deep and disturbing visual feature. The singing part feels like it ruins what could have been completely amazing movie if they focused on the plot and character development.

Due to the time period I am sure the book doesn’t read so smoothly.

Besides being utterly embarrassed I didn’t realize the musical stemmed from one of the great literary works of all time (arguably) is that completely my fault or the fault that modern day society only consumes it from broadway?

Keep Camelot Chained

I have a love/hate relationship with Marc Jacobs.

Love for DAOC – I left EQ for that game, and played it hard and religiously for years – even after Trials of Atlantis came out. I played on the testserver (Pendragon) and submitted bugs, and was active in the community. The guild I was a part of at the time lead the Midgard Alliance on the server. Heck, I’m still friends with people I played there with. It was a nice community.

Hate is way too strong of a word – I don’t hate anyone really. More of a distrust. Severe distrust. Just look at WAR and how that turned out. I know, I know, he (and everyone else) is blaming EA but that kinda feels like a copout. When you are in a leadership position, act like a leader. If things were so bad and you knew it was going to flop because EA was forcing your hand, fix it. Be the leader you claim to be at your new (and old) gig. At least go down fighting. Instead, he lied to his faithful supporters knowing the game was going to ship as a terrible piece of software unable to live up to the hype he created and paid for.

Right now, MJ sure looks like a guy who got lucky once, and capitalized on it. Now he wants you and I to make him lucky again.

While the PR behind Camelot Unchained – the foundational principles, et al all read great – why not try that in WAR? If those elements are so critical for success, why didn’t you – as the leader of the team creating WAR – put those in there? Did you not realize it until the megaflop? If you did realize it, why didn’t you do the right thing?

Then I read that he will put in 2m of his own if Kickstarter hits its goal of 2m. First I thought it was a nice gesture. Very cool. Then I realized, if he has 2M liquid he can go to a bank to get 2M more. Which means he is probably avoiding the banks because they will have strings attached to their loans. Whereas Kickstarter “loans” come free and no strings attached. He can allay the donating player base with a fancy blog post here and there, try doing that to a banker and their covenants.

Run for the easy money that you don’t have to be responsible for to anyone – except gamers and gaming news. It just feels against the spirit of Kickstarter. Guys like MJ should, you would like to believe, be able to go out and get a job with his resume. (If he can’t, that just cements my concern). Isn’t the spirit behind Kickstarter to give opportunities for those via an alternate funding model who would have a hard time getting it otherwise?

Maybe it is just history, and maybe I am giving CSE too hard of a time here, but can you blame me for being a bit cautious?

 

Adventures in Tech Support

Chat Script with a recent ‘chat with a representative now’. It was with a bank.

———————————————

Anne M.

Chris, I’m just going to check with our Technical Department.

Anne M.

Can you hold on a moment please?

Chris

ok great – thanks!

Anne M.

thanks for your patience Christ.

Anne M.

Oh my gosh.. I’m so sorry about that Chris!!

Chris

lol!!

Chris

its okay – nice laugh in the morning =)

Anne M.

I can’t believe I just typed that, I’m so sorry!!

Chris

its ok – I get that all the time.

————————————————————

Good times. =)

Tempting Tesh

C’mon Tesh, just try to fight it – you know you want to!

Bought Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition (66% off – or 10 bucks – for players who purchased an earlier version) and recalled how amazing turned based strategy games can be.

Which lead to me remember how perfect a MechWarrior game would be in that format.

Which lead me to much googling, and finding that linked site.

Chomping at the bit for this one – need to investigate a bit more but heat sinks, custom build outs, tonnage limits, and hex spaces are all in. They manage to take away the ~300 dice rolls per turn and its a match made in heaven.

Sweet, Sweet Naivety.

My son LOVES hockey. He is 7. He plays twice a week, been in weekend tournaments, and when he gets off the bus after school stays outside and shoots pucks at the net until we drag him in. It’s nice seeing him enjoy something so much at his age. It’s something that is easy to support. We’ve gone to several local Junior A games and he just went to his first NHL game this weekend. 20,000 cheering in a rink is awe-inspiring when you are young.

He is convinced he is going to make the NHL. Hockey has been something we have really enjoyed together.

At the last game, I realized something. When the jumbo-tron inevitably start running a ‘Make some noise’ segment (like the video above) and faux measures the crowd response until (usually) at some point the decibels increase to such a level that it explodes the screen – that is a common, 3-6x a night occurrence at these events.

I’ve never seen my son yell, scream, and cheer so loud – all the while staring at the jumbo-tron. And when they reached the peak, he was so proud that he was part of making that happen.

He thinks it is real.

It didn’t even cross my mind he would, but why shouldn’t he? I wish I would take more time to try and see the world through his eyes. Unfortunately, like Santa, the Easter Bunny (et al), just another thing on the list of ‘bound for disappointment someday’ that I am not looking forward to explaining.

This year the most powerful game I played, hands down, was TellTale Games the Walking Dead. I was emotionally invested. Sure, some of the quirky puzzles didn’t quite fit, but the game really fit the genre (I have read all the comics, and also watch the show for full disclaimer). About half way through the game, awe inspired, I ruined it for myself. I made a choice and afterwards I was so curious about what would have happened if I made a different choice.

I went to Google.

Regretted it since.

to be polite here. =)>

My first play through of TWD was me cheering at a zombi-fied jumbotron. It was exhilarating – I felt freedom and amazement! What characters! Great Plot! I am having impact on the game and world around me – and – what? Google says what? That my choices really have zero impact on the overall storyline? That no matter what I do, Pam leaves? and I get bit regardless of what choices I make? Santa ISNT REAL?!? Why are you telling me this!?

Yes, it was my own fault – I was already mapping what I was going to try and do on my second playthrough. I didn’t play again, and while there was a certain satisfaction in knowing I did my gut reaction and stuck with it for the entire game, I was sad that all I could really effect was how people thought of and perceived me in game (theirs and my word choices) and that the plot was out of my hands. I could only impact  my personality while getting there – I was getting there regardless.

One of those rare times where I would have rather not known.

2008, 184 Posts, 18 months of (mostly) silence, and missing you!

I can’t believe I started this blog in 2008. Yes, it only has 184 (often misguided) posts, and no, I haven’t really checked in in a year and a half. And yes, I do miss you.

‘You’ having two contexts, of course.

One, is writing. I think critically all the time for work, and write all the time for work – rarely for enjoyment. That was what I accomplished here. I had a ton of fun.

Two, is actually you. You who is no longer reading this, but used to. And who would comment, and challenge me, and link posts back.

While I still follow the community for the most part, I stopped participating. Not only, not participating (by not writing), but also, by not commenting. Not supporting the online community I was once part of.  Yes, I am feeling a bit old and tired and once again waxing nostalgia.

When I stumbled upon the news that EA’s CEO was retiring due to revenue issues and remembered that I lead a revolution (ahem) to stop buying EA products. It made me want to post. I thought I remembered making fun of him for being a terrible blogger, but that was some other EA dude. So, like many things that go as you age, I blame it on being a natural loss of general facilities.

So here I am writing, and it feels good. I played a lot of League of Legends on my own, ditched it because of the community. Played GW2 for a while, ditched it for lack of community. And oddly enough, against everything I ever fought for in computer games and posts here, I am a WoW subscriber again (albeit only a handful of hours a week). Why? Community. My friends are still there. Many never left.

Which circles back to blogging – for a few years I was tight with blogging, and regardless why or how I lost my desire to be a part of the community, I assure you it was me (not you). So I am back. I am not changing the title of the blog but the format will cover more about life in general with a gaming slant here and there – I am not on top of the gaming news, trends, or fads anymore. Good thing there is far more to life than gaming (and blogging about it).

Sad to see Wolfshead hasn’t blogged in a while and I think the whole blogging idea  wasn’t about expecting or implementing change in our online universes, but sharing ideas about how those might look someday.

So, going to poke around and say hi to you in your corners of the blog-o-verse, and stop by here once in a while to share stories and thoughts, when the need and if the desire arises. My therapist recommends it.

Nice to see you again.