As a PC gaming enthusiast, I have decided to spread my wings and try some new things. PC gaming has been made famous not only by the huge budgets and blockbuster titles, but also by little shops/guys in basements who put out some quality (yet often limited) titles. They grab people, make them have a ton of fun, and are a great move away from the $50 titles. I have spent so many years in MMO land, and big budget FPS land, that I nearly forgot the base of which makes PC gaming so special to begin with. A mini-review follows after the break.
When I first read the Bioware’s Star Wars MMO based in the KOTOR universe (my apologies for making up yet another acronym for it) was going to be micro-transaction based – I rejoiced. I am still in rejoice mode. Doing the math, I spent about $1000 on WoW, between two accounts, two expansions, sub fees, etc. In fact that is probably higher than that. $1000 is a nice round number though.
For the life of me, I can’t think how I can possibly spend the same amount on a micro-transaction based MMO. Even one in the Star Wars Universe. Unless, of course, $1000 lets me be Darth Vadar.
I mentioned before how playing an MMO’s is much like entering into a marriage – it is a full commitment. If the time sinks don’t get you, the subscription fee does – heck, I am paying for it, better get good value from it! A Micro transaction MMO will allow me to enter into a much more mutually beneficial arrangement – I can date the MMO. Not only that, but if the dates get boring I can go on less dates. If I fall behind my friends in the dating scene, I can pay a little out of pocket to catch up. It really is a fantastic idea – one that will push developers to put out a high quality of product to entice people to play. One that will focus on fun, instead of focusing on sucking as much time out of you as possible to lengthen the almighty sub fee. One that will force you to pay $5 to get a cool outfit. I know that last line just sounded wrong – and of course it all depends on what you will be paying for – and then I had an ancillary thought. What if EA learned from their Warhammer mistake?
More after the break.
I was on a corporate retreat last week, except it was more of a strategy session (retreat sounds so “relaxing”) and little did we know the remote bunker we were hunkered down in had no cell – or email – service. Needless to say it was rediculously stressful. I found an area that gave me those two ‘essential’ services – a five mile drive on top of an old ski hill – and once a day I would fire up there, retrieve all messages and emails, bang off emergency replies as necessary, and go back into hiding. Unfortunately my ‘blog’ didn’t fall into the emergency (or essential) category.
It was a big eye opener on the dependency I have on my devices. I hadn’t been without them for years. A lot of my friends were claiming “how nice it would be” to get that “break”, but really all it did was pile up 400+ emails and 70+ messages that needed to be responded to when I got home. Not nice one bit.
I did get a break from gaming, and find myself even less excited to log into <insert MMO> here, and last night instead of taking a much needed “play games” break I just caught up on work and played little flash games. Non-commital stuff. I realize I enjoy dating my games much more than marrying them. Video game divorces cost a lot less than real ones (or so I hear).
Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
I have been introduced to so many exciting, fun, and new words since I started blogging. Blogosphere. Blognation. Bloggery. Blogkind. On and on. You could probably put the word ‘blog’ in front of any noun, verb, or adjective and create a fun new word. I could see how it would get a little redundant.
I noticed this as I expanded my blogbrary and started reaching out to be more participatory in blogs. I quickly learned the more you put out (reading, commenting) the more you received in return on your own blog. Not that I’m a blogwhore or anything, but a lot of the fun part of blogging is when people read – and make their own comments – on your thoughts. The rest of the fun part is just writing in general.
The not-so-startling trend I notice, after only a few months of blogging, is that already when I read other blogs I am thinking “I wrote about that 2 weeks ago”. Of course my own posts are probably met with a lot of the same with the longer travelled, more established blogs. This brings me to a few thoughts on blogging – and gaming in general. After the break.
This is a cheap post. Just linking one of my older posts that wasn’t really ever read. Well, it WAS read, but only by people who were searching for rap lyrics on the internet. I was going through my google search links (always fun) to see what has driven people to the site and this was a big one. For rap. Not for marketing.
So, bringing it back to life because I am especially curious what people think about it who are now reading this blog.
I apologize in advance to anyone who is offended by rap and forced to read it, or for any links that may not be working within the rap context.
*I noticed some Google searches pushing people to this blog post. I DID find a solution (all on my own) and I posted it in my 2k9 forums thread – linked in the article below. GOOD LUCK if you are having the same problems!*
Customers suck, right?
We bitch and moan about EVERYTHING! Go read technical support forums. Whine whine whine. Threats – both against the company, and the people who are trying to help. Customers are impossible to please – so it is understandable that companies have varying degrees of how they do – and don’t – attempt to. I consider myself an “ideal” customer. I know things take time to remedy, and besides essential living services I give that time to be fair. I don’t make unrealistic or false threats. I know the people who are helping me are paid poorly, and have a specific job to do, in a manner that is typically scripted and must be followed. (“Is it plugged in?” = le sigh). I am also competent enough with a PC that I generally just find my own fixes on the internet and make it work. I rarely contact customer support unless it is the last beacon of hope for me. The past three months I have contacted four different companies regarding software/hardware questions and problems and I am going to share my results with you – ranked from worst to best. There is a bit of a surprise here. After the break.
The absolute worst ranking company isn’t one company but a handfull, all lumped together. Boutique laptop companies. I talked about my search for a kickass portable gaming rig here. I still haven’t received contact from any of them after I even wrote FOLLOW up emails. The crux was this: I have $3000 burning a hole in my pocket and I want to give it to you. I want to give it to you BADLY. You have competitors with the same product, so I am going to choose the company that gives me the best time frame to build in. Just send me an email with an expected ship date and my money is yours. ALL yours. Zero replies. Astonishing, really. If I sent YOU an email, saying here, take $3000 just tell me how long it will take you to deliver on your chosen profession on my chosen product, I am pretty sure you would hit “reply” to that email. If not the first one, than the second. Sad. Good news is I learned an online friend of mine builds laptops with similar specs and can get wholesale prices on parts, so now he gets my business. Shocking though, right? Lumps of Coal.
Equally as bad is 2K games. My first (and possibly last) 2K games title was Bioshock off of steam. I didn’t check beforehand, but there are major, major problems with Bioshock and their audio system (FMOD) in Vista 64. One thread alone with Vista troubleshooting has 3000 replies. That is just one thread, dating back to 2007. There are hundreds of others. I made my own thread 6 days ago. I still haven’t received a reply from anyone there, except for one other person with the same problem as mine saying “good luck getting a response”. My first post listed my specs, my issues, and all the workarounds I have tried (none work). I made it half joking but I had already spent ~15 hours at that point trying their “fixes”. 15 hours is a lot of self customer service, so figured it was time to ask the pros. I made the post a bit funny to show I wasn’t angry but really needed help. The following day from that post, I realized I forgot to add other pertinent information, so I made a second post. I had also learned at the FMOD boards they had a fix done – but it had to be coded into the game for a patch – and of course the FMOD folks encouraged everyone to speak to the developer as it couldn’t be fixed on their end. I added that tidbit in. I also added in at this point that there is no way I am buying Bioshock 2 if they can’t get Bioshock 1 to work after being out a full year, and FULLY AWARE of the problems. That is not a “threat”, it is an honest observation. After spending 24 realtime hours at this point to get their product working on a completely up to date, great gaming rig, the cracks in the quality of programming at 2K games is really showing. The fact they hadn’t solved this problem (a year later) shows they don’t care for their own titles – or customers. 3 full days later I realized I hadn’t received a response yet, so I asked a fair question – whether or not Bioshock has been abandoned by 2K games (they are working on the sequel) and whether they planned on patching or fixing the code. It is a fair question. Yesterday I found out there may be a problem (*I* found it out – no one told me from 2K games. I had to keep searching and working on it by myself) with my audio drivers (which I had previously thought fully updated) so I patched them – and got brand new errors. So I posted those errors and also asked if the 2K technical support forums were the correct avenue for me to be searching for my answers to my technical problems with a 2K product (should be a rhetorical question, I know, but I just wanted to make sure). So, after almost a full week, ZERO responses. Sad, right? Dead kittens in a sack.
Now we tip the scales on the good. I had an issue with a Steam purchased game so I set up a ticket (it was Bioshock, btw. HAHA!) I immediately received a response saying my email would be read within 24 hours. Thank you. A response – I don’t care that it was automatically generated, but I received a response nonetheless. Three days later I had my answer. Three days isn’t perfect of course, but Three days for a definitive answer to my question is very well acceptable by me, and fair for a company that probably receives 1000’s of inquiries. Silver star to you, Steam!
Gold Star? You will never guess it, because they are the most evilest and terrible gaming company on the planet – EA games. I had two tickets with them this year, one for BF2142, and a second for Warhammer Online. I get the immediate auto-generated response – again, I am fine with this as at least I know my submission got through. My BF2142 issue was responded to, and solved, within 24 hours. My Warhammer Online problem was responded to the SAME DAY. So, all evil aside (I am pretty sure reading blogs and whatnot they actually hate their customers – right?) at least I know that they support their products and respond to me as a customer.
As an online customer living in an online world I do not have the time to sit on hold on a phone line. It has to be far cheaper and more effective for them to hire a person to read forums and emails anyway. That is why I give ample time, knowing other customers were there before me. I can see it. As a customer, all I really want is a fair and honest response so I can meter my expectations. “Yes, we are working on a fix, but it is 2 months away” would actually satsify me – I have a lot of other games I can play in the meantime, and I can quit trying to juryrig the title and wait for the definitive fix. “No, we are not going to patch that title anymore, we have all of our resources focused on new and exciting titles to make sure the same problems do not occur in our future games” – I would accept that too – and MAYBE would even try Bioshock 2. I will just return BS (haha, funny acronym considering the circumstances) and put those funds towards their newer, better, actually functioning title. “Thank you for taking the time to contact 2K games. We have a high volume of customer service requests at this time, and will get to yours as soon as possible.” I may even still like 2K games with that response. Why? Because it is a response. Any response shows they actually have an inkling of care for their customers.
Do you know of a company that has great customer service? What companies do you know of that have terrible CS? Are the companies consistent, or does it vary from person to person? I would like to make a list of companies I know who are servicing their customers and stick to them to avoid future bad experiences.
I don’t really “review” games, and I am not going to start today either. Will keep it simple and sweet. If you like FPS’s, play L4D. If you like Co-op, it is well done. If you like opposing Co-op, it’s a great game. If you like Zombies, go buy it. If you like a base achievement system, ca-ching. If you like perfectly paced gameplay in the aforementioned settings, buy buy buy. I don’t throw the word perfect out a lot. Now that that is settled, I want to talk about the absoulte, most awesomest, fantastical gameplay mode in the entire universe that is also included in Left 4 Dead. After the break.
Sheesh, where did the week go? It CAN’T be Friday already. I haven’t even started my week yet. I barely gamed all week, dabbling a bit in WoW, spent some good time in L4D, and attempted to workaround my Bioshock/Vista issue. Bioshock 2 – you will not be purchased. There are over 3000 replies on various threads on the 2K forums regarding the same problems I am having. You can blame FMOD, you can blame Vista, but I bought *your* product and it can’t be fixed without a patch. You are still selling the game, still support it. It was my first ever 2K game, and it will be my last if you don’t fix it (hell, at least tell me you are working on a fix instead of leaving my specific thread unanswered on your official Tech support boards for a week.) Just tell me you care. That is what customer support is.
Le Sigh. More depression after the break.
To be honest I don’t get what most people hate about Monday mornings. I tend to work weekends, so there is definitely no rest for the wicked at ihaspc. My to-do list on Mondays is as long as any other day but I tend to ease into everyone else’s typical work week – check blogs, prioritize tasks (I know, the irony, considering that comes second) and catch up on emails. Usually Multitasked. I decided Mondays will be my little themed post where I ramble off a bunch of randoms. What better way to “start” the week?
RIP – Burning Crusade: Much how mauve is the new pink, Burning Crusade is the new Azeroth. Empty. Of every class except Death Knights. If you play by your tune and have a healer alt in the 60’s now is the optimum time to level that toon up – there are hundreds of Death Knights begging – and paying – for healers to work with them through instances. One group offered 100 gold for a basic Ramparts run. Of course, his name was Chucknorus so you might hold out for 200 gold. With everyone in the mad dash to be the first 80 (most classes/races have already hit that mark on server firsts on Whisperwind) I wonder if destroying old content areas such as Azeroth and BC gives Blizzard cost savings on server loads, etc. – that resources normally held to hold high populations in those zones. Perhaps abandoning that content is as much a business as a stupid move? On a side note, how in the hell is the Wow Armory service STILL in beta?
More after the break.
Alternative title: So close yet so far.
I finally got by the WoW queue on my server and was able to experience the Death Knight class. The hour and a half quest chain in the Death Knight area was without a doubt one of the best Blizzard gaming I have ever enjoyed. The quests were fun, the storyline and lore were well done, heck, I was reading books on the ground in Ebon Hold. So how does Blizzard follow up the best hour and a half of gaming they have produced in a long time? With Epic Fail, of course! More after the break.
I have a dirty little secret – I freelance some articles for a PC magazine (nothing cutting edge like, uhm, this blog or anything, but class and levelling guides and the like). I will write a different post about that experience as it has been fun and interesting at the same time. But for now, in typical freelance writer fashion, I am pushing a couple deadlines (that are pushing back) and I need some models. No previous experience necessary.
I am out of town on business and this laptop doesn’t allow me to play anything half decent. Which means, while my articles are pretty much all spiffed out and done, I can’t get the necessary pictures to accompany them. Which is why I am calling out for a little assistance.
I need in game pictures of Ironbreakers, Engineers, Runepriests, and Magus – (which one of these kids is doing their own thing?) In action, standing around, in compromising positions – whatever! High resolution preferred. Cleaner the better – no UI’s/Names etc where possible, but at this point I’ll take a good look at anything. I bet you are wondering what you will get out of it, besides helping such a great person such as myself <pause for laughter> and the definite global karma bonus – I will caption your character’s name in (everyone wants to be famous!) unless you want to remain anonymous. Please email action shots to email@example.com.
Since I just published my gmail account I am sure I will end up on a bunch of spam-lists too – hey, with great responsibility comes great sacrifice.
And, no Tesh, Puzzle Pirates characters don’t count. Not for this month anyway.
You need treatment. You can wait two hours for a doctor to see you, or move to a low population hospital for free, where you were certainly see a doctor and get treated much faster on a more regular basis.
The free ambulance ride to the other hospital takes 24 hours. If you pay us $25 bucks we will get you there in less than half the time.
Guess it’s true, you really get what you pay for.
Sorry, working on my Fox News type headlines.
With all the fun stuff going on in the markets, it’s nice to see the US banks getting a 700 Billion bailout package while continuing to freeze credit lines and stop lending credit altogether. It’s a good thing these guys didn’t help create their own situation with terrible lending practices, or that would be a kick in the nuts to the average citizen. (I did my major in Economics, so before you call me a complete noob, I do understand how it works. It is the perception that is going to piss off the average person.) The no strings attach approach is very short sighted though. Next up? The big 3! I wonder if the unions will go on strike if they don’t get a pay raise once Ford, GM, and Chrysler get their loans from the US government. (At least they are loans. Hey, it made the US people 300 million when they loaned out to almost bankrupt airlines, so this one has a chance of being sensisble. *chance*.)
In completely unrelated news, Blizzard got their 555 million dollar bailout package today, cleverly codenamed ‘Wrath of the Lich King’. Those financial folks crack me up with their fun little names. Let’s see if the servers hold.
I finished Fallout 3 – very quickly. I probably spent 10 hours on side quests, and 5 on the main quest line – and it was over. I finished at level 12 (I hear there are 20 levels, but I didn’t figure that out). The end was a bit of a dissappointment, but at least I have replay value. Going through it again, but this time I am going to be a goody two shoes. I didn’t get a friend in that game, and the dog stuck around with me for a bit before he hit a chain of landmines. Instead of burying him a la “I am Legend”, I scavenged the dog meat and moved on. I was thinking about how good of an experience that game is and immediately started thinking on the ways I would have liked it to be different.
I caught myself and asked that question. I don’t go to the movies and want to change the movie. The movie is either good, or bad, or somewhere in between. I don’t come to my blog after watching 007 and say “boy, that James Bond movie was SWEET! Too bad the Aston Martin didn’t have a built in grappling hook. Or that part, where he shoots the guy in the foot and does a round house kick? That would have been SOOO much better if only he shot him in the face and then kicked him in the nads. And the camera angle when he was hanging off the bottom of the chopper should have been from the left, not right. And if only they changed his spy name to 009 – haha, then it would have been a GREAT movie!!”
We don’t think that way. I suppose it is because movies (and television) are passive entertainment. You pay, you eat popcorn, you watch, you enjoy. Maybe you don’t enjoy, but you observe. At the end, you are $25 bucks lighter and had an experience, good or bad. Games are move active entertainment. You control the hero/bad guy, and you go out and shoot your own movie. Movies are also “one offs”, you know you can settle in for 90 minutes and it’s done, where in gaming it is a much larger time commitment (for the most part) and you have to invest that time, and money, to advance your entertainment. My final point is that I prefer gaming as entertainment to the traditional passives, and I want to see better choices made.
Why do we do it? Did I miss anything important?
Haven’t been updating as much this week as I have been doing crazy other stuff. Playing games. I have been moonlighting in Fallout 3, the L4D demo was released for preorder customers yesterday, and I have still been trying to re-find a comfort level with WoW. Some general thoughts about the three in this random post.
Fallout 3 : I am having a hard time getting used to it. I can’t find a mob respawn point anywhere. It’s so strange to kill something and have it stay dead, it’s body still there 4 hours after I return to the same spot. Strange. I spent the first four hours being a goody two shoes, and I believe the constant exposure to radiation caused me to ‘snap’ and in a fit of rage I killed everyone in Megaton (except my trusty robot butler). My goodie-two shoe-ness prevented me from doing it the easy way, by blowing up the atom bomb in the center of town (I disarmed it previously for the town Sherrif) so I had to shoot/hack everyone to death. I actually felt bad doing it, almost sick to my stomach. These were the people I was just helping moments ago, and now I am shuffling through their pockets and homes for anything of sale value. I am going to go wander in the wastelands a bit and see if I can find a new home base, hopefully I won’t slaughter them all this time. Wait.. what? People are hunting ME for being so evil? Since when do my actions in games have any meaning at all? Better work on getting that Karma back up. Here, poor thirsty guy sitting on the ground, take a bottle of non-radiated water. Taste good? Good. [head shot] – let’s see if you have anything of value on you, now that you are dead and don’t need it anymore. DAMN YOU RADIATION!
F3 has really reminded me how awesome it is in a game where your choices have an impact on the world. Being good opens different quests, so does being bad. So does staying in between. It is refreshing to have to think about my actions before I perform them. I have finally seen through the lies in the claims that MMO’s are persistant worlds. F3 is, literally. Now if google would make a plugin so I can chat with my friends while I play without having to alt-tab, we have a superb 2008 MMO here.
More after the break.
I made a bold prediction to a friend at the end of the Warhammer Beta that by the end of the first year they would have 1,000,000 subscriptions. I still have a level of confidence in that if they make some moves and continue to improve the game. Notice I said ‘a level’. Now that the dust has settled on yet another majorly hyped launch that went ‘well’, people are settled in. We have our new (and quality) Warhammer bloggers. Those of us that take the gaming generalization route always have a lot to talk about. And I want to talk about whats next.
Their aren’t too many major releases on the horizon in the MMO-scape but two have grabbed my attention. Bioware and the Star Wars KOTOR MMO, and the secret title by 38 studios, codenamed ‘Copernicus’. WAR done good if you like more of the same, but surely there is a company out there who wants to do better than just more of the same? Perhaps I AM living in a dream world. While my excitement level is tempered for Bioware and their MMO with their odd announcements of how it will play out as a single player game in a multiplayer space, I have decided to get excited about Copernicus. It is definitely a bit silly because we know nothing of the game, a lot about the founder of the studio, but even less of their intended design. What is the source of my excitement? Hope. After the break.
I am enjoying WAR. It hasn’t quite turned out the way I had supposed originally (or even beta tested) but it has enough good to stick around for a while to see how it all turns out. This little piece is going to comment on where I think WAR went wrong, but not in any micro or specific ways. More of the general attitude and design decisions from the top down which has put the game in a precarious position. A position they put themselves in but am glad to see they are making the move. MMO developers have a giant elephant in the room that they ‘don’t want to compete with’, but rather expand on the space that WoW has made mainstream. The MMO development cycle isn’t much of a mystery – see who is in the market, see what they do, and build from both their successes and mistakes. The mistake that WAR made was confusing what made WoW a success and what makes WoW a failure. They got it all backwards. They developed WAR with the good of WoW for the players, and the good of WoW for the company. These two things are competing resources and a delicate balance is much needed. What is often good for the company isn’t always good for the players – players want change with their new MMO’s. Let me further explain, after the break.
People love their Macs. Obviously I love my PC. I do have one Apple product I absolutely adore, and that is my iPhone. I used to have a Blackberry but find the full web functionality just superb in comparison. I drive a lot for work (for example, yesterday I drove 3 hours to have a 2 hour business meeting, than drove 3 hours home) and I did the arduous task of ripping all of my purchased CD’s and loading out a cool 1000 songs on my iPhone to make those long drives more enjoyable. I recently relocated my home office from spare room to basement, and going through my random box of computer junk and I came along a couple of beacons of shining light – not one – but TWO iTunes gift cards! I received them at a wedding a long time ago (one for myself, one for my wife) and was pumped. I haven’t updated my playlist in quite some time so here is the chance to download some new tunes before my big drive.
Damn you, YOU, who sent me the Blizzard scroll of Resurrection. Did you do it because you missed me? Did you do it to get phat xp rewards? (they still giving those out?) because I am a cynical blogger now, surely, it must be to taunt me. Taunt me after reading my last near brush with WoW death (erm.. life?) and sure enough in my inbox, sitting right now, is 10 free days waiting for me. No Paypal fiasco, no hobo-sleep-interrupting wallet retrieval, just 10, free, painful/glorious days of WoW return. When I first received it in my inbox I smiled, then groaned, then smirked, then hrmpf? followwed by a mmmhmmmmm. I wish I had the video of it to share with you. I haven’t cashed in that chip yet but it did remind me of the other few times I tried to “go home again”. I wouldn’t classify them as successful.
When free trials pop up (as they often do) with the promise of all the new and shiny fixes to various titles I had left for various reasons, no matter how skeptical, I typically do them. Ah, to put on my troll costume and roam the EQ lands as Braack Baacarat. To enter my stealthly Emain Macha gate camping with Bleyzn Saddle. The joys. The memories! The dissapointment? Around this time last year (or the year before, it is all a blur in MMO land) I got one for EQ. Password retrieval was simple, and I downloaded the new shiny EQ skins (yes, it has been that long. I loved being a big boxy troll. The new graphics? notsomuch.) I had apparently logged out in the Great Divide Zone. I was still guilded!
[/gu] Erm.. anybody home?
Good thing there are zone channels.
[/1] Hey! Uh, I used to play on this server a couple years ago and just checking to see if anyone I know is still around
Small pause, then a chorus of replies. “HEY BRAACK!”, “Braack! YOU LOSER!”, “Hey B! come find us, we are grinding Giants!”
It was fun for the reception, albeit midly surprising that so many people were still here – this was a couple years after I had left.
So, I met up, and they were grinding giants. To work on something called “AA”. (Wow! they have expanded the game! Aircraft now? and you can grind skills to counteract that? SWEET!). We ground (grinded?) Giants for 4 hours. Yep, the same old EQ. The conversations I had during downtimes were fun, and it was a beautiful night overall. I had one other place to go – the dreaded Tower of Frozen Shadow. I ran my (now) little troll butt to the tower, sat, and just thought about things as the day/night cycle went through a couple times. The TOFS was a pinncle of memory for me. No, it wasn’t that great, but I still to this day remember how I stumbled upon it with my pocket Cleric (Candarie Stryper) and Druid pal (Deidre Whereami) when the expansion first came out. No walkthroughs, no maps. We tackled that place, the three of us, lost a quarter level of XP and had some of the most fun ever in gaming. The unknown is powerful. We ended up going back at a later date with a full group and beat the thing. That tower, for me represented everything good about gaming online at the time – still does to a degree. It is a beacon a hope – an old relic of a place, poorly designed, yet magical nonetheless. I look back at that as the “past” of MMO gaming, and how far we have come, and dare to dream that future iterations of the MMO scape can recapture that magic. I logged out that night from EQ for my last time. Didn’t have the heart to kill ol’ Braack off, but at least I know that if I ever get a free trial to that place again I will have a beautiful sight to behold when I log in. Even if just metaphorically.
So, 10 days, huh? I probably will take it and mess around with specs, and of course, check in on my motley crew of characters lying around do see if any harm/good has come of them. As of right now I have no plans to buy WOTLK, but hey, who knows – maybe 2 years from now when everyone in WoW is running around at level 110 I can login and learn that Shattrath is my new Tower of Frozen Shadow.
Going to write a BIG fat disclaimer here as it involves the current American Presidential campaign. I have American friends who are the staunchiest Rebpublicans and diehard Democrats alike – and I have been a part of how any sort of political discussion can anger one or both camps. Bless you for your beliefs, and I just found this extradordinarily funny and wanted to share. Group hug and good luck on the election.
By “cow”, I mean “wallet”. I know, I know, it was very obvious to you all from the get go but I have at least 2.2 readers that wouldn’t have understood it so clarification was necessary.
I have rambled a lot about WoW lately and what I dislike about it and how I don’t want to give them my money. Like a two bit crack whore I almost broke down yesterday and resubscribed. I mean, my characters have been dormant for months and I had thousands of gold on my bank alt – what if my account was hacked? What alts DID I have when I left? So many important things crossed my mind and I actually went into my account page, hit the gigantic neon flashing “resubscribe NOW! NOW DAMN YOU!! “banner at the top of the page, and as fate would have it – my wallet was outside in my car. (I can leave it there. With my keys in the ignition. And the windows down. I live in Canada). Wow, that was a CLOSE one! OOOH wait, whats this? PAYPAL option? I have a PAYPAL account! Certainly my Paypal account is much easier for me to access RIGHT NOW instead of walking up the stairs out of my basement office, putting on my slippers, walking out to my car, disturbing the poor homeless guy who lives there (nights only, and he pees on my front lawn out of respect instead of the back seat), retrieve my wallet, and walk ALL THE WAY back inside. Wait – then I have to punch in 16 digits AND an expiry date. Pay Pal it is.
There is an urban legend in the restaurant industry that often quotes a study with the following conclusion:
“Over 90% of Employees surveyed said they would steal if they were guaranteed they wouldn’t get caught”
I don’t know of the study, and can’t google-find it, and if you know if it is true or a lie please chime in. Regardless of the factuality of that statement it seems reasonable in its truthfulness. While we all pretend to be good little people (and many of us wouldn’t do it) if you picture the poor little employee who hates his job and his employer who makes bajillions of dollars, I can see how it would be hard for a lot of people not to under those circumstances.
This analogy easily transposes into the gamer and the big bad developer relationship. Gamers don’t want to spend money to support million dollar developers, because they are evil. Because they are evil it is okay to pirate their games. You can pirate, easily, and you won’t get caught. If you do somehow get caught nothing bad will happen to you. So why not pirate? Rhetorical question, before the morality arguments ensue. Developers use piracy as an excuse for lost revenues and the validaty of those arguments range from rediculous to maybe-somewhat-truthful. The counter arguments have been hashed, rehashed, re-rehashed, and re-re-re-rehashed that it isn’t even worth discussing anymore. We are at a stalemate as consumers with our entertainment partners. They want more, stronger DRM, to which (vocally, at least) we tell them legitimate consumers won’t play. Developers are in a no win situation. Develop a game with DRM and lose consumers. Develop a game without it and lose sales. I discussed the possibility of a new purchase model that would only work on PC games sometime ago, somewhere, and want to discuss it again. Maybe we can design a program that will save PC gaming. If it really needs it.
Just a big tester-ola. Move along. Nothing to see here.
I haven’t written much on WoW here because I don’t play the game anymore. I recently patched it again after chatting with a WoW friend on ghat, who helps me out with this site, and another who is hiding anonymously in gchat from an internet stalker (true story. Yay interwebs.) I broke up with WoW about 6 months ago (hey, its ME, not YOU) and to be honest, I horribly miss the people there. Wait, let me clarify, I miss my guild and my friends there. The rest can go (and are on their way) to hell. I don’t mean that in the literal sense of eternal damnation – I wouldn’t wish that on anyone – but the community is, to put it nicely, garbage – except for the select group of good people we choose to build walls with around our guild (via the guild application process) and make WoW as little of a MMO as possible (which it already is), and more of a SFMO (Select Few Multiplayer Online). I have had these upcoming thoughts for awhile, and when I was directed to this post through a link it all but secured my thinking of yet another revenue stream for Blizzard. One I would happily pay.
Let me rent my own WoW server. Charge me $300 a month, I don’t care. I can collect donations (a la Battlefield 2142 servers) from my clan and group mates. Friends of mine that can’t afford to donate, I’ll cover the $5 a month for you. I would rather game with my friends who are down on their luck than say goodbye to them online until they can find a good job again. Right now, I won’t pay Blizzard $15 a month because of the things I dislike about their game. If I could have my own WoW server, and make it a happy, positive place for those who I care to game with, you can take my money.