Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SWOTOR lives!

Remember that weird time in the 2000s when EA purchased the James Bond license without realising that the success of Goldeneye on the N64 had nothing to do with the license, and after the first few half-arsed James Bond games had failed to replicate the success of Rare's masterpiece, they made a James Bond game featuring a character with a gold-hued cybernetic eye, a game which they named Goldeneye-- because what else do you call a game featuring a character with a golden eye?

It should be noted that the in the movie Goldeneye (starring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond) upon which the N64 game was based, Goldeneye was the name of an orbital laser weapon.

A cynical person might deduce that EA wanted to make a game called Goldeneye first, and contrived the reasons later. This seems even more likely when you consider that in 2010 the same company produced yet another James Bond game called Goldeneye. This time not due to any golden eyes-- this was a "reimagining" of the famously successful 1997 N64 game based on the 1995 movie Goldeneye.

Which brings me back to the Knights in our Old Republic.

I can't tell whether I'm imagining it any more, but the SWOTOR marketing copy always seems so.... desperate.

I know it's difficult for a person to measure their own bias, but I really don't think I'm being biased here. I fucking love SWOTOR. I mean I don't spend hundreds of bucks on a game I only kind of enjoy. I want it to "succeed", whatever that means in the MMO space these days. Is that what SWOTOR is now? A mild success?

I guess it's just hard to see the game as successful while every launch event is being pushed like it's the last desperate hope in a futile struggle against oblivion.

A small detail that was lost on me until I went looking is that this expansion doesn't cost anything, it's just being added to the live game. Ironic that these guys (oh hey look it's EA again) are giving away the last thing that WoW players still have to pay handsomely for-- I can't be the only person who's noticed the steady upward creep in Blizzard's expansion pricing.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Waiting for the next patch

My subscription is down to hours remaining again. I might let it lapse until the next raid. My gold reserves are plenty healthy so I'm not worried about a sudden spike in the Token price, but it's been disappointing me for the past few weeks in its stubborn refusal to drop even below 22k at any of the times I checked.

I've been predicting since the beginning that the Token price will gradually decline to somewhere closer to 10k than 20k, a prediction that has so far been completely false. My judgement of the people who buy and sell Tokens might be way off, but I feel like it's also likely that Blizzard inflates the price beyond the point normal supply and demand would otherwise place it.

I should read around the WoW auction house blogs to see whether there's been much speculation or experimentation into the mechanics that control the actual Token price. I will begin my own speculation now.

I have to assume they started with an idea of how much gold they want to sell for $20. Maybe based on 3rd party gold price, maybe on player psychology and focus testing.

Then they would probably have some kind of price index that they can use to calculate inflation for each realm and adjust for it so the value of buying gold is more or less the same between realms.

Then maybe add a small variable that makes the price move by incidental amounts in step with actual supply and demand, to give players a sort-of-true impression that the price is affected by actual supply and demand.

This is what makes the most sense to me based on what I've read and observed. A price this steady is suspiciously suspicious.

I would really love to hear any competing theories though.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Free to play

Last weekend when I logged into WoW I was greeted with a big friendly button offering me a month of game time in exchange for a bit over 22,000 of my in-game gold. I realised a short moment later that this notice meant that my subscription had run out. Being short on cash at the time, I clicked the button.

WoW is free to play now.

Making 20k gold in a month is "in my sleep" territory, so the question becomes: Do I want more money or more WoW gold?

You could probably make a good case for paying real money for a monthly BoE to raid with, but I don't care enough about gear that I want to spend real money on it. It makes sense that anyone already interested in spending real money on mounts might be willing to cash in a Token to buy more mounts; though the value proposition probably isn't quite as good for the fairly common BoE mounts as for the spectacular Blizzard Store mounts.

The introduction of the Token does make a lot more sense of how restrictive the crafting system is this expansion; it's been hard not to notice that we had a new expansion drop without the game economy experiencing massive inflation. I thought it was weird when they started selling heirloom gear for gold-sink amounts, but it makes perfect sense in the context of a new player "buying" experience and damage bonuses for their leveling character.

It's a bit interesting that the Token includes a 30%-ish markup on the normal subscription price. The fact that all things considered Blizzard is getting more money on my behalf from the Token process than I would otherwise spend on my subscription is something I feel like I need to note. But it doesn't stop me.

I'm having an incredible amount of fun in my progression raid currently. After spending all of last Monday's raid wiping on Heroic Iron Maidens, it was immensely satisfying to finally get it down last night.

I don't think I'm going to get bored with Mistweaver healing. The channel HoT paradigm is fast and effective and has a flow to it like no other healing class has. I'm still not happy with how clunky the stance changes are and always will be, but they also made our melee healing too weak for progression raiding anyway, so no big deal I just don't use it.

Everything that isn't stance changing is just awesome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Talk like a blogger

How I pay4a game is the most important thing about it. Most payment models are good: I pay $100 for a game and then I get2play it2find out if I like it.

But some payment models are very, very bad. They try2trick you by putting prices on things that aren't essential2play the game, like alternate colours and even alternate styles of gameplay. This is bad because it forces you2pay for it, and it ruins the game, which you are also forced2play.

This blatant affront2the sanctity of game prices will not stand. I DEMAND to pay $100 for each and every video game I play, even if it's just4five minutes. Strictly flat pay2buy pricing for all games no matter how vastly they differ in fun or complexity is simply the right thing2do. Making a game free shouldBillegal because all they do is trick the players into paying4everything without providing any fun experiences in return.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Ennui, again.

I guess I'm taking a break from WoW. Not deliberately, I just find that whenever I think of the game all the negative stuff comes flooding back, and I'm not sure I'll even have fun if I do play because there is no challenging content unless you have a minimum of four other competent players to go with you.

It feels a bit ridiculous that my subscription wont end until February. It was going to be near the end of January, but because I couldn't play during the expansion release (when I had take time off work to play it) they gave me five free days which pushed it to February. Doesn't seem like a fair trade to me, but not much I can do about it.

Someone email me when the subscription numbers are "dying" again.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A waste of time

I haven't played WoW since I stopped raiding. I've had a thought here and there to go looking for another raid group, but then I remember how little faith I have in people and how much work it is trying to be competitive, but not so competitive as to damage anyone's fragile ego. Sometimes I wonder if I'd enjoy a random five-man, but I get stuck on this feeling that it would only be a waste of time. And anyway I know them all back-to-front now.

Maybe I'll come back for the next expansion, since this seems to be the only time our beloved Blizzard bothers to create level-appropriate five-man content.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Edgy young adults

I stopped raiding with my guild. I'm honestly not sure what caused it originally, but a group of people in the raid had come to the conclusion that I was unworthy of raiding with them, and were basically bullying me during raids.

My guild's response to this boiled down to "we do it to other people too, and it's our policy to allow it".

The story they tell themselves about this seems to be "it's just how we talk to each other", which I'd attribute to a lack of conscious awareness of social structure. A person's social context always frames what they say to affect its meaning. It's basically how satire works-- if you assume that the speaker is on the same page as you, it's easy to understand when they say something out of character, so you understand they probably don't mean it literally.

Where I'm going with this is to point out that there's actually a big difference between a guild officer calling the guild leader a cunt*, and a guild officer publicly shaming a trial raider for making a mistake.

I thought I'd found a great raid group with the "b-team" 10-man raid back in Siege, but it seems like the omg super serial progression realm first group (that is the only option now) takes raiding a bit more seriously than I'm able to while still enjoying the game.

*in Australia the word cunt is still used offensively but has become very trendy among edgy young adults, sort of like black people adopting the word nigger, but with less point to it.