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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Message of the Day

Today's message of the day as I logged into WoW was "Being polite in groups will get you invited back."

They need to update it to "Being polite in groups doesn't matter any more because you can just re-queue straight away."

I had a total blast leveling through Draenor. Some of the most interesting questing I've seen in the game so far. I did a few leveling dungeons are they were all fun and challenging. Whether the challenge came from the dungeon or the poor gameplay of my teammates wasn't really relevant-- I had fun.

Then I reached endgame.


Now there is something you need to understand about World of Warcraft. It's the healer's job to keep everyone alive. So if someone dies, it's only because the healer failed to stop them from dying. This is so obvious to everyone that it's not even worth saying. Yeah, that's right, you just wasted seconds of your life reading something you already knew.

Maybe I just need to face up to being not a good enough player to heal heroic 5-man dungeons. Self-delusion can be pretty insidious.

**SATIRE OVER ** I was trying to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to blame the healer even though everyone seems to do it anyway by coming to a ridiculous conclusion based on this assumed truth. The relative merit of my healing accomplishments as compared to other players has already convinced me I'm not a bad healer-- but this context had clearly not been established to a degree that the satire would be obvious. My blind conviction to what most would consider a highly-debatable idea (and the concurrent shift in style toward awkward tautological sentences) was also meant to be a tonal cue, this one relying only on an established context of me not being that stupid.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Angry ranting

I really wish Blizzard would stop selling more than they're capable of delivering.

I paid for this expansion six months ago. I paid for my current subscription time in July. This is not the way I expect to be treated after handing over that much money, that far in advance.

Did we not know what was going to happen on launch day? The same thing that happens on EVERY FUCKING LAUNCH DAY?

Okay great, you convinced a million ex-WoW players to resubscribe. Pat on the fucking back. I'm sorry I didn't threaten to unsubscribe enough for you to care enough about my experience.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dances with raiders

If you've ever used the term "dancing" pejoratively when you talk about raid gameplay, you absolutely need to read this blog post from Alexander Brazie on how he fucked up the Netherspite encounter, specifically naming how and why it ended up becoming a "dance". I'm so convinced by his definition that I have to concede that this term can be useful for describing a specific type of raid gameplay.

But I maintain that the word has been used unfairly way more often than it has been used fairly. I've seen a clear pattern of mid-range guilds whose raiders lack the situational awareness to "play" encounters as intended, so the leader must resort to dictating specific instructions just to keep people from doing the wrong thing. This type of raiding group makes encounters into a dance, and to be fair it clearly works, for the simple fact that most people are better at following instructions than thinking for themselves. It's just another example of players taking the efficient route to success rather than enjoying the game as intended.

The root issue has always been that the raiding game was too difficult for a majority of players, a criticism that Blizzard has more than owned up to, and today's range of difficulty levels are a incredible improvement. It's so vitally important for any game to match itself to the skill level of the players.

I'm reminded of this pervasive idea of the "Patchwerk fight". Pervasive despite the first rule of Patchwerk fights being that you don't talk about Patchwerk fights because they are boring and raiding is so much more than that. I don't disagree.

But players love these fights. Players love the pure throughput environment, simply because this kind of sustained DPS/healing check gives them the (rare?) opportunity to kick into top gear, to use every cooldown, every proc, and for once not worry about distractions like target switching or ramping or delaying abilities to run away. It's like a drag race for your WoW toon; less about finesse and more about who has the fastest engine and knows how to drive it.

Perhaps this drag race metaphor better illustrates some players' overwhelming tendency to play chicken with deadly mechanics.

The problem with Patchwerk fights is they are only relevant at gear level; once the raid's throughput passes a point the switch flips to trivial. I wonder if it's at all possible to save this type of fight from sudden obsolescence by implementing mechanics that scale with your raid's throughput. Not so far as to negate gear, but just enough to stop the encounter from becoming trivial overnight.

I suspect that there is a very large group of players who genuinely enjoy standing still and DPSing and are more than happy to ignore raid mechanics as much as possible because their combat mechanics alone are intrinsically fun and/or because competing with others in the same role is the main goal for them.

Social competition is a stronger motivator than we realise. In the end it's the same old human story; we covet our neighbour's ass, so we feel compelled to spend three years grinding to get the same mount to drop for us.