Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall of Theremore: the tipping point Blizzard DIDN'T intend

I'm not being melodramatic when I say this may be the tipping point for me not pick up MoP and possibly quitting altogether. I have played continuously since I first started in early BC, and have never gotten the burnout that most players do, I've always found something in the game to interest me and occupy my time. I love the game, the setting, the lore, and my characters.

Many people have now experienced the theramore "event" and the outcry is both terrible and deserved. How blizzard can put this piece of  crap out the door as-is is completely beyond my comprehension. It's terrible. It's worse than terrible, it's a slap in the face. A giant "F-U, go buy our book"  from blizzard. And it's either a sign that they just don't understand how to tell a good story anymore, or they just don't care. Or both. There's no context, no preamble, no setup, no resolution. It's like reading chapter 13 of a 25 chapter book without even a summary page, you'd have to go online and read the sparknotes to make heads or tales of it. And it wouldn't have been so bad except for how much HYPE blizzard has generated for it! It's a bigger disappointment than the so-called "epic" Thrall questline that consisted of " go kill 20 elementals without getting ganked, repeat 3 more times"

Cata shook my faith in Blizzard and for the first time, I nearly quit the game. It was not burnout, I HATED cataclysm, hated the changes, hated the stories and the new races (well, goblins). Hated how long everything took, how hard quest/daily mobs hit and how slowly they died, how difficult the dungeons were. Especially hated how silly everything was, between rediculously over the top goblins (who are now EVERYWHERE) and silly quests with non-stop pop-culture references with the on-rails storytelling. Hated that all my favorite quests were removed and all my favorite places gone, and hated doing hours and hours of archeology for a troll sword I never got, a long boring new "feature" that only succeeded in giving me plenty of time flying over the world instead of experiencing it to think about how much I hated the changes. Only transmog kept me playing, it was announced the day after I decided I would let my account slip and it saved the game for me. My raid team is the only other reason I still play, they're all kinds of awesome.

But MoP looks terrible. It's like they read my psych profile and set out to make the worst possible expansion  for me, tailor-made. I hate pandas. I hate that they're called panda people, and that they come from panda land, and that they know kung fu and are chinese. Some aspects of the xpac look neat, but the core doesn't engage me at all. I was willing to give it a chance despite my complete lack of excitement over it, but now? Blizzard has cemented the fact that they have lost the magic they used to have. The game is nothing like what made me love it, what made me want to lose myself in it. I don't feel tired of playing it, I feel copletely let down and abandoned in favor of what Blizzard thinks will somehow be "fun" and I just don't see it at all. All I see is a bunch of developers REALLY excited about everything I don't care about, and everything I care about gone or back-burnered or de-emphasized. Talk about a sad panda.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We interupt this broadcast...

Not exactly Warcraft, but it is elves and it does have a war- prefix. Besides, it's my blog and nobody reads it anyways, so there's that. Anyways, I've been working on my old love again: miniature wargaming. Specifically some Warmachine stuff for the first time in a very long time (basically since the mk2 edition change). Retribution of Scryah was the last faction to come out, hitting just before mk2 released. I had thought about it at the time since they're elves, but was pretty heavy into Cygnar  (despite them being pretty distinctly not-elves) and didn't want to jump on the new hotness bandwagon, despite my predilection for elves (I don't think I mentioned elves enough yet). Plus the army seemed like a bit of a pain to paint, lots of large, smooth, white armor that would require lots of layers and blending to look right.

I did pick up a warjack and a solo to paint up, and they turned out fantastic, but sure enough took forever to paint and that's about as far as I got with them. Mk2 really turned me off from the game, all my awesome Cygnar stuff became mediocre, all the mediocre stuff I never bought became awesome, and all my medium sized (now mediocre) units I needed to get more guys for (and match 5 year old paintjobs) since in mk2 you can ONLY have minimum or maximum units. Add in having to relearn all the stuff that had changed and I lost all interest. But a leaked version of the new Warhammer 40k edition got me interested again, and since that's months off I decided to go back to Warmachine and get back on the scene. I sold most of my cygnar to a sucke...friend amd used the money to get Retribution stuff.

I  like the standard scheme for Retribution, but I don't have turquise ink so I used purple for the weapons and arcane effects. The green and black I may go back and highlight more, it looks fine up close but kinda blends in too much on the table-top. Here's the finished Warcasters I picked up, Ravyn, Garryth and Kaelyssa


The original Solo I painted up, a Dawnguard Scyir (who isn't that great in game, it turns out). I originally went with a n ivroy instead of highlighting to white, so he may get highlighted a bit more or left as-is since he's a solo. The green is much brighter than the other models, and I'm still debating bringing the rest up to that color. His base is a rackham base, and I was going to use that style for all my Retribution, but then I realised my mercenary units wouldn't match, so I dropped it for the same style i used with my Cygnar. He will need ot be rebased if he's going to see any in-game use.

 A WIP shot of what's on the bench, some nearly finished solos. An Arcanist, a Soulless Escort, and 2 Mage hunter Assassins

   and the original Manticore I painted, which now has to be lightened up to white, and a Gorgon that needs a lot of work. A Pheonix and a Griffon are on the bench too, as are a unit of Dawnguard Sentinels and Officer, all at the same level of paint as the Gorgon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The problem with nerfs

This started as a comment to a post over on Blessing of kings, which itself was a response to
Kurn's post about the Dragon Soul nerfs. But, it got a little long in the tooth, so I figured I'd leave a shorthand comment there and anyone that cares can follow through to the full monty.

So yeah. Blizzard is nerfing the current raid, while it's still current. Again. At least they're starting with small nerfs this time, but it still hurts. It's not an elitist thing, it's not a "catering to casuals" thing. It's far more subtle and personal, at least for me. Lancore made a comment over there I thought I'd reiterate: the people that suffer most from these are the casual-hardcores. The Minor League of raiders: good, capable players that only the locals know and follow and beyond that don't get much beyond doing what they love. Raiders that almost certainly could down that next boss, given a few more weeks of practice and gear. Blizzard has said it themselves, encounters nerf themselves over time as players gear up and learn the fights. You prepare yourself, you gem and enchant your gear, you flask up and eat your food, you read the strategy. But the best videos in the world aren't the same as going in there and spending a night wiping to something. Sometimes a 2nd night is needed, maybe you need to come back next week with a few more pieces of gear, and try a few more attempts. Eventually the gear and the practice lower the hurdle enough to get over. It's only extended amounts of time on the same hurdle that cause issues, and I don't see how we can already be so close to that kind of wall.

Blizzard says we are, and that they have data to show guilds have already stopped progressing (already after 7 weeks? Really?)  but it just feels like it's too soon, like we haven't REALLY been able to show that yes, we're stuck and need help. It feels like it's too soon to really be coming up against these impassable walls. Surely with such data, blizzard knows where these walls ARE, right? If so then nerfing certain encounters should be the answer, not a blanket nerf.

To those that say "you can just turn it off, it's the same thing" it really isn't. If you're trying to get a first kill and there is still another boss after, you use everything you possibly can to get past the immediate encounter and on to the boss after. That's just what you DO in progression. You use all the gear and food/flasks and gems/enchants so you can to give you that edge, to lower that bar enough to climb over. Once you get over, once you get that all important first kill, after that it's always much easier. You don't get any achievements or extra/better gear for turning the buff/nerf off, you just delay getting to that next boss, and you lower your world/server ranking for those that care about such things, websites that only track the date you killed something, no credit is given for self-imposed handicaps.

It's not the nerfs even, it's The nerfs coming so quick. It takes away the amount of facetime you put into a boss (which is where the REAL progression should be happening) and replaces it with an easymode, it lowers the bar so you don't have to work as hard to climb over it. so you can get that all important first kill and move on. And you DO want to move on, there's still other bosses to kill, so you do it. Only afterwards do you realize it feels kind of empty. You get to the next (supposedly harder) boss and that's cool, right That's what progression is all about, right?

New boss! Awesome! Fantastic! Wonderful! but there's this nagging feeling in the back of your mind. Something is about it, like you cheated yourself out of an experience. That feeling that you probably COULD have done it without that extra few % if you had just applied yourself a bit more, and now you'll never know because it's already DONE. You got that first kill, the one that matters. The hard one.

When the boss is still standing, undefeated, you use everything available to you to get past that hurdle. It's really only when you look back and wonder what might have been that it really starts to gnaw at you, and THAT is the problem with these nerfs.