Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An Important Lesson From The Sims

Back in 2000, a friend of mine convinced me to go in half with him on The Sims, a new PC game which was pretty much unlike anything else I’d ever played. Maxis had success with Sim City, but this game wasn’t about controlling a city, it was micromanaging the lives of simulated characters.

I played the hell out of that game. So did my friend. We created characters just like ourselves. His was described as a "young urban professional" and was constantly busy at work. Mine liked the yuppie quite a bit but had her own characteristics and career. At first, we told our sims when to eat, study and even pee. Eventually, they developed habits and could make it to work on time without our constant prodding.

But my sim had a problem.

Before starting to play the game, I spent a long time on the character creation screen trying to make my sim exactly like me. There were points you could put in different character traits and those traits determined how well you did in life. Someone with a lot of points in “neat” would always look good and remember to clean the dishes. Someone with low points in “nice” might not make friends easily. A player trying to do well in the game might choose to distribute the points evenly. However, The Sims wasn’t something you could win or lose. In this game, you just lived. By modeling my sim after myself, most of the points were put into “outgoing.”

I’m not going to say it was a mistake, but it did make gameplay harder. It was tough to find time to study cooking skills when all she wanted to do was invite friends over. My sim didn’t like exercising because she wasn’t active. She was grumpy and didn’t want to go to work. She dreamed of her simulated relationships and desperately wanted to talk to someone.

In creating the character to resemble myself, I was able to look at my real life and adjust accordingly. I should interact with humans as often as possible. It is healthy to have a social aspect not only in my hobbies but also in my career. Lunch with a friend will help me stay productive. Phone calls with loved ones can keep my brain in a positive place. It takes work. It isn’t easy being a social butterfly and my calendar can sometimes get in the way of what I may think I’m supposed to accomplish. But if I don’t take care of that innate need, I’ll start to fade.

And I learned that from a video game.

Andy Knows How I Feel

“Your only purpose is to get something that you don’t have.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Last Night, I Freaked Out

Posted five weeks after originally written. 

I had a relatively productive day. Admittedly, there were a few decent-sized disappointments, but I got things done. When going through a hard time, you want to grab on to the good stuff--like the barista who gave me a free coffee--and try to keep the negative stuff--like a bad job interview--in stride. Last night, I felt like doing something else but I had committed to a raid group with fifteen other people. I could've backed out. They might have done better without me.

When the time came, I showed up. It was just then that my years-old computer headset gave up the ghost. It's hard to raid if you can't hear, so I dropped out of the group. The team offered suggestions, but it was frustrating to communicate.

"No, I can't plug in my phone headphones because either the audio port is broken or when I built the computer, I wired it wrong. I probably wired it wrong. I've known about this and solved the problem a long time ago by using a USB headset and only USB audio devices will work now. No, I couldn't have just taken back the parts when I first built it because I frankenstein-ed it together from computer parts belonging to an ex-boyfriend whom I think is engaged now but I can't bring myself to find out for sure and I'm a failure and I shouldn't raid tonight." 

They went on without me. My heart sank. It's just a dumb headset, but solving the problem was so much harder than it would be for any normal, functioning, human. What was going to be my excuse next week?

"I still don't have a headset because Best Buy is a pain to get to because I don't have a car. I can't get it online because the mail carrier keeps losing my stuff and I had a late fee on a bill last week because I never got my mail and just today I filed a claim on a package that was lost that had an outfit in it that I was going to wear on a job interview if I were to get one. I used to have packages sent to me at work like everyone else in New York, but..." 

After dropping from the group, I remembered I had a USB-audio jack converter. I dug it out and used it to plug a portable speaker into my computer. It kind of worked! A few error messages popped up, but I could hear reasonably well, which meant I could play! My friends brought me back into the group and we had a good time. I was happy.

After a few hours, it became clear to me we would not defeat the raid encounter and that it might have been my fault. I had the performance meter up on my screen and I knew I was at the bottom of the list. In between attempts, I searched for details of the fight online and tried to figure out if the group would be better off without me. I couldn't definitively prove it with math, but I did believe I was holding them back. I felt terrible.

We beat the boss!  

We did it! At the very end of the night, we all pulled it together. I stood up and danced. I laughed. Everyone cheered. I was happy.

My performance had been OK, but next week I was going to be better. I have this pretty cool gaming mouse with a ton of buttons. That was a good place to start: optimizing my devices. Right after the group disbanded for the night, I went to the mouse manufacturer's website and downloaded a small program which would enable me to configure the mouse to my specifications. I rebooted so I could start using it right away. My computer didn't turn back on. It no longer worked.

Then, I lost my fucking mind.

Without a computer, how would I apply for jobs? I can't get a job without a computer. I can't type. I can't create cover letters. I can't tweak resumes. All I had done was download a tiny program and it destroyed my only way of changing my life. How, at my age, had I allowed myself to get to this? I was a failure and all my decisions had been wrong and I am not good at anything and how had I been so cocky as to think I was marketable? My life was hanging by a thread so small a mouse could snap it.

I was sobbing, pulling my hair, and silently screaming when I started explaining to my raid team--in my head--why I wasn't going to be there next week.

Pull quotes 1
"I rebooted my computer after downloading a program because I wanted to perform better next week and now my computer is broken and I can't just get a new one because I don't know when my next paycheck is. I would never have turned off my computer had I known it wouldn't turn back on and I know what you are thinking but it has nothing to do with my headset..." 

Then I remembered. I unplugged the little speaker I had rigged up. My computer started working. I was happy.

Tomorrow is a new day.


Today I read an article about the fast-growing company, Thinx, and its woes involving the founder and ex-CEO. Typical story: the founder has a great product, the fledgling company does well, a "professional" CEO takes their place. The article plays off the irony of an ultra-feminist ad campaign juxtaposed with not-so-feminist company practices.

Pull quotes 1
My take on the "feminist" spin is as the company grows and is run less as a family and more like a business, standard practices will fall into place. Anyone with startup experience understands this.  There's no story there. I'm annoyed it is trending. But that's not what struck me about this piece. This quote from an anonymous former employee shook me and sent me almost 20 years back to my former self:

“It was truly like being in an abusive relationship. And I don’t use that analogy lightly… I don't know if you've ever had the feeling when you walk into a place — whether it's with your family or a job or a friendship circle — and you simply just don't know how the other person is going to react. One day they could be in a super great mood and everything's fine and dandy and you're being praised left and right, or else you walk in and you're treated like you're dirt… That takes an emotional and physical toll on you. To wake up every day and not know how you're going to be treated that day is really quite awful.”

Those words, I could have written them word-for-word while at a former job so long ago. In fact, my journal at the time confirms how I felt and what I was going through. I remember the chair I was sitting in, I remember I was wearing a long, green skirt and Keds with the backs folded down because I had a blister on the heel of my right foot. I remember writing...

"Today is the lowest I have ever felt in my life."

It was a job. It was a boss. It was a career. It was a situation I deemed impossible to get out of. I felt I needed to "pay my dues" and part of doing so was enduring abuse. There were a lot of perks to my job, and my employer often had kind words and gifts. She also had obscenities and tantrums. I daydreamed about getting into a car accident and being in the hospital so I wouldn't have to go to work. I came to understand I was depressed and had severe anxiety, issues which persist to this day.

I had purposefully written a note to my future self as a reminder of a time when things were really bad. The younger woman taught the older woman a valuable lesson: no job is worth your happiness. No relationship, no home, no tangible thing, is worth your sanity. If you are in a situation causing you distress, take steps to get out of it.

Since then, I've experienced a handful of abusive situations and I didn't stay long.

I suppose I learned.

Friday, March 10, 2017

On Gaming

It's no secret I like games. Like a lot of people my age, I grew up with Atari and Nintendo. These days, I askew the consoles in favor of a PC. I spend a lot time gaming.

Here's my deal about gaming: I only like games which are played with other people. There are tons of brilliant games I will never play because my buddies aren't around to chat with. Can you believe I purchased Skyrim and never turned it on?

To me, gaming is a hobby but community is a way of life.

It's a New Day....

...It's a New Blog

The words below this post represent something I was four years ago. The words above this post represent the person I am now.

I'm an ├╝ber social computerhead who, these days, finds myself alone a bit more often than I find comfortable. I love the grit of my Brooklyn neighborhood but I don't have a job, I'm stressed about rent, and find myself angsty, lonely...depressed, I suppose.

I've long wanted to document stories of my past and it could be cathartic to talk about my journey to (hopefully) gainful employment.

Why keep the old blog posts? I could start over from scratch, but the stuff you were makes you the stuff you are. It might as well stick around.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

BlizzCon 2013

So I am freaking out right now. I am heading to BlizzCon in the morning.

The first thing I will do when I get off the plane is head over and have lunch with three members of my raid team. That's pretty amazing. We will  head over together to stand in line to pick up our badges... and  I will get a media badge too! Then it's on to the WoW Insider party, where I am on the VIP list to get in. This is getting surreal.

I will be tweeting from media section during the Opening Ceremony and hashtagging things #BlizzConGB so it will go up on the new GAMEBREAKER site.

I'm probably the most excited about the announcement of the new expansion, but the WoW movie has me pumped too. I'll take loads of photos! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

OK, so I'm a baddie

So the powers that be at GAMEBREAKER are always after me to write editorials. The news stuff I typically churn out puts content on the site, but doesn’t generate a ton of hits unless it’s something big. To be fair, it’s a lot easier to report on stuff like the new Elder Scrolls character creation screen than it is to write about how I think or feel, but I’m encouraged to present opinions and try to spark debate.

And one of my recent posts did just that. 

I wrote an opinion post last week that had the lynch mobs out in full force. Seriously, the first word of the title is “Opinion,” yet I had people screaming for me to be fired for presenting my views as fact. My twitter erupted with venom from members of my guild calling me ignorant and suggesting that as a guild spokesperson, I should present my views with more tact.

All I did was suggest, albeit strongly, that 25-man raiding is better than 10-man. Is that so wrong? 

While I appreciate the passion people have for their style of raiding, I will say that my editor spent the weekend deleting comments she saw as pretty severe personal attacks. There were several people that disagreed with me and commented in an adult manner. Others looked up my raid team and picked apart how much we sucked. But here’s a secret:

But I did it on purpose. 

I was trolling. I knew what I was doing when I did it. I was trying to get people talking, and it worked. I had nothing to gain; extra hits on someone else’s web site don’t affect me all that much. I guess I nabbed about 15 extra twitter followers, but it’s not like I get paid for that either. But I did enjoy the back-and-forth I saw on the 10-man vs. 25-man debate. If opening a can of worms get the worms talked about, that’s gotta be a good thing…right?

And another thing!

What good is an opinion if you don’t support your ideas 100%? I’ve gone on record—and have gotten crap for—saying how terrible the Horde is, and now I’ve gone on record about raid sizes. Perhaps I could have said, “This is what I like, but you guys are welcome to like the things you like and they are just as valid.” That kind of article would have got zero people thinking and the conversation would have been just as small. I appreciate moderate views when it comes to politics, but when it comes to a hobby as subjective as VIDEO GAMES, what’s wrong with a little passion? I could say, “Shaman is the best class, and no other class can even touch it!” and I would expect a warlock writer to say the same about their class and a DK to say the same about theirs. Otherwise, why the heck would I read it? (Mages are, of course, exempt from that argument because… you know…)

The fact is: my team, a casual 25-man, had hit a month-long wall with a raid boss. We finally overcame it. I was excited.  The next day, I wrote an opinion piece about how much better my style of raiding is. Some people didn’t like it. You probably won’t like it. I liked it, and as long as I can continue to brush off the “you’re ugly and your team sucks” comments, I will find ways to do more.

So, just to be clear:
25-man raiding is better than filthy casual 10-mans.
Horde should all die in a fire.
Shammies are the best class. 

And while I’m at it:
Star Trek is far superior to Star Wars. 
The Beatles beat out Elvis in every way, and…
Blue is better than purple and anyone who disagrees is wrong. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

DebateCraft: The People's Legendary

Pat Krane has dubbed Wrathion's cloak The People's Legendary. I liked that term so much that I decided to take write about it. Me and Ashley plan to write a DebateCraft article every week... but I have zero idea what to do it on next....

The People’s Legendary comes under fire as Ashley and Summer go head to head on the accessibility of World of Warcraft’s legendary cloak.

In World of WarcraftWrathion has sent players on an expansion-long journey that will ultimately lead to what has been dubbed thePeople’s Legendary. It is an orange-quality back accessory with stats so high Garrosh Hellscream will bow to the strength of any raid team equipping them. Past legendary items were reserved for a single member of a team and their entire guild would help them obtain it. What makes this legendary cloak unique is that anyone who has successfully completed the trials set forth by the spawn of Deathwing can have it.
That leads to the question, just how legendary is an item that anyone can seemingly get? In this week’s Debatecraft, Ashley andSummer discuss the pros can cons of the People’s Legendary.

Only The Best  

There was a time when players actually had to work for their legendary. Even when it was a chance drop, only a select few would ever see it. My first attempt at a legendary was Shadowmourne in Wrath of the Lich King. Parts of that quest chain required players to complete the objective in 25-man Icecrown Citadel – this was before 10 and 25 man shared a lockout. As a raider from a 10-man raiding guild, it was amazing that I made it as far as I did. Reaching the point that I did in the chain—even though I never saw my legendary—I still felt like I accomplished something special. 
In Mists of Pandaria, the legendary quest chain can be completed in any mode, including LFR. Anyone can now get this legendary with very little effort put forth. Knowing that my legendary cloak will be shared with players that don’t deserve it—I don’t even think I deserve it—feels off to me. 
Well, if you don’t feel like you deserve it, then by all means skip collecting the coins on the Timeless Isle and stick with the cloak you’ve got. As for me, I did the quests, I collected the materials (hell yeah I used Looking For Raid!), I aided Wrathion at the Thunderforge, and I defeated him in a duel moderated by a freakin’ August Celestial. To be honest, I think anyone who got through that last fight while rocking LFR gear deserves some respect. I had a few pieces of Thunderforged gear and it still took me 20 tries. Having the current version of the cloak equipped shows you are skilled enough to obtain it.
How many people were just like you and never actually completed the process for their own Legendary at the level where it would have been useful? Past legendary items were not reserved for the very best players; they were reserved for the teammates who won the coin toss.

Special is as Special Does

Yes, previous legendaries were drops from bosses, but these bosses were only ever seen by some of the best players. A casual would have never laid eyes on Illidan. That legendary would have still gone to the players who deserved it.  
I remember standing around in Ironforge—with a friend—as we ogled a player with the Twin Blades of Azzinoth equipped. We were in awe of this person. What’s going to happen in patch 5.4?  ”Look, that group of players over there has the same cloaks as we do.” If everyone is special, no one is special.     

There are plenty of ways to be unique these days. Rare hunter pets, mounts and transmogrification can all make your character stand out and be ogled by passersby.
Today’s World of Warcraft player is a different person from Burning Crusade days. I wonder if that same player you were so impressed by still has time to play? Perhaps a job and kids keep them from joining a progression-based raid team. Does that change how skilled they are?
The People’s Legendary provides a way for everyone to experience dynamic story-driven content that would otherwise only be witnessed by perhaps one person in every guild. It is also challenging enough so only those who play at a certain level can obtain it.
At one point in time, Legendaries were considered a big deal. A much bigger deal than a rare pet, mount, and transmog. If the legendary quest drops had been restricted to both regular and heroic difficulties, it could have still be considered a “big deal.”  However, being able to complete this legendary by strictly doing LFR just doesn’t sit right with me.  
Yes, the Burning Crusade days are no longer. Sure, that player I was impressed with may not even have the time to play anymore.  Even so, if that player has no time to play then the legendary isn’t meant for him, skill or not.  
There are so many other ways for players to enjoy the story, aside from a quest chain. The vast majority of players don’t even read the quest text. I enjoyed how Blizzard released the Cataclysm rogue legendary cut scenes so everyone could watch and see what’s going on. That could have been done again. 
world of warcraft mmorpg mmorpg     Debatecraft: The People’s LegendaryWatching the video simply isn’t the same as playing through the content itself. The scenarios involved in the People’s Legendary quest line offers single-player challenges that don’t exist elsewhere. Sure we can watch videos of lucky people as they attempt legendary challenges, but it will always leave us with the feeling of “I bet I could do that.” Now, we can say, “You bet your ass I did that!”

What side of the debate do you fall on? Do you wish legendary items were still reserved for the ultra-exclusive few? Do you enjoy having access to the content—and the stats—that the People’s Legendary provides? Or are you not bothered because you couldn’t be asked to go through that crap anyway? Let us know!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

She Calls Him Sal

“Sal” is a pretty common name. I run into other Sals a lot. There’s a bit of competition for the nickname, but I do not own this or any other moniker. However, I tend to be a bit louder than other Sals and my main character’s name is kind of hard to pronounce so whenever a different Sal comes around, the other person ends up being “other Sal” or “Sal number two”, which makes me feel kind of jerky.

Out of 4100 unique individuals, there are two Sals that I know of in our guild… and we happen to be on the same raid team. Sal isn’t soft spoken, he just chooses whom he likes to speak to. When the guild started out, folks called him Sal, but that kind of tapered off. We even talked about it once. “I’ll still call you Sal,” I said. “Fine,” he replied, “then I’ll be “She Calls Me Sal.”

Sal is a great guy, and he and I couldn’t be more different. 

Ever the supportive friend, when I recently made an appearance on Girls Gone WoW, Sal made sure to download it and give it a listen. He liked the show well enough, but wasn’t too keen on the language the ladies were using. Honestly, I thought the F-bombs were pretty tame in that episode, but to him the explicit label was a pretty big turn-off. Understanding that has made me more mindful when I put pug groups together and set a language guideline.

Sal owns guns. Tons of them. He literally has dozens of guns. I understand having a few—as he is a cop—but he is a collector. He doesn’t go on and on about them, but every now and then he mentions a prized piece or his full gun cabinet and I make some kind of “guns are gross” comment. That’s when everyone else come to his aid and gripes at me for bringing up politics. He can talk about how much he loves guns, but I can’t bring up how much I despise them. I think it has less to do with politics and more to do with how well liked Sal is.

Sal is a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy, but he has one vice: disgusting raid beverages. The other day he made a White Russian with a shot of Jagermeister and bragged about it in Mumble. Seriously, that made my pristine vodka martini run and hide. One of our buddies commented, “Salmek, that sounds heinous, dude.” He laughed and said it was pretty good, and he had run out of ingredients for an Oatmeal Cookie.

I could go on and on about things that I love that he finds repulsive or how I spent a large portion of my life avoiding guys like him to make sure I didn’t go to jail. I’m telling you, me and Sal have nothing in common… except WoW. We like killing bosses and chatting about gearing up toons. He and I get along great and we would never have met had it not been for our silly little game. Sal is one of the reasons our Community is so great.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Originally published on GAMEBREAKER.TV

The latest news datamined from the PTR involves the World of Warcraft Legendary Cloak

Heroes! News has come from the future. A realm known as “PTR” has revealed its secrets. We have toiled under the unsettling eye of the spawn of Deathwing himself, Wrathion, to collect small—yet powerful—items to aid us on our quest for greatness. Our efforts will finally be rewarded when we receive our very own World of Warcraft Legendary…cloak.

The World of Warcraft legendary cloak isn’t exactly the fancy weapon we were all hoping for, but MMO champion has datamined something quite interesting. Sure, the items will pack a punch when it comes to our firepower, but they will look cool too! When the abilities proc on the cloaks, there is a spell effect that makes awesome wings or horns appear.

I am suddenly very excited about getting my hands on one of these… or my back on one… or one on my back… you know what I mean. The World of Warcraft Legendary Cloak won’t be easy to get, but once you have it you and your sparkle wings will be the talk of the town.There are four different models depending on your class specialization, but here is the ranged dps version:

World of Warcraft Legendary Cloak

You get a Legendary, and You get a Legendary, and You….

The World of Warcraft Legendary Cloak will be available to all who can get through the tasks set forth by Wrathion. It is part of the Legendary questline that began when the Mists of Pandaria expansion hit. In order to complete the quests, players must perform a series of tasks and collect items from raids. What has made this questline so accessible is the Looking For Raid option that allows anyone to queue for a raid and get grouped up for an experience that is easier than normal mode raiding. 

The questline has been long, but not all that hard. Only recently have players started to have trouble getting through the solo fights, which has slowed down progression. After a while, people will outgear the encounters and will be on their way to obtaining a World of Warcraft Legendary Cloak of their very own. 

The most recent chapter in the World of Warcraft Legendary questline has involved a very powerful cloak, but it isn’t the Legendary that we speak of. I recently obtained the precursor to the 5.4 cloak myself, and the quest was HARD. It made me mad enough to spit, but it was fun to have to figure out a complicated fight. I can only imagine the tasks getting more difficult from here. The World of Warcraft Legendary Cloak might be available to everyone, but not everyone is going to get it.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wrathion’s Cloak: A Legendary Pain In The Arse

And Some Of The Best Solo Content Available 

The Legendary quest line has certainly been interesting. We have been able to hang out with DeathWing’s kid, run errands for him and earn a bit of firepower. He has mostly had us collect items from raids, and the quest line has been accessible to anyone that can get into LFR…until now. At the end of 5.3, we are now tasked with defeating (or saving) Wrathion while the August Celestials observe. Our reward: A Legendary Quest Cloak.

This time around, the solo scenario is hard. It is frustrating as hell and expensive when you consider all the potions, flasks, food, and repair bills involved. Everywhere I look I find people giving up and shaking their fists at developers who must be laughing at all the players who can’t get through it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. I like that I’ve had to sit down and figure something out for a change. I dutifully kept up with the quest line, so I am among the first wave to experience the fight. I didn’t have a lot of guides to refer to. And that’s probably why it took me so long to get my very own Legendary Quest Cloak.

My advice as an Elemental Shaman trying to complete the quest for the legendary cloak: Calm Down. My attempts took place over four wipe sessions and I found that my first attempt of the day was almost always my best attempt. After that, I got flustered. Waiting for cooldowns to come back up was annoying and allowed me to get distracted. In order to be successful I had to regroup, focus, take a deep breath, and go.

Sal’s Elemental Shaman Legendary Quest Fight Strategy: Burn That Bitch

We don’t have much in the way of an agro dump, so our main issue will be the adds. What a lot of spell casters (curse you, hunters!) are doing is burning Wrathion down right at the start. You probably need pretty good gear for this strat. My ilevel was 525. Spec into anything that is bursty, because it is a short fight.

First, I stood behind Wrathion and to the right, because his aoe damage will hit you if you are in the center. Then, I put down my Searing Totem, Capacitor Totem, moved Capacitor using Totemic Projection (talent) so it was right next to Wrathion, popped a potion and then started the fight. About two seconds in, after my gear starts proccing, I pop Fire Elemental Totem and Ascendance. I have Stormlash Totem and Spriritwalker’s Grace macroed to Ascendance. Wrathion is stunned for a bit because of Capacitor so I can pound him with Lava Burst, but walk backwards (using the S key) to use Ascendance to its full extent while he comes towards me. When Ascendance is done, I pop Heroism.

Now, we have to worry about the adds. Hopefully I am far enough away so I can stand still and use Chain Lightning to get them down. If they are standing together, it will take two or three casts to take care of them. If they get too close, I use Earthgrab Totem (talent) to keep them away. After they are down, the key is to STAY BEHIND WRATHION. Do whatever it takes to do this. When I had a good shot at the guy, I used Elemental Mastery (talent) to get as much damage out as quick as I could. When the adds came back up, my Earth Elemental Totem was off cooldown and could handle them while I continued to burn Wrathion and perhaps throw some chain lighting at the adds.

We have it easy for the mirage phase. Just tab target and use Chain Lighting. Wrathion stands still for a bit, so you can get some decent shots in that way.

If I saw that I was in trouble, I used Shamanistic Rage. I have Gift of the Naru on my action bars to get my health up. I might suggest getting lock rocks from a friend if you don’t have access to that spell or others like it. I was not shy about using Healing Stream Totem or if I could stand in one spot for a bit,  Healing Tide Totem (talent).

When I finally got him down, it was right after the first wave of Mirage. After that, the adds get faster and all my tricks are on cooldown, with the possible exception of Ascendance, which I also have a potion macroed to (remember, I pre-potted). Along with using Spiritwalker’s Grace, you might still have a chance to get him down. However it seems to me that if you see a second mirage, you are in trouble.

This fight took me between 20 – 30 pulls, and made me mad enough to spit. My final attempt was also my first attempt of the night, when my stress level was at the lowest…which might tell you something about me. But in the end, I defeated him and got my prize. Now I just need to find a mog set to go with my shiny new Legendary Quest Cloak. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

E3 Week

The real reason this page doesn't hear from me as often as I would like is because my writing juices are taken up at GAMEBREAKER.TV, where I write about industry news and occasionally inflict my views on helpless readers. I have cross posted a few articles before, but I mostly I keep the two separate. However, the following article was written expressly for this blog and ended up being a good idea over there too. It became a popular post. That makes me smile. Anyway, feel free to tell me what you think:

What Sony did yesterday is a game changer.
I’ve long considered a few things inevitable: Death, taxes and always-online games. The trend is undeniable. Companies are adopting practices that protect themselves and potentially give a few perks to players. One by one my favorite games have to be played while taking up my household’s precious bandwidth.
And it’s annoying. Whatever the reason given or assumed, there are pitfalls to being always online. I understand companies want to stop pirating and are losing money on reselling games (but are they really?) I understand how awesome it is to play with friends, heck I’m the most social gamer I know. I totally get how incredible it sounds to get up-to-the-hour updates on dribbling practices of NBA players. But one thing is for certain: I won’t always get to play!
I have decent internet, but when I’m not at home I play on my phone. If I find myself in an older building with thick walls, I simply can’t play a card battle in Order and Chaos. When I am at home, I’m not the only one using the net. If the kid is watching iCarly on Netflix and someone else is playing Call of Duty, I can’t run a scenario in WoW. That’s OK because I can dust off myXbox and do a few Portal puzzles. Also, I hear of people getting throttled if they are using too much bandwidth. This isn’t that great for gamers, and it seems like there’s not much we can do about it.
Well, it seemed like that until yesterday.
Yesterday, Sony totally pwned Microsoft when they gave their presentation at E3. Unlike theXbox One, the PS4 will not have to be online. You won’t loose your product license if you don’t check in. There will be online options and updates of course, but you can buy the system and buy disks and never ever hook it up to your internet if you don’t feel like it. Sony also announced that unlike the Xbox One, there will be no restrictions on sharing games with friends.
“When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that copy of the game. You can trade in games at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.” Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Oh yeah, one more thing: the PS4 will be a hundred bucks cheaper than the Xbox One.

But How Does This Affect A PC Gamer?

It doesn’t matter how awesome the Xbox One will be, putting restrictions on your system and games is anti-consumer. Sure, customers can vote with their dollars, but if all the companies are pushing the new guidelines, then we might vote our way back to pen and paper (no, that wouldn’t be all that bad). Sony made a decision to be pro-consumer. As a giant player in the game marketplace, other companies will be forced to watch what happens when the PS4 comes out. Depending on the outcome, they might just follow suit.
If Sony wins the upcoming console war, all game companies will have to take a look at why. If customers refuse to buy games that require online capabilities, or restrict the ability to share and resell, then maybe messes like Sim City or D3 will stop happening. If you and I purchase offline games, then EA, Blizzard, Microsoft… everybody… will have to continue to make them.
As a final kick in the neck, this amazing video popped up on YouTube and quickly made its Twitter rounds. It gives a detailed description of how to share PlayStation games. All you have to do is hand it to your friend. It’s as if sharing a game is the simplest thing in the world…because it is. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Salad Senate Awkward Family Photos

A family that kills together... gets loot. Here is The Salad Senate in Terrace of Endless Spring. We spent very little time in this raid, which seemed a shame to me. I liked the bosses... but they were a bit too easy for us and it was time to move to current content.

Just noticing that the Sha of Fear gets progressively closer as the raid goes on. Cool.