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You are Squelched

I’ve had a fairly good start to Hearthstone this month – well fairly good for me anyway (the Legend rank remains a mythical promised land).  I’m rank 12 (with 2 stars – let’s not forget those 2 stars). It got there using a quickish Pally deck found on Hearthpwn. It worked well from 17 to 12 but yesterday afternoon it started to fail me – or I failed it (yes I admit it’s probably the latter). I just could not budge from 12 to 11 & in fact I started to move the wrong way (yes 13 beckoned). Plus my nerves were quite shredded playing the deck. It isn’t 100% face – sometimes the better play is to clear the board. But when playing it I never knew when to make that better play! In fact I was pretty much uncertain every step of the way & clearly at rank 12 my decisions were wrong. I think the truth is I’m a midrange/tempo girl at heart. It feels quite simple. You keep clearing minions until you have a clear board & then you go face. The simplicity suits me (although given my non Legend status maybe I’m underestimating the complexity here too?)

So currently I’m trying out (again) a Tempo Mage. So far I’ve stabilised at 12 (& 2 stars!!) but whether this is a type of deck that can bring me more success remains to be seen. There are still decisions to be made here too and there’s a 50% chance I will make the wrong ones.  For fun I’ve also just played two games with an “almost OTK” Warrior deck. It uses Djinni to copy the charge/buff you’ve given one of your other minions – with the right buffs it can do 20+ attack on one turn. But I’m also finding this deck quite stressful to play (maybe I should just give up & go do some yoga or something?) I’ve won one game and lost the other but even the one I won didn’t quite pull off the combo as planned. You need to quickly calculate the damage you can do via your minions & buffs and work out (a)whether it’s lethal (& if so yay); (b)  not quite lethal but still worth doing (mini yay); or (c) no way lethal & for goodness sake just do something before the rope burns and …oh no too late and ooh look your opponent is sarcastically emoting like there’s no tomorrow. Great.

And this brings me to emotes and the Squelch button. All hail the blessed Squelch. I love it so much I’m making it the first thing I press at the start of every game.  I just can’t stand all the sarcastic emotes I’m seeing these days (is it just me or has there been an increase in what people are calling Hearthstone player “saltiness” recently?). It usually goes like this: (1)Your opponent destroys your well planned board & immediately follows up with a “Sorry that happened” (Are you, really?). Or (2) Your opponent has made a really great play and confounded all your plans. As you pause a moment to restrategise out comes his/her “Greetings” (What is the point of this ?). Or (3)Your Knife Juggler gets in a lucky  hit. We all know it’s lucky & that there’s a lot of RNG in this game but of course your opponent has to respond with a “Well Played” (I suspect this is the Hearthstone equivalent of a toddler tantrum).

What are these emotes all about? I get the frustration behind the last example but what about the others? They seem motivated more by boredom and the urge to troll. Do these players find the game so easy, simple and tedious to play that they have to entertain themselves with pointless emotes?  I don’t understand it. If they’re that great why are they playing at rank 12? Why aren’t they out BMing in the Legend ranks (is there a lot of BM at Legend?). It’s become so bad that I’ve even become suspicious of a “Greetings” at the start of a game. I’m pretty certain some players are doing this just to test if you can see the emotes (I find if you reply there tends to be  a lot of BM later in the game). Now I know some people will say it’s all just a bit of fun and it’s just a game & I’m overreacting and blah blah blah. And yes when I’ve seen the Pros do it in tournaments the casters seem to love it. But I don’t like it.  I don’t see the need for it and I don’t do it myself. So I’m proactively squelching now. Right at the start of the game everyone gets squelched. And I’m enjoying my games far more. But I do feel bad about all the nice players out there who are genuinely saying “Greetings” at the start of the game. I don’t mean to be ignorant honest. But I’m trying to cut back on my salt.

Personal: Snowballing Mothballs

It’s funny the urge to confess on here.  A few weeks ago I posted that I was doing a course on Unity because I’d always had a hankering to create my own game (& something more than the little things I’ve created in Scratch). I was full fuss I really wanted to commit to this and create something – even if it took years. But where am I now? Well I got rather carried away using something called Fungus in Unity. I have so many stories in my head and I thought I would use Fungus to make some interactive adventure/visual novel type games. But weeks later I have just deleted one would be children’s game (about an orphaned chick on a farm trying to make friends with the other animals!), finally given up for good a murder mystery/thriller  that I have been striving to create in various formats for years & completely lost the will to live in regard to a school mystery adventure where you have to figure out out which of the teachers is an alien! I did create a tiny little game in Corona using Lua which basically gives points for shooting cookies before they reach a big red mouth in the middle of the screen (I thought it might be an interesting diversion for people on a diet- in fact the game is tedious beyond belief). So I’m starting to think I was mistaken. Maybe actual game development isn’t for me. I’m overwhelmed by the work involved in all the visual novel adventure games. I find myself fiddling  for hours on end with the graphics, camera views and music and getting nowhere with the actual story, characters and player choices . And when I do start on them I realise the amount of work it will all take and I visibly wilt.

It’s my fault I know. Whatever I’m doing seems to start small and then snowball. And while I know mobile phone/app type games could be done as smaller projects, in truth these are not the sort of games I like playing – so why then would I create them? I’m also coming to realise that what I actually like doing is learning the computer language/game development software (reading the tutorials, trying it all out, seeing it work etc.) but I don’t like working on anything generated in my own head! So for example I’m enjoying the Roblox videos I’m making for Geeks & Geeklets where I’m basically following the Roblox Wiki tutorials to learn more about Roblox but I’m less interested in pulling it all together to make an actual game (although I will do this at the end of the Roblox series as that’s the goal of the series).

But all these mothballed projects make me feel so guilty. And it’s even worse when I think about my writing. Sometime ago I wrote a scifi/parallel universes book (it was originally a NaNoWriMo project). For awhile I made it available on Amazon (together with Book One of a would be fantasy trilogy, a compilation of some WoW writings I pulled into a book and a non fiction humorous (well I thought so anyway!) book on improving your brain. I pulled them all off Amazon ages ago. I just did not like seeing these supposedly finished projects up there when I knew there was still so much more I could do with them if only I had the energy to do it. And I simply didn’t have that energy. So I have an 80% finished Part 2 of the trilogy sitting untouched in Scrivener while Part 3 exists only in outline. It all torments me when I let myself think about it. So I try not to most days.

So all this stuff is mothballed and it looks like the games I have part created will be mothballed too.  In truth in terms of creativity the only thing that seems to endure is my poetry on my Sullen Craft and Seatown site and my posts on this blog. I’m also writing more for Geeks & Geeklets (see here – I’m very much enjoying being a part of that site and community).  Maybe it’s a small doses thing. I can keep doing some stuff as long as it’s short and sweet. But if it snowballs it ends up being mothballed –  sad but true.


It’s a Love Hate thing

Well New Year, new game, but before I launch into all that I mustn’t forget my manners … Happy New Year to everyone still reading this oh so sporadic blog. Hope it’s a fantastic 2016 for you all. As some of you know I had a fairly life changing 2015 and I’m just about getting my head around it all. I’m hoping for a 2016 that’s somewhat less life changing & more “Lets all settle down now and enjoy the little life we are creating.” Fingers crossed.

But what about the new game? I decided to buy Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns yesterday out of my Xmas money (I feel like a teenager saying this – my parents still give me money for Xmas & it seems I’m still too much of a child at heart to spend it on sensible things).  I’ve only played about two hours  so far but I think I like it. I have a Human Elementalist called Iris Seachild. I’m mainly fireballing things at present & now and again setting the ground on fire (then panicking and running out of it like a deranged Sim). Good points – I enjoyed the character customisation bit & the options to create a basic backstory. I hope the latter comes into play as her personal story unfolds (she’s only level 6 at present so that bit hasn’t started yet). I enjoyed changing the colour of my armour – yes who knew I could be into such frivolities? Gameplay-wise I like the fact you only have to speak to one person to be told about a number of different quests in the area rather than having to pick up several quests from different people (returning to each one for reward etc.). The GW2 way feels more natural (if anything in an MMO can ever be “natural”) – the relevant quest just pops up at the top right of your screen when you’re in the right area – there are no exclamation marks or question marks dotted around the landscape (although there are gold hearts!). I very much like the event system – I’ve got sidetracked several times already helping other players complete an event – the unpredictability is fun. Bad points – nothing major really but I don’t like the way you loot bodies – sometimes my click just doesn’t seem to work – might be my mouse, my lax positioning or my feeble fingers. Also the event system means I’m forever wandering off the beaten track & having to teleport back to a waypoint to get my bearings again. The crafting system looks a little overwhelming right now – a massive list of things I don’t have the ingredients to create. I’ve picked tailoring & artificer(…ing?) – I’ve no idea whether they are good ones or not. So far I’ve just made some jute bolts & lining for some jute breeches. I don’t know where to begin as an artificer so I’m ignoring it for the moment.

In summary – Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns – so far so good but early days yet. Unfortunately I have a dreadful cold at the moment so don’t really have the energy to get stuck into it. But I will – once my fingers are less feeble.

In other gaming news – I officially hate the aggressive Mill Rogue decks I’m encountering in Hearthstone Casual mode. I go Casual to escape the stress of the ladder not to end playing interminably long and frustrating games against some opponent having way too much fun milling my deck with Grimscale Oracles and healing himself to timbuctoo with multiple Antique Healbots (thanks to Gang Up). All’s fair in love, war & Hearthstone I know but it is such an irritating deck to play against & you feel quite ashamed when you lose against what feels like a gimmicky one trick pony deck (although it’s probably really hard to play well – if I did it I’d probably over mill my own deck while somehow ensuring my opponent had a perfect hand). Yes I lost against it & I didn’t like it. I’m now playing my own “opponent joy sucker” – a Reno Priest deck. Played 6 and won 4. Could almost taste my opponent’s tears  when I won. They tasted quite like my own against the Mill Rogue deck – salty with a hint of anger and a light seasoning of bitter revenge. Oh Hearthstone – you give me such highs and lows. Every day I both hate and love you. While I might end up enjoying Guild Wars 2 I don’t think it will ever quite inspire the emotions I can feel in a Hearthstone game nor topple it from my personal gaming league.  But then again it’s early days – the story of Iris Seaschild may yet draw me in provided she learns to stop running away from her own circles of fire and figures out how to tailor herself a nice dress (one that covers a bit more of her cleavage than her current attire – she’s not a girl that dresses for the weather it seems).



Bravetank does … a Tournament!

Recently I’ve taken part in two Hearthstone tournaments. The first one was not great. Lost opening match 2-0 to someone who (a)successfully Golden Monkeyed me (not a euphemism) (b)completely bamboozled me with a Hunter secret I was not expecting (Dart Trap! – first time I’ve ever seen it played!). Last Wednesday though the story was slightly different – I made it to round 6. Amazing! It has to be said though that my journey would have ended at match 2 without the generosity of my second opponent. Basically I was losing & about to concede when they told me that they had to leave for football practice and so wanted to give me the wins so I had a chance to proceed to the next round. It was so nice of them. They also told me to remember Swipe as I’d played into it twice! So off I went into round 3 and amazingly I won that match and the following 2. Basically opponent 2’s generosity allowed me to experience more tournament play in one night than I could ever have imagined. And I was really glad I won the following 3 matches all fair and square since after beating my first opponent I got a rather mean DM from him saying I was a “luckster” and 100% guaranteed to lose the next match (which I would have done actually had my opponent not basically given it to me !) because I was so low on the ladder. And yes I am low- currently rank 14. But I still went on to win another three matches. There are of course many Legend players in these tournaments but not everyone is Legend (I played someone at rank 13) & the Legend players are not unbeatable (I beat two I think – I didn’t notice everyone’s rank). So just goes to show it’s not all about your position on the ladder.

In the tournament I used Mid-Range Paladin, Mid-Range Druid and Dragon Priest. The Druid match always seems to depend on how quick I could get the combo out (Force of Nature & Savage Roar) & I didn’t particularly enjoy playing it. The Paladin was fine – pretty solid and consistent, but a tad boring perhaps. I was too scared to go for my more interesting Freeze Mage and Reno Lock decks as I’m still making mistakes when I play them (just lost two on the trot with my Freeze Mage & had to endure a ridiculous amount of BM from my opponents – what is it with people these days, and why do they assume they are not squelched? And more to the point – why don’t I squelch?!!) My Dragon Priest remains my favourite to play.

The mechanics of the tournament scared me at first – you have to click a button to say you are ready within 10 mins of your opponent saying they are ready (otherwise they get a “defwin”), you have to pick your three classes & not change them mid match, you have to remember to change class if you win (it was Conquest mode) & to take screenshots in case of dispute. You also have to add your opponent to your friend list & send them a challenge. This is all straight forward stuff on paper but not when your hands are trembling with nerves. But I did it!

The entire thing took three hours! I honestly thought it would be another defeat in the first round. But I kept winning. At the end it was a Secret Paladin that proved my undoing. I still am not clear on what I need to do once Mysterious Challenger comes into play. I know the order the secrets pop but I still get my own order of attack all wrong.

I was worried about adding people to my friends list and the first message I received from the bitter defeated opponent did shake me up a little, but mostly people sent nice messages (before the match  it was “GL HF” – Good Luck Have Fun I assume), and one wished me good luck after I beat him/her too. And of course opponent 2 was really nice to let me have the wins & therefore give me the chance to proceed further. But will I do more of these tournaments? Well at potentially 3+ hours each tournament the answer has to be a no. I just can’t give up all that time to Hearthstone! But would I recommend anyone considering a tournament to try it out (even if like me they are most definitely not a Legend player) –  yes absolutely, give it a go. You might be surprised at how far you go. I was!

To Legend and Beyond?

Well I ended my November Hearthstone series at rank 13. At one point I hit rank 10 – I’m so disappointed to have slipped back to 13. My Dragon/Vol’Jin Priest deck let me down (how could you Vol’Jin after I disenchanted so many cards to craft you!) & I spent too much time doing daily quests with classes I’m not that keen on just to get enough gold to buy LoE wings. It’s a hard life isn’t it?! I think the LoE cards were worth it in the end though. Not so much Reno – I did try him (yes despite the fact I recently wrote about my Reno Jackson woes I did end up trying out a few Reno decks) but I did not have much success. I tried a Warlock Reno combo thinking I could life tap my way to Reno victory – I ended up life tapping my way to death;  I then tried a Mage one which I had one win without even drawing Reno and several losses where the Reno health gain proved totally irrelevant.

No the card I’m enjoying most is the Hunter Tomb Spider card. I’ve been playing quite a bit of this deck & doing quite well with it. This isn’t a Face Hunter deck – something I’m glad of as I hate playing Face Hunter (I always feel slightly ashamed as if I’m taking some low road to victory, even though I am really poor at playing Face Hunter and rarely achieve any victories!). Generally I’m a “control the board” gal & this new Hunter deck allows me to do this while making the most of all the lovely beast synergies the deck has on offer (& I have now randomly drawn King Krush so many times I can finally come to terms with disenchanting him so many moons ago).

I also now have the new Shaman one drop Tunnel Trogg so I thought about trying the Shaman deck everyone is excited about where the Tunnel Trogg allows you to turn the overload mechanic to your advantage. However, I disenchanted my only Doomhammer two weeks or so ago to craft Vol’jin for my Dragon Priest deck and … well you know where this is going.  So right now the Shaman deck is not for me.

Finally there’s also a new Pally card that seems quite good (Keeper of Uldaman) and I have added it to my Pally deck. However, I don’t have Justicar so I’m not that hopeful – this deck seems to be the standard. Nevertheless, I have played two games with it – one narrow victory over a Rogue (I had one health & Tirion on the board, he had  already played his two Saps so yay- cue Valeera huffily giving up); then a loss with a Warlock who outplayed me with a well timed Sylvanas (no yay – cue Uther standing shamefaced in the corner – bad old Uther – you should know how to handle Sylvanas by now).

So what am I playing today  – well actually I’m playing a new Dragon Priest deck! Yes life comes full circle and of course I’m Welsh so I find it hard to keep away from the dragons. So far one loss and one win. The story of my Hearthstone life it seems. At this rate I’ll end the month in exactly the same position as I’ve started it.

But no! That’s not good enough! I have a lot to do this month. I want to get further up the ladder than I’ve ever been before – in fact to Legend & beyond, because from this month on if you achieve Legend you get World Championship points. Yes WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP points! You all know I want to be the first ever middle aged female Welsh winner of Blizzcon. Unlikely – yes. A worthy dream – perhaps. So here goes- another month on my journey to Legend and beyond. This could be history in the making :)


Holding out for a Hero

I’ve temporarily (I think it’s temporary) put my WoW subscription on hold. I really thought I was back for good this time (apologies for the Take That reference – I thought I was better than that) but I’ve ended up taking on too much stuff. I’m enjoying this stuff and not complaining but I’m finding myself too busy to play. Plus I know I’ll be getting even busier in January when other parts of my life kick into action, and this means my play time will shrink even further. And I can’t – won’t – pay monthly for something I’m hardly playing. I feel guilty enough as it is – not long back I paid for a faction transfer for my mage and a realm transfer for my pally. Of course I was playing a lot then, enjoying the game & all rose tinted spectacles about my life as a WoW player. But things change so quickly (indeed for me they can change in a heartbeat) and now I’m regretting those purchases.  I think I should have known better.

I’m sure I’ll be back though. I will miss it and I’ll return. It always happens. But right now I’m looking for something to fill this WoW shaped hole – albeit a WoW shaped hole I wasn’t filling with WoW itself.  I don’t want to give up playing games altogether of course (perish the thought!). I am still playing Minecraft (for my fledgling YouTube channel) & Hearthstone (because I have dreams of one day being good) but the former can feel rather lonely and the latter gets me so frustrated and tense that I can only play in short sessions (plus all those Reno Jackson decks mean games are taking ages now). I want something else, something I can dip into, something free, something “MMOy”, something fun. I want to be able to play when I feel like it without feeling guilty about the times when I don’t. It could be The Secret World – I have a real hankering to play that game again. It won’t be Wildstar – I have decided I don’t like the “look at the ground & move” combat system. I thought about the Elder Scrolls – I enjoyed the game once, but now when I visualise it I just seem to see a lot of dull brown and yellow areas that all look alike and lack the colour and vibrancy of WoW.

And that’s the problem- when I think of other games I compare them to WoW and nothing seems to offer what WoW offers. There is such a variety of things to do in Azeroth, such a variety of experiences on offer. And over the years I have enjoyed so many of them. But if I don’t play the game enough all this is irrelevant.

I have also thought about forgetting the whole MMO thing & maybe just getting more into Heroes. I’m assuming that’s something I can just dip into when the fancy takes me. I’ve not played it much. I know it’s got lots of features I like (pretty colours, cool heroes, an AI to practice with, real people when I feel brave enough etc). Could be perfect for me. The more I think about it the more I think it might be time to transition from MMO to MOBA.

But then I think of WoW Pet Battles and I feel just a little bit sad.




A Juggling Act

I’m totally neglecting WoW at the moment. This is due to:-

  1. Hearthstone  – I’m rank 10. Yay! This is the highest I’ve been in months. While I don’t think I’m going to hit Legend any time soon I am aiming for single digits this month. Therefore I’m playing Hearthstone – a lot. I will be writing more about this over at Geeks and Geeklets.
  2. Speaking of Geeks and Geeklets, I’ve also been busy doing Roblox Tutorials there. Of course I use the word “tutorial” loosely. They are really videos of me figuring our Roblox so that I can at some point create a fun Roblox game for my daughter (“look what I made today dear – see mothers can be cool”) & help her create her own (she tried once, found it extremely hard & gave up). So I am basically learning Roblox as I record – this leads to some fun moments (including the building I made collapsing around my ears – a scene from a disaster movie – albeit one on a very tight budget.)
  3. I’m still working on my Unity/Fungus game – it’s a lot of fun and I’m learning a great deal, but it’s also a complete time sink.
  4. I am busy getting more videos up on my own YouTube Channel. I’ve been recording Minecraft videos for a few weeks now but there have been lots of issues. I have had video problems, audio problems, missing item bar problems & “I’m an idiot who left mute on” problems. But I finally seem to have cracked it  (I think). In celebration I have started a new Daily Vanilla Plus Minecraft series. Vanilla Plus is a Feed the Beast modpack for Minecraft. The original press release for this modpack called it an “attempt to make a mod pack that delivers some of the benefits of Modded Minecraft whilst maintaining the Vanilla feel …. providing a familiar yet enhanced playthrough.”  This is perfect for me. The Mage Quest series I was doing used the Mage Quest modpack (also Feed the Beast) which, although fun, turned out to be rather huge, very complicated and downright dangerous (eg I seemed to run into a zombie farm at every corner). Falling into lava and losing everything I’d died ten times over to get didn’t help much either.  And doing all this while trying to figure out the recording side of YouTube life … well not an easy task.  So I want to go back to the basics for a bit and enjoy Minecraft with just a few of the quality of life extras provided by the Vanilla Plus modpack. The fact is I like Minecraft as is. I enjoy mining, growing stuff and exploring. I’m already rather proud of my little farm and pretty pink house (eucalyptus wood – one of the Vanilla Plus extras) and there’s still lots more to do. If you’re interested please do pop over to the channel to see the new series. It’s going to be daily (a bit of a commitment I know but I’m going to  try and record in that magic hour when everyone is in bed – (2 days later edit: What was I thinking?? There’s no way this can be daily. There is no magic hour!!), the second  episode is uploading as I type, and it should be fun if you like that sort of thing.

So all this means I’m not playing much WoW at present. I logged in last week for an hour or two but so far I’ve not logged in at all this week , not even to get my WoW anniversary present (although husband has and he was underwhelmed). I get moments like this in WoW and I know they usually pass, but it also means I am a bit cross with myself  – I want to get my pally up to 100 & the anniversary experience boost would help no end, but I’m too busy doing other things. And in truth it feels like a grind. She’s in her late 80s & I’m fed up of Pandaria. It’s a juggling act & I’m dropping some balls – but I’m dropping the WoW ones on purpose. I’m sure it won’t last and I’ll pick them again – I just don’t know when.


Yay More Blinking

 Given that one of my mains is a Mage – she was Frost but now she’s Arcane (she got tired of the little elemental & his needy ways) I thought I’d better have a look at the changes planned for this spec.
According to Blizzard  “Mages are in a very strong place compared to most classes, both thematically and mechanically” with “a lot of distinction among Arcane, Fire, and Frost Mages“. Therefore the changes they are making are more around improving our current gameplay and the quality of our stressed out lives. This includes Summon Refreshment which will automatically provide a stack of food if you’re on your own (ie me) and a table of refreshments when in a party or raid (ie everyone who’s not me). Fair enough I suppose but I’m quite civilised – I like to lay out a nice table even when I’m a billy no mates. Dining etiquette is on a downward slippery slope here.
Specifically on Arcane, Blizzard say that Arcane Mages require “Unparalleled skill … to manipulate the volatile forces of the universe.” – Oh dear, maybe I need to rethink the spec. They go on to say, “These practitioners push their magical knowledge to its very limits—often to the brink of their own exhaustion“. Yes that’s me to a tee. Many a night you’ll find me slumped over the keyboard weeping from the stress and strain of it all. Three buttons! Three buttons! It’s inhuman that’s what it is.
To help us burnt out Arcane mages our Arcane Charges will now be an “actual resource located underneath [the] Mana bar instead of a stacking debuff.”  Excellent. To be honest I never have much of a clue about my buffs or debuffs. I can only look in so many places at once (one place actually – and that’s usually my keyboard). When I do lift my head I like to admire my pretty portrait in the top left hand side of the screen (yes default UI- did you expect anything else?) so this will help me a lot.
Arcane also has a new Mastery  which increases our maximum Mana by a percentage and increases the damage bonus from Arcane Charges. Anything with the word “increases” is good for me, unless it refers to the size of my thighs. According to Blizz this “should make the Mastery feel a bit more interesting by allowing more aggressive Mana usage“. Excellent. In readiness for this I have drafted some awesome snarling & growling emotes. They want aggression I’ll show them aggression (I’ll also have some passive aggressive ones up my sleeve too – just in case the raid needs a change of strategy).
Good news for me with Displacement (instant cast, removes Blink cooldown for 4 seconds). I love blinking I do (obscure shout out to any UK reader who watched Big Brother Season 2 a gazillion years ago). Blinking does get me into trouble though – in real life my boss interprets blinking as dissent (so I now glue my eyelids to my forehead) and in game when I regularly blink into bad stuff at every inopportune moment (once during the Warmaster Blackhorn encounter I of course blinked right off the edge of the airship – it was a proper guild raid though (thank goodness) so everyone was nice about it even though I think I caused a wipe).
And that’s pretty much all the main stuff as far as I can make out. If I’ve missed something important (& I probably have – I skim read anything that included numbers and a”%”)  let me know. Nothing ground breaking as far as I can see but in fairness that’s what they said. I wonder what they have planned for the Restoration Druid though? I am of course a healer in training too. I trust there will be no blinking (now that would be a class change) – I really want to maintain my eyes wide open, bunny in headlights approach to healing. It has served me so well….

A Tasty Bone

I’ve not been a complete slacker during Blizzcon. I wrote something on the opening ceremony for Geeks and Geeklets (which you can see here). By the way I’ve also started doing a Roblox YouTube series there too (nothing to do with WoW of course- although I may end up so good I’ll be able to recreate Azeroth in Roblox. Maybe. So far I’ve made a tree and a door.) In regard to Blizzcon I’ve mostly been catching up on the various panels that I’ve been too tired to watch in real time (I’m old and weary) & catching up on people’s views and opinions on these panels.

It’s fair to say everyone is very excited on what the Systems Panel offered yesterday- particularly on Transmog and Professions. In a nutshell you’ll get a Wardrobe holding all the finery you’ve ever been entitled to (account bound) & there’ll be a questing approach to professions. Personally I’m not wildly excited about the Transmog stuff (although I can see why other people are – it looks amazing). The problem is when it comes to clothes anything approaching good taste and style has always alluded me (in both real and virtual life). I have tried to change. I once dressed poor Seashell in the High Inquisitor Whitemane set. I  thought she looked awesome until someone laughed at me in Stormwind. So now Seashell is wearing a simple Runecloth set that I put together with my tailoring and that’s about as good as it gets. So while I’m happy for everyone else I’m not sure these changes are going to help me look good.  But I look forward to seeing all my old stuff again and creating some wildly mismatched looks that appeal to no one else but me.

As for the Profession changes –  well the questing approach could certainly be interesting. I hope the quests are challenging enough to give us a real sense of achievement when you get the profession reward but not too time consuming that by the time I complete then the reward is old hat (and as Seashell is a tailor it could literally be an old hat). In regard to the “no fighting over nodes” change – well to be honest on my server I never see much of this any more. Maybe it’s the areas I choose to hang out in but I’m usually on my own (was it something I said?) But again I can see how this could be welcome to many.

All of the above seem to be big crowd pleasers – I’ve just never  been part of the crowd. Legion isn’t out any time soon but look you get a Wardrobe and your own nodes. It’s the small things that matter it seems. People are happy now and all loved up for Blizzard when days before they were raging at delays and the lack of news. Seems to me that all Blizzard needs to do is keep throwing the odd tasty bone at its core audience. I don’t think this approach will get the subscribers up to 10M again but maybe that’s something Blizzard no longer need given all their other games? They’ve done enough to keep a large part of their current playerbase feeling happy, well fed and contented. Didn’t take much really.

And so the Machine beeps on

So WoW subs are only down by 100K. The WoW community on the whole is delighted with the news, taking it as proof that WoW has stabilised. I hear the word stabilise & I think of intensive care and life support – it’s always heartening to know your loved one is stable but deep down you fear they’re never going to tap dance on the kitchen table again. Still, ask any dinosaur, stable is better than extinct.

Reading some comments over on Blizzard Watch there is a view that the remaining 5.5 million subs are the diehard fans who will never leave  WoW –  new content or no new content they are there for the longhaul(or until they too go the way of the “definitely not tap dancing again” dinosaur).

But perhaps some of them are like me – not quite a diehard fan, but not a fair weather fan either. Last year I subbed, unsubbed, then subbed again. I got bored with WoW then re-enthralled with WoW. Even now, during the same play session, I can run out of things to do then suddenly think of something and become overwhelmed with things to do. Generally my view on whether I want to be in Azeroth or not has little to do with the content of the latest expansion (and certainly not the latest raid) and far more to do with my feelings about life in general. In the right frame of mind Azeroth, like life, offers limitless opportunities for fun and stimulation. In a different frame of mind it reveals itself to be the ultimate time waster, a meaningless distraction until my bones turn to dust.

Anyway undoubtedly some people returned to WoW because they are excited about Legion. Whether that expansion will deliver what they want remains to be seen. There is likely another contingent too that will never leave WoW – some habits are too hard to break, some habits mean too much to break. Then there are those like me – here today, gone tomorrow, back again the day after. It’s not that I’m disloyal – I don’t really understand loyalty when it comes to a game. I reserve that for my loved ones (however hard they sometimes make it). It’s just that sometimes I want to do other things. Sometimes the power of its pixels wears rather thin.

Now is not one of those times. Right now I’m part of the 5.5 million. Right now I’m helping it stabilise. I’m helping the machine sound its rhythmic beep.  But nothing lasts forever.


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