Monday, May 20, 2024

Meme Monday: Return of the Healer Memes

It's been a while since I last did some memes on healers, so I figured "why not?" and resurrected the healer memes for 2024...

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase.
From 9gag.


And this is why I don't play healers much.
From ifunny.co.


Uh, yeah. From imgflip.


Again, another reason why I don't play
a healer. From ifunny.co.


Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Secret World Comes to the Tabletop

Anybody remember The Secret World?

The property that Funcom developed about three factions fighting against legends and myths and horrors?

Well...

Apparently the setting for The Secret World is coming to the Savage Worlds RPG.

Alas that this is just a screencap of the video on
Kickstarter. I couldn't figure out how to add it to 
this post.


The funny thing is that there's already a completed Kickstarter for a D&D 5e version of the setting, which I can't really wrap my head around. Yeah, you can make D&D 5e work for The Secret World, but does it really fit the ruleset? If I'd a choice, a system such as Savage Worlds --or maybe even converting Call of Cthulhu-- would work better. Savage Worlds is by far the more accessible ruleset, so I'm kind of glad the developer, Star Anvil Studios, went in that direction.

One caveat is that you don't get a print version of the game, but PDFs. You DO get the option to do a print on demand of the material (the amount varies according to the backer level) via DriveThruRPG at cost, which is a significant cost savings over what it would cost in retail. So... take that into mind should you make a pledge.

Still, it's kind of intriguing that The Secret World (The Secret World Legends in this case) has made it to Savage Worlds. It's the sort of setting that ought to thrive on the tabletop, and in a Savage Worlds environment.


Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Speaking of Mother's Day...

This arrived in my email inbox last night:

Pretty sure my mom doesn't look
like this, even in the morning.


I looked at the full ad --I cut off the rest of it when I took that screenshot-- and just kind of shrugged.

That's nice and all, but the thing is I tried Diablo II Remastered once last November, and I haven't touched it since. I'm glad that it was basically free (courtesy of a gift card the kids gave me a few years ago), because I was disappointed in how little the game resonated with me. 

And that was supposedly the "best" Diablo out there. 

When I played D2 through the beginning zone, I kept remembering commentary that D2 was supposedly the best storytelling that Blizzard did in Diablo, but you could have fooled me. It was "kill this" and "do that", and I kept wondering whether I should have known any of these people before in the original version of Diablo. 

***

I couldn't quite describe my experience with Diablo until I saw this YouTube video recently by Day9TV, chronicling his experiences of trying Retail WoW for the first time.*


When Day9 was saying "I am so confused!" I nodded along, thinking about trying to figure out Diablo 2**, and replied "Yep, I know where you're coming from, man." If you're not part of the ecosystem, trying to figure things --including story and people-- out is really daunting. The question becomes "Are you curious enough to try to push through your confusion?"

Maybe I ought to give Diablo II another try, but if I can't really get into that game, playing D4 is probably out of the question. The concept of re-running the same game with a harder difficulty simply doesn't appeal to me, so I'm pretty reliant upon gameplay and story to resonate with me. If this becomes a "oh, it's not great now, but 50 - 100 hours in it gets good" scenario, I'll pass. 





*When he mentioned watching characters from Frozen yelling at each other, I chuckled. I figured he had to be talking about Jaina, given that she does kind of have that Elsa look about her. Not sure about the other person, tho.

**Or Age of Wonders 3, Elder Scrolls Online, ArcheAge, Pillars of Eternity, Black Desert Online, or any number of games where I'm just starting out and the info dump or expectations of understanding is quite large.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The Opposite of 'Nobody Cares'

I think I'm at that stage in my MMO career that what attracts me, more than anything else, is playing with other people.

There's always the automatic dungeon
finder, dude. I hear people who use it
are absolutely fantastic to play with.
Just ask Reddit. From Imgflip (and Reddit.)

I guess I'm just kind of done chasing the next new thing, whether it's a new expansion or a new raid or a new instance or new gear.*

There's only so many times you can be asked to keep running on that hamster wheel before you start to question why you're doing it in the first place. This is particularly the case if you're also questioning the quality and direction of other aspects of an MMO, such as the story or class design. 

But.

I can throw all that whining out the window, since I have a group of friends I play with regularly and I value their company. 

It is not a coincidence that I continue to both play WoW Classic Era and have a small group of friends to play with. If it weren't for them, I'd have likely not renewed my WoW game time when it ended back in early 2022, after I walked away from progression raiding. Hell, were it not for the Friday Night Karazhan Run that I raid led** until the guild up and moved from Myzrael-US to Atiesh-US, I'd have probably not made it until March, much less June of that year.

Yet here I am, almost two years later, and I'm still logging into Classic Era regularly. 

***

It is also not a coincidence that in the age of people predicting WoW's demise --myself included-- that the power of friendship keeps World of Warcraft and other MMOs afloat.

No, I'm not talking about the Retail WoW team's recent storylines, although judging by some of the commentary surrounding them I can understand why some would feel that way.

So... Who are the Bronies in this scenario?
From Reddit.

But the reality is that while you can play MMOs solo --and "playing solo" while in a group via the automatic dungeon or raid finder is very much a thing-- MMOs are built upon group content. And you don't have to be in a guild to find friends to play with. 

I mean, that's how I found most of my friends in WoW Classic.

Ancient of Tome of the Ancient was the only friend I knew who not only was playing WoW Classic at launch but was also on the server I played on.*** Sure, I knew a few people in the blogosphere who were going to play WoW Classic, but most of those whom were friends were over in Europe. The people from previous guilds that I could have considered friends at one point had either drifted away from the game or vanished from view in one of the couple of guild blow-ups that I've had the dubious privilege of witnessing. 

So... outside of Ancient, I was pretty much on my own as far as making my way was concerned.

***

I was fine with that. I'd been effectively playing MMOs solo since about 2011, when the Alliance guild I was in basically faded away to nothing in late Cataclysm and then after a burst of activity early in Mists proceeded to do a repeat performance. The only group content I participated in were the Flashpoints in the "vanilla" portions of SWTOR, and by 2016 or 2017 I moved away from even that.

Given that I wasn't raiding, and --outside of the mini-Reds and my blogger friends-- I knew almost nobody who actually played MMOs, this wasn't a surprise.

But the surprise was that I began to make acquaintances and then friendships with people in Classic WoW.

Look, I'm tellin' ya, that's what happened.
And no, people weren't asking my toons
to strip or anything.


It was a natural outgrowth of manual group creation and obeying Wheaton's Law: "Don't be a dick." I would get into a group, behave nicely and not try to pull threat from the tank, and at the end I'd thank people for the group and if they ever needed a Rogue (or Mage), to hit me up. Most people wouldn't whisper me again, but a few did. From those initial connections grew some of my longest lasting friendships in the game. 

While I had acquaintances in Classic WoW that have fallen by the wayside as interests diverged or people unsubscribed, other friendships persisted. It is those friendships that keep me playing WoW Classic Era more than anything else. So when I see that subscriber numbers kind of float between 4 to 8 million --and I'm assuming that paying for game time as opposed to an actual subscription qualifies-- then yeah, there's far more here than just approval and love for the game and its content. 

Yes, that's 4 to 8 million players spread across (effectively) 5 games: Retail, Wrath/Cataclysm Classic, Classic Era, Classic Hardcore, and Classic Season of Discovery. I get that it's not the same as 4 to 8 million players that were playing a single game (Retail WoW), but money is money to Microsoft and it pays the bills.****

I realize that friendship isn't impervious to anything video game related, just as in real life, but MMO creators would do well to realize that fostering and maintaining friendships are likely the smartest thing they can do when designing and building an MMO. After all, it is an armor stronger than any plot armor out there, and can keep players subscribed even when the product stinks and the development team make horrible decisions. Okay, maybe not, but when people still play after a bad expansion, I believe there's more at work than that the WoW community are just a bunch of "sheep" who blindly continue to play the game. 

And for pete's sake, don't expect the sanitized group and guild recruitment tools to do the heavy lifting of interacting with people for you. I'm almost 100% certain that if I relied upon an automated dungeon finder to enter into Classic Era dungeons that I'd not have made the connections I have. That doesn't mean that there aren't problems in a purely manual system --there are a truckload-- but by minimizing interpersonal contact the WoW team(s) have inadvertently exacerbated the problem of people forming bonds in the game. And online want-ads aren't the answer.

Uh, that person spamming a level
boosting service in Mandarin notwithstanding.

At least I'll admit that the guild name "Frequently Reported" is kind of funny.



*That doesn't mean that I'm not interested in trying new games, because I am. It has far more to do with games I'm already playing that rely upon people constantly ponying up money for more things --whether it's an expansion or some cash shop item-- than getting a chance to try something completely new. I'm looking at you, Paradox, who either give up on a game after a very short period of time or will simply throw "expansions" at you ad-infinitum until you cry 'uncle'. It seems that every time I turn around there's a new addition to Stellaris or Europa Universalis IV, while on other games Paradox simply gives up on those that need bug fixes and tweaks to make them shine (Imperator: Rome).

**I found out much later from a friend who remained in the guild and in a semi-leadership position that the franken-guild's leadership expected me to run the "social" raids in the same manner as I ran the Karazhan raid, and they were surprised when I refused to move to Atiesh-US with the rest of the guild. Given that my orphan raid was pretty much independent of any guild leadership input or oversight for over half a year, they kind of screwed that up pretty badly given they never bothered to ask me my opinion on things.

***To be fair, I chose Myzrael-US in part because Ancient had decided to play on that server, as I figured that I at least knew one person on there.

****If anything, Microsoft is disappointed that I don't pay for more via the Cash Shop, because there they get maximum profit for minimal effort.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Meme Monday: Moooommmm! Memes

In the US, Mother's Day was yesterday. 

For all those gamers out there who are also moms, here's a few memes for you.

I LOVE THIS!
This is from AtomzFamilyGaming on Etsy,
but you should also just go to Etsy and
search "DnD Mothers Day" and look at all
of the awesome stuff there.


This was extra funny because my wife
works at Target. From Imgflip.


I mean, you knew that Alextrasza was going to
show up here, given that she's the Lifebinder and all.
But the reason why this one is here is that she's got
the "I'm so fucking DONE with your shit!" look
I've seen out of my wife (and other moms).
From YouTube and Krimson KB.


And a little something from Wizards of the Coast,
circa 2015. Happy Mother's Day!


Monday, May 6, 2024

Meme Monday: Edgelord Memes

I've been amusing myself lately by watching D&D oriented videos by Antonio Demico, aka The Pointy Hat. (Here's his Artstation page as well.) His YouTube videos take an aspect of D&D, examine it with a high amount of snarky humor, and make a few tweaks and twists to change the class to make it more interesting to play. Being a long time player, I've been chuckling along with his videos, as he skewers a lot of stereotypes within D&D (and roleplaying in general).

In case he changes it in the future, I wanted to make sure
I saved it. From Pointy Hat Studios.

What caught my eye the most was this one about Rogues:


That Rogues or Thieves (or Shadowblades, for you ESO fans) attract an edgy type of person is an in-joke for RPGs and MMOs since forever (although in AD&D 1e the truly edgy played Assassins), and I'll admit I had my own Batman phase of sorts*. Still, the Edgelord player that plays Rogues is very much a thing, so why not poke some fun at them?

As long as they only simply stay brooding in the corner, mind you...

Yeah, this. Something about Fire Nation
that brings this out in people. 
From Facebook's My DND group.


Wow. That hurts. Also accurate.
From d20dndmemes.


And this is why I don't play Forsaken.
From Reddit and aitipse_Amelie.



Sigh. Yeah, that. I feel ya, Geralt.
From Reddit and The Witcher.

Okay, one more, from one of my more favorite webcomics:


You have to click on it to see the full thing, but
yeah. I've been in campaigns with that one player...
From Jonboy2312 on DeviantArt and
Tales from the Tables.



*Although I suppose you could say I was too nice to be Batman.


EtA: Corrected grammar.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Uh... About that Pre-Patch

When the pre-patch for Wrath Classic dropped, everybody in my BNet list --and I do mean everybody-- was in Wrath Classic.

This time, in Cataclysm Classic?

As of 9:30 PM EST, there are exactly four.

There's also two in Season of Discovery, and one in Classic Era.

Of a BNet list of 26 regular Classic players who were in Wrath Classic at pre-patch at this time of night back then, less than 20% is not a good look. 

I was curious about people whom I'm not BNet friends with but have had direct messages via Discord, and unlike that first night, very very few people are on World of Warcraft right now. Especially those that I raided with in Vanilla and TBC Classic. 

So, while there may be activity in Cataclysm Classic, among the people I played with in earlier instances of WoW Classic Cata does not have any draw whatsoever.

At least for now.