Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Alterac Valley: The Spirit of Christmas, Scrooge Style

The Lock was not pleased.  "No, dammit, that's the old strat," he snapped.  "The new strat is to rush everyone to Drek, cap the two towers nearby, and then kill Drek."

"Somebody had told the Horde, then, because they're ahead of us in getting our first two towers down," I quipped.  "If we want to win, we have to take them back."

"Didn't you hear me?"  The Lock demanded as we finished recapping Stonehearth and Icewing Bunkers.  "Everybody get down to Drek now!"

"F--- him," a Druid in the backcap team said aloud.  "We've got to get DB North and South back."

We recapped the two Dun Baldur bunkers --as well as the Aid Station-- and then everybody began the trek south.  Meanwhile, the 25+ people surrounding Drek began their attack, but kept wiping.

"What gives?" someone asked in BG chat.  "You have 8 healers there."

"We ALSO have 7 Horde in the base, asshole," the Lock replied.  "We need EVERYONE down here!"

Another half dozen or so of people abandoned their watch on Stonehearth and Icewing and ran south, just in time for the Horde to begin to cap those two bunkers.

I watched from my position at DB North as a dozen Horde pushed their way up north and began crossing the bridge.  There were only a few of us left to counter them, and not enough time to get to Stonehearth or Icewing before they were captured, ending the game on attrition.

The Lock kept up a running diatribe on how badly we sucked, and if we'd have just done what he wanted we'd have won anyway.  Regardless of whether he was right or not, changing the strategy by abandoning our position in the southern two bunkers meant that we absolutely HAD to burn down Drek within a few minutes or lose.

And given the title of this warm and fuzzy piece, you can probably guess the outcome.

EtA:  Somehow the first sentence got chopped off.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

An NSA/WoW Top Ten List

Apologies to David Letterman, but this is what you get when you have too much coffee too early in the morning.

Top Ten things people said when they heard the the NSA was spying on them in WoW:

10)  Well, that explains why the Alliance never has healers in a battleground.
9) I bet they were just checking out Goldshire for terrorists.
8) That explains the "Terrorist Hunter" guild name.
7) Can you transmog your gear into a "spy" outfit?
6) I bet they were planning on infiltrating SI:7 too.
5) Did they team up with Pat Robertson to investigate Warlocks for witchcraft?
4) They thought Tauren were a sleeper cell of the terrorist group Al-'Cow'da.
3) All those taxpayer dollars, and the U.S. still can't field a top raiding guild.
2) Ghostcrawler leaves and the NSA report is leaked.  Coincidence?

And the Number One thing people said when they heard the NSA was spying on them in WoW:

1) Were these the people behind all the crap in LFR after all?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

For what its worth, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show has their own take on what they call NSA's World of Watchcraft:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Because, you know, we gamers are hotbeds of subversive activity....

A new report from Gizmodo points out that NSA had infiltrated WoW (among other MMOs) back in 2008.

And you thought the worst thing about MMOs was the proliferation of bots and asshats.

Speaking of which, does that mean that the NSA is controlling the bots?  It would explain a lot, you know...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Charting Some Progress

Courtesy of the American Thanksgiving holidays, I did something that I haven't done in ages:  I didn't log into an MMO for a week.

After about the first day the shakes died down, but I still got twitchy whenever someone said "boss" or "toon" or "character" in conversation.  Okay, not really, but there was a day or two where I kept thinking that I had to try to squeeze in some MMO time, but that feeling passed by about the third day.

As far as addictions go, I guess MMOs don't captivate me that much.*  Which is a good thing.

That lack of playtime didn't keep me from thinking about MMOs, however, as I was reacquainting myself with the old Moldvay D&D Red Box set:

You know, this thing.  Complete with Errol Otus cover art.

I'd decided to go Old School with the kids and take them through the classic module B2 - The Keep on the Borderlands, and I needed to get back up to speed on all the rules from Basic D&D.

Or rather, unlearn all of the rules from subsequent versions of the game.

The character sheet for Moldvay D&D** is a study in simplicity:

From tabletopconnect.com.
A scan of a sample character sheet in the Moldvay Basic D&D rulebook

Compare that with the D&D 4e character sheet:

And this is just the front page!

And if you take a gander at the average MMO character listing, it's even more complex:
I often wonder why a Rogue would be bent backward like that.
It's not like a pair of oversize daggers would weigh that much.

It's deceptively simple, since all you have to do is hover your pointer over a piece of gear and you get all of the crunchy numbers.

An MMO can create that sort of character sheet because it can take the crunch and hide it from the player, and unless you're a theorycrafter or a hardcore player, you don't necessarily have to worry about the details. But with a pencil and paper RPG, you have to pay attention to the numbers because the actual "fighting" or "doing things" is all done with your imagination.

For most people, however, there's a tradeoff between the crunch and imagination.  It's a bit of a moving target, because different people can handle different levels of crunch, but there comes a tipping point when imagination starts to lose out to the crunch and an RPG becomes all about the numbers.  While my personal tipping point is somewhere more complex than, say, Pathfinder, I can't say where anyone else's --much less my kids-- tipping point is.

Which brings me back to Moldvay D&D.

The game is simple enough to pick up and play, and compared to more complex RPGs*** has a minimal amount of crunch.  And yet all the flavor of a D&D-esque game is still there. For my purposes --a quick, minimal setup type of game that I already know the rules to-- it should be perfect.

The kids created characters, they met up at the Keep of the module's title, and hired some men-at-arms to accompany them in their search for the mysterious Caves of Chaos.  They set out on the morrow, but they'd better not get lost in the forest along the way.  There are things in the forest that love to feast on adventurers.


A short update on "Ever, Jane", the Jane Austen MMO: it made it's Kickstarter goals, and the design team is moving forward with the game.  You can find a short article about the game on The Mary Sue's website. The game seems to be highly attractive to roleplayers who would find Regency Britain an intriguing setting.

*At least not compared to coffee.

**It's called that because Tom Moldvay edited this version of the game, so as to differentiate between the earlier blue book version edited by J. Eric Holmes and the later red book edited by Frank Mentzer (which had the Larry Elmore cover art.)

***Even Savage Worlds, which I've used as a pretty basic RPG in the past.