Friday, September 26, 2014

We Got it All Wrong After All

World of Starcraft?

WoW 2?

A more robust Diablo MMO?

Well, Titan was none of the above. According to an article on Kotaku, Titan was supposed to be a hybrid Sci-Fi shooter with a heavy dose of MMO elements. More than anything else, it was supposed to be similar to the recently released game Destiny*, but with much heavier MMO interplay.

Given that this would have been a completely new property for Blizz, it would have been that fourth leg to their table that currently has Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft holding the company together. It does sound very interesting in concept --particularly the ambitious nature of the economic game-- but I know I could never play Titan since it's a shooter.**

In the end, I suppose that Destiny was the final nail in Titan's coffin, since you're getting about 75% of Titan in Destiny's released form, and why would you want to compete with a game you're releasing?

One aspect to Titan that might have been interesting would be how it would have translated into PvP. With MOBAs all the rage these days, could Blizz have turned a portion of Titan's development into a PvP game that would compete with already released MOBAs? I suspect PvP wasn't a focus of Titan's development process, and that might have hampered Titan on release as well.

Regardless, Titan is now dead, deader than Jacob Marley, but you never know when elements of it will appear in other, already released games.

*By Bungie, which is released through Activision/Blizzard.

**Shooters give me headaches. Seriously. I have to take dramamine before I can even attempt to play a shooter.

EtA: Cleared up a grammar error in the first paragraph.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall of (the) Titan

For those wondering what's next for Blizzard, it's not Titan.

Titan, the often rumored MMO successor to WoW, has been officially canned by Blizz.

What I got from the Polygon article (go, read the link, I'll wait) was that Blizz couldn't recapture that elusive "it" that they had with WoW, and decided to kill off Titan before it became an albatross and dragged down their reputation. Does that mean that even Blizzard can't put out a new MMO in this climate that will potentially topple WoW? Probably, but that's not their stated goal. Does it mean that it can't put out a new MMO that will at least be successful and not hemorrhage subscribers after a few months? I think that more likely.

If that doesn't give the MMO market pause, then I don't know what will. Even Blizzard is admitting defeat before Titan was even released.

The article also tells me that WoW is going to be the last word in the MMO genre from Blizzard.  No Starcraft MMO, no WoW 2, nothing.  What you see in WoW is what you'll get; some incremental updates, some new expacs, some other stuff from other MMOs (housing) added on, but at its heart WoW is going to be the MMO you see today.

I also suspect that the rise of League of Legends and other MOBA games has had an impact here as well.  Video game professional leagues have suddenly become big business, and money is flowing in that direction. Releasing an MMO when the money is going elsewhere isn't smart business. Of course, you can lose your way merely chasing the money; a AAA video game is often years in development, and where the money is at when you start development is not where it's at when you're finished.*

Finally, expect more small tie-in titles in the future, such as Hearthstone, but leveraging their existing Blizzard properties. It is entirely possible that Blizz isn't going to create anything new, such as completely original games with new worlds and/or properties, for a long time to come. Creating a new, original property takes some risk, and Blizzard seems to be electing to go the safe route and reuse the properties instead.

To be honest, Blizzard has been living on its existing properties (Warcraft/Diablo/Starcraft) for a while now, and Titan was going to be a fourth leg of a table. I guess that table will have to get by with three legs now.

*See: novels and movies. The time it takes for a novel to be written and then published is a couple of years --and movies even longer-- and tastes can change at the drop of a hat.

Monday, September 22, 2014

One More Post on Gaming and Misbehavior

I wanted to point out a couple of new articles on internet shaming and worse:

By Karen "Shayalyn" Hertzberg From Ten Ton Hammer:  Shaming and Gaming - This is Not Okay

By Spinks (Woo hoo, Spinks is back!) From Welcome to Spinksville:  Guild culture, game culture, gamer culture (with notes on GamerGate)

"Enjoyed" isn't the right word for this, but they were very thoughtful posts and I am very glad they were written.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Facepalm City

As you may have heard, Microsoft is buying the developer house Mojang, which owns Minecraft. Unless you're more plugged into gaming circles, you'd also know that the creator of Minecraft, Markus "Notch" Persson, left Mojang the same day, citing how he'd like his life back.

Between this and other recent gaming related items, the term "we eat our own" comes to mind.

But this article by the Washington Post's Andrea Peterson, How the Gaming Community Destroys its Heroes, really hits home.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Arguing With Myself

Sir Lancelot: [Sir Galahad the Chaste is being seduced by an entire castle full of young women] We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.
Sir Galahad: I don't think I was.
Sir Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
Sir Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
Sir Lancelot: No, it's too perilous.
Sir Galahad: Look, it's my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.
Sir Lancelot: No, we've got to find the Holy Grail. Come on.
Sir Galahad: Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?
Sir Lancelot: No. It's unhealthy.
Sir Galahad: I bet you're gay.
Sir Lancelot: Am not.
--From Monty Python and the Holy Grail*

I don't smoke.

I used to occasionally light up a cigar (on the average of once or twice a year), but I gave that up years ago.

The tipping point for me was noticing a change in how I really REALLY wanted to smoke another one within a day of the last one. If you ever smoked a cigar, that last half of the cigar has that harsh blech taste that typically acts as a damper on lighting up another one, and when I caught myself holding a pen like it was a stogie, puffing away, I realized I was very close to a tipping point.

It's been over a decade since I experienced that sort of craving. Sure, there's that feeling of euphoria when you walk into the dealer hall at GenCon and see all of the game vendors waiting to take your money, but that wears off fairly quickly when you immerse yourself in the crowd.**

This past month, however, I've been dealing with WoW withdrawal, which until I actually unsubbed I would have laughed off.

I've been at work, sitting through meetings, when I've had the urge to go run Alterac Valley. And when I mean urge, it's not a "oh yeah, it'd be cool to do XXX," but more like "I NEED TO DO THIS NAOW!!!!"

I've been cooking and cleaning around the house when I really really wanted to stop and go sneak into Eversong Forest on my NE Rogue and watch the new toons out and about.

I've been tired and ready for bed and I've thought "Hey, what about changing my rotation a bit," and gone halfway down the stairs before I realized what I was thinking.

I've found my fingers twitching, mimicking my rotation, at odd moments of the day.

I've had a conversation with myself, eerily mimicking the Monty Python moment above:

"You know, it's not a big deal. You can resub."
"No, I've got good reasons for not doing it. I like having less drama in my life."
"Yeah, but I do miss playing Alterac Valley."
"There are other MMOs that have PvP, so cut it out."

"But it took you how long to get good at WoW's BGs? You'd have to start over with more drama. Why not stick with what you know?"
"Did you not get the 'less drama' part? I was sniping at the kids that past few months before I quit."
"That's on you, not the game. Come on, man up and resub."
"No, and that's final."


If you'd have told me that I'd have experienced this when I unsubbed, I'd have thought you were crazy. I take WoW breaks of a week or three all the time, so I figured this would be easy once I actually pulled the trigger. But the thing is, that's a false analogy; even if I took a break from the game, the game was still there, ready for me to play. Now, having actually cut the cord, I don't have that security blanket.

I'm hopeful that this, like the cigar thing, will fade with time. There's plenty of other games out there, and I'm sure that I'll find them interesting once I, you know, actually start playing them.

*Courtesy of I have it in a book somewhere in the basement, but I didn't want to spend over 1/2 hour looking for it.

**And you also look at the prices and realize there's no way you can afford to buy ALL THE GAMES.

EtA: Added reference to

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Toon Naming Rule #1...

...DON'T name your toon right before dinner.

In the span of 15 minutes this evening, I saw toons named "chuckroast" and "marsh'mallow" on Tython.

So, if you're wondering what to name that new Jedi Knight or Bounty Hunter, don't take a whiff of the smell from the kitchen and decide that the name "beef'stew" is appropriate.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Game Developers Strike Back

Just in case you missed the latest brouhaha in the gaming world, Anita Sarkeesian released a new entry in her Tropes v Women series, which was accompanied by what is becoming the all too familiar scene of bile thrown in her direction. Including the rape and death threats that some trolls seem to think are warranted.

This was the video that was the straw 
that broke the camel's back.

Well, between that and the Zoe Quinn incident, some game developers have had enough of this behavior.

Independent game developer Andreas Zecher has posted an open letter calling for this sort of disgusting behavior to stop, and quite a few development houses --including Bioware, Ubisoft, and XBox-- have signed on.

You can find the open letter here.