Wednesday, February 26, 2014

No one even says "grats" anymore.

Recently, I found a website (still in development) that tracks your achievements across multiple games in one place and then gives you achievements for them.

They're not very attractive looking badges so far.

... y0, dawg.

For a company, it doesn't sound like a terrible idea, as in no one has claimed it yet and sure it can make money. Yet, I still can't help rolling my eyes just a little bit. It's become an industry standard to include achievements in games that serve a myriad of purposes from increasing longevity of the content to pushing the player to explore the game in ways s/he never would have tried, and no one can resist that feeling of accomplishment when a ceremonious notice pops up accompanied by a cute little picture.

But all of this is getting so meta, I'm not even sure what isn't an achievement anymore. Did my Sim get an achievement for going to the grocery store or did I? Does it even count if only people who play the Sims can see my Sims-related achievements, or do I have to collect all of my Sims/WoW/Cut the Rope achieves in one place to share with the gaming community at large and preserve for posterity? Is there even a purpose to life without achievements? I just earned my bachelor's degree, but I didn't get a pop-up and a cute badge. What was all of that time and effort for?

New business idea: IRL achievement tracking. Look for it.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine's Day Reparations

Crap. I totally forgot about Valentine's Day. I spent the whole night finishing arenas and didn't realize it was Valentine's until it was already over and I got a text from my sister bitching about how her boyfriend drunkenly passed out before they even had dinner. Now I have to pull out all the stops to make it up to my precious baby boy for neglecting him and completely forgetting our annual plans.

Me: This is nice, isn't it?
Barkath: ...
Me: I bought you some flowers.
Barkath: ...
Me: And these chocolates. They're goblin-made. Very expensive.
Barkath: ...
Me: Listen, Barkath. I know we haven't been spending much time with each other lately. I've been doing arenas with Dalrezza, and Arcasius might be a little better than you at tanking nowadays. But you've been with me since Vanilla, and you were always protecting me and standing right beside me whether we were fighting off monsters or fishing off the coast of Feralas. And yea I know that the past few months, the only time I summon you is to sacrifice you to gain your power, but I want you to know that I appreciate you and care about you and would do anything for you. All you have to do is ask.
Barkath: ... Send me back.
Me: Are your claws getting wrinkly?

I think this is going to take a lot more chocolate. :(


Friday, February 7, 2014

It might not be annual.

It's time for the 1st Annual RP Your Life! Awards, when I call attention to some of the most notable aspects of this soon-to-be-ending expansion! Now before you report me to the committee for rigging the elections, please note that these are all personal choices, not reflections of popular opinion or objective fact. Feel free to propose your own nominees in the comments; I'd love to hear them.

Most Interesting Boss Fight: Siegecrafter Blackfuse

There are plenty of fights in Siege with interesting mechanics, but while I got sick of looking at a resource bar by Sha of Pride, I never grew tired of the belt. With the choice of which weapon to kill left up to the players, the fight can change drastically depending on which mechanics a particular team finds hard to manage, the raid size, or the difficulty setting. If you're a lucky boomkin or hunter, you could be on the belt full-time, and as much as people bitch about having to be on belt duty, it is truly the easiest job in raiding history besides maybe being a lock on Garr or anything on Gunship. I would have given my left kidney to stay on the belt instead of hang out in the fiery deathtrap that is the main platform. Even though the fight on normal becomes pretty trivial with improved DPS, it's still fun and engaging every time.

Boss Who Puts Up the Best Fight: The Spirit Kings

In WoW's encounter history, it often feels like bosses just hand us the tools to eventually kill them. How realistic can a fight feel when there are such conveniently placed mechanics like Feng's Nullification, Will of the Emperor's Opportunistic Strike, or Tortos' shells? In fact, the one boss that seemed to actually want to kill us rather than help us was the Spirit Kings. They offer no protective bubbles, damage-buffing pools, or one-shot disintegrating lasers that were totally negated by clearly defined paths of safety. While other bosses were giving us magic tiles or standing around while we disabled their bombs, the Spirit Kings tried to take our armor, pin us down, and turn us on each other. Even when Meng was cowering away, he still put up a damage-reflecting shield that could easily cause a player to kill him/herself. There are many fights that are more technically difficult, but in an actual battle, these guys would be tactical officers.

Best Normal-to-Heroic Conversion: Imperial Vizier Zor'lok

There are many easy methods for changing a normal fight to "heroic," and I've seen Blizz employ them over and over again: increase boss health enough to turn it into a DPS check, add adds, include an insta-death mechanic, tack on an additional phase and change nothing in the previous ones, etc. What makes a successful conversion is changing the fight in a way that makes the raid rethink its strategy while still maintaining an organic relationship with the normal-mode mechanics. Therefore, I give this award to Imperial Vizier Zor'lok. Not only was the fight varied in normal mode and culminated in a last phase combining all of his abilities, the insect-like shedding of an echo forced the raid to strategically split up and handle the mechanics they had already seen in new ways. Unlike Morchok, one didn't merely split the raid in half and continue like normal, and the last phase was so appropriately chaotic that it gave a sense of relieved triumph to defeat him.

Worst Mechanic: Horridon's Pink Dinosaur

Since I consider well-thought conversion from normal to heroic mechanics to be extremely important, the worst mechanic of Mists raiding has to be that pink dinosaur. I'm not going to bitch that it was hard, because it wasn't, especially for a ranged DPS like me. It was a terrible mechanic because it was just freaking annoying and turned an otherwise engaging encounter into a nightmare of micromanagement, and anyone unlucky enough to be picked early had to deal with repeatedly knocking back an add for up to ten minutes. In general, I love add fights and council fights because there is so much to juggle, and there is a pleasure in keeping a mental priority for what adds and their mechanics need to be taken care of and which can be ignored. The dinosaur? Well it adds nothing to any of that.

Best Pet Name For a Guy's Penis: Wheatley

Uh... How did this one get in here?


Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Flow of Gold

Now that I have a ton of gold on my old server that I haven't yet moved to the new one, I've been thinking of dumping a bunch of it on the supreme gold sink: the Black Market Auction House. If it weren't for the BMAH and battle pets, gold on an old server would be like having a bunch of money in the currency of a defunct country, but now it just means that I can camp multiple places for chances to win Unclaimed Containers full of Tier 3 bracers and cat carriers. What was that? They can have mounts inside them, you say? Well I'm sure that one person who got a Mimiron's Head for 10k is ecstatic, but I'll be over here transmogrifying a slot that no can see anyway and playing with my 8000g Siamese.

While I'm trying to hemorrhage money, my guild is starting to rake it in for we just opened our raid to buyers this week, something I've never before had the opportunity to experience coming from less competitive/10-man guilds. In the meanest sense, it's the sale of our services that is set to make us a small fortune over the next few months. Some would say that this is the true end-game for high-ranked guilds, an understated but vital part of raid preparation for the next tier or expansion when consumables and repairs will rapidly drain bank funds.

As for me, I rather liken it to being a mercenary for hire. An inexperienced stranger is in our midst, eager for the spoils of war and the thrill of battle. What he lacks in knowledge and skill, he makes up for with gold. We tell him to stay out of our way while we do the real fighting, and once we've salvaged a body of any useful armor, we toss our patron whatever we don't need or what he has bartered for. But we are not unfriendly. When the battle wanes, we invite him to joke with us, listen to our stories, and dance together. At the end of the night, some of us shake his hand before we part ways, a favorable transaction for the both of us having been completed. Next week brings another opportunity for riches.

Want to be a part of it? Read this post and then contact one of our officers.