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Minecraft Monday: Feature Freeze and Minecraft Pulled of Kongregate

October 18th marked the day that no new features will be added to Minecraft ’till Minecon a month later to the day.  This is the time the team has put aside to tweak the game as good as it can be so it is nearest to flawless as it can be by November 18th.  Personally I’d like a real patch before then as it’ll be about three months since we got one then… but I got a an angel-winged horse and a free Diablo 3 game coming my way eventually so no sweat off my back ^_^

Minecraft News

The only thing really news-worthy this week is that Minecraft was originally put onto game-site Kongregate before being taken down a few days later.  Neither Notch or Kongregate have any admitted hard feelings, but it is nifty how massively popular things in the media are turned down only to rocket to super nova status later on.  Harry Potter and South Park, for example.  Notch called it “a bit of fun trivia.”

As for our own Minecrafting, we haven’t even booted the game up for weeks to be honest.  Last time we played was when I showed the Misses the place I etched out of a ravine on our buddy Ben‘s server, which was probably a month ago :(  I haven’t even thought about playing the game after they mentioned the patch has been yet again postponed till Minecon and I am more than a bit miffed that they settled for such conclusion.  Don’t want to harp on it, would end up a rant and either way they aren’t coming out with it sooner.

Meanwhile we opted to play WoW again.  Started up before 1.8 (as that patch was delayed several times as well /zing) and haven’t really stopped playing since.  Leveled up a few toons, got them pretty high pretty fast considering it takes the Misses ungodly long to level any of her toons.  She is basking in hallow’s end right now, though she has yet to see Sylvanas during that event atop Undercity.  Speaking of which, that should be occurring in just about twenty minutes so I’mma go log on and watch that again.

Happy crafting everyone!  Catch you next week!

Minecraft 1.8: Swamp Biome Confirmed – Screenshot ‘N All!

Just about a week ago we posted the livestream of Notch at PAX.  During that livestream people were asking questions and one was if new biomes were in the works.  Notch seemed very interested in swamps and said “definitely” to them.  He must have known already, as just a few moments ago Notch posted an image of the first glimpse of the swamp biome on his twitter feed:

Swamp biome, CREATE: http://imgur.com/9OFLd?full (source)

The image looks all right, but I do admit it needs a bit of work to really be called a swamp.  A new gnarly looking tree texture, and a great deal more brown is required.  If not straight up dirt and brown grass, maybe a new version of Soul Sand as sticky mud?  We’ll see how it takes shape.

Also, Notch has been going back and redoing old stuff to make it more dimensional and ‘alive’.  For example, chests now physically open and pigs have snouts!  The chest change is okay, but the pig one is kinda bizarre.  I might get used to it in time, but currently I liked it better the old way as they sorta look like a chicken as those have a similar-sized beak.

World of Warcraft: Schadenfreude Is the New Emo

“…They found you amusing for a little while. … But the one thing they love to see more than a hero, is to see a hero fail. Fall; die trying.  In spite of everything you have done for them, eventually they will hate you.

Why bother?”

-Green Goblin from Spider-Man (2002)

Everybody loves an underdog.  David n’ Goliath. Rebels n’ the Empire.  The Chicago Cubs n’ the game of baseball.  You name it, people will generally go out of their way to root for the ‘Little Sister’ instead of a ‘Big Daddy.’

Fight the good fight, viva la whatever your slogan happens to be, etc.  I get the general appeal.  So and so is huge, and the other guy is tiny.  If you are going to lend a hand at all, might as well give the tiny guy a boost.  He’ll likely lose anyway, but you did your part.  And if he wins, hot dog!  It doesn’t take a horse-betting fanatic to know how well an upset pays out.

Enter the biggest subscription-based game to date.  World of Warcraft has somewhat in the range of over 11,000,000 active subscribers, but you wouldn’t know that based on the current ‘news’ on the web.  Every Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Sue online is not only stating the sky is falling, but that they are rejoicing the ‘fact.’ This ‘fact’ is not only law, which they will repeat constantly as if it really were, but it is also expected to be common knowledge because anyone who still likes that game is clearly behind the times.  Nearly all of those comments need to be read with a flared velvet top hat, smoking pipe, and a well-polished monocle accompanied with a drolling, nasal voice for the full effect of smarm and smug.

WoW has been so big for so long that it is now not only fashionable to hate on WoW, but to do so is an almost a right-of-passage-like fad.  (Apparently it is guaranteed to make your e-peen huge and your crits even crittier.  I haven’t seen the ad for it, but that’s what I gather from the commotion.)  Granted, I have raged about the game quite a bit in the past and I always joke that it’s my inner-Warrior burning through.  While I disapprove the direction it was headed, I don’t think I’d ever see myself gleefully doing the worm on its casket as it is lowered ceremoniously into its final resting space.

The game has been going on for quite some time now, I am well aware. I also know that if it was not for a two month time card I got for Christmas and the Misses wanting to play the game, my account would have likely remained frozen since a month after Cata came out.  Believe me, I understand the problems with the game.  (Personally I think this is more of a Powers That Be issue more than Blizzards losing its touch.)  While I dislike a lot and can easily see the formulas in place, I will not outright pray to the flying spaghetti monster wriggling in the heavens above for the game to fail, nor will I sadistically cheer it’s death throes for several reasons.

One, you’ve got a long, long time for that to happen.  Admitting ‘victory’ now is at best ignorant and a clear sign of your favoritism, be it conscious or not.  As everyone was mentioning recently, they are opening markets in Brazil and China and all that. Even if all of the US/EU subs magically disappear into the Nether the game will live on for at least another five years easily without a moment’s pause.  They will continue to do what they are doing until it is no longer tangible to generate revenue.

Note: Remember WAR and how that was the next game changer?  Remember how terribly fast people flocked back to WoW spouting “it burns us!” ?  WAR is still hanging on.  It is in a full body cast with an erratic pulse,  but the life support is still plugged in.  Heck, from what I hear it’s coming out with a DotA mode.  Good luck with that but hey, I’m not gonna cheer if/when it does actually die off.

Two, cheering for anything’s demise?  Not a silent nod that it’s pain is over, but blatant jubilation?  The last time I heard someone do that was Jon Stewart openly admitting he was too biased to cover Bin Laden’s death.  Ignoring the admission of bias for the sake of comparison, you have inadvertently placed a man who thought up plans to kill thousands in the same category of an online video game.  Bravo.

Not everyone is jumping on the Schadenfreude Express, though.  Syp made a very good post two weeks back which didn’t throw a single jab WoW’s way.  It was a casual and friendly look at WoW and how it might be the end of an era.  Not the end of a game as some read it, but an era.  Zee proof:

Just because the WoW era might be over doesn’t mean WoW is, and even after this next year’s worth of releases, it’ll still be alive and strong.  I just hope that as it rejoins the MMO crowd, WoW will forgo an ego about its former position and embrace a new, smarter attitude.  I think we could see great things if it did.

-Syp

For better or worse the game will continue as long as it turns a profit.  Any diehard anti-WoWers out there know three magical words that can bring even the dead back to life:  Free. To. Play.  (If it worked on a dreadful, dreeeadful game like DDO, it’ll do far more than just keep WoW afloat.)

As for my thoughts on the game itself, I remain unsubbed.  Till the Misses gets back into the game, I will not touch it.  The 4.3 changes did pique my interest though, and that alone is a milestone.  Since virtually December, nothing has been going on in WoW that interested me in the slightest iota as everything seemed teeming with greedy intentions on the developer(s) part.  But, seeing Actiblizzard revoke the charge on Real ID grouping and then follow it up with LFRaid, that did capture my attention.

It is fairly safe to say I’ll give it a go for a month once it arrives, but I am more than happy to play Minecraft and wait for the adventure patch 1.8.  Or design symbols and songs in APB.  Or shoot it up in Team Fortress 2.  Or read up on news for Guild Wars 2, or look forward to playing Twisted Metal in maybe February, or whatever else I’m interested in.  Will all of these games make a mistake somewhere?  Most already have.  But it doesn’t mean I’m going to sign my name with the blood of the innocent just to clamor and cheer at a video game’s funeral.  As David Jaffe recently said via twitter:

It’s all so f—ing Win/lose with people. What have we been conditioned into?!? It’s like the gamers and the biz folks have been so trained to only care about who wins and who gets their a– kicked that there is no room to appreciate a game can do well enough to turn a profit and please many fans. But doesn’t have to win awards like ‘most money made in a weekend by an entertainment product’. Sure we all want that success but it’s not the only definition of financial, social, creative, or execution success. There ARE still some shades of gray.

Minecraft 1.8 ‘Adventure Mode’ News: Higher Highs, Lower Lows

Just the other day, my good bud Allahweh asked me if anything new about the Adventure Mode/Patch was going on in the Minecraft loony universe.  Originally I was going to say no, but then I happened upon an interview and WOW.  I was way off!  Check out some of this news right from the Notch-man himself!

One does not merely walk into Mordor...

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