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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.

When Worlds Collide…

Last Minecraft Monday I posted about how awesome it was to see Notch not only mention, but darn right support Quake 3 and it’s greatness.  Imagine my surprise when checking his twitter feed today to see the one and only David Jaffe having a short convo with the Notch-man! (I’ll link to it, but there’s a big ol’ TMI warning in effect.  Let’s just say the next person to respond said “Can’t unsee!”

Since I got the post all situated, here’s some random findings about the games I’ve found out tonight:

Twisted Metal

  • Twisted Metal will apparently have a demo before launch.
  • Rated games might be region locked, unranked are not.
  • Twister will not be in this TM.  Maybe DLC, sayth The Jaffe.
  • When you level up online, you unlock new ‘items’.  Everything has a pro and a con, and they are sure not to make anything imbalanced so high levels will not innately dominate low levels, etc.

Minecraft

  • After 1.8 comes 1.9 and 1.10, not 2.0.  (Random factoid I suppose)
  • Notch will give his hat away, but promises to buy a new one, hah.
  • The demo of patch 1.8 will apparently be quite flat by comparison to how Notch had planned it.  It is a temporary work around to allow NPC villages to look good and saves time.  (Make that the first proposed thing they need to change before 1.8 goes live for the rest of us!)
  • Notch is stressed out about making the deadline and is keeping quite to avoid upsetting fans.   He wishes not to make promises that might not materialize in time, and since the press is going to be doing all the hands-on, I can see why he wouldn’t want to bother ‘those’ guys XD

As I originally planned on just making the post about the funny collision of my gaming worlds, I didn’t copy/paste all these tweets before hand so I’d have to do quite a lot of digging and checking to make sure I got the links in the right order, so let’s just trust my findings without factual linkage this once, mmm’kay?  All of them were posted before August 24th, in case you *really* want to fact check for an essay or something.  Yay random google hits!  In that case, good luck on that essay, Mr. Essay Writer From the Future!

David Jaffe And Twisted Metal Live at E3 on G4

Just finished watchin’ it.  David showcased the Dollface boss battle and the Sweet Tooth vehicle in all it’s transforming glory.  I did find out that, though the Revenge trailer suggests Sweet Tooth is after Dollface, this boss battle is actually for Mr. Grimm, the motorcycle guy!  Also, it appears every playable character (Tooth, Grim, Doll) will have their own boss ‘form’ that you’ll fight against depending on who you are playing as in the single player campaign (apparently funded by Calypso himself, hmm).   There might also be different bosses depending on if you are playing single player or co-op single player. Interesting.

Jaffe also mentioned that, after you beat Twisted Metal and let the credits role, something new entirely unlocks.  Something the show host joked they could easily have just charged as a DLC, but Eat Sleep Play is very pro-gamer and knows over-charging the customer is just bad all around.

Any more news from E3 will be posted as I hear about it.  I just so happened on Jaffe’s twitter feed that said he was going live in a minute, so I tuned in ^_^

Twisted Metal: Revenge Trailer and Tips From David Jaffe Himself Via Twitter!

First off, have a gander at the new in-game teaser of the Sweet Tooth truck available in-game.  What’s that?  You thought you saw it already when it was running around like a mecha in the official reveal last E3?  View on, my friends!  It has a few more tricks that surprised even me.

She was the one that got away…  She needs to be cut.”

Read the rest of this entry

Minecraft Monday: Right On Time!

Exactly seven seconds ago, Notch updated his blog.  Just as I checked it.  Providence!

Been busy this week doin’ stuffs so I didn’t have as much time to devote to Minecraft as I’d like.  That’s not to say I didn’t spend a sizable amount of time playing it, but just not as much as I’d like -_^  What time I did have with it, was fixing up the project I said I’d post today.  Buuut towards the end of it I did a final check on youtube to make sure it was accurate.  Left to right layout was flawless.

But up and down was off a smidgin’ :/ 

I figure once I post a pic of it, it’s ‘done’ so I want to make sure it is fully complete before I do that, otherwise the reaction will be “well, it’s the same thing just a little bigger…” when I do the big reveal and I don’t want it to be a  blah-zay thang’.  Still working on it, but not done yet.  Heck, I will post a shot of a cut out of a part of it to show how I had to change it recently.  Think of it as a sneak peek to the massive following of one that was actually interested in it in the first place XD  Well, I suppose that’s not totally accurate as  I only hinted about it in the comments section of the TM release date post, but I’z gettin’ off topic!

Minecraft Co-op: Twisted Sneak Peek

As you can see it will be very similar, but those extra blocks make it more accurate as to what was in the game and it bothered me that I did not do it correctly from the beginning.  But with this change it’s right on target, so it’s goin’ in!  Already laid out almost all of the track with this, just have to fill in the guh-gillion stacks of half stone to make it the correct height.  Thank the flying spaghetti monster for OP powers.  Oh, and that lava there is another hint as to what level I’m making.

Onto Minecraft news, Notch released a few pictures on how Maps will work.  Basically, you keep it on your task bar and have it selected.  As you walk about, it records the sights!  Think of it like a sword.  You heard a zombie, you see something bouncing about.  You got your sword in hand, just waiting to get close enough to kill it.  Just as you have sword in hand doing it’s thing, you keep a map there instead. 

Originally it kinda seemed like a bad idea, that you *had* to have it out all the time to work.  But he added a great idea to it as well.  As you have it in hand, it will not block out your view at all.  How he made it work, is as if you are a confused tourist at Disney World.  You are walking about, looking around at your surroundings and the map is before you but out of your view.  When you get confused you look down and, yup, that’s the map all right.  (But where is that hot dog cart!  And I want a Mickey-ears hat, dangit!)

If you wanna see the map, simply look down.  So no worries about it blocking your vision at all as you ‘map out’ your base. 

From Notch's tumblr blog

Left is looking forward, and as you look more down it fills the screen.  So only there when you want it to be.  Sweet, no?

Last week I was a bit disgruntled with how Notch was handling things, but I’m glad to say he might have turned back to his normal self.  He first wasn’t sure how to do the modding in the game, possibly even not add it at all.  Fans cried for him to add it for security reasons, and so he figured it out with his staff and planned on releasing it after all.  But at a price.  He claimed it would be to prevent people from adding stupid ideas so that only to good stuff would remain, but fans didn’t like that either.  Thankfully, he listened to the community and relented on the cost factor, and for that, he gets my kudos.

He was doing some pretty thinly veiled things in terms of wanting more money, but this decision, I hope, brings back ‘old Notch’.  Again, last week I was far from pleased with his recent actions, but with this new stuff in light, I’m happy how it turned out for the gamers.

Oh!  And Nether will soon be working in multiplayer!  So all you folks with decorative portals, be wary that a Ghast might just spawn on the safe side and muck up your work when you least expect it :P

Twisted Metal (PS3) Release Date Confirmed!

10/4/2011 (Any fan of the series *needs* to watch that teaser trailer of the live action stuffs! I’d embed it, but gametrailers doesn’t seem to like wordpress.)

I am squeeing as loudly as I can about this news.  Of course I’m a guy, so it sounds more like tires squealing than a chew toy getting stepped on, but that perfectly fits this game anyway!

The last time I was this excited over a trailer was Dead Island, and while that video was heavy on the artistry, Twisted Metal’s is high on the action; high on the octane.

Fire, leather, explosions, heavy rock, chainsaws, motorcycles, and ice cream.  Oh yeah…

“…it’s good to be back.”

Minus Minecraft, the last game I purchased myself with actual tangible currency (non-gift card’d, etc.) was probably Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.  After getting burned with Devil May Cry 2, I am very particular on which games I buy.  Based on what I know about this one so far, and who is in charge of it (David Jaffe was my first DAW post, after all ^_^), I am definitely going to pre-order. 

More than likely a Collector’s Edition.

Developer Appreciation Week: David Jaffe

Upon perusing the always fabulous mmogamerchick’s blog, I happened upon this ‘holiday’ of sorts, where gamers of all genres put aside their grievances and jaded past to thank gaming teams or individual developers for all the hard work they do to bring us the games we all enjoy. 

So to take part in this event of sorts, I thought up a few devs whose work I have admired over the years, but the very first one that popped into my head neigh-instantaneously was the fairly warped genius who brought us Twisted Metal and God of War: David Jaffe and the rest of his crew over at Eat Sleep Play.  (As if the title of the post didn’t give this gem away.) 

He thankfully has a very open online presence and just recently has been posting on his blog again after like half a year hiatus.  Cramming content into his newest and most awesome  Twisted Metal took a toll on his blogging, but he has charged head-on into the fray and is back with some killer posts in just under two weeks.

Mr. Jaffe has always been willing to reach out to gamers and has been in contact with fansites such as Twisted Metal Alliance for years before even starting his blog.  He went so far as to include TMA in the thank-you portion of Twisted Metal Black’s credits and offered a few of the nearby members of the site to play test the game before it went retail.  Odds are if you were to check out his twitter feed the only time it isn’t buzzing with really great information and insight is when he is sleeping or eating dinner with his family.

Just recently the Jaff-Man posted a rant to youtube about terrible customer service, which happened to be directed at a near-by Apple store.  (Extremely Language heavy, yee hath been warned.  The dog chilling on the couch in the background is awesome, by the way.) He was very understanding of the worker’s situation, but was astounded by their indecency and incompetence, stating that “there is nothing worse than people who work for a company and don’t put the customer first.”

It speaks a great deal of his work ethic.  He does not have a lofty, elitist outlook on things, he does not expect people just to buy his game because of the brand name on the spine.  He sees them from not only the dev’s perspective, but more importantly from the player’s perspective.  He knows people want to have a great time playing his games and he puts forth all of his effort to make sure they get the best experience possible.  He is a gamer at heart, who happens to be making awesome games that I cannot get enough of.  Heck, my Minecraft avatar is based on a certain homicidal ice cream truck driver.

The resemblance is uncanny...

Thank-you, David Jaffe, and thank-you Eat Sleep Play.  I eagerly await the next Twisted installment, along with whatever else you deranged group of people come up with in the near future.

Woot! Minecraft Update on the Way!

Just read from the man himself that a hefty update will be coming along in Minecraft tomorrow!  Quite a few nice changes and tweeks, though my personal favorite is there will finally be working buckets in multiplayer!  That means I can finish my homage to Twisted Metal very soon!  Woot!  (I’m a wooden train whistle!)  Woot, woot!

/train

Layin' the groundwork...

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