Is It Actually War?
This morning Alternative Chat has a post that is extremely relevant to my interests. In it she questions why Ashran is failing, and has devolved into both Horde and Alliance avoiding each other in an effort to get objectives completely more efficiently. She goes on to question if we are fatigued of the red versus blue faction pride that blizzard keeps trying to make happen. I think in a large part many players are, in part because to quote the Fallout franchise “War Never Changes”. We have been in this constant state of war against the horde for the last ten years, with no victories… just more meaningless battles. In this scenario the choice of horde or alliance feels just about as meaningful as choosing RED or BLU in Team Fortress 2. Sure in World of Warcraft we have natural alignment to certain races… I happen to be pretty partial to Dwarves, Worgen and Humans for example. However I would be willing to bed that every player has at least one race in their faction that they cannot stand… I am looking at you Night Elves.
During the recent 10 years 10 questions podcast, Alt featured my response to wrap up the show about why we chose the faction we ultimately ended up aligning to. My response was rather nuanced but essentially it sums up that I wish I didn’t have to choose. The funny thing is that for years I thought I just had a natural aversion to PVP, and that it was driving my distaste for factional combat. However that cannot be the case because during Pax South the game I ended up ultimately raving about was Gigantic… a game where the only thing to do IS PVP combat. I think the problem lies with this false sense of faction pride. I don’t care about what happens to my faction so long as it doesn’t actually inconvenience me. When it does inconvenience me I go do something else, because I am not playing an MMO for the PVP. I neither love nor hate the Horde, because they are essentially an island that exists far beyond the realm that I have access to. If I had access to playing with horde characters, in horde zones without walling myself off from my existing alliance friends… then maybe just maybe I would start to care.
One of the problems with blogging the way that I do, each morning… super early in said morning… is that I am often a day behind in my content. As such yesterday seemed to be the day to post about this next topic… so I am of course posting a day late. There has been a rumor circulating that AOL has decided to shut down the Joystiq operation and its related sites. While I am not sure if I have ever actually been to Joystiq proper… I do absolutely read both WoW Insider and Massively on a daily basis. In fact I would not likely have the type of audience that I do today were it not for WoW Insider picking up and featuring my Groupcraft post years ago. That after all has been one of the great things about the site, they have always been willing to take content created by the community and show it off to the world. It always felt like a proud parent pinning your paper to the refrigerator door every single time they did it. They always felt like they cared about what the community of players were up to, and over the years they featured a few special moments from my guild.
The problem with many other gaming news sites is they often times ONLY report the news. What I liked about the Joystiq sites is that they focused quite often on how the news effected the players. So if it is fate that these sites will fade from memory, my hope is that other sites will help to pick up that torch of a more personal slant on the stories. Anyone can take a press release, reword it and hit publish but it takes thoughtful contemplation to report about how said press release effects the community. As always I am concerned about the human toll of events, and over the years I have gotten to know quite a number of the writers at both WoW Insider and Massively. I hope that there will be an eleventh hour salvation for the sites, but if there isn’t I salute the work those stalwart individuals have done to date. Not that anything I say has any weight when it comes to corporate politics, but I sincerely hope AOL rethinks their decision, or at the very least has the common sense to sell the network to someone else.
Other Stuff about Things
This morning is a bit of a strange morning, in part because there are things I would normally say that I can’t necessarily talk about. What I can talk about however is that as of yesterday I am officially a member of the MMO Games writing staff, as they have published my first article from my experiences at Pax. I plan on writing several more pieces that will also hopefully be published relating my experiences there. I will admit I would not be writing for the site were it not for the constant wearing down by friends that also write for said site. This is a strange decision for me, in part because I know I can never actually do this as a full time gig, and secondly because I already do the daily blogging thing, two podcasts and a plethora of other side projects. That said my hope is to focus more on long form human interest style writing, namely the same sorts of things that I was always a fan at for Massively and WoW Insider. I still have no clue what kind of frequency I will actually post at. I know I have another article waiting somewhere in the editorial queue, so hopefully that will see the light of day soon.
In other news it feels really damned good to be through a raid tier in World of Warcraft while it is still relevant content. This is not a feat I have actually done since Icecrown Citadel in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Granted for now it is just normal mode but as of last Thursday while I was travelling to Pax my raid group hit 7 of 7 in Normal, and this week we repeated that and picked up an extra heroic kill taking us to 3 of 7. Now that we are past Butcher I have a feeling that the other heroic fights are going to come a bit easier. Butcher was a giant mental obstacle that we felt we couldn’t pass… so we never really tried it. Granted Damai was watching the logs to check our relative damage output to see when we were “ready” but it still felt like we didn’t believe in ourselves enough to take it down. This week however we crossed that hurdle with far less difficulty than I expected. As such tonight when we go back in I am hoping we can take down a Tectus and a Brakenspore. I had an interesting exchange with my friend Eliyon last night, and he commented just how closely my raids progression has been to his groups. Makes us think that the raid as a whole was tuned just about right.