Today was starting to look like a good day. The sky was clear and the weather beautiful.
At least... I assume it was.
It's always nice inside.
I actually had a passable day at work with what I consider a small number of retards.
Just a couple hundred.
I had just gotten home, spent some time with my daughter, and then went to log in on my main character.
That was when I got a figurative slap in the face.
And by "figurative", I mean "literal".
There I was, just typing in my password, when I got slammed in the face with a handful of pages. As the few pages fell away from my stinging cheek, I saw Susan.
The look in her eye was... Scary.
Yes, I know I'm much larger than her.
I am much stronger than her.
Still... Little bit scary.
Now, I'm not sure if you've ever been slapped in the face with a handful of paper.
Spoiler: Not fun.
My face was stinging sharply and I could feel it starting to swell a little.
I started to wonder if there was a problem.
I'm smart like that.
Usually, a guy would be able to figure out the problem pretty quickly. Most guys generally do not do a number of things that warrant that kind of strike.
I'm not most guys.
Did she find that vase I broke?
Did she find her favorite shoe that I scuffed?
Did she find the vast array of meticulously organized and categorized pornography hidden on an extra harddrive?
The possibilities were practically limitless.
I say practically because I just haven't had enough time to do every terrible thing a human being could do.
I need to sleep sometime.
Now, this is the part where most guys would start apologizing.
Not so fast. I kind of need to know what she's mad about before I confess to anything.
No point sharing felonies for no good damned reason.
Then, as I thought about it, I realized the paper might be important to the conversation. There were other weapons in the house and, honestly, paper is not really that dangerous.
I would have had to cautiously sneak a look at the papers.
I would have... If she hadn't thrust them directly into my face.
Yup... Papers are important.
Susan>> What do you have to say? [GM]Dave>> I'm going to go with... [GM]Dave>> Ow? Susan>> I'm not laughing. [GM]Dave>> Neither am I. [GM]Dave>> I'm the one who just got smacked in my face. Susan>> That's right. Susan>> And you deserved it.
This was probably correct.
It would, however, be very stupid to admit that.
[GM]Dave>> For what?
That's it... Buy some time.
Then hit her with a vase...
Susan>> Just read it.
I took the pages from her hand and started to read. It seemed to be a post from a blog. A very smart, witty post from an obviously intelligent blog.
Yes, it was one of my posts.
I would be less insulted if you hadn't guessed that right away.
You know, it's the little things that really get you about this game. As much as you might want to concentrate on the big differences (*coughgraphicscough*), it's all of the little differences that tend to stick out in your mind.
Like in FFXI, the Humans don't look like they have Elephantitis.
I kid, I kid.
Besides, the Humans in FFXI look like they're all going to get together and start a boy band.
No, it's the subtle things that really get you.
The map markers for everything.
I'll grant you that this makes the game a lot easier.
Unfortunately, it makes the game a lot easier.
That wasn't a typo. The unfortunate thing about making the game easier is that you can make it a little too easy.
Basically, little yellow icons show up on your mini-map telling you where to find new quests or where to go to complete current quests.
Why is that too easy?
Well, some of the quests involve you finding a nearby NPC and delivering a note.
That's not particularly challenging when the second you accept the quest, yor map tells you exactly where to go.
Wow... How am I supposed to find one NPC in such a big city?
Oh... He's right there.
And he's conveniently highlighted.
Also, the drop system is strange. While certain enemies drop specific items, there's also a chance they could drop any one of dozens of other pieces of equipment.
Kill a spider and he drops a pair of Bard's Shoes of the Monkey.
I do not know why a monkey would have shoes.
I do not know why a Bard stole a monkey's shoes.
I certainly do not know why a spider then stole those shoes from the Bard.
There must be a very large underground shoe black market in Azeroth.
In FFXI, that low level lizard drops a pair of low level boots.
Just the boots.
Basically, you are either getting boots or not.
You're not also going to find some Monk artifact armor.
Lizards make terrible Monks.
It's the little arms.
It would, therefore, make no sense for the lizard to carry Monk artifact armor.
Not in Azeroth.
That condor you just killed... Carrying a giant shield of epic kickass.
That makes perfect sense.
Speaking of drops, some of them are "Bind on Pick Up." That means that as soon as you pick them up, they bind to your character and cannot be given to another player.
Now, you're probably thinking this is very similar to the whole Exclusive tag on items in FFXI. That tag means you cannot trade the item to other players.
That's not the problem.
The problem arises out of semantics.
In FFXI, the item simply can't be traded. It is exclusive.
But in WoW, the item is bound to you. It quite literally binds to your soul.
My question is how in the hell you get it from the enemy.
If it binds to the soul of whoever picks it up, shouldn't it be bound to the soul of the monster?
Aren't semantics fun?
Oh, let's not forget the crafting system.
Almost, if not, all MMORPGs involve some form of a crafting system.
This isn't new.
The crafting system in FFXI is very challenging as you have to look up recipes in order to create working combinations of materials and to determine if you have enough skill to actually craft the item.
In WoW, the crafting menu tells you which recipes you know, which materials are required, and even tells you if you have enough materials to perform the craft.
It even tells you which crafts are more likely to help you skill up.
This is incredibly convenient, but arguably too simple.
Oh... And you can't fail a synthesis.
Arguably too simple.
And by "arguably", I mean "obviously".
Maybe I'm just making a big deal out of tiny differences.
It's not like me to overreact though.
No, it's the little things that make a game what it is. It's those nuances that make a game unique and interesting.
It would be wrong of me to suggest that these differences are inherent flaws and that WoW is an inferior game.
How in the hell are you supposed to tell what's going on in this game?
Any time you're anywhere near a group of players, you can't even figure out what the hell is going on.
Everybody's running and jumping, and then seven people ride past on horses that are either ghosts or on fire, and then hey, some guy rides past you on a snow tiger, even though the city you're in is located in a temperate or boreal climate, oh and then some guy with huge black/purple armor that is also on fire starts jumping all around you as he screams about how he wants to sell his [Epic Big Cool Thing I found], but he is way overpricing it, and then everyone shouts at him in the general chat and calls him an idiot, not that it even matters because there's no way in hell you could ever find that guy even if you wanted to which you don't.
Did you have trouble reading that?
That's what it's like to run through Stormwind.
Only with more shoulder pads.
LOTS of shoulder pads.
And what's with all the quests that ask you to go get 17 of something?
Hey, terrible bandits are attacking our farm. No, don't help us learn to fight. Bring us back 15 of their bandanas and we'll be fine.
That's an actual quest.
Now that I think about it, it's like 5 quests. Each time they just ask you for different numbers of bandanas.
One lady uses the bandanas to make you a red shirt with no stat enhancements on it.
You just killed dozens of people to get a red shirt.
After killing that many people, I'm pretty sure your shirt would be red anyway.
Honestly, the quest thing is driving me crazy. Every other person is handing you a laundry list of things to bring back to them.
Go find this guy and get a book. Then bring the book back to me. Then I'll have another message for the guy. You run it out to him. Then he'll send a thank you note. You carry that, too.
I'm sorry, but I don't remember choosing a Human Messenger when I rolled up my character.
I wouldn't even do the quests, but they give you so many exp points for them.
Yes, you get exp points for doing quests.
Hell, you get exp points for doing anything.
You can honestly just stumble through the woods and you're going to get exp.
There's a tower you haven't seen before.
700 exp points.
Oh, there's nothing in the tower.
But you found it.
Yes, sir. Good job.
You could probably get to level 20 just off tower finding alone.
And it's not just the towers. You walk three feet west and hit a new area... Boom. Exp.
Sure, you still get exp for killing bad guys (for bandanas), but that's normal.
What's not normal is that you got exp for finding the house of the guy who wants the bandanas.
And got more for bringing them back.
How freaking isolated must your life have been that finding a random house in the woods constitutes actual life experience for you?
You can't put that on a resume.
Qualifications: - High School diploma - Computer training - Able to find random houses in the woods
That's not experience.
That is the opposite of experience.
You are not going to look back in your golden years about the time you found a house in the woods.
If you do, it means your life, as a whole, was a failure.
Of course, if you look back in your golden years about the time you found a house in the woods IN A VIDEO GAME that will probably be worse.
OldGuy>> ... And that's the day I explored Westfall. Son>> Dad... Please stop talking about WoW. Son>> Mom always hated that. Daughter>> Yeah, Dad. Daughter>> That was a terrible eulogy.
I understand that a roleplaying game has to have quests.
That's kind of a rule.
But if you're going to have quests, make them all go in one direction.
If I have to run through that same damned forest one more time, someone is going to get slapped.
Hell, the even manual says "DON'T ROLL PALADIN" in big, bold letters.
It's in there. Trust me.
And yet... I rolled up a Paladin today.
Yes, I played for the Alliance.
Before we get into a whole discussion about this, I don't really have feelings either way on the Alliance-Horde Controversy.
They both seem like good guys.
True... The Horde does have more people with leprosy, but you can't really hold that against them.
From what I've read, people seem to get very worked up over which side is better. Funnily enough, most people tend to argue that the side they chose is better.
Still, I have no real affiliation with either group, so let's not get into a "[GM]Dave plays Alliance. BURN HIM!" discussion.
Anyway, as I was creating my character, I chose Human and that's when I noticed something...
All of the humans look like characters from Shrek.
Actual In-Game Screenshot
Every time I saw them before, I always thought they looked familiar, but I couldn't place it. The oversized upper body, the exaggerated facial features, the cartoony appearance.
And then it hit me.
Apparently, the uncanny valley is just South of Northshire.
I know... I'm learning the names...
I kid, I kid. I'm actually not hating playing the game.
When I started this whole thing, I was ready to do a basic "Wow sucks, Wow players are stupid" week. Then, after reading some forums, I saw how much people really loved this game.
Despite my general tendency to be a complete and utter ass about everyone and everything, I decided that something people enjoy this much at least deserves an honest attempt to play.
Yes, I will still be making cracks here and there.
That's kind of what I do.
But, I'm not going to insult the game just because it isn't FFXI. I'm trying to get a real feel for the game before I pass judgment.
In that spirit, and despite everyone in the universe telling me not to, I decided to give Paladin a shot.
I didn't hate it.
That's big for me. I hate everything.
I really expected the battles to go excruciatingly slow without offensive spells to augment my attacking. When I played Shaman yesterday, battles where I tried to conserve mana by not casting seemed to take forever.
Today though, it actually went pretty smooth.
I think the massive two-hand mace helped. Nothing speeds up a fight like hitting your enemy in the face with a giant hammer.
That's how I got through high school.
It was also nice that I could wear the good armor all the animals were dropping.
Yes, the animals were still dropping pants.
No, I still haven't figured that part out.
Still, free pants are free pants.
You know, thinking about it now, this is one of those weird things about MMORPGS, FFXI included. You're out in the middle of a field or a plain or whatever, you kill an animal, and you find a pair of pants.
And you put them on right away.
Easy, right? You just click a button and new pants.
But what about your character? That noble Paladin or fearsome Druid you're controlling...
He just changed his pants in the middle of nowhere.
Kind of hard to look tough when you're swapping pants in the middle of an ice field.
You can't do that in the real world. Do you know what would happen if you tried changing your pants in public?
Your wife, Susan, would have to come bail you out and then bitch at you the whole ride home about laws this and court dates that.
This is the thing I'm not understanding though... Why all the hate for Paladins?
I realize I'm new to the game and only visiting at that, but I can't say that it sucks terribly.
Does it suck later?
Are the other jobs just so awesome that Paladins suck by comparison?
I'm just not seeing it.
A couple of times, and I can't believe I'm saying this, I was actually having fun.
I know... I had fun playing WoW.
I'm just as surprised as you are.
This is starting to worry me now. Pretty soon, I'm going to stop drinking and making fun of retarded people.
So, I FINALLY managed to get a fully patched client and started playing the game today.
When the donator and I talked about this idea, we decided it would be best if I try to get a nice rounded view of the beginning levels of the game.
I'd try some PvE, some PvP, and yes... even some RP.
When he originally suggested this concept, I remember I was not that amused.
Certain comments about a ball peen hammer and his extremities come to mind.
But, in order to be as fair as possible, I'm going to try and get as broad a view of this game as I can using the trial version.
Do you see what I go through for you people?
Today, in order to get a handle on game mechanics, I decided to start out on a PvE server. I made a Tauren Shaman and logged in.
Side note: Do you remember the cartoony graphics from Wind Waker?
Yeah, apparently all of those guys work at Blizzard now.
All of them.
For a while there I thought I was playing Crash Bandicoot.
Still, the graphics weren't terrible. It did affect the immersion a little bit for me, but I suppose if you were coming into WoW with little or no experience in other games, it would be quite impressive.
I know. You thought I was just going to shit all over the graphics, didn't you?
So did I.
Unfortunately, the graphics aren't bad enough to remark on.
They're just there. They're not the best I've ever seen *coughFFXIcough*, but it's not like this is a Commodore 64 game.
I give them a solid "meh".
What is bad enough to comment on is the music.
Or lack thereof.
Man, if any FFXI players try playing WoW, you should get yourself a good MP3 player because that place is motherf&%@in' quiet.
In FFXI, there's always music playing. Always.
You're walking, there's music.
Riding a chocobo... music.
Killing a bunny rabbit... music.
In WoW, there's just a whole lot of quiet.
They DO have voice acting in parts. I'll give them credit for that.
It's terrible voice acting, but still...
Anyway, once the initial culture shock wore off, I tried to get the hang of the controls.
Funny story... Did you know that the control layout for WoW is nothing like the control layout for FFXI?
That took some getting used to. My hands are just accustomed to that specific organization. Apparently, if you use the same keys over and over for upwards of 10 hours a day, your muscles have a hard time adjusting.
And why is there a jump button?
Seriously, I was looking pretty hard and I didn't find a single use for jumping.
But they put it there, so damn straight I was using it.
I wonder if me skipping through the fields like a four year old girl took any of the drama out of the situation.
That's how I spent most of the day, just hopping through a meadow and killing wolves and cougars and whatnot.
Speaking of which... Can any of the WoW players explain the drop mechanics to me?
I thought it was bad in FFXI when worms and rabbits dropped crystals and stuff, but this game...
Every animal drops completely random shit.
Kill a wolf... And you find a rabbit's foot.
A rabbit's foot.
On a wolf.
Hey, maybe he ate a rabbit, right? Maybe that's it. That makes senses, right?
Then there's the strider (read: two-legged bird looking thing) that drops pants.
Not just leather mind you.
Oh, no. These birds were dropping chainmail armor every other minute. I've got an inventory full of Mail armor I can't even wear.
The rest of my inventory is full of rabbit's feet.
I must be the luckiest bastard to ever step foot in Azeroth.
The rest of my day was spent going to get shit for EVERYBODY. No matter who you talk to, they are going to hand you a shopping list of animal body parts they want you to collect.
Want to get a new pair of pants? Go get the guy 8 bird feathers.
Because I said so. That's why.
It's not that the quests were painful. It's more that they were just plain annoying.
I don't go to the supermarket for Susan either.
You know... Maybe I'm just being hard on the game. Maybe this is just not the best job to choose from the beginning.
The entire day is pitted against men. It's like some group of man-haters devised a holiday intended solely to piss guys off.
Oh, hey... You had something romantic planned, huh?
Good luck living up to the bullshit romantic standards that have been set for you.
If you don't have a 3 carat diamond ring being delivered by a dove while the first song you ever heard together is played by an orchestra, you're pretty much screwed.
Every one of those damned romantic comedies that your girl loves so much have pretty much set you up to completely fail any attempt at romance.
Unless you're a tortured, mysterious soul (who may or may not be a vampire) that sweeps her off her feet while AT NO POINT even suggesting sex, you are pretty much out of luck.
That's it. Game over.
Thanks for playing.
Basically, if you're a guy in a relationship, February 14th is going to be a giant kick in the balls from the universe.
And lord forbid you're single.
Then the entire day becomes "Here's a bajillion reminders that no one loves you" Day.
Admittedly, they don't make cards for that.
Then again, who'd buy you one?
People jokingly call it Singles Awareness Day. They say it with an ironic smile and laugh a little too much.
Then, they go home and cry themselves to sleep.
It's not like you weren't single yesterday or that there's even anything wrong with being single.
If that's how you roll, then cool.
But then the whole world decided to dedicate one whole day to pointing out that if you don't have someone to cling on to, then your life is empty.
Yeah... Thanks, guys.
If it wasn't bad enough that you're single, suddenly society makes you out to be some form of freak.
Maybe you like being single.
Maybe you're waiting for the right person to come along.
Maybe you're busy leveling up your ranger.
Do you really need to be ridiculed for that fact?
Of course you do.
Hallmark says so.
So, now you're stuck shopping for a gift that has to sum up your feelings for your significant other. You need to find something that conveys your deep, undying love for her and how she makes every breath you take worth taking.
Or anything gold.
Speaking of gifts... Why exactly do women think it's okay to not get anything for a guy on Valentine's Day?
The day is supposed to be about love. That sort of suggests it's intended for two people.
No, that thing you do when you're by yourself does not count as love.
Since the holiday is intended to be shared between two people, shouldn't you both get gifts?
Yeah, yeah. You can say it's a chick holiday all you want.
If you don't want to be celebrating Singles Awareness Day next year, make with the damned presents already.
The craziest part is that women think it's okay to not get anything for a guy because it's just presumed she's going to put out.
Don't look at me like that. It's a rule.
Now, you may ask why that's crazy. It seems like a pretty sweet deal for the guy.
And it would be... Unless something goes wrong on Valentine's Day.
Oops, you got her the wrong gift or you took her to the wrong restaurant.
Or you hit on the waitress.
Suddenly, that rule goes right out the window.
Can you imagine if a guy tried that?
Guy>> Honey, I got you something. Girl>> Really? Girl>> What is it? Guy>> I don't know. Guy>> Let's see how good a lay you are first.
He'd be picking up his teeth until March.
If sex is an acceptable Valentine's gift, then why the hell do us guys have to buy stuff in the first place?
Does anyone else notice what a weird name Valentione's Day is?
No, I don't mean Valentine's Day. This is not a post about how much Valentine's Day sucks for guys.
That'll be Thursday probably.
Actually, I'm talking about the annual FFXI in-game event, Valentione's Day.
Is the extra O really fooling anyone?
I mean, the dev guys make up new words every other day. Seriously, they have a guy whose only job is to make up new words.
I'm not even kidding around. Those are the actual names of areas in the game.
Honestly, the guy could just mash his hand on the keyboard to make up a name for a new area.
Dev1>> Hey, what are we going to call this new city? Dev1>> We need something that captures its majesty. Dev2>> How about... Asmaci? Dev1>> Can I get an apostrophe in there somewhere? Dev2>> As'Maci? Dev1>> Perfect.
So, is it too much to ask that he just make up a new name?
Is that so much to ask?
Just mash your sweaty palm on your keyboard and we're done.
We'll figure out where you're going with the idea. It's an annual event that occurs about midway through February and involves hearts and chocolate.
I don't think we're going to need Grissom on this one.
Are they afraid that people will get confused?
Player1>> Woah... What's this new event? Player1>> You have to hand out hearts to NPCs. Player2>> Maybe it's Arbor Day. Player3>> It's Flag day. Player3>> Flag day is in February, right? Player1>> Man, why couldn't they give it an easier name? Player1>> My head hurts.
Do we really need players like that?
I mean, they don't have to go crazy with it or anything. I'm not suggesting they put seven Qs or three hyphens or anything.
But at least jazz it up a little.
Give me something to work with here.
If I'm going to be spending five straight hours in one of the starting cities trying to get a level 1 hat with frilly hearts on it, the least you could do is make it sound cool.
It just makes me so angry that I have half a mind to skip the whole damned event out of principal.
Bob was a visionary. He designed and created his very own game for the Nintendo DS.
Bob was an entrepreneur. He decided he wanted to become a licensed developer.
Bob was a freakin' nutcase.
Apparently, Nintendo wouldn't sell him the developer's kit he needed to finish his game. There were probably a number of business-related reasons for this not limited to Bob being a raving nutjob.
Now, I feel for Bob's plight. He worked very hard on what looks like a very interesting game.
What would you do in his position?
Write carefully worded letters?
Ask the company what you need to do?
And when that doesn't work...
You'd isolate yourself from society in some form of protest, slowly losing your mind while writing page longs rants about how you're the greatest game designer who has ever lived and that the company that you're trying to negotiate with is evil incarnate.
Wait... You wouldn't do that?
That sounds a little crazy?
Yeah, it does.
But that's what Bob did.
I am the GREATEST GAME DEVELOPER THAT EVER LIVED. I am a GENIUS, and I will be around for the next 40 years- eating away at your company until it exists no longer. I will find way after way to slowly destroy your bottom line, and your business will fail. The name NINTENDO will be forgotten, a discarded husk like so many others. "bob's game" will live on FOREVER. THOSE WHO DOUBT ME- YUU WILL BE PROVEN WRONG. IN TIME THE TRUTH WILL PREVAIL. PREPARE TO EAT YOUR WORDS.
YES, I AM COMPLETELY SERIOUS!
WHO'S TAKING NAMES NOW, REGGIE?!
That's a quote from his website.
The website he first set up to persuade Nintendo to help him out.
Did I mention he quit halfway through, threw a massive fit, and lay motionless on his webcam for hours?
And just a couple of days ago, he left his self-imposed 100 day isolation to assault a Nintendo World store?
I'm not making any of this up.
I don't even need to.
Here's another example of persuasive writing:
In fact, I... Ugh... My head... This pain! Why won't this pain go away?! DON'T YOU DARE IGNORE ME, NINTENDO. I DEMAND THE SDK- AND IF YOU DO NOT OBEY I WILL TAKE MY REVENGE, YOU MISERABLE FOOLS! I WILL RUN YOUR PATHETIC LITTLE COMPANY INTO THE GROUND AND SPIT ON THE SMOLDERING REMAINS! I WILL CRUSH YOU INTO DUST AND FLUSH AWAY THE ASHES LIKE ANY OTHER FILTH! ROTTING, PUTRID SEWAGE- THAT'S ALL YOU ARE!
He was doing so well up until that sewage comment. I think he was starting to make real progress.
I remember the time I needed the day off and my boss said no.
Then, I called him rotting, putrid sewage.
According to Bob, the game development process goes more like this:
1) Come up with idea 2) Design Game 3) Run into problem 4) ??? 5) Sit in your apartment wearing a tinfoil crown and vowing to take vengeance upon the evil conglomerate that made Animal Crossing 6) Profit?
How exactly does he see this playing out in his mind?
I'm sure Nintendo ignored his original application and pleadings because they just weren't crazy enough.
That SDK is in the mail right now.
Now, as if Bob's Game wasn't evidence enough, we have a game called Winter.
Winter is a darker game from the survival horror genre.
For the Wii.
You're probably confused because you're not used to seeing the words "darker" and "horror" anywhere near the word "Wii".
And that's the problem.
The guys who made the game are struggling to find a publisher for what looks like an awesome game because most publishers don't see a big survival-horror market on a console aimed at a more child friendly demographic.
Who would have guessed?
Now, I'm on the side of the Winter guys. Unlike Bob, these guys are managing to hold onto some semblance of sanity while they work their shit out.
And what's the best way to convince publishers?
Contacting companies and letting them play the game for themselves?
Getting copies to industry insiders to get good word of mouth going?
And when that doesn't work...
I'm not sure who came up with the idea of the internet petition. It probably seemed like a very smart idea at the time.
Hey, you know what big corporations are totally going to listen to? That intarweb place that's obsessed with Rick Astley, Chuck Norris, and cats with speech impediments.
Screw those demographic studies and sales forecasts. There's a petition signed by random people.
I'm holding out hope that these guys find a publisher. It would finally prove that internet petitions are a valid form of expression.
This is just insane. An actually good game that people actually want to play can't get to the shelves because it's not the same shit they're already throwing at us.
But tomorrow, they're going to pop out eight more sequels to Imagine Babiez.
Because people are just buying those right up.
Except for the ones that try to convert kids to Islam.
Honestly, it's like the whole game development process has gone insane.
Next thing you know, someone will be threatening to blow up game developers for not making better games.