Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Overwatch 2

I did play a little of Overwatch 2 when it launched. It's been a long while since I played Overwatch, well before role locks.

I have mixed feelings about the role locks. I pretty much ended playing as a support in all of my games. I kind of feel bad about playing a DPS or tank, and then playing poorly. At least support fewer people want to play.

5v5 is interesting as well. It feels faster-paced than 6v6. I also liked the new Push mode where you have a robot pushing something on both sides of the map. It's a very nice visual representation of progress, especially when you have a game where the robot is flipping from side to side a lot.

Of course, the main topic around Overwatch these days is monetization. Overwatch 2 basically flips the monetization model on its head from Overwatch 1. Overwatch 1 was basically "buy-the-box, earn loot, optionally purchase more loot". Overwatch 2 is "game is free, but you have to buy battle-passes and purchase cosmetics". Probably the various laws against lootboxes from Europe also played a part in this decision. Theoretically you can earn some stuff by playing, but you have to play quite a bit.

To be honest, I think Overwatch 2 should have gone all in. Don't offer the theoretical path, just expect people to pay. Free players get nothing other than the base game, and new heroes only after the season ends. I think that would have at least ended most of the arguments in the community. Rather than the current state where half the community complains about it being too difficult to "earn" rewards, but doesn't want to pay for anything.

I don't know. I'm just tired of people who play for free whining that the game company isn't catering to them enough. Tired of incessant monetization arguments everywhere you look in the game community.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022


So I haven't been writing much lately. I also haven't been playing much either. I haven't bought Dragonflight, or even logged in since the pre-patch. No Jellycat or whatever for me.

I don't know if I will either. Shadowlands was really, really bad story-wise. Mechanically, I thought it was okay, but I think that opinion is out of step with the rest of the community. So I'm not excited in the least for Dragonflight.

Perhaps the real issue is my guild. I like my guild and the people in it. But since I moved to the East coast, I can't really raid with them. I guess I'm not looking forward to trying to find a new guild either.

Or I don't know. I haven't really played any other games in this drought. I got a new job about six months ago, and I think that is taking a lot of my mental energy, though not really my time.

Are you excited for Dragonflight?

Monday, November 07, 2022

Twitter Warcraft Story

Blizzard is running a pretty neat tie-in on Twitter: #WarcraftStory. If you tweet

Character Name 





They'll generate a small story and graphic from your armoury and achievements.

Here's mine for Coriel:

It's a pretty nice use of Twitter and social media. Almost perfectly suited for the medium. Well done by the devs and community team.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Canada Day Updates

Happy Canada Day,  everyone!

World of Warcraft

I haven't been playing much. I've pretty much just been logging in to send out missions. My convenant people are level 55/56, and I would like to get them all to 60.

Final Fantasy XIV

I finished leveling Red Mage and Dancer to 90. I did the final Shadowbringers role quests and capstone quest. It was quite good.

I also did the role quests for Endwalker. I really like these quests where the story goes back to the different nations and looks at the challenges of peace, of the repercussions for the changes that happened in the MSQ.

Lost Ark

I've also been playing a little Lost Ark, though I've kind of stopped recently. It's a fun ARPG MMO-style game from Korea. It has a variety of different classes (gender-locked, though). The gameplay is pretty good. The story is more or less what you would expect from a Korean game, but is decent enough.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Server Merges in WoW Classic

It looks like WoW Classic is actually going to do server merges in preparation for Wrath of the Lich King. Shintar has a good post on the changes. It's a pretty big change for Blizzard, as they've always avoided server merges in the past. 

It will be interesting to see how they handle names, especially for the people still playing on the smaller servers. It's quite likely that their names will already be taken on the larger server that they will be transferred to, possibly by a character who is no longer subscribed.

Hopefully they do something like the subscriber keeps the name if a non-subscriber has it. Still, for the subscriber vs subscriber case, I bet there will be a lot of complaints.

I'm generally in favour of experiments, so good for Blizzard for trying something different.

One experiment I'd like to see--maybe with the next Season of Mastery--is very strong faction and server balance restrictions. If the Horde or Alliance gets more than 1% larger, lock the larger faction, preventing new players to the server from making characters. Similarly keep the server populations in lockstep, and prevent mega-servers from forming. Disallow faction transfers. Have these restrictions be based on the number of accounts that played in the last week or so.

Blizzard has always shied away from things like this, except when a server is truly overloaded. They've felt that it's better to live with unbalanced servers than have friends be unable to play with each other. But I think Classic has shown that the playerbase will actively make balance problems worse. So I think it's worth experimenting and seeing what happens if balance is enforced, and mega-servers are prevented from coming into being.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

First Impressions of Diablo: Immortal

First off, I'm not going to discuss monetization in this post. I've observed before that F2P ends up poisoning the conversation around the game, and I'd like to to discuss the game itself. As well, I'm still pretty low level, and haven't reached a point where the monetization actually impacts me.

Diablo: Immortal is a Free-2-Play mobile phone/tablet game, though it does have a PC version. The PC version is technically a beta, but as character data is shared between mobile and PC, it's live for all intents and purposes.

Now, I don't actually play any games on my phone. But I decided to try D:I on the phone given that it's the native environment. I have an iPhone X, so a couple generations behind the very latest. The game ran pretty well. Controls are fairly straightforward and easy to use. Your left thumb controls a "joystick" for movement, and your right thumb presses the attack and ability buttons.

However, after about 5-10 minutes, my phone got uncomfortably hot. I'm not sure if this is normal, or if it's just a little too old, or if I should have turned down the settings. But in any case, I removed D:I from my phone and installed it on PC. Everything carried over, so I picked up where I left off.

Diablo: Immortal is a somewhat simplified Diablo III. Most of the classes and abilities are very similar to D3 abilities. However, there's only one primary attack, and 4 extra abilities, plus one ultimate ability. No runes modifying abilities so far. Abilities appear to be cooldown-based so far.

I'm playing a Crusader. Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Wizard, and Necromancer are also available.

The story is very Diablo, featuring many characters from the series. It's also rather grim, maybe aiming a little more towards Diablo II. It's pretty standard, you're chasing down and trying to destroy Shards of the Worldstone, which are being used by a variety of bad guys. For now I'm just following the main questline, but there are dungeons, bounties and a couple types of rifts you can also do.

D:I is kind of an MMO, but one where playing with others is very optional (at least so far). For example, you see other people when running around in the world, and you can opt to do dungeons and rifts with others using automated match-making. But if you don't want to play with others, you can do the dungeons and rifts solo.

The UI is interesting. It's obviously meant for mobile. So for example, there's no right-click or drag-and-drop in the UI. Everything is button-based. It does have a nice feature where gear and menu items have a red gem on them if you can do something with them.

You can upgrade rare items and gems. In a nice twist, if you equip a new item, you can automatically "transfer" the upgraded level and gems.

Diablo: Immortal is clearly a mobile game. The graphics are decent enough, but obviously meant for mobile. It's lacking a lot of the bells and whistles that a PC game would have. For example, it doesn't have destructible barrels and jars, which is pretty traditional for Diablo.

If you feel like playing more Diablo, give Diablo:Immortal a whirl.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

The Creation Catalyst

This tier, Blizzard introduced a mechanic to help with Tier gear: the Creation Catalyst.

Previously, the problem with Tier sets was that you could be unlucky and never get Tier to drop for you. Or perhaps worse, you have Tier shoulders, and a higher item-level non-Tier shoulders drop, and you have to choose between the set bonus or discarding the higher level item.

The Creation Catalyst pretty much solves all the issues with Tier. Once a week, you can transform a non-Tier item into the Tier item of the same item level. It's pretty much the equivalent of allowing you to purchase a Tier item of any slot at the rate of one per week.

So the first couple of times you use the Creation Catalyst, it's to finish off your 4-piece set bonus. Then after that, you can start transforming upgrades, always keeping your set bonus.

It even allows solo-players or non-raiders to get their Tier set bonus. You can transform the Zerith Mortis rewards into Tier, so you should get your set bonus in 4 weeks.

All in all, the Creation Catalyst was an excellent mechanic that solves many of the issues with Tier set bonuses. I hope it is carried forward for future content.