Destiny 2: Why Is It Free?

I’ll give you a quick answer to why it’s being given out for free: because it sucks. Well, at least it has a strong reputation for sucking and the hope is that maybe just maybe people will try it for free and then buy the expansion for it. Free is the best way to convince people that bad PR doesn’t mean the game is bad. So let’s get as much people to download it and keep the free game because at least then we can brag about how many people have downloaded our game.

I kept hearing people say “I won’t even get it if it’s free it’s so bad.” I like free things and I’m willing to give any game a try especially if it’s free. So I did. And I lasted just after the starting area to decide that there was nothing that I liked about the game. It had a rocky start, as I was trying to stream my adventures only to realize for some reason XSplit wasn’t working with it. Then it locked up on me.. maybe 4 times in 10 minutes as I was trying to get started on the game. Maybe I went into it with a biased point of view after those miserable first minutes, but I really really tried to keep an open mind about it.

I play FPS games. I’m not even too terrible at them. I found the aiming to be jittery even after messing with the sensitivity. (I’m a low sensitivity player when it comes to shooters). Maybe the game just wasn’t made for my pickiness when it came to sensitivity. I found the entire game to be jittery and I didn’t like it. I don’t like menus that shake on me when I’m trying to use them. Most of my problems with the game are probably UI related. Then I created what I thought looked like a really cool character, only I couldn’t figure out how to turn the character to really get a good look at her. Nope. Strike 2? (I’m losing count at how much I hate about the game even before I really get started playing.)

My son, who had already hit max level with his game needed to come over to help me. This was the down point of the game. The map wasn’t popping up with my objective on it and there was no indication of what I was supposed to be doing at several points in that starting area. By the 5th time he needed to come over to help, I had already given up on the game. Maybe I’ll pick it up when I’m bored sometime… but probably not.

So to those who are asking “Why Destiny 2 is free?”, there is your answer. I didn’t find the story compelling. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you anything about the story aside from your home has been destroyed. The graphics are mildly pretty and the landscape is decent to look at. I enjoyed that there was some difficulty in shooting the enemies and my patience wore out quickly waiting for them to come out of hiding so I could shoot them. I saw my son and husband play the first one and I thought I could totally get into that. This one is a shadow of that game; a money grab out of hopes that people would have the same awesome reaction as it did for the first one. Or at least purchase the second game just because they liked the first one without any concern if they were putting out crap because at least they got their money. It’s still free for a few more days (November 18th is the last day), so you can give it a try. But don’t say no one tried to warn you.

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Was WoW Classic the Home We Were Promised?

Prior to this weekend at Blizzcon, we knew that there would be a playable demo that digital ticket holders would receive. When the demo was first unlocked, there was a time limit to play. Now there isn’t. I played about 2 hours of the demo, a little on each side. I’ll continue to play to enjoy the demo while I still have it. But the question that we all were wondering was “Could we really go home again?”

The first toon I created was a Human priest, the OG Leighanneore. I did have a couple toons that I created before settling on her. One was an Undead rogue, but that got boring quickly. I went to the Alliance side to those cool looking elves, trying out the druid. Again, I wasn’t quite feeling it. I was starting to think that maybe this game wasn’t for me when I first got the game. I was ready to give up. I decided to try a Human priest. I wasn’t quite sure what made me go that route, but my gut told me to. Since that time, over a decade ago, I have remained loyal to my Human priest though the Void Elf makes it really hard to stick to. But if nothing else, I’m loyal.

Naturally when trying out the demo, my first character was a Human priest. After creating (recreating?) Leighanneore, who looks much different back then (maybe it’s all the war and saving the world that has made her younger and prettier), I was boosted to level 15 and dropped down into Westfall. I groaned. I really hated Westfall. Those gnolls and murlocs have a way of never stopping their chase after you and aggroing entire camps of them even if you’re not even close. At first, I took the same approach that I did leveling her as holy. I slowly grabbed one mob at a time and slowly holy’ed them to death. Until I remembered that I had Mind Blast at that level, which made things go a lot quicker. I would dot something to pull it only to remember that back then, dots didn’t matter. My mobs would get stolen left and right and no one would group with me to help. They didn’t care. It was just like Vanilla.

Then there were the people who you could instantly tell never played Vanilla in its true form. They were mass pulling entire camps as hunters, only to die because this is Vanilla not BFA. It was all fun and games until the hunter would feign death and the innocent bystander killing gnolls in my own little corner would die because of their stupidity. They didn’t learn; they continued to do it. Those guys are never going to last when Classic does come out. It’s going to be great.

I did die a lot. It felt like home. There was something comforting in the frustration that I had to actually read quests now. Mostly because back in those days, we didn’t have the quests pop up on the map to tell us where to go. We just had to read to figure it out and when we couldn’t, there was this really awesome site called “thottbot” where we would stalk to figure it out. Or, the classic dungeon guides and books. Yes, we had to read back then. It was awesome.

Then I realized that it was exactly what I had hoped it would be. In the live game, I can mindlessly grind without any real effort being put into the game. You can see that from how quickly I level my characters up. People didn’t have 20 alts in Vanilla. You barely had time for the 1 that you had. You couldn’t hit 20 levels in a day. You couldn’t just spam dungeons in the LFG. You actually had to go to an LFG channel in chat to look for groups. You actually had to zone into a dungeon, which sometimes meant killing elites to get into them. You couldn’t just pull every mob in the area, even with a group especially at lower levels. It was hard. You had to farm and farm to get money, not just have 1000 drop from completing world quests. It was exactly what I wanted.

I was scared that they were going to give us something half-assed; something that would appease the people who only heard of Vanilla in stories. I desperately wanted them to give us that experience that made fans fall in love with the game. Where you formed friendships and bonds with people from all over. Where you need to work together for goals. Being an introvert, I like being able to do my own thing on my own terms with people I just like hanging out with. Back then, I was forced out of my comfort zone to complete “end-game content”. It was great for me because I had to communicate with others to complete goals. I created friends in the later part of Vanilla/early BC, some of which I still talk to all of the time.

They didn’t. They stayed true to the spirit of Vanilla with WoW: Classic and as a long-time fan of the series, I’m so excited. I could play the demo all day and not get bored. I like being frustrated every time a mob kills me out of nowhere. I like that I can’t just keep dotting everything until they die. I’d like to thank the team for being so passionate about doing this for fans. I’d like to thank them for reminding some of us veterans of the game why we love it. Even when we hate it.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll probably be streaming a little bit more of the demo while it’s still around. Right now the first stream is archived on Twitch but it will be uploaded to YouTube by tomorrow.

Standing by Your Team

I am a Boston Uprising fan. (Most Boston teams, in fact. Grats on the World Series Red Sox despite the act I hate baseball.) I backed the team when the whole “Pedo” incident happened, which was easy to do since they cut him not long after the allegations were made public. It was easy to do. They were my team and I was in it for the long haul. I wasn’t a pink hatter. I was going to root for them even if they Shanghai’d for the rest of the season. They didn’t; then went undefeated in Stage 3. They surprised everyone by making it into the Playoffs, finishing the season in 3rd place when everyone thought they would be in last.

There was a rumor about one team having an extreme amount of drama going on, a team that wasn’t the Dallas Fuel. It turns out, that team was my beloved Uprising. A report came out about the treatment of players on the team, specifically when it came to the Korean players. Going into the first season, fans feared HuK would be a problem. He didn’t have the most solid reputation in the gaming world. In fact, he had a pretty poor reputation in eSports.

As a Patriots fan, I’m used to the man Coach Bill Belichick. A man who has been known to have questionable morals when it comes to winning. A man who sometimes toes the line and more often than he should, crosses said line. He makes decisions that we view as harsh and criticize because we don’t understand. It usually works out, but sometimes it doesn’t (/cough Butler). He has a reputation for being aggressive and stubborn and harsh. But, he has built a championship team that has shown results that maybe his way works.

I’m not sure if HuK was inspired by Belichick’s ways or if Kraft wanted him to be like the championship coach. Or if the Kraft family hired him because they reminded him of the coach of their championship team. Whatever the case may be, the allegations against him are tough to read. While there is nothing there that is blatantly against the rules, it toes the line. The fact that we went undefeated in Stage 3 with all of this going on seems incredible to me. Maybe his way can be effective. The story about Striker raging so hard that he constantly broke peripherals was shocking to me, but if things were that bad you can’t blame him. Striker is a passionate player and I hope that he says despite the issues on the team.

I hope that we have Gamsu as our MT still. I don’t want them gone. I don’t want to have that gut punch of Neko appearing in the Toronto Defiant reveal. I knew it was coming, but seeing it stung a little. The rumor is that HuK is trying to get rid of all of the Korean players, which would be a huge mistake. Striker, aside from SBB, is easily a top Tracer. He has shown to be awesome on pretty much every other player they put him on as well. He’s solid, aggressive, and he puts every ounce of his soul into the matches. Papa Gamsu is, in my opinion, the face and leader of the team. The main tank who may not be as strong on Reinhardt, but is arguably a top main tank anyways. I hope they stay and #RiseUp from this behind the scenes drama.

I stand by my team. Do I stand by HuK? If all of these allegations are true, absolutely not. My hope is that this whole thing either makes the Uprising reconsider his position on the team or makes HuK re-evaluate the way he does things. I would love it if we could start season 2 without this dark cloud hanging over our team. I hope that the housing situation gets better for the team. Maybe with the $225,000 prize money, they could invest in better facilities for the team or offer them better benefits. Or, give them a raise or bonus. I also want to see Neko succeed in Toronto because he was definitely an incredible Zenyatta that deserves a lot more credit than he received.

The OWL Roster Announcements are Slowly Coming In

Fans have been anxiously waiting for their teams to announce the finishing touches on their rosters for the upcoming season, which doesn’t start soon enough in my book. Like most fans, I want to know what my team is going to look like in S2. I want to watch the streams of new players to see if they are the missing link that would have gotten us further in the playoffs. The early estimates once again put Boston Uprising in the lower seeds of the rankings, but again I think they are going to be severely underrated. However, I’m just going on my ride or die relationship with my Boston teams. So let’s look at what we do know.

In a surprising but not-so surprising move, SoOn is no longer with the LA Valiant. The rumor has been floating around for a long time that he’s going to end up on the Paris OWL roster, though that hasn’t happened yet. He may be a little on the streaky side, but when the guy is on fire he can be very deadly. We know that Shanghai Dragons are in the process of completely gutting out and redoing their team. The Dragons went in as fan favorites and surprisingly despite not winning one game, still had the hearts of fans. I look forward to seeing the changes. The Spitfire sent Closer to Dallas, a solid support that Dallas could certainly use. Though, I would have loved to have him on Boston.

Speaking of Boston, much like other teams they have been very tight lipped about the moves. They slowly trickle out information, but this has primarily been coaching staff changes. As of now, our only official roster is NotE, Gamsu, Striker, Kellex, Neko, and AimGod. There are rumors of Neko being the next to go, which doesn’t make me happy. It’s one of those “In HuK We Trust” statements that we grit our teeth saying as we do when we say “In Belichick We Trust” when the Patriots make a roster move that we find stupid. Neko is a solid performer and a fantastic Zenyatta to watch. On Ana, he had one of the highest sleep numbers in the league. In fact, I want to say that I remember he had the most sleeps but I can’t say that for certain and I can’t seem to find that statistic. Losing him could be a very big mistake. (Sorry, poor choice of words but it was really the best one there.)

Then there are rumors of shopping Striker around to other teams. Striker! That cute, lovable, and sensitive kid. When he cried, it almost made me cry. He played his heart out every time that he went out there. He had fun. He upset Pine in the Widow vs. Widow battle but lost to Carpe, which also would have been a respectable loss. The idea of losing Striker is more ridiculous to me than getting rid of Neko. I would even argue that it would be just as stupid to lose NotE and Gamsu, who both have become the face of our team. The rumored pick-ups are just rumors, but Colourhex is an addition to the team that I’m pretty excited about. Asking can be a great pickup too. But the core of NotE, Striker, and Gamsu should be held together. I don’t want to see Neko gone, but AimGod is a decent player with arguably better stats. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Until then, I’ll be frantically checking the Competitive Overwatch subreddit to stalk my team. I don’t want to be surprised. I want to see the shocking changes that Kraft teams are known for at this point before they hit me.

The Great Gnome Race

The minute that I saw the micro holiday event of “The Great Gnomeregan Run”, I knew that was something that I needed to do. For the most part, I don’t really bother too much with these micro holidays, especially after the first time. This one? This one needed to happen. I imagined the rows of RPers taking this a little too far, but isn’t that part of the fun? I got on my Dark Iron, in hopes to squeeze out a little extra XP to get to 110 for my heritage armor. (So far, 106. Not bad in the short time I’ve dedicated to her.) It granted 20k, which was a bit more than a single Legion quest and I received exploration XP. Not too bad.

I admit that I used my flying mount to cheese my way through it. At some point I joined a group, but they were moving at a turtle speed to the finish. (No seriously, they made everyone mount up on a turtle.) I quickly decided that this went far beyond my RP limit and left to hurry up with this event to see if the XP was worth my time. It may not have been, but it was an interesting break from the grind.

What this micro holiday did accomplish was showing how much detail the design team is capable of adding into anything. The fireworks every time that you cleared a gate. The tables with water for the “runners”. The road blocks and rows of gnomes cheering you on as if this were a serious marathon. It was cute. It was really really cute. (I wish I had time to stream myself completing the event, because it was hilariously fun.) As I described how cute it was to my husband, he said “well, maybe the guy in charge of that team should be leading the WoW Development team.” He’s a reformed WoW player, who gave up after the 1st raid of Legion due to raiding again turning him off of the game. I haven’t actively raided since defeating the Heroic Lich King and received both ICC achievement mounts. Things happened, completely turning me off of the hardcore raiding thing. I nearly quit the game, feeling it was ruined for me. I didn’t. I went back to a core of players that were genuinely fun to be around and who have also been reformed raiders.

He may be right. I love BFA, but I wondered if I could love it more. I love the Allied races, as someone who is a confirmed alt-aholic. I love the island expeditions, but I gave them up for the sake of alts. Because I love alts more. I do the warfronts and the quests because those are also fun, but my character has hit a point where aside from going back to raiding there is nothing really for me to do. I’m exalted with all the new factions. The only quest zone I found fun to level in on the Alliance side was Drustvar. I haven’t played Horde yet, (but I just may level my Nightborne all of the way to despite swearing not to touch 110 alts until flying) so I can’t say whether or not the Horde side had a better story. From what I saw in Beta though, the Horde side had a more cohesive and entertaining story. Though listening to Bwonsamdi every time I die is not something I want to experience again.

I’m not even sure what they could have done to improve the experience. The time-gating is lame, but I get why they do it. Could it be less annoying? Sure. But I’m happy with it since it gives me more time on alts. Maybe give a cooler story line for Stormsong, which was the most annoying zone for me. Maybe they could have also made getting turtle rep more worth it. The Jaina storyline was awesome, and Taelia’s was also pretty interesting. I can’t wait to see where that goes. But Stormsong was meh, at best. It could have been more interesting if it didn’t feel so disjointed. Drustvar was all about the witches. Every quest revolved around the Heartsbane. The story with House Waycrest was interesting and the instance that completed it was also well-designed. Tiragarde Sound was about fighting pirates and Lady Ashvane, as well as Jaina’s and Taelia’s story. But Stormsong? That was all about Tidesages who turned evil. And fighting the Horde. And fighting the Naga. And helping the turtles. It was like they had all of these things that they wanted to do and just tossed them together in Stormsong. It makes sense, in a way. They had to introduce the Queen Azshara story somehow. That was the main storyline of the zone, but I thought that gets lost in every other storyline they tossed in the zone.

With new content coming in the near future, maybe things will turn around. But for now, I still stand loyally by this game that has offered me way too many hours of entertainment.

Do We Really Want WoW Vanilla Back?

I was at the grocery store recently and I noticed that they had Count Chocula in stores. (And Boo Berry… and Franken Berry…) I was excited to have a taste of my childhood, though I was always a bigger fan of Honey Nut Cheerios. Those other cereals were way too sweet for me and even today I tend to avoid overly sweet treats, since I feel so nauseated and lightheaded after eating them. Naturally, I bought them for nostalgia factor. I sat down while knitting and decided I wanted to try them to see if they were exactly how I remembered them. After a quick, small handful, I decided that they were exactly how I remembered them. Which was sad to me because they were completely disgusting to me now. I actually spit it out. The kids loved it. Maybe I had just outgrown this treat that became extinct in my childhood or built it up to be something better in my memories than it actually was.

I may have gotten into the World of Warcraft game late, but I did manage to get in before the game had any expansions. After trying a few characters, I settled on a Human Priest. I struggled through quests as a holy priest, making a lot of friends along the way because everyone loved a pocket healer that could actually heal. Eventually, I made it into a top guild on the server as a healer and got to experience the magic of end-game content at a competitive level. It was intense. The content was hard. I missed the “Opening of the Gates”, but I spent countless hours wiping on raids even clearing the original Naxx. I can reminisce with the sentiment of “I remember when content was really hard”. That’s not to say that the Burning Crusade content wasn’t difficult, but when compared to the original game it wasn’t really that bad.

As the game went on and after a couple of less than stellar expansions, people began lamenting for the “good ol’ days” of Vanilla. Vanilla servers popped up, giving people the ability to relive the time before the game was tarnished by “casuals”. These were short-lived as Blizzard quickly shut them down. Then Blizzard listened to the masses: they promised us Vanilla servers! The veterans of the game rejoiced, excited to relive the game. Everyone who played the original was excited to relive the glory days. New players were excited to see why people kept saying “I miss vanilla”.

But is this what we really want? We’ve grown from those days. I’m certainly not the same person I was 10 (::cough:: or so) years ago. Will I be as disappointed reliving this experience as I was when I took that bite of Count Chocula? Or will it be as natural and entertaining as it can be watching classic 90s cartoons like Rugrats? In about a month, we’ll find out. People who are at Blizzcon, or who purchased a digital ticket, get to try out the demo of WoW: Classic when Blizzcon starts. Yes, I will be streaming the experience. I’m afraid to go back because I don’t want my memories of the original game to be destroyed. But, what if it really is as good as I remember?

 

The Thing About Alts

The reason why I have a great time playing WoW is that I like the grind. I like leveling alts up. I don’t necessarily have the taste or desire to do anything really hardcore anymore. Time and real life responsibilities can get in the way of that anyways. I’m a very goal oriented person. I like setting goals and I get an incredible high off of completing them, in both real life goals and in games. That’s why I like doing challenges like NaNoWriMo. I like the challenge. I like being told that I can’t do it, only to not-so humbly shove it in their faces when I do. That’s just who I am.

The thing that is so great about alts is that you can relive an experience. Maybe when you speed through the levels to get maxed quickly, you don’t stop and experience the game. With alts, there’s no rush or pressure to get up there quickly. You can enjoy content anew. You can speed through areas you hate. The new system where you can choose where you want to level rather than being forced into one area is awesome. I never have to level in Burning Crusade ever again. If only I could get out of leveling in Warlords of Draenor, which is in my opinion the worst of the expansions to level in. Even if I do have flying, it’s still annoying. The instances are awful. The zones are well-designed but the whole place is boring with annoying quests. The only redeeming quality is the XP pots you can use to level quicker and the ability to use garrison missions to farm up XP for you. And that you can now farm herbs/mine to level up quicker. Which is why all of my toons now have mining/herbalism. Should they all get to level 120, I may end up rolling in the gold from the ore/herbs.

You can make the game into any experience that you want. I like Allied races because I like how I feel there’s this incredible story to them. Sure, I used to kill Dark Irons while leveling in Vanilla but now I can be a Dark Iron killing the same Vanilla Dark Irons. I can be a Nightborne, something I have been dying to be since first meeting the race in Suramar. I can be an Alliance character one day and the next see the other side of the story on the Horde. I don’t feed into this us vs. them mentality that a lot of players immerse themselves in when they play. (Much like I don’t feed into this in real life politics.) And I still have fun.

My first alt order of business, if you’ve been following my stream, is my Dark Iron. I was on my Nightborne, until the Dark Irons were able to be unlocked and now I’ll work on that until at least I get my heritage armor set. I’ll probably go back to the Nightborne to at least get my heritage armor for her. Then I’ll have to make a decision of which Horde character I need to start farming on so I can be ready for the Zandalari troll release because I need one of those in my life. I don’t want to go priest again. So my choices will end up being my BELF Pally, my Troll Furby/boomkin, or my Undead or Nightborne Mage. My instinct is one of the mages, but we’ll see when I get there. If you have any suggestions for me, let me know. Otherwise you can see me failing my way through WoW (and sometimes Overwatch) on my stream, which is linked on the sidebar.