Friday, November 1, 2019

Bits And Pieces

Just a few things on this overcast and rainy Friday afternoon...

The Five Game Challenge

This has been bouncing around the blogosphere for a few days now. I won't link to all the posts I've seen on it, just to the one that introduced me to the idea, this piece at Time To Loot. Naithan has gone further than anyone else I've seen in that he's not only writing about which five games he'd play - he's actually playing them.

He's only undertaking to stick to the five for a month, not the year of the original proposal, but it's a bold move all the same. Or at least it would seem to be, given most peoples' reaction to the concept - sheer horror.

My take is somewhat different. My first thought was "Five? Who needs that many?".

For quite a few years I only really played one game at a time, with a second and very occasionally a third in reserve. For example, I played EverQuest about forty hours a week every week for quite a while, which didn't leave a huge amount of time to play anything else.

That said, I was always very curious to try new MMORPGs as soon as I could get my hands on them, so I did a lot of beta testing. Before World of Warcraft opened the floodgates I also bought most of the new, boxed MMORPGs as they appeared, just to try them out. There weren't that many.

I'm not sure I'd call that "playing", though. In most cases I was investigating and asessing, trying to get an overview, an understanding of the genre. I wasn't really looking for entertainment or fun although it was always nice when I found some. Once I started a blog the invetigative element only increased. I play a lot more games now than I did back then but my main motivation is to get blog posts out of them, not to amuse myself.

If I had to keep to five games I wouldn't. I'd limit myself to just three: EverQuest, EverQuest II and Guild Wars 2. That would keep me plenty busy for twelve months. I might even get to the level cap in EQ, sort out all my prestige houses in EQ2 and maybe even finish the original storyline in GW2. I've only been avoiding it for seven years...

IntPiPoMo 2019

It's that time of year again! Chestnut put the entry form up yesterday. The full details are here but for anyone who doesn't know how it works, the short version is that you try to post fifty pictures during November because a picture is worth a thousand words and people doing NaNoWriMo are trying to write fifty thousand of those, so it's the same!

I know which I'd rather do. I'm all signed up and ready to go.


Most years this flies right past me. I'm not a Blizzard fan. World of Warcraft is the only Blizzard game I've ever played and compared to many other MMORPGs I haven't even played that one very much.

This year does look pretty hard to dodge, though. Wilhelm has a good preview up in which he suggests that we could see as many as six new titles announced. That would be astonishing.

It seems pretty likely that there will be at least three: Diablo IV, Overwatch 2 and the next WoW expansion. I'm always curious to see where WoW's going next but seeing as I never even played the boxed copy of Legion I got it's a fairly notional kind of curiosity. Diablo, I couldn't care less about.

The one that really interests me is Overwatch 2. As I understand it, Overwatch was the game Blizzard canibalized from the wreckage of Project Titan, their proposed second MMORPG. I know they won't be going back to the abandoned plan but rumor has it the new Overwatch may cleave towards narrative and PvE, which would be something of a step back in the original direction.

Worth following developments there, at least.

Then there's Classic, which I'm still playing although I'm not sure for how much longer. Will Blizzard reveal a plan for managing what's now looking very much like a split in the I.P.? Or will they want to keep all focus on the expansion?

Last but definitely not least, there's the potential disruption of protests by the Boycott Blizzard movement. Has that run out of steam  or is there still enough pent-up, explosive force left to wreck the whole event? And do Blizzard have the wherewithal to handle it if something big kicks off? Experience would certainly suggest otherwise.

Looks like a Blizzcon worth watching, whether you play the games or not.


  1. When I saw the five game challenge being floated, my initial thought was, "What would the other three be?" The last couple of months I have really only been playing two games. I guess if I extend that definition to mobile, I can include Pokemon Go.

    BlizzCon will be interesting for sure. PCGamer is live blogging the protest outside. The initial report I saw listed the count as "over a dozen" but has risen to "25-30" protesters. They are giving out free t-shirts, which is a good move to increase their perceived presence. But if that is all they have then it won't have much impact. We'll see if they have any disruptions planned for inside BlizzCon.

    1. Well, we know now it's one new game, one kind of fudged new game/expansion and two expansions. Still a lot of stuff.

      Thirty people is not a protest in my book. Three hundred, maybe, but not thirty. Thirty is something an event on this scale can easily ignore. They chose not to do that, though, presumably because a lot more than thirty people actually stopped giving them money. The way J Allan Brack's demi-apology has been reported, though, sounds like pure PR-speak to me. A real victory for the boycott would be some change in the contractual relationships, not some worthy promises to "do better".

      As he says, we'll have to judge them by their actions. The problem with that is that the actions we'll be judging them by will be the ones they choose to let us see and I imagine they'll be a bit more careful about waht those are from now on.

  2. My prediction for Blizzcon - there will be protestors, they'll do something disruptive that will get plenty of coverage in the gaming press (if only because sections of that press have written themselves into a whole narrative about it in advance), and they will be a tiny and unrepresentative fraction of the public at Blizzcon (which said sections of the gaming press will gloss over).

    There will be rather more people there aren't actively protesting but will jump on the hate and disappointment bandwagon given the slightest excuse. Basically, it will be a tough crowd.

    1. Well, so far it looks like the official "apology" is what's gettign the press rather than the protests but there's a long time to go yet. As for the crowd, I suspect all the new toys being promised will keep the mood positive. People like new stuff.

  3. Rambling Redshirt has taken on the challenge for 12 weeks in a slightly modified 5+1 format. The 5 being as originally written, the +1 being a brand new untested title. (In his case, the new Funcom horror title.)

    A month should really be quite easy, really. I'm hopeful easy enough to then kick in for a second month. And so on.

    But if I'm going to break -- I think it might be to Avorion. Or possibly Everspace -- two titles I'd started getting into a little right before the challenge. Or maybe Death Stranding on PS4 -- but I'm helped on that front by the confirmation that it will be coming to PC next year, so may likely hold out for it there -- challenge or no challenge! :)

    1. I confess I'm a bit puzzled as to what the people actually enacting what was intended as a thought experiment are aiming to achieve. Is it just a test of mental fortitude? Or is it an excuse to cut back on behavior that, at some level, already felt problematic? Hard for me to judge since I don't habitually buy and play a lot of games anyway.

    2. Can't speak for RR or anyone else who might choose to actually enact it, but you hit it in one for me. It is the challenge of it, just to see. I don't think its problematic to enjoy a range of games, nor to have solid focus on a singular title to the exclusion of all else. Those extremes and everything in the middle is fine.

      But I know I'm not up to having a go at NaNoWriMo this year -- but this might be something I can do instead.


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