Tag Archives: mists of pandaria

Hyperbole and a bit: My quest to write again by writing about questing.

It is with grim determination and a small fizz of excitement I declare myself ready to leap back into the maelstrom of pop culture that was once the great glory of my internet postings. Mostly my posts will be focused on my books, my games and the various ways in which I employ the intertubes. I have something else planned too, but that will be the subject of another post.

My last goal having been my Masters degree, anything that isn’t strictly career focused is causing me spasms of disabling guilt. Despite my present short term goal being to get out of (some) debt and move out, my ego will not take any sort of leisure activity without braying me about the head with the anvil of ambition. That said, I am mastering this anxiety by writing about my perspective on the pop culture products I enjoy. My take will obviously be refreshing and new, a smack in the face of the status quo. Take that, things as they are!

So, one of my most recent terrible decisions is to achieve the Loremaster title in World of Warcraft. I got excited about the game again following a new expansion (Mists of Pandaria) that I find enjoyable and highly playable, rather than the previous expansion, which I found mostly the opposite. Painful and tedious, if you’re going to force me to choose antonyms.

I would be completely useless as a household applicance! Whee!

Hey guys, look at me! I don’t suck!

For the uninitiated, Loremaster is basically a quest to do quests. A quest is a tiny capsule of directed gameplay. A non-player character tells to you go and kill six of this, half a dozen of the other. Sometimes they’ll ask you to gather plants, go speak to someone else or watch them do things. At the end of this you get gold and some points.

Quests are generally a way of telling the story, and were something I never really bothered with. I don’t play games for stories, I read books for stories. I play games to hit things with axes and fire. Tiny pixellated folk bossing me about isn’t my idea of fun either. I’m a tiny green warrior, I don’t take your shit! And they give fewer experience points than rampaging through a dungeon of an afternoon. As a tiny green warrior, this is far more my cup of tea. While I do enjoy their directness (kill this guy!), quests just aren’t for me.

Look at my hair!

For the purposes of this post, this is me.

Why then, would I commit to doing the three thousand quests it takes to achieve the Loremaster title? In public? It boiled down to three things. I realised I was paying a monthly fee for a game in which I disregard the bulk of the content as boring. My wallet has decided that I will like quests whether I like it or not. Self induced Stockholm Syndrome seems by far the easiest way to go about this.

Secondly, I realised that having a title after your name is the most important thing ever. This realisation was forced by the writing of George R R Martin. Being Kingslayer is easy, Lannister, personally I’m aiming for Loremaster. That was an excerpt from the conversation Jaime Lannister and I will definitely have one day. At that revelation his head would turn and his eyes would shine in admiration, but he would never say anything, because he’s fictional. I could of course achieve a title by doing charity work or becoming a beacon of goodness in my community, but I’d rather smash the motherloving pixels out of some fictional monsters.

Thirdly a few of my friends have it. I cannot allow them to bask in this glory alone.

There’s a long way to go before my little goblin warrior gets to be Loremaster. Dozens of smaller achievements and tedious maps must be conquered before she can proudly declare herself accomplished in the arena of doing menial tasks for NPCs and crying at night over phased questing areas. It will be a long journey, but I’m sure her pixelated mind will rest a little easier knowing I am documenting her tiny stub legged journey. Also, she has a dragon. Nobody rests easier than a person with a dragon. Except maybe dragons.

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Really Blizzard?

The new Chuck Norris World of Warcraft Advertisement is only acceptable if we get something cool in game like the Mr. T Face Grenades. (They were actually called Night Elf Mohawk Grenades but my name is cooler.) They were ultimately useless but added a little something to the world. Like the alliance. (I kid, I kid!)

Mohawk isn't even a class! And Night Elves don't exist. My world is falling apart.

Blizzard’s strategy with celebrity endorsements appears to be to get angry men to frown into the camera and intimidate folk into playing the game. Evidence!


Chuck Norris punches your eyes with his face.

I’m Mr. T and I’m a Night Elf Mohawk

But even if there was a fun in game gadget, the advert would just be ok. Not great or funny or clever. Celebrities who probably never use a computer (like Mr. T and Chuck Norris) endorsing a computer game not only doesn’t make sense for obvious reasons, it’s condescending and weird. It’d be like Paul McCartney advertising McDonalds astride a cow. If Chuck Norris claimed to have a WoW subscription before they paid him money to say he does, I will eat my own head.

The two things that make this especially bad marketing are as follows:

Chuck Norris jokes are an old meme. They were old last year, and the year before that. Advertisers should either pick up new memes and use them in a sort of credible edgy way AND accept that by doing so they will kill them, OR they should leave them alone. Propping up a dead meme doesn’t reinforce my decision to subscribe. I’m mostly just upset this is how they spend my money. I’m surprised they haven’t tried Rick Astley. Maybe he isn’t macho enough. Maybe if he sang about “Never Going to Give Up Punching Things” he’d have more of a shot.

Chuck Norris holds some pretty repellent right wing views. He hates gays, loves guns and america and Jesus, all evidenced on that there linked page. While I find patriotism + guns + religion to be a pretty unwise mix, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with those views. His hatred of gays AND his vocal right wing political views alienate me. Old jokes + weird politics = bad marketing.

The Mr. T adverts at least rates a “Quite” on the badass scale. Chuck Norris rates a “Used to be.”

Response on WorldofWarcraft’s Youtube Page is mixed, at the moment.

Chuck Norris Jokes, you are OLD.

Chuck Norris, you are OLD.

The concept behind the ad campaigns is fine. Some of them are actually funny. The Ozzy Osbourne one in particular makes me happy. This is mostly because he’s represented as Horde and I’m fed of of Alliance getting all the awesome. It pleases me especially because there is footage of him in front of a computer, rather than just wandering around in-game.

This poor darling has it wrong, as it happens. I do share the sense of the injustice that few of these celebrities actually play the game. Rather, they enjoy the image it creates for them of “Kicker of Stuff”. (Walls mostly, in Chuck’s case. )

Verne Troyer talks about stuff you can actually do. Sure you can be a hunter like Chuck Norris, but you can’t do half the things he does in his game trailer And Mr. T was a class that doesn’t even exist.

Some celebrities actually do play and have talked about it. Mila Kunis (yes, her), Jonathan Ross and  Jane Goldman play together, according to their twitter accounts. This is surely better publicity than lame half-joke concepts executed using celebrities who probably never played a day in their lives before the money was offered.

I know I'm not the only one who thinks this would be amazing.

If we must have celebrities who don’t play, let’s at least have some diversity. I think Blizzard are just trying to overcompensate, a fact that Charlie Brooker articulates brilliantly in his piece on why CoD characters are dickheads:

What, exactly, are they overcompensating for? Well, for one thing, games are inherently wussy. The stereotype of the bespectacled dweeby gamer is an inaccurate cliche, but there’s no denying games are far from a beefy pursuit.

Macho ad-guys are the game worlds equivalent to a flashy sports car. ’nuff said.

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Mists of Pandaria

So, there’s going to be a new WoW expansion. With pandas. Perhaps Blizzard took an internet poll and found something that nobody could dislike after the disaster of Cataclysm and settled upon the fuzzy-wuzzy unlibidinous bamboo eating bear. Of course this being the internet, where people are honour bound to disagree, within minutes of the #mistsofpandaria hash tag appearing on Twitter, people were mocking the new race. Or they were outraged or upset or offended or aroused. Personally it looks to me like Blizz are screaming “Subscribers, come back, check out how cute we can be. This anthropmorphised animal might not have a dodgy accent or be faintly disturbing. Come baaaack!”

Dodgy accent

Wolf People: Dodgy Accent

Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum

Cow People: Faintly Disturbing

Dodgy Accent
Goat People: Dodgy Accent

Blizzard have announced it, no doubt, to calm the wave of “omg catacylms sux lol” since the last expansion, Cataclysm. The hardcore players got to level 85 hours after they’d started playing and realised there was nothing there when they arrived. I only experienced a tiny bit of end game raiding before my guild fell to bits and my Real Life got busy again. I did some of the new instances, which were, you know, fine. The dailies were tedious and gearing up, especially as a warlock, was prohibitively difficult. I can’t speak for PvP, but the PvE content was just…meh. There were zero wands ever. Ever. I enjoy a challenge, but I don’t enjoy a job. I understand that there are hardcore players who play hours and hours each day but I shouldn’t need to do that to be competent at raid level.

My grumbling about my own experiences aside, I’ll need to see more of Mists of Pandaria before I come to any real opinion. The new monk class should be interesting. I’d heard rumours of cloth melee even before Cataclysm was released. Somebody has probably already bookmarked Friar Tuck for their monk. Triar Fuck will be epic but short lived. I salute you, whoever you are.

Blizz need to curb their pop culture references for this expansion. If there’s a Kung Fu Panda joke in there anywhere I will be having words. I could probably argue that the whole thing is a Kung Fu Panda joke. The odd Monty Python reference in a quest objective is fine. Even some achievements or the odd NPC based on internet memes or films, great. When it starts becoming so obvious as to remove the immersive quality of the game, I start to get irritated. There’s a whole area and quest line devoted to Harrison Jones, the Indiana Jones spoof character. I could have watched Raiders of the Lost Ark instead of going to Uldum.

That’s to say nothing of the new pet battle system (pika?) another new talent system, and pandas. Did I mention pandas? There are going to be pandas. I can’t quite tell if I’m incredulous or excited but look:

Nope, still can't decide.

Pandaren: We Fight and Snack

Pandas. Pandas with beards. Really. I don’t even know. Pandas.

We can’t even get pandas to screw to save their species and Blizzard expects them to save all of Azeroth from a murderous dragon. Madness.

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