Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thoughts on the $40 pet sale weekend

Alternate Title: I Liked It Better When It Was Called ...  (Props to Maddox) ... Team Fortress 2.

Since we're all in the habit now of not innovating anything and just borrowing from everything else and amplifying it, the title seems fitting.  Hollywood does it.  Hey, we do it in gold making, so why not?

I sat through most of Blizzcon on Saturday, and caught up on the Friday stream, because you know, well, I work for a living.  I've got to be critical of this Blizzcon, even though I don't really want to be because I always like Blizzcon.  This year however was different, and outside of the damned Grommloc pet, I think the price did not deliver the value I was looking for.  So in total, I got about 3-4 hours of entertainment that I was looking for and a pet. 

If I went to the movies, that would be $20 for the four hours, and a souvenir worth $20.  I'm not complaining, but the money I used to buy this stream was earned during a bad day at the office, so now I'm bitter.  This is also an awful comparison because movies tend to cost about $50 million to make and I get to see them for $10.  Blizzcon is not a $50 million feature movie, and this year was a pet sale because Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft were really brushed aside.

Maybe if I read a schedule.  Yeah, that's it.  Wrong answer.  I've always been guaranteed several things out of Blizzcon, so I don't need to read.  For about 6 years you got content on Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft.  This time the content was reduced by a truckload because of Heroes and this new title they're producing - Overwatch.  I know all of you care deeply about these new titles because you have long associations with them and their development, and long hours have been laid awake in bed wondering, nay hoping, that they will be everything you hope them to be.

But in reality, Team Fortress 3 is just that.  Same concept, except with a talking monkey.  In glasses.  Who seems to get really pissed off and break everything in the room.  I take it back, talking monkeys are awesome, where do I insert my $50, $95 for collectors edition which will probably come with a hat because TF2?

Actually, no.  Team Fortress 2 from Valve was a microtransaction beast with dozens/hundreds of items available for amounts that made the D3 RMAH look reasonable.  Here's how this development came to be:  "People love our company, and no matter what we do we have about seven million loyalists who insert quarters faithfully.  People also buy anything we put in our store.  People love transmog, they like to be special unique snowflakes.  We've done RTS, ARPG, MMO, and card games, but the one missing piece to the puzzle is FPS with lots of opportunity for story, transmog, and microtransactions, because we are still part of Activision after all."  Genius.

If you like it, great, go forth and have fun.  I'm saving my money for Diablo 3's next expansion... which is not coming, may be coming, will be handled through patches, is not coming soon....  depending upon which of the two panels you watched and if the guys answering it were pronouncing Arreat correctly and their title.  It's Air-E-Ought.  Not Arreat like in "area rug".  The cinematic settled this business nearly 14 years ago, and they even played it as a reference to the new game zone. 

Warcraft - what can we say?  I liked the itemization panels, and how the new loot system was really going to kill GDKP and loot distribution for guilds when it came to tier pieces.  If there's one thing Diablo 3 proved at release, it's that people like RNG on their gear and never getting the right piece that they want.  It causes them to play over and over and over again forever, with no complaints.  I wonder how this is going to work out when guilds are rolling around in all Mythic pieces and Warforged just never seems to come up?  Who will be the lucky people to get to try each week in every guild?  I predict 6.1 will eliminate this idea and will come with a Warforged Token piece and our long national nightmare will be over.

A 30 minute discussion was held about the movie... which talked at some extent about watching the trailer they had at Blizzcon.  And then the trailer was not offered on the stream.  You know, for a die hard fan, this would have been worth the price of the whole stream and my post would end right there.  For me it would have been worth a few bucks of the price, seeing as how I'm not big on movies about video games.  Resident Evil being the lone exception but hey - Milla Jovovich.  I thought this was cheesy.  I know we're not guaranteed much with the stream, but for crying out loud why do that to the fans?  #blizzcongate  It's about being faithful to your fans.

Then there was a general Warcraft Q&A with J. Allen Brack and his team of yes-men.  Mr. Brack has the distinction of answering questions with the smugness and smarminess that would enrage even your average soup nazi.  And yours truly was no exception.  Anytime this guy even speaks I start yelling at the screen to stfu.  Last year he answered the question regarding legacy servers like people think they want something that they really don't.  I'm too lazy today to look that up on Youtube, but you can find it.

While you're looking for that, a quick google of "Vanilla WoW Private Servers" and you will find thousands of people playing on them.  The real answer on this one is of course overhead and upkeep.  So what if they lose fans to these F2P servers that they cannot touch with a court order, they would lose hundreds of thousands just setting it up, contracting the work to server maintenance companies, and then hearing the lines of bullshit from people asking them to fix problems that were around back then, even if they agreed upon entry to stfu and sit down?  I get where he's coming from.  But answer like a decent human being that wants to be liked, and not regarded as the Old Man in Charge.  These guys answer everything from a budget standpoint, not a fan's wishlist standpoint.  But this is a fan-show, at least act like you like the people that make your paychecks possible.  If I was there, security would have been called.

For some reason a lore panel, PvP panel, Raid Q&A panel, Garrison panel, and general information for those that weren't in the freaking beta panel were not provided.  The live raid gave a half-assed look at the first tier of content, but there was more celebrating Method's achievement than there was Q&A about raid comp and what did you do to prepare for the basic "Heroic" tier of content.  I died a little inside because I felt unloved, unwanted, and my money underappreciated.

"But Zerohour, they have the release this next week, people were busy putting that together so there was no time!"  Hogwash, you plan to win or plan to fail.  Cataclysm and Wrath Blizzcons were both scheduled around the time of their release, with Wrath's being the exact same day of the year as this upcoming expansion.  Of course it takes time to develop a presentation, that's why you hire Production Assistants by the hour and give them the work to put into PowerPoint format.

"But Zerohour, fansites have covered all of this in detail!"  Yes, yes they have.  And the final word on things come from who?  Further, one of the mantras they have had in recent Blizzcons is that they feel that their customers having to go to 3rd party sites is not part of the fun.  Wowhead, MMOC, blogs, forums, all great ideas, but in the end it should fall on this company to produce the information for their fans or stfu about 3rd party sites not being fun.  Truth be told, they used to never publish anything on their games outside of a manual, 3rd party sites handled everything else; be they nefarious or legitimate.  If they're going to tell me the new mantra, then live up to it.  Don't phone things in because that's just not fair.

I always liked sitting through their presentations.  I'm a busy guy, I don't like having to comb through datamined information and having to make heads or tails of it.  I set aside time to watch a stream for $40 everytime it's offered, which gives me what I need to know.  I've been to fansites, and the guides are usually decent, but a layman's guide is what Blizz always produces.  Grade of F this year, gang.

I missed Jay Mohr, although Chris Hardwick is a decent fellow and most people know him because of Talking Dead.  The big difference between them however, Mohr is/was a player, and Hardwick played Warcraft 1, I never did hear him say if he was a WoW player however.  Mohr was also extremely good at making fun of but not offending the fans.

Anyone that knows me and talks with me knows I was looking forward to the cosplay/costume contest.  That thing is just an institution.  My vote went to the non-professional cosplayers, because I like the ones that look like something I would create in my spare time, or on the way to Irvine in the car.  My vote went to John as Jaina, because it got the biggest laugh and was the most unexpected.  It was the first one and I felt the most creative.  You also had people that put a mountain of effort into looking their best for this; I heard one person lost several dozen pounds to fit in the outfit, and I think that's great. 

Props to all the people with the guts to get up there and express themselves.  I know if I was attending, I'd definitely get dressed up.

I don't care if you think it's non-manly, everyone needs to have their silly side and not take themselves so serious.  Sort of like writing a blog about Warcraft and gold making adventures, you gotta be ready to hear no applause and in some cases nasty critiques.  Just put yourself out there and hope for approval!

Followup Edit: One thing that makes me a little perturbed is that everything we just saw this weekend?  Everything relevant is completely available on Youtube, MMOC, Wowhead and other fansites for free.  QED: This was a pet sale.  Oh, Grommloc, you better kick major ass in PvP.

What's up with all the Mythic recruiting going around?

If you're like me, you sometimes peek in on your own server's forums.  We have more 10 man guilds recruiting for Mythic raiding than you can shake a stick at.  How's that going to work?

Geniuses, let me clue you in here.  There WILL NOT BE 10 MAN MYTHIC GUILDS, and you will have to merge with other guilds to become a Mythic guild.  Or at least have a cooperative effort going if you're going to farm 10 man content first, and in that case you should still merge because deciding who's going to be the tanks and healers in Mythic is going to be fun when a merge happens.  Two 10 mans merging means you end up with 4 tanks and 6-8 healers.  Someone's going to have to sit or get gear for the roles.  Further, officers and leadership has to take a seat in some cases.  Non-20+ man guilds can tell you all day long about officers, class leads, guild quartermasters, etc.  The structure is totally different from a 10.

Why recruit with a Mythic content perception or understanding, when eventually the guild is going to implode when you finish the Normal/Heroic content and people want more and you have to find others to do it?  It's setting bogus expectations other than performance requirements.  Just recruit for 20-mans straight away.  The loot's better in large raids and you have far less drama waiting for you in the end.

Alternatively, you may never even see Mythic, because SoO Mythic was reached by so many last patch guilds who had a whole year to get it done, and this is new content.  ICC was out for a year, everyone and his dog farmed the place.  Dragon Soul was the same story.  In all cases, the first tier results were the same.  Remember when Tier 11 blew up world guilds?  Tier 14 caused similar issues.

Get ready for people to get really upset when they can't down bosses with ease anymore because there's gearing requirements and no catchup pieces that will be overpowered.  As my buddy Stede said, "Link me your at content level Lei Shen Heroic achievement".  That will tell you who's in it for the long haul and which guilds are worth joining to become the almighty Mythic guilds.  This happens every expansion, and I always like to locate the drama going on because guilds go nuclear.  This is bad for my business, because guild inventories suddenly appear on my auction house, and that's just one more thing you have to watch out for and why I even bother writing about this.

For me, I'm just going to supply the war effort, and if GDKP does become a possibility I'll be running those.  My Mythic guild of one, just the way I like it.

Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour makes more gold in a day than most people make all expansion.  He will be appearing at Blizzcon 2015 with Stede - at a vendor booth selling deodorant, razors, and manuals on the finer points of personal hygiene for the hygiene impaired.  Look for our new book "Being Less Creepy at Cons" on Amazon.  Autographs and sales will begin the night before the event for your smelling-good pleasure.


  1. Hey man - you forgot to mention the deodorant we're selling has our signature scent - "Eau de Goldfapper"

    1. I thought we were awaiting the release of that until the week prior. You know, to build up hype?!


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