Given the focus at the moment on gaming journalism and what it shouldn’t be doing, I thought it might be fun to look for some great examples of what good gaming journalism can be.
I’m kicking off with a couple of articles that told me a lot about the games they cover and also were (I thought) wildly entertaining reads.
Bastard of the Old Republic – John Walker takes on Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR). KOTOR was innovative in that you could play it all the way through picking either light side or dark side options. In this play through, John tries out the evil route and hilarity ensues. (The game is still great by the way, it comes up in Steam sales for 99p every so often.)
Every guild or raid group you join that uses voice chat WILL use different voice chat software. It is inevitable that if one guild uses Mumble and another Ventrilo, the third one you join will require Teamspeak. (me). Your guild will use one of the Big Three – EVEN IF the game you all play has a voice client built right in! (Jonathon Barton)
Whining actually does help. The more you whine about not getting that rare drop you want or never being able to get a group to some location, the more likely it is that the thing you want will actually happen immediately afterwards, thus making you look like a miserable whiner with no grip on reality.
Unscheduled maintenance happens on your day off. (Tesh) Or, if you’re in a relevant time zone, right in the middle of your progression raid for the week. (Siha)
Double XP weekends happen on the weekend you are best person at a wedding. (Nick Smith). Or you’re at a music festival all weekend. (Andy Horton)
“You have a push to talk key for a reason. Use it.” (Oestrus). Similarly, at least one person will have their PTT key bound to something like Ctrl or Alt that they also use as a modifier in-game, usually for something they cast quite a lot. (caerphoto). Courtesy of a raid leader I knew – correct positioning of your microphone is not in your mouth and not up your ass. (kiantremayne).
Joining a PUG always means you’ll have an interesting story to tell later. (Jeromai)
Whenever you see one spam mail / message, rest assured, more are on the way.(Jeromai)
The item that you’ve been waiting 7823578923 raids to get will not drop until the raid *after* you’ve bankrupted yourself purchasing an alternative. (Siha) Or that drop you want for toon X drops every time you are on toon Y or Z. (Thelandira/Sheeturself)
If you pick a rare and little-played class, then next patch it will be buffed and everyone will assume you are one of the FOTM bandwagon-jumpers. (kiantremayne).
Whatever class you pick, there’ll be seven others in the guild. Until you get fed up and roll a new character, after which none of the others logs in again. (Zoso)
You like to think you’re a hipster gamer, and you genuinely don’t play a class for it’s power, but no matter what you do, you will end up picking the class Everyone Else plays and getting lumped in with the negative ones. Regardless if this class is ‘Warrior’ or ‘Milk Dud Tossing Basketweaver’, rest assured, everyone will want to play Your Class. (azaael)
Whatever loot distribution scheme you think is equitable, someone disagrees. (kiantremayne)
When you’ve finally reached that chest at the end of the never ending tunnel, all the mobs around you will respawn (and pwn you hard with no res point close!). (Syl)
2 seconds after you finally reach that hard to find Shiny, you will pull unseen aggro that dots you heavily so you die an ignoble death while watching some casual passerby waltz over and pick up your rarely spawned Shiny. (gaspodia)
Your game-friends are never portable, so you wind up building a whole new social circle from scratch in each title. (Jonathon Barton) Or if they do come to a new game with you, they will get bored and move on long before you do. (me)
No matter what the topic in local chat, someone will bring up that WoW did X first, despite the fact that WoW did nothing first. (SynCaine)
Also see: “wish this was like WoW” on day-one of any MMO release. (SynCaine)
Don’t buy a new game at release, don’t log in on patch day. (Indy)
In the interests of allowing people to make total tits of themselves, I won’t post up links to any of the bloggy April Fools I’ve found so far until this afternoon. Feel free to suggest good April Fool links in comments.
(Big admission, I was going to write an April Fool about some big game company apologising for not including EU participants in something or other, because we know that never happens. But Bioware actually did that yesterday.)
The Brown team has been buoyed by focus group results suggesting that an outbreak of physical fighting during the campaign, preferably involving bloodshed and broken limbs, could re-engage an electorate increasingly apathetic about politics.
The typical reaction to falling for a hoax is outrage. I want you to put aside that emotion as much as you are capable of and celebrate another – imagination. If you fell for my story, it is because the seeds I planted fell on the cherished soil of fertile and optimistic dreamworld. This should be something you should be proud of. You have the capability to rise above the mundane and cynical, escape the clay around your boots and float away on boundless escapism. You are a gamer.
Who knew that benching players could lead to such bursts of undistilled brilliance? One of the hunters in our raid captured his recent loot frustration into a couple of epic video clips. The mood will be familiar to anyone who has ever raided, ever.
And he’s kindly allowed me to link them here. (Warning: Minor swearing, lots of Nazis.) If you like them and are on EU servers, feel free to hop onto Argent Dawn to give some feedback.
This post marks the end of a long week of posts about WoW and particularly about the new random dungeon finder that came in with patch 3.3. What can I say? It’s been a jolt in the arm for an aging game. It’s been a reminder that the instanced content was always WoW’s strongest selling point. And it’s reminded a lot of people who thought they disliked grouping that what they mostly disliked was all the associated hassle in getting the group together.
The most brilliant thing about the dungeon finder from Blizzard’s point of view is that no one else running current gen games can copy it. In order to work, a tool like this needs a massive user base. For example, I woke up at 2am this morning and tried to get a group on my death knight out of morbid curiousity. 10 minutes later *BAM* smooth as silk Forge of Souls Heroic run. Now think about how many players you need active in order for there to be a 50% chance for any single person to only have to wait 10 mins to get a group at two in the morning.
My new Death Knight who conveniently hit 80 the day before the patch is also looking rather sleek in her new gear, thanks to some lucky drops.
In any case, we’ve all been running a lot more instances, and getting to grip with a lot more PUGs. I feel as though I’ve been in a permanent sugar rush when logged on. And it’s also not all perfect – what’s more, even those of us who are usually paragons of perfection occasionally make (say it in whispers) minor mistakes.
Here’s a list of some of the dumb things I have done this week:
Ran a whole instance with my Death Knight in the wrong presence. I didn’t realise until right at the end when the tank asked why I kept getting aggro.
While manoeuvring a mob in Forge of Souls, I fell off the platform.
Told a death knight that it was fine for him to use Army of Souls on Loken, following which we immediately wiped.
While trying an experimental short cut in The Nexus, I fell off the platform (incidentally, EVERYONE who has ever run Nexus has fallen off that platform at some point but it don’t half make you feel like a noob when it isn’t your first run.)
Let far too many people die while healing on my druid because of being a bit out of practice.
By the way, every single one of those runs was actually successful (except for the Loken one because my friends logged on and I left the group). The only one that even caused a wipe was when I fell off Forge of Souls, because I was tanking at the time.
The oddest complaint I have had from another player was that I killed the bosses in the Nexus in the ‘wrong order.’ I told him I hadn’t received that memo.
I’m not the only person who has been cataloguing personal PUG failures (aka “I was THAT guy.”)
We’ve seen a lot of other blog reactions to the petstore. The majority accept that the pets aren’t a big deal, but there’s a pervasive sense of sadness – as if we’d seen the future and people aren’t sure if they like it (ultimately if it’s more profitable for devs to make social games and sell pretty pets than make big expansive virtual worlds with complex teamplay, then well …). Green Armadillo sums this up, asking if RMT is the third Trammel. Copra also expresses sadness at how the game is changing, philosophically.
The Rampant Coyote wonders if too much choice is a good thing in games. Or is it too easy to get lost or distracted and actually miss the game’s goal. I’ve recently started playing both Uncharted 2 and Dragon Age Origins and sometimes being on tracks is awesome fun as long as the view (and, more importantly, the gameplay) is that good.
Naissa (welcome back, by the way) has extensive lists of things she misses about WoW from times gone by, but also things she loves about the new content.
Speaking of Uncharted 2, Kotaku posts an interview with one of the designers, discussing how achievements (trophies) can actually add to the gameplay of a game and how they deliberately structure them. It’s so much more directed than the random ‘lets make an achievement out of everything’ scattergun approach we see in MMOs.
It’s much easier for people interested in WoW raiding these days to just run a PUG for the Coliseum. Altadin discusses the problems this raises for raid guilds – if you ask someone to be on reserve for your raid, you’re actually asking them to save their locks and not to even go grab some badges in a PUG. Matticus takes another angle and notes that it’s much easier to recruit and gear up a newbie now, so why not widen the recruitment net?
paladins are forced to pay the hybrid tax three times over — because they can do it all without limiting themselves, they can’t do anything as well as other classes
Does anyone seriously think that paladins can’t heal or tank as well as other classes (hint: they’re probably ahead on both right now).? Or that their dps is way behind … e.g. warriors? It’s not. Everyone whines, but that was a silly thing to say with any editorial weight behind it.
Also, I’ve seen a lot of rather tedious tank and healer questionnaires going around? Who the hell cares what your favourite spell is? *facepalm* It’s the whole package you should be looking at and how they fit together.
But for the record, my favourite tank type to team up with are bears. Warrior/druid is just a nice combo with a lot of finesse, I find. Or maybe I just know good bear tanks.