Sunday, May 19, 2019

Razorfist Presents: Film Noirchives: BLADE RUNNER

The Eloquence of Elocution has topped himself again. This hour-plus long review of Blade Runner is professional-quality criticism and deserves to be recognized as such. See for yourself.

I've seen History Channel productions that aren't as good as this video. You could screen this at a film festival and it wouldn't be out of place in the slightest. That's how good this is, and I am astonished that Razor and his man Terran Gel don't have wider recognition yet. It's a long ways from his early days doing '80s action movie reviews, as his own archives show, and you can easily see how he's become this professional-level presenter with professional-level presentation quality by reviewing his video archives. He's one of the last Hugo Award nominees who actually merited that nomination, and it shows here. Lesser talents get franchise TV shows while he's doing this for free as a hobby.

Throw the man a dollar. He's worth it. His livestreams are no less entertaining, so catch them when you can, especially his BattleTech/Mechwarrior streams.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The King's Crown Fits Badly

Well, this is disturbing.

This Tweet came out after Tommy Robinson got milkshakes thrown or dumped on him by wankers opposing him twice, so far. Sargon of Akkad is also in the running and has had stuff thrown at him. Milkshakes and fish aren't that dangerous, but it's the next step--bricks and stones--that we're thinking about here with this official account tacitly lending support to do violence with products they sell.

If this isn't retracted swiftly, then add the King to the list of businesses that hate you and don't merit your money. Get Woke, Go Broke.

Friday, May 17, 2019

My Life As A Gamer: Big Thanks To Mark Kern

(Note: I've been in hospital or rehab since mid-January. I'm going home today, so this post is one I wrote ahead of time because I'm going to be busy.)

Today's post is dedicated to the man who went to bat for the Classic WOW community, former Vanilla WOW dev Mark Kern, and his videos addressing both Classic and his own project Em8ER.

I am grateful to Mark for going to bat and personally talking for now-former CEO Mike Morihime about Classic and arguing in support of Blizzard doing it officially. The response to the Beta so far has been fantastic, and I expect it will only grow as later waves of invites go out and more people access the Classic Beta servers to see for themselves; the BlizzCon demo last Fall was a lot of fun for a lot of people, so I think it'll be just as fun now.

For you tabletop types, think of this as being like the Old School Renaissance. The original version of WOW had a quality to it that got lost with subsequent expansions, with many--including myself--pointing to the latter half of Wrath of the Lich King as being when the rot really set in and becoming obvious with Cataclysm. We just aren't waiting 20-30 years to course-correct thing time. The opportunity to revisit the past, and take roads heretofore not taken, is too good to pass up.

As for Em8ER, I really hope that Mark nails it with this Mech v. Kaiju game of his. I've been watching its development for a while, and I'm looking forward to seeing it reach the masses. Thanks for everything, Mark, and good luck.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

My Life As A Gamer: The Classic Beta Has Arrived

The beta test phase for World of Warcraft: Classic (a.k.a. "Revenge of the Private Servers") began yesterday. The first wave of invites went to influencers, with a focus on well-known and well-connected live-streamers at Twitch and YouTube. More will be invited as the beta test progresses; I've opted in and I do hope to get selected to play the beta, as this is the version of the game I remember most fondly.

I know the experience won't be the same. It can't be the same. 15 years passed since this version launched, and everything's changed since then. Furthermore, all of the old data has been brought out from the archives and returned to live use at places like WOWHead, so there's no mystery anymore either. (Not all bad; it also means you can just tab out to look up where to go and what to do.) There's also technical differences, as the Classic team build the Classic version as a variation of the Live game and not rebuilt from the old code entirely.

I'm okay with this. I understand how and why these differences exist, and they aren't going to detract from my enjoyment of the game. When my chance to play comes, I'm going to take the opportunity to do things I didn't do the first time around, and I'm going to avoid making the mistakes I did the first time around, yet I will not deviate from what did work for me: taking my time.

This original version of the game was not one where the only game, the real game, was entirely at the cap and leveling was just a chore you did to pay your dues. There is no good reason to race to Level 60, no matter what the streamers would have you believe; you will neglect other aspects of the game, such as developing your Professions, that you'll benefit from as you go and will open doors to you once you arrive. Had I known that back then, I would've focused on something entirely different from trying to break into the raid scene or being the top PVP player. I will this time around; I want to be a top crafter.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

My Life As A Gamer: Thrall Returns To WOW. Again. No, Seriously.

Battle For Azeroth, like Warlords of Draenor, is not a well-liked expansion. A lot of the goodwill generated by Legion got pissed away, and the development team had to notice sooner or later. Rather than address the narrative and technical flaws in the game, they're doing something cheap and cynical to generate hype. That thing is the return of the former Warchief of the Horde (and the only good one), Thrall.

It's cheap and cynical because this was the same damned plot used in Mists of Pandaria, back in 2012, with the entire "Fuck Garrosh" rebellion narrative that would play directly into the Iron Horde non-threat of Warlords. Yes, right down to reaching out to Thrall--who already retired and abdicated--to get his help in that entire rebellion thread last time. Now we're doing it again, beat for beat. Fuck this for a game of soldiers.

This is not going to end well. We're already seeing Yet Another Fucking Old God, but at least that was promised when BFA was announced, and we all know this flare-up of the Faction War will end with neither side broken and destroyed. Your choices as a player don't really matter, even if the game flat-out lies to you and says that it does, because your choices have no impact; you're no more in control of the experience than you are when you ride a roller-coaster, which is why WOW is a themepark and not a true RPG.

At this point, I'm certain that the balls shown at the pre-patch, with Sylvanas burning Teldrassil to ash and Anduin successfully attacking Undercity and forcing Sylvanas to deny it via massive Plague dispersal were a ruse-cruise and we'll somehow end up status quo ante, or close to it, when this half-baked expansion finally expires. If I had the power, I'd commit to the long-running fanon argument that WOW and Starcraft share a universe and start building on that idea instead.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

My Life As A Gamer: WOW Classic Release Announced

In case you missed it:

WOWhead has more information as there are some significant difference between how it was and how Classic will go, mostly of a technical nature due to technology changes between 2004 and now, but if you weren't there then you might want to read up on what you're getting into.

Get ready for How Things Used To Be, folks, including everybody and their uncle rolling a Forsaken Rogue.

Hint: Don't roll on a PVP server, or get flagged for PVP otherwise, if you don't want to get ganked leveling your Dwarf Priestess or Human Paladin so you can actually raid- and yes, once more if you want to raid you're rolling Alliance by default. Enjoy Lagforge.

Yes, I was there. I can tell you at length how mistakes I made kept me out of the endgame aside from running Alterac Valley until my eyes bled and occasionally getting a guest spot as an off-tank healer in Molten Core or AQ 20. 15 years later and I'm willing to do it again, and this time it's going to be entirely different. For starters, I'm rolling a gear-independent class to use as a farmer before rolling a character wanted in raids, and second I will not commit to a raiding schedule; priorities are different now. Second, the Vanilla private servers have long ago broken from the meta of Vanilla WOW and delved very deep into the mechanics of the game; the result is that they found ways to make some specs that went disused at the time into viable options, such as Feral Druid.

But for my part, I'm not in it to go back into Molten Core. I'm in it for Alterac Valley as it used to be, as it should have always been, and--someday--may be again.

The new Warfront feature should be ideal for making AV back into what it was, but that would require the devs to integrate Battleground instances into the Warfront feature and I don't think they're at that point yet. Until then, this is as good as it gets to getting the part of WOW I came to love most back.

Monday, May 13, 2019

From Rehab: Going Home Soon

I go home this week.

I'm sending home stuff I am not using and will not need this week. It's not much, since I don't have much here, but every bag I can send home now is one less trip to make on Friday. I'm glad to be heading home. I've done all that I can here, and gone as far as I can, so it's time to move on and go home. My recovery isn't complete yet, but I'm a good ways down that road. Now it's time to focus on finer skills and practical elements, with the goal of me being able to walk unassisted for long distances and long times.

It's a cliched choice, but an apt one for my mood today, and better served here than with that atrocious game. Enjoy.