A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

Tag: Blizzard Page 1 of 17

Biggs On: Microsoft Acquires Activision Blizzard

The gaming community was rocked today when the news broke that Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard. Assuming this deal actually goes through, and the DOJ doesn’t intervene with another antirust investigation, how does this affect me? I’m quite vocal about my distrust and distaste for anything Microsoft. This news makes my toes curl.

However, Activision Blizzard hasn’t exactly been a paragon of virtue. While Microsoft has their faults, their employees are not running around groping co-workers. I have respect for a company that provides some innovation, but I cannot respect a company that exhibits such disgusting behavior.

Maybe This Is The Right Change

Optimistic as Microsoft Acquires Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard has been struggling for over 6 months now to repair the damage caused by the scandal. During that time the community suffered and many players, including several of my friends, have left the game. After every step forward, new information is found, and we go two steps backwards. Perhaps this is the dramatic change that needs to happen to rectify the sins of the past.

I’ll admit, I was feeling dead inside when the news broke. My wife had an interesting way to explain it though. It’s like when Disney bought Star Wars. At the beginning I had mixed emotions, but now I’m overjoyed. I hope Microsoft makes the right changes to repair the community and bring the game back to life. I imagine Microsoft will be cleaning house of all the people that should have already been fired.

I’ll admit, the gaming division is the lesser evil at Microsoft. As long as it’s XBox that runs the show, I will be cautiously optimistic. My biggest concern is if Microsoft can’t fix the damage. World of Warcraft is the longest running title at Blizzard but its been hemorrhaging players and money for a while. If Microsoft cannot stop the bleeding, WoW might be the first to go.

I’m hoping for the best.

Please share some of your thoughts.

WoW: Male Chauvinism is Disgusting

First off I would like to begin by apologizing for my gender. If you’ve been paying attention to the various World of Warcraft media sources I’m sure you are aware of the lawsuit that has been filed against Activision Blizzard. I don’t really want to get into the details because male chauvinism is disgusting and embarrassing. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read all of the allegations because I had to stop reading. It’s so gross and uncouth that I couldn’t bring myself to finish. That kind of sophomoric behavior does NOT belong in the workplace.

I’ll admit that I can have a pretty sophomoric mind at times. I will make rather off-color remarks to my guy friends. Emphasis on guy. I may make some pretty immature statements to guys I’ve known for almost 30 years but I would never make those same comments to a female. I would never say it, think it or type it. NEVER! I don’t think its ever appropriate in ANY context. “Boys will be boys” but we should know when to be gentlemen too. If I see or hear any guy making an inappropriate comment to a female co-worker, friend, gamer, even a stranger, I’ll record you and report you.

Will I Cancel My Sub?

The short answer is No, but I thought about it. I gave it some very serious consideration. Cancelling my sub could stick it to them where it hurts. On the other hand, if we all stopped buying their games and paying their subs, then hundreds of thousands of people would be out of a job. The gaming industry and gaming community has been a male dominated culture for years so it still wouldn’t stop this kind of thing from happening.

Then I saw this tweet from former Blizzard Developer Cher Scarlett:

Cher is spearheading an effort to collect witnesses for this lawsuit. You can read more about her and other devs in this Massively OP article.

I’m one of the good guys. I don’t treat women poorly. If I leave the game; if every guy like me leaves the game, then who is left? All that remains are the toxic, disgusting male pigs and the victims. I would essentially be abandoning the victims. My wife plays this game with me. Thankfully she has not been harassed, however if she had been, I would want someone to report it and stop it. If I leave, then I’m just turning a blind eye to it.

There is the old adage “If You See Something, Say Something”. While I have not witnessed any harassment in the game you can bet I’m going to be a lot more vigilant. I will have my Alt + Print Screen fingers ready. If I see or hear any player say something remotely offensive to a female player, you will be reported. Keyboard anonymity cannot protect you. Your avatar is tied to an account. Your account has a name and that name has a credit card number. Credit Card numbers have addresses.

You. Are. Not. As. Anonymous. As. You. Think!

What Do I Expect From Blizzard?

I’m expecting Blizzard to do something to make this right. They need to take some public action. Now! It’s time to clean house. The current president, J Alan Brack, needs to step down. I think it would be a great statement if he is replaced by a female. However it would need to be a qualified, zero tolerance female; not some token female just for appearances.

Also, any Blizzard employee mentioned as part of this lawsuit needs to be fired. Any former Blizzard employee needs to be prosecuted. Any of these employees that have been immortalized as an NPC (ex: Alex Afrasiabi) in the game, needs to be replaced/removed. This can be done with a hot fix or tomorrows maintenance.

To all the victims out there, I’m sorry this is happening to you and I am praying for you. I have been a developer for 20+ years and I have never seen this kind of behavior at any of the places where I have worked. If I did, I assure you I would have reported it. This makes me sick to my stomach.

Blizzard Friends and Family

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Blizzard Entertainment and the 15th anniversary for World of Warcraft. I have been playing video games since the first Nintendo. Of course Internet didn’t exist back then but we managed to still make it a friends and family activity. As technology evolved so did the world of gaming. Consoles added online, multiplayer modes. PC games added multiplayer mode, which initially became popular in First Person Shooters. I spent many nights in college playing multiplayer Half Life.

Then the MMORPG was born. In my youth, an RPG required a few friends, paper, pencils, dice and some incredible imagination. Then Blizzard created World of Warcraft, which was an evolution from their Warcraft series of games (my favorite being Warcraft III). WoW united us all by breaking down borders, cultural and political divides. I realize that last item isn’t always true, but if you find the right kind of people, everyone can agree to leave that topic alone.

Now the world is so different.

Online Friends Are Real Friends

I know I’ve talked about this before. You can have friends you haven’t met in person. Twenty years ago the only friends you had are the ones you met in school or at work. Oftentimes people outside the gaming subculture tend to think having “online friends” seems absurd. How can you be friends with someone you’ve never met face-to-face? Our physical locations cannot limit the things we have in common with people.

A friend of mine (a gaming friend) once said “friends are the family you get to choose”. This is true. I’ve had disagreements with friends just as I do with family. I also get along with my friends just as I do with family. While I have not met all my online friends in person, I have met a few. In fact some have even been to my house and I’ve even had one live with me for a year. I hope to meet more of them one day. Today I am just as good of friends with people I’ve never physically met as I was with friends I had in high school.

Blizzard has created a huge community. Larger than any community I’ve ever known. I’m grateful for the friendships this game has given me.

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!


WoW Classic Is A Classic Blunder

In August Blizzard will deliver on a promise they made at Blizzcon. Live servers of WoW Classic will go online. So many players are eager to get back to basics; and I don’t understand WHY! The only answer I have is nostalgia, but I think even the nostalgic vanilla vets will be quickly reminded how awful questing is. The other group that may be drawn to Classic are all those that began playing WoW during one of the expansions. These people will be among the first to bail and they will come running back to the current game faster than Barry Allen. Ultimately, I think WoW Classic is a classic blunder; I give it 6 months and the numbers will dwindle.

Honestly, I think this is a money grab. I think Blizzard is trying to rekindle their old subscription numbers by luring back old players. They might succeed. Players who cancelled their subscription several years ago will come back to play classic, and perhaps check out the current state of the game. Perhaps some of those players will keep playing the current game.

Its a “classic” business ploy – see what I did there (•_•) ( •_•)>⌐■-■ (⌐■_■)

Oh The Grind, Grind, Grind, Grinding

The first thing everyone will be reminded of quickly is the utter lack of quality-of-life. For example, looting quest items while in a group. For every mob that you kill, the loot belongs to one person, and one person only, including quest items. Therefore the total number of mobs you have to kill, assuming a guaranteed drop, is equal to the number of mobs needed times the number of players in your group. It could literally take an hour to get 10 items for everyone in your group.

Also, to make that grind feel extra special tedious, you will have to RUN …. EVERYWHERE, for 40 levels. You will not be able to use a mount until you reach level 40, and that is assuming you can afford it (which means grinding for cash on top of everything else). So grab a book, bind the auto-run key and … get a few chapters in while you quest in Desolace.

This is just the tip of the ice burg of the missing quality-of-life mechanics in Classic. Here are some additional low quality-of-life items:

  • No group/raid finder (have to use the old LFG channel)
  • HUGE talent trees
  • You have to buy ALL of your spells again
  • You will be broke, all the time
  • Hunters will be destitute because they will have to stock ammo and pet food, again
  • If you’re not in a raiding guild, then you’re not raiding
  • No world quests which means no end game
  • There are no Heroic dungeons/raids
  • Limited Class Selection (no monks, death knights, demon hunters, alliance shaman, horde paladins)
  • Raid sizes are 40 man only (no 10, 25 or Flex)

Lack of End Game Content (for Non-Raiders)

When you reach level 60 you will have nothing to do, especially if you are not raiding. You could traipse around the world and complete every quest you can possibly find. ◉_◉

You could use the LFG channel and grind through dungeons. ̿’̿’\̵͇̿̿\з=( ͠° ͟ʖ ͡°)=ε/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿ ̿ ̿ ̿

Or you could start an alt and do it all over again. (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

Ultimately, your level 60 character will simply collect dust because the only end game content WoW Classic offers is raiding. Oh, and if you thought grinding levels was grueling, raiding in Classic is a whole new level of grinding.

WoW Classic Raiding Will Be A Blunder

If you want to raid in classic you will be forced to join a raiding guild, unless you are lucky and find a frequent raiding group on the LFG channel. Raids in WoW Classic are 40 man only. Raiding will be a daily occurrence if you want to progress. I remember in vanilla there were raid teams meeting 4 hours every night to complete Molten Core. Remember, in Vanilla there are no lock out extensions. You must complete the raid before it resets.

You will need to grind, a lot, to have the consumables and gear. You will need sufficient bag space to hold extra gear because you will need to farm fire resistance armor for Molten Core. For example, if you’re a hunter you will need bag space for ammo, pet food, consumables and fire resistance gear.

Expansion Stop-Gap And Boredom

I think Blizzard is standing up these WoW Classic servers as a stop gap for current players. They don’t want to lose subs because of another lackluster expansion so they are giving players, who are caught up on current content, something to do. I think they are also doing this as a stop gap because the next expansion is probably over a year away and 8.3 will be the final patch for Battle for Azeroth.

Also, for the record, I am a “Vanilla Vet”. I created my first character, a Night Elf Hunter, in vanilla, but I leveled my paladin before they launched Burning Crusade. I am not feeling so nostalgic that I want to grind through it all over again. I did try the open beta and after 2 hours of grueling quests, I uninstalled the game. I might try it again, when I’m really bored, but it won’t be when it launches. In fact it will probably be several months after it launches before I subject myself to that kind of torture.

It Will Never Change

The most baffling thing I’ve heard is that some players are, allegedly, abandoning the current game to exclusively play WoW Classic. I understand if some people think that the current content (while a little weak in story) does feel like a daily grind. However, why would you trade one grind for an even larger grindfest?!? At least in the current game there is some choice and the choices change daily. WoW Classic will never change.

In one year, when we are on the next expansion, WoW Classic will still be exactly the same. When we are two expansions into the future, WoW Classic will still be exactly the same! They can’t change it, or update it, otherwise it can no longer be called “classic WoW”.

If all of that sounds exhilarating to you, then power to ya. I’m quite content with my spoiled quality-of-life World of Warcraft.

/end soapbox

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!


BlizzCon and Blizzard’s Diablo Epic Fail

If you were paying attention to the news coming out of the Anaheim Convention Center then you are probably aware of the disaster that occurred this past weekend. I admit that I was anticipating a lackluster BlizzCon but I was not prepared for the nerd rage that ensued after the opening ceremonies. There is an order in which Blizzard unveils news at the opening ceremonies, the biggest news saved for last. Everyone was expecting a major Diablo announcement, the leading theory being Diablo 4. What they got was Blizzard’s Diablo epic fail.

Immortal but not Impervious

Diablo Immortal Rig

Epic Diablo Immortal Gaming Rig!

Diablo Immortal the mobile app is the “big news” from BlizzCon this year. Yes, at a convention with predominately PC gamers in attendance Blizzard announces a mobile game. A version of Diablo that is only playable on iPhone, Android and iPad. 

Now that you have let that sink it, this is the first time there was little to know cheering or clapping. In fact there was booing, and not the joking kind. Actual booing. You almost feel bad for Wyatt Cheng, who drew the short straw to make the announcement. Since BlizzCon ended, several reports are coming out from other sources that Blizzard allegedly wanted to announce Diablo 4 but they pulled it at the last-minute.

I’m not a Diablo fan but I totally understand the animosity. After being taunted with a “Diablo announcement”, I would be pissed too if a mobile game was announced. The Q&A was probably the best moment when someone actually asked if it was an “out-of-season April Fools Joke“.

Overwatch Stole the Show

I knew there wouldn’t be a lot for World of Warcraft, we did learn when the next patch and raid is coming. We also learned that the following patch we will finally fight Queen Azshara in, what might be, an underwater raid. Also, you should really check out the Lost Honor cinematic. It’s really good (from a storyline perspective.) Hearthstone will have a new expansion, Heroes of the Storm has a new hero and StarCraft 2 was so insignificant I don’t remember what they said about it. Which leaves Overwatch.

The 29th Overwatch hero, Ashe and Bob

They began with a new video called “Reunion”. It’s McCree on Route 66 and we find out who caused that train wreck. It’s his old partner Ashe. Blizzard teases many new potential heroes in this animated short. I think everyone wanted Bob, possibly more than they wanted a mobile Diablo game. The new hero, as it turns out, is Ashe but her ultimate is Bob. I cannot wait to try out this new hero. My main concern is that I’m terrible at McCree, he feels too slow and clunky. Hopefully I don’t get the same feeling about Ashe.

I still haven’t heard when Ashe will be playable so if anyone knows, please leave a comment.

Rekindling Old Memories

There is one other unveiling that I am still mildly excited about. Something that started it all for me. Warcraft III Reforged. I barely remember Warcraft 1 and 2, but I distinctly remember playing Warcraft III. It is the Blizzard title where I found myself enjoying the story and the lore. If you know anything about Warcraft III, now you know why Wrath of the Lich King is my favorite expansion. The game looks beautiful with the new graphics update. The only problem is, I’m not sure I’m ready to dole out another $40 for a game that I may only play randomly (although that Meat Wagon mount makes it awfully tempting).

And that’s it. There is nothing else, IP related, to talk about. As I said, it was a pretty lackluster BlizzCon. The nerdrage over Diablo Immortal is probably the most noteworthy thing about the convention this year. Kind of glad I didn’t get the Virtual Ticket or the Goodie Bag. I hope they make both of those more enticing next year.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on BlizzCon, Diablo Immortal or any of the other announcements in the comments.


duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!


WoW: World of Warcraft Expansion Theories

BlizzCon 2017 is only a few days away and everyone is positive that Blizzard will announce the next World of Warcraft expansion. Nobody, outside of Blizzard, officially knows what the next chapter will be about. We all have a pretty good idea. I could delve into different World of Warcraft expansion theories but that seems moot. Jaina has been eerily absent since the beginning of the expansion. She clearly doesn’t care for demon hunters. Bitch. Ever since she teleported out of Stormwind Keep, nobody has seen hide nor hair of her. So where has she gone? What has become of her?? Perhaps these are the expansion theories we can discuss.

There is also the fact that the recently unveiled BlizzCon 2017 key art featuring Jaina (see left). I think this is the biggest clue we all have as to the context of the next expansion. Perhaps a visit to Jaina’s home world of Kul’Tiras will be part of the new journey. The location of this human city-state is unknown as well as the status of its occupants. Perhaps Jaina has returned there to fight for the survival of her father’s legacy? Given her state of mind when she left Stormwind, who knows what has happened to her, especially if Kul’Tiras is in peril too.

Evil Jaina

Dreadlord Jaina HotS skin

The popular theory is that Jaina has completely lost her mind. The death of Arthas, Gul’dan, the death of Varian and now demon hunters may have pushed her beyond her breaking point. Many think that she may be the new villain. The evidence that seems to support this theory is the Dreadlord Jaina skin in Heroes of the Storm. I think this is just wishful thinking, perhaps even a bit of player trolling. Rarely, if ever, has Blizzard used another title to prognosticate the future content of another title.

I agree that the Dreadlord Jaina skin looks amazing but I just don’t see how that fits into the lore. If Jaina does “go to the dark side”, I doubt it will be in the form of a dreadlord. In fact I’m more inclined to believe that she’s had her mind corrupted or controlled by some other nefarious being; which leads me to another Jaina theory.

Damsel In Distress Jaina

Perhaps, while stewing in her grief from death and betrayal, she is captured. If Kul’Tiras is under siege, perhaps it is the nefarious beings razing the city that capture her. It will be up to us to seek her out and free her then assist her in restoring her father’s legacy and bring peace back to Kul’Tiras. I know there are probably some horde players that are just itching to take out Jaina; therefore to appease those neanderthals she could be mind-controlled whom we have to fight to free her mind.

A raid encounter in which we fight Jaina would be really interesting. Some of the more interesting fights have been echo’s of heroes (like in the End Time dungeon) or disillusioned heroes (like Cenarius in Emerald Nightmare). Or we could all be completely wrong and Jaina just returns in the next expansion, but has nothing to do with Kul’Tiras or her.

The truth will be known November 3rd.

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!


Page 1 of 17

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén