So, back in August I posted a little piece about the latest addition to casa de Grimmtooth, a little kitten that we named Jaina, who had been diagnosed with a deadly disease and yet persisted in living la vida loca long past the projected, um, deadline. Here’s a little update.
We’ve had her to our regular vet to be spayed, and there was no evidence of FIP from the vet. Still, we worried. She still has a rather chunky bod, and she was so active that I just didn’t think it was due to overeating. So I kept researching.
It was as if I was looking at a picture of our little lady, but it wasn’t a Tonkinese – it was a Birman. As I read up on the Birman breed, I mentally checked off all the boxes but one – the little gloves that a Birman is supposed to have, but Jaina does not.
The most important trait from my perspective is the body shape. While tonks tend to be slender, Birmans are not. They have what is described largely as "a square body shape." Another was the voice. She has a sweet, mellow voice, not a brassy Siamese twang, which Tonks are said to have.
So what gives me hope is that Jaina is actually a Birman cross, not a Tonk cross, and her size and shape is perfectly normal for a cat of her lineage.
She continues to be healthy and active and keeps us on our toes. She’s also developing a more affectionate demeanor as she matures. When she wants attention she still goes and gets her favorite toy and starts to sing. She loves the long hallway in he new place and will spend a lot of time zooming up and down it, often behind some unfortunate other cat that was just ambushed.
So, we’re feeling very hopeful.
Oh, one correction from the original post – I’m calling it Fire with Arcane offspec, not the other way around.
We’ve already heard this, of course, from closer to home, and we’ve also seen this in the 5.0 – 5.1 – 5.2 – 5.3 release cycle. More frequent updates are par for the course, now.
The top echelon of consumers, those that burn through it with only one goal – the endgame raiding experience1 – can keep up with this.
People that have less time to spend or want a more complete experience of each patch, however, are going to have a hard time keeping up. The so-called "lapsed players" will have a choice between being behind the curve as they play catch-up, or will have to skip entire swathes of material to catch up with their friends / guilds.
Will this virtual firehose have the desired effect of bringing people back, or will it discourage them even further? I don’t know.
What I do know is how it affects me. Having "lapsed" for close to two months, I have the choice between being way behind my guild, or skipping content. At this point, Shieldwall and Isle of Thunder are getting shoved to the back. Flora will hit the latter to get the book for her green fire quest, but that’s about it, until content slows down a bit.
So, is there no way out of this vicious circle for Blizz? Which side of the "more frequent" line shows more subscribers? Do they lose no matter what?
Unlike some, I don’t see the death of WoW or even the grinding to a halt of it – it’s a money machine, plain and simple. Even at a million subscribers, that’s fifteen MILLION dollars of guaranteed income PER MONTH. I doubt OpEx costs come even close to that, so consider that there’s a big profit to be had for quite some time.
But, regardless of their ownership of every byte of data that hits the servers, the analysis tools that we mere mortals do not have, and an allegedly deep understanding of subscribers’ habits, Blizz keeps hitting one off note after another. There are times that it seems that they succeed in spite of themselves.
One can’t help but wonder.
And I suspect as a result that 5.3 will be very unpopular with the top raiding crowd, and thus (since they’re loudest) 5.3 will be largely considered a failure. [↩]
Today, patch 5.3 drops, in which things ramp up towards an ultimate confrontation with the Big Bad in 5.4 or later. This is the first patch day I will have missed since Vanilla, in that I am using a tethered cell phone for network, and my game time is currently zero’d (no point in paying for something I don’t use).
I had barely gotten into 5.2, which my experience thus far leads me to regard it as a vary bad idea1. All signs point to 5.3 being more of the same, with a different location.
Well, I won’t pan it until I’ve tried it, which will be in a week or two, depending on how our move goes this weekend.
Those that wanted more frequent updates, well, they’re getting what they asked for. I feel a little rushed, though – I barely had time to explore the 5.1 story line before 5.2 dropped, and I didn’t have a change of location to blame for that one. I was still getting caught up with 5.0 things!
The question remains: does the increased frequency in patches also carry over to an increased frequency in expansions? I’m thinking not likely … Blizzcon is the most likely time to announce it, and if they wait until then, the next expansion will be out on approximately the same schedule as the past ones have.
I am NOT one with the doomsayers that say that the last two quarters’ numbers indicate that WoW will be dead by 1Q15. First of all, two datapoints is a stupid wrong way to draw a trendline. As an example, if you take the past THREE datapoints, WoW ends 1Q14 – a whole year earlier – instead. Even they aren’t being that bold, possibly on purpose. One should only choose the data that supports one’s foregone conclusions, after all.
The one valid point of the we’re-doomed crowd is this: if the next two quarters don’t look better, or at least level off, Activision will likely try to pull the plug. I realize that the ultimate optimists at Blizz’s core management team claim that Activition would NEVER have that level of control, but I assert that Bobby Kotick’s an assertive enough asshole that he’d make it happen by coup. Never underestimate the power of a determined asshole.
A final question I have – a hypothetical – is how far Pandaria goes? Is 5.4 the end, or will there be one more? 5.4 is rumored to be the one where we settle Garrosh’s hash – and who doesn’t like that – but what we don’t know is if that is the end of the matters as far as Pandaria is concerned. I’m not sure it is.
Well, happy patch day to you. I’m off to replace a heating element in my new place’s water heater.
I am quickly joining the camp of people that think that dailies are a lazy, uncreative way to fill players’ time so that they’ll keep paying, rather than other more satisfying approaches. [↩]
Fojar: Following the fall of Garrosh, will the Alliance be turning its attention to reclaiming its lost territory in the Northern Eastern Kingdoms? I speak primarily of Lordaeron, Gilneas, and Stromgarde.
Fargo: This is something we struggle with, because after Cataclysm we seriously question the time-investment of re-doing old zones. Presumably, from a lore standpoint, the Horde is going to have to back down from areas on the edge of conquest (particularly Ashenvale.) But we don’t want to re-do that zone – it’s an important Horde level-up area. And even if we DID re-do it, we’d still have to have quests – it couldn’t just be night elves /dancing. On a related note, would you guys be willing to sacrifice a new zone in the next expansion for us to re-do Gilneas? As an Alliance only zone? What gameplay would we get out of it?
So it’s an open question for us, how we show the impact of the war without re-doing zones that we just re-did for Cataclysm.
Kamrian Green: A fear many Alliance players have is that everything that the Horde has done to the faction up until this point will be laid on Garrosh and all will be forgiven. Can we safely assume that this will not be the case? To the Alliance, the Horde has a lot to answer for without Hellscream.
Fargo: I address this somewhat in an above answer1- how SHOULD we depict Alliance justice without deleting a bunch of old zone content? Also, we still need to make sure a Horde EXISTS after Garrosh falls, because, you know, they’re half our players. But certainly going forward into the next expansion we can carry forward the themes of Horde trying to rebuild itself from an absolutely terrible war and the Alliance – a unified victorious juggernaut – taking the initiative in the challenges that lie ahead.
Orgrimmar is going to be a bloodbath.
There seems to be the perception2 that the zone revamps of Cataclysm were, by and large, a failure. There are many reasons given, but by and large, the finger usually points to execution – it was in general done poorly.
One example would be the added real estate that remained, by and large, dead. Go to EPL and have a look at the highlands in between the northwestern and southwestern halves of the zone. Lake, devoid of life. Hills, devoid of life.
There are other examples to draw upon, of course. How questing was "on rails". How you ran out of XP headroom before you ran out of quests. How the lore was treated disrepectfully in some cases. The retcons. And so forth.
But there were some good points, too. The whole Wrathion storyline issues forth from one of those revamped zones. Oversized zones3 were cut into manageable sizes. Things moved forward as time passed (WPL, to some extent).
In general, if you ask someone how they feel about revamped, updated, or modernized zones, as a thing, they’ll be positive. But if you ask them how they feel about how Blizz executed the revamped zones, the response will be overall negative.
Now, let’s look at the above quotes again. Fargo gives the impression that, yeah, they want to modernize zones, but, because they didn’t work out, they don’t feel that putting resources into it is a worthwhile thing.
The thing is, I think that the response to the bad execution is being taken as a response to the whole idea of zone revamps, and I have to disagree with that perception. I think that if they had done a better job of it, the response would be far, far more positive, and Blizz would probably see this as a thing worth pursuing.
Right now, moving the lore on Old Azeroth forward seems to be held up by their unwillingness to try to revamp a zone again. Look at the comments above; yeah, would be nice of Alliance took back Gilneas, but that would require a zone revamp. Yeah, Alliance justice would be interesting to depict, but we’d have to revamp a bunch of old content. Yeah, Alliance would probably assert itself in Ashenvale again, but that would require a zone revamp.
Eventually it stops sounding convincing. Eventually it sounds like a bunch of weak excuses.
The lore should move forward. If that means revamping old zones, you do it, or things start to fall apart. Eventually you’re not going to be able to staple all the old lore to new expansions’ lore without some change.
On a lighter note:
Guest: Turalyon and Alleria are still absent after all these years. Did they find a portal to a tropical island planet and are sitting on the beach drinking cocktails with the little umbrellas in them right now or something?
Fargo: I LIKE that answer! But I suspect they opted to do something heroic instead. We’ll come back to them when the time is right.
Keep in mind where it is that we lost track of these two, and we see some foreshadowing that points towards Outland once again. Goody!
Astute readers will have noticed a distinct lack of activity here in the past few weeks. The answer is simple: network access is minimal at best. Grimmtooth Actual is in the process of moving to new digs … network’s on at the new place, but our FIOS contract at the current apartment is up, so what access there is, is via the cell phone hotspot, which is not all that useful for WoW-ing. Four to six weeks, we’ll be back in the groove again.
Life marches on. Eff the Ineffable has been stalled on the first tier of raiding; a solid block of people don’t have the patience to let us get execution down on, say, Elegon and thus have simply stopped showing up. I Joined Eff the Ineffable because a bunch of my friends where there. They moved on, and I stayed for the raiding. Now that that’s not happening, I’ve decided to move on to a new server somewhere to hang with some friends again2. We might raid, too, but maybe that’s not so important to me anymore. More on that when it happens.
Jasra’s guild, the Vorpal Bunnies, managed to down their first boss shortly after I went offline. This seems to be a trend; I don’t show, and good things happen Given that they seem to have a decent healing team going now, I’ve asked if I need to dust off Flora or keep Jas geared. Hard to say where that’s going to go. I’m flexible, at any rate.
Prior to the enforced downtime, I was asking myself if I was ready to leave the game; the 5.2 content is frankly a downer, with the focus of dailies in place of new content, and the probability that we’ll see the same in future. However, this extended hiatus has not in any way diminished my desire to play, "World of Dailycraft" or not. Truth is, jaded, cynical, or not, I still find plenty of reasons to enjoy the game, and hundreds of things still to do. So, we’ll be back.
See you then.
I can’t explain it; OK Go just makes me happy. [↩]
GM has been notified, via Twitter, or at least I hope she got the DM, otherwise this is a rude surprise for which I apologize in advance. [↩]
Today, Blizzard released two trailers for our enjoyment. The first, for WoW Patch 5.2.
I wanna make one observation. The voice of the narrator is the same horrid, insulting mock-Chinese that we’ve heard elsewhere.
Yeah, that’s them.
So George Lucas gets all sorts of hate and grief for using these stupid racial stereotypes, but Blizzard gets s free pass? Guys?
Can we move on from this crap?
Maybe this guy can report it for you when it happens.
The other trailer is for Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm.
So, can someone tell me why Sarah Kerrigan still wears high heels into battle? Can somebody explain to me why her mutated Zerg form also has high heels? Can somebody explain to me why all the guys are wearing tank-grade armor while she’s in form-fitting catsuit armor?
I don’t usually shill or endorse for any organizations, I figure you’re marginally less interested in reading that sort of stuff than, say, my warlock’s mogging choices. But sometimes I make an exception.
If you are not familiar with the charity Child’s Play, let me summarize. No. It is too much. Let me sum up. Child’s Play is a charity founded by the Penny Arcade gang for purposes of turning the rabid gaming masses into a source of comfort for sick children. I lost count, but last I looked the organization is responsible for over ten million dollars’ worth of toys and games going to children’s hospitals. Gamers are just awesome like that.
One of the WoW arms of this effort is Iron Man Mode, a comedy site that uses the "iron man" gaming method (i.e. if you die, even once, you’re done) to entertain you and obtain fundage for Child’s Play. Last year they raised over $1000, this year they’re aiming to double it.
So if you were looking for a way to enrich somebody’s life, and consider sick kids a worthy beneficiary, why not go through Iron Man’s site to do it, and make even more people happy?
Okay, end of sales pitch. I return you now to my epic series, "what my alt found in her belly button lint, and how it means that Blizzard is doomed."
In a nutshell, these new recipes can be used to get you from skill level 1 to 500 by using Ghost Iron – I’m going to assume that in the next expansion, it will be the ore of the new lands, perpetually from 5.2 on out.
The good news of this is that you don’t have to go farming for copper, tin, iron, and so forth to get you through the lower levels.
But here’s the thing; can I see a show of hands of anyone that felt that farming or buying copper ore was any more difficult than farming or buying ghost iron? It’s not difficult. It’s not a problem. The greatest challenge it poses is for you to figure out what zone has what ores, which is just the sort of brain-dead activity that separates us from lower primates.
In short, this solves a problem that doesn’t exist.
It is strangely similar to how Blizzard solved “the leveling problem”. Instead of making it interesting, they made it trivial.
And GhostCrawler has the nerve to be surprised that his playerbase “optimizes for efficiency.”
The simplified leveling model solved a problem that didn’t exist. The new blacksmithing scheme does as well. And both are a monumental waste of time.
If they decide to trivialize the leveling or blacksmithing experience so that it’s just stupid simple to do, why not do something a lot less complicated? Just let people buy level 85 characters for fifty bucks (and kill the illicit market for said toons). Just let people pay a huge sum of gold for BS skill level 500 and stop clogging our zones with farmers.
They have a moral and philosophical objection to this sort of thing, but because of those peccadillos, they’ve wasted countless man-hours on something that nobody wants, instead of, oh, I don’t know, new content maybe?. Maybe finish up dance studio? Maybe get those updated models out there?
No, what they’ve decided to do is to give us ways to skip parts of the game without actually and factually doing the deed.
WoWderata is pretty much my favorite of the bunch, because beneath the silliness is a Zen that really applies to life in WoW, and elsewhere. But the overwhelming (for this blog) response to Walking on Eggshells highlights it as the one that resonated the most with others.
March was a dry month for me, as my system died the death of hard drives, so what I blogged most about was how sad WoW raiding was at 2fps, and so forth. The only real content published was a piece about my support and appreciation for a fellow blogger, though in retrospect it seems to be a group of words having an uncomfortable alliance rather than a finished piece of prose.
So, no best-of for this month, even though my sentiments for Apple Cider remain unchanged – just poorly expressed.
June was a quiet month, with only three posts in it. I did manage to get a good rant off, this time against the stupidity of robotic “hacker” signature recognition processes and the ridiculous cloak of secrecy that MMO companies place over how they recognize same.
Best of June, however, I give to my Diablo III Post-mortem, simply because it seems to have captured a lot of people’s attention, most which never commented, but which show up in search hits and page landings3. SOMEBODY was interested enough to look, at least.
Another relatively dry month, and mostly fluff. The exception was Illume’s Dead Glyph post, listing all those glyphs that would have no future. What we didn’t realize at the time was discontinued glyphs were mostly getting recycled by Blizz as new glyphs. What I’m saying is that the most significant post of the month was also very, very wrong.
I’m disappointed that the serious pieces didn’t get more play. Either I’ve got some issues in the writing, or got it wrong, or people just didn’t feel like adding anything to it. Still, even if they had gone off like gangbusters, my sentimental favorite is Jasra’s story, for many reasons. It moves her story forward. It fleshes her out a bit. I’m probably the only person on the planet that appreciates it, so, essentially, I am my own audience. Voices in the head, remember?
In second place, my sentimental favorite, Out of Retirement, in which Jasra steps out into the raiding world once again.
But my favorite by far is Our Dearest Blood, my tribute to Ratshag, one of the first bloggers I read, an inspiration to me, an inspiration for a lot of what exists on this blog, and a really great fellow. He still blogs, but now as a battle pet aficionado at press ‘5’ to capture.
Aaaand that’s a wrap for 2012. Here’s hoping for a great 2013.
Again; I’m a sucker for anyone that actually notices me! [↩]