Week End – Carbine, CCP, Daybreak, Witcher

1,275 words.

I started to write three or four blog posts this week, didn’t finish them, and didn’t want to post them. Instead I decided to cram all of them together into one summary post for the week. This allows me to post, but without the bother of crafting long essays that have beginnings, middles, or ends, when everything I want to say can be summed up in a paragraph. No wonder listcicles are so popular! I rather like the process of keeping a draft open throughout the week and just throwing sentences into it now and again as they occur to me.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Didn’t Stick Again

Last weekend I installed Dragon Age: Inquisition, a game I bought back in 2014, but have yet to play more than an hour of. This time, I started four different characters, but again, did not make it more than an hour or so into the game. That game just does not hook me in the same way the previous two did. The story begins in such a vague way that there is no compelling thread for me to latch onto: “A bad thing happened, now go explore the world.” Well … why? Who cares? What’s at stake for my character? Nothing, as far as I can tell. It feels like my character could simply walk out of the game with no adverse effect on them or the world. Combine that with the fact that none of the classes feel particularly fun, and I uninstalled it again. I’m just too old to wait for games to get fun somewhere after the first hour. Someday maybe I’ll try again.

Battle for Azeroth

As a brief followup to my last post, I haven’t played World of Warcraft since Monday. I have very little interest in logging in again before my subscription expires in a week, although I feel I tiny pang of guilt about not even attempting to complete the Siege of Boralus. In the end, I will have leveled exactly one Alliance character from 110 to 120, didn’t touch a single alt, didn’t complete a single World Quest, and that exhausted every bit of my tolerance for World of Warcraft this time around.

Five Games Meme

There was a meme going around Twitter a while back:

I don’t participate in memes on Twitter as a matter of policy, but this one was interesting because I could not think of five games to meet that criteria. I took it to mean five games that reflect the kind of game I like right now, so if I limit it to PC games in the last five years, I simply can’t name five of them. It sure looks like the industry doesn’t make games for me anymore.

The Witcher 1 Replay

After Dragon Age: Inquisition failed to hook me, I thought about re-playing The Witcher 3 (this was even before the Henry Cavill news). I even bought the DLC. (Which, incidentally, still cost me a whopping $12 even with a 50% discount! Outrageous!) With Dragon Age, I resisted the urge to re-start the series back at Origins, but this time I succumbed to the temptation to re-play starting from The Witcher 1. I’ve technically never finished the first one.

I don’t have the “oh the combat is awful” hangups that everyone else has-I actually relish learning obscure game mechanics if there’s a satisfying payoff, because that’s one of the most fun parts of gaming for me. (Perhaps that is why games in the last five years have not been terribly fun for me… nobody makes games with mechanics that require learning anymore.) So far it’s quite entertaining, vastly more so than Battle for Azeroth. They sure knew how to make games back in 2007. What ever happened to that?

Henry Cavill

Speaking of The Witcher, this casting news that Henry Cavill will play The Witcher in the Netflix series seems like a very positive development. But people freaked right the hell out because, I can only assume, he doesn’t look, sound, or behave like Geralt in the Superman movies. But see, they have this thing called “hair and makeup?” And actors have this thing they do called “acting?” Where they pretend to behave differently? Even change the tone of their voice and accent? (You know, like how Doug Cockle, the actual voice of Geralt in the games, doesn’t sound anything like Geralt in real life?) Anyway I don’t see how having an actor who is great at practical stuntwork and loves The Witcher games and books can possibly be a bad thing. Far better to have an actor who is excited about the property than some rando whose only prerequisite is that they kind of already look like the video game model.

Pearl Abyss And CCP

I don’t play EVE so the news of Pearl Abyss buying CCP has little or no effect on me. (I keep trying to play for free but they won’t let me into my EVE account because they have to send me that annoying security email to confirm I’m legit, but their “email provider” doesn’t like my really old “.net” email address and won’t send email to it, so they say I have to contact their customer support, which I won’t do, because my email address is perfectly fine. I’m taking a stand against email prejudice damn it!)

I imagine this buyout will ultimately turn out to be good news, because companies typically don’t sell themselves unless they are in some sort of trouble. I doubt anyone would have liked the alternative of shutting down the company and the game.

Speaking of which…

Carbine and WildStar

I can’t pretend the news of Carbine and WildStar shutting down was a surprise or even particularly sad for me. I enjoyed the first month of WildStar after launch in 2014 (although from reading over my old posts, “enjoyed” is a bit of an overstatement) but the game’s been pretty much dead to me since that first month, and I was never able to find any further enjoyment in it.

We’ve all seen this coming, pretty much since launch day. Carbine management bet everything on hardcore players and raiding, took a huge swing, predictably whiffed completely, and they were crucified for it. I recall reading rumors that internal company strife and insurmountable development challenges (which sounded very believable to me, as I have experienced the same in non-gaming development environments) effectively prevented them from even attempting any kind of recovery.

The biggest obstacle to my enjoyment of the game was the core combat system: Having to hit/spam the numbers 1-5 to fire off abilities constantly while simultaneously having to hit WASD movement keys to dodge the tells never felt comfortable. Beyond all the marketing failures, I hope future MMOs learn never to do combat that way again. (Most games expect you to spam the left and right mouse buttons and/or occasionally fire off number key abilities while moving.)

Now that I’m thinking about it, wasn’t WildStar the literal last big-budget “traditional” western AAA MMORPG to ever be released? Elder Scrolls Online being the second-to-last? And that was way back in 2014. A year before Dragon Age: Inquisition came out!

Daybreak Is Doing What Now?

As if all of that wasn’t enough, we also got news that Daybreak is making mobile versions of EverQuest and H1Z1. Does this mean the fabled EverQuest 3 is actually going to be a mobile game? Using H1Z1’s game engine?

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