Daily Archives: February 1, 2018

Falling into Battle for Azeroth Mania

Look at all those people clogging up Blizzard’s payment system because they HAVE TO HAVE their pre-order today! Sheep!

-Me, Tuesday Afternoon

Okay, I’ve unlocked my Highmountain Tauren allied race and raise my digital deluxe edition pet to 25.

-Also Me, That Same Evening

It isn’t like I don’t have enough things on my “To do” list in Azeroth.  But at some point on Tuesday evening I said, “What the hell!” and joined in the frenzy and pre-ordered Battle for Azeroth.

Battle for Azeroth

They say all online purchasing decisions made after 8pm are a mistake, but I did this at 7:30pm, so I’m in the clear I guess. *cough*

Of course, Blizzard wasn’t making things easy.  They dropped a patch earlier in the day to support the pre-order update and it was having… issues.  Issues like not showing any of your characters.

Breath into the paper bag and login again…

That seemed to be a random error.  You could log out and back in again and you might get your characters.  And if you did get them, then foolishly logged out… never log out on a night where there are login issues… you might not get them the next time you tried.

Anyway, I did get in and found that you could order the expansion from within the game.  I’m not sure if, by that point, it was a better option than the normal Blizzard store, but it worked.  I was set.

Then I swapped to my level 110 Horde character… because for my first time ever in WoW I have a max level Horde character… so I could work on unlocking the Highmountain Tauren.  That was the one of the current four allied races that interested me.  And it is a good thing that was the one, because I still have some work to do on the other three.  Part of my “To do” list is to finish up Argus.

So I got the quest pop for allied races which brought me to Orgrimmar where there is a new embassy building for this sort of thing.  It was, naturally enough, kind of a crowded place.  There you get to pick which allied race to pursue.  I only had the one option.

Tauren… you can have Highmountain Tauren

The game warns you to choose carefully as you can only have one allied race quest chain running at a time.  But the Highmountain quest chain… that is where you go to do it… only takes about 30 minutes.  After that you get a portal back to Orgrimmar where you turn in the last quest, get the achievement for unlocking that race, and are cleared to make one.

So I logged out and went to character creation.

Creating a Highmountain Tauren Warrior

I wasn’t sure what to go with, but warrior seemed like a viable option.  I already have a Horde druid and hunter.  And so I have a new character.  He started at level 20, which he needed to use the special mount that comes with each allied race.

The Highmountain mount is moose-like, which seems a little odd when you see a Tauren with moose antlers riding what seems to be a moose as well.  It is a bit like he is riding his second cousin or something.

Moose on moose action outside Orgrimmar

And now I have another level 20 character knocking about.  I am not sure when I will find the time, if ever, to level him up.

Of course, if I really wanted to, I could use the level 110 boost that came with the expansion.  I have no idea what else I would use it on.  But I think I will let that sit for a while before I use it.

Would EA Be Better if Microsoft Owned Them?

I saw a news item over at Game Informer earlier this week about a rumor that Microsoft might possibly, maybe, sort of be eyeing Electronic Arts as an acquisition target.

I am no huge fan of Microsoft.  Leaving aside past bad corporate bad behavior, operating system hegemony, and the “no bloat is ever enough” aspect of Microsoft Office, which was perfected at some point in the mid 1990s, when Word 5.1a would fit on a single 1.44mb floppy disk, but which keeps getting yearly upgrades because it is a cash cow only second to Windows itself and they have to have something to sell, their sense of how things should be done has always felt off.

There was a classic video from a decade back about how Microsoft would have designed the original iPod packaging, which is hilarious in its plausibility, taking cues from actual Microsoft packaging and pushing the idea just a little bit further, that illustrates some of that.

But I never really developed any sort of hate for Microsoft, even when I was working on products for the Macintosh.  My attitude has generally been more one of exasperation in a “I see what you were trying to achieve here, but why this?” sort of way.

I don’t have any stock images I threw together to indicate how I feel about Microsoft, no dripping blood, or satanic symbols, or Latin phrases on their logo to indicate my displeasure with them.

This is not the same for Electronic Arts.

Fun created here… on an Orca graveyard!

Which, of course, makes me wonder if Microsoft buying EA would necessarily be a bad thing.

They haven’t done horrible things to Minecraft since they made Notch a very rich man by buying it from him.  They also seem to be embracing a bit of the nostalgia thing with Age of Empires, even if they have locked me out of it for now.

Does not work on my device!

At least they might consolidate Origin with the Microsoft Windows Store.

Then again, Microsoft games always feel very much driven by the whole XBox side of the house.  Would that disrupt EA’s trajectory or would Microsoft leave well enough alone?  And would one or the other be preferable?  Microsoft seems to be better with their studios than EA, which has a penchant for closing them down.

And then I wonder about what more market consolidation means in a world where there are already only a few players in the market that can afford to make AAA level video games.

Overall my gut is that Microsoft is more likely to be concerned about end users that EA seems to be.  But I am not sure how much of an endorsement that really is.  How far does “better than EA” really get you?  It seems like a low bar to me.

Anyway, in the end, it will be shareholder value that dictates whether this happens as opposed to whatever gamers might think.