Category Archives: entertainment

Disney Checks EA Over Battlefront Microtransactions and Other Hilarity

As it turns out, all of that firestorm about Star Wars: Battlefront II did not change EA’s mind.  Electronic Arts was fine just staying the course and going all-in on pay to win in the name of boosting revenues.  They were willing to move the dials some, but actually turn it off? Nah!

I don’t directly have a horse in this race since I’ve written off EA as a horrible company and don’t give them money in any form any more, but I figured I ought to follow up last week’s post and also note the state of affairs so I can come back to it a year from now and see how things played out.  Also, my daughter, cringing at my childish artistic efforts, made me a new “EA is Hell” graphic for such posts.  I’d feel bad not using it.

Electronic Arts – Fun is Made Here

Anyway, as it turns out Disney had to step in and yank EA’s chain to get them to stop shitting all over the Star Wars franchise just before a big movie launch next month.  So I suspect we won’t see EA suspend their temporary moratorium on predatory practices and straight up pay to win until Star Wars: The Last Jedi makes its billions in screen revenues and toy sales.

Then there was the analyst who, displaying all the depth the profession is known for, like a true Scooby-do villain, blamed the whole fiasco on “those meddling kids,” in the form of Reddit and a momentarily not subservient gaming press.  Can’t they see that EA needs that extra revenues to stay alive?  Games are so much more expensive to make these days, or so we’re told, so if gamers can’t be milked for more revenue the whole industry will collapse.

Oh, wait, EA says that shutting off its Star Wars Battlefront II whale exploiting program won’t affect earnings.  So which is it?  Are these all a necessary evil in order to ensure games keeping getting made or just another unconscionable way to boost revenues?

Anyway, all of that nerd rage has buoyed the FIFA fan base to demand EA fix the exploitative nature of that franchise as well, to which I can only respond with a hearty Nelson Muntz “Haw, haw!”

Or I would if this sort of thing wasn’t on the rise everywhere it seems.  Your dollar votes make this possible.  I know, we all just want to play our video games with our friends, and it is easy for me because EA literally makes no games right now that I care to play, but at least give this some thought now and again will you?  Spending $60 on the box for a game that contains a blatantly, unarguably vulgar straight up pay to win mechanic just makes that more likely to happen again in the future, even if you don’t participate in the most crass aspects of the money grab.

Did I get enough adjectives in that last paragraph?  I think there is room for a few more.  Would more change your mind?  Or are you just going to buy the games anyway?  You’re just going to buy them anyway, aren’t you?  Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you way too late!

Meanwhile various small time government officials are trying to ride this storm for some publicity.  The Nosy Gamer has a post about some of this.  The gambling commission in Belgium, a French senator, a Hawaiian state representative, and now a state gambling commission in the Australian state of Victoria have weighed in, all looking to play this for some press to further their careers.

I mean, I have some mild hope given the direction some of this is going.  There seems to be a line of thought that random chance plus real money alone is sufficient to declare something, if not real gambling, at least a predatory practice that targets the young, without having to open the can of worms that would come from declaring virtual goods to have real world value.

But even with virtual goods being worth cash money, the whole idea that random chance and money are predatory causes me to see how this could immediately bleed over into collectable card games (I don’t care if adults play Magic: The Gathering, it is still viewed in the mainstream as the domain of 13 year old boys, while the Pokemon TCG is straight up aimed at kids), baseball cards, the gumball machine in front of the drug store that drops out random toys in little plastic capsules, and McDonald’s Happy Meals.

There is a long and lamentable history of laws being written with a specific intent and then being expanded to include semi-analogous but never intended scenarios.  If “money + chance + children” is predatory do you have a green light to sue McDonald’s if you don’t get the right Star Wars toy in you Happy Meal?  I’m sure some lawyer will take that case and try to make new law if you’re willing to pay his many billable hours and expenses.

Anyway, the potential for a law that might get expanded into various other venues will cause a cross-industry alliance against any such changes to be formed.  They will battle directly by making up numbers about how many jobs would be lost by such regulation and promises of self-policing in the industry while at the same time innocuous sounding industry groups will donate to the campaign funds of politicians… or directly to politicians… to sway their minds and soon, if EA can keep itself from publicly shitting the bed again for just a little while, the whole issue will disappear.

So that is my call.  Ain’t nothing going to happen and a year from now the status quo will still be in place.  I mean, maybe EA won’t be trying to sell its pay to win so egregiously, so there will be a small win in that.  But that will have been accomplished through direct economic pressure.  No legislation or regulations will have been passed in any but the tiniest of jurisdictions.

Yes Gevlon, I read your post.  I disagree, if only because I cannot imagine the systems in the US and the EU working with such haste.  The EU only gets itself in gear if it thinks it can milk US companies like Google and Apple to punish them for being better at what they do than their European counterparts.  Somebody will point out that any changes won’t just hurt EA but Europeans as well and that will be that.  And in the US… well, the NRA and its congressional puppets have been reading from the “video games cause gun violence” script for years and that hasn’t changed anything of substance.  What chance does this have?

Anyway, we shall see.  If I remember I’ll make this one of my predictions for 2018.  I need to start thinking about that.

Until then I’ll go back to playing World of Warcraft, at least until they start selling mythic raid drops in loot boxes for cash.  After that it will just be Pokemon for me I guess.  Nintedo would never do this, right?  And they’re going to announce a Pokemon Diamond & Pearl remake next year as well, right? Right?

Thirteen Years of This in Azeroth

I stood there in the rain amongst the looted corpses and burning huts.

The scene, repeated over and over…

As I surveyed the grisly scene, the reasoning behind the task seemed less and less plausible.  Did I really have to kill them all and burn down their huts?  Was there some other way where both sides could have gotten what they wanted?

Well, at least that guy promised me some gold for this… and guys like that always pay… always about the same amount too… like there was some sort of industry standard price for this sort of thing.  Hrmm…

Maybe the next task will be different.

Happy Birthday World of Warcraft.

Fall Movie League – Week of Wonder

The penultimate week for our Fantasy Movie League fall season has passed.

Also, “penultimate” is one of those words I use whenever I have the opportunity.

With one final set of picks for week 13 yet to go, now would be a good time to think about joining our league for the winter season.  Clicking on this link will send you on your way.  I was wondering whether or not to keep going with this, but we have Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming up, which should be a wonderfully budget distorting venture.  Pricing for a weekend when the top movie is expected to bring in $250 million should be interesting.

But that is all in the future.  First we need to review what happened on week twelve, the week of Justice League’s launch, which saw the pricing as follows:

 Justice League - FRI         $636
 Justice League - SAT         $434
 Justice League - SUN         $334
 Thor: Ragnarok               $269
 Daddy's Home 2               $175
 Murder on the Orient Express $152
 Wonder                       $140
 The Star                     $120
 Bad Moms Christmas           $77
 Lady Bird                    $30
 Jigsaw                       $16
 Boo! 2                       $9
 Geostorm                     $8
 Blade Runner 2049            $8
 Three Billboards             $8

Monday evening, when the new week is unlocked, I immediately do a quick, gut level pick without doing any research whatsoever on the theory that it will get one of my bad ideas of of my head quickly.

This time around I anchored on two screens of Justice League Sunday and filled in from there.  Then I started poking around and decided that Justice League was not going to be the pick for the week.  Pricing was based on it doing something close to $150 million but by Tuesday there were already murmurs about that being optimistic.

Based on the pricing and initial predictions, The Star looked to be a good bet for the best price-performer for the week, but I wasn’t buying that either.  Stuck for choice I redid my picks anchored on three screens of Thor: Ragnarok and then played with options for the back fill as the week went on.

By late on Thursday projections for The Star had begun to wane, Justice League was under $125 million, and I was sitting there with Thor and Blade Runner 2049 wondering if I should stick with that.  Box Office Pro, one of the sites I watch… in part because they do weekly projections and in part because they don’t post a hundred things a day like the Variety movie section can… popped up with their forecast, which had Wonder at $17 million, up from a modest $12 million earlier in the week.

I put that in my spreadsheet and it looked to be the clear pick for best price performer.  I took that as a sign and went in with seven screens of Wonder, leaving a screen of Blade Runner 2049 there, more a pick from the heart than from logic.  After that I was busy and didn’t have time to follow up until after the picks were locked on Friday morning.

My Fall Week Twelve Picks

Looking at the MCats league, I was clearly not the only one who saw the swell Wonder was getting.  Of seven active players, six of us went heavy on Wonder.  Over on the TAGN league however, only Pak and I were in on Wonder, with Justice League taking the anchor spots for four players and Thor for another.

And then Saturday rolled in and, for once it was not the Saturday of false hope, as Wonder was projected to hit $27 million.  At that level nothing else was poised to touch it and the only real question was what film was required in that eighth screen for the perfect pick of the week.

Well, it wasn’t going to be Blade Runner 2049, which was running at about half of the best estimate I could find for it.  Three Billboards was the right filler instead, giving a perfect pick worth just shy of $213 million.  906 people got that, including four of the MCats league.

Fall Week Twelve Perfect Pick

Still, even without the perfect pick, anchoring on Wonder was going to lift me up against SynCaine.  Last week his Daddy’s Home 2 lineup killed, a situation helped by my bad-in-hindsight Geostorm heavy lineup.  That put him $23 million ahead of me.  Then we got the results for week twelve.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $212,937,228
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $212,937,228
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $212,937,228
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $212,937,228
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $207,916,834
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $207,461,101
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $192,196,924
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $90,471,789
  9. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $80,640,147
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $77,851,048
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $75,091,163
  12. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $72,529,183
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $66,355,138
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

There was a four-way tie for first this week, which meant not a lot of movement.  The only one assailing Corr was Aure and they maintained their gap.

Otherwise, people who bet heavy on Wonder had a six figure week and those that did not were stuck in the five figure zone, leaving Meta League season totals looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,123,167,684
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,102,712,428
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $1,071,866,235
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,066,965,208
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $1,042,078,034
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,011,641,542
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,013,838,980
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $934,914,714
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $885,263,260
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $794,711,809
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $782,619,999
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $773,187,860
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $628,140,520

So Corr seems pretty secure in first place, and Aure in second.  The third place battle is now between Elly and Ben, while I seem to be in the gap between fourth and sixth.  And SynCaine, who was in the race for third spot last week fell back to eighth place due to Wonder paying off so big.

That leaves us with once week left in the fall season, with the following choices:

Coco                           $716 
Justice League                 $534
Wonder                         $298
Thor: Ragnarok                 $206
Daddy's Home 2                 $143
Murder on the Orient Express   $128
Roman J. Israel, Esq.          $102
The Star                       $96
Bad Moms Christmas             $70
The Man Who Invented Christmas $68
Three Billboards               $51
Lady Bird                      $49
Jigsaw                         $7
Loving Vincent                 $6
Blade Runner 2049              $6

Leading the pack is Coco, from Disney/Pixar.  It already had a huge opening in Mexico, we shall see if Pixar magic continues north of the boarder.  Justice League is here for its second week and ought to be worth north of $40 million.  Thor is still in play as well. Then there is the week 12 ringer, Wonder, now priced more appropriately.  Also new to the list this week are Roman J. Israel, Esq., The Man Who Invented Christmas, and Loving Vincent.  And I still have one more week to put Blade Runner 2049 in my picks.

As I write this on Monday night, I couldn’t tell you which way to jump, but my current anchor is Coco.

Finally, as noted above, I will be carrying on for the Winter season.  Click here to join.  We shall see what Star Wars does to the league.

Resumed Pet Battle Campaign

On coming back to World of Warcraft I was a bit bemused to find that one of my key pet battle addons, Pet Battle Teams, appeared to have broken again.  I had run into problems with it before, when Blizz changed the name of the pets window in the game, so I checked on that.  But that did not appear to be the problem.  So I setup my base catching team, the Terrible Turnip, Grunty, and Deathy, and continued to catch pets in the Broken Isles while I tried to get the addon straightened out.

Grunty in Action, Turnip Face Down

Grunty and Deathy are BlizzCon rewards and are two of my favorite pets.  They are unique and a bit OP and work very well for a lot of my general needs.  Grunty was the first battle pet of mine that hit level 25.

I tinkered with Pet Battle Teams some more, tried uninstalling and re-installing the addon, and eventually removed all data and started from scratch.

That last bit appeared to do the trick.  Somewhere along the line my team data went out of date and when I came back to the latest version of the addon.  That was a shame, as I had already set up teams to handle many of the trainers and challenges in the game.  The problem I have with managing my pets is that with over 600 of them in my collection, including duplicates, finding the right pet for the right battle can be a challenge on its own.  I like to have some set up for specific battles and other set up for opposing different pet types, like aquatic or flying.  That at least puts a few of what I am often looking for quickly to hand.

My Pet Window with the Teams Addon

Of course, I should be working on flying in WoW Legion.  But if I spend all my time doing that it will start to feel like a grind, so I do a bit of that every day, the look into other things.

And with pet battles I actually have a lot of options.  I have a bunch of nice pets I want to level up.  I have the collections for various areas to finish.  And then there is Pandaria.

Pet battles came in with the Mists of Pandaria expansion, but that was the expansion I did not play at launch.  Because of that, when I did finally join in on the expansion… and it turned out to be one of my favorites… I was way behind the curve when it came to pets.  I had a bunch of pets, but they were all level 1.  So I wasn’t going to be challenging the master trainers in Pandaria.

So, for me, pet battles really started in earnest with Warlords of Draenor.  I had to work to build up a team to unlock the menagerie in my garrison.  While I have a number of negative comments about garrisons in Draenor, the menagerie was not something I would knock.

The menagerie became the cornerstone of my pet battle experience.  Between that and Trainer Ashlei I was able to level up and improve my collection dramatically.  As I wrote back in early 2015, my pet battle enthusiasm had been unleashed.

Now, running around the Broken Isles doing world quests, I was finding that pet battles were on the list of options.  In building up teams for that I started to realize that I had a something of a collection going.  Checking my stats over at Warcraft Pets, I saw I had well over 100 max level pets.  So I decided I might be ready to go back to Pandaria to face some of the trainer challenges there.

I may have binged on it a bit.  After a rough start I managed to get in the two beginning challenges for trainers there, racking up a number of achievements along the way.

Pandaria Pet Battle Achievements

Getting those required some research.  WoW Head has posts with basic information about each fight, which is a start.  It is the comments where the real meat comes in about the sorts of teams that might be successful.  However, it isn’t just copy the team and go at it… mostly because I almost never have the battle pets suggested.

Literally I think all of my pet battle problems would be solved if only I had the Anubisath Idol pet, as it seems to feature heavily in successful teams.  However, I don’t have him or a number of other favorites.  So I looked at what had been successful to see if I can use those ideas with pets I actually have.

A team that didn’t quite work…

I got a few on the first try, but most took a couple of runs to come to victory.  Eventually I ended up at my last fight.

This time I have you

Success there led me back to the quest giver.  That both yielded a reward, a new pet, of course.

I went for the Earthen spirit

That also opened up daily versions of the quests in order to get the pets I didn’t choose.  So I have more battles ahead of me.

In addition, I still have a lot more pets to catch.  In some places just one pet awaits me, like the one I am missing in Northrend.

It only spawns when it is snowing in the zone…

In other areas I have to get there at the right time.  And then there are the raiding with leashes pets.  I have a couple of those, but there is a list still waiting for me, including the aforementioned Anubisath Idol.  So much left to do… enough to keep me busy for a while I imagine.

What Other Pains will WoW Classic Bring?

Over at Massively OP Syp published a Perfect Ten column about the perils of getting what you ask for in the form of WoW Classic.

WoW Client from Days Gone By

The list he came up with is almost charming in its scope, featuring things some people have been literally clamoring for in a vanilla server, like no Dungeon Finder and old school talent trees and new skills that don’t magically appear in you skill book.  And believe me, inventory space is still at a premium in WoW Legion today.  We have three damn hearthstones to start with.

So I started trying to come up with other aspects of vanilla WoW that people might have forgotten or actively suppressed from their memory.  So, to steal Syp’s idea and add to the list, here are a few that stick out for me:

Just Being Poor

Gold was scarce and you would collect every bit of gray trash to vendor just for the few silver coins it might bring.  One of my earliest memories of World of Warcraft is going to my class trainer and realizing that I did not have enough coins to train all of my skills.  This got a little better as time went on but, like so many things, it seemed to be especially burdensome for new players.

Expensive Epic Mounts

Even when you think you’re no longer poor you end up running into this.  I don’t even remember the price of the level 60 fast mount, but you had to buy the skill, which was expensive, and then you had to buy a mount, which wasn’t cheap either.  And then there were the paladin and warlock mounts, both of which had long quests, needed the skill, and cost even more to finally acquire.  Our little group did both of those.

The instance group all mounted up

Mounts in Inventory

And if you are worried about inventory slots, then you might have blotted the fact that your mount took up a spot in your bag.  You kept your favorite mount with you and, if you had others, you left them stashed in your bank… which was probably also full.

You Are Mounted

It seemed like any mob that tagged you would dismount you.  But if you went to a flight point and tried to get on the bird while still mounted, you would just get an error message flash on your screen informing you that you were still mounted.  At one point Blizz tried to go through and automatically make you dismount when a task required it, but there are still a few corner cases in the game where you can get that message.  But back in the day you had to manually dismount for damn near everything.

Point to Point Flight Paths

While we’re on the topic of travel, flight points were different back then.  While being able to fly past flight points you hadn’t visited is a more recent change, back in the day you couldn’t even automatically fly through multiple flight points.  Sitting up in Darnassus and want to fly to Tanaris?  It didn’t matter if you have the whole route on your map, you could only fly to a flight point directly connected to your current location, at which point your trip would stop until you talked to that flight master and picked the next connecting flight point.  Non-stop flights eventually came, but for a long stretch you had to get off the bird to catch your connecting flight.

Still, it probably wasn’t as bad as taking the tram from Stormwind to Ironforge, getting distracted, and then finding yourself heading back to where you started again.

Hunters with Ammo and Quivers

I still have a few old hunters I rolled up back in the day on various servers that still have quivers or ammo pouches with ammo in them.  Hunters were really this strangely different class back in the day, which I think explains some of the love/hate relationship people have with the class even today.

So yes, you had to have ammo for your ranged weapon.  And you had access to better ammo as you leveled up, and getting that was pretty much critical to remaining effective.  And then there was player made ammo, which was a bit better… and also came in various levels.

And all this ammo had to go into your inventory, taking up precious space.  And if you wanted to draw ammo from inventory you had to keep it in a quiver or an ammo pouch, something that took up a whole bag slot.  Basically, hunters had four bags of general inventory while every other class had five.  Whoever thought that was a good idea had never done The Green Hills of Stranglethorn.

Hunter Pet Skills

This was one of those neat ideas that became awkward as you progressed.  Like every other class, Hunters had to go back to their trainer to get and upgrade their skills.  But not all of them were available to the trainer.  Some pet skills you had to learn in the wild.  What that meant was putting your pet in the stable (three slots only, no epic collections of pets back then), running out into the wild without your essential combat buddy, finding a mob with the skill you wanted to learn, taming that mob, then fighting along side it for a while before you would finally learn the skill, at which point you would abandon that pet and head home to teach your pet the skill and then carry on with your adventures.

Hunter Pet Levels

Hunter pets had their own independent level back in the day.  If you liked the model of a level 10 lion… like The Rake in the Barrens, with its special fast attack speed… but were level 30 already, you would have to go level up your pet to catch it up to your level.  And the only way to do that was to grind mobs.  You had to be really dedicated to a particular model to level up a pet more than a few levels.

Hunter/Pet Relationship

Again with the hunters… I know, but they were special and popular and helped make Azeroth what it is today.  But first they had to suffer.

So hunters also had a relationship with their pet based on being fed and letting them die and just fighting together.  A happy pet did more damage, so you wanted to keep them happy, which primarily meant keeping them well fed.  So in addition to having a while bag slot roped off and dedicated for ammo, you also had to keep a stack or two of pet food in your bags.  And not just any food, but the RIGHT food.  Some only ate meat, some only dairy, others a variety.  There was nothing like being out in the field and finding you were short of food and the only vendor around only sold something your pet wouldn’t eat.

And it was possible that, if neglected, you pet might run away.  I never had that happen, but the thought of it was enough for me to pack an extra stack or two of food… because stacks were only 20 units back in the day.

The Elf Run to Ironforge

If you made a Night Elf back in the day, you were probably found yourself pretty much alone over in Darnassus while your friends we all over having fun in Stormwind and Ironforge.  The reason you were alone was that Westfall was one of the best early zones and led to the Deadmines instance, so nearly every night elf before you had already gone there.  Getting there meant taking the ship to Menethil Harbor and then making the perilous run across the Wetlands to Dun Algaz and the tunnel that would bring you to the zone with Ironforge.

The Elf Run

Of course, the Wetlands was a level 20+ zone and you were likely level 10 tops… so everything could kill you and your aggro radius was huge.  And then, if you did make it and were a druid… well… you class trainer was back in Darnassus, which could be awkward.  But at least you had a travel form.  You did train the travel form, right?

Strange Dungeons

The current design philosophy for dungeons in Azeroth is like the old slogan for Dominos, “30 minutes or less.”  New ones are designed in that scope while older ones have been mostly trimmed back to that goal.

But back in vanilla WoW the design philosophy seemed to be… hrmm… more like, “We’re just doing something that seems cool!”

So instead of being configured for one run, some instances seemed to be designed for multiple visits.  Everybody’s favorite early instance, The Deadmines, had a level split from the start to the end that was wide enough that if you were set for Van Cleef the start of the run was all gray to you.  The Wailing Caverns were a long and confusing crawl.  Uldaman was another with a wide level gap designed for multiple runs… and the worst death respawn location ever.  There were three wings to Scarlet Monastery, but just getting there as alliance was a chore.  Then there was the epic puzzling majesty that was the original Sunken Temple.

And many of these had quest lines that tied them to the zone they were located, so you would have to do at least some of the zone in order to get the quests. (Otherwise, for example, Gryan Stoutmantle wouldn’t shout your name to the whole zone after you defeat Van Cleef.)  I look back at our instance runs through vanilla back in the 2006 to 2008 range and times were a lot different.  (Also, if you want to wallow in nostalgia I have a video from our first year and another one devoted just to Sunken Temple.)

It was, when it came to five person dungeons, a very different time.

The Great Stranglethorn Quest Gap

One of the things Syp mentioned was quests not filling in the experience gap to keep you advancing.  But that one is a lot deeper.  The thing is, quests were fine, you just had to make sure you did them all across a couple of zones.  For example, I would move back and forth between Stormwind and Ironforge, each of which had their own early zones, and do all the quests in both areas.  Doing that would keep you moving into appropriate level content and was easy enough to find.

Eventually though you were funneled into Stranglethorn Vale, with quests both odd and annoying, crowded with the flow of players, and unable to provide the experience boost needed to get you past it via questing alone.  There was a reason I had a number of characters sitting levels between 35 and 40 unplayed for ages.

If you went and did some research you could find Desolace as a possible alternative, though getting there from Menethil Harbor would take you an hour or so, if you didn’t get lost.  And there, in the pre-Maraudon days the quest chains were… odd?  You could end up running around trying to quest there, Arathi, or in the Swamp of Sorrows and still find yourself coming up short.  Or that was how it felt.  But once you got past that hurdle to about level 45 or so, more options started to open up, and from 50 to 60 there was almost an embarrassment of choices.  This was one of the reasons that Blizzard went back and filled in the Dustwallow Swamp with a bunch of additional quests.

Others

There are many others.  Useless trade skills, no quest locations on the map, dancing for tips, restricted class roles in raids, five minute pally buffs, Addons yet to be imagined, and more swim in and out of view in my brain.  But these are the ones I wanted to put on the growing list of what to possibly expect from WoW Classic.

A Timely Anniversary in WoW

We are in the anniversary zone in World of Warcraft, the official launch date being November 23rd.  But Blizzard spreads out the celebration for a while, so anniversary events and such are live in the game.

The traditional WoW Anniversary Tabard

But the re-usable boost token is really on my side this year.

13% for 13th Anniversary

I am not so concerned about experience gains, but since I am in the reputation grind to unlock flying in WoW Legion, I will take every little boost I can get.  I still have a ways to go on reputation, so I’m using the bonus while I have it.

Pokemon UltraSun and UltraMoon Launch Today

The latest entries in the long-running core Pokemon RPG series, Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon, go live today!

UltraSun & UltraMoon

Nintendo and GameFreak are returning players to Alola, the Hawaii-esque islands that previously served as the location for Pokemon Sun & Moon.

But, unlike some past generations, this won’t be a simple rework of the original story in Alola.  While the location and the basic range of Pokemon will be the same, there are new things afoot in the region for you to explore as GameFreak throws in a mix of names from past titles.  You will have a shot at catching some special Pokemon as all past legendaries be making an appearance (some on UltraSun, some in UltraMoon, because you know how it goes), so you can scoop up any you’re missing, if you are skilled and patient enough.

Legendaries from Titles Past

In addition to that they are even pulling past villains into the mix.  You will be faces with Team Rainbow Rocket, made up of the bosses from old foes such as Team Magma, Team Aqua, and Team Galactic.

The desultory Team Skull looks to be left out

Pokemon games are pretty much the only reason I own a Nintendo handheld.

However, I have not ordered either title yet.  I played a lot of Pokemon Sun earlier this year, completing the main story and running down the post-game activities as well as completing the Alola Pokedex.  But I am not feeling the Pokemon urge at the moment.

I am also a little worried about how well it will run on my original model Nintedo 3DS XL.  Pokemon Sun bogged down quite a bit on the older, slower hardware and I doubt that the new titles are going to be better, so I am waiting to see if that comes up as an issue with the new titles.

Still, I cannot wait too long.  As usual, Nintendo has some “buy now!” incentives, including giving players a master ball if they register themselves on Pokemon Global Link between today and January 29, 2018.  A master ball is guaranteed to catch even the most reluctant Pokemon in the wild.  You usually get one per game to catch an elusive legendary, but now you may have two.

Anyway, you can read more about it at the official Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon site.