Category Archives: Humor

Top Five Rejected WoW Squish Ideas

We know Blizzard isn’t exactly a font of new ideas.  When they find something that works, they like to re-use it, to hone it, and to stick it in completely unexpected and inappropriate situations.  We have had the stats squish twice already, and what essentially adds up to a server squish on retail. (They don’t merge servers like failing games! But suddenly two servers now behave like one.)  At BlizzCon we were told that the level squish is coming coming with the Shadowlands expansion next year.  So squishing is clearly a thing at Blizz.

As it turns out, there was a leak recently that showed some of the other things that Blizzard has been considering squishing as part of an attempt to revitalize the game.  A few of them have made their way to me.

Jeff Kaplan hearing about more leaks…

  • Gold Squish

The economy has been a big concern for Blizzard.  They put in easy gold faucets so that casual players can obtain enough gold to stay afloat, but hardcore players exploit and farm every such faucet.  Even after boosting the cap on gold, more and more players are ending up at the 10 million mark.  The various sinks do not absorb enough gold as most of them tend to be one-time purchases and players with maximum gold tend to distort the auction house.

So the idea of a “gold squish” was floated.  The plan was to simply cut the amount of gold on every character by 50%.  The whole thing was easy to understand and affected everybody equally.

However the idea was scrapped when feedback from focus groups indicated that reinstating Blitzchung’s original year long suspension, taking his prize money away again, and incorporating the flag of the People’s Republic of China into the Blizzard logo would be more popular with fans than taking any of their gold away.

  • Alt Squish

Name usage and database size are big issues when it comes to a game the size of WoW.  People make alts, roll up on multiple servers, and generally use up all the names and hoard stuff in their banks until the database tables runneth over and a new player cannot show up and roll up a new toon without putting special characters in their name.

A management consultant group came up with the idea of “squishing” player alts that had been idle for a specific amount of time into a special “conglomerate” character that would total up all the currency, experience, and inventory into a single meta character.  If a player returned, they could activate that meta character, selecting sex, race, and class and collect all of the combined assets into one new character.  Names would be freed up and the idea of being able to get a new, revitalized character might bring people back to the game.

However, somebody pointed out that this might cut into level boost sales while the database team complained that there wasn’t a lot of benefit to them unless there was also something like an inventory squish as well, so the whole idea was scrapped.

  • Guild Squish

As with alts, there are many idle guilds with inactive membership roles littering Azeroth.  Similar to the alt squish, the plan was to create something like an unnamed meta guild and push together sets of inactive guilds on individual servers into them.  Which ever member of any of the guilds logged on first got the meta guild, could name it, and was named leader, after which they could do with it as they pleased.

After much discussion it was decided that it was easier to just stick to the current plan where the database team would just delete inactive guilds and if anybody called customer support about such a guild, a flag would come up to prompt the agent to tell the caller that it looked like one of the member accounts got hacked, took over the guild, then was deleted for suspicious activity, then lecture them about the importance of account security.

  • Battle Pet Squish

In a little over nine years Blizzard cranked out almost 1,250 battle pets in WoW.  Nintendo and Game Freak have been at Pokemon for more than 20 years and across eight game generations still haven’t crossed into four digits.  Some at Blizz were starting to feel that maybe they had gone too fast and that, perhaps, some of the battle pets were not very… special.

A proposal was made to tighten up the battle pet roles by doing what was at one point called “the bug squish,” largely because the roach and moth battle pet population were two of the main targets.

The idea was to squish down the number of battle pets who share the same model and abilities (and have nearly the same name in many cases) to a more discreet number.  Who needs, for example, a dozen variations on the cockroach?  Roaches, moths, frogs, and a few other common model/ability families were facing the squish.

And then the Shadowlands art team spoke up and said that there was no way they were going to be able to produce 200+ new battle pets for the expansion and meet their schedule if they all had to be unique.  Already pressed for time, the idea was dropped.  Expect some new, yet very familiar, roaches, moths, frogs, and whatnot in the next expansion.

  • Expansion Squish

We heard at BlizzCon that the the company felt the path to level cap was too circuitous and confusing.

Before they decided to go the Chromie route, allowing players the initial plan was to mash the expansions together to make the path through to the current expansion more clear.  However, the whole idea fell apart when the group looking into it could not come to a consensus as to which expansions to mash up.

For example, the group seemed fine with Pandaclysm.  However, the strict orderist faction felt that meant you had to either mash up the base game and the first expansion, giving you something like The Vanilla Crusade, or leave the original game alone (good plan) and end up with Wrath of the Burning Crusade.

More radical suggestions included lumping together the three Draenor/Burning Legion related expansions into Legion of the Burning Crusade Warlords, though there was a strong argument made for just  disappearing Warlords of Draenor altogether.

At one extreme point towards the end of the life of the working group it was being proposed that they mash ALL the expansions together into something like Wrath of the Burning Panda Cataclysmic Vanilla Warlord Legion of Azeroth when one wag at the back of the room suggested that maybe they shouldn’t mash any of the expansions together and just make them all scale across the the same range of levels so the player could decide.

You get to choose

The idea was accepted, the working group was disbanded, and we got the result at BlizzCon.  It was an expansion squish of a different color, but one all the same.

A Handy Guide to Criticizing Games You Do Not Like

Something from the drafts folder.  I’m not sure what set me to write this back in August, but I fixed it up a bit and set it free today.

You know what it is like, right? All these new games keep getting announced, Kickstarted, early accessized, launched, and ported to this platform or that to the point that you cannot keep track of them anymore. And how can you possibly shit all over some game you’ve barely looked into to keep it on encroaching on the games you love and have sworn to protect?

Well your worries are over as I have put together this helpful list of ways you can badmouth games you hardly even know anything about.

Compare it Unfavorably!

Find the best, most popular game that bears any resemblance to the game you want to put down… it doesn’t need to be an exact competitor, or even that close really…  and dig right in with how this new game isn’t the one you’ve picked out.  I mean Path of Exile, Pillars of Eternity, and Papers Please are all pretty much WoW anyway, right?

I call this the “It’s not WoW” method, because in the MMORPG genre you can put down anything by claiming it isn’t World of Warcraft.  No matter what you’re comparing it to you can always claim that WoW somehow does it better and faster while looking good and being more fun to boot.  It must be a really effective tactic given how much it comes up in general chat in every single MMORPG ever.

It’s been Done!

Is the object of your scorn an entry in an already established genre?  Then you’re all set by declaring it to be derivative, unoriginal crap that has been done better, faster, and cheaper already.  This is basically the flip side of the first entry, because on the MMORPG front you can dismiss just about anything as simply being another WoW.  The best thing about this claim is that the more crowded the genre is, the more likely that you’re actually on the mark with this one.  It is like a double win!

Graphical Style!

If it looks like shit it must be shit, right?  It doesn’t matter if you actually think the game in question looks like shit or not, somebody out there does and if you say this enough times then somebody will agree with you and BAM you’re there!

And even if it doesn’t look like shit you can always go on about how you don’t like retro or pixellated or stylized or realistic or colorful or dark or whatever art style is being used.  You can trash them all with ease.

The One Feature!

Struggling to find something bad to say overall?  Then just pick on one feature!  Does it have PvP?  Toxic!  Non-consensual PvP?  Griefing gankbox! A Cash shop?  Pay to win!  A shooter?  Aimbots and hacks!  An MMO?  WoW clone!  Involves colorful fantasy? WoW clone! Does it have quests? WoW clone! Can you wield a sword? WoW clone!  Is its name three words with “of” being the second? WoW clone! Levels? Grind! Factions? Grind! Crafting?  Grind!  Also, WoW clone for those as well.  Really, is there anything that isn’t a WoW clone these days?

A Missing Feature!

Did somebody make a game and forget to include something that you are sure must be a standard feature for all games in that genre?  Is there a shooter without a single player campaign?  An ARPG without local multiplayer support?  An RPG without modding?  A strategy game without play by mail?  An MMORPG without housing?  Let that obviously lazy developer know what you think!  This is a slap in the face!

Crowdfunding!

Is the game in question a crowdfunded venture?  Well, you’re work has probably been done for you then.  Even if it has shipped it was almost certainly late and did not deliver on all of its promises.  And if it hasn’t shipped it is probably both late and still asking for more money.  Make sure you let people know that “backers” is just another word for “suckers” and that the whole thing is certainly just a scam.

Developer Hate!

Don’t know enough about the game to even go after it?  Then go after the developer!  This is a slam dunk for any EA game, because we know they’ll fuck it up somehow.  But every dev has their weakness.  If the developer is popular, then the game has probably been dumbed down to appeal to non-gamers, which we all know to be a sin, and not worth $59.99 on Steam.  If it is an indie developer, then it is probably buggy as hell and not worth $4.99 on Steam.

If you want to get more specific, figure out any mistake or recurring trait of the studio in question, magnify it one hundred times, then project it on this new game.

For example, does Paradox Interactive have a new game?  Then it is probably an overwrought boring strategic sim with a confusing UI and an erratically bad AI that will force you to marry your adult son off to a six year old cousin just to secure your hold on power.

If the game comes from Blizzard then they have surely just stolen someone’s game idea, put colorful stylized graphics on it, simplified and watered it down so even your grandmother could play it, and put a $59.99 price tag on it.

Or if the game is from Riot then even running the tutorial would turn your sainted mother into a toxic, foul mouthed, misogynist douchebag.  Hah hah, just kidding.  You probably already love League of Legends, the only game Riot has ever made, will ever make, and need ever make.  Right amigo?

Objectively Not Fun!

Here is the big secret to game criticism.  Any game can be made to sound like it is no fun if you pull back and simplify it enough.  For example, with something like Diablo you can say, “So you just click on shit and that’s it?”  With an MMO like WoW you can say, “So you just press buttons and things die?” With a shooter like Call of Duty you ask, “So you just listen to some 13 year old swear at you while he kills you again with an aimbot?  Or with EVE Online you can ask, “So you just sit in your Rorqual watching your excavator drones and hoping not to get hot dropped?”

Then you follow that leading question with the big pronouncement, something like, “Games are supposed to be fun! How is this fun?” and bada-bing, bada-boom, you’ve scored your point even if what you have asked is so off base as to be a complete mis-characterization of the game.  (Except for EVE Online, which has been scientifically proven to be not fun.)

Corrupt Developer!

Hah, just kidding!  That is the sort of outrageous lunacy, sheer tinfoil, unbelievably biased, and unhinged craziness that will do more to sink your complaints than help them.  There is no point going there if it is just going to undo your hard work.

Make Things Up!

Let’s face it, this new game is a threat.  It could take players away from your game, and your value as a human being is directly measured by how popular the games are that you play.  So don’t let reality stand in your way.  Say whatever comes to your mind.  It is probably true to some degree in any case, right?

Special Bonus: Concern Troll!

If you cannot bring yourself to straight up attack a game (why the hell not?), then there is another route you can take.  You can pretend to like the game.  You can even say you like it a lot, but that you’re sure it could be even better.  And then you can start suggesting features and improvements that are pretty much contrary to the theme and focus of the game.  Just take whatever the game does and suggest the opposite.  Is it PvE focused? Then it needs PvP! Or if it is PvP focused, then it really needs a PvE server.  Is it vehicle focused? Demand avatar game play!  And if it doesn’t have vehicles, demand those!  Or pick a random secondary feature like housing and post over and over again how the game needs this.

But be sure to restate that you are a fan of the game in question, but you fear it is dying or incomplete, so you are trying to help the developer by posting your suggestions over and over in any comment thread about the game.  Never fail to bring up your pet suggestion, ever!  Maybe, by sheer volume of words, the developer will eventually waste time and wreck their game by trying to implement your suggestion.

Things to Remember

  • The more often you say something on the internet, the more true it becomes.
  • You’re totally normal, so everybody else who is normal agrees with you, so you should make sure people know you pretty much speak for everyone in your statements.
  • Negativity is all people listen to anyway.  If you want to be heard you need to go negative early and often.
  • Reason and compromise diminish you as a person and taint your family out to four generations.
  • People disagreeing with you have no feelings and are probably bots or being paid to say what they’re saying in any case.
  • You cannot definitively rule out that you are just a brain in a jar and that this is a simulation being run to test you and your ability to defend your game of choice.

The Tale of the Two Chocolate Pies

I am almost done with maybe half a dozen posts, but I am tired and haven’t finished any of them, so you get a Christmas vignette instead.

We were up at my father’s house for Christmas, which is about a 3 hour drive away, which is part of why I didn’t finish anything.  Six hours in the car will do that.  Also, I started playing RimWorld when we got home.  That will eat up time.  So here I am writing this on Boxing Day, with the cat watching me… from a box… I am serious.

A cat in a box watching me write on Boxing Day

Christmas dinner is a pretty stock standard tradition there, and the menu never varies.  My step-mother does the most well-done prime rib possible every year.  And by well-done I mean cooked so that the colors red or pink are nowhere visible.  The president would approve.  Whatever.  She’s coming up on 80 and will do what she damn well pleases.  The meat was still tender and enough horseradish sauce makes up for most sins.

Anyway, after dinner I was sitting at the kids table with my daughter and a few of my nieces to avoid the determined clean up operation that gets set in motion the moment it appears people are done eating.  All evidence that there was ever a meal must be eliminated.  The first time my wife ever came to Christmas we went up the street for about 45 minutes to visit my grandmother and by the time we got back both dinner and desert had been served and cleaned away to oblivion.  We ended up eating Christmas cookies in the car on the way home we were so hungry.

My daughter and nieces range from 13 to 24, and two of them are involved in Hollywood so often have interesting tales.  But in the midst of a discussion which involved season five of BoJack Horseman and Ted Danson’s folding straw, my 19 year old nieces saw that desert was being put out on the counter and felt the need to point out that there were two chocolate pies.

Let me make that clear.  There were TWO chocolate pies.  This was significant.

This was important to her because last year, unbeknownst to me, she did not get ANY chocolate pie.  All of the chocolate pie had been eaten before she went to get any, so her chocolate pie aspirations had been thwarted.  Her brother, who has the last piece, declined to share his pie with her, which was no doubt the shocker of the century.

This situation last year was apparently intolerable because there were TWO chocolate pies on the counter.  I imagine my sister had heard enough of this that she just made sure nobody would lack for chocolate pie.

And we are not talking about any sort of extra special chocolate pie here.  This looked to be the stock standard, no-bake, pudding in a pie crust desert that is out every year with its siblings, the pumpkin and coconut pies.  Chocolate was just now 50% of the “pies currently on the counter” demographic.

My sister confirmed that there were a pair of chocolate pies for the reason stated, and did so with a weariness that comes from trying to balance the demands of three teens under her roof.

So when the time came to serve up some pie, I got up and got myself a slice of chocolate pie, just on the off chance there would be a rush for that particular flavor.  I mean, last year we ran out before my niece even got a slice.

I actually had two slices, and managed to get them both without depriving my niece of her slice.  I must admit that my sudden lust for chocolate pie was, in part, to see if we could eat it all again before she got any.  But there would be no pie denial melt-down of any sort.

There was enough chocolate pie for all who desired any.

As I stood in the kitchen by the trash, helping to hide all evidence that there was any desert served after the meal we had so successfully disappeared, my niece walked up to scrape the remains of her pie into the trash.  In her hands I saw a paper plate with a huge glop of chocolate pie filling, missing really only the crust.  The main essence of the chocolate pie, the actual chocolate bit, appeared mostly untouched and she was happily dumping it into the trash.

So I called out in a loud voice, “After all of that talk about chocolate pie, are you telling me that you don’t actually like chocolate pie?  That all you really wanted was the crust?”

My niece confirmed this in a mildly embarrassed voice.  I turned towards my sister and called to her, even louder, so that everybody in the room could clearly head, “Did you see your daughter’s plate?  She was so anxious that she get some chocolate pie that we have TWO chocolate pies, and she is even now scooping almost all of the chocolate from her slice into the trash, having only eaten the crust?”

My sister was willing to play along in some public shaming, but the look in her eyes was, “Welcome to my life.”

In the end, nobody even took a slice from the second chocolate pie.  All of the chocolate pie related needs, including my second slice, were met by the first pie.  The second pie was entirely superfluous.  But at least it got a mention here.  They also serve, who only sit and wait.

Gallente Federation Endorses Fart Lighting

It pretty much said that the Gallente celebrate fart lighting in the launcher today.

Oh yeah, blue flames man!

Or maybe this is just a sign of my misspent youth, which occurred before we all had the internet to distract us.  Or encourage us.  I think farts get lit either way actually.

Still, “Blue Flames” brings a number of things to mind aside from flatulence ignition, including a rocket car  a Chevy engine, something half remembered about the temperature of flames, and Quafe ship SKINs.

When I think of the Gallente Federation itself, I tend to think of the color green.

Green, Steel, Rust, and the type of tacky Gold you see on Acura or Lexus emblems

But (heh, butt) if you want the Sapphire Sungazer SKINs despite this unfortunate association in the launcher, they are available now from the New Eden Store.  I’ll have to check them out, but somehow I doubt they’ll be better than the Quafe SKINs.

What Happens When They Buy EVE Online?

With the word that CCP may be for sale, I put together some speculation as to the results of certain companies buying the makers of EVE Online.

Worse case scenario?

Worse case scenario?

(Above picture lifted from the Twitter of J3w3l/Eri of Healing the Masses)

Tencent – (My pick for likely candidate.)  Development moved to the west side of LA.  Runs mostly as usual.  Cash shop expanded.  Tournament play enhanced.  Alliance tournament winners paid in cash.  Able to straight up buy characters with skill packages (e.g. Avatar pilot, Amarr battleship pilot) for real world money.

Perfect World Entertainment – ZEN becomes the new RMT currency.  Officer drops only available via lockboxes.  Introduction of the Jovians with ships that look suspiciously like the Klingons in Star Treak Online.

ActivisionCall of Duty: New Eden Combat becomes a thing.

Blizzard – Expansions now take more than two years, cost $50, and completely reset the combat meta with new modules you can only fit if you buy the update.  Scamming is banned.  High sec pilots are unattackable unless they flag PvP.  Faction grinds necessary again to even access empire stations.  Null sec space made much more colorful.  Fedo battle pets.  Chris Metzen comes back to do the lore.  Onyx renamed Onyxia.  Jovians turn out to be orcs.

Square Enix – Titans now wield giant swords.  Everything redone in soft focus.  Jovians discovered to be a race of hydrocephalic midgets. (That is a Lalafell joke right there.)

XL Games – Female space apparel now much more revealing.  Gallente ships now feature cleavage.  Avatar called out for what it actually modeled on.  You now have to pay rent to use the Captain’s quarters.

NCsoft – Whole thing gets moved to Austin and mostly ignored until revenue tanks and everything gets shut down in five years.

Daybreak – Expansions now only show up every November and cost $35, though there is a $140 collectors edition.  They mostly feature new incursions and missions.  Captain’s quarters now the 2 bedroom Freeport apartment with EQII avatars.  Corp housing available with ORE agents that will mine for you.  Minmatar ships begin to look more like gnomish clockwork and Antonia Bayle becomes Empress of Amarr.  Capsuleer Studio features player made ship SKINs and clothing.  As with other Daybreak games, the company gives the creators a cut of the sale price.  Rixx Javixx’s financial woes are solved.

Paradox Interactive – Game now moves faster than real time, but space travel is slowed to compensate.  Capsuleers no longer immortal, so you have to worry about your heirs.  Alliances now must be sealed by intermarriage between the families of corporation leaders.

Hello Games – Space is made infinite via procedural generation.  You can land on planets, but it is really boring so almost nobody bothers.  Later discovered that when you leave current New Eden space, the whole thing is just running locally on your own computer, which is why you never run into anybody else.

Cloud Imperium – Rebranded as Star Citizen: Strategic, the conversion of art assets begins to bring it into line with the Chris Roberts vision.  An Alpha version of the conversion is released two years later, but you still can still only look at all the ships you bought for it in an offline simulator.

Mojang –  “Players build everything” dream finally achieved, even if “everything” is now a lot more “blocky.”  Regions replace with biomes, space is now effectively infinite but really slow since it all runs in Java.  Llamas replace fedo.  NPC “creeper” drones now spawn at night… and it is always night in space… and blow up your shit.

Wargaming.net – Game rebranded as World of Spaceships and becomes a lobby based game where you start with corvettes/rookie ships and grind up for equipment upgrades and crew training through ten tiers of Alliance Tournament style fighting.

Microsoft – Excel integrated into the game, making it literally spreadsheets in space.  Buying a copy costs a lot more, but it comes pre-installed on your work machine and is on your IT department’s approved list.  The Caldari replace the Amarr as the focus of the in-game lore.

Electronic Arts – Second server opened with scamming banned, safe high sec, flagged PvP everywhere else.  Population of both servers fall below critical mass and the game is mostly ignored for three years, then EA closes the studio and shuts the whole thing down.  A few years later New Eden appears as the setting for a BioWare RPG while some art assets show up in a forgettable mobile game.

Any other likely candidates or scenarios?

If WoW Expansion Were Done Pokemon Style

Ideas that come unbidden in the night when you’ve been thinking about Pokemon and World of Warcraft too much.

What if Blizzard did World of Warcraft expansions the way Nintendo and Game Freak do new Pokemon titles or was simply influenced more by Pokemon than EverQuest?

This is where this ends up...

This is where this ends up…

  • Each expansion would be a complete 1-100 experience, but would require you to start at back as a new player each time.
  • You get to create exactly one avatar per expansion copy.
  • There would be two versions of each expansion, each with rewards not in the other, and the only way to obtain them would be through trading across expansions.
  • Occasionally there would be a single expansion that was just the previous two merged together, slightly altered, and with a few more rewards.
  • Every once in a while the two different versions would have completely different groups to fight, though the story and quest line would be essentially the same.
  • Interaction with quest givers initiated solely by making eye contact.
  • It would be a solo experience, where you created parties for dungeons and raids from the NPCs you captured while battling along the way.
  • Party size is now six.
  • You don’t level up, only the followers in your party do as they fight for you.
  • Your followers can be different classes, which have a rock/paper/scissors dynamic to them.  There is no holy trinity.
  • Draenor garrison-like need to collect all possible followers emphasized in the game.
  • Only mounts: Roller skates and a bicycle.
  • Flight points unlocked only after defeating a dungeon half way into the game.
  • Dance contests!
  • Geography of each expansion loosely based on a real world location.
  • Blizzard offices cleverly hidden in each expansion, allowing you do rage at the devs through your avatar.
  • At some point each expansion would require you to wake up a sleeping ogre that is blocking your progress.
  • Defeating the story antagonists just lets you move on to your real goal; Defeating the final four and then the Azeroth League Champion.
  • We still end up waiting at least two years between expansions

What other Pokemon tropes would likely infect Blizzard were this true?

And would any of this necessarily be a bad thing?