Tag Archives: Carbot Animations

Carbot and Ideas for Diablo II

As we learned last Tuesday, Diablo II Resurrected was pretty much the one bight spot in Blizzard’s Q3 2021, lifting the studio through an otherwise difficult quarter where there wasn’t much else to talk about.

The return of the classic

Unfortunately for Blizzard, D2R is a buy and play game, so the majority of the income they will ever get from it came in one big bubble in September.  They will sell more copies over time, but it won’t have the legs to save Q4 2021.

One obvious thought is basically, gee, could we have some more D2R content?  That probably isn’t viable, at least in the short term.

But they could add a few things to make the game a longer term prospect.  Again, that won’t sell a bunch more copies, but making it a game with even more too it might sustain the remaining sales cycle longer.  And that is where Carbot comes in, because he has a video up about additions he would like to see for D2R.

The video kicked off with a bit of silliness with the first idea, but seems pretty solid from there forward.  I personally like the second idea about mercenaries, or at least having a way to put your mercenary away for a fight because the price of a ress starts getting a bit crazy at higher levels.

I am not sure how much more Blizzard can do with D2R.  But the original Blizzard North team seemed to think that a remaster wasn’t possible, much less porting it to consoles, so you never know what they might come up with.

Carbot’s Diablo II Lord of Destruction Trailer

Carbot Animations has been a bit down on World of Warcraft lately, even following the trend into Final Fantasy XIV, but the Diablo II series carries on.

Having covered the defeat of Diablo and the cow level, it was time to move on to the Lord of Destruction expansion and the Act V content.  Bring on LOD!

Make way for LOD

All of which is summed up in this trailer set to a tune you may recognize.

My memories of the Lord of Destruction expansion mostly revolve around two new classes and an upgrade in video resolution from 640×480 to 800×600, the latter being the more important of the two.

But the pile of other things added to the game… charms, gems, runes, the ability to ad sockets, and all the gear… had a huge impact on the game as well.  And it all gets summed up pretty well in this video.  LOD was kind of a big deal.

Honest Game Trailers does Burning Crusade Classic

One of the problems with playing mostly old games is that Honest Game Trailers is mostly videos of games I probably won’t ever play.   But not this time.  This time they had Burning Crusade Classic.

Before the Dark Portal

And their assessment all feels pretty true to me.

 

I have a a few posts already from WoW Classic in the Burning Crusade era that have us still back in Azeroth taking care of unfinished business, including getting our epic mounts.  But I also leveled up my druid from 36 to 60 and, that done, started in on my level 21 rogue rather than spend my free time playing my mains.

Some of that was, in part, because of the instance group taking a bit of a summer hiatus.  We do go places now then.  But some of it is just reminding me that, over the years, I have said that I wasn’t too keen on the overland questing in Outland and that I might not have been mis-remembering how I felt at the time.

Still, I am not getting on the refugee boat to FFXIV.

Nope, not going there.  I can hold out for Wrath of the Lich King.  I swear.  I’ll level up in Outland eventually.

Exploring This is World of Warcraft

I always enjoy the Carbot Animations videos about Blizzard products.  The ability to capture what is often the essence of something like Diablo with some simple animations, an absurdly familiar situation, and a few of the in-game sounds is amazing.

And the quality of the work has made the channel a success, leading to items in the official Blizzard store based off of the videos including the StarCraft Cartooned graphics pack for the remastered game.

But the most recent video… This is World of Warcraft… it is a bit of a punch in the gut.  It captures in its way the nostalgic experience of World of Warcraft and its move from early innocence to the state of the game today in a way that managed to make even me a bit misty eyed.

Back when I was much younger

This could be the Sayonara Norrath for WoW.  So take three minutes to watch it.

Did you watch it?  Because I am going to write about it.

The first cut response is how well it captures the arc of the game for many people, the early joy, making friends, conquering raids, and all the things we’ve heard.  The expansions come, and they’re good too, mostly, as they pile up.

The expansion pile

And Blizzard starts introducing new things like paid mounts, which are accepted enthusiastically by the fans.  But as time goes on and the game seems less unique and less special.  Our protagonist feels the world emptying out.  The magic is gone, sunk by Blizzard’s hamfisted handling of the game.

And then WoW Classic comes along and the world is special again.  But monetization creeps in and seeing the special packs and mounts in Burning Crusade Classic our protagonist feels lost and cheated by Blizzard again

Money invades the classic experience

They exit the game, ending the video.  The magic is dead.  Fade to black.

That is a pretty much on-point story that a lot of people tell, and such a punch in the gut that I have to wonder where the channel is headed.  It almost felt like a sign off.

So many feels.

But it really isn’t comparable to Sayonara Norrath.  That video, which pre-dates the launch of World of Warcraft, is about the memories of a guild that has decided to move on.  They have changed, the world has changed, and while they have many memories, those are in the past.

This is World of Warcraft is what you would get if the Mirage guild of Sayonara Norrath hung on for another fifteen years, trying to live EverQuest as it was back in the day, forever comparing the good old days to whatever expansion or update or free to play scheme or company change or special server Daybreak came up with.

So This is World of Warcraft feels like it heaps blame on Blizzard for wrecking what was once a happy and formative experience for many gamers… millions of gamers.  And I get that.  But I also question it.

I have been on about the static nature or subscription pricing lately… it was $15 a month back in 2004, it is still $15 a month here in 2021… and the unrealistic expectations of players.  The response to paying more is almost always negative.  The companies themselves are viewed as greedy and unresponsive… something that Activision Blizzard hasn’t helped with given the obscene compensation some of their senior execs get… and are often blamed for ruining our gaming experience through monetization.   Over in EVE Online players are up in arms… again… about CCP doing that as well.  We want our peak enjoyment at all times at the price we were paying back when my college age daughter was still in diapers.

How realistic is the expectation that World of Warcraft should feel as fresh and new now as it did back in 2004?  How, with eight expansions in the can now, was Blizz supposed to maintain that sense of simplicity and innocence while cranking out a full fledged expansion every other year?  And how, with subscriptions down and the cost of everything going up, were they supposed to be a viable business without finding another revenue stream?

How much of the fact that we don’t think WoW now feels like WoW of old is grounded in unrealistic expectations that a party should remain fun for fifteen years running?  Blizzard gave us something amazing in 2004 and we’re all kind of pissed off that it isn’t as amazing and as fun in 2021.  Is that realistic?  WoW is practically The Simpsons when it was 15; still something good there, but nothing like the first half a dozen seasons.

I can sit back and objectively dissect the faulty logic of our expectations, and yet I too feel them.  I just want the game to be as fun as it was back… whenever… and to feel that joy.  I am part of the problem too.  I see Sayonara Norrath and my first thought is always “Hey, I should go play that again!” and not “What a special time that was.”

So bravo to Carbot Animations for stirring up all these conflicting feelings.

I’m still playing Burning Crusade Classic.  I want to play it because it was, and still is, a good game. (And hey, it is only $15 a month!)  But part of me does want it to be 2007 or whenever, to feel like I did when I was that much younger.  It is a flaw in me, a flaw in many of us.  Letting go is hard and some of us won’t do it until we’re forced to.  It is complicated.

Related:

Carbot and Diablol 2

Carbot Animations has a Diablo II series of videos running on YouTube, akin to the Diablol series they ran early last year for the original Diablo.  As with the previous run, it combines audio from the original game with the Carbot animation style.  They are a few episodes into the series.  You can find the playlist here.

My favorite so far covers the Blood Raven fight in Act I.

This nicely corresponds with the 20th anniversary of the game… no doubt intentionally… and my own replay through the game.

WoWCraft and Classic Queues

Carbot Animation appears to be jumping on the WoW Classic train along with a lot of other people.  They revived their WoWCraft series of videos with the launch of WoW Classic and have another video up in the series about queues.

The joke isn’t about the queues to get into the game, but the queues that appeared in some parts of the game as players swarmed in and ended up at bottle necks for various objectives.  I was witness to some of those on the Alliance side of the game.

Everybody will get their turn

While I was not a witness, I did hear that on the Horde side of the game polite queuing was much less of a thing.

And, of course, there are still queues to get into the game.  However, Blizzard has opened up more free character transfer options for both US and EU servers which are expected to be available through the weekend.  If you want a free move, you should get on that quickly.

WoWCraft and Layering and other WoW Classic Tidbits

Carbot Animations, which has made a business out of doing cute parodies of various Blizzard games, including having plush versions of their characters in the Blizzard Store and that re-skin of StarCraft from earlier this year, has returned to the WoWCraft series, which launched back in 2014, to celebrate the launch of WoW Classic.

 

I suppose we shall see if the foibles of classic become fodder for the series.

As previously announced, Blizzard launched some more servers and allowed free character transfers in an attempt to alleviate the queuing issues that were still plaguing some servers.  That brings the total server count up to 77, 39 in the EU and 38 in the US and Oceania.

Blizzard had previously also doubled the amount of characters allowed on a given server, letting their layering tech soak up the extra load.  However, this was not only against their plan to get every server down to a single layer as time went on (see the Reddit AMA), but has led to concerns that people are exploiting layering in order to harvest resources from the same node in different layers.  Tales of harvest riches have been making their way around the net, with Icy Veins tweeting a screen shot of a player alleged to have 3,000 arcane crystals, declaring that layering was destroying WoW Classic.

Arcane Crystal Panic!  At least they said “alleged”

They have since deleted that tweet and calmed down a bit, though you can still find the screen shot in their forums as part of a thread discussing this issue. (Discord nicely had a version of the tweet for me.)

They have drawn back a bit because Blizzard says the screen shot, and others like it, are fakes.  In a forum post Blizzard says they are monitoring the issue and have some options should this turn out to be a serious problem.  No realm has layers into double digits and Blizz says that most realms have layers in the low single digits, but they may still put a delay into moving between layers.  To address any lingering aspect of this Blizz has a patch that will increase the amount of time you need between layer swaps, which increases the more you do it.

Over at Polygon there is a piece up about WoW Classic which concludes that no matter how popular this nostalgia ride remains, the focus it has brought back on to WoW as a whole has been a pretty big deal.  Certainly a lot of people were at least watching WoW Classic being streamed.

For those wishing to run dungeons, Belghast has a post up about the realities of dungeon groups that is worth a read.

And, having opened with a video I will close with one as well about the lurking menace that is WoW Classic.

 

StarCraft Cartooned

Blizzard is back with something new for StarCraft… or at least the remastered version of StarCraft that they released almost two years back.

StarCraft Cartooned

Blizzard worked with the team from Carbot Animations, the YouTube group that has been doing parodies of Blizzard games for some time now (including that great Diablo parody I mentioned earlier in the year) to create what is essentially a re-skin of the game in the Carbot style.

Available for $10 from the Blizzard Store, it changes everything in the game from classic to cartoon in style.

This seemed silly enough that I spent the $10 just to see how far they went with it.

Even the splash screen got an update, so this:

Splash Screen from the Remastered version

becomes this:

StarCraft Cartooned splash screen

They even have a promotional video that includes a modified version of the Terran cinematic:

Of course, it took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to enable the Cartooned skin.  There is an option in the main screen for “Collections,” that includes an option to select which skin you want to use.

Select the Cartooned skin

Once I got that set, everything was cartooned.  So I played a couple of games just to see it in action.

Checking out the Zerg

As with the 2017 remaster of StarCraft, the cartoon skin does not change the game.  The new skin still uses the sounds from the remaster, something fully in keeping with Carbot’s style, which favors juxtaposing their cute style with the game sound track.

Terrans Win

Was it worth the $10?  Maybe not.  I do not play StarCraft often enough to really appreciate it.  But it kept me amused for a couple of hours, and the Carbots team gets a cut of the take, and I do watch their stuff quite often. (Their StarCrafts series is in season 7.)

I am sure there is a Starbucks barrista out there angry at me because that $10 could have been used to buy a venti soy iced caramel macchiato with enough left over for a generous tip.  I’m sorry, but I’m not buying your crappy hipster coffee.  Also, I don’t drink coffee.

Carbot DiabLoL

Carbot Animations has made their mark on YouTube doing cute, funny little videos based on the Blizzard properties.  They’ve been successful enough that items based on their work have been featured in the Blizzard Store. (Alas, the Carbot plush zergling is no longer available.)  I highlighted their World of Warcraft series about five years back.

They have a new-ish series that I really like based on the original Diablo.

I find the mix of their animation style, the effects and music straight from the game, and the recognizable situations from the game to be quite charming.

But there was an additional aspect to this.  The series was announced around BlizzCon, which ended up being a bit awkward due to the Diablo hype that was ruined by Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal announcement.  It seemed like bad timing for a series based on that IP.

But then Blizzard and GoG.com released a version of Diablo that would run on today’s machines, which I have mostly played through, making the timing of the series seem incredibly spot on.  I am not sure I would have enjoyed it half as much if I had not just been playing the game.

WowCraft Episode 1- Character Creation

A new humor series about World of Warcraft is starting on YouTube.  Called WowCraft, it naturally opens with character creation.

I like the criteria presented for class selection.  Simple and direct.

On the other hand, I never have much problem with name selection.  I suspect my conventions for character naming are… different.