Tomorrow is my last day of work for nearly two weeks. It's that time of the year when accrued holiday has to be used up so I get to take a series of extended breaks with nothing particular planned. There's another chunk coming in March and again in April. Since we don't generally take an actual going-away holiday until May or June that means I should have plenty of time to both to play MMOs and write about them in between desultory attempts to tidy up the garden and paint the odd window-frame or two.
It's just as well it's next week, not this week, that I have free. I dread to think what I might have written here over the last two or three days if I'd had the time to give vent to my immediate reactions to the first and second of ArenaNet's promotional pieces on the upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion. Poor old Jeromai got a burst of what might have been in his comments section last night, entirely unprovoked I should add.
I was so annoyed by the first piece, "Hearts of Thorns Gameplay", that I actually woke up thinking about it this morning, which didn't get the day off to the greatest of starts. Things certainly didn't improve when I got back from work and settled down after my tea to read the next installment, "Reimagining Progression".
Fortunately I don't have time right now to examine either of these unwholesome packages in detail, nor to tie their unwelcome themes and assumptions in with some apposite postings from around the local blogosphere; Syl's assertion, for example, that "Good is good enough", a sentiment which I feel doesn't go nearly far enough, or Tobold's thought experiment relating to what we mean when we say a game is "difficult".
Difficulty is a big part of "What's wrong with this picture?" as Funcom seem, better late than never, to have noticed. I very much share the feelings of Ocho and Syp that a decrease in difficulty can only be in The Secret World's best interest.
Entitlement is another. I won't link to the same people a second time but there's a storm building up over who deserves to get what out of an MMO. It's a debate that's been going around and around for about as long as this hobby has existed and very definitely for the entire fifteen years I've been part of it. Anyone who thinks this started with a change in payment models simply hasn't been paying attention.
So, all this is brewing away in the back of my mind at the moment, a bilious stew of irritation, annoyance and disgruntlement that occasionally boils up into something not dissimilar to anger. It really is just as well I'm not sitting around this week with a whole lot of free time on my hands. Who knows what kind of intemperate, ill-considered rants I might have spewed out, later to regret?
By next week perhaps all the bitter ingredients of this melange will have come together to form a smooth, neutral base for something tempered and considered.
Or perhaps not. Especially if Anet keep riling me up the way they seem determined to do.