Thursday, 5 February 2015

Find Your Neutral Space

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.

12 comments:

  1. It depends what are the challenge requirements and rewards, ins't it?
    Something like Liadri is good - it is all about you and the rewards are only good as symbols that you have done it.

    Now if the challenge requires one to schedule time with 20 people that have to have specific builds down to the last stat point and skill, it sucks for my tastes.

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  2. PS: And give crazy good rewards like the bis of the entire game (won't happen in GW2) or some crazy reward like a permanent banker.

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    1. Liadri is a great example. That event was 100% acceptable because it was also 100% optional. You chose to do it to demonstrate you were able to do it. A marker of personal achievement. I have absolutely no problem with that even though I equally have absolutely no interest in it either.

      The problem arises when the game design begins to tie completion of Liadri events to character progression that has relevance to events other than Liadri events. That draws a line I am uncomfortable crossing.

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  3. Scheduling any pub time in? Isn't that how good for hearted folk destress? (Or is it Hot Yoga, I always confuse the two). Happiness in MMOs is much like beauty. The eye of the beholder.

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    1. Isn't it just? I am formulating a Theory of Fun for MMOs but I'm aware that even if I can perfect it, it will apply only to me!

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    2. Seeing as how "it" is all about me, anything in this blog should be, logically and rightly, be all about you -- right? Makes sense to me. (Grammar off, yes; I'm rolling with the idiomatic meanings. :p )

      I say go for it.

      -- 7rlsy

      P.S., I hate jumpy puzzles. Ask my Charr, who has about 14 of the buggers under his plated paunch. That makes no sense at all.

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  4. Your link titled Heart of Thorns gameplay goes to an article about a twitch cast scheduled for tomorrow. Did you mean to link to this?: https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/journey-into-the-heart-of-maguuma-in-guild-wars-2-heart-of-thorns/

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    1. Doh! Thanks! Yes, that's the one I meant. Corrected now.

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  5. You're entitled to a burst of bilious irritation any time you like! Ol' Bhagpuss can't be human without occasionally falling prey to some emotions now and then. :)

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    1. Don't you come near me with your pesky Voight-Kampf tests!

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  6. At this point I have no idea what to think about HoT or whether am looking forward to it. I read the IGN article on Reimagining Progression the other day and since then I am rather confused at what to expect. Hrm.

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    1. I am really not optimistic. Not at all. The best I believe I can hope for is that I'll have imagined something so awful that what we actually get, bad though it is, won't seem quite as dreadful I expected.

      Roll on the beta so we can get a look at it and know the worst.

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