Episode 28 – “No Flying but More Loot” – My EXTRA thoughts on removal of flying – Attn. of @WarcraftDevs, @WatcherDev

I’ll start with my “extra thoughts” on the Elephant in the Room topic today…

As one of the most controversial weeks in WoW history wrapped up, heated debates on forums, blogs, and Twitter are still going – calming down slightly by now.

Everyone who had strong opinions on the matter of Blizzard removing flying from WoW had already expressed themselves, over and over, and started running out of steam. Plus simply seeing others saying the same stuff around you – often much better than you could put it yourself – is somewhat discouraging to keep rambling about this on your own podcast, or writing more forum and blog posts.

After all – who is immune to the effect of seeing a long super eloquent post by someone at Blizzard Watch, or a better known podcaster using their own audio-tribune, and thinking – “Well, that dude said it all. I don’t have the audience and perhaps even a gift of expressing my thoughts as patiently and well-structured as they did – SO WHY SHOULD I BOTHER?

That’s all good and true. But every vote counts. Not like Blizzard folks are counting those votes, per-se, but the more of us speak up – in our own variety of ways – the clearer it is to Blizzard that what they are doing is simply not cool.

They keep telling us that it’s for our own good – as they are improving OUR game, right? – but we need to tell them as a vast community that it’s NOT good, and people who are “happy” with their decision are very very specific individuals, or just passive donors who would pay for this game even if they removed everything from it, keeping only your Garrisons.

I’m exaggerating, I often do, but hopefully what I’m saying makes sense.

Removing flying from leveling experience is ok – we are used to that as a concept, for many expansions already. But removing it from end game is the most short-sighted, poor design, community-ignoring decision that ONLY perhaps makes the jobs of game designers and content creators a bit more rewarding – as they know that every freakin’ one of us would need to fight their precious trash mobs on the ground to go pick up that one extra herb, or those 20 insignificant Garrison resources – which we could have picked up “skipping” their deliciously irrelevant content if we could just fly over all that trash…

Developers and players alike keep forgetting that designers – while playing and loving their own game – they WORK FOR US. THEY DEVELOP THE GAME FOR US. So they are totally allowed to make their own judgment and propose certain solutions and decisions – but those should be almost always (ALMOST, I’m not saying – “always”!) subjected to the court of public opinion, of what we say – the players, the consumers, the customers.

Taking flying away detracts from customer experience and fun in game – in a major way. On this Episode 28 of my podcast I sort of expressed that I’m a bit indifferent to this subject – which is NOT the case, actually.

I might be less attached to flying than some of you out there – which is exactly what I said – BUT I advocate for Blizzard treating us like a respected community, customers, and BLOOD OF THEIR GAME. It’s ultimately up to us if we accept the feature (or it’s removal) that they offer us. And in this case we are dealing with uproar like no other. If this is not an indication that flying should stay in the game – at least until a better, less radical solution is available – than I don’t know what is?!

Among other news

They are improving Personal Loot in 6.2 – this is great news…

They are rewarding real life prizes for taking SELFIES – I couldn’t care less about it, but I guess it’s activity to some people, so more power to them…

Heroes of the Storm entered Open Beta and somehow I had really bad experience of lag, making it almost impossible for me to play. Which pisses me off almost as much as removal of flying. Ok, I’m kidding here…

And I watched Mad Max movie. Which was cool and all, but too linear and “religious” in its essence, which detracted from the overall experience, I thought. What can I say – it’s a world of various tastes. We all like different stuff.

Thanks for reading.

Episode 27 – “I like to MOOoove it!” – SHOW NOTES – Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube

This was an interesting week, with a lot happening in all 3 major areas of Blizzard gaming that I happen to be interested in.

Diablo anniversary celebrated with homicidal cows

COWpocalypse is upon us, Ladies and Gentlemen. Although I haven’t seen a single cow wandering around Sanctuary’s wilds, we’ve all been warned by The Management to steer clear from potentially dangerous portals, leading to alternate realities inhabited by homicidal bardiche-armed bulls.

Heroes of the Storm adds a new hero, hints at another one, plus lots of awesome skins

HotS patch hit live servers like a ton of bricks, with game UI improvements, new hero – Kael’Thas – added, hinting at another one to come soon – Crusader Johanna, from the World of Diablo.

Really impressive Hero skins include Super Sonya, Stormpunk Kael’Thas, and Mad Martian Gazlowe. Bravo, HotS team!

Heroes of the Storm launch celebration is headed to Sydney!

And I’m going to be joining the festivities. Currently cautiously excited about it all, as I’m new to the game, MOBA genre in general, and I’m totally not an eSports player (or even a fan) at the moment.

Who knows though, it all might change, and the world of Heroes might suck me in even further, permanently converting me to being mainly a HotS person, rather than a WoW altoholic first and foremost. We’ll see, we’ll see.

WoW PTR 6.2 gains more content, and details

Among the most notable ones – Apexis gear for (A METRIC TON OF) gold, and ability to rename your randomly generated Floating Followers in 6.2 – yes, I mean *boats* here…

Also, Ion Hazzikostas, aka @WatcherDev on Twitter, gave a sizable interview to VentureBeat.com website, talking about a lot of generic WoD stuff, and inevitably addressing the elephant in the room – a loss of 3 Mil subscribers.

While having a lot of respect for Ion, I still find it funny that he calls it “a bit of a dip”, and skillfully moves on to talk about “rubber band” effects, where you win some subscribers at launch, and then you lose some…. That’s putting it pretty modestly – to say the least! – in my humble and always honest opinion, my dear listeners.

Please enjoy the show, and consider subscribing to show your support.

Show notes for Episode 26 – “Building ships and printing money” – are up! Episode is now available on all usual channels.

Episode 26 is up on YouTube for your viewing pleasure, and I apologize yet again for being late to put this update here on my own blog – in case you’ve just been sitting around, pressing F5 on your browser, and waiting (lol)…

Best way to stay on top of these updates – surprise, surprise! – is to subscribe to YouTube channel and/or iTunes or Stitcher podcast.

I like seeing new faces on the feed, and the growing numbers are telling me that my work here is somewhat appreciated. It gives me extra motivation, but as I said before – I’ll keep doing it even with no listeners, simply because I LIKE DOING IT.

On this episode:

Quick chat about WoW sub losses

Unpleasant as it is overall, the topic is inevitable since it’s been the biggest announcement of the last week, and lots of people (including myself) have expressed their opinions about it.

From flat-out denial by Blizzard apologists, to the opposite extreme of “WoW is dying”. Both extremes are bad. Let me express my “middle ground” opinion.

Building ships and sending them on missions – how does it look on PTR 6.2?

And it looks impressive, at least according to what WoWHead.com folks have tested and summarized for us, the broader community.

Make no mistake – it’s still a Garrison Paint Job and a bunch of Destructible Followers – but it’s a welcome evolution of Garrisons 1.0, but I feel like they could have grabbed a few extra “low hanging fruit” to give the new mini-game extra longevity…

Heroes of the Storm – upcoming patch changes are previewed

On this episode I’m quickly reviewing announced Hero changes in the upcoming Heroes of the Storm patch – no, we won’t talk about Kael’Thas and other awesome stuff – tune into the next episode for a chat about that.

Episode 25 – “There won’t be a 6.3″ – now on iTunes, Stitcher YouTube! @WoWAltPodcast

On this episode I talk about the latest updates to PTR 6.2, analyze revealed details surrounding upcoming Patch 6.2 Weekly Events, then talk for a bit about a major community forums topic – possibility of Patch 6.3, and what it might mean for the timing of the next WoW expansion announcement.

ALSO, AS A HAPPY BONUS – story about visiting a Goblin Vault discovery somewhere under the hidden planes of Diablo – most exciting and dramatic, you would not want to miss it!

Enjoy.

Summary of Ep 24 – “DISCO PvP from the 80s”. Now available on YouTube!

On this episode I’m talking about:

First steps in Diablo Season 3 as a Monk

It hurt more than it should have, I believe, so I’m not super excited about my new class choice…

I do however think that Seasons are a wonderful idea by Blizzard, very well implemented in Diablo.

WoW Movie delayed

And how I don’t care about it. They’ve announced it too early, overlapping with lackluster WoD, which produced the impression of a necessary distraction, to keep hordes of fans at bay.

I’ll get excited about it when the time comes. It’s still a year away… /yawn

WoW PvP Dev Q&A with Brian Holinka

My analysis of the main points made by Brian. Lots to discuss here! :)

Short version? PvP remains very “retro”, and doesn’t promise many improvements aside from mentioned further ability pruning.

Heroes of the Storm launch date announced – Yay!

I’m super excited about Heroes of the Storm as a game, and how smoothly it seems to be moving towards now certain release date. Time to celebrate, my friends.

Hope you enjoy, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes as well as YouTube.