You guys, I forgot how much fun a good old fashioned MMO release date war can be.
TESO played their hand well in advance and announced their April launch earlier this year. That left two big players — WildStar, and WoW’s Warlords of Draenor expansion.
Yesterday WoD went up for pre-sale* and the announcement included the slightly daunting sentence “Game is expected to release on or before 12/20/2014.” It seems pretty likely that this is more of a worst case scenario date than an actual launch, but it still caused a lot of people to suddenly realize that their dreams of a summer launch are pretty unlikely.
Honestly I think anyone who has watched WoW’s expansion releases in the past knew to expect Fall 2014 at the earliest. Blizzard has repeatedly promised summer releases and has never, ever delivered. Yes, this means over a year of Siege of Orgrimmar and patch 5.4. Yes, this sucks, particularly for players who stayed up-to-date on the latest content or who do progression raiding.
Heck, I’m currently so causal that my idea of progression is working on the achievement to hug critters — learn to /love, noob! — and even I find myself slightly concerned about whether I’ll get bored before the end of the year.
Meanwhile Carbine seems to have learned a trick or two from Blizzard’s marketing team because in the wake of yesterday’s drama today there was a “slip” and, oopsie, someone has accidentally released WildStar’s launch date (Google cache) and pre-order details!
It looks like pre-orders will open up on March 19th, and the game will launch on June 3rd. This hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, but after Carbine’s hints last week about press junkets and big news coming soon this seems pretty set.
And it’s a smart date too! June 3rd is roughly two months after TESO’s launch, which means folks who are MMO tourists or just didn’t take to the game will be looking for something new to play. It will likely be 3+ months before the launch of Warlords of Draenor, which is plenty of time to hook bored WoW players into a game that is being pitched as essentially Burning Crusade 2.0.
I am not pre-ordering anything until closer to their launch dates, but I definitely see some WildStar in my future this summer.
* No, I still haven’t decided which class to boost. Paladin (years of being a clothie makes me yearn for plate) or Warlock (finally I can be a real dot damage class)?
Apple Cider Mage has a very thorough post this morning on the practicality and morality of making money off of content, specifically gaming-related blogs, podcasts, and videos. It’s a good write-up, and you should probably go read it.
It was also a very timely read for me, as this is a topic I’ve thought about a lot lately. Let me be frank — I live off a very tight budget, and due to some real life circumstances it’s been a lot tighter than usual lately. I also put roughly 20 hours a week on weekends and evenings into content under the “Totally Legit Publishing” banner, whether it’s this blog or Cat Context or making videos about movies or whatever.
And I do this strictly because I love it. When I was a small child one of my favorite activities was borrowing my parents’ tape deck (yes, I’m old) and recording myself doing “radio shows”, and although technology has moved along honestly running a podcast about video games is not that different in spirit from sitting under a table and making up weather reports.
But it’s also time consuming, and I definitely spend a little money each month on things like a web server or an extra Humble Bundle for future giveaways. During my recent budget crunch I realized that I couldn’t really afford to keep doing all the hobbyist things I do because that time would be better spent being paid for things. It was an intensely frustrating realization.
I have a relatively successful blog and podcast! And I put a lot of work into them! Surely there must be a way to not give up any of that but still scrape out some pocket money each month, or at least break even. Or, as it turns out, maybe not.
(Actually, that is not entirely true as recently some friends gave surprise donations to the server fund. Those people know who they are, and I hope they also know how much I was moved by their generous spirit.)
Anyway, Apple Cider wrote that “[content creators] should be compensated for their time and efforts” and while I agree wholeheartedly with the spirit of that I’m not sure it’s a terribly practical approach. Unfortunately, content funding is a zero sum game. Readers and listeners and watchers have limited wallets just like the rest of us, and financial support received by Blog A is financial support not received by Blog B.
That doesn’t mean that content creators who are soliciting donations or patronage should feel guilty, but I think it’s worth reflecting before considering monetization. Is your content actually valuable? Is it more valuable than Blog B’s content? A couple of years ago I was asked to edit someone’s Kickstarter pitch, and my first question was “Why is your idea worth someone’s money?” If you don’t have a good answer to that, you may want to reconsider your quest for funding.
Honestly I’m not sure what my conclusions are for this post. (Good thing it was free!) I am a passionate advocate for the idea that everyone can start a blog and say what they have to say to the world. I am perhaps just not an advocate for the idea that everyone can and should be paid for said blog, particularly in a reality where there are limited dollars and an almost literally endless numbers of creators.
Blizzard has been a font of information about the upcoming Warlords of Draenor over the past couple of weeks, and so Liore, Arolaide, and Ellyndrial spent an hour talking about instant level 90s, the mass removal of class abilities, and mandatory Proving Grounds as the gateway for heroic dungeons.
Elly asks the important question, “Is paid instant levelling a good idea?” whereas Liore glosses right over that and gets down to haggling over the price. Meanwhile, Arolaide wants to know how we’re supposed to define “good players” if we all have meaningless talents and a handful of abilities. (It’s a good question.) Perhaps mandatory Proving Grounds are the answer, although we differ wildly over how accessible those should be.
Also, poop quest predictions! Complaints about paladins! Fond reminiscing of hijinx using Mind Vision!
This podcast was also livestreamed as a hangout on air:
If you enjoyed this podcast, please “Like” or “Favorite” it in your media consumption method of choice! It makes us feel nice.
* Eurogamer interview with Blizzard on the $60 insta-90.
* WoW Insider on the mandatory Proving Grounds.
* Official “Dev Watercooler” on some of the Warlords of Draenor changes including the ability pruning.
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years
Until recently one of the many new things in WoW that I hadn’t gotten around to really trying yet was transmogrification, which is Blizzard’s ridiculous way of saying “costume wardrobe”. I mean, I sort of tried it by quickly farming up a set of replica Devout and grabbing my Benediction out of the bank, but outside of tier sets I hadn’t really sat down and explored all the possibilities.
(By the way, Blizzard, I will never truly forgive you for introducing a costume feature this late in the game well after I tossed a bunch of my amazing Vanilla gear for bank space. Grr!)
However, for some reason I decided to install the Mog It mod on Sunday night, and suddenly a whole world of wardrobe options opened up before me. And while there are in fact a satisfactory number of hats and staves and things, I still have some big critiques of the whole transmog system:
1) Restricting costume gear to armor class is goofy. If it’s a PvP thing then make transmogs not visible in a battleground or arena! There is no good reason why my priest can’t dress up like a shaman, dang it.
2) There are very notable fun items not available for transmog. Why can’t I wear a .? Why can’t I transmog a mace into the . that my guild worked very hard on in Wrath and now will sit in my bank forever?
3) I don’t like the system of assigning a specific piece of gear a specific look. It’s a pain to manage, particularly if you’re still levelling/gearing up a character. I understand that this was done to improve the gold sink aspect, but I would much prefer paying to assign a specific look to a specific gear slot.
4) Dye. I want it. This is probably technically impossible, but I am making crazy demands for it anyway!
I often find myself saying to WoW guildies, “this quality of life feature was handled way better in RIFT”, but .. yeah, costumes were way better in RIFT. That all being said, I have an outfit!
Head: Aurora of Transcendence
Far and away my favorite priest hat ever.
These were my third choice for shoulders (first is too rare a drop, second doesn’t exist in-game anymore), but I like the flowy cloth bits.
This shirt is great! I farmed Stockades for about an hour to get it.
The gloves I really want are sold by the Ebon Blade but apparently transferring factions means I no longer get phased with the quartermaster. Argh.
A chance drop while farming Stockades for the shirt, but it matches the skirt!
A hint of Devout, of course. These show up pretty frequently in the AH and saved me the farm time.
I’ve never figured out what this staff is supposed to be. A flower in a strong breeze? A piece of seaweed that was run over? Whatever, it matches the color scheme perfectly and doesn’t overpower the hat.
I think I’ve mentioned before that for the most part my newly returned WoW guildies skipped the last half of Cataclysm. With that in mind this weekend we’ve got a handful of max-level folks going to Firelands for the very first time. It sounds… warm!
Ellyndrial isn’t able to make it but as a former Firelands raid leader he did manage to post some boss tactics for our noob group, and I felt I should share them today on a sunny silly Friday. Have a great weekend!
Ellyndrial’s Guide to Firelands Boss Fights
Dude with dogs
– Keep the dogs away from the boss, sometimes they try to eat someone.
– Kill all the spiders, some people kill the boss, or more likely fall down the holes.
Gatekeeper something or other that stands in front of a gate
– Literally no idea.
Firebird with flying moonkin and rolling balls
– Don’t stand in the fire. Seriously, stop standing in the fire. Also, kill the balls. Also some people fly and get rings of doom and hooray.
STOMP STOMP I WALK INTO LAVA
– Steering is hard.
Dude who drops the sweet fire-cat druid staff that all the hunters always steal
– Everyone stands in when he’s a scorpion, everyone spreads out when he’s a cat, repeat.
Ragnaros has LEGS?!
– Sort of complicated, but mostly don’t get hit by the hammer and don’t get hit by the fire. Unless it’s your job.
(PS: You can find Elly on the Cat Context podcast or his blog That Angry Dwarf.)