Friday, August 17, 2012

tracing lines to what connects me and binds me to (pt. I)

Somewhat in response to the news that Blizzard's North American servers had been hacked, the City of Heroes team installed a pop-up that warned to keep player information secure, and change passwords often. Of course, this caused some controversy for those who didn't know about the hacking of Blizzard's WoW servers:

[Help] Aeon Emperor: what recent events caused the personal info popup?
[Help] Fire-kissed: Blizzard lost a bunch of personal details
[Help] Fire-kissed: To hackers
[Help] Fire-kissed: Nothing to do with NCSoft
[Help] Aeon Emperor: ok. thanks.
[Help] Firebomb: If you think Blizzard is gonna be secure with your personal info...then you're gonna have a bad time.
[Help] Demonlord Mephiles: it's just in case you played WoW and use the same password on both games
[Help] Bonnie Beatdown: really makes you want to use their real money auction house now doesn't it
[Help] Kneecapitator: I wouldn't trust Blizzard with my granny's ashes, much less my credit card number.
[Help] Third Discipline: credit card info was not compromised


Well, that's actually tricky. Non-matching encryption-secured passwords were compromised, along with identifying information (including emails and security question answers) for credit card data, so...I think that's about 50/50. Actual numbers? No. Everything a thief might need to change your security question by use of your email? Seems likely.

[Help] Temporal Surgeon: I thought NCSoft did suffer a breach
[Help] Vibrobeast: yeah. once that annual pass is over i'm done with wow.
[Help] Firebomb: No, just your billing adress. I'd sooner give a stranger my CC number than my adress.


Not entirely sure that billing addresses were in the data grab, but bank information was. So again, I'd say that's about 50/50.

[Help] Temporal Surgeon: anyway I wouldn't trust Blizzard with personal info anyway but in a pretty dramatic way anyone who plays WoW trusts them with a LOT of personal info due to Warden
[Help] Demonlord Mephiles: maybe this helps to pry a few players away from wow
[Help] Kneecapitator: They don't need help driving off their own players at this point, really.
[Help] Damgun: How have things been going since the whole panda jumping the shark thing?


Yeah, about that...Watching the official World of Warcraft trailer for the Pandaria expansion makes the class seem epic beyond all boundaries...at least until 1:37 in, where the first Pandaran is revealed. Almost instantly, though, an entire slew of Kung-Fu Panda parodies involving the class arose on YouTube, and even now, it causes a lot of head-shaking, both from those who play, and those who don't. The news that Blizzard was widely hacked--even for Diablo information, not WoW info specifically--was pretty much just the cherry on the rancid sundae, frankly.

[Help] Ringmaster Diablos: Weren't pandas always in warcraft though?
[Help] Vibrobeast: they jumped that shark over 10 years ago. seemed fine for awhile.
[Help] Kneecapitator: No clue, quit back in November and never looked back.


I suppose that's one way to deal with the problem, but it seems somewhat severe. And yes, to answer the first question, Pandarans were in WoW before, but never as player characters. They were always these round, generally happy mockeries of Asian culture. It's just that with the new update, they can be round mockeries of Asian culture that players can play.

[Help] Temporal Surgeon: I tried playing WoW a few times. It seemed like an OK game and (at the time) a lot better developed than CoX on a number of fronts but a huge amount of people I encountered were completely socially retarded

That, too. Just like any other wide-spanning MMO, there's a lot of folks who are there just to kill things in any way they can--and some of those ways include insulting other players, sexually harassing female players, and in general being utter complete idiots online simply because they can. WoW isn't the hate-spewing visigoth of stunning emotional upset that games like Call of Duty or Battlefield can be. (And I still remember what happened to Anita Sarkeesian when she dared to use Kickstarter to fund a series of female gaming tropes for public dispersal. And do I even need to bring up Borderlands' "girlfriend mode option?)

[Help] Third Discipline: So what is it about Blizzard that attracts so much hate? It almost has to be jealousy or something, because I generally don't get upset about companies I just don't care about.
[Help] Vibrobeast: then they literally defaced the diablo franchise


Oh, in so many ways...

But I don't think it's jealousy, actually. I think it's comprised in equal parts of the filtering gloss of nostalgia, combined with what folks believed about the Diablo property, itself.

While there are a lot of games (more than I can even go into) that feature dystopian futures, Diablo managed to find a way to combine leveling, gear advancement, and character interaction with the "it's all going to end in tears" mentality--and I won't lie, something about that combination was magic, because the first Diablo game was insanely popular. Then came Diablo II, and the introduction of Battle.net. Now, we had a bigger world to play in, more options, and we had two forms of playing with friends--locally, via a LAN connection, or online with several other players. (I've played Diablo II on LAN mode, but never played Battle.net--I favored a mod that was legal--basically, a way to keep both life potions and mana potions at the same time I could keep large and small combined potions--but when applied to a Battle.net connection, would revert everything to either large or small combined potions. I wanted to be able to carry all three types if I wanted to, so no Battle.net for me.)

Between Diablo II--and its expansion, Lord of Destruction--and Diablo III came several intervening years that saw the development of World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and several other games from the folks at Blizzard. This--undeniably--influenced the art direction for Diablo III, and that was my single biggest complaint with the game.
Unfortunately, there are other complaints at this point, like the always-connected-to-the-internet angle, and even worse, the fact that there's no desire to replay after reaching endgame. The first is bad enough, but the second is going to cost Blizzard revenue, community good will, plus future sales of both the Diablo product, and new games or expansions they may come up with. The second is the death knell, frankly.

[Help] Firebomb: Because no one understands how a company with pisspoor customer service can be #1
[Help] Victory Bolt: To be honest... I have never gotten any good customer service from Blizzard when i played for a few years..I think that's where the bile comes from


Well, that's part of it, too. But hey, Second Life has abysmal customer service, too, and...oh. Right. Yeah, that's a really bad thing for a major company.

[Help] Calefact: Sometimes people come into this game expecting something like WoW, which can cause resentment in the vets

Isn't that the problem, though? Because I'm sure some did come in expecting a WoW-like environment. And that's exactly what they got.

But the bulk of Diablo fans wanted nothing like WoW. They wanted something like Diablo--dark, moody, dystopic, where the fighters, the mages, and the rogues were roughly equivalent in size, and only the boss mobs were larger, to enhance that sense of power.

What they got? HUGE men with brawny muscles, looking like overinflated bodybuilders; willowy, vacuous females; and insanely oversized, brightly colored monsters to fight. Yeah, that's WoW, not Diablo. And people protested.

[Help] Vibrobeast: it aint jealousy. they just dumbed their design philosophies to cater to the xbox live crowd
[Help] Wrath Talon: pls dont turn this game into WoW, i fled from WoW to here because it is casual
[Help] Vibrobeast: ...you don't know about the xbox live type of gamer do you? ...i live with one. :(
[Help] Vibrobeast: you DON'T want to play with them.


Is XBox the new AOL? I don't own an XBox, though I've watched a lot of the Achievement Hunter vids on their current crop of XBox Live games. Maybe it's just about open accessibility--at the risk of sounding elitist, maybe big MMOs and XBox Live have this in common: the fact that we don't have to be smart, polite, tolerant, respectful, compassionate or even stable to play games with other people. We just have to be breathing and have the time.

And I'm thinking since this one's running long, I'll stop it here and make a second half.

No comments: