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Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: WoW is dying!
« Last post by Marco on February 13, 2019, 06:48:27 AM »
The layoffs came at the same time as the quarterly earnings call, which reported record profits and plans to grow the development teams for six games by 20% (including WoW, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Diablo).  So this is more about restructuring than necessity, which has a lot of people upset.  Most of the affected positions I've heard about seem to be in the PR and community management area.
Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: WoW is dying!
« Last post by Snique on February 13, 2019, 06:29:38 AM »
Blizzard (Activision) had some layoffs this week (8% of workforce), after rumors had been circulating for a while. A friend of mine who works in the non-gaming areas was hit. Kotaku (below) says that Activision cut gaming in other divisions but at Blizzard seems to have cut only non-gaming personnel.
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.1.x stuff
« Last post by Snique on February 11, 2019, 08:58:27 AM »
I'm now at the stage of running multiple alts through warfronts (hate!) and islands (love!) each week. I'm trying to figure out why I have such viscerally different reactions to each. I think some of it feels like the warfronts are rails and islands are sandboxes and maybe I just have a preference for sandboxes?

Both are repetitive but it feels like with islands even if I do get the same map twice in a week (which the game seems to be trying to minimize) there's still variation in which mobs are on it, which invaders show up, and the placement of the scenario objectives that it plays out very differently.

If anyone is interested in a trial Cupcakes trio to do some islands on mythic I'd be willing to bring my raid-geared druid.
Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Finished playing...
« Last post by Marco on February 08, 2019, 12:27:36 PM »
Rise of the Tomb Raider and its Baba Yaga DLC.  This game has pretty much all of the same systems as Horizon: Zero Dawn (and also used Aloy's voice actress for the DLC), so I guess that's a pretty common package for AAA games.  As is appropriate for a Tomb Raider game, the climbing mechanics are deeper and are coupled with mechanical puzzles, while the ranged combat mechanics are simpler.  The game looks excellent--there were times when I thought I was still in a cinematic when the game returned control to me.  I didn't find the story as engaging as Zero Dawn's; I think there's only so much spin you can put on the Indiana Jones theme in the 2010s.  The voice acting was decent, except that at times people rushed their lines a bit.  I found the default difficulty to be a bit on the easy side.  Since I played this on the PC, I was able to move with the controller but aim with the mouse, which was pleasant.

I ran into a few bugs, all of which people on the net had found workarounds for.  The climbing mechanics could also be a bit finicky at times, leading to deaths where I apparently ordered Lara to jump off into the void instead of climbing up one foot to the next ledge.
Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Discount deals on games
« Last post by Snique on February 07, 2019, 07:45:56 AM »
Steam is offering a "lunar new year" sale with the usual discounts plus a special one-time $5 off for an order of $30 or more.
Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Hearthstone (and battlenet desktop)
« Last post by Piralyn on February 06, 2019, 12:53:00 PM »
Back in my days playing CCGs around the country, one of my top tier competitors used to describe our play-style as "fishbowl"ing, which I always thought was a really accurate term but doubt is a real term/meme. Basically, we're going to play our game and do what we're going to do and there isn't really anything you can do to affect it, leaving you to be on the outside looking in as we win. I think a lot of CCGs, traditional and digital both, inevitably have major problems with that style of deck. Really, it's an alluring choice because it removes as many variables as possible (you know, your entire opponent essentially), which is kind of the whole point of building a winning deck.

It only gets worse when there's one or two super dominant archetypes and they employ that style of play. One of the CCGs I used to play back in college had a real dark era where there was a series of cards that--without going into great detail--were basically unstoppable and could make your opponent dump their entire hand on turn 1 100% of the time and keep them continually discarding every turn. That in tandem with a hero-equivalent that even further locked down things basically made that the only deck worth playing for like six months. It was nearly bulletproof with the game's state at the time and there was pretty much nothing you could do.

They had to release SEVERAL silver bullets in the next expansion, and even a few more in the expansions following that, to get the game back into a healthy state. I haven't played Hearthstone for a while, but from what I recall, Blizzard seems exceptionally reluctant to print silver bullets to gut overpowered combinations of cards and restore game balance. They'd rather randomly ban cards or nerf them into the ground at unexpected intervals or wait for stuff to cycle out. That's a terrible strategy for any card game, let alone a digital one. The CCG I mentioned earlier barely survived that half-year dark era, and they didn't have the luxury of going "Okay, cool, let's push a new set or adventure out ASAP."

Silver bullets tend to be controversial because they usually mean the targeted card becomes completely worthless. No one likes the feeling of their favorite card getting binned, but I don't see how that would be any worse than random bans/over-nerfs. That's part of the cycle of a CCG--or it should be--new expansions come out and make new themes and decks matter and old ones usually less effective. Hearthstone waits for the year to roll over, so when they make hugely impactful cards, you're basically stuck with them until the next year. This isn't a new complaint, but it sounds like it's getting worse and worse.

tl;dr: I have really strong opinions on CCGs.
Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Hearthstone (and battlenet desktop)
« Last post by Snique on February 06, 2019, 07:45:28 AM »

Kibler put out a video that was nominally about the latest round of nerfs but in fact is a "here's why Hearthstone sucks and I'm mostly not playing much" rant.

The problem is, at core, what's been the problem all along - Genn and Baku have constrained the design space too much, and the game has become a battle of OTK decks or the only possible answer - rush people down. Kibler's point is that both G/B and the OTK decks introduce too many elements that you, the opponent, can't interact with. With improved hero powers, it's just "push the button a lot and win" and with OTK decks it's just "how good are their stall tools while they draw the cards for their combo".

Generally I think he's not wrong and I don't know what the designers will do other than sit around for a few more months until the next big rotation makes G/B wild-only problems.

Interestingly, Kibler argues for something i've heard from Kripparian before: instead of a steady stream of nerfs to classic and basic cards (to make them weaker so people will play other cards instead) it would be better to have a similar rotation of the classic set so that cards from those sets wouldn't always all be in competition with the new sets.
Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Hearthstone (and battlenet desktop)
« Last post by Snique on February 06, 2019, 03:32:59 AM »
Part of the latest patch is a viral card back, Mark of Hakkar. Initially a small number of players were given this card back and whenever someone with the card back plays another player that opponent also gets the card back. This spread is supposedly permanent but if you want the card back now, I have it and am happy to play you with it selected so you can have it, too.

(fittingly, I got murderated by the Hakkar/Toggwaggle OTK deck in order to get it.)
Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / 8.2.x Stuff
« Last post by Snique on February 04, 2019, 06:43:36 AM »

Taliesin & Evitel interview Jeremy Feasel (Blizz Senior Game Designer)  about "future things" that turns out to be mostly 8.2.x things.
Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Gender issues and gaming
« Last post by Piralyn on February 02, 2019, 12:44:54 PM »
I hope the Cactuar still wears a bikini top.
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