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Tycho / on Wed, Oct 15 2008 at 12:00 am

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The Breaking Point

The costume here referenced is a real thing, and conversations about canon and apocrypha as they relate to children’s garb generated the strip.  Without going into cloying, interminable detail, being a father is pretty fucking sweet.

Because my computer has been gone so long, the time I spent in Warhammer has taken on a kind of Autumnal glow, with sunlight easing its way through orange leaves.  A lot of the coverage of Warhammer is actually coverage of World of Warcraft, in the same way that Rock Band and Guitar Hero coverage is densely commingled.  I’m as guilty of it as anyone, so I’m not sitting in judgement of the practice - when you’re talking about things that are rich systemically, we need shorthand.  The alternative is to spend an entire lifetime defining terms.

The trouble comes in when you try to figure out how good a WoW Warhammer is, instead of how good a game it is.  It’s not a very good WoW, and those comparisons only get bleaker when you look at the incredibly brilliant ratfuck delivered in Blizzard’s most recent patch.  When Warhammer reaches its free demo phase, and people can try it without any skin in the game, I think they may find themselves surprisingly stimulated by it.  The first time you gain a level killing another player, it’s electrifying.  The first time I got a blue drop from PvP, my mouth hung open, allowing insects easy entry.

It has PvE, and it’s perfectly acceptable - but it is not the point.  There’s lore there, lots of little pages to tuck into your Tome of Knowledge, which is a kind of book you are constantly adding to.  Obviously, massively multiplayer bookbinding is something I support.  But the accepted truncation for the game is illuminating:  WAR is about fucking murdering people.  I had entered a PvP match before I was Level 2.  I didn’t succeed, but when I entered a round at Level Two, I had one more ability.  I worked my limited repertoire into a semblance of team support.  This happened every level, so that by the time I was Tenth I had a robust, FAQ-free, functional knowledge of my class.

Its crafting time-sinks aren’t especially sophisticated, but sometime after building my own mount in World of Warcraft I lost my appetite for cruelty.  Making potions is something I do whenever I am not murdering people. Instanced “matches” called Scenarios play out more like classic PC shooters than any MMO, with the best elements of both - immediacy, and memory.  I’ve got no friends playing really, there’s nothing aside from gameplay to keep me in.  I’m not toiling toward some ultimate goal.  There’s no endgame for me, there’s just…  game.  A good game.  It’s kind of refreshing.

If you would like to feel a vertigo so intense that you reach out for something - anything - to hold you upright, read the Gamespot and Variety reviews of Dead Space in rapid succession.  For me, purchasing Dead Space has a bonsai element: I want to snip and shape the game’s publisher.  I want to make absolutely sure that it leverages its incredible resources making more games where people don’t play football.  And I mean either kind of football.

Also - and this is a thesis I’ve long subscribed to - anything that can happen, should happen in space.  There’s really nothing to object to; the point is beyond debate.

(CW)TB out.  

this awful quiet


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