Join Us On Discord

Discord

I recently posted about the new Curse user interface and how it’s a pretty cool community interaction tool. A few of you messaged me about Discord and told me about how it has remarkable voice and chat integration. I gave it a shot, and I agree: It’s pretty cool.

Curse comes off as tailored more to the partnered streamers. Lots of flare and chrome rims, all that stuff. Discord is more about pure functionality and integration. The chat is better, the voice chat is better and way easier to set up and mimic Ventrilo (which we currently use). As a community organizer, I like the permissions better too. There’s also a pretty solid app for phones.

Neither option seems perfect for me, or the community here, but I think Discord is a little more our style. We’re still using Ventrilo. Anyone is free to join us there. Paying less than $4 a month for Ventrilo still feels acceptable to me. We also use forums for our Keen and Graev Community — yep, we’re old school. However, the chat functionality in Discord is really enticing as a “Guild Chat” of sorts since it allows a history of chat for all to see. You can feel connected even when you aren’t playing. Like right now, I’m at work but in Discord talking to some community members already online.

If you want to join our Keen and Graev Discord Server, I’m keeping our #general open to everyone. We’ll have member channels for voice and chat too, and different channels for games. We mostly play WoW, Overwatch, and other random games. Hope to see you online.

Discord App

Twitch’s Bits are Stupid

Twitch BitsI think “cheering” and “bits” are stupid. There, I said it. Twitch’s latest monetization technique tries too hard and comes across way too gimmicky — almost desperate. Have you not heard yet about “cheering” and how it works?

It’s a form of digital ‘currency’ that people can buy and practically ‘tip’ to the streamer. Twitch and its employees evangelists — no, screw it, they’re practically employees — don’t want you to think of it as tipping. I’m sure there’s a tax implication there somewhere. Twitch wants you to see it as “cheering” (hence the name) and wants you to get involved in the “experience” of “cheering”. It’s no different than throwing pennies at someone. Literally. Streamers get a penny for every bit. So for the minimum purchase of bits, Twitch takes $0.40 and the streamer takes $1.00. It’s tipping. Stop trying to call it anything else.

Buy Twitch BitsTwitch and the employees select partners who were included in the beta program are quick to point out there are gifs and memes and achievements and badges and all sorts of MORE GIMMICKS to distract from the fact that this is a tip. I’m still dismayed by people throwing money at streamers just to use their chat emotes, and now we literally have people throwing pennies by the thousands at these monkeys dancing for their supper. It makes the Apple community’s behavior appear tame.

It’s more gimmicks. Bits are another step in the direction away from focusing on the games. Excluding the statistical outliers, sponsored events, etc.,  streamers who focus on games receive less attention than streamers who focus on the gimmicks and entertaining their audience. There’s nothing wrong with entertaining people. I support that. What I don’t support are the entertainers becoming influencers. When they are perceived as influencers (and why wouldn’t they be when 30,000 people would watch them wipe their ass) then they receive preferential treatment. That preferential treatment further perpetuates the problem of them being influential, which perpetuates designing games to their nitch and the people who watch, which perpetuates the shallow nature of gaming, and before you know it you have a run on sentence more reason to continue developing games we see today.

Pantheon: Great Game or Soulless Shell of Ideologies?

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen had its first debut of sorts. Brad “Aradune” McQuaid showed off a very, very (I’m seriously, it’s disturbingly early) version of Pantheon. About 20 minutes into the video I really started to wonder if showing gameplay of the game this early was smart. I’m from the generation of MMO gamers that can look past graphics and animations, but I was struggling to look past the free Unity assets. Have a look below.

Let’s cut to the chase. I subscribe to the ideology. I’m a fan of EverQuest — the hardcore version — and I liked Vanguard (the earlier version, and what was actually finished). I like Brad’s overall vision of MMORPGs being actual RPGs and feeling like a virtual world. I like the old school mechanics: death penalties, difficulty, class identity and interdependencies, etc. If you read my blog, you know that’s who I am.

What I’m worried about here is whether or not Pantheon can actually take that ideology and build it around a game that’s actually fun. Mechanics aren’t enough. Without polish and a talented team to execute those mechanics around something playable (a game), you get nothing more than a generic D&D parser.

The idea of where Brad wants Pantheon to go sounds great, but right now Pantheon doesn’t look fun; In fact, it looks like it lacks a soul. I need to see that the team can deliver the game behind the ideology before I can get excited.

Gnome Hunter Hype

Friender the Mechano Wolf

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m hyped to play a Gnome Hunter in WoW’s Legion expansion.

Here’s why:

  1. Gnome are the best race in WoW.
  2. Hunters are the best (at least my favorite) class in WoW.
  3. The flavor of pets, quests, and playstyle will be overwhelmingly cool.

A few months ago, I posted about wanting to play an Orc Hunter because Rexxar. That’s when I first learned about melee hunters (survival spec) and the idea carried with it a certain nostalgic flair.  I could be an orc wielding a giant polearm with a great pet, but that was quickly overshadowed by the idea of a tinkering gnome with mechanic pets.

After turning my attention to gnomes, I began debating what tradeskills will be best in Legion. Turns out, JC isn’t going to be the strongest after all. The JC gems are going to be BoE, and unique (1) which means anyone can use them. I’ll go Engineering and Mining. Engineering to craft awesome pets, Reavers, and gadgets; Mining to get the ore to do so and sell.

Then I recently found out about the really cool quests for Hunters. I think all classes (even professions) will have unique quests that send you to different places and have you solve puzzles. They remind me of the old school Rhok’delar quest. I was the first Hunter on my server, and I think in the top 5 in the world to do that quest. It was a huge deal. I was so proud of that accomplishment (still am), so the idea of having neat quests to do sits well with me. I’m a fan of the true ‘quest’ part of these quests.

iron juggernaut gnome hunte rpet

One of these cool quests involves getting Friend the Mechano wolf from Gnomeregan (pictured at the top original source I think from EyeoftheBeast.com).  Solve some puzzles, avoid being 1 shot, and you got him. Another quest involves the Siege of Orgrimmar and building your own Iron Juggernaut. They come in multiple colors and involve actually making the pet which is neat.

My Gnome Hunter plans include rolling a fresh level 1 Gnome on Fenris server right when the patch goes live. I’ll level him up to 60  using heirlooms and dungeon runs, then from 60-100 I’ll use my level boost. You couldn’t pay me to do 60-100 again on questing. I don’t have it in me. Using the level boost from 60-100 will raise my tradeskills instantly to the pre-Legion cap — another thing I wouldn’t want to do manually.

Decided on your class for Legion yet?

Clash Royale Creators Sell For Big Hay Pay Day

SuperCell Bought By Chinese Holding Company

I read up on this little buy yesterday. Chinese holding company Tencent is going to buy SuperCell — creators of Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Hay Day, and Boom beach — for $8.6 Billion now with the ultimate price tag on SuperCell being around $10B.

I’ve read some kerfuffle over the buy and people being scared that it means big changes are going to come and the game is going to be ruined, etc. I don’t know about that. This is the same company that purchased Riot Games (creators of League of Legends) back in December of last year. Tencent hasn’t touched them since. They seem to be in the business of buying companies that run themselves well and then sitting back to make money. Smart choice if you’re buying companies like SuperCell and Riot Games.

Clash Royale is still going very strong. I still play daily and I’m up to 1900 trophies now. I feel fairly confident in my play style. I think my card levels are holding me back, along with having no legendaries and going against some people with 2-3 of them. I haven’t spent a dime though, so I haven’t contributed at all to SuperCell’s cash reserves. They’ve done a great job of making Clash Royale good enough to keep playing as a freebie.

The value of a company with 4 games that are truly quite simple is astounding. It speaks to the market of handheld/mobile gaming, value of F2P done well, and simply making great games.