This is Why Hunters are Overplayed

Mechanics Hunter Pets in WoW

I’ve been waiting to play a Gnome Hunter since 2004 and Blizzard has finally made that a reality. In Legion I will be able to play one, but now I’m raced with the annoying realization that I either have to level one from scratch, use my instant level 100 on a Gnome Hunter, or pay for a race AND faction change for my Orc. Bleh.

Seriously though, if being a Gnome isn’t cool enough they went and made MECHANICAL PETS!

Most Mechanical pets will be challenging to tame, requiring you to first locate them and then use your Hunter abilities in unusual ways. (You didn’t think we’d make it easy, did you?)

For example, one rare mechanostrider requires you to create a special punch card that grants access to a closed section of Gnomeregan (we hope you remember the way). Once you locate the clockwork creature, you’ll then need to figure out how to overload its circuits. Solve the puzzle, and you’ll have this magnificent mechanized minion striding by your side.

gnome hunter in WoW

The addition of Gnome Hunters makes perfect sense to me. Hunters use traps. Hunters use guns. These things scream Gnomish tinkering potential to me. Hunters seem akin to the Gnomish spirit of solving problems and making their tools work for them.

Musing on the Dangers of WoW and EQ

I played both EverQuest and World of Warcraft today.  These two games have worlds which are quite disparate, but one key difference kept coming into focus: I’m not afraid of monsters or the worlds in most new(er) MMOs.

Modern MMOs do not readily create experiences that are dangerous to the point of making you think twice about going or doing something. In fact, games encourage players to give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happens really is the mantra. New MMOs will encourage you to scour every corner of the world, and in most cases protect you from dangers by giving you very clear indicators that the area you are about to enter could be tough (if they allow you in at all).

Older MMOs mixed danger right in like chocolate chips in pancake batter (can you guess what I had for dinner?). You wanted to explore. You felt like the world was tempting you to explore, but you knew that exploring really wasn’t in your best interest. You still tried, and were quickly reminded why you should hug zone walls.

While working on a quest chain in WoW today I died 3x due to some weird mechanic I didn’t pick up on. While frustrating, I ultimately brute forced my way through. I put into a situation in EQ where I almost died and it made the hair on my neck stand on end and my heart beat hastened. I was terrified and it caused me to decide not to go into this particular area to pull mobs.

In WoW I was blowing through 8 mobs at a time that were 2-3 levels above me. I was running through a group of elites to get to a quest objective I had to click on. I simply didn’t care about what was around me. Everything in the world was just in my way and I would ride my mount through and be on my way. In EQ, I’m terrified of what level mobs are and I’m always thinking about how close I am to anything.

I like both. Both work. Both provide a different experience. I tend to like the games that are a little more dynamic, though. I found that today I bored a quicker while playing WoW and opted for grouping in Kunark slaying Sarnaks in a fort.

Following up on Blizzcon

I’m slow on the followup this time around! I want to reflect on some of what we saw at Blizzcon as it pertains to my thoughts pre-con.


So I went with an April prediction just to be extreme and different, admitting in my predictions/wants post itself that I know full and well we won’t see it until August+ because of ‘Overhype’. That came true. No shock at all. Now… wtf to do in WoW until then? I have absolutely no idea. As I speak I’m in the queue for LFR Archimonde. Once I kill him that will mean I have seen everything in WoD. That was my goal. I’m done at this point. Believe it or not, some of the most fun I’ve had is managing my Garrison. I wish it was more like farmville/harvest moon.

Ten (10) months until new content in WoW — Okay, more like 8-9 but that is incredible. I’m pretty much riding out my last 20 days on this sub then calling it there. No reason to keep paying when I have seen EVERYTHING I want to in the game. ::cough:: I don’t really want to keep saying I told you so, but is this not the epitome of winding down WoW to ramp up / hype up their next wave of potentially more profitable/more revenue per player games? Of course it is.

Legion continues to look amazing. Yes, I’m going to buy it. Yes, I’m going to play all of the story and quit when I ultimately run into the same situation I have in WoD. That, ladies and gentlemen, is WoW.


The hype levels are dangerous here. We already call it ‘Overhype’ and people are already saying it’s dangling from the precipice of mediocrity and genericness. I have yet to play it myself, and I withhold the right to pass my own judgment. Overwatch LOOKS fun. I like shooters of this style and calibre. I can’t say this is hte kind of game I’ll play for years, though. Their release date is exactly as I would expect.


What shocked me here was the DLC. I don’t know why I let it come as a surprise that they would go from taking one game, and making three full games out of it, to making mission packs. I probably won’t buy them. To be quite honest, I simply don’t see the value. If I have absolutely NOTHING else to play… I might be tempted. Otherwise, I’m somehow not the market — which really makes no sense because I’m the guy who buys SC to play the single-player…



Heroes of the Storm

I was completely wrong here. HotS was a huge emphasis. Cho’gall seems awesome, albeit a little outrageous. That’s the HotS model, though. “No one else would or could, so we did.” That’s the HotS model. Arena mode reminds me of those gladiator maps from the glorious WC3 custom map days. Those were amazing.


Womp womp.


Blizzard played it very safe. Nothing about bringing back the classic games, and no major surprises or announcements that truly shocked me. Yet, without fail, Blizzard remains stable and proving that they are going to be putting out a heck of a 2016.

Blizzcon is Upon Us: WoW Legion’s Launch Date, Predictions, et al

Blizzcon’s opening ceremony kicks off in exactly 4 hours from now, and I’m going to squeeze in here and drop a few predictions as well as what I hope to see announced.

World of Warcraft: Legion

First, I have to address the gorilla in the room: Legion’s launch date. Check out the marketing collateral below and pay attention to the fine print at the bottom (click to enlarge):


Legion will release on or before September 21, 2016. There are a few ways to interpret this information.

  1. The people convinced this is the release date and are cancelling their subscriptions because they won’t do HFC for 10 more months.
  2. The “I knew there was a reason to hide subscription numbers!” group (who likely do not play)
  3. People who look at WoD coming out a month before its drop dead date who now think August is the date.
  4. The people who think this really doesn’t mean a whole lot / will happily play WoD / don’t care.

I personally think this is their drop dead date and that they will release sooner. I’m also pretty sure they’re going to giving Overwatch a very nice window. I’m predicting April 2016. I think that’s a nice 5-6 month window for them to hold a beta and finish up. I’m on the bleeding edge of extremes here, I know. The likely release date probably IS September 2016.


We’ll get a release date. They’ll talk about the cost of the game, some business model plans, etc. Lots, and lots, and lots of hype. The more I think about how badly they want to hype Overwatch, the more I think we’ll see Overwatch in April, and Legion in August-September.


I’m not expecting any announcements for Starcraft’s current projects. I think Legacy of the Void coming out is a big enough deal that they won’t overshadow it with anything else in the SC2 universe. However, I want to see announcements regarding a modernized version of the original Starcraft and Broodwar being brought to the SC2 engine — with multiplayer — by 2017.


I’m actually expecting nothing for Diablo except for a similar announcement about Diablo and Diablo 2 (plus expansions, minus Hellfire) being modernized to the D3 engine and coming out as full games — with multiplayer — by 2017 as well.

Classic Games

I’ll continue in the same vein and say that I hope a nice part of the opening ceremony will hype their revival of the ‘classics’ and for them to official come out and state that they are working on these revitalization projects. The job listings are there for these projects already, it’s just time to make it official. I truly hope to see Warcrafts 1-3 being a big part of this project.


Cards? (And probably a huge emphasis since this game prints money)

Heroes of the Storm

More heroes and stuff. I will be shocked if HotS gets much if any time in the opening ceremony.

Warcraft 4’s Announcement

Yes, I look forward to Warcraft 4’s announcement every single year. I hold my breath, I get disappointed, and I come back next year to do it all again. I really do think they could build off the hype of Legion and a Warcraft 3 revival to announce Warcraft 4 coming in 2018 or something.

Console and Tablet Announcements

We know that Overwatch is coming to consoles. I think this is a big market for them. Now, as far as tablets go, I think we won’t hear a thing. They kept Hearthstone — their juggernaut F2P — completely nonchalant when it came to iOS releases. I doubt we see much pomp and circumstance over tablets.

A Big Year for Blizzard

Blizzard can go big this year in ways they haven’t been able or willing to in the past few years. With Overwatch, classic revivals, and a strong expansion on their list it’s entirely their game to lose right now. This Blizzcon can set the pace for the next three years without even breaking a sweat. Let’s see what happens!

We Have “A Lot” of Players

Building off of yesterday’s post, along with a decline in subscriptions and purchasing Candy Crush for a bazillion dollars, Blizzard will no longer be releasing subscription numbers. As you can imagine, this sends some people into a fit about hiding failure, etc. Personally, I have to ask whether or not it matters.

WoW has a lot of subscribers. Whether you go from 5 million to 10 million, the effect on a player’s “quality of life” in-game is next to nothing. The way in which they’ve phased all of the servers together and how we all seem to play with people on all servers anyway, I stopped caring. When you reach this many people it doesn’t matter. If they dropped below 1 million, and less than half of that were NA, then we can talk.

The real issue here isn’t “hiding failure” or anything like that. It’s about business metrics. Blizzard doesn’t want to focus on subscription numbers because they are obviously looking to monetize their products differently. We’re seeing a transition to revenue per player — an emphasis on money first.

Businesses measure success of a game differently than the players. I measure a game’s success based on an overall fun factor, how long it lasts, how immersed in the game I feel, quality of mechanics, 3 monther status, etc., etc., the list goes on. Suffice it to say, I can look at a game and think it sucks and failed miserably, but the business behind the game can think it was a wild success. That’s the Candy Crush model. They release dozens and dozens of fire cracker games that flash in the pan and generate revenue and go away or not. Did they make money? If so, can they rinse and repeat? That’s all that matters.

So in the end the consumer will see a decline in the style of game we enjoy in order to satisfy the metrics now being measured differently. The result of this transition has far graver consequences than hiding a failing WoW. It signals yet another step toward focusing on the money rather than the games.