Battlepets Mission 2.2 – Clearing The Outliers

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Looking at my pet levelling circuit, it quickly became obvious that I am currently limited to the spirit and master trainers. Rather than start the pet grind immediately to work towards the legendary pets, I thought I should focus on the simplier PvE content. That meant starting, not in Pandaria, but back in Northrend
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Battlepets Mission 2.1 – Completing Current

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It has been a while, but after spending a couple of months simply standing in front of a single trainer and doing the occasional kill, i thought it was tine to work on a bucket list of things to do before (even during) the WoD expansion. Simple things first, the pet activities list:
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Female Assassins? – That’s crazy talk

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Sometimes I think that what people are asking for is actually the wrong thing. For example, today’s outcry is on the latest Assassin’s Creed and the possibility of being able to select the main character’s gender.

TL:DR – “We wanted a female character option, but it would have cost you a raid tier”

I understand that in some (most) games you do need the option of choosing the main character’s gender. Those on-screen avatars represent you and your actions in that gaming world. Their story is your story and if you are shoehorned into a shape that doesn’t fit then things rub around the edges. Having said that, not all games are about the gamer. Some games are interactive stories. In those, the gender of the character plays an integral role in the story. You are not the star. You are hitching a lift and offering assistance (or more likely hindering) their story, seeing the world from their perpective.

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You are John Malkovick – Disclaimer, product does not actually turn you into John Malkovich or give you any claim over his life.

Sometime the story is about a particular view, opinion or a specific perspective. In those cases, gender is an important part of the story. The re-imagined Tomb Raider had a star that needed to be female. The Last of Us would have been very different if Joel was not male. In those examples, character gender is very important and non negotiable.

Let’s put it from another way. I would be hard pressed to find anyone that had watched the movie would then be able to make the following statement.

Not being a gay male cowboy, I consider Brokeback Mountain to be an offensive product because they didn’t have a main character to which I could directly relate

Token characters have traditionally been used to offer an audience surrogate to a peripheral demographic, but creating characters with a set appearance through the believe that the audience can only connect with someone that looks like them is offensive too. If a character is important enough to appear in a story then are important enough to have a bit of depth and a character’s gender is often a very important part of their personality. If a character’s gender has any impact on the story then it needs to be fixed and offering a token gender choice weakens the story.

So how would I treat equality in a story driven game and a main protagonist of a specified gender?
Firstly I would give them a balanced support cast of fully developed characters.
Secondly I would make the player a little uncomfortable with the character performing an action in keeping with their personality, but not necessarily what the player would choose to remind them that they are the navigator but not the driver.
Most importantly, I would offer multiple protagonists. In a story based game is the perfect excuse for using a switching point of view. It is a common ploy in books (such as Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire) but would not work on stories that focus on a single character. For those cases I would suggest expansions or sequels that display the world from a different perspective (although I am sure that if Ubisoft announced a female only expansion it would be dismissed as a cynical attempt at at appeasement).

What’s the TL:DR?
If a main character is a surrogate for the player and tells the story of the player’s actions in the game world then a choice of gender is a priority feature for inclusion. If the main character is simply a point of view for the player then being able to select their gender is less important and an inclusive story-line needs to be created through other methods.

Hearthstone – Buying Packs (3 of 3) – Short term gain, long term pain?

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So far we have covered that after playing enough Hearthstone you’ll reach an equilibrium level just before your peak rating where you win as many games as you lose.
Then we discovered that the win rating will actually be below 50% as new players with better cards/ability progress through your ranking but you can get closer to 50% wins by having a higher equilibrium rank and this is achieved most simply by having more available cards. Buying decks will boost your rank therefore bumping up your win percentage by a fraction and on that logic we decided that splashing out on the cash so is a good investment in long term success.
Now I’ll show that might not necessarily be true. Continue reading

Hearthstone – Buying Packs (1 of 3 – We Are All Average)

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Yes, that title does say 1 of 3. I’ll do the rest over the course of this week. Don’t worry, they are all short.

@SvelteKumquat‘s tweet having fun in Hearthstone without spending money, really got me thinking. What is the impact of buying (or not) extra packs? When playing these PvP games, it doesn’t matter what we put into them, eventually we all win half and lose half (unless are so good/bad there are relatively few players in the work at your ability level).

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Official WoD Pet/Garrison Feature Announcement

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Please note, the following article contains zero official announcements and is 100% speculation based on one flimsy screenshot.

Since this is my first ideas post for a while, I think I need to link to lots of other blogs to grab their attention. Let the self-publicity commence. I will start at the source which today comes from a post by WoW dev Jonathan LeCraft who gave us a wonderful little pet/garrison teaser tweet this week. I was going to make a comment to @Liopleurodonic‘s Draenor tamer post but my ideas grew to more than just a paragraph so I’m housing it here instead. And my final call goes out to @AlternativeChat who wants her beta and garrisons.

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Title – Work In Progress

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I have a problem. I am very good at avoiding work. The Other does this through making lists, but then things have to be done so her procrastination is limited. I on the other hand will write a list of things to do, including details of what I need to do before I can do each item. Then I will avoid doing the item until the prep work is completed. I like to get things right first time, but this has evolved into a need to not get things wrong or skipping stuff entirely. If I am unsure exactly what I need to do things get deferred. Continue reading

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