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  • Brett
  • Member Since May 8th, 2007

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World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria announced {WoW}

Oct 21st 2011 3:56PM Um, no. Jumping the shark doesn't have anything to do with execution. It has everything to do with running out of ideas consistent with what made the franchise attractive, and turning to outlandish nonsensical crap to try to win back interest.

Adding a Kung-Fu Panda expansion to WoW more than qualifies as "outlandish nonsensical crap".

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria announced {WoW}

Oct 21st 2011 3:20PM Look. I said not a word about Blood Elves, Dranei, Worgen, or even Goblins. There's a lot about ANY fantasy milieu that's inherently silly, and you gotta roll with it, to some extent.

But building an ENTIRE EXPANSION around an explicit joke race that was inserted into the game as the result of Sam Didier's goofy fur-vert obsession with pandas?

Sorry. Fail.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria announced {WoW}

Oct 21st 2011 3:12PM That sound you just heard was WoW jumping the shark.

How far have you progressed in Cataclysm? {WoW}

Feb 25th 2011 3:32PM Honestly, I haven't been playing the game much at all. This is for two reasons:

(1) I kind of lost the plot. Cataclysm suffers, IMO, from the same weakness as Burning Crusade: the utter lack of a coherent overarching storyline tying the whole of the expansion together other than a Big Bad floating around at the end of an as-yet-unopened raid instance. Everything in Lich King, from the moment you set foot on Northrend, felt like it had a purpose. In Cata, while the individual zones are decent enough (though whoever wrote the Harrison Jones questline ought to be fed through a woodchipper), the expansion as a whole feels to me lacking the same sense of purpose.

(2) I realize why Blizzard did what they did, but I can't easily get over basically having to relearn how to play my characters all over again. There are people in this world whose wide-eyed sense of wonder extends to discovering (or rediscovering) all the "fiddly bits" surrounding a character -- how the various spells or powers all hang together, figuring out a successful rotation, yadda yadda. I'm not one of those people. I find learning a class to be an enormous pain in the ass, a mammoth distraction from actually experiencing and enjoying the game content. And now I have to do it AGAIN, not just for a new alt, but for every single character I play.

So I've logged in here and there, got my main up to 84, but for the most part these days I'm spending time I used to spend playing WoW doing other things.

The Lawbringer: Net neutrality and MMOs {WoW}

Jan 14th 2011 9:36PM You know a conversation has taken a turn for the surreal when somebody castigates you as "myopic" for declining to pander to their fantasy that, outside the perniciously-underregulated U.S., the world is a place where they've managed to repeal the Law of Unintended Consequences; where governments consistently act to the enormous benefit of their citizens rather than on behalf of rent-seekers; where public policy isn't a tableau of tradeoffs and compromises between competing interests and values; or where governments lack a years-long, decades-long, or sometimes centuries-long record of being competent at some things but not others.

It's also fun when someone who demonstrably knows zilch about the law tries to deliver lectures about it. Have a free clue, Hangk: the principal obstacle to content-based regulation of postal letters is the First Amendment, not common carrier laws; and infrastructure ISPs have been consistently and repeatedly EXEMPTED from common carrier status since, well, ever, in significant part because most intelligent people grasp that a data packet is in no way analogous to a box you need shipped to Peoria.

Again: it's a fair point that infrastructure ISPs owe their market position to an unnatural monopoly on the last mile. So FIX THAT PROBLEM rather than serving as a useful idiot for their program of ever-more Byzantine (and, thus, manipulable) regulation. The only substantive threat to infrastructure ISPs' leveraging their monopoly in ways you disapprove of is bandwidth that's removed from their control and that of their political pawns.

The Lawbringer: Net neutrality and MMOs {WoW}

Jan 14th 2011 5:44PM Oh look, a moron, falsely claiming that I said the only possible public policy course is to let large corporations do whatever the hell they want, and who thinks wireless mesh networking is magical pony dust.

The reason the USPS doesn't have the right to delay your letters because of something you said is the First Amendment. The reason infrastructure ISPs shouldn't have the right to delay your packets is because net neutrality mavens think that would be horribly, horribly mean and unfair of them. The two situations aren't remotely comparable, and the suggestion that they are makes you look like that much more of a weapons-grade fool.

There's merit to the idea that infrastructure ISPs are squatting on an unnatural monopoly (i.e., the last mile) like they have some legitimate property right to it. But rather than actually attacking that problem you want to try to use the government to jawbone these companies -- who have subverted the regulatory regime to fetter everyone but them EVERY SINGLE TIME you've tried to deal with them -- into playing nice. You suggest I'm peddling pixie dust by referencing mesh networking, but what about this blind faith of yours in the power of "common-sense regulations"? Which of us is more guilty of magical thinking, me pointing to emerging real-world tech, or you ranting that only the government can save us from the evil, evil megacorps?

The Lawbringer: Net neutrality and MMOs {WoW}

Jan 14th 2011 5:04PM There are two big problems with the "net neutrality" debate.

The first problem is the unjustified normative assumption that all packets should be treated equally. Taken to its logical end this means that ANY form of traffic shaping is illegitimate, which, of course, is completely preposterous: without traffic shaping the Internet as we know it would collapse. Confronted by this reality "net neutrality" proponents usually insist that they only want to prevent content-based traffic shaping, but no one has ever provided a satisfactory explanation of why infrastructure ISPs shouldn't be permitted to, for example, throttle P2P traffic as a value-add for their other customers.

The typical explanation, which shouldn't be confused with a satisfactory one, segues into the second problem. "Net neutrality" proponents argue that since infrastructure ISPs largely owe their market position to government-granted monopolies, they should be forced to accept restrictions on their business practices for the public good. Setting aside the question of whether it's really in the public interest to forbid all forms of content-based traffic shaping, that's fine as far as it goes -- but it completely ignores the reality that complex regulations inevitably favor incumbent firms who can deploy legions of lobbyists and lawyers to influence regulation on their behalf. "Net neutrality" mavens who imagine that there's some perfect regulatory formula which, when administered by the right set of benevolent technocrats, will cause infrastructure ISPs to play nice are kidding themselves.

What we really need to be doing is re-examining our scarcity assumptions about bandwidth. The idea that bandwidth is scarce (much less so scarce that it requires a fossilized government agency like the FCC to regulate it) is increasingly goofy. Create enough of it (via technologies like wireless mesh networking) beyond the reach of both the infrastructure ISPs and their political pawns, and it won't matter whether somebody's engaged in content-based traffic shaping because you'll either have a brazillion other providers to pick from, or you'll be your own provider.

Call for Submissions: Patch 4.0.1 reactions {WoW}

Oct 14th 2010 5:47PM My submission:

The fact, illustrated yet again by this patch, that Blizzard cannot patch their game without BREAKING, not merely deprecating, public APIs that third-party developers rely on is a tacit admission of staggering engineering incompetence. In any other industry a company that did this sort of thing as a matter of course, the way Blizzard does, would be run out of town on a rail. All of the engineers involved, as well as the engineering managers who authorize it, should be kicked repeatedly in the junk by players who are pissed off at this most recent episode of Addon Apocalypse, and who've been issued steel-toed boots to administer the punishment.

Shifting Perspectives: Predictions for Cataclysm druids {WoW}

Oct 6th 2010 3:16PM I'm more or less resigned to speccing out of Resto when the Cataclysm class changes drop, and dabbling with Boomkin or something, if not putting my druid on the shelf. Radically changing the dungeon and raid tanking/healing model without giving druid healers the tools to remain effective and fun to play in this Brave New World = epic fail, Blizzard.

Insider Trader: Old alchemy cooldowns {WoW}

Sep 8th 2010 4:49PM Assuming that Blizzard is, in fact, keeping the lowbie metal transmutes on a cooldown by way of protecting profits for levelling miners, they're doing it at the expense of levelling jewelcrafters, many of whose recipes rely on the availability of those rare metals.