Tag Archives: Blizzard

#490 Goodbye WoW Insider

Last Friday, terrible news broke through the gaming side of the internet with the announcement and confirmation that AOL will be closing down their Joystiq branch. This closing includes the main Joystiq website and their sister sites Massively and WoW Insider. The news of WoW Insider’s ending stung quite a bit because I always thought that WoW Insider would last long enough be reporting on the story of Blizzard pulling the plug on their very last WoW server.

As established readers knows that I was a hardcore World of Warcraft player and end game raider for years and WoW Insider was my go to news site for all things in the world of Azeroth. I was a loyal reader, reading all their mage class columns, downloading all of their podcasts, and refreshing their home page multiple times during the day during their coverage of BlizzCON or the first few weeks of an expansion.

A bit of trivia I have shared time and time again,but what made World of Warcraft and  WoW Insider so special to me was that they were catalyst and inspiration for kick starting my own blogging career.

It all started with a 2009 Around Azeroth post with a published screenshot that I submitted. Around Azeroth was a series featured the best community submitted screenshots from World of Warcraft. I, at the time being in Highschool, seeing my in game username shown right on my favorite website not only made my week as well as earning some several nerd points with all my other Warcraft buddies.

it was not much but it was mine (Side note I'm using Archive.today's serives because I do not know if any of the WoWInsider links will be active in the next few weeks and beyond after they officially close shop)

it was not much but it was mine (Side note I’m using Archive.today’s service’s because I do not know if any of the WoWInsider links will be active in the next few weeks and beyond after they officially close shop)

Then in 2010 I gathered the courage to submit a few written pieces to WoW Insider when the staff were calling for submissions for their breakfast topic posts, another community driven article series with the purpose was a question to ask their readers every morning. Over the next year and a half, I was able to submit three articles as a paid “AOL guest writer” earning me $10 a post.

LINKS: https://archive.today/NOYvg // https://archive.today/0DDHW // https://archive.today/dsiUC

If getting my screenshot made my week, these made my week. and on top of being a paid job it inserted the thought that I could be one of those online personalities that gets to talk and write about videogames for a living.

Following that, once it was clear that WoW Insider’s Guest writers program was going to to be as frequent as I wanted to to be, I struck out on my own by creating my own website where I could write about World of Warcraft as often as I like, which was the creation of this very blog.

For reference these posts went live in February, July, and September of 2011. I started blogging in December of that year.

For reference these posts went live in February, July, and September of 2011. I started blogging in December of that year.

Even after I started making my own blogging content, WoW Insider gave me support by publishing my submissions to the weekly Blog Azeroth Shared Topics on Blog Azeroth, a website dedicated to networking and communicating with various other World of Warcraft bloggers from around the internet.

LINKS: https://archive.today/bWFyQ // https://archive.today/BzZYc

Those posts and traffic bumps definitely help my confidence to continue blogging adventure

Those posts and traffic bumps definitely help my confidence to continue blogging adventure

And WoW Insider was the first time I had my voice recorded for a podcast. If I remember correctly I was the first person to ask the WoW Insider panel on their first live show at PAX East.

That is why it is so tough to see them go, not only were they a cornerstone of my high school and college life but that years and years later it still provided quality World of Warcraft news and editorials. It is because of WoW Insider’s initial and continuing help and support has allowed Be MOP to be so successful on WordPress and any other success that comes from the Be MOP name, whether it be the followers I have on Twitter or the community that I have found with the launching of my Twitch page in April of last year.

Good bye WoW Insider, it is sad to see you take your bow so soon.


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#488 Heroes of the Storm First Impressions

Over the weekend, due to a combination of some free time, watching various PAX South Streams, and remembering that I actually had the game in my inventory, I booted up Blizzard’s second Free to Play game, the A.R.T.S/MOBA game Heroes of the Storm for the first time to play a few rounds.

I played between the two free ranged and support heroes of that week, Malfurion and Falstad, for a few matches in the Raven and Haunted mines map. I did have a fun time playing the game, winning my fair share of matches and even scoring a few killstreaks here or there, I contribute that to my months of Twitch training.

 Its weird starting fresh in new MOBA/ARTS game, relaying on the free champs that week instead of the handful of champs you know so well.

Its weird starting fresh in new MOBA/ARTS game, relaying on the free champs that week instead of the handful of champs you know so well.

My first impressions is that it is a fun game with more of a focus on map objectives than player kills, and the objectives are fun to partake in. from collecting skulls to power up your bulldozer of a Grave Golem as it marches from one side of the map to the other to claiming capture points to ensure that your team gets the highly prized buff or inflicting a powerful curse or attack on the enemy’s defenses.

I have only played for a handful of matches, so I do not know how I feel about Heroes of the Storm choosing a heavy focus on Talents and upgrading and side-grading the hero’s abilities over the item approach for character improvement. I definitely know that I am not a fan of Blizzard’s gameplay choice to let players pick their champions first and then enter the queue.

I lost quite a few solo-queue matches because our team was comprised of two supports and no damage and that was because there was no time to communicate to the other players and and change our team competition before rolling out.

I do not know how those two complaints will might work with the competitive scene of the game when it comes to the staple pick/ban phase and counting other champion’s play style we see in other games, that is if there is a community interest to move towards a competitive or metagame route.

of course it will, we have competitive Hearthstone tournaments

of course it will, we have competitive Hearthstone tournaments why wouldn’t we have a competitive HoTs scene

Those two complaints are not enough to deter me from the game all together, and I will still plan to play it but recreationally, I know that if I play Heroes of the Storm any more than casually I end up losing money, fast.

I know that if I lose money it will not be because of HoTs’s microtransactions or colorful unicorn mounts but by resubbing to World of Warcraft. It was the same problem I had with Hearthstone. While Heroes of the Storm uses assets from their Diablo and Starcraft games the game is heavily designed with the World of Warcraft Universe in mind, taking a bit of priority over the other Blizzard intellectual properties, with maps, building designs, heroes, mounts, sound effects, and the inclusion of Hearthstones as the item used for recalling back to base.

Even now, after playing a few games, I can feel the itch, the Warcraft itch to resubscribe to reenter the world of Azeroth to revisit those lands and important characters. The itch is especially bad with that new expansion that involves New Outland and time travel. I left World of Warcraft more than a year ago and I know that if I go back I will be lost forever giving $15 a month to Blizzard for the access to a game that I will hardly play.

I wish I could go back to World of Warcraft again, but I just do not have the time, thanks to my current schedule to to allow the time investment for the hours of preparing and committing to a guild that raids end game content continuously and progressively as I would have want.

The kicker is if Blizzard added a special champion costume exclusive to the World of Warcraft subscribers

The kicker is if Blizzard added a special champion costume exclusive to the World of Warcraft subscribers

Another reason that HoTs will not be played anymore than casually is because I already have a main A.R.T.S/MOBA game that I play,on a scheduled basis. A.R.T.S are like MMOs, you can only really choose one to sink enough time into to get the best benefits and I already have one and it’s not this one.


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#471 Three Years

Today is a day for celebration, because today is the three year anniversary marking the event when I created this Be MOP blog and published it’s first post on WordPress. As I said in last year’s post (Be MOP #315), this blog was created after my Junior college midterms after I experienced a very early quarter life crisis.

What is impressive is that in my three years of blogging I still have the bragging rights of not missed any of my Monday, Wednesday, Friday blog post deadlines. Three years of trying to balance college midterms, finals, graduations, dealing with the transition away from college life, and all of the random inconveniences that popped up along the way I was still here, updating my blog on the same schedule I created for myself since Day One.

Be MOP Banner

Since my last 2013 anniversary post and now, what now has changed with me and this blog?

At the start of the year I received a 3DS handheld system with a copy of Pokemon Y for Christmas (Be MOP #318) with lead to influx of various Pokemon and Mario posts appearing on this blog. Later in the year I went out and bought a Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundle (Be MOP #391) and went full Nintendo Fan Boy with this blog by writing about almost nothing but Nintendo from October to December.

But how can you blame me? All of those Nintendo exclusive games were fun from beginning to end and it was a refreshing change of pace from almost anything else I played through on my PC. Nintendo was something I did not know I needed until I got it, now it has been a staple of my weekly free gaming time.

It is amazing that the Wii U, the weakest console this gen, has been able to pump out the most amazing games from this year with having Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, and Smash run at either 720p or 1080p while having the frame rate be locked at 60fps. I have a theory that the people at Nintendo code their games on magic.

It is amazing that the Wii U, the weakest console this gen, has been able to pump out the most amazing games from this year with having Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, and Smash run at either 720p or 1080p while having the frame rate be locked at 60fps. I have a theory that the people at Nintendo code their games on magic.

This year I also celebrated my one year of unsubscribing from Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, an impressive feat. As I wrote in my post blog when I talked more in-depth about the year from the MMO (Be MOP #408), but enough things have gotten inbetween me and WoW the resubscribing would be a waste of money.

and no amount of emails will persuade me to go back, Blizzard

and no amount of emails will persuade me to go back, Blizzard

But out of everything,my most impressive development this year was development of my own Twitch Channel, branching out the Be MOP name from beyond text to video. Since late April, when I was announcing my plans to do start Live Streaming Infinite Crisis and other videogames (Be MOP #370). I have participated in my first 24 hour stream for Extra Life charity event, helping raise $290 dollars to benefit Boston Children’s Hospital. I have also recently reached my 100th day of streaming (Be MOP #454) and shortly after that I hit 100+ followers on my Twitch Channel.

Since my debut as a streamer and now, I have; accepted into Turbine’s Infinite Crisis Twitch Partnership program, joined the Infinite Crisis Community Stream Team, and have even been invited to stream on the official Infinite Crisis Twitch Channel every week as a Community Streamer.

And I got cool Infinite Crisis skins to give out all this weekend.

Fun Fact: Because of the old Streaming schedule (M/W/F 11:30- 2:30am and Sat 11-2a) There was a time when I was technically streaming seven days a week

I wonder how long I have to be on Twitch before I can confidently add “Twitch Streamer” to my LinkedIn profile?

Just like my previous yearly posts,

To make this go full circle here’s a the link to my first post on this blog. Enjoy and I’ll see you back here Monday.”


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#443 The WoD Pre-launch Patch

From the sudden explosion of hub bub on my Twitter and WordPress feeds I have reached the conclusion that Blizzard has just released their Warlords of Draenorpre-expansion patch on the live servers.

I have not talked about Warcraft in a while, and certain not as much as I used to, since I have cancelled my subscription little more than a year ago. To celebrate this patch going live I decided to revisit some of my favorite WoW news sites, sit down, and read through the most recent patch notes to see what has changed. After reading them all I understand almost none of it. So much stuff has changed since I left, and so much of this patch has changed that changed content that it feels like going back to my old High school, I know the basic layout, but so tiny subtle things has changed, and all the people I knew moved on that it is completely different place compared to when I used to attend. I do understand that the ancient WoW player character models did get a revamp and the fire Mages did receive a buff to their spells so Patch 6.0.2 have earned my approval.

I just wish I could see my main Mage's new face but I left the option to see the helm on. Kinda kicking myself in hindsight

I just wish I could see my main Mage’s new face but I left the option to see the helm on. Kinda kicking myself in hindsight.

I did read up on the Blizzard’s traditional pre-expansion event to entertain and excite the players between now and actual expansion drops. After skimming through the videos and I will say that Blizzard has learned from their butchered Mists of Pandaria pre-expansion content with an actual in-game event with quests, story, and a special dungeon that actually takes place in the virtual world and does not exclusively resides in one little scenario queue. (Be MOP #110)

A professional blogging tip: Never write when you are angry.  Another professional blogging tip: You don't always need to adhere to the last blogging tip

Professional blogging tip: Never write when you are angry.
Another professional blogging tip: You don’t always need to adhere to the last blogging tip

I also read that Blizzard has rolled the Mists of Pandaria expansion pack into it’s basic game which is, i believe, the quickest Blizzard has ever rolled their past expansion into the main game. Which is really big of them, nothing more to say there but hats off to Blizzard for that move.

I would also use this time to give my thoughts about the next expansion on a whole but because I have been out of the WoW news loop for months I have no idea where to start. Should I talk about the main plot, the player stat change, the change in Blizzard’s game direction? I just do not know. Although I will say that while I was reading through the patch notes now there was a part of me that was making a mental note of all the World of Warcraft/Be MOP posts I could write between the now and when the actual expansion goes live. I did not keep an official count, but I know that was so potential blogging content there that was there could have lasted me months.

As I mentioned in my most recent World of Warcraft post, Be MOP #375, there is nothing in this expansion or in the next one that will ever bring me to Azeroth from a combination of a lack of a social network or guild to go back to and I have moved on from World of Warcraft to greater things in life. But I will always remember the adventures, the fun, and the gaming, writing, and communication skills I picked up along the way with Blizzard and WoW.

"Who can say if I have been changed for the better...."

“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better….”


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#431 What does it mean to be a “Gamer” and other titles

Forward: This post is a long time coming, on top of the recent published articles from various news sites declaiming the title, ‘gamer’ as obsolete and tainted from the recent #GamerGate social media movement.

 

Yip we're doing this topic. Buckle up

Yup we’re doing this topic. Buckle up

I hold several titles, ‘gamer’, ‘blogger’, and ‘streamer’ as a result of the various choices I have made from my past. I proudly wear those titles now but that was not always the case, there was a time where I had to go through a personal journey in order to build up self respect and confidently announce that I am a gamer, a blogger or a streamer, and in my personal experience all titles went through the same cycle.

 

It always starts out the same with dabbling with the new media or concept, whether it be being gifted my first game,Pokemon Red, by my parents, biting the bullet and starting a World of Warcraft video game blog (this one right here) or committing myself to a constant streaming schedule. At first, for me but I assume many of other gamers out there, there was a period of time where I kept my gaming activity to myself not being the first to bring up videogames, blogging, or streaming in conversations and when I would have those conversations I would be with close friends in the corner of the lunch table in middle school or just as causal blogging side project with my college friends.

During that time I did not refer to myself as a ‘gamer’ or ‘blogger’ but rather ‘a guy who play games’ or ‘a guy who has a blog’ in fear of retaliation and because at the time, it could have been easily disproven that that was someone I was not, a poser or someone jumping on the bandwagon.

For refrenece, at all of these these times only owning a few games or publishing a few dozens blog posts/stream sessions with no real viewership.

 

What makes gaming, blogging, streaming stands out from all of my other hobbies that I have picked up along the way was that I kept to gaming, playing more games, going out and actively looking for gaming news sites and articles and liked minded people. and I kept to my writing and streaming schedule with Be MOP.

Then I got to a point, and again I assume I can say this for many people as well, where I have put so much effort and passion into your hobby that I could not deny the title to anyone, not even to myself. The “I’ve made it point” in many people’s journey.

For reference this was when I was making and rearranging my social calendar to make my World of Warcraft raids, reaching the 60th Be MOP post and when I was starting to decorate and customize my blog’s wallpaper and banner with screenshots I took from the Mists of Pandaria beta. As for Twitch I reached that point when I started to get constant viewers coming back to my stream to watch and interact with me in the chat room.

 

As I was writing this I did not realize I was more or less writing about the steps of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs but if the shoe fits

As I was writing this I did not realize I was more or less writing about the steps of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs but if the shoe fits

With all that back story of my gaming life, why does it bother me that there are game journalists out there trying to convince me to move away from the name of gamer? Because I worked incredibly hard to build up the title of gamer and blogger in the eyes of my friend, family, and myself and it is insulting when some when a group of people, from within the same group no less, tries to change what it means to be a gamer by dragging the title through the mud. All in an attempt to shame us away from it because of a few bad apples or an exponential boost in mobile gaming population.

Neither the Democrats or Republicans Party tried send out internal and external memos to their supports to abandon using the word ‘Democrat’ or ‘Republican’ when one or a few of their politicians got caught in a scandal. Both parties stuck to the name because they realize the title “Democrat” or ‘Republican’ does not mean the group of people, but rather an idea that a lot of people group up under and rally behind.The same can be said about the title Gamer, it is not named for the group of people who plays games it is a name for the people who are avid fans who feel passionate about their hobby and goes out on day trips to gaming conventions and who cares about nurturing and growing the media on a whole.

P.S: To bring a counterpoint to the idea that the title, “gamer” is being diluted because of the introduction of causal and mobile games bringing in people that have never played games before; My mother and I are both literate and can and has read books, but only one of us constantly frequents goes down the bookstore, attend book meetings and events, actively go out and read new genres and works from new authors, and thinks the best time to relax is with a blanket and a nice book. She is a ‘reader’ while I casually read books on the side.


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#412 Games from my Backlog Reflection

As I realized in my last blog post, my monthly “games from my backlog’ project quietly and unexpectedly reached it’s one year anniversary.

This entire project was something that was born after realizing how many games that I had in my library just collecting dust after I canceled my World of Warcraft subscription and just realizing my slight addiction to Team fortress 2 and various other time sinks(as talked about in Be MOP #360)  and this was a way to knock out some game titles that I have been meaning to play or that i gathered along the way by dedicating a each month a few games to play for my limited free game play time.

A series you can catch up with by reading all installments right now: Be MOP #258, #268, #281, #294, #307, #320, #334, #346, #359, #372, #385, #398, and #411.

Between that start of this little project I have removed about 30 games from my backlog, on top of a whole bunch of other games I played on the side.

Look how organized everything is, that habit does not reflex my organization of physical collections

Look how organized everything is, that habit does not reflex my organization of physical collections

 

Since, setting this up and forcing myself to games I might never have picked up by myself, I have found some favorite new titles and genres , They Bleed Pixels, Cloudberry Kingdom (and opening the floodgates to any pixel perfect and indie platformer), the Walking Dead series, Deadpool and Dust: an Elysian Tail. Basically any other game that I have dedicated a full blog post to or mentioned in future posts during or after the initial month.

Some of the games I picked were non-starters for me, like  Serious Sam 3 (motion sickness Be MOP #352) Borderlands 2 (lack of players on hand to play the game with co-op), & Gotham City Impostors, Final Fantasy VII, and the first Assassin’s Creed (lack of drive to boot up or play through the game).

Contrary to popular belief – or what this project’s mission might have been at the beginning-  its not about completing or even beating theses games it was about working through the mammoth amount of games I have trying out new games, dusting off some that I bought ages ago and just now playing, and trying new types of games after years of playing just one or two games exclusively from Highschool through College.

I am going to continue this project for the future because it is fun and pushing through and playing games I would never have thought to pick up I believe I am a better well rounded gamer because of it .

and studying for my blogging and streaming patterns it looks like I can not stop partaking in projects that has no dedicated end mark

and studying for my blogging and streaming patterns it looks like I can not stop partaking in projects that has no dedicated end mark

 


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#408 A year without World of Warcraft

I was looking back at my old posts this month and I noticed that it was this month, one year ago, when I made the decision to end my multiple year long, uninterrupted, World of Warcraft account (Be MOP #253)

this was the same time as I was graduating from college, kinda like the last sentence of the previous chapter of my life

this was the same time as I was graduating from college, kinda like the last sentence of the previous chapter of my life

 

What is more impressive with is that I have stayed away from World of Warcraft, not coming back for the Siege of Orgimmar patch, the when the reveal and the beta of the Warlords of Draenor was announced. Unlike some of my other friends I did leave the years on Azeroth bitter or looking back on my years playing with bitterness. If you remember I left World of Warcraft not because a game decision from Blizzard or because I hit a gamer’s equivalent of ‘rock bottom’ it was because I was guildless and  I was burnt playing one game, almost exclusively, for years.

Looking back I am glad my years in Azeroth, it was a costly experience yes, but it was an experience none the less. It was only from my years of playing World of Warcraft: I have realized and got a hands on experience on what is needed for a good team composition and what makes an amazing teammate (Be MOP #103).  Because of the years of listening to World of Warcraft podcasts and reading the strategy guides of the latest 5 man dungeons and raids, I have experience and learned about good and bad game play mechanics which I used when describing why Super Mario 3D Land was fun for me (Be MOP #349)

Most importantly of all playing World of Warcraft gave me the opportunity to create this blog, and with that I have dramatically improved my writing style and techniques which is amazing considering a few years ago I had some terrible writing and testing anxiety. While this blog has not cured my anxiety, I have seen improvement over the years in how I write from forcing myself to write something -anything- every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

 And World of Warcraft  has continued  helped me even after leaving the game

World of Warcraft was the gate way to the PC gaming platform, before WoW I never picked a PC game having gaming experience be limited to the family Nintendo system, but over the years I have bought better and better gaming laptops to handle the newest expansions and to preform better when I am needed the most in a raid. As a result I had a pretty nice machine to adequately run current PC games on Steam.

It was only after WoW when I paid attention to the other offers (humble Bundles and weekly sales) that were happening on the other side of the PC gaming world

It was only after WoW when I started to truly pay attention to the other offers (humble Bundles and weekly sales) that were happening on the other side of the PC gaming world

 

Because of World of Warcraft and blogging about it for so long it has gave me the blogging experience on how to write blog posts  continue blogging about general videogame topics, something I do not think I could have succeed in the way that I did the get go. All that blogging experience and confidence helped me take the leap into creating, and broadcasting on my own Twitch account, something I know I could not have done without this blog giving me confidence and experience on how to talk to people with my own voice.

As a result from my year of writing about other games all these posts has helped me focus and form my own opinions about other videogame topics. From the silliness of a moral dilemma I have with Tf2’s hats (Be MOP #254) to the more pressing problems with pre-ordering games, hacking up content of the main the game to sell as exclusive gaming platform perks or DLC for extra profits to, to the videogame company’s love of  Bullshots (Be MOP #348).

Now, most importantly, I do not have to worry about getting the most value out of my monthly subscription I feel less guilty spending my nights playing games of other generas and a because I am no longer in a dedicated raiding group I have a free-er schedule to actually play these games. A full time job does interfere with my preferred gaming schedule but because my job gives me money each week to buying MORE games and other things, I am inclined to let my job eat up the majority of my week.

Looking back, even though I know I am never going back to World of Warcraft (Be MOP #375) I  do not regret any of years leveling up my characters, chain running instances and raids, grinding for dailies, or hunting for the rare achievements in the game because it helped be grow into a better gamer and a better person on and off line.

 


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