Grammar Crisis

I came across the following link, and now have a minor crisis because while the sentences in question are certainly meh, I don't understand how the diagrams prove in more explicit terms their mehness. This is a crisis because there are elements of those sentences which makes sense to me and I am afraid that this means I'm a terrible writer.


Cataclysm: Second Impressions

I've had more time with the expansion, a full week in fact, and some of my initial concerns have smoothed over significantly.

Since my previous entry on the subject I have come across a number of cases of simply good music which, though it wasn't always zone/area type specific, were memorable. While I feel a number of pieces remain below standards I'm much more willing to give them some grace as they constitute a lesser proportion of the game's music than I previously thought. It still stands that even though there is more good music than I supposed not all of it catches you in the moment the same way previous expansions have.

Archaeology as a profession is both mindless and addicting. My only frustrations with it so far have come from game glitches which have prevented me from pursuing it to my fullest abilities.

The greatest improvement and crowning achievement of the expansion, however, is that thus far the dungeon encounters have learned from all of the mistakes made in Wrath of the Lich King and offered an experience which is difficult in a way which rewards more than bigger numbers and optimizing spreadsheets.

The subtle difference in Cataclysm is that the challenges often require you to spend most of your time trying to squeeze your primary role in between other important actions. There are also a few straightforward numbers checks, but those are fine when they aren't the majority of encounters. Having to think on your feet, make decisions on priorities, and trust your own skills is extremely refreshing after two years of largely brainless play where failure means you should just come back later with different equipment.

We'll see if this bears out in the larger scale raids, but I'm very hopeful and optimistic.

Raging in a Civilized Fashion

So one of my favorite games, League of Legends, was patched today and the community is reacting. That doesn't bother me; people will always have an immediate, visceral impression when encountering new information or changes to old information. What does bother me is:

"If it kills jungling its 100% terrible patch the game seems incomplete without jungle serving a real purpose. + All the warding and map awareness crisis control etc that a jungler brings."

I'm not sure this can be called language. Even if I inform you that "jungling" is a style of play within the game deciphering those two(?) sentences is mind bending.

Communicating an idea is easier when it doesn't require your audience to have repeated cranial encounters with a hard surface.


Cataclysm: Launch and Initial Impressions

Cataclysm launched yesterday, an event I stayed home for. Both of the previous expansions drew me out of my hermetic cocoon to local video game emporiums in the dead of night. This latest installment offered a digital presale, allowing one to download the expansion ahead of time and be ready to play the moment it was all enabled at 12:01 PST on the 7th.

Well, in theory anyway. In actuality digital download combined with Blizzard's plan to delay the activation of Cataclysm content on all servers until 12:01 PST meant that rather than hourly waves of players shuffling in as their ability to race home from stores in their respective time zones allowed, the entire playerbase attempted to log on simultaneously.

The end result invites a host of titular puns relating to Blizzard's beleaguered login servers.

My first impression of Cataclysm is that the leveling experience is less immersive than was the case in Wrath of the Lich King. This impression is deeply colored as my first 24 hours of Cataclysm play all came in the first 24 hours of Cataclysm, whereas it took nearly a month for me to put a similar amount of time into its predecessor. Still, I can't shake the feeling that the Wrath of the Lich King leveling experience was more polished.

Oddly, I think geography is a major culprit. In previous expansions the high level zones were segregated from the old zones on a new continent. This empty slate made it easy to learn the new geography and feel a sense of progress as one essentially explored the uncharted land from end to end. It's an effortless process that happens naturally for everyone except those truly gifted at getting lost.

Cataclysm's content is completely different, scattered around the old world seemingly at random. At the same time, the expansion revamped old areas and essentially redrew the geographic map. The effect is essentially akin to dramatically altering the system of roads around your house and at the same time moving all the notable landmarks around, all overnight. It's a cartographic nightmare that creates the constant, inescapable feeling of being lost despite knowing exactly where you are.

That and trying to compete with a thousand other players for quest objectives makes it significantly harder to immerse oneself into a game.

As a final note, and pun, I'm less impressed with Cataclysm's music thus far compared to the previous expansions. The music in both Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King set tones and themes for each zone very effectively, with signature sounds for each. You could often tell simply by the music what zone you were in. Cataclysm has sadly been far more hit and miss, with the majority of music being at best nondescript.

Just so you don't get the wrong impression, it's been definitively enjoyable thus far. These are just the matters which stood out most in my mind initially.


Cataclysm Comes

Less than 24 hours until the next soul-sucking release from Blizzard.