Okay, some takebacks. In fact, it seems like Microsoft is all about the takebacks these days. This time, it was their firm “no self-publishing for indies” stance. Which they doubled-down on after E3, only to be all, “Just kidding guys, we LURVE (and always have) indies self-publishing on Xbox One!” this week. Which, like, I don’t know. It’s a good thing. I’m happy that Xbox One owners will be able to have easier access to more indie games. There are tons of great indie games out right now! And I think they are generally a great thing for those of us that love to play games, because it knocks down all sorts of barriers for developers.
But I’m not sure that Microsoft’s latest reversal actually makes me more likely to buy an Xbox One than I was before. I’m not one of those people who yelled about how there were dumb design/marketing/whatever decisions made but now wants to yell about how they should really “stick to their principles” and fuck the haters, or whatever. I just think it sort of confirms my suspicions that the Xbox isn’t built as a gaming platform first and general entertainment box second. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe, once people have them in their homes, it will come to be understood that the general nature of the design is actually an awesome thing AND it is an awesome gaming console. Maybe I will want to put one in every business I interact with because it is so awesome at being a Skype machine. But Microsoft’s recent attempts at making a machine that is totally awesome for literally every purpose are not entirely confidence-building.
I really just want a console that is good at gaming. If it does some other stuff, like making my streaming/media experience easy, that’s cool. But if it doesn’t? I have PlayOn, and AppleTV, and HTPCs, and all sorts of other avenues for that.
UGH, nobody cares about consoles. Talk about something interesting!
Okay, fine! Here’s a takeback that you might not have already known…
I’ve picked up WoW again, and it is actually fun! It all started a month or two ago when Arolaide started talking up pet battles as a good way to spend bite-sized (or larger) chunks of time with minimal commitment. I’ve heard from a lot of people that WoW is basically as much fun as it has ever been right now – that pet battles were cool, that raiding was in a good place, that just random casual logging on gave you a bunch of options – and so, when MoP was on sale at the end of June, I went for it. (A week or so after my wife did and found that she was enjoying it, so she can share some blame…)
I originally decided that I’d start a new character and just go around collecting things and trying to solo things. I was not particularly interested in picking up Ellyndrial again, since there is a ton of baggage associated with him, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to tempt those old feelings coming back. Pet battles sounded fun, and I’ve always thought that it would be cool to take part in whatever few solo skill challenges did exist – so I decided to play a hunter, figuring that I could collect mini-pets AND full-size pets AND hunter challenge pets! That’s a lot of pets!
It was going pretty well, too. I would log on once every couple days, play for an hour or so, and then go do something else. But has it stopped there? Oh no, it has not. My dear, dear friend Mangle had a bright idea. He saw that there were a few people picking WoW up casually again and was all, “Hey, this seems like a fun thing! We can all just pick a night and make characters and whoever shows up will do some the instances, and we’ll go slow and blah blah blah”. And, well, now there are a whole bunch of folks who previously completely swore off WoW are making characters, leveling up to 15 and preparing to start running instances once a week or so. It’s madness. Awesome, and great that we are going to get a few weeks of playing together as a group, but madness. I mean, what is this, 2007?
So, yeah. That’s a thing that’s happening. I will update as it progresses. I’m trying not to get too excited about any long-term prospects (or things like flex raids), because these kinds of things are often fleeting, but $15 to play with a game with a bunch of friends for a month? Sign me up.