My World of Warcraft Status

In mid August I put out my March 2021 quickies, which included my thoughts on the first major patch of WoW: Shadowlands. I wrote most of that before the news about the lawsuit and Blizzard's other shenanigans came out, and didn't want to bring that into what was supposed to be a review of the game. But let's talk about what went down with me and WoW during the second major patch.

When the release date for Chains of Domination (the name of the 9.1 patch) was announced in late June, I bought a two month subscription to farm herbs and ore and shit and other chores to prepare for the raid. Then the patch released, and nobody else came back, so I basically paid $30 to faff around in a boring new zone and get more of the dogshit story (Captain Grim forgot to have a Nathrezim pop up and talk about their master plan).

But you know what? Ever since the second month of Uldir, I've been reacting to Tuesdays and Thursdays with more of a "Fuck, I have to raid tonight" than genuine excitement. I was somewhat charitable to Ny'alotha since I had a break from the Eternal Palace, until I got sick of that place after a few weeks, too. Castle Nathria started out fun, but after the third or fourth kills the bosses got tedious, yet we had to keep doing them for months trying to get loot to make it to later bosses. And even my guildies were running out of patience with the place. Hungering Devourer in particular got us tilted at each other - I myself kept getting killed by people stacking his beam on me and I eventually snapped at somebody who killed me when they didn't take it out of the group, and after people kept botching the leech mechanic one of the healers started yelling about circles (which would inspire my take on that Omni-Man meme a few months later). I was not looking forward to spending the next two to four months in the Sanctum of Domination, fighting the same bosses over and over for God knows how long, so when everyone else felt the same way my reaction wasn't "Damn, I was so looking forward to the BDSM Tower" it was "Cool, my nights are freed up, I'm going to play Hades." Just would have been nice to know before I bought the game time.

Got a cool hand mount out of it, at least.

Then the aforementioned lawsuit dropped, and hearing about the toxic work environment, sexual harassment, and developers frequently being drunk at work (which would explain the QA problems in Shadowlands, besides the game running on a 17-year-old engine) only deepened my resolve to leave once the subscription was out. I already felt bad for playing after hearing about developers not being able to afford food, but still felt bound to it by my guild. And since that was no longer a factor, I was free to shitcan the game like I'd wanted to since BfA.

For the last two weeks of my subscription I either didn't log on all day, or only logged on to send my followers out on their daily adventures, then close the game while muttering "Holy shit I do not care anymore." Then I spent my last night watching the countdown.

I might poke my head in for the last patch just to see the trainwreck, but for all intents and purposes, fuck this shit I'm out.

An Even Hotter Mega Man X Take

In my last MOREC I said Mega Man X7 has the most coherent story of the games where the plot wasn't "Sigma/the X-Hunters/Dr. Doppler is being a jerk, sort it out." After replaying it recently, I'd go as far as to say X7 has the ingredients for the best story of the entire Mega Man X series. But they overbeat the eggs, left the milk out too long so it got, while not completely rotten, a bit funky, and set the oven wrong so it got burned on the outside and undercooked in the middle.

Admittedly, how well the story works depends on how you feel about Axl himself and I see opinions of him split three ways: Group A thinks he's a Poochie or Scrappy-Doo, Group B thinks he was a Poochie or Scrappy-Doo in X7 but was fixed in Command Mission and X8, and Group C thinks he is their baby and will have none of Group A's sass. In 2004 I was firmly planted in Group C, but now find myself between Groups B and C in that he still is my baby but I can see where Group B is coming from. And 90% of that is his hideous voice acting that makes makes him sound like an insufferable little shit (the other 10% is a few awful lines, like asking Zero if he's "stupid" or his taunting of Vanishing Gungaroo). But at the same time, I don't recall the episode of Scooby-Doo where Scrappy-Doo had to watch his adopted father commit suicide while Shaggy had to restrain him to keep him from getting himself killed.

I don't see why adding a new character to a series is some unforgiveable sin as long as the character is still, you know, an actual character. Hell, OG Mega Man 7 introduced Bass and nobody had a problem with him, though I suppose Mega Man 7 didn't make you play as him for a while until you unlocked Mega Man.

There are tweaks I would make. First and foremost, the godawful voice acting. Investment takes a blow when most of the characters either sound bored (X, Signas) or murder your ears (Axl), and even the less terrible performances have some weird deliveries (Zero). When the best performance comes from the guy who did freaking Barry in the first Resident Evil (Red), you know there's a problem. I feel like the accusations of Axl being a Poochie come from a combination of the marketing for the game over-emphasizing him, and not seeing his character - a cocky, but generally well-meaning teenager torn between his outlaw upbringing and moral compass, who's using brashness as a facade for his feeling of vulnerability after the closest thing to a family he's known betrayed him - until you've beaten a few bosses and gotten some cutscenes, after which he's already made a horrid first impression with everything that happened in the opening stage.

Second, make X not a whiny little bitch. I get that he's tired of fighting and wants some semblance of peace, but this is not how you do that. I recall X8 got it right.

Third, show more of what's going on in Zero's head. Sometimes he's a passive aggressive cynic who's sick of everything, but in the cutscenes after bosses he seems genuinely concerned for Axl and even stood up for him when X and Signas wanted him to go back to Red Alert (which sounds a bit like wanting to send a kid who clearly needs help back to his abusive household, but let's not get too dark here). A no-brainer would have been to bring up Iris, and how her death makes Zero want to look out for this new kid.

Finally, I would overhaul Red's death scene. You could have had Red coming to terms with how bad he screwed the pooch by listening to "The Professor" and getting his men corrupted and killed and deciding to join them as some form of atonement, which yes, could have come across as a rehashing of the General. But with Red you could play on the more personal connection he had with his band of outlaws compared to the General with his soldiers, and it would have the father/son angle with him going out knowing Axl is in good hands with the Maverick Hunters. Instead, he kinda goes "Nah, I'm good, BTW I set the place to self-destruct" and lets himself get turned into a Red Sandwich because he's "old."

Yeah, it's not as high-stakes as a civil war involving a giant orbital laser, or a global plague while a falling space station threatens to destroy the world, or whatever the fuck was going on in X6, but sometimes it's nice to have something small and personal.

Speak His Name and He Will Come

Word recently dropped that WaterMelon is considering releasing a version of Paprium people can put onto MegaSD flash carts, using some kind of DRM that ties the ROM to a given cart's serial number. Y'know, if Fonzie would just release the game on Steam and make it easier to legitimately play he wouldn't have to be so paranoid about people pirating the game; just critically mauling it and mocking the stolen artwork.

Then something else caught my attention.

Can somebody find me one screenshot of this game where nothing jumps out as spectacularly broken? I'm not talking about the blurring on the green-haired punk or brown male stripper, which I'm sure is just a glitch. What the fuck is going on with that frozen guy on the right? His neck looks like it's coming out the back of his torso instead of, I don't know, the top? He looks like a Transformer whose head is going into his back so the vehicle front can flip up. Or are those pixels within the collar supposed to be his neck, or rather the Slinky he replaced his neck with? Also, it looks like he has two right arms, and I'm still trying to work out the hip. His waist looks like it's been stretched out like putty, and his legs are bending in weird ways that make it look like he has extra joins in them. It's like somebody combined this Liefeld woman with that one Captain America drawing (image courtesy of Progressive Boink).

I publically asked as much in a series of tweets.

However, I made the mistake of invoking Luis' name, because of course that'll summon him. He's like Biggie Smalls but instead of busting a cap up your ass he just tells you he'd like to see you do better, an argument that amounts to "I admit it's shit, but you're not allowed to say that."

Well, color me surprised. Every screenshot I've seen of this game has something completely borked, and you seem to want credit for it, so mea culpa. Although having multiple artists and nobody managing artistic cohesion would explain - but not justify - why the characters all look like they're from different games (that, and the whole editing other games' sprites thing).

I half considered responding and asking if he ever figured out how an edit of Rugal got into his game, but I've seen this guy argue with other people and it's exhausting. I'm trying to cut back on my Twitter usage and didn't need that bullshit (assuming he didn't block me after the first response, which he likes doing to people who even slightly criticize him). But I do find it amusing that he didn't disagree with me that the anatomy on that guy is completely fucked. Which in turn raises the question of why he let it into the game he's so defensive of, instead of telling whoever did draw it to fix it (or fixing it himself).

Immediately after that, a Grover Dill to Luis' Scut Farkus (thought I told you kids to get off my lawn) shows up to kiss some ass:

I hope this doesn't sound like racism or an ad hominem, but why do so many of WaterMelon's most zealous defenders struggle with English? I'm not saying anyone who can't speak perfect English is an idiot, or accusing anyone of using sock puppets, I'm just noticing a correlation between sucking WaterMelon's dick, and broken English with the critical thinking skills of an angry teenager (which is bizarre, aren't these people in their 30s?). I guess that's what it takes to read this and think it's a cutting takedown of Fonzie's critics instead of a barely legible wall of deep-fried batshit with tartar sauce.

And I'm sure "I'm your father" is a biting insult in some languages, but in English it just makes you sound like a call center scammer throwing a tantrum in a Kitboga video.

(Let's see if anybody responds to this with "lol you just admitted to liking Axl, who cares what you think.")