Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Bans, Beauties, and… Beasts?

As you have probably guessed from the stupid title, it’s time for another mixed bag post, where I post multiple unrelated bits and pieces that I want to get off my chest. Today I’ll talk about members of a top World of Warcraft guild getting suspended for alleged cheating, famous actors in video games, and an open beta that’s called closed beta for some reason. Enjoy.

That Ensidia Thing

Chances are you’ve heard about this already from Larísa, Spinks, Tobold, or Boubouille: One of the world’s greatest World of Warcraft guilds, Ensidia, has had its Lich King killing team suspended for 72 hours and all loot as well as their world first kill achievement removed. The reason is, of course, that they cheated. Or did they? Apparently the use of a particular item, the Saronite Bomb, bugs the encounter and makes it easier than it should be by re-spawning a platform that should be destroyed. While I fully agree that abusing game mechanics, as in the previous Yogg-Saron +0 exploit by US guild Exodus should be punished, I really don’t believe this particular suspension was justified. For one, the bombs are apparently a common part of rogue DPS rotation. Players can hardly be blamed for continuing to use their DPS abilities to the fullest and it’s absolutely Blizzard’s fault for not testing this in the first place. This is not some absurd ability no one ever uses and nowhere near exploits like making mobs evade or glitching through walls.

Secondly, it’s not uncommon that special abilities can be used to make an encounter much easier – only normally you don’t call it an exploit but a tactic. On the Twin Valkyr encounter, the rogue ability Kick can be used to prevent the bosses from healing, on Anub’Arak hard mode the paladin ability Hand of Protection can fool the boss while he’s underground.  Most hard boss fights include one or more tricks which make them beatable in the first place. Even if Ensidia used the Saronite Bombs on purpose to make the fight easier, how were they to distinguish which tactics you intended to work and which were bugged? When I first did the heroic five men instances in Wrath of the Lich King a week after the game was launched, quite a few of them were bugged. Some didn’t use certain abilities, other abilities did nothing, some could easily be fooled. Yet I never got suspended for exploiting because it was Blizzard’s fault that these things didn’t work as intended not mine.

Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?

Yvonne Strahovski in Mass Effect 2? (parts of the image from imdb.com)

So I was playing around merrily in Mass Effect 2, and very soon I meet a certain female NPC, that somehow feels familiar. Then it struck me, she reminded me a lot of Sarah Walker from the TV show Chuck. Just have a look at the image. I’m usually terrible with similarities like that, but I’m pretty sure I know who the model for that NPC was.

Lo and behold, looking at the voice actors on IMDB, I could see that the NPC was indeed voice acted by Yvonne Strahovski who plays Sarah on said show. Is this just a cool homage to a beautiful actress, or will we see actors getting paid for lending their face to game characters in the future? Will we see game budgets rising even more because you have to be able to afford famous actors?

Allods Online -Really Open Beta

Until February 10th, the closed beta of Allods online (you know, that game that Keens writes so much about) will be open to anyone with a (free) gPotato account. I’ll have to see if I can find time to check the game out though I must say that Keen’s enthusiasm somewhat scares me away. I watched his latest astral ship video and thought it was really really boring and his enthusiastic text overlays hilarious. Anyway, if you have the time check it out here.

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