“im in the middle of buying all of bonton with that platinum card i lifted from your desk….”
It’s clearly a joke between lovers. She isn’t really a thief, and all she wants to do is buy some wine for a romantic meal later that evening. The affection is obvious – these two clearly mean a lot to each other.
The words are underlined.
“Cassandra Watergate – stole a credit card from Josef Langley”.
I dutifully copy the information into my target’s profile.
“Good job,” says Symes, my handler. “That information can be used to put a freeze on his card.”
I feel sick to my stomach. On their own, robbed of context, the words are indeed a confession of guilt. Without the rest of the conversation, they mean nothing. Nothing, except an illegal act. The card will now be cancelled by the government, and put this couple’s romantic evening in jeopardy – and likely worse. Because of my actions.
I know one of you is behind this. One of you caused this to happen. He who smelt it, dealt it – and we are dealing with an awfully smelly shit-cloud here.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, one of the best games of a generation, and winner of a number of awards, should not be coming to the Nintendo Switch.
But before I tell you why, let me get just one thing straight. I don’t hate Skyrim. On the contrary, I’ve enjoyed it as much as any other mortal. Steam shows almost 200 hours of adventure, dragon-slaying, and house-making – and that’s a lot for me. I’ve spent days and days locked in the frozen wasteland of the north. I’ve written articles and made videos about the mods I’ve enjoyed. I’ve loved and treasured almost every minute I’ve spent in Skyrim.
And it’s for that reason that I implore you to not buy The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch. It’s time to let it die.
One of the weirdest announcements at EA’s E3 presentation was that of SEED (Search for Extraordinary Experiences Division), awkwardly crammed in between games and without any real explanation of what it was. I you can bet that I wanted answers, since I was supposed to be writing TechRaptor’s article on the damn thing.
Finally, the other boot has dropped. The UK’s snap General Election is over. Thanks to Theresa May’s alliance with the far-right DUP group, it’s highly likely that the boot that dropped will be dropping on the throats of millions of the under-paid and under-privileged in the country.
What? You weren’t expecting talk about the UK’s general election? Tough – this IS a co.uk site after all (.com was too expensive).
The big surprise of the night was the exit poll, that predicted the Conservatives (Tories), being the largest party – but also falling short of an overall majority. Since the Tories were the political party that called the election, losing their majority counts as a pretty major loss for them. The Labour party also surged back, with an increased vote from younger, disenfranchised voters that secured them many previously Tory seats.
So while the Labour party has seen a resurgence of popularity, they still remain a minority party within the UK parliament. And while the dust hasn’t fully settled on what form the UK government will take – I’m still hankering for some true socialism. What better time to start playing Tropico 5?
A couple of weeks ago, the news broke that a Netflix app was in the works for the Nintendo Switch. News sites eagerly piled in, with some proclaiming that access to the ubiquitous streaming service should be standard issue in this day and age on all games consoles.
But really, is this the case? Does the Nintendo Switch even need Netflix?
I’ve been a fan of Trolden’s Hearthstone videos for a long time now. His series – up to 226 episodes as of time of writing – comprises of funny and random moments from professional and amateur Hearthstone play. It’s a format that’s by no means unique, but Trolden is the person who does it best. His sense of humour, editing skills, and musical taste are 100% on fleek.
Did you think I had forgotten? Did you think I had forgiven?
Forgiven you for reading my blog, that is. You bastard.
An awful lot has happened in the last year – I’ve gone from simply posting more regularly on this blog – to starting a whole new website with a colleague – to actual Staff Writer-ship at an established member of the gaming press. What a year.
Gerry Rafferty sang this about the nature of London – but these days, it’s clear that various video game companies fit that criticism just as well.
In a bittersweet post on their front page, World of Warcraft private realm-providers Nostalrius Begins have revealed that Blizzard Entertainment have begun legal proceedings to shut them down.
I have supped from the cup of nostalgia and played on Nostalrius’s server. Unlike other private realms, Nostalrius Begins spurned the idea of faster levelling, increased gold gain, and purchased bonuses in favour of delivering the only thing that mattered to a lot of people. The original World of Warcraft experience. Gone were the heirlooms, hastened levelling curve, and the ridiculously easy early dungeons that now pollute the WoW experience – and back was the pure MMORPG experience that so many of us knew and loved.
And now it’s gone – killed by the very company that originally created it.
I’m being melodramatic – Blizzard has the right to close down anything that infringes on their copyright. Technically, Nostalrius Begins does this, and it’s Blizzard’s duty to see that World of Warcraft’s rights are upheld.
The thing is, “Old Azeroth” no longer exists. Every piece of content that was present when World of Warcraft originally launched in 2004 was completely remade in the 2010 Cataclysm expansion that famously “broke” the old world and allowed Blizzard to re-envision Azeroth as a more modern MMO experience. And despite my past insistence that Cataclysm cured me of my Warcraft addiction, there’s little merit to the idea that this was a bad thing. It needed an update. But this means that everything Nostalrius Begins recreates is no longer available. It’s not provided by Blizzard. It’s not abandonware, but only by a technicality.
So why haven’t Blizzard created classic servers of their own? Because they firmly believe that people don’t really want it. Patronisingly, Blizzard sees us as children, expecting us to drop the mode after a few weeks. It’s not hard to believe that they see classic WoW as outdated, archaic – a product of its time, now regarded with disdain by its creators.
What it must be to have such faith in your product. A product that near single-handedly brought Blizzard to the prominence it enjoys today.
But, Blizzard believes that we don’t really want this. Nostalrius boasted nearly a million registered accounts, with usual active server populations of eight thousand people. At peak times, that number would almost double to fifteen thousand; three times the usual capacity of official Blizzard servers. That’s the number of people who “don’t want this”.
Why do people want this? It’s in the name: “Nostalrius”. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. It was powerful enough that, thanks to Nostalrius, I was able to go back and play vanilla WoW. And I loved every moment of it. The original World of Warcraft is a part of my childhood; a treasured memory. And yet Blizzard tells me that I “don’t want this”.
Well I do. And so did almost a million other people, just like me.
Get with the times, Blizzard. Build it, and we will come. And we will throw money at you for it. But until you do, you won’t be able to stop the private servers from giving us what you haven’t.
Today is also the day where Nostalrius will start being community-driven in the truest sense of the word, as we will be releasing the source code, and anonymized players data (encrypting personal account data), so the community as a whole will decide the form of the future of Nostalrius. We will still be there in the background if you want us to, but will no longer take the lead.
To sign the petition asking Blizzard to create a “Legacy” server, go here.
It should be obvious that Blizzard’s short Overwatch animations owe a lot to Team Fortress 2‘s “Meet the Team” series. And thankfully, they’ve inherited the characterisation, engaging narrative, and quality of animation from Valve, rather than “Valve Time”, that curious phenomenon that meant releasing ten videos took five years.
But who cares about that? These shorts are doing a fantastic job of building the surprisingly deep world of Overwatch – any ideas that this was going to be yet another multiplayer shooter can be safely put aside. With this video, we’re introduced to the idea that there are larger issues in the Overwatch universe than just the war the players are engaged in. Who was the robotic messiah-figure “Halo”? What implications do his assassination have for the wider world of Overwatch? Add this intricate world-building to the compelling and fun characters that we’ve seen so far, and it’s clear that Blizzard know the key elements that are going to keep people shooting at oversized gunbots and Cockney women until long after launch. The game comes out in May, but now all I care about is seeing the next video and seeing how the pseudo-Deus Ex narrative continues to build.
And to think, all I previously wanted to do was shoot people. Shame on me.
Coupled with the positive feedback coming from the closed beta, Overwatch is clearly set to be one of the most anticipated hits of 2016. As long as Blizzard doesn’t “do a Blizzard” and mess up the launch, this could be huge. If you’re a Blizzard employee, keep that in mind. Oh, and send me a beta key.
If you missed the first Overwatch short, catch it here. It’s similarly great, and features baby gorillas. D’awww.