Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why I'll probably buy Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire

Arena Net is counting down towards Sept 22nd and the launch of Guild Wars 2's (GW2) second expansion; Path of Fire.  The game continues to be the last-game-standing of the post-World of Warcraft AAA MMOs (and deservedly so).

While I have not played GW2 in a while (PLUNKBAT having stolen much of my time recently) I am still likely to buy this expansion.

Why you might wonder?

The answer is simple; there is no subscription or "pay 2 win".  I can come back to GW2 whenever I want and pick up where I left off.  Sure I may have to invest some time in reading up on the most recent meta builds or grind out some mastery skill, but for the most part GW2 is pick up and go-go-go for any returning player.

This is the number one redeeming quality about GW2 and reminds me of days gone by when games were games and not just a series of money-sucking crates, DLCs, keys, etc.  So I will likely buy Path of Fire and jump back in for a few dozen hours and then I'll shelf GW2 as I always do.  Then I'll wait for the next expansion.

I would encourage anyone else pining for the days of MMOs gone by to do the same.  Companies like Arena Net deserve our support for making quality games with upfront costs in a world of get-your-first-hit-free-but-pay-up-in-the-end.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Star Wars: Rogue One Review

Since seeing Rogue One (twice now) I’ve been thinking about Star Wars Galaxies (SWG), the ill-fated Star Wars MMO.  A key moment in my history with SWG was in response to a comment from the developers stating that “no one wants to play a moisture farmer”.



As a longtime poster on the SWG role-playing forum I argued that this mentality was wrong.  There were tons of players that wanted to exist in the Star Wars universe as something other than a Jedi, smuggler, or bounty hunter.  Players wanted to be that moisture farmer.  I wanted to be that moisture farmer. 



I was and continue to be a Star Wars expanded universe junky and this is why I found Star Wars Rogue One to be my favorite Star Wars movie of all time.  With it’s menagerie of characters, locations, and fan service indulgences Rogue One is a movie that diehard fans can place themselves in.  Maybe you are one of the protectors of the Jedi temple on Jedha?  Or a two foot tall member of Saw’s rebellious band? Or maybe you are one of the various imperial roles featured on Scarif?  Maybe even a black armor wearing Deathtrooper!  Personally, I am the space farmer being bothered by some imperial bigwig.



As much as Rogue One is a movie for the want-to-be moisture farmer, I can see why casual fans and regular movie goers would be less enamored with it.  I could write a lot about this, but it’s easier for me to point you at Red Letter Media and Mr Plinkett’s thoughts on the matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJgfxlgUIZY  In short, for a movie review, I agree with Mr Plinkett.



However, as the Star Wars super fan, none of what makes for an underwhelming movie matters. The feel and look of the movie is consistent with the originals.  The acting, while not perfect, doesn’t detract from the experience (case in point; go back and try to watch the acting in Episode 1,2, or 3).  The movie delivers an expansion of the new cannon that fits right into the old.  Basically, they didn’t screw it up and that is what matters for me.



I can handle the conflict when I agree with critical reviews such as Mr Plinkett’s and still make the statement that Rogue One is my favorite Star Wars movie.  I don’t believe for a second that Disney intends to make Star Wars movies for fans like me.  Rogue One is a happy accident for fans like me and I am comfortable with my love for it.


A quick thought on The Force Awakens and Starkiller Base

I never wrote a review for The Force Awakens.  If I had, one of my chief complaints would have been that of Starkiller Base.  While I loved the movie I could not bring myself to rationalize Starkiller Base.  The Death Star (1 and 2) were big deals, not just from the perspective of the rebels, but from the perspective of the story and plot.  Starkiller Base, while a big deal to the “new rebels”, is nothing but a stolen plot point from the original trilogy and multiplied by three (ITS BIGGER AND SHOOTS MULTIPLE BEAMS!!!).   It did NOT fit the story and did nothing more than fill a spot in the “soft reboot” formula which is why the wise Mr Plinkett dinged TFA in the story category.




With Rogue One in place I have an even harder time buying Starkiller Base.  Rogue One provides incredible depth to what seemed silly in A New Hope (a moon sized super weapon taken down by a shot to an exhaust tube).  The movie goes a long way to show the struggle and loss endured to start the wheels in motion for The Rebels to be able to destroy the Death Star.



Looking at TFA; Starkiller Base appears, fires, and then is subsequently destroyed through an even harder to believe series of events than the exhaust port.  A series of events that has no way to ever be explained in a clever way as Rogue One was used to flesh out the weakness of the first Death Star. 


This is because TFA goes out of its way to plant explanations in the movie: Finn having worked on the planet and knowing how it can be destroyed, Phasma being able to turn off the shields, the Millenium Falcon warping through the planet’s shield, and Starkiller Base having the same functional weakness as the Death Stars.
 
Rogue One really ruins TFA for me because of this.  However, I know it doesn’t ruin it for the average movie going public.  Just as I love Rogue One because I want to be a Star Wars space farmer I know that the rest of the general audience loves TFA because it’s a good movie.
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