Good Things

//Good Things

Reviews: Don’t Put that in there!

If you’ve ever wondered how many “facts” about sex you know are actually facts, look no further. This book is nice because it covers a ton of fairly common myths and a few that I’d never even considered before. For a long time after I was introduced to the concept of sexually transmitted infections I found myself paranoid of public toilets. The numbers they tell you in school always make it sound like every person sitting around you is just festering with disease. The truth is much different obviously. It is extremely difficult to pick up an infection from a toilet. If you are going to get one you’ll probably not be surprised.

Toilets are pretty clean, all things considered. I wouldn’t recommend eating off them but they are much cleaner on average than your keyboard. Yet most folks don’t find keyboards haunting and terrifying. Of course I don’t put my ass on my keyboard either but its a pretty well insulated thing. Butts keep the outside world outside pretty well. With a few exceptions (which are covered in this book ad nauseum).

The myth that caught me off guard the most was that wearing two condoms is not, in fact, dangerous. Not only is it not dangerous but it can cause a net improvement on your overall safety. At a certain point one might wonder why you’d bother though and I’m guessing there is an upper threshold. I presume sticking 90 of them over one another like a russian nesting doll would not be the best strategy. Regardless this little factoid blew my mind. Mostly because I had heard that condoms tear like tissue paper if they so much as see another condom. Something ingrained in every single health course I’ve ever taken. Amazing really that this sort of thing can sneak along in the US. We have some serious problems here with education. People scared of vaccines, scared of condoms, and yet not scared of climate change…awfully strange. It’s like we choose to fear what we shouldn’t and not what we should.

But I digress. The book is wonderfully written and has the same wit that I found in “Don’t Swallow Your Gum!” Aaron and Rachel are deeply funny and their method for information delivery is impeccable. They give you quick succinct explanations of all the data and then a series of citations in case you’d like to go read more. I’m sure most people won’t but I think this sort of thing should be required of literature. If Bill O’Reilly is so convinced he’s correct he should prove it (or anyone else writing inane books). Citations are so delightful for me and I love to read up on the papers referenced.

This is a pretty good book. Well worth your time. If you were ever curious about various sexual health stories floating around you’ll likely find the answer to them in here. It gets funny for a bit as they knock out the one hundred and one (it feels like) myths about the penis. It’s like I’m carrying around a unicorn in my pants or something. Amazed at how much wonder and mystery surrounds something that you’d figure half the planet has.

Go give it a read. Even if you don’t buy it through my link I recommend it. You’ll probably smile a bit, learn, and ultimately be happy to have it on your shelf.

By | 2015-02-03T20:42:42+00:00 January 31st, 2015|Good Things, Reviews|Comments Off on Reviews: Don’t Put that in there!

Reviews: Don’t Swallow Your Gum!

I’ll keep working on how I handle reviews but I think I’ve got a plan for books for now. I’m going to talk in short about the book on the technical level then cover something I found interesting about it in some fashion. Personal or not I’m not sure but at least for a bit this should be easier. Anyone who doesn’t give two turds about the stories can just page down a couple times to see the review score.

Aaron Carroll and Rachel Vreeman (both fancy pants pediatricians) write some surprisingly enjoyable books. They’ve written three books now, each covering a variety of myths across all sorts of medical topics. They have one dedicated to sex myths (which I’ve also read and will be writing about soon) and the other two seem to cover dozens and dozens of health myths. Some I find amusingly stupid and others I actually thought might have had some truth to them.

In particular one myth from this book is that the average person eats 8 spiders per year. Presumably this average means that some people aren’t putting away very many spiders but others are just absolutely crushing it. I suppose you could imagine your mouth being open and the spider crawling in. Your natural reflex then hypothetically being to chew it I guess. As a kid I never put much stock into it and just accepted it. After all I had had flying bugs trying their damndest to get eaten by me. I had learned about tiny mites that live in my eyebrows and hair. That knowledge seemed to give a pass to any other creepy bug related story. I’m aware, btw, that spiders are arachnids but when folks think bugs I’m sure spiders generally make the list. A quick glance at the dictionary shows the two groups schmoozing together. Scandalous, I’m sure spiders and insects would both protest this collaborative titling.

Anyways, when I was a kid I liked spiders a lot. I still do, they are fascinating creatures that really do more for us than we ever give them credit for. There are many of them right now sneaking around my house consuming all sorts of pests that I most likely dislike. Spiders by and large are pretty cool dudes and dudettes. Some have neat dances, others have incredible hunting tactics, and others still launch hairs off their ass like some kind of x-men.

letsdance

I used to hunt down insects (mostly flying ones like bees because I’m not a smart man). I’d take these bugs, generally stunned, and throw them into webs. I’d watch the spiders do their work and just marvel at the machinations of nature. Spiders were something of a kinsmen to me. I started collecting them into a jar. I doubt the spiders wanted to hang out with one another but again, not bright. I would get as many bugs as I could and keep them fed. I don’t remember very well what happened between the spiders in that mason jar. I do know that I kept at least a few of them alive for a long time.

I’d open the jar and look at them closely. Their 8 legs and seemingly endless rows of eyes. Mandibles that manipulated organic matter like something out of a horror or sci fi film. It was a pretty nice little arrangement. Until the night I forgot to close the jar all the way.

Spiders got everywhere. I woke up with them on my skin, in my hair. I know it wasn’t all that many and I’m sure they mostly were just trying to get away when I woke up. But they were there and in an instant my instincts shattered. I became mortified of spiders. Any chance I had to observe them from a very, very, far distance I would. But if one ended up close to me I panicked like they were a hungry bear. I feared a creature that I likely had 60K times greater mass than. It would be like a creature weighing 4,050 tons being a panicked mess about my arrival. That would be something roughly 23 times larger than a blue whale.

I’m pretty sure they’d not even register my presence.

The terror was there though and with it all reason went out the door. So when people told me that you ate some number of spiders every year I just kind of accepted it. I never thought about the minutia of it all and how ridiculous that reality would have to be. Much like my very poorly written rant about autism and vaccines yesterday, if we think about it it is patently moronic.

Firstly we are presuming that spiders have a desire to hide in mouths. There is no animal on this planet that doesn’t know what a mouth is. We all do. Every bird, fish, insect, mammal, and so on. All of them eat or get eaten and know that the mouth is a very dangerous place to be. Unless you are a parasite that replaces your targets tongue with your own body (and yes this is a thing) there is no reason to ever ever go into another mouth willingly.

Next we’d be presuming that people just start chewing and swallowing things while they are asleep. Even if you didn’t chew there is only one thing a person does when a solid object tries to go down their throat unplanned. They choke, and they’d choke hard. If a bug DID happen to go into your mouth you’d choke so hard that you’d immediately be awake. If there was 8 in your diet for the year that would be 8 times that you woke up choking on a spider and likely panicking.

I’m also not aware of any spiders that appreciate warm moist places. Unless you are laying eggs inside your prey (which is something done to spiders, not by spiders) there is just nothing fun about it. Spiders take up home in dry places that are less likely to digest them.

The book covers even more things that bring up just how dumb this all is. But I still found it interesting that it was a bit of knowledge sitting in my brain for no good reason. It had been stored away and never challenged. I’ve wondered just how many other things are up there doing that (and we’ll have one for the sex book soon). Completely preposterous things that slipped past my skepticism system.

It’s a very good book. Nothing that you can’t live your life without reading but it can only do good things for you. The writing is excellent and both authors are funny. They even cite every single study that they mention. That’s the kind of detail that deserves a pat on the back and perhaps a free drink the next time you (or I) see them. Seriously. Great job Dr. Carroll and Dr. Vreeman. I had a great time reading this book, your third book, and am currently enjoying the second (out of order…woops).

[I’ll be removing proofing from future reviews because I realize I should just dock points if things goof, rather than inflate reviews.]

By | 2015-02-03T20:42:38+00:00 January 24th, 2015|Good Things, Reviews|1 Comment

Reviews: Highmaul Raid PT.2

For those of you interested in the update for raid progress we’ve got the text over here and the videos over here. I have my moments during the raid but as it stands I’ve stubbornly chosen one of the weakest classes to push. But push him I’ll continue to do. Auroht was my first character when I came back to wow back in Burning Crusade and remaking him from scratch has been incredibly rewarding and fun. Now he lives on in two different servers.

Today we finished the second wing of Highmaul. Where the first wing is mostly average (with the exception of Tectus who is quite a lot of fun) the second wing is a non-stop awesome fest. I love it. I realize that’s kind of spoiling this review early but lets get into the nitty gritty.

Them fire effects!

Them fire effects!

Twin Ogron (herein called the Twins) is one of my favorite fights in the history of World of Warcraft. It’s exceptional in so many ways. I suppose we’ll start from the beginning. This is a mechanics heavy fight. That’s not a bad thing by any means. Basically each of these characters has a set of moves, the most important of which being highly predictable, that can be largely avoided if you pay attention but will wipe your entire party if you don’t.

This fight demands that people pay attention and if they do it rewards them with a beautiful fight that is both fun, intense, and somehow simultaneously relaxing. The Twins are big and menacing to boot which is a great addition. The fire effects look awesome, the mechanics requiring between ten and twenty people to simultaneously run away or funnel in is fantastic. It’s like watching birds or sardines. I’ve got nothing bad to say about this fight. If I had to choose a raid fight to be stuck with on any given day this would easily be it. Exceptional in every regard and just a big hoot.

Nekked Raid Time!

Nekked Raid Time!

Ko’ragh is a weird fight for me. It drops absolutely nothing that I need but I STILL find myself liking it. Unlike Brackenspore which has a few things I need and I loathe. Ko’ragh is a bit similar to the twins in respect to its demand for attention. If you kill spawns a second too soon you could wipe the party. If a person steps one inch too far forward you could wipe the party. If someone misses a single orb falling from the sky you could wipe the party. If someone stands between the tank and their hidey spot during the tank debuff you could wipe the party.

It’s crazy intense and I love it. This fight has a lot of wonderful dark color palettes too if you are into aesthetics (which I am). Ko’raghs weapon looks awesome, his backstory is neat, and the interweaving of all the abilities in this fight are just spot on. We wiped on him a LOT before we got it down but man was it rewarding. I never once was upset when we died. He’s cool. Not Twin Ogron cool, but real cool. I like this fight a lot and it sounds like it only gets cooler on Mythic difficulty.

He's dead and I'm nekked. Nobody call the cops.

He’s dead and I’m nekked. Nobody call the cops.

Imperator Mar’Gok has been on our todo list for a few weeks now. We’ve all worried about it because the stories have been intense. Even the guys at Icy Veins didn’t finish a tutorial video for it because by phase 4 they had been wiped. Admittedly we were doing it on normal but those guys are (presumably) cream of the crop AND they were doing it on the beta where you have access to the best gear.

This fight is great. What I find interesting about this fight is that it is about as long as the Deathwing fight (which is about 15 minutes) but at no point in this one do I want to smash my skull onto a curb. There are four phases in this fight with two intermissions. There are spawns that do raid wide damage, mines that do raid wide damage, jumping bombs that do raidwide damage, etc etc. Shit gets “cray” as the kids say.

We nearly one shot this boss. That might sound like a criticism but it isn’t. Over a half hour of preparation went into explaining this to everyone and if you watch the videos you’ll find that we were handling the mechanics beautifully. Mar’Gok is intimidating and his moves are all incredibly flashy. Each hit really stings and the use of both skills and even something like jumping or running set it apart from prior bosses. I quite liked the Thunder King for similar reasons. This fight is so much better than the Hellscream fight from Siege of Orgrimmar that it isn’t even funny.

I pray that this is what we have to look forward to in future instances. Mar’Gok could be better in some regards but that knowledge is more a tickling at the back of my mind. I can’t find the flaws at this time. There is just so much going on. So many mechanics and instances where people need to be paying attention.

This is why I like the new raids over the old raids. Having Molten Core available with the recent 10 year anniversary was a great idea. Because it showed just how far the company has come. I hated…absolutely hated doing Molten Core with people. It wasn’t because people had gotten worse over the years but more that Molten Core was lazy in almost every regard. I don’t think it was lazy when it was first built, it was just what they knew at the time. But these days that raid just looks pathetic. Its nothing but grinding through mobs and trying to outrun the damage. There is nothing to dodge or to mitigate. You have maximum fire resistance and you do maximum DPS. It’s a thoughtless raid and I can’t fathom ever wanting to go back to it.

If they ever rebuilt Molten Core with their current knowledge I’d love to see it. I’d like to see what the new talent at Blizzard can accomplish.

Highmaul is a good raid. The second wing is bordering on great for me. If they could do some touch ups to fights like Brackenspore I think the whole thing could be just gravy. From what I’ve read the mythic version of Highmaul makes almost all of the fights cooler. Painfully difficult, but cooler.

By | 2015-01-31T21:48:26+00:00 January 18th, 2015|Good Things, Reviews|Comments Off on Reviews: Highmaul Raid PT.2

Reviews: Destiny ~ Levels 1 to 20

I reached level 20 this morning in Destiny and figured this was a good time to do a review. Much like my review for Diablo 3 this is likely going to be a two part review. The first is the experience from level 1 to 20. Normally developers call this the “game” and then all the content that follows is the “post game”. I’ll say right now that that wording confuses the hell out of me but I just have to accept it since everyone and their cousin uses it. To me anything in the game is the game but I am apparently wrong. It should go without saying but my review will be largely spoiler free unless I warn otherwise.

So what’s it like? You’ve probably seen a million reviews about this game by now that have all been polarizing in one way or another. While I was playing I saw “It’s the worst game I can’t stop playing.” more than a half dozen times in some variation. Everyone seems to agree that its “horrible” but they “can’t quit it”. I can only assume this logic is based off of a heroin addiction but I’m not certain. For me though I’m far less offended by the game.

In fact I’ve had a pretty damn good time. I suppose we’ll cover the various tropes of a game review and see how things go. Starting of course with that harbinger of new game consoles “Girafeeks”. The game is absolutely gorgeous on the Playstation 4. I was literally stopping from firefights to explore and look around at all the things they had made for this game. I can find literally nothing to complain about visually. The style of the ghosts, the protagonists, and the antagonists are all wonderful. There are four unique races that you’ll be coming up against in the story, knowing of their existence won’t change your experience.

Look at that leaf. Damn that's a nice leaf.

Look at that leaf. Damn that’s a nice leaf.

The first is the Fallen which are basically the Covenant of this game (it appears). They fill the niche of generic enemy aliens. I don’t hate them and they all have a fun look to them. The next is the Hive. These are an interesting mix of the Flood from Halo with the space ships of the Necrons from Warhammer 40K. When you first hear “Tombship approaching!” you’ll be imagining these guys dropping out of it:

DeceiverOrWizard

Then when he actually does appear a few missions later you are wondering if they literally were playing Warhammer 40K before they designed the game (Wizards bear a striking resemblance). The third race you’ll meet is my second favorite, the Vex. These are very sleek robots that really tickle my senses. They fill the Borg/Reaver role it looks like, lifeless unified automatons that march around the galaxy wiping out life. But this is just the impression I got from them. Every last one of them is well designed and their motions are fluid, just delightful.

Finally there is the Cabal. They are my favorite because they are very on point. Massive space marine looking monsters marching across a dusty space desert with your face in their iron sights. They are commanding and the higher ranking Cabal members that you get to fight are a hoot. They all look cool and they give me a Dune vibe which is always 100% welcome in any game. Shit, the lack of a sand worm was a darn shame.

Every landscape is gorgeous, every gun is a delight, and I’m quite fond of the ships. Your starter ship looks like a hodgepodge of crossbeams and solder. But it was also found in a junk heap in Russia. Anyone expecting exquisite construction from a Russian derelict is probably expecting a little too much. The ships you can buy later are usually pretty sexy and all of them have heavy inspiration from Star Wars (which I do not find problem in).

The sound design is excellent. I’ll split this up into two parts because I have a feeling at least one person reading this just blew a blood vessel. When I’m talking sound design I mean the weapons, music, and effects. All of these things are crisp and clean. I generally loath battle music (I turn it off in any game that I can) but it didn’t bother me much in Destiny. The songs are catchy and overall excellent. They might not be as memorable as something from Uematsu or the catchier tunes of Nintendo, but as a grand epic they stick well. The sound team at Bungie knew what they were shooting for and I think they met it.

On the flip side the character voice acting is apparently a point of contention for some people. I’m not entirely sure why. I’m actually planning to write a piece on this because I feel like Bungie inadvertently discovered a gaming wide prejudice. The shorthand of it is that people are upset that a robot sounds like a robot, and I’ve read that folks weren’t too hot on the voice actors for the rest of the characters. I thought they were fine. I played as an Exo (revived robot) and my guy sounded exactly as I’d expect from a synthetic humanoid.

Peter Dinklage suffered largely from the Judge Dredd problem. So in the 1995 Film the studio decided to hire Sylvester Stallone for the part of Judge Dredd. This was a ridiculously expensive decision and raised an interesting dilemma. In the comics Judge Dredd is not supposed to ever remove his helmet. But if you’ve just paid out the ass to have Sylvester Stallone in your film you want his face to be seen, apparently. So in the movie he removes his helmet (quite a lot). It’s a damn shame too because I think his iconic lisp (from part of his face being paralyzed) would have worked really well for audiences and still kept the mystery of Judge Dredd.

Peter Dinklage is a household name at this point. He’s an amazing actor and seems like a delightful human being. A big sticking point for people is that his character was spiritless. As I’d expect…seeing that he’s a robot. Liz suggested that his voice have more robotic filter in it. Which is a fair request, HAL from 2001 is an iconic emotionless AI but he also is heavily filtered. You can’t do that here however because you just paid out the ass to have Peter Dinklage in your game. So you want people to know it is his voice.

Ultimately I found his character charming and felt bad for it. I’ll explain why in an upcoming post and I think I might be able to convince you of my thoughts and perhaps even change how you view his character. So for me, I actually enjoyed the entire experience. I’ve heard stories at my job of people threatening to turn off the game on their friends because of how much they hated his character. For the life of me I can’t even begin to empathize with that kind of reaction.

I mean seriously. It's nothing to lose your head over bro. Heh...but seriously he's dead.

I mean seriously. It’s nothing to lose your head over bro.
Heh…but seriously he’s dead.

Moving onto the actual content of the game. Destiny has a relatively short single player experience if you rush through it. I’ve been told it can be finished in between 10 and 15 hours. It took me about a week because I kept getting side tracked and having fun. This is a Bungie game so I knew what I was walking into. I stopped playing their games after Halo 2. It had promised me the world (literally) and then gave me a single player experience that didn’t even last long enough to survive that period between school ending and dinner being ready.

Ever since then they’ve been the “multiplayer people” to me. Putting no effort into the part of the game that actually matters to me. That’s fine because I’m not who they are marketing to. Their games were insanely popular and clearly it just wasn’t my cup of tea. It saved me a ton of money over the years and is the reason that the Halo Collection (Read: Seemingly the only reason to own an Xbox One) isn’t catching my attention.

You can choose to play nearly every mission in either normal or “hard” mode. The hard mode gives an inconsequentially increased chunk of exp and possibly slightly better drops. The real reason to use it is if you want to have more intense firefights. The AI in this game is pretty darn good, to the point of being irritating sometimes. I’m reminded of Fear where I was routinely getting flanked and needing to use all the tricks up my sleeve to survive. Overall I think I’ve become a much better FPS player by the end of this campaign.

The story worked for me but I’ll admit I don’t fully get what happened. The decision to tell parts of the story in the loading screens was actually probably a poor choice because I can’t be bothered to pay attention when I’m watching a space ship fly along an empty sky.

DestinyReview008

You can also do things called “Bounties” during the missions and I highly recommend these. They really accelerate your skill, character, and weapon leveling. They are probably my favorite part of the single player experience because they challenge me to do things like “Don’t die for 9,000 experience.” Which means I’ll need to do two to three missions without being killed once. That can get incredibly intense. The “Don’t die during a strike.” in particular can get you sweating bullets when you are sitting there with two pixels worth of HP and praying the boss doesn’t see you in the next quarter of a second.

You can buy new speeders (strongly inspired by the speeders from Star Wars) and space ships from a vendor in the back of the hub zone. All of these look sleek and in the case of the speeders they improve your speed and handling when driving around. There is a speeder owned by (I believe) the Vex that you’ll occasionally get. Driving that around and unloading a couple dozen shots in as many seconds is super delightful. I was blowing away entire platoons of Fallen with one that I had found (that was on fire, amusingly). Finished all of my bounties in a couple minutes.

Driving is a delight, too. The handling of this game in general is incredible. I survived some conflicts that really should have ended me. Jumping and boosting through the air, dropping a bomb beneath me, and then twirling to force punch somebody beside a ledge as I plummeted past. At times I was disappointed that I wasn’t streaming all my games to twitch or hitbox because there are just so many “Oh shit that was rad!” moments. This is one of those games that lets you make it fun. If you walk in wanting to not like it, you won’t. But if you walk in like I did with an open mind and no expectations it’ll tickle your backside, or frontside, whatever, its up for tickling and just needs you to point it in the right direction.

It's tickling me!

It’s tickling me!

Additionally they have a website and phone application that list out “grimoire cards” for you. These cards tell little backstories to all the different elements of the game. It’s a neat touch and I applaud the idea. I’ve looked at a few of the cards and they weren’t terrible. If you like plot and backstory they might be right up your alley.

Graphics, sound, campaign, controls, and supplemental content. That’s most everything. Well I haven’t played the PVP at all, it really matters not to me. For me the multiplayer portion of a game doesn’t exist. But I will be checking it out during the “Post Game” review because I feel like I should give it a chance. Overall though I think that Destiny is a good game. It’s not the game of the year, and its not going to end up on any top 10 list of best games from me. But if I were listing out my top 100 favorite games of all time it just might end up on that list. It’s tough to say though because I realize on reflection that I’ve played an awful lot of games.

Maybe don’t get it yet if you are on the fence. Wait for the expansions to hit and see how they do. There might be a “Destiny: The Destiny Edition” that’ll have everything. The actual price of this game is looking to be about 100 dollars once those expansions hit. That’s completely unacceptable. Also its an always online game that means all your progress is really just ether. With that in mind I can’t justify grinding in it. Online only games are worth much less to me than those with offline saving and offline components.

Regardless, with all that in mind. I am not disappointed in owning it. I had a good time and I’m sure I’ll play it a fair deal more. Seeing that they have events that might unravel some more tiny story tidbits.

Update: I’d like to note that the Angry Joe review really does cover the shortcomings of the game well. I still like it but I also agree with basically all his points, you can find that video below:

Great

By | 2015-02-08T20:05:13+00:00 September 20th, 2014|Good Things, Reviews|Comments Off on Reviews: Destiny ~ Levels 1 to 20

Reviews: World of Warcraft Challenge Modes

Today we finished the Challenge Mode feature of World of Warcraft. WOW has been around for an awfully long time now and its quality ebbs and flows. Some of the ideas are pretty darn good (Challenge Modes) and some are absolutely terrible (Legendary Cloak Quest). It leaves the review of the game as a whole incredibly difficult but each individual piece of it can be more easily targeted and pieced apart.

Challenge mode isn’t perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination, but as a first pass of a new idea its done quite well. The basic premise is that you must complete each of the heroic dungeons in Mists of Panadaria with depreciated gear, super powerful baddies, and a very very strict timer. We are talking about a single mistake and you might be done. These mistakes don’t even need to be your own either, the game itself can goof and you are proper fucked. That’s where we’ll start actually.

CM requires that the game be perfectly balanced, no latency, and that all the AI act properly. But this is just not the state that WOW is in, it isn’t the state it was at a launch, and likely won’t be the state it’ll be in on its dying days sometime long in the future. WOW is always under development and a lot of the changes fix a few problems while adding dozens more. It’s a massive game and this is to be expected. However when you sometimes have 5-10 seconds of mistake leeway a mob seeing through a wall, getting stuck in a wall, teleporting, or even becoming immortal is just not acceptable. I, for instance, had my Misdirection suddenly stop working. It just stayed greyed out forever. Sure you can fix this (by dying twice, once to turn the button on and a second time to reset the skill or by resetting your game) this shouldn’t happen in the first place.

Better hold your ass. This part will make or break some people.

Better hold your ass. This part will make or break some people.

Because of this you’ll have some of your CMs that are going swimmingly fall apart in the last minute of a 12-20 minute event. That’s upwards of a half hour of your life lost because of a bug with the game itself. This sort of problem could be avoided with the simple addition of a checkpoint system. Our team’s progress on each CM was relatively constant, if we did section A quickly we did it quickly each time. This meant that we had to parrot the same actions, over and over, because of a single part that was sticking us. Having the checkpoint system save both your position (at certain places, probably after bosses) and at the exact time that was on the clock at that point means that people progress better and those errors in game design end up not having a huge impact.

Additionally having it reset completely if the party disbands will incentivize people to stick together and tough it out. I was lucky because our group was pretty baller, everyone was nice and we took failure with relative ease. But if you were in a group with PVP players you are likely to get railed because of the lack of a checkpoint system. Now that isn’t to say this whole thing is a bust, as I’ve already spoiled I think that the progression you get in CM is smooth enough to not be terrible. It’s not like the legendary cloak quest which was so bad it should have gotten someone reprimanded at the company.

No this is something to build on. With some small improvements this could become one of the coolest additions in the game, possibly ever. It teaches people the importance of invisibility potions, DPS rotations, crowd control, damage mitigation, and basically everything else that makes an MMO more than just a click fest. It becomes something genuinely interesting and engaging. At no point is there incentive in CM to be a complete cockbag, which is rare in the world of…well Warcraft. Often it feels like the developers were trying to cater to the darkest sides of humanity with decisions that necessitate being an asshole, the fact that that is completely absent here is lovely.

The difficulty curve of the Challenge modes is awfully peculiar. Some of them a marginally adequate team will get on the very first try, others are so incredibly hard that a single sneeze could be the difference between success and cataclysmic failure. I feel like there were perhaps 2-3 teams (or 2-3 people) working on this project. It has a feel about it that suggests to me it wasn’t all done by the same collective hive mind. That’s fine, but it also means that someone on the team was a bit more of a masochist. A few of the dungeons got awfully stressful and not in the good way.

Miss that dominate and you likely can kiss the entire run goodbye.

Miss that dominate and you likely can kiss the entire run goodbye.

Another problem is the finicky nature of the reset system. If you reset and some people are outside of the dungeon for any reason (like dying) they will not reset and their potions will still be on cool down. Are you a class that has a pet? Well go eat a rock because you are going to have to resummon them every-single-time there is a reset. It’s frustrating and tedious. These problems aren’t enough to make the entire thing shit but they certainly put a little bit of shit on the otherwise lovely meal.

And I’m sure most people would consider a little bit of poop enough poop to ruin a meal. This however was a special exception for me, these problems weren’t enough to make it utterly worthless and quite the contrary I’m somewhat almost possibly fond of it. I won’t be even contemplating doing it again for a solid couple weeks, but it is not an experience that I regret.

Unlike the Legendary Cloak Quest, honestly, fuck that thing.

    What I liked.

  • Well designed to not necessitate being an asshole to succeed.
  • Helps you to learn your class better and even the mechanics of WOW itself.
  • It actually feels good and progress is not at a snails pace.
  • No damage to gear on death.
    What I disliked.

  • Success can be limited by the games quality rather than your own skill.
  • Some of the challenges are astoundingly easier with certain classes on your team, not really a fair ground for all classes.
  • No checkpoints, leads to some really frustrating problems with the top negative in mind.
  • Pets vanish after a CM reset.

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By | 2015-02-08T21:15:25+00:00 July 5th, 2014|Good Things, Reviews|Comments Off on Reviews: World of Warcraft Challenge Modes