Sunday, January 5, 2020

My Ratings for Every Vanilla Rimworld Trait

Rimworld is a game I've been playing on and off for about a year, often binging for days at a time before getting bored of the colony I'm managing and moving on. I especially enjoy the game for the numerous details that encourage strategic thinking, though new players may find themselves overwhelmed even after playing through the tutorial. One aspect of the numerous details within the game are the traits that colonists may have up to three of. Traits can provide a wide variety of effects that are beneficial or detrimental, though often they have both. Furthermore, specific situations may determine how useful or harmful the effects are.

Having played Rimworld for a fair amount of time and also because I feel like it, in this article I will rate all the traits available in the latest version of unmodded Rimworld while playing one of the preset scenarios with explanations for my ratings. A higher rating generally indicates that in my opinion, assuming all other factors are equal, a colonist with this trait is more desirable to have in my colony. Traits will be ordered from the highest rated to the lowest.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

My Thoughts on Blizzard Punishing Blitzchung

10/12 Update: Blizzard has issued an official statement on the matter. Here are my updated thoughts on the situation, which might save reading through the paragraphs of text below:
  • I do not think the punishment on Blitzchung and the casters were fair to begin with and believe the revised punishments are still too harsh. I can respect Blizzard trying to keep politics out of their broadcasts, however.
  • Like various past outrages, there is a lot of misinformation going around and a lot of malformed assumptions being made based on circumstantial evidence and the like. For example, a statement from NetEase, while concerning because of their partnership with Blizzard, does not necessarily represent the Blizzard official opinion.
  • Needless to say, harassment, especially of Blizzard employees who may be in support of opposing Blizzard's official actions, is also unacceptable. Insulting people for what sounds like a dissenting opinion is also unacceptable.
  • Based on the above two points among other observations, I am having increasing difficulty believing that some of the people participating in the outrage care about what's happening in Hong Kong and instead want an excuse to be angry with Blizzard. Spreading misinformation and harassing people is detrimental to winning support for the protests.
    • The latest WAN Show is a good example of this problem in action as the hosts Linus and Luke end up arguing with those participating in the outrage in their stream chat, some of whom claim the two are pro-China for the opinions they expressed. Incidentally, I largely agree with what the two of them said. In particular, "Lawful Evil" is a good way to describe what Blizzard did.

Less than a year ago, Blizzard made an announcement that was considered to be highly controversial and sparked major outrage within the gaming community. At that time, I personally considered the outrage to be understandable but also extreme in its negativity and lack of reasoning. Since then, I was expecting any sort of major controversy relating to Blizzard to happen about a month from now at the next Blizzcon assuming they failed to meet customer expectations again despite the optimism in their recent earnings report. However, recent actions by Blizzard against Blitzchung, a pro Hearthstone player who expressed opinions in favor of the protests in Hong Kong (which is an opinion I share, for the record) have caused another immense outrage among many people even outside of the gaming community and this time, I find myself in agreement with decrying Blizzard's actions. In this article, I will briefly explain my thoughts on the situation as it's unfolded so far.

One of the first things that I noticed when I read through initial news articles is that not everyone at Blizzard supports this action. This is not only something that's great to hear but some seem to be well aware of this internal conflict. However, others have once again lost themselves to their outrage and are lashing out against anyone who remotely involved with Blizzard's actions, whether they are fellow forum users, Blizzard employees, or the like. I do not approve of this incivility because it willfully harms other people and in my opinion makes the message of decrying Blizzard's actions easier to dismiss as toxic commentary from a vocal minority.

What I considered next was how Blizzard could have handled the situation. While I may be a critic of how they enforce the rules and empower their customers to do so, I can understand that Blitzchung did indeed break the rule that was cited in Blizzard's official statement. However, I am entirely in agreement with comments like this and remarks from Brian Kibler stating that the punishment issued to Blitzchung was far too heavy-handed. Furthermore, I do not believe Blizzard is utilizing some highly intelligent strategy by drawing more attention to the Hong Kong protests while sacrificing their reputation. This is because while their earnings from the Asia Pacific region are only 12% of their total as of last quarter, of which a fraction is actually China (because of countries such as South Korea and Australia contributing substantially to those earnings), there is great potential to grow that and Blizzard would almost certainly want to beyond supposedly releasing mobile games. Therefore, Blizzard has a motive for not upsetting the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

I conclude by saying that I wholly disapprove of Blizzard's actions here due to the severity of the implications, especially in regards to supporting major human rights violations. Ending my support of them is as easy as not buying another 6 months of WoW subscription since I purchase game time manually. At the same time, I also disapprove of the more negative aspects of those who are outraged because while some may actually care about what's happening in Hong Kong as opposed to hate circlejerking, such individuals don't express themselves in anything resembling a civil or reasonable manner.

Despite my condemnation, I am patiently waiting for an official statement in response to the outrage. This is because I believe there are ways for Blizzard to redeem themselves in this situation, even if others casually dismiss it as a pathetic attempt at damage control. For example, issuing a humble public apology that makes their disapproval of the CCP known while revising Blitzchung's punishment to a slap on the wrist or removing it entirely would make me a little more content. However, I would be more wary than I was previously and would expect continued action that does not actively support any authoritarian regime or the like.

Finally, when it comes to this blog and its articles, many Blizzard-related articles I post tend to be critique or theoretical discussion that often take the form of a suggestion that I know is unlikely to be considered, so it's fairly likely I will continue to publish such articles. I have also considered branching out into articles on other games for a while and may pursue that path more strongly.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

My Thoughts on Warfronts

Much like Island Expeditions, Warfronts are another feature that was added in Battle for Azeroth as a new form of content. Also much like Island Expeditions, it offers scenarios that can be queued for with no regard for role. While I wasn't as excited about them as I was with Island Expeditions, I was interested in the idea of what appeared to be raid scenarios and zones that would change faction control much like Wintergrasp and Tol Barad did.

When they finally became available, I personally found some of the content highly enjoyable but had mixed feelings because of other aspects. This opinion improved as Warfronts were added to and improved upon, though some flaws remain and I wish to see various related additions in the near and distant future. In this article, I will summarize my experience with Warfronts up to the 8.2 patch series iteration, then give my thoughts on the current state of Warfronts and what in future iterations that relates to them.

Monday, June 24, 2019

I Probably Won't Be Playing Classic WoW

Classic WoW is coming soon and there's a fair amount of hype going into it. Those eager to play may be doing so out of nostalgia, curiosity, community, because they believe the overall experience to be superior to live WoW, and so on. Among those looking forward to Classic WoW are a few of my friends who have also asked me if I was going to play. While I was tentative at first, I have thought more about why I would want to play Classic WoW by taking external factors and information regarding the release into account. This has led me to a more definitive answer in line with this article's title: It is highly unlikely I will play.

This doesn't necessarily I will never play Classic WoW ever, but I have come up with many reasons as to why I'm not that interested. If the game, by some slim chance, were to change like Old School Runescape has over the years, then my opinion may also change. At the same time, I may also question why such theoretical changes weren't applied to the live version of WoW since I stand by my stance that all versions of WoW are surprisingly similar to each other and, at the very least, not horrendously blemished by fundamental gameplay overhauls or detrimental pay-to-win microtransactions.

In any case, this article will at least serve as a way to respond to my friends looking to get me into Classic WoW by explaining why I personally won't find the game all that enjoyable. This article is not meant to drive other players away from Classic WoW.