Last night I was watching the newly released season of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on Netflix. He was in Vietnam, interviewing a Vietnamese writer. The writer explained that his father was taken away and evidently killed during the war, but he didn’t know how or when.
He couldn’t do the usual death anniversary ceremony.
That sort of ancestor reverence, apparently common in Asian countries, is kind of cool. It reminded me of the ancestor worship in Morrowind. The native religion of ancestors and living gods is a really interesting lore aspect of the original Morrowind RPG. The music is so creepy in those old crypts!
Death is often an afterthought or annoyance in video games, something that makes us shake our fists and press the re-spawn button. I’ve never played a horribly hardcore MMO. Maybe the worst I’ve seen is to start the whole dungeon over if your group dies, which happened in the original Wizardry.
The recent Sony remake of Wizardry tried perma-death with PvP, and that didn’t turn out so well. Blizzard is winning partly because it doesn’t do dumb things like this, but mostly because of characters.
Look It’s Snowing Blizzard: Winning With Great Characters
This week Hearthstone topped the Twitch charts one day with 50k viewers for a tournament. The games are ending a little more quickly with the increasing card power, this kitty thinks.
I played the Heroes of the Storm beta a few weeks ago, and I actually liked it. The game genre is not for me, but it was fun to see the Blizzard heroes. HotS is in open beta now, by the way. Massively also reported on a HotS world championship, because we have to have one of those.
Blizzard is leading the way with its great characters, and that’s why it’s winning now: with characters, and building them. Some game companies are still trying to figure out how to write characters. (Although hiring great ‘characters’ to the dev staff is the next best thing.)
Trion really crafted Goboro Reef well with Arethea and her songs in Nightmare Tide, and Turbine did wonderfully with their own fellowship of Horn, Nona, and company in Rohan (having mostly abandoned the real fellowship, the dwarves, and the Rangers at that point).
To toss your best characters is to abandon the winning formula, in this kitty’s opinion. The story is only as strong as the characters.
I also saw Heroes of the Storm make an appearance in an Intel commercial on Jimmy Fallon on Monday. Intel is advertising 2-in-ones with Jim Parsons from Big Bang Theory. Blizzard also broke out a HotS fanart contest on Deviant Art this week. The contest has some decent $USD prizes.
The Wall Street Journal also reported this week on Skylanders by Activision, which has apparently earned $3 billion in global revenue. How do you make $3 billion dollars? By making plastic characters that you can magically put into a game.
Angry Joe And SuperGirl
I also enjoyed Angry Joe’s commentary on the Supergirl trailer this week. His commentary at the end about the edgy, conflicted comic book version of Supergirl vs. the TV version were very insightful character-wise.
I agree with Joe. If CBS turns Supergirl into a Pollyanna girl version of Clark, it’s a problem. There are reasons that teens flock to Twilight, and it isn’t because Bella is a good girl who is sweet but of course clumsy, but always charming and dedicated towards the morally correct thing.
Maybe CBS was afraid to make Melissa Benoist too blonde because of the dumb-blonde cliff they’re approaching, a reincarnation of Reese Witherspoon.
This is memorial day weekend in the States. So if you’re getting drunk, watching sports, and grilling dead animals for the kids to chew on, don’t forget to honor the ancestors who made it all possible.
And then log onto Battle.net and play the Heroes of the Storm open beta, or some Hearthstone. I’ll be doing Blackrock Mountain (finally since it’s now fully released), and Guild Wars 2, in between the personal projects. I wish this weekend were three weeks instead of three days.