Tag Archives: World Of Warcraft

Final Super-Amazing Post, Then KKBB On Break

World of Warcraft Westfall Quest
This is my final commentary for a while, and I plan to go out with a fizzle of glory. I’ve known for a while that live streaming was going to kill written bloggers, and that’s happening. Or maybe I just suck. Let’s go to bullet points, then praise World of Warcraft writing, and lastly talk stocks.

  • Scientific American reported last month on studies of brain changes in gamers. Gamers who play fast shooter-type games are shown to get various mental benefits:
    1. Improved ability to focus on visual details.
    2. Higher sensitivity to contrasts.
    3. Better reaction time to sudden events.
    4. Better making of correct decisions under pressure.
    5. Visual search improvement.

    I have to wonder if there are any drawbacks, however, versus controls. Are these gamers developing nervous disorders, sleeping more poorly, or overeating, for example.

    Scientific American also reported on the serious health risks of poor sleep, since scientists have discovered that brains flush toxins (like beta amyloid, responsible for Alzheimers’s) mostly during sleep, through the newly discovered “glymphatic system“.

  • Korean voice actress fired. She tweeted herself wearing a shirt that said “Girls do not need a prince”. The Mary Sue observes that South Korea is a painfully repressive country with low rankings in gender equality, and where supposedly 80% of young adults want to move somewhere else.In response to the charges, the young woman said: “she is willing to take responsibility if she did anything wrong.” My reaction is the same as Mary Sue’s – …..
  • Overwatch. Kotaku reported today on the strong characterization of Overwatch’s new heal/snipe character, Ana. Ana is a complicated, deep older woman, in contrast to all the young, pretty characters more common in games. The players apparently love Ana as a character, and that’s totally awesome. That’s Blizzard.
  • Gaming Hypnosis. The dark wizard Vive has produced two new gaming files: Healslut, which gives you a sexy submissive thrill of service and pleasure for healing in video games; and Blog!, which gives you a thrill of submissive service for writing up helpful blog posts … like this one.Remember these hypnosis files are no joke. They seem to “wear off” fairly quickly, but training the brain with pleasure can have long-term subtle influences.

World of Warcraft Writing: Exemplary


This week I re-subbed to WoW, and was playing through Westfall with a Shaman to unlock the Lady Liadrin paladin hero in Hearthstone. I also ran many dungeons with my lovable Death Knight.

The blog image above is exemplary of Blizzard’s game writing, so I took a screenshot when I saw it. Here are the great techniques this MMO quest dialog employs, aside from the cute name:

  1. Sums up the story in case you forgot. This is so important, yet all RPG’s routinely ignore the fact that players start and stop the storylines – very often.
  2. Involves you, the player. You’re actually a part of this story. You feel important. You’re called by a term of endearment, a rookie. It’s the norm for the player to go through the motions like a quest drone, a one-dimensional gopher.
  3. A mystery to solve.  The writing ploy often used in some MMOs, but just as often underused.  There should always be mysteries in game worlds. There should always be a sense that you’re seeing only the tip of a vast, dark iceberg.
  4. Using named and non-named characters. Some RPG’s (and writing by George Martin) overload you with character names. Biobreak posted a short, cryptic comment on this last week.That snippet of dialog from Durance in Pillars of Eternity made a great impression on me when I saw it in-game, because it’s so true. It’s important to only use so many proper names that the reader can brain. Everyone else’s name should be a generic yet clever, subtle device to give a greater impression of the game setting, its population, and its prevailing ways and emotions.

Game Stocks


NVidia soared yet another 2.7% today, which is insane. Intel had modest results this week, but cloud results so far this earning season have been extremely strong, so maybe that’s helping NVidia. I was close to breaking down and selling Nvidia yesterday to protect ridiculous profits. I’m glad I held.

Curiously, AMD is also up over 100% in the last year, but I was impatient and sold my little speculative stake long before that happened.

My #1 mistake, by far, in the stock market is being impatient, afraid, not being confident of my picks. I would be up thousands since last year in Amazon, AT&T, and AMD, if I’d simply held onto those picks since last summer and not panicked.

Microsoft’s (MSFT) stock had goblin rocket boosters this week after showing off their cloud results, which I’ve noted a number of times on this blog as a tailwind. If you’re in MSFT, you’re golden. Unfortunately, at some point the cloud ramp-up is going to level out. Cloud margins will compress under more and more competition.

On the other hand, cloud providers have security services on their side. I thought it was so stupid last year when Wall Street analysts were talking seriously about up-and-coming internet security companies like Palo Alto and FireEye. Those companies were soaring.

Not so much anymore. It was clear to this kitty that the big cloud companies would reap the biggest profits in security services. That’s happening.

On the other hand, the HACK ETF is showing some very solid chart strength lately, so that diversified internet security play is something to look at if you like that sector for a future cyberpunk world. It’s too bad they don’t have holdings in Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, but at least Purefunds has big trading volume in that ETF, unlike in GAMR.

So I remain in Google, which is a rear-runner yet to really ramp up their cloud, despite having a strong position, and in Alibaba, which has a huge lead in China cloud.

A number of U.S. companies in the last two weeks, like Starbucks, have affirmed a very strong China this quarter, so I’m glad so far that I have a 25% weighting, but not in an ETF, since I’m afraid of the banks and insurance companies, which weigh heavily in China ETFs.

My China picks are Alibaba, China Mobile, and Tencent. I’ve looked at the Chinese solar stocks for various good reasons, like massive China pollution problems, but those companies have had issues, including some big names wanting to pull out of the U.S. market completely for some reason. The solar ETF (TAN) still seems like a solid pick that offers investment in a diversification of international companies.

On the topic of energy, due to oil prices breaking down this week and lackluster earnings results from Kinder Morgan (KMI), I sold that stock at a modest $100 profit before taxes. This paves the way for adding a sentimental favorite refining stock (VLO or TSO) if they ever turn around.

My only defensive stock now is Verizon (VZ), which was up strongly today on news that they are a likely buyer of Yahoo assets. I’m not sure it should be up on that, but I’ll take it. I’m a long term heavy user of Yahoo-owned Tumblr, so it would be nice to be invested, even if it’s business-wise something of a failure.

So that’s my final post for a while. I think my stocks are set in stone unless there is a really massive collapse in August that would force me out of the market at break even, only to start all over.

If I were to look at gaming stocks right now, I might buy Electronic Arts (EA) during a significant selloff in August. Blizzard is really short on stock “catalysts” after their Legion expansion, while EA has a bunch of releases and press coverage coming this fall.

Any August investments, however, are subject to terrifying U.S. Fed interest rate whims in September. The market went off a cliff last December when the Fed raised interest rates even a quarter point.

Gaming stocks have become a playground lately for stock traders, and the significant moves on game releases are clearly a bit silly (i.e. see: Pokemon doubling Nintendo’s stock, Sony soaring on E3 and VR, etc.) I’m tempted to sell Blizzard now and switch to EA, but I’ve learned not to sell Blizzard.

So there isn’t much to talk about now. I’ll sit on my Kitty laurels with over 300,000 total views on this blog. I’ll watch readership of my famous LotRO and Rift Newbie guides continue to dwindle into history.

Cheers, and happy gaming. Be safe, and take care of your body every day. Also consider making some investments instead of going into credit card debt. Your older, uglier self will give you a big hug.

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Varian Wrynn Is Caitlyn Jenner?

varian wrynne caitlyn jenner

Last week I returned to Hearthstone, which is releasing a new expansion card pack next week. Grand Tournament features a new Inspire mechanic.

The new warrior legendary card, Varian Wrynn, looks strikingly like Caitlyn Jenner. There’s no way I’m going to bring this up in the corrosive, troll-infested Hearthstone forums, so I’m posting it here!

This crazy kitty is seeing things maybe, but in former images and in-game (World of Warcraft), Varian is definitely a solid darker-haired brunette. Why a change that happens to match Caitlyn Jenner?

I noticed a few more Hero portraits when I returned to Hearthstone, so I pressed the buy button on Alleria Windrunner within ten minutes of even thinking of playing Hearthstone again.

I’ve begged Blizzard for more female portraits, so it’s time to pony up. Alleria is the most feminine portrait now. I like her voice, which reminds me of Imoen in Baldur’s Gate.

It finally dawned on me that the other two female hero portraits are male fantasies. Jaina has the angry super-boobs, and Valeera is the anti-hero rogue a la Catwoman, Black Canary, and Natasha Romanov. Too bad her implied bikini crotch won’t fit in the graphic.

On the other hand, Alleria is another cliché: the female elf hunter. It looks like I’m playing all elves now in Hearthstone, except for Anduin Wrynn, whose deck I call Pretty Boy.

I’m still hoping for more female heroes, but it’s $10 each extra to play them. I’m not touching the $50 Grand Tournament pre-order, which is a ridiculous cash grab.

When it comes to cash, there can be no conscience in the survivalist gaming business. Like I’ve said before, Electronic Arts led the way and pushed through the gamer ill will, and now no one bats an eyelash at this crap.

Welcome to the herd Blizzard boys, or maybe you were always the herd.


Rift: Game Is In Great Shape, Announcement Coming (+ Gaming Stock Commentary)

In response to player concerns today about the future of Rift, community manager Ocho had this to say in the forums:

“So let’s get to some facts:

  • The RIFT Dev team is the largest Dev team I’ve ever worked with in almost a decade of working on triple A MMOs.
  • The team has grown over the last year and a half, and hiring for the team continues.
  • Population in RIFT is strong, lots of people play RIFT and lots of new people continue to start to play RIFT.
  • Profits from RIFT are certainly reinvested in RIFT. AA took 0 devs from RIFT. None, nada, zilch.
  • RIFT is in zero danger. We’re really excited about the future, right now is a great time to be playing or working on RIFT. …
  • We’re not only reusing old content, we’re also developing new content. Keep your eyes out over the next couple weeks, we might be announcing something.”

– Ocho

This is great news, since this kitty has also been a little worried.

This week I capped my rogue alt, and I continue close to picking up a few pieces of raid gear earned for my main by weeklies and dailies instead of raiding. I’m also enjoying the creative and quirky nightmare saga story.

The second act released yesterday. The return of old classic characters doesn’t bring much life to them (so far), and we mostly see them as generic quest-advancers. The third act of the saga also supposedly forces you to do a lot of PvP and NTE dungeons.

I disagree with this design, even if it’s to justify the epic weapon you can theoretically get when it’s all over. There are two main types of players:

  • Players for whom this is just same-old grinding to pad out the saga.
  • Players for whom this is horrible and will spend an entire weekend trying to queue for PUG DPS and beat five dungeons, or queuing PvP and hating Trion the entire time.

Just doesn’t seem like a winning scheme to me.


Video Game Stocks


Electronic Arts (EA) and Microsoft (MSFT) both had solid earnings reports this week, so hopefully these will be long term for my paltry little portfolio, and I can ease up on my nine-month quest (right before the stock market goes off a cliff, possibly.)

How can Microsoft compete with Apple and Google? By uniting your PC in an ecosystem with your other devices and monetizing by applying what they’ve learned from Free-To-Play video games. I plan to buy a Lumia soon. My Samsung tablet completely fails to recognize my Windows 7 PC.

You’ll also be able to stream XBOX to PC with Windows 10, or stream console-quality games to your PC without an XBOX using the cloud, which Microsoft demonstrated yesterday.

If you need any more good news for Microsoft, China announced this week that it will now allow game consoles to be sold in China after a 15 year ban. This is probably more better for Sony and Nintendo.

My third tech pick is still Equinix (EQIX), a cloud pipeline and data center owner. They are allied with Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, which I hope will eventually win against Amazon’s huge cloud. Who wants to trust Amazon with their entire corporate business and security if the other choice is the Microsoft on your PCs?

I also still hold AT&T (T), which is now FCC-approved to merge with DirectTV, with an expectation of leveraging their scale to produce their own competitive over-the-top video streaming service like everyone else.

Nvidia’s (NVDA) stock continues to head into the abyss with PCs and chips, although the stock is super tempting as it dips below $20. The future of virtual reality in video games and in general might see Nvidia as a big player.

As TAGN reported, Blizzard (ATVI) announces results next week on 8/4, followed by an announcement of a new expansion a few days later on 8/6. Interesting.

In the last two quarters, Blizzard reported strong results and the stock popped. Both times I sold and took small profits. The stock might pop again, but right now Wall Street seems to be in a mood to sell any stocks after their results hit print.

Especially if a stock ran up into its earnings announcement.

I would not be betting on Blizzard’s stock to be higher the day after it reports. If ATVI sells off hard, it might be a buying opportunity, especially if the Wall Street boys aren’t completely up to speed with the expansion deal.

Also, if Blizzard is announcing their expansion earlier than normal at Gamescom, then maybe they are saving something even bigger for Blizzcon in November?


Challenge 15

15 ballThis week I played Hearthstone and WoW. My Hearthstone Mage is almost level 20, but I’ve discovered a Warlock strategy that I really like, so I’m trying out the evil side.

I still can’t decide whether to buy the Draenor pre-order. I might wait and see how the new stronghold (housing) NPC crafting situation works out before making a decision on that.

15 is the magic number today, as lvling life and TAGN are both rolling with a 15 theme. 15 is the atomic number of Phosphorus, which can glow, burn, and explode. So here are my 15 most incendiary video games.

Honestly, phosphorus is a lot more exciting than this blog post, so if you’re a chemist and/or meth cook by profession, I’d suggest playing with chemicals instead.

1. Pong (1972) Long hours with a little console and a black and white TV, pushing ball control beyond the ken of mortal man. It was more fun than playing with barbie and ken.

2. Space Invaders (1978) I never owned an Atari. I had a Magnavox. My friends had the newer Atari consoles. This game was a much-referenced bombdiggity in its era, tense and creepy, and spawned sexier and prettier bottom-shooters like Galaga.

3. Wizardry (1981) This was the first RPG I played. You could create your own party and go explore the dungeon. I didn’t own this game until later. It was the domain of my friend who had a computer to play it. I eventually got an Apple IIc and played Wizardry up to the Legacy of LLylgamyn module.

4. Ms. Pacman (1982) This doesn’t need any explanation. Girls can swallow pills too, and this remains a seminal influence. I wouldn’t mind having a Ms. Pacman console in my living room as a stress-reliever.

5. Diablo (1996) This was a period when I didn’t have a proper computer, so this was a hand-me-down from my brother. I want to say I liked the original more than Diablo 2, but that would be crazy, right? I liked the gritty, haunted atmosphere and music of the original. Diablo 2 was a classic, but it was also more trudgey and gamey with the item sockets after the LoD expansion.

6. Fallout (1997) This was a wonderful little RPG and another recommendation from my brother. I also enjoyed Wasteland, its predecessor, on the Apple IIc. I enjoyed Fallout 3, but it seemed to end quickly, and the open world was too obviously just a big rectangle, which didn’t do much for immersion. The imagination is bigger than any game map.

7. Neverwinter Nights (2002) I played this game for years, including all of the expansions. I also played online in a “persistent world” called Grim River created and hosted on someone else’s hard drive. This could be my favorite D&D-flavored game ever, certainly in terms of hours played. The sound, music, and especially the animations were fabulous. The companion system was a little lackluster, but set the stage for better things to come, and still allowed for more complicated gameplay.

8. Baldur’s Gate 2 (2000) This remains one of the all-time great RPGs. It offered great characters and art, along with party romance, including lesbian flirtation with the drow elf, Viconia, and the druid Jaheira. I created an all-girl team.

9. Morrowind (2002) This was another recommendation from my brother, still a bit before I was proactively looking for video games to play. I loved this game, and it remains my sentimental favorite in the Elder Scrolls series. I didn’t like the instant teleporting around the map in Oblivion. It hurt immersion greatly, just like in Fallout 3. More recently, I’ve struggled with Skyrim and TESO because of the non-interface.

10. Vampire: Bloodlines (2004) This was a fabulous RPG that I followed up to launch. WoW released at almost the same time, but I played Bloodlines first, and WoW the next spring (I think). I was more interested in story and characters, which Bloodlines provided. I enjoyed Planescape:Torment, but I liked Bloodlines more because I could create the character I wanted and still experience a strong story with different endings.

11. World of Warcraft (2004) This was the first MMO I ever played. My brother-in-law played Everquest, but it just never looked interesting to me in terms of playstyle and game goals. WoW offered beautiful graphics and animation with responsive controls. I was overjoyed exploring Elwynn Forest and taking the candles from the kobolds. I played paladin and mage to cap in the original game, and since then I’ve played occasionally but never at the edge of the expansion progression.

12. Lord of the Rings Online (2007) I was browsing games at Best Buy and noticed this on the shelf. It looked good and had just released. I decided to give it a try, which was a good idea. This is my favorite and most-played MMO and RPG. I started blogging to just keep track of LotRO links and my add-on projects. LotRO also taught me the meaning of hating a game developer, since they despoiled my favorite game ever with F2P and store buttons all over the interface. I’ll be unlikely to do mods for a game ever again, or get so involved.

13. Dragon Age: Origins (2009) Lots of love for this game. It’s one of the all-time greats, offering unique racial starting zones and stories that touch the emotions, among other things.

14. Rift (2011) This was the first MMO where I got involved in the community and wrote a guide, which was insanely successful, and remains so, with over 35000 views in the last 10 months alone since I updated it for F2P. I really wish Rift were in a better place. I’m hoping their coming expansion will be something great. Rift re-inforces the concept of not getting too involved in any one game, since the game can change drastically or fail at any time.

15. Saint’s Row: The Third (2011) The more I hate Rockstar for misogyny in GTA and disallowing its games to be played as a female, the more I love Saint’s Row. This is the equal opportunity driver/shooter, the anti-GTA, and I’ll continue to support and enjoy every installment of this brilliant franchise. In Saint’s Row 3, you play a charismatic gang leader. I enjoyed the DLC that turns you into a vampire.


Hearthstone: Like A Box Of Chocolates

Tonight I played Blizzard’s newly-released Hearthstone for maybe three hours. This meant that I also installed the Battle.net launcher, which lets you log into most Blizzard games without entering your ID and password, including WoW. I had no idea. The kitty likes this!

Meanwhile, commenters vomited unnecessary negativity on Trion’s newly announced launcher yesterday. The desirability is obvious, which is why every game company is implanting these into your cerebral cortex PC desktop. Don’t worry. Just trust. Play. Love.


Hugs For Hearthstone


Hearthstone is a free-to-play digital collectible card game based on the Warcraft universe and lore. If you’re a fan of Warcraft, everything should be familiar and fun, but you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy the game.

I haven’t played a fantasy card game in eons beyond elven reckoning, and I was surprised by how much fun it was. The tutorial eases you into the concepts and complicated strategies using non-player computer opponents.

If you win three matches in Play mode, you get a mount for World of Warcraft. It’s a beautiful bluish Pegasus mount (“Pegaso” is the Spanish translation in the mount panel, anyway), magical yet earthy and equestrian.

The Hearthstone interface is not so beautiful. If Elder Scrolls Online players think Morrowind is muddy and dull, they should put it side by side with Hearthstone. The interface looks blurry and low-resolution dirt brown, or chocolate if you want to be charitable.

The game logo also looks a wee bit Photoshop to me, but well-adjusted humans shouldn’t have a problem.

I learned a lot about the Mage from just a few hours of play. I made mistakes. My opponents made mistakes. Sometimes a game is an exciting game of inches. Other times you get all the cards, and your opponent is card dead, and victory is inevitable towards the end when you can play more cards at once.

Other times it’s vice versa. You’re mashed potatoes for the ogres.

The luck factor gives you a chance in every match, and it’s worth the frustration. That’s the same frustration that’s supposed to drive you to buy cards one can suppose, or rather packs of cards to open randomly and hopefully like MMO lock boxes.

My question is what is supposed to be my motivation to keep going and advance, aside from just having fun and learning more about WoW lore and heroes. Supposedly there is a ratings or advancement panel I haven’t visited yet.

The murlocs in the game are worth a chuckle. One card played against me was a turtle or something that got buffed if it ate a murloc. Only nine heroes are available at launch, and only two are female. That gender lopsidedness surely goes an orc too far.

Diablo 3 has no such lopsidedness that I know of, to its credit. There’s a free Diablo 3 starter edition on the Battle.Net launcher, but I’ll stick with WoW. My Druid is bearly level 84 now in the Cataclysm expansion.