Join Nathan Grayson in His "Free From WoW for a Whole Year" Bash!
August 22, 2008 (Dallas, Texas) -- Nathan Grayson, a Maximum PC freelancer and unanimously-voted "snappy dresser," has, on this day, officially avoided Blizzard's World of Warcraft MMORPG for an entire year.
"It's been great finally living life on my own terms," said Nathan, flashing a gloriously bright smile. "To mark the occasion, I'll be canceling my WoW subscription tomorrow. What? Oh sure, I could do it today, but, uh, tomorrow for sure. No problem."
To be sure, the journey from his luxurious armchair into the comforting grip of real life wasn't an easy one.
"Oh, it's been a wild ride," he quipped. "On cold, lonely nights, my mind used to slip back into Azeroth, and I'd dream of raids, epics -- legendaries, even! But it's been, er, I've -- I mean, whew. Anyone have a PC handy? I, uh, just need to check on some things. Sure, I'll follow the cue cards again afterwards."
Nathan Grayson's soul is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com, NASDAQ: ATVID). Nathan is a great guy -- single, too. Really, he's one in approximately 10 million. Among other things, he's well known for posing the following question: Have you ever found your claws locked into your keyboard, signifying your irrevocable addiction to a game? Sound off in the comments section. Passers-by don't really know what to make of it.
He also runs Maximum PC's Gaming Roundup, available every week day. Peep today's edition for all of the latest World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King news and info. Oh, there's some other stuff too -- something about how suing file-sharers is a bad idea -- but that's not really important. The phony PR-speak ends after the break.
"Mwahahaha," I cackled gleefully as I skewered a yet another hapless Storm Trooper in the recent Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo. "Help!" the poor soldier's cry echoed off the walls. But I didn't care. With a flick of my character's wrist, my foe's armor was put to its final test: a steel reinforced ceiling. My grin only widened when gravity yanked the Storm Trooper out of his skyward flight, planting him on the cold floor with a satisfying crack.
I'm a maniacal jerk.
Or at least I was -- in the game. Actually, "irl," I'd say I'm a fairly mild-mannered person. But unless you consider cheaply-constructed, mass-produced action figures to be an artistic medium, videogames are the only medium that allows us to act out our (seemingly sick) fantasies. Gaming's greatest detractors fault our hobby for being violent, and I'm not inclined to disagree with them. But hey, over-the-top violence goes hand-in-hand with interactivity. With the aforementioned action figures, many of us staged tumultuous battles, with swords, guns, fists -- everything -- in an almost primal manner. And it was fun.
Fact is, people are inclined towards violence. We wolf down popcorn while watching actors pretend to put bullets in each others' brains; we slow down traffic for a gander at a car accident. Our media expresses this -- caters to it, even. But society goes on. Few of our sane population are lugging around shotguns or holding up convenience stores with trusty stabbin' knives. Sure, circumstances cause people to do some pretty awful things, but generally out of necessity -- not for fun. And really, that's why videogame violence is great. It's catharsis -- a harmless arena in which we can live out our horrific, Trooper-smashing fantasies.
So, what's the most sadistic, cringe-worthy thing you've ever done in a game? To take things a notch further, think about the gamess you typically play. How many of them aren't in some way violent?
Today's Roundup features games that are, as you'd expect, violent, but one in particular uses its controversial brand of destruction to further a greater cause. In addition, you'll find Clive Barker's pie-in-the-sky dreams for the horror genre, hardware manufacturers' dirty little piracy-related secret, and more. It's all after the break.
When I was a youngster, in between seven hour sessions of the latest 60 hour role-playing behemoth, I always told myself that I wouldn't be like those other adults when I grew up -- those adults who whiled away their days in front of a cramped desk, wishing they still had room in their busy schedules to work through their ever-expanding pile of shame. But here I sit, leg sandwiched between a desk and my chest, foot resting on my chair. Yeah, the prognosis isn't looking so hot.
These days, I'm happy to fit in some game time every couple of days, so it's only natural that my tastes have changed. While many vocal gamers whipped up sternly-worded message board posts after beating Portal in a single afternoon, I only grinned. I'd taken the tour, seen the sights, and gotten the ubiquitous tune stuck in my head -- in and out, no filler. If the credits roll within a mere couple of hours, so be it. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time; I see no reason to be dissatisfied. In the end, short games fit snuggly into the hustle and bustle of my life, while encouraging their creators to craft tightly-paced experiences. Win-win.
But what's your take? Do you prefer long journeys whose plot threads tangle you up and never let go? Do you gripe when a game doesn't include any sort of multiplayer? Or do you currently have Braid penciled in for this weekend, with all times subject to change?
Well, for those of you who fall into the former camp, today's your lucky day. This particular Roundup is all about lengthier titles -- from a day-long boss battle to BioWare (Need I say more?), and maybe a quick smoke in between. Jump past the break for the whole shebang.
I find television show depictions of people playing games absolutely ridiculous. Actors, directed by people with no grasp of how gaming actually works, lean and rock like they're atop a mechanical bull. Those of us who actually game can vouch for how utterly false such depictions are. But while some of us may sit hunched over in our cushy chairs, mouths agape, displaying only the basest signs of life, a good many of us do express emotion while we play. Thing is, when the actor asks, "What's my motivation?" The director should fire back with a single word: "Pissed."
Without a doubt, most of us play games for fun, but when I'm winding languidly through Uncannily-Accurate-Sniper-Alley for the tenth time, you'd have to be Stephen Colbert to turn my frown upside-down. We're all human, so when things don't go our way, we get frustrated. We shout, we curse, we frighten small children. However, gaming is unique as a medium in that, unlike television, film, or music, it manages to evoke such fiery emotions. Good or bad, you have to admit that's kind of cool.
So, when you play games, do you let your emotions take control? Have you ever embedded a controller into your wall? A mouse? Have any stories you'd like to share?
Today's Roundup isn't intended to make you angry -- or even a little hot under the collar -- so take a load off and give it a read. Inside, you'll find an EA cash-grabbing scheme that's a tad different from the norm, Ubisoft taking piracy by the horns, hope for Crackdown 2, and much, much* more. Jump past the break and let the catharsis begin.
As gamers, we love our hobby; and as people, we love company. QuakeCon, of course, made that fact ridiculously obvious. Sure, the convention's glitz and glamour were nice, but gamers trekked out into Dallas' sweltering heat for one real purpose: to hang-out with other like-minded people.
But I saw plenty of that over the frag-tacular weekend. So now I'm curious: how do you guys deal with non-gamers? I imagine you interact with them on a regular basis, but do you surround yourself with them? Would you describe yourself as a normal, average-Joe who just happens to enjoy playing games, but generally falls in with most any crowd? Or do you proudly sport an "I Pwn Noobs" T-Shirt and expect your buddies to do the same? Sound off in the comments section.
Today's Roundup takes a look at how the industry's pulse-pounding pursuit of the elusive non-gamer is changing our beloved hobby. From the fall of the current five-year console cycle to Steve Jobs' apparent failure to "get" gaming, the industry is in for a wild ride. The twist? The ride has already begun. You'd best click "Read More" to continue.
Gamers are pasty, white nerds who pop and sizzle when exposed to the sun's rays, say the old stereotypes. We're socially inept and maladjusted -- unable to carry on a normal human existence. Of course, that's an uninformed viewpoint at best, but neither would I say that all gamers are social butterflies.
As I write this, I'm sitting in QuakeCon's cavernous, dimly-lit BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area, where gamers from all walks of life gather to, well, do what they always do: play games. But even though the BYOC is populated by hundreds of people, the air is abuzz with a light hum of voices. The ear-annihilating roar that one would expect from such a colossal crowd is absent. Obviously, not all QuakeCon goers are into the talky-talky.
So, what kind of gamer are you? Do you live for events like QuakeCon? Do you thrive when jostling against the shoulders of others? Or do you mute your headset every time you hop online, preferring instead the subtle company of your own mind? Single-player? Multiplayer? Pick your poison.
Either way, today's Roundup has stories that pertain to your experience -- from some colorful language about Diablo III to Flagship Studios' stunning conclusion (for real this time!). Oh, and another Doom movie, but that story is for me.
What are you playing right now? FPS? RTS? Peggle? Who developed it? Do you even care?
I imagine you do; as a presumably-hardcore gamer, you've likely cultivated a few brand alliances here and there. But what happens when we change the question up a little? Do you think your favorite developer cares about you?
No, I don't mean on an individual, person-to-person basis. What I'm asking is: do you think those oh-so-dreamy devs slave over games for their fans, or for themselves? Yes, yes, gaming is a business, and there's certainly money involved. But at the end of the day, do you think the aforementioned designers look at themselves in the mirror and nod in satisfaction because they created a game for you, or because they calmed the cries of their wild inner artist? Sound off in the comments section. Let's start a discussion that doesn't involve sarcasm and commas (though both are certainly allowed)!
Anyway, today's Roundup shines the spotlight on developers of both breeds, though some trumpet their allegiance louder than others. If you'd like to find out who's who, what's what, and which of them might soon end up in the pit of Microsoft's belly, read on.
Blizzard has won a summary judgment against the World of Warcraft bot maker MDY (the folks that brought you WowGlider, now MMOGlider) based on copyright grounds. The judge also decided that liability for contributory copyright infringement and tortious interference is off the table and won’t go to the jury at trial. This is a victory for Blizzard and a setback for MDY, which brought the action.
Botting has been common in MMO games from almost the beginning and developers have tried varying amounts of pressure to stop the practice. It causes headaches to developers trying to manage an ‘economy’ within their games and discourages players who want to play within the game's frame work and rules. Players have used it as a method to get ahead in MMOs and even turned it into real money by selling virtual items and characters made in this fashion for real money.
This is starting to sound bad for MDY. Who do you think is in the right? MDY, or Blizzard? The final ruling could have an effect felt across many MMOs.
"Action-packed!" "A wild ride." "Nearly as exhilarating as the video game industry!" Ah, who am I kidding? The first two don't even come close to matching the third, and today serves as a large, billowing banner for that fact. We've got mergers, buyouts, children, slavery, drugs, and even CliffyB! If every day were this exciting, action movies would be out of a job. Now click that "Read More" link; you know you want to.
Each day, some big-wig exec says PC gaming is writhing on the ground, scrambling towards the light. Generally, I just scoff and log back in to the 10 million person chatroom that is World of Warcraft. But what about when someone who I actually respect utters the dreaded D-word? Well, I scoff at them in article form, and what better platform to use than the Roundup? Hit the ever-present "read more" link to read all about the aforementioned exec, as well as topics ranging from Gametap to Led Zeppelin, and a few things in-between.