November 11th, 2006

Brad @ Burning Man

Change of subject

I remember many years ago at a coffee house, one of those huge round-table discussions with 18 or 20 people in it, somebody wanting to change the subject and having trouble breaking in. So we developed a slang term for this (it being not long after the peak of the Magic: The Gathering fad): to play a change of subject card. Which eventually got elaborated to "tap 3 mana and play a Change of Subject card." One of the first times we said this, somebody reached out to the table and rotated three of the cigarette packages 90°.

So yeah, I could stand to tap three mana and play a change-of-subject card, because I don't feel like working up some elaborate but gentle segue from all politics and current events to the break from it that I'm going to take for a while. I really do like to write about other subjects, especially during the off-season. So odds are, I'll be content for a while to let both parties enjoy the current circular firing squad that they both have going on, roll my eyes, and talk about something else for a while. Probably several something elses.

Right now I need to crash if I'm going to get up in time to grab a bus to the Polymunch, so I'll just throw in a quick note: I gave up on Auto Assault. From about level 1 to 38 or so, it's the best damned online roleplaying game I've ever played. From about level 38 to about level 65 or so, it was still kind of fun. But from level 65 on, the quality of the game drops like a brick. Nor does it help that my preferred character class, the summoner classes, collapse altogether in both usefulness and survivability and become total charity cases after about level 70. I got a mutant Archon to level 78 ... and gave up in disgust. I stuck around for a while, because there was a big patch coming, Update 3. But then they published the preliminary patch notes to Update 3 and the tentative design notes to Update 4. None of them addressed any of my concerns with the game. Which means that, with NCsoft no longer funding any more new development than the existing subscriber base can pay for, it was going to remain one long and unpleasant slog for me for at least another six months. And that's more abuse than I'll take for a roleplaying character that I'm paying for. What it really came down to is my unshakable suspicion that they're moving in the wrong direction.

And oddly enough, right around the same time, Cryptic published the preliminary patch notes for the next big update to City of Heroes, and dropped some hints about the next two big updates, basically the next six months' worth of development to that game. And looking over those design notes, I came to the exactly opposite conclusion, at least from looking at the hero side of the game. This is a game that is, whatever its current frustrations, moving in the right direction. (On the hero side only. For all that the villain powers are more fun to play with, I still think they have their heads up their backsides on the overall design of the villain game.) So right now I'm noodling around with some low level villains on the Virtue (roleplaying) server just to keep my hand in. Once Issue 8: To Protect and Serve hits the live servers, I'll be playing heroes on the Freedom (mega) server. I've got a host of Santarchy-themed heroes, but it looks like my new main will be an Illusion/Kinetics controller there called the Forbidden Loremaster. My global chat name is still @InfamousBrad. If you had me gfriended, you need to un-gfriend and re-gfriend me, because some kind of global server glitch wiped my global character name while I was unsubscribed and broke all the links between us.