I wanted to write a blog post today but I don’t have anything particularly substantial to say. So instead, I will say two half-substantial things!
Hearthstone Harshes My Mellow
As you’ve probably heard by now if you care about such things, Hearthstone has announced some pretty significant changes. The game will introduce “Standard mode”, which will limit cards to the most recent expansions and looks poised to be the default competitive mode.
This is not an entirely new idea: I’m informed by friends who play Magic: the Gathering that this is already a well-established format in that game. The goal, I think, is to keep the meta lively and ostensibly make it easier for new people to compete without having to buy dozens of expansions first.
I’m sure this is an entirely practical solution from the serious, competitive perspective, but as someone who buys cards with in-game gold and not dollars, and plays very casually, this is bad news.
I’m perpetually behind by at least one expansion. Either I’m earning my 700 gold to unlock a wing (a task that can take me some time), or, like with the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion, as I don’t buy packs I almost never add any of these new cards to my collection. I’m far too behind to ever engage in the new Standard play without dropping quite a few real dollars.
“So just play Wild mode, where all of your old cards are still eligible,” you might reasonably say. And that seems like a good solution on its face, but to quote someone who is much more wise about the game than I am, “Yeah, until you realize that a year or two from now it will be a cesspit of broken synergies which will make you pine for the halcyon days of Secret Paladin.”
My admittedly aging mech pally deck still does pretty okay for what I want out of ranked play (rank 15 – 19 makes me happy), but it will soon either be seriously outgunned in Wild mode or ineligible for Standard mode. Alas!
Azuriel makes another great point in his post: Blizzard just invalidated half of everyone’s card collection, and the general response is to applaud the decision! Man, while their PR is often terrible those guys are wizards at marketing.
Witcher 3 Forces Gross Decisions
My time with Witcher 3 continues slowly but firmly. I’m avoiding any of the notice board quests because what am I, made of time? However, I generally do the side quests that come with some of the more notable characters, such as Keira Metz and that Pellar guy with the prophetic goat.
I do enjoy how the game forces you to make difficult decisions where there is no obvious “good” option. Without giving away significant spoilers, I recently had to decide between helping an amorphous thorny blob with a creepy demon voice, or its enemy, a trio of child-eating witch-things who appeared to be made out of raw meat and bug parts.
Sadly I was not given the option to just say, “You know what, screw all y’alls. I’m getting a beer.” and then flounce off with my manly hair.