Four Digits

This is the 1,000th post published on Superior Realities. Feels like a bit of a crazy number, but when you consider I’ve had this blog for the lion’s share of a decade now, it feels a bit more reasonable.

My character in Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem.I wanted to do something special for the 1,000th post, but I’m a bit too short on spoons at the moment to go too wild, so I’ve settled on a simple retrospective. I’m going to dig up links to some of my favourite or most memorable posts. I’m not being super thorough or scientific about this, so undoubtedly I’ll be forgetting some good ones, but off the top of my head these are some that feel worth revisiting.

The Trinity Trinity

No less than three posts deconstructing the trinity of traditional group roles in MMORPGs. Put a lot of work and thought into this one.

It’s really funny going back and reading all my hand-wringing about not being a professional game designer now that I am a professional game designer. Admittedly a novice one who is still far from an expert, but still.

Twenty Years

In which I outline the world and story I consider to be my life’s work.

TSW Homebrew

My first foray into tabletop RPG design. I’d really like to work more on this at some point, but it’s hard to justify it when I could be spending the time on paying projects.

Took a reboot of the game for me to earn my purple wings.At the very least I should go back and nerf Exquisite Corpse again. Gods I created a monster with that spell…

Take a Walk on Wyrd Street

Speaking of RPG design…

The Mustering of Azeroth

Not one post, but a massive series covering World of Warcraft: Legion and its myriad class and artifact quests. I still haven’t played WoW since, and it’s starting to feel more and more like this was my way of saying goodbye to the setting.

The Secret World’s Combat Is Fine

I will die on this hill.

World Spectrum: Living for the Future

Always really liked this story. Leha and Alistos are two of my favourite characters to write for.

Efflo, Mexico

Literally just me sharing a YouTube link, but this band is so good I’ll take any opportunity I can to plug them.

On Being Represented

Lana Beniko in Star Wars: The Old Republic.In which I discuss those rare characters in fiction I can see myself reflected in.

Fan Fiction: The Black in the Red

The story of my Templar character in The Secret World, written in the style of the in-game lore entries. I’m pleased with how well I managed to replicate the style. I actually did some lore entries for all my other characters. Maybe I’ll post them one day.

RPGs Versus Progression Games

Probably the piece of game design analysis that I’m most proud of from the history of this blog, maybe my whole career.

Warcraft III: Reforged Thoughts

Over the last few weeks, I’ve played through the full campaign of Warcraft III: Reforged (minus the Rexxar campaign, because bleh). It was an interesting experience, but it does leave me with some mixed feelings.

Arthas and Illidan face off in Warcraft III: ReforgedOf course, Reforged has been met with some really harsh criticism, but I think that says more about how hysterical the gaming community has gotten than it does about the game itself. It is so, so exhausting how every single game is the worst, most broken thing ever now according to the commentariat. No wonder so many developers have trouble taking our feedback seriously.

That’s not to say it’s not a game with some issues. It’s just that they’ve been blown so wildly out of proportion. It’s super frustrating because there are valid complaints to be made, but at this point it’s hard to make them without feeling like I’m adding my voice to the screeching mob of embittered gamers who just hate everything.

As it is, I will say that I feel they could have done a bit more to modernize the mechanics. In particular the limited unit selection feels really bad to go back to after being able to control my whole army at once in StarCraft II. The pathfinding could be better, too.

Also, while the improvements to the cinematics and unit models are stellar, the terrain is a bit more hit and miss. With the exception of a few tilesets (like Ashenvale and the Broken Isles), it feels like the terrain wasn’t updated as much as the units, and the contrast between the two can be a bit jarring.

Would be really nice if the custom game AI had been improved, too. It’s very one-dimensional in its strategies right now, so if you don’t PvP there’s pretty much nothing to do once you finish the campaign.

Night Elf units in Warcraft III: ReforgedIn general, the game doesn’t hold up as much as I’d like. I mean, it actually holds up really damn well for a game of its age, but in its day it was a masterpiece, and now it’s just good. Not enough tweaking was done to bring it up to today’s standards.

It doesn’t help that this is following on the heels of the Age of Empires II remaster, which was damn near perfect. It hit exactly the right balance of modernizing the mechanics without altering the soul of the game, and it set a very high bar for other remasters to live up to.

On the other hand, it could have been a lot worse. Let us all give thanks that they backed off from their original plans to rewrite the story. That would have been horrible.

On the subject of the story, again it is starting to show its age. It is still a good story, but it doesn’t feel like the earth-shattering masterpiece it did back in the day. There’s not really anything wrong with the story that’s there, but it just feels a bit thin by modern standards. StarCraft II’s massive, sprawling campaign full of between mission dialogue has spoiled me. Warcraft III’s campaign feels rather thin by comparison.

Again, it’s still good, and if you’ve never played it, I still recommend it. It’s just not as mind-blowing as I remember it being when I was a kid.

It was interesting and a bit sad to compare how much things have changed in World of Warcraft. Now, WoW has done a lot of great things with its story, and don’t let me send the impression I’m saying WoW is bad or ruined everything, but there are a lot of specific things it has screwed up. It was very refreshing to go back to a time when Night Elves were scary, Jaina was badass, and Kael’thas was actually a three-dimensional character.

Gods I missed Cairne.I’m glad I revisited it, and there’s still a lot to love about the game, but it did leave me with a certain “you can’t go home again” kind of feeling.