AuthorKristin Marshall

Game Over

Garrosh Down!

Last Sunday, after 553 pulls on Heroic Garrosh, we finally killed that butthead. It’s been a long road, but this… this feels so good. Garrosh is an encounter about execution and raid composition. So when we faced attendance issues or internet issues, Heroic Garrosh became so much more than just executing mechanics. I suppose many encounters are more than their mechanics, but going through ever-changing raid compositions took a toll on our group.

Some nights we didn’t even match past weeks of progression on the fight. Some raids were completely cancelled due to summer attendance issues. Raiders were pushed beyond their comfort zones and familiar specs. On this encounter alone, I ended up playing every spec a monk can play. I went face-to-face with burnout. I just wanted this thing to die… we all did. After we downed Garry, I told Tikari that it was the first time for a while that I’d left raid feeling truly satisfied. I’m sure my guildies felt the same.

It wasn’t all bad though. I learned a lot about my monk. Things became second nature in my off-spec-turned-main-spec. Little things, progressing to a new phase and seeing pieces fall into place, felt so good. I felt bonded with my guildies – this encounter was the first end-tier boss I’ve killed with Apotheosis.

So, now that we’re “finished,” it’s time to re-clear for the first time in months. Although the cycle starts anew, in a sense, I feel at ease. Bring it on, Draenor.

The Happiest Lil’ Demonic Tremor

I drew a thing. A cute lil’ Demonic Tremor. Happy Friday, y’all!

D3 Demonic Tremor

Monday, we’re breaking up.

another-monday

When I started Blizzlist, I figured it’d be a learning process. And it has been! I didn’t know how my bookmarking system would work out. I wasn’t quite sure what day to publish the weekly issue on or what time of the day was best. I had to ignore rethink my marketing instincts with the Blizzard community because it was nothing like past experiences with predictable demographics.

“These people are likely to read this thing at this time.”

“You should tweet now to optimize your reach.”

BAH!

Not so with this community. It transcends US timezones and a single age group. Sure, for marketing purposes, I imagine Blizzard has in-depth demographic information about their customers. But I’m just guessing here. So I just chose Monday. I thought, “alright, it’s the beginning of the work week. Let’s go with that.”

But I’ve learned a few things as issue #12 comes to a close:

  1. This takes more time to put together than I’d originally predicted.
  2. I need to work on the issue over the weekend if I want to release it by Monday morning. Especially if news doesn’t pick up until mid-week. I can gather items during the week, but I can’t write until I’ve chosen the final ten items.
  3. If I have plans over the weekend, putting the issue together by Monday makes everything complicated.
  4. I don’t like losing most of my free time over the weekend and I want to play more Diablo.

I kept pushing ahead even though I’d been losing out on a few weekends of relaxation. But this morning I thought, “why the heck am I forcing myself into this situation? I DO WHAT I WANT!”

So, I’m going to release Blizzlist issues on Tuesdays from now on, starting this week. One, it frees up more of my weekend. Two, it lines up with WoW maintenance day. And that’s kind of appropriate.

As always, thanks for reading.

So what if YouTube acquires Twitch?

Twitch_plays_pokemon

It’s been a few days since news rumors surfaced about YouTube acquiring Twitch for over $1 billion. Let’s put aside the fact that Variety’s “source close to the pact” is probably some guy’s brother’s cousin’s BFF and imagine a Twitch buyout.

Honestly, it’d be a steal at $1 billion; livestreaming online games has taken off. In 2013 alone, the League of Legends Season 3 World Championships drew 32 million viewers. Want to know how many people watched the MLB World Series that year? 15 million. According to Twitch, the site receives more than 45 million unique visitors every month who watch a combined 13 billion minutes of gameplay. And they’ve admitted that it’s gotten to the point where the site “can’t keep up with the growth.”

For perspective, YouTube received around 20 million unique visitors in 2006, when Google acquired the company for $1.6 billion. Since then, YouTube has grown exponentially, with over a billion unique visitors every month raking in at least $5 billion of Google’s $55 billion in annual revenue.

And I don’t see how Twitch wouldn’t get as big, or bigger. Twitch could very well turn into the site that people associate with livestreaming, like YouTube or Netflix is to video on demand. But enough about how good of a deal it’d be for Google; what about us?

Let’s be real: Google probably has one of the world’s top infrastructures with servers worldwide. Twitch’s growing pains and website inconsistencies between the US and EU make the acquisition a “duh” improvement as far as the tech.

But think about the possibilities from a content creator standpoint. Where does YouTube win? Video on demand capabilities that are leaps and bounds better than what Twitch offers (easy upload, intuitive clipping, pause/rewind livestreams, etc.) and offering transcoding to all users. Not only that, but YouTube offers a superior viewing experience for previously recorded videos.

As far as ad revenue is concerned, I can only speculate how it’d affect streamers. Compared to Twitch, it’s relatively easy to get partnership on YouTube with a high CPM rate on ads (although some folks argue that the CPM is about equal between Twitch and YouTube). But remember that most of the things we associate with YouTube now, especially monetization, is due to the Google buyout. Ending the exclusive “Twitch partner” bull and leveraging YouTube’s vastly superior peering agreements would be a huge positive for Twitch’s streamers.

Money aside, I’ve found that the major concern from the community lies in precisely that: The community. What would happen to Twitch’s community after a YouTube buyout? Would YouTube integrate – or even require – Google+ login and/or account merging? Honestly, I wouldn’t worry too much about Google+. In recent months, Google has been backing away from forced G+ integration altogether. I imagine a login experience not unlike many other sites offering multiple login options via username, email, Google, Facebook, or Twitter. Although I yearn for accountability in places like Twitch chat, where shitposting, harassment, spammers and the ilk reign, anonymity is prized by gamers.

And what about the music blaring through your headphones? Most streamers play unlicensed music while gaming and – other than the Google+ hate – is a big concern to the community. YouTube’s Content ID system can indeed be flawed. In some cases it completely cripples content creators. But really, how much of the music you hear on a stream is the music you’d want to listen to anyway? Many times, I prefer to simply mute the stream altogether because I’m not in the mood for shitty dubstep. I guess that’s not the point. If a streamer profits from her stream while “Sandstorm” pumps in the background, shouldn’t she pay for the rights to use that song?

I can understand the fear of content being banned or removed due to copyright. But you should be afraid that it’d be removed because of what you’re streaming, not the music you’re playing. Thing is, Twitch is all about streaming gameplay. I don’t think Google would use their standard Content ID algorithm and end up punishing users streaming games. Kinda defeats the point. The music, on the other hand, is a different story.

So, what will happen? At this point, who knows. As with any acquisition, there are many points to argue. For me, the pros of a Twitch acquisition outweigh the cons. Will the world end as we know it? Probably not, but folks will carry on that way anyway.

Valor Upgrades in 5.4.8: At Least it’s Not Dragon Soul

I’m generally an optimist, but a grumpy one at that. I’d like to think it’s endearing grumpiness. So while players rejoiced the announcement of two additional Valor upgrades on gear in patch 5.4.8, I grumped in a corner.

“This just creates a feeling of progression without really adding anything to the game at all,” I thought.

I am Grumpycat

After a bit of reflection, I wasn’t as grumpy and accepted the fact that Valor upgrades could smooth out a few kinks in my guild’s current H Garrosh progression. That little boost of power could help close the gap for us; it’s so easy for everything to go to shit on that fight.

We have quite a wait before WoD. Introducing a path to progress characters without the burden of adding new content makes sense for Blizzard right now. But it doesn’t mean I can’t complain about it! Anyone can tell me that I’m not required to cap my Valor every week. True enough, I don’t have to do anything. In order to maximize my contribution to raid, I do have to. Being able to trade Timeless Coins for Valor should take some of the sting out of the grind though.

At this point in the expansion it’d be nice to see a removal or raise of the weekly VP cap, but that would defeat the point of a gradual buff. Personal progress that’s supposed to keep us busy until WoD. But hey, it beats the alternative.

Let me take you back: It’s early 2012 and many guilds are working their way through Dragon Soul. The guild I was a member of wasn’t bleeding edge, but we were moving along at a decent clip through Heroic progression. The encounters didn’t feel like they needed to be nerfed, to be honest. Not only did Blizzard nerf the entire instance through a direct debuff on bosses, but they increasingly nerfed the place as Cataclysm stretched on.

It was absolutely painful. We could give zero fucks about encounter mechanics – the nerfs trivialized everything. So, things could be worse.

Should you bother?

Yes. You should care that Blizzard chose the VP route over the Dragon Soul route. VP upgrades are a roundabout way of nerfing content through our gear. It doesn’t punish raiders and it won’t diminish our sense of accomplishment when SoO is completed (sorry, Garry, you suck at your job). And for folks not on a regular raid schedule, it offers a sense of character progression at a time when there’s not much else in the game to look forward to.

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