Old School (and New Azeroth?)

Well, this week’s blog was going to be all about how I’ve been looking around for a Wow clone, and found one worth playing:  Allods Online.  If you haven’t yet and want a – sometimes VERY – different game that’s still got a ton of things World of Warcraft offers, you might check this one out.  It’s a) free, which is a big plus, b) has both “light” and “dark” sides (sometimes within the same faction!! which I really like), and c) has some interesting spins on the older model.  Like, space, for instance.  For another, I LOVE the idea of there being a demonologist option for the “light” elves, so that you can have someone dark on the “good” side even if you’ve been spending ages with the deal being “all good” versus “all evil” and having NPCs being the only ones allowed to have grey areas.

Yeah this week’s was going to be all about that.  But yesterday my laptop – and therefore any notes I had on it – shut down, due to (we believe) a dead adaptor.  This really threw me off (along with a number of other crappy things that happened on this Monday to rival all Mondays), so consequentially I couldn’t get my head working enough to even think of working:(  I spent the day doing dishes, very light cleaning, some yoga and basically leveling a character from 72-80 in GW2 (there’s supposed to be a large patch/change today, part of their “living world” I keep talking about). 

Today, though, even though I woke at an hour later than I’d wanted, I also woke determined to work.  I also woke realizing that like writing, I could use good old pen and paper for programming too!  So I’ve done half an hour of that, designing some little puzzles that people in the Horsemen game would do, just writing in a few basic bits of code to remind myself of things. And now I’m also here, writing this blog post.

Back to “new Azeroth”, or as I’m beginning to think of it, “Azeroth as it might/should have been done”.  (No I don’t like all I’ve seen, and no I’m not very far into it yet, but this is from a beginning point of view).  1) crafting is both better AND worse:  BLACKSMITHS HAVE PORTABLE FORGES!!  I can’t think how many times I’ve cried for one of those for my Wow smiths and engineers.  However, it’s pretty steep according to everything I’ve read/heard to learn a second profession (not necessarily a bad thing; in a way it might help people not be so greedy about putting herbs on the auction house and all that mess, but at the same time you still need mats for creating stuff. 2) Space travel’s neat here; you get ships eventually, it seems.  3) There are this curious race called Gibberlings, that for once (hallelujah) are NOT knockoffs of Hobbits:  these guys are little fuzzy things that yes, could be made to look like panda in the character creation set, but also like kitties or puppies or some other odd fuzzy thing.  And they always come in threes.  ALWAYS.  It’s rather funny seeing this gang of little guys beating up on someone bigger than they.

What’s this have to do with me going old school for a bit with regard to programming?  Well, in the end both things are forcing me to look at it all in a different way than before.  I had to do some mental leaps to figure out duh, I can just scribble it out, nobody says I can’t.  At some point in the past, the Acorn and Bushnell probably did just that back at MIT when they made Pong.  And Allods is likewise making me think in a new way – this is a Russian-made game, and in some ways I can see DEFINITE Russian-ness, like the way that the Empire city is structured, with its guards all human wearing distinctive Russian-army-guard looks like from a movie.  It’s fascinating to me; I want to see more of this bizarre-Wow, and learn from the very different perspective I’m getting on it.  I mean they’ve even gone so far as to have someone at the capital who’s captured and enslaved some Gibberlings, and wants to try and make them into, well, a form of dancing bear (a very Russian idea as well).  The first time I saw it, definitely it was an eyebrow-raiser.  WOW, to me that’s pushing boundaries – but if I step back and think on it, for that game, it makes sense to do.

And, that’s my entire point this week:  I’m trying to figure out how to push back some old game design boundaries, after all.  Well, the start of the week, hectic as it’s been, and confusing as well, has actually been good for that.  Real change doesn’t happen without some chaos after all!

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