Archive for overwatch

Yet More Privacy Ruminations

So Overwatch is out and it is amazing. I love it. I play it basically as much as I can. I’m playing Lucio primarily, but am also enjoying Widowmaker and have dallied with Junkrat, Reinhardt, Hanzo and would like to play around with Mercy and McCree.

I typically play the game with friends, because friends make things a lot more fun and you also have a much higher success rate if you’re all on a voice chat together (we haven’t really used the in-game one, but I hear it’s not terrible) and there’s chatter. “There’s a Reaper top left window!” “Got it!” is just one example from a recent match wherein we were defending Hanamura Point B.

However, not all of these people are really my friends.

There’s Majik, of course, plus my brother, Fog.

Then I also play with Majik’s brothers, Sephden and ChaosMarine. Sephden used to be a raider with us in Apotheosis way back in the day, so I’ve known him for a while. I’ve only really known Chaos for a few months — although I did meet him at Majik’s wedding three years ago.

I also play with Palantir, who was also a raider of ours in Burning Crusade, and was Majik’s college roommate. He and Maj came up to Montreal a few years ago and so we hung out and we’ve played together a lot — but not for a number of years. (Although we did walk down the aisle together at Majik’s wedding.) He and Maj and my brother play a lot of League of Legends together. (Which I do not. For a lot of reasons.)

Then I play with three other people, all friends of Sephden’s or Chaos’. C, E and JollyPenguin. I think E (I could be wrong) was a short-term raider in Apotheosis in Burning Crusade, but I don’t know C at all and I only know JollyPenguin because we also played Minecraft together.

I even played a few rounds with Fusionsnake, who’s a friend of Sephden’s, who was a badass rogue of ours in Burning Crusade. (It was nice to chat with him for a bit.)

I am probably known for being extremely protective of my privacy and my BattleTag, yet I have recently decided to let a few, select people get added to my BattleTag list. At first, it was just Maj’s brothers. Then I added Palantir. My thinking is — hey, I’ve met them all “in real life”.

Fusion and C had requested I add them and I declined those, because while it’s nice to play with Fusion and I don’t mind playing with C, it’s like… I don’t really know you. Do I really want you to be able to see what I’m doing in Blizzard games at all times? No.

In fact, I don’t want anyone to see that at all times.

The more people you add as a BattleTag friend, the less privacy you have, period.

“So I saw you were hanging out in Stormwind,” Palantir said to me this weekend. “Making gold?”

Awkward. Yes, I was hanging out in Stormwind, yes, I was making gold (or trying to). But how did he… oh, right. We’re Battle.net friends now. As such, he can see:

a) if I’m online
b) what game I’m playing
c) what WoW realm and character I’m using and even which zone I’m in

True, I can see the same info of his, but I remain uncomfortable that anyone of my BattleTag “friends” can see detailed information. I posted my ideal solution, oh, four years ago, and it’s disappointing that essentially nothing has changed.

In fact, it’s gotten worse, because our BattleTags are clearly evident in the various official Blizzard forums. I’m never going to post on the official Overwatch forum because with one click, you can see all of someone’s posts — under their full BattleTag. True, you would have to accept the invitation, but I’m very guarded and I don’t want to be constantly spammed for invitations by random people. Would this definitely happen? No. But I’m long-winded enough and critical enough that it could happen.

Hell, Palantir spammed me by requesting to be friends over and over again. Thankfully, I only saw the one invitation, but if I’d declined each, I’d have gotten new ones repeatedly.

And those invitations follow you everywhere. You see it when you log in to WoW — so and so and requested to be friends.

You see it in the BattleNet app.

Yeah, I get it — someone requested to be my friend. Now knock it off.

And I’m not even someone who has problems with people stalking them. What about those people, who live in actual fear of people with malicious intents? Just having that information out there might not be a problem for you, but it is a problem for some.

While I appreciate the free BattleTag change (yay!) and I appreciate being able to play cool games with my friends, I would urge Blizzard, again, to please look into refining the system. Sometimes I don’t want my friends to know I’m playing WoW on a little-used alt. Sometimes I want to snipe people in Overwatch without my friends seeing I’m playing the game at all. Sometimes, I just want to play and not think about how I might offend someone if I didn’t accept their group invitation.

As I said in that old post, there’s no reason we should have to deal with these inelegant (at best) tools when it comes to human interaction. Blizzard can do better and we should encourage them to do so.

 

On New Games and New Players

Hi.

(looks at date of last blog post and sighs heavily)

Well. It’s been quite some time, eh?

I’m sorry. Life is work and work is insane and that leaves exceptionally little time to do much beyond my (sometimes weekly) podcast, The Kurncast. (You should listen.)

That said, I have this week off from work, which is delightful. So I’m going to throw my hat in the ring and chime in about Overwatch. But not about how gorgeous the maps are (they are) or how awesome the animation is (it is) or even about balance or characters.

I want to talk about being a new player in a new game and learning to play and being an experienced player in a relatively new game. I want to talk about talent and practice, work and understanding.

Let’s be quite fair — this blog is resplendent with examples of my frustrations with other Warcraft players. But I’ve also done a fair amount of trying to help people play their holy paladins better, be better raiders, be better guild masters

So I understand the frustrations of some, particularly people in a game that has been around as long as World of Warcraft has been and if they’ve been playing that long.

But… I remember being a scrub, myself. My history is filled with dumb things. Of note:

  • did not tame enough pets as I levelled, thereby not teaching my old pet new abilities (Growl Rank 1, anyone?) Of course, this mechanic is long-gone.
  • often forgot to dismiss my pet, causing a pet pull. (Whoops.)
  • “tanked” a dungeon with a melee weapon as a hunter instead of using my pet (Blackrock Depths) (long, long, long story)

Part of why I was able to do such dumb things is, of course, that the game wasn’t mature at that point. So many people were still learning. Do I have higher expectations of both myself and others in WoW nowadays? Yes. It’s been out for 11 years. The population of the game is declining. Most people who are playing WoW should know some basics. What basics?

  • what a tank is
  • what a healer is
  • what a DPS is
  • what bad environmental shit looks like
  • how to stay out of bad environmental shit

I wouldn’t even expect most players to know how or when to interrupt spells, or to know necessarily that healing causes aggro. I wouldn’t even necessarily expect them to know various fights, particularly fights that I do know, because I’ve run BRD like eighteen billion times and it’s their first time in the dungeon.

I do expect people to do a bit of research on their class. I do expect people to ask questions if needed. I do expect people to follow instructions if they’re unsure.

So now we come to Overwatch. The newest Blizzard game on the block, it’s been in beta for a few months and some people have had the good fortune to be in the beta this whole time. Others are just now getting their first look at the game.

Overwatch is a first-person shooter game that’s very reminiscent of Team Fortress 2. I enjoy TF2, I’ve spent many hours of my life playing it (nowhere close to my time played in WoW, mind you) and so this format of the game is not terribly foreign to me. But I imagine it’s foreign to others.

That said, as a newer player to Overwatch myself, this is what I feel I need to know:

  • what offense, defense, tank and support roles are for
  • what assault, escort, control and assault/escort maps are
  • what my particular choice of heroes can do in terms of basic and ultimate abilities
  • a general idea of when it would be useful to use my abilities to best help my teammates

The first thing I did during the Overwatch stress test a couple of weeks ago was play a LOT against bots. Easy bots. Medium bots. Eventually hard bots. Then I played with friends, primarily, against real people and realized I was still a scrub.

Playing with friends is great, particularly if you’re on Skype or Mumble or something of the sort (ugh to the in-game voice chat) because you and your friends can correct each other and learn from one another. Majik used to do that in arenas in WoW — he’d experience the arena and then discuss the reasons for failure with his teammates. It’s a smaller version of what I’d do as a raid leader, where I’d post a review thread and discuss the various items that needed to be addressed where we, as a group, had fallen down. So playing with friends is bound to help you out.

So new players should know the basics. I think everyone should be okay with knowing the basics I listed above. That’s not asking too much.

What is asking too much is that someone have amazing aim or know where all the medpacks are or even knowing the names and abilities of all the characters. If you think I know more than a handful of hero names and abilities, I’ve got news for you… I don’t know where anything is on most maps. I don’t even always feel like I’m using the right hero in the right situation. But I’m playing and practicing and learning. And I’m improving. I am, by no means, innately talented at FPS games, by the way. I am pretty bad to begin with — most people are. And that’s okay. As long as I keep trying and practicing and learning, I’m going to improve. The only way for me to go is up.

For those Overwatch “experts”, who have a lot of previous experience with FPS games (particularly TF2), I can understand your dislike of newbies. But we’re here. We’re learning the game. Give us a chance to catch up! This is our first real look at the game and there will be more newbies incoming on launch. Feel free to give us instructions if you see someone doing something “wrong”, but remember that we’re learning!

Oh. And here’s a pro tip for you: people are more likely to listen to you if you say it nicely. :)

Keep up to date on Kurn's Guides!