Thursday, July 18, 2013

Let's talk shop

There has been a lot of hub-bub around the interwebs about Blizzard adding an "in-game shop" to World of Warcraft. Some of it has been good, most of it has been bad...a lot of it has been, "What would you buy?" topics and posts. Me, personally? I'm not quite sure where I stand on the issue.

At heart, I really don't like P2W (pay to win) services. In my experience you have to pay way too much, for way too long, to come out as a winner. I prefer to obtain my epic loot in-game through my actions and not my wallet.

Now, I'm not saying that WoW is turning into a P2W least not in the near future as I see it. But, like others out there have said, WoW "could" become one years down the road and that this new "in-game shop" of theirs is just the start of the slippery slope they could be heading down.

Blizz's most recent release of info of some Transmogrification helms that can be bought at their Pet Store is another example of that slope they are headed towards. I feel that they will be crunching numbers and building statistics based on the amount of people that pay the 12 Euro to buy one of these new helms. There's no doubt that they will add more tmog pieces to the Pet Store (or to the in-game shop). And they will continue to crunch those numbers and build those statistics along the way.

Eventually they will say, "Ok, we've got the numbers to prove that "this percentage" of people bought items that are just for show (which I'm sure they've been doing all along with the pets and mounts they already sell). Why don't we start adding actual gear and weapons to this? For years the numbers have shown that people will buy them".

To me, that will suck...when it eventually happens.

However, I don't think it will suck enough to make me stop paying my subscription and playing the game I love. As long as there remains gear and weapons available in-game to keep me relatively competitive I have no problems with an in-game shop. I've never been the type of player that MUST have all "best in slot" gear. As long as I can get gear and weapons in-game that allow me to partake in current content (and not totally suck at it) I am fine.

But, here's the store items are always superior to those items you can get for free/hard work in-game. I can see it now. Trade chat will be littered with "LFM for such and such raid. Must have such and such gear from game shop". Or hard core raiding guilds will require their raiders to buy the game shop stuff. Why? Because it will be the best gear out there and/or because a lot of players just want to rofl-stomp their way through.

If Blizz is eventually going to add gear and weapons to their shop (which I'm purely speculating...but it could happen) why not make it gear that is on par with the bottom of the line current content gear? You know, equal to the gear and weapon's minimum ilvl that is required to enter new content?

My train of thought is that this gear is not available until the new "current content" is released. For example: (using old content I know but it's the first that popped into my head)

 - Mogu'shan Vaults requires ilvl 460-ish to enter it through LFR.
 - The gear you can buy from the in-game shop tops out at ilvl 460-ish.
 - This means that gear can be bought, in either full sets or filler pieces, that will allow you to gain access to LFR.
 - It will still require drops (or JP/VP/crafted gear) to increase your ilvl until the next "current content" is released.
 - Only then can you buy higher ilvl gear, but it will cap out at the minimum ilvl required for entry into the new "current content".

Now you might ask, "Yeah, but what's to keep that fresh level 90 from buying the most current minimum ilvl gear from the shop and by-passing the last content stuff and getting into the new content stuff?".

Well, so what? It doesn't guarantee them access/success in normal or heroic modes. It just allows them access into the new LFR content. They will still have to rely on drops and stuff (which in my version will always be of a higher ilvl than game shop stuff) to gain access to and/or succeed in normal and heroic versions of the new content.

To me it could be looked at as a slightly easier way to "catch up" or gear alts for current content. We all know that this expansion has not been alt friendly at all. So why not add another way to get alts current? It would also allow the person who had to stop playing for a while, for whatever reason real life threw their way, to catch up and be able to play in current content with friends/family/guild members.

By doing it that way, in my eyes at least, WoW would not become a P2W game. It would be a "pay to become current" game. Which I can't say would be a bad thing...especially if we could get filler pieces...yes, weapons, I'm looking at you!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Musical Monday - Hijo de la Luna (Sarah Brightman)

Back in the summer of 2000, while channel surfing, I came across something that peaked my interest on the local PBS (Public Broadcasting System) channel.

There was this sultry woman with long, black, wavy/curly hair singing. She was wearing a very form fitting black dress and had some scantily clad muscular men singing with her and carrying her around on the stage/set.

Intrigued, I sat and watched. My channel surfing ended up being a two hour long pause on the PBS channel watching this woman sing. I was entranced.

Occasionally, they would pause for a "commercial" break...but it wasn't really a commercial...the PBS channel was promoting/selling CDs and DVDs of this woman. It kind of reminded me of a telethon. They had operators sitting at tables behind the show hosts who were "ready to take your call" if you decided to order something.

Anywhoooo...this woman was Sarah Brightman. I had never heard of her before. Her voice was mesmerizing. I couldn't take my eyes off the tv...well, except for during the "commercial" breaks.

Sometime within that week I went looking at the local Best Buy store for her CD. Yes, I was too cheap to buy the one from the PBS channel...they wanted something like $40 for it. I was unable to find the CD that PBS had promoted. I ended up grabbing her CD, 'La Luna' instead. It ended up being a worthy purchase. The songs on 'La Luna' blew me away more than the songs I heard on the PBS special. I was so glad I bought the CD instead of going elsewhere to find the one I had seen on tv.

To this day, 'La Luna' is one of my all time favorite CDs to listen to. I have all the songs downloaded onto my desktop, and laptop, and they usually make it into every play list I create...even the ones that have dance music and hard rock music in I absolutely love this woman's voice and never tire of hearing her sing.

In the fall of 2000, my sister and I took our mother to see Sarah Brightman perform. Wow, what a night. I don't think I said two words to my mom or sister that night. I was totally focused on Sarah and her singing. I do remember laughing, however, when my mom asked, "Is she ever gonna sing anything in English?". hahahahaha

The following video, 'Hijo de la Luna" is my favorite song of hers. The story of the song is quite sad, but her voice seems to make you not really care how sad it is. I'll post the lyrics in English so you can see what I mean.

A fool is he who doesn't understand,
a legend tells
that a gypsy woman
implored the moon
weeping, she begged till dawn
to marry a gypsy man
"you'll have your brown skin man"
spoke the full moon from the sky
"but in return I want
the first child
that you have with him"
one who sacrifices her child
in order not to be alone
is not going
to love it very much

(chorus) - moon you want to be mother
and you can't find a love
who makes you a woman
Tell me, moon of silver
what you intend to do
with a child of flesh
Son of the moon - (chorus)

From a cinnamon-skinned father a son
was born
white like an ermine's belly
with gray eyes
instead of olive,
moon's albino son
"Damn his appearance!
This is not a gypsy man's son
and you won't get away with this"


The gypsy believing himself dishonored, 
went to his wife, knife in hand
"Whose son is this?
I am sure you have deceived me!"
and he stabbed her to death
then he went to the mountain
with the child in his arms
and abandoned it there


And on nights when the moon is full
it's because the child is happy
and if the child cries
the moon will wane
to make him a cradle
and if the child cries
the moon will wane 
to make him a cradle

(lyrics copied directly from CD sleeve)

See? I told you it was a sad story. But with Sarah singing it, who cares???? I sure don't.

Some of my other favorite songs of hers are:

Figlio Perduto (La Luna)
Gloomy Sunday (La Luna)
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (The Phantom of the Opera)
Who Wants to Live Forever (Time to Say Goodbye)
There for Me (Time to Say Goodbye)
En Aranjuez con Tu Amor (Time to Say Goodbye)
Eden (Eden)
Deliver Me (Eden)

Sarah's just kicked off another tour for her new album, 'Dreamchaser'. She'll be coming to where I live in October. I can't wait!!!!! 

Think I'll let my mom and sis know. Maybe I can get them to go with Dharm and me to see her.