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Tycho / on Mon, Dec 7 2015 at 10:53 am

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Most of the Heroes of the Storm we played happened in the Alpha, and then the Beta, beginning when it didn’t really have anything like a unified interface.  The general rule is that Blizzard doesn’t release something as a Beta unless another company would release it at retail, and I think that mostly held true here also.

Cho’gall is a new character that you already know about, I’m sure - I got in late.  He’s the “one dude that two players embody simultaneously” guy.  I decided that I couldn’t do HOTS and everything else I wanted to do, and judging by the last couple days I got fucked by that policy.  I’m starting to think that I should instead exclusively seek out the things I’m afraid to play, because I think they will be dangerous, or because I think they may be safely avoided, like Vermintide.  I think that if I institute - consciously or unconsciously - a policy that involves me playing fewer games, the moment it’s discovered I need to, you know, deinstitute it or whatever.

Grooby Doo and I used to play a game on the Genesis called Mechwarrior 2050 in co-op.  It wasn’t a very sophisticated form of collaboration, essentially one person controlled movement and one person controlled the torso and hardpoints, but we still had a pretty good time with it.  Playing Cho’gall recalled those times.  We learned early on that Gabe needs to play Cho, who is in command of the body, because my rubric for determining when I need to get the fuck out of a fight is less calibrated than his.  I play as Gall, which means I’m lancing out dark energy, hurling evil blobs, or becoming a kind of Shadow Turret.  He can be running away, and I’m still fucking them up.  They follow with such tenacity at first!  Then they break off.  Occasionally they stop following because I have killed them, and they are dead.

The higher you climb up the levels the more opportunities you’re given to merge your playstyles, up to the point where Gabe’s bought abilities for me before.  It’s such an amazing experiment - like the Tavern Brawls in Hearthstone, designers are given a space to play around - and it’s play that we’re going to see again in the future.  I told Kiko, in the manner that one might relate sacred theology, that I only ever wanted to play games of this type in this exactly way ever again.  I felt confident that he would agree, because I felt right, and that’s what determines whether or not you’re correct.  But no!  He made the case that novelty was not a substitute for efficacy and that systems must prize legibility and reward skill above all else.  I was unmoved! I gestured rhetorically at him with a pretzel.

We were able to drop in to HOTS with no trouble, having not played it in months with a completely new character, which is actually kind of amazing these days.  It’s getting harder and harder to do that with League, I would say.  I don’t really have any idea what’s going to happen when I load that client for that game.  When we started playing, it wasn’t as codified as it is now: you could go 212 and it wasn’t a psychotic thing to do.  Now, every time I load the game the items are all fucked up in some new way and there’s some crazy kind of bug or crab or snake thing, I don’t know.  Gabe plays top champs and I play, uh, bottom champs, and, hm.  What it means, aside from any euphemistic “payload,” is that we can play that game together and still be playing it alone.  I used to be able to set my watch by these recurring LOL phases, and they’ve gotten farther and farther apart - in large part because of Rito’s incessant goblin tinkering.

(CW)TB out.

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