World of Warcraft: For the Horde!

Q: Will servers be brought down at some point before release or will players be able to sit at character select waiting for “Enter World” to activate?
A: We are likely to perform some kind of realm restarts or maintenance between now and launch. However, in the minutes leading up to launch, our plan is that the realms will up and available and the Enter World button will instantly light up once we’re launched.

I will be sitting there waiting. Click click click. Gotta kill them boars & scorpids.

Q: Has the reception of Classic met or exceeded expectations? Are there far more people coming back for Classic than expected? Or were you guys right within the predicted ballpark?
A: We’ve been blown away by the response to WoW Classic. The passion from the community is exactly what got us working on this in the first place, and we see new signs of your passion and excitement every day. We’re very excited to make it a reality for all of you next week!

Note: They've added several new servers and most of the existing ones are now High or Full, which is apparently several times higher cap than original launch cap. These are for just people who reserved their names, not all the randos who'll try to sub and come in on launch day. Blizzard low-balled the numbers by a long ways. If classic doesn't beat the retail population, I'll be very surprised.

A: Trick or Treat! Yes, because we're based on patch 1.12's data, holidays will play out as day did during that patch. So we look forward to spooky treats and happy haunts this October!

YEEEES! This is Halloween! (but with more Forsaken, no Belfs)

World of Warcraft Classic Naming Day

Finally decided on the server, Mankrik. It's PVE, EST, 60%+ Horde. Not happy with the EST, but according to the reddit surveys the PST options were low-population and almost totally Alliance. I won't play PVP servers: Levelling in PVP-only zones is a tedious nightmare of some asshole 20 levels above you killing you over and over for no reason. Camping the graveyard when you give up on your corpse. Chasing you to your home zone and murdering everyone there. It's just a shit experience. PVE lets you flag for PVP when you wanna fight people, and just go adventuring when you wanna beat up pixels.

Logging in took forever, had multiple errors out. Blizzard's servers must be literally on fire.

My characters are:

  • Kamimark, Troll Rogue: "Kamimark" is always an Elfy Spellsword or Nightblade, Rogue fits fine. Troll is the most Elfy Horde race; I'd much rather have Blood Elves in Burning Crusade, but that'll be a couple years out if it happens at all.

WoW Naming-Kamimark

  • Josephcurwen, Undead Mage: Updated: I went in and deleted and chose a new name from Lovecraft. The lack of mixed capitals is ugly, but it's more fitting with the Forsaken culture anyway.

(was Nyärlathotep): Super annoyed that I can't have the unaccented name. Is it taken by the system, or did someone else make a Nyarlathotep in the first 15 minutes? Heavy metal ümlauts fix everything. Strongly considered Warlock, and I love the pet management part, but I hated bag space management for soul shards in retail, and we'll have 25% as much bag space in Classic. I levelled a Mage to 10 in the stress test, and it was interesting, if somewhat harder to keep a grind rolling, so Mage it is.


  • Fuzzytomato, Tauren Hunter: I couldn't seriously play F.T. as my main, but I had fun with it so I'm keeping the name, and Tauren are much fuzzier…


Speaking of the server name, in the stress test, I finally dinged 15 and got Mankrik's wife quest. You'll be happy to know I found her, not so happy to hear the state she was in. And I didn't even bury her!

WoW Stress Test-Mankrik 1

Now we just have to wait for the end of the month to start playing. I'll see you there, right?

WoW Stress Test-windrider

What I'm Playing: World of Warcraft Classic

There's been a pre-launch stress test open now until Monday, so I levelled a test character:

I got to the red mohawk in char creation, and somehow flashed back to Return of the Killer Tomatoes and named him FuzzyTomato, which would've been an almost topical joke back in 2004.

WoW Stress Test-Fuzzytomato

And it's been fantastic. The game is moderately hard and grindy, but rewards caution, good play, cooperation with other players, gearing up, and resource management.


  • FOR THE HORDE!: Thrall is still in charge, and all is right in the world.
  • Challenging gameplay: I'm Level 14 now, just soloed Skull Cave which is meant for a group at 10-12. Fighting more than one mob of equal level at a time is dangerous. Some players have hit the level cap of 15 and are doing dungeons, I'm likely to try that tomorrow.
  • Resource management: As a rogue, I go thru a huge number of throwing daggers, and now carry 2-4 stacks at the start of a run. Food is a little better since I can fish and cook, but until I got Strider Stew I had no reliable source of buff food. Hunters need arrows and food for their pets. Warlocks need a huge space for soul shards. Mages need reagents for many spells. Bags are rare, small, and expensive. I have: one 8-slot bag, three 6-slot pouches, and the 16-slot backpack. That's it. The biggest bags you can buy are 12-slot, I think, and after that it's very high-level crafting. I'm often dumping low-value loot at the end of a run.
  • Shopping: NPC vendors have varied items, unlike most modern games, so it's useful to check anyone you pass. Never know when they'll have an obscure recipe, a healing potion (SUPER vital for dealing with bosses), or a green item. And then there's the Auction House. Even on a limited-time stress test, there's good sales going.
  • Game runs fantastic at high graphics settings (on iMac 5K I set 50% render scaling, and then cranked everything to 7 or 8)
  • Quests are text-based, not spoken, and don't mark your map, you have to read the instructions and figure it out. Sometimes that's not super clear, but usually they say what you need to do. Quest markers don't show up on your map, turn-ins are just a little dot. The default setting has very slow quest text drawing, but that can be turned off in settings.


  • Classic models are blocky and bend weird, like an N64 game rezzed up. You can enable "retail" models, but they looked really out of place in old terrain and buildings.
  • Competition for bosses and some quest mobs can be extremely heavy, and it might be better to skip some quests than try queueing for it; I'm not exaggerating, some bosses there's literal lines of a dozen 5-person groups waiting for a chance to hit a boss.
  • Run speed is abysmally slow, the world is huge and often vast empty spaces. You don't get riding until Level 40, and it takes 100 gold, which you likely won't have. Every 5 minutes I get to hit a Run Faster for 15 Seconds button on my Rogue, and it just reminds me how annoying normal speed is.
  • Don't think you can just use Wind Riders, either. There's a single one in the starting zone, in Orgrimmar; Sen'jin Village and Razor Hill don't have one. There's three in Barrens, but it's a long ways to pick them up. The zeppelins and ships have limited routes, Undercity to Orgrimmar, Orgrimmar to Grom'Gol, Ratchet to Booty Bay. Note no Thunder Bluff zeppelin. Walking to Mulgore and up is a long long hike.
  • Guilds don't have banks or perks. They're just chat rooms. And since mail takes an HOUR to deliver, doing trades requires meeting in person or long waits.
  • Alliance is still terrible, by all accounts; I haven't bothered to make a char there but if you were bothered by fantasy Nazis in 2004, wait until it's real Nazis in 2019.


  • Everything is exhaustively documented on Thotbot, er, WowHead Classic. means no surprises, but also the wiki is correct.
  • Many players are dedicated to recreating just how stupid Barrens chat was in 2004. Briefly funny, hopefully dies down a bit in the real launch?

If you're at all interested, it's worth getting a 1-month subscription, installing and playing this stress test, and see if you like anything.


Lovely game, and if you get a good companion one of the most friendly gaming experiences you'll ever have. This was pretty much the reason to get a PS3, now a lot more accessible.

Hm. When it was released in 2012, the fact that it's cooperative multiplayer was actually a secret; you had to discover this, and often led to people abandoning their "NPC" who then had a rougher game. So I'm not going to spoiler-hide that. Find your friend and help each other.

I've replayed it several times now, sometimes being a better guide to a companion, sometimes just wandering around and exploring every nook and cranny. I think I have all the 'cheevs on PS3, or very close. It's unfortunate that it's such a short game, 8 zones and done.

Their prior games, Flower and Flow are also lovely, but much less engaging. I haven't started Sky yet, I may wait for the Mac version.

Minecraft 2011

Was searching for another file, and found my Minecraft screenshots from my first real world. I bought it 2010-09-29, just before the Halloween update, but didn't really play much until the next spring; Alpha was buggy as hell, you can't imagine. Beta 1.3_01 was much more stable, and I settled down. I'm 90% sure WORLD 1's file is lost, but some images remain:

The "castle" was built up around a little gravel-floored valley, which I then walled up and paved over except the pond at the center. So the walls were a weird natural shape. I dunno if I thought cobblestone looked better than smooth stone, or just didn't have enough coal to make it; stone bricks weren't added until Beta 1.8.



There's no overview or underview showing everything, but these glass walkways and stone balconies were a sort of maze, a complex loop going up to the tower exit and around. The cave area below I just kept tunnelling down, not very methodically. I built a bunch of redstone wiring down there, not just the noisemaker/"stereo" up by my bed.






Sadly not visible in any of these, the farm area where I took a natural "river" (a single source block up in the hillside), let it flow through a bunch of channels I dug to irrigate my crops, with a fence and door (no fence gates) all the way to the beach. I definitely didn't know how to make new water sources, water remained a frustration until some versions later.

Shortly after this, I got on the Shaftlands and Yogscast servers, and did a lot there, so my single-player world languished a bit.

I still do a little Minecraft many mornings when drinking my coffee, currently building a little mountain village (haven't converted villagers yet):


A Little More Magia Record

The JP site has little weekly update comics, which have mostly been translated by fans:

Mostly just gags about bad pulls and events after they're over (in JP timeline; the EN timeline should be following the same pattern eventually), but a few honestly great jokes about Madoka like the one above. (in case you didn't know, read right to left)

Two pulls got me a better tree AOE DPS ★★☆☆ (Hinano is a monster in combat, everything dies in explosions), a fire DPS ★★☆☆, a light support ★★☆☆ (totally useless because main is light support), and… dark vampire DPS ★★★★! Hooray! Not the one I want, but an acceptable start.


Figured out where the equipment is, you get "Memoria" cards which give boosts and skills, assign them on the team screen, and eventually you can unlock up to 4 slots for these. I got a few ★★★★ cards from a free support pull (forgot to screenshot it) and they make a huge difference in killing shit above my level. Before, I near TPKd once, had a few HP left on one girl when I finished a fight, everyone else was dead (well, KO; you can't kill magical girls without SPOILER). Now nobody goes below half HP even fighting twice my level.

Tactically it's getting pretty interesting. I wish I had more combat layouts. The T-shaped one is more powerful, but gets me hammered by any AOE mobs. The X-shaped default only buffs one girl, and the main needs DEF UP to survive, but ATK UP is wasted on her. But I'm not willing to pay real money for the one I see in the shop, so it's grind grind time.

They really got the witch art style from the series into the game:


The one complaint I have is there's not a lot of Energy. So it's back to playing for half an hour, putting it down for 12 hours. Which is good discipline but normally mobage give you a huge burst of Energy at the start of the game to draw you in, before hitting you with the hard reality of the money-or-time economy. I'm not buying Energy potions or whatever they're called. I miss DanMachi's near-endless supply of "potato snacks" to restore Energy, from just doing dailies. You could run out, but it took grinding all day to do that.

What I'm Playing: Magia Record

A Puella Magi Madoka Magica mobage!

It's very cutesy, aimed at teenage Japanese girls and horny otaku boys, so I'm not likely to play very long, but I really did enjoy the anime series. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch that at the very least up to episode 4. Then it flips from "magical girls" to cute Lovecraftian horror and you'll be hooked to get to the end.

You don't play as the main characters from the anime, but entirely new characters. The main is very Madoka-like, except she took her contract, and the Homura-like Yachiyo antagonist/rival is great, a menacing rational magical girl. Kyubey is not yet a terrible existential threat.

There's the usual very long tutorial where you hit the buttons they tell you to. Eventually it lets you use the menu and go home and play around with the app. I don't even mind doing a campaign, but I want the ability to jump to home and change things, which tutorials prevent.

It's gachapon, and I haven't got enough for a 10-pull yet, so I dunno what the other characters are like. My free pull was a ★★★ tree-element flower girl, who's fine as long as she's not facing fire, which is like 50% of the fights where she's useless. I could reroll, but I never do that, I just grind a bit more.

Combat is turn-based, with 5 elements: Fire beats Tree beats Water beats Fire, and Light beats Shadow beats Light. There's a random selection of maneuvers that affect parts of an enemy formation or give bonus magia or damage, plus skills, plus limit breaks Magia Specials.

There's no equipment? But you can power up your magical girls with various gems, which seems much the same. It's a rich character development system, for sure. There's a bit of cheesecake in the costumes, which verges on lolicon already.

It's free to play, just don't buy anything from the store if you're not into blowing money on this kind of thing; you can apparently grind out most of the content free.

Sigil Unleashed on Unready World

Couple months late (delayed by the pre-order goodies), but it seems scenic; I toured E5M1 and E5M2 on easy mode for babies, but now I need to restart at a real difficulty.

Like Romero's E1M4, it's way too dark. Just groping thru black spaces. It wouldn't make the levels worse to have a little better visibility.

I love the shoot-the-eyeball mechanic for switches. The standard Doom switches where you shove your face in a wall and then a bunch of walls open up is still kind of annoying.

I play Doom maybe once a year, and even after 26 years it takes me only a couple seconds to get my groove back, start weaving and shooting like a pro again. Gonna make a few runs at it this weekend, see if I can get thru.

The Thing with the Crank

"… project called, coincidentally, PLAYDATE. Got our fancy-pants federally registered trademark and everything. …
When our dumb thing launches, I feel there's a very real possibility people will start confusing your thing with our thing, and that will be really annoying for your thing. So ideally, I think it'd be best if your Playdate either tweaked its name … or otherwise came up with a totally different and unique name."
—Cabel Sasser in 2018 email, shown in twitter thread

I've been on the receiving end of name-thieving before, and it's always like that. "We have this trademark (LAWSUIT). We'd love to find a way to work together (LAWSUIT) and you could change your name (LAWSUIT), we wouldn't consider changing ours for a hot second (LAWSUIT)." I've had at least 3 names squatted by jackasses with lawyers. One contrary case: My very old doorgame and early CRPG experiment Delver conflicted with the name of some game company's internal engine, made 5-10 years later; no lawyers were contacted at least on my end, but I don't make new products called Delver, either.

Panic had a year to notice this and other prior uses, and change their name. Of course, they also had 4 years not to ship a black & white screen and a crank which doesn't even power it like the first OLPC laptop.

Maybe MadCatz will make a light & magnifier for it.

(this isn't the all-Panic-Playdate news network, but the weekend's been slow)