Monthly Archives: April 2011

Games I Played This Week

I really should have considered prior to deciding that I wanted to do a weekly post about games I played that it does happen I get stuck in playing several games that are very enjoyable.

I am still cracking away on DQ9. I now have multiple grottos available and am clearing out at least 2 every day. Sadly, my characters don’t seem to be leveling very fast. In other DQ9 news, I convinced my mother to purchase the game and she is *quite* addicted at this point. She keeps calling me and asking me questions so I am able to track her progress quite well. This game is definitely going on my list of games to suggest for people who have parents that play DS.

I will likely be grinding on the multiplayer while at home with her in May.

I am also still playing a game or two of the Pokemon TCG trainer every day. I finished with the Fire Deck and I am now halfway through with the Water Deck. I am also noticing that they keep having “overloaded” messages, so clearly I am not the only one who is loving it.

I have been playing quite a bit with my 3DS, mostly showing stuff off at work. Also I am loving the Street Pass, though it makes me long for PAX where there are more people to encounter.

In WoW both my Priest and Shaman are now getting in on Alt runs for Tol Barad. My server has reached critical mass for being able to field successful pugs for TB which is a huge help for my alts. Our guild has also started some TB alt runs. I managed to down Atramedes on two different toons this week, thanks to needing a healer for our 10 man run on Saturday and then needing a DPS for our OTHER 10 man run on Sunday. My guild is actively recruiting.

Joyia finally got bracers from BoT trash and exceptionally luckily managed to get the +spirit wand off Chimareon. Two upgrades in one week! We made some fairly serious attempts on 25 man Elemental Monstrosity, the RNG fight of doom. (Not from Hell, that’s Al’Akir.)

I also volunteered to get a new guild website set up for OLN. I decided to use WoWStead and it took me all of 45 minutes to get everything up and running. Bonus points for WoWStead’s usability.

Finally, I have taken some time this week to start re-reading some Julia Quinn, to inspire me to work on some of my writing. I had a fairly dramatic plot break through on Wasteland, which I hope wraps up the inconsistencies and allows the story to have a conclusion that isn’t completely depressing.

Achievements – You’re Doing It WRONG

One of the first things you learn as a game designer is: Be Consistent. If the player does something, and gets a response, they need to get the same response every time. Game Rules need to be consistent across the entire game.

Blizzard has NOT been consistent when it comes to achievements. They are not being consistent when it comes to rewards either. They need to PICK A POSITION and STICK TO IT.

Example 1: Hand of Adal vs. Starcaller/Kingslayer. Hand of A’Dal doesn’t even have an achievement associated with it, but it was removed. Blizzard claims they “didn’t want people to get the title who didn’t earn it in the period it was intended to be earned” and so they removed it. But Kingslayer and Starcaller were just as difficult, and intended to be just as exclusive, and yet remain in the game.

(Note: Q: Will you ever bring back the mounts for achievements that were removed (Naxx Glory runs) as you didn’t remove the later mounts? – Joyia (North America/ANZ) A: This is a tough one. On the one hand, we know there are a lot of players who would still like to get their hands on these mounts. On the other hand, we were pretty clear that they would only be available for a limited time, and we hate to go back on our word because we know some groups went through heroic efforts to get them before the door closed. This is the kind of thing that is not set in stone and player feedback might eventually convince us to change our minds.)

Example 2: Achievement Drakes. Yes, I was the Joyia who asked about the Naxx Drakes on the achievement Q&A thread. I was a part of a guild at the time that was working on the achievements for said drakes. It nearly ripped our guild apart. It lead to multiple people leaving and joining more progressed guilds. It lead to me LEAVING a guild I liked and almost leaving the game. The stress of attempting to get these achievements BEFORE they were removed was insane considering this is a GAME. That’s right, it’s a game. It should be fun. But on multiple occasions, Blizzard insists on making the game not fun by putting time limits on achieving things. (Theoretically the ZA Bear and ZG mounts fall here too, despite not being achievements.)

When it came down to it, I resolved myself to the fact I wasn’t going to get these drakes. I resolved myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to get the Ulduar drakes. I just wasn’t that kind of player. I got my purple protodrake, and I was happy. But then, I managed to achieve the bone drake for ICC 10 man on my mage. Success! Joy! And then… they didn’t remove the achievements. Last week, a bunch of goofballs in trade pugged up a 10 man group and succeeded in getting the SAME drake I had worked so hard for.

What makes my Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher LESS special than the Naxx Plagued Protodrake?!? Wow, way to be a hypocrite!

To head off the comments of whiny elitists saying “I want my mount to be rare!” There are three things with this as well. One, stop being elitist. You can always climb on your little box and show off your e-peen by saying “Well I got mine two weeks after the raid was released!” Two, it is punishing to players who change mains, re-roll alts, or start the game late. Even the new people deserve the chance to get something awesome, this is after all a game that wants to be accessible, NOT elitist and exclusive. Three, rarity is a FALLACY in WoW. That’s right, it’s not real. Rarity is a RELATIVE concept. Meaning, something is only considered rare, if and only if, the people you play with do not have it. I have posted this example before. When the Sparkle Pony came out, only 2 people in my guild bought it. So out of about 20 players, only 2 people had one. Meaning that the people we hung out with and were likely to pay attention to their mounts, count as the audience. That gives the Sparkle Pony a 1 in 10 rarity. Now, the Deathcharger’s Reins had been farmed up by about 10 people in the guild, meaning it has a rarity of 1 in 2. the entire World of Warcraft does not count in the rarity, only the people you are likely to interact with do.

BE CONSISTENT. Seriously. I am willing to accept the decision one way or the other, just PICK A SIDE AND STICK TO IT. This endless waffling and inconsistency just frustrates and annoys players and is just BAD DESIGN. Best case, Blizzard realizes it’s hypocritical responses and opens the Naxx Drakes back up. (Theoretically they could add the Tiger and Raptor mounts back in some form of grind or in the CtA bags – which to be honest would be FAR more effective in getting people to run it. They could even add the ZA bear back to a timed run of the new ZA dungeon.) Worst case, they remove the ICC and Ulduar drakes, and people got them “unfairly” after the period, but at least now, that will not happen again, because they decided to be consistent.

Carrots on Sticks

Even More Update Goodness: I have read several other blogs about the subject, but here is one of the best. His whore analogy is just superb and spot on, and his arguments are valid. The thing is, I understand why Blizz would never do as asked. Maybe they will consent eventually to add raid mounts to the bag (Ashes of Alar might just be enough to drag that bear back in) but for the TCG they *can’t*. If they do, it devalues the TCG and takes away one of the major selling points of the cards. And don’t get me wrong, while I would love to have those mounts available in the bag, it will never happen, because Blizzard makes too much money on the licensing fees for the card game.

I really feel the biggest drawback of this fix is that it doesn’t allow the tank to queue with anyone else. Even allowing the tank to queue with just one other person might take the sting out of it. Pocket healer, trusted cc-er, or just that one person you always play with. You are still taking 3 other people out of the queue, so it is still a win, but seems less… whorish… than it is forcing them to queue alone.

 

UPDATE: Blizz announced that the bags WILL IN FACT BE BIND ON ACCOUNT. As I said “Make the bags Bind on Account so we can pass them off to our alts. (Then I would be 85 on Pandara in a heartbeat.)” my response to the announcement was “BRB LEVELING”.

 

I have talked about the Tanking problem a few times. Since the dawn of the Random Dungeon Finder the players of WoW have developed a skewed vision of dungeon running. I barely remember running a few dungeons on my warlock prior to the introduction of the LFD tool. They were simply too time consuming, too prone to failure, and far too difficult to find a group for.

But LFD changed all of that. Dungeons were readily accessible in a matter of minutes. Loot rained down on the World of Warcraft. It was wondrous. And it spoiled us all beyond repair. Seriously. We are spoiled rotten little children demanding more things when we have already been given the world.

The average time to get a pug group together PRIOR to the LFD tool? 4 hours. And then 2 more hours to clear the dungeon because the chances of everyone KNOWING the dungeon was slim to none. The average time I have to wait in the DPS queue for a dungeon? 40 minutes. Which is just about the time it takes to do all of the Tol Barad dailies, killing every fox along the way.

But nooooooooooo people gotta complain about something, so they chose to complain about their 40 minute queue times. To be fair, the queue times for LFD have been slowly increasing through Cataclysm. I have talked about this before. So Blizzard decided to answer the problem with a carrot on a stick. It worked for Oculus right?

Here’s the thing though… I have a tank. I have debated on leveling her. Why haven’t I leveled her despite having leveled 2 healers and 2 dps at 85? Tanking sucks. I hate random healers who aren’t very good. I hate random dps who can’t wait two seconds. I hate RNG fights where one mistake leads to me dead on the floor. So now Blizzard offers me a carrot. Am I going to level her and roll through dungeons with her now?

Nope.

But I LOVE minipets! I LOVE rare mounts! So why wouldn’t I leap at the chance to get them?!? Oh right, because like MOST other collectors, I collect my pets and mounts on ONE character. I collect them on Joyia. Who is a Pure DPS. If I could tank with Joyia, I would be all over this like a starving man on a steak. Bad DPS, rude healers, wipes would all be ignored with the joy of working towards a rare mount. I don’t want those mounts on Pandara, I want them on Joyia

There are so many other solutions… offer it as a reward for any dps who has to wait more than 40 minutes in the queue. The tanks are already being rewarded, with an instant queue. Make the bags Bind on Account so we can pass them off to our alts. (Then I would be 85 on Pandara in a heartbeat.)

Or they could fix the real problem. Wrath proved that the problem isn’t there aren’t enough tanks and healers. My dps queue during peak times in Wrath was 15-25 minutes, HALF of what it is now. Why was that? Oh right. Wrath dungeons were easier. Wrath tanks had better threat generation, gear, and to be honest, their skills were better tuned. Revert Swipe to it’s old cooldown (none). Give Thunderclap back it’s massive aggro. Increase the threat of Death and Decay and Blood Boil. Revert Consecrate back to it’s Wrath glory. Lower the CD on all tank “panic” buttons. (Just by 1/4th or 1/3rd.)

Or even give classes the ability to tank. Make Beast Mastery like Feral Druids. There are talents they take to get a tanky pet or to get a dps pet. Bam. One more tank. Make Demonology like Bear tanks. Metamorphosis is a form a lock goes into to tank. They have their “big” health pet that splits the damage through soul link, and their skills in demon form generate aggro. Bam, one more tank. Enhancement shamans – they are already halfway there! Give them a few modified skills, and a crit proof skill, bam, tanky tanky.

Another option is to change the group size going into 5 mans. How much of a change would pulling in an extra dps do? 1 tank, 1 heals, 4 dps. Not only would this eat up more of the surplus DPS, but also it would mean less caring when one dps isn’t pulling their weight.

I don’t think their solution is a solution. I think it is a bandaid on a gushing head wound. They need to address the problem, not the symptoms. The problem is role imbalance. And this addition, isn’t going to get more tanks running dungeons. It is just going to get people who *don’t* like tanking and healing to tank and heal, which just exacerbates the problem by having under or poorly geared people, filling roles they don’t know how to play, and causing frustration all around.

 

Note 1: This would be an EXCELLENT time to bring back lost pets like the vampire bat, scorchling, etc etc. It would also be a great place for rare mob drop pets like Gundrak Hatchling, Whelplings, Foxes, Sewer Rat, Crawler…

Note 2: Would it be different if they added super rare/unobtainable mounts back in? (A la ZG Tiger, ZA Bear.) OH HELL YES it would be different. Tank would be leveled and tanking like NOBODY’S business. Not only would I do it, but I would SERIOUSLY campaign for the ability to have a paid mount transfer service.

I’m sorry, Do I know you?

It was a pretty exciting day. Patch 4.0.1 was a BIG deal. It was the change from Wrath to Cataclysm. It should have been a day of celebration, exploration, and excitedly discussing things with guildies. But the day was marred by the unexpected.

I logged in, double checked my gear and immediately dove into specing my new talent points. Alright, all done, summon up my felpuppy and start heading… wait a tic.

“Who the hell are you?”

The felhound standing at my side was called “Rhuudym”. MY felhound is called Phryluum. This… IMPOSTOR… was wearing the tag <Joyia’s Minion> below it’s name.

“You are not.”

Weirded out by this impostor, I decided to summon my Imp. Maybe Laztip would know what was going on. At the end of my spell, Paztog answered my call.

“Ahhhh! What happened to Laztip?!?” The imposter imp said nothing. I was really feeling terror now.

“Blue, don’t fail me…” Calling my voidwalker into existence. Poof!

“Oh thank the gods, Klath’dok! What the hell dude?!? Where did everyone go?”

“Sorry mi’lady. There was some catastrophic event that ripped through the nether. We all seem to be hearing different names and voices calling through the magics to us. It’s bedlam down there.” It was all I could do not to hug the big blue guy.

“I have a raid tonight. Arthas and all that. What am I supposed to do? I don’t know that felhound! He might try and take my hand off.” Klath’dok had no advice for me. I mean, I know I am a warlock. We are inherently evil and not to be trusted. Even the very demons I was trying to call were originally enslaved by my fel powers. But in some twisted form of Stockholm Syndrome we had become friends. We trusted one another. We worked as a team. We were connected, and not just by soul link, but by health funnel and dark pacts!

I summoned back the impostor, who just glared at me balefully.

“Alright you. I don’t know you. You don’t me. But I have this thing to do tonight. It’s lots and lots of killing. You should like that right?” He seemed a bit more interested.

“So truce then? I’ll take care of you for now, and we can both just muddle through until the Nether Guardians get this ‘mix-up’ figured out.” He blinked his eyes, but made no other response.

“Either agree, or I am gonna have a new felhound pair of boots. And I’ll use the imp instead.” He chuffed, and finally bowed his head and tentacles slightly. Good enough, I thought.

It would eventually take a week for my friends to return. Their return was met with joy and celebration, on both sides of the bond.

This event resonated several important things within me. First, Warlocks do have a heart, despite it being madly in love with destruction. Second, we knew their names. Not just one, but all of the demons we enslave. They are as much a part of us as our spikes, skulls, and bloody robes (not our blood). Third, despite years of howling for the ability to rename these little snots we had become accustomed to their names. We knew them. And when they were unexpectedly changed, we rebelled in one voice to change them back. There was the most heartbreaking thread on the forums, Warlocks looking for their lost minions, asking that someone, anyone care for their loved companions until at such a time this error could be reversed.

Welcome back Phryluum, you were missed you ugly little mutt you.

Lego Star Wars III

I have a love hate relationship with all Lego games. They all have the same wonderful possibility and they all so far have managed to create in me a frustration that rarely crops up in other games.

The cutscenes and story edits are nothing short of inspired. Watching Leia lift up R2’s dome and chuck the disc in like she was tossing it in a garbage can was hilarious in the extreme. LSW3 focuses on the Clone Wars, a story I have never particularly cared about, but once more, has managed to make the story hilarious and adorable all at the same time.

The game leverages collecting and completionists to great effect. There are studs, characters, bricks, and mini-figs to collect every where, with a single simple percentage showing how much has been completed. The fact that the game is designed to be played through twice, just to collect everything from each mission.

The gameplay is basically solid. Combat feels nice, watching enemies explode in a spray of studs is rewarding, and even the jumping feels substantial.

Now, having said that… COULD THEY FRAKING FIX THE GLARING BUGS ALREADY?!?! Three Star Wars games (4 depending on how you count), two Indiana Jones games, a Batman, a Harry Potter, with a Pirates of the Caribbean and likely a Harry Potter 2 on the way, and they STILL haven’t fixed the damn enemies can stand behind something and shoot through it, but I can’t shoot through the thing to hit the enemy? Don’t even get me started on the targeting system that just LOVES targeting the pile of destructibles instead of the 5 droids slaughtering me.

Then there are things like, in the very first level of LSW3, the player is moving up the screen (which is a GREAT way to show off the 3d) and encounters a cannon and has to jump on it to shoot down a droid tank. Instead of having the cannon activated, or jumped in like a vehicle, it is a context sensitive “run” against it until you pop into it. Yes. Great idea. No one would EVER have problems trying to do that while being SHOT and KNOCKED BACK from the tank shooting at them. Not to mention the trigger for activating the cannon is so dang small I spent 3 minutes sliding back and forth across the back of it trying to get it to trigger. Yeah, this is fun. /sarcasm. Add this to the fact that they have this EXACT same setup FOUR times in a row… yeah, not a great design.

Rounded edges of cliffs that make falling off or getting stuck on a slope are everywhere, as always. Multiple force activated objects right next to each other so the game never picks the one you are trying to activate? Present. Endlessly spawning enemies who interrupt the building of some wildly complex and long Lego item? Accounted for. There just always seems to be so much shoddy design. I can’t tell if it is bad designers, over worked designers, or just apathetic designers.

I always want the games to be good. They usually are, until you hit the mind bogglingly frustrating parts that I just have to ask “Did NO ONE see this during testing?” If not, then they need to get better testers.

The Crypts of Karazhan

As a fan of Lore and writing in World of Warcraft, I have read many of the novels and extra material written on the game. One such novel is The Last Guardian, which covers the story of Medivh and his tower, Karazhan.

In the Burning Crusade Karazhan (more commonly shortened to Kara) was added as a 10 man raid instance. It was essentially the starting point for fresh 70s wanting to get geared and get to raiding. By the time I hit Kara it was already on farm by my guild. I loved Kara. Even after 5 months worth of running Kara every single week, I *still* love Kara. It was exceptionally well designed, with beautiful attention to detail. Not to mention all of the bosses and NPCs were heavily tied to the story of Kara. Knowing Moroes from the book, then fighting him in the instance was beyond cool for me.

The only minor point I objected to was the fact that the in-game Kara had no “mirror”. In the book, the character Khadgar discovers that Medivh is actually possessed by Saragas (the biggest bad in the Warcraft Universe), and below Kara there is a mirrored version of the tall eerie tower. They must battle to the depths of this mirrored version to trap and defeat Medivh.

Then one day, browsing the main WoW forums I stumbled on a fascinating thread: The Hidden Places of WoW. It detailed out of bounds areas that a player could go and visit. These were mostly unfinished areas that had interesting areas around them like the Greymane Wall. Here I found mention of a place called the Crypts of Kara. Apparently behind Kara there is a graveyard called Morgan’s Plot, and a crypt that had a doorway, with rooms beyond it, but the door wouldn’t open. The poster explained that you could get beyond and explore the area, by using a simple trick.

By entering a duel with another player you could be feared through the invisible barrier. Once inside you can explore as you wish. I watched several videos and decided I had to go visit. So I gathered up some guidies and away we went.

The very first thing we noticed was the atmosphere, seemingly without much effort put into making it detailed. I am not sure if it was the lack of mobs, the lack of sound effects, the minor use of dark Duskwood music in one back corner, or simply the knowledge we didn’t belong there, but this area felt far more eerie and disturbing than anything else in WoW, including areas like Scholomance and Stratholm.

The first area is called The Well of the Forgotten.  I immediately noted that the name was printed in yellowy orange text. As opposed to the standard white. This room contained a well, without a barrier preventing someone from falling down it. One of my guildies immediately jumped down. The rest of us turned and investigated the next area The Pauper’s Walk.

This looked like something out of the Paris Catacombs. Niches in walls filled with bones, dirt floors, and low ceilings. It opened into a larger area, that looked like it could be a space for mausoleums and other crypts. Our guildie was messaging us about the huge pile of bones. I returned to the well, and leapt down. Despite falling what felt like a character killing distance, I landed, barely alive, on a huge pile of bones. This area was named The Pit of Criminals. Well, at least now we knew what the Well of the Forgotten was used for. The Pit contained pools of water, and huge piles of decaying bodies and putrefied remains.

We continued to explore, finding the Tome of the Unrepentant. (Perhaps it was supposed to be Tomb?) This is the first point where I really began to feel that this area was rough pass, unfinished work. This design had been abandoned before it could even be truly blocked out.

Then came perhaps the creepiest thing I have ever seen in WoW. The Upsidedown Sinners. The flooded room was filled with dark green water. Chains crossed the deep room. From these chains hang hooks, slightly animating, moving back and forth implying a slight ebb and flow to the water. There were also bodies. Dozens of them, suspended upside down. Some by their feet, with weights on their body pulling them downward, some by their hands, their arms distended with the pressure.

My guildies asked for my water breathing spell, so we could spend more time, floating about and taking pictures. After a long stay in the deeply disturbing room, we returned to the surface and swam out, to the final area, the Slough of Dispair [sic]. This room was a deep earthen pit, that clearly was designed for the final boss fight. When a player moved into the pit, the view of the door and walls passed out of view. It truly made me feel like I had been pushed down into this great gaping mass grave, from which there would be no return.

We took our pictures, said good bye to the creepy area, and returned to Shattrath, and the rest of the world. Everything seemed so much brighter, friendlier, and safer than we remembered.

The Pertinent Question

[quote=”Henghe“]So Joyia, you’re a level designer. Is it common for game designers to spend tons of time creating sounds and layouts, and to put them in games, that they then don’t give people access to? :lol:[/quote]

Yes and No. Yes, it is EXCEPTIONALLY common to spend tons of time creating areas, polishing them, pouring your heart and soul into them, only to have them violently ripped from your hands and discarded due to time, money, or just poor fit with the game in general.

No, those abandoned levels usually do not make it into a game. They are deleted from the game files usually to save space or install time/footprint. Especially for WoW where 12 million people have to download it. Yeah its only 20 mg worth of area, but how much bandwidth is it for 12 million people to download?

After looking a several videos, working diligently to overcome my WoW geekery, and inspecting the video a bit more, I have hit on a few ideas of why this level might have not been completed, and why it might be in the game. All of the following however is sheer speculation on my part.

Theory 1: Shares Space with Other Areas

So first off Blizzard makes WoW with a modified WC3 engine. These proprietary engines usually do not have an in-engine ability to make geometry, meaning you have to have a program like Max or Maya to make all of the walls, items, trees, etc in the game. Then you import these models into the engine which is an open terrain area. (In fact their terrain stuff is very similar to what is used in Unreal, very cool.) So what this means for WoW is that most of the buildings and stuff like Kara are actually created by an artist sitting next to the designer. This likely means that all of the major geometry in Kara, stuff like floors, ceilings, walls, and columns are all one piece, or at least are exported together so as far as the game is concerned are one piece. So it is possible and plausible that the Crypts were intended to be a part of Kara, another wing. However they were cut due to time and polish and could not be removed as they might share geometry with other parts of Kara.

Game developers tend to have the thought that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. A single change can bring cascading bugs or problems. If they don’t have to remove something so the game fits on the disc, it is generally safer to leave it in.

Theory 2: The Depths of Depravity

Also as I stated before, these areas are much darker and have much darker names than normal WoW. It could just be that they decided it had gone too dark and they needed to reel it back in. It is also possible that this area was cut due to the dark tone and possible “teen” rating issue. Ratings are often based not only on the appearance of things, but also the frequency and detail. Though at times I think the rating theory doesn’t really wash, because all the human hanging models are used in other locations (like Scarlet Monastery) and they have done far worse things in Cata and Wrath. Perhaps it was merely the feeling at the time and since has changed.

Theory 3: Time and Scope

It is also possible as these areas have a very unfinished look about them that they were scrapped due to not having interesting enough bosses, not enough time, or possibly the quality of the area just wasn’t matching the rest of the dungeon. Kara was a Burning Crusade launch raid. It was the first expansion, and likely they over scoped. They got it to alpha stage, realized that they couldn’t finish all they started, and chose to pick something else instead of that (likely polish to Kara itself).

The design, while interesting, does not compare as far as quality to other WoW dungeons. With the exception of the Upsidedown Sinners room, of course, but even this room… why does it belong?

Theory 4: Lore

How does it fit? What is the lore behind this area and why is it tied to Medivh? I could see all of this much better under Stormwind’s Cathedral, which has an empty and accessible dungeon. (You can get a Scarlet Crusade quest there and in Cataclysm there is now a section of the Twilight Highlands feeder quests down there.) As it seems more likely for clerics and priests to place labels like unrepentant and sinners on something than Medivh.

On further reflection and re-reading the book, this location is not only completely wrong for Inverse Kara, but it is in the wrong location, has the wrong layout, and has the wrong entrance. The names and locations do not come close to meshing with the original idea. And even if they took liberal adjustments, this doesn’t even remotely resemble the layout of the in-game Kara, which it theoretically should.

We may never know the real reason this area was scrapped and closed off (though if I ever get an interview there, this is the FIRST thing I am asking them). It appeals to our sense of exploration, horror, and mischief. And for that, we love it, in all it’s unfinished glory.

(Note: This post was written in 3 parts over 3 years. It has been sitting in my drafts folder forever, and was only updated today and posted due to the WoW Insider post here.)

WonderCon – 2011

WonderCon, the San Francisco version of Comic Con. And one more convention type to experience.

PAX, BlizzCon, GDC, are all slightly different experiences from each other, so it is no surprise to me that WonderCon was in it’s own way awesome.

First, the fact that unlike other conventions, where it seems to be mostly marketing or production people, WonderCon is more about the artists, writers, and creators. The booths are for the creators to be able to interact with, and get money from, their fans. And I loved it.

At the tender age of 12, I had to come up with an email address. I wanted it to be a name, not some silly <insert thing> <insert number> creation. So I took 2 things I adored, ElfQuest, the comic, and a character from a book, smushed two names together, and voila, thus was born Ember Dione. Ember is a character from Wendy and Richard Pini’s fantasy comic ElfQuest. She has red hair, is known to be stubborn, annoyingly curious, and overly excitable. Sound like someone? Over time, Ember Dione simply became a name for myself.

Today, at WonderCon, I got to meet Wendy and Richard Pini. And in fact, got them to sign pictures, much to my joy. I then wandered around checking out other booths, other stores (purchasing a few ElfQuest comics and a Chocobo hat), and watched my friend buy huge piles of $1 comics.

I understand Joss Whedon was running around, along with a few dozen other famous types but I never ran into any of them.

I enjoyed WonderCon, and have every intention of going next year and picking up any missing EQ comics at that time. I don’t collect any other comics of real import, but it is wondrous to see the joy and exchange of comics going on at WonderCon. It just makes me wish I collected more comics.

 

As a side note:

WonderCon was the first place I took my 3DS which now carries my website as my Mii’s introduction. This site is a personal blog, mostly discussing game design and World of Warcraft, with the occasional forays into Real Life, Books, Movies, and other Games.