Viva la Revolution!
Today was a pretty shit day, with the death of some significant individuals, but there was some good news as Raven Software’s QA team has unionized. Now, this is not the end, but the beginning of the story. Blizz has hired a Union-busting firm to combat just this very sort of thing, and it is unlikely that Blizz will recognize the union without a fight. They know, as do I, that if they do, there will likely be a cascade effect as more and more teams join this local.
Now, more than ever, they need your help. A strike fund has been set up, and you can help by going here and contributing. I personally am not swimming in money, but I felt it important to contribute as much as I could last month. This is important, folks! If you support the rights of workers at Activision-Blizzard to go up against the C*O suite of managers, this is your opportunity to make a direct difference! These 43 employees are going up against a company that just sold for around 70 BILLION dollars to MicroSoft, but we as a community can make a significant dent in that armor if we all help out.
MicroSoft, I should point out, is an anti-union company, and has proven this in the past. As I said, NOW, MORE THAN EVER, we are required. Phil Spector says he is blissfully unaware of the entire Blizz unionization effort – let’s make him “aware”.
I honestly hope that this unionization effort begets more unionization across, first, the gaming industry, but, ultimately, the entire software industry. It is high time this happened. The concept of “crunch” and other such stupid concepts is not limited to gaming, and we need to take that over and change the entire face of the software Development / QA industry.
If the opportunity arrives in my court, you can bet your ass I will be in some way involved. That’s a promise.
It’s the Tenth Annual Finding Jaina Day
Ten years ago, a scruffy little kitten wandered across the parking lot right in front of our car, seemingly on her last legs. We took her in – no way we didn’t. When we took her to the vet, they said she had FIP and wouldn’t last more than a few weeks. We were resolved to make those last weeks as good as possible for her. Now, in her tenth year of telling that vet clinic to bite her little furry butt, she remains the queen of the castle and the bane of veterinary techs everywhere. We mark this, the tenth anniversary of finding Jaina, with full hearts and a few new scars.
Jaina herself has been doing okay. We’re concerned this fall that her lovely mane has started to go away, and her whiskers, formerly magnificent, and becoming short and bristly. So we took her to the vet’s on Christmas Eve for a looksee. Prognosis: probably allergies. The vet gave her an allergy shot which will hopefully help. She was, again, an unholy terror and after her performance after two shots, the vet declared that they wouldn’t be able to trim her claws as we originally requested. No surprise. But that’s life and death with Jaina the Bearcat.
At least the vet tech didn’t nope outta there like the last one.
Her cohabitors are largely the same. Tater has developed a new habit, basically coming to tuck us in ever night. As we get settled in, she shows up. A few ear scritchies, and then she starts making us some biscuits. After a few minutes she’s done. It’s very cute.
Things are less settled with the Beltalowdas (outside kitties). Pinky and Browny both disappeared; we found out later on that Pinky was killed, theory is that it was a big cat a few blocks over that did it. Our neighbor came by with a picture and asked if we knew who it was, so we have some closure. Guessing the same thing happened with Brownie, who was less friendly so, fingers crossed, he’s fine but departed the area.
Pinky’s sister, Stripe, has had a couple of litters so far and eluded capture. Of the first litter there were two, and we were able to capture both and get them fixed. Of the second litter, all but one disappeared – we think our neighbor trapped them and took them in to be adopted. The last one, Gremlin (no pics yet), is about where we can capture her and get her fixed, she’s a bit more trusting than her mom. She loves noms and cream, and is quite the little chonker.
Pinky’s other brother, Noodle, is a major turnaround – he was very skittish early on, but started coming in for treats and is now it’s very common he’ll come in and sleep the day away in one of the cat beds. He also likes laps and cuddles.
Monster has flourished in this past year. She’s taken to sometimes sleeping with Mrs Grimm, hard up against the back of her legs, at night. She’s also gotten friendlier, often soliciting for pets and scritches. But she’s still very much a creature of the outdoors, and prefers to be out when she can. We’re still hoping to bring her around. She’s a lovely floof.
This coming year we’re hoping to
- Get to the bottom of Jaina’s hair loss and possibly cough
- Get the last of the Beltalowda females fixed and avoid more litters.
- Get the Beltalowda males – Noodle and Goblin (his daddy) – fixed. (2) and (3) together will finally stabilize this colony.
I can’t believe it’s been ten years with our little bearcat. She and her traveling companions have been a blessing. Here’s hoping for another ten.
Understanding the Assignment
Ever since the release of Riot’s Arcane series on Netflix, I’ve been looking at a previously unviewed store of dramatic vids from the people at Riot, and I have to say, I am impressed. Start with the two trailers for the series. This …
League of Legends has always, to me, been somewhat of a shallow game in terms of lore. You have 140 heroes, sure, but they have about two paragraphs of lore – each – and that’s about it. Jinx is “the loose cannon” and takes delight in gleeful destruction and explosions. Vi is a brawler, stoic and gruff. And, well, that’s about it.
Or, so I thought.
Now, I don’t want to blow sunshine up anyone’s ass here, obviously this new series didn’t bloom from “all” of that lore, rather it IS the lore. But a lot has to be said about this new lore; it is a compelling story with a lot of heft to it.
But I’m not really here to praise Arcane, but rather Riot’s efforts to crank up the hype. We’ll start with this, an actual full-blown music video for the “theme” of Arcane, from none other than Imagine Dragons.
I have a lot of observations here. The production studio, Fortiche, is the same that did the series. But this video is all-original animation, not clips from the series itself. This conveys a sense of massive commitment to the series, as well as LoL itself in proxy. In the episode “Everyone wants to be my enemy”, the band appears in the story, performing the song. And in the 2021 “worlds” introduction, they appear, live, performing the song embedded in Zaun in a seamless bit of live action and animation. Riot didn’t leave anything on the table, is what I’m saying.
Production house Fortiche, by the way, is no stranger to LoL. Here they are doing a video for 2018 “worlds” – which I gather is something like the competitive world championship for LoL – featuring current and past competitors in a super-hyped fantasy setting. And I don’t care what universe you’re from, this will get you excited.
The commitment is here once again, with The Glitch Mob, Mako, and The Word Alive contributing (I’d have been happy with just The Glitch Mob, tbh, the rest is frosting).
LoL is no stranger to dramatic intros for its games, either. Do we have something like this for WoW’s “seasons”? I think not. Behold, the 2020 Season trailer for League of Legends.
Or the 2019 trailer.
What am I on about? I’m on about the simple act of hype that is expressed in each of these videos. It’s not like I’m going to play this game, but even as an uninterested observer, I’m excite! These do a great job of bringing excitement and engaging the intended audience. Go read the comments on these. The hype is palpable.
I am not here to dis Blizzard’s cinematic chops. Far from it. Since WoD, they have really upped their in-game cinematics, for example. Show of hands, was there a dry eye in the house when Ysera snuffed it? (or when she unsnuffed in REDACTED)? Anyone saying otherwise probably claims to not have cried at the end of Ol Yeller either. Anyway, this is to say, Blizz can rip out a righteous cinematic.
But these all share a similar thing – they’re very much “in the mode” of being part of the game in some way. And that’s where Riot is eating Blizz’ lunch (or one of the places – sorry, I don’t have time for the whole buffet here). In each of the above vids, Riot has inspired their player base by just whipping out the AWESOME over and over again. In both of the “season” vids, for example, we have three scenarios playing out in front of us, each very much in question even as the vid ends, but all of them awe-inspiring. In RISE we see a continuous backdrop of non-descript epic imagery. What are those statues? Nobody gives a shit – they’re AWESOME. Who are those characters? No idea. But they’re kicking ass!
You maybe see my point here?
There is a lot to be said for functionally relevant cinematics, and something else entirely to be said for exciting the player base. In the latter, I believe Riot has managed to do a far better job of it than Blizzard. Bringing in outside talent, actual animation studios, and saying to hell with the lore, they’ve managed to raise the bar far above what Blizz can do right now.
In the end it isn’t a matter of how “good” your animation is. I can animate, with great fidelity and resolution, the mother of all chrome balls floating over a chess board. Who gives a shit. But there are entities out there – Fortiche for example – that could make an animation of that ball that would have me tapping my toes and looking for a sequel.
And Blizz needs to start looking for that now. Assuming they manage to dig out of the shitshow that is their current labor relations nightmare, turn the truck around on Shadowlands, and basically start on the road of recovery, they’re going to need a few triumphant return videos. Imagine Dragons is done. But there are a lot of cool talents out there that would love to bring some epic love to the screen, I just know it. Now’s the time to start looking, planning, and writing.
Word has it that Riot is working on an MMO. Right now, seeing the videos above and more (and there are many, many more) I have to say that I’m intrigued.
You might say, they understood the assignment.
Ever since I saw that Blanchy was an available mount in Shadowlands, I resolved to get her for my mage (Illume, who is Human and All Horse All the Time) and Floramel (who is also Human but generally speaking digs things that smack of demonic, which the Ghost of Blanchy does). Finally knocked out a few days to get it done. Yes, days.
This particular task takes six days in total (it’s time gated) and it’s helpful to have an addon like SilverDragon to alert you, because when she appears, she does take off.
I won’t do a complete “howto” on this, but let me reiterate some stuff from the guide on WoWHead.
- Blanchy is in Rivendreth, at 63.13 43.11.
- Yes, she spawns right in the river, and then proceeds to run up the river away from the waterfall that she spawns next to.
- She takes off like crazy, so be mounted and ready to roll. I chose a flying mount and that served me well.
- Once you catch her, she stops running and stays there for five minutes. I consider it good form to let others in the area know she’s there.
- I don’t have good records on this, but it appears that she spawned at 21:29 every night (server time) for me. Your mileage may vary.
About the six things:
- First up are 8 handfuls of Oats. You gather those around Westfall. Saldean’s farm is a good place to look.
- The next item is a Grooming Brush which you buy from Snickersnee in Darkhaven. While you’re there, grab the Empty Water Bucket nearby as you will need it.
- Next item: Sturdy Horseshoes are found around the area on the roads. For some reason I thought I needed nine. You only need four, logically. Durr. Best to have them on hand before you start this process.
- Bucket of Clean Water – use the empty bucket from earlier and go to either Ardenweald or Bastion and find some clean water – not muddy – to fill the bucket. Then you can give that to Blanchy.
- Comfortable Saddle Blankey – Ta’tru sells this for some variable currency. Most if not all of the currencies (i.e. Aethreal Meat) are available on the AH for a trivial amount of gold. Save yourself some trouble; go to the AH the day before, get the things you need to buy the blankey, and buy it then so you have it waiting next day.
- Dreadhollow Apples are available from Mims and there are no tricks to this one. Just buy the apples and have them ready, as that will seal the deal.
So I have a nice red horsey and am done with this particular camp fest. And at last we have some closure to the tragic story of this poor beast. I’ll try to take better care of her than the previous owners.