Everything that drives me crazy about the first two episodes of this TV show. I watched it to episode 5, but these are all the notes I took. I couldn’t go on, it was too stupid.
- The game itself is basically World of Warcraft meet Final Fantasy XIV. It’s a multiplatform fantasy MMO that’s wildly popular. That’s fine, even if such a game is passé these days.
- What does the shovel do? It allows the player to dig surface level holes in the ground. Are those persistent? If so you’ve just ruined all the work your level designers put into the scenery. If not, is it just cosmetic for the current player? It seems to be permanent given the Nazis digging swastikas in episode 3. What gameplay or aesthetic changes does this digging allow? It seems to be totally pointless, or like a spray in Overwatch. But if the sprays were permanent, you would eventually run out of surface space to place them. The game world would have no visible textures, it’d just be sprays on all surfaces. Same with this digging. Can you dig below a certain level? No, right?
- The shovel is also useful for combat. Pootie Shoe uses it to seemingly decapitate NPCs in a town. Do other weapons allow you to do that? Or is this new functionality, allowing players to kill allied NPCs? Do the dead NPCs respawn?
- What is the nature of the conflict over the shovel? Ian sees its 3D model and says it isn’t cool enough. Poppy just wants something of hers in the final game. Is Ian complaining about the design of the model? Does he want it to have jewels and be gold encrusted or something? That’s the model that Brad and C.W. present to Poppy. She hates it because of the naked elf lady, but would she mind if the 3D model was made more glittery?
- Or does Ian have feedback on the animation and feel of using the shovel? That seems like part of it, that’s why he gets into the motion capture suit and hits those watermelons. But he never expresses his concerns in a coherent way: “Poppy, this new weapon is great, but the visceral feel of using the shovel is unexciting.” It’s weird that Poppy correctly spouts the nerd speak to make the shovel exciting to use but didn’t code that in originally. Did she want a boring shovel that sucks to use?
- Even Pootie Shoe agrees, which is the most mystifying part of all this. Poppy “gives” the shovel to a streamer and he complains about it. How did she give it to him? Given the game design she must have let him into a private test realm. Or is the Mythic Quest code base so sophisticated she can extract entire game mechanics from an expansion pack and grant them to arbitrary users of the production build?
- Hanging over all of this is the fact that the team is debating features and blood spurt acceleration curves the week before the expansion launches. This is completely insane. What they should be doing is carefully working through a list of bugs to prepare a day zero patch. Or planning the first big post launch content update. The executive producer made a call to lock down the code base weeks ago, not the week before. They are deploying with a known set of bugs, not adding features or debating adding loot boxes.
- Brad wants to introduce a casino into the game to fleece more money from the players. Since he couldn’t persuade the dev team to add it, he had a company from another country create the casino. That is mind-boggling. The dev team didn’t revolt when they learned their jobs are being outsourced? How did Brad have admin access to the game’s source control?
- Brad tells the testers not to file bugs against the casino. Why? That is insane. If it’s collecting money from users, you would want them to have a good experience. If the casino is buggy in cosmetic ways (one tester finds the dice disappear in one circumstance), it’s got to be buggy in deep, take-money-from-players ways. You would have to be a negligent monetization person to deploy knowingly bad code that collects real money.
- The soy boy beta cuck insult Poppy makes to David means she sympathizes with the alt-right. In episode 3 we hear two Nazis calling each other cucks. When you insult someone (e.g. Ian has a tiny dick) you are either (a) expressing the fact that you personally find this comment humiliating, or (b) you expect the target will find this comment humiliating. David had no idea what she’s talking about. He’s out of the loop culturally and the remark makes no sense to him. That Poppy uses it anyway without brushing it off as a joke (she’s quite irritated at the moment) means she agrees that soy boys are a valid category of person and dislikes them. Not that the whole “soy boy” insult is alt-right nonsense.
- When Poppy insults Brad, he leaves and single-handedly cripples Mythic Quest. He sets all the prices to zero and locks out the company credit card. This is the tantrum of a child, yet Brad is allowed back on the team afterwards. Perfect time to call HR for its intended purpose, no? How does Brad have such incredible power over the company? Isn’t he just the LiveOps guy?
- This episode also lets us see Mythic Quest’s store. They sell freaking weapon upgrades. This game is pay to win. And it’s developed in America. How is it popular in this country?
- The plot also concerns a character known as the Masked Man, who is some random NPC that both gives players loot and takes loot away. There’s some build up that the company hasn’t revealed his identity. Is it a super oblique reference to The Darkness in Destiny? Maybe. The loot taking and loot giving behavior sounds completely insane. Players like that? Or hate it? Pootie Shoe doesn’t care about losing his shield to the masked man, only that he doesn’t know who he is. wouldn’t there be a ten thousand page wiki dedicated to unraveling that mystery? And a rival one dedicated to complaining about the shit that guy stole?