Monday, November 10, 2014

Channeling my post Blizzcon excitement - Navi's wrap up

It is still exciting to watch Blizzcon with a virtual ticket, there were just so many things that are amazing that it's hard not to burst with excitement about everything that they talked about and presented.

Obviously, the first thing that was really exciting was Overwatch, as it was the surprise announcement.  I remember watching the trailer and thinking "Wow this looks cool, and it looks so Pixar!  What is this game??" And it was a totally new intellectual property - new characters, nothing to do with any of their previous games and a first person shooter.  Blizz doesn't have an FPS so now they are more represented in that department and I think even my young daughter would like to play!



Once they showed the gameplay, I understood, and I did feel a slight sinking feeling - because I am THE SUCK when it comes to FPS.  Wolf 3D used to make me seasick and dizzy and I struggle playing things like Halo.

I was also happy to see Legacy of the Void, the third chapter of Starcraft 2 being announced, but I didn't catch a release date.

I spent a lot of time watching the Arena Tournament and there were some amazing games.  The semi finals were so close!  And it was good seeing a boomkin in the arena this time - I don't think they were well represented last year.  Shaman healers seem to be the thing, and I think I've decided that I would like to consider levelling a mistweaver (or maybe boosting one) but you know.. that's kinda like a "if I have nothing to do" project that will not be on the books for a while since WoD is hitting next week!  Big grats to Bleached Bones who took out the trophies this year as last year they came in second place.  Vhell, Azael and Josh Allen were great casters, and I laughed when Josh struggled with "that.... that AoE druid healing ability OMG mind blank" during the finals.  Great work guys, the casting was so exciting!


The Hearthstone tournament room was so cool too!  It was this little room like a fireside room (ultimate fireside gathering of... 2 people LOL) and the trophy was awesome too!  Firebat, the guy who won, looked so stunned that he won!


I also was much more excited about the Warcraft movie this time around.  I think last year I wasn't that interested in it because it seemed so far away.  Cymre has always been quite excited about the movie (and she made an excellent post on this year's Blizzcon panel), but only now am I picking up on the steam. It was really cool that the people in key roles in the movie - Duncan Jones the director and Bill Westenhofer the VFX director are both WoW players and were excited to be part of the project, so they WANT the project to be great, as they are like us - fans of the game who want to see that great game's story brought to life.  Robert Kazinsky, the actor who was going to play Orgrim Doomhammer, was on the panel and he was a hardcore WoW player, having 500 days played as well as being in a top 100 guild!  Now that was cool and he was great up on the stage, doing the orc "walk" and muttering "get the fuck outta my way" as he lumbered about which made me laugh. At the end of the presentation they got the audience to scream "For the Horde" and "For the Alliance" and "For Azeroth!" which they said would be going into the movie.  WAY COOL.  Metzen was excited about the movie, which is a great sign, and I don't want to get too excited about it because I HATE being disappointed!


I also really enjoyed the documentary World of Warcraft Looking for Group, that showed how WoW evolved, how it was bigger than what they hoped and how they had evolved it into the multifaced beautiful game we play today.  Those server rooms... wow!  And also seeing those Blizzard guys when they were young... oh man, so funny!  I think Metzen is rather hot in his 40s compared to his 20s though... /cough

The cosplay had a rather dramatic flair as the winner, Py, was a bit upset because she hurt her ankle (or was it broke her costume) as she was about to come on!  However, we got to see the photo of the costume at the closing ceremony but here is a picture from Geeky Red Cosplay:


And that IS a truly magnificent costume indeed!  It looks bloody heavy!  A massive congrats!!

And the closing ceremony was fantastic!  I have no idea why Elite Tauren Chieftain (official name changed to drop the level!!)  didn't play last year - they should play EVERY year, it's BLIZZCON and they are BLIZZARD!  But Metallica was amazing - they performed a lot of their popular songs, and they were engaging and they did encores... I was jumping around the room with my son headbanging and singing "Enter Sandman" - I have no idea how are they going to top Blizzcon next year??  What could be better than Metallica??


It was an amazing weekend and my poor family is probably glad I will stop staring at the computer and playing live stream all over the house as I plonk media devices in every room (and in the car) so I could watch stuff!

And I will put this part at the end of this post because I have no desire to get caught up in any feminist sexist stuff.  Mike Morhaime said at the opening ceremony:
"Over the past couple of months, there's been a small group of people who have been doing really awful things. They have been making some people's lives miserable, and they are tarnishing our reputation as gamers. It's not right. Let's carry the good vibes from this weekend out into the world all year round. There is another person on the other end of the chatscreen. They're our friends, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters. Let's take a stand to reject hate and harassment. And let's redouble our efforts to be kind and respectful to one another. And let's remind the world what the gaming community is really all about."
And it didn't stop there.  Metzen was discussing a comment his daughter had made, as they watched the Dragon Soul cinematic (after you kill Deathwing).  "You know, Dad, it's cool, but why are they all in bikinis?"

"I don't know," he said, looking helpless and sheepish.  Mental note to self, he hoped that he would look to help address that with Overwatch, and in my opinion, Overwatch has started everything on the RIGHT foot, right from the beginning with the trailer.

"Psst.. what you looking at?"  And yes, Widowmaker was looking at Winston but he's not a man, he's an APE.
The little boy said that his favourite was Tracer - a young boy viewing a female fighter as his hero. And the the trailer DOES pass the Bechdel test - there are two females, they speak to each other, and it's NOT about a man.  Yes, it's only one line, but they spend the rest of the time trying to kill each other!

And there are so many options to choose from when you play Overwatch - you can be guy, a girl, a robot, or a gorilla!  Widowmaker is rather provacatively dressed, but Pharah is fully covered in body armour that is not overtly sexual like Mercy's body armour so I think that this is a game that could appeal to everyone.  I think you can see that Blizz really tried here to address the equality issue that has been plaguing the company for so long.  Metzen himself said that he thought the game was great because of its diversity and its appeal to a wide gaming audience and he actually said that "As we develop characters for Overwatch, we are very sensitive to ensure that people feel they are represented."

However, when you look at esports - how many females did you see competing?  Maybe I blinked and missed it, but I didn't see any. In this day and age, in the Blizzard environment, do you really think that women are overlooked for competitive gameplay?  Look at the number of female Blizzcon attendees and I am sure that they play Blizzard games.  But though many women are good or excellent players, I don't know any who are top of the game players. Maybe those 2900-3000 rated arena girls are out there, hiding?  But why would they?

I think, the reality is that women don't have the time to dedicate to competitive gaming. I am sure if there was someone out there who wanted to be a competitive e-sports player, they would do it.  Though of course, sponsorship may be the thing - it's possible that it could be what stops them there, but I'm hoping that's not the case.

However, there are female e-sports hosts (I'm thinking Kim Phan and Soe Gschwind-Penski)! I suppose In general, women SPEAK better. They're more engaging to the audience.  In a broad overgeneralisation, girls are better at organising things.  I know HEAPS of girls who are guild leaders. The funny thing is that I don't know any GM girls on Saurfang but I certainly have a fair few other female friends who are GMs on other servers.

I was discussing this with my guild and most girls I know who play are so busy with other things that they wouldn't have time to dedicate to competition e-sport.  That stuff is like a full time job itself! Athletes train and practice for hours a day - and I am sure that e-sports is no different. Which is why you need to get sponsored because you really won't have any income. Where do you have time to do all those other things?  And let's face it, girls are busier! We argued this back and forth a lot last night.  Crooked said that one of the problems with a girl gamer who streams is that people would probably be trolling to say "Hey show us your tits" on their stream.  And of course there are other girls who stream where their cam picture seems to be larger than the actual gameplay they're streaming... I mean what is with that?  Honestly, I don't want to SEE the people who are streaming, I just want to see their stream and their gameplay! I guess sexist asshats still exist (and also the people who encourage it!).

But overall, I think that the Blizzard attitude towards girl gamers is positive.  Last year's Blizzcon was tainted with a lot of discontent at how Warlords of Draenor didn't appeal to a wider audience - and this year I haven't heard any complaints about the items presented - so I guess no news is good news, right? :D

5 comments:

  1. I've seen that women are sexually harassed a lot in esports, as well, making it an unattractive place to spend one's time. It's so bad I can't even stand to be around when these people are talking "off camera". It's the GamerGater's attitude in one of its native environments. It's the elephant in the room for esports, that part of the game "that nobody likes to talk about at cocktail parties."

    This year it seems that the attitude in the leadership has changed dramatically with regards to the way that Blizz is addressing female gamers' perception of them as a company, game, and culture. I'm not gonna point fingers here, but there was a major change in upper management, and I'm not talking about GhostCrawler. This year, it seems they decided to take a hard, professional look at themselves and how they conduct themselves, and I think they've gotten a lot better for it. Here's hoping.

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    1. I have to admit because I don't watch any other kinds of esports except Blizzard ones, I don't know, but I am wondering if there are any progamer females out there - I just never see them! And I wonder if its because of sponsorship or harrassment - and if there were any professional gaming girls I would like to hear their side of the story.

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  2. I am absolutely stoked for Overwatch. I will be terrible at it, but it looks like a lot of fun. And I have to say, I'm really happy with the diversity they've got going on. I don't mind that there's a "slutty" female character - there are others who are not, and all the women are depicted as strong women who are good at what they do. I also loved that Tracer was the little boy's favourite in the cinematic - I thought that was awesome.

    I agree with Grimmtooth about the esports stuff. Maybe there will start being a shift, but it's going to be slow. I was really *really* happy with what Mike Morhaime had to say about gamergate, and the Chris Metzen quote I only saw today, but gave me hope that things will change in future. Maybe with some leaders speaking out about "not being dicks' things will start to change. But I don't really see it happening soon. I was around the other day when the lovely ladies from Wowhead were doing a live stream of them opening the goodies from the Blizzon bags. It was a great stream that I enjoyed a lot. But it was tarnished by reading some of the comments being posted in chat. Just things like "I'd f*** Perc any day" kind of thing. And I couldn't help thinking "what on earth does that have to do with what she was talking about? Yes, she's a lovely lady, but why drag everything down like that. Watching Olivia and Perc was awesome - I think they are brilliant women, and they actually got me really excited about being a female gamer. But the comments really got to me, and I could help but wonder how on earth they deal with it.

    I think sponsorship is a major contributor, too, as to why we don't see any female e-sports players. It would be nice if that changed. But maybe there just aren't a lot of female gamers willing to put themselves in the line of fire. On the other hand, if leaders in gaming companies start speaking up more about these issues, maybe it will become easier to put ourselves out there. At the same time, I'm not overly keen on seeing women in the tournaments to fill a quota, either. I want to see the best, no matter who they are.

    I'm sorry I've rambled on your blog! Just thought you made some great points. Awesome wrap up of blizzon :D

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    1. Cinder I love reading long comments - it helps me understand the people who visit (and of course people that I go visit) and I get great ideas and new opinions or points of view to mull over. Like you I will totally SUCK at Overwatch but I think that I like the characters in it as well. Maybe they'll let them have skins like in Heroes of the storm.

      I reckon if there are any pro gamer girls out there who want to compete on competition level, I'd sponsor them! And I did see somewhere that there are girls who do esports - there was a page of it listing amount of winnings. Though of course I can't sponsor them for a huge amount like 20k or anything.... I'm not a company! How much do people sponsor anyway I wonder?

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    2. I got curious... :D
      So I figure all of these numbers are really wild estimates, so take it all as you will.
      I found this article: http://www.quora.com/How-much-revenue-does-a-major-esport-team-like-Evil-Geniuses-bring-in that suggested:
      "A wide-scale head sponsorship of one of the world's leading teams might exceed one million USD per year. Packages for normal sponsorships will be somewhere in the low to mid six-digit range, depending on the amount of sponsors and the exposure offered."
      So a bit more than I thought!

      During my investigations I came across this website (which is probably what you're referring to in your comment?): http://www.esportsearnings.com/players/highest_overall that shows how much people have made overall from the tournaments and what not. (YES PLEASE!)
      The female stats are pretty sad though: http://www.esportsearnings.com/players/female_players
      Pretty devastating when compared to overall. From what I can gather from that data, there are only 4 female players in the top 500 esports earners overall. And the top female player got her earnings back in 2010, so it makes those numbers a lot sadder.

      If only I was good enough at a game to compete! It would be pretty amazing. Maybe that's my goal - get on a good Overwatch team and kick some butt :D

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I hope these comments work! Not sure why people can't comment lately, it makes me sad :(