Monday, March 9, 2009

Delayed Recall: Blue Plz!

Thanks for checking out Delayed Recall. In DR the main premise is that I listen to a podcast without taking any notes and then attempt to write about it from memory a day or two later. Last week it was Total Biscuit's Blue Plz! on Friday where I showed up for the IRC chat.

As Jim mentioned the other day, Total Biscuit gave our blog a fantastic mention near the opening of his show, I would say within the first five minutes. He also introduced me as a special guest in the chat and the Blue Plz! listeners were very kind and inquisitive. I had someone ask if Fred is my real name, which it is. You can probably imagine the amount of times, though, that I had bartenders laugh at me in my younger days when they saw "Fred Jones" on my identification. These days the only places that look at my ID are doctors offices and airports, but I digress.

Something Jim didn't mention is that the chat moderator from time to time would post a bold "as mentioned on the show" note which is a very cool touch for a show with a big audience. The note about our blog said something like: "the only blog epic enough for Total Biscuit to follow!" It wasn't unique to our blog, of course, the IRC moderator would link or bold post the main topics/themes/sites TB mentioned and while I've seen that done in other chats for other shows they could probably take a lesson from WoW Radio here. There was an air of professionalism about it that added to the live show atmosphere for me.

Of course something like this would probably look very silly or become an annoyance if you only had 5-10 listeners in the chat but luckily Blue Plz! probably had about 300 listeners there, can't recall seeing an actual tally and I stopped counting once I reached 75 and realized I was only a quarter of the way through the listener list. And of course I saw one listener request to have the moderator "stop spamming" so you'll never please everyone I suppose.

Back to the show, he went right into email. Email is always email even if TB does do it pretty well. The Blue's Clues email lead-in made me chuckle, especially since my granddaughter is watching that these days. Did you know the Steve guy wasn't a pervert? He actually just left the show to start a music career? For some reason I always thought that guy was creepy. Anyway, all five of us here at UWoW like hearing out of the box thinking and I think TB did a good job of bringing new angles to some questions that perhaps the questioner didn't quite think through all the way.

I like when TB had a drop of glass breaking from out of nowhere for "The Illusion of Choice," which is a chance for listeners to set the last topic of the show. That's a very cool feature of the show and goes straight toward the very spirit of the internet, doesn't it?

If I remember correctly he next started going off on the notion that casual players don't exist. I kind of go with the idea that there are such animals as casual players. There are people who don't read WoW blogs or listen to WoW podcasts, people who never post on the WoW forums or have never heard of WoW Insider. They're around, and they still play for whatever reason makes them happy. I like to think those sort of people are casuals.

TB's rant was based on the fact that the old definition of "casual" as "non-raider" no longer applies. I must admit my mind wandered a bit here. While it was probably informative for new players I think he took longer than needed to give the back history. One great point he made, though, was that a lot of the new end-game raid content doesn't require the huge blocks of time it did pre-Wrath and that you could basically PUG anything. To that end I can understand his point and it is nice to have something to go back at people who "hide" behind their casual status. Took too long to get there though for me.

Good flow between topics from casual players into badge loot. I'm not really concerned with badge rewards right now since I'm leveling alts while helping Melissa level but apparently there's some crying about getting yourself geared up on badge loot. Doesn't really affect me, this would probably be more of an issue for Toothy and Pete Pete but not for Jim, Melissa, or I.

TB then spoke about the Daily Mail article that picked up on the Swedish story which blamed WoW for the kid who passed out after playing the game for 20 hours straight. I think he used the memorable phrase "vomit-worthy" when talking about parents shipping their children off to doctors for pills to make them empty shells just like everyone else, attaching the stigma of being "anti-social" to them in the process. Another major point I remember is the fact that there is no diagnosis for computer game addiction at present. We all know compulsive people who are compulsive at everything they do... but a little more understanding and communication here could go a long way. I can't tell you as an older gamer the sort of stereotypes I usually have to overcome to earn someone's trust in-game. I've had whole ventrillo servers go dead when they hear my older voice. Needless to say, enjoyed this segment muchly. Sounds like more crying from bad parents trying to blame everything but themselves for bad parenting.

Total Biscuit's live shoutcast play-by-play for the 3 vs. 3 PVP game was the highlight of the show for me. TB said he felt an energy rush doing it; I actually got an energy rush and I didn't even sync up my video to watch the action, I was just listening! It was a combination of an auction house auctioneer, horse racing announcer, and football (soccer) commentary. Fantastic.

Wrapped up the end of the show with the live listener submissions and shout outs which is a great way to keep the listeners involved until the very end.

Overall, it's pretty clear Total Biscuit has his shit together. He's pretty damn funny too, without the benefit of notes I can't recall specific quips but if you can sit through Blue Plz! without cracking at least one smile you probably have some sort of mental disease. Clearly this is one of the very best WoW podcasts out there and one of the favorites here at UWoW. The format is unique and streamlined and the IRC works in perfect synergy with the show. Didn't always agree with everything but I appreciate that he's even thinking of original topics to bring into the discussion rather than the same recycled information we can find in a million other places. Would have liked the "made-up topic" of casuals not existing to be a little more on-point but what can you do? My final analysis is that it was a good episode of a very good show.


  1. It's interesting to read this kind of analysis and comparing it to the things I came up with during my own analysis of the show. It's kind of a habit of mine to listen back to the show I did a couple of days ago and take some notes as to what I thought came out well and didn't.

    I did actually feel the casual player discussion was the weakest point of the show. Specifically, I am annoyed with myself that I strayed into badge discussion during that segment, instead of keeping it until the segment after that. That wasn't part of the plan, and it was a fracturing of my train of thought that I'm personally rather annoyed with. Considering I'd been formulating the argument that I was going to make a few hours before hand, I botched it good and proper. You live and learn.

    Thanks for the kind words, but more importantly, for dedicating the time to write constructive analysis of the show. /salute.

  2. Thanks TB it was a fun experience for me all around. There will be more on Blue Plz! in the future too because Jim has mentioned that he wants to do "A Longer Look" on the show but that's a bit down the road. I'm glad podcasters are reading our site and taking our criticism/praise at face value and leaving it at that. That's what we hoped for with this blog and it means a lot to us that we're starting to pull it off.

  3. The review nicely reflected Blue Plz!(!) Other than that, I salute you for not supporting "the Daily Mail's" 'propaganda'; which proves to me that you know what you're talking about.

    Like the section about casuals stated, TB tends to stray into other things indirectly related to the subject (Badges), but a minor flaw at best.

    Thanks for giving this show the attention it deserves.

    Fred Jones: I think it's excellent that you're going to make another part on Blue Plz!, because I don't think you can review the show as a whole, based on a single episode.

    (My apologies for lousy English)

  4. I agree with Christoffer. I love Blu Plz, and have listened to it since I started playing WOW, but it is a very good idea to continuously critique the show, as fortunately TB does listen to critique, unlike some game companies *cough cough blizz*
    I have to say, my family was brought up debating around a table so hearing TB's views on the podcasts reminds me a lot of childhood.
    I enjoy the way he is powerful in his opinions, as for me it not only tempts me to agree with him, but can also envoke a sense of wanting to get up and say "Hey everyone! Listen to what I have to say about WOW!"
    I would suggest that ya bring a 2nd host every so often, because the show with the other host (so bad, can't remember her name) on last fri the 13th was amazing from a comedy and debating sense, as she was hilarious and the back and forth agreements and disagreements allowed TB's opinions to become a lot more strengthened.
    A 2nd host every so often would be cool, just even for a quick debate. As it would be good to have a sense of devil's advocate so we could hear strong opinions from both sides of the arguement.
    By your request TB I did ask my dad to debate the addiction topic with you, as he gave me hassel about trying to finish a raid on saturday night at 11pm. I was like "what? If i was out at a party ya would say naught to me?" I think he just doesn't like WOW. He seemed quite confused when I offered him a debate with you, and now that I think about it, would be quite embarrassing to hear my fav podcaster wipe the floor with my father. ^^
    Anyway, you WILL do well in the Play by Play comp, cuz I usually hate Play by Play but was enjoying what you were doing.

    Fred, do me favour and review more Blu Plz. Or even better, go on TB's show and debate a bit. (also you can do a bit of Plug Plug Plug. No one will mind.)

    Site is awesome and ty guys. Will see ya in IRC tomorrow towards end of the show. =D

  5. Hi TB. Now, I'm not overly sure about where I can critique you. But hell, I am really enjoying this website, so I'll leave another review here for Blue Plz. I've never reviewed or blogged before, but I'm determined that I'll make a blog using this website so I can review. =D
    This is for your most recent show which was 24th March.
    This was the 1st show I ever listened to live, and I went into IRC. It was a postponed show, and by god, the wait from fri to tues was sure as hell worth it.
    You talked a lot about the new add on system Blizz are putting in place.
    I have to say, that your points are very good. But I do prefere when you come out with the sarcastic jokes like you said something about changing the name of Blue Plz to something else if you decided to give up on Wow. I lol'ed a lot at that.
    You did get very passionate about the topic, which I like, and angry rants (yet not so much rants as you have very valid arguements that make sense) are sorta your trademark.
    Now, more nubcake news please. =D
    I do like the comical part of your show as well as the meaty substance of your opinions. But I would like more comical features, because those are the things that I as a listener will quote myself, think about and debate about.
    I still think that every so often you should bring Eriyanna into show, because the episode two friays the 13th ago with her was Hilarious.
    Perhaps you could do a small duo show with her if you have time? =D

    Also, Eriyanna on Arcanist belt is lvl 61?! HORROR! That's not meant to happen in Classic WoW. =D
    Currently leveling a druid and my gf is leveling a priest which we will transfer to Arcanist Belt server soon as we hit lvl 60. But prepare to be out dpsed by my hybrid class Kitty. =P

  6. Hello,

    I've been listening to Blue Plz! for awhile now. One thing I've noticed is that Totalbiscuit has a great disdain for the Players vs. Player aspects of World of Warcraft. However, I believe that he is essentially speaking to a topic of which he has not given a fair chance. He constantly states that PvP is a valid form of gameplay but goes on to point out that he believes it takes "no skill". I'm taking this quote from his most recent show however he may have been speaking from a relative perspective because I do remember him mentioning other games prior to his statement(I'll check when the archives come out). This statement seems pretty offensive. I like Totalbiscuit and agree with many of his opinions but stating that PvP lacks skill without actually delving into the content and trying out seriously PvPing. I understand where this perspective develops as I once had it. Most PvP players I've encountered are terribad raiders and arrogant jerks. But since the quality of content has declined I picked up PvPing and found it to be rather challenging. I admit there are some things in PvP that may seem unfair and unbalanced (The idea of only certain cut compositions will succeed) but if you can manage the correct composition you don't skyrocket to the top. You still have to develop skills throughout your PvP career and I believe Totalbiscuit isn't acknowledging this side of the argument.

    There is a great amount of skill and tactics involved with PvP, moreso in Arenas but if organized correctly Battlegrounds Premades could also create a beautiful example of how skill combined with excellent planning leads to absolute victory. Indeed, PvP has many merits to which I believe Totalbiscuit does not give enough credit to.