By The Numbers: Week 9, 2015

bythenumbers

151106-infographic-carSo you already know I was disappointed with the Packers performace this past Sunday evening. The offense continues to struggle, despite Eddie Lacy being healthy and getting Davante Adams back. The defense, which has been pretty good through the first six weeks, got burned by Manning, whom has been under fire all year because of his diminished arm strength and accuracy. He looked like the same ol’ Peyton on Sunday, and that didn’t bode well for my team. But 6-1 is better than 1-6, and there’s still plenty of football to be played this season. I think Green Bay bounces back this week, because even though Carolina has a pretty good defense as well, they aren’t nearly as dominant as that Broncos D was. I just don’t see Green Bay losing back to back games — they haven’t done so since 2010. This matchup means more than the Broncos game did as well, because the Panthers are actually in the NFC, and this could come down to being a big tie-breaker if the teams remain the #1 and #2 seeds for the rest of the season (which could happen). For now, we don’t have to worry about the Broncos anymore, unless we were to face them in the Superbowl, but that’s too far off to worry about now. So let’s get on with my picks for this week:

Bengals 27, Browns 13
Packers 24, Panthers 14
Patriots 31, Skins 7
Saints 30, Titans 20
Bills 20, Dolphins 3
Vikings 24, Rams 20
Jets 17, Jags 10
Raiders 21, Steelers 17
Buccs 20, Giants 14
Falcons 27, 49ers 14
Broncos 37, Colts 21
Eagles 24, Cowboys 16
Bears 21, Chargers 20

Oh and all that making fun of Colin Krappernick (Sackorpick) apparently paid off, as he was benched this week, and Blaine Gabbart (former draft bust QB for Jacksonville) is set to start against the Falcons. I’m willing to wager that he puts more points on the board than Krap, but the Falcons are going to kill them. I’m also taking a chance on the Raiders to beat Pittsburgh because they seem like an actual team this year (Carr seems to be a good answer at QB) and I’m still laughing about how bad the Chargers are, when on paper they are so good, so I’m betting against them despite playing the Bears. Yeah, I’m salty, what of it?

King + Blizzard: A Perfect Match

The news is pretty fresh, so you may not have heard: Activision just bought King, the company responsible for that whole Candy Crush thing. Admittedly I haven’t played any of King’s offerings, much like I ignored Zynga before them. Facebook/browser games are mostly throwaway experiences. From the variety of games I’ve experienced on mobile devices, the same can be said. Timewasters, and nothing more aside from a few rare gems.

I have however, spent plenty of time with Blizzard (and Activision) games. Call of Duty aside though, this is a post focusing on Blizzard and King, and how they are a perfect match for each other.

Unable to claim the title of “the first person to say that,” it’s pretty clear that Blizzard titles are basically accessible and polished experiences you’ve already had elsewhere. Their newest games released in the past few years are easily comparable to other titles in the genre who already had a foothold in the market. As a matter of fact, all of their titles are accessible and polished versions of established genres, but let’s start from the newest offerings:

Overwatch – FPS Arena Shooter, similar to Team Fortress 2.
Heroes of the Storm – MOBA, similar to League of Legends/DOTA2
Hearthstone – CCG, similar to Magic: The Gathering

Those titles alone are painting a picture that goes back to Blizzard’s humble beginnings. I’m sure you can see the correlation between Dune II and Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. Even The Lost Vikings is similar to other platformers of the era. The big gorilla in the room though, World of Warcraft, is similar enough in its approach to prior MMOs, but added that blizzard level of polish and accessibility.

That isn’t to say that Blizzard doesn’t make good games. I absolutely adored Diablo and still do. It still does it better than most Action-RPGs out there, and it established the “formula” despite taking elements from various action and adventure games that preceded it. We also can’t say that it isn’t innovative to build on what came before, because that’s been the formula for our entire existence. But in this era of all-you-can-eat gaming, standing apart from the pack means doing something different, and copying what is already successful and getting the perfect storm effect once doesn’t mean it will happen regularly or ever again. I think Blizzard needs to start thinking outside of the box, and this purchase could be part of that.

As I said earlier, I haven’t touched any of King’s titles, but I’ve played enough Bejeweled to know what Candy Crush Saga is all about. In doing some reading and formulating this post, I came across this article that sparked my train of thought in the first place. Go ahead and read it. If nothing else, scroll down and look at the pictures. I’ll wait.

Back? So you’ll have seen how King has been taking the Blizzard method of polishing an existing idea to a whole other level. They don’t make a genre more accessible, they straight copy games, change a few assets and call it their own. Then they monetize the shit out of it and call it a day. Their existing catalog of games are all copies of another game, or sequels to that copy. How they haven’t been sued more I don’t know. It’s as bad as the rest of the mobile games market though, in that anything that becomes popular sees a billion straight copies on the market within days. But I digress.

Does anyone else see the correlation I’m getting at thought? It seems these two companies made their fortunes off of copying others’ ideas and putting their own spin on it. It’s only fitting that they are basically the same company now.

I’m just curious to see if this makes the mobile marketplace better, or if the Kingly influence makes Blizzard a worse company in the long run.

Some further commentary from round the blogosphere:

Keen and Graev
The Ancient Gaming Noob
Syncaine