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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Tim Clark: RIP Rag

Hearthstone’s señor del fuego hasn’t quite purged his last, but he is being sent to live on a farm in the Wild where the he can roam free with the Piloted Shredders. Not that I am sad about this week’s announcement from Blizzard, which detailed that six classic cards will be removed from Standard when 2017’s first set is released. I lobbied for exactly this to happen at the start of the year, and along with the coming nerfs, and changes designed to reduce the grind from the ladder system, the developers at Team 5 have surely answered a lot of the (at times justified) criticism they’ve faced.

So it’s one of those lows that isn’t really a sad one, but at the same time I do feel a little twang of melancholy to see the firelord leave. Rag was the first golden legendary I crafted—the second was actually Sylvanas, so I’m going to be rolling in dust at least—and I’ve been playing long enough to remember when the meta pretty much revolved around playing Faceless Manipulator followed by BGH on the other guy’s Rag. It’s a huge decision by Blizzard to remove such an iconic card from the game’s main format, and I admire the ballsiness a lot. Nonetheless, a small part of me will miss slamming Rag and hearing his “By fire be purged!” entrance line.

Actually, given the precedent set by Lightlord, I bet they reprint a new version of the card in a couple of year’s time. You can’t keep a good elemental down.

Wes Fenlon: So long, internet progress

I think I wrote about some likely damage to Net Neutrality in a low just a few weeks ago, and recent words coming from the FCC haven't exactly dissuaded me of that notion. Just this week one of the commissioners called gigabit service a "novelty" and argued against a proposal that would classify "broadband" as 25 megabits per second down or faster, the speed required for 4K video streaming. Even if he had a good argument, the thing he's arguing against is actually a proposal to spend money expanding broadband service to poor and underserved areas. Meanwhile, the US continues to lag behind other developed nations in average internet speed.

And would you be shocked to know that telecom companies like Verizon have been granted billions of dollars in tax credits to install fiber services, then never followed through on those promises? Boy, they sure do have it rough, don't they. But 25 megabits per second? That's much too demanding!
 

Tyler Wilde: Weak Wick

This is technically from last week, but the John Wick VR game? It’s not very good. And after seeing John Wick: Chapter 2 over the weekend (very good), I’m even more disappointed by the game.

I think price is a huge barrier to VR adoption, but I’m starting to agree with Gabe Newell: Even if the price were lower, there still wouldn’t be a very compelling reason for most people to own a VR headset. I’ve been fascinated with VR ever since I first saw a holodeck on TNG, so of course I’m into it. But at this stage, the hardware and software are only good enough to mystify me for ten minutes before I acclimate to the novelty and go back to not having a big plastic thing strapped to my head. I still haven’t found a VR game that I reach for every chance I get. I’m confident it’ll come, but probably not before hardware improvements.

Steven Messner: Friends in low places

About a month ago, One of my friends, Jesse, decided to shell out cash for his first gaming PC. He's not much of a gamer these days, but I think he felt a little left out as most of our group plays on PC. During the hours we spent picking out parts to fit his budget and assembling it, I felt like Aladdin arriving on a magic carpet to show him a whole new wooooooooorld.

Nope. It's been a nightmare for the poor guy. Parts he ordered were dead on arrival, Windows 10 has a bug that I'm pretty sure warrants a total reinstall, and now his monitor sometimes won't turn on. Hopefully it's just a bad cable, but given his luck I fear something more… expensive.

His first impression of the world of owning a PC has been the worst, and I can tell it's all but killed his enthusiasm. And I sympathize. For someone who just wanted to play a spot of Overwatch now and again with his buds, was all this money and time really worth the effort? For him, I don't think it was. And that makes me sad. 

Chris L: No Man's Hi

Oh, yeah! No Man's Sky! Remember that little indie game that completely blew up the internet for half a year? It's slipped off my radar lately because once again Hello Games has largely gone into silent mode. This isn't a bad thing, as we've seen: after its last great void of communication Hello produced an impressively large patch for the space game, and I'm sure the team is currently working hard on... whatever it is they're working on. It's still hard to not wish for some hint of what that might be: other than retweeting screenshots and memes, Hello's twitter account hasn't said much lately, Sean Murray's last communique was from December to announce they were hiring, and the official site hasn't posted any news in over two months.

Maybe no news is good news, but I'm still hoping for a glimmer of what's to come before it actually, y'know, gets here.

Joe Donnelly: I need a power nap

After rearranging the PC Gamer UK office furniture, retrieving the team's hidden pencil cases, scraping the glue off the underside of their mouses, and removing all of the rude words from the random pages of the next magazine issue's draft before it goes to print—I am absolutely shattered, and thus too tired to contribute a low this week.

Power, who needs it? I'm off to bed.