Welcome back to our earnest, very serious, unofficial presentation: a commentary couch by myself and the wonderful Kim of Later Levels wherein we speculate, ruminate, discuss…inate, and all other sorts of presentation for every nation, about BLOGGER BLITZ: SHIPPING WARS. If you didn’t see episode one of our brand-new unsanctioned spin-off, check it out:
- The first half of the episode was broadcast on Later Levels, and;
- the second was hosted right here on OverThinkerY.
That episode was based on the participant announcement post on Adventure Rules, which can be found here.
As I did last time, I’ll format this by putting my own words in regular ol’ text, and my spectacular co-host Kim will be in bold. I’d suggest reading Adventure Rules’ official announcement of the first-round matches first, since that’s the subject of our discussion today!
Also, credit again to Ian at Adventure Rules, who not only has put this whole thing together with great effort and astonishing community spirit (he really is a great guy), but has also created all the art which I am shamelessly stealing for our bootleg production.
Let’s begin, shall we…?
So as we expected, these events are all designed to suit this year’s relationships dynamic. I’m impressed Ian was able to come up with four different and exciting ideas that allow opportunities for the Shipping Wars element to come to the foreground, because it must be a different sort of design principle to previous years’ single-participant format and so probably quite hard to account for those new intricacies!
I totally agree! The first thing that struck me when reading the line-up was just how well the matches suit the relationship angle of this year’s competition. Although some of the elements are extraordinary – an illness with side-effects that will tear the house apart, for example – they’re all situations that everyone will be familiar with.
This could potentially allow competitors to create entries that are more ‘personal’, which is very exciting!
This might be a premature question before we’ve actually run down each of the events and competitors, but does anything stand out to you as being particularly well-suited or ill-suited to its contender’s strengths?
To be honest… I know very little about any of the characters chosen this year and most are from games I haven’t played! I’m therefore coming into this BB with a fresh pair of eyes, and I’m hoping those taking part will cleverly craft their answers in a way which convinces inexperienced readers like myself. What about you?
I’m in a similar boat: I always enjoy learning about new characters through how the participants show them off, and this year I think I only know two or three of the pairs in any sort of detail at all, and even then not much! I think a big part of the skill competitors need is knowing their characters well enough to present their cases convincingly but accessibly enough for people who aren’t familiar with them to follow!
We’ve seen previous BB participants handle this in different ways during past events. Some have provided links to relevant information, others have provided footnotes, others have weaved back-story into their answers – and the judges have reacted differently to each of these. The competitors first up this year are going to have the difficult task of figuring out what it is they’re looking for.
Are there any matches you’ve got your eye on?
Ah, yes – we’ll have to come to the judging dynamics in a bit, because it is an absolutely key part of the way the competition shakes out. I think Ian wanted this year to make it a little clearer to all involved what the judges would be looking for, so we’ll see how those results pan out: in previous years it’s very much been up to each judge to decide what factor of an entry is most important to them, which has allowed a lot of freedom and creativity but perhaps been a little bit opaque.
I know it’s a cop-out to say this, but I’m very interested to see how each of the matches goes! Our first two matchups feature only one returning participant out of four, while the latter two matches’ four contenders are all veterans except one, which pretty much guarantees we’ll still have a mix of fresh faces and grizzled, wizened returning travellers by the time we get our lineup for the next round.
Of course, the ones I’m perhaps likely to be partisan about are the matches featuring LightningEllen, who’s not only a great friend but a re-emerging former victor of the whole goshdarn thing, and Pix1001, with whom I’ve collaborated a couple of times and am naturally very fond of!
Definitely – who isn’t intrigued to find out what the lovely LightningEllen is going to pull out of the bag this year? There’s a certain amount of pressure that comes with being a returning victor, but she’s a talented writer and one who’s more than capable of handling it.
She did of course also return after her 2017 victory for last year’s Black Sheep event, which I think makes her the only person to have been a competitor in all three Blitzes to date, and last year she turned in a spectacular collaborative performance with Athena Veta, who was supposed to be her opponent! I’ve no idea how the judges – which included you, Kim, of course! – managed to decide a winner in that round.
It’s so easy to underestimate how difficult it can be a BB judge, as I’m sure you can also testify! There’s so much creativity on display at these community events and everyone is determined to pull out their best work, so at times the deciding factor can come down to something so small. As you mentioned earlier, if new guidelines for judges have been introduced this year it’ll be interesting seeing what effect they have on the competition.
Back to the events, though, and I think we ought to take a quick look at each of the obstacles our esteemed host has devised for the competitors to overcome! (Quick note on the actual format for those who might not be familiar before we dive in, though: for each of these matchups, on the date of the match each competitor will separately publish their own piece addressing how their character will tackle the problem before them. They can do this absolutely however they like, with previous years’ matches sometimes being decided by a combination of the actual argument made and the style in which it was presented! The judges then get a few days to decide a winner, and a results post with their reasoning will go up a few days later on Adventure Rules.)
ROUND ONE: MATCH ONE
The first match this round, which will be happening very soon on July 29th [in fact, that’s either later today or has already happened depending on whether we can get this published before the match entries go up!], is ‘Sick Day Saviour’, in which ATBonfire’s Ashley Williams and FlameFlash’s Tyrande Whisperwind will be dealing with some sort of bizarre and potentially dangerous illness that’s overcome each of their partners: that’s Commander Shepard and Malfurion Stormsage respectively.
So what kind of illnesses do you think we’ll see in this round – a nuclear norovirus perhaps? And more importantly, how will each character overcome the risks to take of their partners? I’ll be disappointed if there’s no chicken soup!
Well, I’m imagining that any illness that could bring down the great Commander Shepard is going to be some galactic superbug which Ashley will have a real job to navigate, even before she gets to considering how to make Shep better! As for our WoW pair, let’s not forget that (per Ian’s introduction, since I am excruciatingly unfamiliar with the game’s lore) Malfurion is in a magical sleep and therefore perhaps susceptible to some nasty illnesses with all sorts of frightening magical properties…!
It’s interesting here that Ian has left freedom for the contenders to devise the illness themselves. We’ve seen before that a good Blitz entry needs to make sure that it presents the obstacle as a convincing, difficult task, and then work out a strong case for their character to overcome it. You can’t make the challenge too small or it’s not particularly exciting or impressive, but you also need to make it something uniquely surmountable with your character’s specific strengths and skills.
I don’t think we should be predicting winners, and we know that any given Blitz matchup really can go either way at any time – I remember completely changing my mind from one to the other more than once as a judge – but do you see either Ashley or Tyrande as having an advantage here? And what can each of them do to play to their strengths in this challenge?
I know very little about either of these characters so it’s quite difficult for me to speculate. I’d like to think this gives me a slight advantage when it comes to assessing the entries though: can the competitors truly convince me that their pick has the skills to win as well as show me something of the person they are?
That is an excellent point. Possibly the most important skill in the Blitz is being able to make it clear to people of all knowledge levels what your character can do and why that will help them, while also showing the personality of your character and yourself with some awesome creative writing.
ROUND ONE: MATCH TWO
The next match in this year’s Blogger Blitz takes place on 05 August 2019 and is called ‘Cuisine Collector’. This one will see Geralt of Rivia go up against N in perhaps what’s the hardest part of any relationship: picking somewhere and something to eat!
Not only that but it’s a four-part challenge: the competitors need to guide their characters through four different locations, since their Ship (that’s the second character in the pair this year) wants drinks, starters, a main, and a dessert all in different places! The question does specify that the restaurants must all be within the game world that the pairs live in, so KT and Geralt need to find four fine eating establishments in… well, Rivia, I guess? I’ve not played The Witcher! As for N, I wonder whether Clockworth will play it strict and keep his choices to Unova only, the setting for Pokémon Black and White, or whether we might see regions like Kanto, Johto or Alola.
That’s certainly going to be a big choice for the competitors to make: do they stay in the normal setting for their chosen characters, or travel wider and pick locations from other video games too? Either way, it’s going to have a big effect on how their entry turns out. Pick other locations and you’ll have the opportunity to bump into various protagonists, but then it could be harder to combine all the elements into one cohesive post.
I’ll be interested to see too how the competitors factor in their Ship’s tastes. For KT, she needs to make sure that Geralt is getting the kind of cuisine Ciri will enjoy; Clockworth has to somehow ensure that N caters to all his Pokemon’s tastes!
I think Clockworth may have the harder initial job here, but there’s also a lot of potential for variety to be explored.
I’ve got the answer: an all-you-can-eat buffet. Sorted.
That’s all we’ve got time for in this instalment, so head straight on over to Later Levels where Kim will be broadcasting the second half of this exciting episode. We’ll be breaking down the other two first-round matchups of BLOGGER BLITZ: SHIPPING WARS, the third instalment of my favourite community event that there is. Don’t miss it!