Monthly Archives: January 2011
Okay, that title was maybe a little more histrionic than I intended.
WFS’s Gordon made me laugh yesterday when he said “Time to start an alt” — just taunt me a second time-a why don’t you?
My name is Hyperbole and I am an Altoholic.
The long and short of this post is that it’s a shameless begging post. I already have my 9 alts made (duh!), a few of whom date back to 2004 and whom I can’t bring myself to reroll while the rest are fresh off the cookie-cutter line. I can’t put them all in Knights Who Say Ni because, well, that’s just greedy — I’m not the only altoholic in town and I already have 3 or 4 chars in the guild as it is, which is probably more than I should. Ni has an alts guild, but, meh.
Okay fine. I just want my own damn guild bank. Happy?
Cue begging: if anyone (well, 3 anyones) has a spare character slot and can make an Alliance char on Icecrown for as long as it takes me to get the 3 signatures we need, I’ll be eternally grateful and, um… will say something nice about you every week till August 2014. How’s that for a deal?
EDIT — Okay, blogging power and Twitter power are sometimes rather awesome. Many thanks to Shawndra, Stargrace and @R0NlN for the guild-creation help! There’s nothing quite like being helped out by total strangers (physically-speaking) to remind me why I love my MMOs. It’s not the game, it’s the people. <3
Sometimes I love the blogosphere: it binds us together, it enables us to share and circulate ideas, and it allows us to have far-reaching and far-branching debates about all manner of gaming things under the sun.
Sometimes I loathe the blogosphere, for exactly the same reasons.
So as I read the various posts and discussions spawned by Eric of Elder Game’s original post — including my own (Eric link at top, everyone else at the end of the post) — I end up wondering: do we actually read each other, or do we just use each other as opportunities to bang on our own drums, grind our own axes, and stand on our own soapboxes?
I’m bemused and almost irked enough by it to be doing one of these petty, self-justifying set-the-record-straight posts, which in itself irritates me even further. (Doesn’t help that I’ve only had one cup of coffee, come to think of it.*) On the bright side it’s the weekend and nobody reads blog posts over the weekend, so I can mutter quietly and mostly to myself in my corner.
Record–straightening #1. I never said classes were better than not-classes. I said Eric said skill-based is hard, and I agreed with him based on my personal gaming experience. Actually, I do believe I said once or twice that classless is very rewarding, but it’s a lot more work — granted that my only “development” experience of that is for tabletop games, but while I didn’t mess about with million-dollar budgets, I do have some idea of the relative amount of work-time required between managing a classless, skill-based campaign and managing the opposite.
(For those who like this kind of thing underpinned by “evidence,” the tabletop game I ran for the longest time — about 8 years — was Ars Magica, which is pretty much a skill-based game with incredibly messy and open-ended rules, at least the ruleset we used, which was mostly 3rd ed with a smattering of 2nd, 4th and house rules.)
Once again. In a purely theoretical sense I still don’t see what’s so contentious about “skill-based is harder to design and balance than class-based” — I really don’t. As an extremely general statement, it seems pretty straightforward to me. Given the perils of speaking for others at this stage, I won’t — but I certainly never said that just because something is more difficult to design, nobody should bother with it.
Record-straightening #2. I never made any comments about easy/hard and choice/not-choice. Other people’s drums. Sure, I have stuff to say about those things, but I didn’t say them in that post.
I’m still boggling at how this has, once again, become a debate about easy-mode versus iron-man Mr. Real Player, even in terms of development. If you like structure, you’re a sheeple. If you like to be able to screw up your character without hope of recovery, you’re a brave pioneer forging ahead into the wilds of game adventure.
Yes, I’m paraphrasing rather inaccurately. I felt it was my turn.
I’m definitely starting to think it would be useful for the gaming community as a whole to lose the “if it made me want to chew my arms off, it was BETTER” elitist attitude we’re dragging around with us whether we notice it or not. There are arguments to be made for both simplicity and complexity and they’re a great deal more, um, complicated than simply saying one is better than the other, which is a pretty meaningless assertion without context, actually.
I’m done griping now. Move along. Nothing to see here, classy or otherwise.
* Please. No advice on how I should quit drinking so much coffee if it makes me that grumpy. Can’t a person even use hyperbole on her site anymore without being adviced-at? I’m really just grumpy by nature and coffee has nothing to do with it. Now get off my damn lawn!
Here’s something I’ve never understood about the internet opinionating. It used to happen on the old mailing lists and bulletin boards, it used to happen on forums, now it happens on blog and article comments. Person A writes “ABCDE”, very reasonable and pretty straightforward stuff, and person B lets off with a diatribe out of nowhere.
Here’s an example. Call me a literary critic (since I’m trained to be one), but I think Syp hits the parental nail on the gaming head. It’s rather poetic and it’s incredibly sincere, and for my money you can’t ask for much more in a blog post. Course, I don’t expect every single “gaming journalism” blog post I read to be a review of GT4 or SuperMario In Your Pants, The Sequel.
And here’s the rather mystifying “omg you left hair in the sink, I’m moving back to my mother’s!” comment. Um, what?
It’s not, mind you, that I have anything against readers being fickle bastards and altering what they like from week to week. I’m exactly like that myself. I just don’t understand the causality in this case, even though I’ve seen it happen a million times over the years.
Person A: “Cheeseburgers have cheese in them.”
Person B: “OMG you are SO full of cheese! I can’t believe I ever read anything you wrote! How can you claim to be a legitimate emailer / poster / blogger / journalist / carbon-based lifeform?! I’m off to a blog about real Limburger!”
It’s happened to me a few times on MMORPG.com lately, too, though to be bluntly honest I try not to read the comments over there, or at least only through slitted, somewhat glazed, unjudgemental eyes. But okay, I do read them. And occasionally I’ll get an “OMG you’re full of shit! This is SO inaccurate! You are a tool of the MMOlitary RPGdustrial combine! You call this game journalism?!”
Actually, no. That’s why this blog’s subtitle is MMO musings and commentary and that’s why the MMORPG gig is marked as perspectives. Pure opinion. No facts implied or advertised. Bias inherent and admitted. What’s so difficult to grasp about that?
I should know better, but I still boggle at the gap between what we write and what people read.* God knows that’s caused a lot of online drama over the years, especially if you count game chat as a medium. There’s already a gap between what you think and what you say, and then between what you say and what people hear, simply in normal conversation — but add non-physicality and a wholly typed medium and you’ve got a recipe for misunderstanding that makes me wonder how we manage to communicate online at all.
Even so… even knowing that what one says and what is understood are never quite going to match up, I still have to wonder at the strange gap between “Cheeseburgers have cheese in them” and “That’s it, I’m outta here.”
Yay for freedom of speech and blog-reading choices!
* Or indeed between what person A says or does and what person B hears or expects. There’s a reason two of the most-used tags on this blog are “design” and “expectations”. Maybe I should move on to marriage advice too. (And the first person who calls me Dr. Ysh will have a contract taken out on them. Just sayin’.)
Yes, I’m that cheap. Here’s what I wrote for MMORPG this week, go look if you’ve a mind to.
It’s actually kind of odd doing that writing gig. Compared to this blog, I don’t feel as free to say whatever the hell I please, partly because they’re paying me for the columns but partly because it’s not my site. I know that shouldn’t really make a difference, but it does. It’s not just my opinions, it’s my opinions as published by a pretty large and popular gaming site. (That said, I’m really vanilla compared to some columnists. I’m probably being overly nice about the whole thing — and I mean nice in the older sense of the word, definition #2.)
Not that it’s gagging me entirely, you understand, or I wouldn’t have written the word “asshat” about 75 times in last week’s column. Still, it’s weird. Add to that the fact that I don’t really understand the readership and you’ve got a column I mostly enjoy doing but also somehow dread doing every week (which may help to explain why I’m always shaving the submission deadline so close *cough*). I’ve actually been tempted to dredge up some of my better posts here (as defined by me, rather than as defined by traffic, or I’d be writing about Hugh Laurie’s hawtness every day) and see if I can’t rework them for the column, but that still feels like semi-plagiarism and recycling, even if it’s only myself I’m copying.
I dunno. Maybe I’ll grow into it and get comfortable with it, the way most other bloggers I know who do “commercial” columns seem to have done. Or maybe I’ll always feel a little uncomfortable about it. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing — discomfort should at least keep me from getting too blasé about it and writing utter pap just because I can.
Am going to leave you with a couple of pix to ponder. Upon one hinges the fate of an entire world. Upon the other hinges the fate of one (admittedly somewhat used) brain. From the sublime to the squamously ridiculous, as Mr B might have said if he’d read more Lovecraft.