Off with their heads! Player politics.

Spinks shared this, so it actually came up on my reader, and I have to cry shenanigans. Oh wait not that one – BS. That’s the one I want.

It’s another “gamer-types” post and here’s the original. It’s another incredibly biased gamer-types post where one side is beauty truth and light and the other is one step down from maggots. I wonder if you can work out which is which from the quote below?

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August: as with July

I’ve gone from being MMOnogamous to being an MMO-ho. With frickin’ laser beams!

In the last couple of days I’ve been granted access to the LOTRO F2P beta (thanks to Mordor or Bust), spent more time in EVE than I expected (and then, again, less, as my Planetary Installations rot unworking and useless), and tried Age of Conan on their Endless Free Tortage (that’s Tohr-TAAAAJ by the way) Trial.

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It’s only a game

There’s an old gaming chestnut I’d like to smash today. I’ll try to be brief.

Whenever I’ve been told “Dude, it’s only a game!” it’s always been by someone who just finished bullying me or one of my friends.

Yes, it’s a game. No, it’s not only a game.

By that argument it’s perfectly all right for some asshat to stomp all over my kid’s lovingly-built sand castle. It’s only a sand castle, right?

By that argument, it’s perfectly all right for some asshat to slash up the painting I’ve been working on. It’s only a hobby, right?

We are emotionally invested in these games. We’re supposed to be. If you’re not, and it’s “only a game” then why are you in there playing power games and what exactly are YOU trying to prove? The implied lack of emotional investment and involvement is something I find pretty disturbing, actually.

Why play games if you don’t care about what you’re doing there? Is there a point to playing a game where you have so little involvement and investment that you don’t actually care what happens there? Is that even a game?

It’s often a matter of nuance, too. There’s getting killed/bested in a game and being perfectly happy with the outcome (except you’ll do better next time), and then there’s getting killed/bested in a game by someone who then proceeds to tell you that you shouldn’t care, because it’s only a game. I never did get that attitude and I never will — to me it sounds like nothing so much as a cop-out. “I know I’m being an asshole and I know MY fun requires YOU to be upset, because that’s how I am, so I’m going to make sure it’s somehow all your fault because you can’t take a joke.”

Funnily enough, those people don’t respond well when you return the favour and tell them it’s only a game.

I’m not nearly close enough to Nirvana to have abandoned all attachment to material things, games included. My apologies if I care enough about my gaming to actually give a shit when I or my friends get bullied.

Note — this mini-rant isn’t prompted by anything in particular. I haven’t been bullied lately. But I decided years ago that I wasn’t going to stand for bullying and I was going to call bullies out on their behaviour. Sometimes you have to take a stand.

Friday Fail Frenzy

Yes yes, it’s news so old now it’s practically fossilised, and we should move on to the Next Big Thing.

This RealID bullshit? This is the Big Thing. To be honest I have no idea if the idea of privacy is enshrined in any constitution anywhere in the world, but it should be (and I should be a damn sight better-educated on stuff like this). I’d like to have the right of free speech please and all attendant worship, grouping, unionising, whatever; I’d like the right to a fair trial if I ever get accused of something, especially if I actually did it; and I’d certainly like to have at least a teensy bit of the right to decide how and when my identity gets disseminated.

So here, have The List To Kill All Other List Of Links, Part II, The Return. It’s a great job of concatenation on dozens of posts this week, including “official” Blizzard people and news outlets and pundits and random passers-by like me, and it probably took forever to do, so thank you RealEye-Dee! (See whut I did thar?)

I haven’t even touched on the fact that because some big cheese who can barely shave thinks handles, personae and multiple identities are dishonest*, that’s suddenly how the world is? Oh Facebook, how I loathe thee. I’m seriously considering doing whatever I can to delete my account there and never going back. It’ll do me absolutely zero good, but I detest its founder’s attitude. It’s all very well to be open and lovely when you have eleventy jillion bucks to spend on security and making sure nobody steals your identity. It’s not so bloody lovely when some frothloony you happened to flip off in Goldshire decides he should visit you in person with a pickaxe.

As for the — I’m sorry, there’s no other word for it — deluded idiots who think this whole RealID thing is A Great Step Forward, I’ll tell you this. The way it’s done right now, it’s only a great step forward for frothloonies with pickaxes. There are already a ton of ways around it, so the poor schmucks who naively put in their real names thinking accountability is good are just opening themselves up to being harrassed by ReallyRealID JohnSmith123020@fake-email.com.

Besides, do you really believe it’s about forum accountability? Bollocks. Well okay, maybe it will work, by driving everyone with any sense away from the forums. It might even slow down the trolls, though unless the FORUM MODERATORS actively do anything about trolls they don’t really have anything to fear even now. Except — oh noes! Their posts might get given the thumbs-down! Yeah. That’ll really crush them and teach them to behave better.

/RealRolleyes

And no, I don’t delude myself that my information isn’t already out there to be found with a little digging. But as others have already pointed out, Googling my handle doesn’t find all that much. Google my handle and my real name and you suddenly get a lot more. Bit by bit you can build up the details.

I’m aware of that. I’m also aware of pretty much every time I let infobytes be disseminated about me, and I’m resigned to the fact that it’s going to happen. But most of the time I have a choice. I can choose not to sign up for whatever the service is. I can choose NOT to give people my name/number/email address.

So here’s my choice. As long as Activision have decided that they’re going to ActiBook all their games, I’m going to vote with my wallet and my feet. They won’t get my money and they won’t get my name. Most of all, because it’s absolutely not in the name of accountability, and I abhor that kind of “We’re doing it for you, honest, and us making several billion dollars out of it is totally incidental, I assure you!” hypocrisy. It’s about the money to be made out of social networks and jumping on the bandwagon when one has one of the largest potential customer pools in the world. I get it. I still hate it.

Edited — A Few Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Stylish Words — Penny Arcade are win, again.

*Thanks again to Lum Scott Jennings for that initial link. I had no idea Mr Z was so actively engaged in deciding for us how we should present ourselves to the rest of the world.

And thanks again to everyone who linked to me. Am flattered.

Fail of the Century

Nay, the millennium!

I could also have called this Big Blizzard Is Watching You, but that’s just cheesy and someone else probably used it already.

As everyone probably already knows, Blizzard thinks everyone should know who I am if I play their games. Not my persona, no. And not just my character names, but also damn near everything about them including bra size, who my friends are, what I had for breakfast, and best of all what my real name is.*

What. The. Fuck.

I’m not a paranoid hatstand type hiding out in the mountains waiting for the end of the world while I stockpile guns (well, I am in the mountains) but this whole WE MUST KNOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE ON THE INTARWEBZ!!!! really, really, really, REALLY fucking annoys me.

It’s a game. Or, it’s this blog. It’s something I do in my spare time that has NO relation to my professional or a large part of my personal life and I see no freaking reason why everything should be made public when it’s not my explicit there-and-then decision to share said info. (So my decision in this case is going to be: keep your fucking games thank you very much.)

It’s not that I object to people knowing who I am if *I* choose to share it with them. After all, I don’t get on the bus and tell every bloody passenger on it what my name is. They have no particular right to know it and I have zero obligation to tell them. So why the hell should every asshat — and god knows there are a lot of them — in a given game be able to find out exactly who I am, where I live, what my gender is and how much I enjoy being stalked?

As a woman this makes me even more furious, because the line between friendly banter and crazy-frothloony harassment is pretty thin on the internet these days. That said, I’m prepared to be equally indignant on behalf of all my male friends who are being (or have been) stalked. I’m an equal opportunity indignator.

They might as well ask for social security numbers — you know, just to make sure there’s no possibility Stan McStalker is getting the wrong person. Or your boss, from whom you’ve religiously hidden your passion for Blood Elf hunters. (There may or may not be honesty issues about not letting your boss know you’re a rabid gamer, though to my mind it’s your own bloody business. Maybe your boss just isn’t that chatty, or you’re not. Again, this is NOT something you should have to broadcast if it doesn’t impact your performance in non-gaming areas.)

So anyway, I’m frothing at the mouth. I should just have linked to Lum Scott Jennings, who as usual manages to be vitriolic without all the spittle.

EDITED to add a post by Sanya Weathers. The woman knows what she’s talking about. Shame nobody in the mundungous-salary range ever chooses to listen to experienced community people, eh?

Aaaaaand… another EDIT, just to show that no, it’s not difficult to stalk someone with just their name. Very very interesting post. As a woman this scares the crap out of me but to be honest it should scare the crap out of anyone. It only takes one frothloony, and this basically takes away any choice I had in letting frothloony have this info.

_

Edited to add a quote of the day from Spinks: “no company that fails so badly in understanding gamer culture can really claim to be one of us any more.”

Edited again — quoted by the above-referenced Lum Scott Jennings. I think I’m about to faint. (Sarah Bernhardt — no, not Sandra — histrionics aside, am very flattered. See how I bask in reflected glory!)

_

* Yeah yeah okay it’s not everyone. But you know — open door, slippery slope, all that happy crappy. It’s an invasion of my privacy and that’s all there is to it.

If you’re not the front end of the horse…

This post is not MMO-specific. I’ve seen this behaviour everywhere and I hear it expressed quite frequently by the people I read or talk with. My problem is I just don’t get it.

So some people would rather not play a certain class because it’s currently popular — even if it’s fun? Oh wait, especially if it’s fun?

I’m sorry. I just don’t get that.

Then again, I also don’t get the need to make sure my sneakers are the wtfbbqzomgcool latest ones and/or different from everyone else’s.  Or my clothes. Or my cellphone.

Seriously — if a class is fun, who the hell cares how many other people are playing it? If a class isn’t fun, are you somehow more Iron Man Gamer for picking it up? If a class is misunderstood and challenging and whatnot, that’s another matter; but not playing a given char class because lots of other people already are? Really? Damn. I guess I need to stop playing Hold’em then, it’s too freaking popular.

More to the point: just because something is popular doesn’t make it inherently bad, or easy to master, or unchallenging. And just because something is unpopular doesn’t make it inherently good. Nor does it make it an inherently good choice. Unless all one cares about is standing out — which I guess is a mindset I just can’t get my head around. I’m not a sheep, but I’m damn sure not going to wrap myself in plastic wrap and sit outside on a hot day just because it’s SO not flavour of the month.

This whole concern with rarity in MMOs is excessive if it makes players cut off their noses to spite their faces. We pay for these things — paying for them and then caring more about what other people think of you than about how much fun you’re having is just mind-boggling.

.

That is all.

Whatever happened to EQ2?

A little while back I hit level 70 in EQ2, which currently has a level cap of 80, at least until February when the expansion comes out and it goes to 90. Yay!, I thought, I might actually one day have a character at max level in a game. Max adventuring level, that is — not something I do often, let me tell you.

As it turns out, I was probably wrong.

I don’t know what’s intended to happen in EQ2 when you hit the 70s, but I know what happened to me. I got hit in the face with a brick wall, repeatedly. One with experience debt. One where a kill takes 5 times as long as it did 3 levels ago, where critters hit 3 times as hard, and where sudden death lurks around every unexpected add corner.

I’ve gone from feeling entertainingly overpowered to feeling horribly overwhelmed, frustrated, and about this >< far from /ragequitting the whole game. Furies — a sort of nuking healer hybrid — aren’t weak in EQ2, not by a long shot, and for once I feel confident in saying that anyone who finds them weak isn’t playing them right. Because if I can play one and do really well, then anyone with a modicum of actual adventuring skill can too. So, yeah, it’s not because I’m playing a weak class. It’s not because I don’t know my class — I’m not raiding leet, sure, but I’ve been playing this gal for a few years and I do have a fair handle on what she can and can’t do.

Like I said: I hit a lot less hard (aka critters have more health), they hit a lot harder, and I’ve gone from laughing maniacally at the devastation I was wreaking to sobbing sadly as I die, yet again, when a single add comes up and stunlocks me into oblivion. One stunlocking (or 30% HP–in-one-blow-dealing) mob at a time I can just about deal with. Two, apparently, spells x-p-d-e-b-t. Which, of course, takes much longer than it used to to work off.

I’ll admit, I’ve had a frustrating few game days. Unhappy with the idea that I’d have to kill 1,000 mobs to level I decided to mentor down a little and try some of my older quests. One of them took me into Solusek’s Eye, which is probably the coolest dungeon EVAR but is also a dungeon that spors dizzying views with instant death for the unwary mis-step. With my acrophobia that’s just not helpful at all; I’m at the stage where I can appreciate how neat the design is, but not yet at the stage where I can caper around on transparent walkways above molten hot mag-ma without feeling like I’m going to upchuck Christmas dinner. Unsure how to get from A to B, visible below me but unreachable, I eventually gave up.

A day later I unwittingly ended up in exactly the same place and trying to get to pretty much the same destination, only for another quest. Got there, looked again at the ramps I couldn’t reach and at the transparent stuff I’d have to run around on to figure it out, and went home. This, mind you, after 4 hours of doing the previous stages of that quest.

Like I said, my gaming world is currently made up of brick walls, and I have two black eyes and a nose bent out of shape to prove it.

Tried a third quest — also ended up in Solusek’s Eye. In the space of a week, Lavastorm has gone from one of my favourite zones to being a place I’ll quite happily never visit again, thank you very much. Tried a couple of quests in Sinking Sands instead, for a change of pace, but after 40 undead kills without a single drop I needed for a quest, I gave that up too. I may be old-school, but I despise the old-school kill rates. Don’t waste my time.

So, willy-nilly, I end up back in my level-appropriate content where, in the space of an hour, I’ve died 4 times, which is 4 times more than I’ve died in the past 15 levels or so. And I’ve managed about 4% of level.

This is not fun. If it continues to be not fun, I’ll stop giving them my money. It’s that simple.

Yes, I’m whining somewhat. Frustration is part of gaming and venting is part of my blogging. If you don’t like it, go read something else.

In fact, I do know what happened: past 70, you’re supposed to be doing group content and working your way into raiding. I guess that makes this look like the tired old soloer’s complaint, but that’s not really it either. I’ve never objected to group content and I’ve never asked for group-content rewards. What I’m objecting to is not an increase in difficulty but rather the excessive increase in everything. Stuff is harder to do and takes longer and has very rapidly become a mind-numbing grind, because you have to do stuff over and over and over again to get a fraction of the progress you used to for the same amount of time and effort. It’s excessive.

And I’m only at level 73. I dread to think what 74-80 are going to be like, assuming I have the energy to try to get there. Right now, that’s not a given.

Setting the record straight

I feel the need to say this again.

It’s my damn blog and I’ll say whatever I please here, whenever I please, and however I damn well please.

There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with me, but telling me I shouldn’t post what I did is none of anyone’s damned business. I’ve had a hard bloody few days and I’m about sick of taking it in the face with a smile and a “thank you Sir may I have another.” Things were said that were intentionally nasty and now I’m hurt. I’m also pissed. And I’ll keep posting exactly what I like. For the next few days, however, I may not post at all. There are few things more souring to one’s blog inspiration than to be snarked at.

For the record, I feel strongly about giving back when one has a roof over one’s head, enough food to eat, and one isn’t getting raped or beaten up by strangers. I still don’t regret asking others to think about this too.

Remove me from your RSS feeds if you don’t like it. Kthxbai.

The Endorsement Police Will Get You

In the interests of full disclosure, I would like to admit that I was sent this Potato-that-looks-like-a-duck. You can almost hear it quacking!

king-duck-potato

I think it’s a great duck-like-potato, and I’m sure it will taste even better when mashed because of its duckiness.

Difficult to enforce and not really aimed at plebian rabble (tautology?) like me, but still, there is a case to be made for getting indignant on principle. If one doesn’t get outraged for one’s principles, when should one bother?

First, it’s okay to listen in to my phone conversations without a warrant. Not to mention my emails and whatever else Big Brother fancies. Then it’s ok to drag me off the street, also without a warrant, claim I’m a terrorist, and hold me for however long Big Brother damn well pleases.

Every avalanche starts with one loose rock. (Actually, they tend to start with some idiot yodelling on an unstable mountainside, but let’s not split hairs.)

Yes, it’s despicable that some companies pay people to do fake “sincere, not prompted, not paid!” reviews on their blogs or other “social media” sites. As far as I’m concerned, it’s more despicable that we don’t give a shit about massacres in Africa, and it’s more despicable that pharmaceutical companies here in the US are allowed to brainwash an entire nation into thinking a) that they’re sick all the time, or on the verge of being horribly sick, and b) that they need tons and tons of really expensive drugs to fix said sick.

And don’t get me started on lawyers, m’kay?

FTC social media rulings ftl. Unenforceable against plebian rabble, certainly, but still stupidly wrong-headed. Just like most modern government in general, really.

‘Scuse me, it’s time for my cynical pills. I got help buying them, too.

I can rant just as well as you can, Dmitri!

Openedge1, never a stranger to bubbling, hissing, cauldron-fed polemic, has made a post guaranteed to get crafting players like me frothing at the mouth. Better yet, he does it with wit, which is always essential to any good rant. Never one to pass up an opportunity for ready-made response content, here I am.

merkin

I have only one thing to say to that post, as well as to the various responses cropping up. By all means, remove crafting from games! Actually, remove the damned combat, the stupid item grind, the ridiculous BS that is grey/vendor loot, the repetitive life- and soul-sucking inanity that is raids, and just leave me to craft away in peace.

{Here, have some popcorn. I just made a batch, because I’m a CRAFTER.}

Why exactly is it that stuff one doesn’t like has to disappear off the face of the earth?

Oh yeah — tolerance makes for boring blog posts, and it’s useless for rants. So.

DOWN WITH ADVENTURING AND ADVENTURERS! Kick em all in the nads and send the murdering, pillaging, razing bastards to jail — or to the eastern front — which is probably where that whole bunch of psycopathic bastards belongs in the first place.

(PS: Customers? Pfft. Given the choice between the end of the whole “ZOMG crafting sux take it out take it out take it out!!!!” whinge and having adventurers for customers, I’ll pick the peace and quiet. After all, crafters need stuff made too.)