Breakfast Cult creator interview on FNG

A while ago I backed the Breakfast Cult Kickstarter, and soon the book itself will be in my hot little hands.

Breakfast Cult KS

I’m sharing this interview with creator Paul Matijevic on Friendly Neighborhood Gamer not only because it’s a good interview but because there might be a few reading this who didn’t catch the Kickstarter and might want to get hold of a copy. I’m assuming (me and my buddy ASS) that it’ll be available as a PDF at some point through DriveThruRPG and whatnot.

To my various players: I will be planning on running this at some point. The angst of school coupled with the angst of Old Ones is beyond tempting.


Get your ass off my NPC

This needs to be said, and while I’m annoyed by it specifically in WoW at the moment it applies to any game with mounts or vehicles, especially large ones.

Don’t be an asshole and park your big mounted ass on top of NPCs.

(Sub-rule: don’t be an asshole and hover your big mounted ass right on top of my head, m’kay? Or I may have to find out where you live and fling monkey poo at your windows.)

(Anyone know where to get a cheap supply of monkey poo?)

What irks me the most is that basically there’s a proportion of people who don’t even stop to think how their parking their big mounted ass on top of an NPC affects everyone else. (The ones who actually do it on purpose I ignore, because they’re assholes rather than stupidly oblivious.) It’s not that they don’t give a shit — they’re not even aware that there’s any kind of a shit to give.

Wake up! Realise that there are other people in the world around you, virtual or otherwise. You’re not a unique and beautiful snowflake and I can assure you the world doesn’t revolve around you. In fact, if you weren’t such an oblivious idiot, you might find people are generally nicer to you because you’re not passively impinging on their day by being so moronically thoughtless.

This applies to people on the road, too. I’m tired of having to drive not only for myself but also for the mind-bogglingly irritating people who are applying lipstick / texting / checking their phone / scratching their butt at 80 mph on I-40 on the way into Albuquerque.

Just sayin’.


Can you say “disingenuous”?

(It’s pronounced: pwn)

I first saw mention of this yesterday through Massively‘s tweets (see? it’s worth being a twit! be on the cutting edge of breaking news so sharp it hurts!).

Being human, I followed a few of the links and read on for a while. Being not entirely stupid, I gave up when the drivellous nature of some of the comments on various blog posts made me fear for my sanity, and for my few remaining IQ points.

In any case, Lum the Mad Jennings does his usual elegant summing up complete with exposition, quotes, authorities and commentary, so I can just send you over there. There’s coverage elsewhere, too — can’t you see the info-tsunami cresting on the horizon? And no, I’m not paid to link to Broken Toys… but hey, that’s not a bad idea! — how about it Scott?

Carrying out sociological experiments in MMOs is nothing new, and as an MMO player I don’t find the idea strange at all. MMOs are strange little crucibles of human behaviour at its most normal and at its most extreme — many of us are asshats online, thanks to internet anonymity, but I suspect  the only thing that proves is that most of us are asshats, period.

Carrying out an experiment to see whether being an asshat will attract attention and vilification, but justifying it by saying “Oh, I never expected this to happen, honest” — that’s disingenuity for ya right there. By all means experiment with being a dick and a griefer, but don’t pretend you had no idea you were being a dick and a griefer. Especially after taking so much care to stay within the bannable boundaries so you could continue being a griefing asshat, purely for the purposes of scientific research of course.

Either the man experimented on something whose outcome was painfully obvious from the start, or the man isn’t nearly as savvy on the subject of sociology-and-MMO-playing as he claims. It’s something the “soft” sciences are really good at — claim to be studying something when, from the outside, it sure looks like you’re just giving yourself permission to be a dick. But wait, that’s probably me projecting.

It’s not the experiment I mind — it’s the “Oh dear, dear me, look at what I stirred up” expression while standing there, dripping spoon in hand. At least have the balls to admit you’re studying asshatitude; it’s not like you’ll be lacking for research material.


Represent for the fluff


I’m sick and tired of hardcore ruling the freaking gaming world. Me wanting fluff from a game is just as valid as Mr Hardcore e-peen wanting more gore on his MegaAttack of Doom Swing, or more class balancing, or whatever the fark it is Mr Hardcore is bitching about this week. Knowing how to hit 3 buttons (or is it 2, with macros, now?) is in no way a particular achievement, and it’s not really superior to wanting ponies with flowers in their hair. But hey, whatever makes you feel less inadequate.

Secondly, if you’re going to bitch, and bitch, and bitch incessantly, then at least have the grace to go it cogently and in complete sentences. I’ll be bored enough to chew off my arm, but at least I won’t wince at the language (and, good thing for you, if I chew my arms off I can’t rant so easily anymore. It’s only a flesh wound!). Standing in one place stamping your little hardcore foot and screaming about the same thing week in, week out, on every single bloody forum (and blog) you can find does not make you an expert or worth listening to. Neither does it make what you’re screaming about any more interesting. Repeated exposure is not turning me to your infantile navel-centred point of view. Sorry. I just hope the developers aren’t listening either.

Reasoned debate — go look it up. Learn it. Love it… Oh, never mind.

Just because a game has combat and combat classes in it, and you happen to play one of those classes, does not a) make you a freaking expert in that class or b) make that class broken just because you got your ass handed to you a few times yesterday. (Take WAR — if you listen to one side, the other side is horribly overpowered and their own side is direly broken. Head to the other side, and guess what you’ll hear?) Just because you don’t care about fluff does not give you the right to get snarky when I mention it.

Oh I’m sorry, am I being snarky? Suck it up.

Here’s a golden rule: if you have nothing good to say, SHUT THE FUCK UP.


There, a little shower of happy for my new (and fast-retreating, I’m sure) readers.

Say what?

I’m testing an MMO that I can’t name or they’ll send hefty brutes to kneecap me — in any case, that’s not the important part.

I logged into this game briefly this morning (the promise of a free horse will make me log in to anything, anytime, anywhere), and while I was pootling about with the pony, someone said something along the lines of “This is [censored] game testing, it’s not question and answer game,” in response to the usual slew of newb questions from someone who’d only just got in.


My immediate reaction, and I wasn’t exactly shy about saying so, is that asking questions is exactly what it’s about, when you start testing a new game — or, for that matter, a new product of any kind.

It’s stayed with me because it’s probably the first time I’ve ever seen such an intolerant, elitist, snobby-assed attitude in a very, very early-stage game testing phase. Really, WTF?! 99.9% of the testers I’ve ever met, especially in these tottering infant stages, are gregarious, helpful, and always ready to answer the usual newb questions — and if they’re not, they just ignore chat till their newb-question-tolerance-ometer goes back up. Of course we’re all pioneers, and of course it’s good to discover stuff for yourself, and yes, it’s definitely helpful to have a modicum of common sense… but there are always questions of the truly basic kind like “Why can’t I turn around?!” or “How do I scratch my butt?” Spending 15 minutes finding the answer to that is NOT testing, not when that particular wheel has been discovered already, and most especially not when UI or other system shortcomings are on the “We know about it, we’ll get to it” list. Besides, it never hurts to ask. Well — if you’re SnottySnob01, I guess it *does* hurt to ask.

Asking those questions isn’t an indication that you’re a moron, that you’re a bad tester, or that (/shudder) “this game is not for you.” All they indicate is that you just made it into the game world for the first time, your brain is exploding with input, and asking questions and having them answered is a way of making sure you’re not alone out there.

I just don’t get the ‘tude some people show up with — in games, in life, in general. I have also decided not to tolerate asshattery, and if someone is being an asshat I will (in a nice, gentle way that won’t get me banned) tell them so.

Are we become lazy?

Way back in the depths of MMO time, in the previous millennium, I wasn’t quite the social snob I can be now. While I would play with friends when they were around, I also grouped up all the time with people I didn’t know from Adam, either for short tasks (get a kill credit) or longer quest-sessions, or just some grinding on mobs.

(Obligatory Corpse tangent: Interestingly enough, I never called it grinding then. In Asheron’s Call we just called it hunting and we’d do it for xp, to raise skills, and to get loot for selling, wearing, enhancing, house decorating – whatever. But that’s a story for another day.)

I’m not quite sure when strangers in MMOs became people I viewed with distrust first and friendliness second. Asheron’s Call had its tools, sure, like all social gatherings everywhere, but they seemed fewer and also spent most of their time being tools on the Vault Network boards. Maybe the lack of regional channels made them easier to avoid.

There were asshats in SWG, too — but again, they were avoidable and on the whole, when approached by people, my first assumption wasn’t that they were going to waste my time. I’d interact with them without the instant mental groan that seems to surface now whenever I’m approached by someone I don’t recognise in an MMO.

I shall blame WoW, not because it’s fashionable, but because it came at the right time and was an enormous, continent-wrecking runaway train success, both of which matter. Vast legions of new players in the MMO arena (geddit?) means, statistically, a lot more tools and asshats. In my own experience, WoW and EQ2 were among the first games I played that had constant, ubiquitous large-area (or global) chats… and there was chat flooding, and it was bad. Bad, because for some reason asshat chat in regional or bigger channels just seems to come though more often, louder, and almost limned in red. Or maybe that’s just me seeing red at some of the tripe that gets typed.

It’s also well-documented that in many cases it was a lot more efficient to level solo in WoW than it was to try to spend time with anyone else. Why should I bother getting to know anyone when chances are that a) they’re that “IownUpewpew” character that’s been irritating you on regional chat for 3 hours and b) you’d be better off by yourself?

Initially, I tried. I was courteous to people. I tried to help, I tried to answer, and I tried to assist when it was asked for. Several hundred experiences later, I am now mostly only courteous. I don’t swear at people for being tools, but I do not let them waste my time, either.

The downside of that is, by being suspicious and insular and unwilling to encounter yet another waste of pixellated air, I’m drastically reducing my chance of meeting all the nice, fun, friendly people who are *also* out there. For the player new to MMOs (if there is still such a creature), the silences and cold shoulder and rough treatment on regional+ channels has to be a bit of a shock. We courteous, helpful older players are out there, but most of the time we’re either ignoring chat or running past you looking FAR too busy to be interrupted.

Whether games have created this insularity or whether gamers have become insular as an unintended side-effect (I suspect the latter) is a moot point — it is what it is. So, next time you play WAR (or whatever), try something new. Wave at a stranger. Say hello in /scenario chat (and listen for the surprised gasps). Start an open group wherever you happen to be, just because (all it takes is a couple of clicks) — and when the group forms, say hello.

Oh and, have a thick skin. People just don’t talk to people they don’t know anymore. The risk of being tooled is just too great, and maybe we’re starting to see a generation gap in MMOs too. (If I hear “wut” I automagically put that person on mental ignore until they prove they can type in complete sentences and syllables. I’m old. You kids and your leet speak!) But still, by being social snobs we’re only making things worse. One can’t complain about growing disconnect and isolation in online games AND be a social snob, not without a huge dollop of hypocrisy. So this week is Tolerate A Tool (and hopefully meet someone nice) Week. Good luck!


Well, not really, but I got ya didn’t I?

Seems Casualties of WAR keep picking the same servers as another guild, whom I shall call Moon Pod to protect the innocent (and not give those asshats traffic). While I can entertain the possibility that some of these Moon Pods might be perfectly nice people, that notion contradicts every encounter I’ve ever had in any game with a collection of pixels wearing that tag. I think I’d rather get warts than be on the same server as that lot.

So far, CoW-Order have made 3 server calls, with half the guild watching breathlessly so they can start in the right place today. The password, by the way, is asparagus. (No it’s not. If you’re a CoW, go check the boards already.)