Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my meandering, muddled mind.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Seven Deadly Sins of Gaming

I haven't participated in any of the recent NBI Talkback Challenge dialogues, though at least one indirectly inspired several posts earlier this month. This week's topic is more of a questionnaire than one idea, but it was an awesome idea, courtesy of Joseph Skyrim.

Lust– Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?
I don't know if I enjoy them more, exactly. I certainly don't have the same issues with scantily clad avatars that some others do. Just the other night, I was admiring the dancer girl outfits from SWTOR. But, while I enjoy playing characters of the opposite gender—and tend to choose physical features that appeal to me—I don't necessarily dress them up (all the time) in chain-kinis. In fact, some of my favorite outfits for LoneStarBelle in TSW are rather conservative, especially for TSW. I find that skimpy costumes, while visually appealing, break immersion due to impracticality.

Gluttony– Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?
I am not a game hoarder. I have purchased a few games that ended up not being that fun for me. But I can't think of a single game that I've gotten and then never played at all. It helps that I am on Steam in name only. I think I got an account to take advantage of some promotion.

Greed– Do you enjoy hand-outs in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?
I'm not sure what is meant by hand-outs here. I do like getting commemorative stuff for various events. I did stop raiding in WoW partly because I felt that the rewards were too few and far between for the time and effort I was putting in. On the other hand, I just wrote yesterday about continuing on with SWTOR's planet quests even though we are at a level where they hardly give any reward at all.

Sloth– Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?
I have never gone AFK for the direct purpose of leeching off teammates, but I may have discouraged or declined to do things I felt were difficult. I can't think of anything in particular right now that others were trying to get me to do that I tried to persuade them otherwise. I am fairly helpful, and have developed a few friendships as a result of randomly assisting them with a fight or two.

Wrath– Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?
While I have rage-quit parties on a number of occasions, I don't generally type in all caps. In fact, I have my caps lock remapped to be a regular shift key. SO IF I YELL, YOU KNOW IT'S ON PURPOSE!! Nor do I stalk people, they're not worth my time.

Envy– Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?
I have been a little envious in the past about content I was never going to see because I was not raiding. I know there are hackers and cheaters out there, but I couldn't point to anyone I have seen lately that I suspected of cheating. On the other hand, I don't consider most exploits to be cheating. If the game design contains some "flaw" or bug the devs fail to correct, players should be within their rights to take advantage of said flaws. The devs may take action to correct the problem, including removing inventories, credit, titles, etc.; but the players should not be banned or otherwise punished for the devs' oversight. Hacks, bots, and other external cheats, on the other hand, should be bannable offenses. If only there were a way to ban such people permanently from even starting another account for that game. And I have actually met people (former coworkers) who were banned for buying illicit gold for WoW. Honestly, I didn't have much sympathy for them.

Pride– Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are under-performing? Why or why not?
I did once vote-kick someone for being a jerk right before the last boss in the instance. But I'm the polar opposite of elitist; though that, in and of itself, is a form of pride. I have no interest in playing in an environment where the elitist jerks hold any sway. Maybe because I was one of those kids that always got picked last in pick-up sports, I don't want people to feel they don't belong. It's just a game, after all.

Whew! I guess the worst I'd say for me is Lust, at least the way these questions were phrased. Though Wrath is up there, too. I'm easily frustrated, and snappish, at times, as Scooter can attest. But this does not usually come through the keyboard.

If you're looking for something to blog about today, I suggest tackling these questions yourself. Let us get to know each other a little better.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trivializing Content

Still my favorite flying mount
So there was a big hubbub over the weekend about the (lack of) flying mounts in Warlords of Draenor. I guess there is a vocal contingent of folks that would (really, really) like them, but Blizzard devs have staunchly (and rudely) refused to consider the matter, given their experiences with  previous expansions. I personally don't have a dog in that fight, but I noticed something last night that dovetails with Belghast's take on the subject.

So Scooter and I are playing through the Republic planet quests in SWTOR, even though we could skip them entirely due to the 12x XP for story quests currently in place. The thing is, by the time we left Taris (the third world) for Nar Shaddaa, we were a high enough level to tackle Tatooine (the fifth planet). Last night, I noticed that I was only getting about 6 XP for turning in the regular planet quests. We were actually getting more for (some) individual kills than we were for completing entire quest chains.

Needless to say, the questing is easy and we are enjoying the place. Nar Shaddaa has an awesome East Asian neon vibe, and I decided to buy my stronghold there. Right now, even though we can't fly like in WoW, we can easily slip past mobs we don't need to kill. But I can't wondering if or when we should start skipping content completely in order to find a challenge.
Don't laugh, they're paid for.
The same thing happened to us in WoW. When I first introduced Scooter to the game during Cataclysm, we had the recruit-a-friend XP boost. Even though we could have skipped the Ghostlands (playing BElfs) I though we should play through, but then we started skipping whole zones because we'd out-leveled them before even arriving.

GamerLady thinks all that content (what can be flown over) is senseless anyway. To some extent, I can agree. But during the course of my playing of WoW, I went from feeling completely immersed in the unflyable world of Azeroth to being fairly disconnected from it. In SWTOR, I pushed through to the end of the second chapter of my old Sith Assassin, skipping all the planet quests on two or three planets. Even though I went through it a few years ago, I have little clue what is happening there.

In TSW, the mobs are never fully trivial, no matter what Quality Level the player's gear is. And there is no good way to bypass them. On the other hand, the XP for going through lower level content never diminishes; rather, XP for higher content is simply greater.

To what extent does the "senseless" content add to the "reality" of an MMO? And how much do we lose when we are able to bypass it in pursuit of our story?
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Epic Speeder Giveaway

I hesitate to publicize this, since I am entered myself, but Ravanel Griffon, proprietor of the Ravalation blog, is holding a SWTOR speeder giveaway. Head on over there if you play the game and are interested in that sweet ride. She's also got a second contest exclusive to members of The Red Eclipse server, so if you have characters residing there, you have two chances to win phat l00tz.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Serial Mono-game-y

This post started out as something else, then I realized it pretty effectively answered Jaedia's Talkback Challenge.

The Original RowanblazeWhile I did play video games growing up, they were not common in my house. Nor did I get involved in D&D or other roleplaying games, even though I was mildly interested in the idea. However, I did (and still do) have a vivid imagination, fueled by a love of reading and (at least as a kid) plenty of opportunity to play outside with friends in a LARPy sort of way (though not with nearly so many rules) (or costuming). These traits and experiences sowed the seeds of my future gamer-ness.

Syp posted last week about having a bit of envy toward MMOers who can devote themselves to a single game. This was me for the longest time after subscribing to World of Warcraft, and mostly before I started this blog. To this day, WoW has been the MMORPG I've played the most for the longest, to the almost complete exclusion of any other game at the time. There are a few factors that led to this. It was the first MMO I'd ever played, starting in 2006. The fact that it is a monthly subscription meant that the thought of playing anything else made me feel I would be wasting money, and time. Lastly, because this period closely followed my divorce and I was not prepared to be out in the dating arena, I spent the vast majority of my leisure time retreating into the vibrant realm of Azeroth.

Starship Captain Rowan Starblanket
As you may guess, the factors that led me to branch out into other MMOs were a direct counterpoint to the reasons I played WoW so heavily in the first place. The year 2009 marked my re-entry into a serious romantic relationship, the first since my divorce. I was spending less time playing WoW, even though my girlfriend of the time humored me and dabbled a bit in the game herself. Then, my account got hacked in January of 2010; just after I had begun blogging, as a matter of fact. Granted that I got just about all my stuff back later, the hack still made me realize just how ephemeral progress in an MMO can be. I was much less attached to WoW after that, more willing to try something else. Along came Star Trek Online less than a month later, themed on one of my favorite IPs growing up. The chance to be a Starship Captain was too tempting to resist in my state of disillusionment with Blizzard. My exposure to the larger gaming community through my blog led to yet another purchase, LOTRO, in late March, also marking the first time I labeled myself a gamer.

Chicco and Versteckt
Unlike that girlfriend who simply humored me and my hobby, Scooter actively and enthusiastically participates in MMOs with me. Her gamer resume is also far deeper, including a regular D&D group in her youth. We are one of many gamer couples and families.

While I have tried to play more than one game at a time, one has always come to dominate my play, either through being subscription-based (back to my value-for-money mentality) or simply being the new shiny. That has played out repeatedly in the years since WoW. I have returned occasionally to games, played them for a while, then moved on to another. SWTOR is simply my latest return and "main squeeze." Despite my initial reluctance, I am enjoying it. I just got my first stronghold, more on that tomorrow.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Credibility

On Sunday, Scott Rankin (whom you may know as @mylin1 on Twitter) commented on my Mental Energy post that "any interesting message that could have been looked at, discussed and even added insight into blogging that he had is lost under a wall of hate."

For once, a "cute" Norwegian Troll
I'm not sure if Scott meant the hate of the original troll or the backlash. But assuming he meant the troll, I agree. I know a lot of people are of the opinion that if someone has a valid point buried in a wall of hate, we should still listen. After all, to do otherwise would be a form of "shoot the messenger." However, that takes a lot of mental energy I think most of us do not care to expend in such a way. Excuse my French, but we don't need to dig into a pile of shit prospecting for gold. It is the duty of the messenger to deliver salient points of the message with as little extraneous information as possible, lest the fluff be construed as the essence of the message.

From my point of view, the noise of the vitriol drowns out any bits of reason that may be contained in the message. It has to do with credibility. Anything you say that reduces your credibility will interfere with the message you may be trying to convey.

I work as a technical instructor. Credibility is everything, and if one or more students perceives that I or a colleague is giving out mistaken information or are not confident in our delivery, they will often decide we don't know what we're talking about, even if 95 percent of what we're saying is accurate. When that happens, we've lost the students, even if they're still sitting in the classroom.

A reporter shouldn't be the news subject.
Looking at a different context, the reporter Brian Williams was caught lying about his experiences covering the war in Iraq, and it has cost him the anchor position on NBC's Nightly News show. (Now, there's a real journalistic ethics issue, right there, and no need to smear some some person with patently false rumors about whom they may or may not have slept with.) Mr. Williams' reputation—and therefore, his credibility—has been ruined by just a single lie (repeated).

Someone spewing vitriol on the Internet has very little credibility in my book. They are showing disrespect for their peers, and rather than arguing their point on the merits thereof, they throw out ad hominem attacks. There's no way to know if they really believe in the issue they are supposedly championing and are simply unable to argue it effectively; or if any truth or valid point is simply being made in an attempt to legitimize their hate. And really, does it even matter?
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.