A couple of weeks ago, Saga blogged on the topic of honesty … specifically, being honest with one’s GM and/or guild about one’s intent with regards to other games, and one’s dedication to one’s guild when raiding. It’s a good, though-provoking read on the uncomfortable spot that not-quite-defectors leave a guild in at times like these – the times in question being times when there is something really popular – STWOR in this case – that people are trying out, but not yet ready to commit fully to.
Anyhoo, the upshot is some people weren’t being honest about this sort of thing, making up excuses about why they weren’t showing up to raid, so they would should they deign to return, still be assured a spot on the raid. They weren’t really able to commit, either way.
Thinking of this, I noticed another, similar, trend.
A lot of people are going out of their way to not have a strong opinion, one way or the other, on the whole STWOR-WoW1 thing. Time and time again I see people griping about either a STWOR or WoW feature or lack thereof, followed by more disclaimers than you can shake a stick at. In some cases the disclaimers are longer than the actual opinion.
Consider the lack of LFD in STWOR, for an example. That topic’s been popping up a lot recently, in posts that more or less almost approach thinking about almost committing to a possible opinion that STWOR might possibly under some conditions slightly benefit from such a thing, but NOT SAYING IT’S BAD WE DON’T HAVE IT Y’ALL and OF COURSE THE WOW ONE STILL MOSTLY ALMOST SUCKS EXCEPT IT PRETTY MUCH DOESN’T EITHER. SORTA.
Okay, the point I’m dancing around2 is that a lot of gamers are playing both sides of the street today, are happy with that, and want to blog about that new thing, but there appears to be a problem with doing that.
Being part of a large blogging community in WoW, we have all made many friends. Many of those friends3 have no interest in the new shiny, but still read the blog because, hey, still friends!
On the other side of the coin, they are also painfully aware of many of their peers (let’s assume STWOR peers for the moment) have far less "give" in their opinions, and are likely to have little to no tolerance of pro-WoW attitudes – or in some cases, apparently, tolerance.
What seems to be happening as a result is a lot of beating around the bush instead of getting right to the point of things one likes, dislikes, for fear of offending either camp. One wishes to remain in good stead with the New Order, but feels like being too positive for STWOR or negative on WoW might burn bridges one does not wish to burn.
It’s a shame this is happening, because it tends to marginalize all three camps. The STWOR partisans become more extreme in aggregate, as do the WoW partisans, and those in between end up tying their own hands and miss many great opportunities to discuss the merits – and pitfalls – of both games in an honest and frank manner.
Hopefully, as things settle out over the next few months, and we can manage to have honest opinions on the things that really matter, such as Pandas versus Ewoks.4
Or WoW-STWOR for those wavering the other way. [↩]
On January 18, 2012, a lot of sites are going dark (more or less) to protest a pair of bills1 that are trying real hard to become a law in the United States that will give the US government unparalleled power over the content that appears on the internet. In a show of solidarity, I should be taking this site down in the same way. Unfortunately, I’m a bit busy and haven’t had a chance to set that up or get whatever plugin I need to do it, etc.
This does not mean that I am not sympathetic to the cause. I am. So, tomorrow, if you are inconvenienced in the process of doing whatever it is that you are doing, please have a little patience and respect for whatever website it is. They are trying to make a point, and your frustration is part of that point. If SOPA / PIPA passes and becomes the law of the land, sites could go down by Federal mandate, diddled at the DNS level.
How long do you think WikiLeaks would last before they were taken down due to "piracy" charges, for example? What about Wikipedia? WoWPedia? Ars Technica? BoingBoing? Slashdot? All of them have, at some point, probably published something that could, without hearing or possibility of rebuttal, have them blacklisted in the DNS tables that are used in the US.
And if you feel that a temporary inconvenience is worthwhile to ensure content providers get paid, might I mention that the US government does not thus far have a stellar record of clearing people from its own "No-Fly list". Pretty much, once you get on it, you’re toast. I don’t trust these people to floss their own teeth, much less admit to a mistake and clear things up. This is the US government! Justice is not relevant!
Here are some links that may be helpful and/or educational.
Stop American Censorship hooks you up with your congresscritter so that you may express your displeasure at the concept of SOPA/PIPA. You get a canned message to send, or you may craft your own. Maintain level tones!
Hey, WikiMedia has a few words to say, such as "this totally impacts our ability to do our thing." Love Wikipedia or loathe it, one thing is certain: it represents something that most people consider a good thing. Imagine if it were gone. Oh, wait – tomorrow2, you won’t have to imagine.
Okay, it probably took longer to write this than to find and install the plugin to blackout my own site, but I never have been one of few words when many words would suffice. But now I’m really tired, and suffering from a head cold virus that we have dubbed "Murglesnout", because, brothers and sisters, that is exactly how it feels.
There is a scene in one of my favorite sci-fi series of all time in which one of the main characters is expressing his frustration with the daily flow of little deaths that define the life of a bureaucrat. It is of course a take-off of our Earthly expression "Being pecked to death by ducks", an expression of how thousands of little pinpricks can add up to some serious damage over time. Each may be a mere annoyance, but taken together, they can topple empires.
In this case, cats did not topple the Centauri Republic. That required B5′s version of an Old God. But that’s another show.
Where we do find parallels, however, is in how we as citizens of Azeroth deal with little annoyances that have no seeming impact in the immediate sense. You see things every day that you decide aren’t worth getting excited about, until that day comes that everybody’s doing it because nobody raised voice to object.
It is good to know in our little universe that some people recognize this and work actively against it. While some will see a tiny injustice and shrug, "that’s the way the world works", there are others that step forward and state flatly, "that was wrong, and I’m calling you on it."
The former like to portray themselves as laid-back realists and the opposition as strident nitpickers. This is how it’s always been. "Don’t rock the boat" wasn’t invented by hipsters in 2007. Establishment types will hold the line as viciously as any attacker, all the while working hard to make it seem like a chilled-out real-world response.
So we hopeless idealists often find ourselves somewhat overwhelmed by an army of trolls at the anonymous beck and call of kindly patriarchs (or matriarchs, it’s happened). There’s not much you can do about it besides stick to your convictions in the knowledge that you are right to call people on their bullshit. You may take damage in the process, but a core group of good people will think better of you for it.
The world IS out to get you if you aren’t just going along for the ride. If you challenge convention and the old world order, you will be savaged and drug through the mud. Your worldview will be challenged by an endless stream of "trivial" things that mean practically nothing by themselves, but in aggregate represent a larger evil that has to end.
If your cause is just and your reasoning sound, however, you will have company in your travels. A herd of nibbling cats, spread out over a wider sample, can be withstood.
It is all the rage these days to disavow any regard whatsoever for damage meters. One is expected to denounce their use, purge them from one’s system, deny them access to your chat window, and make fun of those using them.
Well, I say, nuts to that!
If you are DPS, this is your instrument
Neil Armstrong did not land on the moon by looking out the window1, he used instruments – and Buzz Aldrin calling out other instrument readings. Lindbergh didn’t even have a front window, he flew across the Atlantic on instruments. There are automobile races where the participants don’t even depart at the same time – they completely use instruments to determine who won.
In short, a reliable instrument is worth any number of other observations.
And a damage meter is the DPS role’s instrument of measurement.
You need to know if you are performing properly
The DPS role is dependent on its numbers, whether you take them subjectively or absolutely is irrelevant. But of the two, an absolute reference is much better than a relative one. Numbers are absolute. You can feed them into spreadsheets, save them off, compare them to each other. You can make multiple passes and chart your progress or lack thereof. Your damage meter is your friend. If you were doing 20K last week on a particular boss, and only 18K this week, you have something to look in to before you’re the cause of an enrage-timer wipe in the future.
Target dummies are liars
"Well, fine", you say, "turn it on for your target dummies, I got no problem with that, but using them in a live encounter is bad!" To which I say, pfah! Target dummies give you a baseline, but they don’t take anything into account that you get from a live boss. You won’t see all the group buffs, or group procs, or even be able to use your execute abilities such as Kill Shot or Decimate. You might as well just sit there with autoshot, the approximation will have the same level of accuracy (and much less variability!).
No, a live boss (or live trash, if that is your interest) is the only way to truly gauge your performance in a raid setting. And since things vary depending on raid make-up, procs, and the like, you will need multiple samples.
Well, you don’t need to run it for everyone
Yes, you do.
You are not a single unit. You are part of a team. And how you perform relative to the rest of the team is important, if for no other reason than that of self-preservation. For if you’re performing in line with the guys at Elitist Jerks, but behind that of your guild (what, you think that EJ is infallible? Lol.). You may be in danger of being sat without realizing it. Because if you’re part of a serious raiding guild, I guarantee that your Raid Leader is watching your performance.
The more you know …
But that’s what World of Logs is for!
It is indeed, and in my opinion it is a far more accurate instrument than Omen or Skada, provided all members contribute logs (if it’s just you, then it’s on par with the other two, not better). But you probably won’t have WoL for all of your Heroics, trash runs, and so forth. You need all the things. Else your dataset is incomplete.
A damage meter is always there.
People use them badly!
They do indeed. Jerks spam chat with them all the time. But not you, right?
And the damage meters don’t do that automatically, so if yours does, it’s totally your fault. You are misusing the instrument. Stop it.
What idiots do with damage meters is not my concern, and it is not the fault of the damage meter. Get over it.
I don’t need a damage meter to know how well I’m doing
Yes you do. You will always do better with solid statistics than you will with a "gut feeling".
But if you just want to use the Force, have I got a game for you.
It might also be that you’re a PvPer and see no need. I contend that you don’t even belong in this conversation. Fire up All Healers Must Die and go do that honorable thing you do.
There are valid performance issues.
Yes, there are. But not for me, and not for most people that I know of. If, however, you are one of those people, and cannot afford a computer made after 2001, then by all means don’t run with one, because for certain it does suck CPU cycles.
You already have problems and damage meters are the least of them, but, whatever.2
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
In general, however, a damage meter is a valuable and useful tool for DPS self-improvement. Feel free to sneer at the idiots spamming party chat, and feel free to kick people that get hung up over somebody else’s DPS in a PUG3. But don’t blame the instrument for these things.
After all, both Tommy Dorsey and myself play the same musical instrument. But nobody has ever proposed that the Trombone be banned because of me.4
Your damage meter is your friend
If you’re serious about self-improvement in a raiding environment, you need to use your damage meter to its fullest to provide nice, juicy data from which you can draw useful conclusions, and then apply those conclusions in such a way as to improve your performance (or detect bad decisions of that sort).
This is my damage meter. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My damage meter is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
My damage meter, without me, is useless. Without my damage meter, I am ineffectual. I must use my damage meter wisely. I must DPS better than the boss that is trying to kill me. I must kill him before he kills me. I shall.
My damage meter and myself know that what counts in this raid is not the DPS we do, our meter dumps to raid chat, or the noise we make. We know that it is the overall damage that counts. We will do massive damage.
My damage meter is human, even as I, because it is our life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its range, its triggers, its filters and its scope. I will keep my damage meter prepped and ready, even as I am prepped and ready. We will become part of each other. We will.
Before the Light, I swear this creed. My damage meter and myself are the defenders of my world. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is ours and there is no enemy, but peace!
He looked AT the window, which had guide markers on it! [↩]
We did that last night, and when asked why, the reason given was "Insufficient Beardiness." The fact that the mage in question was so quickly votekicked speaks for itself, however. He was an insufferable bore. [↩]
Last night, Blizzard debuted another one of their celebrity ad spots during a football game. It featured Chuck Norris, of eponymous joke fame, with a fairly annoying and offensive Asian stereotype voice-over, running around beating people up as a melee hunter. Funny, right?
Eh, maybe not as funny as I imagined. Why is that, you ask? Probably because Chuck Norris has publically gone on record espousing many views that are fairly bigoted. Like that schools should feature a more conservative agenda, Day of Silence shouldn’t be held, and other such fun ideas like how he dislikes Roe vs. Wade. The fact that these links from his own blog and various websites go back a couple years shows a progression of ideas that he is free to express, but are not exactly friendly towards a particular segment of the possible World of Warcraft population.
The first comment on that post accuses her of, basically, being oversensitive to the issue. I don’t agree.
Let’s set the wayback machine to Blizzcon. Didn’t we just go through the same exact thing? The only difference that I can see right now is that the leading lights of Blizzard weren’t onstage humping his leg like they were with "Corpsegrinder".
Yes, I totally went there and compared Chuck Norris with some obscure bunch of punks wearing black lip gloss, eye liner, and bicycle chains. And it felt good.
I’m a little hesitant to just jump on that bus, though, because I have such a strong personal dislike for Chuck Norris. The dark, seething hatred I feel for his opinions is unmatched by anything short of my loathing for the song Sunglasses At Night. So, I feel I have a bit of baggage, a bias of sorts, and felt that maybe that colored my impression of anything that has his name attached.
And yet, I will happily participate in a round of Chuck Norris jokes because, really, that Chuck Norris has become a punch line, rather than an actual person. A mental bias, if you will, that allows me to sleep at night.1
But I digress. The upshot is; Chuck Norris is a gay-bashing walking talking hate machine that happens to have gained a following by virtue of wrapping himself in a flag and appealing to the baser urges of his audience, which is exactly the same as Corpsegrinder minus the popularity, flag, and hygiene.
Listen, Blizz, I understand you just wanna have a little fun with our in-game culture and find crossovers with the greater popular culture landscape to exploit. I dig that. But if you’re wanting to retain the business of the LGBT-friendly WoW community, which is quite sizable, you have to pull your collective heads out of your asses and vet your spokespersons. I mean it. Don’t make me pull this blog over.
I’m just waiting for Samwise to bleat "but it was all in fun, guyyyys!"
Party on, Wayne.
Fortunately, Yetimus has become the de facto stand in for Chuck Norris, so things have improved in that regard. [↩]
If you are a user of Google Analytics, and you blog anonymously, your real identity may be at risk of discovery.
The problem is that certain aspects of Analytics are public, including a unique ID that goes with a specific Analytics account – NOT the blog itself, but the whole account, which may be linked to multiple blogs.
Thanks to reverse lookup services, Analytics can be used to eventually correlate all blogs on a single account to each other.
Don’t panic! The solution is simple, though somewhat less convenient than having everything under one roof.
Simply go out and create a new Analytics account for your anonymous blogs. I personally would recommend one account per blog, for enhanced security, but at least decouple your real-identity ones from the rest.
True, this is a bit more bookkeeping for you, but if security is important, it’s worth it.
My Log Does Not Judge
I know there are those that don’t see the need for this level of security because they don’t feel they need it for themselves. I can understand that; I don’t have the need for myself.
However, there are many legitimate reasons, which I will not try to trivialize in any way. Someone hiding from an abusive ex, not making it easy for sleazy collections firms, hiding from Mexican drug cartels … lots of real reasons out there. I’m not going to judge them.
If you feel happy using your real name on the internet, that’s fine. Just don’t be a hater. Respect others’ desire for privacy and either be helpful or stay out of the way.
Peeps, if you see merchandise bearing this art from TGN-TV or anyone other than the original artist, please don’t buy it, and report them to the proper authorities, or the artist, at least.
And for crying out loud, people, just because you find it on the internet doesn’t mean you can put your name on it and sell it to unsuspecting rubes. You will be found out. If you’re lucky it won’t involve a lawsuit.
As you may or may not have seen in amidst all the excitement from Blizzcon, there was a decidedly sour note hit at the end of the convention. As fanboy favorite L90ETC hit the stage, they gave a big ol shout-out to the author of this lovely diatribe.
(Despite what you may have heard, this was not bleeped in any way at the con.)
Now, this was presented in typical fratboy "lol-wuz-dat-funny-Billy-Bob-yeah-dat-was-Cleetus-hurr-hurr" kind of way. But, as has been noticed by a few sharp citizens, Blizzard themselves didn’t really seem to mind that our nasty little friend1 was a homophobic bozo. And in fact they didn’t even make a statement about it until people made a fuss on the forums, at which point Bashiok, CM to the Gods2, laid this out there.
If it offended you I genuinely apologize.
"IF it offended you, I apolgize" Weaksauce. There is no apology here. Blizzard isn’t owning this. They’re saying YOU’RE the problem. If YOU are offended, they’re sorry. If you’re not, have a beer, you’re fucking awesome.
It was there because we thought it was funny – it was for fun. We didn’t take it seriously,
"WE think it’s funny. We don’t take things like ‘feelings’ seriously."
it just happened to be a relevant intro for Corpsegrinder as he came out to sing(?) with the ‘horde’ themed LVL80ETC.
"Listen, we needed a relevant video that showed his finer points. I’m sure you’ll agree, we captured that pretty well."
I actually don’t think we’ve ever seen an uncensored version.
"Our PR department was too drunk to float us an uncensored copy or raise any red flags, and in ALL OUR YEARS OF ADMIRING THIS GUY, we never noticed that his jib was cut that way."
I don’t want to continue belaboring the point, but in the video Corpsegrinder (after his remarks) laughs and says "It’s just a game." He’s joking. Granted the joke uses profanity, but there’s no intent behind it.
"Listen, I’m tired of trying to appease you whiners. I’m sorry you don’t like profanity, but he’s not smart enough to find a substitute word for ‘fag’."
Well golly. I guess we should take our little sensitive selves and go play with our dolls. Weaksauce!
The blogging community has been far less apathetic.
I stand with them, and with every one among us that has suffered at the hands of the fratboys and their sycophants. Anyone that has felt they had to hide their religion, gender identity, political party, geek clan affiliation5. Anyone that has had to endure a the hands of bullies because of race, gender, or other deviation from what a bunch of Biffs and Buffys have determined to be "normal."
I don’t care if you were born that way, made a choice, or ended up there after a series of amazing coincidences. It doesn’t matter to me how it happened6. All that matters to me is who you are and how you feel around all this hostility towards yourself.
I remember the feelings. 98 pounds, five-foot-four, surrounded by jocks and rednecks. Getting my ass rolled year after year on the way to and from school. It was hell being a nearsighted underweight geek as a kid, and there are moments of shame I will never live down.
That’s nothing compared to what a gay man or trans woman might experience day in and day out. I was able to leave my childhood behind7, but someone of non-white ethnicity, non-traditional religion, or LGBT – that’s for life, every day, and it has to be pretty damned scary to have to know that there is no end in sight, and even if you have the temerity to speak up in your own defense, you’re told it’s all just a joke and you should just get over yourself.
In the name of a joke, a bunch of inconsiderate louts made the environment around Blizzard HQ – and all it stands for – hostile to people that don’t fit a narrowly defined template of ‘normal’. The message is clear: "be like us, or wipe your faggoty eyes and go kill yourself like like a good <insert thing here>."
No. Not only NO, but HELLS TO THE NO.
Right now we’re playing a little game. How much bullshit are we willing to take from Blizzard before we kick them to the curb? Why is it so hard for them to act like, yanno, people?
But it’s coming to a tipping point. Eventually I’ll be looking at my email, get a reminder that my time card is about to expire, see something like this, and think "Not another dollar, assholes. Not until you own your shit and make things right."
For a company that has its hand out to us in the hope that we’ll plunk down over a C-note for a years’ subscription, they’re sure sending an odd message. One might think they’d be more eager to at least pander to what appears to be a large segment of their customers, instead of making fun of them and going "Ha ha, j/k!" when called on it.
There are plenty of other games out there to play. Plenty of them don’t make people feel marginalized about who they are. And, no, WoW doesn’t actually do that in-game (unless you run into this guy now), but Blizzcon is very much a part of the WoW experience, and it just got tainted, badly, by a bunch of jerks, their fanboys, and their inability to handle it gracefully.
Ball’s in your court, Blizzard. Grow the hell up.
Two final points.
Firstly, a lot of people have gotten the whole horde-vs-alliance thing mixed up in all this. That’s a red herring. I don’t give a shit, really, if you’re that into being Horde. I might feel sorry for ya, bro, but you go right on ahead and pretend it matters. What this post is about, which you should realize if you’re read this far, is that they’re using speech that is hateful to a large segment of the community in the process of trying to denigrate a game faction. Not cool. If it helps, substitute "Niggers"8 for "Fags" and see how comfortable you feel about it.
Secondly, I opened with "it was sure to flare up again". In a way, this isn’t just about LGBT discrimination. This is about mutual respect of your fellow gamer, of your fellow human beings. If what you do is founded on putting someone down, you will eventually lose your footing. Last time, which I referred to obliquely, was around the topic of feminism and the disrespect of females in-game and out that Blizzard has inadvertantly supported. To that, add gay-bashing.
That this recurs is the problem. Blizzard, again, needs to own its shit and clean up its act. Until that happens, this will happen again.
See you back at this particular soapbox in a few months.
Yes, they admire this guy and his band so much that they put an NPC in-game way back in WOTLK. [↩]
Blizzcon starts today, and there is a lot of buzz over what may or may not be taking place at this event. Dozens of tweeps are out there passing along endless little details, relevant or not (seriously, I don’t care about the van decals. Have a dance fight or STFU). Blogs are bursting with speculation, with those that gotta have SOMETHING posting ANYTHING (you know who you are), and some being really creative and putting together original content that’s enjoyable to read and/or participate in.
Traditionally a lot of blogs (you know who you are) put on the magic hat and take a shot at fortune telling. Others still (you know who you are) try to make it the reader’s job to provide content ("What do YOU think will be announced? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CLICK THE LINK AND WRITE A COMMENT!")
Two years ago, MMO-Champion put all the "pros" to shame and broke the news of Cataclysm well in advance of Blizzcon. This year, there has been nothing but silence. I haven’t even seen them crowing that they have confirmed that there is NOTHING to be announced, which leads me to conclude that either they know nothing (the big spoiler was a lucky find, and that luck didn’t repeat) or they’re in cahoots with Blizzard.
So what are the possible explanations?
Considering that I don’t actually think that the people at MMO-C are really mean people, I think it’s possible they would respond to polite requests from Blizz to embargo their news.
There might have been some quid-pro-quo but I think they might do it without.
On the other hand, I can’t imagine they didn’t foresee the massive disappointment that Blizz felt over the last event. Nobody can be that obtuse, can they? In which case, they’re shallow and insensitive, and Blizz had to bribe or threaten.
Or of course, there’s nothing to be broken early.
Or Blizzard found and plugged the leak (fired somebody, moved somebody, etc?)
That particular sideshow aside, what is the big bad for this Blizzcon?
We know for a fact that the new project they’re working on will not be part of this. We know it as a fact because they have stated this bluntly, flat out, on no uncertain terms. I’ve even heard people from other companies that are in cahoots claim that they’ll get fired if they even talk about it. So, move on, there’s either nothing to see here (likely) or they’re complete liars (WTF guys)1.
We also know from leaked corporate documents2 that they plan to have another expansion out within the next eighteen months. To do that, they need to be moving on it now.
They’ve claimed that 4.3 is the final content patch of this expansion.
They’ve been forced to contend with declining subscription numbers and a lukewarm reception to Cata. They’ve made public statements that they plan to do something about it, using phrases quite similar to "more frequent expansions".
Diablo III has been delayed until 2012. Some think that they will announce its new release date during Blizzcon. I agree, but I doubt that’s the big bad.
Finally, all is quiet on the Starcraft front. Last time there was a big SC2 reveal, it was out of the blue. Considering how quiet it’s been, I consider that to be a huge possibility.
But, given the datapoints I have at my fingertips (which is not to say I have a lot), I’m leaning towards a new WoW expansion, as so many are. There may be a SC2 reveal, but if it is, it’ll be secondary to WoW.
I understand that Mists of Panderia has been trademarked by Blizzard. Hopefully, that goes with a TCG expansion. Because, Light help us, I don’t need the Blizzard version of Ewoks all over my screen.
And in fact I don’t think it’s that. I think we’re going to see something Argus-y in the next XP. We have unfinished business there, AND there are a number of big bads associated with Argus from which to select the next big-big bad.
Well, I imagine we will find out today. It is the wee hours in California right now, and Blizzcon has yet to actually start up. Here’s hoping for an eventful and exciting day for all the attendees. May you all have a blast! I’ll be watching from the bleachers, cheering you on!
This could also be another of Blizzard’s schemes gone awry. I can imagine one of the boneheads over there going "if we take pains to make people ignore Titan, it’s all people will talk about!" Considering the ham-handed scripting they often do, I can see that this passes for subtlety over there. [↩]
Vintage charts, road maps, things that tend to be reliable because they account for real money being budgeted. [↩]