Strap in, and lets go for a ride

Okay, so I’m going to be totally spit-balling here. Take nothing that I mention as honest to god insight, or top-secretz-newz! I’m going to be jumping to conclusions all over the place like a man in a wheel chair after a botched suicide attempt. So, sit down, pull out your favorite drink, craft your tin-foil hat (don’t forget the feather!), and buckle your seatbelt, because I’m going to throw wild speculation at your face and brains.

I think we will have an expansion announced this summer.

Dun, dun, DUN!

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I hope so, otherwise, this multi-day sickness of the lungs I’ve had may have been for naught. I’m back, mostly healthy. I’m only spitting up small chunks of phlegmy chunks of yellowish-green mucous. Mmmm…visuals. So, if you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting, that’s why. I’ve been playing some, sleeping a lot, and the energy to be creative and insightful was about as hard to get a firm grip on as the whole inhale/exhale thing was for the time period. But nevermind me, and the boring “who-gives-a-flying-fuck” details of my life, let’s talk about WAR.

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When did this happen exactly?

It seems like the insult of the day is “elitist”. The cry of every player who does not like a statement, attitude, or expression is called down for being “an elitist snob”.  I don’t understand it. In large part, my confusion comes from the fact that most of the time, the player being “insulted” is expressing a base concept of competition, and a desire for a level of competence acceptable to them. However, the current trend seems to be that “casual” is the prefered play style, and if you’re not doing that way, you’re doing it wrong!

I’ll be the first to admit that jack-asses can be found across all spectrums of player types. From the super-casual to the ultra-hardcore. The first kind is probably far less likely to make an appearance due to their general lack of time spent interacting with the community, but in-game, they can still be found. But the “term” elitist doesn’t necessarily have to be inextricably tied to “hardcore” does it?

It seems as if whenever I do see someone being called an “elitist” it’s because they are reinforcing and advocating their style of play and the quality they strive for. If a guild says, “Sorry, we’re not taking any more Shadow Warriors.” they’ll get called out for being jerks. The reality is, this is a competitive game, and people taking winning seriously. Just as in sports, who you recruit to the team has an impact on your level of success. Should the White Sox (okay, maybe a bad example) start recruiting fresh out of highschool players for every major position? Or do you take someone proven to fulfill a specific role in the organization?

I don’t know, I guess I don’t understand the animosity that seems to be directed in general towards gamers who spend a lot more time and invest a lot more concern into their gaming. I’ve had to take a significantly more casual approach to my gameplay since my daughter was born, and I don’t harbor animus towards those who can play every day, for eight hours a day. I also don’t have a sense of entitle towards participation in various activities in game, or towards loot acquisition. I may get frustrated if I lose repeatedly, but it’s the frustration at myself for losing, not at the other person for winning. That may be the real differential.

People get angry at “elitists” for their success. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.

Bah, I feel like shit, so this was probably uber-rambly.

Art

A piece of art, in an artistic world, full of evoked emotion.

If you don’t know what I’m about to talk about, you’ve been ignoring the gaming world. If you have been ignoring the gaming world, then know that six days ago, the monumentally and stunningly wrong Roger Ebert wrote an article (or in Tycho’s words “reeking ejaculate”) in response to Kellee Santiago talking at TED about video games being a medium for art. Somehow, someway, when you have artists working in groups, creating art, directing art, editing art, writing art, and combining all that art into one tasty ball of art-on-a-plate, it stops being art.

Because it can be won.

Overlooking the logical fallacy that the presence of an objective a participant can strive for instantly negates the ability for a medium to be art, I have to join the rank and file of gamers everywhere in echoing a resounding, “WTF?”. It seems at points that he jumbles around, flailing like a decrepit old man who lost his cane, striving for a definition to latch onto. A declaration to pin down something that, by its very nature, avoids definition.

Most interesting to me, was when Ebert delved into the world of video games, and tried to wrap his understanding around what video games are, and their intended goals. He displays a stunning lack of knowledge of the market and the medium in his evaluation of the game flower. He seems so hell-bent on the concepts and ideas of a “score” or goal, that he completely misses the reality that a game is sometimes meant to just be played, with no greater or less reason than the joy of participation.

The cap to this blistering diatribe of silliness is his devolving into some type of pop-culture, psycho analysis of the community that makes up “gamers”. Idly pondering on our need for “validation” as he dismisses the genre without ever having made any actually insightful and studied reasons. The articles leaves the reader with the understanding that he did no true research before making his opinion known, and merely responded at face value to what it was that Santiago said. Ebert definitely has a history in the movie industry as a critic, and is known nationwide for his work in the field. That said, his ability to judge and be a voice worth listening too outside of his realm of practice seems to be absolutely nil.

Santiago was too kind and generous in responding to this article that portrayed itself as nothing greater than a burning pile of dog shit outside the doorway. She puts the conversation to rest the best in this line:

“Similarly, it’s time to move on from any need to be validated by old media enthusiasts. It’s good for dinner-party discussion and entertaining as an intellectual exercise, but it’s just not a serious debate anymore.”

The debate is no longer whether video games CAN be art, or if some games ARE art. The debate is, what else can we express with them, and how else can we evoke emotion with them.

1.3.5 and Bonuses (Bonusi?)

As I’m sure you saw on the herald, 1.3.5 is now on the test server. The patch notes have been released. And people are slobbering over the new 100% bonus to RR and Exp from the apology. My plans to cool my heals on my Order characters have been officially postponed. My guild leader talked to me yesterday about my frustration and it gave me an ear to vent to a bit at least. I still want to play my Blackguard some more, but getting my Knight to 80 is the primary goal, and this bonus is going to help make a big dent in that.

With that out-of-the-way, here are my thoughts on the patch.

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An Apology

Jeff Hickman has released a letter of apology for the billing event.

I’m sure people everywhere will be angry that there wasn’t any more info released about how it was caused EXACTLY, or who their vendor was, etc., etc… But I think at this point, nothing they could have done would have satisfied that contingent of those affected.

On a completely selfish note, he mentions players will get to choose from a couple of VERY nice options to help maintain trust and faith in the company. I’m wondering if he meant all players or only those affected. From a legal standpoint, I can’t imagine he meant only those affected, as it could lead to issues of admitting guilt or some other slew of legal mumbo-jumbo. Additionally, they probably want to shore up as much good-will across all players as possible. Even people not affected by this could have easily taken a blow to their confidence in the company.

A part of me only wants those affected to receive it though, as they are the ones who really experienced a hardship, while the rest of us were spectators. That reason alone was why I didn’t really talk about it. It would be like someone sitting in the stands to grab the microphone from an announcer to start giving a play-by-play. Inappropriate and unwanted. Anyway, I hope everyone and anyone affected has had all their issues resolved and are in a good place now.

Of Esquires and Knights

He's the dark "Knight". Get it? GET IT?

Christina Hendricks is the sexiest woman alive (just a neat Q&A article she did, and I think I love her more now).

And that means my site meter blew the fuck up again. You put up on picture of a woman who you thought was (relatively) low on the media radar, and then your ability to judge viewership goes to pot. It’s really annoying.

In other news, I’m going to pull back on my Knight’s playtime some. He’s 71 n0w, has full warlord, and 40-some royal crests, and been the recipient of a few pieces of Sovereign gear. I definitely want to finish getting him to 80, but I can put that on hold a bit and be content. The reason is more than just not having a lot of progression to look forward to, it’s more that my guild just seems to be a bunch of PvE whores of late. I can’t seem to log on without the majority of players running ToVL or (I shit you not) Bastion Stair. I think the Stair run was to try to get seeds and some of those weapons for alts, but still, fucking Bastion Stair.

I logged on Monday night around 6:00 pm to see what everyone was doing, ToVL apparently. So I logged off to do other things and preserve playtime for later in the evening, so we could actually do RvR. 9 pm rolls around, and I log in, I don’t log on vent like usual, and ask in guild what’s going on, if they are all done with their PvE and am met with silence. Now, I’m all a big proponent for being in vent, but lately, our vent has been a ghost land because people are segregated off in different channels doing their thing (frequently PvE!). I’m not going to log on vent without at least checking in-game if anyone is even on or doing something. I’m just not. I’d rather crank the tunes, and listen to that rather than pay attention for a chime announcing a vent arrival.

So, I’m faced with playing the solo-queue scenario time for the evening. Again. I love scenarios, but doing them solo all the time is getting real fucking old, real fucking fast. I’m over it. I can do it on my Knight, but then I’m supporting a bunch of players who probably can’t take advantage of what I’m brining, or I can play my Shadow Warrior, and not get any support. It’s Sophie’s Choice and I don’t fucking have to make it. As much as I want to get my SW to at LEAST RR70, I have zero desire to do it solo.

So I’m going to cool my heels for a bit on my Order characters, particularly my Knight. I’ll come back in a week or so, and see how things are going. In the interim, I’ll be playing BC2, DA:O, my Blackguard, and my WE for “ze project!” (video #2 this weekend hopefully).

Do I need to wash my hands?

Just an FYI: this is going to be a long, rambly post, with probably no concern to anyone other than myself. I’m trying to work through what it is I’ve been experiencing in-game of late and the resulting future participation I am worried about by putting it to word. Feel free to read if you’re REALLY bored, but don’t expect any great insight, hilarity, or scathing witticisms in this one. It’s more what you read from a teenage boy, laying on his bed as he hurriedly scribbles in his journal (not a diary! diaries are for girls!).

You’ve been warned.

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Attention All Newcomers!

There are a LOT of new WAR blogs. I mean a LOT. I am going to be doing a culling of my ‘roll’ in the near future here, so I need some help from you guys.

  1. I will axe anyone who hasn’t posted in over a month. Exceptions are made for sites that typically have longer post times (like Fjorador), but it’s my general rule of thumb for activity.
  2. If you are new, and not on there, SPEAK UP. I tried to catch as many of the new generation as possible, but I’m human, falable, and overall, a slack-ass. So help a brother out, and remind me of who you are and just how damn awesome you are.
  3. If you write about WAR or MMOs and I haven’t included you, let me know as well, and I’ll read you, and possibly add you (Scarybooster, I know, I need to throw you on there). However, let me know if you want to be under “general” or “Warhammer” depending on what your focus is. I’ve been toying with having to move Werit to Warhammer, even though he does of a slight generalist bent. We’ll see.

Thanks to all who come here and help make the community the best MMO group on the net!

Project Fresh and Clean

So, from the various comments and tweets I received the other day, I decided to go with a Witch Elf to do my no-addon experiment with.  I really think you’re all just a perverted adolescents who wanted to see more girl-flesh running around the game, but hey, I give the audience what they wants. So, I spun up the character creator for Iron Rock, picked the best looking face, the most blatantly sexually-indicating tattoo, and did my best to get her name as close to “she” as possible (Schi for the record).

Once in game, I turned on the recorded, went through the painful process of making sure all of my addons wear deactivated, and then set up my UI. I swear to all that is holy and good, I think it took me about 5 minutes just to set everything up in a fashion similar to what I wanted. Then I did my key-binds for my n52te. Most of that was handled in the initial pass, but I did some slight tweaking here and there as I went about playing. I didn’t get far, only to L4/R4, but I think the bulk of the start-up is all over, so I’m hoping I can spend some time tonight playing her some more.

The goal with all of this is put together a video of the setup, and how mutable the interface is. While going through all of this, I’m sure I’ll find areas where the interface is lacking. Find is probably not the right word, re-discover why I got an addon to overcome a limiting feature might be a better phrase. As I find these things, I’ll create a video for it, and point out possible addons to help overcome the problem, and talk about the pros and cons of each.

For instance, I noticed last night that the buffs/debuffs are VERY difficult to read on the character portraits, particularly the number of stacks/durations. It’s a huge hindrance when trying to quickly identify a combat situation, and reading something half the size of my pinky nail on a 20″ screen at 1280×1024 resolution doesn’t work well. There are a lot of different addons that you can use to help you out with this. The one that I prefer the most for being reasonable in size, ease-of-use, and least intrusive is DuffTimer. There are other addons that will help you keep track of these things, and Aura comes to mind as one of the most popular for it’s in-your-face proclamations, but Duff’s low-profile information keeps my screen clear, which I appreciate.

Follow the jump for my short video.

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