Monday, November 29, 2010

You mean you have to use your hands?

This morning I saw a man playing Super Mario Bros using the very latest in cutting edge consumer video game control technology, Microsoft Kinect. Do have a look.

I will now direct your attention to the fantastic irony that this state-of-the-art system performs significantly worse than a 25-year-old plastic rectangle you have to hold in your hand. [Like a baby's toy.]

I know this stuff isn't designed for me, but it still makes me sad that the developers who used to make fun games are now diverting resources to take advantage of this retarded fad.

I think this is what growing up feels like.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The important thing is that I'm right.

It didn't really occur to me until just the other day how big a deal today's patch is to people who haven't been soaking up this content in the beta. Maybe my AH rival will take a 4-hour break from camping the AH and I can sell a few gems for once. Really hard to compete with someone willing to spend that much time posting auctions.

Blizzard is apparently still suffering from their groupthink corporate delusion of thinking they can get a patch out on time. At this point I shrug and roll my eyes. Expectation management is important for keeping one's sanity in this game we play. At least predicting the worst offers the consolation of being right when you lose.

I'm wondering how much pull the new class/race combinations will have. I guess not as much as the fact that they're playing through completely new content. I thought it was interesting to note that of the new combinations, the horde gains three tanks, while the alliance gains none, and whether this will affect queue length [by which I of course mean DPS queue length] for low-level dungeons.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This is how we do it down under.

If I was to purchase Cataclysm as a digital download, I would download the game in advance, then play the minute Cata goes live, 7pm my time.

If I was to purchase Cataclysm from my local game store, I would queue up to buy the game the minute Cata goes live, 7pm my time. Then leave the store and drive home. Then install the game from the disc. Then download and apply the inevitable gigabyte of last-minute updates which have been added since the disc was pressed. And then play.

Cataclysm digital download = USD40 = ~$41

Cataclysm hard copy Australian RRP = $59.95

I welcome the digital age. Fuck Australia and fuck game stores -- from now on I live on the Internet.

Friday, November 12, 2010


In a future patch, Titan’s Grip and Single Minded Fury will be merged into one talent.

[I'm writing this now so people will know I called it back in November Twenty-ten and how awesome that therefore makes me. ]

Gevlon's magical skill.

I remember earlier this year Gevlon going on about a “magical skill” he had discovered that was easily learned, and was the key aspect that would guarantee success in most aspects of life [and WoW], which he eventually defined as asocial behavior with peers. I have to assume the buildup to this revelation was deliberate, as he wanted to be sure people understood the extent to what he was claiming before naming it as something with so many negative connotations.

I think he has missed the core ideal slightly. Not caring what people think will typically mean that you only do things that benefit you. But it’s not the fact that you’re eschewing social influence, it’s the fact that you’re taking responsibility for yourself first that causes successful behaviour. Acting asocially is just a mindset that makes self-interest easier to justify if acting this way is not automatic for you. The “magical skill” is personal responsibility.

Gevlon’s “Goblin philosophy” asserts that a self-centred attitude is not only good for an individual, but also good for society, and I find it hard to contradict him. “Self-centred” to me equates to personal responsibility, though it also has the unfortunate negative connotation to mean that one doesn’t care about other people. I really don’t understand why society would necessarily look down on a person who focuses on themselves before others, or assume that this focus necessarily precludes caring about other people.

Pleasing other people makes me feel happy and preserves my social status. If it didn’t have this positive response I wouldn’t care about doing it. Thus my motivation for pleasing others is entirely selfish. Every sociopath knows the value of getting along with and being nice to people.

I’m going to make a bold claim and say that every single “selfless” person doing things for other people has this same motivation. Even “making the world a better place” carries a self-interest. For one, you live in that world and want it to be better for you; being seen as altruistic also carries a social value; and again the thought that you are positively affecting the world will make you feel better about yourself.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. That’s just my point. Calling self-interest a negative trait is ridiculous. It’s not about creating more for yourself than other people, it’s about efficiency -- nobody else in the world can understand your needs as easily as you do, therefore any situation in which another person is responsible for understanding and meeting them -- for "helping you" -- is going to be an inefficient way of doing so.

The only time acting out of self-interest creates an unfair advantage is when the people you interact with refuse to do the same. And to be honest I find it hard to sympathise with a person who will not take that kind of responsibility for themselves.

So I suppose this is where we return to the idea of acting asocially. The social instinct to help someone who is worse-off than you is huge, for me at least. But I wont let myself go out of my way to assist someone inefficiently to do something they could much more easily do themselves. All things considered, the world would be worse off for me doing so.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dear Diary

I try to avoid posting personal things in here. I'd prefer this blog to be more about exploring ideas that I find interesting than "you'll never guess what I did last night..!"

But, you'll never guess what I did last night!

Not one, but two Lich King kills. Yes, I know, it's trivial content now, but what made this impressive was both were from pugs I joined in Trade chat.

I've had horror-story PuGs before, oh I have. These days I go in with "does your raid know the fight?" and when they answer "yes" they provide me my excuse for leaving if they don't.

The first one was a total luck-out on my part. Guy posts in trade: "LF DPS for Lich King." I'm on my Warrior at the time so I ride up to him in Dalaran and on declining his initial invitation tell him I'm happy to bring my Moonkin. I figure I wouldn't mind a chance at my fourth Kingslayer title, and if they're crap, well, he already lied to me about them knowing the fight. =) Turns out they're all alts who know the fight backwards and we execute a very comfortable one-shot -- with more than half of us, my feathery self included, getting the achievement for the kill.

I tried to downplay this easy victory from the Significant Other, who had wandered in half-way through the fight, and that I knew has been desperate for a Lich King kill.

We soon found ourselves volunteering in tandem [myself somewhat more reluctantly] for the next trade pug to advertise, which after some initially terrible first impressions and an extremely slow and rocky start managed to pull themselves together by the fourth attempt. For me it really highlighted how massive the space for error on that fight is now. We had some textbook-horrid defile placements, a warlock who didn't understand how to use his portal, melee s-keying out of defile, and I think my OT must have missed more than half of the Soul Reaper tank swaps... But in the end, nine achievements, including the Significant Other's long sought-after title.

Two very satisfying kills, brought to you by Trade. ^^

The End.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sticks and stones...

In response to what I understand to be a fairly common phenomenon in WoW’s chat channels and some vent servers, I’ve read a few opinions on why figurative use of the word “rape” is wrong. I find it hard to argue that trivialising -- or even worse equating to a victory state -- an act of sexual violence is anything but abhorrent.

On the other hand, though, context. Language is subjective. Meaning is always, always, always contextual. It is not ever endemic to any particular combination of letters or spoken sounds. The letters “c”, “u”, “n” and “t” -- even when combined in that order -- have no meaning that isn’t one individual’s interpretation. Our past experiences with this word allow us to form a meaning. Your past experience will have set up a different context than mine, so that word will literally have a different meaning for you than it has for me.

The problem occurs when people don’t see outside of their own personal context. Many people falsely assume that their own understanding of the meaning of particular word is necessarily the same as another person’s, and therefore the only way this word will be used is in the full knowledge of their own past experience with it. It’s a ridiculous fallacy, but it happens far too often, especially on the Internet, when you lack supporting information such as tone and body language to gauge another person’s context.

I admit to be irrationally offended by some things. For instance, certain people on my server who habitually spew verbal diarrhea onto the trade channel, the kind of stupidity that causes me physical pain to be aware of, for which I wish I had a pejorative term strong enough to express my hatred. I feel like even putting them on /ignore isn’t enough because I know they’re still doing it, on my server. I wish there was a way I could banish them permanently. I fear that their behaviour will influence others to imitate them and gradually degrade the quality of our trade chat to the levels I’ve seen on other servers.

Um. Where was I? Oh right, my point is that it’s completely unrealistic to think that other people should be required to change their behaviour because I interpret what they say in my personal context and take offense to it. They have as much right to speak freely as I have to stop listening, and my only option in the above situation is to accept my /ignore solution and simply stop listening.

This comes back to personal responsibility. Other people are not responsible for what I see and hear-- I’m the only person who can make that choice.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blizzard sucks at planning.

I heard in an interview somewhere that I can't recall at this moment, that Cataclysm is planned to have only three raiding tiers at 85. This is one tier shorter than Wrath, which itself was one major patch shorter than BC. "One expansion ever 12-14 months" is the long-stated intention and... I'm sure they're still working on that one.

This is the Blizzard perfectionist, "when it's ready" philosophy at work. The timing is secondary. An odd thing about this philosophy is that it goes both ways. ToC is the perfect example. It was a really short, simple raid and of course it was ready in no time.

Look at the timeline of Wrath and tell me the game would have been any worse from ToC being released two months later. Two more months of Ulduar being the top tier raid might sound boring for those who had already completed Firefighter at the time, but compare that to the last two months of nerfed Icecrown. Or two months of ToC's "twenty" bosses.

From a simple planning decision, we could have had two more months of what I consider to be the best raid Blizzard has ever made, and two less months of "God, I am so sick of this place. When is the next patch coming?" -- but they didn't, because ToC was ready.

It's not really apparent unless you've been watching the expansion progress over the months just how fucking much work they set themselves up to do for Cata. I have to assume the devs themselves didn't really understand what they were getting themselves in for when they pitched it.

I don't have an issue with being patient. I see it as the ground work. They're basically rebuilding the game as a solid foundation to iterate upon through future patches and expansions. Maybe we might actually reach that 12-14 month goal.

Maybe Blizzard will even start planning ahead. Maybe, y'know, they'll plan a schedule and give themselves enough time to have content ready ahead of it. I don't think any lack-of-resources argument really stands up to the hundred million dollars we're paying them every month, only lack of planning.

So I'm still patiently optimistic for the future, assuming its going to be ready soon.