Nov 28, 2007

[5 Lessions in 5 Years]

I've been tagged! Man, I totally missed this one! D=
I haven't been playing MMOs for 5 years yet, but I think I've got 5 lessions anyway.

1. A Guild Lives or Dies By Its Structure
Organization is the key to success. Write down your guild's values and goals, and uphold them. Support your teammates, think about morale. This is not just for raiding guilds; any strong community needs open communication, structure and goals to thrive and grow.

2. A MMO is Only as Fun as The People You Play With
In a MMO, the people you're around make a big difference in the atmosphere of your experience. Being a guildless soloer who only does pick-up groups gives you a totally different feel than a person in an active, close-knit guild. I never would have stuck with WoW past the first year if I hadn't had my guild.

3. Your Gaming Time is Your Own
Running lowbies through content, giving gold, etc. is fine... but be aware that some folks will milk you for all it's worth unless you put boundaries on your time. It's not a bad thing to log in and just want to play for yourself, don't be ashamed to stand up for that.

4. I Love You IRL, But Can't Stand You Ingame.
It's not always ducks and bunnies to get RL friends/significant others playing the same MMO as you. =P

5. Remember to Have Fun
Sometimes, you just need to sit back, stop the rep farming and instance grinds, and take a ride thru the zone you went through at level 2 and wave at the lowbies. Find creative ways to do silly things. Remember to make your own fun sometimes, and don't get stuck on the treadmill.

[The Silent Acceptance is Part of the Problem]

If you haven't yet read this essay, do it now. All of it. It's equally applicable to the gaming community and the normalized bullying and disrespect of women in it:.

"You, dear male reader, are totally not one of those men. I know this, and I appreciate it. I really do.
...‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.
But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates womento the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.
 And that guy? Thought you were on his side.
[B]ecause the really bad guys don’t pop out of thin air as fully formed misogynists. They need encouragement and reinforcement in order to completely miss the fact that there’s something deeply fucking wrong with them. Subtle sexism gives them that. Keeping your mouth shut about overt sexism gives them that. Not really listening to the women you love, let alone women you don’t even know–thereby being one more guy sending a message to women that we’re only worth listening to on men’s terms–gives them that. Telling yourself and anyone who will listen that that’s just the way it is, and people need to quit whining gives them that. How can they clue into the fact that there’s something deeply fucking wrong with them when so many guys are acting just like they do in public, or at least never calling them out?
And that goes double on the internet. It’s all well and good to advocate for ignoring trolls, except for the part where they don’t go away. They replicate like fucking Gremlins, and not a few of them are nakedly hostile toward women just for being women. And whenever a woman says, Hey, anyone else notice how trolls especially go after women and say some shockingly hateful shit, apparently just because we’re women? tons of good men come out of the woodwork to say, “Hey, trolls do this to everyone, not just women!” and “Maybe they just don’t like what those particular women were saying!” and “The reason you’re not taken seriously is that you insist on playing the victim!” and “I’m not a dick, so this hurts my feelings!” Not nearly as many say, “Yeah, wow, good point.”

Kate has summed it all up perfectly, exactly why this behavior really does matter and should be taken seriously.

This is worth standing up against, even if you lose you 'honorary one-of-the-guys' badge, and get called a oversensitive bitch or whatever other flak comes your way for standing up against this shit. I tolerated it myself for years -- I wanted to be liked by all the other guys. I didn't want to be one of 'those other' girls, the one with 'no sense of humor' -- that would make me into an outsider, and my gender already made me a minority as is.

But I could only swallow it back for so long before I drew the line and said "Not anymore." We have to stand up and let them all know that this is not okay. I refuse to subject myself to harmful, hateful messages about my gender whenever I want to be immersed in the gaming community. I refuse to let it stay as the normal tone in the gaming communities I'm a part of. I refuse to allow people to teach young boys and girls who come into gaming and join our online communities and guilds, that saying things like this is normal, funny(and true!), and should be accepted without complaint as par for the course; as the price of entry into this hobby.

I refuse to let it continue to be brushed aside as a 'non issue'.
Because it is an issue.

Nov 22, 2007

Nov 16, 2007

[Blizzard: 1 Hackers: 0]

Warden has been quietly updated in the latest WoW patch, basically breaking all current bots and hacks for the game. And, of course, the people who made it their mission to override Warden, are crying about it.

The Warden program scans your computer for illegal processes that are influencing the game (speed hacks, bots, etc. has been decried as and evil 'breach of privacy' by some players (those who're running those bots and hacks, most likely). Most of their arguments are just whines from people who hate having their 'freedom' to cheat forcefully denied. Scott sums it up:

But the real bottom line: if you don’t like Warden and find it an invasion of privacy, vote with your pocketbook and don’t pay for WoW. It’s really that simple. Histrionics on message boards aside, playing WoW is not some kind of constitutional right, it’s a contract between you and Blizzard. As part of that contract, Blizzard is going to be looking over your shoulder while you’re playing. If you’re not OK with that, there are, believe it or not, other online games out there, some of which have been rumored to resemble WoW to varying degrees.

Game developers have not only the right, but the expected duty, to enforce a clean and open playing field. As black hats get better at breaking them, white hats are going to get sneakier (and sometimes overbearing) in protecting them. The arms race will never end.

Or as we say in WoW: Q.Q more, nubs.

Nov 7, 2007

[Once Again, the Grind is the 'Real' Challenge]

Via Warcry:

"In keeping with their insane ability to tear through content, the first Illidan kill by the Chinese guild The Seven was recently [Oct 29th 2007] reported on the WoW forums.
While we've seen quite our share of Illidan kills on this side of the world so you may be asking "so what?"
Burning Crusade came out on September 7th in China, meaning it took only 51/52 days for to level to 70, gear up, and kill Illidan. From the screenshot you can see that many members are still sporting their tier 3, which speaks volumes for how powerful it actually is.
Naysayers may say that due to the various bugfixes and changes that went live prior to China even receiving the expansion they had access to a much better tuned Outlands than we did, but you can't deny how impressive this is, even if they had a little bit of an easier time of it than we did."
  ...Because removing attunement quests, bugged trash mobs, and rep grinds makes it 'easier' to kill the top Outlands raid boss while wearing mostly Old World T3 Gear. Right.

Yep, many MMO players have a very weird definition of 'difficulty'. I'd say this Chinese guild did an amazing job, seeing as how they were largely undergeared and still beat the Black Temple encounters this fast. But in the bizarre e-peen contest that is getting 'World First' raid kills in WoW, any excuse you can use to diminish someone else's achievement (and believe me, the cattiness I've seen between 'hardcore' guilds trying to demean each others' raid progress is hilarious in it's pettiness sometimes) is fair game. Sad that folks can't even give a 'grats' to these guys without adding an '...even though you did have it easier than us!' snark.

  Lots of comments in that thread about their 'sub-par' gear too. I guess people are totally missing the point of how that makes what they did actually cooler. People are always whining about how gear > skill in WoW. A case appears where people overcame a gear handicap, it's all suddenly 'lol! What lamers!' Hilarious.

Nov 6, 2007

[Is This Really That Hard to Grasp?]

  Because it's one of the favorite words used by the WoW community, I felt I should share this essay spelling out why using the word 'rape' as a funny/positive description of how you 'won', is straight up sociopathic asshole behavior. Period.

  If there's a girl in your guild that is one of the 1 in 5 women who have been sexually assaulted, DO NOT expect her to have to speak up first and tell you to STFU and then be forced to explain herself or else be dismissed as 'PC and oversensitive'. It's cruel and sick, and whoever first thought up "Hey, let's say 'I raped them!' when I mean 'I win!' Because rapists are the ones who come out on top! har har!" was a misogynist tool, even if you personally are being simply thoughtless.

  I don't care if all your friends do it, I don't care if you're so sheltered that you've never met a rape victim or were never raped yourself so it doesn't seem like a 'serious' thing to you -- STOP IT.

"I'm bothered by the thought of a woman who's recently been raped, who's just experienced what may be the worst thing that will ever happen to her, and turns on the telly to watch her favorite comedian and have a much-needed laugh—only to hear him using that horrible, life-changing thing as the butt of a joke. About cologne. Or a bad movie. For fuck's sake.

I still don't understand—and I don't believe I ever will—why anyone wants to be the guy who sends that shiver down her spine, who makes her eyes burn hot with tears at an unwanted memory while everyone laughs and laughs."

  Rape is not funny, positive thing. Raping someone does not mean that you''ve won a victory over someone else. Being a rapist does not make you a winner. Why some people demand to have these facts spelled out to them, boggles my mind. Expecting a rape victim to have to out themselves and defend their right to not have their assault flung back into their face as 'humorous' is cruel, selfish, and yes, makes people who demand that have to happen before they shut up, assholes.

  Rape victims face a lot of crap from the world already; how about the games they play not be one of those places?