Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Translation to the Losing In

Thus far, this has been
the most interesting post I've found on the WoW Priest forums:

0. Priests is underpowered is wrong 01/29/2007 01:31:15 AM UTC

It makes in the blizzard, underpowered there was a thing which you were wrong and do to be, it requires the justice of the kind which should cope, is and for example thing you almost preconception (, holiness, the wood of the disk and the shadow it is less, "useles" the competent priest of the holy wood which is made those being to fail) as for wooden everything 3 - with theory... uselessness, is not wipe of invasion very to. With respect to appearance, in addition you insist that it cannot agree to that of the shaman, the druid teaching priest or the loyal retainer of chivalry who are class of first next remedy (very with the acquisition of scenario of circumstance)


The thread ends up being quite amusing, if only because the fellow who posted this doggerel, an Undead Priest named Attrition, writes several more posts in this vein and the other posters mostly just re-post his gobbledygook. The cumulative effect is laugh-inducing. Try saying it several times, each time getting more insistent.

The best response I saw was:

It puts the lotion in the basket.

That was from Drakex.

The weirdest thing is that I can actually make sense of Attrition's demand for a Priest pet:

So I respected holy in to order you help people run the new instances. Until I have been shadow up now. Alone It SUCKS in grinding. What tok me 5 you draft before now takes me 10 and if I pull lives than 2 mobs who ploughs GREEN you me I have you completely refresh my flows to after the battle. Three mobs and its running away AGAIN and hoping I don't die. I can lay down 4000+ heals but what am I going you of the heal the to monster you death? Holy is the worst build I have to ever seen will be grinding. So here is y suggestion: Give holy priests void to walker. The yellow/white void to walker call it light to bringer or something. Just something you hold agro to other than US so we can wand the creature you death and not be out of flows every two mobs. That to water gets costly and drinking is OH SO MUCH FUN you of the a thousand teamses day.

Tell it, brother. Tell it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Just Stop

Because it needs to be said
again and again and again:

Just stop. Stop. Stop putting DRM on media and inside media players. It doesn't do what it's supposed to do. It gets cracked every single time. You are throwing money away. You are alienating customers. You will lose customers and piss off the ones you keep. It's not worth saving 1% on the backend while losing 10% on the frontend. You cannot keep up with the savant hackers who can crack whatever you throw at them in a matter of days. You are introducing countless unintended consequences. You are impacting things that actually matter: doctors who can't afford false positives from a bogus certification scheme, charities using outdated software having their systems bricked, libraries unable to archive material properly. DRM is a cancer. Stop.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Update Rundown


-College started Monday. When I took the math assessment test I realized that I hadn't even thought about Calculus for eight years. I'm taking two classes - Intro to Gaming & Simulation and Intro to Music Theory. The gaming course is part of a certificate they now offer. The music course is just because I like music. It's exciting to be in school again. And all paid for - assuming the GI Bill folks don't mess up my paperwork.

-Bought The Burning Crusade. Because apparently the fact that I've never gotten a WoW character to Level 40 wasn't enough to stop me from making several more alts. I really love the early game (even though I've done the quests a million times) but once I hit the mid-30s it just drags like crazy. My fault for soloing, but it would be nice to have some solo instances that would net decent XP/drops.

The Blood Elf starting areas are probably the most refined series of quests Blizzard has done to this point. Lots of quests, not as much backtracking. The two low-level towns (minus the capitol) are right smack in the middle of their zones. This means that even the furthest quest areas aren't more than half a zone away. You can stay in these starting areas all the way up to Level 20.

If anyone is interested, I'm a BE Priest on Fenris named Lucidity.

-The VA decided my compensation claim had merit. So I'll be supplementing my income with disability checks. This is very good news. It also means I'll be getting a new computer soon.

-In the new computer vein, the whole idea of Windows Vista has me pissed off. I hate feeling like there are no options and, let's be honest, there are no options. Not if you want to use DX10, which I do. It would be nice to go back in time and find some crucial point where the DX stuff could be open-sourced, leading to actual competitive OSes. If I get a Mac, I can pretty much only run WoW. If I get Linux, I can run a bunch of roguelikes. If I stay with XP, then no DX10. Feh. Fuck Microsoft [hands over money to Microsoft].

-For a brief period I tried out several Korean MMOs. Space Cowboy is one of the better ones. It plays a lot like the Crimson Skies game on Xbox. There is one MMO for every person in Korea. Also, most MMOs sell in-game items for actual cash and the world does not end. Amazing, I know.

-I also played the demo for Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons MMO. It's . . . okay. There are a lot of great ideas. Dungeons are instanced and have two degrees of scaling, party size and difficulty. Very convenient.

The animation looks broken, though. I had creatures consistently slide over the ground toward me.

I don't see it lasting much longer.

-Blizzard has announced they will make a new MMO. Then they will take over the world. Assuming they can also release a new Starcraft game.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Player vs. Bullies

A few weeks ago, I started
a Warlock character in WoW on a PvP server (Thunderlord).

I though the name Creyve sounded badass for a life-draining master of Demons.

After about a month, I have decided that PvP only exists as a way for players to live out their fantasies of bullying the weak. That's the only explanation. It's clear that Blizzard is uninterested in changing this situation.

I write this post on my blog because in the forums it would only earn me a "L2P (Learn to play) noob!" and "Go to an RP server, fagg0rt."

But this is really just to share my observations and ponder another way. There has to be some kind of middle ground PvP.

For about the first 20 levels everything was fine. This is because most of my quests were in green areas. Green areas are owned by your faction (Horde, in my case) and enemy players cannot engage you in PvP unless you attack first. This is reasonable.

In yellow and red areas, you get flagged for PvP.

Welcome to the Gankfest.

Level 30+ quests are almost uniformly in yellow areas. You might be thinking, "Well, great, all the people of similar levels will be in those zones, ready to fight, gaining PvP skill."

Wrong. Nobody ever attacks unless they have a huge advantage. Fighting three bears of your level? Expect to get backstabbed when your health is at 1/3. Then run to your corpse and hope that some asshole isn't camping the damn thing.

Of course, you're lucky if you get bum-rushed by someone within four levels of yourself.

Typically, it's a level ??? Probably a level 60. Good luck hitting them at all. And you have no defense whatsoever.

In fact, your skills are worthless. There is nothing protecting you from the predations of powerful player-characters.

My Warlock has a detect invisibility spell. But it only detects lesser invisibility. But I don't give a shit about lesser invisibility, because anything that has it doesn't pose a threat.

I've leveled at about half the normal rate, even with bonus XP, because I get constantly ganked while questing. This has nothing to do with my character or how I play, because there's nothing I could have done to prevent my character's death. No time to hearth, my Voidwalker sacrifice doesn't protect me for long, I can't fear higher levels with much chance of success, everything I try to do gets interrupted.

Of course, mention this, and people get defensive. They lash out. "You chose to play on a PvP server. It's your fault."

Right. I'm sorry, I expected some kind of game. Maybe where my input actually mattered. Not a system where I pay money to allow complete strangers to waste my fucking time by forcing me to run to my corpse five times in a row.

It's not as if there are no solutions to the problem of ganking. Dishonor was floated for awhile, but Blizzard decided it wasn't worth the hassle.

Has anybody ever seen a decent PvP system that doesn't encourage a cycle of virtual abuse?

Everyone I know pushes for Level 60 mostly so they can one-shot players twenty levels below their own.

Won't somebody think of the lowbies?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Musical Interlude

I picked up an M-Audio JamLab from Musician's Friend. It arrived in the mail on Monday.

I played around with the thing most of the evening. Installation was quick and easy (once I realized that I had to have the unit plugged in before the second part of the software would install).

The experience made me giddy. The amp/effects modeling on GTPlayer is pretty damn good, probably better than I get on my ME-50 for most things. And I'm thinking I can slap an amp/mixer/ME-50 into the chain for pre-processing - can't see why that wouldn't work.

I'm still not sure yet why the sustain seems wonky. The clean signal doesn't have a problem, but the preset effects will clip the sound. This is more than likely something with the effects that I haven't discovered (that's the problem with using the presets). I tinkered with the Noise Gates and a few of the other pedals, but there must be an option I'm missing.

My major problem thus far has been my attempt to hook the Rewire into something, anything. Nothing works properly and support is just plain. The forums were majorly unhelpful. I tried Adobe Audition, ACID Pro, Reason and MAGIX and none of them worked. If I had GTPlayer open and tried to open Audition, I'd get an error concerning Rewire. Yet Audition wouldn't display the GTPlayer on its list of Rewire sources. No clue what's happening there.

Also, no guitar tuner. I found a few online but they aren't very good - one is ugly and laggy, the other unintuitive.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to put songs together. I'm thinking that I can play the Reason click track in the background (or even a backing sequence) and record with the GTPlayer's record interface (it's supposed to only take the input from the USB and nothing else). Then just drop stuff together with MAGIX.

Lots of tinkering to do. It's exciting to get back to the guitar. I've mostly just been dry playing my electric because in an apartment building it's not good form to blast an amp. Using my computer, everything's in the headphones. Which means even after my wife goes to bed I can jam.

Okay, this is starting to sound too much like copy for a lame ad in Guitar Player Magazine.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wish In One Hand

So not only will there be
a Disaster Report sequel for me to play, but now it turns out that this post I wrote, detailing a photojournalist in a conflict zone, will become a reality.

Serious Games Interactive is going to be releasing Global Conflicts: Palestine, where you play a journalist covering the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

If you send the team an e-mail they might let you join in on the beta.

I know I have nothing to do with this, but it'd be great if companies were combing my archive for ideas.

I can't wait for the announcement of the upcoming Blue Oyster Cult RPG.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Super, Thanks For Asking

I'm definitely with

The Slamdance game entries are spot on when it comes to highlighting creative titles. That Super Columbine Massacre RPG is not on the list is a travesty.

It's all over the Internets, so you can track down little details here and there.

My opinion of the game itself is appreciative, even though it wasn't great as a game. It was an artistic endeavor, done for the experiment itself.

One of the ways I judge movies is by how much discussion they provoke, both favorable and critical, and how long the movie can sustain those discussions. This was a game that had that same effect, with people offering yeas and nays back-and-forth - and it's still possible to see those conversations crop up from time to time (like, say, now). I'm not just referring to the like/dislike scale, but to the examination of meaning.

Which is something that doesn't occur in reference to, oh, Halo.

We need more games that give us stuff to really talk about instead of just talk shop.

The Laptop Issue

To quote
, well, just about everybody, we're going to have to convene a blogger ethics panel.

Microsoft has been sending
free smokin' fast laptops loaded with Vista to members of the trendsetting media (read: tech blogs).

To frontload my reaction, meh.

Laughing Squid got one, sounded underwhelmed, then auctioned it off and donated the funds to the EFF. Sounds good.

Personally, I would've kept it. But then, I need a new laptop. I've seen a lot of reactions in that camp: "Hey, I want one."

Then there is this opinion: "Getting something from a company necessitates a tit-for-tat."

Well, no, it doesn't. Critics have gotten swag, tickets, CDs, t-shirts, keychains, etc., since forever. Disclosure helps, but just because someone admits they were given something shouldn't be used as immunity against charges of being a shill. On the other hand, getting something and talking about it doesn't mean you are a shill, even if you say you like the product.

If anybody's wondering how to detect a shill, just study the writings of John Stossel.

Cathode Tan provides more information. There's a quoted section from Dave Taylor that talks about how Microsoft didn't send disks with Vista on them so that reviewers could try the OS out on their own systems. I completely agree that this was done to skew impressions of the software. I mean, duh. But here's another question: Why wouldn't Microsoft want to do that?

When a gaming journalist comes out to a company to do a preview of the Next Big Game, do you suppose that the company is concerned with providing a look at how their product performs across the entire spectrum of configurations? Or does the journalist find herself in the room with the large plasma screen, surround sound, comfy couch, attended to by the PR folk, playing the most stable, tweaked, scripted version of the game on the best equipment?

Now it's true that software journalists will often receive review copies which they can run on their own systems. This is not ideal for a PR department. The fact is, Microsoft has the money to run this kind of preview campaign, and it's a smart idea. Most software companies would probably like to do this, but don't have the funds. When Vista is launched then there will be plenty of opportunities for reviewers to test it out in real-world conditions.

As for how the cost of the gift might affect a person's judgment . . . it's going to depend upon reputation, transparency and any possible output related to the gift. If this were cash or a check I'd treat it as a completely different matter.

Also, there is a substantial difference between politicians, who work for the people, accepting gifts from corporations and industry journalists, who work for themselves (or a corporation) and rely upon that industry. In other words, without software industry gifts (mainly review copies) to journalists, then the costs to be a gaming journalist become prohibitive, resulting in more corporate control; Without corporate gifts to politicians, there is Democracy - or at least Representative Republic.

To put it another way, the transparency of the distributed system of blogs led to the disclosure of this campaign almost immediately, the merits of it were debated, positions were taken and it became very easy to stay in the loop, examine the issue and make your own judgment. Doesn't really seem like anything diabolical has occurred.


I'm really fucking late on this whole thing. It sounds like some of the implications were not thought out by Microsoft (PR campaigns are tricky, because PR people have no souls. Unless they work where I do.)

Marshall Kirkpatrick notes that Microsoft is telling people to either give the laptop away or send it back when finished writing a review (some initial e-mails did not make it clear about the review part, only that the thing was a gift with no strings - giving something out for review is a string).

There's a bunch more here, if you're so inclined.


On a related, or maybe not, note.

I cracked open Snowboarding Magazine. Ninety percent is advertisements. The other ten percent consists of overwhelmingly positive reviews of boards and gear, overwhelmingly positive reviews of snowboarders and gnarly articles about wipeouts or shitty tournaments (with the usual gripes of how commercial the sport has gotten, how the OGs are disgusted by all these trendy new kids and how there's no innovation in the sport anymore).

Sound familiar to anyone?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

In My Craw

I write a lot. I've got tons of writing just clogging up my computer. Some of it might be good, but I have trouble separating it from the okay and the dreck and then putting it together into something presentable.

It's not enough to have good writing. The presentation has to be good. It must reach a satisfying conclusion, whether there is a traditional ending or not.

I've got this one project, my longest bit of sustained writing. Nearly 75,000 words. This was the first time I ever attempted to just write without going back and editing.

Editing a piece before its finished is the easiest way to ensure that you will never, ever finish something. I'm sure there are people out there who find it easy to do, but I have never met them.

My father's own book is several years past deadline because, not only does he keep finding reasons to begin new chapters, he cannot stop himself from editing previous chapters over and over again even as he composes new ones. It's a sickness.

I have avoided the demon of editing before the thing is finished proper.

But that has become the problem.

The beastly thing, I cannot end it. I do anything to avoid writing the ending. I blog. I play videogames. I surf websites. I watch TV. I go to work.

Even when I sit down and start writing - pages from the end - with my goal in sight, I just cannot seem to get these characters to stop doing so much damn weird stuff and just wrap shit up. There's always something else that needs to happen before something else can happen before . . . and then somewhere there's an ending.

So this is my curse. I can't even break my own rule and go back over earlier chapters because I have purged all desire to edit before the thing is finished. Good going, me.

Someday it will end. It must end.

And I must end it.

After I watch Futurama.