Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Blood and Weevils

Aubrey: Quick now, tell me. Which of those two weevils would you choose?
Maturin: I don't know, that one seems larger...
Aubrey: No you must choose the smaller, because as we know, in service to the Crown one is constantly forced to choose the lesser of two weevils.
Maturin: He who would pun would pick a pocket.

Ok, I made up the part about weevils. I needed a stupid pun, sue me.

The only thing in my life more fabulous than my hair - Lobilya - has not been feeling well the last couple of Mondays, which is when we have our regular DDO night. Since the other two consistent members of the group, Karaya and Phritz, have been playing Vanguard (I blame Karaya!), we've been focusing on that.

I'm bringing up a Monk, named Xiaowang Chen (I named him for one of the great Tai Chi masters of our time). Meantime, Karaya has started a goblin necromancer Gruktich. We did some stuff last week with Laddie who is a Vulmane (essentially a gnoll) Shaman. (Yes, he named his dog character Laddie Goodboy. He's such a plagiarist. That's completely different from naming your toon after a real life figure. Srsly!) This was on the starting island for goblins, in Kojan.

Over Thanksgiving, Laddie(Phritz) was AFK, so Xiaowang and Gruktich continued. However, our ship foundered somewhat on the rocks of the Garden of Xia'Liu. This is an area (I hesitate to call it a dungeon, since it's open air, and, like everything in Vanguard, there's no "zoneline" to get in to it.) that is guarded by clay warriors reminiscent of the terra-cotta warrriors, along with many other strange creatures. It's densely populated with challenging mobs - Yukionna which are a sort of humanoid spirit and are typically casters, Silvermane Foxes, disembodied energy beings known as Dancers, and ferocious killer dragonflies known as Tomba (the Japanese word for dragonfly is Tonbo, perhaps Tomba is from Chinese? Or maybe just an alternate rendering into romanji?).

The gardens are beautiful, done in a chinese style. Gruktich and Xiaowang worked their way patiently up the hill to the mountaintop garden, killing clay warriors at each Torii gate. When we reached the garden proper, we kind of started wishing that we were playing our crowd control toons, because the mobs definitely tended to swarm.

We died a lot. And so ran back. I managed to eventually remember that I had Feign Death, and thus avoided a few deaths. We didn't manage to make it to the third pagoda where we could finish gathering the waters and activate a spiriteye medallion. But we did roll in the experience, thanks to the double exp weekend on Vanguard. (I also got Toldain through a major diplomatic arc.)

So this Monday, with Lobilya not logging on, we went at the gardens again, with Laddie. First we ran him through the quests at the Gulgrethor encampment Khenvor. This orc clan is the sworn enemy of the Martok, to whom Gruktich (and all PC orcs and goblins, I believe) belongs. But we infiltrated them, and put on workers jerseys, and discovered a horrible secret about certain undead known as Loamites.

We also discovered that mentoring is implemented in Vanguard! So I switched to Toldain, and mentored Laddie, who was level 14 to start the evening. Mentoring worked out pretty well. The mechanic seems to be that those abilities that you gained after the mentored level are disabled, and those that are upgrades of a higher level are rolled back to the upgrade you would have had at that level. However, I had no visual cue for which abilities are cancelled, so that led to some awkwardness.

Even so, completing the quests at Khenvor was easy with this group. We had healing, tanking (from the pet) and crowd control. So we marched on down to Gulkar's Encampment and got Laddie (and Toldain) up to speed with the quests for the Gardens of Xia'Liu.

It was much easier with three of us than two. The addition of both healing and crowd control made most of the gardens run pretty smoothly. That is, it was smooth until we ran into the nasty snake people that guard the way to the third pagoda. (Their name eludes me, I think I've blocked it out of my mind.) These guys can oneshot any of us. Except the necromancer's pet, that is.

Fortunately Laddie can raise dead, even if only out of combat. This saved us an immense amount of trouble. He even has rez tokens that he can hand out that allows others to raise him. After a fair time experimenting, we found that if we stayed at maximum spell range from the snake people, they couldn't hit us with that nasty mojo. (I was killed once by two ranged autoattack hits.) They were nasty, but we made it by them.

And there we found the usual clay guardians and Yukionna guarding the third and final pagoda we sought. Except they all had an extra dot.

In Vanguard, mobs have a level (equivalent to character level) and a number of dots, which rates their difficulty. We'd been tackling three dot mobs for most of the Gardens, these had four. So they were going to have a lot more hit points, and probably hit harder (though not, it seems, harder than those horrible naga-type snake thingies.) Things were a little hairy on the first pull, as we got two, and the one I mezzed leashed for some reason. But we pulled it together, cleared them out, and gathered the water from the pool. I discovered that my Spiriteye Amulet worked in this location, but for some reason it didn't complete the quest it was associated with. This might have been due to Gruktich starting a combat as my amulet was going, but subsequent attempts failed with me.

Fortunately, since I was higher level than the other two, I didn't mind not completing that quest all that much. The point was to catch the others up, anyway.

I really enjoyed this run. (I really enjoyed duoing the Gardens with Gruktich and Xiaowang, too) All the classic level designer tricks were in play - there were nooks and crannies with hidden mobs and wanderers. All the skills that the three of us first learned in Everquest were still in play, and in addition, we had voice chat, which is something we never had when we played Everquest. Managing aggro and adds, developing tactics that fit your group, and just generally having to be on makes this for me.

And the use of Asian design motifs and plots set against orcs and goblins is fun, too. But there are no weevils in the Garden of Xia'Liu. None. Not a single one, not even a lesser weevil.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Where Rage and Zen Coexist

Rita, aka Karaya, in a comment on my last post:

I definitely agree with your assessment that I work in that rage-to-master realm. Though I think there are two sides to that coin, and you and I each represent a side. This is really just an amusing brain-tangent; obviously the world isn't so categorical as this mental construct:

When I used to play Soul Calibur games all night with my friends, two of us were clearly the best players: Foley and me. For those who don't know, Soul Calibur is a console fighting game series, like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat (Though far superior to either, imo). I was unequivocally regarded as the best player in the group - the one to beat. But once I got into my groove, Foley still had a chance of beating me in any given fight. He was the only one. And everyone else pretty much dreaded having to play either one of us.

There's a huge psychological component to SC when you know your opponent as well as my friends know each other. You really get insight into the way that person thinks in a high-pressure, fast-paced contest over the course of milliseconds. You develop an instinct for anticipating her/his next move. Not to mention, we played so much of that game that our respective characters became extensions of our own limbs, really. So it was all about the mental game.

Now, as the night went on and we played battle after battle against each other, we'd get warmed up and start thinking and reacting faster. And faster still, to keep up with each other.

At our peaks - in our grooves, if you will - we each had a distinct method of mental processing.

Foley's method we called "Synapses", following a battle during which he commented that his "synapses [had] to fire faster to keep up!" His processing during our battles would take place consciously. He had to focus on my movements and keep his knowledge of my idiosyncrasies in mind, and make constant active decisions to counter my actions.

My method we called "Zen". Once I got in my groove, my processing mostly seemed to take place subconsciously. In fact, at times I had to be careful not to actually focus on anything, as I'd risk "thinking too much". I would tend to stare *through* the screen and watch both our characters in my peripheral vision. I would act and react instinctively.

Somehow I see a bit of a parallel when I compare you and me in the role of MMO enchanter. And I think it's most visible in DDO, illustrated by our choices of Wizard and Sorcerer, respectively.

You tend to study the situation at hand and try to consciously choose your tools and strategies to match it. When you fail, your reaction tends to be "I brought the wrong tools" or "I had the wrong plan", and you adjust accordingly.

I go into a situation with the same set of tools every time and no real plan. Because my tools (spells) are always the same, they're practically extensions of my body. I don't do much planning 'cause I hold myself to the standard that my skill should be sharp enough to handle any situation on the fly. When I fail, my reaction is "This is a worthy foe" or "My skill is lacking and must be honed further".

So in our approach to the spider cave, I see you focusing on the spawn cycles, the wandering patterns, the placement of mobs in that particular situation. Then you consider your tools and draw up an over-arching strategy (subject to adjustment, of course).

I, on the other hand, focus on my reaction time, my awareness, my instinctive understanding of myself and the fundamental mechanics of the game. In my mind, if those items are sharp enough, I will be victorious.

Now regardless of where each of us *focuses*, obviously there is overlap in our experiences. And both of us failed many times and then eventually succeeded. It's just interesting to consider the contrast of styles between the two high elf enchanters of Glory ;)

The difference she describes is real. I've played Soulcalibur a bit. Mostly I played Xiang Wa. I would never try to beat anyone with speed and reaction time, but rather with "timing" or what is called "meiei" in many martial arts. I would look for "gaps" or opportunities and hit them.

This involves some cognition. But it needs to go down into the "fast path" of the brain to execute. So I wouldn't make too much of the differences, we're more the same than different.

The graphic at the top is the Zen Mistress' keyboard layout for DDO, which she shared with me a little while ago, as described for her cleric. It is wildly remapped from the "out of the box" layout. I adapted this for my DDO characters, and it's starting to work, though it's a strange position to have my hands in relative to the keyboard.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Came Here To Be Podkilled: Vanguard Spider Cave Edition

I learned a new phrase recently, "rage to master". I have a feeling that at least some of you have a gut-level understanding of what that is, but I'm going to tell you anyway, and relate it to my current gaming, so there! (He says with a toss of his fabulous red hair!)

I've been playing Vanguard again. Karaya suggested it, she said she had run out of things to explore in DDO, so while keeping our regular group time, she was going to go explore the vast world, and challenging gameplay of Vanguard - properly this time.

As it turned out, I had played Vanguard for a while, and was entranced by some parts of the game - the diplomacy system, for example, and the crafting system. The combat gameplay featured classes that by and large followed the Everquest archetypes, with a couple of added twists. And I absolutely hated the models they used for high elves. My face, in Vanguard was positively skeletal.

They replaced those models with something a little more healthy looking, fortunately. So I re-upped and started poking around. Some of the best gear is dropped by quests offered by a group known as the URT - United Races of Thestra. (Thestra being my home continent.) I'm starting to get an impression of URT as a bunch of incompetent nincompoops who keep asking me to do horrific things to cover for their mistakes, but never mind.

One quest in particular, given out at Shoreline Ruins, has us investigating the disappearance of a roughly 10 year old girl while her family was at the medieval equivalent of a beach home. The clues finally lead us to a cave facing the northern ocean. The girl is in a cocoon at the back of the cave. The cave is infested with spiders.

These spiders see through invisibility. So no dice there. I had to fight my way through it. Now, I am a psionicist, which is Vanguards version of an enchanter. So I die very quickly when things go wrong.

I spent probably 10-12 hours last Saturday trying to finish this quest. It would go like this: I approach the cave, buffed. I pull something and start my root-and-rot sequence. Something would wander by and add and I would die. Or, maybe I'd make it a ways into the cave first. And something would respawn on me and I'd die. Or mobs that were around a corner would come when I pulled and I'd die. At first I wasn't using a charmed pet, but after a while I did. Which added the charming new failure mode of "Charm starts to break just as you pulled". Along with the failure mode of "Charm starts to break immediately on recharm and since it was in the middle of a fight, you die."

Every possible wrinkle or complication that can make this difficult was used. The level designer of this cave used every trick that he or she could muster. Hidden mobs, wanderers, fast respawn, and a few mobs that are tougher than the rest and respawn randomly. Psionicists have a snare, and so can kite, but it's not really possible in a restricted space, such as that cave. By the time you've killed your way to the back, the mobs in the front have respawned.

My youngest child, taking a break from playing Skyrim, wandered past and watched me playing for a bit. "Why do you play this game?" she exclaimed, somewhat bemused by the uncharacteristically foul language gracing my lips. It was hard to explain.

All I could manage was a vehement, "I can do this!"

There were lots of little internal metrics that told me that I was getting better at it, and that's something I enjoy. For example, the number of kills I could do between deaths was getting bigger. I revised my damage sequence and the mobs were dropping faster. Sometimes now, I could throw up my fast root when things had gone bad and run away and survive. My experience bar was moving forward even though it was three steps forward, and two steps back when I died.

And I was learning every spawn point, every hidden mob and every aggro range in that cave. I knew what to do in each situation.

At about midnight, I reached the back of the cave, freed the girl and started to fight my way out. This has an extra dangerous aspect to it. Respawn is roughly timed to take place after death. Since I'd killed the mobs from the front of the cave to the back, they would respawn in that order. Which means that when I first hit the edge of the respawned mobs on the way out, I would be standing in the spot where the next respawn would take place - at any time now.

My first attempt failed. So did my second. Part way out, lose it, lose the girl. I had to go all the way back to the back of the cave to get out. My second attempt failed as well. As it turns out, Psionicists have an evac ability. So I started to wonder, "Will the girl come with me when I evac?" If it didn't work, she'd be stuck in the cave and I'd have to fight my way in again.

I decided to chance it. It worked. I took her back to the quest-giver, logged out and collapsed into my bed, happy as a clam. (Ok, I chatted with Phritz a bit first, getting him started on the diplomacy system, for which the tutorial is more than a bit lacking.)

I was describing my Saturday to a friend and she said, "Rage to Master". I blinked. She said that the phrase was coined by someone who studies gifted children. Apparently that someone is Ellen Winner

I found a quote from the book on this wikipedia page (it seems a bit dodgy, but the quote seems good enough).

Gifted children have three telltale characteristics, Winner says. First, they begin to master an area of knowledge, or domain, such as math, drawing or chess, at an extremely early age, before starting school. Second, they need little help from adults in that domain, solving problems in often-novel ways, with each discovery fueling the next step. And third, they have what she describes as a rage to master their domain, working at it intensively and obsessively, often isolating themselves from others in order to pursue it. These children push themselves, achieve "flow states" in their work, and beg their parents for the books, musical instruments or art supplies they need to feed their passion. They need stimulating environments to develop their talents, Winner says of these children, but the demand comes from them, not the parents."

Winner may be describing the extreme cases, but I've seen this phenomenon play out a lot in significantly less rarified air. I often feel cheated if I am with a group that has a known, set strategy for a dungeon or an instance and just want to grind through it quickly.

All the deaths I had meant little to me. They were data points, not judgements. My blood was up, and so there were exclamations and expletives, but the deaths were quickly forgotten. Getting to a flow state includes a lot of failure. And that flow state is like a drug, really.

I don't really think this fits into the Bartle personality type of Achiever, by the way. I am not highly motivated by extrinsic rewards such as in-game "achievements". Leveling is good, but not the point. Standing in one place grinding away for hours with basically no variation and no risk isn't terribly interesting. I'm not a bot, don't make me play like one.

I'm pretty sure Karaya is like this, too. That's probably how she got good enough at videogames that her parents say, "She made a deal with the devil" There was no mention of any crossroads, though. I mentioned the spider cave to her and she said, "stupid spiders".

Phritz also has his moments. When we take the Bartle test, we all come out as some degree of Explorer/Socializer. And right now, we're exploring Vanguard. Normal people think we're kind of crazy, but if you're someone who reads this and thinks, "Yeah, right on!" drop me a line in-game.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

No Rez Options for You!

SOE announced today that Everquest II will go "Free to Play. Your Way". I don't think they are talking about me. I like the DDO FTP model much better than what SOE is offering. All servers will convert to a FTP model wherein aspects of gameplay are restricted except for those accounts paying the monthly fee.

Because of the strenuous objections of the current playerbase to anything that smells of "pay to win", SOE is not going to offer the following items in the RMT store which had been in the FTP-dedicated servers:

  • Power potion

  • Health potion

  • Self-rez scroll

  • Wand of Obliteration

  • Rune of Devastation

  • Mastercrafted Equipment (all)

  • Tradeskill Components

Some of the items on this list are standards in DDO. Rez tokens, power and health potions, for example. Mastercrafted equipment seems kind of a problem for those hoping to make ingame currency from selling these items. So I can see dropping that. Tradeskill components? As in raw materials? That's kind of crazy that they sold that, but sure, spend your money if you don't want to go gathering.

I just don't care about this stuff the way I used to. But lots of the EQ2 players seemed to still. At a guess, they are operating out of a sense of competition (in a PVE game). It's not like EVE where every aspect of it is PVP. If someone else has success by spending more money, so what? How does that impact you? Prestige I'd guess. But we've had people cheating - remember the ghosting scandal? - in EQ2 for a long time for nothing but the prestige of being the first or the "uber" guild on the server.

The thing that really kills the FTP plan for me is the restrictions on Silver accounts. See below:

[I'm stealing bandwitdth from The Ancient Gaming Noob for that chart. Wilhelm, let me know if my meager traffic is a problem and I'll self-host. I'm mostly feeling lazy.]

With a Silver (never mind Free) account, I can pay extra if the package doesn't include the race or class I want. (But the fabulous red hair comes for free!). However: I can't have Master-level abilities. I can't get Legendary and Fabled drops. I can't have more ingame coin than 20 gold (!) per character level. I can't have more than 40 quests in my journal. My access to the broker would be "Restricted". And I can't send in-game mail.

In short, Toldain would very hamstrung as a Silver toon. Most of his gear and abilities would downgrade. Most of his fabulous wealth (which came from manufacturing and playing the jewelry/spells market) would be gone, or maybe just inaccessible.

So, for him, my choice would be: go back to the old subscription, at what appears to be a slightly higher price, or go home.

Ok, I kind of get that they are worried about spam from gold-sellers. But wow. You can't send mail on a Silver account? Can't you just charge a few coppers for an ingame mail?


Back to that competition thing. Today the news also broke that Zynga executed a "take-back" of stock options from some of its early employees. There's this story, which says that the executives were motivated to avoid a "Google Chef" moment. [If you didn't know, Charlie Ayers, the first chef Google hired, left the company after its IPO with $20 million. I say, good for you, Charlie!]

But this story says that the motivation was to make Zynga a "meritocracy". [Hat tip to Psychochild for pointing it out.] I'm doubtful. The story isn't sourced, but it reads like it came straight from the keyboard of Zynga's president, Marc Pincus. According to it, Pincus was deciding to demote people rather than fire them. What a great guy! Let's just say that he has a track record of being psychologically manipulative, given how their games work.

In Silicon Valley, early employees get bigger stock grants. That's just how it works, and when a company IPO's some people will get more money than other folks think they "deserve". And that bothers some people. Let's set aside whether Marc Pincus is one of those people who is bothered.

It has been my impression that game companies have sort of a license to abuse their workers, based on the fact that the workers often think that working as a gamedev is the greatest job in the world, and something they would do for free. But the particulars of this case, only the employees at Zynga know.

I play DDO now (and I've started back with Vanguard, but that's another post). The idea that someone is buying RMT hirelings and rez potions and buffs doesn't bother me in the slightest. It doesn't take away from my accomplishments at all. That's what's at the core of the "Free to Play. Your Way". Current players don't want to see their accomplishments cheapened. But that's inevitable, it happens even without rez potions, as people level up.

I once was on their side, but I don't see the point any more, not in a PVE game. Your game is not my game. Live and let live.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

I Didn't Start the Fire, But She Stood In It, Asking For Healing

Our Monday night group started Ruins of Threnal this week. The group we had rocked the first half hard. In attendance were Marty (Officially Martinier dePasolai) Fighter 5/Rogue 5 - Plate tank and backup sneaker. Lobilya, Rogue 8 (or 9, I forget). Karayasama, sorceress 12(?) and dance queen, and Worstof, Ranger 9ish, he with heavy repeating crossbow.

Anyway, the dps laid down was amazing to me. I had run this before with Toldain, Jonnson (a cleric 9), and Vironet (Ranger 9). Our only real dps was Vironet, except when Tolly steps in with a lightning bolt or something. The difference was startling. Karayasama did not bother charming anything, stuff died too quickly. She did however, infect many an outsider with disco fever.

Flesh reavers, by the way, look ridiculous when they dance. Gargoyles, on the other hand, are pretty decent dancers, the wings really add that extra something. I really want to see a beholder dancing now, though that would mean someone would have to get within melee range of one, which could be a problem. The best way we've found to kill beholders is to hide behind a rock while Vironet does the "pop up and shoot" thing.

But there are no beholders in the first half of Threnal. Lots of stuff that died really fast and hard. I'm not really sure why that is, but everything was working that night. I think our focus and coordination was better, and we were more patient. Lobilya would sneak in the vanguard, about 10 yards ahead of me (as Marty). She's spot something, call it out, and we'd stop and let them come to us.

The first one in would typically try to rush past me at the "weak underbelly". I'm guessing it didn't like all those bolts that Worstof was throwing at it. (I think he probably used up 2000 bolts on the evening). I would trip it, and as often as not, it would fall on its face, at which point I (and sometimes Lobilya) would hack it to little bits. Sometimes it would start dancing. Either way, it was clumsy. Once in a while, it would fall down, and then immediately spring up dancing. Karayasama is apparently the equivalent of Gene Kelly singing "Gotta dance!"

We had two cleric hirelings along. Mine was Marissa, I think her name is. After fighting our way through some rough caves, there is a section that looks more like a dwelling place, with smooth walls and grates on the floor at intersections. Grates that shoot fire out of them every so often.

Now, most people have enough sense to stop doing something that hurts. Not Marissa. She would stand on the grate in the fire, taking damage, and she would say, "I'm going to need healing soon."


Never mind that "you are the healer!" Get out of the fire, for Marr's sake!

The issues with hirelings haven't gone away, and honestly, this particular problem wasn't recently introduced, it's always been there. AI is hard. Once I attended a talk where Ed Feigenbaum, then the chairman of the Stanford Computer Science Department claimed that in five years, there would be no more need for programmers because AI would take care of anything.

That was in roughly 1982. AI is hard, harder than you think. Even if you think it's hard.

I wish Psychochild all the luck in the world. We need better AIs in gaming. I would like hirelings with enough sense to get out of the fire that is killing them, and to heal themselves rather than asking for healing. It might well be that user-created AI's are the way to go, and that's what Storybricks is meant to support.

I've played one Final Fantasy game, I think it was 11 or maybe 12. Anyway, you could program AI's for your group of characters. There was a prioritized list of "if-then" rules. All of the form "If is true then perform on

As you progressed in the game, you got the ability to get more interesting and useful conditions and targets. Actions were typically actions that you could do by hand, switching to that character and doing it by hand.

I like this. I haven't seen much followup, but I haven't played subsequent FF games (It was a bit too grindy for me). It suits the programmer that I am quite well. But most people aren't programmers, so I don't know if there's much popular acceptance.

However, imagine if I could make a similar AI for my DDO healer hireling and share it with others, even sell it for in-game currency? It relieves the gamedevs of trying to do it, and gives me a source of ingame income. I'm all over that.

Just be sure to give me a "dance" action I can put into the AI.

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In Which I Am Schooled

[Warning: I'm not going to talk about gaming at all in this post. If you aren't interested in art and culture in general, drive on. I'll have a gaming post up soon.]

Specifically by Rita / Karaya / Jaqueline Heat. She said, in response to my offhand jibe at Death Metal...

Easy there, slugger. Let's not turn into the very people we're trying to admonish. Some of the best, most supportive people I know happen to be death metal heads. I myself keep a few death metal favorites on my iPod. That Cannibal Crap guy speaks only for himself.

Then, in a later comment, she mentioned this song - We Will Rise, by Arch Enemy

The sum total of my experience with Death Metal consists of two or three songs on Rock Band III and this. The songs on Rock Band III gave me the following impression: Fantastic chops, not much musicality. A deliberate pose of ugliness and transgression. Deliberate distortion of vocal sound to the point where it doesn't really sound human. I presume it is meant to be heard as demonic, but maybe that's a holdover from the days of Black Sabbath?

The above track is better. The chops seem to serve a musical idea, which is linked to an idea in the lyrics. Transgression is definitely a tool in Arch Enemy's arsenal, and an important one.

I am the enemy
I am the antidote
Watch me closely
I will stand up now

So I see the attraction of this art that someone who is a member of a marginalized group might feel.

So, when I said, of Cannibal Corpse, "What do you expect from a Death Metal head?" I was thinking of the transgressive pose that seems a defining feature of Death Metal. But here's the thing: The "transgression" in his rant is of the most superficial and banal sort. The guy's handle is "Cannibal Corpse" for pete's sake. If I saw someone in an MMO named "Cannibal Corpse", I would think, "Wow, that guy has no imagination at all, and is desperate to impress everyone with how badass he is."

And the sentiments expressed in the video - that the Alliance is weak and foolsh - is likewise squarely in the mainstream, and uses a mainstream mode of expression - taken to the extreme. It was so far taken to the extreme, I read it as satire.

I don't know that I'll have any DM on my iPod going forward, but I'd like to revise my comment:

Instead of "What do you expect from a Death Metal head?" I emend that comment to "What do you expect from someone who calls himself 'Cannibal Corpse'?"

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

He Stood Up, and We Count Him

A message from Blizzard president Mike Morhaime:

Dear members of the Blizzard community,

I have read your feedback and comments about this year's BlizzCon, and I have also read the feedback to the apology from Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain. I'd like to respond to some of your feedback here.

As president of Blizzard, I take full responsibility for everything that occurs at BlizzCon.

It was shortsighted and insensitive to use the video at all, even in censored form. The language used in the original version, including the slurs and use of sexual orientation as an insult, is not acceptable, period. We realize now that having even an edited version at the show was counter to the standards we try to maintain in our forums and in our games. Doing so was an error in judgment, and we regret it.

The bottom line is we deeply apologize for our mistakes and for hurting or offending anyone. We want you to have fun at our events, and we want everyone to feel welcome. We're proud to be part of a huge and diverse community, and I am proud that so many aspects of the community are represented within Blizzard itself.

As a leader of Blizzard, and a member of the band, I truly hope you will accept my humblest apology.

- Mike Morhaime President, Blizzard Entertainment

Well said, sir.

Via with a tipoff from Wilhelm (presumably of TAGN) in comments of my previous post.

UPDATE: Fixed link to The Ancient Gaming Noob (Linking again for karma.)