Monday, July 26, 2021

A Past That Never Was

Judge Drayton: See, I tried to make it... ALL... right. I tried to right ALL wrongs; reverse ALL of the injustices. I... I... I guess I was wrong, it's impossible.
Judge Harry T. Stone: Even a fool knows we can't reach out and touch the stars but that does not stop the wise man from trying.
Judge Drayton: I like that... Who said that?
Judge Harry T. Stone: You did. It was in a speech to the bar association.

--From Night Court, Season 3, Episode 13

I have started this post a couple of times. Each time I get partway through, and end up deleting it.

Words pretty much fail me when I consider the allegations brought against Activision-Blizzard.

Every time I look at the allegations, the angrier I get.

Every time I see the crap foisted on people such as Christie Golden, who were never part of any of this, the angrier I get.

And every time I read some comment about "it's no big deal" or "boys will be boys" or "it's all in the past", the angrier I get.

And in a weird state of suspended disbelief, all people are talking about in guild is the volume of gold you can make in the Fire Festival event in TBC Classic.*

I feel like I'm in some bizarro world bubble, where people are willfully ignoring the obvious, pretending it doesn't exist, because they don't want to rock the boat. Or let justice take its course. Or something. 


And here I am, playing WoW Classic too, because I know that if I unsubscribed it would be a useless gesture. I am just one person among millions, and I've already paid for my WoW time, so there won't be any reason other than symbolic to stop playing. I am not a tastemaker, a WoW celebrity, or even well known on the server I play on, so it would only be just for my purposes only if I unsubscribed.

And I can't even bring myself to unsubscribe just for myself, because other people are depending on me. 

But I feel like I have to be doing something. I mean, how can I look at my kids and think that I am setting a good example when I ought to be doing more than what I always have been doing?


These are the sort of questions that have been weighing on my mind lately. 


Ever since the news broke about the lawsuit, I have logged in and done what I usually have been doing these days: farm a bit, maybe do a few other things, and help out some of our last levelers get to where they need to be. My questing buddy has been doing other things, such as running heroics or targeting quests for specific gear she needs, so we haven't done any real questing in Shadowmoon Valley or Netherstorm. (I continue to honor my commitment there.) If someone asks for help on a quest in General, I go to help out. And there's the Monday raid night I'm Loot Master on, and we've now added a Friday Kara run which will go on until we get Gruul/Mags on farm so we can throw Kara back into Monday.

So... I don't do much. 

It gives me time to think about how the community should be better than what we are. In game are a pale reflection of our real society, molded and shaped by our shared experiences and the game rules. There will always be asshats and dickheads, but I guess the best thing to say is to not let them win. Not let them dictate how things should be done. Call them out when you encounter it. And to be proactive in reaching out to people beyond our limited friend groups, to let them know they aren't alone.

Maybe that's what I can do to respond to my sense of rage at how badly Activision Blizzard has failed as a corporate culture: to do the things they would not and did not do to their employees. But.... it just feels so inadequate a response to do the things I already have been doing.

I alone can't change things, but enough people acting together can. And setting a good example is paramount, because that is the one thing you have complete control over. You can pontificate all you want, but if you don't walk the walk, what's the point?

There are plenty of times I wish I had all the answers, and there are plenty more when I did know and wished I didn't. I'm not exactly sure which scenario this is.

*Card completed two intro quests and got a bar's worth of XP at L60. I could theoretically do this and level Card to at least L61 this way. Throw in some occasional farming into the mix, and I could probably get her to L63 or L64 without having to set foot in Outland at all.


  1. I stopped playing Classic after the Hong Kong protest controversy. It was pretty hard to do, and I carried on reading this blog often in slight envy at what I was 'missing out' on. But I have no regrets. And I'm also angry when I read these allegations.

    I wish Blizzard/Activision were a better company, and I could enjoy playing their games the way I used to. But they aren't. And all I can do is to choose not to give them my money.

    1. And I applaud you for continuing to not give them your money.

      And to be fair, I don't think you're missing much in TBC Classic. With rumors of a Phase 2 in mid-August, I think the Classic team is trying to burn through content far too quickly, and it will result in more people dropping from the game as it feels like the hamster wheel is speeding up far too fast. After all, a mid-August drop date means that there will be tons of guilds that won't be ready for SSC, much less Tempest Keep, and all this accelerated schedule suits are the top guilds, the ones who were clearing Kara and Gruul/Mag in the first week.

    2. It's been interesting to see this blog evolve, from levelling up in Classic pretty slowly, and enjoying the ride, starting a few raids, to now where posts are about how frustrating it was to level quickly from 0-70, missing the opening of the Dark Portal, and not enjoying the raids/instances much at all. When I quit in Classic, I was levelling in what felt like a pretty similar manner, trying to play casually and enjoying the content rather than rushing to get to 60 and worrying about the patch release dates. However, I suspect if I had stayed I would have got sucked in as well, to the point where the line between fun and obligation would no longer be clear. So even though I stopped playing due to external events, it's probably also for the best that I didn't go back to playing it how I did in 2007.
      We all purchase things that are morally questionable, it's pretty impossible not to, and we each have to pick where our own individual lines are. I've never posted a comment on this blog before, so also to say thanks to you for writing it and for the honesty you show in the posts, I have enjoyed reading it. I'm not sure I'm going to stick around now, no reflection on your posts - just the nostalgia factor isn't there anymore for me after these allegations.

    3. I think that it is now pretty plain that it was a mistake for me to accept the raid lead position. Sure, I'd potentially have been left out of a raid spot, but I would have been able to level at my own pace and give a big middle finger to the meta. On the flip side, if I weren't in the raid lead position, I'd not be able to know that some people were in trouble and needed someone to talk to/level with.

      I guess I'm willing to put up with my personal dissatisfaction if it means I can help others. If there's a sudden rush to get attuned to The Eye (SSC is apparently pretty easy, relatively speaking), I may have to re-evaluate that.

  2. "And in a weird state of suspended disbelief, all people are talking about in guild is the volume of gold you can make in the Fire Festival event in TBC Classic."

    I'd be willing to bet that many of those people quite literally haven't even heard that there is a controversy going on and the ones that do have no more than the vaguest idea what it is.

    In my experience, going back to when I was in active guilds and knew a lot of people in games, nearly all of them never looked at or read anything about the game, ever, other than guides or waklkthroughs etc. They frequently had no idea updates were scheduled, or what was in an update when it arrived. Some didn't even know expansions were coming until the week they arrived.

    I know people are more savvy now but in games I play, for example GW2, it's not in the least unusual to hear discussions break out expressing surprise over information that here in the blogosphere we've been discussing for weeks, if not months. An awful lot of people just play the game and that's that.

    You could try raising the topic in guild chat and see how people react. That would tell you something. Might not be anything you want to hear, though. I'm not sure whether it would be worse if people knew already and didn't care or didn't know and then didn't care when they found out.

    1. I think you're right about the drawback to bringing it up; I'm not sure I'm prepared to watch my opinion of some people sink low(er); I already dealt with that IRL with the pandemic, where relatives I previously respected basically blew off things such as masking up and social distancing because they were sure they had it already so why worry?