Friday, December 29, 2023

A Collection of Guild Names, Season of Discovery Edition

Okay, so they're not all from Season of Discovery, but the majority of them are, hence the title.

And yes, when you want to hang around a major city and just people watch, this is what you find.

Not sure what they mean by "worst", but
I'll take them at their word.

I think I found the guild my questing
buddy would join!

Who is this 'Debbie'? Is she a downer?

I want to know if there's a guild named
"Ready Only After Coffee".

They were apparently asleep at the wheel
during the Battle for Azeroth expansion.

I'm pretty sure you're standing right there.

Found the John Le'Carre fans.

Well, this is correct at first, but he
kind of went off the rails.

I have this sudden urge to go collect pottery.

Given my employment history,
I could join this one.

If people weren't getting their dopamine hits
they wouldn't be playing.

Found the guild that Josh Strife Hayes
would be a member of.

I honestly don't know how to respond
to this one.

I have this sudden urge to say "Peace..."

I figured they used the wrong word for
'brakes', but you never know...

This is how I used to read the street
signs that were meant to say
"SLOW... Children at Play".

Next on Mythbusters: Testing the Myth of
the pre-nerfed C'Thun! Is the Old God unbeatable?

"But my name's not..."

It's legal in Ohio, too!

Okay, I see the ceiling. Now what?

Not sure if the "N" refers to Night Elves...

I thought this might be a Planet of the Apes
reference, but there's apparently a podcast
with this name. Go figure.

Yes, this is the guild I referenced a couple of posts ago.
And yes, it's fairly active.

I keep thinking Dragonlance when I see this
guild name, but for all I know it could be
a vague reference to England's War of the Roses.

I'd make a Bernie Sanders joke here, but he
apparently has come down with Covid.

"Rise again, little fighter
And let the world know the reason why..."

Knowing what I know now about how the Murloc
sound is made, I just kind of shudder when
I see this guild name....

Gary's pretty popular, from what I can tell.

Well, I'm glad you're proud of that.

I'm sure the UC was "Undercity", but
I like to think they meant University of Cincinnati.

Hey, thanks. You're not so bad yourself.

If that's a janitors' guild, I ought to join since
I was a janitor in high school.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Expectation That Things Will Be Different

I don't typically care that much about award shows.

There was a time when I did, back when I used to think of myself as a film connoisseur of sorts.

(Yes, I was a snobby asshole at times.)

It was one of those things where I felt that film had the capacity to provide art on a high level --okay, it does, actually-- and that I used to watch movies for cinematography as much as the plot or the acting.*

I also kept a close eye on the SF&F awards out of WorldCon and the SFWA Con, not to mention the World Fantasy Con, because I thought that raising the bar of what SF&F could be was the way to get those genres more accepted by society at large.

So, what changed? Why did I stop caring about awards? And why bring this up at all, anyway?


It took my employers for me to stop caring about awards.

Or rather, what my employers did with their own awards.

Back when I worked in a small materials lab, the owner of the place during the quarterly meeting would "distribute" some awards. Since he was the arbiter of the whole thing, these so-called awards (which meant nothing) were all based on his whims. However, once I moved onto larger corporations, I thought that the awards given out on an annual basis meant a lot more, because... Well, I'm not sure why I thought that, but I felt it was going to be less personality driven and more impartial.

That first year I attended the annual all hands meeting for the software company I joined in the mid-90s I had no real opinions on, because I was still new. The next year when I attended, however, I had opinions on who had worked their asses off and who "deserved" awards. Part of the joy of working on the QA side of things was that I was exposed to most of the development teams, so I knew who was loafing it when they made code changes and who was putting in heroic levels of effort. Surely, I thought, that the people who were given awards were those that truly earned them.

Boy, was I wrong.

I discovered during that annual meeting I rarely agreed with the award recipients. In fact, about 2/3 of them came from a project that frequently broke the environment and was in such sad shape when we shipped our software that a separate Tiger Team was created to fix their buggy application.** When it worked it was great, but the critical issue was the "when it worked" part.  But because it was a highly visible project, the lion's share of awards went to people who worked on that project.

As a result, over that next calendar year several people who I thought were more deserving of those awards left the company for greener pastures.

This cycle continued over the next few years, culminating in my team winning an award in my final year with the company, and both myself and my closest co-worker left within six months for other jobs.

I then made a quantum leap in company size to the job that directly lead to what I do today, but I discovered that pettiness and other associated bullshit for company created awards just got larger as well.

That provided me the realization that awards are like certifications: they're there to make people feel good, but have no bearing upon whether you can actually do the job or not.*** I mean, does anybody remember the controversy surrounding that the first Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance when it was given to Jethro Tull for Crest of a Knave?****

From the Heavy Metal masters themselves...


That's not to say that people won't try to use awards and award shows for their own political ends.

There was the incident at the Academy Awards back in 1973 where Sacheen Littlefeather went on stage to explain why Marlon Brando was rejecting his award. 

And, of course, if you're familiar with SF&F, there was the Sad Puppies right wing campaign to take over the Hugo Awards from roughly 2013 through 2016. Given that the Hugo awards are popularly voted on by those with memberships to Worldcon (at the time it was something like $50) a voting bloc could buy a bunch of memberships and attempt to take over the awards in the same fashion that people in the past have voted on for All-Star teams for various sports. 

Now we have the latest controversies surrounding The Game Awards.

From the people complaining about how the award recipients had almost no time to thank their staff and dev teams to the people who wanted the award show to make a stand about the Israeli Palestine war, it seems that The Game Awards has truly arrived as an awards show.*****

It has also proved that The Game Awards' relevance as awards is pretty much corporate in nature. 

When your awards show is more concerned about providing advertisements for upcoming video games rather than celebrating the games from the past year, it shows your awards show only cares about corporate sponsorship. That is reinforced by the desire to not rock the boat politically; you could make the argument that making any political statement at all is a losing proposition as people of all stripes play video games, and wading into political waters is likely to piss off a certain group of consumers. Of course, making no political statement at all is also making a political statement, so good luck with that.

In the end, The Game Awards is corporate driven and shouldn't impact your enjoyment of what games you like, because awards and award shows aren't made for you. Even popularity contests such as the Hugos or the American Music Awards (or the MAMAs, which is the K-Pop equivalent) can't tell you what you like, because you're you. 

And you shouldn't expect your award shows to align with what you believe or advocate for, because the goal of awards and award shows are different than yours. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go play Crest of a Knave and ...And Justice For All, since I'm in the mood to hear both today. And yes, I do have both albums, thankyouverymuch.

*That was how I was introduced to Martin Scorsese, via film study class in high school. We had an assignment to break down the cinematography of a film --any film, our choice-- and I happened to catch After Hours on cable. I had no idea who the film's director was because I missed the first few minutes of the film, and the plot was so surreal that it was like a Terry Gilliam fever dream, but I absolutely loved the cinematography. I had to confess I didn't catch the director's name in my paper, but the teacher loved it anyway.

**It took them the better part of a year to stabilize things to where it was usable by our clients without crashing.

***True story: a person who literally just passed their UNIX Sysadmin certification exam came to me later in the day and asked me the following question about accessing the root user:

Him: When we su to root, what do we use?
Me: ::puzzled:: We use 'su -'.
Him: No, I mean that when other people switch to root, they use 'su -'. When we switch to root, we use....
Me: We use 'su -' too. The OS security software knows what access you have based on your group membership.
Him: ::wanders away and goes to another cubicle, where I could hear him asking the same question of someone else::
Me: ...

Before you ask, despite me being on the team for six months longer than he was, I hadn't gotten a chance to take the certification exam. And to this day, I never have.

****Even Ian Anderson used to make fun of that award, as reported to me by a college friend who went to see them in concert when Tull was touring in support of their Rock Island album.

*****That was sarcasm for those who might have missed that.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Meme Monday: RPG/MMO Christmas Memes

Because Christmas comes but once a year, and this year it falls on Meme Monday...

Yeppers. From Familyminded.

Uh, oops.
From Pinterest.

Oh, Silver would be fine. or Bronze.
From dndmemes on Reddit.

Wait, you only found this out NOW???
From Pinterest (again).

Sunday, December 24, 2023

A Christmas Miracle...

...brought to you by a glitch in the WoW Classic Era servers.

Cardwyn: "How's the weather up there?"


Friday, December 22, 2023

Slumming in Season of Discovery

I've poked around on the Season of Discovery WoW Classic Era servers off and on for the better part of a month, but I'm still somewhere around L13 at the moment. Part of that is because I'm just not giving it much priority, as I spend most of my WoW time on "regular" Classic Era servers, but it's also that I'm just kind of slowly leveling while everybody else is swarming all over Elwynn Forest and Westfall. 

I suppose I ought to work on obtaining more runes, but I'm just not prioritizing it very much. 

Part of the reason why I'm not prioritizing runes and whatnot is, well, I'm poor.*

And those items you can buy from vendors that allow you to read a scroll cost silver. When you don't have any silver at all, that can hurt.

I mean, I have to prioritize my training --or rather, the minimal training needed-- and then just build up as much coinage as I can. Once I can get to the point of making or gathering items to sell, then I can actually make some headway, but I'm not there yet.

The other big reason why I've not given a lot of priority to leveling in Season of Discovery is that I've been fascinated by the roleplaying that goes on.

Yes, I know, Lava Lash is a RP server, so I shouldn't be surprised that actual roleplaying goes on there. The thing is, however, when I tried out Bloodsail Buccaneers --both in Era and on Wrath Classic-- I found hardly anybody actually roleplaying.

How do I know this?

This was at noon today on Layer 1.

See those dots? Those are people who use the addons that can communicate via MSP (the Mary Sue Protocol) such as Total RP3 and marked themselves visible to others. There were actually 13 there --a couple were overlapping on the map-- and there were even more people who were obviously role playing without using the addon. The scanning range is the range that I can target a player with, so there are likely more people in other parts of Stormwind that I couldn't see at that point in time.

How did I scan? Well, I've downloaded Total RP3 and when you bring up the regular ol' map (the M key) there's a button in the bottom left that you can click to scan for roleplayers nearby.

I've had the add-on installed for the past several months, so I have a feel for how active the roleplaying community is on servers. If you actually see this many people roleplaying on Bloodsail Buccaneers in either Wrath Classic or Classic Era, let me know, because I've not seen it yet.

But here in Season of Discovery, the RPers have come out of the woodwork.

Yes, I filled in some basic info on Card.
Obviously, this is the "just starting out" version
of her, not the "I've seen some shit out there
in Naxx" version of her, which is some years later.

You can adjust what is visible in the profile, as well as tweak what the player's personality is so that people know what they're getting into when RPing with her:

You can select the standard traits as
well as add your own. And some of those
"add your own" can be... quite adult.

Have I actually engaged in roleplay? Nope. If someone were to approach me, that's one thing, but I'm not one to actively engage in RP with others first. Regardless, I've had a few basic interactions out there with a few people, but nothing worthy of "Goldshire on the Moon Guard server". 

Sorry to disappoint, but even if I had, I'd not mention it.

That's not to say that the RP community isn't active, because it is. It's active enough that a few players have complained about it, which causes me to raise an eyebrow. I mean, you're complaining that there's RP-ing happening on an RP server? Sheesh.

And really, there's not that much RP going on, either.

But there are guilds popping up for people to hang out in and RP with. Some sound rather tame:

And some seem far more, um, adult in nature:

At least they're up front about this.

Some other guild advertisements are that they're RP friendly but not necessarily RP focused. Still, it's far more active than I'd seen on regular Era or Classic RP servers. 

Do I feel kind of, well, icky about this? Not really. I mean, I've played D&D for decades, but naturally I've not played it to this sort of level of inhabiting a character as this sort of RP-ing would demand. This is a lot closer to what you'd find in the Society for Creative Anachronism or your average American Renaissance Festival. And yes, I realize my reticence to actively participate is partially driven by my reaction to the Satanic Panic back in the 80s, so old lies about what RPGs are do die hard.

*Sir Terry Pratchett had a great quote from one of his Discworld books about being poor that really hit the nail on the head. Ah, here it is:

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

― Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms: The Play

The thing is, I've been there. I've only been able to afford cheap jeans or shoes that fall apart after a year of steady use, so I end up spending more money in the long run just keeping myself in clothing than if I'd have spent more up front. But you need money to be able to spend a bit more for quality, and if you don't have that, that's the conundrum.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Meme Monday: Waiting for Presents Memes

We're in the home stretch before Christmas, and in years past the mini-Reds would be bouncing off the walls at this point. (I guess the mini-Zargs are doing that right now, right Zarg? Or maybe the mini-Kamalias?)

From quickmeme.

Who knew that The Nightmare
Before Christmas had memes?
From imgflip.

Baby Yoda, you must trust.
From memedroid.

I opt for the former.
From imgflip.

And one bonus meme....

This is me.
From... somewhere. No idea, really.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Raid Ready, Anyone?

Part of the reason why I'm not inclined to go back to Wrath Classic is that I'm too far behind those people who are still there and I'd like to play with.* Well, that and the fact that I was turned off by the meta-driven mentality of the average random player there, but I can't do anything about that.

However, in Retail Blizzard has a fix for you about that first part (which I saw last morning and did a double take):

Yep. Want to play with friends and skip all that unnecessary leveling content? Instead of paying a third party to Boost you or run you through raids, pay Blizzard $60 and you're all ready to go. You don't even need to understand a thing about what's going on, story-wise or raid-wise, just go out there and kill some bosses.

*And yes, I'm aware of the "we just want to play with you" aspect of things, but as I've mentioned before, if I'm not pulling my weight I'm not having fun. Yes, I could simply go full luddite and remove most add-ons in a ploy to remain ignorant, but the thing is I'd know that everybody else would know how I'm doing.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

WoW Classic Era Truly is a Closed System

In what comes as a shock to absolutely nobody, the purely Hardcore WoW Classic Era servers have been abandoned in favor of the Season of Discovery servers.

Wow. They were High and Full only
two months ago.

I got on the HC server I've used in the past only to find almost nobody there. I knew that the "regular" WoW Classic Era servers had taken a bit of a hit, but I thought the HC servers would be more immune than this because, well, I figured HC would have it's own separate appeal.

Silly me, I know.

This is the current population for
"regular" Classic Era. There's another
PvP cluster off screen that's "Medium".

It does seem to me that the current population of Classic Era is pretty much one cohesive unit, and that population is distributed among the three types of servers. Right now the bulk of the population is in the Season of Discovery servers, as that's the new hotness, but when people tire of that they'll likely come back to the regular Era servers (and to a lesser extent the HC servers). 

One thing I don't see much of is people splitting time between Era servers and Wrath Classic or Retail servers. I'm sure that exists, just not to the extent that you see evidence of it a lot.

Looking at my own server logins, I'd say that once my 10 person raid team for Wrath Classic fell apart at the beginning of 2023, about 90% of my time has been spent in a Classic Era server of one form or another. The rest of the time is probably 8% Wrath Classic and 2% Retail: most of that 8% happened before I created Era characters, and that 2% worth of Retail logins is due to me getting screenshots for the blog.

I most definitely spent a lot more time in SWTOR and LOTRO than Wrath Classic and Retail WoW this past year. 


Going forward, I'm most interested in what will happen to the Wrath Classic crowd once Cataclysm Classic releases. What will the majority of players do?

  1. Move on to Cata Classic
  2. Go back to an Era realm
  3. Migrate to Retail WoW
  4. Leave WoW altogether
I don't really have an answer here, but my first guess is not #1. Maybe inertia will mean that #1 will win out, but my gut says no. The snark in me wants to say #4 given that it certainly seems that killing Arthas has been a goal of a lot of people, but I think we'll have a better feel for what might happen in the Spring when Wrath Classic has just about finished. The ramp up to Wrath Classic itself began organically months before the release date, and if we don't see a similar wave of interest in the months prior to release of Cata Classic, it's more likely that Cata Classic will be a dud. 

What do you think?