Reading one of Wolfshead’s infrequent posts is like cuddling up on the couch on a cold night with a bottle of red and a copy of Notting Hill. Or is that just me …?

Old Wolfie has his latest post up, where he laments at the state of MMOs, and how Everquest was better, and how WoW betrayed us all, and how we betrayed ourselves, and you know the drill. Of course, he’s right, but you can get a bit sick of hearing it. Kind of like yours truly bleating on about the feminazis. Actually, I haven’t done one of those for a while.

Anyway, there’s a line on his post that kind of rang a chord with me:

“… You know what? I’m tired of playing games …”

You know what? Me too.

I tried Sunless Sea last week during its free promotional period based on good old Syncaine’s advice to have a look. It was … pretty boring, actually.

It’s amazing that with all of these fantastic graphics and powerful computers that we have that the game-play has just crashed. Reminds me of that old song from the comedy group, Not the Nine o’clock news:

Sex is boring, pain is fun!

I want to cut my fingers off, one by one.

There ain’t no point, in staying alive,

I want to be dead, when I’m 25!

Bored with sex, and now we’re bored with video games. Whatever are we going to do? Maybe a nice big war will come along so we can have a little bit of fun before we go out in a blaze of glory. Or brew up in a tank, a pile of human torches locked in agonizing death.

Shit, that doesn’t sound good. Come on you terrible game designers, come up with something good, and do it quick!

So I’ve decided to come clean and put my book and personal blog out there for the gaming community. I hope that some of you pick it up and like it. It’s been out for five months now and it’s done pretty well for a first book. Right now I’m working on the sequel as well as a fantasy novel set in the present day.

My first book, ‘Pushing Rubber Downhill’ is a memoir that follows a time of my life when I was young and without much direction. It shows how I became a rafting guide and worked on four different continents and in the process achieved personal growth and change. It’s a road map to get you from A to Z when you thought you were going to B.

amazon title

My new blog is now a lot more active than this one but you can still find the same cheery take-downs of the foolish and silly that you’ve all come to know and love here at ‘The Noisy Rogue’. And I will still try to post here from time to time when the gaming mood takes me.

It’s the new year, it’s 2016, and the MMO industry has about as much life as the 6th army at Stalingrad. This post over at TAGN kind of sums up my severe ambivalence to the genre as a whole. Now I know it’s a small game and nothing like the big budget monsters that we routinely think about when we talk about MMOs, but that’s kind of the point. Check this out:

 

heroessongcrop

 

Reading that game description makes my eyes bleed with fatigue. “Become a legendary hero in a dangerous and mysterious world of magic and …” oh Buddha, kill me now. That’s the best you can come up with? Even when we’re going small we couldn’t excite an Indian at a cricket match. And they want 800K to make this shit. Anyone who actually gives them money will just underline the rule that a fool and their money are soon parted.

I tried Life is Feudal, really I did. I gave it a good shot. A few of us built our castle and hauled the wood and stone around, and hammered stuff, and cut wheat, and stitched our leather, and hung it on a tanning frame, and it wasn’t any fucking fun at all. It was just hard work.

Now there’s Naval Action which has just launched in some bastard Beta/Alpha form where they want you to pay full price to test it for them. Once again it looks amazing, eye-boggingly realistic, which then gives me great pause. Yes it will be realistic but will it be any fun? Apparently you have to actually navigate by compass and sextant which could easily lead to you being lost and sailing around in enormous circles until your entire crew dies of scurvy. Sounds like a lot of fun! (sarcasm).

Maybe some of you dear readers, (all 137,489 of you), (sarcasm), know of an MMO coming out that will be fun. And worth the time investment. And worth me wasting eons of my time when I should be working on my second book. But you don’t because there aren’t any.

The rules for good game design according to me:

Rule 1: It’s gotta be fun.

Rule 2: It’s gotta be interesting.

Rule 3: Capture some imagination why don’t ya?

Rule 4: If I’m not waking up in the morning and I’m immediately wanting to play this game then you’ve failed on the previous rules.

Rule 5: It’s better and more fun playing the game with other people than by yourself.

Because, I mean, these are supposed to be fucking MMOs, right?

We peaked in 2007, as a genre and an industry. Just admit it. Nothings fun any more. It’s fun for a bit but then you have a sneaking suspicion that it’s only fun because you’re really hoping that it will be fun and you’re trying your best to make it fun and then when that realization hits you …

It’s not fun.

Where is the love? Fuck that. Where is the fun?

I know it’s been a while since I posted, and I don’t want this to be one of those posts saying that it’s all good, now I’m back and I’m going to be posting lots and lots, and then you never hear anything ever again.

Truth is, I’ve been busy. I published my first book in September and what with my regular job and doing that and all the marketing and scrounging for space on magazines and podcasts and the like I haven’t had any time to play video games.

But I have launched a new blog dedicated to my writing in general and all that stuff. I just haven’t yet decided whether to break my anonymity on this site; I do, after all, have a fair amount of people who don’t like me very much in the gaming blogosphere.

So, stay tuned good readers as I figure out what I am to do. I am presently on holiday on a sun-soaked tropical beach and I am concocting many nefarious schemes.

ps, I am predicting that the new Star Wars movie will suck.

The Pathfinder Online dream, (or is that debacle) is over. All that remains is for the vultures to tear away the final scraps from the rotting carcass. It gives me no joy to say this, but I do admit to a certain feeling of “I told you so. Why exactly has this gone down the toilet so badly?

The reason is the leadership, or lack thereof. Ryan Dancey, who resigned for personal reasons, (yeah, right), and of who the company is so very sad to see him go, (my guess is that an office party was held with the remaining staff before they were all sacked as well), was just terrible in his role. Is it possible that everything this guy touches turns to shit? For me it became clear that PFO was going to have a serious problem way back in 2012. I was posting on their official forums at the time and Ryan convinced the Pazio crowd to spread the news of the online version of the game to those only playing the tabletop RPG. So these experienced gamers came across to the forum and they had a look at what was being offered. And they made some good constructive criticism.

Which Ryan took pretty damn badly. He set his rapid fanboiys onto them, you know the types I mean. The ones that have invested their entire emotional existence into something so that any words against their dream will be taken as a direct personal attack. Ryan Dancey was the King of the fanboiys. I was stunned. But I was also happy, because the curtains had been opened and the end result was clear to see. Clear to see if you weren’t a fanboiy. The thread that opened my eyes was this one. Captain Marsh comes in with some good questions and valid concerns. The fanboiys pile on to mock and belittle while never once addressing his arguments. And then Ryan Dancey enters the fray to try and finish the guy off. Amazing stuff to read, particularly with hindsight. Notice Lisa Stevens, the Goblinworks CEO, entering the discussion at the end to try and salvage the situation. Why she didn’t sack Dancey right then is beyond me.

Ryan set about creating a game that he wanted to play, and probably about 20 other people. All the while charging potential players outrageous sums, (if I remember correctly, it was roughly $1000 to play alpha), for a chance to play a buggy game with graphics that looked like they crawled out of 1997. The original vision was exciting. But over the three years that vision crawled inexorably towards the vision of the fanboiys, leaving the original project a tattered hulk.

Their economic plan was to charge a few people a lot of money to play the game. As any good goblin will tell you, that ain’t the way to make money. You want a lot of people to not pay very much. Then all you have to do is keep some of them. How many did they keep? Go and have a look at their forum and see how many people have responded to the news of their imminent demise. In the beginning, new threads would receive hundreds of replies.

Look, these guys raised something like $1.3 million over two kickstarters which is a hell of a lot of money when you consider what games like Life is Feudal are putting out for a fraction of the cost. Instead of using that money efficiently, they went on a mad recruiting drive and hired a bunch of full time people, (I think it was around 20). You don’t have to be a genius to calculate 20 full time game designer salaries over three years and see what it will cost you, ( a lot more than their kickstarters raised). This is why kickstarter is overall a bad idea. With no accountability for all that money raised, a lot of people have paid for a bunch of people to work on a giant turd for three years.

Pathfinder will finish up soon, mark my words. And people will conveniently forget that it happened. But the next time you see a kickstarter for a game, remember what happened here. And whenever you come across a situation where fanboiys shout down any reasonable discussion, it’s time to pack up and leave.

At the start of GamerGate in September 2014, a chap called Max Read who was an editor at Gawker wrote an editorial piece declaring war on gamers. He hoped to make the term a dirty word. When Intel pulled their ads as a result of his editorial insanity he called them a few names;

“… So let’s say it now: Intel is run by craven idiots. It employs pusillanimous morons. It lacks integrity. It folded to misogynists and bigots who objected to a woman who had done nothing more than write a piece claiming a place in the world of video games. And even when confronted with its own thoughtlessness and irresponsibility, it could not properly right its wrongs …”

Oh dear.

It’s taken a while for his hubris to catch up with him, but dear Max has been fired, sorry! sorry!, I mean ‘resigned.’ And the more mainstream sites are starting to catch on that maybe, just maybe, these GamerGate people might be on to something:

“… When a friend, Beth Haper, first alerted me to the cultural significance of #GamerGate, I was skeptical. Really? A bunch of gamers were going to expose the bias and corruption of the media? This seemed improbable, but the fact that #GamerGate was arrayed against feminists drew my interest because, of course, I was working on a book (Sex Trouble, $11.69 in paperback, $1.99 on Kindle) about radical feminism’s War on Human Nature. Let us stipulate that #GamerGate is not “political” in the usual Left/Right Democrat/Republican way that Americans typically think about politics. Nevertheless, as fate would have it, the exposure of the Zoe Quinn/Nathan Grayson connection made gamers aware how unscrupulous women could exploit feminist politics and how unprincipled journalists were willing to assist this tawdry little racket. (See “The #GamerGate vs. Gawker War.”)…”

That quote is from a piece over at the other mccain, and a damn fine piece it is too. Have a read of it and rejoice that things are slowly turning around. Although if you’re not rejoicing, then I suppose you need to start being a little worried. Or afraid.

In my post in June on the boycott of Tor Books, a reader posed me this question:

“… I’m concerned that your boycott of TOR is just setting you up for further disappointment. It solves one problem, but what happens tomorrow, when an employee of some other publisher targets you for a blast of hyperbole? Instead of dealing with an ever-growing blacklist, why not come up with a whitelist of publishers who can guarantee that they’ll never expose you to anything that will offend you?…”

There are a few misconceptions here, and whether they are deliberate or not it is in my interest to clarify a few points. Firstly, there is what I call a classic misdirection when he states, “… why not come up with a whitelist of publishers who can guarantee that they’ll never expose you to anything that will offend you? …”

Also known as a strawman argument, this is an obtuse attempt to falsify the position that I originally intended. It is also amusing, in that the misdirection is actually a classic position of the new young American left. Trigger warnings anyone? But to clarify, the boycott of Tor is not to protect our sensitive feelings from happening across anything that might cause us offense, (we’ll leave that up to the SJWs). No, the boycott is because we don’t want to give money any more to people who publicly state that they hate us. This has been a tactic of the left for many years, and it has worked for them. The reason that conservatives haven’t employed it thus far is because it makes us feel icky. But desperate times call for desperate measures and it is time to take a stand.

Which leads me on to the remainder of his question, what do we hope to achieve. Sure, he says, you may win this little battle but someone else will just come along tomorrow and upset you. What, you mean someone like Ellen Pao?

Drooling idiots like Damion Schubert have been declaring GamerGate dead for quite some time now. They still don’t realise what GamerGate actually is. It is the true line that has been drawn in the sand when a whole bunch of us realised that we didn’t have to put up with the SJWs shit anymore. Everything else flows from that moment in time last September. And this isn’t just a fight back. It is a gathering of a tribe of like-minded people who are happy to stand up and fight for what we believe in.

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