I’m done with MMOs. There, I’ve said it. I feel better, like a load has been lifted from my chest. Because the truth is that I have felt this way for a while now but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. So I played new games and really tried to throw myself in there.

But the magic has gone. The magic has gone. Starting a new MMO instills no new sense of wonderment. Oh sure, the graphics are amazing and the world designs are nice. But it’s all lost in the whiz-bang effects and the rush! rush! rush! mentality. The players aren’t the same either. And that includes me. I don’t have any time for meeting new people in game because I just assume that they’re going to be retarded and a waste of my time and energy. Better to go it alone and not be disappointed. And thus I meet no new people in what are supposed to be MMOs. We are all mice on a revolving wheel. We do things in-game so we can do more things due to the things we have done. On and on it goes. There is no end.

You cannot explore due to the perceived pressure of keeping up with everyone else. BDO introduced the new concept of tabling the top players in each realm. Do you like cooking? Oh look! You’re ranked 345th on the server! Better go do some more cooking or you’ll be left behind! Rush, rush, rush!

And we pay for this. I used to love competition back in the day but it was competition with soul. It had heart. It had meaning. Does that sound nebulous to you? It does to me too but I know what I once had and what has been lost. The game designers promised so much and we were foolish enough to listen. Now we consume games. Rush from this game to that game and on to the next one. We’re desperate to rediscover the magic, but the magic has gone.

You might not approve of this rant. You may think that I am pathetic and that there are many holes in my argument. I don’t care. Poke all the holes you want. It can’t change the futility I feel when I log on to these games. Why am I doing this again? Oh, right – because it’s supposed to be fun.

Well, it’s not fun. It’s not an escape. It’s a grind. I prefer real life now. It’s more interesting. Perhaps that is a good thing. Progress even. But I still love computer games. This blog will live on. I will play other games and maybe write about it. But with MMOs I am done and I am announcing it in this way so I cannot go back to them. There’s no point in looking backwards anyway. We had a gone run, it was fun while it lasted. We had the good fortune of being around at the beginning, at the glory time. Like popular music from 1966 to about 1975. They had a good run too, then it all went to shit.

I logged onto Black Desert the other day after downloading a mega-patch, and after getting seriously creamed by a bunch of mobs I realized that my skills had all been reset back to zero. Dear God almighty. So I opened up the skill tree and tried to figure out what I had before. Eventually of course, I jumped online and found a ranger guide and reworked my skills but it still took me a bit more effort as it wasn’t the same guide as the last time I did this, to be honest this guide was a bit naff, so I had to look for another guide and, do you get the freaking picture here?

And it hit me – why do we still have skill trees? They are an anachronism from the past. From a former time when MMOs were fresh and young and vibrant. From a time when we actually cared about smelling the roses.

Well, that time has gone. Nobody experiments with the skill tree. Hardly anybody experimented with the skill tree back in the day either. You had your cookie-cutter build and that was it. If you didn’t have that you were an enormous n00b and death shall be rained down upon you, (if not much mocking). But it was also simpler. In Vanilla WoW, where I began this whole caper, it was pretty straight forward. You had three builds and in order to get a skill you had to have one from the line above it with the pointy line that ended at your new skill. That’s not hard.

Well, you try and figure out fucking Black Desert’s skill tree. You need a PHD in skill tree to work out what’s going on there. And so much of it is redundant. Why do they do this? Just do away with the skill tree all together. It makes no sense. We all want to have the same skill trees in a pvp game, isn’t that obvious? The best one! The best will be worked out within milliseconds of the game launching and then that is that. So just make the best one the skill tree and then take away the skill tree. Guess what? You just get the skill! Radical fucking idea, I know, but why not? It sure would save a bunch of time when skills get inexplicably reset.

Then of course, in BDO, you have the hidden attacks. Geez these really shit me. They really really shit me to tears. Don’t tell me that they’re “secret” and that you need to “discover” them. Nobody fucking discovers them in game. They go on the internet and use this radical bit of kit that was just invented yesterday called a search engine and they find a list of them and there you go. You’ll get a video of them on youtube and you study that for a while until your eyes bleed and then spend inordinate amounts of time in-game trying to torture your hand into hideous positions that would make a Japanese contortionist weep.

I discovered a skill in BDO once. I did – true story. I was fighting all these mobs and my fingers must have mashed the keyboard the wrong way and suddenly everything around me died. Just like that. I was like, no fucking way, man. What the fuck was that?? So I tried to do it again. And I tried. And I tried some more. And then I went online. I searched for, “BDO Ranger hidden skill everything fucking dies”.

Nothing. I got zip. How can you discover a hidden skill? It’s not possible. And don’t start telling me that some other gamers discovered the ones that I learnt from youtube because those guys got them from the Korean version of the game. Those are the motherfuckers who discovered all the hidden moves, the Koreans. Those guys aren’t even human when it comes to MMOs. They’re like the Chinese with badminton, or the Russians with drinking alcohol, or Australians with lying around and complaining about video games. They’re on another freaking planet.

So do me a favor, future MMO that I am yet to discover. Just drop the skill tree. Drop it like Suzy Peterson dropped me in 4th grade, (the fucking mole). It’s past its time. Like so many things in this world.

I had a little break from Black Desert due to my computer not liking the new Valencia patch. For some reason it wouldn’t download it. After ten days I finally managed to resolve the issue and I was in!

Except I wasn’t in a guild anymore. For fucks sake …

So I called up my gaming buddy and he gave me the lowdown, and then we both logged on and he invited me to the new guild. This is the fifth guild that I’ve been in since BDO started. Or is it the sixth? I don’t know; so many guilds, so little time. I’ve been doing this guild-shopping with a core group of about ten other players from Australia and New Zealand. Alliances form and dissolve in BDO like personal relationships between 14 year olds. It’s so hard to keep up. But here’s the thing:

Apart from my core gaming buddies, I don’t know anyone else from these guilds. Sure, I hear them speak in Teamspeak. Mostly fart jokes and boasting about how they’re going to “rape” this person or that person. But it’s all a big load of whatever. I don’t make any effort to get to know them because due to the nature of the game I know it’s all going to be over again in a couple of weeks. Last night one of my main guildies said that they were negotiating an alliance with another big guild. There are some downsides so he asked me what I thought about the deal.

“I have no opinion,” I said.

“That’s not like you,” he replied.

There were other ribald comments in Teamspeak at this point, mostly along the lines of “fucking Noisy”.

“No really,” I said. “I don’t give a shit. You could negotiate that we have to dress up as cows and yodel for all I care. It makes no difference. It will all be changed again in a few weeks.”

They didn’t like that attitude much. But what else am I going to say? It got me thinking. Years ago now, it must have been back some time in 2010, Blizzard introduced the LFG feature and a bunch of us said that it was the beginning of the end – that this would lead to a total social breakdown where nobody gave a shit about anyone else in the game. And we were right.

But have we reached a similar point with guilds? Are guilds now so completely interchangeable that we don’t make any real effort to get to know the other players? I’d like to think that this is a feature of BDO but then I think back to Elder Scrolls and the guilds I was in there. Nothing. Nada. Crickets. I can’t remember a single thing about anyone that I played with. But WoW in 2010? I can remember people’s names, what we did, who we fucked over, the dramas, I can remember it all.

So here I am – a stranger in a strange guild.

CIV VI is looking better all the time.

I am level 53 on Black Desert. Level 55 is the goal, although you can go higher than that. The grind is soul destroying as the only way to achieve it is to grind mobs. The character abilities are maximized not to kill difficult mobs but to kill lots of mobs. In other words, the better a player you are then the more mobs you will kill. Thousands of mobs. Over and over again. For some players this is not a problem. They put on some music and zone out while they complete the required task. Keep in mind that it takes around 7 hours of this to get from 52 to 53.

I can’t zone out. I resent this type of gaming. It’s not even gaming. It’s grinding through a slog so you can get to the gaming part. No other gaming milieu does this – only MMOs. In order to game I have to do something else for a long period of time that I don’t want to do.

Here’s the thing – my time is precious. I get a lot done on a day to day basis. Gaming is supposed to be my escape, my chosen method to unwind. Instead I log on to discover that I have no escape. I must work online in my game as well as all day at the numerous activities I do. I left ArcheAge because of a similar situation. I was really enjoying that game. Running with my guildies, smuggling trade packs over the oceans, engaging in huge pvp battles and punching way above our collective weight. Fun times. But then they introduced an expansion that required weeks of grinding in the most god-awful dungeon I have ever seen. Our game immediately went on hold while we had to all complete this hideously awful and unnecessary task.

I lasted about 10 days and then I though, fuck it. I gave away all my stuff, got rid of my properties, logged off, and deleted the game from my computer. It went from being a fantastic escape, (which is why I pay for it), to an awful chore that I needed to complete every day.

BDO is going the same way for me. I don’t craft anymore. I don’t farm. I don’t explore. I don’t do quests. Sure my workers toil in the background and the mats pile up but I barely look at it all. I know that when I log on I have to buy some more mana pots and head out to one of three locations and grind my face off against a brick wall. So I’m getting to the point where I’m avoiding logging on. I’ve been playing some poker again. I get to enjoy myself and take people’s money. What’s not to like about that? But then I feel guilty for my guildies that are depending on me to get my ranger to max level so they can have my awesome pvp skills at their disposal and I log on again and I grind some more. Maybe I get 8% towards the next level. Yippee!

Shoot me now.

Because I have more money than sense and I don’t learn from past disappointments. Or at least the recent disappointments have not been enough to completely wipe out any hope remaining from past iterations of the game. I started playing Civ back in 1991 when I was 20 years old. I’m 45 in a few months, so this game has been a part of almost my entire adult life. Civ V was a broken game on release, there is no other possible way to describe it. It was redeemed somewhat, saved would be a better term, by the team that released the Beyond the Sword expansion. That same team is behind Civ VI which is why I have some hope.

For me the best part of any Civ game is the beginning up until around the middle period. After that it’s more like you’re just going through the motions. I’ve always thought that if they could get that same playability and feeling all the way through to the end that would be the crowning Civ game.

So lets have a look at the proposed changes. Governments are coming back much like in Civ IV together with civics. There is a separate civic tree which functions like the research tree but uses culture points to progress. Research is going to be effected by your physical surroundings. For example, if your civ is in the middle of a land-locked desert you’re going to have a hard time researching sailing. However, if you found a coastal city or start building ships then that will accelerate the tech progress in that area. Units can be stacked together into armies. This is a really important change as Civ V with the no-stack rule just ended up looking like a world covered in military units. Happiness will be local, not global.

The biggest change in Civ VI looks to be how cities are built and managed. No longer will they be in a single square, but now they will be made up for different districts which will be able to be individually attacked. Another big change is that wars will divided into just or unjust wars. A justified war has a large penalty reduction in comparison to an unjust war. Also apparently the AI has had a massive boost. The game will have a new engine which will be for the first time moddable and there are confirmed mods for multiplayer. Roads will be determined by trade routes and will be built by traders accordingly.

Release date is about four months away I think. Here is a video to whet your civ appetites. And a mega reddit thread on the subject.


SJW entryism at its finest. Your game is dead, guys. Just move on. There’s nothing to salvage here.

A write up about this in more detail on my other blog.

Poor old ArcheAge. Since Black Desert opened its vast realms have been depopulated to an extent that pvpers wave at each other and have a chat before they get down to the business of trying to lop each others’ heads off. AA was having major problems long before BDO opened its doors, mainly to do with its terrible launch and equally horrible upgrade releases and mind-numbingly stupid community management. But at least there were some committed players that gritted their teeth and stayed for the long haul.

Those die-hard players can get pretty tetchy, however when they watch the game slowly dying before their eyes. They are apt to complain, to vent their frustrations in public in an attempt to see some improvement in their increasingly miserable gaming lives. And so what does the AA community management team do in these circumstances?

Why, they introduce a long list of rules under which all players must grovel.

Thanks for dropping by to participate in the myriad of conversations that happen here on the forums on a daily basis. The ArcheAge community is a safe, welcoming environment for everyone playing the game. We want to encourage all of you to post your many in-game experiences, discuss the latest news, ask questions to the staff, participate in our events, and perhaps meet new friends!

That said, before you jump into any of our many threads, we do have a few rules that all community members must abide by when participating in the community. These rules are in place so everyone may freely take part in our community and let their voices be heard. Please take the time to read the below rules in full, as not knowing them does not excuse you from breaking them!

Hmm. Lots of exclamation marks there! The key line that characterizes this as a pure SJW takeover is the line that I have bolded. Safe and welcoming means you may no longer voice disagreement with the new political mindset. Their ‘few rules’ run to a list that is 22 points long. Good luck not breaking one of them because you couldn’t remember it! But at the bottom of the list they have written this:

This list is not considered to be exhaustive, and moderators and community team members maintain the ability to discipline and ban accounts at their sole discretion. These rules may be modified or added to by the Community Team at any time, with or without prior announcement.

So there you go. Even if you play by their ‘few rules’ their moderators can ban you for no reason at all. But wait, there’s more.

Hand in hand with this announcement was AAs first ‘Letter from the Community Manager’. Her name is Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan and she has been there for 9 months now! [I don’t know why she has a made-up game name when she could just use her actual first name as a pretend game handle.] She starts off her new announcement with this little snippet:

First, let’s talk about where we are at right now as a community. I want to be honest with everyone: We don’t have the best reputation as an open, welcoming player base.

I’m sure many of you read the articles that people write about our game and our community across the internet. From those many articles, the one point of feedback that personally hits me the hardest is when I see someone tell their friends that we are a toxic community that should be avoided.

How about that for a way to start your first community announcement? Slag off the whole community! At least, what’s left of it. There’s a whole lot of rambling where she says not much at all and then lots of exciting new features they’re going to introduce, and then at the bottom she slips in this little doozy:

On May 26th, all server-specific forums in the Worldgates section (except for the Public Test Server) will be closed and retired to an Archive forum. Those threads will be preserved so others may refer back to them, but the Archives will be closed to new posts. If there’s any information you wish to personally save from a thread, make sure to do it before May 26th!

For those not in the know, the individual server forums were the community hub of AA. When I played the game they were the only forum that I checked out. But with all those forum servers it’s kinda hard to police a 22 point long list of behavioral rules and regulations. What to do? Close them down and lump everyone in together! It will be inclusive!

The reaction to this, well, it hasn’t gone down too well. But this is what happens when you hit the panic button and let SJWs into the building to save you. They will save you by killing you. Better to have a completely pure and politically correct game that is dead and empty than risk having anyone who spreads that ‘toxicity’ and ‘hate speak’. This will be the final nail in the AA game coffin. I’m expecting a large influx in BDO as we speak.


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