January 2013

I began playing MMOs in 2007, which coincided with the time I stopped actively playing poker online. It was one or the other, I didn’t have time for both. After a long 18 months of no MMO garnering my attention I decided to dip my toe back into the floating warm waters of scum that is the world of online poker. I expected … well, I don’t really know what I expected, but I didn’t expect what I got. Limit poker was getting pretty tough back when I stopped. A lot of players had moved to no-limit, a game which I find interesting but a bit hard on the old nerves, and thus the only players left in the limit pot were the generally good ones. Which meant profits went down.

I decided to play again last week. The first question was where to play. I hadn’t done this for a while and 5 years may as well be a new bloody century when it comes to the internet. So I went back to a site that I knew, PokerStars, for no reason other than I’m fairly sure they aren’t going to steal all my monies, and I deposited a few hundred dollars. The first thing I noticed was that there were no Americans, but this was due to their online poker laws being complete tosh; the poor little dears are only allowed to play on certain sites now.

So no Americans, but lots and lots and lots of Russians. And other Eastern Europeans. And a healthy does of Chinese. And some Western Europeans thrown in for shits and giggles. And blow me away but if it wasn’t 2004 all over again – these players are mind-blowingly awful. Imagine the worst player you ever ran an instance with and now pretend that you are playing against this type of idiot for money. That’s right, you heard me. That rogue who is putting out less DPS than the healer and who runs around saying ‘lol’all the time? You’re now playing him for his money in a game of skill and he acts the same way.

What’s not to like? A certain factor of this is probably the time of year with people being on holiday and all, but still the level of ineptitude is so bad that I regularly find myself hooting with delight at their awful plays. And while I was a tad rusty to start, the old skills are coming back quickly. Even better I find myself to be a calmer and more rational person since I last played seriously. I’m much more interested in making the correct play, in playing good poker rather than trying to win money.

Fear not though, gentle readers, for I shall continue to pontificate on MMO matters. But do not be surprised if I throw the occasional poker post in as well.

No system is perfect. But in our world everything that we have is made up of a system. At your job you work in a system. A system of management, co-workers, and processes that govern how your working day unfolds. But again, no system is perfect. There exists a certain type of human who is cynical about everything. This is not hard to do, and it’s actually fairly lazy. What they do is rail against a system by finding the system’s holes. Every system has holes. They are the vocal minority. Sometimes they have a good point. A lot of the time they don’t. It can be hard to tune out the static. They don’t go and set up their own system, that would be too easy. You know who I’m talking about, you have one at your work I am sure.

Unsub wrote an interesting post about misogyny in gaming. First of all I am not accusing unsub of being one of the types of person that I outlined above. I think that unsub’s blog has some of the best MMO writing on the internet. There is a lot in that post, a lot of links, a lot of information. It is all apparently directed into a certain theme of hatred of women. That, after all, is what misogyny means. It’s an easy generalisation to make, and easy mud to sling, and once slung it sticks pretty well.

But a certain theme I noticed is that excluding women is bad. In the comments section, Stabs wrote that he left an alliance in Eve because one of the guilds doesn’t allow women access, (although they do let in wives and girlfriends of current members). Apparently a podcaster commented that he wasn’t sure if this is sexism, (or misogyny or bigotry, pick your adjective), but Stabs sure as hell is positive that it is. The system was not perfect, so he left in protest.

So just for fun I did a little google searching this morning in the city where I live. I typed in the search term ‘women only,’ and as I did so a surprising number of hits came up. Let me share them with you:

Women only gyms: http://www.gowomensfitness.com.au/womens-fitness-wa.html There are a lot.

Women only travel tours:


How about some general women only groups around Perth? There can’t be that many of them, right? Because that would be sexist:


There’s quite a lot on that list.

What’s the point? Men and women are different. They have different energy. They have different needs. And some of those feelings and needs can be disrupted by the energy of a member of the opposite sex. On a generalised level. My wife’s energy does not disrupt a male group. She is very aware of the energy of a group of males and can position herself without causing any problems. But she understands if they decide not to let her in:

“If they don’t let me in, then that is perfectly understandable. But they would miss out on what I could bring to the group. That’s the problem when you label yourself as this or that, you miss out on the truly great potential members of the opposite sex who can breach barriers and bring a lot to a group.”

No system is perfect. I have nothing against any of these groups listed above. They do not effect me. They work for their members for various reasons. Just as a guild in an online game has chosen to exclude most females. It works for them. Is it perfect? No, but that’s no reason to get all cynical about it.