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So fellow gaming bloggers, you got what you wanted. Under the malicious and deceiving banners of “inclusion” and “equality” and the personal attacks comprised of accusing the few who disagreed with you as being “bigots”, “racists”, “sexist”, misogynist”, “homophobes” and all the rest, gaming is pretty much dead. Oh sure, lots of games are being sold and mindless hordes roam the streets searching for a yellow figure with which to do battle, but the culture of gaming is at an historic low point. And culture is what counts, it always has.

#GamerGate was the chance to challenge the narrative but you either threw it away or you believed the lies. The greatest lie of all was that #GamerGate was about ethics in journalism. It wasn’t about that at all. Real gamers have held gaming “journalists” in disdain for decades. Even the term itself, “ethics in journalism” is an oxymoron. But that false flag was the red herring to divert attention away from the true issue at hand – the corruption of games from within. I have been fighting that creeping malaise since 2010. But I was a lone voice in the wilderness of morons, and none so more than my fellow gaming bloggers. Determined to virtue signal their noble goodness to all concerned they agreed with any and all of the SJW demands, (from the absurdity of more women statues in WoW to the dismal efforts to ban the spitting emote), while castigating people like myself as being bigoted for resisting the great tide of social justice change sweeping over gaming. Either that or they ignored the event entirely, burying their heads in the sand in the hope that all the noise and nasty people would just go away and leave them alone to play their games.

Well, how are your games going now? The thing is, if you can’t be bothered defending what you have then you will inevitably be left holding something quite different. The genius of the original WoW was both in its long term planning and in the gaming vision of the developers. But social justice is devoid of either planning or vision. It is reactionary, casting out for the platitude of the moment, the latest fad with which to virtue signal, and the greater horde of gamers that will drop the game they are currently playing and rush mindlessly to the next steaming turd briefly masquerading as an ingot of gold.

And while you play your false ingot you have a desperate wanting in the back of your hind brain, hoping beyond hope that this will be a return to the good times when games were fun and communities were vibrant. But what you don’t understand is how difficult it will be to return to those times. Our games are a reflection of the attitudes and behaviors of the people that both make and play them, and the times they have a changed. Mind you, I am as surprised as anyone that we held out for as long as we could but eventually they were bound to come for the nerds. Once they had subverted popular music, and film, and television, and universities, and books of all genres, and comics, well, they couldn’t let us continue to operate in our own little corner of the internet. They only left us alone for so long because the internet was a place for nerds to hang out and nobody wanted to be labeled as a nerd. That was until 2006 and a little invention called Facebook plunged the internet into popular consciousness.

And what of all those bloggers who advocated so strongly for the new order? Who craved the acceptance of the masses due to their shame of being at heart an internet nerd? Why, you only have to look around you. They are gone, blown to the wind, their falseness plain for all to see. Their blogs are deleted, the IP address now exhorting you to purchase it for some low price, money back guarantee, blah blah blah. They were never true gamers, they were never a part of the gaming culture. They were our enemies from within.

And the bloggers left behind, the ones that just hoped that this would all go away? They plod along, vainly trying to recapture the former good times. But they have been infected by the bad ideas left rotting in a putrid mess by those that have departed the scene of their crimes. They know that things are not right but when challenged they will still mouth the empty phrases of “homophobe” or “misogynist” without understanding why they say these things or what they are supposed to represent. Gaming blogging is dead as much as the games of which they once spoke.

So is this the end? No – why should it be? We must rebuild from the ashes that are left. Seek out new games that are being done the right way, the old way, the way before we stopped believing the truth and began believing the lies of the progressives. It’s funny, but just about every fantasy story ever written concerns a land that has lost its touch with the old ways, believed the lies of some new interloper, and fallen on bad times. I would kind of call that ironic if it wasn’t so sad. So return to the old ways we must. All we need is a simple rule to follow at all times, and the rule is as such:

Nothing matters but the game. Any change made to a game must be to improve the gaming experience. The gaming experience is defined as the enjoyment attained from playing the game.

Anything or anyone who breaks this rule must be cast out and ostracized. So someone arguing for the inclusion of any subgroup in a game for social justice reasons immediately has broken this rule. The old argument against the spitting emote breaks this rule, for your feelings are immaterial to the playability of a game. True, your feelings being hurt might affect your own enjoyment of the game but that is immaterial in the face of the general gaming experience. Anyone with an ego demented enough to place their personal and insignificant feelings before the greater gaming good must be ruthlessly expelled.

Anonymity is key. #GamerGate’s great strength is that it had no leader. Various individuals sought to place themselves in such a high position but always for their own personal benefit. That too is an example of something being done at the expense of the general good of gaming. It pains me to write all of this for it demonstrates just how much we took for granted and just how much has been discarded. But all is not yet lost. I will continue the search. You are invited to come along.

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.

AA

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.

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