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.

Here are the enchantment stats for Black Desert Online for those needing them.


Cross-posted from my main blog but also relevant here.


Some of you may or may not be aware of a movement in the science fiction/fantasy writing world called, The Sad Puppies. Now in its 4th year, the puppies is an attempt to shine a light on the politicization of the Hugo Awards process. It has been very successful, particularly in stirring up a good old fashioned hornets nest of controversy. For the record, I stand firmly with the puppies, sad, rabid, or otherwise.

One of the contentions of the puppies is that fiction writing over the past 20 years or so has turned away from an emphasis on story-telling and character development to one of technique and correct political messaging. Style over substance if you will. It is no surprise that when you stop telling great stories in preference to lecturing your readership with the politically correct tropes of the day, that the readers tend to move on to other things.

I discovered a post titled Empathy and Responsibility in writing by one Alexander Freed. It is a startling article. I had to read it several times to really understand its meaning, (an indictment both of the message and the writer’s lack of ability). The article places the context of writing in that of the video game milieu, but in the worldview of the politically correct I am sure that this is applicable across all mediums.

The core message of the piece is this in my own words:

You may only write about a certain demographic if you are sure they will not be offended by your words or you are already part of that demographic.

An example quoted from the piece:

If you’re a man, are you prepared to justify to a woman the casting and portrayal of women in your story?

Try reading that a few times. What I take from this is the new-found awareness that I can only write a female character if I am sure that it won’t give offense to women anywhere. The giving or taking of offense is based on emotional reactions, better known as feelings. I have no control over the feelings of other people. Writing as a man it would be impossible to justify any portrayal of a woman based on this criteria. It seems that I am now forbidden to portray females in the written form without permission of the authorities.

If you’re not Hispanic, are you prepared to justify to a Hispanic person how you cast (or didn’t) Hispanic characters?

If you write about Hispanics you lose. If you don’t write about Hispanics you lose as well. Heads I win, tails you lose?

If you’ve never been in a gang, are you prepared to justify your crime story to a gang member?

Well, I tend not to hang around criminal elements and I doubt they spend much time reading.

If you’ve never been disabled, are you prepared to justify your handling of a paraplegic character?

I stubbed my toe once, does that count?

Based on these parameters I doubt whether Tolkien would have ever been allowed to write The Hobbit. I have no doubt that Freed is perfectly serious with his intentions. No matter how ridiculous the demands, the world of political correctness is a race to the bottom as its followers attempt to show their true virtue to the cause by constantly trying to outdo one another.

Freed has of course completely misrepresented why art is created in the first place. If you work from the basis of telling a story then what he has written seems mad. But if your basis is instead to use the medium to deliver the message of political correctness and social justice then what he writes makes perfect sense. In his world, the writer’s responsibility is to write correctly. The trap of course is that in a race to the bottom what was correct under their ever-changing guidelines will be bad-think mere months after its publication. Nobody is safe in a totalitarian world.

This is why the GamerGate movement began, as gamers were not prepared to put up with this level of insanity. It is telling that many other mediums did not stand up for their art in the face of this totalitarian movement.

Thus the Sad Puppies campaign is not just an attempt to make the Hugo awards more representative. It is an attempt to wrest control back from frauds and charlatans like Alexander Freed. And the more that the Sad Puppies make headway, the more that the gatekeepers will scream to high heaven.