manners go a long way… even digitally (g2)

So with the job hunt going from nonexistent to downright ridiculous (18 – I counted – different companies contacting me about the single position that I fit the bill for, and sometimes up to five different individuals from one or more of those)… I have been revisiting video games that I haven’t touched in several years, never finished, never even got to start, as most of the time I was always at work, or cleaning all the things in preparation to return to work.

Hey, I finally know what its like to have time!

I prefer the pc as my platform. Reason being? … I mod the shit out of everything I touch. The only computer game I’ve not modded was solitaire. Even Quake deathmatch got a Wonder Woman variation to mock some brothers and a father-in-law of their favorite hyper-masculine military themed game.

I also have a hatred/ineptness with consoles and their 40 button controllers that are either hypersensitive or in need of a massive hammering to respond…

My kid grew up with a version of SIMS games that included baked chicken on a platter… wearing a tuxedo. Its important to have educational content.

I seriously spend more time modding than playing a lot of the time.

I know Spawn would be elated if I renewed both of our subscriptions to World of Warcraft… a game I’ve had zero interest in playing not too long after getting it, way before it had even one additional pack to keep player interest. I’ve attempted giving it “another” try a few times, and I just hate it more.

I hate the players. I’m not paying money to suffer asshats.

My one period of actually enjoying WoW was when my kid and I played together from beginning to max on the base questline… then it was either grind dungeons for l33t by dealing with the dickbags who lived there or start over.

Considering I have a cringing rage towards the movie Groundhog Day (I love Murray, but this made me a bit mad at him for a while) and any reiteration of it troped in TV or other movies ( ahem, Memento), to the point where I will check out until its over if I don’t flat out just turn it off and move on. I don’t have the desire to redo the things I already did. It has to change or adapt so the experience has a new aspect enough to grasp my interest.

We attempted to start over as a different race/faction… same bullshit, not different enough and both of us lost interest before getting too far. One of my friends across country even attempted to lead us around to new sights in WoW to spark our interest… it just wasn’t enough. The dickbags were just in too high concentration to enjoy any of it.

I used to deeply LOVE MMORPGS (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing GameS for those who have no fucking clue what your gamer friends/lovers/kids/parents/cousins are talking about).

My induction into this genre started when it was still in its infancy via Ultima Online in the early 90’s (yeah, I’m fucking old). Trolling dicks then were called dOOd’s back then and their grade 2 level speech patterns were referred to as “l33tspeak” but they were smaller in numbers and were generally dismissed by the rest who enjoyed the spirit of exploration and sharing. However, the ones that stuck out then, the best of them were borderline artists in their ability to seriously fuck with the admins and the players.

That link is to a Cracked article, #5 discusses a guy named Chrae and one of his stunts. I knew him and played on that server. He was a pain in the ass, but he was reasonable, intelligent, and hell, downright likable. As much as his gang of dipshits attacked everyone and anyone who crossed the safety of city gates (PvP was just default there, it was really a wild and open game to do whatever), he still had some ethic and would check his gang if they fucked up.

In this particular instance, he discovered a flaw in the programming of a particular baddie and exploited it until he actually crashed the fucking server.

When the game first came out, it was loaded with bugs, exploitations, unbalanced classes. It offered a lot of options, but you couldn’t succeed at but a few. It heavily favored the stereotypical sword wielding, heavy armor laden grunt. I’ve never seen a more artful method of making a pack of programmers fix their shit pronto than stunts like his.

Back then, there was a MUCH closer relationship between players, and between the playerbase and the development team. You would never see these caffeine-sucking, unkempt gaming gods discussing bullshit like “profit margin” so much as “stable and balanced game play.” It was more important to be true to lore, than true to investors. To the ire of many, it was not unusual in those days to have release dates pushed back to patch bugs and finalize and smooth out issues. (hear that Bethesda? Game companies used to finish their shit BEFORE selling… or hell, even after…even after would be nice…)

UO set the stage for all those to come and no one has really emulated it to the same degree or quite the same way. To this day… its still up and running almost 30 years later, even long after the games that followed have died.

They succeeded by keeping it free form, and finally by connecting with the community, despite trying really hard not to past the beta stage, for which there was a fuckton of backlash and criticism. Issues were not being addressed, bug reports were ignored, abusive behavior was not rectified, exploits not plugged, patches were not forthcoming… it was crap but also great and intriguing and new. For every severely damaging thing, there were three really cool things you didn’t realize were possible.

I suspect I can thank people like Chrae for their change in attitude. It’s the only time I’m going to commend a troll as being beneficial. His kind is unfortunately extinct.

Through Ultima Online and its ilk, I made friendships that have lasted to this day. We know one another’s life and trials, we’ve supported one another through marriage, job changes, kids, divorces, deaths… they mean the world to me and I’ve never met many of them in person in all the time we’ve been friends.

Somewhere around the time of World of Warcraft and those that came after, the format and playerbase evolved to something I find disdainful. They don’t use l33tspeak anymore, but their speech was no less indicative of an emotional maturity of steroid-laden lobotomy patients living in mom’s basement.

Reddit and especially 4chan used to have the same type of people on it, the shittiest of the shit, and it was kind of their domain and of no interest to me or most of the people I knew. The prior site occasionally having a single useful nugget of information after sifting through a pile of racist or sexist spew… but then WoW players started sounding a lot like them… if not in content, certainly in tone.

I ran into a classmate of mine and when video games came up, WoW was their jam. As they spoke of their game style… its all abbreviated speech about dungeon grinding and and bitching about noobs and how many times they have booted someone from a group for the slightest imperfection during a dungeon run or made it so they would be repeatedly killed until they quit. After a very short time, all I hear in my mind is “dickdickdickdick.” He represents everything I don’t like. He “advised” me on a website that would detail EXACTLY how to start the most ideal character to get the most DPS for that class…

I’m just going to stop and say Damage Per Second is the meaning, and there is a thousand more acronyms I will never spend the effort trying to learn because if I have to whip out a spreadsheet, its long stopped being a game…

The most enjoyable characters I’ve ever had were the ones that were underdogs and thought stupid by others. An online friend of mine and I ran around for an entire evening just hunting down the ugly ass retro-70’s clothing the devs had added in a monthly patch. Exploration and novelty is just as enjoyable as hunting and getting more powerful.

In UO, I made a random character that inspired another friend to create a character that had a bizarre fighting style that slaughtered what was considered the “ideal.”

In another game, I picked the least popular weapon and lucked out on an awesome unique item early on (and never found better). I was slow as shit but could carry a damn mountain and if I was in the group (we could share experience in a hunting party of sorts)… we always got first dibs on the kill. Always.

In this particular game, the one who plugged the most damage got possession of the kill. That was not the goal when I created it, but I have to admit that after getting shit for picking a “stupid” weapon and/or class by a bunch of goons who took the online advice as a bible, right before a wave of baddies arrive… and then watching as they NEVER get to loot a single thing other than my leftovers… its satisfying.

I’ve not come across a single game that engaged me like those early years and almost all of it has to do with the people within it. Power-gaming has become the only thing that matters, exploration and random distractions are left to the wayside. Virtual (and digital … so like, not real) belonging becomes more important than interaction, exploration, and play.

Game packs and new items are being added constantly so these hypergoons can argue and decimate which of the next are worth collecting. They have the attention span of a gnat and apparently do nothing else, while I’m personally overwhelmed by the excessive amounts of hours you have to spend with a bunch of shitty people to get any of it. I’d rather knit. I fucking hate knitting.

The closest for me was the Elder Scrolls series. When I finally tried out Skyrim, then later the Special Edition (32 to 64-bit conversion, like going from Windows 95 to 10). Bethesda converted their game, but they couldn’t be bothered to finish the shit they started and left after the initial release, nor could they be bothered to fix the broken shit that had been present since release. That all has been done by the modding community instead. And they have done miracles with it.

I like the game because its not groundhog day and I don’t have to contend with anyone else. You really can do or be whatever you want and if there is something you don’t like, there is likely a MOD that will allow you to change it. It does compel you in directions I wish had more adaptation, but maybe someone will create those options as we go.

It’s also visually beautiful (and can be made even more so) and feels alive. There is always a hilarious bug, glitch or dumbass shit you might possibly see (below).

There are also crazy additions to make it even weirder.

This game, single player, still gets new material updated and added to it to this day, nine years later. There are even overhauls that make an entirely new game out of the old one for a completely new experience… again, from fellow, highly talented players.

The company, of course, is long moved onto the next profit margin. Everything exceptional since has been made during the freetime of the modding community who want it to just be and have… more. This has ranged to increasing the visual appearance, to coordinated efforts to build new lands, add quests and voice act them… all just because they enjoy the game too.

Bethesda then attempted to enter the MMORPG market with ESO, aka Elder Scrolls Online, supposedly set in their vague lore thousands of years earlier than the one above. They have just added an additional area (for a hefty new game price of course) that allows you access to the prior game’s regional area… or part of it… so the online game is essentially a prequel to the one that’s almost ten years old.

I say “attempted to enter” as I played just a couple hours before I felt I was playing a regurgitation of warcraft with better graphics. Go here, kill this, turn in, go here, kill this, turn in, go here, kill… it encourages no exploration, no openness to your own direction, no variables. There was no random stupid shit to enjoy for its own purpose… hell, even Warcraft started out with a little of that. You’re passing my dozens of other players all making the same rounds with the same dialogue, same bullshit.

I was so hopeful they would bring the open choices of skyrim to an online format and I might finally enjoy the genre in the way I used to…. you know, like a GAME with a journey to it. I bought it when it was released, HELLA expensive and was left massively disappointed. It was nothing but grinding and DPS shitstorms by the fuckwad players all over again. They wanted the WoW market, it looks like they got some of it.

I didn’t play much of anything for a while after that. I was tired of the copy/paste feel of so many of the games and tired of spending money on shit I hated. Skyrim set kind of a high bar in goals and its not been met, much less exceeded, in any online game thus far.

Skyrim has a good premise, but even the bare bones of the game is going to fuck you over. So you either mod it, or you restart a lot if you plan to finish a good number of quests.

The game was released with a shitton of issues, and the players were the only ones who paid for that, in every sense. So many awesome modders have contributed work to fix or revive content the company itself left out or left broken. What do they get for it?

Shit on.

I was trying to figure out a problem I was having and I happen to see this post on reddit criticizing one of the biggest and best modders in the community for overextending his “selective interpretation” of fixes. This particular modder had set up a website out of pocket to allow for bug submissions for he and his group to review, test and decide in a very systematic way. For free. On his own time.

He has a rep for being aggressive or “rude” but so far, I’ve not seen anything posted that was even close. A lot of the messages he receives are caustic, indignant, combative, rude, ungrateful and entitled. His (I’m guessing) response are blunt, but professional.

asshat:”can I change this?”

modder:”no, it will break your game.*briefly explains in layman’s terms how*”

asshat:”but this one website said it could be changed and would run just as well without taking more resources”

modder:”I’m the one who made it and I’m telling you it will break your game.”

asshat:*long diatribe of arguing why they should be able to do the thing*

modder:”I’m still telling you no, do not return here complaining when you crash and can’t play anymore. I’m not discussing this further.”

Multiply this by hundreds, possibly even thousands on his mod posts, official forums, his bug tracking website, etc and I seriously wonder why the guy even still bothers to make what he does, while simultaneously being immensely grateful he does. I wish thanking him would help tip the bucket of bullshit, but I know from past experience working in tech support and customer service, its all just noise after awhile. Silence becomes the online gift.

He is constantly being harassed about people who want something added, removed, changed, criticised for the choices he makes, drama queens who he can’t be bothered to remember on reddit, bait him into losing his shit in the hopes of getting him banned on message boards and if he responds, he’s called “mean.”

Over the years, reddit has actually evolved and cleaned up their act quite a bit and has become about the same or even better moderated than many of the gaming forums… though they still play favorites. But even the sites where mods are hosted seem to become engorged with these elite shitasses who produce nothing but feel entitled to anything demanded and desire their egos stroked for having the grace to ask a particular modder for something… again, for free.

Not surprisingly, several modders have just deleted their contributions and ghosted from the community. The backlash and criticism that ensues is awful, but who could blame them? The absolute rage and personal attacks spewed from just… users… is downright vile. Is that kind of dialogue supposed to encourage their return?

People who moderate these forums, the ones who are the only ally modder’s have, refuse to shut down an asshat over the “technically not broken the rules” platform when the approach should simply be “you’re being an entitled ass, read this, answer the pop quiz with a passing grade and you will be allowed to post again. If this has to be done more than 3 times, you are obviously not mature enough to interact with others and will be muted.

There is a basic understanding that all of us should know from very early on, even if we’re not taught it from our parents:

  • Be kind.
  • Be grateful.
  • Ask, do not demand.
  • If refused, thank them anyway.
  • No one owes you anything.
  • With that in mind, be thankful for what is given freely.
  • If you cannot be kind, be quiet.
  • Not being refuted doesn’t make you right: research.
  • Allow mistakes in yourself and others.
  • We’re most interesting when we are NOT the same. Embrace variances.
  • Ask questions
  • Be patient for responses
  • Be polite
  • Listen

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