Avoiding MMOs

Looking back, I think part of the reason I've been avoiding MMOs lately is just because I don't really want to spend my time organizing people to do things.

It was a good long while ago that I got pretty bored of complaining about stuff all the time and decided to just do things myself. This led to me being more active in trying to organize people to get groups going, running more pick up groups, and just generally being more active in my various guilds. Unfortunately, I just don't have the patience for people, they give me headaches.

So in many ways, more than the game play itself, I'm probably just not wanting to get back into the whole "organizing peoples" side of things.


Monologue 001

"So there I am, it's starring at me, I'm starring at it. Thinking to myself, what the hell, it's just a book. But it's not just a book, it's my inaugural book. For the first time in my life I'm going to be reading a book where the main character is a lez. Not some best friend of the main character, not that mauve shirt who winds up killed off part way through, it's the main event.

Part of me is curious, part of me feels like I'm being bad just looking at it, but either way my hands are reaching for it right now whether I like it or not. So once I have it in my hot little hand I immediately grab something else, something to cover it with. Put on my best cool as you please attitude and head for the librarian feeling like the whole world has got it's eyes on my back. It's just a book, they won't even know what's in it if they haven't read it, and I know that logically I'm right, logically there ain't anything scary about checking out a book. For me, though, it's not just a book, it's proof, it's something that could prove I'm different.

Take it home and read it every spare moment for three days straight, hiding it under the pillow, worrying if it'll be seen. Not a single scene I can't remember in detail, though verbatim dialogue still escapes me. Get to the end and put it down, all that's in my mind is an overwhelming feeling of catharsis. Can't say as the ending wasn't happy, they certainly wound up together, but all that pain along the way, just saps it right out of me. It's like coming face to face with the crushing reality that being different is dangerous, even if they did make it through in the end. Yet at the same time, man, it's the first romance I've ever identified with. Oh I've enjoyed watching straight romance for years and intellectually I got the whole relationships, even felt good for them when they got together. That's not the same as actually identifying with a protagonist though, the sheer emotional weight when you can really understand their feelings.

So I started reading more... well I say more, as such it was only four odd books. Of course I noticed a bit of a common theme by the end of them, by the end of the story, the main character had always been ostracized by their peers. At the time I thought it was terrible, wanted more happy stories. I kind of still do. Yet, since I've been really lonely, a true outcast, I've been stuck more and more with the memories of those stories. There is just something about knowing that someone out there understands, that kind of slight glimmer of hope that maybe they understand what you're going through. Kind of feels warm, and yet still so cold."


What I think about in my dreams.

So I was having a dream and suddenly started wondering about various properties of exponential growth. Yes I am drop dead serious. After waking up, this is what I came up with. For bonus points see if you can guess the functions used to create these numbers.






Ronin Beat

It is known to every child on this planet, the meaning of our justice. It is taught in every school and whispered in the back streets. For over two centuries it has pushed the helpless and insecure as well as the greedy and powerful to take up a sword and stand in the counting. A tradition recorded in the plants of our fields by the waves of blood that nourish them.

It was two centuries ago that our eyes were opened. In greed and arrogance the people of our second moon fought with those on the planet, razing cities and ravaging continents. A weapon was developed to end that war, and it did. In the space of a single hour the second moon was destroyed, and now only the field of it's debris remains. The testament was sealed, humanity knew only how to live by spilling blood.

For this reason, we adopted the law of the sword. Those who win make the laws, those who loose die. A system of observers was set in place to monitor the duels, and a system of enforcers to ensure the laws are carried out.

To risk ones life in order to obtain the law with their own two hands, that is the meaning of our justice.

The Authority

It is the ego of man, and his aggression that breeds the worst of situations for our world. Though the majority of people are peaceful, the few that act as wolves, the criminals and the corrupt, prevent that peaceful majority from attaining the world. So long as the wolves exist, there must be those who protect the kind from their predation. However in the process of hunting wolves, one becomes a wolf, so as a man hunts monsters does he become a monster.

The answer was that we needed that which was not a man. For if they are not a man they cannot become a monster. Though they perpetrate the monstrous, they are not monsters. But what makes a man, what is the measure of humanity? To this we came to the conclusion of identity, for a man without an identity, without id or ego, is not a man.

So we created the Authority, an organization centered around the principle of removing the identity of those selected for service. There are no volunteers among the members of the Authority. Agents are drafted from the population at random intervals, with as few traits as possible to suggest any sort of pattern or bias. To these agents is given our mandate, "to destroy the organizations of crime and corruption in all its shapes or forms and at all times." In order that they may fulfill that mandate, they are then protected by the article of Authority, "When on active duty, the word of the most senior authority agent on the scene is the law."

Our justice can then be summed up thus, to empower a puppet with the power of monsters.


Stable vs. Decreasing Options (MMOs)

Before I begin, this could be seen as another way of talking about Horizontal vs. Vertical design. As well, what I'm pointing out isn't "what's wrong" with anything, it's just my observations of what things are. This post was inspired by Spinks post about obsession with choices, and may be considered something of an open response to that as well.

I'd like to begin by focusing on the differences between two games that are very common in Japan, Shogi and Go. Specifically the different balances in creative versus technical options available to players at a given time. A creative option could be thought of as one that is asymmetrically balanced, though the choice is made between two different options neither one is inherently better or worse than the other. A technical option on the other hand is where the choice is between something of high value and something of low value, in other words even if there isn't necessarily a "right" choice there is one that is mathematically/logically better.

In Shogi, the creative vs. technical options are kept in near perfect balance on the board, though are traded between players as the game progresses. To capture a piece in Shogi means to have that piece to play yourself almost anywhere on the board. This means that as a player begins to loose they are forced into a corner where their choices are limited to various technical options to improve their situation, while every time the opponent captures one of their pieces it increases that opponents creative options. If you were to change the king in Shogi from being the Achilles heel of the team to instead being completely invincible, it is conceivable you could have a game of Shogi that both never ends and continues to generate interest.

In contrast Go has exponentially higher options from the outset, and to begin with they are all creative options. Experienced players know of technically good openers, but even in that case they have to choose from the set of openers they know which is a creative choice. As stones are placed the number of total options reduces and the ones that remain become increasingly technical. After both players have finished staking out their opening positions comes the central game where the creativity and technicality hovers around the sweet spot between the two. There are many creative options, and many technically correct options. Having a good result depends on you understanding how to use creative options to situate yourself somewhere that your own particular set of technical skills gives you an advantage. Towards the end however, the number of creative options sharply declines and is instead the players vie for advantage through finding best technical moves they can make.

When Go enters the endgame the board metaphorically calcifies. If you kept playing without passing you could eventually bring the board to the point where the only open spaces are the ones that have been completely closed from entry. Barring any spots of infinite repetition, the game will always end simply due to how pieces interact with each other. You couldn't change a single rule and continue the game infinitely, since the very act of playing destroys options.

If I had to say which game WoW, EQ2, and LoTRO remind me of, it's Go. The player begins assailed with options, while veterans will recognize some as better than others in the long run the simple truth they are all creative options to begin with. As the players gain levels they enter a sweet spot where there are technically correct choices, but there is also a good variety and some options that are purely creative. Towards the end, the game calcifies, builds are no longer good enough or better, they are right and wrong, classes are right and wrong, and the methods of following through the final bits of progression are left almost entirely to technical options. In time, the board is essentially calcified with nothing but the infinitely repeatable Ko moves left.

I don't think any MMOs I've played to date remind me of Shogi. There are certainly some closer than others, but I don't think any of them have that tit for tat mentality down. Far too much inflation. Of course, that may not be a bad thing, Shogi could be a terrible MMO.

so yeah...

I had a whole post about philosophy and overcoming depression planned. Instead I'm going to leave you with this awesome example of fight music.

Oh, and a thought on leitmotifs. If you're going to use a leitmotif, it reallllly helps if the song you choose is awesome and appropriate, less so if it makes people want to claw their ears out.


Nohbot 01



"Okay it seems to be working, and it's all hooked up. Then lets get started."

"She mentioned getting strange shadows in the recording, so we're just gonna let you run for a bit then check the footage."


My EVE Character Bio

This is the bio for my character in EVE Online.

At the dawn of a new era, mankind stood at the precipice once again. But why, I ask, must we always court the fatal edge? What is it in the nature of humanity that draws us like moths to the flame?

Perhaps, it is because we overcome. Through all times and tribulations mankind has survived and grown, thrived, even on the knife's edge of desolation. So stand we all, in this cursed galaxy, on that razors edge. We stand against the murderers and the psychopaths, the gluttons and the tyrants. We challenge the zeitgeist in the vain hope of creating our own, with mere ego to back our claims.

This galaxy rages and thunders at our audacity, yet we stand. Corporations stand in stead of justice, beating on the brow of this people, yet we stand. Locustine swarms and spartan warriors strike at those who exist between, yet we stand.

We stand for that which is right, because it is right. We stand for justice, for it is our right,