Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Violent games lead to killers

The title is a conversation stopper about video games. In the literal sense it's patently false, studies found no correlation between consuming violent media, including video games and real life violence. However if it's true, than nothing in video games - and media in general - matters: if violent games don't make us violent, than slacker games don't make us slackers and sexist games don't make us sexist and so on.

So to prove that games have any relevancy, we must prove that violent games indeed lead to killers. I believe it is the case if we notice that violence in games is very specific:
  • Can you hurt cute pets in 99% of the games? No.
  • Can you hurt teammates in 99% of the games? No.
  • Can you hurt friendly NPCs in 99% of the games? No.
  • Even in the "1%" niche games like EVE where violence is possible against practically everything it's harshly punished in highsec.
If you look at the games carefully, you notice that most creatures in games cannot be harmed at all or violence is punished. In games you can only perform violence against "the other". You can harm monsters, zombies, pirates, demons or simply "the other team". Attacking "the other" is socially accepted or even encouraged. Soldiers of all nations are celebrated for killing people belonging to "the other". Disasters hitting "the other" are largely ignored. Poverty of "the other" does not qualify them for welfare while the poor "of us" gets welfare. The violent games simply enforce the socially accepted norm of violence against "the other". As an eminent evidence, the US army developed its own FPS as recruiting tool, clearly in the belief that players attracted to an FPS is a good demographics to recruit soldiers from.

An average soldier who killed a bunch of "the other" will not kill people at home. Sure, criminal incidents happen, but most violent criminals don't have military background. Why? Because violence against "the other" is fundamentally different from violence against "one of us". Therefore a violent video game will not increase violence against "one of us" aka criminal violence.

Those who perform violence against "one of us" in-game are called "griefers" or "assholes". Teamkillers, awoxers, gankers are widely hated and shunned even in "anything goes" games. The "miner tears" in EVE are great example that the average person despises and hates gankers. Such hate is based on the idea (which is often spelled out in hatemail) that someone who is ready to perform violence against "one of us" in game is likely a violent criminal in real life. While there isn't enough study to prove that, we can point out that in the history of EVE all the real life criminal or scandalous actions (monument attack, suicide bully, doxxing, bonus room) were done by notorious gankers.

So my opinion is "violent games lead to soldiers who kill lots of enemies and only ganking leads to criminal violence".

Monday, August 29, 2016

What's good in a private e-mail server?

Tinfoil hat warning!

The media is all over the private e-mail server of Hillary Clinton. Every little detail was investigated and discussed and re-investigated and blah, blah, blah. Those who want Clinton to fail are feasting on the fact that she ignored all security protocols and offered national secrets to any script kiddie. Probably this huge find made people ignore the biggest problem: the lack of motive.

People do stuff for a reason. You don't just wake up one day and set up a private e-mail server with its own paid IT staff. This isn't something that can be explained by "convenience" or "laziness" like bringing secret materials with you when you make a detour between two secure locations to your mistress. She made huge effort to not use the obvious and convenient official addresses.

No, the private e-mail can't be explained by simple corruption, though it was used for ... well, getting stupid amount of money for her foundation and giving favors to her benefactors. But this didn't need her official address to be the same as her moneymaking address. She could run official info on her government address and get money on her personal address. Using the same for the two purposes was actually a risk for mixing up letters and sending something nasty to an official partner. Or - just as it happened - to send secret info to a "friend" and get caught (the whole scandal started when e-mail recipient Sidney Blumenthal was hacked).

I can think of one and only one reason for using a private server for official business: to fake official position when she had none. I mean to act as secretary of state, in the name of the USA when she was doing something not authorized by the President or whatever branch should authorize the action. If she sent all her e-mails from the same address, the recipient couldn't know if he is reading the message of "Hillary" or "the US government". This way Clinton could make people do favors for her, while they believed they served the USA.

No, I'm again not talking about simple corruption. No one is dumb enough to believe that "please send $2M to Clinton Foundation" is a legal order from the President. I'm talking about doing stuff that Clinton and her ultra-hawk liberal buddies like George Soros wanted but Obama didn't want or was just too shy to do. Obama isn't an evil person, he just climbed way over his abilities. His initial attempts to "reboot" relations with Russia, his speeches in the Islamic countries, his attempts to progress the Arab-Israeli peace all picture a dove who just want all of us get along. Definitely didn't foreshadow a guy whose office will be responsible for the largest humanitarian crisis since the Rwandan genocide and the creation of the largest and most successful terrorist organization ever.

I believe the horrible actions in Syria and Libya, along with the "pro-liberal" coup and attempt in Ukraine and Turkey, the successful and failed government changes in the Czech Republic and Hungary were not official US actions but masterminded by a state-within-the-state group around Clinton. While Obama could clearly start investigations about US involvement, he probably believed that such claims are simple hostile propaganda and never considered that just because he didn't order things, US officials still could perform it on command. Since the server was physically in the basement of Clinton's home and operated by men loyal to Clinton, Obama - and any men loyal to him - had no practical way to check on the messages Clinton sent, he could only get them by storming her home with armed men and seize the server - something he didn't do and I believe will consider the greatest mistake of his life 20 years from now.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Weekend minipost: TET

I've bought TET Ultimate Heve Gloves. They were mere 260M. I was contemplating on a TRI Red Nose armor, but it was only + 5 DP over TRI Ultimate Heve and I'd lose 2 Damage reduction. So I kept 460M and will only upgrade the TRI Heve for a TET Heve or TET Red Nose. I've seen a TET Liverto too, but I'm not really interested spending a billion for faster questing. Not like I do much damage in PvP. After all these purchases and before I could sell the old ones, I'm still top 5 in wealth.

On accessory front I'm not so lucky. I'll probably have to upgrade myself which I try to avoid as much as I can. I want TRI Ruthum Elite Belt, Manos Ruby Earrings, Cadry Guardian rings and a Scarla Necklace. If I can buy them, great. If I can't, I'll settle with DUO. No way I bother building failstacks again and again to get a duo to waste it trying to TRI.

Friday, August 26, 2016

My stance on lingerie armor and feminism

On Wednesday I posted "Proof that internet feminists have no chance against sexism in gaming". You would guess that those who argue in the comment section are internet feminists claiming they have a chance against sexism in gaming.

But no, I had to argue with sexists who claimed that sexism in gaming doesn't exist and wearing lingerie as armor is fine. It's not. Feminists are completely right that this has the message that female power comes from being appealing to men instead of from being competent in the job they are in (slaying monsters in a monster slaying game). Feminists are completely right that men are treated very differently from women, male outfits, poses, animations and camera zooms are about competence and not sex appeal. Can you imagine the camera zooming to the shaking butt of a male character which is half-covered in skin-tight leather?! Finally feminists are completely right that women should have equal opportunities as men in everything, including gaming.

On the other hand I believe feminists and SJWs in general are completely wrong in their methods of reaching this. The post was another evidence to prove that while sexists are ready to put their money where their mouth is and buy sexist outfits for their characters, feminists and SJWs in general are offering nothing but drama and headache to game developers. They never even offered that anything good can come out of following their advises, they merely state that they will make you miserable if you don't follow their teachings. This is simple blackmail and when some dev bows to it, the gaming community is rightfully outraged over the coward.

None of the feminists ever tried to form gaming clubs or multi-gaming guilds for those who want equality. They never offered "make a game we like and we'll play your game and pay for it", despite having audiences that I can't even dream of. They never tried to prove the sexists that they are wrong despite competitive gaming offers very easy way to it: pwn them. I'm sure that even the most obnoxious misogynist would think again after losing a fair game to a woman. I tried, with my very limited resources and with pretty good results: my no-offtopic chat guild got above-average raiding results and my totally random raiding results were top 1% (there cannot be sexist chat when nobody chats anything outside game-technical things).

I believe feminists are part of the problem as they are a perfect straw-women for sexist: they are a bunch of entitled harpies giving a tantrum over things not going their way while doing absolutely nothing to change that. If those who cheer Anita Sarkeesian whenever she gives a speech about her horrible tribulations would buy a game and play it together, they would achieve more than Ms Sarkeesian could ever dream of (unless what she dreams of is fame).

PS: In BDO they designed tanking armor for the Valkyrie class. I mean real tanking armor. The only problem is that they forgot the "boob jiggle" animation. When your character stops turning, everything - except her boobs - stop instantly like they have no inertia. But the boobs swing left and right for a long time even after tiny moves. Now, the breast region of a full plate armor obviously can't move independently from the rest of the armor. Except when devs fail hard. Thanks reddit, I would have paid $30 for it just out of principle!

PS2: I keep just playing and exploring the World, still thinking about a project. I got my camel and the default armor is somewhat revealing, but not immergion-breakingly stripper-looking:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

When you're struggling to make 1mil an hour... 20mil doesn't seem so bad.

This is a very sad story from someone who spent $2400 on Black Desert Online. If you can't figure out how is it even possible when you can't find enough items in the Cash Shop to spend that much, he gladly explains: he purchased lots of pets and used them for "breeding", a process of sacrificing 2 pets in order to gain one high level pet. So he got 4 tier 4 pets. Same with mount. And all kind of "convenience" items. The result was:
"I was rather frustrated with the game. I was progressing while my friends who couldn't afford the cash shop items, lagged behind. At first, only in gear progression, but quickly enough in terms of level as they could not make it past certain points in the gear progression system."
OK, he is a textbook social who bound himself to moron and slacker "friends" instead of playing alone or with similarly progressed players. If he was any competitive, he would attribute his progression to his "skillz". Like any good social, he wanted his "friends" to grow with him and wanted their team to be successful. But "Once more my group of friends seemed to continue to lag behind, as I continued to "play" against the Gear upgrading system. Until I was past them by several enchanting levels, while they weren't even close to 15 at level 52, locked behind hours and hours of grinding before their next attempt. Bad luck. I thought."

Then he "realizes" that it was because of the game being P2W and boo BDO. This is obvious. For a social, the failure of the team always due to external factors and never ever being bad at what they were doing. So, "I was more worried about my friends that were in the progression hole. When you're struggling to make 1mil an hour... 20mil [for selling a $30 costume on the marketplace] doesn't seem so bad. If they would not pay it, I would. For them. Just to keep them playing."

Yes, that was the problem. His friends not spending enough money on this P2W game. Not sucking at a level I couldn't even imagine to be possible. 1M/hour isn't "bad", it's a horrible joke. I make 15-20M/hour with methods clearly explained on the forum. Random grinding nobodies get 5M/hour. But they rather thrown money at the game and then quit "realizing" it's pay-to-win, than reading some basic guide. You might think they were some isolated hive of idiocy. But look at these screenshots:
That's $40K on just one server in one week on the most common items. It has a very long tail. And for what? 20M, a sum I can make in an hour while reading news on the other screen. This is what "P2W" is about: morons and slackers wasting money just to suck a bit less while their social friends try to help them by paying for them. And then blame the dev. After all, who else would be responsible for losing $2400?! Not him for sure, "he is just a nice dude who wants to hang out with his friends".

However the elephant isn't even the $2400, but the fact that they were not in a siege guild, so "lagging behind" wasn't even defined. You can't be undergeared for smelling the flowers! Obviously we are talking about lagging behind from the Joneses. You must keep up with them, I heard! This is why games are worse and worse every year: an idiot social spends more real money on it than dozens of good players, so the devs obviously cater to them. We are simply not the target demographics anymore, even if we pay. We are tolerated, but not supported, as much more money come from the socials who are trying to keep up with the Joneses and too dumb to do it without spending hilarious amounts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Proof that internet feminists have no chance against sexism in gaming

Internet feminists often rally against the outright sexist and objectifying avatars in video games. Here is a "great" collection of completely non-protecting armor which serve no other purpose than make the female avatars look sexy. Feminists believe this is because of the laziness and irresponsibility of developers who can't make good games and fill the gaps with eye-candy at the expense of women. The infamous Anita Sarkeesian has a collection of sexist tropes (reused cliches like the Damsel in Distress) and believes that devs should stop using them in the name of equality.

While I really don't like sexist outfits as it damages game immersion and believability, I realized that internet feminists are wrong about their "trope" thing and they have zero chance to get rid of sexism in gaming. No, it's not my opinion, it's proven by Black Desert Online.

BDO female armor is silly, but not outright sexist. While it rather look like stylish party dress instead of armor, which is dumb for a tanking class, it checks out only a few fields on the female armor bingo:

Look at these "armors" on the other hand:

Ouch, they are absolutely horrible for protection and clearly serve no other purposes than sexist eye-candy. Yet, they can serve no tropes or sexist purposes at all since they aren't in the game by default. You can't find or craft any of these abominations. There is no situation when they appear. They are simply non existent, therefore no design could be made around them.

These "armors" come from the item shop. You have to pay $20-30 to buy one. As they are purely cosmetic overlays and your stats come from your in-game armor, buying them have absolutely no in-game purpose. Yet people buy them in large quantities as evidenced by their widespread presence in the game world. Since the latest ones greatly outnumber the older ones we can assume that many players bought several costumes and wear only the latest.

The point isn't that if only every second player bought one, the devs made $10-15 million on them, making them probably the most profitable game assets. The point is that players consider game+sexism $20-30 more valuable than the very same game without sexism. Ergo, profit oriented devs have no choice but to make their game sexist. The only choice they have is to limit this sexism for players who are not interested in it, just like BDO have no stripper-looking NPCs, I find female NPCs completely well-dressed and non-sexualized. Games with no sexism at all can only happen for non-profit developers.

Sorry feminists, you are simply outmarketed. Games aren't made sexists because of sexist tropes in the heads of the devs, the tropes come from the need to somehow integrate stripper looking characters into the game. I mean it's not "I'm lazy so let's use the centuries old Damsel in Distress story and design a passive, weakling Damsel" but "boss told me I need to put this stripper into the game because it pays for my salary how the hell should I do that for a game where every character is a soldier or terrorist?! Oh, wait, she'll be the hostage!"

BDO devs didn't do that, so the stripper gear is just there with no connection to anything, with no one trying to explain why it is there. You don't get it by accident and you don't see it on NPCs. You just see it on idiots when you are in cities and bother to stop and look instead of just minding your own business.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

This is a huge negative for Albion Online

Destabilizator wrote:
Did you hear/know about Albion Online? It's full loot MMO, not that different from EVE, currently in final beta (release eta 3-4 months). What I wanted to point out is that they are currently trying to come up with a system of GvG and meaningful open world PvP and similar systems - it looks to me like you may want to throw your analytics/theory skills into work there. Unique opportunity to make up a system that would get implemented. Thread with some discussion and you can also catch ppl/devs on Discord.
It's clear he wanted to encourage me about Albion Online, but got the very opposite result. I'm much less likely to even give a chance to the game. Why? Because in EVE I learned the hard way that devs working with players is a horrible idea.

On the first look, it's a great idea: instead of just pulling something out of their butt, they are constantly in discussion with the future customers to make the best product for them. Many companies do it with great effect. But games are very different from other products/services. In other fields the different customers have common interests. I want a car as comfortable and safe as the next guy and the more he enjoys riding the car the more like I will. In games we will be competing against each other. The more he'll like the game, the more likely I'll be pwned by him. For this reason he won't lobby to make the game universally better, but to make the game cater to him and to his buddies against everyone else.

To make it worse, no player is as invested in a game as the monetizers: RMT-ers, streamers, ad-riddled blog owners. For them it's not a game, it's a job. So they will not only tell their opinion on every occasion, but will also try to silence others and corrupt the devs, either socially (by becoming their real life friends) or flat out bribe.

We saw how bad this can get in EVE where Goons gained immunity against even the grossest of EULA violations and how they managed to nerf competitive play out of the game to turn it into an "all of our adclickers are Sov-holders" play. Then we saw how blatant RMTers corrupted the devs and gained control over the whole political landscape with their illicitly gained ISK. None of these could happen if CCP followed the good corporate policies and kept the decision makers away from outside influence. The results are devastating: since the last expansion (which flat out catered to the RMT-ers), 1/3 of the players left in 3 months. With this rate EVE will be dead in a year.

I'm afraid this will happen to Albion Online, except they won't even have a chance to start up. The monetizers will get their voice heard and the game will be unplayable for normal players to begin with. The best corporate-community relations I can imagine is "We make the game we want. You play it if you want or play something else if you don't like it." While I'm not happy about the P2W changes of BDO, the way they ignored player protests actually made me more likely to stay with BDO.

Social people are attracted to "open, friendly" groups, ignoring that such groups are open and friendly to their competitors too, turning the system into nepotism/asskissing contest. The only systems we can trust are objective and meritocratic. I want devs to listen to their own expertise and the sales charts instead of to me.