World of Warcraft

Blizzard never rests … getting worse

Topic: reserved character names.
The unimaginative self-victimizing spineless whiners who would call reserving a character name using an idle char “passive griefing” to claim it is against the rules have won. As usual. But it might not even be directly this pathetic personality trait that was the reason. At the core, Blizzard cares about profits, and gamemasters having to manually deal with requests cost money, so now instead of acting mature and setting a standard, they cater to that mindset that is so close to their own by automating the process. And automation means it is being done. And the conditions are appalling:

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https://eu.battle.net/support/en/article/requesting-a-name-be-released-for-reuse

“Requesting a Name be Released for Reuse

We often receive requests from players to free up a character name. Customer Support will no longer assist with releasing names. Instead, names will automatically become available if the account that holds the name has remained inactive for the past two expansions.

For example, if an account has been inactive since before the Cataclysm expansion, all names on that account will be made available when the Warlords of Draenor expansion launches.

If you are an active player, there is no need to worry that your character names will be changed, even if you have been playing other characters for a while.
Updated: 27-Jul-2015
Article ID: 200790 ”

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Notice how it doesn’t say anything about character level. So if you found an awesome name that you can identify with, leveled the char to 85, got tons of achievements and rep and stuff, then stopped playing, and are now coming back to Warlords of Draenor, you might find your level 85 character has had its name taken away and given on a silver plate to a brat with a bloated sense of entitlement. Because that’s the target audience Blizzard caters to and always has. Some people just don’t understand that Blizzard doesn’t respect them, despite their best efforts to make that clear, like said case. If you are inactive for a longer time, you just don’t matter to them. Even though they lost tons of subscribers lately. They have given up and don’t expect you to return to the game anyway, so don’t be a fool and even consider it if you have any self-respect. They fully focus on the “whales” (rich and/or addicted) now. Supporting such a business has negative consequences for all of humankind and the world.

The nail in the coffin for my WoW subscription years ago was actually because of more automation and ensuing disrespect when a game master eventually talked total bullshit to me (as people usually do when reason collides with lowly motivations).

Any temptation there might have been for me to re-sub has been thoroughly averted by my self-respect. And preserving my self-respect even under severe pressure is an actual achievement.

Sidenote: RP is supposed to nourish creativity, but WoW isn’t really what role playing games used to be. People who complain that “all the good names are in use” are too stubborn to not have it 100% their way. They should just practice some creativity, which would work if the will was there.

I am probably the gold standard, because I have a hard time coming up with character names that are not unique, haha. xD

Selling your soul becomes closer to literal for businesses

Blizzard runs World of Warcraft.

They have their own website and a game forum specifically for World of Warcraft and the game’s login screen features an optional news window if something’s important.

It seems they maneuvered back a bit now (probably because of significant negative feedback), but a while ago you had to look for important info about stuff like unscheduled server offtime on Twitter. They really want people to go to Twitter. And they have Twitter integration in the game now, so I suspect marketing whoring to bring about the new world dominance.

Daybreak Gaming Company (formerly Sony Online Entertainment) runs Planetside 2. That game, too, has its own game forum, and just like in the case of World of Warcraft, you use your game login, which means that if you want to talk to the player community, there you will find the people who are actually playing the game.

Yet the go-to place for the devs to communicate with players is Reddirt. ( That was a typo I decided to keep. 😀 )

In other news, one of the big German internet providers (the privatized formerly national one in the form of the telephone company Deutsche Telekom) – T-Online – now decided to sell their own website.

Yeah, you heard right. T-Online.de. The company’s website. Where you can log in and do customer service stuff, web mail etc and where they offer their service packages, and also run it as a combined new portal. They sell it. The website that dons their name won’t be theirs anymore.

And it’s probably because of the news component, and not deciding to separate that, but keep it tied to the name, shows how highly names are valued in business, as a brand.

If this continues, selling your own grandma might soon become more than just a figure of speech.

And you know that this is all touching the topic of slavery, right?

When you are no longer in control of your own assets. When more and more that you thought is yours becomes owned.

Are you sure your name is still part of you and not just a legal person? Maybe it has been sold without your consent. (This is what happened to that German telephone company. Important things are not decided democratically here, but sufficiently indirectly to allow the plutocracy to rule over their subjects.)

Speaking of control: When businesses become so big that they consider the small stuff not lucrative enough, they dump that; leave the bread crumbs to the small businesses.

Amazon seemed to have realized that the small crumbs add up, so they decided to gain control over that, too. Can you still afford to run small online distribution without Amazon Marketplace? And Amazon gets their cut. This is the hybrid-solution of total dominance. It’s related to politics when you control and lead the dissent against you in order to crush or drown out any non-approved dissent.

Amazon might have a relatively good service for a huge corporation, but I don’t give them credit for that. Because they can easily afford it. It’s not like there’s still another big competitor like it’s so often the case when corporations wage a war and lose customer-orientation. Amazon now tries to intercept all potential competition and put them under their umbrella. They take all the benefits and reject the inconveniences. Amazon Marketplace is no benefit for small businesses because it only appears to be an advantage because it exists. It’s a bit of a mafia approach: You pay money for protection. Which would be a legit service contract if we didn’t talk about what it is that you need protection against.
This might end in what people who are afraid of socialism think is socialism but is actually a capitalism that they should be afraid of. Concentration of power is never a good idea. It has to be rooted in the people.

Encore
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Wondering why so many businesses sell out? – It’s like a 3-layer system:
1) Some created their business to sell it once it gets attactive.
2) Those who didn’t might get an offer to sell it that is attractive enough to put money before the business. (Might also be due to special circumstances like with Mojang where Notch wasn’t ready for the responsibility of a fast-growing business.)
3) Those who refused to sell might be either signaled that if they don’t sell, the potential buyer will just push them out of the market with their greater might, or this step happens without communicating that course of action to them.

This chain can be broken by courage, resolve and skill. You gotta be smart enough to, when losing in a shitty game, step out of the game and create your own rules. It’s all mostly just a mind game anyway. The good thing about out-of-the-box thinking is that then you no longer live in a box. 😉

Reasons behind the WoW pandaren critique

People complained about the pandaran race introduced in World of Warcraft’s Mists of Pandaria expansion. They still occasionally do.
One might wonder why, since the pandaran race has been canon since the pre-MMO Warcraft times, and so have certain other strange animal-like races.
I will tell you what the problem is. It is becoming quite obvious when you listen to the ‘reasoning’ behind the critique.

It is about male insecurities. People who are bothered by pandaren demand more blood, gore, violence and ugliness. This active rejection of beauty sounds very much like fanaticism. Behavior based on fear and suppression of the truth behind it. (World of) Warcraft has always had silly and cheesy elements. But pandaren are, at least in some aspects, more inclined towards peace, beauty and wisdom; attributes of a healthier society. One might argue they’re traits associated with femininity. So when a guy says: “This isn’t ugly and horrible enough!” it’s pretty clear that this is what’s going on. Masculine-ego boost. It’s the same reason why fans of My Little Pony get flamed. It challenges traditional role models and mass psychology induced by marketing/popculture. The resistance is the reactionary act of people afraid of loss of identity. So, basically, as said before: insecurities acting up.
Being fine with pandas roaming Azeroth is the mature approach.

Especially when they’re dual-wielding katanas and giving out free beer, haha.

The problem with World of Warcraft in one anecdote

They introduced profession daily quests, I think with Cataclysm. One of the fishing daily quests required you to swim in the waters of Stormwind Harbor and collect crawfish from traps on the sea floor.
And there were sharks. Highlevel sharks, so if you weren’t level-maxed, their aggro range was especially high.
And this was so much fun. Few things get your blood pumping in that way. (Another example would be covert enemy city infiltration.) Because there was an actual risk, requiring you to pay attention. The sharks had that habit of approaching just when you weren’t looking, from the somewhat murky water. It was a constant sense of danger and you’d look around nervously all the time, trying to not stay at one spot for too long or getting cornered. And this was OK, since you had been given a buff that increases swim speed and gives water breathing. So the challenge was just to stay away from the sharks.

And apparently some OCD babies whined that this hassle interfers with their mindnumbing daily quest routine. And Blizzard does what they always do … cave to them. Probably based on the business dictate to appeal to the lowest common denominator, for profit maximization.

So the sharks got nerfed to level 15 … which of course felt pathetic, disheartening.

Sharks should never be the target of pity. It’s just wrong.

And the water there is also crystal-clear now.
Oh and did I mention the comfort of the water breathing buff that you automatically get when accepting the quest so that you don’t even have to buy potions if you want to be lazy? How this further takes the appeal out of alchemy? Well, the potions AND the buff are pretty much pointless now, since at this point, breath time of characters has been increased to an insane THREE minutes! Unmodified by whether you swim or fight or get hit or anything. As long as you don’t stay submerged for more than 3 minutes, you’re fine. And then, if you still don’t catch a breath and let that extremely long timer run out, you get ANOTHER warning in the form of health loss every two seconds, so that it takes another 12 seconds of health loss before you actually die.

As mentioned in the title, this is just one of many possible exemplary cases that show what kind of mindset ruins the sprit, the magic, of World of Warcraft.

One example of the ego’s control games

The following thread in the World of Warcraft forums is several years old, but it is valuable as exposition of the frequent mind games that happen especially on internet forums when ‘help’ is involved, when people fuel their desire for control by exploiting those in need, since their intentions aren’t really altruistic and they try to derive relevance for their own existence that way. It’s all due to a lack of empathy, and the mechanisms that lead to it would be complex to explain here, but if you’re interested in psychology and have heard of things like Milgram experiment or Asch comformity test, it’s quite likely you will grasp what’s going on.
This severe egotism, among various other mental disturbances, is one of the major things that put me off while playing the game. Just because it’s MMO doesn’t mean it’s social. It very much encourages what I described in a previous blog entry: https://dowlphinblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/alliance-of-convenience-vs-working-together-for-the-result/

Alright, no further introduction necessary, since the thread itself is quite self-explanatory.

http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3312962096

Game time tokens are translating two-class society into the game realm

The game time token (as used with the name PLEX in EVE Online, and the idea having been announced for World of Warcraft) is another feature with metagaming aspects. Another thing that translates the dominant business mentality into the game. People with good income can buy wealthy-status ingame and with it fund the continued play of those who are ‘poor’ in RL but got lots of time, and they’re working for ingame currency and then burning it up just to be able to continue playing, which of course pleases the business, but puts the non-wealthy player in a dependency relation not unlike wage slavery. After all, they’re spending a considerable amount of time with just making sure they can continue playing. And this more direct tie-in with real money value will likely also rot people’s motivations even more, like guild leveling did by creating guild ad spamming. It creates a survivalist and greedy atmosphere.
It is a two-class society in the making. The rich are benefitting off the poor.
After EVE Online with its players spending much time ship-spinning in the hangar, doing their regular business transactions, World of Warcraft now has something quite similar with garrisons. And after EVE Online’s PLEX, World of Warcraft will adopt yet another feature from them. World of Warcraft is getting increasingly inspired by the one MMO that is more rotten than itself. Which was to be expected when you understand the whole problem complex. For Blizzard there is only one direction. Business pressures dictate them onto a course that has passed the point of no return long ago, and they willingly subjected themselves to those masters.

A Study in Reality Denial

An example of how much many people are willing to completely abandon perception of obvious reality in order to satisfy their personal unhealthy attitudes.

First, in order to understand the degree of sickness that can be found in games like World of Warcraft (but also in the outside world) imagine yourself in this situation:

You’re standing in front of the post office, talking to a friend. Suddenly someone approaches you and says: “Move!”. You: “Eh, what? Why?” He: “You jerk are blocking sight of my destination.” You: “No need to be rude. What’s the problem with blocking your sight? You can just walk around us, there’s no problem at all.” He: “Pal, I’m not arguing here. Just move, OK? Don’t be a dick by making life harder for everybody.” You: “What’s wrong with you? Why the hell don’t you just walk around us? The post office is right there. It’s impossible to miss.” He: “Alright, I asked you a very simple thing, but apparently you want to annoy people. I will call the police and tell them about what you are doing here. They will lock you up for at least a week.”

Yeah, this is reality. People are doing that.

I was in World of Warcraft on my free-to-play account, in Ironforge where the Chistmas presents are available for opening. The usual scene there is that it is very crowded, with dozens of players idling right in front of the presents, blocking sight – but not access, since a long time ago the game was modified so that you can click any interactive object even if a player is standing right on it.
Occasionally a player would park their huge mount right on the presents to troll people. More often, others are just not considerate enough to realize they’re standing on an object.

This problem can be solved by zooming into first person view and/or just approaching the presents from the backside where not a single player was standing, but that would have required people to use their brain – something that is increasingly resented in WoW, and the game further caters to that trend.

So I was watching and doing my creative brainstorming, and I eventually figured out that I could use my proto drake mount to align myself in an odd angle that made it stem its foot against Santa’s chair and span its wing over him like an umbrella. Beautiful.
So I did that.

WoWScrnShot_122514_215530 (position example)

And then the shitstorm started.

You see, WoW attracts the worst kind of people and encourages unhealthy tendencies, so there were tons of people who totally felt like they had to satisfy their need for practicing righteous indignation and restoring neat and tidy total order for their personal ideas of how the world should be. Apparently the game lore with the fanatic Scarlet Crusade hasn’t taught them anything.

So what happened was that very many people totally ignored the fact that I wasn’t even visually blocking Santa or the presents and kept rudely bothering and insulting me via whispers and says and bathing in their own arrogance and supposed moral superiority.

Amusingly, every now and then someone would use some kind of toy to make all the players standing around there start to cry. It was so appropriate.

Not kidding: One guy even said I am ruining people’s Christmas with what I’m doing. Total insanity!

“Simple as that” – Words of denial
WoWScrnShot_122514_221613 (Simple as that - The words of denial)

Another one complained that on Alliance side the presents are positioned against a wall. That realization – which isn’t even that relevant – would already have contained the solution – to take a look at the free backside of the area. But people only see what they want to see.
I had opened 50 presents earlier, under worse conditions, without making a fuss. Seriously, it’s like people complaining on Easter that the eggs are hidden.

At some point they started making up obvious lies about people having gotten banned earlier the day for it. They just couldn’t stand the idea that they might not get their way, so they decided to move into a power-trippy phantasy world.
This triumphant crying for the authorities whenever something touches people’s control issues is making things easier for fascism.
When the next tyranny succeeds, blame the common rabble.

One or two people who whispered me first called me names, saying how ugly and evil I am, and then finished by wishing me merry Christmas and a nice evening. Yeah, so much for this being a sincerely serious issue to them. They’re just saying such totally contrary stuff so that they can preserve their self-image of being a good person. It’s all about them and their bullshit.

One theme that persisted through all those interactions: I was practicing a socratic dialogue, and the simple inquiry about the reality at hand, about what I am supposedly blocking, either immediately silenced people, or made them actively refuse to tell me what they see, or make claims contrary to the obvious reality. Yeah, this is all too familiar. Cases like these, and you should remember that, are not some unconscious delusion. Those people KNOW very well that they are talking bullshit. They have made a conscious decision not to care about the facts; to sacrifice the truth so that they can continue their egomanic crusade.

Of all the people bothering me, only a single one so much as mentioned the mailbox, whose space my character kinda occupied. I then, again in the spirit of socratic dialogue, asked how she knows there is a mailbox there. (Because any idiot would have been able to access it without any problem.) Again, silence.

Also, one person actually gave me an answer to my question, about how my dragon mount is positioned, eliminating any doubt one could have had, about a possible desync between my and other clients or such.

One of the players who every now and then decdided to park his huge mount right on top of the presents (which actually makes it very easy to even see them, since the model is empty inside) summed it up nicely:
“You don’t cry over 100 people standing around there but as soon as 1 mount come, all hell breaks loose.”

And they’re complaining about ME?!
WoWScrnShot_122514_232234 (And they're complaining about me_!)

And this fact involves a case of amazing hypocrisy, because one guy who kept bothering me and didn’t tolerate my presence eventually parked his character right in front of some presents and went AFK, like so many other people that were collectively forming a visual barrier. And when he later came back and I pointed that out, he had the audacity to still act all righteous.
I ended the convo by saying I just realized he’s a retribution paladin and that I thus can’t enlighten him tonight. ^^

Now THAT’s a SOMEWHAT bigger issue, haha.
WoWScrnShot_122514_224249 (Now THAT's a slightly more justified issue, haha.)

The oddest convo I had, which makes me wonder whether one of the crazed lunatics set him up to it, was an apparently new player, level 13 char, who timidly asked me to stop blocking the quest objects, and when I told him that I already verified I am in fact not blocking them, the response was: “Oh, OK.” That really surprised me a little. But, it also motivated me to explain in more detail and give him hints about how to easily access visually blocked quest objects. It was the most intelligent conversation I had that evening with a player in Ironforge.

Reality check failed
WoWScrnShot_122614_011258 (Reality check failed)

Probably the most amusing dialogue was when someone – apparently meant sarcastically – asked me whether I could move my mount closer to the presents. That gave me the opportunity to reply that I don’t want to block Santa or the presents.
Again, silence after that, haha. The power of truth.

At some point I pondered the question whether I should feel sorry for the GMs being confronted with all that ridiculous report spam. But no, they designed the game in a way to attract the worst of society and encourage immaturity and rotten character, making no effort to direct young players towards maturity, which they totally could if they weren’t such money-grabbers.
They probably have an automated filtering system for player reports anyway.

This reminds me of two things:
1) An experience I had on the WoW forums long ago where people wasted an astonishing amount of energy with resisting simply helping me out with something just so that they could showcase their arrogant – and false – beliefs. Pompous blood elf paladins and wannabe-MVP draenei shamans and such. Eventually it took an orc death knight to get the job done. A “can do” guy among many naysayers. … And afterwards the egomaniacs were still attempting their control games and trying to save face. Here’s the link in case you’d like to know all the details: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3312962096
2) Something I blogged about earlier that conveys the spirit in which I did what I did that evening: https://dowlphinblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/competitive-gaming-campers-and-the-unfairness-of-life/

When there is uproar among the lowly peasants, I just find it ado-rabble. ^^