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The Queue: Fun fights {WoW}

Nov 30th 2011 11:48AM This is new. When you jump out of water on a land mount, you go to full speed during the jump, instead of retaining swim speed. You can now basically hop through water like a skipping stone. I don't know if it's intended or a bug, but it does have implications:
1) I will spend 20 minutes a day hopping across water.
2) Minor time implications for certain battlegrounds.

The Queue: Fun fights {WoW}

Nov 30th 2011 11:20AM Who else is excited for the land mount jumping out of water change?

It's so much fun!

Breakfast Topic: What keeps you playing? {WoW}

Nov 30th 2011 8:39AM Lighting folks on fire.

Whenever I feel a bit tired, "Slaughter Your World" keeps me coming back for more.

The return of raid stacking? {WoW}

Nov 29th 2011 9:14PM If only we could put a muzzle on their imps. I can barely stand my own.

Breakfast Topic: Which storyline do you want more of? {WoW}

Nov 28th 2011 10:53AM *tears*

As I... as I purify... *sob* these *sob* WATERS!

NEPTULON, I HAVE COME BACK FOR YOU!

Neptulon? Neptulon!? Wherefore art thou, Neptulon? Deny thy captor and refuse its will; or if thou wilt not, be but deus-ex-machina'd, my Lord, and I'll no longer be salt in thy pure waters.

*excessive sobbing*

Breakfast Topic: How do you adapt WoW for younger players? {WoW}

Nov 22nd 2011 12:29PM @anon e moose

Others views are welcome; your points are understood. A reply follows. It may be completely botched by character limits.

1) Exposing someone to "adult only" themes and conversations presupposes these are truly "adult only." But "adult only" tends to mean sex and violence, which are hardly "adult" topics. Every human has to deal with how he/she came to be (ultimately, sex); every human must deal with verbal/physical/mental violence (through firsthand accounts of animals and other humans and videos; through secondhand reports on the news). Intimacy is something every human deals with; that we have "frowned upon" words that deal with intimacy speaks not to the inherently adult nature of the words but to our societal attitude toward the words (and, oddly enough, we sometimes call some of these frowned-upon words "childish"). For the purposes of this argument, I will assume puberty has set in by age 12. So the body is ready, even if society is not. Those younger than 12 are about to hit puberty, which means the sexual self is something they will ultimately have an interest in.

However, true discussions of sexuality rarely take place in online gaming. What we often observe instead are superficial and arguably foul comments about presumed gender roles, bodily ownership, bodily respect, and bodily harm. These comments will make an impression upon the young mind, which means they can be used as a learning opportunity. While I personally played T-Rated/MMO games unsupervised when I was not legally an adult, I as a future parent would hands-on supervise my child until such time as I could be certain the child would be able to handle problems without my intervention. (Such resolution of problems could, of course, end in the child asking me for help -- merely having the "ask Dad for help when I'm confused" structure taught to the child's mind would be enough for me to reduce my supervision. It would be a glorious moment, because then the child is free to learn as the child sees fit. But it would not be the be-all, end-all moment of supervision; that is the moment when periodic check-ups would come into play, as would my questioning the child "So what did you learn today?") That I would trust my ability to supervise my child as I saw fit means I must trust others to do likewise; even if I can imagine cases where parents are ill-equipped to teach/supervise their children, parents too must learn. Before a human is a parent, a human is a non-parent. Becoming a parent does not bestow all parently wisdom. The parent must engage in trial-and-error just as much as the child, and mistakes with long-lasting consequences can occur. We cannot in a democratic republic that focuses on individual liberty prevent mistakes from happening. Bad things will happen as good things will happen, and no parent will have a perfect teaching relationship with the child. By not engaging in learning early, the parent is doing the child a disfavor because as the child ages (and is considered to be more ready to handle more of life's experiences), the child is more independent and less able to be shaped by the parent. A solid learning relationship with the child early on through exposing the child to the full spectrum of life experiences gives the child a better chance to handle any given reality both as an adult and when still a child.

2) I understand that there exist certain actions that society generally acknowledges as being able to hurt the child in the long-term. Pedophilia is often suggested. I do not understand pedophilia, so I won't judge the pedophile -- but I will acknowledge the act is despicable, as it is an act where one being disempowers another, and subverts and reconstructs that person's reality. I cannot judge the act in the edge case where both the pedophile and the child want that relationship. Society says "XYZ is bad," but that is just a shortcut past thinking, a heuristic that allows us to skip over arguing about the topic. I say this and mention this edge case in a logical, deconstructive manner because I do not wish to give pedophilia a shortcut to power over us by taking away our ability to see it with open minds -- but here it is not the act that I wish us to consider, but rather how society reacts to this act and what they do as a result to prevent this act. If I were to condemn pedophiles outright as evil and their victims as affected/broken/stunted, I am only creating a version of reality and not addressing the actual reality, which is that every human responds differently to situations. It is dangerous to treat a victim of pedophilia as someone who is "different" because they were "violated." Why? Because we are all humans, and we all have different experiences. Giving an act power to define the child (as "victim") further disempowers that child. Society will look at them differently, will re-contextualize the life of that child, will perhaps even excuse certain behavior because the child was a "victim." But bad things happen to all people, and in the end they are still just people. Every person's individual problems need individual care by guardians, but the child must also address his/her issues. To be able to do so requires a strong learning foundation. Consider the child victim of pedophilia; consider the child victim of a car accident that leaves the child paralyzed from the waist down. Both have had part of their reality altered by an outside force. The paralyzed child has had his/her ability to walk taken away from him/her. The pedophilia victim has had his/her personal space violated (and perhaps had their sense of security taken away from them). The paralyzed child is told to take hope in the actions of others who are paralyzed, perhaps to find a hero among disabled athletes; in essence, that child is told to build the thought pattern that because "X-hero can live with this, so can I." But the true reality is that the child can do so as a matter of fact, without a hero to look up to. The lesson that "I can overcome adversity" is one earned through being a victim or suffering a hardship, and although it can be learned by observing others, simple observation does not recreate the thought processes of the person who deals with the hardship. Lessons must be realized personally before they can be applied. And so I argue that children be allowed to be exposed to all realities to learn how to overcome these problems and to realize they alone have power over themselves and no one can change that, no matter what is done to the child. (The phrase "be allowed to be exposed to all realities" does NOT mean that we throw everything we can at them. It means that we accept the world is imperfect and live our lives without fear of what may happen so that we can act courageously when bad things do happen.)

3) Oh my, I wonder if there's a character limit to comments? I type forever.

4) I understand the concept of restriction the situations a child faces to restrict the consequences. But again, with your example of pedophilia, could it not occur despite the best actions of the guardian? There are cases of pedophilia where a relative or teacher commits the act. These are people you trust because you can't do everything. The moment you trust someone else with your child is the moment you relinquish some amount of your ability to control your child's situation. To say nothing of what the child will experience unsupervised during mass conversation times like in the cafeteria and at recess. It is a well-intentioned idea to control the child's situations, but ultimately only monks in the wilderness can control that reality to any certain degree. As I see WoW much like I see recess, I must hope all works out well, and I must safeguard that hope by teaching the child that it is best to ask me for help when the child is confused. With WoW, unlike recess, I can be right there all the time until the child is ready to handle the world on his/her own. With recess I cannot, which is all the more reason to expose the child to all life situations so that not only can he/she handle the uncontrollable environments, but that he/she can also serve as a role model for others and, perhaps in so doing, further secure a reasonable environment where adults have less control.

5) I thank you for your concerns, as they forced me to write out my thoughts at length and consider the finer aspects. I cannot say I have changed my mind after listening to you, but I will remember what you have said and will remember when dealing with other parents that they may have similar concerns that cannot be dismissed and replaced with my reality.

Breakfast Topic: How do you adapt WoW for younger players? {WoW}

Nov 22nd 2011 10:34AM I do not agree with the folks who say their incomplete development as humans is reason enough to keep kids away from the game "until they're older." If we treat them as learning beings, then we must at some point trust them with learning a new part of the world. Online gaming is here to stay; we should avoid being arbitrary about when a child can play the game.

13 is an arbitrary number. T for Teen -- in English, a Teen is 13+ because 11 and 12 don't end in Teen. It was a rule of thumb for guiding mass quantities of humans (as are 18, 21) without individual inspection -- a decision deemed necessary for top-down governmental regulations to be applied effectively.

But various studies will show you various things, and anyone can craft an argument in their opinion's favor. I could say that we know that the human brain often isn't fully developed until 23+ according to oft-cited studies; I could say that this development is also the sum of all previous learning sessions, so for that reason we should not prevent younger humans from exposing themselves to all manner of different situations, especially social situations.

In this society, it's generally accepted that parents/guardians/elders control the child's life until a certain age, legally, and after which the child can choose fully for him/herself. That's a lot of leeway for the guardian to play with, and with x amount of time investment, the guardian can properly set up any learning environment, including WoW. It's not about blocking curse words; it's about explaining why those words are frowned upon and what they make other people feel like. We can't make our young feel remorse for saying something mean, but we can make sure they know others feel differently. Eventually, as they develop, they will decide for themselves whether they will use curse words and why. Until they decide on the "why," though, they haven't committed themselves to it. They can change. We ourselves are many iterations of previous selves, and only through trial and effort (and most likely, many failures) did we learn how we feel about what we do, and we learned how we felt after we learned to do something. So rudeness is not rudeness to a being who doesn't understand what you understand rudeness to entail. Being around foul-mouths and foul ideas will not generate foulness in the youth, though it will give it a neural pathway to exist and be acted upon. But youth is about learning and acting and learning from acting and acting from that learning. Every and any "dangerous" or "unfavorable" situation in WoW for kids (as deemed by guardians) is a learning area.

We cannot use the justification that "Oh, I was a terrible 12-year-old in WoW" as reason to prevent other 12-year-olds from playing. Even if they spend one, two, or three or more years of their online gaming life as complete arses, they will not forget that experience. We cannot force them to change, though we can change the way we interact with them, and through that learning experience, should they not desire the changes of attitude in those around them, the child will learn that certain behaviors will generate undesired results. At the same time, should the child not care, then it's not like we can stop him from not caring. We can tell people to care, but we can't force them to feel it. Better that they experience these learning scenarios young so that when their actions have more impact (when they're older), they'll be well-prepared to act as they truly want to and know the full extent of the consequences of how they interact with the world.

Patch 4.3 PTR: Valor and conquest point changes {WoW}

Nov 17th 2011 5:24PM Concerning the Conquest Point change,

*In order to read the rest of this comment, you must imagine Spongebob's face in the grips of euphoria*

GREATEST DAY EVAR!

*Smile widens, top half of head falls off*

5 reasons you should love The Burning Crusade {WoW}

Nov 9th 2011 8:32AM Same. And then sometimes you'd have a lag spike, and all of a sudden...

ZOOM! There goes a Fel Reaver flying across the screen. A mixture of joy and terror.

Mists of Pandaria: The myth of the talent tree choice {WoW}

Oct 31st 2011 8:53PM I think the closest to getting away from the concept of cookie-cutter-as-requisite are those choices which lead to a difference in how you play the game without changing dps.

I'm a warlock (hear me howl), and I really, truly hate the pet AI.

I hate having to check the screen to make sure my imp is attacking the bloody target I told it to attack. Shannox was the worst because I was the switch-target player when our dps needed finesse to get the percentages on target. Ctrl+1 & Ctrl+2 are not my friends, and it's always a loss of dps when I have to scramble to tell my imp to re-attack the target I already told it to attack, not the one that's still subject to my Bane of Havoc. (Concession: There are macros. They aren't perfect. They shouldn't be a necessary addition. And fights like Nef have mechanics which screw with pets.)

With Tier 5 Grimoire of Sacrifice, I can play without a pet for good chunks of time. I'm in the lighting people on fire business for the sake of lighting people on fire; I know others in my profession happen to like their pets, or can handle telling the pet to attack the target again and again -- THEY don't have to pick up Grimoire of Sacrifice, especially if the dps increase is the same across the board for Tier 5. Me? I take too much pleasure staring at the target, watching it burn.

THAT's one place where can we get away from one definition of cookie-cutter choices. If Grimoire of Service (the two-pet choice) isn't balanced, however -- if it's OP by a large margin, and considered requisite -- then I might quit the class because I'm being forced to play in a way I don't want to (namely, with my eyes on two buggers instead of one).

Me not having to watch my pets allows for less tangible changes in playstyle as well. For example, without babysitting a pet I've got more time to think and make call-outs. I'm not the fastest thinker, but as long as I'm not watching the pet I've got time to think inbetween spamming spell priorities. I've been known to bandage people in the middle of a fight because I discover in that downtime that the healers are too far away (Beth) and a couple extra thousand health will give that person the ability to take one more hit without wasting my brez (this gets coupled with a heal-X call-out in Vent.

But let's say that the Pet AI gets out of beta and releases on time for MoP, and I love it, and let's say warlocks do get the special abilities of both pets with Grimoire of Service. Here comes another playstyle option -- let's say I'm rolling with Succubus (for whatever reason), and I decide to pull out the Imp as well: now, if I'm the type of player who has a sharp eye for debuffs, I can dispel magic effects for 30 seconds. It's what I currently do with my imp (with the help of Clique and Blizzard's raid frames). Raid leaders usually won't expect me to do this kind of extra credit work. It's not what you bring warlocks for, and it's a rather obscure ability, at least to most raid leaders I've encountered. In truth, it won't help that much. I've only saved a couple people from dying on Argaloth with the ability. But it can make a difference, and I could keep doing the little extra things by choosing Grimoire of Service (or at least not choosing Grimoire of Sacrifice).

There still are some cut and dry choices for some classes, if not all classes, especially if you consider the unfortunate consequence of specific builds for specific fights. But as long as 1 or 2 choices change the way we can play the game, then I'll give Blizzard a Win this round on talent changes.

As a side thought, I think PvP will benefit more from the current talent offerings. PvP is not scripted (until you get to high-end players who keep track of a lot of variables and known facts in their minds and UIs), and different players can have different ideas on how to screw with suggested builds. Surprising someone once can be enough to win the match or come back from near death. Druid Tier 1 Displacer Beast comes to mind as one example (that has me considering rolling a druid).

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