Interesting Permaban in LoL

Penny Arcade’s recent comic is about players who get banned (its a clever Silence of the Lambs), and not just any players – but the worst of the worst. The comic itself is a reference to a LOL (league of legends) player who has been perma-banned. Not the players account – the actual player. And he’s had his accounts closed permanently 3 times before. He also played with two others who are also facing bans.

Penny Arcade (webcomic)

The level of transparency in the ban and the actual severe ban for this guy is wonderful to see. If for nothing else I might try LOL to see just how virulent the community is, and also experience their behaviour reporting system.

Every online community can do with this type of system; especially WoW. LOL has the Summon’s Code, a purpose written set of guidelines for player behaviour. I respect the right of a player to express frustration, to get heated, and to flame on a bit. It frequently goes way too far often when the person faces no actual ramifications for being overtly rude or disrespectful.

A quick click through the comments found almost total support for the bans, but a few voices speaking out against it. That is to be expected when (a) there are many more borderline players who might be at risk of bans, and (b) the community has been frustrated for a long time.

“Speaking as someone who always has all-chat turned off because of the boring verbal harassment that goes on in every single game, I have to say that all of the Riot punishments are rather meek. I don’t understand why this is the first time I see lifetime ban, but good going Riot.”

I’ve seen one repeat criticism of the bans which is that Riot should not have used the login names in the bans. I disagree. Using the login names and especially linking them to the other accounts where these same players behaved against the guidelines demonstrates the commitment to improving the community. Name and shame on an account name is not severe at all, and certainly makes sense. It shows the rest of the community that a standard was set, and the penalty for not meeting that standard.

Love this…ban them all and let their gods sort them out. Continue reading

No more casual vs hardcore?

I think we need a better set of terms for players than Casual vs Hardcore. The two terms cause constant arguments and are about as subjective as calling somebody out for not being ethical.Your ethics are not mine, just like your version of Hardcore will be different from mine.Is it time spent, completion-ism, performance, consistency, background knowledge, or what..? Well its all those things and more.

Once its (obviously) recognised as being subjective, the problem then becomes that the same vague interpretation and personalisation that affects the terms Casual and Hardcore also apply to almost every other set of words you’d use. Viewing any of the options as definitive extremes poor and it becomes an absolute disaster when you try to use one word to surmise a person’s goals.

There is also the problem of viewing the terms in isolation within a single game like World of Warcraft, or broader to all MMO’s, or even to open as wide as possible to any type/style of gamer. For this measurement I’m sticking to Warcraft. The reason is that a measurement of games is too wide, and the same person might play 12 different games, and play each in a different manner. By way of example I play WoW, a few iPhone games, and some basic strategy and card games. I cannot think of a way that the play styles and dedication could be rationalised in a cohesive manner. Solitaire is too different from Warcraft; its comparing Apples to Spacecraft.

Basically its a huge mess, so as a solution I’m offering this post into the already overly populated sea of opinions; in the hope that it somewhat floats.

Joystick had a very logical summary last year, which covered the basics as far as WoW was concerned. If you’re hunting for a reasonable compilation of the basic issues, or a perspective of what the wider community was thinking around the mid-Lich-King days, then its a darn handy resource. Also check out some of these other links, which all cover the types of gamers in the Casual vs hardcore debate in some way. Even a post from the official forums. They’re all good. These linked posts also identify that many of the community fell outside the range of classifications in these posts too. Commenters offered up new types such as “Serious Hobbyists”, or “Definitely Time Crunched”, and so on. The posts, terms, and comments were all fine, but still missed the mark.

I also commented and linked a post many years ago (whoa – in 2008 no less) by a mate of mine who also had a perspective, mainly born from the conflicts found within a guild for the more casual members vs the more dedicated players. My take at the time was based around the amount of time it takes to explain to somebody else:

  • If you have to explain why you’re not hardcore in more than one sentence; you’re talking to a softcore or hardcore.
  • If it starts an argument or takes 15 minutes, you’re talking to a hardcore.
  • If you grief somebody for non-attendance you are hardcore (and a wanker).
  • If you have sacrificed a good time out of game for WoW, then you’re at least softcore. If you didn’t view it as a sacrifice, then you’re hardcore.
  • And if fun is more important than any of these questions; then you’re casual. In which case I’d like you to consider finding a great casual (not softcore) guild on your sever, or join ours.

Three years of time has only slightly changed my perspective, and generally I still hold those comments as true. They are though as lacking as the other posts.

For this alternate definition I’m mainly thinking of World of Warcraft, but I think that some of the logic should apply very widely. What I was thinking was changing from having two binary options to chose from, to creating more a Myers-Briggs personality type play-style measurement, which details what a person is using a short acronym (AELOSF – see below). A few of the pages above offered stylistic templates rather than binary choices too, much like a horoscope; where a player could read the description and pick one that matched them the closest. I guess I’m trying this as I fell through the definitions of both those approaches.

The Myers-Briggs style picks a set of paired terms that are fairly ambiguous, that can also be placed diametrically opposed to each other with a fair degree of logic – and then has the reader pick which they match better to. In effect they pick between the two extremes in the same manner as the Casual vs Hardcore, but where they sit is expanded due to the range of options in the definition.

These are some of the ideas I had for the juxtaposed measurements:

  • Professional vs Amateur – where a Professional is being paid money to participate, and an Amateur is unpaid. There is a very clear difference, although not overly useful to most of the community as I’d bet most people are not paid to play games. I’m not sure if this has practical application or not, and if it was applied, if it should be applied to a game on a case by case basis.
  • Experienced vs Newbie – where a Experienced player is one who is very familiar with the game, and a Newbie is learning the basic concepts. Now this is a far more subjective range, where there is a much greater range between the two ends. As terms they’ll create debate unto themselves, but I hope when added to the rest of the mix the terms themselves will become more descriptive of the player’s goals.
  • Unlimited time vs Limited time – where the unlimited person has high availability to play, and the limited person has almost none. This could also contain a sub-range of people who have interruption free vs constant interruption, but I’m not sure yet if that level of granularity is needed.
  • Optimal vs Relaxed – as to their use of their time and their resources. This is an interesting one, as the style of use of resources is the focus of many blogs and websites, and they themselves are often focused on maximum efficiency. The gold per hour type measurement, kills per raid, and if the player cares how long it takes to get a dungeon done. Some players are very relaxed and are not overly fussed if a dungeon completion takes 20 extra minutes, but others are excited by the prospect of beating a record, or even frustrated by 30 seconds of dead time after a boss kill.
  • Social vs Hidden – is a measure of how important the interaction with others plays is for their valuable gameplay. There are players who raid (which obviously requires other players) but would not otherwise interact with anyone. There are also the players who only play due to the social aspects, and there are players who may as well be playing a solo game, as they talk to nobody.
  • Focused vs Wide range of focus – are you a player who seeks to complete all your chosen activities? Professions, archaeology, or participate in both pvp and pve content, or have a range of alts vs. just one character.

So we end up with a set of choices, still somewhat binary, but not as restrictive as a single word.

I would be: (A)ELOSF.

This is because I’m an unpaid Amateur but Experienced WoW player, with very Limited time, who always plays Optimally. I highly value the Social aspects of the game, but tend to Focus on pve for a few characters only. The Brackets are there as I think almost everyone will be an “A” as far as World of Warcraft is concerned.

So what are you? What type of gamers are out there?

ps – The Dead Good Tanking Guide as a great comment:

I know, I know – why would you bother reading yet another diatribe about who falls into what category? But I’m working from the knowledge that the same could be applied to EVERYTHING I write, so I’ll continue safe in the knowledge this piece is no better or worse than my usual offerings. :)

He’s spot on, and added to my feed reader.

Bad Guild Apps

We see guild apps now and then without knowing the person beforehand; and there have been a few more since the guild got to 6/7 in Firelands. Often I am reading this:

Basically skilled player with too many alts, seeks 9 or 24 other people to carry me through the content until I have either too much homework, a girlfriend, or am grounded.

I prefer communication via chat, and won’t talk on vent unless you’re into lowbrow dick jokes. Given how wonderful my mother thought I was until I reached puberty, I reserve the right to ninja the loot I want, and bitch if not taken on raids, granted loot, or if the guild’s female members don’t reciprocate my clumsy flirting enough with me.

Please have no other high maintenance players.

My plan is to get geared up via your runs. Please also change your Wednesday raid night to Thursday, as that better fits around my schedule.

regards,

Lolazorin, Champion of the Murloks

Based of a comment I made at Matticus blog. Happy recruiting.

Almost a single game player

Kill Ten Rats has a nice post on the happiness of single game players. Good enough for me to transcribe & expand my comment, and worth a bit of your eyeball time.

In a nut shell: are people happy with wow because they know no other options for game play exist, or is the choice to play a single game only actually a valid cognitive decision?

Zubon writes:

What was revelatory for me at one point was that there were people who thought of themselves not as gamers, not as MMO gamers, but as WoW players. They are not interested in the genre, in seeing competing implementations, in the next MMO coming out… They just play WoW. Hardcore or casual, this is their game, done, the way some people are baseball or football fans (a perspective that had not occurred to me until I typed it, which suddenly makes “one game” make a lot more sense, although most seem to be “sports fans” who need a group of sports to make it through the other seasons).

I’m an almost single game player. I’ve tried eve, ran screaming from DDO and LoTR, and looked enough at Rift, Conan, and Warhammer to know that WoW was a better game for my taste and therefore not worth changing from. That is the key for me, my current taste is well served by wow and while I’ll happily look at other games; there is little in the market which is enticing a change. My taste may change too, but for now wow is ok enough.

This was not always the case though. Before I played wow I played a wide range of games, and was always buying new ones. Not because I was keen to experiment, but because I like a narrow band of games and wow is in that band. There is no reason to pay for a new game when the current subscription is doing the job. I dread to consider the amount of money I wasted on games in the past, where the play time was around 15-30 hours and then it was done.

A game has to be worth the sticker price. Apart from World of Warcraft my favourite game is Master of Orion 2. It is now ancient, but still had the right balance of management and action for a turn based game. The updated version 3 was horrid and seemed to miss the “game” that was delivered with the v2.

Add to this the investment of time in terms of what has been achieved for me in WoW, and it is hard to argue with wow as a fundamentally good offer; for me. I know that this statement is somewhat recursive, as the more time spent, the more investment you have; but it is true to my ape brain. The subscription cost per month is the equivalent of two drinks. Even if I only play for 10 hours a month, the cost is almost inconsequential.

But WoW has its flaws too. Like I said, they do the things I like well, and I tend to stay away from the aspects of wow that I dislike (pvp, pet and mount collecting to name two). Blizzard has created many features that I’d rather not have, or moved in directions that I dislike – and you cannot have everything.

I doubt I’ll find a game that meets all my perfect criteria, and if I did it would probably have such a small player base as to be not economically viable for long.

In terms of getting all the features, I actually think it is better to do less features very well, than do every feature in an average way. A narrow and loyal market segment can be widened, but it is very hard to grow wide when you’re not already doing something to retain customers. Simple games also can be powerful in the market. Do one thing well and have the opportunity to show your expertise.

Happy gaming – TyphoonAndrew

Best use of Frost Emblems for casual players?

Emblem of Frost iconIf you are a casual, or leveling and gearing alts – then you’re probably not going to have 400 Emblems of Frost to purchase 264+ ilevel items for all gear locations. Instead you’ll probably run the heroic daily, get 30-60 badges, and look at what is your best purchase.

It begs the question of what is the best use of Frost Emblems for casual players?

My list in order of priority would be:

  1. One Trinket. Without question. These are often the most difficult to get, and will last you the longest. I’d say that get your first trinket, and then maybe another slot, rather than buying two trinkets. However if you are a dual-role class, maybe get a trinket for each spec if you’ll use them.
  2. Belts & Cloaks. They are cheaper than the rest, and often harder slots to upgrade than the Feet, Hand, Chest, Shoulders, and Head.
  3. Then your Class Tier gear.

Happy killing.

I wish for an Oceanic RP server

The days where I can watch a conversation between Ipwnutoo, Leetlock, and loldruid are nearly over. Well I’ll still be watching them, but is makes my skin scrawl that players think these names are ok. C’mon seriously wow players, there has to be a line where you’re leveling to 80 and your name is a joke, consider a change. (begin soapbox)

I was grouped with some randoms leveling on an alt, and a Death Knight had a god-awful name. Something like Uberlicher. This guy was after basic help, asking easy questions, and it almost caused me a fit not to ask if Uber included use of WoW Head. The name alone was enough to make me not take him seriously. And his name is not even close to as specifically dreadful as Dkleet, lolsdk, and the rest that I actually see on the server.

Its like seeing ImSexyGod1123 in a web forum, and you know the poster has little imagination, plenty of time, and probably not a lot of sex appeal. Yes/No?

But what kills me is these names are ok on my server. The problem is actually mine. There are places for folks like me, and I think its on an RP server, not a general PvE server. Although if you’re an Oceanic player you’re straight out of luck; there are no RP PvE realms. A hundred or so servers, about 17 pure RP servers, a few RPPVP servers, no RP downunder to speak of. So the choices are get over it and play with the lol-leet-pwn-uber-qq, or re-roll, or transfer. Grrrr.

If an Oceanic RP realm was added, and open for transfers, I’d go. No more doing instances with toon names that should never have been bank alts, and certainly not 80s.

ps. Don’t even get me started on the real Oceanic trouble – meaning Oceanic servers in, near, or close to the Oceanic region. Talk about a Tab name on the realm screens that has no reflection on reality. (end soapbox)

Who do you meet as a new player?

A person I know is trying wow for the first time, and another very very casual has started to log in again. As a confirmed WoW nut I had to moderate my behaviour. Normally I’m foaming at the mouth, singing praises and virtues, looking for subtle gains and measures.

And while that is OK when you’re mid-froth with another wow nutcase, its a poor way to introduce a new player.

Jez from DPS We Deliver is also helping, so the corruption of a new player is not my sole pleasure. New players will see overt enthusiasm as terrible ranting. Information overload and information starvation is something new players have to fight; and raving does not help (I tried, ooops). They are overloaded by a new interface, skills, feel, and flavour. It takes time to sup all that up and get into it.

Continue reading