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In My Understanding

An old school gamer discusses the challenges facing the MMORPG community and it's leaders.

Author: jesad

How many gamers does it take to change a lightbulb? (The consolidated string)

Posted by jesad Tuesday May 6 2014 at 3:32AM
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So the question of the day is....

"How many gamers does it take to change a lightbulb?"

I searched the internet to find out just how many answers there were out there to this question.  The results below are some of the funniest.  Special note: these are not my punchlines.  Credit has been given below each page where the punchline was found.  And so with further ado...

How many gamers does it take to change a lightbulb?

"600. 1 to change it. The other 599 can't stop complaining how the other one was better."

Credits

"None.  When one gamer finally finds one that he likes, the others will convince him it's broken."

"Only one, though four to six is optimal in order to properly balance the challenge rating."

"Man lightbulbs have been so Nerfed..."

"I'd go with five.  One who notices it and complains about it but is too lazy to change it, another to actually do the deed, and then finally the last three to ask the second guy to get them drinks while he's up."

"Just one.  And if you argue with me you can just find yourself a new guild!"  (adjusted from DM for the purpose of additional humor)

"Only one. Because if two or more gamers are involved, they'll start to argue (about how to do it, what kind of lightbulb they should use, how in days past lightbulbs where oh so much better, who's the greater authority on lightbulbs, who's the most experienced, etc.), and won't get the job done."

"ALL of them! NEVER split the party!"

Credits

"A hundred thousand and one. One changes the lightbulb. The other hundred thousand go online on forums to complain how the light is now ruined forever."

"One, but they need to do the same 5 side-quests at least 5 times each to unlock access to the lightbulb, the socket, a ladder..."

"Unless you're using some kind of strategy guide, you'll never know there WAS a lightbulb changing quest."

"Just one, but it takes him hours to manage his inventory."

"Three, one to get confused because the light he bought doesn't work in his socket, another to be condescending, and a third to explain that his socket isn't good enough for the lights voltage."

Credits

(Note: I can not vouch for the originality of the following upper section as this "How many forum members does it take to change a lightbulb?" string has been heavily shared across several different forums in the past including the one here at MMORPG.com."

"1 to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed

14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently

7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs

1 to move it to the Lighting section

2 to argue then move it to the Electricals section

7 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs

5 to flame the spell checkers

3 to correct spelling/grammar flames

6 to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb" ... another 6 to condemn those 6 as stupid

2 industry professionals to inform the group that the proper term is "lamp"

15 know-it-alls who claim they were in the industry, and that "light bulb" is perfectly correct

19 to post that this forum is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb forum

11 to defend the posting to this forum saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this forum

36 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty

7 to post URL's where one can see examples of different light bulbs

4 to post that the URL's were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL's

3 to post about links they found from the URL's that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group

13 to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too"

5 to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy

4 to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"

13 to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs"

1 forum lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now and start it all over again."

 

(The following however is a conversation that broke out on the same page as the responses posted above.  Each statement was made by a different person in the string and they are all original and indicative of the kind of comedy gold that can only happen on an internet forum.)

 

"Guys, stay on topic please and settle down on the personal attacks. If you want to be idiots, there are plenty of other forums who would love to have you. Idiots."

"He's right.  Besides, while y'all are in here talking sh*t about lightbulbs, I'm out having a real life and getting laid."

"lol right ur prolly a 13 y/o v-card lmao looser.  unlike U my gf iz hawt and we have SEX like four time a day I know all about that stuff lol so dont tell me abbout it lolmao"

"Oh sure, joke about laht bubs and those that risk life and limb to change them, I hope it makes you feel better about yourself. I supposed you'd all rather curse the darkness. dorks. I'm outtie!"

"I have an announcement.

Some of the members of this site have become increasingly aware of a... change in the maturity and intelligence of the members on this site. While we once enjoyed interesting, informative and grammatically correct posts from our peers, the site has become increasingly flooded with.. well, just see above.

It is with much excitement then, that I announce GamersWithElectricalLighting - a new site, a site designed to provide a home for the more mature posters around here. You can check us out at gamerswithelectricallighting.com. Hope to see (some) of you all soon!"

Credits

"I'm not sure I appreciate your tone, are you calling me a racist?"

Credits

And finally, an actual gamer/blogger who wrote an actual blog about changing lightbulbs.

Wildkard's Notepad, "How many gamers does it take to change a lightbulb?"

I didn't feel like writing tonight.  My wife is running me hard and my game is putting me away wet, but I did feel like laughing and so I hope that some of this stuff made you laugh too.

See you in the games.

Jesad

 

Playing with Dolls (or How to Really Enjoy Your MMORPG)

Posted by jesad Monday April 28 2014 at 12:21AM
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It's as old as anything you know.  Probably the first social game you ever played.  That's right I'm talking about "Role Playing."

What? You think that you're too cool to role play?  Your DAD role played.  Your GRAND-DAD role played.

Your Mom role played, and yes, even your Grand-Ma probably did a little roleplaying, as much as you'd like to believe that she didn't.

Role Playing is part of the human experience.

 

When I was a kid there was this thing called "The Action Figure". 

The action figure was basically a doll for boys.  But in the politically incorrect world of the 70's where women were only just then burning their bra's and shaking off the old "barefoot in the kitchen" schtick, it was still pretty uncool to refer to anything that a boy played with as a "doll" as only girls played with dolls.

So Barbie was an 11.5 inch plastic doll made to look like the mans version of every girls fantasy figure, (i.e. everything from Grace Kelly to Linda Evans, depending on when you were checking).

 

While G.I. Joe was a full 12 inches tall (cause boys dolls had to get that extra inch, even over Ken), and modeled after.....well.....who in the world knows?  Some military dude (i.e. a man's version of a man).

 

Whatever the case thees dolls, both Barbie and G.I. Joe, and yes Ken too for those of you who liked to play with Ken, were pretty much instruments of imagination.  Where Barbie came with a million and one different outfits, cars, houses, swimming pools, and even her own personal boy toy, G.I. Joe came with articulated movement, a jeep, guns, and who could ever forget the freaking "Kung-Fu Grip?!?"

Our parents would buy us these things and we'd sit around and play with them and make up stories and have them doing everything from skydiving out of windows to having pool parties over at barbies house.  Once, me and my brothers even stormed a pool party over at my sisters Barbie house and tried to steal Barbie from Ken via our use of modern military weaponry and advanced tactical maneuvers.

Didn't really go over that well as Ken had a Vette and all, but we did try that.  That is a 100% true story.

And all the while, while all of this was going on, there was never one single moment where where anyone felt stupid or out of place or called anyone any names or shunned anyone for just having fun.

Well.....sidebar on that last statement for a minute.  There actually WERE times that those things would happen but the people who usually committed those kinds of acts were generally thought of as JERKS.

These jerks usually came in the form of hostile older siblings, neighborhood bullies, abusive parents, and other undesirable types that society back then generally frowned upon.  But who cared what they thought anyway right?  They weren't part of whatever was going on at that time in most people's childhood.  They were just unnecessary and unwanted interruptions to an otherwise fun and entertaining experience.

Who knows why those kinds of people felt the need to rain on everyone else's parade?  All we knew, as kids, was that we were having fun pretending to be things that we would never, ever, ever, probably get to be in real life.  And that was kind of cool.

Fast forward to the 80's and video games.  Sure, sure, I know they were around before then but it wasn't until the 80's that someone actually put one together that was graphically pleasing enough to allow a person to really sink into one and feel as though they were actually inside the world of the game.

I'll go for something like Defender.

 

Now Defender was no kind of graphical masterpiece in any way, shape, or form.  But for the times it was a fast moving side scroller with just enough control and just enough action to really allow the player to get caught up in their ability to stay alive and kill all the aliens before their supply of ships ran out.

When you played Defender, if you played Defender.  That Defender ship was YOUR Defender ship. 

Sure, you didn't come into the arcade dressed like some kind of star fighter pilot or anything.  And Defender didn't require you to act in any particular kind of way either.  All it really required you to do was to stay alive while progressively harder and harder levels of aliens attempted to steal your stuff and/or kill you in the process.

None of that mattered though because that game was harsh and it was your ability, your own personal ability, to handle that harshness that set you apart from anyone else who played alongside you.  Such was the case of many of the old stand-up arcade games.

It wasn't cowboys and Indians and it wasn't cops and robbers, G.I. Joe, Action Jackson, Evil Knievel, or Barbie either but it was still the basis of a story being told that you got to take a part in and, through your own personal decisions, decided the outcome of, and so when you got a high score you took that feeling with you away from that machine because it was special.  It was something that YOU did that defined YOU.

It is now 2014.  MMORPG's have been out now for some 15 - 20 years.  We are coming up fast on a generation now that these games have been available to play by both children and adults together and yet it seems as though some of the best uses of these monumental tools for the same kind of roleplay that we have enjoyed for most of our lives are being put on the back burner in lieu of chasing after some invisible score that, unlike the games like Defender and Pac Man of old, these games do not provide.

So here's what happens.

You jump into a game that lets you look like this....

 

Or like this....

 

Or like this....

 

And with all of the landscapes that have been created, with all of the backstory that has been supplied, with all of the functionality that has been included, and all of the other people there are to play with, the best thing that you can come up with is.....

"Level 15 Sorc LF Grind Group! PST!!"

And god forbid that the person who responds to your call answers you in any kind of way that might possibly give you the hint that they are trying to be in any kind of character because then your very next thing is going to be something like....

"Level 15 Sorc LF Grind Group PST, No RP please!!!"

But wait, because this isn't finished.  Because you will do this and do this and do this until you manage to level completely through whatever game you are playing just to become bored with that game and move on to another game where you will rinse and repeat until you finally bore yourself with the entire genre of games, and then you will come here to MMORPG.COM and post some sad-sack sucks to be me kind of post about how MMO's, which you now affectionately call them without ever having even asked their name, suck now days and how you "might just be burned out" or how "they don't make them like they used to", or how "the developers are catering to yadda, yadda, yadda, not you" or "insert your bitch here" when effectively, you have never actually even PLAYED an MMORPG in your LIFE.

You've played an MMOG and you've played an OG, you even may have played an MMOPG, but you have never once given any effort to playing the entire MMORPG game because somewhere along the line you got it confused with a game where your score actually counts.

And it really doesn't.  It really, really, really doesn't.

The best MMORPG there ever was could, at its best, only offer you the ability to get to a place where everyone else was going to get to eventually.....first.  So that's the big race.  That's the big thing that all of these hundreds of thousands of people are logging on and spending precious life days, often to the exclusion of things that are far more important, working on.  To get somewhere that we are all going to get to eventually, first.

In Defender there was a chance that the next person might not ever achieve your high score.  Being good at Defender was a skill.  There's no freaking skill at being good at an MMORPG.  I'm going to repeat this one more time so that you can all hear and understand me.

WE are all going to get to the same place in the game eventually so racing there has little purpose other than to shorten your overall enjoyment of the experience of getting there.

It took me a couple of pretty solid years of playing before I realized this truth and you can pretty much go through my history of posts and see where I was burned out, where I complained, where I got on my high horse, and where I finally accepted the truth, that there is no score to these things and there are no "special" people playing them.  There is only a big ole playground full of make believe tools where people can come and play make believe together.

In short.  Unless you are taking advantage of the "playing with dolls/dress up/role playing function of these games all you are really doing is cheating yourself out of a good time and heading, full steam, towards a burn out of epic proportions.

The rules are fairly simple.

1. There will most likely always be someone who is better than you no matter how hard you try to be the best.

2. If you happen to be the person who is the best you will be all by yourself because there will be no one else at that top spot who can possibly understand all the sacrifices that it took for you to actually get to that position.

3. Personal satisfaction only lasts as long as you can maintain.

4. Once you stop playing, if you have spent all of your time trying to maintain, you are going to go into a depression because you are going to look back on all of those levels and all of that grinding and all of that time and say to yourself, "What the hell was I thinking?"

Meanwhile all of your friends and family who have spent that same amount of time doing constructive things with their time are going to be fixing up their new houses, spending the money from their new jobs, taking care of their new families, or going out with their new mates.

And even the people who played alongside you that entire time, those damned roleplayers who were never really worth much and who never could stop rerolling characters or could never make it to max level are still going to be playing and having fun because they will have used their MMORPG responsibly and will still have years of time left to enjoy it and the friends that they have made within it, along the way.

I mean at the end of the day what are we really doing here if not playing with dolls right?  And who has ever won anything at playing with dolls?

In my understanding then, the proper way to function within these many, many, many, MANY different realms that we have to exist within is to pace yourself, socialize, make friends, try to touch people in a positive way (even if you have to touch them in a negative way to do so, because bad guys have a purpose in a make believe story just like everyone else) and most of all to figure out how to enjoy yourself without it always having to be some form of competition.

Don't get me wrong.  To each his own.  I understand kids and competition being a social thing and all.  But if you are above 25 and still playing that kind of game you might want to consider that there is really not a lot of people left at that age who really care anymore. 

So you may as well come hang out where the fun is.  Read the lore, develop a personality and interact with people.  You never know, you might find out that there is a whole nother way of enjoying these things that you never knew existed (and I don't mean ERP either, although if that's your thing........don't call me LOL).

My follow up to this post is going to be some simple tips on how to role play in an MMORPG without having to feel completely stupid.  I hope that I've made some sense here and if I haven't, well, pay me no mind.  I just write what I feel at the time.

See you in the games.

Jesad

 

 

ESO Marketing. Dumb Luck? Calculated Genius? Or Deadric Influence?

Posted by jesad Wednesday March 5 2014 at 2:29AM
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You know I've been watching this whole Elder Scrolls Online marketing campaign for a while now and I don't know whether it's been calculated genius, dumb luck, or Deadric influence that has been guiding the decision making of its marketing department.  One thing for sure though?  Someone has a horseshoe the size of Kansas firmly lodged in their posterior area and they are milking it for all its got.

Examples

Subscription vs Free to Play

In a market saturated with so-called "Free to Play" games, these guys come out with a subscription plan game riiiiight around the time that people, present company included, are beginning to notice the lack of true substance in the "Free to Play" model.

The result?  Well it could have easily gone either way but so far it seems like quite a few of the quieter denizens of these forums have spoken up in defense of the subscription plan and have put the full girth of their massive, lurkerish, girth behind the subscription plan.

Then there was the weekend beta key giveaway.  For a stress test no less.  Where they sent a potential of five hundred thousand people towards one web site at pretty much the same time in order to get what they thought would be free beta keys for the upcoming weekend beta. 

Of course with the most hardcore of these people got to said website, which was of course way earlier than most. the first thing that they found out was that the first round of these keys were going to be given away to the paid subscribers of said website first.  A marketing ploy for Curse.com if ever there was one.  And, coincidentally, the perfect place for many ESO subscribers to be in the future when some of the first Add-on's, that I am sure the folks at Curse already have well underway, are released.

THAT shit could have gone either way.  It even almost did as a lot of people immediately began to spam how the whole key giveaway was a sham and how Zenimax/Bethesda/ESO was already grabbing for money, etc....

But it didn't. 

In fact it worked out fabulously!  Curse got a bunch of new subscribers, both paid whales who couldn't wait to test their luck, and patient persons of interest, again like yours truly, who were willing to hang out until the truly free keys were put up for grabs, as well as a bunch of other dummy accounts made in the name of friends that may or may not pan out to end up being actual users of the site.  Meanwhile the game itself had a very successful beta weekend, even under the conditions of a stress test, and left players chomping at the bit for the next round, which coincidentally they made us wait for two weeks to get.

(Ed Lover Voice) C'mon Son!!  Seriously?  Could someone BE that smart to have planned all of that out or is all of this some weird result of Zenimax's QA department all sitting around a dark cubicle praying to Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots?

Member of Zenimax's Marketing Department

No seriously.  Roll with me for a minute here.  So not only does this Beta weekend turn out great, but it furthermore causes the negative reviews of many members of the press, who were let in earlier and introduced to server that were not nearly as populated as those that were seen by the masses, and who based many of their reviews on the already assaulted "F2P vs Subscription" argument or the "Depth vs Random Idiotic Fun" (otherwise known as the Old School vs the New School) argument, to not only fall on deaf ears, but to actually be raged against by many of the fans that these very people sought to appease by taking these stances.  Thus facilitating many reviews and those who had written them as common hacks against the onslaught of overwhelming player opinion which was, for all intents and purposes, positive in regards to the game!!!!

What in the world?  No really!  What in the freaking world?

But it goes on.

So then we are at the SECOND beta weekend, which comes after a few very well planned thematic releases of PVP battles, keep sieges, and crafting instances, and Wildstar, it's only real till EQ Next comes out next year, a game that looks like World of Warcraft, that is even being created by people who helped create World of Warcraft, who have even lamented publicly in regards to possibly making World of Warcraft "too easy" and who have promised this upcoming title to be more in-depth and challenging for those players of World of Warcraft who are ready for something deeper, is not even getting half the publicity or forum action that the Elder Scrolls Online, a subscription based, first person, complicated, and by many reviews "boring" game is getting.

Elder Scrolls Crafting Article MMORPG.com

Elder Scrolls Keep Siege Video MMORPG.com

Of course in the interim time many of the reviewers, faced with the wave of shenanigan calls and so on for having release such limited and biased reviews, have began back-pedalling towards, "Oh, after a second look the game does not seem that bad." But nobody is even listening to them anymore.  Other titles, in order to offset the heroin-like jones that has been produced by the previous weekend, are getting a look but nobody is really investing in anything.  And the min/maxers, powerlevellers, and roleplayers alike are all releasing so much information that it's almost impossible to even think about anything else.

And then we all hit level 10.  Perfectly.  On the second weekend. 

As if someone had literally sat down and said, "Well, let's see?  In three days the average player "might" make it to around level 8 or so.  The advanced player might make it to 10 or 11 but they won't really have anyone to play with until the bulk of the server gets to where they are, so by the second weekend we should have a pretty massive army of pvp'ers making their way into Cyrodill and that should be enough to bury the needle MUHAHAHAHA!!! If it hasn't already been buried!!"

And just like that, that is exactly what happens.

For every person who got a beta key on that first stress test weekend, a buddy key is offered.  Word of mouth is now into play and the newbie zones have been made "optional" for those who have studied the variety of build charts, racial benefits, and spell descriptions that have been made public and want to return to the lands of Nirn "born again hard."

Crafting instances are discovered.  PVP is discovered on a mass server basis.  And all of a sudden it is no longer about IF people are going to play the game but WHEN people will be able to play the game again.

And that's where we come to the real crazy part of this entire tale.  The Pre-Order Package.

See, when I first got news of the pre-order package, being the all around geek type that I am, I couldn't help but notice that the day of release was weirdly coincidental to the day that another heavily anticipated geek production was also due to be release.

Captain America - The Winter Soldier, looks like its going to be as good a Marvel film production as any of its predecessors.  Even more so because of appearances by such cult heroes as The Falcon, and crazy plot twist villains such as The Winter Soldier himself.

Now you would think that a solid marketing guy would look into what else was going to happen on the day that the game he was promoting was going to release.  I mean, who would release a geek, cult, phenomenon such as "Curling - The Video Game" on the same day as they knew the nationwide "Ugly Cardigan Convention" was going to take place? 

That just doesn't make sense.........Unless.

Unless there is an option to do one or the other one of those things a couple of days early, such as the early entry feature of the pre-order package of The Elder Scrolls Online.

That's right kids!  If you pre-order ESO now, you will not only get to play the game, but you will get to play it early enough to also see Captain America - The Winter Soldier when it opens without fear of falling behind your various non-pre-ordering friends!!

I got five words for how crazy that all works out in Zenimax's favor.  GTFOH!!

And so it all comes down to the simple question of, what will you be doing on April 4th?  Will you be going to see the kickassed new Captain America Movie?  Will you be playing Elder Scrolls Online?  Or will you be doing both?

I am sure that there are those of you out there who are going to pick neither, or have something snappy to say in response to this whole web of conspiracy that I have just woven, but that's ok, no one believes you anyway.  The Deadric Princes have seen to it!

At least that is how it seems in my understanding.

Assertion - If Socrates worked for the MMORPG industry he would be a marketer.

Posted by jesad Monday March 3 2014 at 4:16AM
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I come up with the dumbest things sometimes.  So here goes.

Assertion - If Socrates worked for the MMORPG industry he would have been a marketer. 

Proof - I submit to you the Allegory of the Cave.

To make a very long story short.  Socrates believed that in the perfect state the enlightened person was duty bound to enlighten others.

In his "Allegory of the Cave" he tells the story of a person, formerly of a group of people who have been held captive for their entire lives in a cave facing a wall upon which only shadows had been cast, being released and taken up into the real world and shown the reality of things.

In his story Socrates states that it would be preferable to the master of said individual, if the goal of the master was to have a perfect situation where he could rule over a smarter class of captive, to have this released captive return to his fellow captives, whether he liked it or not, whether it was safe to or not, and enlighten those other captives with the knowledge that he, the primary captive, had been enlightened with.

That was kinda deep huh?  Yeah, ole Socks was like that.

My question though is how would that theory assure me dominance in a situation where my ability to learn is the only thing that sets me apart from everyone else?

You get where I'm going with this yet?

See, in an MMORPG it is usually the smartest guy who gets to be the most powerful.

Sure, sure, there are legions of folks who, upon being enlightened by the smarter guys, will be able to see a lot of things.  But at the end of the day, all things being equal, at the very best they are only following.

It is true in every game you play.  There are people who get into the game and figure things out and then there are people who, 5 minutes after installing the game onto their machine (if they even wait that long), immediately rush to the very first website they can find and look up the best way to get things done, these so-called "best ways" usually having been written by the exact same guys who figured them out.  Namely QA testers, Developers, Beta Testers, and of course Marketers.

Why then, among all of these different roles would I apply the role of Marketer to Socrates then?

Here's why.  Because of all of the other titles, QA tester, Developer, Beta Tester, and Marketer, only the marketer has a vested interest in making sure that the folks who aren't smart enough to recognize what a great product the game that said marketer is marketing is.  The QA tester gets paid whether the game does well or fails.  Of course if the game fails they may not continue to get paid, but most QA testers are nowhere near as involved with the future to be thinking this deeply from day to day as they are, a lot of the time, in caves of their own waiting for someone to come and enlighten them.

No, the QA tester will instead take the knowledge that they have gleaned from their exposure to the sun and use that to "own" people or build great empires within the games that they have tested.  That is if they can even stand to look at the thing for one more second after it is released.  More often than not though the QA tester will just be happy that said game is out the door and that they will get to look at something new for the next 6 months to a year of their lives, even if that new thing is just an update to the old thing.

So no.  Socrates allegory of the cave does not fit the QA tester.

The developer.   Well yes, he has a vested interest in enlightening people to how cool his or her game is.  But they aren't going to do anything about it.  I mean come on, even God has Angels and Prophets and stuff right?  Who has time to create the world and sell it too?

No, Developers spend more of their time doing the exact opposite of enlightening people to how cool their game is.  See, Developers are on some whole different kind of stuff.  Where they know that the more you know about their game equates to the less time you will put into figuring out there game.  So instead of hipping you to the ins and out of how to play the game, which in turn might show you how cool and in-depth the game really is, the developer spends most of their time breaking the things that the enlightened person has enlightened you with, thus facilitating the captivity of all audiences both enlightened and those still sitting in the dark.

The Beta-Tester comes closest but not so much because they are vested but more because Beta-Testers love to show other Beta-Testers how much smarter they are than the other. 

In this way the Beta-Tester becomes the "tool" of the marketer by disseminating the information put forth by said marketer much in the way that the guy who used to be chained to his friends in the basement comes back down and tells those same friends how messed up it is that they have been chained up in the basement this whole time.

The test of this truth relating directly to how the Beta-Tester is received when attempting to tell his fellow captives .....I mean Beta-Testers that the game is cool in spite of said fellow beta testers own assertions, because they do not understand the game, that the game sucks.

In the Allegory of the cave the captives decide, because the guy who comes back down to enlighten them, because his eyes are no longer adjusted to the darkness of the cave, can no longer name the shadows on the wall that they have all been looking at for their entire lives, that the guy has somehow been weakened by his trip to the surface, and not only choose to ignore his enlightening words, but actually get pretty nasty about the whole thing and threaten to put to death anyone who attempts to untie another captive and subject them to such a fate.

FRIKKIN FANBOI!!!!

So no, Socrates would not be a Beta - Tester.

A marketer though!  A marketer has a vested interest in making sure that everyone, smart, dumb, old, young, male, female, whoever, thinks that their game is the best thing since ......well since sliced bread!

You thought I was gonna say WOW didn't you?  Gotcha!

The marketer then has the task of taking any information that might have been bled down from development or discovered by QA or the Beta -Tester and making sure that EVERYONE knows it!

The marketer does not care if this means that the Beta-Tester or that one or two highly disturbed QA testers won't be able to get a jump on the rest of the players on opening day because the marketer probably isn't even going to PLAY that game.

Long after the dissemination of every bit of information that would have made the game a mystery to behold has been leaked, put out via manipulation, interviewed out of developers, or just plain outright released in Adobe.PDF format for mass consumption, the marketer will still be marketing some other game, while the entire population of the game in question will still be struggling to find some form of differentiation in a world where everyone starts out, plays through, and ends up equal.

This is the purpose of the Marketer much like it was the purpose behind Socrates insistence that those who had been brought up from the cave and shown the light be made to return to that cave, even under the threat of death, to enlighten others because that's how they would be more willing to remain the poor slaves of a rich master instead of having to return to the life of a captive in a cave full of shadows.

And that's what you call your e-peen.  It is the badge of honor that you wear that proves that, even though you are still a total MMORPG addict in some way, shape, or form, you at least know your stuff and can stand among other MMORPG addicts and hold a conversation.

And all that is because Socrates is all up in your body like Scotty back when Scotty was just a Star Trek based name for a drug.

So in conclusion.

I believe that if Socrates worked for the MMORPG industry he would have been a marketer.  I believe that I have proven this fact by A. Presenting a belief of Socrates, in his own words, that reinforces this fact.  B. By elaborating on the ways in which I feel this belief reinforces that fact.  C. By demonstrating how this belief does not apply to other members of the MMORPG industry. And finally by D. Proving that, in the end, much like the Philosopher Kings of Plato's Republic, it is the marketer, not the publisher, who gets to laugh all the way to the bank while all of the others operate at some level of investment and/or risk.

At least, that is how it is in my understanding.

(Man, what in the world is this dude's problem? /pointing at self)

See you in the games.

Jesad

 

Walking down the hill.... A Neverwinter Playstyle

Posted by jesad Thursday February 27 2014 at 3:29AM
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I get inspired by the silliest things sometimes.

This week it was Neverwinter.

Do you want to talk about a fun game?  Man I am having a BALL in this thing right now. 

Of course, I am at the beginning.  My first two characters, my first quests, my first experiences.  But wow, what a well put together, completely polished, fun game!

So I am playing this thing and I am thinking.  "This would be a cool game to play like real Pen and Paper D&D."  A group of people could decide to only play when the entire group was online, they could choose a leader, a DM so to speak, and they could let that leader guide them through the hundreds of different quests that the game has to offer.

Playing by session, in this fashion, would allow for all kinds of relationships to form, adventures to take place, and experiences to be had on each characters way towards max level. 

Restraining the gameplay also would help make the game more entertaining each time and allow for the chosen "DM" to provide his or her group with their own, tailor made, experience much like in a Pen and Paper session.

I go on tangents like this in my mind all the time.  And then I come to the forums and remember why a lot of this would never work.

Epiphany!!! The relationship between the MMORPG and the average MMORPG player is very similar to the relationship between two people.  Both can be deep and meaningful experiences when handled a certain way, but more often than not, both end up being something that is raced through intensely for about 6 months and then complained about until the breakup occurs.

 

It's like that joke about the Two Bulls.

One day two bulls were standing on a hillside overlooking a field full of cows.

The young bull said to the older one, "Hey! Let's run down this hill and screw one of those cows!!!"

The older bull said to the younger bull, "I'd rather walk down and screw em ALL."

 

Now I know that I have bordered on being preachy on this blog about enjoying the ride.  In fact, it has been an overall theme in one way or another since its very inception.  But you can't help but know that what I have been saying is true by now.  That the major thing that messes up our MMORPG experience is the way in which we decide to play our MMORPG's.

Back to Neverwinter though.  So yeah, I was thinking, that would be a great way to play that game.  It would make every drop that much more important.  Every quest that much more important.  And the people that you play with that much more important.

So I figured that I would just throw that out there in case people wanted to experiment.  I've never been one for caring about responses but if anyone does try to play this game in this way I would love to know how it turned out.

I have no understanding of what I have just written about and so I have no catchy "In my understanding" closing line.

I do hope that you have fun though.  And I will see you in the games.

Peace

Jesad

A Single Thought

Posted by jesad Thursday February 20 2014 at 1:27AM
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I'd like to tell you all a story.

It is a story about how I once witnessed a war of the minds on the ethereal plane and how a seemingly apprentice wizard, with none of the training and expertise of all the other wizards, brought an entire guild of highly trained sorcerers to their knees with but a single thought.

Rewind history back to the 90's.  Several sorcerers guilds....we will call them "companies" were busy at work trying to develop what they considered would be the first virtual realities.  Yes they were going to make three dimensional worlds in which people could live and where they could do all kinds of incredible things that they would never be able to do in real life.

Many of these companies were staffed with wizards......we will call them "developers" who were not only self-taught in the mystical ways of creating worlds but classically taught in the very language of the magic that it took to do so.....we will call that magic "programming" and those magicians "programmers".

And so they set forth in creating these worlds.  The theme they would use would be based on that of a several lore masters of old.  The worlds that they would create, a world of wizards and warriors, a world of dungeons and dragons, a world of superheroes and villains, and a world of spaceships and planets, would transport those that visited them......we will call them "players" into places so vivid, so life-like, and so realistic that the hope was that one would simply forget that the real world existed and become completely engrossed......we will call that "immersed" into them.

For a while it even worked too.  Players would visit....we will refer to that as "logging in" to these worlds and they would stay inside of them for hours upon hours, days upon days.  They would develop alter egos with whom they would role-play, and think up all manner of scenario for why they were where they were and were doing what they were doing.  And the sorcerers were happy.

This is because they had also attached a mystical payment scheme to their worlds that magically sucked gold out of players accounts on a monthly basis.  We will call this "a subscription."

Then one day a different kind of player came along.  A wizard in their own right.  Not classically trained, not even self trained, but with a the simply power of being able to see through illusions.....which we will refer to as "critical thinking."

Now I don't know what motivated this young player/wizard.  Maybe it was poverty, maybe it was illness.  No one will ever know.  All I know is that with one simple question this wizard managed to topple all of the worlds, not only one at a time, but all at once.

The question that this wizard asked was quite simple in fact, but it had been a question that none of the sorcerers of the sorcerers guild had ever entertained, not expected anyone to ask.  That question being...."Why fight the harder beasts now when we can get just as much progression out of fighting the easier ones now and come back and fight the harder ones later?"

And BOOM!!!  The sound heard all the way through the realms.  Suddenly the players were no longer immersed.  Suddenly what had seemed like massive, involving, deeply intricate realms suddenly turned into simple pipelines to be navigated towards a sudden stop until more pipeline was added.

But ho! The young wizard didn't just stop there.  Also was invented what we will call "the build" which was a template of what items and gear one should wear in order to navigate even the pipeline faster.

Suddenly, what had been a virtual universe, had been reduced to only a few, simple, pipelines that one could navigate fairly quickly and at half the price.

And the wizard was happy.

But the people lamented.

"MMORPG's are dead!" They said.  "Something is missing!!!"  All the while never stopping to think that perhaps it was that single thought that did them in.

They blamed the developers.  They blamed each other.  They even blamed the president.  Still never thinking, "maybe it's me" while crying out for "the good old days" back when they really thought of their virtual worlds as "virtual Worlds."

It is a very, very, sad story indeed.  And worse yet because it is true.

But I believe that there is a way back to the place, if not the time, where we had so much fun inside the walls of these games.  Back to the immersion of yesteryear. 

For as easy as it is to think a single thought, it is also that easy to UN-think it. 

I say simply do not do that.  Do not powerlevel through the game.  Do not go seeking the "best build" for your character.  In fact I will go out on a limb and say not to do any research on your character at ALL!!  Simply build it and play it and let the world turn you into whatever it is you will ultimately become.

It is our only hope.

The paradigm shift must come where we realize that most things that save us time in MMORPG's, ultimately detract from our enjoyment of MMORPG's.

Simple things like Zone chat and using it to LFG instead of having to stand in an area, like a tavern, and find that person or persons to go out adventure with, are game breaking concepts that we, as a community, have participated in for so long that we don't even realize what we've lost.

The sorcerers of the guild have no idea how to fix this thing.  We have to help them.  But only if we really understand that in doing so we are providing them with a means at our coffers.

We have to be careful then, and not help those that will not appreciate what we are doing.

Play well, live well, be happy, but only within a realm.....we will refer to that as "a product" that you believe deserves your time and money.

If we can think a thought we can just as easily UN-think it.  This is my understanding.

Let's see if we can try to give this story a happy ending.  For both the sorcerers, and you.

See you in the games.

Jesad

THIS IS BETA!!!

Posted by jesad Tuesday February 11 2014 at 3:20AM
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You gotta love the frenzy involved with a major title going into its first beta event weekend.  I mean really, is there anything, short of a presidential election, like it?

It's like one of those international days of solidarity that different organizations are always trying to get together.  You know, the ones where they try to have people all join hands across America or concentrate on world peace at the same time, only in this situation what you have is a bunch of basement trolls all pushed hard up against their computer desks, Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew flowing like a river, and hot pocket wrappers and sunflower seed husks, among a wide variety of other things cluttering up the place like so many peanut shells in a country and western bar.

And for that ever present consummate professional, coffee is on standby just waiting for that moment when the dust settles, the game is downloaded, and it is now time to log in.

We all signed up months ago and patiently waited for that response that said "Thank you for your interest, you have been officially invited to participate in the (insert the games name here) beta.  Here is your beta key.  Please click the link below, do some other stuff, download the client, and wait for further instructions."

It's like being Mr. Phelps on Mission Impossible, James Bond receiving new orders mid mission.  Everything stops, nothing else matters.  This is now the mission and you will not stop until the mission is complete.

Then it comes.  Beta Weekend.

You may not have gotten in on the first round.  Hell, you may not even have gotten in when they were jacking up peoples levels and allowing them to look at some of the endgame.  You're in now though and neither you, nor your friends (if in fact you have managed to get a few friends to come along with you on this excursion) are going to stop hammering at this thing until you decide that it is either worth continuing to play, and perhaps even test, or it sucks.

The patcher comes up, if the patcher comes up, you log in, if you can log in, and suddenly you are at the character creation screen.  It's game on and although you really, really, want to take the time out to make that character that really exemplifies your presence in this new world of fiction and fantasy, most of us settle for good enough and immediately enter the game because building a character is not what this day is all about.  This day is about killing.  It is about leveling and learning.  This day is about dying.  And it is a GOOD day to die.

And so you proceed.  Alone or in pairs.  In groups or in in factions.  With your guild or with your little brother or sister.  Click here, run there, pick this up, drop this, OMG THESE FREAKING BAGS!!!, THIS FREAKING LAG!! THAT FREAKING BUTTHEAD!!!  THIS FREAKING INTERFACE!!!

If it's a PVP you find yourself wishing that it was PVE, if its PVE you find yourself wishing it was PVP.  OPEN PVP, because these fools are running around like they are crazy.  No respect.  No sanctity of the kill.  You swung at the monster once and it was dead before you could raise your hammer to swing a second time as ten other players, just like you, struggled to get that finishing blow.

But it's good.  It's real good.  You are getting to see, for the first time, what hundreds of thousands of people have been waiting for months to see.  When this session is over it will be YOU that gets to allude, without breaking the NDA of course, to whether you thought it was a good game or not.  It will be YOU that gets to call shenanigans on this reviewer or that reviewer for not noticing the subtle intricacies of the game that YOU noticed while YOU were testing it.

You pound on this thing until the sun comes up, or until your eyes begin to bleed, or until your husband or wife drops separation papers on the desk next to you, and then you go to sleep, go to work (if you haven't taken that couple of days off) and you come right back home and you do it again.

Sparta ain't got shit on what you are doing right now.

You are a Warrior of the ether.  A Wizard of electricity.  A Thief of the video settings and a Healer of crashes incurred by said video settings.  You are a clothed, battle hardened Avatar of your own brain, made alive by circuits and silicon, lights and crystal, plastic and metal, reflexes and intuition.

YOU ARE A FREAKING BETA TESTER AND YOU ARE HAVING A FREAKING BALL!!!!

And then, when the weekend is finally over.  When the servers shut down, and you feel that familiar feeling of withdrawal that can only come from having to return to that which is normal after having spent time in that which was new, and sometimes amazing.  You head for the forums.  And you watch, and you wait.

You wait for that one guy to formulate that one post in just that one way that will allow you to dump everything that you are feeling and have felt for the last three or four days into his festering, seething string of love or hatred, and you BLAST HIM!!!

LET THE PIGEONS LOOSE!!!  The forum wars have now begun!!

"It sucks!!"

"It does NOT suck!!"

"I found the graphics to be yadda, yadda, yadda."

"I found the graphics to be yadda, yadda, yadda, the opposite of how you found them."

"Fanboy!!!"

"Troll!!"

"LIAR!!!!"

The love is almost palpable.

You are no longer just one guy or one group of people sitting in the basement finishing off the last slice of delivery pizza and wondering how you got to this moment of bloodshot eyes and lack of sleep from that moment of anticipation only two or three days ago.

YOU ARE A NATION!  YOU ARE BETA TESTERS!!  Your desk chair smells like somebody DIED in it LITERALLY, but can't nobody tell you a DAMN THING!!!

This is beta weekend, give or take a couple of trips to the convenience store and maybe a shift or two of work (if you couldn't get out of it.)  Jobs have been lost, relationships had final nails banged into them, and wars started over this one, single, solitary event that harkens the coming of a new, life sucking, product to a corporate run video game retailer near you.

It is crazy and we love it.  And I didn't even touch on the things that happen in voice chat.

Welcome to your MMORPG life.  This has been Jesad and this has been beta testing In My Understanding.

See you in the games!

Jesad

Bottomfeeding - The inescapable doom.

Posted by jesad Friday January 31 2014 at 4:53AM
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Following along the lines of trying to be a more positive influence on the genre I'd like to talk about a topic that I, myself, have been guilty of promoting on this very site, on this very blog and in these very forums.

The topic that I'm talking about is "bottom feeding".

Now for the sake of being clear I am going to stick with the basic definition of what a bottom feeder is.

Bottom Feeder

n.

1. A fish or other animal that feeds on the bottom of a body of water.

 

2. One that feeds low on the food chain; a scavenger.

3. Slang

a. An opportunist who profits from the misfortunes of others: "The frazzled, adrenaline-pumped tabloid newshounds [in the movie] are the bottom feeders of contemporary journalism" (Entertainment Weekly).

 

b. A low or despicable person.

(Copied from the free Dictionary.com)

Now there are a lot of different kinds of bottom feeders both in the real world and in the virtual one.  They go by names like Scavenger, Opportunist, Ganker, Troll, and usually because of these names we know to stay away from them.

But sometimes we might run into a situation where we are in fact the bottom feeder, and what do we do then?

For years I have been outspoken about certain things that I didn't like about the MMORPG genre and its players.  On the one hand I have bashed on games that force their users to upgrade for no apparent reason, operating systems that didn't take user upgrades into account, the prices of games and subscriptions, and even the prices of hardware.

On the other hand I have almost been constantly complaining about the community.  The min/maxers, the opportunistic pvper's, those people who log into an MMORPG but then refuse to role-play in any way, shape, or form.

All this time I thought I was being a critical thinker too.  But sometimes it's not a bad idea for a critical thinker to turn that power inward and begin to think critically about their self.

See, I've been at the bottom.  When I was younger I had kids to raise, a low paying job, a non-helpful spouse, and a variety of bad habits that were costing me an exorbitant amount of money.  I liked to smoke, drink alcohol on occasion, eat out, go out, hang out, as well as do all of these things with friends, friends who I sometimes liked to pay for. 

On top of all of that I also liked to plop down in front of my PC for hours on end and play whatever MMORPG (or other game) that was cool at that time.

It's no wonder then that when Everquest 1 required me to upgrade from Windows 95 to Windows XP, I freaked!!  $100 Bucks?!?!  Where in the world did they think I was just gonna get $100 Bucks from?

Likewise when Everquest 2 came out and I was faced with upgrading my entire system.  "Really?  They expect me to buy an entire new machine?"

In fact, it has been more than once or twice that I have come to this very blog in order to vent my distaste with the monetary expectations of my favorite pastime.  A few months back I was mad because I could no longer play EVE on my laptop, which I purchased a while back specifically so that I could play EVE, because they had upgraded their graphics to an engine that used Shader 3.0.  Before that it was rage towards Windows 8 because their new chip level secure boot function didn't work with the video card upgrade I had purchased for my budget Windows machine.

I've complained about it all.  Here and there, this and that, every step of the  way.  But what I had not considered while I was doing all of this complaining was what the flip side of having all of that "accessibility" would be like.

Did you see what I did there?  Anyone who is anyone on these forums or on these blogs knows what I just did by invoking that word.  (And dude, I apologize but you are the one who coined it and it fits so well).

See, for years the World of Warcraft has had a reputation for one of the worst communities in the genre due to their "Barrens Chat".  Sure, every MMORPG has had its share of over talkative personalities with nothing good to say, but WOW seemed to have it in spades.

As we move forward through the years and games began to adopt the "Free to Play" business model, spam became the meal of the day.  Everything from robot salesmen to gold famers selling their gold, to that one political guy who hates Obama, to that dude who just wanted to test out his new macro for making a picture of two people having sex out of dash marks ascii characters on an unsuspecting audience. 

In many cases role-play has been abandoned.  Community has been abandoned.  Hell, even civility has been abandoned as you are more likely to get cussed out in your first round of League of Legends than you are to get a kill. 

And while all of this is going on the one thing that the places who have it the worst all seem to have in common is their level of "accessibility" no matter what kind of accessibility it might be.

This is my world though.  It is the world I helped create.  It is a world of free games with low system requirements, and although I personally didn't necessarily want it, low expectations.

So here I am thinking about all of this, meanwhile my buddy is showing me the proper way to set my stats in one of these survival MMORPG's that we are currently fooling around with and I am actually considering it.

But then I'm thinking, "How realistic is it to give yourself the best edge towards survival in a survival game?  What's the point?"  And then it occurs to me....

Even though I am older now, even though the kids are grown, even though I don't go out nearly as much anymore, don't party, quit smoking, went on a diet, cancelled that old wife and got a new one, got a better job, and even learned how to budget my money, if I do this thing, if I adjust those stats, it will mean that I AM STILL ON THE BOTTOM.

And even worse!  Being on the bottom I will still be being fed by those who make their money from feeding bottom feeders!

But here is a hard truth to deal with.  What are you going to do?

When the opportunistic pvper is most likely the same guy that ends up at the top of the charts.

When the botter is the guy who gets all the nice stuff first.

When the Troll gets more responses for saying idiotic stuff than you get for asking "what you believe" are serious questions.

When Nancy Grace is famous and sex sells, and putting a picture of a hot girl at the right spot inside of any video will net you over 1k hits on Youtube.

When WOW makes more money than any other MMORPG and when League of Legends gets even more action than that.  Both, not just because they are fun games to play, but because they run on just about anything short of your grandmothers first rig.

When the majority of the world is either trying to min/max their life or taking advantage of those who are trying to min/max their life.....WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

See, I've been at the bottom, I know what it's like, and to be honest, I'm not that far from there now.  But what I also know is that even standing under the rock so far at the bottom that I am on the other side of the world (thank you Old Spice dude), I am still wishing that I had nice things.

So what do we do?  Do we support those who feed us because they know we are on the bottom, dealing with what comes with that, all the ganking, all the bad behavior, all of the non-immersion, min/maxing, griefing, botting, gold farming, gold buying, gold selling?  Or do we aspire to a higher call and shell out $60 for Diablo III or $80 plus sub for ESO or $100's of dollars in order to separate ourselves from the din of free players on our favorite game with a cash shop?

What do you do?

I really don't know.  But in my understanding we are a world of either bottom-feeders or those who make their way to the top by providing for bottom feeders and it is really a quandary how we are supposed to have these things we keep asking for if we, ourselves, aren't willing to stop either being one or supporting the other.

(Note, this comes at a crazy time and I really don't mean for it to affect the sales of anyone's pre-order one way or another.  It was just something that I was thinking about and decided to put into words.)

Also, I didn't change my stats.  Screw it, go hard or go home right?

See you in the games.

Jesad

 

Lord of the Legends - A one act play

Posted by jesad Monday January 20 2014 at 3:49AM
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So I had this dream last night.  The fellowship of the ring was getting together to prepare for an attack on the fortress of Mordor.

Gandalf - We must prepare to march on the fortress of Mordor!  Who's with me?

Legolas - I'll go!  I'll kill them all!!

Gimli - Count me among the willing.  I will flank them to the left and tear down their walls.

(Suddenly the ranger strider appears from the shadows)

Strider - Count me in. (Lowering his hood and holding up a broken sword)

Legolas - OMG! Troll!

Gimli - Where?!?  Troll?!?!

Legolas - Strider take a bow.

Bilbo - Should I go or do you think that Pippin would be a better choice?

Samwise - Bilbo! You wouldn't go without your Sam would you?

Legolas - (under his breath) ghey....

Gimli - (thinks about laughing out loud but doesn't really laugh out loud)

Legolas - Strider take your bow!!

Bilbo - Me or Pippin?

Gandalf - Doesn't matter, just decide, our time is running out.

Legolas - Strider take your bow!!!  OMG Troll!!

Gimli - Troll!?!  What?!?  Where!?!

Gandalf - Bilbo please make your decision.

Bilbo - I want to go but I'm afraid I'm going to suck.

Legolas - OMG!!! GG!!

Strider - Legolas you're an idiot!!

Gandalf - Guys...please!  Stop fighting.

Legolas - At least I know how to fight, his reputation at the tavern is zero and 12!!

Strider - OMG BLOW ME!!!  You're the troll not me!!

Gimli - Troll?!?  What?!? Where is this damned Troll!?!

 

Suddenly everyone walks off in separate directions. 

The End.

Just wanted to share.

Jesad

 

Grouping Semantics (Calling the thing what it is)

Posted by jesad Monday January 20 2014 at 3:19AM
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I'd like to begin my fresh new blog by taking a look at some of the terminology that has been commonly used both in our games and in our lives that may have contributed to some of the problems that we have working together to accomplish certain tasks.

Today I am going to focus on semantics or "calling a thing what it really is" and although I'm sure that I'll garnish a few objections here and there, I will try to keep from going too far from everyone's general expectation of the English language while hopefully clearing up some of the mistakes that I believe are being made at the base level of our communication with one another.

To begin I would like to say that I believe the phrases "Team Captain" or "Team Leader" are contradictions in terms.  The word "Team" signifying some form of complimentary group in which complex goals are accomplished through synergy and complimentary skills through a coordinated effort between people, or in this case players, who are all competent in their abilities.

In a team, team members generally help one another with their individual skills so that each member can get the maximum result out of their own abilities.  A team then tends to lend itself to the idea that no one person is the master of anything and so, only through the sharing, contribution, and respect for the expertise of all of the teammates can anything be accomplished.

A Captain or a Leader is a boss, plain and simple. 

In fact, the words are practically interchangeble with one another.  It is a rank that is assigned to a person who's general purpose in life is to tell you what to do.  A team captain then, is a contradiction to the idea that everyone borrows or lends to the success of a plan because there is no real way that one can borrow or lend to a situation where one person, and one person only, has the final say on what will be kept and what will be thrown away.  Better to call something then, that has a captain, what it is, which is a company or a squad.

This may seem nit picky to you as you read it, but I believe that making it a point to let a player coming into your company or squad understand that it is not, in fact, a "team" goes a long way when someone invariably begins to bark out orders and expect them to be followed.

Teams are more democratic.  Everyone says what they think, based on their level of expertise, and if they are a good team, they will defer to the guy who is the actual expert, or who at least seems like he knows the most, before moving on with a plan.  A company, or a squad takes orders, period.  All of the success or blame for what they achieve falls squarely on the decision making of the captain or leader of that squad.

Moving forward then, I believe that it would be a good idea to specify these things when coming together under one banner.  Expressing what kind of group you plan to be on the outset will save you from having to have long conversations later when someone inevitably asks the question "Who made you the boss of me?"

Another word that I think deserves a better definition is "Guild".

We all think that we know what this word means.  But do we really?

The Free Dictionary defines the word "Guild" as....

1. a. An association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards.

b. A similar association, as of merchants or artisans, in medieval times.

2. Ecology A group of diverse species, especially animal species, that occupy a common niche in a given community, characterized by exploitation of environmental resources in the same way.
 
Now I really don't see within that definition the concept that a group of people existing under the title of "Guild" has to spend every waking minute supporting one another.  Of course the concept isn't excluded either, but it is not the all out, full blown depiction of the bonds of friendship and mutual existence that one may have expected from looking at the exploits of these guys....
 
 
(Man! that girl is hot!......  I like the ones in the red and purple too.  Don't want to hurt anyone's feelings)
 
Don't get me wrong, that guild above is probably a pretty fun place to hang out.  The problem with that idea though is that it is entirely not likely to happen on a regular basis, and instead what you will get is a bunch of people roaming around the game wearing the same tag over there heads and never talking to one another in chat.
 
A functional guild then, is more likely to look like this....
 
 
(Albeit with a few more females involved these days.  See how they are all pretty much interested in the same things though?)
 
The misunderstanding of the difference between the two things being the entire joke of the top picture.
 
I think that players could be explained this concept a little better also as it could assist in keeping certain expectations from being built up that, when not met, can lend to a somewhat revolving door in guild membership.
 
In layman's terms what I am trying to say is that a guild is kind of like a loose version of a company or squad.  It has all the things that a company or squad will have, but it is nowhere near as restrictive.  To make a better comparison I direct you to the Screen Actors Guild of America (clickable link).  Notice the kind of things that are listed on that page.  The goals and purpose behind those things.  Especially notice the lack of "if you want to" listed on that page in comparison to the abundance of "YOU MUST".
 
I guess what I am trying to explain here is that a guild is not something you join because you expect it to give you something, it is something you join so that you can find like-minded individuals who are in pursuit of the same things that you are in pursuit of who you can coordinate with in order to achieve that same goal. 
 
Likewise, to the guild leader, it is not something that you start because you want someone to give you something (such as praise, glory, etc...), it is something you start because you want to gather like-minded individuals under the same banner in order to turn the power of one into the power many.
 
All of the screen actors in the screen actors guild don't really hang out together though.  They are not even forced to do the same movies together.  What they do try to do however, is drop the hammer on anyone who messes with them as a group.  This is how a guild protects its own interests.  And it should be how any member of any properly run guild in any MMO should be ordering its business as well.
 
Your guild then should not be telling you who you should or should not be hanging out with unless that person or party is in direct conflict when the general pursuits of your guild, in which case they shouldn't have to tell you not to hang out with them because, as a good guild member, you should already not be.
 
 
Alternatively though, you should ALWAYS be telling your guild how you feel about the general direction of said guild.  You joined the thing for a reason, to find like-minded individuals to coordinate with in order to protect your general interests.  You don't want to be in a guild then that is being led buy a guy or girl who has an alt in a whole other guild!!  That's a conflict of interest, and you can trust me when I tell you that it is not going to work out well for you.
 
You also don't want to be in a guild that promotes a lackadaisical attitude either.  If a guild bills itself as a social guild, social things should be taking place.  If a guild bills itself as a raiding guild then raiding should be taking place.  Whatever they told you before you signed on the bottom line should be happening, and you should be participating, or you should not be in that guild.
 
The worst thing for any guild member or guild leader is to sign up for what they were told was a raiding guild only to hear, upon entry, "Yeah, uh, we hope to get some raiding done soon but right now we don't have enough people" and two second later get promoted to second in charge.
 
That's called the bait and switch, and if it happens to you get out immediately because the guy in front of you is not going to do you any good.
 
Better that you are told that the goal is to "form" a raiding guild.  At least that why you will know what you are up against before you join.  If you have to ask to get this kind of information though I would take that as a red flag because whoever you are talking to has attempted to get you to join up to something that isn't really what they said it was.
 
 
Ok well, I guess I have bored you enough with this discussion on semantics this time.  I never said that it was going to be that interesting.  What it is though, in my understanding, is important.  Because a relationship that starts with a misunderstanding will only continue to have misunderstandings while a relationship that begins with a clear understanding will have less misunderstandings as the time passes.
 
I want us all to have the best chances at having fun that we can.  So think about the things I have said here, and even some other ways that you can be as clear to the people that you deal with in these games as possible, and lets try to have as much fun, in our own ways, as we possibly can.
 
Wow, I feel all shiny and clean all of a sudden.
See you in the games.
 
Jesad

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