Category Archives: online gaming

Fed Up With Gamergate


 

Anita_Sarkeesian_headshotQuinnLeighBrianna

OK, I have had it with Gamergate discussions.

I understand that you may not like Anita Sarkeesian. You may think that some of Zoe Quinn’s personal choices were not to your liking.

Yadda.

Yadda.

Yadda.

Tell it to the effing hand.

This stopped being about any of that stuff, or about pro and con arguments about feminism in gaming, when critics began THREATENING TO RAPE AND MURDER PEOPLE AND BLOW UP AUDITORIUMS. That argument is done. Over. Finis. The period has been added to the discussion and it is full stop, move along to the next paragraph. The end.

In the future I am not going to put up with any sort of wishy washy “This is terrible and no one should have to have this happen, BUT….” I don’t care what the “but” is. There’s no equivocating on this issue. There’s no justifying, explaining, or rationalizing. People who threaten the lives of Anita Sarkeesian, who post private photos of Zoe Quinn, who for-the-love-of-god threaten massacres rather than let them speak are WRONG. They are scum, dirtbags, terrorists, vile and hateful individuals. And if you can’t say that without also feeling the need to post your critique of Sarkeesian or Quinn or the others – SHOVE THE FUCK OFF.

You aren’t a supporter.

You aren’t a sympathizer.

You aren’t helping.

You’re just a sleazy little dirtbag trying to slip a dagger into these women on the sly by flying a false flag.

Piss off.

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Victory! (Sort of… maybe…)


I contacted “Forge of Empires” regarding the rapey-named characters that I had complained about, and was informed that their accounts had been deactivated.

However, the accounts still show on the server – which sort of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.  I mean, if the names are still there, how are players to tell the difference between them and actual, active accounts?

So the back-and-forth continues.

Rape


As almost everyone who follows activities in the gaming world knows, there have been some major issues regarding women in gaming raging throughout the community.  I recently ran smack up against the issue.

I play a browser game called “Forge of Empires“,  Its one of those city building games with an element of military development and a bit of PVP but mostly you just build your city, develop new technologies, trade with other players, and collect your taxes.

Recently, I happened to notice another player in the game with the name of “Boyd the Rapist”.  Players of PVP games will be familiar with the use of the term “rapist” (or “raper” or etc.) as describing a player who typically attacks other players in PVP.  It’s EXACTLY the sort of term that is in common usage in the gaming community but shouldn’t be.  It is a vile word, depicting a vile activity and it has no place in a civilized and inclusive gaming community.

Checking with the Forge of Empires website for their rules, I found the following (bold mine)

2. Communication

Insulting other users and the use of language in an abusive/offensive context is forbidden.
We do not accept profiles, player names, guild names or any other publications that the Administration finds to be illegal, insulting, threatening, abusive, real-life-aggressive, sexual, politically extreme, religiously fanatic, racist, playing down the use of illegal drugs or promoting the use of said substances or in any way inappropriate.
It is forbidden to post links to outside sites in the profile or on any other medium.
Spamming other players with in-game mails is abusive and will not be tolerated.

    Examples:

  • It is forbidden to advertise competitors’ games, post inappropriate content or links to such, post links to moneymaking sites or links to other games.

  • It is allowed to refer to a player as a noob and to criticize their way of playing using appropriate language.

  • It is against the rules to impersonate any staff member or suggest acquaintances with them in order to force any kind of behavior.

  • Racist, illegal, discriminatory or inappropriate names or wording will lead to an immediate game ban.

  • Using any profanity, insulting language, or being abusive towards any staff member in the support system is forbidden.

  • spamming the same message repeatedly in the chat room is not permitted as it is poor chat etiquette.

  • We ask players to not use account names that include whole email addresses or full names, for player safety.

  • Encouraging other players to break rules is forbidden.

The above seemed to indicate (not just suggest, but in fact state explicitly) that names including references to rape would result in immediate banning.  So I filed a complaint ticket about Boyd the Rapist, and was assured that the issue was being handled.

Days went past, and Boyd the Rapist did not disappear.

So I wrote again.  And this time, because I was curious, I did a search of player names for terms like “rape”, and “rapist”.  And I found that on the particular server I was on there were no less than six.  I checked a different server and found two more.

I reported all of them.  And I thought to myself “if there are so many of these players in the game, and it is so easy for me to find them with even a very brief search, this company is NOT taking the idea of rapey names being inappropriate seriously.”

And this is part of the problem.

Don’t get me wrong – compared to real life death and rape threats against Anita Sarkeesian this is a pretty minor thing.  But in my opinion, it’s the small stuff that we ignore or pass off as “harmless” that leads to the major stuff.  Using rape as a game term is beyond disrespectful, it is nothing short of threatening and abusive.  And not only to those who have suffered the terror and degradation of an actual rape.  To use the term is to demean everyone, and to accept its use makes the gaming community look small, misogynistic, and cruel.  This is not something we ever should have stood for, but particularly in light of recent events it is not something we can, or should, put up with or pass off now.

You can contact InnoGames here.  Please, if you have a moment, write to them and ask them – as politely as possible – to update the wording of their policy to 

  • Racist, sexist, illegal, discriminatory or inappropriate names or wording will lead to an immediate game ban.

and to enforce their own rules with regard to players using “rapey” names.

It’s time we started having zero tolerance for this sort of crap.  It’s time we stood up and called “bullshit” on misogyny in the  gaming world.

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It was a Fiasco!


Tonight I ran Fiasco for the Monday night Skype game.  It was…  interesting.

We recently got a whole bunch of Fiasco PDFs for Christmas (thanks John!) and the low/no prep characteristic of the game appealed to me for “hip pocket” games run at the last minute.  Because our Monday Night Skype group was having some scheduling problems, I thought I would try setting up a room in Vyew with a quick start version of one of the scenarios so that I would have something to offer on a night when the regular game couldn’t run.

I decided to go with the Dragon Slayers playset for Fiasco because, well, it was a pretty standard trope and looked rather funny.  Because I wanted it to be a game that I could pull out and run quickly, I did some of the groundwork that is normally left to the players by rolling for some of their relationships.  Here are the characters for the session –

B’hludd (Half-Ork Ranger) – B’hludd joined the adventuring party with his friend Dies to try to raise money to buy and open a tavern.  He was bound by a blood ritual to Elshara, and was trying to track down Lilith for a bounty, but was unaware that Lilith wasn’t a woman.  He was also questing for the legendary Blade of Calamity, rumored to be in the dungeon.  Unbeknownst to him, his old master, now a mummy, was the big bad in the dungeon.

Dies-Between-Battles (Kobold Monk) – Dies had joined the adventuring group seeking loot with which to purchase a tavern with his friend B’hludd.  Mike the Fighter had killed his father, though he doesn’t know that.  He had won Elshara in a poker game and she now served him as a thrall.

Elshara (Elf Cleric/Mage) – brought along by Dies, she arranged for Lilith to join the party and hired him to assassinate Dies.  She was bound by a blood oath to B’hludd.  She was also seeking a magical ring on the finger of the big bad, a mummy who was her old master.

Lilith (Human Assassin) – hired by Elshara to assassinate Dies-Between-Battles.  Trying to show up Mike the Fighter and take over leadership of the group, and outdo him in heroics.  Unbeknownst to him, B’hludd is pursuing him for a bounty.  Claims to be a rogue.

Mike the Fighter (Human Fighter) – leader of the group, trying to fend off attempts by Lilith to take over.  Wants to outdo everyone, particularly Lilith, in heroics.  Wants the Blade of Calamity because he thinks it will make him look badass.  Dies-Between-Battles killed his father, though he doesn’t know it.

The adventurers met in a tavern and heard rumors of a terrifying and powerful mummy powerfully terrifying a rural community, which had offered a reward for the creature’s demise.  The game opened with them staring at a small crypt containing stairs…  leading down.

Well – it was a Fiasco.  The party got together and then separated, fell down chutes, fought mummies, spied on one another, got stuck in a gelatinous cube, and just generally behaved like a typical dungeon party.  Act I was going through the dungeon, with Act II planned to be the aftermath.  We got as far as the Tilt and Act II without finding out who had the magic ring, though it  seemed likely that B’hludd would start Act II with the Blade of Calamity in his possession.

Everyone had one heck of a good time, including me.  The Vyew set up allowed us to keep track of all the vital information, dice, and relationships even though we were far apart, and the game ran smoothly.

I am looking forward to Act II next week.

 

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Dirty little secret


Pickseestixx, brave goblin warrior!

I have a dirty little secret.

I have been playing World of Warcraft.

My online game of choice for many years has been City of Heroes.  I last played World of Warcraft back in 2005, liked it for awhile, and then found its insane level of popularity and the grinding needed to get the really good stuff, and the fact that I so often had to team with total assholes and jerks, to be a little too much for me to put up with.  Off I went to Paragon City, and really haven’t looked back much since.

But lately my friend and long-time MMORPG partner JR confessed to me that she had gotten back into World of Warcraft.  It was a very tentative admission.  Back in the day (meaning 2005) she had vehemently pushed for us to shift over to City of Heroes due to some issues with World of Warcraft, particularly farming and grinding.  She was convinced that I would give her shit about getting back into it.

And I will – oh yes, I will.

But in any event, I had been getting sick of City of Heroes, and World of Warcraft seemed like a good change of pace, so I went back.

One of the first things that I noticed is that the game does not seem to be taking itself as seriously as it did before.  Perhaps it is just that one of the new races – goblins – is madcap and zany.  We make crazy inventions, our mounts are motorcycles, our favored form of long range transport is a big rocket, and our form of government is essentially an organized crime cartel formed around the manufacture and sale of a soft drink.  Quests I have undertaken so far include such things as taking an orphan orc out for a day of fun, fighting Alliance paratroopers (yes, you read that right) and flying a goblin fighter plane (yes, you read that right too).  Crazy stuff.

From the feel of the game, I can tell it’s been around awhile.  The interface doesn’t feel quite so clean as City of Heroes, and that has caused me some problems in targeting and movement, though I am gradually getting used to them (watching JR zip around, I have to remind myself that she has months more experience than I do).  Some of the more complex stuff, like rolling for special loot items and figuring out how to activate certain quest items, still leaves me baffled for a few minutes each time I do it until I can remember the interface again.

Still, I’m having a blast with it.  Running around stabbing night elves (the poncy gits!), learning to cook and fish and mine and do first aid again (well I remember now just how much time you can spend in World of Warcraft just sitting on a pier fishing), learning new abilities and talents, finding my way around Ogrimmar (the most confusing MMORPG city EVAR!) and all that other stuff.

At the moment Blizzard is making a special “Scroll of Resurrection” offer – if you want to revive your account I can send you a scroll of resurrection, which activates your account for 7 days, gives you a free server transfer, and boosts one of your characters to level 80 (with new gear and everything to match).  If you are interested drop me a line, and we can game sometime.

FOR THE HORDE!

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