Thursday, August 17, 2017

Clevon, the Lesser Evil

"I'll be your scapegoat
I'll be your savior
I'm the better of two evils"

Marilyn Manson - The Better of Two Evils

Planetside 2 seems to be stagnating a bit after Sony sold off SOE. Its painfully uncreative monotony of tanks and assault rifles, while lacking any of the first Planetside's Science Fiction immersion, has nonetheless attracted a stable following of drooling rednecks eager to deafen each other with military slang. Seriously, I've never heard so many southern accents over voice comms. Though most of the intelligent leadership which made things interesting at the game's launch has wandered off in search of something more engaging, I still find it possible to get into semi-organized squads about half the times I randomly decide to log in.

Hey, it's still more purposeful coordination than you'll get in other online games. Sadly, PS2 lacks the necessary interface features (beyond waypoints) to integrate strategic / tactical planning (nothing like Savage 2's RTS command interface) but they did at some point implement the ability to draw directions on the map.

Now, anyone who's visited the Internet will tell you the inevitable consequence of letting players draw on the map:

Granted its rather rare to see something like this (the screenshot itself dates from this past winter) so I assume Daybreak's facetiously policing morality and taste like every other company. Nevertheless, PS2's playerbase comes across as just slightly different. They're idiots, sure, but they can occasionally push an objective.

Anyone who's played the game can tell from the screenshot above that, aside from his questionable aesthetic tastes, the artiste in question was also leading his platoon into a pointless, inevitable three-way stalemate instead of being satisfied with holding one of the most easily reinforced positions on the map. Nevertheless, he was leading. He was providing initiative and a focus for a group of forty players, and if you've logged into any online game over the past decade, be it MMO, FPS, RPG, Arena, whatever, you know how increasingly rare that is. A few of us told him he's an idiot. Then we kept playing, because the game is the game, and the practical effects of his game-play outweighed the sheer irrelevance of anything he said. No insults, whether drawn on the map or shouted over voice chat or typed, will ever blow up an enemy tank column. Having someone to call for a coherent missile launcher defense will. The game is the game. It is its own world, and the worth or guilt of any player should always be weighed by how much it impacts that world. The greatest crime he committed was obscuring more relevant information on the map with his crayon scrawls. That has practical repercussions within the game. That matters.

I more recently played with a hyperactive little shit who constantly spammed voice chat with overexcited war movie catchphrases. Cluttering voice chat with white noise is counteproductive. I loathe it. And yet... I have a mute button. I muted him and kept playing. In fact, I supported him in asking the platoon leader for a squad leadership position because I knew this attention-starved little meth-head would actively place beacons and update waypoints and provide transportation for our squad... and he did. Then I called him a degenerate retard as I muted him, then we both kept playing.

The game is the game.
It is not a chat room. It is not a social club. It should most certainly never be a "safe space' for the spineless millennial snowflake Gestapo policing language and choking the life out of any public interactions.

The Secret World's recent re-release as "Secret World Legends" has been filled with endless numbers of bugs. Anything and everything is bugged, from graphics to items, monsters, whole missions or instances, crashes to desktop, etc. At the same time, Funcom's very aggressively trying to force players to buy amusement park money by selling items, inventory space, even character movement speed increases for cold hard real-world cash. Of course, they refuse to put any of this income into bettering the game itself, only cranking out more glitz. Among other things, they've refused to pay for anywhere near enough customer support to handle their playerbase's desperation at the product's nigh-unplayable state. Petitions pile up. As I mentioned, response time to three of my petitions for bugged missions and gear took anywhere from five to eight days, with the item being irrevocably lost.

When I cursed out the retarded trash in General chat, I was harassed only an hour or two later by a GM who took the time to personally materialize in game next to me threatening to ban me. When this is developers' single focus, morally cleansing their games' chat box, is it any wonder multiplayer -anything- has become such a joke?

Meanwhile, every single redneck, valley girl, dudebro, jock and church lady in TSW is mindlessly grinding the same instances over, and over, and over... so long as someone else leads the team. So long as someone else tanks, so they can continue to measure their social status in terms of DPS meters. So long as someone else organizes the raid so they don't have to think about goals. Their demands for oversimplification are what's destroyed MMOs. As much as I despise PS2's redneck brigades, they are still preferable to the painstakingly polite but actively counterproductive population of most online games. I will gladly take the racist, drunken, dick-obsessed crackheads so long as they actually work towards the activity's logical goals, toward playing well.

I've been banned temporarily or permanently from half a dozen different games for calling retards retards, and in each and very single one of those games I was addressing degenerate vermin actively sabotaging their teams, actively damaging the game itself, not the chat box. Quitting in the middle of a match, refusing to work toward team goals, abusing exploits, refusing to try anything with a difficulty level steeper than the bunny slopes, any and all of this should be a bannable offense before harassing your own customers over their chat is even considered. All we've gotten with this idiotic politically correct head-chopping is a population of cowardly, brown-nosing schoolyard bullies, shoving you down the stairs then crying when the teacher shows up because you called them doodyheads.

Worse yet when the teacher coddles the bullies, neh? Isn't it amazing that you can grief to your heart's delight in any multiplayer game yet the only thing that will actually get you banned is cursing out a griefer?

And how fucking sad has this culture gotten when hicks and hillbillies show clearer thinking than urbane modern society? Did John Galt already steal all the nerds off the Internet when I wasn't looking?

There's a line I used to repeat when recruiting players for teams a decade ago in CoH:
LFM for whatever. "Must be able to follow simple directions."
That was usually the only criterion I considered worth adopting. It is the main criterion by which gamers should be condemned by game-master authority: their gameplay. Once you have a population of pragmatically cooperative, honest, dedicated players, then worry about the aesthetics of their moronic babbling.

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