Saturday, April 30, 2016

Your Elves Are Lame Because You Don't Know Shit

He ain't whistling Dixie. The Appendix N post at Castalia House's blog today links to this rant about why elves post-Tolkien are such shit so often.

What it comes down to is that those following the breakthrough works (and creators) copy what they see and enjoy without comprehending what the hell they're copying, or why the original works as it does. It's the act of kids playing at being their favorite character or archetype without grokking why they dig it, so it comes off as shallow and lifeless.

This also applies to a lot of science fiction and horror as well as fantasy, as we see in so much of the available commercial fiction (be it books, films, series, or games). The remedy is simple: Git Gud by actually reading for comprehension those breakthroughs, then seeking out their sources, and put in the fucking work required to grok it. This cargo cult bullshit doesn't cut it anymore.

The Castalia post's author, Jeffro, has as the foundation of the Appendix N tag a review of that very Appendix from the Dungeon Master's Guide for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons' 1st edition. Start there and get up to speed, then branch out to where your sources are. Know, at a deep level, what you're dealing with or you'll come off as lacking to your readers.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Adding Tools to the Toolbox

I would hope that you folks reading this don't think that I am some sort of wizard with HTML. I'm not. I learned what I know specifically because I got into blogging, and certain commands are allowed in blogging interfaces. As I took off more training wheels, I learned more, but I still know so little that even a bone-headed web design could write rings around me in HTML.

So, I'm being more deliberate in learning it. I want this blog, and all of my blogs, to become places that take full advantage of what this technology offers and I am not doing that right now. In a world that is highly-competitive for reader eye-balls and attention, every little bit helps.

Horde symbol This is the one I'm working on right now. It's the Float command, where you can tell text to flow around an image in a direction (left or right). I'll be trying to use this more often as a post's topic allows, as I have once before. It's one of a handful of commands I've chosen to focus upon until I get used to them as I have the ones I already mastered.

The others are the Link Within Image (so when you click on the image, it takes you to the linked page) and variations on Italics and Bold that have specific purposes such as the Quote command. You've seen me use the Blockquote command plenty of times, so now I'm expanding on that.

On a related note, I'm going to try doing a Google Hangout on Sunday to see if I can do the simple podcasting thing that I enjoyed when I was on Geek Gab last weekend. I'll throw up a post, etc., when that happens.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: Carrying is a Good Thing

In the World of Warcraft community, there is a thing known as "Friendship Moose".

Right now, and soon to go away, everyone who gets the "Ahead of the Curve: The Black Gate" Achievement by participating in a kill of Archimonde (the final boss of Warlords of Draenor) also gets a quest item. Once the quest is complete, the player gains a Grove Warden mount; this is an enchant moose. The catch? You have to do the kill on Heroic Difficulty.

Lots of people want it, but lack either the time to put in the work, lack the desire to do so, or lack the ability to do so. So they seek other ways to get in on a kill. They can't properly contribute, so the rest of the raid group has to pick up the slack and carry them to victory. Hence, this is where "carry" became a noun; it refers to those who are present but cannot properly contribute to the group's success.

Normally carries are not desired. Temporary carry conditions--such as getting a raider's alternative character properly equipped--are allowed, as it is understood this will end swiftly and the former carry becomes a contributor instead of dead weight. Less common is someone paying the group to carry him, and often done when the content itself is well past its freshnessness for the better raiders, which raid groups do to refill their coffers for future expenses.

Friendship Moose is something unusual. It's some of the top-end raiders freely carrying people to the Moose and Achievement. Just show up, follow instructions, and enjoy your awesome moose mount.

And yeah, even though I'm not a Mythic raider I'm sufficiently powerful on my main character to help carry others to their Grove Wardens. This will also solve my own raiding frustrations--not enough Archimonde kills, so not enough shots at the best items I can get for my Fury Warrior main--as I help others get that moose.

And yeah, it's pretty sweet. Let me post a pic below:

Grove Warden

This is one of the best things to happen in the World of Warcraft community is a while, and I can't wait to get in on this action. I hope to get the one Item Level point I need this weekend, after which I'll throw my name into the hat for being one of the DPS carriers. Win-wins are good things, and this? Totally win-win.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: If WOW Dies, Then What?

So, what would I do as a primary game if I stopped playing World of Warcraft?

Short answer: Resume playing Guild Wars 2 until I could afford the sub (and gear, likely) for Final Fantasy XIV.

Long answer: I rather enjoy the MMORPG genre, but most of the games are crap and are unworthy of my time or the expense- including the Free To Play ones. I stick with World of Warcraft because I have pals there, and I'm able to pay for my sub with gold due to the excessive gold income from the Garrison. (Going to buy another two months this week.) If I stopped, I'd be able to resume Guild Wars 2 immediately and play up to the pre-expansion cap while getting what I require to get the expansion.

I doubt that my laptop has the power to run FF14. (I'll check.) Even so, the sub fee is the breaker for now. While I can opt for the one-toon version that's still more than I can spare at this time. Until I can run it and afford it, I won't buy in. However, when I do I already know I have contacts waiting and able to help me find my feet while I play the game and enjoy. (Also, it has a superior community.)

As for Blizzard games, I'll continue with Hearthstone for certain (especially if they bother to put it out for Android stuff) and make use of Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 now and again. Overwatch I'll play when I can run it properly.

"But Walker, what if all the MMORPGs went down like Porkins?"

I have a Steam account. I've got plenty of stuff on it. I'll be fine. Probably do Torchlight first.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Life in Fandom: The 2016 Hugo Nominations

So, the 2016 Hugos announced the nominations today. It is glorious. The Sad & Rabid Puppies took 10 of 15 categories in their entirety. Of the rest, they dominate the nominations. The SocJus cultists got their asses handed to them, and they know it. Scalzi (who somehow got his response out 25 minutes before the list was released) is already doing the weaksauce DAT RACISS shit, as are others in the SF/F field. Fuck them.

If you want a more involved article, Allum Bohkari at Breitbart has your back. Vox Day's two blog posts responding it to it say all that the Rabid side has to say that's worth hearing.

As for me: I'm in.

Let's burn Hugo.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Podcasting: Liked It Enough To Finally Try It

This past weekend I appeared on a small podcast that I follow by the name of Geek Gab as the special guest. I'd never been on a podcast before, never been a guest on a show of any kind before, and never dealt in podcasting before (other than as a listener or viewer).

Well, it was about time that I got familiar with what I can readily do. I spent some time yesterday going through the process of setting up my YouTube account so I can do my own Google Hangouts (etc.) using their stuff and I'm going to make time to do a pilot run later this week. Don't expect to see my handsome face, or get loads of fancy graphics; let me nail audio and simple public performance skills before I bring any of that to the table.

A simple "Hello, this is me." thing is what I'll do. Short, sweet, and to the point. Once I've found my feet, I'll get more involved.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sargon of Akkad Wants To Stop the SocJus Indoctrination in Academia

Sargon's description for "This Week in Stupid" for today is this, in its entirety:
Social justice is a secular cult created and propagated by ideologues in academia. There are mechanisms in place to stop this.
Sargon's gotten the idea of trying to put a stop to teaching Social Justice bullshit at the university level. (Petition link here.) Good start, but I'm with Vernaculis and Teal Deer that this has to go on to deal with the problem because academic indoctrination is just a symptom.

And there is a follow-up livestream today. As I write this, it's going on, but it will be immediately archived upon conclusion. Worthwhile, if (like most streams) a bit unfocused.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sargon of Akkad: Indoctrinating Your Children

Colleges and universities are literally teaching teenagers that every white person is racist. This poison is coming from academia and it is to the detriment of not only wider society, but the students who are brainwashed to believe this cult. It needs to be stopped.

Sign this petition to be heard:

Top Hat’s and Champagne’s video re: activism:

Watch the video. Then follow that petition link and sign it. They want your children, and if you can't be bothered to protect what is yours alone to handle, then they will turn them against you and you will be destroyed by your own progeny used as a cat's paw against you for their benefit.

Your children are your responsibility, and yours alone. Handle that shit. This is open cultism, the step undergirding Narrative Warfare. Fight for your posterity or be destroyed with it.

On Prince

Prince died yesterday.

Unlike a lot of Minnesotans, Prince was a man whose presence was around my life, but not truly a part of it. His music did not score major moments of my life, but it informed the milieu wherein I existed (and still do). He was, to use a metaphor, always at the party but not someone I'd talk to about a lot or interact with directly. He always stood a degree removed from me.

It's the position where I find myself with a lot of people who are important to the world as a whole, but whose importance to me specifically does not exceed that general state. I get where his fans are coming from. I just don't feel it. So, I leave others to their thing and I move on to what clicks with me. He did what he did, made a mark that's going to reverberate down the ages, and is a genuine man of talent who will be missed.

And, in that spirit of respect, I offer my condolences to you who loved his music and will miss him as one would anyone else you gave your heart to. To his family and his friends, I wish only that your time of mourning be the catalyst you need to take this departure of someone so beloved and ensure that he lives on with you through the deeds you do by his inspiration.

And will someone please take the Death Note from George R.R. Martin already.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Life as a Shooter: Choosing Your Hi-Power

Sootch says:
"Browning Hi-Power: Commercial vs Surplus. With limited numbers of Surplus Browning / FN Hi-Powers being imported by Century Arms into the U.S. and the scare availability of Commercial Models, here are some thoughts on which to buy. Both Surplus and Commercial Hi Powers are showing up on"

I want a Hi-Power. As I am unable to afford one right now, I'm hoping for the blessing of a gifted one while eyeing the future availability, and that means keeping an eye on what's available from where. While I prefer the Practical over the others, getting a surplus model is still a win for me. With that in mind, Sootch's video below gets into the details of Commercial vs. Surplus Hi-Powers.

(By the way, my birthday in October.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Paul Joseph Watson: Saudi Arabia is a Cancer on the World

Saudi Arabia is the worst country in the world, bar none. If it disappeared off the map tomorrow, the planet would hold the biggest party you've ever seen.--Paul Joseph Watson

Watch the video. He ain't exaggerating. These fuckers are the very fuckers the SocJus cult should be going after, but aren't. They are the fuckers that Springteen, Adams, etc. should be boycotting and refusing to do business with, but aren't. They are the folks who would be hung from the neck until dead, by other Muslims, if they weren't loaded to the gills with oil wealth and the special treatment it buys due to their own aberrant and degenerate behavior (by Muslim standards).

Fuck these guys, sideways, with rusted shovels covered in shit and burrs. They deserve a rat's death.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Legion Hype: We Have a Release Date

World of Warcraft: Legion goes live on August 30th, 2016.

The expansion is still in Alpha as of this post. This is NOT good news. This is terrible news. This is "If you got hyped for Warlords of Draenor, don't preorder." bad news.

For those of you who've never done the WOW expansion dance, let me break this down:
  • There is a pre-patch before the expansion goes live, 6-8 weeks prior.
  • Anything exclusive to the soon-to-end version gets cut off.
  • (New for Legion) Early access to the new stuff.
  • Smart vets prepare for the hard gear reset and bank gold.
Now, I'm not about to whine about the Legendary Ring being cut off or the Grove Warden. We had plenty of warning there.

No, what this date means is that the devs are about done. Nevermind the lack of a proper Beta period; we ain't getting one, so other than tuning passes and major bug hunts in testing, what we see in the livestreams of the expansion test is what we're going to get at launch. That does not sit well with me because it means that the devs have learned NOTHING from their failures with Warlords.

We're going to have a serious content drought before the end of the year, unless the devs demonstrate that they finally grokked content patch pacing and have a 7.1 content patch that actually has content (i.e. a new zone, a new raid, etc.) by December/January.

Yes, I read all of that just from this release date.

The latest test client just added the final class specialization and related Artifact Weapon into the expansion build. Just now. Raid bosses are not final yet on all difficulties. Dungeons are not final yet on all difficulties. There are bugs--game-breaking bugs--that need to be found and fixed. The baseline game mechanic changes need to be finalized; some specializations are still being tweaked, and the new Demon Hunter class has some tuning to do yet.

Those baseline changes need to be fixed and finalized between now and the pre-patch, which we can expect in June. JUNE! (To coincide with the film release, of course.) That's 10 weeks, roughly, and we're still in Alpha. Shit ain't done, and it won't be done on time. Unless they get a fucking miracle, we're going to see a repeat of Warlords.

So, if you're on the fence, don't pre-order. Wait for the first wave to pass through and listen for their feedback. If they're still happy by December, then buy in. Otherwise, move on- you're done with World of Warcraft.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Fan Convention Has No Justification For Existing

There is very little justifying the continued existence of the common fan convention. I'm not talking about the San Diego Comic Con, or DragonCon, or those like them. Those are the conventions who are attempting, and so far succeeding, at adapting to the change in the social environment that the Internet's presence imposes.

No, I'm talking about the usual suspects behind the WorldCon candidates. Those motherfuckers, and the cliques of fans who run them like personal fiefdoms, are on their way out. The Internet took all of their relevant salient qualities and did a Prometheus-like spreading to the masses while leaving behind all of the odious, nasty, and downright dangerous crap.

But this is far more prosaic a matter.

The common fan con consists of panels, signing/meet-and-greets, a Dealer's Room, and some room parties. Of those elements, none of them require an actual convention to get shit done.
  • Panels: Be they glorified presentations or lectures, or discussions among the panelists, this is nothing that can't be done better via a livestream with someone watching the chat room. Cheaper, easier, far more schedule-friendly (especially if you use the archive as a video, the default condition on YouTube), and with comment sections can be relevant years after the fact.
  • Room Parties: Shut up and go to their house. You can livestream those too.
  • Dealer's Room: AMAZON, MOTHERFUCKER! Ebay, Etsy, Brownells, and more exist.
  • Signing/Meets: Shut up and do it at a store.
  • Other: Drinking at the bar? Just go to the fucking bar (or be wise, buy your booze and drink at home). Concerts? Can be livestreamed. Awards? Done entirely online, no video or audio required.

And no, trade shows and professional/academic conferences are no better off. Neither are political conventions. The tool of the meatspace convention is obsolete, and anybody with a damn bit of financial sense would start axing this shit from the budget in favor of Internet-based alternatives that are far cheaper, easier, and more convenient.

Unless, of course, the reason for keeping on with this unnecessary practice is something other than the stated purpose- and I suspect it is.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

On Success: Learn From Vice's Failure

How to fail at Cable TV, Summarized: Put on the air a channel full of shit no one wants to watch featuring people no one wants to see. (e.g. Viceland)

The failed launch of Vice's cable TV channel should be an object lesson in how not to do it. Compared to what it replace--H2, History's backup channel--viewership is shit and only those invested in its narrative agenda gainsay that fact. More people want to watch reruns of Ancient Aliens than shows about shitweasels and freaks puffing themselves up.

When you work on a merchant's basis for success, you work on the fundamental principle of satisfying an unmet demand in return for compensation of your choice. Most people who fail to achieve success in the merchant's world, and cannot resort to cronyism as an alternative, do so because they fail to do this one fundamental task.

It turns out that there is not a large demand for watching freaks, frauds, degenerates, and similar wastes of life puff themselves up under the guise of "entertainment". As noted above, there is more demand for shows about ancient aliens and the end of the world than there is about gays on holiday, obese shit rappers, weed smokers, and so on. It's the failure of G4 all over again, only accelerated by an order of magnitude.

I will not mourn when Vice goes off the air for good. I will celebrate, and wish the same for all others of similar shit quality.

H2 and History are successful because they are meeting an unmet demand. Vice is not, so it fails. For those who seek to walk the Merchant's Path to success, learn from this failure: always pay attention to what demands are unmet, assess to see if they are viable demands, and if so then meet them better than anyone else.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Twilight of the Tabletop Gods

I contend that there is no future in tabletop RPG publishing, other than as a hobby, because technological advancements have made the business model obsolete.

No, not videogames (though they are a factor). The big advance is the Web itself, and the critical mass point was the invention of the Wiki.

That's right, wikis are the killing blow.

Now, let me walk you through the reasoning as to why.
  • The reliable buyers, for the longest time, were those who read more than played.
  • This lead to the creeping influence of lore over practical tools.
  • Wikis are superior IN ALL WAYS to publishing products for the distribution and proliferation of lore, making even "official" products obsolete and pointless wastes of time and money.
  • With the massive money of lore nerds and related readers slipping away, only gameplay remains as a selling point.
  • Publishers with atrophied game design skill and acumen (all of them that haven't moved to videogames) now realizes that it's got to play catch-up, and fast, or die out.
  • Only those willing to embrace the Wiki, drop lore from publishing, and focus entirely on rules and tools will survive.
That's why there is no future. Lore-writing is cheap and easy. Editors are cheap. That means the writing and editing of lore results in writers and editors being expendable and fungible, which is why the pay is going down and won't recover; the free contributions of wiki editors is where that slide stops.

Not that game designers are in a great spot in tabletop gaming. Tabletop RPGs are, in practice, the farm league for the real money: videogames. That shit ain't going to stop anytime soon. (Neither will comics stop being the farm league for film and television; again, the real money is not in the farm leagues.)

Making a solid game isn't a viable business in itself, and the folks who started way back when are slowly realizing that this train is coming to the end of the line. (Some will crash into it because they won't admit that it's time to change; let them crash and burn.) It's a demonstration of your competency as a designer, while you ensure that you can also do coding competently when you get called up to the big leagues.

Assuming, of course, that it's not just a hobby for you. If so, enjoy a pastime that--if you're good--pays for itself.

But no, after 40+ years, the tabletop RPG medium is not a viable business any longer. It's never been bigger than Dungeons & Dragons (and there has never been a need for anything other than reskins of D&D, which the d20 System demonstrated quite handedly), so as its fortunes go so goes the entire medium world-wide. If you want to make RPGs, and you don't want it as just a hobby, learn to fucking code. Vidya or GTFO.

And if you want to tell stories, write proper fiction or GTFO. Gaming is for gamers, not frustrated writers, you lying shitweasels.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Recommendation: Thunderfoot

Thunderfoot is one of the funniest skeptics on YouTube. He's one of the folks who entered the culture war via fighting the Atheism Plus front of the SocJus cult. Well, besides being hilarious, he's got a fundraising video up that parodies many of the psuedo-scientists he exposes. Have a laugh, and then throw him a fiver or something.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: Goodies Are Not Enough

One of the things that World of Warcraft introduced with Warlords of Draenor is the concept of a Weekly Event. The developers wrote up a rotating schedule of content emphasis, each lasting from Wednesday to Monday, each with rewards intended to entice players to participate in droves.

This is, as Bellular Gaming calls it, a retention mechanism. It's meant to keep you subscribed and playing, however minimal, while they work behind the scenes for their Next Big Thing.

Of this event schedule, three weeks out of every two months is devoted to something known as "Timewalking". The idea is that you queue up for the Dungeon Finder in a special Timewalking queue, run a subset of dungeons from a specific older expansion as if you were at the old level cap and at a specific item level, and if you complete five of them you get some special rewards relevant to the current expansion's endgame content.

This week, it's Cataclysm Timewalking. I've completed the event on two eligible characters, and I'll finish a third before it's over, but it's not something I enjoy doing with just anyone. If I'm not with friends or guildmates, I'm just doing it for the rewards and not enjoying myself at all.

That is not an uncommon sentiment. Folks doing it for the goodies are being retained, but not treated well, so once the gravy train stops so do they. This is not a good sign.

Now, I relate this in terms of gaming and game design, but I would hope you see the general applicability displayed here: the work itself has to be meaningful in order to provide a satisfying experience that brings people back, and wanting to come back, for more. As it is in work, so it is with play.

You can buy loyalty, but it is fragile at best. Once the bribes stop, so do those you buy with them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: Car Wars

Back in the 1980s, Steve Jackson Games made a fantastic tabletop war game by the name of Car Wars. This was a cheap, fun wargame with paper battlemaps and chit-based units that had all of the fun of Mad Max but with far more firepower to it.

I loved the hell out of that game (as I did BattleTech), and when I got Car Wars Classic (a revival of the aforementioned game) for Christmas I was elated. (I hope to get the Arenas box soon.) I gave the rulebook a once-over to see if I remembered the rules correctly, and I found that I had.

Alas, I haven't had a chance to play. Fortunately, boardgames aren't reliant on Internet connections or require updates, so my Car Wars stuff will be fine for when I get that opportunity.

But in the meantime I can indulge the other half of being a Car Wars player (the same thing that kept me engaged in BattleTech when I wasn't playing): Vehicle Design.

Yep, that was the killer app for a lot of us: designing our own vehicles and putting them to the test in play. This is something a lot of designers would come to comprehend in the years to come: having multiple, interlocking means of player engagement to act as a retention mechanism. It's why a lot of games have a significant lore component now, but an active means is superior and having a player-accessible content design method is best.

Now, if only Autoduel Quarterley was a thing once more. The Wraith needs to collect more A.R.F. trophies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Narrative Warfare: The SJW List & Its Impact

I don't fight the culture war because I am a "culture war profiteer" or because I expect anyone to agree with me, I fight it because the SJWs in science fiction and gaming were not content to leave me alone to write my books and columns, or design and develop my games, in peace.
That's Vox Day, writing in this post about the SJW List and its reactions from "moderates".

Wars are not nice affairs. Culture wars may lack the killing and the dying (for now), but they are still wars, and as such treating them as sport (or even less dire affairs) is a mistake on all levels.

So, knowing that the SocJus Cult routinely deals in whisper campaigns, blacklists, and shaming attacks in order to de-platform and dis-employ their enemies it is only right, fair, and proper to turn that table around and return fire. By using verifiable actions and statements, the SJW List puts together a list of SocJus cultists and useful idiots and places them together in a clean, public list for interested parties (such as HR heads) to review at their leisure.

Expect this list to grow as more SJWs get outed by their own actions, or those of their peers, and thus meet the qualifications for admission. The cult is already concerned; there's been one attempt to get the site yanked via their ISP, and a DDoS attack, so far. We all know that hitting up a candidate's online presence is routine in hiring now, and that there are acceptable euphemisms for round-filing people, so having this list rise to the top is a big deal.

Why? No one wants to hire a troublemaker, and SocJus cultists are all about that shit.

So, The Supreme Dark Lord--in his mercy--encouraged the creation of this list so that so much unneeded waste and injury be avoided. Is he not merciful? IS HE NOT MERCIFUL?

He is. He allows the SocJus Cult to disqualify themselves, and merely collects what is verifiable for others to review and act upon as they wish. No need to do anymore more here, and yet this one action has already made a significant shift in the culture war, one that I fully expect will be met with still greater escalation by the Cult.

And I am glad to see it, for my involvement stems from the same source as Vox's: you cunts would NOT leave me or mine alone. You done poked the bear, so now you get mauled.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Work Must Be Worthwhile to be Done At All

One of the signs of a corrupt and declining society is the degeneration of the link between work and worth.

Work does not need to require a high degree of skill to be worthwhile. Work does not need to require a high degree of knowledge to be worthwhile. What it has to have is utility to the community, which means that it can't be expendable or fungible. There is worth to having a grocer in a community. There is not to having ten; the function is already fulfilled, and redundancy is not necessary.

Economies are machines, and machines are tools. They should be reckoned and employed as such, and not as the quasi-religions that we have now, but rather with the cool detachment of choosing which tool to use to fix a broken item.

That means a few things:
  • Economics is a matter of national security first and foremost.
  • Ensuring that the men of the nation have worthwhile work is paramount.
  • All work is not equal, but all necessary work is worthwhile.
  • Outsiders must be shut out until all men who can work are.
  • Men are satisfied when the work done matches their talents and interests.
Note, I said "national". That means the distinct people that comprise the lawful population. If I meant the government, I would've said "state". As such, decisions must be made by the closest applicable level of national self-interest, and the economy be comprised of the smallest possible cells working as a network for the purpose of resiliency. Bigger is lesser, not greater. The village remains the best lawful body for human organization.

So, it is now clear that the vast majority of work is not worthwhile because the fools and predators at the controls of the economy are degenerate nihilists (or worse) who'd rather use us as human sacrifices to feed there inhuman appetites. This revelation sharpens when the record leading to the current state gets a critical inquiry, especially when digging into the personal histories of the major contributors of this present state of affairs.

Because, as it is now, the best way out is to come out of the cities, abandon the useless make-work, and start over as yeoman farmers and ranchers once more.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

On Success: Kill Your Shame

I've made no bones that I've watched and followed people whom I know to be successful in their life.

Here's what I've seen so far in terms on common elements:
  • They define what "success" is, and then pursue what it takes to get it.
  • They seek outcomes that aren't dependent on fragile means (e.g. employment) to get it.
  • They have plans and procedures--systems--in place to negate the fear of failure.
  • They have no shame.
That last one--"I don't care."--is the cornerstone that enables the rest to work. They don't care because they realize that this pursuit of success is about them first and foremost; everyone else is along for the ride.

That's huge. That one shift in your mindset eliminates the power of embarrassment to wreck you. It opens the power of embarrassment to be your tool, and many successful people do wield embarrassment as a tool (even a weapon) to get what they want done. (Starting with your mother.)

If you can be shamed, then you can be shamed into another's definition of success.

If you can be shamed, then you can be made dependent upon another and rendered fragile thereby.

If you can be shamed, then you can be compelled to abandon your own plans and procedures in favor of another's and thus always be in thrall to the fear of failure.

Shame is the source for others' control over you.

If you want to succeed, then you have to shut this off. Shame is weaponized empathy. Learning how to shut off shame means learning how to control your empathy, much as you learn to control your fear lest it overwhelm you and compel you to irrationally act. Same thing, same reason, so same solution.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

On the Value of Exclusion

Nothing worthwhile endures if it includes all and sundry without qualification. Not individuals, not nations, not countries, nothing at all. This is Natural Law.

Those who insist upon, down to compelling and coercing it upon the unwilling, such inclusion are acting as viruses and should be dealt with as such. They seek to subjugate you to their desires until they consume you, and then move on to the next victim.

Therefore, exclusion--not inclusion--is the value to favor. It is the value that gives you the reason to establish your borders and defend them from unwanted intrusion. It's in exclusion that you take a critical eye to those who want to join you, to see if their presence gives such value to your life that it's worth the cost to include them. It's in exclusion that we are fully able to pursue our interests properly.

Inclusion, in all things, reduces to and results in nothing more then worthless mushy mud. Yes, in ALL things. It's worse than useless and always destroys itself when allowed (compelled by being excluded) to do so.

I exclude those who bring no value to my life. I need not justify why. That is, and none may gainsay it honorably.

Because this is one of the signs of a free man: he excludes by an of his own accord, for he has his borders and maintains them rigorously.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Narrative Warfare: Muh Soggy Knees in Muh Star Wars

If I were ShoeOnHead, I'd be cutting a video about the lyin' press narrative about the new Star Wars trailer and "mysogyny" right about now. Something like this:

Because this media narrative is bullshit. It popped up out of nowhere, without a damn shred of any verifiable evidence, and has already gone from the usual clickbait fraud outlets to local news casts (e.g. KARE-11's "Bringing The News", in Minneapolis, did a segment on this and all they did was read a PR script)- so expect it where you are if you're in the Anglosphere soon.

Meanwhile, the worst that's actually going on it "Please don't make her suck like Rey.", and that's a concern about the execution, especially the writing. That's the reality here: concerns that the team delivers a quality product. Sensible folks in the media, such as this Charles Spiering at Breitbart, have picked up on this.

The problem is that there IS some agenda here at work. Disney IS SJW-converged, and they ARE pushing the Feminist agenda with these casting decisions. When you put pushing an agenda above producing a quality product, you get shit like the Beandog debacle regarding Balder's Gate, and that does nothing but further degrade the brand and degenerate the business behind it. In short, you're killing yourself if you do that.

And it's not like the SJWs don't lie to push their agenda:

Those are examples of failed attempts at fraud to firm-up a narrative push. We're right to be skeptical.

So, for now, hope that the producers and key players in Rogue One don't have their heads so firmly up their own asses that they fail to do good work. A female protagonist is fine, so long as she's competently executed and the artwork reflects the Natural Law of the real world; failure on either aspect will do more harm than good for all concerned.

And that's the real concern here: the degradation of something beloved to preach a dangerous dogma to an unwanting audience.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

My Life in Fandom: Rogue One Teaser Hits

Rogue One is the story of how the first Death Star's plans came to reach Princess Leia immediately prior to the opening of A New Hope. Unlike the main saga, this stand-alone story shifts genres from the line separating Space Opera from Science Fantasy to the line separating Space Opera from Techno-Thriller.

That's because this is a heist film with a secondary thread of espionage. Adjust your expectations accordingly. If you see anyone with a lightsaber wielding the Force, it's going to be Darth Vader (and you're about to see someone have a very bad day). This is a big deal. It's a big deal because it means that Disney is taking a chance.

Up until this point the Star Wars brand is a Fantasy brand as much as it is a Science Fiction brand. The films--which is what the majority go by, and a significant number of the games are the same way--are in that vein. Rogue One introduces something that only a minority of fans have familiarity with: using Star Wars for other genres of fiction.

This may not go over well. That means it's a marketing challenge, since they have to blend the existing fanbase with Techno-Thriller/Spy fans to ensure a maximum possible audience will see it. They have to ensure that the film hits big, so they can't pull a Deadpool and go to a hard R rating (or local equivalent), so expect PG-13.

If they're smart, they'll have already resorted to the best possible approach: Don't Suck.

They have to have their writing on point. They have to have the right actors in the right roles. Those actors need top-tier direction, and those roles need to fit together like a racer, because their performance has to be solid and flawless- Oscar-caliber stuff. The entire package has to deliver, or this stand-alone series blows up at liftoff.

And Disney is right to be concerned. Previous wanderings off the reservation have had terrible reactions (the Vong being the worst of them), and took years to clean up (and some, like the Vong, had to be nuked out of continuity). The fandom, by and large, is very conservative; it wants what got them into it and little else will be tolerated. If marketing is incompetent, the film could fail to meet expectations- and in Hollywood, that IS failure.

So, while manufactured outrage for clickbait goes on, calm down and watch the PR campaign. Look for how they frame the movie and its cast. That's where the vital info will be, short of an insider spilling the beans (and if you know where to look, you will find that also; I knew about The Force Awakens's plot months in advance because of that). Until we have context, images are just sizzle without steak (or stake).

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: The Death Knight is 100

Yep, still playing World of Warcraft. Deal with it.

My Death Knight alt on my main's realm--Barathon, a Blood Elf who died in the Third War (when he was a High Elf)--finally hit 100 on Sunday. Now I'm going through the gearing process. His Garrison is Level 3. His Shipyard is Level 1, and I've done the Invasion of Tanaan sequence so I can unlock all that stuff.

Once he's in Baleful (item level 650-695, before Valor Upgrades) or better, I'll rotate out of running Tanaan Jungle dailies to burn through the remainder of the 6.0 leveling content (free gold, Garrison Resources, etc.) so as to ensure that all Garrison options and Outposts are open to him.

I'll get him going on his Legendary Ring soon. Unlike my main, where I made a priority of upgrading that thing to max power, all I care about here is getting it at all.

The trick with long-term play of a game like this pacing. You want to avoid burnout. That means knowing when to ease up on the throttle, and when you're a player with plenty of alternate characters that's a big concern; burning out sucks the fun out of the game entirely, and burnout means you stop playing- leaving your pals in the lurch.

I left my DK alt on the shelf for most of this expansion. Legion is due in about six months, and I have another alt at 100 already and ready to raid. I have a handful more alts at 90+ to level to 100, and three more at lower levels, in addition to my main still being my active raider. I have pacing on my mind to avoid burnout, so I leave unimportant characters on the shelf until I have time for them.

Yes, this means prioritizing my gameplay options (and that, in the context of greater concerns).

As it is, my other alts aren't getting their Rings. I have other things I want to get done soon, going hard on my DK is not something I want to do; I'll be playing this alt (and my Paladin alt) when I'm done on my main for the week and my main gets only the minimum attention required to keep up as a raider.

And, by the way, I had another idea about RPGs and how people think of them as a result of this alt hitting 100, but that's another post.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Legion Hype: Professions (a First Look)

World of Warcraft: Legion remains in development. Before I logged in last evening to raid, I watched FinalbossTV do a test raid, so those developers are indeed hard at work on this expansion and soliciting feedback from testers on all the things.

One of them is the revisions to Professions, especially after the gutting they took in Warlords of Draenor. The proposed revisions return significant depth, and grind, to the Profession subsystem but also continue with certain discovery proc mechanics that made the Warlords version tolerable and enable them as catch-up friendly systems for returning players or characters long neglected. (The reason for the catch-up is to keep players in the relevant content and not in the obsolete stuff, so you can play with friends faster.)

Bellular Gaming has a good video on this, which I embed below:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Adapting to the New Normal of Publishing

I'm going to take a shot on a writing and publishing plan that takes advantage of the data recently released about how readers read, consume, and abandon novel-length (40K+ words) books.

First: About 50% of readers abandon books within 100 pages, usually due to boredom. A manuscript usually goes 400 words per page. 100 pages is 40K words. Formatting, etc. will skew that page count (and that's before adding Foreward, Afterward, Appendices, etc.) but it's fair to say that most readers now aren't big on fat books unless they're competently written OR they have external pressure to complete and comprehend the contents.

So, since publishing now (much as the Big 5 refuse to believe it) is an electronic-first affair, there is no excuse for fat books. Stuff that formerly would be an appendix, etc., should be shunted to a Wiki article instead. Manuscripts should be culled accordingly. Lots of fat needs to get trimmed out, and writers need to get straight to the point. Hit hard, hit fast, hit relentlessly, blow their minds, and move on.

Shorter books is how you adapt. No need for all this dross; throw that shit up on your author website or blog. This publishing paradigm doesn't reward flabby, undisciplined writing and publishing practices anymore. The Big 5 and their Fat Book paradigm relied on a realspace retail sales business model, and fat books consume shelfspace that otherwise would go to other books. Electronic publishing makes that irrelevant.

It also means that readers need to stop being lazy shitfucks and presume that the book has it all. It doesn't. You want answers? Go to the site and read the stuff that got cut because it's irrelevant to the book's narrative, but is part of the mound of worldbuilding (or its non-fiction equivalent) necessary to produce it. Like Wookiepedia (Star Wars) or Encylopedia of Arda (Middle-Earth).

The result is to aim for a 40-50K final draft, for a page count of about 100-120 pages, and all the addons stuff that pad the page count cut from the book for reuse as online articles. Hit it and quit, straight with no chaser.

Second: Readers want to engage direct with authors that they enjoy. This means having a website that is more than just a blog, or a landing page, and that means having regular content updates that keep your audience engaged and acts as a form of marketing because of that. While my writing blog can fulfill this function, I don't think that will do in the long run.

As I see it, having watched and read plenty of perspectives on the matter, this place needs to be where your readers go between book buys to stay engaged with you. That's why I say that using it as repository for material like Appendices is a good one. How the Empire works? Website content. Artwork of your Protagonist? Website content. Curation of fan sites? Website content. You get the idea.

Exactly what I intend to do I don't know yet. I'll let your know when I have a plan, as all I know now is that it needs to be done and I have to consider what options I have given the lack of resources I've got to work with.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Fabulous Milo In "Milo Gives Back - A Livestream for the Privilege Grant"

It's Sunday. I had something else in mind to post, but them The Fabulous Milo decided to do a livestream for his Privilege Grant charity. I can't compete with that, so instead I'll just join the fun and post it below. Afterwords, you'll get the entire archived stream video. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

About That Final Fantasy 15 Reveal...

Yep, there was a big marketing stunt for Western fans of the Final Fantasy franchise this week. Rather than go over the details, etc., I'll just let RazorFist deflate the hype a bit before going on.

What he didn't do is go into all of the stuff revealed at the event. Allow me to summarize: all of the additional stuff is meant to use the Transmedia concept to justify the ridiculous production costs via justified marketing, additional revenue streams, and creative use of Star Power.

Star Power is what we saw with the reveal of Florence Welch (of Florence & The Machine) doing a cover of Stand By Me for the game's score and soundtrack. It's what we saw with Sean Bean, Lena Hedley, and Aaron Paul being cast and featured in the CGI tie-in and side-story for FF15: Kingsglaive. It's what the marketing team hopes will bring in Normies who otherwise wouldn't give a shit.

The special and very special editions are additional revenue streams. Buying the parts you want piecemeal is an additional revenue stream. DLC? You know it. The soundtrack and score? Yep. More revenue paths means more revenue and that justifies things to the moneymen in the company, especially after this long a cycle. Those able to buy it all up front will, and the rest will buy it in pieces as they go; the frugal fans will wait for the big bundle sales in a year or so. Nothing lost for Square Enix here.

The five-episode anime series? Justified marketing. Getting Welch, Bean, Hedley, and Paul? Justified marketing. Justified because it's masked, or incorporated, as part of the final product instead of what it is: making efficient use of resources and assets already employed in the making of the game itself to help sell the damned thing to as great an audience as can be had.

So, while this may well be a much-desired return to form, all this flash and dross has the wise wondering that the substance will be lacking- and that could wreck this franchise for years to come (and force it to rely entirely on the MMO--FF14--to carry the banner). Square Enix is hoping for a miracle.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Admin: The Ban

All adherents to the Social Justice cult are banned, for life, from all property that I own or control. Violators of this ban, directly or by proxy, shall be considered to have acted with premeditation and malice aforethought and dealt with accordingly. I shall not tolerate your dyscivic, dysgenic, and degenerate presence in my life anymore than I must henceforth and I shall furthermore see that you follow Carthage to oblivion for the good of Civilization, for the good of the West, and the good of the Nations of the West.

This post is your notice.

Notice to Agent is Notice to Principal. Notice to Principal is Notice to Agent.

If you are not fools, then you know what I have done- and why it is a merciful act. Abide by it.