Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Razorfist on the Patreon Purge

Razorfist puts aside the persona to talk Sargon's deplatforming and why the entire trend is dangerous.

Razor's take of this being Lefties out-grouping others is valid; that is the result desired. He's also right that it doesn't require a conspiracy to do this; the tech heads can just talk openly on a call and arrange the hits. It's openly championed within the companies, as all of them are converged. I think Razor's on to something here, and I think what he presents makes the problem even worse due to popular support within the tech companies.

It's going to take government regulation to stop this. Get used to it.

Monday, December 10, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Razorfist Reviews Red Dead Redemption 2

I am not surprised to see Razorfist come out in favor of the game. Everyone that's played it has come to some similar conclusion. This is going to be a game that Rockstar will more than recover its investment in; it has legs, and I expect that with some good DLC and online addons it can remain popular well into 2019. There is room in the market for Western action games. Now it's up to developers to figure out how to do that without cloning Red Dead.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Mechwarrior 5 Gameplay Footage

Speaking of big stompy mech action, here's a gameplay video for Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries.

It's looking good so far. Piranha's choice to return to the cockpit view, real-time approach vs. Harebrained Scheme's adaptation of the tabletop game will find its audience, as that cohort hasn't been served outside of the MMO for years now and want a new game. Hopefully the final product that ships will deliver on the hype.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Business: Why "Muh Representation" Rings Hollow For Asian SJWs

When Hollywood cries "Muh Representation" about Asians, this is why. All Asians in the West can go back and hustle in the massive entertainment business across the Far East, especially if they are Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. There is no need to work in Hollywood at all, and everyone knows it.

The takeaway: When you've no less than three long-thriving entertainment business nodes, each with global reach and influence, "representation" isn't a thing.

Friday, December 7, 2018

My Life As A Writer: The Consequences of DNA-As-Code

Tron:Legacy continues to be a smarter film than one expects. This clip is in Act 3, a short one to cover reviving our heroine, but our mentor implies that what he did to Quora could be done to ordinary people on the outside. It's short, but the audio is soft so do what you must to hear it clearly.

Take a look at what Kevin Flynn manipulates. That's DNA. He goes through it like a coder looking to isolate a bug, and then he rips it out. The DNA, being self-replicating, respawn new strands to replace the broken ones. These strands are, in effect, rolled out backups brought online. When Kevin reattaches the disc to Quora's back, that's when the change-sync begins and the repairs take place.

And I remind you that Quora comes into the real world at the end of the film. Kevin's implications turn out to be correct; the question thereafter is how to make that happen in real-space.

So I put you the question: once this capacity becomes reality, what are the implications of it? In light of things such as CRIPSR, this is not far fetched or far off.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Razorfist Has His Masterpiece: Metal Mythos - Black Sabbath

Cancel your evening plans. Razorfist released his first two hour Metal Mythos video, premiering at midnight last night, and this is the man topping himself.

You watch that and you witness a man displaying his masterpiece. Every era of the band, every controversy, every music business bullshit event, all documented and covered. This video was a massive undertaking and its completion marks a turning point for the Eloquence of Elocution. He's taken about 15 years to reach this point, and it shows when you look into his archives. This is attained mastery in action, folks. Stick with it, and you'll get there too.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Narrative Warfare: You Can Buy Them That Cheap?

This is more significant than it appears.

Bad enough that celebs do it for free, so it was a matter of time until some celebs figured out how to monetize it. This is hidden influence peddling, as often as not for petty concerns, but when someone major wants to shift the narrative this is now an option. Its got to be cheaper than the usual ones, and until now there was no scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission to contend with.

It's got to stop. Report this to the FTC when you find it.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Business: The Supreme Dark Lord Can't Be Shut Down Anymore

If you shut a man out of your platform, he may well build his own. If the man you shut out is Vox Day, then you guarantee that he will build his own. Today, at his blog, Vox announced the launch of Alt-Hero: Q 2.1. This is the debut of Vox's own crowdfunding platform. He has no intention at this time to expand it beyond something he publishes due to bandwidth reasons, which is reasonable, but the point stands: he can't be shut down by the REEEE Brigade anymore.

As a bonus, Voxiversity 010: Rhetoric & Dialetic

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Business: Arkhaven Comics Continues To Deliver

The Supreme Dark Lord hosted an Arkstream tonight:

The long and short is that feedback from retailers and other parties has been heard and heeded, leading to changes in format, which will be seen shortly. The success of Arkhaven continues, and soon Swan Night's Son will begin its journey to the stands as one of Arkhaven's non-supers offerings. Unlike DC or Marvel, Arkhaven actually listens to its customers and partners and as a result the upstart continues to upset the business and take over abandoned territory.

Imagine if a powerful corporate publisher moved in like this. Marvel and DC would be eliminated within five years. As it is, Arhkaven could do it in ten.

Friday, November 30, 2018

My Life In Fandom: Gundam NT's Free Preview Is Live

Drop what you're doing and watch this preview of Mobile Suit Gundam NT.

Need a reminder of the plot?

U.C. 0097, one year after the opening of "Laplace's Box." Despite the revelation of the Universal Century Charter that acknowledges the existence and rights of Newtypes, the framework of the world has not been greatly altered.

The conflict later dubbed the "Laplace Incident" is thought to have ended with the downfall of the Neo Zeon remnants known as the Sleeves. In its final battle, two full psycho-frame mobile suits displayed power beyond human understanding. The white unicorn and the black lion were sealed away to remove this danger from people's consciousness, and they should now be completely forgotten.

However, the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 03, which disappeared two years earlier, is now about to show itself in the Earth Sphere once more. A golden phoenix... named Phenex.

See the full film when it's released.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

My Life In Fandom: Using Star Wars To Talk Civics

This was unexpected: remedial civic in a Star Wars lore video. Good on Eckhart's Ladder for trying.

Nevermind that this avoids several realities behind why constitutional republics fail, such as needing a high trust and low time preference national culture lest the corruption that comes of low trust and high time preference hollow out your republic like a ravenous maggot, or that some nations simply cannot reach the level of trust and time preference required for a republic to function as intended.

I'm giving credit to Eck here simply for broaching the subject at all. Sure, he'll be rebutted good and hard in the comments by plenty of people, and some of those rebuttals will actually be worth a damn, but this sort of world-building talk doesn't happen outside of Sperglandia often enough and I think a little more like this would be useful.

Why?

For the same reason zombies facilitate talking about disaster preparation. The use of a popular fiction to facilitate talking about something that is both real and important is a good idea; it dilutes or negates the resistance to useful talk that otherwise exists, which is important in getting people to engage in the subject at hand. Yes, even if that involves pointing out that a given environment is unlikely to produce the proposed system. (e.g. any government in Star Wars where Force users aren't the shot-callers, defacto or dejure)

There's a limit, of course, but Eck's not hit that yet with this sort of video. He's not sperging out; this is just useful civics discussion, for now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

My Life In Fandom: The Increasing Irrelevance of SF Conventions

Brian Niemeier and Jon del Arroz wrote recently on the deplatforming of author, astrophysicist and Reason Magazine editor Gregory Benford from LosCon. Go read those two posts; both are quite informative.

I saw the writing on the wall with my local scene two years ago (see the Convergence 2016, Day Four post), and resolved then to not attend any convention unless I was specifically invited and the con paid my way. The insanity has only worsened, as I expected, as the madness afflicting the local Secret Masters of Fandom only makes them double-down on the fraud that is Social Justice. I have no desire to be among a population increasingly resembling the targets of the Inquisition, so I took my leave. I don't miss it at all, and I have no plans to return.

As an aside, the SJW clique running the biggest local SF con finally screwed the pooch and blew their relationship with the hotel that long hosted the con; this forced a move for 2019 into the downtown area of Minneapolis, which I expect will go over as well as the last time this con's management fucked up in this manner, but SJWs being incompetent ideologues I also expect that they will not learn anything from the failure and just do the usual: double-down on the derpstorm, consequences be damned.

Nevermind the political end of things. As I pointed out two years ago, the functions that these aging cons performed have been superceded by the Internet in every way, and people reveal their preferences with their feet and wallets. The scene as a whole is collapsing, with the corporate sellout cons currently benefiting but I don't think that will endure much longer either. We're due for a massive crash across the board, and the con scene will be a welcome victim of that collapse; so long as the Internet persists, the con scene is irrelevant and will remains so.

Yes, deplatforming like this is not good, but ultimately it's a temporary sting and not a serious wound. Everything Benford could accomplish with a convention appearance is better done online, as the emerging podcast and livestream scene coupled with online stores and the other components of a solid digital presence shows to great success. That's why I'm not so concerned about the local SMOFs shutting me out. I have far more important, more relevent, concerns to worry about.

There is one thing Brian said that I concur with entirely: While LosCons treatment of Benford was reprehensible, it's yet another milestone on literary sci-fi cons' terminal descent into irrelevance. The once mighty World Con has reduced itself to a sick joke. The lesser cons are rapidly following suit. (Emphasis mine)

Walk away from the SF cons, folks. If the revelation that they're a hub of child predation didn't do it, seeing their irrelevance should.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Business: Spacedock's Success Shows The Way Forward

Spacedock is still killing it with damn good lore videos. Here's the new one for Star Wars, focusing on the one Mouse Wars movie that isn't a dumpster fire: Rogue One.

Spacedock's gotten good enough that he's doing official lore videos for The Expanse and Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, with a scope and reach far beyond expectation. The Templin Institute is getting similar attention now, and I expect Eckhart's Ladder to come along presently in profile; their three-way alliance has paid off for all of them.

I renew my call to reach out to them and get them working with we in the indie SF field to have them make videos for OUR properties. Cole & Anspach are in the best position to do this as Galaxy's Edge is big enough now to make it worth their while, but once we in #AGundam4Us build up that momentum we should be looking to make those deals to both leverage that momentum as well as to build upon it.

Why?

To expand the reach of our works, including providing Proof of Concept for cross-media adaptation. Relying on a single medium for IP longevity is over. Not even the venerable ones say in one lane; go look at the many comic adaptations of John Carter there are, going back decades, and that's for a property first established in 1912 only being adapted to one other medium. It only goes up from there, and we'd be wise to make this work for us.

Monday, November 26, 2018

My Life In Fandom: Getting Started Watching "Legend of the Galactic Heroes"

So, you want to get started watching the classic OVA version of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Where to start?

Your best bet is to watch these two films, with a combined run time of about 2.5 hours, and then skip to Episode 3 of the OVA. The second film is a far superior remake of Episode 1 & 2, and the first is a fine stand-alone introduction to the series. Between the two you get a very good sense of what to expect going into the OVA series, and when you feel like it you can watch the other side stories.

From there you'll either have to shell out big bucks for the Blu-Rays, sub to HIDIVE, or find a gray site to watch the OVA series. The effort is worth it because this is one of the best science fiction series that Japan ever produced, and until someone somehow gets sensibly-priced discs on the market in the West (either the new series or the classic one) these are your options.

If you'd rather read them, the light novels are available in English now from Amazon. I recommend buying physical copies.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Inappropriate Characters Returns!

Inappropriate Characters went live tonight to talk about the latest OSR news and developments. Also, Venger Satanis has his birthday.

This is one of the more entertaining tabletop RPG podcasts around. If you like what you seek, subscribe and ensure that you get notifications pushed--the bell button--as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Bellular Talks Blizzard

Bellular Gaming is a solid Blizzard news channel, with a focus upon World of Warcraft. Today's video is on what's leaking out from the inside, and it's not good news.

Well, we got screwed even harder than we thought. The Diablo team got hammered with Executive Meddling good and hard. The mobile side clearly comes from a lust for Chinese cash, which I am certain is going to turn out to be a bubble no less artificial and fragile that the Housing and IT bubbles of previous years, because if you pay attention to indie reporting on China you get how fake that country's economy is.

The insanity of constant growth or bust shows itself here. The only thing in biology that does this is cancer, so it's no surprise that corporate craziness is also cancerous; the time to kill this duty to be cancerous, and it is a legally-mandated duty, has come and soon the opportunity will arise to make doing so viable in our various law-making bodies around the world.

It's clear that Blizzard specifically, and the industry generally, needs to reform. When you're better off doing database bitchwork than pursuing your passion, that's a very bad sign and it has to stop. If it can't be done organically from within, then it must be done legislatively from without; we regulate workplaces in other ways, to good effect and for good reasons, so this won't be out of line or without precedent. These companies using compensation to create cult-like campus conditions has to stop.

Friday, November 23, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: The RPG Pundit - The D&D DM is NOT a "Storyteller"

Today, for those of you coping with Black Friday as well as everyone else looking for a bright note to end the week, here you are. In addition to the topic in the post title, the Pundit recounts a FAILED attempt at SJW convergence in tabletop RPGs, which was the recent OSR logo bullshit that exposed SJWs in the Old School Renaissance Google Plus/MeWe group intended to do just that. Resist, folks. You can beat the Death Cult.

The Pundit's talking about Virtual Life Experience here. That's what the tabletop medium does best. Take a tabletop wargame, move a step or two outside of those bounds into the realm of liminality, rely on a Referee to spot-rule as required and let the players engage the scenario organically. No pre-determined results, no Writing Room bullshit, no narrative tropes allowed at all. Roll the dice, deal with what you get, and shrug it off when the dice (or your stupidity) fuck your man in the ass and get him killed.

Seriously, folks. It really is simple as making a sandwich, and for whatever difference the Pundit and I have we're on the same page here. It's not nearly as hard to just run the game as these frustrated novelist fuckers want you to think. Ignore wankfests like Critical Role; the real deal is not at all spectator-friendly, something I learned first-hand decades ago. Lots of fun, but only if you're in the mix; if you're not, it's boring like watching paint dry. Shun the storywankers; you'll have far more fun if you do.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Supreme Dark Lord Gives Thanks

The Supreme Dark Lord, Vox Day, gave a special Thanksgiving Darkstream tonight. I think it's worth sharing. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

John C. Wright Joins The Party: "Starquest"

Living Grandmaster of science fiction, John C. Wright, has decided to join the party with a space opera project of his own: Starquest. Here's his pitch:

Have you been disappointed by the drab, dull, and unimpressive way most space sagas, franchises, and the beloved epics of childhood have been treated in recent times?

Writers of space adventure stories, if they dare write the kind of old-school, honest, rousing, tale of action, intrigue, and interstellar deeds of derring-do we all enjoy, when men were men and women were space princesses, are ignored by modern publishers, scorned by the press, shunned by the long established science fiction awards.

Space opera is the genre where at least one planet is blown into asteroids before the end of Act One. Such tales are peopled by dashing star-captains, villains space pirates, lovely princesses, cunning secret agents, roaring monsters, ancient ruins on accursed planets, dying worlds, exploding suns, and dazzling visions of grandeur.

But where is the reader to turn, who yearns for a return to the thrills of yore? This things are not lost. The pulp magazines may be gone, and the serial cliffhangers extinct, but their spirit is reborn! Space Opera lives again!

John C Wright, and his inner circle of space allies, seeks to break the fetters on the imagination which have bound our brains for too long. There are rich, loud, outrageous tales of heroism and villainy yet to be told, against the infinite backdrop of the stars, and all the reaches of eternity.

STARQUEST is an homage, a renaissance, and a return to those epic space yarns of yore. No editor with a political agenda can censor this work, no decrepit publishing house can push postmodern pretensions into the text. No one will spoil our fun. The writer answers directly to the reader, you. You are my beloved customer: I am writing what you want the way you want it: because I am a disappointed fanboy myself, and, rather than complain that science fiction is dying, with you help, I can do something to cure it.

STARQUEST is a crowdfunded experiment in pulp publishing. The working title for the first episode is PHANTOM PRIVATEER VERSUS SPACE PIRATES OF ANDROMEDA. That title should tell you what we have in mind.

He's raising funds for it at Indiegogo, so point your browser here and give him a hand if you can. He's got a proven track record of delivering the goods, and a backlist plenty able to show you what he can do. Your money won't be wasted here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My Life In Fandom: From the Gundam 40 Livestream

Bandai livestreamed their 40th Anniversary presentation for the Gundam franchise tonight. It just ended a few minutes ago. This is what got announced (h/t to @TomAznable at Twitter):

  • "UC NexT 100" Project will continue with a three-part feature film adaptation of Hathaway's Flash.
  • Gundam: The Origin gets a TV edit and will begin airing on NHK in April. Watch for follow-up announcements on English sub and dub releases.
  • There will be another Build series.
  • There will be another SD series.
  • The live-action film adaptation has begun production.
  • Reconguista in G gets a movie version.
  • Gundam Global Challenge: Gundam Factory opening in Yokohama in 2020 (updates given)

It's going to be a good time for Gundam fans for the big anniversary year and going into 2020's Olympiad. If more comes out, don't be surprised.

Monday, November 19, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Super Robot Wars T Announced

I hauled my ass out of bed at 6am to catch a corporate announcement livestream in Japanese. The announcement was for the next Super Robot Wars title, and I didn't get one announcement. I got two. One of them is a mobile game (Super Robot Wars DD), which makes the mobile gaming set happy, and the other is a joint PS4/Switch release: Super Robot Wars T. "T" stands for "Terra", and it's got not only a lot of returning series, but several debuts.

One of them is Cowboy Bebop, the other is mother-fucking Captain Harlock! (SSX version, specifically) so another thing got memed into reality. Keep at the LoGH-in-SRW memes, folks; we'll get Mein Kaiser and The Magician into the series yet. There's more, but I'm waiting for the trailer to be translated into English and released. When that happens, I'll post a follow-up featuring it.

Series Featured:

The English subtitled trailer is here.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sentai Filmworks Still Has LOGH Boxed Sets For Sale

Apparently Sentai Filmworks still has some for sale.

If you're loaded, and you want to get me a Christmas gift guaranteed to make me weep, this is a good decision to make.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Rediscovering The Classics: Arion (1986)

Thanks to a Twitter thread today, I found out about this '80s anime film.

The Infogalactic entry summarizes it so:

The story follows Arion, a young man kidnapped by Hades as a child and raised to believe that his mother was blinded by Zeus and that killing the ruler of Mount Olympus will cure her.

And it's immediately going on the To Watch list.

One of my regulars on Twitter mentioned that it seems to have a Leigh Brackett vibe, so we'll see when I get around to watching it. I'll eschew the YouTube uploads due to the mangling those accounts did to dodge the algorithm in favor of one of my usual gray sites, as the English-subtitled film is out there; finding the manga it stems from is another matter.

I am not surprised that this slipped past my radar. No one I knew back in the day was into this sort of thing; we wanted our giant robots. I wasn't deep into the tape-trading networks, so I wouldn't have seen it that way. I never noticed this title in any of the catalogs of the emerging legit outlets, or on the shelves at the places where you could get legit anime, so that's why I hadn't heard of this film until now; you can't notice what you're not aware of, after all.

Friday, November 16, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: SJW Stupidity In Tabletop Continues

In the last day, two tales of SJW bullshit in tabletop RPGs have come up. Brian Niemeier covers the White Wolf story at Kairos. The RPG Pundit's going to talk live about the attempt to gatekeep the OSR via bogus logo concern trolling.

In both cases, we're talking about advanced SJW convergence. For the former, it's the cult expelling those that slipped up and violated the Narrative by failing to keep up with the rabbit warren's plot twists and thus didn't get the memo on This Week In WrongThink. For the latter, its a cultist who got activated and now is attempted a Quixotic crusade to gatekeep the Old School Renaissance, a task slightly less futile than Sisyphus rolling that boulder uphill.

The former is resolved: Paradox Interactive dissolved and absorbed White Wolf. The latter will resolve itself; lots of posturing, but no substance to be had, means that nothing will happen other than the outing of more Fake Gamers from the scene where they never belonged anyway. Nothing of value was lost with the end of the White Wolf stupidity, and nothing will be lost when the SJW fucksticks in the OSR get their peaceful sunsets.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Sony Goes Full Retard

Sony Computer Entertainment decided to go Full Retard recently. There's a Twitter thread about it. Here's a summary:

Sony reorganized operations recently, basing out of California. All devs must now work with Sony in English, including the Japanese mainstays that build Sony up to this point, even if the games are published in another language (such as Japanese). Visual Novels and other games with adult content are being censored when allowed at all, compared to uncensored PC versions, all for Muh PR. Meanwhile, the devs--all but a few Japanese--who kept Sony in the game through the PS3 days (and keep the Vita alive now), which includes corporate powerhouses like Bandai, are being thrown under the bus in favor of a "new global standard" policy. One that SJWs on the Left Coast will be certain to use to converge the company, damage gaming further, and fuck over Japan good and hard.

This pattern of companies going Full Retard in abandoning their core customers for a mythical wider audience, one that doesn't exist, and in searching for it go for microtransaction-laden shitpiles passing themselves off as full and proper games. Those fake games, and they are fake games, are aimed at children with parents that don't pay attention until the bill comes due and deliberately foster gambling addiction via Skinner Box psychology to amp up the dopamine hits in users to the extreme.

And with the the search for audiences that don't exist comes the betrayal of the audiences that got you where you are. That's what Sony's done here: stabbed their loyalists in the back and turned their coat against them. Making this more inexplicable is that Sony is still regarded as a Japanese corporation, including all of its subsets (which SCE is), so relocating SCE out of Japan and then making Japanese devs work in English is odd beyond words.

Allow me to quote one of my favorite virtual idols on this:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

My Life As A Historian: The Legend of America's Founding (As Japan Thought It Was)

Japan's fascination with the US goes back a long ways. Click through and read this Twitter thread, featuring comic (and comical) images of Japan on the US from the late 19th century.

You want more? Go here. Can we crowdfund an anime adaptation? This would be awesome (and hilarious) to see on TV.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: An Open Letter To Palladium Books

Dear Palladium Books,

Recently you lost the license to Robotech. That's a shame, because the "Shadow Chronicles" edition was a far superior revision to the original line that you published beginning in the late 1980s. However, it also grants you an opportunity for a new product line; you've proven that you can make a tabletop RPG product line focused around action, romance, and giant robot combat. You did it with the first edition, repeated it with Rifts, and did it again (Macross II) and again (aforementioned second edition).

You do not need to seek another anime property to license. You can, and you should, publish an original property to fill the void that Robotech leaves in your catalog. However, to be successful with such a product line you have to comprehend what the target audience wants out of such a game and then to deliver only those things required to meet that demand. In short, it requires a degree of competency and focus that heretofore you've been lacking.

The reason is that what works for successful tabletop RPG publishing is not what works in other media, even closely-related media.

Palladium's games, without trying, have been good on the question of liminality since the beginning. This is key to a successful tabletop RPG, but to succeed at being a successful mecha game you need more than that. You need a crystal-clear reason to do anything but blow shit up in mechs; failing to answer that question is why BattleTech remains the tabletop mecha property, with Mekton, Heavy Gear, and Robotech being perennial also-rans. The corollary to this issue is the recognition that mecha fans who want mecha RPGs aren't the cohort into the relationship porn; they're in it for the mechajock fantasy, with anything else being a sideline.

Note that BattleTech is a wargame, with its TRPG being a sideline to its primary product line. Note that Mekton is not considered a complete product without the full construction system. Note that Heavy Gear and Jovian Chronicles are treated also as wargames first, with TRPG stuff as a sideline good for forum bullshit. In short, you're going to have to change your thinking about how to do this if you want to succeed, especially since you're competing with videogames and they do all-action all-the-time better than ANY tabletop alternative.

(Aside: This question is settled now, conclusively. You need a product that appeals to the only cohort that would care--wannabee pilots--and then give them a reason to get out of the cockpit. Yes, the only cohort; shippers write fanfic or watch/read the material and have no interest in a TRPG, something you should have figured out 30 years on from the original publication of Robotech as a RPG.)

Your game is going to be a wargame at its core. Your difficulty is devising reliable and repeatable reasons to get out of the cockpit. You can't rely on Muh Feels because the core audience couldn't care less about that. That means you have to give them operational reasons to get out, and that means completing a mission will require doing that. It's either that, or you embrace Troupe-style play and let the same players play both pilots and non-mecha operatives in a system of play that switches between the two.

You have already published a scenario that allows for this: the Invid occupation of Earth. There are other existing anime with a similar playable premise, such as Fang of the Sun Dougram, because "Partisans vs. Occupiers" is a TRPG-friendly scenario that makes best use of the liminality of the TRPG medium while retaining the tight focus on external action that wargaming does. Review those titles, collect what is common between them, remove any reliance on relationship porn and build your game around that.

Good luck. You're going to need it.

Sincerely,


Bradford C. Walker

Monday, November 12, 2018

Stan The Man Is Gone

Marvel co-creator and die-hard icon Stan Lee has died at the age of 95. The Onion broke character to report his passing.

Thanks for everything, Stan. You'll be missed.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The World Class Bullshitters' Veteran's Day Special

The World Class Bullshitters had a Veteran's Day Special the other night, featuring independent author Yakov Merkin among the current and former military men as guests of the show. Lots of wide-ranging conversations to be had here, and well worth the four hours spent. You know you're going to run into some downtime today, so queue this one up and give it a go.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Vox Day Explains How Men Work

The Supreme Dark Lord finally puts out the straight dope on men in a plain-spoken video.

Like r/K Theory, this is a framework that validates itself by observation; it is valid across all time, and it is valid across all space. It holds explanatory power that you can use for practical, day-to-day ends; Vox Day shows this himself by explaining things in everyday terms, some of them from his own experience.

And once you do see it, you never unsee it, much like once you have hypergamy explained to you in plain language with examples. Profit from this wisdom or be destroyed by those that do.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Anime Informing #StarKnight: The Macross Franchise

Any Space Opera taking queues from Japan will not fail to acknowledge the Macross franchise. Starting in 1982 with Super Dimension Fortress Macross (which many of you known as the most popular part of Robotech), this is the #2 Real Robot franchise in Japan and has been since its debut (following the king that is Gundam). The consistent presence music as a power unto itself, the love triangles that drive the relationships, and their combination in the form of music that has now had inter-generational influence in anison and J-pop (and brought about the rise of Living Goddess Yoko Kanno).

It's also the franchise that brought us proper transformables as Real Robots, something Gundam wouldn't do for three years (Zeta Gundam), and brought us the GERWALK name and mecha design concept. It would also meld the Hero Ship vs. Evil Fleet of Yamato with Gundam's use of mecha to represent the strike craft's emergence in WW2 as a deciding force in combat; later entries would build upon this idea, as seen in Macross 7, Macross Frontier, and Macross Delta. If Gundam had a reputation of being grimdark and nihilistic, Macross would go the other way (despite some horrific events of its own), and that contributed to its enduring popularity.

It isn't purely pulp, but you can see the DNA in its episodes, especially in what tropes it uses and how; Macross is one of the current homes of the Flying Ace hero trope, and it shows when a Macross show gets into a Super Robot Wars game. While you won't see the most obvious elements in Reavers, you will see one right away and it's going to be a consistent presence; you don't name a major character "Gabriela Robin" and not do that. More obvious Macross influences come down the road.

And now, some Macross viewing for your pleasure:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

My Life In Fandom: The Most Earnest Cover Ever

Enough with the blood and thunder. Here's the most earnest cover of "Country Roads" you're ever going to see.

Time to return the favor with more full English adaptations of anison. John Young can't have all the fun.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Escalation Has Begun

What did I tell you? The escalation begins. Next time? They burn Tucker out. In short, this-

-becomes this:

Once the full weight of yesterday's election because clear to the Left, this is going to happen where the Left has local domination. (They'll try it where you can shoot attackers dead once, see that they can't punish defenders with lawfare, and stop doing it.) Antifa got its orders; soon they'll be killing their targets openly.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Watch A Shift Happen In Real Time

Forget the MSM wankers. If you want to watch the US midterm results come in, do it with some fun folks such as the Killstream crew.

If you prefer something calmer and more analytical, the Supreme Dark Lord is your man.

The Blue Wave won't. That much is certain. It's a question of how much the Dems fail by, rather than if they do or not, with the corollary being how much illegal scheming they resort to in order to make anything go their way. SO the fun thing will be to see how the professional liars that is the MSM try to spin their failure, and the shitshow that ensues from this desperate flailing about.

We're going to see the limits of what Narrative Warfare can do tonight. Just as there is only so much economic manipulation can do, there is only so much that narrative warfare can do. As the two are used by the same party for the same purpose, the escalation step will be identical: call out the Jackals. The violence will escalate after tonight, both in frequency and in effectiveness, as the shitlibs and their masters decide the usual tactics don't work so they need to fall back and break out heavier firepower.

What does this mean?

SJWs Always Double-Down.

The lying will escalate, as will the deplatforming and tortious interference in the actions of their enemies. Their banking assets will get woke and start cutting off far more people from existing services, and when alternative payment processors (currently the high ground) finally get going the international banks themselves will start showing their convergence by cutting off processors the SJWs do not control. State power will become necessary to put these usurpations down, forcing more of the Right into seeking and seizing State power at all levels.

The violence will escalate. Antifa will morph into a true terror org, rioting less in the streets and burning targets out of their homes (and into their lethal reach) more. Right-aligned businesses with physical plants will be torched. SJW assets in the insurance corporations will go out of their way to deny claims to the designated victims. The hope is by cutting the Right out of the economy they can bring the Right to heel, and if they have to kill some to do so then they will and give no fucks about it.

And that will have predictable, and tragic, consequences.

The media will shift the narrative, starting tonight, to justify ALL of this. Count on it.

Monday, November 5, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: The Diablo Immortal Fallout Continues

Someone got the memo, and to no one's surprise it's a Games Workshop licensee.

Sure, opportunistic PR and marketing at a competitor's expense, I get that.

But there is no debating that this was a good move to make at this moment because that competitor made such a fundamental error. This is basic levels of business savvy that we're talking about here: Know Your Audience. They have expectations. Meet them and thrive. Fail and fuck off. This is such a fundamental thing that even people totally absent from business concerns can comprehend it.

And that's not the only hot take. The usual shit game media responses are out, saying the usual shit stories, and this includes people like Derek Smart (who really ought to know better than to side against the gamers, given his anti-Star Citizen crusade). The fact remains that Blizzard pulled a bait-and-switch on the core Diablo customer base, and then shamed them for not going along with it; this is incompetence and it should be severely punished because it doesn't get discouraged otherwise.

You satisfy your core audience first and foremost. Nothing else matters. Turn your coat against them at your peril.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Why Diablo Immortal Is A Bad Sign

This thread came over my Twitter feed late last night while I listened to the Killstream.

That Tweet is the start of the thread. The authoress uses her experience working in mobile "gaming" to illustrate the threat: mobile gaming uses casino-style exploitation of psychology to mindfuck players into blowing their fortunes on the game, all the while delivering a shit-tier gameplay experience done on the cheap.

The company Blizzard outsourced to, Netease, is notorious in China among the Chinese gaming network for shoving out these digital whaling ships masquerading as videogames and it is known that Immortal is nothing more than a sanctioned reskin of an existing title. It is likely meant for the Chinese market, as others have said, but for some reason the Diablo team thought that the core audience would accept this as valid and were honestly taken aback when paying attendees booed them and asked if this was a joke.

Then the PR spin doctors got to work, and this happened.

This news made it to Reddit shortly after it began happening. It's one thing to be tone-deaf to your core customers. It's another to bald-faced lie to them and double-down by covering up the negative reception via manipulations like this and then using the Q&A panel time to bullshit until the very end so they could stack the question queue with shills and cucks. We've noticed, Blizzard. You only made your own mess worse with this misbehavior.

This needs to be hammered, good and hard, and not just because mobile games are trash; they are predatory, exploitative quasi-scams akin to lootboxes and need to be taken as gambling as much as lootboxes are (because, in this case, they are deliberately modeled on casino games). You may scoff, until someone you know (and rely upon) gets sucked into such a thing and the same pitfalls that befall gambling addicts afflict them and fuck you over in turn. Time to take out the trash.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: BlizzCon 2018 WrapUp

It's still a two-day convention, with all of the important stuff said on Friday, so today's post is a roundup of what Blizzard and friends announced.

  • Before the show started, Bungie made Destiny 2 on PC free for all Bnet users to keep until the 18th.
  • They're doubling-down on the esports for as many of their properties as they can pull off.
  • Starcraft 2: Zeratul as Co-Op Commander; Google Deep Mind crew is back to show off their AI work.
  • Heroes of the Storm: New Heroine, Original Character, Orphea. The game now has enough stand-alone lore to generate original characters. Free to attendees and VT holders.
  • World of Warcraft: New boss, John Haidt. BFA updates. Classic Demo live through the 8th. Patch 8.1 info includes Battle of Dazar'alor (raid Zandalari capital), Darkshore Warfront, War Assaults (Legion invasions redux), Classic goes live Summer 2019 and is a client option in your Live sub fee, baby pet charity object for coreorg is SJW bullshit, cinematic to set up Saurfang's resistance to Sylvanus.
  • Hearthstone: Audio failure. Come back later.
  • Overwatch: New hero, Ashe.
  • Classic Games: Warcraft 3 Remastered.
  • Hearthstone: Mic fixed. Rastakhan's Rumble, set in Gurabashi Arena in STV. Trolls aplenty.
  • Diablo: Immortal, original mobile game. Set after D2. Cross-platform. May God have mercy on their souls.
  • WOW: Zandalari Trolls can be Paladins. (Lore change.) Kul Tirans can't be Mages, but can be Shaman. (Ditto.) WOD Timewalking. Nazjatar and Mechagon in 8.2, with likely next set of Allied Races to come with those zones/dungeons. Azshara plot comes in earnest after second raid tier. More Heritage Armor for Classic races. The "fix the expac in X.1+" trend continues.

I'm happy about Classic, and I appreciate getting a $60 game for free, but otherwise I'm hearing "We have nothing going on and don't know what the fuck to do." out of Blizzard with this year's announcements. SC2 is all but dead, Hearthstone is a gimmick-fest, Heroes and Overwatch are not the top-tier games in their genres despite Blizzard tryharding for years on end, and they just gave up on Diablo. The new mobile game is reskin of an existing Chinese game; that's how cynical and lazy this is.

We need something new, something the Blizzard that Mike was there to found would have done, and until that Blizzard comes back from the dead and kills the thing wearing it like a skinsuit this is what we can expect out of the company. I am not impressed, Blizzard, and once you get some serious competition I will see if you once more revitalize back to what you were. As it is, all this retreading is really seeking for the spark you lost.

Git Gud, Blizzard, or GTFO. Stop phoning it in, and stop shitting on the Diablo players in particular. Now for video backup.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Anime Informing #StarKnight: Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Massive space fleets, larger-than-life characters, manly men (even the boys) and womanly women (even the tomboys), and intrigues in every network of power as well as across those nodes of power. That's Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and it's a big influence on #StarKnight. If there's one self-contained part that I can use as an example, it's the remake of the first two OVA episodes into a stand-alone film leading into the OVA series: Overture To A New War.

Just add mecha, lightsabers, and a real Church and you have a good mockup of #StarKnight. You're missing quite a bit, but this is enough to get your imagination going.

(Side Note: BlizzCon 2018 begins today, so tomorrow's post will be the roundup of relevant release information from that convention.)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Most People Won't Work For Entertainment (Still)

The Mythic Plus scene in World of Warcraft continues to prove what I've said for year: the common man will not work for his entertainment.

This is not the first time that Preach has made a video about how the playerbase in the game refuses to Git Gud and earn their way to the top rewards in the game. He's been doing this for years, and his criticisms each time have been both accurate and precise. This video is no different; the changes to how Mythic Plus works has demoralized players wanting to give this mode a go, especially compared to the piss-easy alternatives showering players with free loot that isn't terrible.

The issue is simple: People Don't Work For Entertainment.

World of Warcraft is a game. Dungeons & Dragons is a game. Games are entertainment, and entertainment is not taken to require effort akin to work to enjoy, and "enjoy" means "succeed". That's what professional athletes do, and pros get paid to do it.

There's a threshold of effort past which most people turn off and do something else, and with games that line is "Does it feel like work?" Most people expect a game to be something they can do cold (no preparation) and stupid (no prior/outside knowledge), have a good chance at winning, and have no ongoing commitment. They expect that because the very games that endure generation on generation are exactly that, a fact summarized with "Easy To Learn; A Lifetime To Master".

I'll get more specific about this in later posts on this topic, but for now consider Preach's commentary in this light; World of Warcraft has a serious problem because what it requires to justify itself financially cannot be had unless the game is too easy for the core audience to stomach for long. All of the game's problems stem from this conflict.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

My Life In Fandom: The Mouse Murdered Star Wars

If you still think Mouse Wars can be saved, allow me to demotivate you.

Here's your horror story, folks. Mouse Wars has successfully murdered something you loved, skinned and gutted it, and now goes about pretending to be it while wearing its skin as a grotesque costume.

Ever since Uncle George sold out to the Mouse, we've had some trepidation. Despite its flaws, The Force Awakens wasn't that bad; it was as safe a film as it got, being a remake of the original, but it was on the margins that the real nature of what went down first appeared and that corruptions exploded when The Last Jedi shat up the screen. It's only gotten worse since with all the media bullshit and SJW virtue-signalling.

The prequels were flawed, but earnestly so; the originals remain fantastic (but not perfect). We can just disavow Mouse Wars and be fine, so that's what I do; in the meantime, there's plenty of #StarWarsNotStarWars out there that focuses on something you love about Uncle George's love-letter to the pulps. Loved the grunt-focused episodes in Clone Wars? Galaxy's Edge is there for you. Fleet action and court intrigues? Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Tyrania await. The last best hope to save the galaxy? Yamato, Babylon 5, et. al.

And if you really want it all done better, go to the source: the Lensman books by E.E. "Doc" Smith. Better Jedi than the Jedi. Better superweapons than anything George or the Mouse allowed. Better action, better romance, powered armor (the origin for it and mecha generally), and so much more. Skip the anime and manga adaptations; they're trash.

And then there's my own upcoming #StarKnight series as well as Brian Niemeier's Combat Frame Xseed. Despair not over the loss of Star Wars; what it came from endures, and what came of it already surpasses it. Go forth and enjoy the diaspora born from Uncle George's accidental masterpiece.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Business: How To Take On Big Social & Win

Gab's down. Vox Day spent last night on a Devstream not only talking about that, but how to make a competitor to Big Social that isn't so easily shot down.

Infogalactic is a very savvy competitor to Wikipedia, and it takes the long-form approach to building its network, gaining traction organically over time and thus avoiding a lot of the pitfalls of others such as Gab. This also shows the practical realities behind certain shibboleths of the West, weaknesses the SJWs and their masters used successfully to infiltrate and convergence institutions, and as such successful alternatives will have to acknowledge reality and revert to historical norms in order to create viable competitors. The reality of Narrative Warfare means that the business of media has to adjust if it wants to succeed.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Narrative Warfare: They Aren't Ready For The Chicago Way

This is where the madness in Western politics is going.

This is the old way. This is the Rule of Men. It's what happens when Civilization is abandoned in the pursuit of power, which is what the Left is doing now (and has been for centuries). The mob has a shot-caller, who points and shrieks at the target that the mob is meant to swarm and destroy. There is no reasoning with such a mob. There is no provision for inducing clarity of thought with well-executed, but restrained, violence; you cannot defeat them as Sun Tzu would have you do. This is not a threat you can intimidate into compliance; this is a Terminator-like threat, and it has to be dealt with accordingly.

You doubt me? Point your eyes to Brazil, where President-Elect Bolisonro took a knife before winning the race, and in South American getting knifed is mild. The living memory alone has death squads, disappearances, coups, and other full-on violence episodes- and that's before you account for the threatening of same from one or another player (including extra-national ones like the CIA).

You still doubt me? Those shootings and bombings--real and fake alike--that happen whenever the opposition is getting some headway are no accident; one doesn't even casually study the post-WW2 history of intelligence agency actions (CIA, MI6, KGB/FSB, or whomever) and not come away with a very different sense of what a coincidence is. Add in media manipulation--Project Mockingbird never ended; it just went underground--and #FakeNews is not just about bullshitting incompetents in newsrooms anymore- it's Narrative Warfare.

But they are not Masters of the Universe, as much as they want to believe they are. They think themselves Secret Kings, but when push comes to shove they show themselves incompetent and flee from responsibility for their actions. It's always someone else's fault, and so the real thing has never been tried, therefore they cannot be wrong. If this keeps up, they'll find out just how wrong they are.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Geek Gab: The BRAVE and the BOLD! With Hans G Schantz!

Yesterday's episode of Geek Gab was a good one with guest Hans G. Schantz, despite the technical issues that delayed the livestream. A solid hour of geekery and an author whose alt-history fiction is worthy of your curiosity.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: One Week To BlizzCon

Next weekend is BlizzCon. Time to talk about what will likely come up at Blizzard's in-house fan convention.

  • There will be nothing for Diablo, again.
  • We'll get something about the patches to come for WOW.
  • Overwatch will get some esport talk.
  • Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone will talk about new content.
  • Starcraft 2 gets its swan song.
  • Nothing new at all gets announced.

Blizzard is a company in maintenance mode. The company's last jolt of dynamism spent itself a while ago when Overwatch decided to be an esport, following Heroes of the Storm's decision to fight with other MOBAs as such and Hearthstone's own turn to do so. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but this is too often a sign that a company's gone into a managed decline while the talent and capital flows out to where the action goes.

There is no escaping that this lineup is not the powerhouse it once was, especially the older games. Starcraft 2 has been on the downstroke for years, following its entire category of game, and Totalbiscuit's death is likely going to be the event (fair or foul) that will prompt a lot of people to check out of it entirely. World of Warcraft's newest expansion has had reactions that are far below expectations, such that several retention gimmicks have already been deployed as well as intentional leaks on the first patch released, and if not for its cash shop probably would be in much worse shape. Diablo 3 has been on a skeleton crew for years now.

The dynamism has left the newer games already. Hearthstone's been feeling unfun since they began restricting card usage via implementing Wild vs. Standard. Heroes is more fun to watch than play, and the same is true for Overwatch. The latter of those games has also shown that the aim of turning IPs into multi-media brands hasn't done well outside of tie-in novels (that few players read, or even know exist)- not even the comics have been that successful, when tried at all, and don't talk about the Warcraft movie if you don't want to talk about misaimed passion. (When you need to rely on the Chinese to save your movie, you dun goofed.)

"No king rules forever." indeed, and I think that this is a turning point for the company. With the turnover at the top, we'll see if Blizzard has the leadership necessary to regain its momentum and once more earn the glory its been coasting upon for the better part of a decade or more. The big properties need to hit big and hit big soon, and the smaller ones need to either go big or go home.

This is the moment at the party where the savvy sense if there's any potential for fun left, and either they dip out to find where the fun's at or they go for one more big moment before they blow it out and call it a night. We'll see by this time next weekend where Blizzard is at.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Narrative Warfare: The Fake Bomber's Been "Found"

Following up from yesterday, it is now painfully obvious that this bombing scheme is a psyop. Below is the first in a thread about the suspect arrested today regarding the fake bombing attempts. Read carefully; this is a sloppy job, and if the Fake News crew wasn't actively covering for it everyone would notice it.

The pattern is stupid in its expression this time. Whomever threw this op together is banking on the media baffling with bullshit to make Trump look bad, and--as many of us expected--they're going after #QAnon (badly) as the target of the smear. They literally are trying to use a career criminal with career-length CIA ties (and so is a likely lifetime asset) to attack the most effective route-around their narrative control in American history, and it's only going to backfire badly due to the Streisand Effect (which is how we know this is not well done; a competent op would make that work for them).

Meanwhile, indie info diggers are already unearthing (as this guy did) all of the things that would make it clear what's going on by putting the pieces together in a place where it's going to be seen or heard- and that's why Big Social's gone so blatantly Big Brother. This is about narrative control, and the liars are now realizing that Truth and Falsehood are not equal in power. That such an op is so fake and gay, such that the petty bullshit around the YouTube Skeptics looks good by comparison, screams "DESPERATION!" and confesses the knowledge that the Fake News crew and their friends are about to lose big- again.

If this is what they're mounting, then they're down to their last resort. The real violence is about to hit, folks. Get ready.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Fake News Pushing Fake Bombings By Fake Americans For Fake Americans

Those bombings? Fake news for fake bombings by fake Americans. Styxhexenhammer summarizes below just how stupid this is and why.

This would prompt the Supreme Dark Lord to comment and he held no punches: False Flag, Fake News. Transparent as Saran Wrap on a window. The push to blame Trump for this by the media is the tell, and it exposes the real intent: to shut the God-Emperor up on the eve of the elections. Not. Gonna. Happen. These bombings are fake and gay, and should be mocked without mercy.

The pedes at /r/The_Donald immediately nailed this entire thing as a shit-tier hoax. Well done, pedes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Razorfist Reviews Netflix's Season 3 of Daredevil

In a follow-up to Razor's preview video, here's the review. No need to make you wait. Just turn it on and watch.

The fear was SJW Showrunner Shoehorned SJW Bullshit. The result was SJW Showrunner incompetently apes superior peers and predecessors at attempts to be artsy while shoehorning SJW Bullshit. In short, we have a season of uneven quality born of bad material not being edited out at the pre-shooting stage (i.e. writing) because the writer is an ideologue for a Satanic religion and decided to turn an entertainment program into a propaganda outlet. This--using such a medium to bald-faced lie, at a fundamental level, to the audience in a manner to advance discivic and disgenic ends--is inexcusable and not to be rewarded. Hard Pass Confirmed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Turning Codes of Conduct Against SJWs

Yesterday word got out about SQLite adopting the Rule of Benedict as their Code of Conduct, and the NPCs of Social Justice let forth a great REEEEE when they saw their signature strategy for pozzing a population turned back on them to lock them out. The Supreme Dark Lord, Vox Day, talked about this on the Darkstream last night and commented both on the wisdom of this approach and the necessity of doing so (and why SJWs do this so routinely).

There is no way now that SJWs will penetrate SQLite so long as its membership remains like it is now, despite the known psychological profile of tech nerds being conflict-avoidance sorts. This Benedictine Code of Conduct has done a great deal in showing how to thwart SJW convergence attempts, and I foresee others following suit as the need to do this becomes too obvious to ignore. Sure, they'll try something else, but until then we get an advantage.

So yes, put in those explicitly-anti-SJW Codes and use them to force SJWs out of your orgs. Hoist them by their own petards and take joy in doing so. For a far more informed take on this, Brian Niemeier's post is where you want to go.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Metro City Boys Celebrate Two Years

The Metro City Boys, hosts of one of the goofiest gaming podcasts on the Internet, celebrated their two year anniversary last night. For your Monday, you folks ought to just put this one on and enjoy the prime goof anniversary along with them.

No commentary from me needed. If you're not following this podcast, and you're into videogames, this is your huckleberry and you ought to be subscribed. That's all I need to say. Happy Anniversary, Goof Troop. Can't wait to celebrate the next one.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Anime Informing #StarKnight: Gundam Thunderbolt (Free & Legal Streaming)

Speaking of the anime informing #StarKnight, the folks at GundamOfficial have put forth the movie compliations for Parts 1 and 2 of Thunderbolt online again. You can watch, free and legally, both "December Sky" and "Bandit Flower" for an indefinite time. If you haven't seen them yet, here's your shot; I do intend to get this on Blu-Ray as I am able and I would love to see them get on Toonami in the near future. I'm embedding the subtitled versions, but dubbed ones are available at the YouTube channel (of course).

While #StarKnight goes for a far more hopeful tone than the typical Gundam franchise melancholy, despair, and (too often) nihilism (which does show up here, by the way) this does have elements you can expect to see starting with Reavers of the Void. First, fleet combat is very much informed (as Gundam is) by the advent of the Carrier and the rise of strike fighters in importance. Combat in asteroid and debris fields, negotiating around wreckage, is a big part of the first book's events and the Red Eyes Pirates are regular users of such hazardous spaces for staging operations.

As for the ships shown in the films, you see what a mecha carrier looks like early on. (Both Federation and Zeon versions, actually.) The Federation carrier in particular is a very simple design with all the defensive capability of a babe in the woods, something well within the capabilities of non-state actors in Galactic Christendom such as Red Eyes (and even his carriers have point-defense weapons, something the Federation ships lack).

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Geek Gab Talks About The New Halloween Film

The Father of Battleboars saw the new Halloween, and he has one of hell of a discussion with co-host Dorrinal about it and its context in the wider world of horror films. Well worth the time spent listening to it, or watching us in the chat.

I'll let Daddy Warpig speak for himself on how good (or not) this film is, because it's a nuanced view, but it's got a fatal flaw that marrs its potential to become a classic. There some Pedowood bullshit that taints the film, and some writing flaws that damage the narrative, but it seems to be worthwhile to Warpig if you're into horror films. Good to hear; horror may be cheap to make, but it's notoriously hard to do well because producers and other parties dismiss horror as a cheap cash-grab genre.

On a side note for the tabletop RPG fans: Palladium's offering their annual Christmas Grab Bags again, which you can order here. It's one of the best deals available for buying Palladium's products brand-new in print, and if you like any of their stuff this is a great way to get it. This includes both of Palladium's horror RPGs: Beyond The Supernatural (which you use for Halloween) and Dead Reign (for all things Zombie).

Friday, October 19, 2018

My Life In Fandom: Razorfist Warns You Off Daredevil's Season 3

The Razor rants about Daredevil's Season 3 and why you should give it a hard pass.

The best part? Taking the showrunner's shit-tier excuse for this hackwork apart with the words of a Hollywood 10 Communist--Albert Maltz--writing against doing just this thing.

The MCU is Kill. First the Network TV end, thanks to executive dickwaiving piss-contests. The Netflix (etc.) end? We knew this was coming when SJW bullshit got into Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, so it coming to the one clean show on that end of the continuity was inevitable. We already know what's coming for the films.

Hard Pass. That's what you're advised to do with this season, and with Marvel entirely going forward. DC? Might as well leave them behind also, and instead look for indies (e.g. Arkhaven) and foreign (European and Japanese) books for your comics needs when you're not mining the massive backlog from when Marvel and DC were good.

And if you want to know more about how this shit keeps happening, then Neon Revolt's expose on Pedowood player Franklin Leonard is your huckleberry.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Business: The Supreme Dark Lord Talks Indiegogo

For those wanting an update regarding Vox Day vs. Indiegogo, here is the archive of tonight's Darkstream addressing it.

The man needs no elaboration. If you backed before, but have been out of the loop, listen to this video and heed the man's instructions. If you decided to put down some cash now after what Indiegogo did, do likewise. This anti-competitive behavior cannot be tolerated, and since bestowing peaceful sunsets to the bad actors is not currently an option simply succeeding harder and faster is the best that can be done at this time. (Legal punishments notwithstanding, which is best left to the experts.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: The Failure of Island Expeditions

Battle For Azeroth added a few new instanced content options. One of these is "Island Expeditions", where the premise is that your man forms a team with two others to scout out small islands to explore and exploit for the new resource: Azerite. You do this in competition with an enemy team from the opposing faction, and the first team to collect "X" amount of Azerite wins.

Sounds like a fun competitive scenario, right? Searching out nodes, holding them long enough to exhaust them, occasional combat with the enemy team, and so on, right?

Nope.

What we have here is an adaptation of the Rift system from Diablo 3: enter into an instance comprised of a pile of recycled art assets, fill up a progress bar as fast as you can, and maybe get something extra as a bonus when it's over. Do enough of them in a week and you get a bonus reward that powers up the expansion MacGuffin all men have ("The Heart of Azeroth", the Artifact Weapons of this expansion).

What this becomes in actual play is "GOGOGOGO!" style of play where the team rounds up as many hostile mobs as they can in a single pull, burns them down with Area Of Effect attacks at best speed, and any other objective is ignored because it's slower than just doing that. Since filling the progress bar determines who wins, and doing that fills it fastest, there is no exploration. You just attack the nearest mobs, and murderhobo your way across the map until you're done.

The sole exception is when this is done on PVP Mode; by default this is a PVE mode, where the enemy team are bots (and you can see your sides bots over by the NPC where you queue up to do this bitchwork), but on PVP Mode you actually have enemy players against you and that sufficiently changes the dynamic to restore (partially) the intended mode of play for Expeditions- for now. (Once they figure out that it's better to just race and ignore the other team, this will resume.)

The devs have had to adjust Expeditions several times already, first to fix bugs and other errors reported during the Beta and then to fix rare item drop rates to bribe players to keep queuing up for this snorefest. They are not fun, they don't do what they claim, and there is nothing to explore; if you get bored with the thought of farming randomly-generated dungeons for a slim shot at better loot (D3 Rifts) and the useless prestige of a high score or best time, then this is a flop for you- as is the case with most World of Warcraft players.

The point?

Either the devs are incompetent, despite access to all the data showing them the revealed preferences of the players over years of play, or they're cynically exploitative of the players in service to stakeholders who hold them in contempt (as most casinos do, since we're talking about the same slot machine psychology being used in MMOs). The former would believe that players would actually explore a map before racing to complete the game, while the latter expect that despite it being unsatisfying the Skinner Box systems in place would keep players playing indefinitely.

Nope.

The users define the tools. Tools that have no purpose will be abandoned. Games and game systems are no different, something game designers routinely fail to comprehend; Island Expeditions are superfluous adjuncts to core gameplay modes that actually matter to World of Warcraft, which is why they failed- that they were designed in such an incompetent (and cynically exploitative) manner only makes their abandonment easier. No amount of additional maps, or mobs, etc. will change that until fundamental reformation of the underlying systems actually make players change how they approach playing this mode of gameplay- and the devs are too full of themselves to ever do that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Business: Razorfist Rants, "Fallout 76 Gameplay Emerges! (And It Blows)"

The Eloquence of Execution, Razorfist, put for a brief rant on the soon-to-crater Fallout: 76 and it dovetails nicely with what's going wrong with World of Warcraft and other big properties in gaming.

The thread? Cynical Skinner Box products with equally cynical User Retention schemes meant to squeeze maximum profit per user as the core concern, over gameplay and aesthetics and anything else you might think would be important to the health of a successful intellectual property in the gaming sphere.

Yes, this is a persistent problem. Rather than bother to figure out how to better satisfy your audience with fulfilling gameplay these companies wuss out like the soyboi bitches they inevitably have become and turn their games into gambling simulators cunningly concealed as the games whose corpses they wear as skinsuits. At least the CCG/TCG genre doesn't bullshit you into thinking that it's not about making you act like a slot slut; they're the honest whores here, sad to say. This? This is the hot chick who plays you into being her paypig while holding up her end as little as possible, like camwhores on Twitch.

Listen to the Razor. The only hard thing this game ought to get out of you is a hard pass.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Follow-Up: Asmongold Struck A Nerve

Yesterday Asmongold released a video. It's rather straight-forward (and lengthy).

This video prompted a Reddit thread at /r/wow and the response was huge. Reddit being Reddit, you had to sift for the better stuff, but overall the thread reveals that Asmongold's take was hardly a minority sentiment; the current state of the game isn't that good and the party responsible for its stewardship have failed.

In short, the disconnect between Dev and Player has been only getting worse (despite Legion) for years now- since Wrath of the Lich King. Asmongold calls the live game a Skinner Box for gambling addicts, and he's right; a lot of the frustrating systems changes over the years since Wrath have been just that- to turn the game into a series of slot machines meant to use known psychology to keep players playing for as long as they can before frustration sets in and they quit.

Why does this matter? Because World of Warcraft is what "RPG" means to most gamers world-wide, and that definition even filters back to tabletop RPGs (and has for years now, as D&D's 4th Edition shows). What seems to work here is what others will try to copy in their games, even in long-established games, because they (in cargo cult style) want to get the same results so they ape the forms accordingly. Mix in SJW bullshit, and a bad situation turns into a catastrophe wicked fast.

Is there a way out? Yes. Kill the RNG slot machine bullshit and return the game to a certainty of progress: do x, get y guaranteed. This is why private servers running older versions of the game have their following, such that Classic is officially a thing now:

Classic couldn't come at a better time really, assuming it comes out sometime next year of course. In terms of design and philosophy it's the complete opposite of retail, the negative reception to BfA is pretty much the best advertisement Classic could get. No more theme park and slot machine shit, just an old fashioned adventure with tons of heart put into it, and while that's not to say it doesn't have its flaws (because there are plenty) its core principles are so strong that they more than make up for them.

I await Classic for that reason. Compared to Live, Classic was as close to a proper RPG as any videogame could get. There's another big reason for why everything went wrong, but that's for another post.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: How To Piss Off Your Audience (World of Warcraft Edition)

Late last week, the World of Warcraft team's leader (Ion Hazziikotas) joined Blizzard Community Manager Josh Allen (aka Lore) for another Q&A livestream. The questions answered were already selected, meaning that answers were also likely prepared beforehand. Of course this community engagement went over with the usual grace and dignity, which means that it was a shitshow- obviously. (h/t to Taliesin & Evitel for the catchphrase)

Asmongold (pictured) and McConnell (offscreen) express common sentiments in the playerbase, which is why I'm using this long clip from the former's livestream of the Q&A as it happened. (For something closer to, say, The Alt-Right DM's takedowns of D&D5 and its terrible take on RPGs, HeelsvsBabyface will scratch your itch.)

This is how you piss off the audience that pays your bills and justifies your existence. There is a pattern expressed here that I need to spell out, and this is the pattern:

  • Game Dev makes a thing.
  • Players meet challenges in the thing in a manner wholly unintended or undesired by devs.
  • Devs condescend to Players instead of taking the hint and changing course to cater to clearly expressed Revealed Preferences.
  • Players say "Fuck This" and disengage increasingly until they go play something else that does cater to their preferences.

The key tell here is all about this Azerite Armor issue. (WOWHead's guide on Azerite Armor is here.) Because the devs screwed up the rollout, the intended process--farm up multiple sets, one for every Specialization your man will play--got junked by the Players in favor of going to the Reforging NPC and just re-selecting armor powers as necessary. Due to the escalating costs per Reforge, this got into the hundreds of thousands of gold for the most frequent users very fast; these users were also hardcore top-end raiders.

The Dev response, as seen here and in the Reddit AMA, is tone deaf; the correct response was to accept the players' preference as valid and tank the reforge costs down to trivial levels of expense. (Otherwise known as "Turning into the skid".) Look, when you make a widget and it turns out to be a better hammer than a wrench, you're a fucking retard to refuse to accept the reality that your widget is a hammer, but that's exactly what the WOW Team's doing here- and they wonder why there is so much acrimony over Battle For Azeroth.

The Devs are not fixing the problems because they refuse to admit that they are problems, or that the problems are what the players correctly identify as the actual problems, and this is very similar to tabletop RPG devs being tone deaf to what their audience actually wants (assuming that they're not out to replace the real audience with fakes like themselves).

The game isn't fun when the systems do not work. The error is compounded when those responsible for fixing it refuse to solve the problem properly, which is the case here, and until the circumstances allowing this cancer to persist change then the negative feedback loop will continue- and that means watching the biggest MMORPG ever collapse in real time. The possession by their own egos is the fault here, and until humility returns the problems cannot be solved properly, and if they won't seek it (and they won't) Nemesis will force it upon them.

And when I get to Island Expeditions, you'll see how this is not just about one key feature.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Tragedy & Hope On "A Casual View of America: The Home Letters of Salomon de Rothschild, 1859-1861"

It's been a long while since Tragedy & Hope put out something normie-friendly on their YouTube channel, but that happened a few days ago. It's relevant to our present situation in the United States, and thus throughout the Western world in varying degrees. At just under 90 minutes, this podcast is less than your average Premier League match and a far better use of your time. Not light viewing, so be clean and sober; have your notepads handy. You're going to learn something today.

Book Tour of "A Casual View of America: The Home Letters of Salomon de Rothschild, 1859-1861" Edited by Signumd Diamond and Published by Stanford University Press, 1961.

The video description has links to Richard Grove's sources as well as the gear he used to make this video happen. If you prefer BitChute, there is a link at the YT page to the BitChute account.

This a Narrative Warfare post because the podcast is about how one of the most influential families in world history manipulated what information gets out, how, and why regarding a past event (The American Civil War) and compares it to contemporary parallels threatening a repeat of that event. That is the essence of what Narrative Warfare is, so that's why it has that categorization.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Narrative Warfare: Arkhaven Deplatformed From Indiegogo

I was going to do a post about game design today, built around yesterday's Q&A by the leader of the World of Warcraft team, but then this happened:

That's right. Hours after Bleeding Cool published an even-handed interview with Vox Day, Indiegogo not only shut down the already-concluded and very successful campaign for Alt-Hero: Q, they also refunded every backer (when that money should have already been disbursed to Arkhaven Comics) and perma-banned Arkhaven Comics from the platform altogether. The Supreme Dark Lord decided that this need immediate addressing, and so took it up during last night's Darkstream.

One does not cross the Dark Lord like this and expect impunity. The Vile Faceless Minions have been unleashed with orders to dig, and dig they shall. What they find will only strengthen the eventual choice for reprisal, as it is highly unlikely that what Indiegogo did is wholly legal- not with that much money involved, and certainly not when it should have already been in Arkhaven's hands. SJWs are stupid motherfuckers, so the odds of them being so thorough are slim to none; it's only a matter of time before the crack is found and then leverage can be applied- and I think a crack's already been found (a likely prior example already came up before 11pm Central Time last night).

Get your popcorn and notebooks ready folks. This will be both fun and educational.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Anime Informing #StarKnight: The Mecha

The Giant Robots are on parade here in #StarKnight, and one doesn't need to look long or hard to see both the Real and the Super versions out there. That means that you're going to find influences from the big boys on both sides--Gundam, Macross, Mazinger, Getter Robo--because it's impossible to avoid them; I won't get into them here. Instead, this is going to talk about lesser-known shows/manga/etc. that went into what's going down.

For the Real Robot side of things, the Knights In Giant Robots thing is what you should be noticing. That means Dunbine, Galiant, and Escaflowne (albeit with beam swords) because these heroes and villains get into sword fights in and out of their mecha. Just swap to lightsabers and you can see how and why I did just that with #StarKnight. Juxtaposing them are the GERWALK-style mook units such as the Goblin and Hobgoblin that Red Eyes makes his men pilot into battle (and, like their namesakes, die in droves), taking their cues from Orguss and Srungle.

For the Super Robot side, where some say "They're superhero stand-ins." I went one step further and (following Mazinger) made them mythology references. There's two in Book One, both are not subtle about what they refer to, and they do all sorts of Laws-of-Physics-Are-More-Like-Suggestions sort of shenanigans. Sure, you'll get your blazing swords and rocket punches and called out attacks, but there's a little bonus for those who know their mythology/history. They're at the level of plot-devices in Book One, but you'll see more of them as we go along.

Being that Book One is our introduction, the crazier stuff mecha shows have done are left out; gotta save something for the sequels. I'm doing some avoidance of well-known tropes in many of these shows, Super and Real alike, while changing others to suit my purposes. (If you're looking for Typical Mecha Protagonist, you want to keep an eye on the page--Creton--as he grows over the series; Roland's more like The Shadow or James Bond in that he's an Iconic Hero.)

Speaking of Later Books, here's something you can look forward to seeing, in terms of inspirational images: