Asshats Have A Place In Gaming Culture

Image Did Not LoadThere is a lot I could say about the Neverwinter Beta (round two for me) this last weekend.

I got to L20. I got a companion (the dog) and enjoyed some outdoor scenery, which didn’t win any Kitty awards, but it was acceptable. It wasn’t “open world” as much as I expected.

Healing aggro was broken. All gear rewards I received were unusable due to one or two levels above me. Cleric self-heals were nerfed to such uselessness that I took them off my bar. I was not happy and quit playing halfway through Saturday.

Not because a class was nerfed in beta. I just began to realize that the Neverwinter store sells healing and resurrection, so clerics will be competing with the store.

For example, my cleric died a number of times due to the self-heal nerf. On the death screen, I had an option to buy a Cure Serious Wounds scroll from the store, but I could *not* cast a CSW to save my own life.

This is stupid. Also, to quote someone in the forums: “The only way to resurrect someone at this point is to pay real money for a rez scroll from the zen store, and I think that’s a HUGE mistake.” I also imagine clerics will now be potion-buyers, including, no doubt, premium store potions.

I.e. from another quote, which I found to be true: “The Cleric with no heals (now) uses far more pots than any other class.” I agree, and at the same time the DPS stayed low, and worse yet per another cleric forum thread, this situation will not be changed back. I used many healing potions from level 14 to 20, and made lots of repeated runs back to the healing circle to get healed up.

Between this and the gearing/time necessities of being a healer in the first place, which also typically involve store usage, and the inability to target except by facing, I no longer plan to play a cleric. I’m thinking to wait for more classes, like a paladin or druid, and wait for TESO at the same time. Of course, DDO players had to wait for years to get a Druid class, if I remember right.

A D&D cleric without a rez or raise dead, because those are store-only? Really?! F2P makes my head explode.

PAX East ended over the weekend, and news-wise it seemed to fall flat. Turbine didn’t have a booth at all. Blizzard had a big announcement that fizzled (a trading card game based on WoW). Chris at Levelcapped wrote a nice PAX mega-postup. The most interesting observations to me were how the people at PAX East were obnoxious. He says:

People just seem to really prefer being angry, annoyed, and grumpy, and find it easier to give into the need to let anyone and everyone know about it. I cannot fathom how people claim to love gaming, yet feel that it’s more important to be negative, to be abusive to one another, and to treat one another and the hobby like absolute shit.

I then noticed in his previous post that he has only just reached level cap with his second character ever. The mystery is solved. This is probably why he is still in a good mood. Not enough raiding or endgame PvP gear grinds. He also calls gaming a “hobby” and not a lifestyle.

Chris is obviously a dedicated gamer and great writer, but I wouldn’t dis people for douchebaggery when they are ten times more dedicated than you are. Hardcore and douchebaggery go hand in hand, and they are an important part of the scene. They go hand in hand with gaming.

In fact, I don’t like obnoxious, annoying people either in real life, but how can you argue that Fawkes (Will Wheaton) and the Axis Of Anarchy jerks in The Guild aren’t part of what makes gaming awesome and never boring?

First of all, this is nothing new. Before video games, there was chess, which has a history filled with jerks, egotists, racists, and general troglodytes. Certainly not all arrogant jerks are good players, and maybe these are the people to whom Chris is referring.

My point is just that as an average (expert-level in college) player, I would never bash a chess grandmaster because he is a jerk. If he smelled bad, I would never mention it.

Speaking of chess, there is another factor to consider: a lot of people see games as a competition, even MMOs. The goal is to win, even by cheating.

For example, to continue the chess analogy, in a college tournament in Florida, I had a winning chess position against an older guy, an average player. His side was in bad shape, and he had no move left except to lose. He offered a draw. I took it. Why?

I’m a Buddhist. Then and now, I don’t really care about winning. I did this all the time, even in tournaments. I drew a lot of winning positions. I really don’t like confrontation, and actually prefer cooperative games over games where you try to “beat” people.

So in chess if someone offered a draw when their position seemed lost, I considered it to be lame, undignified, dishonorable, and I lost respect for that person, but I typically went with it. I won, and I didn’t care about the official score.

So what did this guy do? When we signed each others’ scorecards, he wrote a comment insulting my intelligence, as if to say “sucker!” Who is the idiot? Maybe the idiot is the guy who cares about winning so much instead of playing with class, which is what a lot of game developers are doing with F2P and DLC these days.

What’s the moral of the story? Badass can be classy, but it can also be 100% pathetic. Which are you?

People these days like to bash and make fun of forum trolls, crybabies, playstyle snobs, and angry gamers, and I don’t like this trend. I support evil (excepting corporate evil ruining RPGs, which is another story). These people are a real and entertaining part of the gaming culture, and I love them. Even Francis.

A new MMO blogger came onto the Kitty radar today. If you’d like to see some more blogging about the Neverwinter Beta, plus some pics, the LvlingLife blog is worth a look. She apparently did not see what the cleric was like two weeks ago, so she will probably cope.


About Silverangel View all posts by Silverangel

4 responses to “Asshats Have A Place In Gaming Culture

  • wumpus

    I don’t get it.

    Perhaps I’ve limited my play to more mature online games (DDO and LOTRO tend to pat themselves hard on the back for it) or maybe there is more “Team spirit against the baddies” on games with such limited pvp (I’m nowhere near high enough in LOTRO for the moors even if I subscribed, so it doesn’t exist for me), but I fail to understand the *need* (or even want) for asshats in gaming.

    I will admit that to make the games featured on this website worthwhile, players often need to devote a ridiculous amount of time to understand the complete game and how to play it. The point is what happens when a player encounters someone who isn’t playing according to the received method of playing that particular game (and I’m assuming it isn’t an outright griefer (characters who are far enough away from acceptable standards of roleplaying for that server will be included)).

    A superior player will handle it with grace, often instructing a noob in how the game actually works and sometime equipping them for a better play. Or simply accepting that there are more ways to enjoy a game (DDO has limited endgame content, and often players who know the game forwards and backwards will decide to play a completely off the wall character. If the halfling shuriken thrower build leads the kill count, you now know why).

    A common asshat will spend the available time ridiculing the player, typically beating his chest all the time over his superiority. Typically, these are players who have just barely gotten into the game and are simply parroting forum knowledge (or the gods help them, /advice chat). I remember one forum poster who wasn’t quite certain he was an asshat detailing his berating of a pen and paper designed halfling wizard in DDO (this is a formula for failure). He was absolutely certain that the player could do nothing better than to delete that character and start again. What he failed to notice was that the character was at least level 8 (and so could use the free “lesser resurrection” option) and could rebuild the character for free. While our asshat did note that halfling was easily the worst option for a wizard (the differences for wizard on race are pretty subtle, with the exception of warforged which is pay-only), what he didn’t note that wizard is likely the best option for the newbie halfling player (I’ll assume he was drawn into the hobbit and wanted a halfling enough to eat the strength issues instead of restarting from level 1). The character was more than viable after the full rebuild of a lesser resurrection (doesn’t allow race or chosen classes to be changed, everything else goes), and could be played for quite some time while the player decides just how he wants to rebuild (you wouldn’t want to try endgame with that character).

    While this type of asshat might not be as ban-worthy as say a griefer or harassing player, I see know reason to accept them as wanted or needed. I see no reason to have them in your guild (this might take stronger screening procedures than some have) or party. I also hope that I keep the patience to avoid being the asshat when the rogue dies *again*.

    • Jacquotte

      You know what, Wumpus, you lost me with your detailed example from DDO. I think pretty much everyone who posts on my blog is twice as smart and gaming erudite as I am,

      After thinking about your post some more, I think my general comments about asshats were meant to refer to more elite, dedicated ones, specifically those that would have theoretically shown up at PAX, to whom the writer from Levelcapped was referring.

      So agree that there is another level of commonplace troglodytes and haters who fit that larger category anyway, not just in gaming, and that’s another genre. I hope, if you are reading this, that I’m making some sense, given the example I made of Fawkes, being a less common asshat.,

  • wumpus

    Asshat: hey loser, you[r character] sucks! Start over from scratch!
    wumpus: This character is salvageable and the player is likely attached to it. Learn the game yourself before criticizing others. A more mature player could have helped the player become a productive citizen of Stormreach while you are trying to drive him out.

    As far as the grumpy players criticizing a game before the launch, think of how much a player is likely to spend playing such a game. This grumpiness is certainly required, and a game should expect to simply fail if they don’t do that. The problem with listening to the gamers now is that once they invest the time they will be criticizing every little change and insisting that the world is ending if they get ever so slightly nerfed (or even if someone else is buffed more than they get).

    • Jacquotte

      Haha, That sort of power-gaming, perfect build mentality can definitely be annoying to a role-player. That sort of multi-classing madness is one of the few improvements I can think of in 4E, now that you mention it.

      It’s a shame that Secret World and Neverwinter (what I’ve seen of it) could not do better in the writing and characters. It’s clearly not their focus, and that sort of reflects the new D&D as a whole. It’s not just how much a player is *going* to invest. It’s also how much they’ve already invested in terms of fandom, especially in the case of a venerable tradition like this.

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