Archive | May, 2014

A Game By Any Other Name Would Be As Bleak

23 May

I have no idea if that title is appropriate for what I want to say, but I thought it sounded cool. Like how I used to think that the following MSN Messenger (damn right) names were appropriate:

  • Suicide Slug
  • Noxious Butterfly
  • Malificer

I stopped using the nickname “Suicide Slug” when i received an e-mail from a Suicide Prevention charity. I realised perhaps the name was in poor taste. I never looked back since. Merrymaker Mortalis is definitely a more cheerful alias. Speaking of Merriness; the Pokemon competitive community is kinda awful.

Pokemon Showdown (and Youtube comments as ever) lets you see the awful nature of some of these players. Either if you battle someone in Showdown they’ll even say “you suck” at the end of a battle. Or they’ll just leave immediately after the battle finishes. They may as well be battling against an AI. What’s the point of battling humans if you aren’t going to interact with them? You do something get nicely little chats afterwards, but they are very rare. That’s even if the opponent doesn’t forfeit. The only times I do forfeit is if I am testing a specific Pokemon tactic and my opponent KOs a key Pokemon. I explain why I am forfeiting and forfeit.

Now, I am speaking about perhaps a very small % of the whole community. But it’s enough of them to affect my enjoyment of that aspect of the game. I was using Pokemon Showdown the other day testing out some things. I was testing an idea for how to use some Pokemon. I like doing it. I’ve always enjoyed thinking up strange ideas on how to play a game and then immediately practise the idea. After a few games, i decided to stumble into one of the chat channels and exclaimed “I wish Heatmor had access to Sucker Punch this Generation”. I was met with a general tone of “shut up” with swear words thrown in. I critiqued the use of language and I was told “It’s like you’ve never seen swear words before”. That’s not the problem.

The problem is:

  • I don’t know you. You are a stranger. You are a stranger who is being unreasonably obnoxious. You are speaking in text, therefore I have no idea what tone you’re meaning to convey. Perhaps if you were speaking to me via voice or if I knew you, it could be a different matter.
  • Pokemon is rated E or 3+. Therefore, a child as young as 3 could (though unlikely) be interacting in the competitive scene. If not, they have internet & computer access and have discovered Pokemon Showdown. Is it really a good idea to speak like that to a stranger who could be just a child. Would you really say “<swearyswear> off” to a child?
  • Pokemon is a game. It is a game for E or 3+s. Why are you taking the game so seriously that you have to be rude to someone who you think is wrong. If someone holds an opinion which you disagree with, explain why you disagree with them. Being brash isn’t going to help at all. The person who you disagree with will just be reassured of their possibly incorrect belief. Hype is considered the second most powerful emotional force. Spite and Vengeance is the first most powerful emotional force. Congratulations.
  • A health competitive environment relies on a dynamic and shifting “Meta”. Meta is sort of like the strategies applied to win. An effective tactic will develop which the player base will adopt as the most efficient way to win. Since everyone uses the same tactic, the deciding factor is the player who can execute the tactic the best. However, there maybe ways to counter this tactic. The best counters are the counters that require a little more effort to execute than the thing they’re countering. The response to the counter becoming more popular is to change tactic to something that isn’t weak to the original counter. And then a new counter develops. In games that are actively updated and balanced, the meta can shift more dynamically. With Pokemon, the only major upsets comes from transitions into Generations (or Move Tutors that offer new abilities to Pokemon get added into future games in the same generation). The meta therefore can only be changed if the player base wants it to. If you’re going to be rude towards someone before hearing what they have to say, you will never learn any new insights. Something that might shake up the meta. Or you may put off a future asset to the competitive scene. You gain nothing by being rude.

This behaviour isn’t exclusive to Pokemon. All competitive gaming has this toxic side to it. It’s like the act of “battling” another human brings out the worst in people. Why can’t we play games for fun? Why do we have to play them to dominate and belittle others? It’s just more depressing when it’s in the family game Pokemon. The game preaches about love, respect and care. Yet, the competitive scene doesn’t feel like that. The toxic is the minority. But there is enough toxicity to affect enjoyment.

One must ask; what sort of person will behave so toxically towards another player in a family game?

Ramblings of a Just A Man

20 May

I seem to enjoy sharing my opinions with people on the internet. Perhaps sometimes it’s less share and more, enforced?

The internet is a land of extremes. I read or heard somewhere (the format is irrelevant fundamentally) that for mundane and boring things to become interesting, extreme words must be used. You cannot say “UKIP are slightly annoying” because “people” (who ever this demographic is) wouldn’t care about your opinion. If you said “UKIP are… <EXTREME WORD>“, you suddenly have people’s attention. Either overzealous people agreeing with you, or people who support UKIP who are mortally wounded by your scathing keyboard inputs.

But really, you don’t achieve much. You may fuel the one of many flames wars that are currently being waged across the cyberspace (a sort of embarrassing version of Star Wars) but that’s it. You just make yourself look like a nutter to probably the  majority of internet users, who still do not care. Those users have an allotted time to use the interwebs and really do not want to waste precious moments being aware at how someone looks not great in a garment. There must be enough people who use the internet who do care (or have been coached to care) about fabric being draped over people that “Content Creators” have built a career out of it.

“Content Creator” is a strange title. It means someone who puts stuff on the thing (this case The Internet) for others to look at. It’s quite a vague term. It doesn’t quantify quality. Oats are a content of Muesli. Water is a content of Enamel Paint. Are those exciting things? They’re critical components in their own right, but not “exciting”. This blog post is a “content”.

But lets go back to talking about overzealous internet users.

I do not like seeing a “Content Producer” getting involved in a flame war.

Why?

Besides being protective over the person I like; I dislike it because you may see the worst side of them.

A while ago Pokemon Content Producer I follow, angered a certain aggressive percentage of a Pokemon Community. He criticised the politics of the community. The backlash was unreasonable (cyber bullying, death threats, etc.. The sort of stuff that would make any human want to shrivel up into a fetus. No human has evolved to emotionally deal with that quantity of abuse. Humans have always lived in small communities. There was no reason why the Human could ever be exposed to that amount of hatred until the Internets).

But it was made awkward by the wording used by the person I follow. If you are going to publicly (everything you post on the internet to some degree is public) express an opinion, try to word things carefully as to not accidentally imply things you didn’t mean. If people did misunderstand, you at least can prove that’s what you did not mean. Ambiguous wording leaves you vulnerable to justified counter criticisms. Understand the person who may read/hear your words doesn’t have the same brain as you. So make sure that your message is clear.

The war is still going on. Doesn’t help he occasionally releases Videos commenting on the community which rekindles the flames. He should not have to be afraid of posting things (that are not toxic towards other people). But in the current climate, it would be unwise to aggravate further.

If you are engaged in conflict, avoid using swear words or derogative terminology. Your job in an argument is to win support from the outside by explaining your point clearly and successfully. You will rarely ever win over the opposition.  It will be like arguing with a brick wall. So if you use certain words, or words in a certain way, you may actually not gain any support. Or if you do, you’ll gain the support of people you won’t want supporting you. At the end of the day, if someone comes across the argument and see both sides are being equally vile, that person will just think both of you are horrid. You can argue your point without appearing like that. See the debate that occurred between Monty Python and a few members of the English Church in the wake of “The Life of Brian”.

So that’s what I think on the topic of Internet flame. It’s pointless. Makes everyone look stupid. If you feel the need to engage a toxic person, make sure you do not get any on you.

Bai.

Review of Ability Draft Combinations 2

17 May

Welcome to the second part of the series about my own personal experience with Ability Draft Combinations. Note, that the statistically likelihood of getting the exact same combination is remote. This guide is more for exploring what you should aim for when playing Ability Draft. Such as what to [b]avoid picking[/b]. Some abilities may look great on paper, but in reality are not as awesome as one would thing.

 

Bane (blamsplosions)

Bane

Abilities

  • Arc Lightning
  • Lucent Beam
  • Shackles
  • Eclipse

Comments

(LOST) A very nukey build as one would expect. Shackles offer some team support by providing additional split damage. That’s sort of it. This sort of build is either go BIG (able to splatter everyone) or go HOME (enemy starts having the durability to shrug off your damage, thus you are now weak).

 

The next one was very fun.

Warlock (Helldragon)

warlock

Abilities

  • Liquid Fire
  • Ice
  • Dragon Breath
  • Dragon

(WIN) It’s a marriage of Jakiro’s Abilities with Dragonite’s, ahem Dragon Knight. You get insane range with it which is mightily fun. You act as a big scary sniper dragon during your Ultimate, which we all know Dragons are amazing markspeople. Ice is very useful as a team support ability and your own personal support. Stunning the enemies in a line is great for any role.

My item build I chose in the game was:

  • Ghost Marchers
  • Linken Sphere (for regeneration and a smidgen of damage
  • Life Steal
  • Crit

I was basically trying to build what Dragon Nyte would build as an Int hero.

I found Warlock had strong early game harassment from Liquid Fire. Last hitting was great too.

BKB would be a great option, but I didn’t need it in the game I was in (I thought).

Not the most broken combination in Ability Draft, but it felt very strong. It was also fun to play which is nice (sometimes being strong isn’t being fun). Squishier than Dragonknight as more focus was put into Carry-Damage so would likely die to assassination attempts.

 

That’s the end of part 2. I haven’t had the chance to play more Ability Drafts (where I recorded what happened), so I guess I need to do some of that for some more content. It will be Pokemon talk otherwise.