Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Nerdy stuff’ Category

SJWism inflicts Overwatch League arena

https://www.dexerto.com/overwatch/overwatch-league-fans-escorted-from-blizzard-arena-after-accusations-of-harassment-376102

Additionally, I note that professional overwatch player Jiri ‘Linkzr’ Masalin’s fiancée is a babe (although possibly a toxic SJW if she’s the one who got the fans of the other team ejected).

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 19, 2019 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

MMORPGs and socialism

MMORPGs that charge a monthly subscription fee (like Final Fantasy XIV, aka FFXIV) need to give their customers a reason why they should stay subscribed. Unlike the real world, people can opt out of the fantasy world if they don’t like it. (Well, people can opt out of the real world by killing themselves, but it’s less common than people just quitting a videogame.)

Consequently, MMORPGs don’t want a setup like the real world where a few people are billionaires and everyone else has no chance in hell of ever catching up to them. I’ve observed that the following methods are used in FFXIV:

1. You advance by playing the game. The more you play, the more you advance. It’s not like the real world where you can go to work every day, put in your 8 hours, and not be any closer to Jeff Bezos than you were before.

2. Profitable activities are limited. For example, you can only run Dungeon Roulette once per day to get the reward; you can only find one “map” per day from gathering (maps give you valuable rewards); there is a maximum number of “tomestones” you can get per week (and the tomestones are exchanged for the best armor and weapons). These limitations prevent people from getting ahead by grinding the most profitable activity for 18 hours per day, which would make for a boring game. They don’t want to game to be like working on an assembly line where you do the same activity over and over again, and nothing but that.

3. Every few months there’s a new update that slowly resets everything by introducing higher-level gear. You won’t stay the most powerfully-geared person in the game by doing nothing. There’s always an opportunity for newer players, or more casual players who don’t play as often, to catch up.

I think this can tell us something about the real world, about the sort of ideal society that most people would want to live in. And it’s not the type of society promoted by Ayn Rand.

On the other hand, I think we need to be realistic about how the real world really works. I think that many liberals see college as akin to a leveling up mechanism used in MMORPGs. Anyone can go to college, put in their time, and come out at a higher level! But does that make sense when it leaves people in debt? And especially screws over people who accumulate debt but never get their magic degree? Or people who get suckered into getting useless degrees from bogus for-profit schools?

* * *

It should be noted that MMORPGs have become a niche genre of videogames. The vast majority of gamers are playing competitive games like League of Legends, Fortnite, or shooters like Call of Duty and Overwatch. These games are more like the real world. I was stuck in Bronze when playing Overwatch with no chance of ever even breaking into Silver, no matter how much I played.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 30, 2019 at EDT am

Posted in Economics, Nerdy stuff

Overwatch hoax in the Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/01/06/first-fast-rising-female-esports-star-was-threatened-then-she-quit-then-she-didnt-exist/

The story of the “Ellie” hoax account (that was a male Overwatch player pretending to be a girl) has, believe it or not, made the Sports section of the Washington Post.

Did you know that ever since the beginning of the internet, men have been pretending to be women because women get more attention, and men like the attention? (The opposite of getting attention is posting stuff on the internet and being completely ignored. Who likes that? It gets boring after a while.)

There were so many guys in games like World of Warcraft pretending to be girls that an acronym got created: G.I.R.L. for guy in real life. Sex impersonation in games has actually gone down quite a bit since voice chat became the norm. In fact, the main reason why the “Ellie” account was so suspicious was because people didn’t hear her talking in voice chat. (The hoaxer had a girl talk for him a few times, but it appeared suspicious to experience Overwatch players.) Given the prevalence of G.I.R.L.s on the internet, people put two and two together!

They guy who pretended to be “Ellie” was a top-level player, but not quite top-level enough to be invited to any pro teams. But as a girl, he very quickly got invited to join what’s the Overwatch equivalent of a minor-league team. Proving that even in video gaming, there is affirmative action for girls. And demonstrating, again, why guys would want to pretend to be girls.

But SJWs refuse to admit that there are benefits to being female.

And SJWs fabricated a story of outrage, one where a poor girl was prevented from playing the game she loved because of toxic male behavior. It was a story that was completely bogus, and no SJW has apologized for it. SWJs never apologize for being wrong, they just move on to something else to get outraged about.

Also, the SJWs refuse to acknowledge what’s common sense, that because there is only a single female player in the entire pro Overwatch leagues, it’s immediately suspicious that a female player appears out of nowhere and is playing at close to that level.

Likely there are two reasons why there are hardly any pro-level female gamers.

(1) In most measurable traits, men have a higher standard deviation than women, so probably among those with top 0.1% reaction times (or whatever other trait is necessary to be the best gamer), men outnumber women.

(2) Women aren’t obsessed with getting to the top of a status hierarchy the way men are. Few teenage girls would spend all of their free time playing videogames they way teenage boys who are in love with gaming would do. And when we are not talking about pro video gaming, this would normally be seen as a good thing for the girls. What parent wants their kids to spend all of their free time playing video games, likely to the detriment of their grades in school? Not very many.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 7, 2019 at EDT am

Ellie hoax revealed

https://clips.twitch.tv/AffluentTalentedCaterpillarPeanutButterJellyTime

A top female Overrwatch player who goes by the name “Aspen” explains that this guy “Punisher” confided in her that he created the Ellie hoax.

Some guy at Wired magazine really vented the outrage this morning at misogynist Overwatch players who harassed a poor female player out of the game.

Will SJWs apologize for being wrong? Unlikely. SJWs never apologize, they just move on to being outraged about something else.

* * *

The hoax also demonstrates how much easier females have it. This guy “Punisher,” who never got invited to join any pro team playing as a guy, in a very short time gets invited to a pro team when they think he’s a girl.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 4, 2019 at EDT pm

Ellie Overwatch mystery

Article (from SJW POV) here; https://www.dexerto.com/overwatch/female-overwatch-contenders-player-quits-after-debate-about-her-gender-272170

Reddit thread with more info: https://www.reddit.com/r/Competitiveoverwatch/comments/abzft6/second_wind_unfortunately_due_to_some_unforeseen/

It’s interesting that, although playing Overwatch doesn’t require physical strength like real sports, nevertheless, the top ranks are dominated almost unanimously by men. Either men have a biological advantage in reaction time, or maybe female players (who are only about 20% of the Overwatch community in the first place) lack the urge to win.

Anyway, yes, of course it’s extremely suspicious that a “female” player suddenly appears as the 4th-ranked player out of nowhere, and then disappears rather than prove her identity. It has all of the hallmarks of a hoax perpetrated by a top-ranked male player.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 3, 2019 at EDT am

FFXIV and MMORPGs

FFXIV is short for Final Fantasy XIV, a game designed by the Japanese company Square Enix, and what I think is the absolute best of the genre of MMORPGs, that is massively multiplayer online role-playing games, of which World of Warcraft (WoW) is the most well-known example.

Yes, FFXIV is definitely the better starting point into this genre than WoW. I’ve been playing it since Christmas weekend. Great way to kill time. (Yes, I am aware that killing time is a very low class thing to do. SWPLs want to use every ounce of time left until they die to do SWPL things like learning a foreign language or traveling around the world with the meager time left over from their hopefully self-actualizing career. Playing videogames is not considered to be self-actualizing, therefore it is low class.)

You do want a PC with a discrete GPU to play this game. I was able to run the game and get 15 fps at 720p resolution on a computer with integrated Intel graphics, but it’s not that great. The game looked choppy. With my Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti (but note that the GTX 1150 is probably coming out in 2019, making the 1050 obsolete!) I get 30+ fps running at 2560 x 1440 with all the graphics settings maxed out. And the game looks beautiful! While 60 fps is considered the gold standard in gaming, you really don’t need 60 fps in a slow-moving game like FFXIV.

MMORPGs are a dying genre of game. People have gotten accustomed to faster-moving games. Like Overwatch. Or Fortnite. Games that also cost less money to play. Overwatch is pay once than play as much as you want. And Fortnite is totally free to play.

I believe that most people playing FFXIV (or WoW) are older players, older meaning at least old enough to drink. Teenagers these days would be playing Fortnite or some other “shooter” game. The monthly subscription tends to keep away players that don’t at least have their own credit card. Most teens would have trouble convincing their parents that they “need” $12.99/mo or (or $14.99/mo for WoW) to play a time-wasting videogame, and besides, all of their friends are playing Fortnite or first-person shooters.

For the most part, battle in FFXIV consists of you pushing a button every 2.5 seconds, and then your skill automatically hits the enemy. In some fights, especially “boss” fights, parts of the ground turn a different color, a warning that something painful is about to hit, and you have a certain amount of time to run the hell out of the way to a non-indicated area. That’s the extent of the fast reaction time needed, which can still get dicey for a middle-aged person with middle-aged reflexes during intense fights where you have to dodge out of the way but still hit the right buttons to trigger your abilities. But it’s not like Overwatch where I am stuck below 1000 skill rank because I can’t compete against younger players.

While FFXIV has a huge amount of complexity with respect to the many things to do in the virtual world, the game slowly introduces everything to you. You just keep following the “main scenario quests” (which are clearly marked) and you will slowly learn everything about the game. Plus there are some important side-quests marked in blue with a plus sign that unlock things you may need. The other quests you can just ignore. If you select to start a character on a “preferred server,” you get double experience up to level 60, which means that you get all the experience you need by just following the main quests, without having to do any “grinding” or side quests. (“Grinding” means the repetitive killing of monsters or other repetitive activities to gain experience points or other beneficial things like better armor.)

The story behind the main quest isn’t horrible. While I find many of the cut scenes tiresome, some people might enjoy watching the story unfold. One of the important quest-giving NPCs is this blonde babe wearing an outfit that shows off her bare midriff. Yay for fan service!

And there are these evil guys called the Garleans who came from outer space in these steampunk spaceships. You know they are evil because they wear evil-looking armor, and evil music plays during their cut scenes.

The main quest line requires you to do “dungeons” and “trials” along the way, which are instanced activities requiring a group of four. Don’t worry, you don’t need to make any friends, the “Duty Finder” will assign you three random teammates. This is why FFXIV is such a better experience than WoW, because it mixes things up and coaxes you into doing group activities like that. Eventually, when you reach max level and get to the “end game,” most of your time will be spend doing group dungeons and raids. Furthermore, WoW is so old that most of its low-level content has become completely irrelevant to the current state of the game.

It is my understanding that WoW offers a better endgame for the top-tier players because it has the most complex 40-man raids, which I don’t think that FFXIV has, however I have never personally played WoW’s endgame, so I’m just going off of what I read on the internet. My impression is that FFXIV offers a sufficient endgame experience for regular players who are not completely addicted.

FFXIV has a free trial that allows you to play the game up to level 35, which is quite a bit of content. The free trial has no strings attached, the whole game is yours up to level 35, except that a few things that would be useful to gold farmers are turned off: no access to the marketplace (where you can buy and sell to other players), and you can’t initiate chats with other players (to prevent gold sellers from using the free accounts to advertise their wares). Unfortunately, to continue past level 35, you need to buy the game ($60, or $30 if there’s a half-price sale) and then pay $12.99/month.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 31, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Technology

In South Korea, kids go to school to learn videogames

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-23/have-you-considered-majoring-in-overwatch

Choi Min-ji, a bespectacled 16-year-old, commutes for more than an hour and forks over 500,000 won ($440) a month to attend three-hour-long weekly sessions at GameCoach Academy, a slick outfit in a run-down industrial district. K-pop blares 24/7, and the hallways are emblazoned with glossy championship certificates. GameCoach specializes in three of the most popular esports games: Overwatch, League of Legends, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (for all its success abroad, Fortnite hasn’t captivated the Korean pro circuit). Choi, one of the school’s 120 aspiring pros, considers himself lucky. “Times change, and I think dreams change too,” he says, ¬fidgeting. “I’ve always liked games, and I might as well be successful in my life by playing games. It’s something my parents now agree on.”

Sounds like more fun than violin lessons. And $440 for 12 hours of instruction is a pretty reasonable price.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 24, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Parents who pay for Fortnite coaching for their kids

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ready-aim-hire-a-fortnite-coach-parents-enlist-videogame-tutors-for-their-children-1533046708

Ally Hicks fretted over her 10-year-old son playing the hugely popular shoot-em-up videogame “Fortnite.”

It wasn’t the violence or the amount of time she was worried about. It was the result. He wasn’t winning.
So she hired him a coach. For about $50, Ms. Hicks purchased four hours of online lessons from a player she found through a freelance labor website.

One thing I can’t help but notice is that Fortnite coaches don’t make much money. It’s a lot more profitable to be an SAT tutor than a Fortnite tutor.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 3, 2018 at EDT pm

Star Trek TOS: Where No Man Has Gone Before, part 2

Read part 1 of the review.

Sorry, but this is just a poorly organized mish-mosh of thoughts.

* * *

Gary Mitchell is the ladies’ man of the Enterprise. When Dr. Dehner first shows up, Mitchell tries to flirt, but she rebuffs him with a disparaging remark. Mitchell then tells his shipmate that she’s a “walking freezer unit” loud enough so she can hear him! Feminist-leaning modern viewers have called this “sexual harassment” aboard the Enterprise. The best thing about old TV shows is the political incorrectness.

But then, as Mitchell becomes more powerful and even godlike as a result of gaining super “ESP” powers, Dehner’s attitude completely changes. First she champions him at the ship meeting about what to do about Gary, and then she wants to stay on the planet with him. This is a case of Mitchell becoming more alpha, and even the feminist professional woman who disdains his hound-dog behavior changes her attitude towards him as he becomes a super-alpha.

* * *

The blonde Yeoman Smith who’s on the bridge is the cutest Yeoman ever seen on Star Trek, way cuter than Yeoman Rand. Too bad she never made it past the pilot. But it’s not Captain Kirk who she’s into, nope, it’s our friend Gary Mitchell, who she holds hands with as the ship crosses the galactic barrier. That type of behavior was removed from the series after the pilot. Uhura (absent in the pilot) was sexy, but she kept it professional (except in the evil “Mirror” universe).

* * *

The “ESP” stuff is a very 60s thing. Today nobody takes ESP seriously anymore. Sure, there are lots of movies and TV shows about people with paranormal abilities (like the X-Men), but everyone understands that it’s fantasy and not something to be taken as a serious prediction of what the future will be like. But back in the 60s, ESP was more prominent in hard science fiction. It appeared in various Heinlein novels.

In this episode, Spock is able to look at everyone’s personnel records on his computer screen (which was actually pretty forward thinking), and each record includes an ESP rating. In the future as envisioned here, ESP is taken so seriously that everyone in Starfleet is tested and rated and it’s seen as a scientific fact that some humans have a certain amount of ESP.

Of course, as the series progresses, we encounter many aliens with paranormal abilities, including Spock who is able to read minds by doing a Vulcan mind meld.

* * *

The core assumption of this episode is that if one man obtains super powers, he inherently becomes dangerous to the entire human race, and must be cast out or killed. Thus as soon as Spock determines that Mitchell’s ESP powers are increasing “geometrically,” his immediate “logical” recommendation is that he must be killed as soon as possible, or left behind on a deserted planet, put preferably killed.

However, the setup here is that Mitchell is Kirk’s best friend, and Kirk doesn’t initially have it in him to kill him in cold blood, so he decides on the less lethal option to abandon him on a nearby planet that also, quite conveniently, has an automated mining station with everything they need to fix the warp engines.

And later on, after Mitchell has escaped from his prison cell down on the planet (why does an unpopulated automated mining station have a prison cell?), and the ship has been repaired, it would appear that Kirk has gotten what he wanted, Mitchell is alive on the planet (along with Dehner who now also has super ESP powers) and Kirk can leave him there. But now Kirk has changed his mind and decides that Mitchell must be killed, and that the way to kill him is not by using the ships phasers safely from orbit, but by Kirk going man-to-man against Mitchell who has godlike powers.

This is an example, that will be repeated in many future episodes, where Kirk goes irrational alpha-male, and needs personal and physical revenge against someone who wronged him. By all logic, Kirk should have been killed in the encounter, because Mitchell is now too godlike to be harmed by the cool-looking phaser rifle (which never appeared in any future Star Trek episode), but because of an unlikely and fortuitous turn of events, and a speech, Kirk is able to bury Mitchell alive, and Dehner conveniently dies on her own without Kirk having to do the dastardly deed of killing a woman.

* * *

It seems to me that Kirk isn’t the only one behaving irrational alpha-male in this episode. Mitchell supposedly has super-intelligence in addition to super ESP powers, he is able to read, and remember with perfect recall, a large portion of the ship’s library, but somehow he’s not smart enough to realize that he could much more effectively get what he wants (perhaps transport to a human-inhabited planet so he can take over the human race, or something like that) by pretending to be harmless and benevolent, but instead he shows off his super powers and says stuff like “SOON I’LL SQUASH YOU LIKE INSECTS.”

In episode after episode, Kirk is never able to humor hostile aliens when it appears, at least to me, to be the most prudent course of action. The message is that a true alpha-male, like Kirk, or Mitchell in this episode, is unable to even pretend to be a beta male, not even for a short time, not even when it would be highly advantageous to do so.

* * *

In the briefing room aboard the Enterpise, Dehner says “a mutated superior man could also be a wonderful thing. The forerunner of a new and better kind of human being,” and down on the planet she says “before long, we’ll be where it would have taken mankind millions of years of learning to reach.”

This reflects two themes that run throughout Star Trek.

The first, is that the inevitable future is for mankind to evolve into something superior to what we are today. But that is totally false. It’s not how evolution works. There is no force that causes humans to get better with each passing century. Humans got to where we are because the environment was such that what we consider to be better humans had more descendants and passed on more genes. That type of evolution is no longer happening. Today, it’s the worst of humanity who have the most descendants and pass on the most genes. The human race is devolving and not evolving.

The only way that mankind is going to become better in the future, or even stop its decline, is through artificial means like eugenics or genetic engineering. And that brings us to the second recurring theme of Star Trek, that shortcuts like that are evil and lead to monsters like Gary Mitchell, Charlie X, or Khan Noonien Singh.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 31, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Television

Star Trek TOS: Where No Man Has Gone Before, part 1

I was thinking that I should watch more original-series Star Trek, and instead of randomly jumping around as I’ve done in the past, I figured I should just start from the beginning, although even the “beginning” isn’t so clear cut. I decided that the beginning is this episode, which was the third episode aired but is actually the pilot episode: the second pilot episode. The first pilot, lost for a long time but now available on Netflix, didn’t have William Shatner in it, and most of the footage was recycled into a two-part flashback episode that aired later in the first season.

I know that some readers are thinking “Star Trek isn’t important, why aren’t you writing about Trump?” There has been too much writing about Trump, and Star Trek is damn important because of the very strong impression it made on nerds of my generation (late Baby Boomer and early Generation X) because every day when I came home from school, what was on TV (on Chanel 11) was reruns Star Trek. (I’m not old enough to have watched this when it originally aired.)

It’s strange re-watching the Original Series. In my memory it is so awesome, but then I watch it and it’s so dated, the special effects are so bad, the acting is so bad, and it’s so full of plot holes. Even Kirk seems less awesome than I remember. At the same time, I also see a lot of philosophical details that I missed entirely when I was younger.

Even though this pilot got some stuff wrong (such as Spock being a cowboy-like gunslinger toting around a huge phaser rifle), it sets up a lot of the recurring themes for the rest of the series, such as:

  • Kirk beats Spock at “chess” because Spock is put off by his “illogical” moves (more on this later).
  • Logical Spock argues with an emotional doctor (in this episode the female psychiatrist Doctor Dehner because McCoy isn’t around yet), with Kirk being the referee who understands both the logical and emotional points of view.
  • Kirk is concerned about the safety of his ship.
  • But then Kirk’s actions seem more like he has a personal grudge against Gary Mitchell. Alpha males don’t like to be crossed, and overreaction to being crossed is what makes people afraid to cross them in the first place.
  • Kirk gives an overacted speech that saves the day. (Speeches never save the day in real life, but it happens all the time in Star Trek.)
  • Kirk gets into a fistfight, and during the fight his shirt gets mysteriously ripped. You would think that they’d have more advanced fabrics in the future that don’t get ripped so easily.

Let’s talk some more about this “tridimensional chess” that we see Spock and Kirk playing. For starters, it’s not a real game, it’s just a prop that was designed to look cooler, more futuristic, more advanced and harder to play, than regular chess. The chess theme is pretty dated. Chess was more popular in the 1960s than it is today, partially thanks to Bobby Fischer the American chess champion of the 1960s.

Today we know that computers can outplay even the best humans at chess. Even a chess program running on your iPhone can beat the best human grandmasters. And computers operate on pure logic, so it’s totally illogical that Kirk could beat the more computer-like brain of Spock through illogical moves. I suppose the intent was to show that pure logic isn’t enough to be a Starship Captain. But for playing chess, yes, pure logic is what you need. That computers can beat any human at chess has ruined the mysteries of the game and is partly responsible for its decline in popularity.

Gene Roddenberry liked to believe that people in the future would be “better” than they are today, so they are seen entertaining themselves by playing a game of chess (perceived as a game for smart people) that was even more advanced and difficult than regular chess. The reality, at least in the short term, is that people in the future would entertain themselves by watching reality TV shows and playing mindless videogames. Gene Roddenberry total got that wrong.

In Star Trek the Next Generation, the crew is often seen playing poker, and that’s a more likely game that will be played in the future than some funky version of chess.

This post is taking me longer to write than I thought it would, so I will continue tomorrow with a review of the actual plot of the episode.

* * *

Read part 2 of the review.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 30, 2018 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Television

%d bloggers like this: