Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Nerdy stuff’ Category

Watching D&D online (a review of Critical Role)

with 8 comments

This is a link to the first episode of the second campaign of Critical Role on YouTube. This episode has more than five million views, so it’s not just a hundred nerds watching from their parents’ basement.

I haven’t played D&D since I was in high school, but thanks to the internet, I have been able to watch other people play. The most popular of all live-play D&D shows is Critical Role. I recommend starting with the second campaign. Between the first and second campaigns, they vastly increased the professionalism of the sound and video. I also recommend watching rather than listening to the podcast. It’s a lot easier to follow when you can see the people who are talking, as well as their gestures and body language.

I’ve watched the first two episodes and about half of the third episode.

The people playing on Critical Role are professional “voice actors.” What does that mean? It means they do the voices for English dubs of Japanese anime. Plus they also do videogames. Matt Mercer, the DM, has a big list of roles that he’s done, but the only thing I recognize is that he did the voice of McCree in the game Overwatch.

What I learned is that we played the game the wrong way when I was a teenager. At the worst, we simply did dungeon crawls and everyone min-maxed their characters. Although mostly, I didn’t play much at all, because the hardest part of D&D, as accurately observed in the third season of Stranger Things, is getting other people to play with you.

The players on Critical Role aren’t roleplaying heroes they imagine as themselves, but rather are acting out the imagined personas of the characters, so there’s a much greater detachment from the characters and the game. One of the male players is playing a female goblin kleptomaniac rogue, which is something that never would have turned out well in the games that I played in. The player would not have been able to resist going overboard as a huge prima donna, and most dungeon masters wouldn’t cooperate very well with it. I think that both Matt Mercer the DM, and Sam Riegel the guy playing the goblin character, must have come to an agreement before the game started with respect to limits and what was expected. Ultimately, everyone playing the game understands they are creating entertainment for other people and not merely massaging their own narcissism and egos, and therefore they cooperate with each other and with the dungeon master in a manner that’s rare in real-world games played with uber-nerds. Which doesn’t mean they aren’t having fun, but they are having fun in a manner that’s more sophisticated than killing stuff and becoming more powerful so they can kill more powerful stuff. After about 9 hours of watching Critical Role, there have only been two battles with only four monsters killed.

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Forgot to mention, Critical Role is an extremely white show. Seven white players and a white dungeon master.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 9, 2019 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Do females play D&D?

with 78 comments

According to Wizards of the Coast, in 2017, 38% of D&D players were female. Of course you need to take what WotC says with a grain of salt, because they have a financial interest in presenting their player base as diverse and growing so that more people will want to buy their products.

However, there is lots of other evidence that female participation in D&D has been increasing. There has been a D&D renaissance with more people than ever playing. There are popular YouTube and Twitch series of people playing D&D. As something becomes perceived as less weird and more mainstream, more females will be willing to try it. (The female sex is turned off by the weird and the non-mainstream.)

Based on differences between what men and women look for in games, it’s logical that D&D would be more interesting to women than most other tabletop games. D&D is more verbal and cooperative, very much the opposite of chess which is a pure competition between two people with a winner and a loser, with no talking involved. It’s not surprising that chess players skew heavily male (allegedly 85% male, 15% female) despite chess being perceived as a non-weird mainstream game (as far as board games go).

On the other hand, women always played card games. Both of my grandmothers played cards. And there was a time when Mahjongg was very popular with old women, despite the rules being pretty complicated. Scrabble is also popular with women.

But like with all things, among those who go all-in, for example the kind of D&D players who have memorized all of the “core” rulebooks and every supplement, they are going to be predominantly male.

Because being a dungeon master requires being more all-in than merely being a player, I predict that the percent of female dungeon masters would be lower than the percent of female players.

Because D&D was perceived as weird and nerdy in times past, it also follows that older players will skew more male, while there will be higher rates female participation among younger players who are unaware of how D&D was perceived in the 1980s.

I think it’s possible that in another twenty years, D&D could be perceived as more a game that women play than men! As a cooperative, non-competitive game that involves narrative and improvisational acting, it should theoretically appeal more to women than to men.

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Sid writes in a comment:

I’m a white man, and my hobbies have skewed towards the nerdy.

That said, the two times I played D&D were in college, and I was invited by a girl. There were at least two girls in the games I played.

The girls definitely weren’t queen bees. They were into the “geek chic” look. Over the last 15 years or so, there’s been a certain category of girl who get into geeky interests for whatever reason, and it seems like D&D is an area where they gravitate.

Too bad those girls didn’t exist when I was young.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 8, 2019 at EDT pm

Role queue coming to Overwatch!

with 19 comments

In less than a week, role queue is coming to Overwatch! That means this song, which has been viewed more than 59 million times, will no longer be relevant. Overwatch players will never again have to deal with no one on the team picking support. It sure took Blizzard long enough.

(And this alternate music video of the song has been viewed another 33.4 million times. And another 9+ million views for this composite of Tik Tok memes; watch at your own risk.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 7, 2019 at EDT pm

Is D&D crushingly boring?

with 24 comments

Commenter “RTP IT Guy” writes:

I played one or two sessions of D&D but found it to be crushingly boring.

The reason why I’m writing these D&D posts is because I happened to come across the article about last Saturday being Gary Gygax day, and it brought back nostalgic memories of how I enjoyed playing it as a kid. I was probably 12 years old when I was introduced to the game, and I don’t think I ever played it again after starting college.

But I have to admit, as a middle-aged man, it does seem like it would be boring, although I’d be willing to try it again. I read some of the D&D 5e instructions, and it seems like a real chore just to figure out what the rules are. When I was younger, I remember how excited I was to read game rules. What happens when we get older that we lose interest in things that brought us joy when we were young?

I guess our brains become old and useless.

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And to demonstrate that no one understand the D&D alignment system, here’s a passage from an online article:

“There are plenty of kickass lawful good figures in pop culture who don’t fit the ‘white hat’ stereotype,” Perkins said, name-checking Batman, Indiana Jones, The Dark Tower’s Roland Deschain and Wonder Woman. “Don’t forget that a lawful good character can be twisted into any shape, be it a psychologically damaged night prowler, a rogue in archaeologist’s clothing, a murder hobo hardened by the cruelty of existence, and a god living among men.”

I have no idea who Roland Deschain is, but the other examples are chaotic good, not lawful good.

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Interesting comment from SQ:

I keep wondering if this is related to my change in thinking about pets. As a child, I desperately wanted a dog. Owning a dog seems crazy to me now, but I don’t have to herd sheep.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 30, 2019 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

SJWism in D&D 5e

with 22 comments

I noticed the following on page 35 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5e Basic Rules:

You don’t need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender. The elf god Corellon Larethian is often seen as androgynous, for example, and some elves in the multiverse are made in Corellon’s image. You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character’s sexual orientation is for you to decide.

Gary Gygax must be rolling over in his grave.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 29, 2019 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

This Saturday is Gary Gygax Day

Observed every year on July 27th.

What should I do to celebrate this major holiday?

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They say that Drew Barrymore and Vin Diese are among the celebrities who roll the twenty-sided dice.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 25, 2019 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

SJWism inflicts Overwatch League arena

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?

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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

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

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.

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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

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