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Two Years

February 11, 2013

Dear Reader,

Well, if I was WoW, you could be expecting another expansion pack by now.  That’s right, Sheep the Diamond turned two years old yesterday!

Last year for my birthday we looked at the concept of the blog, how I generated the title, and how I decided on the “correspondence” form I decided to take.  This year, I’ll talk a little about idea generation.

Often my “best” pieces come to me when I’m reading.  Since I read a lot and about a variety of subjects, I make a conscious effort to ask myself, “How can this be tied to gaming?”  It’s easy and somewhat fun to go back through my old posts and figure out what I was reading at the time.  You can pretty clearly see a lot of different texts, which I’ve collected here as a “reading list” for the blog.

Romeo & Juliet – Shakespeare

A  Theory of Fun – Raph Koster

The Art of Immersion – Frank Rose

Reality is Broken – Jane McGonigal

A General Theory of Love (probably my favorite from this list) – Lewis, Amini, and Lannon

Telling Lies – Ekman

Ishmael – Daniel Quinn

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer

Made to Stick – Chip & Dan Heath

Those are just off the top of my head, and I’ve read a lot more than that, of course, but the other titles either didn’t impress me (Game of Thrones – sorry – I thought was bad writing; it was clearly written to be a television show, not a book) or didn’t resonate within my thoughts about gaming (this list is too gigantic, but here’s a few: South of Broad (Conroy), Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (Larsson), The Postman (Brin – actually, that may have generated a post) .

Additionally, since my wife is a political psychology professor, I often look for ways in which her interests or studies overlap with gaming.  I’ve had a “politics of WoW” post in the draft folder for probably 1.5 of my 2 years, but never had the gusto to actually write it, as I’m sure it’ll take a ton of work and lead to a lot of belligerence.  Maybe this year, though.  We’ll see.

Lastly, my idea generation comes from all of you.  Many of my readers are other bloggers, and I peruse your blogs as you peruse mine.  I also find places in the comments where people bring up a brilliant point.  More recently, I’ve taken to encouraging others to blog about those brilliant points, but sometimes I take from them, too.

On that note, I wanted to clarify my last post.  All three of the commentators who responded to it missed my point, which leads me to believe my point was obscured by my writing.  I believe I learned from Larisa of Pink Pigtail Inn that one should never accuse their readers of not reading well, as it more often was that you, the blogger, had not written it clearly.  My buddy suggested it was because I’d bolded a line of text halfway through that was not my main point but failed to bold my main point.  Here it is:

I think a lot of arguments about “old” versus “new” WoW miss the point.  I think everyone likes the new features in WoW and does not want to get rid of them.  However, I also think that everyone  doesn’t like the culture those features have engendered.  Now that we have the conveniences we want, let’s spend some time working to get the culture back to where it belongs. 

Ah, bold, you tricky old text emphasis.  I don’t know that I’d ever used bold before my previous post outside of section headers, vastly preferring the elegance and potential sarcastic twist that italics provide.  Seems it may have messed me up.

At any rate, there’d be little point to all of these two years if it weren’t for all of you, dear readers, and I hope to continue our correspondences for several years to come.  As always, I look forward to and appreciate your comments that agree, disagree, or simply add to our many fine discussions.

Thank you all,

Stubborn (and 2 years old!)


2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2013 9:58 am

    Congratulations on what, for a blog, is quite the demonstration of longevity. I’d say that’s a good sign you have been able to raise and articulate interesting topics.

    I’m going to take another cut at your point, as I don’t think that the communications was working well in either direction, and restrict myself to just one point: LFD.

    I’d started what would have basically been a blog-post-as-a-response but I think I can simplify it to the core point. Playing-with and playing-alongside are very different behaviors both of which can be supported by an MMO. As an introvert I much prefer playing-alongside with all but a few close friends. In Vanilla, the forced playing-with left me compelled to engage with rampant extroverts to have any hope to see content or advance my character. The current system rewards playing-with over playing-alongside (as it should) but does not prohibit the latter. Running an instance in Vanilla, even on my Priest who could group almost instantly, was a stressful experience that required me to disengage from the game for hours or days. I can chain run LFD or LFR, even chatty groups, without that stress because it is not mandatory that I participate in the socializing.

    The degeneration of the population you see can be attributed to societal coarsening in general, the bastard-god Efficiency who rules WoW, and Blizzard’s continued prioritization of subscriptions over behavior.

    • February 11, 2013 10:18 am

      In regards to “with” or “alongside,” I think you’re exactly right. I think my problem might boil down to base jealousy. I feel like that “alongside” has gotten a lot of support, which has taken an inadvertent toll on “with,” leaving some of the fringes of people who want “with” but don’t really want “alongside” out in the cold. That’s not in any way meant to denigrate alongside, which I think is a totally valid playstyle. I just wish the fringes of “with” weren’t being ignored as the game population seems to polarize towards more hardcore or more casual with so much less in the middle.

      Incidentally, I think that an examination of those two playstyles from an “alongside” point of view would be very interesting, particularly your experiences in vanilla WoW.

      I definitely agree with the last two points about the degeneration of the population, but I have a built-in rejection of “societal coarsening” (though I love that term, particularly “coarsening,” which you never really see used any more). As a teacher, I don’t see that many negative changes in my kids over the years. I don’t really know that society is coarsening so much as the opinions and attitudes that have always been there simply have more outlets thanks to newer communications technologies. I see a lot of hope in my kids, actually, who were young and bright and missing some of the more fundamental failures of earlier generations (racism, for example). Additionally, I don’t see the same volume of misbehavior in other games, which lends credence to your final two points even if it seems to nullify the first. Are there jerks out there? Sure. But there always have been. They’ve just got new soapboxes and megaphones.

      Thanks for the congratulations and the comment!

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