A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

Category: Soapbox Page 1 of 5

Biggs On: The Covid MLB Season

Covid MLB SeasonI don’t talk a lot about sports on this blog; it’s not really a genre that is common in the geek and gaming subculture. However sports is heavy on statistics and numbers, which is right up the geeks alley so I guess it’s not that far out of reach. The baseball season this year is unique because of the covid (much like everything else). I’m having a hard time deciding if the covid MLB season is even worth it. In the end, will it even mean anything?

The Pros and Cons

cardboard fans in the stands

Bernie and a Stormtrooper catching a Royals game

It does feel a bit normal to have baseball on the television again. Hearing the crack of the bat and the cheer of the crowd always makes me think of summer. However, this year the crack of the bat is met with silence. The lack of a crowd in the stands reminds us again of the state of the world right now. I do admire how the ball clubs are trying to have a little fun using cardboard cutouts and teddy bears to fill the seats for some much needed levity.

There are only 60 games this season; that’s 102 games fewer than a normal season. Initially I thought removing that many games cheapens the season. However my brother-in-law pointed out that now every game has meaning. This is true and something I hadn’t considered. Everyone watches the first 20 or 30 games of the season. Around the time of the All-Star break everyone’s interests peters out a little bit. As we approach the end the season everyone’s interest is restored, especially if your team has a shot at the playoffs.

A Cheapened Championship

However, without a full season and only 7 innings per game, a championship will feel ill-gotten and unearned. Players are getting sick and games or entire series are getting postponed. How can it feel like an earned win when you aren’t playing a team at its best. There are some teams that are so far behind their 60 games I don’t know how they are going to catch up. Will some teams only play 53 games?? That doesn’t seem fair.

As a baseball fan, I get it. We’re just glad to have some baseball to watch (or any sport for that matter). However, even if the Cubs were to win the 2020 World Series, it just won’t feel as glorious. I will feel “meh” about it. In the history books it will forever be known as the shortened, pandemic season. I also get it from a corporate perspective. Baseball is also a business and a business, just like all the other businesses in the country, has to meet certain stakeholder obligations. Honestly, this baseball season is more about the corporate bottom line and less about the fans.

After much consideration I’m still of the opinion that the 2020 MLB season should have been cancelled. At the minimum they should have at least cancelled the championship. I’m not excited about it, even with the Cubs in first place. I don’t care about the World Series. I waited 108 years for the Cubs to win, I’m content with skipping it this year. We didn’t have one during the 1994-1995 Baseball Strike, I think we can manage not having it again.

/cheers

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

WoW Classic Is A Classic Blunder

In August Blizzard will deliver on a promise they made at Blizzcon. Live servers of WoW Classic will go online. So many players are eager to get back to basics; and I don’t understand WHY! The only answer I have is nostalgia, but I think even the nostalgic vanilla vets will be quickly reminded how awful questing is. The other group that may be drawn to Classic are all those that began playing WoW during one of the expansions. These people will be among the first to bail and they will come running back to the current game faster than Barry Allen. Ultimately, I think WoW Classic is a classic blunder; I give it 6 months and the numbers will dwindle.

Honestly, I think this is a money grab. I think Blizzard is trying to rekindle their old subscription numbers by luring back old players. They might succeed. Players who cancelled their subscription several years ago will come back to play classic, and perhaps check out the current state of the game. Perhaps some of those players will keep playing the current game.

Its a “classic” business ploy – see what I did there (•_•) ( •_•)>⌐■-■ (⌐■_■)

Oh The Grind, Grind, Grind, Grinding

The first thing everyone will be reminded of quickly is the utter lack of quality-of-life. For example, looting quest items while in a group. For every mob that you kill, the loot belongs to one person, and one person only, including quest items. Therefore the total number of mobs you have to kill, assuming a guaranteed drop, is equal to the number of mobs needed times the number of players in your group. It could literally take an hour to get 10 items for everyone in your group.

Also, to make that grind feel extra special tedious, you will have to RUN …. EVERYWHERE, for 40 levels. You will not be able to use a mount until you reach level 40, and that is assuming you can afford it (which means grinding for cash on top of everything else). So grab a book, bind the auto-run key and … get a few chapters in while you quest in Desolace.

This is just the tip of the ice burg of the missing quality-of-life mechanics in Classic. Here are some additional low quality-of-life items:

  • No group/raid finder (have to use the old LFG channel)
  • REALLY SMALL BAGS
  • HUGE talent trees
  • You have to buy ALL of your spells again
  • You will be broke, all the time
  • Hunters will be destitute because they will have to stock ammo and pet food, again
  • If you’re not in a raiding guild, then you’re not raiding
  • No world quests which means no end game
  • There are no Heroic dungeons/raids
  • Limited Class Selection (no monks, death knights, demon hunters, alliance shaman, horde paladins)
  • NO FLYING
  • Raid sizes are 40 man only (no 10, 25 or Flex)

Lack of End Game Content (for Non-Raiders)

When you reach level 60 you will have nothing to do, especially if you are not raiding. You could traipse around the world and complete every quest you can possibly find. ◉_◉

You could use the LFG channel and grind through dungeons. ̿’̿’\̵͇̿̿\з=( ͠° ͟ʖ ͡°)=ε/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿ ̿ ̿ ̿

Or you could start an alt and do it all over again. (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

Ultimately, your level 60 character will simply collect dust because the only end game content WoW Classic offers is raiding. Oh, and if you thought grinding levels was grueling, raiding in Classic is a whole new level of grinding.

WoW Classic Raiding Will Be A Blunder

If you want to raid in classic you will be forced to join a raiding guild, unless you are lucky and find a frequent raiding group on the LFG channel. Raids in WoW Classic are 40 man only. Raiding will be a daily occurrence if you want to progress. I remember in vanilla there were raid teams meeting 4 hours every night to complete Molten Core. Remember, in Vanilla there are no lock out extensions. You must complete the raid before it resets.

You will need to grind, a lot, to have the consumables and gear. You will need sufficient bag space to hold extra gear because you will need to farm fire resistance armor for Molten Core. For example, if you’re a hunter you will need bag space for ammo, pet food, consumables and fire resistance gear.

Expansion Stop-Gap And Boredom

I think Blizzard is standing up these WoW Classic servers as a stop gap for current players. They don’t want to lose subs because of another lackluster expansion so they are giving players, who are caught up on current content, something to do. I think they are also doing this as a stop gap because the next expansion is probably over a year away and 8.3 will be the final patch for Battle for Azeroth.

Also, for the record, I am a “Vanilla Vet”. I created my first character, a Night Elf Hunter, in vanilla, but I leveled my paladin before they launched Burning Crusade. I am not feeling so nostalgic that I want to grind through it all over again. I did try the open beta and after 2 hours of grueling quests, I uninstalled the game. I might try it again, when I’m really bored, but it won’t be when it launches. In fact it will probably be several months after it launches before I subject myself to that kind of torture.

It Will Never Change

The most baffling thing I’ve heard is that some players are, allegedly, abandoning the current game to exclusively play WoW Classic. I understand if some people think that the current content (while a little weak in story) does feel like a daily grind. However, why would you trade one grind for an even larger grindfest?!? At least in the current game there is some choice and the choices change daily. WoW Classic will never change.

In one year, when we are on the next expansion, WoW Classic will still be exactly the same. When we are two expansions into the future, WoW Classic will still be exactly the same! They can’t change it, or update it, otherwise it can no longer be called “classic WoW”.

If all of that sounds exhilarating to you, then power to ya. I’m quite content with my spoiled quality-of-life World of Warcraft.

/end soapbox

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!

 

WoW: Mythic+ Dungeons Are Obnoxious

The concepts in this post will be fairly esoteric if you are not familiar with many of the game features in World of Warcraft. Also, this will likely be a bit of a soapbox as I’ve grown weary of the emphasis put on Mythic+ dungeons. Sorry Blizzard, I just don’t care for the Mythic+ system, in fact I think Mythic+ dungeons are obnoxious.

The original purpose for the them is to give players an end-game option other than raiding. The fact that spec recommendations are usually different depending on whether you are in a raid versus a Mythic+ dungeon is evidence that these two are mutually exclusive. Just because you do one, doesn’t mean you should do the other. As someone who raids heroic content 3-6 hours a week, I don’t find it interesting to spend another 3+ hours suffering through multiple Mythic+ dungeons.

Dungeons Should Be Short

Perhaps I have a bit of PTSD from a 6-hour trip into Shadow Labs way back in Burning Crusade, but a dungeon shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes. If a dungeon is taking you more than 30-45 minutes, someone is doing something wrong and its time to quit. I do like doing dungeons, when I have time to do one. I especially like it when there is a dungeon that has specific lore significance (ex: Black Rook Hold, Scholomance, Culling of Stratholme, etc). This is especially appealing if there is a quest that continues a particularly interesting story line.

Other than adding the Mythic mechanic, my only other criticism for dungeons lately is acting as a gate to furthering professions. As I’ve mentioned before, during Legion, its ridiculous to have to complete an extra boss in a dungeon to further your alchemy profession. This seems to be more tame in Battle for Azeroth, but I also haven’t leveled all the professions, yet.

Affixes and Keystones are Bollocks

How long a dungeon takes to complete, even a Mythic+, varies significantly on the composition and competency of your group. So let’s get to the real reason I think Mythic+ dungeons are obnoxious; affixes and keystones.

What are Affixes? They are special twists on mob and dungeon mechanics to create a new challenge and adds new levels of complexity. Only three affixes are randomly active in a given week. You can see the list of possible affixes here. I’m sure for those players that enjoy Mythic+ dungeons enjoy the variety affixes bring to a dungeon; and I’m happy that works for them. Personally I think affixes create more stress and make dungeons less appealing. I could even feel less annoyed by the hoops you need to jump through for getting appropriate gear if there weren’t affixes to deal with as well.

So that brings me to keystones (and, ultimately, gear). In order to enter any Mythic+ dungeon someone in your group needs a keystone. The only way to acquire said keystone is to complete a Mythic 0 dungeon. Each time you complete a Mythic+ dungeon you get another keystone, for a random dungeon, at an increased level. This is where things get especially gross if you are hunting for better gear. The higher your gear score is, the more Mythic+ dungeons you have to do to get gear that’s worth a damn.

An example

For example, my gear score on my raid toon is 360. If I want ilevel 360 gear to drop I have to get a keystone for a Mythic+7 or higher. Which means I have to do at least 2 or 3 dungeons before I even get the appropriate keystone, then I have to complete that dungeon. You also only have a week to do this (as all Mythic+ dungeons and keystones reset every Tuesday). Of course what gear you get is completely random so there is a chance, that after enduring all of that, you could get a piece that you can’t even use. As your gear score increases, so do the number of Mythic+ dungeons you have to complete within a week.

THAT IS A BIG FAT NOPE! I won’t do that. I refuse. All of that work for very little gain just isn’t my idea of fun. So, to that end, I won’t subject myself to that cruelty. I would rather asphyxiate myself with barbed wire (i.e. I’d rather PVP).

By the way, if you do want to know more about Mythic+ dungeons, because they do sound appealing to you, follow this Wowhead link.

/cheers

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!

 

Soapbox: Facebook is a Harbor of Hatred

Facebook is a Harbor of HatredI have taken a break from Facebook. If you notice posts from me they auto-post as part of WordPress plug-ins which automatically sends a tweet for new blog posts. Anytime I submit a tweet to Twitter, it auto-posts to Facebook. While I will also avoid my Twitter feed, I can post to Twitter without actually having to see the latest nonsense. I have also disabled all notifications. Facebook is a harbor of hatred and I just can’t take any more of it right now. Warning: the following might be wrought with disdain and unpleasant suggestions (i.e. nothing will be politically correct).

When Mark Zuckerberg first created Facebook I’m sure his intentions were a means to unite friends across borders. It’s a way to keep in touch with people who have touched your lives in a positive way. Obviously you wouldn’t friend that dirty uncle who molested you at night. Over the past 13 years it has evolved into a harbinger of hatred. Keyboard jockeys share memes and posts to garner support for whatever cause/belief/nonsense they feel is impeding human evolution. However their “activism” ends there; it’s as I’ve said before, trolling. They just want to see how many people they can butt-hurt instead of actually caring about whatever they are bitching about.

Social Media is Not Activism

Activism requires more than sharing memes. I assure you no member of Congress, no judge, no presidential aid is going to change their mind because of a Facebook post! Don’t even get me started on those dumbass Facebook profile filters! All you will accomplish by sharing hateful remarks is alienating your friends and family. There are relationships that are being destroyed because people are not afraid to type what they are too afraid to say to someone’s face. Words are permanent whether spoken or written. While you might be able to repair what you say, the Internet never forgets what you wrote. Once its out on the Internet, you can no longer control its existence.

I really don’t think Facebook or Twitter has ever been successful in rallying people for any cause. Everyone posts shit because they know they can hide behind a monitor. I see people posting “I don’t want to start a fight but …”; don’t do that! It’s going to start a fight, regardless because people feel invulnerable when they are sitting at their keyboards or on the couch with their phones.

Nuclear weapons, WMDs, bio-terrorism, Donald Trump, Barrack Obama, none of those will cause the destruction of man. Social Media will be our destruction. The very tool that was created to bring us together will be exactly what tears us apart; it has already begun. So I’m going to avoid Facebook until I no longer feel the need to always check it. I have heard on numerous occasions that people feel happier when they spend time away from Facebook.

/endsoapbox

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

The Big Bang Theory Does Not Mock Geeks

My favorite type of sitcoms are, what I call, highbrow comedies. Fraiser was the first, and will always be, my favorite highbrow comedy. I enjoyed it because the dichotomy that people with an extensive vocabulary are not necessarily haughty or persnickety. Despite their affluence they still found themselves in the same awkward predicaments as Ross, Rachael, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe. When Fraiser ended in 2004, after 11 seasons, I thought it was the end of highbrow comedy, until I found The Big Bang Theory.

Big Bang Theory Does Not Mock Geeks

I own the same caffeine molecule shirt BEFORE I saw it on TBBT

I was surprised to learn there are other individuals like myself (i.e. geeks) who felt the show made a mockery of geeks. I disagree, I think The Big Bang Theory does not mock geeks. In fact, it teaches us to embrace who we are and it teaches the world to accept us the way we are.

The Big Bang Theory paralleled my life in some capacity. Actually it was almost uncanny in many situations. When I saw Leonard wearing that caffeine molecule shirt I knew I was going to enjoy how the show was analogous to my life. It starts its 10th season this year, and the show still makes me laugh myself to tears. It’s the intellectual, re-imagining of Friends.

The Tropes are the Pillars of Our Identity

The show does make heavy use of geek cultural tropes. Comic books, Star Wars, Star Trek, super heroes, video games, etc! These are not tropes, they are the pillars that define us! It is that sense of identity that makes the show so easy to relate to. Let’s face it, we were all socially awkward and intimidated by the opposite sex when we were younger. It’s possible some are the same as adults. When we were growing up, because we preferred books to booze and video games to sports games, we were “geeks”. Today, “geek” doesn’t have the same negative connotation.

When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way. – J. J. Abrams

Perhaps those that find the show offensive to geeks are marred by the demons of their past. When you spend your whole life trying to discard that label, you have a hard time letting go of that negative association. If The Big Bang Theory has taught us all anything, it’s that our perseverance will pay off. Penny and Leonard’s relationship shows us that smart is the new sexy; they don’t ignore the “nerdy guy with the hot girlfriend” dichotomy. We can “get the girl” and still be true to ourselves.

Geek is Passion

So I do understand why some may find the social structure in The Big Bang Theory difficult to believe. Bullying back then was just as awful as bullying is today. It’s very difficult to overcome. Our damaged self-esteem makes us believe we will live a lonely and clandestine life. The Big Bang Theory shows us that you can overcome bullying, love something with unbridled passion, and NEVER be afraid to show it. Let go of those old wounds because, in reality, we are all geeks about something.

Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating. – Simon Pegg

minions_iconI could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

And That’s Why I Don’t Watch The Oscars

SoapboxI used to watch the Oscars like I watch the Super Bowl. In fact I used to play the Oscar game (i.e. predict the winners of all the categories) and I was pretty good at it, however since 8 Mile won best song, I haven’t watched the Oscars. I think the Academy plays favorites, or they are in the pockets of the production studios that win top prize. I don’t know why certain movies/actors are chosen,  but whether its favoritism or kickbacks, The Academy lacks objectivity. This is exactly what drives me crazy about the “call to boycott” the Oscars by Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee and why I don’t watch the Oscars anymore.

I will be surprised if race has anything to do with the alleged “lack of diversity” in the Oscar nominations. I mean, God forbid its because the movies weren’t Oscar worthy. Smith and Lee are basically asking The Academy to play favorites, as if the nominations are not already fixed. If she wants Will Smith to win an Oscar then he needs to be in a movie that is actually good enough to warrant a nod (and Concussion looked boring, and didn’t seem to get that great of a response). How dare The Academy expect actors to do their job well!!

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, Hollywood is already full of arrogant, self-entitled fools. All those actors and actresses out there trying to “make a better world” are just trying to build publicity and get their 15 minutes. I would be surprised if any of them really give a damn about “free health care” and “equal rights”. “Humanitarianism” is just a PR buzz-word;  besides most of them are too belligerent from their recent drug-and-alcohol-induced fugue to take seriously anyway. The lack of black Oscar nominations is probably item 4,657 on the list of racial injustices, maybe Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee should focus their righteous efforts on something that will actually have an impact on humanity.imma-let-you-finish

I hope Kanye West wasn’t invited to the Oscars, although it might be pathetically hilarious if Jada Pinkett Smith pulls a “Kanye West” …

“And the Oscar goes to …”

Hold on, Imma let you finish but Will Smith deserves this Oscar more!

/end Soapbox

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