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Mark Hall
2008-06-21, 12:14 AM
http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2008/06/i-hate-fun.html

Warning: The language in this is a little bit harsher than the forum allows. It is, however, a fantastic look at why people like older editions.

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 12:26 AM
That's a neat article.

Of course, it misses out on the fact that people can choose to spend some of their time on productive activities, and other portions of their time on unproductive activities. There's no mutual exclusion involved.

Swordguy
2008-06-21, 12:31 AM
There's a WHOLE LOT of elitism and condesention in that article (not entirely unjustified), and people are gonna post here saying things like "how dare someone tell me I'm playing wrong".

That said, I at least partially agree with him; this encapsulates the whole article, in my mind:



[The Tyranny of Fun] (http://www.therpgsite.com/showpost.php?p=131786&postcount=70) is a particularly insightful read, talking about the “tyranny of fun” and how it cheapens role-playing games. It’s also why having an attitude of live and let live doesn’t work – those who demand everything easy and quickly will always outnumber those that don’t, and pretty soon a hobby that was custom-made for the studious and imaginative and thorough now belongs to an entirely different caste, while those of us that the hobby was created for are left on the fringes, told that we’re just not compatible with today’s gaming, and sometimes, even today’s life in general.

What frustrates me the most, though, is that for all I'd like to play a game where I'm playing a role, instead of having a guarantee of "having fun"...I'll almost certainly not find other people with the same mindset. I can either be true to the spirit of a role-playing game, and not get to play, or I can suck it up and play with newer gamers who don't care about portraying a role and only want to be mindlessly entertained.

Ryuuk
2008-06-21, 12:37 AM
It was a pretty interesting read. I have to agree on one point in particular though: clawing your way through an 80% chance of failure does indeed feel much more satisfying then breezing by one with a 5% chance of failure.

Skyserpent
2008-06-21, 12:51 AM
I can understand the idea of it... really, I can... but damn if it's not a bit elitist...

Still though: he makes some valid points, but I feel like he goes WAY too far with it...

"Those who take their activities seriously are the only ones who matter."

I find this mindset rather irritating... I mean, level of difficulty is established by the DM not the System. Yes we have Challenge appropriate encounters, but I suppose some DM's definition of "Appropriate" varies, and for that we have a good baseline for how far we want to muck with something... This guy seems really on-edge about this kind of stuff...

I think someone who thinks "Fun" is blanketly unhealthy is just being too "black and white" about everything....

Ah well, I'll paw through it again later, I had to skim a paragraph or two because I'm a twitchy console-gamer who has the attention span of a rodent...

Corolinth
2008-06-21, 01:08 AM
Rampant elitism was sort of the point.

He's right. The people who made the hobby what it is today are being marginalized. Those people are more important to the hobby, because they played it when it wasn't cool. They played it back when the neighbors would call the police to harass them because they were devil-worshippers playing a Satanic dice game. Without them, we would not have had a third edition, let alone a fourth.

Catch
2008-06-21, 01:10 AM
You know, I found this article to be pretty intriguing, and about halfway through, I went to link it on my home forum. And then it hit me--my attention waned, flickered, and faded, because it would take too much work to plow through the article.

It was pretty humbling.

But, having pressed on, I can see where the elitism statements are coming from, and I embrace them wholeheartedly. However, as a person who used to--and still does--majorly "geek out" over complex rules, I've found myself both excited and disillusioned with products that promise to "streamline," "smooth out" and "simplify" tabletop gaming.

I was fantastically excited about 4e. I wanted all the bug fixes, all the updated rules, all the balance and fun. And when I played it for the first time after waiting expectantly for months, I was disappointed.

And, with the now-legendary phrase, I asked the air "Where's the beef?"

Where were the complex rules, the myriad tables, the hundreds of builds and options? Where were the details, all those tiny little boxes that all needed to be filled? What happened to my game?

I wasn't allowed to scrounge for options; all I needed to play was handed right to me. Everything I ever would need to enjoy the game was picked, threshed, ground, baked and served to me on a steaming platter. All I needed to do was dig in. But having not worked for any of it, I just wasn't hungry anymore.

- 2¢

Xuincherguixe
2008-06-21, 01:12 AM
Beneath the Elitism, and Selfishness, he almost barely kind of has a point.

Even still though, he doesn't get to decide the right and wrong way to play these games.

It's all escapism. Weather your having fun, or are taking things way too seriously.

Frankly, as I see it, not only does fun not matter, nothing matters. So we may as well go have interesting experiences.


And playing games because they're fun isn't a wrong way to have them. And being serious about them probably isn't either. Being a jerk about your play style is.

FoE
2008-06-21, 01:13 AM
Ugh. I'll agree with some of his points — I've expressed similar sentiments myself — but when he launched into a rant about how role-playing games are Serious Business (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeriousBusiness) I promptly stopped reading.

Skyserpent
2008-06-21, 01:23 AM
You know, I found this article to be pretty intriguing, and about halfway through, I went to link it on my home forum. And then it hit me--my attention waned, flickered, and faded, because it would take too much work to plow through the article.

It was pretty humbling.

But, having pressed on, I can see where the elitism statements are coming from, and I embrace them wholeheartedly. However, as a person who used to--and still does--majorly "geek out" over complex rules, I've found myself both excited and disillusioned with products that promise to "streamline," "smooth out" and "simplify" tabletop gaming.

I was fantastically excited about 4e. I wanted all the bug fixes, all the updated rules, all the balance and fun. And when I played it for the first time after waiting expectantly for months, I was disappointed.

And, with the now-legendary phrase, I asked the air "Where's the beef?"

Where were the complex rules, the myriad tables, the hundreds of builds and options? Where were the details, all those tiny little boxes that all needed to be filled? What happened to my game?

I wasn't allowed to scrounge for options; all I needed to play was handed right to me. Everything I ever would need to enjoy the game was picked, threshed, ground, baked and served to me on a steaming platter. All I needed to do was dig in. But having not worked for any of it, I just wasn't hungry anymore.

- 2¢

Now that is interesting...

Love the analogy as well... interesting, that. 3.5 gave me a lot of fun time to build and construct and all that, and I got used to it, I did feel a little idle when I popped out my first 4e Character in less than an hour. I still feel like I'm playing D&D, but you're right... it wasn't the massive jump I was expecting... still though, it's fun stuff, and frankly, I like fun.

Don't get me wrong, respect to the fellas who kicked this thing off. But hey, it's grown a bit, it's pandering, it's selling out, whatever. It IS evolution, because even though these choices are made, they are made because the world demands it. The community, the corporations, they all are throwing all these things at this "Game" and the designers and everyone else is tryign to make it work. Intelligent Design was what the first game was. Intelligent Design is what 3rd edition was. 4e was Evolution. We had mass market, we have rapid changes and we have the Internet. This is how the game is evolving, and we're very clearly seeing some of the vestigal traits begin to shrink... and it's dissapointing, but I think we'll still find a use for our dewclaw...

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 01:30 AM
I was fantastically excited about 4e. I wanted all the bug fixes, all the updated rules, all the balance and fun. And when I played it for the first time after waiting expectantly for months, I was disappointed.

And, with the now-legendary phrase, I asked the air "Where's the beef?"

Where were the complex rules, the myriad tables, the hundreds of builds and options? Where were the details, all those tiny little boxes that all needed to be filled? What happened to my game?

4e isn't an update; it is not D&D 3.75e. Also, we only have core right now. You can't compare 4e's core to 3e's nigh-endless supply of splatbooks. They will come.

I'm curious; what exactly were you disappointed by? Was it anything specific, or simply that 4e wasn't 3e?


I wasn't allowed to scrounge for options; all I needed to play was handed right to me. Everything I ever would need to enjoy the game was picked, threshed, ground, baked and served to me on a steaming platter. All I needed to do was dig in.

Amen. Some of us greatly appreciate this, since it frees up that time to be spent on more meaningful things, like campaign, story, and character development.


But having not worked for any of it, I just wasn't hungry anymore.

- 2¢

Worked for what? Optimized builds? What exactly are you "working" for?

You can spend just as much time working on a 4e campaign as a 3e campaign if you feel like it, you just don't have to spend as much time (especially if you're DMing) on non-story elements.

Matthew
2008-06-21, 01:32 AM
Heh, heh. I linked this article a few days ago in another thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83094&page=2). I think it is very interesting to draw a distinction between D&D as a hobby and D&D as entertainment.

Tengu
2008-06-21, 01:54 AM
So, apparently, if you have fun then your game is shallow and doesn't engage creativity? What an arrogant article. There are some good points but they drown in the sea of elitism. This guy shouldn't play DND, he should play World of Darkness. A stereotypical WoD player has, or at least had in the nineties, almost the same viewpoint.

Swordguy
2008-06-21, 02:12 AM
So, apparently, if you have fun then your game is shallow and doesn't engage creativity? What an arrogant article. There are some good points but they drown in the sea of elitism. This guy shouldn't play DND, he should play World of Darkness. A stereotypical WoD player has, or at least had in the nineties, almost the same viewpoint.

Jesus, dude..that's not elitist at all. :smallyuk:

Anyway...

There is a very valid point in there. As long as a hobby (or whatever) panders ONLY to the fringes of the market, it can afford to be "intelligent" entertainment. As soon as you try to shop it to the mass market in general, you must dumb things down to increase your potential customer base, because the majority of people are dumb.

What's worse, if you're a publicly traded company, you're legally compelled to maximize your profit margin to satisfy, to the best of your ability, your shareholders. What that means is that the original market for your product - aka "smart people" - are of course going to feel increasingly marginalized. They're correct, of course...they don't represent a large enough market share to bother with. And thus you get backlash like this article.

...

As for a second point - I'll admit that I do get annoyed at having a LOT of the difficulty sapped out of the game. I just played my first session of 4e a few days ago. It was 'fun', no doubt...but I never felt like I earned anything. The combats were tactically engaging, but there was never the sense that we could all get wiped (and even if we did, it'd take a half-hour, tops, go get back to the game where we left off). There was no risk. I never felt like I was really in danger during a life-or-death combat. If you're going to feel in danger at any point, shouldn't that be when you do? What's the point in playing a "role" if you don't get to experience that sort of emotion?

I don't feel like I earned anything. We won because we were the good guys - it was foreordained that we would win. I don't want to be given victory...I want to bloody EARN it. To defeat stacked odds against me in a fight that I shouldn't win, and come up victorious regardless. To look at my opponent who "is of no woman born", and chose to throw before me my warlike shield and fight to the last anyway. To look around at a tired and worn band of brothers and inspire them, against impossible odds, to go once more with me into the breach. THAT'S what heroism is about - not having a bunch of cool powers and glowy weapons.

Like I said above, I feel torn. I agree, in principle, with the article. But if I don't play the new stuff, if I don't change in the same manner that the game changes, I won't get to play. Is maintaining this principle worth losing out on the hobby altogether? Tough choice... :smallfrown:

AmberVael
2008-06-21, 02:18 AM
I do think he makes a lot of good points, and the emotion and elitism in it merely adds to emphasis and shock value to get the depth of his point across. *shrug*

As for feeling threatened in 4E... I felt pretty threatened in Tengu's game, and he only tossed a normal encounter against us. Though it may have had something to do with him going "Mmmm, luck flavored slurpy!" and then sucking up all of our luck (we got crappy rolls most of the encounter) and getting two criticals on significant attacks and above average rolls for a good deal of the encounter. :smalltongue:

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 02:23 AM
the majority of people are dumb.

I don't think you understand what the word elitist means if you think that what Tengu said was elitist, and what you are stating here is not.

dyslexicfaser
2008-06-21, 02:24 AM
I find the whole article rather silly.

"But don’t expect the same level of deference and respect that a lifer is going to get," LotFP declares, as though the 'lifer' is the wizened sage in the corner, and us newbies must journey to sit at his feet and learn of his wisdom. Suggesting that the 'serious role-players' "are the most important part of any hobby. Those who take their activities seriously are the only ones who matter."

I wasn't aware that old-time lifers were inherently superior, that they are in fact "the only ones who matter".

Also: I'm frankly lost as to why LotFP believes that 'fun' and 'challenge' can't be synonymous. Unless he's using a different definition of 'fun' than I am... perhaps that's it? In this case, perhaps 'fun' has the unusual definition of 'breezing through the game without ever being challenged ever'?

Lines like "If you're having fun, you're doing it wrong" just seem... bizarre.

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 02:28 AM
Lines like "If you're having fun, you're doing it wrong" just seem... bizarre.

Life is pain! RPGs are Serious Business!

What's bizarre about that? :smallwink:

Swordguy
2008-06-21, 02:34 AM
I don't think you understand what the word elitist means if you think that what Tengu said was elitist, and what you are stating here is not.

I think you may be misinterpreting that a tad. Using Stackpole's study on gamers as a source, gamers in the 80's (what a lot of people consider to be the "golden age of RPGs") averaged out in the 125-145 IQ range.

The average IQ (top of the bell curve) is in the 100-105 range, the last I heard it.

Therefore, the majority of people are 'dumber' (in the sense of having a lesser Intelligence Quotient) than the average gamer did at the time of that study. The top of the bell curve (that 100-105 IQ range) is the target audience for any company that wants to market to the single largest consumer base (by intelligence). There's no perjorative here. That's the difference between what I said and what Tengu (and the article writer, for that matter) said. He's making an opinion-based statement that heavily infers, "you aren't good enough for my game, go play [a game I don't like]".

I'm stating facts.

dyslexicfaser
2008-06-21, 02:39 AM
I'm not going to try arguing the 'IQ tests are a very poor measure of intelligence' point, it's not worth it.

Would you mind linking that study, Swordguy? It sounds fairly interesting.

Swordguy
2008-06-21, 02:39 AM
Also: I'm frankly lost as to why LotFP believes that 'fun' and 'challenge' can't be synonymous. Unless he's using a different definition of 'fun' than I am... perhaps that's it? In this case, perhaps 'fun' has the unusual definition of 'breezing through the game without ever being challenged ever'?

Lines like "If you're having fun, you're doing it wrong" just seem... bizarre.

I think he (and many other 'old-school' gamers) defined "fun" as "being challenged". It certainly makes sense when you compare it against the definition of "fun" he accuses the mass media of perpetrating - a passive entertainment, where you're told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. His section about "effort" being synonymous with "work", and "work" being "bad" unless you're being paid for it is certainly something I've experienced with my students. That section has merit, at least.

Further, if that is the case, his argument/rant is logical. Poorly worded, overly-aggressive, and elitist, to be sure. But it is logical.

ShadowSiege
2008-06-21, 02:39 AM
It was a pretty interesting read. I have to agree on one point in particular though: clawing your way through an 80% chance of failure does indeed feel much more satisfying then breezing by one with a 5% chance of failure.

Succeeding against stacked odds is satisfying. What he was referring to was (I presume, perhaps incorrectly) a saving throw. Random chance != fun, no matter what anyone says. And succeeding because you managed to roll well enough to overcome an obstacle isn't as rewarding as actually overcoming it by your skills.

As for the article, I only skimmed it as the author's attitude rubbed me in entirely the wrong direction. He seems to take D&D as SERIOUS BUSINESS for those at the game table. I disagree, and I'll end by saying that I wouldn't mind seeing his ilk marginalized.

SmartAlec
2008-06-21, 02:44 AM
Shortpacked said this first, so here goes.

"I think at some point your love of the hobby was replaced bit by bit by merely wanting to be better at loving your hobby than other people. If you enjoy (D&D), enjoy it. Stop wasting so much energy worrying about how other people enjoy it."

EDIT: Oops! I totally forgot the swearing and the judgemental viewpoint that will make people either vocally agree or disagree with what I'm saying, therefore validating it. So, here it is: 'What a load of maoschistic, self-important bulls***.'

Swordguy
2008-06-21, 02:45 AM
I'm not going to try arguing the 'IQ tests are a very poor measure of intelligence' point, it's not worth it.

Would you mind linking that study, Swordguy? It sounds fairly interesting.

*shrug* Find me a better way to measure that's available to everybody.

I can't actually link it to you. It's against forum rules. The primary purpose of Stackpole's study was to prove that there was no higher suicide rate among RPG-playing teens than non-RPG-playing teens in the wake of Patricia Pulling's Congressional testimony regarding occultism and D&D. IQ factors in heavily there. There's a LOT of real-world religious references in there (more than 2/3rd of the document), which this forum bans discussion of,and I'm 1 warning short of a vacation. Sorry, man.

It's probably google-able though.

Draz74
2008-06-21, 02:51 AM
I just played my first session of 4e a few days ago. It was 'fun', no doubt...but I never felt like I earned anything. The combats were tactically engaging, but there was never the sense that we could all get wiped (and even if we did, it'd take a half-hour, tops, go get back to the game where we left off). There was no risk. I never felt like I was really in danger during a life-or-death combat. If you're going to feel in danger at any point, shouldn't that be when you do? What's the point in playing a "role" if you don't get to experience that sort of emotion?

Well put, Swordguy.

Fun can be a worthy goal in and of itself. D&D as entertainment is a good thing. But I think the OP's linked article does a good job of defending the fact that old-fashioned, not-likely-to-actually-succeed D&D adventures have some virtues that the 3e/4e rules no longer exactly cater to.

Of course, the only reason I wasn't offended by the article's opinionated presentation of that viewpoint was because I chose to assume that the entire article was a very tongue-in-cheek rant. In some ways.

dyslexicfaser
2008-06-21, 02:51 AM
I can't really say there's a better method, just that the average IQ test is less reliable than I'd like.

Ah, Patricia Pulling, now that was a fun time. A-Googling I go, I guess.

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 02:56 AM
I think you may be misinterpreting that a tad. Using Stackpole's study on gamers as a source, gamers in the 80's (what a lot of people consider to be the "golden age of RPGs") averaged out in the 125-145 IQ range.

The average IQ (top of the bell curve) is in the 100-105 range, the last I heard it.

Therefore, the majority of people are 'dumber' (in the sense of having a lesser Intelligence Quotient) than the average gamer did at the time of that study. The top of the bell curve (that 100-105 IQ range) is the target audience for any company that wants to market to the single largest consumer base (by intelligence). There's no perjorative here. That's the difference between what I said and what Tengu (and the article writer, for that matter) said. He's making an opinion-based statement that heavily infers, "you aren't good enough for my game, go play [a game I don't like]".

I'm stating facts.

No, stating that the majority of people are dumb is an opinion. I could say that the majority of people are smart - and they are, compared to animals in general. It's still an opinion.

Stating that the majority of people are dumber than a group of intelligent people is a fact.

Also, and Tengu can correct me if I am wrong, but it seemed to me as if Tengu was merely stating that the writer of the article would probably prefer to play WoD over a game like D&D, judging from their opinions and playstyle.

Swordguy
2008-06-21, 03:04 AM
No, stating that the majority of people are dumb is an opinion. I could say that the majority of people are smart - and they are, compared to animals in general. It's still an opinion.

Stating that the majority of people are dumber than a group of intelligent people is a fact.

Also, and Tengu can correct me if I am wrong, but it seemed to me as if Tengu was merely stating that the writer of the article would probably prefer to play WoD over a game like D&D, judging from their opinions and playstyle.

*holds up hands placatingly*

Fair enough. That's a far better way of putting what I was thinking. My bad. They're dumb, in comparison to the majority of gamers.

It doesn't change the conclusion, though. To mass-market a product, you must make it appeal to an audience that, on average, is less intelligent than the one which made the game a success in the first place. This will generally result in the alienation of the original group of supporters. See also: Windows OS, D&D 4e :smallbiggrin:

I'll not put words into Tengu's mouth, but my interpretation is inline with the attitude that I've seen from him before (especially WoD being a dumping ground game, and his direct linking of elitism in that post to WoD players, which is in and of itself elitist). It's no different than if you said that I'm generally a grognard based on my posts in this thread, and backed up that assertion with what you've seen me post in the past. We can eventually get a sense of what people mean by reading enough of their posts...

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 03:13 AM
*holds up hands placatingly*

Fair enough. That's a far better way of putting what I was thinking. My bad. They're dumb, in comparison.

That's better.


It doesn't change the conclusion, though. To mass-market a product, you must make it appeal to an audience that, on average, is less intelligent than the one which made the game a success in the first place. This will generally result in the alienation of the original group of supporters. See also: Windows OS, D&D 4e :smallbiggrin:

You're leaving out the fact that you can design a product to be enjoyed by both intelligent and not-so-intelligent people. Not everything is black and white.

Also, I don't think that 4e is dumbed down to the point where intelligent people can't enjoy it. In fact, I don't really see a "dumbing down" from 3e to 4e, merely simplification and streamlining; but then some will say that that is the same thing. It reduces complexity of certain things which were needlessly complex, IMO, and actually increases complexity and demand on the DM in some places, such as with skill challenges: if they are used properly, they can be a great boon to a campaign, but used improperly, they pretty much suck, and are better off simply avoided.


I'll not put words into Tengu's mouth, but my interpretation is inline with the attitude that I've seen from him before (especially WoD being a dumping ground game, and his direct linking of elitism in that post to WoD players, which is in and of itself elitist). It's no different than if you said that I'm generally a grognard based on my posts in this thread, and backed up that assertion with what you've seen me post in the past. We can eventually get a sense of what people mean by reading enough of their posts...

Alright. I wasn't aware of the prior baggage in regards to WoD.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-21, 03:33 AM
What an empty article, all sound and fury.

He starts out making a valid point (none of this enriches our lives), then misses his own point as he meanders down into the meat of his tirade. News flash: no version of D&D simply by its nature alone ever enriched anyone's lives.

Every version was, to use his own words, "all sh**."

Every version can and often does, again in his own words, serve to separate us from living life and reduce us to passing time.

And?

So many words to say so little.

Ceiling009
2008-06-21, 03:35 AM
Is there really such a pandering to make something fun, and some how not make it intelligent? I really did try to read his article, but the distinct impression I got was he was completely and utterly dissatisfied with just about everything; and after that, I quit. I think somewhere in there, he just enjoys not being happy.

I so far don't find anything quite simple about the new iteration of the game, in fact I think it's even more complex, due to its simplicity and mandate of balance within fun. I think making homebrews for the system is incredibly intriguing, and even more in depth than it was for 3.5; as there are more than just a few "special" class features, variance on three forms of saves and BaB; there's the whole near 60 or so powers that have to be tactically viable, interesting, and useful; all the while being flavorful. I think that gives a decent challenge to me, and real sense of "fun".

I don't get this elitism. I don't at all, I can't see pride in being so hardcore that your turn off society, and scare away any possible new comers; basically killing your society slowly and assuredly. I don't see how, a "game" like this supposed to somehow invoke a holier than thou approach to life, since those he speaks to, the "non-casual player", don't play it the way he does. It is a bloody game; not some religion, or some way of life that will bring those who practice zealously into some nirvana.

It feels, that the blogger has this feel that somehow his way of life, his viewpoint has been belittled, and more so, being threatened. It might be. It might not be. For intents and purposes, I believe it is. Without a market, without any general appeal, this game, this industry will just crash. That doesn't stop people from playing, but it does stop newer people, and importantly keeping the interest in playing. It's not like people who have jobs, other hobbies, and other obligations will be able to play regularly, or to even want to expand their hobbies with others, as really, this hobby is really insular. You want almost always play with your friends, not a bunch of random strangers. And that means, less people will people play, and sooner or later the actual playing pool will shrink. Until maybe his type of play and players will be alone.

Also, about that evolution, I believe the game has evolved with iteration, it's decided to meet demands of it's enviroment, for better or worse, and so far has survived. That's evolution, sort of... Anyway...

For those of us who like fun, keep on playing I say.

PS: I don't get how you can be so elite about being a elf on a saturday night... in an imaginary world.

Swordguy
2008-06-21, 03:52 AM
You're leaving out the fact that you can design a product to be enjoyed by both intelligent and not-so-intelligent people. Not everything is black and white.

Also, I don't think that 4e is dumbed down to the point where intelligent people can't enjoy it. In fact, I don't really see a "dumbing down" from 3e to 4e, merely simplification and streamlining; but then some will say that that is the same thing. It reduces complexity of certain things which were needlessly complex, IMO, and actually increases complexity and demand on the DM in some places, such as with skill challenges: if they are used properly, they can be a great boon to a campaign, but used improperly, they pretty much suck, and are better off simply avoided.


You "can" design a product enjoyable by both, but we're not talking a really easy undertaking here. Striking that balance between being challenging for the smarter people and simple enough for the not-so-smart people is a heckova job. Frankly (from a purely business perspective) it's 'smarter' to say, "screw the smart people, we'll turn a bigger profit margin by designing for dumber people - the game's easier for us to design, and they're a bigger market share anyway". It's that problem with making the product good enough to satisfy a big enough market share to insure it sells, rather than the best product you can make.

I THINK what he was trying to get at was that a portion of his enjoyment of the game came from the inherent complexity of the game. If that's streamlined away in an effort to make it more accessible, then part of what made his game fun is no longer there. It's simple enough, and understandable that he'd feel upset about it.

(For reference, I'm neither for nor against 4e. I, too, miss the complexity and the much higher level of challenge inherent in a game system where 1 bad roll can kill you...but I can see that 4e does have a lot going for it, and the ease of play and greater tactical options for everybody but the wizard may outweigh my sadness at the streamlined interface. Does that make me a grognard, or a sellout, or a wuss who doesn't have the guts to take either side? Only this forum's posters will tell... :smalltongue: )




For those of us who like fun, keep on playing I say.


His fun is in direct opposition to the way the game has evolved. Is his definition of fun (and subsequent complaints) suddenly invalid because the game changes? Why is his definition of 'fun' wrong and another person's is right, just because the game suddenly caters to the second guy?

dyslexicfaser
2008-06-21, 04:05 AM
His fun is in direct opposition to the way the game has evolved. Is his definition of fun (and subsequent complaints) suddenly invalid because the game changes? Why is his definition of 'fun' wrong and another person's is right, just because the game suddenly caters to the second guy?

But he doesn't seem to be having fun, either. In every part of the article, he seems pretty much diametrically opposed to the very idea of enjoying the game.

Please refer to my earlier quote of his, "If you're having fun, you're doing it wrong."

Pronounceable
2008-06-21, 05:26 AM
I dig that article. He has very valid points and his elitist and insulting style is rather enjoyable.

The article is FUN! I wonder how he'd take this comment?

Not everything in the article is butterflies and rainbows. Though I fully support elitism in every aspect of life, I find that scaring away people from a hobby is self destructive. It's much better to bait them in with fun, then ensnare them in a sinister web of roleplaying and immersion. If they're "small" enough to slip through the sticky threads and escape, good riddance to them.

Kurald Galain
2008-06-21, 12:45 PM
Excellent article.

It's too easy to decry that as "elitist". It's very passoniately written, but it is built on solid points.

Skyserpent
2008-06-21, 01:10 PM
I dunno... I play D&D to have fun, and that apparently makes me an plebian...

I mean, it's fantasy roleplaying, we're trying to live out a fantasy, I don't see how this is destructive to the hobby if a group wants their characters to be HEROES. Don't get me wrong, I don't hand my players heroism on a platter, if the Big Bad can trick them into doing his dirty work and they end up causing more harm than good, well that's their fault. But it was still part of a STORY, not a string of random encounters.

The room that has Walls, Floors, Cieling, Chests, and Weapons that all have the innate ability to EAT people can be funny, but If I've been working the past dozen sessions to make my character an interesting and well-developed person, only to have him die from falling rocks. It's ridiculous to think D&D isn't meant to be fun.

I'm having trouble following why someone would want REAL arbitrary and random tragedies for their fantasy characters. There seems to be this pretention to being true to the heart of D&D that I just cannot fathom. The heart of D&D is random "The DM is God and can squish you like a bug" anti-climactic death? Railroading?

This kind of crap is to give kids who were picked on in high-school a reason to go on a power-trip with their friends in lieu of actually going out and doing real work. It's a distraction so you don't have to go out and face the real world because you're too busy constructing your own "real world" wherein you are god and don't have to deal with your sucky life. This seems, to me, where escapism starts becoming a bad thing.

D&D shouldn't be work. It's a GAME something ostensibly DESIGNED to be fun. The issue I'm having is that he's like all those pretentious indie rockers who stop liking a band the instant it becomes popular because it's "Selling out".

Mike_G
2008-06-21, 01:18 PM
Ugh. I'll agree with some of his points — I've expressed similar sentiments myself — but when he launched into a rant about how role-playing games are Serious Business (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeriousBusiness) I promptly stopped reading.

Yeah. To paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow, he needs to get himself a girl, mate.

Or, two jobs, a wife, a mortgage and a 10 month old, and maybe he'll see that four hours of fun one night a week is a good thing.

This guy is the kind of person who not only doesn't drink, he doesn't want me to drink, and is unlikely to be invited back a second time.

I do think hitting him with a stool would be both fun and worth working at, though.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-06-21, 01:31 PM
Why did you link this? Don't we have enough elitism and One True Way-ism around here? I think Nagora presents opinions similar to this guy's often enough that we could have done without this dose of self-important bile.

nagora
2008-06-21, 01:48 PM
Why did you link this? Don't we have enough elitism and One True Way-ism around here? I think Nagora presents opinions similar to this guy's often enough that we could have done without this dose of self-important bile.

I...I think I love you too :smallredface:

Mark Hall
2008-06-21, 01:52 PM
I posted it because I think it has valid insights into a certain class of gamer; frequently older, or raised on older editions of D&D, who feel disconnected from 3.x and 4e because they are designed around a different concept of gaming.

I think it's important to note that he isn't decrying "fun" in a dictionary definition... I have no doubt he enjoys his games heartily. He's decrying fun in a "tune in, turn on, and drop out" sort of way... the type where it's engineered to have little challenge, and where the consequences of failure are minimized.

By way of example of the kind of fun he means, on another board, there is a discussion about the classic module T1: The Village of Hommlet. One person mentioned that he's seen multiple TPKs from 2nd and 3rd level parties, and also seen 1st level parties get through it mostly intact, due to careful planning and action. This isn't the fun of "tune in, turn on, and drop out", or of overcoming challenges with the might of your awesomeness, but of skull sweat and pulling a difficult task out of the fire... similar to playing the giants in tafl, or starting a game of chess down several pieces.

CasESenSITItiVE
2008-06-21, 01:57 PM
my that guy is long winded:smallamused:

as for the article, though it does have its valid points (as many blogs do) the strong emotion has made him oversee some logical points. this isn't the worst sin one could commit, except for the incredibly "i'm smarter than you because i have this opinion" attitude.

the main problem i see, as mentioned earlier, is that there is a difference between "challenge" and "things that are hard". i've never felt the satisfaction he repeatedly mentions from making a saving throw, because there is little i personally done to deserve such an achievement. it's like winning craps, but without the money.

he just perpetuates the idea that enjoying being miserable somehow makes him more intellegent that everyone else.

now, i won't say he's wrong in enjoying said kind of games, lest i become a hypocrite. but one shouldn't run under the illusions that having a certain opinion make you better than anyone else.

in short, his constant voice that states he's smarter than those playing newer editions are exactly what make me doubt his intellegence in the first place

Catch
2008-06-21, 02:04 PM
4e isn't an update; it is not D&D 3.75e. Also, we only have core right now. You can't compare 4e's core to 3e's nigh-endless supply of splatbooks. They will come.

I'm curious; what exactly were you disappointed by? Was it anything specific, or simply that 4e wasn't 3e?

I'd like to point out that I'm comparing 4e's core to 3.5's core, because that's the only fair way to go about it and I believe games like D&D should be self-contained, not reliant on supplements to make the game playable and enjoyable. So, no, the lack of splatbooks has nothing to do with it.

What disappointed me was that where 3.5 gave me Legos to build with, 4th edition felt like going back to the Duplo blocks I played with as a toddler; a simplified version of the "big boy" rules, with far fewer options and rounded corners so I couldn't hurt myself. I could build this or that, that or this and for the most part, I felt creatively stifled because my choices were so limited.



Amen. Some of us greatly appreciate this, since it frees up that time to be spent on more meaningful things, like campaign, story, and character development.

We can bicker back and forth over what's really "meaningful," but as I recall, the implication that having a strong grasp on game mechanics precludes character development is both a fallacy and unnecessarily condescending.



Worked for what? Optimized builds? What exactly are you "working" for?

You can spend just as much time working on a 4e campaign as a 3e campaign if you feel like it, you just don't have to spend as much time (especially if you're DMing) on non-story elements.

Personally, I like building things and crafting a story equally, but for wholly different reasons; assembling a cabinet is not the same process as writing an essay, nor should it be. 3.5 allowed me to make a character, creature, class or item from the most basic parts. Working with 3.5 rules was like going to the hardware store, where I could handpick all of the wood, saw it to my specification, hammer and screw and glue it all together just as I liked, then paint my tree house to have just the right color Sure, it was time-consuming and a lot of work, but the finished product was something that satisfied me, and the joy came from putting it all together.

4th edition, for me, was like buying a snap-together plastic playhouse for the kids; it's simple to assemble and set up, and in less than half an hour, the whole thing is done and ready for tea parties and forts and games of "House" and "Doctor." But something feels like it's missing. I can play with either house just the same, one is more rugged, one is more streamlined, but there's a certain sense of attachment and pride that comes from doing the work to make something work. Some people like to work with their hands. Others like to get right to the playing. Neither's wrong, it's just different.

I really didn't want to turn this into yet another 4e debate, sorry, but I'd forgotten that voicing your opinion around here, even in a small and personal way, is grounds for a full-fledged argument.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-06-21, 02:08 PM
I posted it because I think it has valid insights into a certain class of gamer; frequently older, or raised on older editions of D&D, who feel disconnected from 3.x and 4e because they are designed around a different concept of gaming.
Paying attention to grognards grumbling about how the game isn't as good as when THEY were playing it is thoroughly futile.

It's just another guy telling everyone that if they play differently from him, they're not doing it right and are having BADWRONGFUN. We don't need that. We really, really don't need that. I am so tired of it.

Skyserpent
2008-06-21, 02:10 PM
I'd like to point out that I'm comparing 4e's core to 3.5's core, because that's the only fair way to go about it and I believe games like D&D should be self-contained, not reliant on supplements to make the game playable and enjoyable. So, no, the lack of splatbooks has nothing to do with it.

What disappointed me was that where 3.5 gave me Legos to build with, 4th edition felt like going back to the Duplo blocks I played with as a toddler; a simplified version of the "big boy" rules, with far fewer options and rounded corners so I couldn't hurt myself. I could build this or that, that or this and for the most part, I felt creatively stifled because my choices were so limited.



We can bicker back and forth over what's really "meaningful," but as I recall, the implication that having a strong grasp on game mechanics precludes character development is both a fallacy and unnecessarily condescending.



Personally, I like building things and crafting a story equally, but for wholly different reasons; assembling a cabinet is not the same process as writing an essay, nor should it be. 3.5 allowed me to make a character, creature, class or item from the most basic parts. Working with 3.5 rules was like going to the hardware store, where I could handpick all of the wood, saw it to my specification, hammer and screw and glue it all together just as I liked, then paint my tree house to have just the right color Sure, it was time-consuming and a lot of work, but the finished product was something that satisfied me, and the joy came from putting it all together.

4th edition is like buying a snap-together plastic playhouse for the kids; it's simple to assemble and set up, and in less than half an hour, the whole thing is done and ready for tea parties and forts and games of "House" and "Doctor." But something feels like it's missing. I can play with either house just the same, one is more rugged, one is more streamlined, but there's a certain sense of attachment and pride that comes from doing the work to make something work. Some people like to work with their hands. Others like to get right to the playing. Neither's wrong, it's just different.

Careful there, you run the risk of being condescending with the whole "For kids" analogy...

I agree with most of what you're saying. I THINK I agree with all of it, but I'll need a fair bit of sleep before I'm 100% sure...

Anyway: Indeed 3.5 had much more intricate little options, and that helped give your character a little more... well... character... I'm definitely going to miss my intricate spell lists and silly pointless skill point usage, but overall I'm happier with a faster running game... This is all colored by DMing bias because if there's one thing 4e makes a lot easier, it's DMing... As a player though, which is what I've been doing more often these days, I'm having the time of my life... mostly because I've been playing the classes that got buffed rather than cut down. I enjoyed the new options my Fighter had, and my Ranger and my Paladin... it felt more interesting like that... but I'm not sure how I'll feel when I break out the Wizard... time will tell...

Glawackus
2008-06-21, 02:16 PM
I'm still skimming through this, but this (off-topic) bit caught my eye.



It's a pain in the ass to deal with people who have a "been there, done that, and found it immature" attitude when they don't even know where there is or what that even entails. *bleep* hell, it's like someone not wanting to visit China for the Olympics for fear of the fallout from the two atomic bombs that got dropped there during World War II.


Emphasis mine. Looks like someone got their Asian geography from Oriental Adventures. :smalltongue:

Tengu
2008-06-21, 02:18 PM
Jesus, dude..that's not elitist at all. :smallyuk:


Notice the part when I acknowledge I am talking about a stereotype? I wasn't entirely serious in that part about WoD.

turkishproverb
2008-06-21, 02:19 PM
I'm still skimming through this, but this (off-topic) bit caught my eye.



Emphasis mine. Looks like someone got their Asian geography from Oriental Adventures. :smalltongue:

Or he was using that to make a point on his opinion of the people's intelligence in the choice.

its hard to tell.:smallconfused:

Mike_G
2008-06-21, 02:20 PM
I've been a geek and a grognard for thirty years. I've played every edition since the red box, and played miniature wargames and Squad Leader and Gettysburg before that. We plyed GURPS and RuneQuest and Role Master and Harn. I homebrewed a world and two systems. I am not a stupid mouth breather who wants his instant mac and cheeze game.

But the writer of the article is a whiny little bee-atch.

Being more complicated and confusing doesn't make it better, Harder isn't better. Do you heat your house with a stove you load with peat you dig out of the bog and dry yourself instead of "dumbed down" central heating?

No?

Then chill out.

I don't play 3.5 or 4e any more hack and slash than I did Red Box. Probably less, since I'm more mature. We don't retell old stories of how I used the Pummeling Matrix in the back of the 1e DMG to defeat my enemy, we laugh about how MarKlar the halfling taunted the orcs by performing an unnatural act on the severed head of their high priest.

That's what I want from a game. More unnatural acts on severed heads. Less flipping for charts.

In short, more Fun.

sikyon
2008-06-21, 02:27 PM
Holy crap he's an idiot. Let's start with this:



Never let anyone say that the game has “evolved.” It hasn’t. Ever. Maybe the way you play it has evolved, maybe, but the game itself hasn’t. You could say it evolved if you took the same book from the shelf and suddenly a rule was mysteriously different here and there, more and more, as the years go by. That doesn’t happen. The game is changed, intentionally, for better or worse. Changed, by people doing the changing. It’s not an accident, it’s not an evolution. It didn’t have to happen. It’s willful alteration.


Not evolution. “Intelligent” design.

No, it's not strictly speaking evolution, it's responsive creation from the players. That's not intelligent design either.



**** that. **** that. This hobby is ours. These other types can come and play and we’ll welcome them with open arms and show them the way if they ask, but to dictate fast-food mentality in my imaginative tools… that means war.

The masses dictate the laws. Or does he wish to live in a dictatorship? Heck, I bet he's not making a million dollars a year and driving a porche. And he calls himself elite? How would he feel if the cultural elite came down and told him his metal music was crap and that music belonged to the people who made it? The classicalists? Do you think that newton would have come down on Einstein and said "No, screw you and your relativity. I MADE this science!"

What a load.


Hasbro may have a legal claim to the “Dungeons and Dragons” name, but they certainly have no moral claim to it.

The whole reason you hate D&D? Go make up another game suited to your needs. That's the way the market works. But because you want the NAME "Dungeons and Dragons" on your game, and you can't have it that way? Well guess what, HASBRO owns that name now. YOU cannot use it. The founders SOLD that name. That's the way it works. All you want is a name. Well boo hoo. Go make your game the substance that you seem so concerned about.

Scintillatus
2008-06-21, 02:34 PM
Ah.

"True fans."

nagora
2008-06-21, 02:39 PM
Paying attention to grognards grumbling about how the game isn't as good as when THEY were playing it is thoroughly futile.

It's just another guy telling everyone that if they play differently from him, they're not doing it right and are having BADWRONGFUN. We don't need that. We really, really don't need that. I am so tired of it.
Actually, I don't think that's what any of us are saying. We're saying that if the game designers treated you as intelligent people you could be having much more fun. If they don't then you'll never get the chance.

sikyon
2008-06-21, 02:44 PM
Actually, I don't think that's what any of us are saying. We're saying that if the game designers treated you as intelligent people you could be having much more fun. If they don't then you'll never get the chance.

Or we could have no fun at all.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-06-21, 02:46 PM
Actually, I don't think that's what any of us are saying. We're saying that if the game designers treated you as intelligent people you could be having much more fun. If they don't then you'll never get the chance.

This is the first time in weeks I've physically facepalmed at a post.

Nagora, do me the bloody kindness of at least not pretending that that's not insulting.

For the record, I've played 2E, if not 1E, and I certainly didn't feel like the game designers were treating me like intelligent people, or have more fun than in 3E or 4E, much less GOOD games like Nobilis or Spirit of the Century. Why can't you accept that what's fun for you isn't fun for everyone, and that this doesn't make other people less intelligent than you?

I get that you really enjoy the way you play. I think that your tastes are awfully limiting--I just can't picture you enjoying a game like Nobilis, or like Exalted, or like Dogs in the Vineyard, or... but what works for you works for you. Some people only play games like Paranoia and Call of Cthulhu, and I can't stand those. But I don't feel the need to tell you that intelligent people play the games I play, oh why can't you just realize that.
So, please, do me the same, absolutely minimal courtesy in response. I play lots of different games, and I enjoy them. Even if you can't rid yourself of the insulting belief that if I just played your game I'd obviously be having more fun in any other, because it's not possible for my tastes to be different from yours but nevertheless valid... try not to voice it the way you do.

Sorry to go on like that. I'm just tired of it.

Riffington
2008-06-21, 02:52 PM
Holy crap he's an idiot. Let's start with this:



needs. That's the way the market works. But because you want the NAME "Dungeons and Dragons" on your game, and you can't have it that way? Well guess what, HASBRO owns that name now. YOU cannot use it.

Hasbro owns the Trademark, and there are certain legal restrictions on the use of said Trademark.

But as to the Name, well, that's a different story. It belongs to our culture, and to me (and all of us).

Behold_the_Void
2008-06-21, 02:58 PM
Paying attention to grognards grumbling about how the game isn't as good as when THEY were playing it is thoroughly futile.

It's just another guy telling everyone that if they play differently from him, they're not doing it right and are having BADWRONGFUN. We don't need that. We really, really don't need that. I am so tired of it.

Amen. Seriously, I was reading this and I wanted to punch him in the face. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=ytO_xXuzqBk) Whine whine whine.

People who are convinced of their own superiority are among the last ones I'll give the time of day, much less actively go out of my way to be around.

sikyon
2008-06-21, 03:03 PM
Hasbro owns the Trademark, and there are certain legal restrictions on the use of said Trademark.

But as to the Name, well, that's a different story. It belongs to our culture, and to me (and all of us).

Yes, but you can't slap it on a book, because it means something and the creater gets to decide who gets to slap it on what. And the creator sold those rights. And not to you. It belongs to you insomuch that you used it. But you didn't make it.

Overlard
2008-06-21, 03:05 PM
I have one thing to say to the author of that blog:

Get over it. You're another anonymous blob whining on the internet about how you're more important than the people you don't like, and that your opinions are more valid because you're smarter. You're the digital equivalent of an old man shaking his fist at those damn kids who think they're having a good time, but they're not doing it right!

It's a game. If you're criticising people for having fun, then you're doing it wrong. You're writing a lengthy blog about people wasting their time. Actually, let's narrow it down: you're writing a blog. You don't really have a valid stance on wasting time.

turkishproverb
2008-06-21, 03:06 PM
Amen. Seriously, I was reading this and I wanted to punch him in the face. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=ytO_xXuzqBk) Whine whine whine.

People who are convinced of their own superiority are among the last ones I'll give the time of day, much less actively go out of my way to be around.

Mr. Pot, meet Mr Kettle.

Anyway, I can see where the guy is coming from, but he does get a little extreme.

AmberVael
2008-06-21, 03:08 PM
I don't get how you can be so elite about being a elf on a Saturday night... in an imaginary world.

:smallbiggrin:
That made me happy. I'm totally going to yoink that quote and use it somewhere.

Behold_the_Void
2008-06-21, 03:09 PM
Mr. Pot, meet Mr Kettle.

Anyway, I can see where the guy is coming from, but he does get a little extreme.

When did I say my way is the one right way? I'm just saying that the fact that he's touting his own way as inherently superior to everyone else's is annoying as all hell. This applies to ANYBODY who does that.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-06-21, 03:10 PM
It's a game. If you're criticising people for having fun, then you're doing it wrong. You're writing a lengthy blog about people wasting their time. Actually, let's narrow it down: you're writing a blog. You don't really have a valid stance on wasting time.

Ooh, snap!

Mark Hall
2008-06-21, 03:29 PM
I'm still skimming through this, but this (off-topic) bit caught my eye.



Emphasis mine. Looks like someone got their Asian geography from Oriental Adventures. :smalltongue:

Actually, I figured he meant exactly what he said... someone who is willfully and powerfully ignorant about things.

KIDS
2008-06-21, 03:30 PM
He has some interesting points (putting time in and taking risk, as well as inspirational reading and 'waste of time' - curious article!), but most of it is drowned in... dare I say elitism? Oh no, that wouldn't be politically appropriate. Grandstanding? Maybe.

Anyways, the mistake (and by that line, what is apt to stop most people from getting his message) is his assumption that because the rule X and book Y are different (for the sake of fun - arguably), someone playing them is less engaged with the game or isn't as imaginative or tenacious or whatever, all the things he prescribes to himself in the article. Honestly, he might be right - I really don't know. But with that kind of putting himself on the pedestal he only proves why he is the minority today - and mostly for the worse.

The New Bruceski
2008-06-21, 03:39 PM
All this reminds me of is the classic "back in my day" crochety old man talking about how everything was better back in his day, and dag-nabbit, they had to EARN it. Not like whippersnappers today with both races AND classes, and a DM working with the players for fun rather than antagonistic. Oh no, they started gaming with Tomb of Horrors, and it only got harder from there, DM cackling all the way and keeping a scorecard of deaths... You get the idea.

How are those guys always handled? The kids try to explain, give up and go on with what they're doing. The old guy sits there yelling at squirrels to get off his lawn. Sounds good to me.

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-21, 03:40 PM
Wow, that was a serving of tl;dr from LotFP.

His quotation of an entire Black Sabbath song doesn't exactly help matters either.

Deepblue706
2008-06-21, 03:42 PM
It's okay, Nagora - I'm interested in what you have to say.

As for the article? Eh. A fairly interesting read. Well - some of it, anyway. I had to skim some, as I felt my stomach churning.

Some points worth considering in there, but they were presented with way too much passion. Too many remarks were there for shock value - overall, I felt there was very little substance (in considering the entirety of the article). Could have been shorter, and probably, significantly less offensive, had he wanted it to be.

I think this article helps to serve us in determining the viewpoint of some gamers, which is very important when considering opinions that may conflict with our own, on such matters. Some of you might be a bit bored of reading articles like these, but I think they're valuable to discuss, even if we don't like the opinion.

Thank you, Mark Hall.

averagejoe
2008-06-21, 03:44 PM
That was a brilliant article, and anyone who disagrees with it isn't a Real Fan of Dungeons and Dragons. I bet you feel pretty bad about that, eh? Can't live down the shame of not being a Real Fan. Why, back in the day I used to walk ten miles uphill in the snow just to get the encounter tables, and I enjoyed every painful minute of it. It built character, which you kids could use. It's why your generation is so messed up, because things aren't exactly like they were in my generation. (My father says the same thing, but he's just a screwy old man who doesn't know anything.)

Point is, these fancy new editions suck because they're not pandering exclusively to me, and those I consider to be like me, a.k.a. the Real Fans. Not pandering exclusively to me is ruining the game for everyone by making it stupider so that stupid people like it. How could WoTC do this to me? I helped make the game what it is. I had to play my way through all that really complex 1e crap which could easily have been represented in a mechanically identical way by much simpler mechanics, so I figgure I have something coming.

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-21, 03:50 PM
That was a brilliant article, and anyone who disagrees with it isn't a Real Fan of Dungeons and Dragons. I bet you feel pretty bad about that, eh? Can't live down the shame of not being a Real Fan. Why, back in the day I used to walk ten miles uphill in the snow just to get the encounter tables, and I enjoyed every painful minute of it. It built character, which you kids could use. It's why your generation is so messed up, because things aren't exactly like they were in my generation. (My father says the same thing, but he's just a screwy old man who doesn't know anything.)

Point is, these fancy new editions suck because they're not pandering exclusively to me, and those I consider to be like me, a.k.a. the Real Fans. Not pandering exclusively to me is ruining the game for everyone by making it stupider so that stupid people like it. How could WoTC do this to me? I helped make the game what it is. I had to play my way through all that really complex 1e crap which could easily have been represented in a mechanically identical way by much simpler mechanics, so I figgure I have something coming.

Also, you're not metal if you don't like this article. Srsly.

Rachel Lorelei
2008-06-21, 03:51 PM
It's okay, Nagora - I'm interested in what you have to say.
You're interested in being told condescendingly that the game you play is for *dumb* people, and that you can't *possibly* be having as much fun as he is?

Overlard
2008-06-21, 04:07 PM
That was a brilliant article, and anyone who disagrees with it isn't a Real Fan of Dungeons and Dragons. I bet you feel pretty bad about that, eh? Can't live down the shame of not being a Real Fan. Why, back in the day I used to walk ten miles uphill in the snow just to get the encounter tables, and I enjoyed every painful minute of it. It built character, which you kids could use. It's why your generation is so messed up, because things aren't exactly like they were in my generation. (My father says the same thing, but he's just a screwy old man who doesn't know anything.)

Point is, these fancy new editions suck because they're not pandering exclusively to me, and those I consider to be like me, a.k.a. the Real Fans. Not pandering exclusively to me is ruining the game for everyone by making it stupider so that stupid people like it. How could WoTC do this to me? I helped make the game what it is. I had to play my way through all that really complex 1e crap which could easily have been represented in a mechanically identical way by much simpler mechanics, so I figgure I have something coming.
You enjoyed it? What the hell is wrong with you? You're obviously not a serious D&D player.

averagejoe
2008-06-21, 04:10 PM
You enjoyed it? What the hell is wrong with you? You're obviously not a serious D&D player.

Noooooo! Hoisted by my own petard! The only way out is honorable suicide.

Trizap
2008-06-21, 04:17 PM
this guy, is freaking obnoxious, he writes his opinions as if everyone should follow them, I mean having fun, is wasting time? that is entirely wrong,
to be happy, to have fun isn't wasting time, to have fun is to live, to have fun is to be yourself, if you hate fun, I don't know what kind of messed up person you are.

and his stance on wasting time? he writes a blog, participates in RPG's, and has enough time to make a long, fancy, complaining, rant that he calls an "article"
the hypocrite has no right to criticize wasting time

Deepblue706
2008-06-21, 04:33 PM
You're interested in being told condescendingly that the game you play is for *dumb* people, and that you can't *possibly* be having as much fun as he is?

I'm interested in someone presenting a challenge, something that contradicts common notions and exercises thought. So long as such an individual is willing to be thorough, I'm interested in whether or not the person's argument stands.

But I actually never recall Nagora saying anything that was terribly condescending. Usually, he seemed to just be presenting an ugly version of what may be truth, through a lens of which I rarely see through myself, but one of which I believe holds a fair-enough perspective to warrant some attention and consideration.

Artanis
2008-06-21, 04:36 PM
This guy reminds me of hardcore raiders in MMOs. Saying that you don't deserve to play a game because you won't work at it. No, you PLAY A GAME in order to...well...play a game. No, that's not what the game is for. It's for work, and hard work at that! The only way you deserve to play is if you work and work and work until you can't have any fun!

What he fails to realize is that the definition of "game" is "an amusement or pasttime". Something to entertain you. Something to enjoy. The very fact that it's called a Role Playing Game implies that enjoyment is its very purpose, its reason for existence.

But no, he has decided that you don't deserve to play it if you enjoy it. You don't deserve to play the game if you're capable of having fun. You must work at it. You must not enjoy it to deserve to play it. And those people who play a game to take advantage of the fact that it's a game are not only undeserving of it, but are in fact inferior people.

Somehow fun is mutually exclusive with role-playing for this guy. Somehow, nobody is capable of enjoying themselves while playing a role in a game. And he considers those who are mentally capable of enjoying a game to be the lesser beings?

I can only think of one word that describes the sort of person who wrote this article: Idiot.

Deepblue706
2008-06-21, 04:37 PM
this guy, is freaking obnoxious, he writes his opinions as if everyone should follow them, I mean having fun, is wasting time? that is entirely wrong,
to be happy, to have fun isn't wasting time, to have fun is to live, to have fun is to be yourself, if you hate fun, I don't know what kind of messed up person you are.

I don't believe the writer was actually saying "I hate fun" so much as giving commentary on what he believes to be a shallow form of entertainment.

Coffee_Dragon
2008-06-21, 04:42 PM
I like the part where he claims D&D is characterized by its origins, and namedrops Conan, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, all of whom the game didn't allow anyone to emulate in character or in action until 3E.

"Kill the misconceptions and the falsehoods." Oh ho.

Eldritch_Ent
2008-06-21, 04:53 PM
Uhoh, someone's mentioned the words "True Fans"! You know what that means-

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FanDumb

AKA_Bait
2008-06-21, 05:02 PM
His quotation of an entire Black Sabbath song doesn't exactly help matters either.

That certianly didn't help. Perhaps it's a personal issue, but when people feel compelled to quote entire, or even large hunks of other peoples words, I must wonder how good their own are.


in short, his constant voice that states he's smarter than those playing newer editions are exactly what make me doubt his intellegence in the first place

Honestly, I agree. This is the thing that pissed me off most about this article.

Let's start here: I'm not stupid. I have an IQ more than a little bit above the average range Mark Hall identified in his study of gamers. As an undergraduate I had a published article in an inernational philosophical journal. I won my state's debate championship as a junior in highschool and was captian of my team for the entire nation as a senior. No one in my group is stupid either. There is at least one other player in my group, whose house I'm at right now and who also posts on here, whose IQ is, I'm pretty sure, another not small bit higher than mine. Two of my regular players, aside from myself, went to two of the most well regarded, merit based entry, schools in the city of New York and consequentially the country if not the world.

I'm not saying this to make myself or my group look good. I long ago gave up that nonsense. I'm saying it to provide some evidence that I'm not just some guy who thinks he's really smart but lives in his parent's basement and works at McDonalds. We are all real and smart, people who play this game in it's various iterations and do not feel we are being talked down to by game designers.

I like 4e and I like 3.x. I did not like the earlier editions of the game. Before the newer systems came out, I either didn't play tabletop RPG's at all or made up my own rules. THAC0 bothered me. The staggered progression tables for characters bothered me. I didn't like them and not because I'm stupid. I didn't like them because they either overcomplicated things for new players or kept new players from playing the game at close to the same level as the rest of my friends. Which made them feel left out or picked on because they didn't know the rules and couldn't be expected to keep up not knowing them. That was not what I wanted from a group activity. So in highschool I turned to playing card games, like Mao, or board games, like Risk.

3.x brought me back to RPGs. 4e, I suspect, will bring in or back even more players. That's a good thing in my book but it's not the only thing.

Simplicity in the basic set up of a system is not a bad thing in and of itself. In fact, typically, it's a virtue. I was shocked to the point of laughing when reading the article I noticed the author compare later iterations of the game to chess; unfavorably. Chess is perhaps a perfect example of a simple rule set that yields complexity to the point that there is to this day not any one style of play or opening line that is superior to all the others. Skill in a game is not just about understanding the complexity of the rules or the chance of failure. It is also about complexity of play, the relation of styles of play to other styles of play, and the interaction of the players to the other players. Despite the assertions of the article, I have yet to find the newer editions of the game to be any less capable of providing those additional aspects than the older ones and in some cases more able (I'm referring to 3.x here, I have not played enough 4e with a full group to make a real determination). To say, as the author did, or even imply that players who play and enjoy newer editions of the game and frankly don't care about older editions are somehow lesser gamers and dumber than those who played older editions is both insulting and untrue. I understand the perspective but franky but that I do is just evidence that I can also be a self righteous a-hole from time to time. It is not evidence that I actually have a point in those low moments.

One problem, that the author overlooks, or chooses to ignore, is that even among smart people there are differences in learning style and playstyle. Smart people can enjoy different rulesets, those that are front learning based, those that are complexity in play based, and those that are in the middle, without either group being dumber than the other.

Also, there is a difference bettween a pastime, a hobby, and a life choice. The author seems, at least to me, to think that a hobby is a life choice and other people should respect him for having made it. Bulldung. D&D is a game. It can be a hobby, like it is for me, or a pastime like it is for some of my players, but in the end it is still just a game. I don't respect older Risk or chess players just because they have been playing longer. They have to prove it in play. To tell you the truth, other than professional players for whom the game is their living, I don't respect anyone who has allowed any game to become so important to themselves that they feel they are entitled to respect as a result.

Elitism is a bad thing. It alientates people which hurts others and justifies treating them poorly. Moreover, it distorts the judgment of those who believe they are the elite and what elitist doesn't really? Most of all, it promotes investment of ones self worth, time and effort in to maintain that false sense of specialness which will eventually, one way or the other, come crashing down. No one is helped by it and it makes me very angry and very sad when folks endorse it.

Perhaps the author should take his own advice and examine his 'hobby' in relation to the other important things in life. If it stacks up as high as it seems, he should re-evaluate his priorites. He might be happier.

nagora
2008-06-21, 05:03 PM
This is the first time in weeks I've physically facepalmed at a post.

Nagora, do me the bloody kindness of at least not pretending that that's not insulting.
It was meant to be insulting, just not to you.


For the record, I've played 2E, if not 1E, and I certainly didn't feel like the game designers were treating me like intelligent people
They were trying Really.


Why can't you accept that what's fun for you isn't fun for everyone, and that this doesn't make other people less intelligent than you?
You keep getting this idea that it's you I think is dumb. I don't. I may find you strange and interesting, but not stupid.


I get that you really enjoy the way you play. I think that your tastes are awfully limiting--I just can't picture you enjoying a game like Nobilis, or like Exalted, or like Dogs in the Vineyard, or... but what works for you works for you.
I enjoy roleplaying; the system isn't that important unless it gets in the way.


So, please, do me the same, absolutely minimal courtesy in response. I play lots of different games, and I enjoy them. Even if you can't rid yourself of the insulting belief that if I just played your game I'd obviously be having more fun in any other, because it's not possible for my tastes to be different from yours but nevertheless valid... try not to voice it the way you do.
I've never called you unintelligent or even less so than me. But I know when a designer is aiming low.


Sorry to go on like that. I'm just tired of it.
But you're the one reading all that into what I say.

Gralamin
2008-06-21, 05:29 PM
This article was a pretty bad read. It is long, needlessly complex, and has no real point. All it is is angst.

Personally I liked how he complained that since he helped make the game what it was by playing it, he deserves something. No one deserves anything, they have to earn it. Plus, fans who have played in the past are in no way more important then fans who currently play.

That is my analysis at least.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-21, 06:05 PM
In summary:

D&D is Serious Business.

Mike_G
2008-06-21, 06:13 PM
This article was a pretty bad read. It is long, needlessly complex,

Probably what he likes so much about the older editions.

Raging Gene Ray
2008-06-21, 06:58 PM
I don't believe the writer was actually saying "I hate fun" so much as giving commentary on what he believes to be a shallow form of entertainment.

He probably just pursues a different kind of fun. Not the "fast-food" mentality that he laments, but the fun that comes from putting so much energy into a hobby that it pays off with something great.

His problem, however, is assuming that gaming is the only aspect of everyone's life and that those casual gamers are lazy about everything. Some of them put the energy that he wishes they would put into roleplaying and use it to maintain relationships, careers, and interests outside of gaming while D&D is just a side venture to meet people and relax.

Matthew
2008-06-21, 09:41 PM
A lot of people seem to be taking this as a personal insult or attack. I don't see this article that way at all. It's distinguishing between two different approaches to the hobby (and there are probably plenty more to explore). From what I can tell, the author isn't telling anybody to stop having 'bad fun' or to not play D&D the way they want to play it, he's saying don't let other people define fun for you.

In short, all he is saying to my mind is that "fun" (even amongst role-players) isn't the same to everyone, and its worth recognising that. He wants to be engaged and stimulated by his hobby, and he wants other (similarly minded) people to recognise that as a possibility.

This isn't an attack on 'casual gamers' it's an assertion that there are degrees of differentiation. Now maybe that's old news to some (it is to me), but the reactions of some posters in this thread demonstrate that there is little respect for, or else perhaps recognition or understanding of, that differentiation.

Warpfire
2008-06-21, 10:02 PM
A lot of people seem to be taking this as a personal insult or attack. I don't see this article that way at all. It's distinguishing between two different approaches to the hobby (and there are probably plenty more to explore). From what I can tell, the author isn't telling anybody to stop having 'bad fun' or to not play D&D the way they want to play it, he's saying don't let other people define fun for you.

In short, all he is saying to my mind is that "fun" (even amongst role-players) isn't the same to everyone, and its worth recognising that. He wants to be engaged and stimulated by his hobby, and he wants other (similarly minded) people to recognise that as a possibility.

This isn't an attack on 'casual gamers' it's an assertion that there are degrees of differentiation. Now maybe that's old news to some (it is to me), but the reactions of some posters in this thread demonstrate that there is little respect for, or else understanding of, that differentiation.

I'm not sure if you read the same article I did.

"So go home, casual players, and take your “fun” with you."

"You want to be a casual gamer? Fine. But don’t expect the same level of deference and respect that a lifer is going to get. Those who take their activities seriously are the only ones who matter." (Side note - I feel sad for people who expect deference and respect for the way/amount of time they've played a role-playing game.)

And then there's the derisive tone that pervades the whole article. And the rampant elitism, like with, "prancing around like Errol Flynn… er, sorry, Legolas (sorry, wouldn’t want to make a reference that the average modern person wouldn’t know off the top of their head)".

Honestly, the responses on this thread appear to me to indicate much more respect for different ways of playing the game than the original article. They just seem to think that the blogger is elitist/stupid for not having the same respect with regard to their own play style.

Sucrose
2008-06-21, 10:05 PM
*snip*
Matthew, I've lurked several threads where you posted, and I generally have a great deal of respect for your opinions. However, I'd say that the author is very definitely insulting those who play differently than him.

In essence, he argues that those who aren't deep-immersion gamers are unfit for the hobby. F'rex,
"Those who take their activities seriously are the only ones who matter."

"Peer pressure is important and there are a whole lot more dumb **** fun-seekers who balk at the idea of “fun” being related to “effort” and “investment of time” than there are people who want to learn and be immersed in their hobby as a whole, not just while they’re goofing off with some pals on a Saturday night."

"You want to be a casual gamer? Fine. But don’t expect the same level of deference and respect that a lifer is going to get."

I won't bother with any further examples, but these alone make it pretty clear that he holds contempt for anyone who doesn't make it one of the main focuses of his or her life to accurately portray a pretend character in a pretend world. Claiming that something is done by stupid people, in turn, is a way of claiming that it should be done differently. Thus, he is also claiming that those who don't work constantly at playing a role better are playing the game wrong. That is NOT just drawing distinctions between playstyles.

Those are the comments that I think many (myself included) are angered by, not the relatively benign calls to let people know that Gygaxian D&D isn't as bad as promoters of the later systems typically think.

Edit: Ugh, ninja'd by Warpfire777 (kinda, we have differing exact points)

Mike_G
2008-06-21, 10:09 PM
A lot of people seem to be taking this as a personal insult or attack. I don't see this article that way at all. It's distinguishing between two different approaches to the hobby (and there are probably plenty more to explore). From what I can tell, the author isn't telling anybody to stop having 'bad fun' or to not play D&D the way they want to play it, he's saying don't let other people define fun for you.

In short, all he is saying to my mind is that "fun" (even amongst role-players) isn't the same to everyone, and its worth recognising that. He wants to be engaged and stimulated by his hobby, and he wants other (similarly minded) people to recognise that as a possibility.

This isn't an attack on 'casual gamers' it's an assertion that there are degrees of differentiation. Now maybe that's old news to some (it is to me), but the reactions of some posters in this thread demonstrate that there is little respect for, or else perhaps recognition or understanding of, that differentiation.

I think people take it as an insult or attack because the tone was very insulting, elitist and confrontational. It went so far as to take issue with "live and let live," saying that it's not enough to just let people play "dumbed down" 4e, because they wrong and ruining the game for the real gamers who should be the owners of the gaming culture or whatever pseudo- evangelical zealotry he was on about.

I really think he just needs to sink a pint and pull some tail, honestly.

And, naught for nothing, I remember a lot of very shallow, mindless, hack and slash sessions of AD&D. Contrary to the idyllic picture many of the 1e adherents like to paint, We were not a bunch of intellectual warrior poets and philosopher kings who sat around a table drinking coke and scarfing down Cheetos on Friday nights in my buddy's basement. We were pretty much a bunch of adolescents all about penis jokes and killing orcs.

So, I don't think nearly as much has changed as he'd like to think. He just got old and less relevant to the market. I feel his pain. This article could work just as well if he were lamenting the state of music since the kids stopped listening to the Clash and think Green Day is punk. It's time to get the rocking chair out, grandpa.

JaxGaret
2008-06-21, 10:15 PM
I'd like to point out that I'm comparing 4e's core to 3.5's core, because that's the only fair way to go about it and I believe games like D&D should be self-contained, not reliant on supplements to make the game playable and enjoyable. So, no, the lack of splatbooks has nothing to do with it.

I must have misinterpreted your statement of missing the "hundreds of builds and options" in 3e as including splatbooks, since 3e core didn't really have hundreds of viable build options; but that's an argument for another time.


What disappointed me was that where 3.5 gave me Legos to build with, 4th edition felt like going back to the Duplo blocks I played with as a toddler; a simplified version of the "big boy" rules, with far fewer options and rounded corners so I couldn't hurt myself. I could build this or that, that or this and for the most part, I felt creatively stifled because my choices were so limited.

An entirely valid viewpoint, except that what you are referring to is 3e vs. 4e character creation, not the entirety of 3e vs. 4e. They are two separate statements.


We can bicker back and forth over what's really "meaningful," but as I recall, the implication that having a strong grasp on game mechanics precludes character development is both a fallacy and unnecessarily condescending.

That is not at all what I was implying. What I was saying is that time is a limited resource; the more time the player needs to spend on character bookkeeping means that there is less time for the player to spend on character development. Do you disagree?


Personally, I like building things and crafting a story equally, but for wholly different reasons; assembling a cabinet is not the same process as writing an essay, nor should it be. 3.5 allowed me to make a character, creature, class or item from the most basic parts. Working with 3.5 rules was like going to the hardware store, where I could handpick all of the wood, saw it to my specification, hammer and screw and glue it all together just as I liked, then paint my tree house to have just the right color Sure, it was time-consuming and a lot of work, but the finished product was something that satisfied me, and the joy came from putting it all together.

4th edition, for me, was like buying a snap-together plastic playhouse for the kids; it's simple to assemble and set up, and in less than half an hour, the whole thing is done and ready for tea parties and forts and games of "House" and "Doctor." But something feels like it's missing. I can play with either house just the same, one is more rugged, one is more streamlined, but there's a certain sense of attachment and pride that comes from doing the work to make something work. Some people like to work with their hands. Others like to get right to the playing. Neither's wrong, it's just different.

Agreed. I enjoyed wholeheartedly creating characters in 3e, believe me. I have spent many a spare hour simply thinking of interesting character builds.

However, I find that many of those builds go to waste because I can't use them properly in a 3e campaign, due to the fact that someone forgot to balance the classes when they created the system.

The same way that you feel like something is missing from 4e, I feel like something is missing from 3e, and have since well before 4e ever came out.


I really didn't want to turn this into yet another 4e debate, sorry, but I'd forgotten that voicing your opinion around here, even in a small and personal way, is grounds for a full-fledged argument.

You posted it, did you think no one was going to read it or make a comment?

Jade_Tarem
2008-06-21, 10:49 PM
Perhaps it's not very intelligent of me, but the only thing going through my mind when reading that blog post was this. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/4/11/lake-franzibald/)

turkishproverb
2008-06-21, 11:01 PM
When did I say my way is the one right way? I'm just saying that the fact that he's touting his own way as inherently superior to everyone else's is annoying as all hell. This applies to ANYBODY who does that.

You were whining a little.

just a little, and I was trying to say it in a good natured way.

Matthew
2008-06-21, 11:19 PM
I'm not sure if you read the same article I did.

"So go home, casual players, and take your “fun” with you."

"You want to be a casual gamer? Fine. But don’t expect the same level of deference and respect that a lifer is going to get. Those who take their activities seriously are the only ones who matter." (Side note - I feel sad for people who expect deference and respect for the way/amount of time they've played a role-playing game.)

I would say he's using a rhetorical device. It's not an insult to say he doesn't want to be or play with casual players (and in fact he says elsewhere that he is fine playing with casual players). He is not asking for respect or defernece from you, he's talking about the respect he feels for other 'serious' hobbyists. All that means is that he doesn't intend to talk to casual gamers as though they are serious gamers. No big deal, in my book.



And then there's the derisive tone that pervades the whole article. And the rampant elitism, like with, "prancing around like Errol Flynn… er, sorry, Legolas (sorry, wouldn’t want to make a reference that the average modern person wouldn’t know off the top of their head)".

Yes, he's being a jerk, as he indicates in the comments section afterwards, he's being a jerk in order to 'fire poeple up'.



Honestly, the responses on this thread appear to me to indicate much more respect for different ways of playing the game than the original article. They just seem to think that the blogger is elitist/stupid for not having the same respect with regard to their own play style.

Which is missing the point entirely.



Matthew, I've lurked several threads where you posted, and I generally have a great deal of respect for your opinions. However, I'd say that the author is very definitely insulting those who play differently than him.

In essence, he argues that those who aren't deep-immersion gamers are unfit for the hobby. F'rex,
"Those who take their activities seriously are the only ones who matter."

"Peer pressure is important and there are a whole lot more dumb **** fun-seekers who balk at the idea of “fun” being related to “effort” and “investment of time” than there are people who want to learn and be immersed in their hobby as a whole, not just while they’re goofing off with some pals on a Saturday night."

"You want to be a casual gamer? Fine. But don’t expect the same level of deference and respect that a lifer is going to get."

I won't bother with any further examples, but these alone make it pretty clear that he holds contempt for anyone who doesn't make it one of the main focuses of his or her life to accurately portray a pretend character in a pretend world. Claiming that something is done by stupid people, in turn, is a way of claiming that it should be done differently. Thus, he is also claiming that those who don't work constantly at playing a role better are playing the game wrong. That is NOT just drawing distinctions between playstyles.

Those are the comments that I think many (myself included) are angered by, not the relatively benign calls to let people know that Gygaxian D&D isn't as bad as promoters of the later systems typically think.

I think you have to read those comments in context (and understand that they are purposefully intended to incite). Let's look at the progression of the article:

First Part

1) I like stupid unfulfilling things, and I don't like that.
2) I have no respect for mindless entertainment, I aspire do more than entertain myself.
3) I want to engage with people on subjects more significant than entertainment.
4) I, and others, know we are just entertaining ourselves.
5) I want to invest effort into my hobby, many other people don't even though they could
6) People have more time than they think (obviously this is a generalisation, not everybody wastes a lot of their time)

Part Two

1) I have had a revelation that I can do something meaningful through my hobby (I presume this is create art).
2) Defining "Fun"


People want to be entertained by their role-playing, people want to sit down and get what they want out of it every time, and they want it quickly. They don’t want to work for it, and they don’t want to risk that it won’t happen when they try to play.

This is how I’ve come to interpret people when they use the word “fun” in relation to role-playing games. People wanting quick-fix, feel good entertainment exactly as they like it with as little effort as possible.

3) I don't like this idea. This is not my idea of fun.
4) I want to redefine the common meaning of fun
5) RPGs do not appeal to everyone (indeed, not everyone has the capacity to enjoy them)
6) RPGs do not evolve

Part Three (The Rant Begins)

Up until this point nothing in the article seems particularly insulting to me. Now he identifies a group 'casual players' and equates them with 'people who want to have the sort of fun he dislikes'. At this point people seem to suddenly feel that he is identifying them. At this point, I only see an imaginary other that the author has created to act as a foil against his interpretation of fun. The characteristics of this group are:

1) Stupid
2) Fun seeking
3) Unwilling to invest time and effort (that they are otherwise wasting)

These are also described as 'normals' who require the game to be 'balanced', winnable, and with minimal disappointing outcomes, in order to have fun.

He contrasts this with a view of the game where combat and violence should entail a great risk of failure.

Then the author begins to discuss 'traditional adventure games' and how they differ from the current offerings, explaing why he thinks they are a better form of game (obviously, this is opinion).

As far as I can see, there is very little in the way of insults in the text, and what little there is has only a rhetorical meaning and is directed at a constructed identity, not 'casual players' in particular (though he uses that term to describe them).



I think people take it as an insult or attack because the tone was very insulting, elitist and confrontational. It went so far as to take issue with "live and let live," saying that it's not enough to just let people play "dumbed down" 4e, because they wrong and ruining the game for the real gamers who should be the owners of the gaming culture or whatever pseudo- evangelical zealotry he was on about.

As I say, he's being a jerk. However, I don't see him saying 'you're doing it wrong', I see him creating an imaginary other to show why he isn't doing it wrong. That's the message he's railing against, the one that has come from the designers of 4e who are telling us 'we're not having fun', we ought to play D&D this way.



And, naught for nothing, I remember a lot of very shallow, mindless, hack and slash sessions of AD&D. Contrary to the idyllic picture many of the 1e adherents like to paint, We were not a bunch of intellectual warrior poets and philosopher kings who sat around a table drinking coke and scarfing down Cheetos on Friday nights in my buddy's basement. We were pretty much a bunch of adolescents all about penis jokes and killing orcs.

Indeed, and he said as much in an earlier article that I know you also read.



So, I don't think nearly as much has changed as he'd like to think. He just got old and less relevant to the market. I feel his pain. This article could work just as well if he were lamenting the state of music since the kids stopped listening to the Clash and think Green Day is punk. It's time to get the rocking chair out, grandpa.

Heh. I don't know that he thinks the market has changed, so much as the perception of the past. Plenty of kids respect older music without regarding it as inferior, but the same cannot be said of RPGs.

Warpfire
2008-06-21, 11:32 PM
You said in your first post that the blogger's post is an assertion of differences that should be recognized. I say that people here seem to be showing respect for those differences and wishing the blogger would too.

Then you say that is missing the point, and I'm baffled.

And I don't see how saying someone "doesn't matter" and should "go home" isn't supposed to be an insult or at least a dismissal of that person's playstyle.

Swordguy
2008-06-21, 11:35 PM
Good analysis, Matthew.

I rather wish his tone was different, but the points the blogger makes, especially about the juxtaposition of "fun" vs "effort/work" are entirely valid.

Matthew
2008-06-21, 11:37 PM
You said in your first post that the blogger's post is an assertion of differences that should be recognized. I say that people here seem to be showing respect for those differences and wishing the blogger would too.

Then you say that is missing the point, and I'm baffled.

I will try and be clearer then. The author of that post may be elitist/stupid (I don't know), but many of the posts in this thread are attacking the author (or marginalising his opinions, "D&D is serious business", for instance) directly without actually addressing the points he has raised. They aren't looking at the arguments, they are reacting to perceived insults (which are as far as I can see rhetorical attacks on imaginary people).

Warpfire
2008-06-21, 11:58 PM
Yes, but if you hold the same viewpoints as these 'imaginary' people, and he is insulting them for these viewpoints, isn't that the same as if he had insulted you? Some real people aren't willing to invest excessive time and effort into their role-playing game, and are seeking only fun. He insults those viewpoints. How is that attacking imaginary people?

Also, people are reacting to the insults because they are a core part of his argument. The argument is that people who are serious players are better than casual players, so everybody should play seriously or "go home" and not play at all.

averagejoe
2008-06-22, 12:01 AM
Perhaps it's not very intelligent of me, but the only thing going through my mind when reading that blog post was this. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/4/11/lake-franzibald/)

Of course it's not intelligent of you. Old Penny Arcade was way more intelligent than new Penny Arcade, which was dumbed down to appeal to the masses because the guys who do Penny Arcade don't respect the real fans.


I will try and be clearer then. The author of that post may be elitist/stupid (I don't know), but many of the posts in this thread are attacking the author (or marginalising his opinions, "D&D is serious business", for instance) directly without actually addressing the points he has raised. They aren't looking at the arguments, they are reacting to perceived insults (which are as far as I can see rhetorical attacks on imaginary people).

Alright, that's fair. I take issue with what seems to be his premise, and, indeed, more or less any trains of thought that seem to depend on "us" (in the ubiquitous sense) being more intelligent than "them." I can buy that a lot of people waste their lives (at least in the sense that I would feel like I was wasting my life if I lived similarly); however, that issue is much more complex than the treatment he gives it. He seems to equate "value" in live with how much one "accomplishes," whatever that means, and however one defines accomplishment. (I certainly wouldn't think of playing an RPG as being an accomplishment, for the most part.) These are hard for me to argue with because, more often than not, the article seems to take for granted that things are a certain way without giving much of a justification for it, yet these are the things that seem to form the foundation for his arguments.

And, anyways, he was very insulting. You can say he's using a rhetorical device, or say he's just trying to fire people up, but that rhetoical device is insult, and he's firing people up by insulting them.

Enlong
2008-06-22, 12:11 AM
Man, maybe he's right. We should stop having fun (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StopHavingFunGuys).

Behold_the_Void
2008-06-22, 12:22 AM
You were whining a little.

just a little, and I was trying to say it in a good natured way.

The term is "kvetching," kthx :smalltongue:

Warpfire
2008-06-22, 12:22 AM
Man, maybe he's right. We should stop having fun (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StopHavingFunGuys).

There's even a reference to "I Hate Fun". :smallbiggrin:

Titanium Dragon
2008-06-22, 12:23 AM
I wrote up a long, rambly post, but I realized I could basically condense it down a great deal and it would be a lot more polite in the bargain.

This guy is a plebian, not one of the elite. He doesn't know what the word "evolution" means, and he doesn't understand what Dungeons & Dragons is. He doesn't understand what intellectual FUN is. He is one of those people who attempts to make themselves out to be special, but they really aren't.

The reality is that rust monsters were removed because they aren't intellectually stimulating. They're boring. You either pre-prepare for them (busywork as the preparation is the trivial "have non metal equipment") or you sit out the encounter (which is unfun). People who complain that they're dumbing down the game by removing this stuff don't understand game design, nor what "dumbing down" really means. Removing garbage isn't dumbing down.

Wizards of the Coast is not marginalizing the thinking gamer. They're marginalizing the jerk. Some may say that the jerk has helped make the hobby what it is - they discourage women from playing with their poor hygene and social skills, they make other players miserable, and they complain incessantly. They believe they're special and better than everyone else, when they aren't.

WotC is alienating these people by giving advice to Dungeon Masters and removing monsters which were unfun because they screwed players, either maliciously or simply randomly (save or dies are a good example of this).

Many people think they're better than other people because they think death should be meaningful. But ultimately what they don't understand is that EVERYONE feels death should be meaningful. The reason the death penalty is so difficult to adjucate successfully is because ultimately, the only resource is time. And as time correlates to fun, you're basically looking at the death penalty ultimately being a fun penalty. This sucks, but on the other hand, by death having consequences you increase enjoyment of the game because risk is itself rewarding. But if dying is TOO unfun, then people get disgrunted, quit playing, and/or are less involved. Where people fall here varies, which is why no death system really satisfies everyone.

Ultimately, 4e is about removing busywork. The work of having to spend ages looking stuff up; the busywork of having to look for a bunch of random modifiers; the busywork of pre-preparation which didn't increase fun in-game. Some people enjoy busywork, but there are plenty of other forms of fairly mindless or highly formulaic entertainment; D&D, if it truly IS to be a game for the thinking man, should put as much emphasis on thought and as little emphasis on busywork as possible. The better templating is a great example of this change, as is changing the rules for NPCs and removing lots of bad skills or merging them into skills to the point where they are useful.

The author of this piece fundamentally doesn't understand that clinging to 3.x doesn't make him a thinking man; it makes him not one. He is trying to make himself feel superior, but ultimately is not. The real key to being a true thinking man is comprehension, understanding how and why things work. He clearly hasn't gotten there, and is lashing out because he doesn't understand.

Enlong
2008-06-22, 12:37 AM
There's even a reference to "I Hate Fun". :smallbiggrin:
I try:smallbiggrin:

Ulrichomega
2008-06-22, 01:06 AM
The thing that this guy misses is that some people just like to have fun.

Sure, were not doing anything productive, but life is about more than productiveness. What's the use in living our 70-odd years if they are spent working the entire time and not having a minute of enjoyment out of our brief period on this planet? Now, when I say "work" here, I mean exactly what he does, anything involving effort. Some people draw enjoyment/fun out of the effort that they put into things; heck, most people do.

For the rest of us hicks though, we just want to enjoy life. Sure, this involves going to our 9-5 just for our paycheck, and then spending the rest of our time bull-****ting about the latest movie, but that's what we enjoy.

You can have your complicated system that involves all kinds of math, tables and charts. You can have your 2nd ed and 3.x. I'll take my simple math and lack of tables. I'll take my fighter that jumps up and does 3d6 damage and inflicts a status effect (save ends). You know why? Because if I want to spend the rest of my time when it's not my turn bull****ting about the latest movie, I god-damn will.

Who is he to tell me what I should and shouldn't play? Tell me what I shouldn't do?

Take your charts and tables. Leave this place and never return.


Now, I will pre-emptively respond to the people that call me any rendition of the word "Stupid": So what? Who cares if I am stupid/simple. I know that I am not, and that I don't want to stretch my brain to enjoy life. I want to be able to act like a 6 Int Dumb Ol' Fighter when I want to, Both in and out of character. If I simply want to attack, wait, attack. I'll do so.

That is all.

Talyn
2008-06-22, 01:07 AM
Wizards of the Coast is not marginalizing the thinking gamer. They're marginalizing the jerk. Some may say that the jerk has helped make the hobby what it is - they discourage women from playing with their poor hygene and social skills, they make other players miserable, and they complain incessantly. They believe they're special and better than everyone else, when they aren't.

WotC is alienating these people by giving advice to Dungeon Masters and removing monsters which were unfun because they screwed players, either maliciously or simply randomly (save or dies are a good example of this).



Thank you, sir, for saying this. I've been thinking this for ages, but I've never been able to articulate it very well, which, for a guy who writes as much as I do, has been enormously frustrating. I think you have hit the nail on the head with this statement.

I'm getting a new campaign started for 4e right now, with a bunch of players who are fairly new to RPGs and are excited to get started. I spent this evening supervising the character generation process, and you know what happened? The busy-work of character generation (the numbers) went by in a flash, and my group of newbies had exciting, mechanically viable characters in less than an hour. We then spent the rest of the evening on character histories, personality, and worldviews - the part that turns a page full of numbers into a character.

This grumbly-wumbly here would argue that, by embracing a system that lets me do this, I am somehow "doing it wrong." I've made another post on this topic in another thread, so I won't repeat myself, but... man. Why would any normal, more-or-less well-adjusted person want to game with this guy?

Enlong
2008-06-22, 01:18 AM
The thing that this guy misses is that some people just like to have fun.

Sure, were not doing anything productive, but life is about more than productiveness. What's the use in living our 70-odd years if they are spent working the entire time and not having a minute of enjoyment out of our brief period on this planet? Now, when I say "work" here, I mean exactly what he does, anything involving effort. Some people draw enjoyment/fun out of the effort that they put into things; heck, most people do.

For the rest of us hicks though, we just want to enjoy life. Sure, this involves going to our 9-5 just for our paycheck, and then spending the rest of our time bull-****ting about the latest movie, but that's what we enjoy.

You can have your complicated system that involves all kinds of math, tables and charts. You can have your 2nd ed and 3.x. I'll take my simple math and lack of tables. I'll take my fighter that jumps up and does 3d6 damage and inflicts a status effect (save ends). You know why? Because if I want to spend the rest of my time when it's not my turn bull****ting about the latest movie, I god-damn will.

Who is he to tell me what I should and shouldn't play? Tell me what I shouldn't do?

Take your charts and tables. Leave this place and never return.


Now, I will pre-emptively respond to the people that call me any rendition of the word "Stupid": So what? Who cares if I am stupid/simple. I know that I am not, and that I don't want to stretch my brain to enjoy life. I want to be able to act like a 6 Int Dumb Ol' Fighter when I want to, Both in and out of character. If I simply want to attack, wait, attack. I'll do so.

That is all.

Thank you. Thank you so very much.

Deepblue706
2008-06-22, 01:23 AM
A lot of people seem to be taking this as a personal insult or attack. I don't see this article that way at all. It's distinguishing between two different approaches to the hobby (and there are probably plenty more to explore). From what I can tell, the author isn't telling anybody to stop having 'bad fun' or to not play D&D the way they want to play it, he's saying don't let other people define fun for you.

In short, all he is saying to my mind is that "fun" (even amongst role-players) isn't the same to everyone, and its worth recognising that. He wants to be engaged and stimulated by his hobby, and he wants other (similarly minded) people to recognise that as a possibility.

This isn't an attack on 'casual gamers' it's an assertion that there are degrees of differentiation. Now maybe that's old news to some (it is to me), but the reactions of some posters in this thread demonstrate that there is little respect for, or else perhaps recognition or understanding of, that differentiation.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one to interpret things this way.

Ulrichomega
2008-06-22, 01:26 AM
Thank you. Thank you so very much.

Sarcastically or not?

Enlong
2008-06-22, 01:31 AM
Sarcastically or not?

Perfectly, completely sincere.
Thank you for saying what I thought, but could not articulate. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in that it's OK to just have fun. And thank you for knowing the right things to say, when all I can think of is to add the blog post to an article on TVtropes. Thank you.

Ulrichomega
2008-06-22, 01:37 AM
Perfectly, completely sincere.
Thank you for saying what I thought, but could not articulate. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in that it's OK to just have fun. And thank you for knowing the right things to say, when all I can think of is to add the blog post to an article on TVtropes. Thank you.

You're welcome.

I had to double check that it was actually my post that you quoted. This has never happened to me before...

Usually I can't explain something to save my life. Especially not with words. But if I get on something, it gets done right.

Drascin
2008-06-22, 02:02 AM
I couldn't disagree more with the article, myself, and to be honest it irritates me a tad that he assumes that pandering to fun=idiocy.

To put it mildly, my games literally run on the Rule of Cool more than any rule - rules get completely rewritten or simply ignored at the drop of a hat if it'd make for awesome moments, the PCs are brutally overpowered compared to standard right-out-the-manual characters, cool references to media are omnipresent, and I milk Eberron's pulpness for all that's worth and then more. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I value more than having my players having fun and enjoying things, and it fills me with the utmost pride when they tell me this latest campaign has been "one of the most fun things I've ever played" (direct quote). I am pretty sure I forget about half the rules for any given situation, and I just breeze over it without any problems, because rolling for charts would just get in the way - rules are only marginally important and a way to solve conflicts, but no way I'm letting system overcomplexity interfere when the scene is going so well. My way of playing, in short, just couldn't be any more diametrally opposed to his.

Yet we somehow, oh surprise, still find a way to have a deep, intelligent and challenging campaign, involving alliances, juggling of factions, and battles for one's life. In short, our campaign is silly and fun as hell, but it's not stupid, therefore more or less making his entire reason for "fun-less elitism" (that pandering to fun makes the game stupider) blow up :smalltongue:. In a rather awesome cross-shaped explosion, might I add :smallwink:.

The Mormegil
2008-06-22, 04:35 AM
Y'know, about 4th editon "less challenging" than 3rd... I feel the opposite.
Here's why:

When we started playing the 4th ed. playtest, we agreed we would have 3-4 sessions mainly with combat situations in order to test the game. I wrote up an adventure in 3-4 hours, in a campaign setting I had prepare before, based on 13th century europe. The party was evil, so I created a city and made up an important political council, where the Empire, the Church and the city itself would try to gain power and start new alligiances (hope it's written like this... don't really know :smallredface:). They were to disrupt their plans and try to bring a warfare situation on the whole region.

Now, cutting off on the plot: they failed to do anything good really, mainly due to the fact they were found, as well as the Set worshippers behind the city mayor, and the Inquisitors took control of the city.
The important thing is, the encounters were even "too hard", by their PoV.

Y'know, in 3.X, due to powergaming an' things, we had players who "breezed over the adventure" without ever risking their lives, and players who were just overwhelmed by encounters and WERE UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING (and this is bad, not "challenging"). The last campaign we had in 3.5, where the Dm was more experienced and houseruled the system altogether (changing quite everything actually...), we had challenging encounters for everyone. We had houseruled archetypes, and houseruled classes and PrCs, and houseruled equipment and so on... So we started, eventually, "on par", balanced out between ourselves (and I repeat, this is necessary for the whole party to be able to do something in the game: a fighter who cannot hit anything in 3.5 is sad to play in combat situations, and out of combat he's threatened to shut up when he doesn't agree with the other characters).

The problem here, is that we ended up, every time we met a "boss", to fight him for *hours*, being hit and constanly healed, and not hitting him due to AC and resistances. If we hit him, we would have killed him in the surprise round, but... that wouldn't have been challenging, right?

Now, I, for one, was really annoyed by the fights. Spending 40 minutes watching others rolling dices only to make a full attack, hit once, and deal minimal damage, was boring. I was actually the one that dished out the most damage in the end, so I wasn't feeling useless, but... I was annoyed. And at the end of the so called "difficult" encounter, we healed ourselves and could go for another one right after that. Yeah, sometimes he hit us so hard we were knocked unconcious or something, he may have killed us all if he had a bit of luck. Not really "challenging" anyway.

In the 4th edition playtest, on the other hand, we had a lot of encounters. One of them in particular was presented on the MM: the banshrae encounter, level 12. They were 3, so it was the "suggested encounter" for their level.
They also had a previous encounter when they stupidly burned out their daily powers "because they were going to rest anyway".

Long story short, the impression on my players was that the encounter was planned for TPK. This because monsters had too many HPs and while the PCs were trying to kill them "continued to hit for a few HP with each attack on every round, so we were dying for a constant bloodloss".
My impression was that the PCs stayed still, in the middle of the road, while the banshrae manouvred in areas of difficult terrain and/or cover and shoot, thanks to their high speed. The gorgon was killed in round 2, because it charged them all together. So the ettin and the banshrae fighter kept off of them, using reach, AoE attacks and hit and run tactics to hit them and retreat. The PCs shoot at range and eventually killed every critter, after a long and difficult battle. If I had a better luck, I could probably have killed one or two of them.

Comparing the two battles, my PCs prefered the first one, because the second was too difficult for them. They even protested that 4th edtion was made to kill the PCs.

So, yeah, 4th edition gives me a more challenging situation than 3.5, actually. And my players don't like that. So while I agree with the blogger that challenging is fun, I think 4th edition is more challenging than 3.5.

Jerthanis
2008-06-22, 06:16 AM
Man, maybe he's right. We should stop having fun (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StopHavingFunGuys).

The trope namer (http://www.xkcd.com/359/)

I love how people can glorify Role Playing Games for having high mortality rates on the justification that you shouldn't be having fun, and that the rewards for hard work and sacrifice (but mostly just good luck) are so much more rewarding.

Ultimately, the author is fooling himself if he thinks his games are more productive than mine are just because he considers it work rather than fun. He's not composing music, or writing a story he's going to publish... he's not growing any more than I am as a person, and not expanding his skillset unless his rule system contains more advanced math than I've taken in school or something. So if you've got the choice between fun and productivity, why is he choosing to be unproductive while not having fun?

If you're not supposed to have fun, it's not a game. If character mortality rates are high enough you're regularly bringing a spare blank character sheet to the sessions, you're not going to be invested in your character well enough to really get honest role playing down... so if it's not a game, and death is more of a focus than roleplaying... why would you call it a role playing game?

I'm not trying to mischaracterize all 1st edition grognards as taking this position, I just noticed the article used the example of a character having an 80% chance of death as being a necessary element of not-fun to make the 20% of the time you survive mean something. This strikes me as both anti-fun and anti-roleplaying.

Although 4th edition is a far more lethal system than 3rd edition was, so who knows, maybe that's a sign 4th edition is heading in the wrong direction. Or the right one. I can't tell which opinion is "Real D&D" today.

namo
2008-06-22, 06:41 AM
For once, I am happy to see backlash. I pretty much agree with most posts here: this blogger's few good points are drowned in a sea of drivel.


Wizards of the Coast is not marginalizing the thinking gamer. They're marginalizing the jerk. Some may say that the jerk has helped make the hobby what it is - they discourage women from playing with their poor hygene and social skills, they make other players miserable, and they complain incessantly.

[...]

The author of this piece fundamentally doesn't understand that clinging to 3.x doesn't make him a thinking man; it makes him not one. He is trying to make himself feel superior, but ultimately is not. The real key to being a true thinking man is comprehension, understanding how and why things work. He clearly hasn't gotten there, and is lashing out because he doesn't understand.

From where I stand, your post reads just like his post. Replace "clinging to 3.x" to "moving to 4E". I respect your skill at analyzing mechanics, but this...

nagora
2008-06-22, 06:55 AM
I wrote up a long, rambly post, but I realized I could basically condense it down a great deal and it would be a lot more polite in the bargain.
Good, you should have posted that version.


This guy is a plebian, not one of the elite.
Let's start with name-calling and work our way down, shall we?


He doesn't know what the word "evolution" means, and he doesn't understand what Dungeons & Dragons is.
Thank goodness we have you here to correct these problems.


He doesn't understand what intellectual FUN is.
I think he probably does, at least for him.


He is one of those people who attempts to make themselves out to be special, but they really aren't.
Everyone's special, man. Everyone gets a rosette.


The reality is that rust monsters were removed because they aren't intellectually stimulating. They're boring. You either pre-prepare for them (busywork as the preparation is the trivial "have non metal equipment") or you sit out the encounter (which is unfun).
They're: a) funny (once), and b) optional.


People who complain that they're dumbing down the game by removing this stuff don't understand game design, nor what "dumbing down" really means. Removing garbage isn't dumbing down.
For selective values of "garbage".


Wizards of the Coast is not marginalizing the thinking gamer.
Well, it's not their target audience, anyway.


They're marginalizing the jerk. Some may say that the jerk has helped make the hobby what it is - they discourage women from playing with their poor hygene and social skills, they make other players miserable, and they complain incessantly.
Well, I know that the "old-school" groups I play in have women in them and that sometimes we're laughing so hard that we have to stop playing. I suppose that's a form of misery. And we do sometimes complain when we see other people claiming that you can't have fun and a challenge (intellectual or otherwise), and that if that's what we want then we must be some sort of elitist cultural fascists. What a bunch of jerks we are!


They believe they're special and better than everyone else, when they aren't.
No, we think you are special and better than the people at WotC.


WotC is alienating these people by giving advice to Dungeon Masters and removing monsters which were unfun because they screwed players, either maliciously or simply randomly (save or dies are a good example of this).
That's a DM issue, not a system issue. Any DM should be free to place things which kill characters who do stupid things and every player should be free to find a way around those killer situations that doesn't depend on blind luck. But, you know, once you've drunk from the bottle marked "poison", I've no problem with a DM that says "You're dead, no save".


Many people think they're better than other people because they think death should be meaningful. But ultimately what they don't understand is that EVERYONE feels death should be meaningful.
Do they? Many just feel that life should be meaningful.


The reason the death penalty is so difficult to adjucate successfully is because ultimately, the only resource is time. And as time correlates to fun, you're basically looking at the death penalty ultimately being a fun penalty. This sucks, but on the other hand, by death having consequences you increase enjoyment of the game because risk is itself rewarding.
Ah, right I see, you do agree with the "old-school" philosophy, then? I think this paragraph is interesting in that it actually sums up the blogger's point, albeit in a much less ranty and insulting way.


But if dying is TOO unfun, then people get disgrunted, quit playing, and/or are less involved. Where people fall here varies, which is why no death system really satisfies everyone.
That's true but again I think that's a DM/group issue that no system can really address.


Ultimately, 4e is about removing busywork.
That's a goal of it, yes. Skill challenges undermine that goal, as does the horribly complicated combat-skills-feats-powers-system, I think.


The work of having to spend ages looking stuff up; the busywork of having to look for a bunch of random modifiers; the busywork of pre-preparation which didn't increase fun in-game. Some people enjoy busywork, but there are plenty of other forms of fairly mindless or highly formulaic entertainment; D&D, if it truly IS to be a game for the thinking man, should put as much emphasis on thought and as little emphasis on busywork as possible.
I agree. That's why I prefer 1ed to the later editions.


The better templating is a great example of this change, as is changing the rules for NPCs and removing lots of bad skills or merging them into skills to the point where they are useful.

The author of this piece fundamentally doesn't understand that clinging to 3.x doesn't make him a thinking man; it makes him not one. He is trying to make himself feel superior, but ultimately is not. The real key to being a true thinking man is comprehension, understanding how and why things work. He clearly hasn't gotten there, and is lashing out because he doesn't understand.
So long as, after comprehending and understanding how things work, he agrees with you?

I'm starting to sound like Rachel.

Learnedguy
2008-06-22, 07:06 AM
Masochism is pretty fun at times:smallamused:

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-22, 08:55 AM
This is one of those moments where I remember how reactionary people are and how they lose the ability to think the moment you insult them.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 09:32 AM
Yes, but if you hold the same viewpoints as these 'imaginary' people, and he is insulting them for these viewpoints, isn't that the same as if he had insulted you? Some real people aren't willing to invest excessive time and effort into their role-playing game, and are seeking only fun. He insults those viewpoints. How is that attacking imaginary people?

If you are:

1) Stupid
2) Fun seeking
3) Unwilling to invest time and effort (that you are otherwise wasting)
4) A 'normal' who requires the game to be 'balanced', winnable, and with minimal disappointing outcomes...

...then he may be describing you in unflattering terms. He's not talking about excessive time and effort (as far as I can see), he's talking about people who are unwilling to invest any time and effort.



Also, people are reacting to the insults because they are a core part of his argument. The argument is that people who are serious players are better than casual players, so everybody should play seriously or "go home" and not play at all.

They're really not. You could remove the 'insulting' part of the blog and you would still have the same argument.



Alright, that's fair. I take issue with what seems to be his premise, and, indeed, more or less any trains of thought that seem to depend on "us" (in the ubiquitous sense) being more intelligent than "them." I can buy that a lot of people waste their lives (at least in the sense that I would feel like I was wasting my life if I lived similarly); however, that issue is much more complex than the treatment he gives it. He seems to equate "value" in live with how much one "accomplishes," whatever that means, and however one defines accomplishment. (I certainly wouldn't think of playing an RPG as being an accomplishment, for the most part.) These are hard for me to argue with because, more often than not, the article seems to take for granted that things are a certain way without giving much of a justification for it, yet these are the things that seem to form the foundation for his arguments.

He's assigning value to the things he wants to do over the things he doesn't want to do. As I understand it, he is a small time publisher, and appears to think of that work as a form of art. He wants to be engaged by his hobby, which I think is entirely possible. Certainly, the subject is more complicated than what is presented by the author, and it probably requires more than one additional essay to properly refute, expand, contest, explore, etc... and let's do that. Let us invest some time and effort into analysising what he's saying, and see where that leads us.



And, anyways, he was very insulting. You can say he's using a rhetorical device, or say he's just trying to fire people up, but that rhetoical device is insult, and he's firing people up by insulting them.

He can only be insulting to people who define themselves as being his target. As far as I can see this idea comes from the following perception:

1) The author thinks casual players are stupid and absolutely inferior to serious players
2) I am a casual player

I do not think that's what he is saying, though. To my mind, he's saying:

1) Serious players [i.e. ones who invest time and effort in the hobby] are good for the hobby and should not be treated the same as casual players [in the context of the hobby]. This already happens in practice, for instance, on this forum, with prolific homebrewers and rules lawyers being treated differently from the casual forum goers.
2) The antithesis of the 'serious player' is the fun seeking idiot who is unwilling to engage at more than a superficial level with the hobby, even though he could [i.e. he is just pissing the time away doing nothing] and would benefit from doing so.
3) If you are a fun seeking casual player who is not an idiot, but simply are invested in other aspects of your life, then this isn't directed at you.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-22, 09:57 AM
Ok, I'm not going to go back and provide quotations from the article. First, others have already done so. Second, I'm on my home computer now and I'll be damned if I give that guy another unique hit.


I would say he's using a rhetorical device. It's not an insult to say he doesn't want to be or play with casual players (and in fact he says elsewhere that he is fine playing with casual players). He is not asking for respect or defernece from you, he's talking about the respect he feels for other 'serious' hobbyists. All that means is that he doesn't intend to talk to casual gamers as though they are serious gamers. No big deal, in my book.

Even if he is referring to his own attitude toward the different kinds of players, which is not the sense that I and many others got from his line about respect, whether it is a 'big deal' or not depends upon how he treats them differently and frankly the general tone of the article doesn't help me to believe that it's in the way that is no big deal. Look at it this way, I have lots of respect for Dr. Peter Manchester, a professor at my undergraduate, and I don't interact with him the same way as other people. I can make a reference to Plotinus and the Undescending One without needing to explain anything. With other folks, I can't do that, so I don't bring it up unless I want to explain and think they would be interested. That's no big deal. However, if I went around talking about it all the time and then treating those who gave me a blank stare without respect then it would be a big deal, because I would be an arrogant a-hole who thinks that everyone elses interests should coincide with my own if they are to be meaningful and have value.


Yes, he's being a jerk, as he indicates in the comments section afterwards, he's being a jerk in order to 'fire poeple up'.


I think you have to read those comments in context (and understand that they are purposefully intended to incite).

I didn't read the comments section and I'm not going to. I'll just say this, if one needs to get people 'fired up' by insulting them, then one needs to work on their retoric. Using that strategy doesn't get people fired up to agree with you, get gets people fired up to give you the finger. It does, however, generate blog hits, which is why I'm not going back to it.


As far as I can see, there is very little in the way of insults in the text, and what little there is has only a rhetorical meaning and is directed at a constructed identity, not 'casual players' in particular (though he uses that term to describe them).

He's not using a constructed identity. He's using a class of gamer, which as you point out, he deliniated. If he had been talking about 'Bob the imaginary casual gamer' he would be attacking and insutling a constructed identity instead he is attacking the class he has deliniated.

To say that he's using a constructed identity and that it is not intended to insult would be like if I wrote an article saying that 'Republicans are stupid and lazy' but then claimed I wasn't insulting anyone because I didn't refer to anyone specifically.


As I say, he's being a jerk.

At least we can agree on that.


However, I don't see him saying 'you're doing it wrong', I see him creating an imaginary other to show why he isn't doing it wrong.

I would be happy to take that interpretation, as you know from other threads I prefer to give people the benifit of the doubt, if he did not also include in the article the idea that non-serious gamers do not matter and that they enjoy newer editions makes them dumber. That's an attack, not a defense.


That's the message he's railing against, the one that has come from the designers of 4e who are telling us 'we're not having fun', we ought to play D&D this way.

You know, I've never understood why this is viewed as an attack. I don't see anyone from WotC going around saying that older edition players are doing it wrong. I do see them marketing a new product as 'more fun' than their old product. I don't get ticked when I see a video game designer talking about the awesome new features of MLB 2009 that MLB 2008 didn't have.


Heh. I don't know that he thinks the market has changed, so much as the perception of the past. Plenty of kids respect older music without regarding it as inferior, but the same cannot be said of RPGs.

Sure it can. I respect players of older editions (or other systems like GURPS) that I don't like in the exact same manner I respect people who listen to music (new or old) that I don't like. It's not my thing but I don't equate it with intelegence or lack thereof.

Again though, my issue with the article was not so much that he seems to be saying that newer editions are 'doing it wrong' but that he seems to be saying 'newer editions aren't for smart people who enjoy challenge'. I think he's wrong in his assertion of both and moreover that the assertions themselves are elitist (which he says is good) and insulting. Balanced systems are for the weak minded he seems to be saying. Go f--- yourself is my reaction.

One more thing, I think the debates on these boards have confused the issue here a little. I don't read this article as being an attack on 4e specifically, although 4e is included. I read it as an attack on 4e and 3.x, as well as their players. The specific references to first and second edition products and designers as well as the lack of reference to anything in the newer editions (except for the made by Hasbro remark) are what lead me to this conclusion.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 10:22 AM
Ok, I'm not going to go back and provide quotations from the article. First, others have already done so. Second, I'm on my home computer now and I'll be damned if I give that guy another unique hit.

Ha, ha.


Even if he is referring to his own attitude toward the different kinds of players, which is not the sense that I and many others got from his line about respect, whether it is a 'big deal' or not depends upon how he treats them differently and frankly the general tone of the article doesn't help me to believe that it's in the way that is no big deal. Look at it this way, I have lots of respect for Dr. Peter Manchester, a professor at my undergraduate, and I don't interact with him the same way as other people. I can make a reference to Plotinus and the Undescending One without needing to explain anything. With other folks, I can't do that, so I don't bring it up unless I want to explain and think they would be interested. That's no big deal. However, if I went around talking about it all the time and then treating those who gave me a blank stare without respect then it would be a big deal, because I would be an arrogant a-hole who thinks that everyone elses interests should coincide with my own if they are to be meaningful and have value.

Right, but I don't think he's talking about interacting with them outside the context of the hobby. You defer to and respect your professor within the context of the classroom, he's defering to and respecting 'serious players' within the context of the hobby.



I didn't read the comments section and I'm not going to. I'll just say this, if one needs to get people 'fired up' by insulting them, then one needs to work on their retoric. Using that strategy doesn't get people fired up to agree with you, get gets people fired up to give you the finger. It does, however, generate blog hits, which is why I'm not going back to it.

Who is it meant to get fired up, though? As far as I can see, it's only meant to get fired up those who agree with him, but are being subjected to the 'tyranny of fun'. He's not insulting the people he wants to fire up, he's creating an imaginary 'other' against whom to contrast them.



He's not using a constructed identity. He's using a class of gamer, which as you point out, he deliniated. If he had been talking about 'Bob the imaginary casual gamer' he would be attacking and insutling a constructed identity instead he is attacking the class he has deliniated.

I do not see a class of gamer here. I think he does conflate 'casual gamer' with 'stupid people unwilling to engage in anything more superficial than entertainment', but I think that is a nomenclature issue, and not an identification that is borne out in the text of the essay.



To say that he's using a constructed identity and that it is not intended to insult would be like if I wrote an article saying that 'Republicans are stupid and lazy' but then claimed I wasn't insulting anyone because I didn't refer to anyone specifically.

I don't know what his intentions are with regard to insults, but it would be more like saying "I respect uncommited, lazy and stupid republicans less than commited, hardworking and intelligent republicans".



I would be happy to take that interpretation, as you know from other threads I prefer to give people the benifit of the doubt, if he did not also include in the article the idea that non-serious gamers do not matter and that they enjoy newer editions makes them dumber. That's an attack, not a defense.

Again though, this is the 'casual gamer as he defines them' versus 'casual gamer as we are defining them.' Certainly his nomenclature is ill defined.



You know, I've never understood why this is viewed as an attack. I don't see anyone from WotC going around saying that older edition players are doing it wrong. I do see them marketing a new product as 'more fun' than their old product. I don't get ticked when I see a video game designer talking about the awesome new features of MLB 2009 that MLB 2008 didn't have.

It's the message "4e is better than 3e" that is viewed as an attack. It's the root of all of the arguments on this forum in the last few months. The idea or perception that one iteration of the game can be absolutely superior to another (and the game designers do say things like "we think this is the best version of D&D ever", as we would expect them to).



Sure it can. I respect players of older editions (or other systems like GURPS) that I don't like in the exact same manner I respect people who listen to music (new or old) that I don't like. It's not my thing but I don't equate it with intelegence or lack thereof.

Sure, some folks can. It's the general perception that I think he is having a go at. I encounter that perception a lot on RPG forums, and it would be easy to perceive it as the general point of view amongst young gamers [i.e. BD&D & AD&D suck, D20 is so much better]



Again though, my issue with the article was not so much that he seems to be saying that newer editions are 'doing it wrong' but that he seems to be saying 'newer editions aren't for smart people who enjoy challenge'. I think he's wrong in his assertion of both and moreover that the assertions themselves are elitist (which he says is good) and insulting. Balanced systems are for the weak minded he seems to be saying. Go f--- yourself is my reaction.

He may well be saying that, and that's an issue worth exploring.



One more thing, I think the debates on these boards have confused the issue here a little. I don't read this article as being an attack on 4e specifically, although 4e is included. I read it as an attack on 4e and 3.x, as well as their players. The specific references to first and second edition products and designers as well as the lack of reference to anything in the newer editions (except for the made by Hasbro remark) are what lead me to this conclusion.
He's definitely lumping 3e in with 4e, and attacking those editions as inferior to previous ones. That point of view is worth contesting.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-22, 10:46 AM
Right, but I don't think he's talking about interacting with them outside the context of the hobby. You defer to and respect your professor within the context of the classroom, he's defering to and respecting 'serious players' within the context of the hobby.

I'm not so sure. I do recall a section from the earlier article he quoted about not wanting to deal with normal folks and not respecting them, generally, for they way they are. I think that the limitation you see is more a result of you being a nice person and reading more charitably than is really the case in the article.



I do not see a class of gamer here. I think he does conflate 'casual gamer' with 'stupid people unwilling to engage in anything more superficial than entertainment', but I think that is a nomenclature issue, and not an identification that is borne out in the text of the essay.

It's more than that because he also conflates casual gamer with gamer who enjoys the new systems. One gets the sense that you cannot even be a serious gamer (and therefore not a shallow moron) if you play 3.x or 4e.


I don't know what his intentions are with regard to insults, but it would be more like saying "I respect lazy and stupid republicans less than hardworking and intelligent republicans".

I think it'd be more like saying: Republicanism is for the lazy and stupid. I respect republicants less than democrats.


Again though, this is the 'casual gamer as he defines them' versus 'casual gamer as we are defining them.' Certainly his nomenclature is ill defined.

When one's terms are ill defined and insulting, one deserves the flack one gets when they accidentally insult people they didn't intend.


It's the message "4e is better than 3e" that is viewed as an attack. It's the root of all of the arguments on this forum in the last few months. The idea or perception that one iteration of the game can be absolutely superior to another.

It's the root of much of the flaming. I've seen reasonable arguments talking about if specfific aspects of one version or another are better. I've not really seen anyone (well hardly anyone), say that one system is absolutley superior to the other.


Sure, some folks can. It's the general perception that I think he is having a go at. I encounter that perception a lot on RPG forums, and it would be easy to perceive it as the general point of view [i.e. BD&D & AD&D suck, D20 is so much better]

And I suppose that part of my annoyance is that if he honestly wants to have a go at that perception, this is just about the worst possible way to do it. You don't change a person's mind by being purposefully inflamatory and rallying your own troops. You certinaly don't by treating them with a different level of respect than those who agree with you.


He may well be saying that, and that's an issue worth exploring.

I hope I'm misunderstanding you here. You aren't really saying that the notion that 'newer editions aren't for smart people who enjoy a challenge' and 'balanced systems are for the weak minded' are topics worthy of serious consideration are you?

Prophaniti
2008-06-22, 10:56 AM
Love it, absolutely love it. Sure, he was ranting and condesending. Find me a blogger who's not, and I'll give them a cookie. The vast majority of blogs I see come off as condesending because they are. The person is writing their opinions and views, there's no way to not be even a little condesending unless you have no opinions or views of your own at all. Titanium Dragon's earlier post was exactly the same, merely espousing an opposed viewpoint.

Ranting in no way invalidates any of his arguments or points, it only drives away people who are easily offended. It is, in fact, very true that the larger percentage of the population are looking for the quick and easy, mindless and effortless path. We want our entertainment and we want it now, no strings attached and with minimal to no personal investment. I myself have fallen into this behavior. Ultimately, however, it's not what I really want.

Taking a game 'seriously', in the sense that the blogger used, does not mean your a jerk at the table or that you don't have fun. It means you want it to take effort, because personal effort increases a thing's value. Most people are far more careful with money they earned through a job than money that was given as a gift or contest prize.

I couldn't agree more with the portion on the removal of the more 'harsh' consequences (save-or-dies, rust monsters) from the game because it might make some people have a 'negative experience'. This attitude of 'negative experience' just bothers me on some instinctive level and makes the bile rise. Your experience with the game is not based on how your character does, on whether he succeeds or fails. If it is, then you are the one taking it too seriously, in a very bad way. Some of my most memorable and 'fun' experiences with D&D involve such things, one of them in fact directly involving a rust monster.

I saw someone's post on the first page that summed it up quite nicely,
I wasn't allowed to scrounge for options; all I needed to play was handed right to me. Everything I ever would need to enjoy the game was picked, threshed, ground, baked and served to me on a steaming platter. All I needed to do was dig in. But having not worked for any of it, I just wasn't hungry anymore. Exactly how I feel about it. My D&D and other roleplaying games are not games to be lightly picked up. That is what video games are for, (I should point out here that I'm a video game enthusiast myself, I'm just aware of how mindless they can be) which handily replace all that imaginative effort with shiny graphics. My D&D is a game that requires a significant investment of time and effort, and is more enjoyable and fulfilling to me because of it.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-22, 11:12 AM
The person is writing their opinions and views, there's no way to not be even a little condesending unless you have no opinions or views of your own at all.

That's entirely untrue. One can write a well reasoned and non-offensive blog or post without being condesending to your readers. One just needs to want to and take a little bit more time reading their work before posting it.


Ranting in no way invalidates any of his arguments or points, it only drives away people who are easily offended.

No, it just makes him a jerk. As a jerk, who is ranting, he has less credibility than someone who has kept their temper in check. This is true in all arguments in all walks of life, not just blog posts. People say things they don't mean, phrase things poorly, and make logical errors in the midst of rants.


Taking a game 'seriously', in the sense that the blogger used, does not mean your a jerk at the table or that you don't have fun. It means you want it to take effort, because personal effort increases a thing's value. Most people are far more careful with money they earned through a job than money that was given as a gift or contest prize.

Oh yes, because there is no effort or risk-reward matrix in 3.x or 4e...

Matthew
2008-06-22, 11:18 AM
I'm not so sure. I do recall a section from the earlier article he quoted about not wanting to deal with normal folks and not respecting them, generally, for they way they are. I think that the limitation you see is more a result of you being a nice person and reading more charitably than is really the case in the article.

That's from much earlier in the article (in fact, a separate editorial for an unpublished issue of a heavy metal magazine), and refers to superficial people in general.



It's more than that because he also conflates casual gamer with gamer who enjoys the new systems. One gets the sense that you cannot even be a serious gamer (and therefore not a shallow moron) if you play 3.x or 4e.

I think he's saying that 3e and 4e are designed to appeal to casual gamers. I don't think he's saying casual gamers are therefore bad people, just that they aren't seriously engaging with the hobby. He may be saying that 3e and 4e don't encourage serious gaming, and that's somethign worth discussing.



I think it'd be more like saying: Republicanism is for the lazy and stupid. I respect republicants less than democrats.

I think its saying I think serious politicans are worth more respect than casual politicians. It could then be read as 'neo-republicanism is designed for casual politicans who are lazy and stupid'.



When one's terms are ill defined and insulting, one deserves the flack one gets when they accidentally insult people they didn't intend.

Sure, but terms are often ill defined, and it serves no purpose to attack people on perceived terms. You just end up with pointless arguments where people are constructing one another.



It's the root of much of the flaming. I've seen reasonable arguments talking about if specfific aspects of one version or another are better. I've not really seen anyone (well hardly anyone), say that one system is absolutley superior to the other.

I dunno, I have seen a lot of it here. It's not all that way, for sure, but I would say there is a heavy dose of superiority coming through.



And I suppose that part of my annoyance is that if he honestly wants to have a go at that perception, this is just about the worst possible way to do it. You don't change a person's mind by being purposefully inflamatory and rallying your own troops. You certinaly don't by treating them with a different level of respect than those who agree with you.

But is he seeking to change people's minds? As far as I can see (for the text of the article), he's not. He's trying to encourage others to attempt to change people's minds. In fact he says in the coments section (which I know you don't want to read) that he considers himself ill suited to changing people's minds.



I hope I'm misunderstanding you here. You aren't really saying that the notion that 'newer editions aren't for smart people who enjoy a challenge' and 'balanced systems are for the weak minded' are topics worthy of serious consideration are you?

I am saying that it's worth discussing the possibility that newer editions are designed for wider (or different) audiences than older editions, and that something might have been lost in doing so. I also think it's worth discussing the appeal of a balanced system.

averagejoe
2008-06-22, 11:32 AM
He's assigning value to the things he wants to do over the things he doesn't want to do. As I understand it, he is a small time publisher, and appears to think of that work as a form of art. He wants to be engaged by his hobby, which I think is entirely possible. Certainly, the subject is more complicated than what is presented by the author, and it probably requires more than one additional essay to properly refute, expand, contest, explore, etc... and let's do that. Let us invest some time and effort into analysising what he's saying, and see where that leads us.

Alright, fine. I'll admit that his introduction struck a chord with me. I have been, for a long time, advocating that work breeds happiness rather than takes away from it, and one thing I've been dreading is wasting the rest of my life with nothing to look forward to but the next summer blockbuster. It's a lifestyle many of us are born into, and I've been trying (with a great amount of sucess) to break out of.

However, I've found that this cannot be all the time, and this sort of attitude can, at times, be a luxury. I, for example, spend all but three months of each year as a student. This doesn't mean I go out and party a lot, it means I spend a lot of time studying because I've taken hard subjects. Frankly, if I was prevented from having "fun," I'd go crazy. I remember there was one time midterms were coming around, and my roommate wanted to go see a movie. I didn't really want to, but he ended up convincing me. As it turns out, that was just about the best thing I could have done. I had been stressed out and supressing it, so I didn't even realize I was stressed out; then all of a sudden I was relaxed, and thinking clearly, which is important to do school well. If I, for whatever reason, had a job that just wore me out, as Ulrichomega described, then a bit of "fun" would no doubt be welcome.

Point is, we can't spend all our lives shunning anything that doesn't "accomplish" things. It wouldn't be healthy or desireable; the human mind needs to unfocus, probably more often than I allow mine to. Quite frankly, if RPGing took as much time and effort to be rewarding as this guy is advocating, I wouldn't do it. I have better, more rewarding, things to do, and I don't see a game like DnD as "accomplishing" anything in any case.

Which makes me wonder how one advocating such ideals can call playing an RPG an "accomplishment." What makes 1e DnD so superior to other editions in this respect? I mean, in the end, you're basically sitting down and pretending to be an elf, or whatever. Which is fine, but I don't see how having a system with a robust amount of killings by save-or-die's makes you less wasting time than a system without them. It seems to me that he never answers this, but instead attacks game companies and players, stating that the players are lazy and suchlike.

To adress something you said earlier, he is assigning value to the things he wants to do over the things he doesn't. However, he does this by saying, essentially, that "fun" is the wrong way to enjoy things, which is stupid. I find that I get a richer enjoyment when I work at something, but the so-called "superficial" experience shouln't be just discounted, because in the end it is just a richer sort of enjoyment. It's like food. I enjoy eating tasty foods. I'd probably enjoy eating foods more if I became a gourmet (but would probably stop enjoying certain foods as well.) However, either way I'm not really accomplishing anything. It's arguable that it's in my best interest to become a gourmet, because I'd enjoy eating more; however, in the end, I'm still just eating food. Anything else is simply trying to justify the time spent to myself and other people, when really it doesn't need justification.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-22, 11:36 AM
That's from much earlier in the article (in fact, a separate editorial for an unpublished issue of a heavy metal magazine), and refers to superficial people in general.

Right, but since he equates the changes in the game with that same kind of superficiality...


I don't think he's saying casual gamers are therefore bad people, just that they aren't seriously engaging with the hobby.

This is something folks, like myself, take umbridge with. I consider myself pretty seriously engaged with the hobby, despite not playing older editions. I have trouble coming up with a rubric where I wouldn't fall into the 'seriously engaged' category that doesn't arbitrarily delineate by edition.


He may be saying that 3e and 4e don't encourage serious gaming, and that's somethign worth discussing.

That's also a different point that the above. Less insulting to boot. It might be worth discussing. I, again, have trouble coming up with a rubric which would allow a person to draw a line bettween 'seriously engaged' and not, short of hours spent. System design seems to have little to do with it. A seriously engaged chess player spends a heck of a lot more time at the game than a casual player but they are both still using the same system with a simple ruleset.


I think its saying I think serious politicans are worth more respect than casual politicians. It could then be read as 'neo-republicanism is designed for casual politicans who are lazy and stupid'.

You don't see how that second sentence would be insulting to neo-republicans, particularly if they are serious politicians and neither stupid nor lazy?


I dunno, I have seen a lot of it here. It's not all that way, for sure, but I would say there is a heavy dose of superiority coming through.

Well, I've been avoiding the "Whats wrong with 4e" thread and the like for a while now, so you might be right. From what I have seen, it goes both ways though.


But is he seeking to change people's minds? As far as I can see (for the text of the article), he's not. He's trying to encourage others to attempt to change people's minds. In fact he says in the coments section (which I know you don't want to read) that he considers himself ill suited to changing people's minds.

Sure, but the way he has presented his article gives the impression that such a presentation is a way to convince people. It's like if someone gives a firey speech and says to go out and kick some ass, the listeners are going to be less inclined to go have reasonable discussions.


I am saying that it's worth discussing the possibility that newer editions are designed for wider (or different) audiences than older editions, and that something might have been lost in doing so. I also think it's worth discussing the appeal of a balanced system.

I'll agree that those are worth discussing (so long as we also add 'something might have been gained by doing so' too). You'll warrant though, they are not the same thing as ascribing smartness and effort to the players of one system and not to the other or to one preference in design philosophy and not the other.

Coffee_Dragon
2008-06-22, 11:39 AM
This is one of those moments where I remember how reactionary people are and how they lose the ability to think the moment you insult them.

If you walk around insulting people and find that they get upset or turn their backs, it is of course comforting to think that they have "lost the ability to think" and not that you are being a jerk and they simply have better things to do than interact with you.

ashmanonar
2008-06-22, 11:42 AM
Or he was using that to make a point on his opinion of the people's intelligence in the choice.

its hard to tell.:smallconfused:

Man, that's thinking meta.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 11:47 AM
Alright, fine. I'll admit that his introduction struck a chord with me. I have been, for a long time, advocating that work breeds happiness rather than takes away from it, and one thing I've been dreading is wasting the rest of my life with nothing to look forward to but the next summer blockbuster. It's a lifestyle many of us are born into, and I've been trying (with a great amount of sucess) to break out of.

Indeedy.



However, I've found that this cannot be all the time, and this sort of attitude can, at times, be a luxury. I, for example, spend all but three months of each year as a student. This doesn't mean I go out and party a lot, it means I spend a lot of time studying because I've taken hard subjects. Frankly, if I was prevented from having "fun," I'd go crazy. I remember there was one time midterms were coming around, and my roommate wanted to go see a movie. I didn't really want to, but he ended up convincing me. As it turns out, that was just about the best thing I could have done. I had been stressed out and supressing it, so I didn't even realize I was stressed out; then all of a sudden I was relaxed, and thinking clearly, which is important to do school well. If I, for whatever reason, had a job that just wore me out, as Ulrichomega described, then a bit of "fun" would no doubt be welcome.

Absolutely, and that's entertainment as relaxation. Everybody needs 'switch off' time occasionally.



Point is, we can't spend all our lives shunning anything that doesn't "accomplish" things. It wouldn't be healthy or desireable; the human mind needs to unfocus, probably more often than I allow mine to. Quite frankly, if RPGing took as much time and effort to be rewarding as this guy is advocating, I wouldn't do it. I have better, more rewarding, things to do, and I don't see a game like DnD as "accomplishing" anything in any case.

How much time is he advocating, though? I am not sure it is ever made clear how much time and effort is required to get more than passive entertainment out of an RPG. I think the accomplishment being suggested is intellectual stimulation, the idea being that D&D can serve this purpose.



Which makes me wonder how one advocating such ideals can call playing an RPG an "accomplishment." What makes 1e DnD so superior to other editions in this respect? I mean, in the end, you're basically sitting down and pretending to be an elf, or whatever. Which is fine, but I don't see how having a system with a robust amount of killings by save-or-die's makes you less wasting time than a system without them. It seems to me that he never answers this, but instead attacks game companies and players, stating that the players are lazy and suchlike.

That's a good question. I think he may be suggesting that D20 is 'paint by numbers' compared to AD&D as painting, but I think there have been many threads on the subject of how AD&D is different from D20, and they always come down to the same thing, preferences.



To adress something you said earlier, he is assigning value to the things he wants to do over the things he doesn't. However, he does this by saying, essentially, that "fun" is the wrong way to enjoy things, which is stupid. I find that I get a richer enjoyment when I work at something, but the so-called "superficial" experience shouln't be just discounted, because in the end it is just a richer sort of enjoyment. It's like food. I enjoy eating tasty foods. I'd probably enjoy eating foods more if I became a gourmet (but would probably stop enjoying certain foods as well.) However, either way I'm not really accomplishing anything. It's arguable that it's in my best interest to become a gourmet, because I'd enjoy eating more; however, in the end, I'm still just eating food. Anything else is simply trying to justify the time spent to myself and other people, when really it doesn't need justification.
Is he saying it's wrong to enjoy RPGs on a superficial level, though? My understanding is that he's saying it's more fulfilling as a hobby to engage with it on a deeper level.

Haruspex
2008-06-22, 12:00 PM
I read the blog up and down a few times (except for the song, whatever it was) and came to a few conclusions.

1. He is not a polite, courteous, or sociable person. Rudeness is his MO. He expresses opinions for the sake of expressing, feelings of others be damned. Gathering popular support from the neutral population seems not to be the point. If it was he'd be more polite. Once I got this out of the way, his blog seemed easier to understand.

2. He seems to think that enjoyment is more meaningful if you have to put effort into it. I can agree with this to a certain extent, though I never played anything earlier than 3.0 and haven't played 4e yet so I don't know what he means in relation to DnD. Are the new editions really so shallow? He makes it sound like the original editions were a completely different species of animal, metaphorically speaking. From what I've seen it's still possible to put effort and time into 4e and your character can still die. The specific ways of dying may be different, of course.

3. Balance is meant to appeal to the casual gamer while nudging out the lifer, and ill-defined rules which made the DM the ultimate arbiter are a good thing. For real? I think lifers would appreciate balance more, just look at the epic madness that the people on the CO boards at Wizards have with 3.5. Balance makes sure that options are not made completely redundant. If the rules are ill-defined, why bother having them?

4. The blog in some parts seems reactionary. As though he and his ilk have been abused for playing it their way. I don't know if this is true or not, but some of it seems worded that way.

5. DnD was never heroic, and dying pointlessly is part of it. If this is true, then I guess he and I can never get along. Running DnD like your characters should die is just counterintuitive. How can you roleplay and get into your character if they are meant to die randomly? Besides, the threat level is 100%determined by the DM, he sould know that.

Anyway, new editions do not tear the old editions out of existence. He still has his old books I assume and his old gaming buddies. Why does the new "don't want to work" generation bother him at all? The same question goes for anyone who thinks like this fella. If WOTC stole all your 1st and 2nd edition books in the night and forced you to play 3, 3.5, or 4e I'd understand the anger, but as it is I just don't get it.

If he's referring to the idea that new versions are touted as improvements, than that's just too bad. The target audience has changed, as he seems to realize. It's a fact of business. Would DnD be better served by sticking to it's original target demographic? By the owners producing the same game forever? According to LotFP, yes. For me though, to each their own, regardless of what the blogger thinks of the "live and let live" mentality.


But people out there have gotten the idea that if their precious imaginary equipment owned by their precious imaginary man is taken away from them, their fun has been sabotaged! And the game designers are listening.

I found this amusing. If someone puts effort and dedication into their game and character, shouldn't they naturally be attached to said character's fate? I wonder if he was ever a player or always a DM. The DM can always dial up the threat level, and I'm sure many do.

The last paragraph makes it sound like part of a "play the old game" movement. Raising awareness of the old ways, he says. Not letting the industry determine how a game should be played. If he had put that paragraph first, I think he would have more people agreeing with him. If I could find a copy of the previous editions, I certainly would have a read through it.

In conclusion, it's a very firebrand opinion of an gamer who prefers the older editions and a certain way of playing.

Prophaniti
2008-06-22, 12:01 PM
That's entirely untrue. One can write a well reasoned and non-offensive blog or post without being condesending to your readers. One just needs to want to and take a little bit more time reading their work before posting it.
My point is that any expression of opinion in a discussion is innately condesending. Merely by expressing an opinion, your saying 'I'm right and this is why'. Of course you can do it without being too condesending, and certainly it's possible to do it without being insulting. Internet blogs, however, are typically very strong in their expression, and this was far from the worst one I've ever read.

No, it just makes him a jerk. As a jerk, who is ranting, he has less credibility than someone who has kept their temper in check. This is true in all arguments in all walks of life, not just blog posts. People say things they don't mean, phrase things poorly, and make logical errors in the midst of rants.True, but again, this is not really an example of an illogical rant, and despite his tone and attitude, I didn't see any glaring logical errors.

Oh yes, because there is no effort or risk-reward matrix in 3.x or 4e...
Never said that. What I'm speaking of, however, is not WBL tables or suggested rewards. What I'm speaking of is more of a philosophy change, steering away from truly dangerous and difficult situations (monsters with immunities) because people might have a 'negative experience'. I like one of the comments on the blog, I know you don't want to go back to the site, so here:

Characters staggering through two thousand miles of wilderness because they were teleported to hell and gone does not need to make sense. They should have to WORK to get back...not dance their way back through a set of carefully designed hero quests intended to make them lords of some domain upon their return. They should return dirty, miserable, unhappy and ANGRY...This is the difference in approach that I'm talking about. D&D wasn't about 'heroic' fantasy until WotC got ahold of it. It was about fantasy simulation, about roleplaying, about actually being there with the character. For the game to accomplish that for me requires a degree of hardship, challenge, and yes occasionally disappointment. Let's say I'm standing in front of a dragon (who should to be able to kill us in a straight fight, he's a frickin' dragon) and try some crazy stunt that would win the battle... only it doesn't work, I flubbed my check and got eaten. This is in no way a failing of the system, it is a strength of it. Success should be possible, but never certain. Kinda like life.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 12:03 PM
Right, but since he equates the changes in the game with that same kind of superficiality...

Sure, but it's possible to enjoy RPGs on a superficial level and not be a shallow person (my girlfriend and most of my friends who play, for example, would fall into this category).



This is something folks, like myself, take umbridge with. I consider myself pretty seriously engaged with the hobby, despite not playing older editions. I have trouble coming up with a rubric where I wouldn't fall into the 'seriously engaged' category that doesn't arbitrarily delineate by edition.

I don't think you have to play older editions to be seriously engaged in the hobby. Indeed, plenty of people play older editions casually. what the author thinks, I don't know.



That's also a different point that the above. Less insulting to boot. It might be worth discussing. I, again, have trouble coming up with a rubric which would allow a person to draw a line bettween 'seriously engaged' and not, short of hours spent. System design seems to have little to do with it. A seriously engaged chess player spends a heck of a lot more time at the game than a casual player but they are both still using the same system with a simple ruleset.

That's a good question, of course, what is serious enagagement? I have only the vaguest ideas of what may be meant. Unfortunately, the more we discuss this, the more it will progress into my viewpoints and definitions n relation to the article (since the author is not here elaborating on his)



You don't see how that second sentence would be insulting to neo-republicans, particularly if they are serious politicians and neither stupid nor lazy?

Not really. AD&D 2e was designed to be more accessible than AD&D 1e (that was literally one of the design mandates). Some AD&D 1e folks got bent out of shape about it, but that didn't make AD&D 2e any less good for 'serious gamers' (though others might argue differently), it just meant that it was also designed for 'casual gamers'. Same with (fictional) neo-republicanism. It can be designed to attract lazy and stupid casual politicians without compromising its values for hardworking intelligent and commited republicans. These aims are not necessarily mutually exclusive.



Well, I've been avoiding the "Whats wrong with 4e" thread and the like for a while now, so you might be right. From what I have seen, it goes both ways though.

Definitely



Sure, but the way he has presented his article gives the impression that such a presentation is a way to convince people. It's like if someone gives a firey speech and says to go out and kick some ass, the listeners are going to be less inclined to go have reasonable discussions.

That's true. I don't think the article does many favours in that respect.



I'll agree that those are worth discussing (so long as we also add 'something might have been gained by doing so' too). You'll warrant though, they are not the same thing as ascribing smartness and effort to the players of one system and not to the other or to one preference in design philosophy and not the other.

Sure, but I think he's saying that these older systems were designed for 'serious gamers', not that by merely playing them you are smart (or even that those who play them are smart). In those opinions I think he is quite wrong anyway, but those are the parts of the article worth contesting.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-22, 12:16 PM
Sure, but it's possible to enjoy RPGs on a superficial level and not be a shallow person (my girlfriend and most of my friends, for example, would fall into this category).

I would say the same of television and music. The author didn't seem to agree with that though. I transferred his attitude in the former to the latter, since he says the former was what inspired the latter.


I don't think you have to play older editions to be seriously engaged in the hobby. Plenty of people play older editions casually.

I agree, about both newer and older editions. However, the author seems to be arguing that the newer editions can only be engaged on a superficial level. That annoys me.


That's a good question, of course, what is serious enagagement? I have only the vaguest ideas of what may be meant. Unfortunately, the more we discuss this, the more it will progress into my viewpoints iand definitions n relation to the article (since the author is not here elaborating on his)

I think I'll wander off and start another thread...


Not really. AD&D 2e was designed to be more accessible than AD&D 1e. Some AD&D 1e folks got bent out of shape about it, but that didn't make AD&D 2e any less good for 'serious gamers' (though others might argue differently), it just meant that it was desiganed to also bring on board 'casual gamers'. same with (fictional) neo-republicanism. It can be designed to attract lazy and stupid casual politicians without compromising its values for hardworking intelligent and commited republicans. these aims are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

No, but the problem really lies in equating accessability with laziness, stupidity and an inability to be taken 'seriously'. The author equates the all 4, which for folks like me, who consider accessabilty, at least to the level of being able to start playing without much trouble, to be a virtue in game design.


Sure, but I think he's saying that these older systems were designed for 'serious gamers', not that by merely playing them you ar smart (or even that those who play them are smart). In those opinions I think he is quite wrong anyway, but those are the parts of the article worth contesting.

Well, some of us have been. Although, I don't agree that he is necc arguing, or just arguing, that the older systems are designed for 'serious gamers' but also that the newer systems are designed for 'casual gamers' which he ties to other degrading characteristics.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 01:16 PM
I would say the same of television and music. The author didn't seem to agree with that though. I transferred his attitude in the former to the latter, since he says the former was what inspired the latter.

He never makes clear what degree of engagement is acceptable, or in how many areas. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt on that score, but I cannot say I know the mind of the author.



I agree, about both newer and older editions. However, the author seems to be arguing that the newer editions can only be engaged on a superficial level. That annoys me.

If he is saying that, he is probably wrong. On the other hand, I never found D20 to be itself very stimulating personally, but that is a complicated and subjective notion (and perhaps not even accurate).



I think I'll wander off and start another thread...

Good idea.



No, but the problem really lies in equating accessability with laziness, stupidity and an inability to be taken 'seriously'. The author equates the all 4, which for folks like me, who consider accessabilty, at least to the level of being able to start playing without much trouble, to be a virtue in game design.

A good point, though 'good game design' and 'the value of a game to the serious hobbyist' may not be perfectly compatable. I don't think there is any question that D20 was a well designed game with a huge appeal, but its value to me was that it showed me what I thought I wanted, but actually didn't (not that I am a serious hobbyist).



Well, some of us have been. Although, I don't agree that he is necc arguing, or just arguing, that the older systems are designed for 'serious gamers' but also that the newer systems are designed for 'casual gamers' which he ties to other degrading characteristics.

I agree he is suggesting that AD&D was primarily designed for 'serious gamers' and that D20 was/is primarily designed for casual gamers. I also agree that he is also casting 'casual gamers' in a negative light. The problem with this dichotomy is that 'serious gamers' and 'casual gamers' remain relatively undefined constructed (but also mutable) identities. Establishing better definitions for these terms is the next step in discussing them, and at that point I think we have to take our leave of the author (and I think starting a new thread for that discussion is for the best).



1. He is not a polite, courteous, or sociable person. Rudeness is his MO. He expresses opinions for the sake of expressing, feelings of others be damned. Gathering popular support from the neutral population seems not to be the point. If it was he'd be more polite. Once I got this out of the way, his blog seemed easier to understand.

I would say that ws fair appraisal.



2. He seems to think that enjoyment is more meaningful if you have to put effort into it. I can agree with this to a certain extent, though I never played anything earlier than 3.0 and haven't played 4e yet so I don't know what he means in relation to DnD. Are the new editions really so shallow? He makes it sound like the original editions were a completely different species of animal, metaphorically speaking. From what I've seen it's still possible to put effort and time into 4e and your character can still die. The specific ways of dying may be different, of course.

Good question, and in the absence of the author, worth exploring in AKA_Bait's thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83726).



3. Balance is meant to appeal to the casual gamer while nudging out the lifer, and ill-defined rules which made the DM the ultimate arbiter are a good thing. For real? I think lifers would appreciate balance more, just look at the epic madness that the people on the CO boards at Wizards have with 3.5. Balance makes sure that options are not made completely redundant. If the rules are ill-defined, why bother having them?

Yet, a lot of people espouse the very imbalance of 3e as something to be lauded over the balance of 4e. I think there's the rules as guidelines, and the rules as absolutes. If you treat the rules as absolutes, they must be well defined or they are worthless. If you treat them as guidelines, then ill definition can actually be beneficial, prompting interpretation.



4. The blog in some parts seems reactionary. As though he and his ilk have been abused for playing it their way. I don't know if this is true or not, but some of it seems worded that way.

There's definitely bitterness, and not all ill founded.



5. DnD was never heroic, and dying pointlessly is part of it. If this is true, then I guess he and I can never get along. Running DnD like your characters should die is just counterintuitive. How can you roleplay and get into your character if they are meant to die randomly? Besides, the threat level is 100%determined by the DM, he sould know that.

Heh, you roleplay a character who knows they could die if they go into a dangerous situation. That's definitely a play style issue.



Anyway, new editions do not tear the old editions out of existence. He still has his old books I assume and his old gaming buddies. Why does the new "don't want to work" generation bother him at all? The same question goes for anyone who thinks like this fella. If WOTC stole all your 1st and 2nd edition books in the night and forced you to play 3, 3.5, or 4e I'd understand the anger, but as it is I just don't get it.

Ah, well. It's the business versus hobby aspect. The newest edition of D&D tends to drown out everything else, aggressively pushing its mandate onto the hobby community from the top down.



If he's referring to the idea that new versions are touted as improvements, than that's just too bad. The target audience has changed, as he seems to realize. It's a fact of business. Would DnD be better served by sticking to it's original target demographic? By the owners producing the same game forever? According to LotFP, yes. For me though, to each their own, regardless of what the blogger thinks of the "live and let live" mentality.

WotC is well served by the D&D brand. The 'hobby' is another matter. From some perspectives, D&D 4e does a disservice to the previous demographic.



I found this amusing. If someone puts effort and dedication into their game and character, shouldn't they naturally be attached to said character's fate? I wonder if he was ever a player or always a DM. The DM can always dial up the threat level, and I'm sure many do.

I think the idea is that they should be attached to the character, but also ready to accept that he may not survive, and that losing stuff (levels, equioment, wealth, prestige, even entire characters) can make gaining stuff 'more fun'. It's like playing a video game that's hard to beat, it's more fun for me when I have to struggle through.



The last paragraph makes it sound like part of a "play the old game" movement. Raising awareness of the old ways, he says. Not letting the industry determine how a game should be played. If he had put that paragraph first, I think he would have more people agreeing with him. If I could find a copy of the previous editions, I certainly would have a read through it.

In conclusion, it's a very firebrand opinion of an gamer who prefers the older editions and a certain way of playing.

Yep.

Indon
2008-06-22, 02:21 PM
Civilization IV is 'turning your brain off'? Huh. I think there's somewhat of a major disconnect in what I believe games do for the mind and what this person believes games do for the mind.

Yet I see somewhat of a point behind the point - this is a person who, when they enjoy themselves, wants to be engaged at a deeper level cognitively and emotionally, and most of what a person does isn't really condusive to that. Few games are really built to engage at that level. I'm not so sure 4'th edition is really less capable of that specific thing than 3'rd edition or earlier versions of D&D, though.

It would be a lofty goal to build a system that really does promote that sort of thing, and intentionally, rather than accidentally without any understanding as to how, as earlier systems may (debatably) have done.

Game systems over the past decade or so (I venture to say starting about half-way through the World of Darkness production/somewhere during 3'rd edition) began on a path that could lead to that sort of game. By looking more intently at what games should do, we can take steps towards making a game that does - more, better, and deeper than games that came before it.

The approach is right, but the application has been drawn away from anything like that - with an eye for profit via immediate satisfaction rather than cognitive engagement. For example, Wizards learned that people like feats - so they kept feats but without asking why people liked feats.

I disagree that older versions of D&D are inherently superior, though - I think that view is more the function of someone who has learned, through trial and error, what makes for a better game, but has not analyzed how to make a better game in regards specifically to the system yet.

One can make a better system for roleplaying, and some steps have been taken that could lead down that path. But I largely think the vision is lacking.


Paying attention to grognards grumbling about how the game isn't as good as when THEY were playing it is thoroughly futile.

It's just another guy telling everyone that if they play differently from him, they're not doing it right and are having BADWRONGFUN. We don't need that. We really, really don't need that. I am so tired of it.

I quite completely disagree. I think significant insight can be drawn from it, just as insight can be drawn from people who complain about, say, how D&D 3'rd edition lays a burden on the DM to prevent the players from being exploitive. Just as one should ask, "Why is it the DM's burden?" One can ask, "What about early gaming could have made it more engaging in this way?" The objective is to learn more about this phenomenon, and try to figure out a way to understand it and codify it and use it to improve existing games.

I think we can even learn from rants like this:


The author of this piece fundamentally doesn't understand that clinging to 3.x doesn't make him a thinking man; it makes him not one. He is trying to make himself feel superior, but ultimately is not. The real key to being a true thinking man is comprehension, understanding how and why things work. He clearly hasn't gotten there, and is lashing out because he doesn't understand.


Actually, I don't think that's what any of us are saying. We're saying that if the game designers treated you as intelligent people you could be having much more fun. If they don't then you'll never get the chance.

I'm not sure the people at Wizards have the faintest idea how to properly do that, though (at least, not without a zillion whiny forum posts about how the game is broken) - I certainly don't offhand. And ultimately, they no longer seem to have interest in trying.

Which I think leaves it to us to discard what they would give us and try to make something better ourselves, not just in terms of being treated like intelligent players, but in being treated like mature and socially capable players.

And as a final, more personal note: I decided not to have fun by just mocking the individual's tone or face-value words, but instead decided to immerse myself by focusing on the individual's possible meaning and motivations, in an attempt to draw out insight as to human nature in regards to gaming. Gaming is not the only thing that can be cognitively engaging - anything can. I find the idea of striving for promoting that to be fascinating.

thewamp
2008-06-22, 02:33 PM
I read the first page of posts and skipped here, so excuse me if I ignore people. Anyway, my .02$:

I found the first half of the article (the bit he'd written for the metal thing) really interesting. I didn't necessarily agree with it, although some parts of it certainly rang true. Agreement aside though, it was certainly stimulating.

Then came the second half... which was just too over the top. I mean, I hate 4th edition too (though lets not get into that, really), but that doesn't mean that I think anyone who does is the slop that's corrupting my game, or something like that. Though I'm not really a serious player anyway, so I suppose that *I'm* slop. :smalltongue:

Anyway, first half was a good read.

Talya
2008-06-22, 02:36 PM
Elitist? Damn right. And it's good thing too.

The USA and Canada are in the upper half of the most intelligent nations on earth, and we have an average IQ of 97. Much of developed africa is far worse, sitting around 70. The smartest nations on earth, like Japan or what used to be Hong Kong, sit around 105.

So you'll excuse me if I agree when someone says most people are morons, because they are. An IQ of 97 is someone who's difficult to tolerate for more than a sentence at a time...and that's the average in this part of the world--half of the population is worse than that. In my rather small circle of friends, I'm "average" and I sit at an IQ of 145-150 depending on the day and who's testing. So elitist? Damn right. Especially when you consider that there are other factors besides a lack of intelligence that can make someone intolerable. The types of people I can have a relatively enjoyable conversation with in real life are rather rare. For most of them I have to put on a fake smile and pretend to enjoy their pedantic drivel.

As for the original blog-post, I agree with some of what he says (particularly on RPGs,) I disagree with much as well. Entertainment and "fun" are about the only points to life to begin with--there's no deeper meaning to life and there never will be. The only difference is my view of fun is going to very different from that of most of the unwashed masses.

SmartAlec
2008-06-22, 02:38 PM
Gaming is not the only thing that can be cognitively engaging - anything can. I find the idea of striving for promoting that to be fascinating.

How do you 'promote' this, though? It's a state of mind. You can lead a horse to a roleplay session but you can't make him think, so to speak. I can think of no way a mechanical system can substitute for genuine passion. Could Wizards actually be right by providing a system that does not try?

JaxGaret
2008-06-22, 02:52 PM
It is, in fact, very true that the larger percentage of the population are looking for the quick and easy, mindless and effortless path.

Are you sure about that? If you asked those people if they were looking for the "quick and easy, mindless and effortless path", would they say yes?

Also, you are ignoring that fact that time can be divided into parcels. People can make individual choices to spend some time on "mindless and effortless" activities. Does this mean that all of their free time is spent that way? No.


We want our entertainment and we want it now, no strings attached and with minimal to no personal investment.

Watch your generalizations there.


Most people are far more careful with money they earned through a job than money that was given as a gift or contest prize.

A point of view I don't share, and actively behoove other people not to hold.


I couldn't agree more with the portion on the removal of the more 'harsh' consequences (save-or-dies, rust monsters) from the game because it might make some people have a 'negative experience'. This attitude of 'negative experience' just bothers me on some instinctive level and makes the bile rise. Your experience with the game is not based on how your character does, on whether he succeeds or fails. If it is, then you are the one taking it too seriously, in a very bad way. Some of my most memorable and 'fun' experiences with D&D involve such things, one of them in fact directly involving a rust monster.

SoDs still exist in 4e, they're simply not as widespread. I appreciate their removal; I think that their inclusion in 3e is a detriment to that system, for multiple reasons.

Rust Monsters and their ilk do not exist, perhaps because they cannot be used as often as other monsters - why include them if they are going to be so little used? Those are pages of the MM that could be devoted to monsters that will see more campaign time.

They can easily be homebrewed, if you want them.


I saw someone's post on the first page that summed it up quite nicely, Exactly how I feel about it. My D&D and other roleplaying games are not games to be lightly picked up. That is what video games are for, (I should point out here that I'm a video game enthusiast myself, I'm just aware of how mindless they can be) which handily replace all that imaginative effort with shiny graphics.

I used to spend lots of time playing video games. I don't any more, I pretty much find them to be boring wastes of my time now, except for the odd session with friends once in a while.

See how I didn't judge you for spending your time playing video games? Personal opinion is one thing; saying that your opinion is the right one and that anyone who holds another opinion is doing it wrong is another.


My D&D is a game that requires a significant investment of time and effort, and is more enjoyable and fulfilling to me because of it.

I don't find the newer editions, or 4e specifically, to be in any way mindless or in any way prevent you from investing time and effort in it.

JaxGaret
2008-06-22, 02:55 PM
I think it'd be more like saying: Republicanism is for the lazy and stupid. I respect republicants less than democrats.

This should totally be a stump slogan for the Republicans:

"Are you a Republican, or a Republican't?!?"

:smallsmile:

Indon
2008-06-22, 03:22 PM
How do you 'promote' this, though?
That's a good question, and it might not have an answer. But based on the insights Wizards gave us on their design intent before 4th edition was released, I consider it unlikely they've given it much thought.

I can't blame them. It's rather a revolutionary thing if you could pull it off, and Wizards has made it quite clear that they're interested in a product that makes money, not something that revolutionizes the gaming industry.


It's a state of mind. You can lead a horse to a roleplay session but you can't make him think, so to speak. I can think of no way a mechanical system can substitute for genuine passion. Could Wizards actually be right by providing a system that does not try?

I don't think it has anything to do with passion. Just because I love something doesn't mean I want to analyze it any deeper than at a superficial level - it's something harder to pinpoint than passion, but something that a system could perhaps promote... if we focus on understanding it.

And I certainly don't think that state of mind's exclusive to roleplaying. You could design a combat system to try and exploit the same sort of depth of thinking, for instance, for a completely non-roleplaying game. Or even, say, a boardgame.

Envision, if you will, a game of Scrabble with a single houserule - you get minor point bonuses for forming words that form linked sentences (Alternately, all placed words must be capable of forming statements with one or more directly linked words - this may be too difficult, though). Scrabble's a pretty nuanced game as it is, and this would bring in another large aspect of language into the game. Now we have people not only thinking about words themselves and their game relationship to each other on the board, but also their logical relationships to each other in the English language.

This sort of thing isn't without problems, though. I imagine Scrabble with that additional rule might seem intimidating to newcomers, for example.

I think a good example of something like that might be the optional Gestalt ruleset for 3'rd edition. It changes the relationships of classes and forces players to think of them in new ways when building characters. Yet, because it's optional, groups won't necessarily approach the rules until they're able to understand them in the context of the system.

4'th edition, being as bare-bones as it is, shows potential for that sort of thing, I'd say.

*muses upon complexity-tiered rulesets*

Thrud
2008-06-22, 03:48 PM
You know, I started playing with the 3 little books that came in the white box. It was fun then, but I have to say I have wholeheartedly embraced the improvements in 3.x. I've been playing for 30 years, (pulls out fingers, does a little math, and realizes that it is in fact closer to 40 years. Uggh. I am getting old) Anyway, I have embraced most of the new editions along the way. I have to admit, though, that I do not like 4th much. But up until this point I have embraced most of the upgrades. I played through the bad old days when a TPK was more the norm than the exception, and though it was part of the game then I have to say it gets old.

In some respects, however, he is right. Getting a character to 10th level in the early editions was really a serious accomplishment. And now, not so much. And it did really feel like you had done something incredibly impressive to reach the double digits. But there was so much frustration along the way, that I can actually understand his view. There were many times that it was not 'fun'. But in the end, when your character reaches the end of the campaign and you are still alive, well, THAT was fun. And it proved that you were serious about the hobby, 'cause you kept playing even thought it took 15 characters dying before you reached that point.

The difference between us, though, is that although I DID do the slog through the dying characters, and did get the feeling of accomplishment at the end, I don't miss all the other stuff. And though perhaps the feeling of accomplishment is a little less at the end, it is WAY balanced out by the loss of frustration. And I think that is what each version has actually boiled down to, a way to make the game not quite so deadly.

Hmm, interesting article.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-22, 05:08 PM
Elitist? Damn right. And it's good thing too.

The USA and Canada are in the upper half of the most intelligent nations on earth, and we have an average IQ of 97. Much of developed africa is far worse, sitting around 70. The smartest nations on earth, like Japan or what used to be Hong Kong, sit around 105.

So you'll excuse me if I agree when someone says most people are morons, because they are. An IQ of 97 is someone who's difficult to tolerate for more than a sentence at a time...and that's the average in this part of the world--half of the population is worse than that. In my rather small circle of friends, I'm "average" and I sit at an IQ of 145-150 depending on the day and who's testing. So elitist? Damn right. Especially when you consider that there are other factors besides a lack of intelligence that can make someone intolerable. The types of people I can have a relatively enjoyable conversation with in real life are rather rare. For most of them I have to put on a fake smile and pretend to enjoy their pedantic drivel.

As for the original blog-post, I agree with some of what he says (particularly on RPGs,) I disagree with much as well. Entertainment and "fun" are about the only points to life to begin with--there's no deeper meaning to life and there never will be. The only difference is my view of fun is going to very different from that of most of the unwashed masses.

And yet, what a ridiculous thing to have an elitist attitude about -- ranting on childishly about how the system he played, excessively overcomplicated in ways that did nothing for verisimilitude and actually stood squarely in the way of getting around to things I consider important, such as roleplay and character development, is somehow inherently more authentic, right or ... dare I say, "hardcore."

Oh, give me a ****ing break.

If you want to get on an elitist soapbox about how the "unwashed masses" don't grasp what's important in today's world, it might be a good idea to first make sure you're talking about something that is important, such as the energy crisis that's looming over us all like a great blackout-heavy shadow while we continue to casually sip our sodas and drive our gas-guzzlers around. But a bloody game?

And even if you want to insist that we look closely at the different types of gamers and classify them according to which ones may be considered intelligent and which your "unwashed masses," what makes you think the ones who gush over mechanical complexity will fall into the former category? It seems to me, at least in my experience, that in fact it's those who put their focus on depth of character development and story who first led the drive toward simpler, more streamlined mechanics anyway. The number-crunchers always just struck me as shallow hack-and-slashers.

nagora
2008-06-22, 05:13 PM
And I suppose that part of my annoyance is that if he honestly wants to have a go at that perception, this is just about the worst possible way to do it. You don't change a person's mind by being purposefully inflamatory and rallying your own troops. You certinaly don't by treating them with a different level of respect than those who agree with you.
Sure, but if you think nothing you can say will change their minds, why not vent? At least one person will feel better! I think, really, that's a big part of what was behind writing that article.

I regularly encounter people who refuse to even consider 1ed and when they say why it's clear that they had a lousy DM or group that's spoilt it for them but they have made up their minds and just flat out blank any argument about what might be good about it.

And, what a lot of these people say is that the later editions are more fun because, frankly, they concentrate on things which are easy to make fun: levelling up, combat, new spells, magic items, and powers and so on. Sure, these are fun - not the wrong kind of fun or "unfun" - actual fun fun. But every edition has had them. I feel that it has gradually become harder to have any other type of fun in addition to this type.

The reward schedule, if you want to call it that, has become more and more focused on mechanical rewards rather than roleplaying rewards such as playing a character for literally years and developing their personality as you start to understand their position in the world and your own relation to the character, or raising children, or finding ways of gaining powers which are unique to your character, not just chosen off the same old list that everyone else uses, or whatever.

SmartAlec
2008-06-22, 05:59 PM
Wizards has made it quite clear that they're interested in a product that makes money, not something that revolutionizes the gaming industry.

Are you sure? The realisation might be that no matter what they produce, it will always be the players that make the game work. So you may as well make something as accessible as possible, and increase the number of players. Those that want a simple, easy game to relax with have it. Those that want to put in the work can make it dance.

Trying to combine the words "Roleplaying game" with "accessible" is a little revolutionary, maybe.


Sure, but if you think nothing you can say will change their minds, why not vent? At least one person will feel better! I think, really, that's a big part of what was behind writing that article.

A little negativity goes a long way, y'know.

dyslexicfaser
2008-06-22, 06:02 PM
The reward schedule, if you want to call it that, has become more and more focused on mechanical rewards rather than roleplaying rewards such as playing a character for literally years and developing their personality as you start to understand their position in the world and your own relation to the character, or raising children, or finding ways of gaining powers which are unique to your character, not just chosen off the same old list that everyone else uses, or whatever.
But why does it have to be that way?

What about 4E demands that you accept mechanical rewards instead of a roleplaying one that 1E doesn't?

Since when did 4E forbid you to fall in love, have a family and raise children (moreso than 1E, I mean; if dating and such is your cup of tea, D&D may not be for you)? Did 1E have some kind of random encounter table for dating that I was unaware of? What stops a 4E character dead in his tracks from gaining a 'power unique to your character' while a 1E character blasts off, the sky the limit?

Matthew
2008-06-22, 06:07 PM
I played through the bad old days...

Sounds like those games were not suited to you. I played through the good old days, and still do. :smallwink:



And yet, what a ridiculous thing to have an elitist attitude about -- ranting on childishly about how the system he played, excessively overcomplicated in ways that did nothing for verisimilitude and actually stood squarely in the way of getting around to things I consider important, such as roleplay and character development, is somehow inherently more authentic, right or ... dare I say, "hardcore."

Oh, give me a ****ing break.

If you want to get on an elitist soapbox about how the "unwashed masses" don't grasp what's important in today's world, it might be a good idea to first make sure you're talking about something that is important, such as the energy crisis that's looming over us all like a great blackout-heavy shadow while we continue to casually sip our sodas and drive our gas-guzzlers around. But a bloody game?

I don't find it particularly childish to be passionate about a game. In fact, if I am following him correctly, that is part of what he is saying. Much like it is okay to be passionate about sports or just about anything else, it's okay to be passionate about a game. The very same thing might be said about history. What's its value? Why rant on about people getting history wrong? Who cares if Alexander died at 30 or 35?



Did 1E have some kind of random encounter table for dating that I was unaware of?

Sure, there was the random harlot table... :smallbiggrin:

Thrud
2008-06-22, 06:17 PM
Sounds like those games were not suited to you. I played through the good old days, and still do. :smallwink:

Ehh, after having your entire party wiped out for the 3rd time due to bad rolls, it gets a little old sometimes. I LIKE roleplaying. It is hard to roleplay a corpse. Or get attached to a character when you realize his lifespan doesn't really even rival that of a mayfly, once he has made it to a dungeon.

I mean, come on, random encounter tables could wind up giving a party of 1st levels ghouls to fight, and then the whole party dies. Etc, etc, etc. Meh, that is why for the most part I have embraced the later editions. Still, I think 4th ed goes too far with its starting hitpoints in the 20s and enough curing (even 1 useable in combat) to give everyone an actual daily hitpoint total in the 50s (minimum) at 1st level.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 06:23 PM
Ehh, after having your entire party wiped out for the 3rd time due to bad rolls, it gets a little old sometimes. I LIKE roleplaying. It is hard to roleplay a corpse. Or get attached to a character when you realize his lifespan doesn't really even rival that of a mayfly, once he has made it to a dungeon.

Honestly, I haven't seen a lot of character death that wasn't warranted. I see more of it in D20 with ridiculous critical hits.



I mean, come on, random encounter tables could wind up giving a party of 1st levels ghouls to fight, and then the whole party dies. Etc, etc, etc. Meh, that is why for the most part I have embraced the later editions.

Sure, random encounter tables can be deadly, if that is how you're playing the game (and to be fair, the chance of meeting 1-4 Ghouls is pretty low). Of course, the party can always run away if a fight is too deadly, instead of being slaughtered.

nagora
2008-06-22, 06:30 PM
But why does it have to be that way?

What about 4E demands that you accept mechanical rewards instead of a roleplaying one that 1E doesn't?
The sheer frequency with which the mechanical rewards are pushed at the players, I'd say. This isn't new to 4ed.

A DM who's prepared to overrule the system can cure this, sure, but players expecting the btb reward schedule may not go along with it.

As to dating in 1ed, that was a good example of where not having rules made it easier to play. Same with all social situations, really.

JaxGaret
2008-06-22, 06:55 PM
As to dating in 1ed, that was a good example of where not having rules made it easier to play. Same with all social situations, really.

I have a 3e Marshal-Crusader of St. Cuthbert who regularly rolls to go "diplomacize himself some womens". In fact, six out of every seven nights he does this.

On the seventh night, he goes out and Intimidates his way into a fistfight :smallsmile:

Deepblue706
2008-06-22, 06:57 PM
The sheer frequency with which the mechanical rewards are pushed at the players, I'd say. This isn't new to 4ed.

A DM who's prepared to overrule the system can cure this, sure, but players expecting the btb reward schedule may not go along with it.

As to dating in 1ed, that was a good example of where not having rules made it easier to play. Same with all social situations, really.

More or less, this is my understanding, as well.

Never played 1E tho. I really want to, now.

marjan
2008-06-22, 07:30 PM
I have a 3e Marshal-Crusader of St. Cuthbert who regularly rolls to go "diplomacize himself some womens". In fact, six out of every seven nights he does this.

On the seventh night, he goes out and Intimidates his way into a fistfight :smallsmile:

Well, after six days of hard work he needs a way to relax. :smallcool:

Talya
2008-06-22, 08:37 PM
If you want to get on an elitist soapbox about how the "unwashed masses" don't grasp what's important in today's world, it might be a good idea to first make sure you're talking about something that is important, such as the energy crisis that's looming over us all like a great blackout-heavy shadow while we continue to casually sip our sodas and drive our gas-guzzlers around. But a bloody game?

And even if you want to insist that we look closely at the different types of gamers and classify them according to which ones may be considered intelligent and which your "unwashed masses," what makes you think the ones who gush over mechanical complexity will fall into the former category? It seems to me, at least in my experience, that in fact it's those who put their focus on depth of character development and story who first led the drive toward simpler, more streamlined mechanics anyway. The number-crunchers always just struck me as shallow hack-and-slashers.

Hey, that's him, not me. Like I said, I agree with some of it, and disagree entirely with much of it. I was just responding to the complaints about the OP being elitist. I have no problems with elitism.

Tormsskull
2008-06-22, 09:04 PM
I read his article and the comments, and I agree with most of them.

As far as people saying it is silly to take a hobby seriously or whatever, I disagree. I take my line of work very seriously. I want to be the very best at it, and I spend countless hours outside of my work doing so. And people would tell me I am better off for it (I have a much better chance of getting a raise/promotion, I have no problem fitting in with other professionals in my area, etc.)

If this guy is a publisher, than D&D IS his line of work. But even if he isn't, D&D was never aimed at the casual gamer. Very few people walked into a gaming store, saw a PHB, and just decided to jump into the hobby. Typically new players were sired in by other players, in a sort of passing the tradition down type of thing (at least I know that was how it was for me and the other locals in my area). Coming from that sort of background, I think it is only natural to be rough around the edges towards the opposite crowd.

Because of the way D&D was/is viewed by the mainstream, D&D has always been a niche hobby. Back in the day players took their D&D very seriously. They probably still do today, but I believe the focus has shifted.

I also find it funny when people think that old timers are being narrow minded when they say they know D&D better than newcomers. If you started D&D in 3.x, there is no question that you know less about D&D than someone who started back in OD&D or 1e. Its a simple fact of numbers. With 4 'editions' of D&D, if you only have experience with 2 of them, you are going to know less about the game as a whole than someone who has experience with all of them.

I have to say that I also found it very funny to see the responses to his article, as he was basically describing certain kinds of players, and with the responses some posters made, they were proving his points for him.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-22, 09:21 PM
I don't find it particularly childish to be passionate about a game. In fact, if I am following him correctly, that is part of what he is saying. Much like it is okay to be passionate about sports or just about anything else, it's okay to be passionate about a game.

Strawman.

I never said it's childish to be passionate about a game; instead, I described his particular brand of ranting -- labeling all who don't favor exactly his version of a particular game as somehow "unworthy" -- as childish. I have some passion about gaming, and that should be obvious simply insofar as I've ever bothered to dream up or flesh out a character. What I don't do is go on rambling, confused tirades about players of a particular version of a particular gaming system being somehow the only people deserving of respect.


The very same thing might be said about history.

No, it cannot. Stop right there and go no farther. The study of history is vastly more valuable and more important than any game, as it carries within it all of the lessons (frequently through mistakes) humanity has learned or should have learned. I reject categorically the notion that you can even compare passion for a game to placing importance on the study of history.


Hey, that's him, not me. Like I said, I agree with some of it, and disagree entirely with much of it. I was just responding to the complaints about the OP being elitist. I have no problems with elitism.

Even still, I do. Elitism leads to hubris, and hubris leads to stupid.

Thrud
2008-06-22, 09:39 PM
I also find it funny when people think that old timers are being narrow minded when they say they know D&D better than newcomers. If you started D&D in 3.x, there is no question that you know less about D&D than someone who started back in OD&D or 1e. Its a simple fact of numbers. With 4 'editions' of D&D, if you only have experience with 2 of them, you are going to know less about the game as a whole than someone who has experience with all of them.


Just as an aside, there have actually been either 6 editions or 10, depending on whether or not you count all the expansions to Basic D&D.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-22, 09:46 PM
I also find it funny when people think that old timers are being narrow minded when they say they know D&D better than newcomers. If you started D&D in 3.x, there is no question that you know less about D&D than someone who started back in OD&D or 1e. Its a simple fact of numbers. With 4 'editions' of D&D, if you only have experience with 2 of them, you are going to know less about the game as a whole than someone who has experience with all of them.

That's not actually true. You'll know less about the history of the game, but you might actually know more about the current game due to more careful study and/or more frequent use.

I know what a Grandmaster of Flowers is, and I know what the statistics requirements (you had to have certain minimum scores to qualify for the class) were to become the original monk. It would never even have occurred to me to imagine that would be remotely relevant to a discussion of how well I know D&D now. Or really relevant period. :smalltongue:

Titanium Dragon
2008-06-22, 09:53 PM
If this guy is a publisher, than D&D IS his line of work. But even if he isn't, D&D was never aimed at the casual gamer. Very few people walked into a gaming store, saw a PHB, and just decided to jump into the hobby. Typically new players were sired in by other players, in a sort of passing the tradition down type of thing (at least I know that was how it was for me and the other locals in my area). Coming from that sort of background, I think it is only natural to be rough around the edges towards the opposite crowd.

This is silly. D&D IS an overwhelmingly casual game, and D&D tournaments are looked at as bizzare by most players.


If you started D&D in 3.x, there is no question that you know less about D&D than someone who started back in OD&D or 1e.

This is, of course, blatently untrue. Time =! knowledge. Time =! skill.

There's no reason someone who has been playing longer will always be more knowledgable than newer players. Indeed, I suspect many newer players know massively more about D&D than people who played for years because they care more and do research on it, while the oldbie assumes he knows.

I suspect there is almost no correlation at all beyond the 10 year mark, and quite possibly not beyond the five year mark.

Hairb
2008-06-22, 10:03 PM
I'm done with the author of this article.

So I read the article and turned it over a bit over the course of a long walk. It left a pretty foul taste in my mouth. Essentially, behind a good deal of sophistry and admittedly eloquent writing, the article boils down to one proposition: F--- you for not playing the game the way I like it.

That's it. Sound familiar? I'll bet it does.

Remember when you where younger, and your little brother called you 'cheap' for playing Luigi in Smash Bros? Or when that guy who probably sold weed had a temper tantrum during a big Halo 2 game because people kept killing him with rockets or the shotgun/ energy sword combo and nobody ever played CTF?

As I see it, that's what this article amounts to, despite the occasionally insightful aside.

Thrud
2008-06-22, 10:18 PM
This is silly. D&D IS an overwhelmingly casual game, and D&D tournaments are looked at as bizzare by most players.

Have you ever gone to a gaming con? They are pretty popular there. And they have been at most gaming cons since their inception. Hell, some of the very best pre-gen modules came from tournament play.

Not sure what is so weird about them. You have a pre-generated character. You play through the game. You are assessed points based on how well you roleplayed based on a brief character history, how effective you were, and how you assisted the party in achieving its goal.

How is that any different than a standard game, other than the fact that you are playing with a bunch of people you have never met before? I've played in 1 or 2 over the years, using a couple of different editions. They were great fun. Of course, they require an excellent DM. I am sure I wouldn't ever want to do it.

Tormsskull
2008-06-22, 10:21 PM
Just as an aside, there have actually been either 6 editions or 10, depending on whether or not you count all the expansions to Basic D&D.

Yeah, that's why I did: 'editions'.



That's not actually true. You'll know less about the history of the game, but you might actually know more about the current game due to more careful study and/or more frequent use.




With 4 'editions' of D&D, if you only have experience with 2 of them, you are going to know less about the game as a whole than someone who has experience with all of them.


What you say is true, but it doesn't address what I was talking about. If someone has played every version of D&D ever, and made some kind of statement like "In essence, D&D is about _______", their opinion is more representative of the "D&D" brand name, product, what have you (i.e. as a whole), than if someone who had only played 3.x and 4e made the same statement.



This is silly. D&D IS an overwhelmingly casual game, and D&D tournaments are looked at as bizzare by most players.


What definite of casual are you working off I wonder? IMO tag is a casual game. There's no real depth to it, the rules are simple, most anyone can play.

What to you is a casual game?



This is, of course, blatently untrue. Time =! knowledge. Time =! skill.


Experience = knowledge. I'm not sure where skill came in. I wasn't trying to prove who is 'better' at D&D (completely subjective and unprovable).



There's no reason someone who has been playing longer will always be more knowledgable than newer players. Indeed, I suspect many newer players know massively more about D&D than people who played for years because they care more and do research on it, while the oldbie assumes he knows.


But look at your own statement. You start off saying Time =! knowledge (which, as an aside, shouldn't it be '!='?), then you say "There's no reason someone who has been playing longer will always be more..." which would tell me you agree in most cases it is true. Afterwords, you are going completely off what you think by your own admission.



I suspect there is almost no correlation at all beyond the 10 year mark, and quite possibly not beyond the five year mark.


I would disagree, but I'm sure there is no way for either of us to prove the other incorrect.

EvilElitest
2008-06-22, 10:35 PM
This is silly. D&D IS an overwhelmingly casual game, and D&D tournaments are looked at as bizzare by most players.

Ignoring your utter lack of backing here, (through i agree on the tournament thing) i ask you, how is it causal, at least 3E or 2E? It takes a good deal of commitment play. I don't imagine 3E being very casual, through 4E is aimed to be entirely casual




This is, of course, blatently untrue. Time =! knowledge. Time =! skill.

There's no reason someone who has been playing longer will always be more knowledgable than newer players. Indeed, I suspect many newer players know massively more about D&D than people who played for years because they care more and do research on it, while the oldbie assumes he knows.

Experience? Veterans. People who have experienced more do tend to know


Even still, I do. Elitism leads to hubris, and hubris leads to stupid.
Elitism leads to arrogance, which does not always lead to hubris. When somebody says they understand something better (and this article isn't the issue as of yet) that doesn't mean they are wrong
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Indon
2008-06-22, 10:35 PM
Are you sure? The realisation might be that no matter what they produce, it will always be the players that make the game work. So you may as well make something as accessible as possible, and increase the number of players. Those that want a simple, easy game to relax with have it. Those that want to put in the work can make it dance.
Wizards is basically producing a mechanically refined version of AD&D - there's nothing revolutionary about that. It's playing it safe and profitable. And let's not forget, they seem to be regretting the first time they revolutionized anything because the fact that they couldn't top it anymore meant they could lose out on money (that revolution being the OGL).


Trying to combine the words "Roleplaying game" with "accessible" is a little revolutionary, maybe.

Make-believe is, even completely without rules, pretty accessible as it stands. What Wizards' strategy is (and has been since they got the rights to D&D) is to popularize roleplaying and bring it further into the cultural mainstream.

It's a very good business strategy, and I personally think it led to the OGL, so I was pretty happy with it for some time. Now it's leading them in a direction away from enhancing the game, experimenting, that sort of thing, in order to produce an easily-tested and easily-established product.

Good business sense. But that's all.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-22, 10:50 PM
Elitism leads to arrogance, which does not always lead to hubris.

Arrogance is hubris. Hubris is arrogance. "Arrogance" is actually a listed definition for the word "hubris." They are synonyms.


When somebody says they understand something better (and this article isn't the issue as of yet) that doesn't mean they are wrong

You can state that you understand a thing better without being arrogant. Neither elitism nor arrogance is a prerequisite for being knowledgeable or teaching others what you've learned, and in fact both are immediate obstacles to the latter concern and can quickly become obstacles to the former as well.

dyslexicfaser
2008-06-22, 11:19 PM
Arrogance is hubris. Hubris is arrogance. "Arrogance" is actually a listed definition for the word "hubris." They are synonyms.

Hubris, though, has a certain connotation suggesting that bad things are about to follow due to the person's enormous arrogance, right? The Greek "Wheel of Fortune", and all that.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-23, 01:34 AM
Hubris, though, has a certain connotation suggesting that bad things are about to follow due to the person's enormous arrogance, right? The Greek "Wheel of Fortune", and all that.

Okay, but why do you suppose bad things would be portrayed as a price of arrogance?

In any case, there's no question in my mind that arrogance is the dangerous path of fools. History bears that out.

Matthew
2008-06-23, 07:03 AM
I never said it's childish to be passionate about a game; instead, I described his particular brand of ranting -- labeling all who don't favor exactly his version of a particular game as somehow "unworthy" -- as childish. I have some passion about gaming, and that should be obvious simply insofar as I've ever bothered to dream up or flesh out a character. What I don't do is go on rambling, confused tirades about players of a particular version of a particular gaming system being somehow the only people deserving of respect.

I don't think his rant was childish, nor do I think he is labelling anybody "unworthy" because they play a different game to him.



No, it cannot. Stop right there and go no farther. The study of history is vastly more valuable and more important than any game, as it carries within it all of the lessons (frequently through mistakes) humanity has learned or should have learned. I reject categorically the notion that you can even compare passion for a game to placing importance on the study of history.

Sorry, but it can. You can reject the notion all you like, and indeed the comparison was intended to be controversial, but history is viewed by the vast majority of the population as interesting (maybe), but worthless because it has no practical value. When it comes to creating value for history degrees and demonstrating that to employers, it's always the methodology involved that is pushed, which is to say the skills acquired by studying history.

To put it another way, we create value for things, and what may seem objectively valuable to one person, may turn out to be seen as objectively worthless to another.

Roog
2008-06-23, 07:06 AM
Experience = knowledge.

There may be a corelation between length of time playing and knowledge of the game (due to experience), but you stated...

I also find it funny when people think that old timers are being narrow minded when they say they know D&D better than newcomers. If you started D&D in 3.x, there is no question that you know less about D&D than someone who started back in OD&D or 1e. Its a simple fact of numbers. With 4 'editions' of D&D, if you only have experience with 2 of them, you are going to know less about the game as a whole than someone who has experience with all of them.

That boils a large range of different experiences down to the simple calculation of "How many versions of D&D have you played"? And that is rubbish. Anyone who thinks for a second or two should be able to construct a decent counter example.

Experience is no bar to narrow-mindedness (but neither is inexperience).

nagora
2008-06-23, 07:22 AM
Arrogance is hubris. Hubris is arrogance. "Arrogance" is actually a listed definition for the word "hubris." They are synonyms.
Not quite. Arrogance is the unwarranted assumption or claim of superiority, hubris is more like pride and can be based on a genuine superiority which is over-extrapolated. In other words: arrogance is based on delusion about your ability, whereas hubris is about thinking that your higher ability makes you better than others as a person.

Clearly, there is overlap between then two but there are very few straight synonyms in English. Which is a good thing.

hamlet
2008-06-23, 01:24 PM
Maybe we can stop arguing about whether the guy's blog post was insulting or not and maybe discuss his point: that 3.x and 4.0, in his opinion, seem designed to foster the "D&D as entertainment" more than "D&D as hobby."

I happen to agree with him on a certain level.

Yes, D&D is, to me, always entertaining, even when I'm putting in hours on a new adventure for the group that I'm going to subject them to (*insert evil chuckle here*). It's entertaining.

But at the same time, it can be so much more. It can be very rewarding in terms of accomplishment. In my view (and presumably the bloggers view) third and fourth edition provide so much pre-boxed and shrink wrapped bits of "fun" that they end up looking more like entertainment than a hobby.

Not sure what I mean? There's an easy way to demonstrate the difference as I see it:

Sometime a few weeks ago, somebody came in here asking about how to build a swashbuckler type guy.

The answer from each editions designers would be telling.

1st edition: You'll want to have a fighter or thief, or possibly multi-class demi-human, who is very dextrous and wields light weapons such as daggers, long swords (which we can call a rapier) and the like. He tends to dresh flamboyantly and has a penchant for swinging from chandeliers.

3rd edition: Just use the swashbuckler base class (or prestige class as I think there was actually one or two of each) and make sure to max out ranks in tumble, acrobatics, and perform: swordsmanship.

On the one hand, the answer to how to be a swashbuckler is all in the execution. It's not a matter of rules, it's how you play the character. On the other, it basically becomes "choose the right class and skills." A pre-packaged version that, in some people's minds, cheats them out of their chance to do it in the first place.

The difference is between the "pre-packaged deck building" model and the "here is the canvas and here is your brush" model. The paint by numbers analogy is great, if a little dismissive because 3rd edition literally gives you defined blank spots to "paint" according to a pre-determined group of choices. AD&D hands you a brush and a blank canvas and says "have at it."

Neither is superior than the other, except in terms of personal preference, but I do think that the blogger has a good point when he says that 3.x and 4.0 seem to be geared to a "plug and play" mind set: that you can just pick it up out of the box with little or no learning required* and literally assemble a character that way.

*Which is strangely ironic considering the hyper-intricacy that the d20 rules engender to the point where a simple concept - attack of opportunity - engenders "discussions" that are 30+ pages long.

SamTheCleric
2008-06-23, 01:37 PM
This blog seems to be par-for-the-course on the internet... nothing new.

"I have an opinion, and since its mine... its better than yours, and I want everyone to know it, but everyone reading it is probably wrong anyway and they are stupid."

That sums up 99% of the internet that isn't porn.

Jayabalard
2008-06-23, 01:51 PM
I don't think you understand what the word elitist means if you think that what Tengu said was elitist, and what you are stating here is not.“Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!” ~ George Carlin

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-23, 01:59 PM
Sorry, but it can. You can reject the notion all you like, and indeed the comparison was intended to be controversial, but history is viewed by the vast majority of the population as interesting (maybe), but worthless because it has no practical value.

If a billion people do a dumb thing, it is still a dumb thing. History can be demonstrated as objectively valuable on the basis that it can be referred to in order to study mistakes previously made by human beings, thereby providing us with the information necessary to grasp what went wrong, why it probably went wrong, and from that "why" ... how we can avoid doing the same foolish thing all over again.

That's not to say we've done a very good job of actually doing this, as we repeat our mistakes constantly. But that actually only proves the objective value of the study of history.


When it comes to creating value for history degrees and demonstrating that to employers, it's always the methodology involved that is pushed, which is to say the skills acquired by studying history.

"Objectively valuable" and "useful for gaining employment" are not the same things. A thing that's useful for gaining employment can be objectively valuable on that basis, but a thing need not be useful for gaining employment in order to be objectively valuable.


Not quite. Arrogance is the unwarranted assumption or claim of superiority, hubris is more like pride and can be based on a genuine superiority which is over-extrapolated. In other words: arrogance is based on delusion about your ability, whereas hubris is about thinking that your higher ability makes you better than others as a person.

Clearly, there is overlap between then two but there are very few straight synonyms in English. Which is a good thing.

If there was ever such a sharp distinction in meanings, I'm pretty certain it's gone for all intents and purposes. I've certainly never seen any valid authority assert that "arrogance" cannot refer to excessive pride over an actual measure of superiority or seeming superiority (for example, a higher IQ score than a given other person), nor have I seen any that supports your assertion (rather, hubris is a "presumption toward the gods").

I could be wrong, however. I'm using several dictionaries as a source for my position. May I know your supporting source?

Matthew
2008-06-23, 02:10 PM
If a billion people do a dumb thing, it is still a dumb thing. History can be demonstrated as objectively valuable on the basis that it can be referred to in order to study mistakes previously made by human beings, thereby providing us with the information necessary to grasp what went wrong, why it probably went wrong, and from that "why" ... how we can avoid doing the same foolish thing all over again.

That's not to say we've done a very good job of actually doing this, as we repeat our mistakes constantly. But that actually only proves the objective value of the study of history.

History has no objective value, if you can demonstrate that it does, please feel free to, but vaguely saying "we learn from the mistakes of others" is not sufficient evidence. There is no absolute truth in history, there are just our subjective perceptions of the past. What we do with that information may have value to us, but it doesn't have an objective value.



"Objectively valuable" and "useful for gaining employment" are not the same things. A thing that's useful for gaining employment can be objectively valuable on that basis, but a thing need not be useful for gaining employment in order to be objectively valuable.

I never said they were. I said that the majority of the population views history as practically worthless (and hell, I could be wrong about that, but my experience tells me otherwise). Nothing has an objective value, things only have the value we invest them with.

To put it another way, you may value history above games, you may value the energy crisis above history, but that is only one value structure. By saying "gaming isn't important enough to rant about (or whatever)" you are imposing your value structure on his essay. That's not to say you are isolated, far from it, I imagine many people share that prioritisation, but it does pretty much miss one of the points of the essay, which is that he considers it important enough to rant about.

Demonstrate why he is wrong, by all means, I may well even agree with your assessment, but simply being dismissive of his opinions is not an adequete refutation, in my opinion.

SmartAlec
2008-06-23, 02:23 PM
History has no objective value, if you can demonstrate that it does, please feel free to, but vaguely saying "we learn from the mistakes of others" is not sufficient evidence.

What do you mean by 'History'? Art History is useful for artists, critics and architects. Political History is useful for diplomats. Military history is not about perception, but about data. History of Philosophy, History of Science, History of Fashion, History of Culture, History of Medicine... there are lots of different kinds of history, and many of them have a lot of bearing on the subject in the present.

Matthew
2008-06-23, 02:27 PM
What do you mean by 'History'? Art History is useful for artists, critics and architects. Political History is useful for diplomats. Military history is not about perception, but about data. History of Philosophy, History of Science, History of Fashion, History of Culture, History of Medicine... there are lots of different kinds of history, and many of them have a lot of bearing on the subject in the present.

Indeed they do, but all of those are subjectively valued (and I readily admit that history has a subjective value), which is to say they are not equally valued by each individual.

snoopy13a
2008-06-23, 02:35 PM
Hardcore players can either use old editions of DnD (I'm sure one can pick up any edition via e-bay) or they can make up their own game with the same basic rules.

With the internet allowing thousands of hardcore roleplayers being able to communicate rather easily, I'm sure that hardcore players can collectively come up with a suitable alternative to DnD. Thus, I don't understand what the complaining is about. People who consider themselves hardcore ought to be able to "kick it oldschool" or create their own hardcore game.

SmartAlec
2008-06-23, 02:46 PM
Indeed they do, but all of those are subjectively valued (and I readily admit that history has a subjective value), which is to say they are not equally valued by each individual.

But here the whole point is turned on its' head. The various branches of history are useful to those who use them in day-to-day life, but ultimately not useful for someone else. Neither of these viewpoints is subjective; and either both of them are valid as a form of truth, or neither of them are. This makes the article-writer's authority to judge others somewhat rocky. It may not be childish to have passion, but it is foolish, for example, for a Classic Historian to verbally berate others for forgetting the contribution the Roman Empire made towards worldwide civilisation. He may be right, but that doesn't stop his point of view being almost irrelevant.

Matthew
2008-06-23, 02:54 PM
But here the whole point is turned on its' head. The various branches of history are useful to those who use them in day-to-day life, but ultimately not useful for someone else. Neither of these viewpoints is subjective; and either both of them are valid as a form of truth, or neither of them are. This makes the article-writer's authority to judge others somewhat rocky. It may not be childish to have passion, but it is foolish, for example, for a Classic Historian to verbally berate others for forgetting the contribution the Roman Empire made towards worldwide civilisation. He may be right, but that doesn't stop his point of view being almost irrelevant.

Yes, and for those individuals those subjects in those contexts are absolutely useful, but that does not mean that the subjects themselves have an absolute value. I don't know in what ways the author feels D&D is useful (though I could make a fair guess from some of his other articles), but I do know that he considers it valuable enough to rant about.

He may well be wrong in numerous and explicable ways (there's plenty of stuff in there I don't necessarily agree with), but let's address the content of the essay and not simply dismiss it as valueless or childish without exposition.

hamlet
2008-06-23, 02:55 PM
Hardcore players can either use old editions of DnD (I'm sure one can pick up any edition via e-bay) or they can make up their own game with the same basic rules.

With the internet allowing thousands of hardcore roleplayers being able to communicate rather easily, I'm sure that hardcore players can collectively come up with a suitable alternative to DnD. Thus, I don't understand what the complaining is about. People who consider themselves hardcore ought to be able to "kick it oldschool" or create their own hardcore game.

Yes, but WOTC has effectively made it illegal for us to publish new material even at a non-profit level, for our version of the game that they own.

If I recall correctly, WOTC has actually hassled the guys who put OSRIC together from time to time, even though it conforms to the original OGL, just not a D20 game.

They really are trying their best to make those of us who don't want to play D20 feel unwelcome.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-23, 03:35 PM
Yes, but WOTC has effectively made it illegal for us to publish new material even at a non-profit level, for our version of the game that they own.

If I recall correctly, WOTC has actually hassled the guys who put OSRIC together from time to time, even though it conforms to the original OGL, just not a D20 game.

They really are trying their best to make those of us who don't want to play D20 feel unwelcome.

That's US Copyright law for you.

Mind you, there's nothing stopping you from making your own system not based off of D20, or playing another RPG. And they can't stop you from using the books you already own to play your own, private games. If they can't see you, they can't get you :smallwink:

Matthew
2008-06-23, 03:42 PM
Yes, but WOTC has effectively made it illegal for us to publish new material even at a non-profit level, for our version of the game that they own.

If I recall correctly, WOTC has actually hassled the guys who put OSRIC together from time to time, even though it conforms to the original OGL, just not a D20 game.

They really are trying their best to make those of us who don't want to play D20 feel unwelcome.



That's US Copyright law for you.

Mind you, there's nothing stopping you from making your own system not based off of D20, or playing another RPG. And they can't stop you from using the books you already own to play your own, private games. If they can't see you, they can't get you :smallwink:

Heh, heh. Nah, WotC hasn't made any overt moves against OSRIC. As I understand it, there was an exchange of communications between the relevant parties, but nothing came of it. Mike Mearls even went so far as to indicate he was pleased that OSRIC exists.

In addition, WotC have made no moves against Dragonsfoot, which explicitly does publish free pdf based material for BD&D and AD&D.

I doubt that WotC considers Dragonsfoot, Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC to be any more serious a competitor than Castles & Crusades. Coming down on them would probably be more trouble in bad publicity than it is worth (and thus create good publicity for the very systems they seek to bury).

hamlet
2008-06-23, 03:45 PM
That's US Copyright law for you.

Mind you, there's nothing stopping you from making your own system not based off of D20, or playing another RPG. And they can't stop you from using the books you already own to play your own, private games. If they can't see you, they can't get you :smallwink:

All true, however, it does not negate the fact that WOTC has aggressively pursued the mind set of making AD&D (which they own) not viable for future development in a public way.

We (meaning myself and a nubmer of other people of like mind) have asked WOTC to make available the rules of AD&D available as they did the OGL so that we can at least put out new stuff without fear of the lawyers of doom, but that is simply not a viable option according to WOTC.

Their rational? They dont' want to permit a product that would compete with the current D&D version.

Yeah, the guys who are willing to pay you for AD&D products but wouldn't shell out a plugged nickle for any d20 products.:smallmad::smallfurious:

WOTC has stolen our game and refuses to give it back.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-23, 04:16 PM
WOTC has stolen our game and refuses to give it back.

Correction: after they bought the copyright from TSR, AD&D became their game. Wisely, they are seeking to maximize the value of this IP by funneling our RPG dollars towards 4e, rather than allow people to play and develop for 2e without paying.

They do not have a monopoly on RPGs, by the way. Feel free to give your money to one of the many small-scale publishers who are making excellent games at a fraction of the price of WotC products. But if you want to play with WotC's ball, expect to pay for the privilege.

hamlet
2008-06-23, 04:34 PM
Correction: after they bought the copyright from TSR, AD&D became their game. Wisely, they are seeking to maximize the value of this IP by funneling our RPG dollars towards 4e, rather than allow people to play and develop for 2e without paying.

They do not have a monopoly on RPGs, by the way. Feel free to give your money to one of the many small-scale publishers who are making excellent games at a fraction of the price of WotC products. But if you want to play with WotC's ball, expect to pay for the privilege.

You misunderstand: I'm willing to pay to play with their ball, but they refuse to even take the money.

The first request, and one I send every so often, is for them to act as publisher for AD&D products (yes, the IP belongs to them, and I'm willing to let them hold it) that we write. We will pay them for the priveledge to use their IP and send any profit from sales to them too. This is a win win for them.

But, yes, you're right, they want to funnel our dollars into the current version. In the end, though, they've pretty much assured that they aren't getting a thin red cent out of a statistically significant portion of the population.

Tormsskull
2008-06-23, 04:50 PM
If they can't see you, they can't get you :smallwink:

Why am I picturing a bunch of naked people with dice in their hands sitting around a table saying "Wooohoooo! We're invisible!"

Jade_Tarem
2008-06-23, 04:59 PM
Why am I picturing a bunch of naked people with dice in their hands sitting around a table saying "Wooohoooo! We're invisible!"

You shouldn't believe everything you're told about people who play DnD.

hamlet
2008-06-23, 05:08 PM
Why am I picturing a bunch of naked people with dice in their hands sitting around a table saying "Wooohoooo! We're invisible!"

You've been watching my games!

nagora
2008-06-23, 05:22 PM
Yes, and for those individuals those subjects in those contexts are absolutely useful, but that does not mean that the subjects themselves have an absolute value.
Surely, though, a lesson is valuable regardless of whether anyone takes heed of it or not? Surely we can say that having an example to learn from is objectively more valuable than not having that lession available should we desire to look at it? Having the option is objectively better than not having it.

Matthew
2008-06-23, 05:33 PM
Surely, though, a lesson is valuable regardless of whether anyone takes heed of it or not? Surely we can say that having an example to learn from is objectively more valuable than not having that lession available should we desire to look at it? Having the option is objectively better than not having it.

Only if learning is considered to be absolutely valuable. Even then, though, all we can say is that having a lesson available (X) to learn from is more valuable than having no lesson (Y), it's actual value would remain unknown (perhaps unknowable) and subjective.

turkishproverb
2008-06-23, 05:33 PM
Heh, heh. Nah, WotC hasn't made any overt moves against OSRIC. As I understand it, there was an exchange of communications between the relevant parties, but nothing came of it. Mike Mearls even went so far as to indicate he was pleased that OSRIC exists.

In addition, WotC have made no moves against Dragonsfoot, which explicitly does publish free pdf based material for BD&D and AD&D.

I doubt that WotC considers Dragonsfoot, Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC to be any more serious a competitor than Castles & Crusades. Coming down on them would probably be more trouble in bad publicity than it is worth (and thus create good publicity for the very systems they seek to bury).

On the other hand, they did refuse to renew Kenzerco's license to make Hackmaster based off of AD&D.

Then again, kenzerco didn't fight that hard....

nagora
2008-06-23, 05:36 PM
Yes, but WOTC has effectively made it illegal for us to publish new material even at a non-profit level, for our version of the game that they own.
I don't think that is in their power to do.

turkishproverb
2008-06-23, 05:38 PM
I don't think that is in their power to do.

It is. Digital Millenium copyright act baby. You can be sued for making something that interacts with a game thats not yours, even if you built the expanded part yourself and distributed it for free.

Blizzard sued a bunch of people for creating a Battle.net emulator, for example.

Matthew
2008-06-23, 05:40 PM
On the other hand, they did refuse to renew Kenzerco's license to make Hackmaster based off of AD&D.

Then again, kenzerco didn't fight that hard....

Actually, according to what I remember of what Kenzer said on their forums, Kenzer & Company refused to pay the fee WotC were asking for. The obstacles that WotC created for them during the period of the license were also apparently a factor.

Kenzer & Company were producing AD&D compatable adventures legally (and which are still for sale) before they ever got involved with the license, and they still could if they wanted. It seems that they just decided to go their own way.

The whole Dragon Archive CD fiasco is said to have given K&C some leverage over WotC, but I don't know anything about that.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-23, 05:46 PM
Indeed they do, but all of those are subjectively valued (and I readily admit that history has a subjective value), which is to say they are not equally valued by each individual.

But that's not what objective and subjective mean.

Something is objective if it is not influenced by personal feelings or prejudice and is based only on fact. It's objectively true that if I touch a hot stove, my skin will burn, and I will experience pain. Likewise, it's objectively true that previous civilizations have collapsed as a result of shortsighted overconsumption of resources. One is a lesson learned through personal experience; the other is a lesson learned through study of history, and both are objectively useful lessons one can use to avoid making the same mistake over and over again.

By contrast, if I said that Cheng I Sao was the greatest pirate ever, that would be my subjective take based on the objective facts regarding her exploits.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-23, 05:48 PM
I don't think that is in their power to do.

Well, this isn't even DMCA stuff. If you make a new module or anything based off of an existing system, then you are making a "derivative work" which is protected under the original copyright. This is why it is illegal to make Harry Potter fanfics or those Chinese "sequels."

And no, "Fair Use" isn't a license to infringe on copyright as long as you don't sell a thing. If JK Rowling wanted to, she could sue every Harry Potter fanfic writer that exists, and still have a colorable claim under US law.

I admit I'm not certain exactly what parts of a game system are copyrightable, I'm fairly sure that cases must exist that allow WotC to forbid the creation of derivative works based off of their older systems.

Matthew
2008-06-23, 06:18 PM
But that's not what objective and subjective mean.

Something is objective if it is not influenced by personal feelings or prejudice and is based only on fact. It's objectively true that if I touch a hot stove, my skin will burn, and I will experience pain. Likewise, it's objectively true that previous civilizations have collapsed as a result of shortsighted overconsumption of resources. One is a lesson learned through personal experience; the other is a lesson learned through study of history, and both are objectively useful lessons one can use to avoid making the same mistake over and over again.

By contrast, if I said that Cheng I Sao was the greatest pirate ever, that would be my subjective take based on the objective facts regarding her exploits.

There are things that you can say are objectively true, and most people will accept, such as that the sun is hot or that the earth is firm, but they require agreement as to the nature of reality. They require you and I to agree that we are witnessing the same things and that we are interpreting the same things the same way. If you say "it is objectively true that if I touch a hot stove, my skin will burn, and I will experience pain", that is a prediction based on your perceptions of physical reality, and one that I will agree with. Once the event is over, you can only describe it in retrospect and present the evidence of your burnt hands to substantiate what happened, but there is no absolute evidence of that reality beyond the agreement between you and I that it happened (at least no evidence that we can perceive). Reality is itself subject to our perceptions of it. Indeed, if seven different people witnessed you burn your hands, there would be no doubt seven different accounts of how it happened, especially if any time is put between the event and the accounts.

Similarly, the fact that previous civilisations existed and collapsed is true to the best of our knowledge and ability to establish, but it is still a function of our agreement that it happened, because we can never know something to be absolutely true, even those things that we experience. Humans are incapable of being objective, we can only ever try to be objective.

Of course, that is just my opinion. We can go round and round discussing the philosophical contentions surrounding objectivity and subjectivity.

However, that's not what we're discussing. We're discussing values, not events. The author considers D&D to be valuable enough to rant about (presumably because it is important to him), you don't, big deal. That is your opinion, and it is no more valid than his.

chiasaur11
2008-06-23, 06:39 PM
There are things that you can say are objectively true, and most people will accept, such as that the sun is hot or that the earth is firm, but they require agreement as to the nature of reality. They require you and I to agree that we are witnessing the same things and that we are interpreting the same things the same way. If you say "it is objectively true that if I touch a hot stove, my skin will burn, and I will experience pain", that is a prediction based on your perceptions of physical reality, and one that I will agree with. Once the event is over, you can only describe it in retrospect and present the evidence of your burnt hands to substantiate what happened, but there is no absolute evidence of that reality beyond the agreement between you and I. Reality is itself subject to our perceptions of it. Indeed, if seven different people witnessed you burn your hands, there would be no doubt seven different accounts of how it happened, especially if any time is put between the event and the accounts.

Similarly, the fact that previous civilisations existed and collapsed is true to the best of our knowledge and ability to establish, but it is still a function of our agreement that it happened, because we can never know something to be absolutely true, even those things that we experience. Humans are incapable of being objective, we can only ever try to be objective.

Of course, that is just my opinion. We can go round and round discussing the philosophical contentions surrounding objectivity and subjectivity.

However, that's not what we're discussing. We're discussing values, not events. The author considers D&D to be valuable enough to rant about (presumably because it is important to him), you don't, big deal. That is your opinion, and it is no more valid than his.

Uh-oh, the thread is starting to debate if reality exists. This seldom ends well. Soon both sides just stop acknowledging the other exists, and next thing you know, everyone is a figment of Tommy Westphall's imagination, and frankly, I don't like St. Elsewhere that much.

Matthew
2008-06-23, 06:42 PM
Uh-oh, the thread is starting to debate if reality exists. This seldom ends well. Soon both sides just stop acknowledging the other exists, and next thing you know, everyone is a figment of Tommy Westphall's imagination, and frankly, I don't like St. Elsewhere that much.

Hey, I am not saying we should debate the nature of reality, far from it, only that other points of view legitimately exist and are equally valid, even if they are disagreeable. :smallwink:

By all means let us discuss the substance of the essay, but let's not simply dismiss it because it does not conform to our sense of value prioritisation. If it is a worthless essay, let's demonstrate why. Of course, if someone considers it so worthless that it deserves no discussion, then they are under no obligation to do so.

Tormsskull
2008-06-23, 07:36 PM
But that's not what objective and subjective mean.


I took a law class like 6 months ago, and one of examples the professor kept giving is that there are facts, and then there are opinions (quite similar to something that is objective, and something that is subjective).

For example, when you say "If I touch a hot stove, my skin will burn". That is subjective, because to you what may be hot, may not actually reach a temperature that would burn the human skin. An objective statement of the same issue would be "If I touch a stove that is 800 degrees, my skin will burn".

The way I always learned it (from that class and prior) is objective is something that is a constant fact. Subjective is a person's opinion or take or view on something.

So when you say:



Likewise, it's objectively true that previous civilizations have collapsed as a result of shortsighted overconsumption of resources.


Since it isn't a fact that a particular civilization fell due to shortsighted overconsumption of resources (i.e. it is a historian's best guess), it isn't an objective statement. It might be a hypothesis (an educated guess), but it is still a guess.

Now, all that considered, I am huge into history, so I would not try to debate that history has no value, so don't take that assumption from my post.

Oh, and Matthew, I find myself agreeing with you often times, but I am pleading the fifth on this:



There are things that you can say are objectively true, and most people will accept, such as that the sun is hot or that the earth is firm, but they require agreement as to the nature of reality.


:smalltongue:

Matthew
2008-06-23, 07:41 PM
Now, all that considered, I am huge into history, so I would not try to debate that history has no value, so don't take that assumption from my post.

Well, history is my vocation, I am not saying it has no value, just that it has no objective value (because I hold that nothing does, which is to say all value is conditional).



Oh, and Matthew, I find myself agreeing with you often times, but I am pleading the fifth on this:

Hey, take it up with the philosophers. :smallbiggrin:

To be clear, I don't subscribe to subjective reality, but my understanding of objective reality is that it is also an unprovable assumption, meaning that it is founded on our agreement that it exists.

Riffington
2008-06-23, 08:17 PM
Well, this isn't even DMCA stuff. If you make a new module or anything based off of an existing system, then you are making a "derivative work" which is protected under the original copyright. This is why it is illegal to make Harry Potter fanfics or those Chinese "sequels."

And no, "Fair Use" isn't a license to infringe on copyright as long as you don't sell a thing. If JK Rowling wanted to, she could sue every Harry Potter fanfic writer that exists, and still have a colorable claim under US law.

I admit I'm not certain exactly what parts of a game system are copyrightable, I'm fairly sure that cases must exist that allow WotC to forbid the creation of derivative works based off of their older systems.

A module that uses a previous system but does not republish the material found in the previous system is not a derivative work. Harry Potter Fanfic is not a derivative work.

I may create new 2nd edition classes and modules without the permission of TSR. I can't republish the rules in doing so, but I can make those modules. You may write crappy Harry Potter Fanfic so long as you don't make excessive use of Rowling's characters.

So the real problem is Trademark. It's tough to make clear that a module is for AD&D without infringing on the trademarks... but certainly possible.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-23, 08:29 PM
A module that uses a previous system but does not republish the material found in the previous system is not a derivative work. Harry Potter Fanfic is not a derivative work.

Section 101 of the US Copyright Act says otherwise:

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

Emphasis mine. Do you have a case which argues for your definition?

EDIT: I agree that Trademark may be the more relevant area of law (stupid overlap...) and that in any case, a rules system for a game may be a mechanism which cannot have copyright protection. I don't know myself.

That said, it seems clear to me that Harry Potter Fanfic must be a derivative work because it uses the characters of the Harry Potter books.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-06-24, 12:08 AM
There are things that you can say are objectively true, and most people will accept, such as that the sun is hot or that the earth is firm, but they require agreement as to the nature of reality. They require you and I to agree that we are witnessing the same things and that we are interpreting the same things the same way. If you say "it is objectively true that if I touch a hot stove, my skin will burn, and I will experience pain", that is a prediction based on your perceptions of physical reality, and one that I will agree with. Once the event is over, you can only describe it in retrospect and present the evidence of your burnt hands to substantiate what happened, but there is no absolute evidence of that reality beyond the agreement between you and I that it happened (at least no evidence that we can perceive). Reality is itself subject to our perceptions of it. Indeed, if seven different people witnessed you burn your hands, there would be no doubt seven different accounts of how it happened, especially if any time is put between the event and the accounts.

Similarly, the fact that previous civilisations existed and collapsed is true to the best of our knowledge and ability to establish, but it is still a function of our agreement that it happened, because we can never know something to be absolutely true, even those things that we experience. Humans are incapable of being objective, we can only ever try to be objective.

Of course, that is just my opinion. We can go round and round discussing the philosophical contentions surrounding objectivity and subjectivity.

Now you're picking nits. Worse, you're delving into epistemology. If you want to begin questioning what we can know to that extent, you're now in the realm of David Hume, and we can cast aside any discussion of objectivity at all because we've taken upon ourselves to reject the very idea of objectivity, or at least of our ability to perceive an objective reality and know for certain that's what we're perceiving. I don't quite know how, having first assumed that, you can then discuss much of anything else to do with physical reality in any meaningful way. When you can't even agree that we can know for sure that walking in front of a fast-moving car is dangerous, or even that the car is actually there, I'm not even sure how you can survive a day in the city if you actually believe what you're saying.

Still, that would be fine if we were in fact discussing epistemology, but we're not, or at least we weren't. We are, or were, discussing the definition of the word "objective," and we only got to that because it seems to have become a matter of terrible import here that we focus on semantics (and now epistemology) to the exclusion of the original point. I don't want to complain unduly, but it seems we're just rapidly changing subjects without ever resolving anything.

And as your argument was basically the thrust of every other reply I got, I'll leave this as my reply to all.

Tormsskull
2008-06-24, 05:49 AM
I don't want to complain unduly, but it seems we're just rapidly changing subjects without ever resolving anything.


Are you new here? Welcome to the internet.

Matthew
2008-06-24, 05:55 AM
When you can't even agree that we can know for sure that walking in front of a fast-moving car is dangerous, or even that the car is actually there, I'm not even sure how you can survive a day in the city if you actually believe what you're saying.

I don't know if you bothered to read on, but no, I do not subscribe to subjective reality. You moved the subject from values to events, as though objectivity can be equally applied to both.



I don't want to complain unduly, but it seems we're just rapidly changing subjects without ever resolving anything.

Again, that is because you chose to change the discussion from whether opinions and theories can have an objective value to whether events have an objective reality.



And as your argument was basically the thrust of every other reply I got, I'll leave this as my reply to all.

I should say quite the same.

nagora
2008-06-24, 06:04 AM
It is. Digital Millenium copyright act baby. You can be sued for making something that interacts with a game thats not yours, even if you built the expanded part yourself and distributed it for free.

Blizzard sued a bunch of people for creating a Battle.net emulator, for example.

Totally different case (although wrong as a point of law-not that that ever hampered a judge). Reverse engineering is not required in order to release a module for AD&D, nor are any of the triggers for the DMCA's special powers relevent, as far as I can see.

Also, US copyright law specifically directs judges to consider the degree of harm done to the copyright holder in deciding whether to grant an injunction.

Since AD&D is still being sold in PDF format, it would be trivial to show that a module is in fact helping WotC's official business. Any attempt to suppress such work would be unlikely to gain any traction in a court and may even itself be illegal, given that Hasbro has a responsibility to maximise profit for its shareholders.

nagora
2008-06-24, 06:09 AM
Only if learning is considered to be absolutely valuable.
Which it clearly is. If you can think of an argument as to why knowing the past outcomes of actions you might be considering could be inherently of no value I'd be fairly amazed.


Even then, though, all we can say is that having a lesson available (X) to learn from is more valuable than having no lesson (Y), it's actual value would remain unknown (perhaps unknowable) and subjective.
Sure, but there is value. A room is warmer than another room even if we don't have a thermometer.

Matthew
2008-06-24, 06:22 AM
Which it clearly is. If you can think of an argument as to why knowing the past outcomes of actions you might be considering could be inherently of no value I'd be fairly amazed.

A person would have to be opposed to informed decisions, and believe that only instinctive reactions have any true value. Alternatively, they could hold that decisions influenced by past decisions are compromised or tainted in some way. Crazy, but possible viewpoints to hold.



Sure, but there is value. A room is warmer than another room even if we don't have a thermometer.

Yeah, but it's not an absolute value, it's just rated above 0 . Still, it has to be invested with that value by a person. Alternatively, one could hold that it has an objective reality [I]and an objective value independent of human thought.

Let's not use objective reality as an analogue for objective values. That one room is warmer than another can have a subjective value [i.e. it's value is conditional] and still have an objective reality (assuming that we agree that objective reality exists).

Charity
2008-06-24, 07:01 AM
Sure, but there is value. A room is warmer than another room even if we don't have a thermometer.

This isn't a good example really Nagora as our experiance of temperature is in fact very subjective, take a swig of hot coffee then put your finger in the same cup, the temperature will not have changed but your experiance of it will.

Sorry, got nothing useful to add apart from; I think anyone whom hates fun is sad... oh I'm so witty :rolly eyes:

Riffington
2008-06-24, 12:39 PM
Section 101 of the US Copyright Act says otherwise:

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.


Read past your bolding, man.
Translation (the same work, new language)
Musical arrangement (same work set to music)
Fictionalization (same events, just a few new characters)
Motion picture version (same events and characters, new medium)
Sound recording (same words, now spoken)
Art reproduction (same pictures, we take out the words)
Abridgment (same words but we cut out a few)
Condensation (same words, few cut out)

A derivative work is when you slightly modify a work but use lots of your previous copyrighted portions. The point is that the new work has its own copyright if it's sufficiently different from the old.
So is 3.5 a derivative work of 3.0? Yes, clearly.
Is a module? Only if it republishes enough already-published materials.
As long as you only reference that material rather than republish it, you are golden.
Subject, of course, to trademark issues.

Jayabalard
2008-06-24, 01:27 PM
Which it clearly is.Any argument that begins with a statement of the form "clearly x is true" is automatically suspect.


EDIT: I agree that Trademark may be the more relevant area of law (stupid overlap...) and that in any case, a rules system for a game may be a mechanism which cannot have copyright protection. I don't know myself.I've seen references elsewhere stating that the rules themselves are explicitly not protected under copyright. Terminology and such are protected as trademark, and story (fluff) elements are protected under copyright.


That said, it seems clear to me that Harry Potter Fanfic must be a derivative work because it uses the characters of the Harry Potter books.In some cases they would be protected under fair use (parody); in a few cases, they contain enough new material to be copyrightable without being considered a derivative work. But in most cases, you're correct, harry potter fanfic would be classified as a derivative work.

incidentally, you do explicitly have the right to modify copyrighted material for your own use (established by Galoob vs nintendo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galoob_v._Nintendo))

GoodbyeSoberDay
2008-06-25, 09:31 PM
4e DMG: "The DM’s goal is to make success taste its sweetest by presenting challenges that are just hard enough that the other players have to work to overcome them..."

The entire blog post is a subtle pitch for 4e.

Riffington
2008-06-25, 09:43 PM
[QUOTE=Jayabalard;4489982]
I've seen references elsewhere stating that the rules themselves are explicitly not protected under copyright. [QUOTE]

The wording of the rules can be restricted (better word than protected) under copyright, but not the rules per se*

http://www.godsmonsters.com/?ART=153 for more complete legal analysis.
As another point, the Galoob vs Nintendo shows not only that you can modify rules for your own use, but that other people may sell you a kit to modify those rules.

*I suppose they could be patented, but that way lies madness.

nagora
2008-06-26, 05:00 AM
4e DMG: "The DM’s goal is to make success taste its sweetest by presenting challenges that are just hard enough that the other players have to work to overcome them..."

The entire blog post is a subtle pitch for 4e.
I prefer the way that Gygax put it. I don't have the quote to hand but it boiled down to: the scenario should not kill the characters, it should present ways in which the careless can kill themselves.

hamlet
2008-06-26, 06:56 AM
I prefer the way that Gygax put it. I don't have the quote to hand but it boiled down to: the scenario should not kill the characters, it should present ways in which the careless can kill themselves.

Actually, if I recall, Gary said that outside of the DMG, possibly at a convention.

But yes, Gary always subscribed to the "let the stupid kill themselves and let the intelligent find a way to survive" method of GM'ing.

Which is kind of strange since Hargrave, for all his quirks, pretty much followed the same philosphy and, reputedly, the two never saw eye to eye.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-26, 11:00 AM
So, I'm late in the game in this thread. I did read the article, and I will say I dislike this article. Instead of saying, "I prefer the great risks and challenges brought to me in 1st edition AD&D rather than the high-powered, low-risk scenarios as presented in 4th edition," he appares to state that 4th edition was made for the lowest common denominator, thus implying those who might enjoy such a game are the lowest common denominator. That in the sense is what bothers me. It's not that he just regrets seeing the game he enjoyed become something else, it's as if anyone who enjoys the changes is wrong.

As someone older than his stated age, I've been playing D&D in its various iterations a long time as well. Yes, I've preferred 1st edition to the newer models. I watched the changes to 4th edition with some measure of negativity as I saw aspects of the game I've loved taken away. It didn't make 4th edition a bad game, and it doesn't make me any better a game player than those who couldn't wait for 4th edition. I will also tell you that when I was playing this game at age 11, the sessions we had weren't more intelligent than they are now.

The author's selfishness is plain when he declares, "This is our game ..." I suspect he's almost using the royal "we" here, so to speak. Well, no, no it really isn't no more than Chess or Monopoly or Charades or any other game. It's a game we enjoyed back in the day, but there was never an obligation to anyone to maintain it in the form it originally appeared, and in fact, it's been changing and seeking improvement since the beginning. We can argue whether new changes are indeed improvements, but I draw the line at making value judgements regarding those who develop or play the games based on my opinions of which game is better.

After all, in the end, in reality, it is just a game.

Matthew
2008-06-26, 01:22 PM
Instead of saying, "I prefer the great risks and challenges brought to me in 1st edition AD&D rather than the high-powered, low-risk scenarios as presented in 4th edition," he appares to state that 4th edition was made for the lowest common denominator, thus implying those who might enjoy such a game are the lowest common denominator.

I think it is possible to take that away from the blog, but to me it is no different than saying World of Warcraft appeals to a wide range of intelligence levels, but it's designed to appeal to both by appealing to the likes that those people share (well, except that he phrases it it in a much more hostile and derisive way). I could say the very same thing of the Lord of the Rings movies, but it doesn't follow that I think everybody who enjoys them (or even enjoys them more than the books) is an idiot (they're just wrong :smallbiggrin:). Still, don't misunderstand me, I agree with SwordGuy, the overall ranty tone of the entry does it no favours at all.



I will also tell you that when I was playing this game at age 11, the sessions we had weren't more intelligent than they are now.

I dunno, I would say my game playing in general is more intelligent than it was when I was eleven.



After all, in the end, in reality, it is just a game.

Ah, but is it just a game to him? That's kind of the point. It appears that, to the author, D&D is more than "just a game", it is a significant part of his life, and an avenue for creative expression.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-26, 02:52 PM
I think it is possible to take that away from the blog, but to me it is no different than saying World of Warcraft appeals to a wide range of intelligence levels, but it's designed to appeal to both by appealing to the likes that those people share (well, except that he phrases it it in a much more hostile and derisive way). I could say the very same thing of the Lord of the Rings movies, but it doesn't follow that I think everybody who enjoys them (or even enjoys them more than the books) is an idiot (they're just wrong :smallbiggrin:). Still, don't misunderstand me, I agree with SwordGuy, the overall ranty tone of the entry does it no favours at all.

See, that's the thing. I agree with the opinion that 1st edition was, for all it's flaws, a more challenging, creative, and rewarding game than its successors. The tone becomes off-putting. Since this is more a discussion of style and choice of pasttimes, it comes off self-righteous. He doesn't do his favored system any favors.


I dunno, I would say my game playing in general is more intelligent than it was when I was eleven.

Never said my game play is less so now. Only that when I played the game, it wasn't an excercise in intelligence and cleverness that he notes. I'm more or less countering an anecdote with anecdote. Game systems put out what you put into them.


Ah, but is it just a game to him? That's kind of the point. It appears that, to the author, D&D is more than "just a game", it is a significant part of his life, and an avenue for creative expression.

It's been a significant part of my life and an avenue for my creative expression as well. As noted, I've played since I was eleven, and continue to this day even while I near forty. It remains one of my favorite methods of social interaction. I would like to think I keep a balanced look on my hobby, now (at one time I can definitely say I hadn't). It is just a game. The aspect the author enjoys are not inherit to the system, but aspects of roleplaying in general that he likes. Certainly some systems facilitate that easier than others, but it comes out primarily due to what the players put into it.

I lament several of the changes to the game still, but change is just a part of the hobby any more. D&D has changed a lot since the first books were released. I still have my blue-cover Dungeons & Dragons book with the big ol' dragon on it. AD&D changed quite a bit from that simple book. If the hobby goes on, 4th Edition will definitely not be the last change, I can be certain of that.

In the end, he's chosen to cry out against the changes, I've chosen to shrug and adjust. I'd like to say I consider my choice better. Time will tell.

AKA_Bait
2008-06-26, 03:06 PM
I dunno, I would say my game playing in general is more intelligent than it was when I was eleven.

You remember the content of your games when you were elven? All I have is a vague recollection of refusing to use dice and playing as we hiked around in the forest in upstate NY...



Ah, but is it just a game to him? That's kind of the point. It appears that, to the author, D&D is more than "just a game", it is a significant part of his life, and an avenue for creative expression.

Honestly, I very much got the sense from the article that it's a part of his life to a degree that is probably unhealthy. He seems to be more emotionally invested in older editions of D&D than I am in my actual job.

Matthew
2008-06-26, 03:33 PM
See, that's the thing. I agree with the opinion that 1st edition was, for all it's flaws, a more challenging, creative, and rewarding game than its successors. The tone becomes off-putting. Since this is more a discussion of style and choice of pasttimes, it comes off self-righteous. He doesn't do his favored system any favors.

It definitely won't have a positive effect outside of those who share those opinions.



Never said my game play is less so now. Only that when I played the game, it wasn't an excercise in intelligence and cleverness that he notes. I'm more or less countering an anecdote with anecdote. Game systems put out what you put into them.

They do indeed, but there is some level at which the rules impact the game.



In the end, he's chosen to cry out against the changes, I've chosen to shrug and adjust. I'd like to say I consider my choice better. Time will tell.
I doubt it will. In this context, I cannot see a way of discovering which approach is 'better'.



You remember the content of your games when you were elven? All I have is a vague recollection of refusing to use dice and playing as we hiked around in the forest in upstate NY...

Sure I remember (not every detail, of course). I still have the maps and fan fiction I wrote. :smallbiggrin: Mind, I think at eleven we were playing Hero Quest, we were probably twelve or thirteen before we were playing D&D. More importantly, I remember the improvements over time, a direct result of advice culled from various supplements, Dragon Magazine, older players and investing thought into what we were doing.



Honestly, I very much got the sense from the article that it's a part of his life to a degree that is probably unhealthy. He seems to be more emotionally invested in older editions of D&D than I am in my actual job.

Maybe, I don't know. He is publishing, which I imagine to be work that potentially involves a fair bit of emotional investment.

Prophaniti
2008-06-26, 03:43 PM
Honestly, I very much got the sense from the article that it's a part of his life to a degree that is probably unhealthy. He seems to be more emotionally invested in older editions of D&D than I am in my actual job.
I, at least, am immensely more interested in D&D than my job, because my job sucks... Hopefully this will change once I finish my education and get a job that I actually want to go to once in a while, but still. I'm quite certain I will continue to discuss, debate, and participate in all things recreational with far more fervor and energy than I will anything related to my work. If I could stop going to work, I would. I've had countless opportunities to stop doing fun things, and I've yet to take one of them.