Category Archives: Rant

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

I generally don’t spend a lot of time thinking about sexism, whether real or imagined, in WoW. Perhaps I’m a bad feminist. I don’t have a problem with characters like Alexstrasza wearing skimpy clothes. I think she looks good. I would likely dress like that if I looked like her (and you know, lived in a fantasy world). I accept that many people find women (or men) with impossible body proportions attractive and often depict them ways that emphasize those assets. I don’t even mind so much that there aren’t as many prominent female characters as there are men in WoW. It’s a video game – I just want to play and have fun, not think too hard about sexual and social politics.

However, last week Vidyala posted a link to some artwork on the offical WoW forums on Twitter. Blizzard has been adding portraits of the faction leaders over the last few months and the most recent image added was of the leader of the Night Elves – Tyrande Whisperwind…in a matter of speaking. As I discussed the picture with some people on Twitter I found myself getting more and more angry about how she was depicted.

Here’s the picture:

Tyrande WhisperwindImage from Blizzard Entertainment (Original can be found here)

What is it about this particular picture that bothers me so much? In a word – everything. There is nothing right about this picture. Everything about it makes me mad. The only thing that could have made it worse is if Tyrande was naked.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

The first problem is that Malfurion is in it. Sure, he’s an important person in the Night Elf world, but he’s not their leader. Tyrande is. The picture is even called “Tyrande Whisperwind”, so why is Malfurion in it? Why does he take up most of the space? None of the other leaders have to share the spotlight in their pictures (except the Dwarves, but that’s a Council). All we can clearly see of Tyrande is one arm, the side of her face, lots of hair and one (large, melon-shaped) boob. The rest of her is obscured by Malfurion.

The second problem is the pose. The pose is wrong both symbolically and anatomically. While every other faction leader portrait shows the leader staring menacingly into the camera or looking intently into the distance, Tyrande is gazing at Malfurion. While every other leader is wielding some kind of weapon, Tyrande is clinging on to her husband. Come on. I know Tyrande is the type of leader who prefers peace when possible but she’s also a fighter. She fought the Burning Legion and in the battle for Mount Hyjal and defended Moonglade from Eranikus, but rather than portray her as a strong leader and fighter, she gets shown in a matronly light, surrounded by flowers, and enveloped in a man’s arms.

Then there’s the anatomy of the pose. As someone with zero artistic talent I feel a little bad about critiquing someone’s art, but really – people don’t bend this way! When I first saw this picture I thought it was a side view of Tyrande so I didn’t immediately see anything wrong with the pose. Then I realised her body was directly facing the audience, with her head cranked around to face Malfurion and her arm bent awkwardly behind her to hold on to Malfurion (though to me it looks like her shoulder is in front of her head/chest, which seems like a recipe for dislocated joints). After seeing what the picture was actually portraying, my first thought was that Malfurion had just broken Tyrande’s neck.  Narci had the much less violent and much more hilarious thought that an evil wizard had cursed Tyrande with back-tits. Either way, she doesn’t look comfortable.

So, while the Orc, Tauren, Troll, Gnome, Dwarf and Worgen leaders are all portrayed as strong, independant and battle-ready, the female leader of the Night Elves is portrayed as a delicate flower, being supported, protected (and twisted into a terribly uncomfotable position) by a man.

Please Blizzard art department, try a little harder next time you create a portrait of one of the few female faction leaders. Maybe you can put some more work into portraying Tyrande in a way that isn’t so diminutive (and offensive) before you start on your fourth picture of Garrosh. I hope Sylvanas turns out better.

Give Comments a Chance

I’ve written about this before. Others have written about it before. But time and time again, I see the same problem cropping up on new (and old) blogs.

Blogspot users, please, please make commenting easy.

This week I found 2 blogs I wanted to leave a comment on, but didn’t because after I wrote out my comment and had to choose who I was commenting as, I was met with options like these:

 

 

 

 

  • Google Account – This links to a completely useless Blogger profile page (useless because I don’t use Blogger).
  • WordPress – Thought this might be usable, but no, it’s for WordPress.com users, and I use WordPress.org.
  • LiveJournal – Seriously?
  • Typepad, AIM, OpenID? I don’t even know what those are, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have accounts with them.

So I left without commenting.

I’m sure that people aren’t making commenting difficult on purpose. If they didn’t want comments, I think they’d just turn them off. So I can only assume that people don’t know how difficult they’re making commenting for their readers.

Any Blogspot bloggers who are unsure about their comment settings, please do the following:

1. Log in to your blog Dashboard and go to the Settings tab.

2. Under settings, select comments.

3. Next to ‘Who Can Comment?’ select Anyone.

 

 

 

4. Save your settings (down at the bottom of the page)

Tada! People can now comment easily on your blog, with the fantastic name/URL option, allowing them to put in their own user name and link to their own blog, without having to sign up for accounts they’re not interested in having.

You can still use a captcha, moderate comments and your spam filter will continue to do it’s job, but this one little change will make commenting a whole lot easier for your readers and will likely increase the amount of comments you get. Who knows how many people have wanted to leave you comments but have been put off by the lack of options given to them?

Please spread the word to any Blogspot users you know.

*This message has been approved by the Bloggers for Easier Commenting Alliance*

Top 5 things that bug me

I’ve been writing guides and useful posts so much lately that I think it’s time for a big whinge-fest.

Here are the top 5 things that bug me (today…ask me tomorrow and they’ll probably have changed):

1. I’ve been summoned for Jury duty next week.

Though I guess going to work (and getting paid) is overrated anyway  :(

2. People who are overly negative

Yes, I recognize the irony of including that on this list  :P

I’ve been increasingly bothered by people who post negative things on blogs and forums. Nothing is perfect, so everyone will always have a complaint about something, but there are ways to keep it constructive. If you so clearly hate the game/your class/the world, just go away. Don’t try to drag everyone down with you, these negative posts and comments are not contributing anything.

I’ve never thought of myself as overly positive but when I see people constantly complaining and spewing negativity I turn into a bright-eyed optimist – mostly out of spite.

3. Bracers are a myth (aka loot distribution sucks)

Apparently Chimaeron drops leather caster bracers. He’s the ONLY boss that drops leather caster bracers. I have killed him a number of times on my druid and have yet to see any evidence that they exist. What possible rationalization is there for the fact that I can get leather caster belts from FOUR different sources but bracers from only one?

Also, in my personal experience, every Tier 11 boss has a 96% chance to drop mail gear.

4. People who don’t know what they’re doing

Before you jump on me, this isn’t a blanket statement about WoW players. I’m referring to people who apply to raiding guilds and call themselves raiders who really don’t have a clue – Holy Pallies who don’t Judge, Druids who don’t know what a haste cap is, DPS who don’t understand how threat works.

If you can’t figure these things out on your own, do some research. Someone out there on the internet would love to tell you all about your class and how to play it.

Same thing goes for doing a fight you’ve never seen before. Do some research beforehand. If that’s not possible, speak up! The raid leader would be delighted to tell you all about the fight. Don’t wait until you’ve killed 12 people with Lightning Rod to mention you’ve never done this before.

5. Twitter Spam
I’ve already proven that I’m a Twitter convert, it’s extremely useful at times and keeps me entertained during my commute. However…

Apps that integrate with Twitter are the work of the devil.

If you check into foursquare, then your foursquare friends will see that. Do NOT spam your Twitter feeds with your updates. I don’t care that you’re at home, or on the train, or just became the mayor of your local Starbucks. If I cared about that stuff, I would be on foursquare myself.

If you play RIFT (or Farmville, or whatever), no one wants to see achievement spam. If you get an achievement you’re particularly proud of or would like to share, go for it, but automatically generated tweets for every single one…ugh.

If you play any game or use any app that auto-tweets updates, please, please turn the Twitter integration off. It is supremely annoying.

What’s bugging you this week?


A couple last things:

<aus> is recruiting healers and dps for our weekend 25-man raids. Go to our guild forum for more details.

Don’t forget to participate in the Great Blog Noblegarden Egg Hunt this weekend. Go visit Kamalia et Alia to sign up.

Oversharing

A lot of people have been talking about Blizzard’s new Real ID today. Besides the obvious privacy concerns with sharing your real name with people on your friends list (many of whom you probably don’t know in real life), there are a lot of things about this system that just scream “too much information!” to me. This is not just an issue with Real ID, it’s a trend that’s been picking up more and more steam for years.

I really don’t understand the compulsion people have to share everything with everybody. “Taking the dog for a walk!” announces a Facebook friend (can I call someone I knew in high school who I haven’t talked to in 10 years a friend?). Did I really need to know that?

I have no desire to share my every waking thought with everyone I know, and I certainly have no desire to constantly hear their thoughts. Do people actually find this stuff interesting? How many 140-character updates can you read or write before they just blend together into noise?

Blogs are being integrated with Twitter and Facebook. Lots of bloggers feed their blog posts into their twitter pages, or their twitter updates into their blogs (nothing against the bloggers who do this, I just don’t get it). Even the Disqus comment system I put on my blog a little while ago has an option to share the comments you write on Twitter or Facebook. I really wish I could get rid of that particular feature. My blog is for blogging, talking about WoW and hopefully having interesting discussions about it. If my Facebook friends care about what I say on my blog, they will read it. I don’t want to flood their news feeds with comments about WoW – to which they would probably respond “wtf is tree of life?” anyway.

The Real ID system is just another way to overshare. I don’t need to know when every one of my friends is online and what they are doing. I don’t want to be reachable on all times, across all servers. I would never send out a status message to everyone on my friends list.

Can anyone out there use the word “tweet” in a sentence without feeling like a total asshat? I can’t.

Sorry this post was so curmudgeony.

Now cut your hair and get off my lawn.

Blogspot makes me sad

I just finished writing up my post on Deterrence. I hit the publish button and got an error. Went back to my draft version and it hadn’t successfully auto-saved in the past 2 hours.

I think I’m going to cry.

Or break my keyboard.

Maybe both.

I think I hate MMOs

This might seem like an odd post title for someone who spends 12-20 hours a week playing an MMO plus extra time blogging about playing an MMO. But lately I have been thinking more and more about the downsides of multiplayer games.

I’ve been into video games since I was about 8.  Video games have always been an escape, a way to have fun on my own. I’ve never been a social gamer. In high school, while all my friends were playing multi-player Goldeneye, I was wishing they’d all go away so I could play the single player campaign. I have never signed onto Xbox live to play with people online. I can handle about an hour of party games (Rock Band, anything on the Wii) before I start twitching and wishing someone would put on a real game (or play a good old-fashioned board game). When I heard that Bioware was making a new Star Wars MMO my reaction was “Damn them! Why can’t they just make another KoToR?” I’ve had to tell my fiance many, many times that I will never play another MMO – not because I’m a Blizzard fangirl, just because I don’t want to play anymore multiplayer games.

So what is it specifically that bugs me about playing an MMO? People.

  • You have to depend on others. The number 1 reason that I play WoW is to raid and although I usually enjoy raiding immensely, it can be quite stressful because you need to count on 9 or 24 other people in order to be successful. There are so many ways that raiding enjoyment can be ruined by other people. First, if 9 or 24 other people don’t show up, you don’t get to raid, and that sucks. Second, people screw up. It happens to everyone. Even if every person in a raid makes only one mistake each, that’s still a lot of screw ups and a lot of aggravation. To say nothing of the people who screw up over and over or generally underperform and drag down the raid. In a nice, single-player console game, you don’t have to worry about this, your success is dependent on you alone.
  • Other people depend on you. Everything I wrote above can apply to me as well. If I can’t make a raid or show up late, I feel bad for letting people down. I also make mistakes. If I’m playing Mass Effect and make a bad decision that results in poor Commander Shepard getting riddled with bullets…oh well. Reload and try again, it’s not a big deal (although it may result in some cursing and/or throwing of the Xbox controller). If I make a mistake in a raid, I’m not the only one who is affected. I feel bad and usually end up apologizing. Not fun.
  • Reading inane trade chat conversations. I’m usually smart enough to have all trade/general/local defence channels turned off. A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for someone to craft me some boots and was forced to turn on trade channel. My god, after being subject to the absolute idiocy that goes on in trade I don’t know whether to be angry or cry over my lost faith in humanity.
  • People are both the best and worst part of WoW. I think having a good bunch of guildmates is what keeps people playing this game for as long as they do. But then there are the mean or stupid people you run into in PuGs, the trade chat idiots I mentioned above (who occasionally invade /say), the guildies you don’t really know who never stfu and the ones who seem to take issue with how much (or little) time you spend online.

Blerg. This is a rather negative post, isn’t it? I must be cranky. I have been thinking about this for a while though, and it just strikes me as insane that a video game can make you feel both responsible for other people and dependant on them. How is that fun?

WoW Jerks

Lately I’ve been noticing a huge amount of blog posts about WoW jerks. Whether it’s entitled-feeling tanks and healers, elitist dps, forum trolls who try to ruin your fun, dungeon finder horror stories, pug leaders who want us to “link achievement and have 6000 gear score, or gtfo,” it seems like people are having (and sharing) a lot of negative experiences with WoW right now. Are elitist, disagreeable and mean players a new thing? Definitely not. Are there more of them around? I honestly can’t say. So why have these stories become so prevalent? I don’t know what the answer is, but I have a few ideas.

  • Blog Wild! – It could be partly due to the sheer number of WoW blogs around right now. I subscribe to an obscene amount of blogs at the moment, so obviously I see a lot of these stories. The more you pay attention to an issue, the more examples you will see.
  • LFD tool – We’re getting exposed to a much larger pool of players than ever before. While a lot of them are pleasant, or just silently do their jobs, it tends to be the obnoxious players who stick out in our memory. This is due to negativity bias which causes people to pay more attention to negative events than positive ones.
  • The gear situation – Top-tier gear is easier to get than ever. This, along with the introduction of things like gear score mods have shifted way too much attention to people’s gear over their skill and attitude. If you start to see players as a gear score number, rather than a person, it becomes much easier to treat them badly.
  • Burn out – Something else that seems to be written about a lot lately is WoW burnout. A lot of people don’t seem to get the same amount of enjoyment from the game, some are decreasing their playtime or taking a break until Cataclysm. This can have two effects on the issue at hand. First, when people are not having fun and playing becomes a chore, they get grumpy. And when you’re grumpy, you’re more prone to being a jerk. On the flipside, if the bloggers are feeling burnt out and not having as much fun, I think they’re more likely to focus on the negative when picking their topics. Last month I had a really bad ICC 10 PuG and a really good one. Guess which one I blogged about?

Those are my thoughts. Anyone else have other ideas? Are you running into more jerks in the game lately? Or just talking about it more?