All About Thunderstarter
It's been over a month since I've submitted a blog (hello, again, by the way!), and it's because I've had nothing that I felt was profound to say. I believe that if Im just echoing somebody else in my ideas, then there's no point in me writing them.
Okay, well now I have something to say, and you are all free to rage in the comments below. I brought my crowbar for protection this time .
NOTE: I won't be posting about the catatrophe that was the XboxOne announcement today. I do have something to say about it all that hasn't been said yet, so I should probably say it soon before someone else beats me to it...
Zyxe's latest blog discussed Gamespot's recent increase in articles discussing social issues in gaming, and asked for the community to respond to tis question: love it or leave it?.
Now, such user blogs are usually met with a lot what I would call pushback from those reading it, but Zyxe took an approach that was purely to generate discussion, and it worked. She refrained from putting in too much of her own opinion so as not to turn anyone away from the question she was asking, there were only a few comments on her blog that I would deem worthless (i.e. not contributing anything to the discussion at large). I applaud Zyxe for her ability to generate such civilized, thoughtful discussion.
I must admit, I expected less from the community, but Zyxe refrained from putting too much of her own personal opinion on her blog, which is what would usually generate less-than-desirable responses from other users.
So, where am I going with this? I'm very glad that I finally saw our community engaging in intelligent discussion, but Im sad that we cant do that with opinion-filled pieces and articles. Whenever an article that is slanted and someone's personal bias appears, a lot of people cover their ears and yell, "LALALALA, I cant hear you!" and then comment as to why the writer of the article is stupid/fat/ugly/communistic/closed-minded/too biased, et al etc. It's a disturbing trend that needs to be discussed.
The issue we're running into as a community is that when someone presents an opinion thats remotely dissimilar to our own, we consider it as an attack. We can't even discuss our opinions on consoles without calling each other out for being elitist/stupid/retarded, or whatever insult you can come up with. It's ridiculous. Choosing a console is a rather arbitrary decision in the first place, and arguing over which one is superior is childish and silly. It comes as no surprise that when we talk about something of considerable magnitude, such as sexism, that we cannot hold civilized conversation, either.
This is my statement to the community at large:
Gaming is a unique industry. It wasn't too long ago that video games were constantly under attack by the media for being too violent, sexual, for bringing down test scores and grades, for creating socially backwards outcasts, and more. Thankfully, that era is, for the most part, over. Video games still get attacked for violence, but I think we can safely say that those arguments are holding less and less sway over the general public because gaming as a whole has become widely accepted and adopted by an increasingly mainstream audience. This is what we've wanted for a very, very long time.
However, with such advancement in gaming's scope, there comes the inevitable scrutiny that comes with being so massive. It's not a bad thing; every form of media undergoes it. Television, movies, books, music, it hasall been brought to the table and examined for hints of sexism, racism, homophobia, and other things that we as society would see as detrimental to the medium and insulting to the groups being affected. Its to be expected, and instead of screaming at those trying to generate discussion about those things and telling them to go away, we should be engaging with them and showing them how we have matured as a community.
Its completely fine to be OK with these problems. If they don't affect you, why would they bother you? That's fine, that's fair, but please, please don't yell at people who recognize the issues still present in games who try to bring light to and correct them. Just because you're okay with them doesn't mean they don't exist.
Diana Allers' personality goes as deep as her cup size.
If you really think they dont exist, that's fair, just be civilized when creating a counter-argument. Both sides exhibit the issue of plugging their ears and ignoring each other when debating about these issues. Instead of listening to each other, the community wishes to engage in a massive dick-measuring contest to see who can insult each other the fastest. This gets us nowhere, and it shows that perhaps we havent grown up, we havent matured, and were still a bunch of bickering children who cry when we are told weve done something wrong. Can you imagine what that makes our community look like to outsiders?
"Why should we care? They aren't gamers." We should care. What do you think those senators that are making decisions about violent games being sold see when they go into the comment sections of our websites? If we want to be taken seriously and not be seen as a bunch of 14 year olds in our parent's basements, we must start taking discussion seriously.
When someone sees something sexist or exploitative of a certain group in games, they're not trying to take your games away from you, they're trying to improve a medium they enjoy. I am a proprietor of the idea that too many times female characters are robbed of their agency in games, but that doesn't mean I think that games (or game developers) are evil or sexist as a whole, and I certainly dont believe that people who play and enjoy these games are bad people. Much of the community would think otherwise, simply because I think that sexism is an issue in games I am automatically viewed as having a certain set of viewpoints and will immediately be attacked for them. It's childish. It's presumptuous; it's everything we dont want to be viewed as.
We need to open our ears and hear every side of the argument, and we need to consider it.
We need to stop talking and take Navis advice for once. We need to listen.
NOTE: I have been suffering some issues with LiveFyre, sometimes the comment section won't load, and sometimes it will load but I won't be able to post a comment. If I cannot respond to a comment, it's because of that.
Anyway, I decided not to mark this blog as an editorial. This is the first blog since I got featured on the front page that Im only showing my followers (and, well, whoever else decides to click on the blog) . This is not something that needs to hit the front page. This, my friends, is a rant, but not about games, and not about Gamespot. Its about us.
But first, a little background on myself. I never really have taken the time to talk about me on this blog.
We all know the internet is a harsh, unforgiving place. Im not sure if it was always this way, I wasnt old enough to really get into the use of the net when it was beginning to gain popularity and widespread use in the 90s. Sure, I did go to Pokemon.com when I was 6, but that was more or less the extent of my internet browsing. It wasnt until I was about 13 (6 years ago), when I made this account and this blog, that I would step into the realm of internet *ahem* discourse.
(By the way, Pokemon.com was awesome)
During my first few years here (you can actually go back through my blog history and see a lot of horribly written stuff ) I didnt encounter much of what I see today in terms of the general atmosphere that our lovely community seems to permeate today. I could say something, anything, and the worst attack from another user I would get was being called a fanboy or, sometimes, noob. Perhaps this is because most of my interaction with the community was through the two unions I was active in and the 15 or so bloggers that read my blog/whose blogs I read. Even when commenting on articles I never saw anything that was remotely Feedbackula! worthy.
For those of you who read my blog regularly (THANK YOU, first of all! I write because I love when people read my stuff! ) you know that when I write a post I am either voicing an opinion that will clash with popular opinion or I am presenting an idea I feel could be presented to the community at large and start a good discussion.
Well, as good as a discussion as you can get from the internet.
My issue with this community is that there are quite a few members who have absolutely nothing of value to give to the conversation at large. I am a big propreitor of the idea that, if you have nothing valuable to say, don't say it at all. It just dilutes the conversation and distracts those interacting with each other from the focus of whats being discussed.
Now, when , exactly, is a statement considered of value? Surely this term is too vague for us to even begin to measure discussion by it. Its an opinion, really. Some people feel bigoted statements are of huge value to conversation, while others believe that such bigoted statements need to be supported by a strong argument, evidence and (oh GOD please) good grammar. When I post a blog that clashes against popular opinion (like the first blog of mine to make it to the front page) I will, more often than not, get more personal attacks on my character, intelligence, morals, and personality than actual discussion of my points. This is not to say I dont receive thoughtful discourse (its quite the opposite, actually, most of you following me have given thoughtful comments to my blog) but all of the ideas and conversations will inevitably get buried by those who only wish to vent their rage at me, often without reading my blog first. Its not just me, either, its anyone who has an opinion that could possibly deviate from the norm. Carolyns articles in particular seem to set off a massive fire whenever she posts one of her ideas (which really is a shame). I dont always agree with her, but even if I dont, it doesnt make her opinion invalid, which is what much of the community believes.
I think one of the best examples of worthless comments appears on my blog about Microtransactions (if this is from you, reader, I am not sorry):
"I like paying for cheat codes that were free" "I like pay-to-win games" "I want to encourage game devs to make every game about grinding so everyone will NEED to pay to compete" "I like paying for 'extra' pieces of a game that should've been there in the first place"
Absolutely retarded, people accepting and defending sucking the industry's balls only hurts us consumers
There are so many things wrong with this comment. First of all, his quotes are nothing but conclusions he drew up about me whilst reading (or so I hope) my blog. He put them in quotation marks as if I actually said those things, thinking his argument would become more valid in this way, but it doesnt. Anyone who knows basic argumentative skills knows that a quote cannot be made out of something that has not been said and, on top that, is factually unsupported (and, actually, incorrect). Never once did I indicate that I believed any one of those things, yet this user thought he or she knew me and claimed that I did. This whole comment is an ad hominem attack, that is, its an attack on me personally, and it holds absolutely no argumentative merit. It ignores my points and just goes for me, the writer, trying to drain me of my credibility through direct attacks, and its worthless. This is true for any blog or post and for any user, we all get it and its digusting, and roughly 40% of the posts I see are comprised of such filth (I made that number up, but I think its correct).
I love Feedbackula! because, while its funny, its pointing out something that we tend to ignore; we can sound like **** idiots. I love it, because it puts those who cant write properly or have poor, unstructured and unsupported arguments right in their place. Now, the show does feature a handful of good, thoughtful, well-written comments, but seriously, thats not what were there for. And we all know it.
Now, a few of you might say when you open yourself up to a large audience, you are opening yourself up for idiots, too and youd be right. However, this does not mean that we cant hold this community to a higher standard. So what if a 13-year-old can get an account? At 13, most people should know the difference between a good and a bad argument (and hopefully they know how to use good grammar). The internet is not this toxic in every corner. Reddit is a perfect example of this. Going into different subreddits, you can see a lot of great conversation going on. Theres not nearly as much toxicity there as there is here, and I believe thats because each subreddit has reddiquette specific to the subreddit. If a post does not follow the reddiquette, it can be deleted. Id love to see a feature where each user can set up a set of rules that all who comment on their blog must follow. If a user does not follow said rules, the owner of the blog can delete the comment, much like you can someones comment on a picture post on Facebook.
I would like my blog to be an area of at least semi-intelligent discussion about our favorite industry and where its headed. I would like to be able to moderate it, so that only the worthwhile responses show up on my comment section. Its a dream, but one I really, really wish would come true.
So, I got a lot of comments on my previous blog on micro-transactions regarding DLC, and while that wasn't the topic of the blog, it did have a bit of relevance to the conversation I was trying to start (to varying degrees of success). Instead of writing out my thoughts on DLC (as a separate idea from micro-transactions) in the comments of my previous blog, I decided to write them as a new blog because I have a lot to say.
Now, let me get this out there, while I do not care about micro-transactions in my game, I do take a different stance on DLC. I don't hate it by any means. In fact, there's quite a few games where I welcome it. However, there are, of course, companies that abuse the practice of DLC, and I feel that gamers focus far too much on those companies' practices. The general consensus about DLC from what I've seen is that DLC is pure evil and should not be tolerated in games. It's always content that should have been included in the original release of the game and now [insert developer] is nickel and diming its fanbase with content excluded from the original game.
I like DLC when it's done right. And believe me, there are developers out there who do it right.
To me, DLC is a wonderful opportunity for developers to extend a player's time spent with a particular game in a meaningful way. Whether it's adding new missions, maps, characters, or gameplay modes, DLC can make for some surprisingly great experiences in games you might have forgotten about.
Please note that I used the word "opportunity". In no way, shape, or form do I believe that every single piece of DLC out there matches what I believe it should be idealistically. No, for every Fire Emblem: Awakening (a game that makes proper use of DLC) out there we have two Capcom titles that has on-disc DLC. For every Mass Effect 3 we have three shooters that charge $15 for new maps every 2 months.
What I admire in Fire Emblem: Awakening and Mass Effect 3's DLC policy is that there is a mixture of substantial, meaningful free content as well as paid content. I will go into detail into both of these games later, but I want to note that there are many developers out there that should look at these two titles and take notes. There has been some very positive reception for them both.
Fire Emblem: Awakening's DLC exists in two forms: the "bonus box" and the "outer realms". The bonus box is where gamers will receive their free content, and the outer realms is where you can buy DLC maps and challenges. Now, typically a developer would have the bonus box include a sparse amount of content. It would exist only to entice a gamer to buy more DLC maps, but this is not the case with Fire Emblem: Awakening. The bonus box includes (as of today) seven challenge maps, approximately forty recruit-able characters from past Fire Emblem titles (all with their own army for you to fight), two rare weapons for your army to use, and two bonus paralogue (side missions) chapters, where you can recruit villains from the game's main story to your army. And, if we're going to get everything Japan got in their bonus box, there's a hell of a lot more to come. For free.
The DLC that is paid for is quality, as well. It includes maps where you must fight armies comprised entirely of past Fire Emblem characters, maps where you can harvest loads of experience, gold, and legendary weapons, and in Japan there are maps that constitute entirely new storylines. However, even though these maps exist, the game does not feel incomplete without them. They exist to augment your game, rather than dangle a bit of content in front of your face that the game feels incomplete without (ala Resident Evil 5's multiplayer mode).
Mass Effect 3 does what most multiplayer-focused games (NOT that Mass Effect is multiplayer-focused) should do with its multiplayer DLC and makes it completely free. I remember when I used to have my Xbox 360 and was a frequent player of Halo: Reach and feeling cheated when I had to fork over $15 for 3 new multiplayer maps (for the record, I never paid for it). Or even in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (when I used to play those games), when extra maps meant extra money. At the time, it was an OK practice in my eyes because I didn't really see the issue with charging for the time the CoD devs spent making those new maps. After seeing how Mass Effect 3 handled their multiplayer DLC, I don't understand why other devs won't follow suit. Clearly you can make your new maps, characters and weapons free and not lose any money, otherwise Bioware wouldn't be doing it. The only time I ever paid for new maps was in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and I will never do it again after my experience with Mass Effect 3's surprisingly good multiplayer.
Say what you want about Mass Effect 3's day-one DLC, From Ashes (I do think it should have come with the initial price tag, but some people were OK with it being paid-for. The game does feel incomplete without Javik.) but it does its paid-for DLC, for the most part, correctly. It's substantial, and that's what we should be asking for when paying for something. Quality can be debated upon (I think Leviathan and Omega were sub-par) but one cannot argue that the game feels incomplete without them.
DLC is done incorrectly when it is clear that some desirable part of the game has been arbitrarily withheld from the players in order to make some more money off of it. Capcom is the most frequent offender of this scheme, with many of their titles having DLC that's already on-disc, but blocked off from the players (unless they pay). It's unfair to fans of the game, whether it be holding off two fighters from Marvel vs Capcom 3 or multiplayer mode in Resident Evil 5. The game is complete, we just can't play the whole thing unless we play $5 or $10 more. That's cheating, and that's what I have a problem with.
What's ultimately abusive about on-disc DLC is that what's usually withheld is something that gamers will really want. It becomes irresistible because of its relatively low price, and people will buy into it. I admit, I did buy Jill and Shuma-Gorath in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 because I hated seeing two grayed out portraits in their places on the character select screen.
What I feel is really important to remember when talking about DLC is that not all DLC is bad (even though that's the popular opinion). The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a wonderful example of a game where both good and bad DLC exist. Yes, there was that really crappy Horse Armor DLC, but there were also full-on expansions available (ala The Shivering Isles) that allowed you to spend more time in the game's universe, something that many people valued. If done right, DLC can be a very good thing, and I feel we need to stop focusing on the bad.
My Recent Reviews
A KH vid focusing on Organisation XII using Perfect Insanity by Disturbed.
A tribute video to KH+KH2 using Through the Fire and the Flames by dragonforce
A tribute to KH2 using My Last Breath by Evanescense.
May 23, 2013 12:10 am GMTThunderstarter posted a new blog entry entitled Hey! Listen!
Apr 15, 2013 5:51 pm GMTThunderstarter posted in the topic Can't post comments on Gamespot articles or my blog. on the Moderation Clarification Station (formerly Ask the Mods) board
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