This is not the Warcraft it Used to be.

A week into the Legion expansion and I can tell I’m on the outs with Blizzard already.  The backing image on my Battle.net launcher has been changed to the Burning Crusade packaging image from the image that adorned the packaging of the Warlords of Draenor.

You may well ask “Why Burning Crusade?” at this point. Burning Crusade is the first expansion of World of Warcraft, not the vanilla version, the original version.

The answer to that is both simple and complex.  The simple answer is that Blizzard has dropped the myth that Burning Crusade is a separate expansion (even though you can buy packaged versions of it and later expansions from Amazon) and back in the days of Mists of Pandaria they bundled the two together, creating a default image for WoW that was different from the vanilla version of the original game.

With the current expansion they have dropped the pretense that any of the previous expansions were actually expansions to the original game in the online store. So why are they sticking to the Burning Crusade image? Because changing it would take work, and they are on a budget from Activision. It is either that or perhaps there is truth in advertising. Burning Crusade is what the current WoW experience seems most like. Burning Crusade is where the new class was the enemy of choice. Burning Crusade is where the Burning Legion was first assaulted directly.  Legion is a rehash of Burning Crusade in much the same way that Warlords of Draenor was a rehash of story content first introduced in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.

In the online store you can’t get any of the previous expansions. You can only purchase World of Warcraft and Legion. There is a problem with this, and that is where the story really gets complex. It gets complex because there really isn’t two versions of the game.

Blizzard will tell you that there are two versions. There is the version of the game which includes preserved content from previous iterations of the game.  Then there is the version with the additional content that they want to charge you almost three times as much to play, as well as the cost of a monthly subscription.

Never mind that the content represents the smallest expansion of World of Warcraft to date. The problem is that what they are calling World of Warcraft isn’t World of Warcraft. What you are purchasing is a disabled version of the accumulated base programming that Blizzard has put into their World of Warcraft project. You are being asked to pay for what the programmers who first put together Blizzard gave away for free. A shareware version of content to whet your appetite for what Legion has to offer. That is because there really isn’t a version of WoW other than Legion.

Having played every version of the game since and including Burning Crusade, I can tell you the differences between each expansion it pretty gory detail. I won’t bore non-players with too many of these details.

It is worth noting that major sections of each expansion have been lopped out of the current game structure.  The legendary quest lines for Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor have been removed. It may not seem like much, but those quest chains marked the actual progress through the game as it was played when it was the current version of the game. If you are playing the game today and you wonder why certain factions, structures and islands still appear in the game, what you are seeing are the remnants of endgame content that has been bypassed and pruned.

This is aside from the fact that playstyles of the various classes have also been changed and simplified. If I was purchasing and playing the first game called World of Warcraft, I would have to have extra space in my bags for soul shards while playing a Warlock. Brew poisons as a Rogue. I would have to have arrows or bullets for my weapons. There would be no professions of inscription, jewelcrafting or archeology.  There would be no Pandarens, no Blood Elves, no Draenei. No playable versions of Goblins or Worgen. There would be no Death Knights or Monks. You would have to be in a particular faction to play Paladin or Shaman. I would not see a disabled option for creating and playing a Demon Hunter.

In short, it would be a different game if it was really World of Warcraft.  This is the bigger problem for Blizzard. Last year Blizzard shut down the fan-run server Nostalrius.  Fan run servers do present a threat to Blizzard’s intellectual property, and they had every right to shut that server down; but the existence of the site and others like it present the problem and question that Blizzard wants to go away.

Players want to play the games they purchased, and those games don’t exist anymore.

There really is no place to play the games that I have faithfully purchased from Blizzard over the years. I cannot play Wrath of the Lich King. I cannot participate in the battle at the wrathgate and then storm the Undercity in retaliation, facing off against the opposing faction in the throne room of Sylvanas herself.  That pivotal moment in the game is lost.  The Kor’Kron and the rise of Garrosh? Also lost.  Orcs no longer guard Undercity watching the forsaken, guarding against another attempt to turn all of the living into puddles of goo.

If you click one of the many links above (aside from the battle.net links) and purchase one of those products right now, you cannot play the game that is pictured on the outside of the box.  You will be forced to play the disabled version of Legion, the version now called World of Warcraft. There are no servers which run the historic versions of the server software, software needed to play the games historically sold under the World of Warcraft banner.

A consumer should be able to be assured that their purchases can be used in the fashion advertised. This is business 101.  That none of the expansions exist to be played in the fashion the game was intended to run at the time of publication and purchase presents a problem to Blizzard, specifically because they make noises about this being one of the longest running games in the history of computer gaming. Because they are still making money off the franchise they have created.  Because they have a lot of disgruntled fans out in the hinterlands who have previously purchased games they’d like to play but are prevented from playing them because Blizzard does not maintain a copy of previous integral parts of the game’s programming.

If this is one of the longest running Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games Blizzard, why can’t the fans of previous versions still log on and play the game they played then?  I really wish someone at Blizzard would take the time to answer that question.


I took a break from World of Warcraft when Legion went live. I took a break because they stood fast on the promise to release the game without flight being integrated into gameplay. I took a break because World of Warcraft wasn’t World of Warcraft anymore. But mostly I took a break because the game wasn’t fun anymore.

One of my guildmates on Muradin observed, after I spent several minutes bitching about Legion gameplay,

If you aren’t having fun, why are you playing?

That stopped me in my tracks. I logged off right then and there. I fired up the Playstation 3 and I played Playstation games for the next year following that observation, specifically because I was having fun playing them. This was completely the opposite of my experience playing World of Warcraft for the last few years. The constant farming of raid materials. The constant drive to seek the newest and latest gear so as to have the best chance of beating whatever progression raid boss we were on at that minute. The same material grind and the same gear grind repeated through Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor. Different mats and different gear, but always more mats if not more gear. Stacks and stacks of meat and fish and herbs and… everything. Always more. More time, more energy, more strategy. All devoted to equipping a team to play a game that I didn’t enjoy anymore.

The game had become the grind, and the grind was never fun. So I took a break until I heard that they had added flight back in. When that happened I contemplated getting back in the game, but I didn’t subscribe again until I heard that the final patch of Legion was due to be released. I did want to see what the game was like before they changed it again.

I burned through the content of the expansion in a few weeks. Then I did portions of it again on a few other toons. No where close to the twenty-two that I pulled through Mists of Pandaria. The content was all a bit silly, which is true of a lot of games and especially true of most Blizzard content. The silliest of all was the fact that they had Rogues leading armies as heroes, not to mention Mages willing to follow Warlocks into battle as if Warlocks hadn’t been demonstrated to suck the souls out of their friends when the expediency of the moment calls for it.

Rogues do not lead armies. Rogues hide in the bar until the army is distracted, then they gank the wealthier ones and steal them blind. Rogues as heroes? Warlocks as heroes? That is beyond silly and bordering on the unbelievable. Following a demon hunter onto Argus to destroy the heart of the Burning Legion? That is insanity. That part I was up for, if I had the right group with me.

So I had flight again and I could move about the maps doing the parts of the game that I wanted to do without having to crawl through the same damn MOBs repeatedly (the one downside to Mists of Pandaria. Flight had to be earned for each individual toon) however, I didn’t manage to get into the final raid because I wasn’t willing to go without my raiding guild friends that I had abandoned to play other games instead of helping them through Legion when it was hard going work. It was too much to expect them to let me back into the group at the last minute just to go through the raid one last time, carrying me all the way.

They’ll get bored and want to get achievements for old content eventually. There will be vengeance against the legion for me one day in the near future. Then I’ll be able to turn in those final unfinished quests.

WoW Legion: The Movie (All Legion Cinematics in Chronological Order)

Daily Beef: Watch the Damn Road!

I was riding shotgun with my daughter a few days ago, when we picked up my son from driver’s training.  She is still on her learner’s permit, so we engaged in a little educational observation of drivers around us.  Nearly every car at the various stoplights on the way home contained people texting and/or playing on their phones. Most of them did not bother to put the phones down when the light turned green and simply started driving down the road looking at their phones.  One driver in a brand new Corvette drove down the middle of Koenig lane taking up both lanes and weaving into opposing traffic while attempting to work his phone (prime example of someone with too much money and not enough brains) my children were beside themselves with outrage.  Every time I attempt to even change songs on my mp3 player they slap it out of my hands, never mind my trying to do anything else with the phone while I’m driving.  We can’t get auto-drive cars soon enough as far as I’m concerned.  Most people these days seem to be incapable of understanding just how dangerous their behavior is to everyone around them.

If you know one of these people show them this video,

RYDBELGIUMThe impossible texting & driving test – Apr 27, 2012

…maybe they’ll get the picture.

Not too long ago, the Wife and son came up next to someone in a left-turn lane that was texting on their phone at a red light. The car that pulled up behind this person honked the horn, for whatever reason, and the texting person promptly drove out into oncoming traffic without even bothering to look up first. Their car was totaled. The drivers who hit them totaled their cars as well. All because they couldn’t be bothered to even look at the road before attempting to drive. Couldn’t even be bothered to check the traffic signal. Couldn’t even be bothered to pay the slightest bit of attention to the actual peril they were driving into, because whatever it was on their phone had all their attention.

It sounds funny, until you get into a wreck yourself. I T-boned a car at sixty miles an hour once all because the couple from Colorado who pulled out in front of me stopped to argue about which way they wanted to turn after they had already started their turn without checking for oncoming traffic. I was left with a few hundred feet and less than a second to make a decision,so I decided. I decided not to kill the driver of the other car and instead impacted the rear door of his side of the car before bouncing over the curb of the side road, impacting and launching over a three foot tall embankment, and leaving half my car behind me on the embankment. If I had calculated instead for minimum personal damage, I would have killed the poor bastard in the driver’s seat by ramming straight into the arguing idiot’s car, and the Wife and I would probably have fewer aches and pains to deal with (the airbags in the Saturn worked beautifully) but when you have less than a second to decide, you spend the rest of your life wondering if you did the right thing, and that is when you are paying attention to the road under the best conditions possible.

When you are looking at your phone (or reading, or doing your nails, or your makeup, or shaving, or…) you aren’t actually driving your car. Inertia is, and nature is a cruel bitch to the stupid.

PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE AND PAY ATTENTION!

#NoFlyNoBuy Are You Listening @WarcraftDevs?

Once again the moderators have struck.  I had a pretty decent thread going over on the forums.  This morning at 4am or thereabouts it was 7 pages long.  I had managed to avoid blatantly violating any rules by directly discussing bannings that the moderators have inflicted on me in the past.  Managed not to talk blatantly about any of the rules which govern the boards. Managed to keep myself from fucking cursing every other fucking word, so they couldn’t pretend that bitching was something vulgar this time. I thought this attempt at feedback was going swimmingly until I logged on this afternoon to see if anything else had posted.

Not only had nothing else posted, but the entire thread had disappeared into a black hole, like every other thread I’ve started on Blizzard’s forums. No matter how many times Blizzard’s customer service representatives in-game assure me that the developers want to hear from you, go post on the forums I know from experience that the opposite is true.  They really don’t want to hear from me.

I’m generally well-school in dancing around the sensitivities of others. Just last week I managed to piss of the acting Guild Master of my now-former Horde raiding guild (Crimson Retribution – Terenas) because I dared to suggest that not only was he wrong about flight always being a perk in World of Warcraft , but that if his training as a systems administrator instructed him that all hackers are criminals (right after he had called me a criminal for rooting my cellphone) I didn’t think much of the value of his education.

Funny part of that was that he stopped talking to me because I insulted his education.  The dust-up wasn’t over his accusation that I was a criminal.  No, that insult to me was completely overlooked. His tender feelings were hurt. So I left the guild, because that is what happens when those with lesser authority have a disagreement with higher authorities.  You move on.  It is not a threat, it is what reasonable people do.

Similarly, there is no winning when the entire structure of a company wants to silence what you have to say, when the only place you can say it is on their forums and have it reach an audience. If you read over the Blizzard forum guidelines it should become painfully clear that any subject that isn’t praise for Blizzard and World of Warcraft generically will not live very long on their forums. They have (like so many other forums on the internet) created an echo-chamber for self-congratulation.

…and why not? I mean, Blizzard has created what is inarguably the most popular game in all the history of electronic gaming. World of Warcraft (or WoW) still boasts subscriptions that are North of five million, which is a number that nearly any other gaming company would give their firstborn children to have access to.  Never mind that at its peak WoW  boasted a subscriber base of over twelve million people, or that the release of Warlords of Draenor did not lift subscriber numbers from their slow downward slide for longer than a month or two.

They have a certified hit, a cash cow. But how to keep milking that cow without killing it? That really is a tricky question, the multi-million dollar question that speaks to the future of the company. I mean, Blizzard isn’t alone out there. Some would say that they aren’t even at the forefront of gaming any longer.

My children only play Blizzard games because I play them. Left to their own devices, they like their Steam games, playing any number of them for pretty much as long as we allow them to play (him anyway, and only for a few years more) when the daughter heard that Legion would be the next expansion for World of Warcraft her only request was that I get her one of the art books.  The game? Well, if you are playing dad, sure.

Steam has tapped into something that only Facebook is doing better at; and that because it doesn’t require any real talent to be on Facebook. You just have to have the connection and you can share memes till the end of time, play flash games till you die of repetition.  Facebook is to the internet was TV was to broadcast. Radio was informative and entertaining, TV had pictures!

I can’t explain what it is that Steam offers.  I haven’t been impressed with many of the games. I’m certainly not impressed with their business tactics involving the children that make up a majority of their player base (I’ve mentioned this before) But they have a loyal following, and Blizzard has noticed this, which is why they introduced Battle.net and its launcher.

Battle.net is a pale comparison to Steam and it’s myriad of indepedent developers, though. Blizzard is now facing the same kind of broad-based competition that Microsoft laughed at when Linux was introduced.  Microsoft is no longer laughing now that Android (also Linux/Unix) runs on more systems than their software; similarly, Blizzard (or more accurately Activision/Blizzard) cannot long outpace a group which can essentially grow to incorporate all programmers who don’t work for them.

I had several players insist to me that Blizzard would stop WoW at level 100 for in-game characters, back in the days when I was writing about Cataclysm and its failings. I knew then just as I know now that there won’t be an end to World of Warcraft so long as Blizzard continues to see a profit. With the announcement of Legion and its 110 level cap, the notion that World of Warcraft might stop anytime soon has been left in the dust.

With new content needed, and the demands of the players for more and more challenging content to master, WoW programmers have a serious problem on their hands.  How to keep the players challenged?  How to make programming goals achievable in the foreshortened time that Activision was allowing for game development?  The developers, after seeing the new subscriptions and interest in WoD declared that they would exclude flight in all future expansions of WoW, reneging on their promise to introduce flight to the new content as this blue post goes into.

There’s a lot of discussion about flying/not-flying and I’d like to try to sum things up and maybe realign the discussion a bit. Some of the other threads are near-cap, some have really gone down tangents, so I’m just picking this one to throw a reply into. Apologies to the other threads.

Flying trivializes combat. A lot of people like to say we’re trying to force world PvP, or that we just really want people to look at the pretty trees we made, but those really aren’t the reasons that drive this same decision we’ve made every expansion. Flying allows you to escape or enter combat at-will. There’s a reason why flying isn’t allowed in dungeons and raids, or battlegrounds and arenas, and that’s because it would trivialize the core mechanic of the game in those areas – combat. For much the same reason it trivializes how content is approached in the outdoor world based on the simple fact that you can lift off and set down wherever you like.

So that’s the main reason. But sure there are a lot of other problems it can cause for content design such as zones having to get a lot bigger because flying mounts can travel so quickly (and thus making ground travel in them take much longer), it reduces the impact of elevation within zones, it completely removes the ability for us to pace or present content in any structured way, and in general removes our ability to determine how and when players approach a situation, see a vista or location, or charge into/out-of a combat situation. It just greatly reduces any gameplay we want to create by allowing infinite choice in how content is approached to best suit a player’s intention to (usually) avoid that content.

I totally sympathize with people’s desire to do that, they want to be efficient and have it be their choice, but we have to balance our intent to create a game against creating a sandbox where anything goes. There’s a happy medium there somewhere, but flying mounts in most cases just do too much to undermine too many of our core intentions with the game world, the basis of the game: combat, or guiding players through a game experience, and for those reasons we have continually chosen (when we could) to disallow flying mounts in the ‘current’ outdoor content. In the past that’s meant only while leveling, but in our experiences with the Isle of Thunder and Timeless Isle we feel like we can extend that for a bit longer in the new content, and have it be kind of a big deal again once you’re able to earn flying in the first big content patch, and in the meantime putting focus on flight paths as well as having some more interesting travel options for players to use.

I liked Timeless Isle, despite the lack of flight.  On the other hand I despised the Isle of Thunder and the clearly contrived lack of flight in that area.  Why not allow players to attempt to fly? Perhaps the more clever could have figured out how to make it work, that’s why (more on that in a bit) given the success of Pandaria, the increased subs for WoD, the developers thought that they had a solution to their problem of too little time/too much programming.

Not so fast, though.

The player base is now abandoning WoD in droves. It is boring, being limited to ground travel. Being restricted to a very limited quest chain (which is allowed by making sure that players go where you want them) Once again the developers reverse direction and work in a gated introduction of flight into WoD.  Players who got a secret pleasure out of denying flight to players who wanted to fly were outraged.  The developers have to recalculate programming requirements for content that will now have to include flight. Things are not looking good for Blizzard.

The sad part of all this is that the same developers are still beating the same dead horse that was the established lore for Warcraft more than a decade ago, and trying to draw out the final few dollars they can milk from this story before it stops being profitable.  They could re-invent parts of the game as they did with professions in the current expansion (much to their detriment in this player’s opinion) but that carries risk, and large companies are nothing if not risk-averse. (I offer Overwatch as an example of this; a pretty game but essentially a rehash of Team Fortress 2. Not that there isn’t room for more of the same kinds of games)

Risk adverse developers throttle player content, rather than expand playability.  Warlords delivered this in spades, extending the amount of work and time spent in the game to achieve even less than you could do in previous versions of WoW.  Only now, after the announcement of the next expansion, do they finally grudgingly give players the last piece of playability we had in previous versions of the game.  The next patch will finally give the players the ability to fly in Draenor, the ability to use the mounts all of us have paid for with time, effort and real money.  Finally fulfilling the implied contract when they sold us flying mounts a year and more ago.  Those mounts will finally fly.

But is it too little too late?  Speaking for myself, it might be. I’m thoroughly burned out now.  Try as I might, there just isn’t enough content in the game to keep me interested; or rather, there doesn’t appear to be any one type of play that the current game encourages aside from the narrow channel of developer intent to progress through the garrisons and outposts. Without flight, exploration, pet battling, archeology, etc all become tedious slogs through NPC’s you’ve already killed repeatedly.  Giving me flight now just reminds me how much of the game I liked in Pandaria that I’m already too far behind on to catch up now.

Which is why this article starts and ends with a hashtag. I’m not even going to contemplate playing WoW after the next expansion releases unless the developers include flight in the game from the beginning. Not just flight, but flight for all levels (as it was in Wrath of the Lich King at least) available at the time the expansion releases.

I’m done with being throttled, of playing Activision‘s version of a Blizzard game that reminds me more of Facebook games than it does of the MMO’s and RTS’ of previous years. Most of all, give me the sky to fly in, or I’ll find some other game to play in the future. #NOFLYNOBUY

I don’t care, I’m still free, you can’t take the sky from me

Sonny Rhodes

I started another thread on the forums with this title that references the Confirmation Bias post.

Blizzard No Longer Interested in Complaints

In the continuing saga of my issues with Cataclysm, we hit a new chapter. I tend to spend a lot more time on the forums now, or I did until recently. I find myself flying around Azeroth, boating around Azeroth a lot more of late; and when I’m trapped on a taxibird or a boat, essentially unable to do anything in game other than watch the scenery go by (and contrary to forum opinion, transit times from one area to another can be upwards of 30 mins) I tab out of the game and surf the forums for responses on my various threads, or drop hints on other player’s threads concerning community policing tools, the artificial scarcity of materials for the various professions, the lack of rewards for legitimate time spent, etc. Whatever seems appropriate for the discussion at hand.

I started a new thread a few days back. I have been trying to create a new ‘main’ character to play, I’m going to pick one of about three that I’m grooming. All of them have very low fishing skills, and while many players may not think this is a problem, or simply suggest that I just get to grinding on fishing…

Grinding? Let me explain grinding.

Grinding is the term used to describe the monotonous effort required to achieve particular goals in an MMO. Rather than introduce a level of difficulty to play, most games simply require that a certain action be taken several times. This practice has gotten ridiculous. Some of the professions now require that you perform certain actions over a hundred times, perhaps several thousand times, in order to achieve a single goal. This introduction of monotony into the game keeps some players (I’m one) from attempting certain parts of the game, thereby making the reward look more attractive and desirable to the rest of the players. While I do love my Wintersaber mount, I would not recommend the average player embark on the month-long quest grind that (used to be) required to get the mount. Oh, it’s cool. Even I don’t think it’s that cool.

So, catching stacks of fish with low-skilled player characters. Doing reputation grinds and daily quests to achieve goals and leveling in-game professions at the same time. the idea struck me that if I could just get quickly to the old quest hubs in the previous expansions of the game (these are the cities of Shattrath and Dalaran) I could use the daily fishing quests still present at the old endgame hubs to speed up the grind of leveling fishing, and add some short-term goals to what could turn into a month long attempt to level fishing.

This idea keyed into the storyline ideas that I had come up with previously. Re-route the now inexplicable portal to Blasted Lands from the major cities, to the Caverns of Time and involve the time tasked Bronze Dragonflight in the efforts of the bypassed game expansions, so as to give the story some sort of reason to go where it has to go if you are leveling a new character.

So I started a new thread titled “Dailies in Dalaran and Shattrath” and proposed just that, that a portal be created that lead from the new hubs to the old game hubs, so that players could go quickly from new to old for the purposes of leveling or questing. I was immediately set upon by Blizzard’s drones on the forum. Apparently using the word ‘portal’ in a thread tips over the hornets nest, and no amount of elaboration will ever cut through their noise.

“Blizzard is not going to put the portals back in Shattrath & Dalaran”

That’s great. I don’t want them back, they didn’t serve the purpose that I’m suggesting anyway. After about seven ridiculous pages of being flamed (more on that in a bit) I hit upon the idea that hearthstones were the answer, and my final post to the thread made the suggestion that the Bronzes give players a “Time Displacement Stone” at level 58 for Shattrath, and at level 68 for Dalaran. Give the stones a 12 hour cooldown, so that you can’t just shuttle back and forth between the two areas, but could go there once a day to do dailies (there are plenty of other items in the game that have 12 hour cooldowns, it’s hardly a unique idea) or to get your hearth set there or whatever. Any player over 68 could just go through the portal to the Caverns of Time and get the stones. Problem solved. No portals to Shattrath or Dalaran, but access provided that doesn’t take 20 mins in game to complete.

So, why is this not the end of the story? This is the fun part. The thread was deleted, and my account was banned for 72 hours. Why, you might well ask?

Obscenity. That’s right, I was banned for obscenity.

One of my posts, which I wrote when I was responding the many, many flames in the thread, included my statement that I…

well, I’ll just post the notice.

Origination

Forums / Comments

Ban Type: Obscene Language

Expires: Saturday, February 26, 2011 11:16:34 PM UTC (in 2 days, 3 hours)

Ban Reason: Suspended from the World of Warcraft forums for a 72 hour period for posting / masking obscene, vulgar or inappropriate language on the forums.

(Current) – Feb 21, 2011 7:44:18 PM————

Not having portals is kind of a downer but it doesn’t really effect my play. My Death Knight and Priest, both leveled from 1(55) to 85 after the portals went away, just never went to Shatt or Dal and remain parked in SW at all times. On the flip side my Hunter is perma parked in Dal, because I don’t feel like moving her, and I never see more than five or six other players there when I log into here. Taking portals away has just turned those areas into ghost towns.However I don’t see the portals coming back anytime soon so I suggest you do what everyone else does at the point and pretend those places don’t exist.

No, I’m going to @##!. @##! constantly, apparently.

The term in question is bitch. Not “you bitch”, which could be construed obscenely, since it calls into question the sexual practices of the person so labeled, but rather “to bitch” as in “Strongly Complain”. Yes, dear reader. Blizzard doesn’t want to hear your complaints. They are obscene, and they will get you removed from the forums.

The wife and I had a good giggle the other day. In-game chat is governed by the same ridiculous adult language filter that the forums are governed by. I have turned it off several times, but the default setting is on, and it gets reset every time there is a patch. So I’ve just left it on for awhile now. One of her clients had been phished and had lost access to her email account, which was being used as part of a 419 scam (she was telling me because I had gotten an email from this person, and I knew she wasn’t trapped overseas) She told me that it was a 419 scam because the IP address pointed to @#$^!ia. That’s Nigeria for the slow reader. Country names are obscene, apparently. We laughed and chatted back and forth, testing variations on a theme. Couldn’t be stingy, as in @#$$^!dly. You could say black in spanish (Negra. Never mind that the slang term that is considered obscene is a bastardization of the term the Spanish sailors attached to the slaves they were transporting, which was a description of skin color) so at least you can name colors in the game, if you speak Spanish. Can’t see any words that contain the 4 letter combination for that most favorite of American curses. The French love it too (Excrement! Just doesn’t have the same ring to it) I wonder if they have weird problems trying to block the word merde from appearing? And cheese and rice don’t you dare misspell continuous. That would be catastrophic! Any number of innocuous words or partial words are blocked by this annoying filter system. And some words, like damn, are left completely unfiltered (apparently calling for god to smite your enemies isn’t a obscenity any more) which probably has more to do with the combination of letters and their appearance in other words in the language than anything else.

So, when the word bitch was filtered out, I went back to check the text and edited it, but decided that bitch was the appropriate word for the kind of complaint I wanted to lodge, and that people were just going to have to figure out that the 5 letter symbolism represented the word bitch, and that represented a complaint.

…and now I’m banned for complaining. So watch yourselves, Blizzard subscribers. You’d better be happy in your grinding gameplay; if you are not, don’t think of complaining. You most certainly should not bitch about it. Learn from my example, eh?


Permanently banned from the forums now. Prison guards are so predictable. They reviewed the 72 hour ban, and in light of this blog post, decided I was a trouble maker. Into permanent solitary I go.

I’ve said it before, there are other games to play. I guess I’ll start playing them.

“Righteous indignation”

I’ve been meaning to write this one for awhile. I dragged myself out to vote November Eighth. I do this every time an election rolls around, not because I think my vote will be counted properly (another rant in the making) and not because I think it will change anything (most of the issues go the other direction by hefty majorities. I blame it on education) I do it because it gives me a license to bitch when the will of the majority goes awry. As it has in the past. As it will this time around too.

With the passage of Prop. 2 here in Texas, the majority has officially endorsed the end of “equality before the law”. What do I mean by that? Quite simply, they have stated that certain individuals have more rights than others, according to law. That if you cohabitate with ‘A’ member of the opposite sex, you can declare what you have a ‘marriage’, and claim the privilege that come along with it. Things like tax exemptions, health insurance coverage for ‘family members’, etc. Things not available to people who happen to cohabitate with any number of other people (no matter what sex they are) for whatever reason. Prop. 2 writes into the Texas Constitution that a household formed of one man and one woman has rights that others in the state don’t have, setting up preferential treatment for a specific portion of the population. Some of us (and since I’m one of the special people who happens to cohabitate with a woman, I’m one of ‘us’. Go figure) have more rights than others, and it’s written right into the ‘law of the land’. Equal before the law? Not any more.

How dare they put their faith above everything else? “Marriage is Sacred” they say. Then why can it be performed by a judge? It’s just another contractual arrangement now, no matter what it was in ancient times. If they wanted to retain the ‘sacred’ rites of marriage, then they should never have allowed the government to take part in the rites at all. It should only be performed in a church.

Back at the dawn of the internet, I used to spend time arguing on various forums on CompuServe (back when I was simply known as 71613,115@compuserve.com, before AOL bought the company and gutted it of its hardware) on the Gay and Lesbian forum I had several arguments with well intentioned people who were convinced that they needed special laws to protect them. I only ceased arguing with them when they provided proof that they were still persecuted in modern day America. I ceased to argue with them, but my views have not changed. There should not be ‘special’ laws for any group in America. Not for Gays, not for Women, not for Minorities; and most definitely not for ‘Marriage’.

I was, and still am outraged at this; especially in light of the ‘straight’ majority in Texas having now added one more misbegotten and meaningless amendment to the Texas constitution (a document that with each passing election shouts it’s need for complete replacement; just try reading it sometime) that will most likely backfire as have most of the ones before it. And I really hope it does. Just waiting for that case that opens the can of worms. “What do you mean, no marriages are ‘legal’ in the state of Texas? How could that be?”