Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Random Ramblings: Learning to Play Druid, 8/14H SoO, #Gamergate and Feminism

  I got my 10th character to level 90, a Druid named Kallonika, and by now it's just a relief that it's over. I hate leveling and the only thing holding me back from my goal of a 90 of each class is just setting aside time to do it. Dungeon diving as a tank is my least hated way to level, so getting my Druid to 90 has been easy enough. The only reason I'm leveling instead of boosting is to save $60.

  That's just it, though. Leveling is easy, but a chore, and I hate doing it. I also reject any argument that it "teaches you the class". Multiple specs for each class, particularly hybrids, makes that argument irrelevant. You can level a Combat Rogue, then switch to Assassination and already be familiar with the basics of managing energy and combo points, but if you level an Enhancement Shaman then switch to Restoration, nothing in your leveling experience will be relevant

  Here's what I think is a better case to be made: Want to learn your class? Do some PvP. Staying alive and getting flags capped or bases captured, peeling healers, killing healers or being a healer will force a player to sink or swim. Do some battlegrounds while leveling or wait and jump off the high dive at 90. It doesn't matter what level you are when you learn to play your class, and it doesn't matter how or where you learn, just so long as you learn.

  Playing a Feral Druid has been a high learning curve for me. Now that I'm in LFR and doing sustained DPS instead of just trash pack after trash pack in dungeons, I'm learning the nuances of maintaining Feral's "stuff". Icy-Veins has been an invaluable resource, as always. For the most part, there's two primary combo point generators to build with (Mangle/Shred), a buff and a debuff (Savage Roar/Faerie Fire), 2-3 bleeds to maintain (Rake/Rip/Thrash), the occasional combo point dump (Ferocious Bite), and 1 sub-minute cooldown (Tiger's Fury). That's 8-9 abilities to track at any given moment. It's actually a pleasant rotation to execute, since it does require attention as well as the ability to adjust on the fly. That's the basics, though. The nuances are knowing when to refresh dots early due to procs, managing energy with Clearcasting procs, and learning what all abilities are gained and given with Symbiosis. I think all this can be achieved in LFR, so I'll do SoO LFR's on my Druid until I feel I've figured it out well enough. This alt isn't my main focus anyway.


  My main focus is, of course, my Pally. We got Heroic Shamans down, and got a first look at Nazgrim. The fight seems pretty challenging, but at least it's short, so we'll get it pretty fast, I think. My group fails our way through brick walls a lot.

  One of my personal raiding philosophies is to maintain discipline and return to a ready state quickly. I'm certainly guilty of unannounced AFK's to grab a drink real quick, but I try to not be the last one ready. A lot of time is wasted between pulls, for one or another reason, but my reasons are mine to control. If that means I shouldn't drink so much I need to pee between every other wipe, then so be it. If we're going to fail our way though Nazgrim, we need as many attempts as we can get.

  I don't know if we'll finish heroics this Xpac, but I'm glad we're still raiding. It's at a level above any I've played in the past, and even if we don't finish before WoD, I think we're a heroic team.


(links are NSFW, strong language)

  Gamergate is a thing, apparently. I'm getting the main story from InternetAristocrat. The three videos in his Quinnspiracy Theory series so far, The Five Guys Saga, In-N-Out Edition and White Castles and Ivory Towers, each are compelling in my view. It really makes me want to do something about the issue.

  Perhaps what I can do here is speak out against the source of the problem, which I believe is Feminism. Due to Feminist influence, criticizing a woman, for whatever reason, is now called misogyny. However, I don't hate Quinn or Sarkeesian because they are women. Rather, I hate their work because it is an intentional, relentless attack on gaming. I am convinced that the attack comes from Feminism, for the purpose of profit.

  There is a profit motive for trolls like Sarkeesian, of course. She pretends to be a gamer so she can declare herself a "Pop-Culture Critic" and make hundreds of thousands of dollars. Simply put, she will take any game and show how it's sexist. Women in a video game are protected? Damsel in Distress! Women are subjected to violence? Objects of Violence! It's like reading tea leaves. She takes anything and everything and calls it misogyny. She's a master troll, and I still believe she is best ignored.

  There is a profit motive for Quinn as well, and for her it's particularly problematic, and cannot be ignored. She has been involved in a scandal with serious implications for the entire gaming community. Major gaming news outlets have censored criticism en masse. Editors have been quick to defend the indefensible behavior of their writers. The impartiality of judges of competitive gaming has been called in question. The impartiality of ratings and reviews of games have been as well. Gaming journalism affects gaming society as a whole. It's supposed to inform gamers, not push agendas. It's supposed to review and rate games impartially, based on their merit, not prevent game developers from freely creating their art. Gaming journalism has been corrupted, and gaming society is already affected by it.

  Simply put, Feminists are claiming the gamer society as their own, and are drawing a line in the sand. Either you follow their rules or you are an evil misogynist. They are doing this because it's profitable. The articles "10 of your favorite games are actually sexist/racist/homophobic!" get lots of clicks and the ad revenue rolls in. Someone in the industry says something innocuous at best, moronic at worst (but never actually causing harm), so they sell workshops on "How to not say such evil misogyny again!" Speaking engagements amounting to one strawman after another sell well. Feminism is a business now, not a social movement.

  Misogyny exists. So does misandry, and racism, and homophobia and all of the things. These things are real. However, I don't find them in gaming nearly as much as I do in other aspects of life. In my experience, gaming is far and above most other cultures in treating others with respect, courtesy, generosity, honesty and openness. If you only turn up the volume on the trolls, it might not seem that way, but there are far more many wonderful people with rich experiences to share than there are trolls to be ignored.

  Being a gamer doesn't mean being a lonely, white, male, cishet, middle-aged, middle-class, overweight nerd with a fedora and neckbeard, eating chips and drinking soda. Even if you are that, that's OK, because being a gamer means playing games. Anyone who plays games is a gamer. In my main guild, my DK co-tank is a young woman I have to argue with sometimes, but we work it out anyway and get to tanking. Our Hunter/Priest (she's a real team player for switching) is an older woman who works in the airline industry and has really cool stories and we talk late into the night sometimes after raid. I'm bisexual, and not for a moment have I been made to feel unwelcome in this guild for it. Sure, one person is making awkward humor I've heard a thousand times before, but he doesn't offend me. (It's like hearing a non-native speaker trying to learn the language. I appreciate that he's trying.) It just now occurs to me that I have no idea who has what color skin, because I don't care and it takes the context of PC-bullshit for it to reach my mind. My point is, our small guild has diversity, without even trying, and without PC-bullshit rules. We treat each other with respect because we are a team. We are gamers together.

  A last thought: I find it interesting that the only guilds I have been made not welcome in are "LGBT-friendly" guilds. So much for tolerance.

*edit* I suggest also reading an alternate point of view from an anarcho-feminist for anyone interested,.


  1. That's one hot potato there Kal!

    1. It's been cooking for a couple of weeks! In all seriousness, I think this issue will divide gamers. I am certainly aware of the douche bags trolling against Quinn, but as with any other trolls, I ignore them. The useful dialogue is happening between those who are appropriately criticizing the corruption of journalism, and those who defend those journalists.

      This is just a thing I had to get off my chest, and I'm definitely open to criticism myself here. The next post is going to be about Disc DPS, and some Tanking Rules after. I'm not going to got too far down this rabbit-hole.