Archive for the “Serious Stuff” Category

OK, OK.  I have tried really bloody hard not to end up writing about this whole gender thing that seems to be the big issue in the WoW Blogosphere at the moment.  It’s so spread everywhere that most people probably feel saturated by the whole affair.

However, I’m going to blather on. 

I’ve got broad shoulders, so I’m going to admit that I am the person being called out here.  Kudos to her for not identifying me (although, hey, almost all of you would have seen the conversation on Twitter about it!)  If you want the full back story, scroll to the bottom.  If you want your delightful Warlock author to still smell of fel roses in your mind, don’t bother.

Essentially, I had an issue with the idea of a post that Ophelie and Matt were discussing about ‘The Male Experience in WoW’ as a part of a discussion that seems to be happening with feminist issues in WoW.  I still do honestly believe that such a post has an incredibly high risk of taking all the wonderful discussion that has been going on around women and feminist issues in game, and undermining them for the sake of men saying “But what about us?  You want equality, no?  Look at how we suffer!”  It really is the most classic way I can think of to undermine or derail someone’s discussion or argument – some times it is well intentioned, some times it is not, but it is almost always effective.

Really, that would be like me writing a post on the trials and tribulations of being a well educated, middle class white person.  Yeah, I know that everyone who isn’t one of those things has problems to overcome, but what about me?  If we are going to be equal, then damn it, you have to listen to everything that sucks about my life too!  Next thing you know, we have a mass of people ‘in my boat’ going “Oh, yes, what about me?” and before you know it the original issue has been lost in a storm of ‘let’s feel sorry for the ones who probably need it least’, or, even worse, forgotten entirely.

Yes, I said that there would be ‘nothing to say’ if you did a gender post about men.  I’m kinda looking forward to seeing a gender post about men, as much as the whole idea aggravates the hell out of me, because to this point I can’t think of any real major issues (apart from the ridiculous body image problem in the game that affects both genders) men would have.  Sure, women aren’t ‘rare’ in WoW anymore, but we aren’t commonplace either.  Men still maintain the majority.  Men still have a lot more privilege than women in this game.  I know after reading all the wonderful comments over at Ophelie’s blog that many people say they don’t understand privilege.  Many people don’t believe in privilege.  Some days, I have trouble understanding it myself, and some days, I get bothered when my privilege gets used against me (see: my typical work day).  However, my understanding or lack there of does not change the fact that it is there, and it does cause some of the problems.

So, yes, I get incredibly irate when I see a male reaction of ‘I’m going to talk about men in WoW’.  I get equally irate when I see women encouraging such a derailing action.  And that will cause the reaction outlined below, in the italics.  Sure, it’s not fair, or pretty, or very bloody nice at all.  Having all that privilege doesn’t make me a perfect person!

As for my views regarding the game and feminism?  Oh boy…

Don’t expect me to start going on about how men treat women badly in WoW.  You know what?  I honestly believe most of them don’t.  Sure, I’ve been sexually harassed (albeit awkwardly), I’ve listened to things that would make a sailor blush (but I’m a school teacher, that’s a daily occurrence for me).  However, most men I have dealt with in the game have been wonderful people.  Most women I have dealt with have been equally wonderful.  Sure, there are going to be a few dodgy ones of either gender in the bag, but you deal with that and move on.

Most of the issues I have with the game are not the community – they’re within the game itself.  I’d love to have a strong female character who doesn’t go bonkers.  I’d love for Blizzard to think about events like the bunny ears at Noblegarden.  I’d almost roll over and beg if they had a think about some of the flirt emotes and perhaps gave the male and female characters some equally ‘domineering’ ones.  However, while they have the mindset that they are catering to a male audience, and that the female audience isn’t significant enough to worry about, they will continue doing these things.

Might I be painting a poor picture of men by implying that they welcome these things?  Possibly.  However, I really do believe this is the reasoning, if there was any, behind some of Blizzard’s poorer choices.

Ophelie would probably be interested to know that I actually agree with her with a lot of her post.  Yes, if we continue painting women as victims, we aren’t going to get anywhere.  I wouldn’t say that all women should be more aggressive in their reactions to discrimination or harassment (that would be lovely, but I do understand that some people lack the confidence to do that, or are in situations which make it difficult for them), but the women who are that confident should stand up and do something.  I can’t comment on the ‘talking on vent’ situation, simply because I did avoid talking on vent for most of my WoW playing life, but for a different reason.  Even now I am awfully quiet on vent, but that has a lot less to do with my gender than the fact I just don’t like contributing useless noise in the middle of a raid, and I have always been lucky enough to have raid leaders who notice everything, so I don’t ever need to call stuff out.

Similarly, I refuse to blab on about ‘I’m a girl I’m a girl I’m a girl!’  Yeah, I’m female.  Yeah, I am a guild master (although my wonderful ‘essentially a guild master without the name’ does most of the work for me at the moment <3).  Yeah, I play a class that is stereotypically perceived as ‘female’ for some reason.  But who cares?  I’ve had people tell me I won’t be able to handle raiding.  I’ve had them tell me I won’t be able to handle blogging.  I’ve had them tell me I won’t be able to handle leading a guild.  I just shrug them off (just like I shrug off every ‘but you’re a girl’ comment and take no notice) because I know what I can and can’t do.

I’d love to know why being a hardcore WoW player as a female is even seen as a ‘feminist’ thing, or a ‘stand for women’.  Huh, what?  When I was a hardcore raider, I never once thought that I was proving anything about women. I was just raiding and having a damn good time doing it.  Now I am in a casual guild, I kinda resent the implication that I am ‘doing what is expected of me’.  The reason I chose to be in a casual guild has nothing to do with my gender, and everything to do with the fact that I lead a stupidly busy life.  The reason there are less women in top guilds than men, I suspect, is because a) there are less women in the game and b) (look out, sexist alert!) women typically seem to end up doing the usual household ‘stuff’ (dinner, kids, cleaning up, etc) after dinner.  If we fix that problem in the greater world, then yes, we might be able to start fixing that problem in WoW.

At the end of the day, I don’t care who or what you are.  You could be a spotted dinosaur for all I care.  Do whatever the hell you want to do in the game, and out of it.  Don’t let anyone tell you to do more.  Don’t let anyone tell you to do less.  Don’t let anyone say that you can or you can’t because you are male, female, black, white, yellow or purple.  At the same time though, don’t judge those who feel that they can’t do those things because of their gender or their race or their social class or anything else.  You don’t know what it is like to walk in that person’s shoes.

 

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I put together a small handful of interesting posts from the protest forum.  I also copy and pasted the contents of said posts for people who may have issues seeing images/ clicking through.  Most of the images were unfortunately too large to post full size on the blog.  All posts are quoted in their entirety and are unedited (including the errors in my own).  They all raise good points, and one of them in particular is a real tear jerker (at least for me).

I also urge you all to post on the forums, whether you agree with the changes or not.  Please be polite and reasonable while doing so, and be clear and concise in your writing (unlike me!)

<3 Sar.

1.  My response to the forum

forum post Click to Embiggen

I don’t often post on these forums. I will admit that I can be put off by the juvenile behaviour of some, and the flame wars of others.
However.
I do not believe that such a grotesque violation of people’s rights is the answer to this problem.
I’d like to draw attention to a part of the Code of Conduct that you find important enough to highlight every time we make a post on the forums:



Q u o t e:
Help keep these forums a fun and safe place for everyone – please report any Code of Conduct violations you see, including:
* Posts containing personal information about other players.

Why is it acceptable for you to essentially post our personal information? To have our real names viewable by all others, to reveal or open us up to assumptions about personal details such as gender, age and race?
By posting as ‘Saresa’, I can feel comfortable knowing that people view me, above all else, as a person who chooses to play a level 80 female Human Warlock. That is all one can assert about me from this handle. By posting as my ‘actual self’, people immediately view me and may make these assumptions or reach these conclusions:
- ‘Oh she’s a girl. She clearly doesn’t know what she is talking about’
- ‘Oh, she’s got a funny name. If I can’t agree with her about whatever she is talking about, I can always poke fun at her name!’
- ‘Hmmm. She must be ‘old’, with that first name. Who cares what an ‘old’ person has to say anyway?’
- ‘Oh look, I know that name, she’s my school teacher! I’m going to make fun of her and tell everyone at work LOLOLOL’
It is also staggering that Blizzard has not learned from the privacy fiascos of entities such as Google and Facebook. Why make the same mistakes as these companies? It leads me to assume that you are banking on the poor understanding of online security that young people have (see: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/crooks-prey-on-young/story-e6frf7l6-1225888665174 just for starters), and are hoping that they simply will not care. I would advise you to remember the largest demographic of WoW players for starters (not children!) when making these changes – many of us are from a generation of older, more wary gamers and internet citizens.
Please reconsider this change. I say this as a fan of Real ID in it’s first release state (not perfect, but opt-in, which is what we feel it was marketed to us as). Honestly, if this comes down to making the forums ‘more friendly’, then I feel your motivation is misplaced. It will lead to more racially and sexually targetted flaming, and will not save you time or money in moderation.
I also feel that giving us the option to ‘not use the forums’ is no real option at all. Making an MMORPG more social by telling people to ‘not use the forums if they value their privacy’? I’m very sorry, but that doesn’t make sense to me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Saresa (Gamer, Blogger – http://destructivereach.com – and all round Blizzard fan)

2.  Employment Oriented Post by Qawiu of Greymane

employment post Click to Embiggen

Medical professionals, educators, law enforcement officers, legal personnel, these are just a few of the people who CANNOT AFFORD to draw aggro to their real legal names. People for whom even an arrest on false charges, later vindicated, is the end of their careers. People who can be crushed by anonymous accusations and groundless complaints, or even by the very act of harassment itself. These are the people you are guaranteed to be rid of if you implement this. The people with nothing to lose because they’ve accomplished nothing in life will not be deterred.
And we were your ideal customers, because we pay regularly, often without even using the game during that time, we often don’t have much time to tax your resources, and we don’t make much trouble for you in general.
But more awful to contemplate, are the young people who will ruin their lives without realizing that what they do as youths will be attached to their names FOREVER. Archives of internet content persist and they will find you. Forget ever making anything of yourself if your reputation is ruined now. Not even for anything you’ve said, but because someone else didn’t like the way you speak, didn’t like your name, didn’t like that someone else liked you. Didn’t feel you paid enough attention to them or were impressed enough by their l33t g34r.
And even worse, the innocent bystanders whose names coincide with or are used by misanthropes, who get hell rained on them without anybody even understanding why. Because ‘cyberbullying’ is not a problem, right? No one’s having their life ruined by harassment from internet sociopaths.
I can’t hold on to hope for this anymore– I’m going to go grieve a game that was so much a part of my life for so many years, and all the memories I’m going to have to leave behind. I’ll never forgive this, Blizzard. Never.

3.  Rights for Transexuals by Occam of Shandris

trans post Click to Embiggen

Hello, Blizzard.
How’s it going?
Why don’t you have a seat, I have some anger to blast at you.
I’m an Male-to-Female transsexual, Blizz. I haven’t legally changed my name yet, and I made my account long before beginning to transition. As a result, my account is labeled with a fairly masculine name, which I cannot change under the current system until I get it changed legally. This was a major concern for me when the realID friend list happened, but it’s not been a big deal, thanks for outing me to a good portion of my friends who play WoW, though. That lead to a few tears, not like I haven’t had a hard enough time convincing the various guilds I’m a part of across the four or five servers I have 80′s on that I’m female when they hear me over Ventrillo.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU for making this decision to out me and, oh, for the sake of statistics, the some odd THOUSAND others in my situation to every single person with a battle.net account. It really means something to us.
I skimmed over the previous pages, and couldn’t find any post pertaining to this, and felt it needed to be said. I’m sure there’s more than a mere thousand in situations similar to this, so let’s say a nice, low, 10,000 players of your supposed several million strong playerbase, and assume they all play WoW.
I plan on cancelling my subscription, and never looking at Blizz again after this change, and we’ll say half of those people plan to as well. 5,000, times 15 every month just from this group loss to profits. Is whatever cock-eyed profit scheme this is based on really worth that sort of income loss?
Also, posted on an alt keep from outing myself to my ENTIRE guild, instead of just people it’s beneficial to be able to pull off of alts at any give time. Yeah, only for IRL friends my ass.
inb4 my post is buried under more recent replies and I’m the only person to ever read it

4.  Quitting WoW post by Tacobeef of Zul’jin (one of many similar posts)

quit post Click to Embiggen

After posting here in this thread, around page 200 something, I ask again, is there something that can be done legally to block this? I’d like to read a post from someone with a law background regarding this topic which I think it surely has to break some internet or civil rights law.
Also this:
Thank you for playing World of Warcraft, and we hope you enjoyed your stay in Azeroth. All credit card information has been removed from the account ******** as of July 6, 2010 7:46:15 PM, so no further billing will be processed on this account unless payment information is manually re-entered. Your account will remain accessible for play until August 5, 2010 7:12:51 PM, when the remaining pre-paid time expires.
Good luck, Blizzard, you’ll need it.
EDIT: I also filled out a complaint at the ESRB.

5.  Unique Name post by Shrike of Wyrmrest Accord (again, one of many)

unique name post Click to Embiggen

Q u o t e:



Q u o t e:
http://howmanyofme.com/
Feel free to see how many other people in the USA have your name, for me it’s 27.

Three.


For me?
None.
And my name isn’t even that strange. If it was first name? 1,500 or so. My last name has 572. But the combination? *One* person has that, and it’s me.
Obviously, I am aware that Blizzard is not a single entity, but we have not been informed, nor (I’m sure) will we ever be informed, who made the decision to do this… So I’ll address the following as "to the relevant parties at Blizzard…":

  • I defended you all the way back to when you opened paid server transfers for the very first time and made my first server into a cesspool and utterly destroyed the RP community there, because I trusted that you would make things right (and you did, you doubled the "new server" delay before transfers were allowed).
  • I defended you when you made sweeping changes that hamstrung my own class, because I trusted that you would make things right (and you did, by drastically overhauling my class and making it fun to play again).
  • I defended you when you forced the migration of all World of Warcraft accounts to Battle.net accounts, because I trusted that you would make things right (and you did, by making battle.net more user-friendly, and adding the ability to use Authenticators).
  • I defended you when you allowed the Trading Card Game to include in-game items, because I trusted you, that it would never include game-altering items.
  • I defended you when you started selling in-game items for cash, because I trusted you, that it would never include game-altering items.
  • I defended you when you implemented RealID, even though it made me extremely unpopular with my friends, because I trusted that you would actually take privacy concerns into account and make sure that no "slippery slope" came into effect.

I cannot defend this travesty, and I feel sickened that I ever defended you about RealID in the first place.
You’ve proven all the RealID naysayers right, destroyed your credibility, and alienated your most vocal defenders and proponents, all at once.
The only thing you can do to make this right is to implement a RealAlias option, so each Battle.net account can have a single NON-REAL-NAME identifier attached to it, that is just as difficult to alter as a real name attached to the account would be. Without this change, the service will be unusable by anyone with even a shred of self-preservation.
I’ve never threatened to cancel my accounts. It’s always a stupid move to threaten it. And I won’t threaten now, because it doesn’t work. I’ll just state very simply that this move insults me, my wife, and everyone I know who has any dignity or desire for privacy, and I feel no interest in continuing to play a game whose operators insult me.

6.  MVP’s against the changes: Frejya.

mvp post Click to Embiggen

Just saw Blindsight’s post a few pages back. Evidently Icedragon and Nok posted as well. All against this change.
For those of you that might not know – these guys are part of a core group that posts regularly in the Getting Started forums.
I don’t see how losing them is going to improve things.
¸..• ‘¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.•’ .•’¨¨)) Frejya -:¦:-
((¸¸.•’ …•’ -:¦:-

7.  Another MVP post, with a remarkably fitting signature.  Snowfox.

sig mvp post

“Paranoid: Worrying about Big Brother
Cautious: Worrying about his little brothers”

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It seems I may have offended Death Knights in yesterday’s post.

I could say that no offense was intended.  I could say that I was actually mocking the tanking community (and, by extension, the WoW community) for their attitudes towards Death Knights.

But now, I don’t want to.  You have convinced me that it is much more fun to keep babbling on about DK’s rather than merely apologising.  Because, as we all know, apologising is for Mages, Sissies, and People Who Are Often Wrong.

OK, Death Knights, here is our two prong approach to fixing your problem.

1.  ‘There are so many crappy Death Knights!’

Well DUH.  Every man and his dog is going to roll the class that starts FIFTY EIGHT levels ahead of the rest of us.  Simple logic really.

  • Starting 58 levels ahead is kinda lazy
  • The average person is lazy
  • Therefore, everyone will want to start 58 levels ahead.

Unfortunately, many of us are not good at Death Knightery.  That’s OK, I am sure they are all good at something else.  Like crocheting.  So, we simply need to persuade these people to not play a Death Knight anymore.

We could always tell them that they just suck at the DK.  In my experience, people do not take this too well at all.  This may lead to you being called an elitist asshat, or worse.

Or, we could just kill them.

We’d be doing the world a favour, really.

2.  Death Knights doesn’t afraid of anything!  Except a wee bit of mockery.

Death Knights are like the new plate wearing Mage.  They stand around, try hard to look pretty, and QQ at the drop of a hat.  Not the way to behave for the class that is trying to take the evil mantle from Warlocks.

Stop crying when we pick on you.  Instead, grab the said mocker’s face, and smash it into the nearest Runeforge.  Then stick your nice specially enchanted weapon right up their posterior, until they beg for mercy.  I would suggest you stop if they are doing the wrong sort of begging as well, since that means they enjoy that kinda thing *looks at the Mages*.

Stand up for yourselves!

Also: This is really just a sneaky way to write a post about RealID, without putting RealID in the title or in the majority of the post, I have tricked you into reading something that ultimately is about something you are not at all interested in because you have heard it so many times already and OMG just shut up about it!

Also, thanks to BRK for letting me shamelessly steal his technique of conveying messages.  And by letting me, I refer to the type of letting that happens without consultation… so the ‘letting’ in that sentence is utterly pointless.  He didn’t let me at all.  But that’s OK, ‘cos he’s just a Hunter, after all.  Just a big red scary one.  /hides

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Attaturkswords5

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia.  No doubt many of you have read the story on other Australian blogs of the origins of ANZAC Day and what it represents.

Thank you to the countless soldiers who have given up their time, and in many cases, ultimately their lives, to protect our freedom, and to ensure that we can live how we choose. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest we forget.

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At the risk of sounding like John Farnham*…

The time has come for me to hang up my writing pen (at least, my WoW writing pen), and take a step back from the community.  After a lot of soul searching, I have realised that I simply spend far too much of my time focused on the game and immersed in this online community.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but I have stopped thinking so much about the ‘Real World’, and it has begun to affect things it quite frankly shouldn’t be affecting.

I guess people might have a few questions….

1.  Why you quitting?  That above answer seems kinda vague.

Well, it is.  I don’t really want to go into all the nitty gritty of the things blogging has changed in my life (some for the better, some for the worse).  Essentially, I’ve just decided that it isn’t healthy for me to have my focus lie here, so I am going to drop WoW blogging and spend the (great deal of) time I worked here and in other places focusing on my job and saving some money.

2.  Does this mean you are quitting WoW?

At this point, no, I’ll continue to play the game, hopefully at least until Cataclysm.  I’ll also hopefully feel less obligated to be all serious and mathy about it… hell, I might even spend time on alts rather than my main.

3.  Will the website be staying up?

I am 99.9% sure my hosting dies in March.  At this point, I’ll either pay to keep this page here (probably useless, as there is no relevant info to be found here), or I’ll transfer all the content over to my old free WordPress site and let the hosting expire.  I’ll always keep hold of the name, just in case.  We all know I haven’t done well at quitting in the past, but this time I have a much better incentive.

4.  What did you mean, hanging up your WoW writing pen?

I do have a personal blog, and I’ll continue blogging sporadically there.  I’m not going to link it here, as the writing standard is (unbelievably) even lower than here, and most of the posts consist of me emoing out.  However, it’s not hard to find, I am pretty sure I have links to it here and there on the community, so if you are interested enough to track it down, feel free to have a look.

However, I will be ceasing all writing at this point in time on Destructive Reach, and more than likely Tree of Doom as well.  If I do happen to post on Tree of Doom, it will be without fanfare, and I certainly won’t be expecting readers!

5.  What about your involvement with the WoW Community?

Most of my involvement with the community will also be coming to a close.  I am more than happy for anyone to have a chat to me about, well, anything at any time, and if you want to do so, you can look at my Twitter page for my contact details.  I will probably eventually be withdrawing from the WoW twitter community as well.

As for Blog Azeroth, I am also planning on withdrawing from that community as well.  So, I am hoping that a couple of motivated bloggers want to step up to the role of moderating and helping the BA community.  If you are interested, please please PLEASE let me know.  In this regard I am quite disappointed, as there were a couple of things I was hoping to achieve in the community this year.  However, it will be nice to see new people take on the role and achieve something :-)

So, this is the part of the post where I should do thank yous.  However, I am absolutely terrified of leaving someone out, so I would just like to thank those in the WoW and Blog Azeroth communities who have been so kind to me over the past two or so years, and who have helped me through SO many things.  I’d also like to of course thank every person who reads this blog, and those of you who are kind enough to comment, regardless of whether you have agreed or disagreed with me.  You have all been truly amazing, and I consider myself blessed to have such wonderful people actually interested enough to read what I have to say.

Thank you all again.  It has truly been wonderful fun, and I will miss you all immensely.  Best wishes in the World of Warcraft and beyond for you all.

Love, Sar

*Oh… and who is John Farnham, you ask?  Well, he was a singer in the 80’s and 90’s in Australia, who has probably now made a large amount of money of countless ‘One Last Time’ tours.  I think he has been quitting performing since I was about 10… and is still trekking around doing ‘last shows’.  The man just doesn’t know how to quit.

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This is not a WoW post.  However, I think it is a very important issue, and one which people should be aware of regardless of where they live.  If it happens here, a country which is considered to be fairly democratic, it could plausibly happen anywhere.  That’s not scare mongering either… just a logical assertion.

However, feel free to mark as ‘read’, as it is a bit of a political rant.  And it’s kinda long.  Sorry.

Three days ago, news broke that the Australian Government’s internet filter (dubbed ‘Clean Feed’) has been given the green light, and will be introduced in Parliament next year.  Clean Feed is a filter which will be implemented at ISP level to block inappropriate and illegal material.  The filter will be compulsory for all ISPs to implement, and I am sure it will also be part of the law that users can not attempt to bypass the filter through anonymous proxies.   The government, in all their wisdom, have determined that blocking this material will ‘protect our children’ and will be ‘in the best interests of all Australians’.  Such material will be blocked on the basis of its ‘classification’.  Anything which is marked ‘Refused Classification’ will be blocked.

Of course, there have been mixed reactions to the filter – while a vast majority of Australians are against the filter, some people have gone as far as accusing those who are against it of being ‘pro-child porn’ and other various things.  Extremists on the other side of the argument have said ‘This is just the beginning of extreme government censorship’.  I myself don’t really subscribe to either of those views, but I do have some serious problems with this legislation.

1.  Who determines what is acceptable to be filtered?

The initial media coverage said the filter would cut illegal internet content such as “child sex abuse, bestiality, sexual violence or detailed information about how to use drugs or commit crimes”.  Now, I have serious doubts as to whether a couple of those things are actually ‘illegal content’ – and I know that one of those is legislated on a State level in Australia, not a Federal one, but that’s a moot point.  Today, there were media reports that the test filter was catching a large amount of harmless Refused Classification material, such as gay porn and fetish material.  Attempting to block illegal material is noble, in a misguided sense, I guess.  Blocking material that goes against mainstream moral values?  Totally disgusting and inappropriate.  One ISP involved in the test run reported large amounts of customer complaints because the filter had mistakenly blocked redtube. 

2.  The testing process was inherently flawed.

9 ISP’s volunteered to test the content filter.  Of these, only one ISP is considered to be of significant size.  Many of the others are small ISPs with a very specific clientele (one of these ISPs reported that only 1% of their client base was willing to be a part of the trial.  That amounted to 15 people).  The feedback from the ISPs involved has been minimal – Optus, the only large ISP to participate, refused to comment to the media.  There is not enough information publicly available about the trial and its results.

3.  Australia does not want or need a further slow down of speeds.

The government claims that the filter will not reduce speeds or cause issues in any way.  Unfortunately, the government has shown a lack of understanding of how the internet works.  I could go on about this all day.  Or, if you are actually interested, you could go read this (fantastic interview with the leaders of Telstra, Internode and iiNet – the three largest ISPs in Australia). 

TL;DR version of the article?

  • “Filtering technology, he [Hackett, from Internode] says, is the "antithesis to the notion that we all want to go faster" on the internet. "This stuff will actually make things go slower,"
  • “It’s invasive meaning it is expensive [to implement], and invasive in the sense that installing it in our network is complicated and may in fact cause outages." – Hackett, Internode
  • “"If the stuff goes a bit wrong it will start blocking other content. The trouble is, the internet’s not just web browsers. Other applications that are using the internet may get mistaken for things that are pulling that content and might get blocked or messed with in strange ways." – Hackett, Internode
  • “The idea of having some sort of fairly loose regulations and saying to ISPs, look, you have the capacity to do X, Y or Z and we’d like you to do that is crazy," he says. "If we start doing things like cutting people off on the basis of doing file-sharing, for example, we could finish up breaking laws. We could certainly lend ourselves liable to being sued for wrongfully cutting people off." – Milne, Telstra Bigpond
  • “"If the Federal Government says we are going to stop certain sorts of objectionable content, what on earth is the definition of bad here?" asks Hackett. "Is it the Federal Government’s definition of bad?”
  • “"I do worry that this is the thin edge of the wedge," he said. "That the Government will come in with a small list of sites for the ISP to block, and that just includes the real stuff that everyone agrees on like child porn and bestiality. So we say, OK we are willing to comply with that. But it becomes an area then that can be used for so much more. So you might see the next step is an attempt to block out XXX sites or hate speech sites, and you think, OK maybe we can live with that [too].  But then after that it could be to block out competing political positions or to block out sites about religion or sexual orientation that the Government says is no longer suitable for children in Australia." – Malone, iiNet

Sure, I don’t want children being able to see inappropriate material.  However, we should not all be subjected to the government’s method of controlling this.  Legislated morality?  How is that going to help anyone?  Educate parents and children about the internet.  Encourage parents to supervise their children on the internet.  Spend the money developing a client side filter that a teenager isn’t going to bypass in a few seconds.  Don’t foist your flawed filter on all Australians.

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With somewhat disturbing news.  Yeah… news.  Non-WoW related news.  Actual News! *Shock Horror!*

I had a really fun, cheery post all lined up to write today.  Honest, I did!  It had pets, and flowers, and bumblebees… well, ok, it just had the pets, Illidan, and a few friends.  But still… cheery, right?

Then something was brought to my attention by the ever-wonderful Wynthea.  Something not WoW related, but so repugnant that we as a gaming community should be decrying it at every possible venue at the top of our voices.  Hell, I’ll type with caps lock on if need be, in bold, italicised and underlined.  Now, I might get some backlash here… I know that I have shown my feminist side before, and a lot of people disagreed with me then.  However, this is completely beyond anything that I have ever imagined.

I have never been to any form of gaming, comic, anime, sci-fi… well, ANY form of convention in my life.  I don’t know if this crap is normal, although the community’s reaction to it just gives me a small small idea that it is not.  Apparently there are people known as ‘booth babes’ at Comic-Con, whom in my mind I imagine being similar in role to the Meter Maids that we have at the Gold Coast in Australia, or the women who promote various alcoholic beverages in clubs and pubs occasionally.  Attractive young women who hand out free stuff and market a product.  Sound about right?

That in itself is fine with me.  Young attractive women have been used to market products for a very long time, and I am sure that many of the people who have such a career enjoy it immensely.  However, when your company’s promotion allows and encourages people to violate these women, their employees, there is something very wrong.

Enter EA Games.  I’m sure you have all heard of them, perhaps played a game or two of theirs (I know I was a Sims junkie for years).  At Comic-Con, they had ‘booth babes’ promoting a new game called Dante’s Inferno.  One would guess that it is all about Hell and Sin and all that sort of fuss and bother.  Whether it’s based upon the novel, who knows (although I doubt it).  A major aspect of their promotion was the following:

sintowinbig1.  “Commit acts of lust”: Take a Photo with us or any Booth Babe.  One would imagine that they might be after at least mildly suggestive photos from the wording.

2.  Spam the photo on the internet so the world can see just how big a stud you are!

3.  Rinse and Repeat

Now, I am sure that the original intention was not to have people taking photos of themselves and their mates violating or sexually harassing the booth babes.  I am fairly sure that all you would have to do would be to get a photo with them.  However, we all know how these competitions go… you end up with people trying to one-up each other, coming up with more ‘dramatic’ ideas as the day goes on.  Nowhere does it say that you can not touch the booth babes, harass the booth babes, or in any other way violate the booth babes.  Sure, a logical person would assume this is so.  However, not all people are logical, especially when they are caught up in the moment.

Then we have the prize… a sinful night with TWO girls (since one just isn’t enough for the wannabe stud with a camera on the town), and a chest full of booty (clearly intended to link to the actual chest depicted… yay for punning!)  What the fricking hell, EA?  Way to encourage and foster respect for women!

Now, I am lazy, and can’t be bothered rewording my initial reaction… so here it is, nicely copy/pasted from Facebook.

“The gaming industry seems to occasionally forget that its core demographic is no longer teenage boys. Pulling stunts like this doesn’t help the industry attract female gamers, and further serves to widen the rift between women and the small, irritating "OMG women on the internet?! lolz!" group of gamers. I am also sure that the average gamer wouldn’t appreciate garbage like this.
This article makes me awfully glad that I haven’t purchased an EA game in a very long time. What was their marketing strategy for the Sims 3 – you get to order about a bunch of EA employees and take photos of them doing your will? Unlikely!”

Now, the outcry against this was so huge that EA put out an apology… temporarily.  Apparently it is no longer available on the website, but a couple of savvy people screenshotted it before EA took it down.  The apology was as follows:

We understand there’s a lot of debate right now around our ‘Sin to Win’ promotion at Comic-Con and wanted to clarify a few things.  We created this promotion as a part of our marketing efforts around the circle of Lust (one of the nine sins/circles of Hell).  Each month we will be focusing on a new Circle of hell.  This month is Lust.  Costumed reps are a tradition at Comic-Con.  In the spirit of both the Circle of Lust and Comic-Con, we are encouraging attendees to Tweet photos of themselves with any of the costumed reps at Comic-Con here, find us on Facebook or via e-mail.  “Commit acts of lust” is simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with reps.  Also, a “Night of Lust” means only that the winner will receive a chaperoned VIP night on the town with the Dante’s Inferno reps, all expenses paid, as well as other prizes.

We apologise for any confusion and offense that resulted from our choice of wording, and want to assure you that we take your concerns and sentiments seriously.  We’ll continue to follow your comments and please let us know if you have any other thoughts or concerns.  Keep watching as the event unfolds and we hope you’ll agree with us that it was all done in the spirit of the good natured fun of Comic-Con.

Uh huh.  Right.  Certainly sounds ‘good natured’ and ‘fun’.  Like getting a large object poked up your butt.  Hmmm, I wonder if anyone tried to do that for a photo?

So, my question is… if this is how they are promoting the sin of Lust, what are they going to do for all the other sins? Hot dog eating contests?  Lying on sofa contests?  What do you think?

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It’s easy to say WoW is just a game.  That we should just do what we want to do, because that’s what we pay for.  That the relationships we build are ultimately shallow and easily forgotten when we move on to other ventures.

Well, it’s all bullshit.

It’s no secret I have been comparatively unhappy in my current Cenarius guild as of late.  I moved Saresa because she just wasn’t seeing any raiding action on Cenarius, and I figured if I was going to change guilds, I may as well go the full hog and change to somewhere where the raid times didn’t totally suck balls.  However, I worked my ass off on Hermia to try and gear her enough to heal most anything.  Now, she is currently at just under 2k + heals, and is holding her own excellently in the Ulduar 25’s my old guild Arcis has been kind enough to drag me through when they are short a healer.

Unfortunately, most every effort that I make to make Hermia’s gear somewhat acceptable just doesn’t get noticed.  It has gotten to the point where I make comments in guild chat so that people are aware of where her gear currently stands.  I’m not asking to be taken to every run, but I am asking to at least get the chance to go to them.

As a bit of history as to what has happened before (so that this all makes sense)… we have to go way back into the days of Cenarius Saresa.

Sar signed up for every Ulduar run she could possibly make.  Now, she was never taken, of course, but she signed up regardless.  She went to every guild run that she could possibly go to, helped out in heroics, helped out in non-heroics, didn’t mooch off the guild, and pugged her butt off whenever she couldn’t get a guild run to try and improve her gear.  Regardless, she was always told that she was not able to go to Ulduar runs (due to poor gear, latency, and everything else under the sun), and just sat on the side lines.  Eventually, this wore thin, and she transferred…

…where she was immediately able to do an average of 4k DPS.  Not great, but equal to most of her old guilds DPS.

Now, back to present day land…

I didn’t want to see the same thing happening to Hermia, and it felt like it was.  So, I expressed the following to my GM’s

  • I am considering rejoining Arcis.  They have expressed some interest in having a Sar-mutation back on board, and I know that I can get along just fine there
  • The main reason for this reconsideration is that I have never been able to run anything with Reforged past Naxx level.  The vast majority of my progress on both toons has been through PuGs.
  • The other consideration, and the one that really is the kicker, is that it makes no sense to run with Arcis each week and not be able to get EP-GP points.  It’s silly.

The response to this was the following

  • That is fine, do what you like :-) after all, it’s your $15 a month
  • In our defence, you have never signed up for anything. 

That is a good point.  However, it’s also hard to sign up for things if you do not get invited to them.  I signed up for every run I was able to make.  I was crushed when I was rejected for those runs week after week.  The GMs said that they weren’t aware of the ‘no go for Sar’ situation, as an officer leads the runs.  But unfortunately they didn’t seem to understand how that has shaped my understanding of the sign up process.  People would sign up and not be taken.  People would log on at the right time and not be signed up, and be taken.  It was a frustrating system.

The final straw was the other day.  The guild was in an Ulduar 10 and needed a healer.  Hermia was available, had healed Ulduar 25 well past what they had cleared, and had already proven herself to be able to pull her weight in random PuGs that other guildies had helped heal in.  I know healing meters certainly aren’t everything, but I am generally right near the top, my assignments do –not- go down unless something goes majorly wrong, and I often help other people cover theirs when I notice they are having trouble (by the way, is that poor healer etiquette?)  I have ‘saved’ a couple of people in tight situations, and I would like to think that PvP healing has actually improved my PvE game significantly.

However, they got another guildie who wasn’t playing at the time to jump online and do the job.  Without even looking in guild.  That really struck a nerve.

It turns out a lot of this has apparently been miscommunication between officers, or a lack of communication.  The Raid Leader just plain outright doesn’t invite me to things (and since the RL is also my boyfriend… well, you can imagine he copped a LOT of snark from myself after I looked like an idiot talking to the GMs about this.  Something along the lines of ‘I’m sorry, I’ll add you to the list’ followed by ‘You can stick your pity invites somewhere dark and stinky’).

At any rate, after a somewhat circular conversation which didn’t make sense entirely… it seems I have upset at least one of the guild leaders somehow.  Today barely a word was spoken to me by either of them, and you know something?  It kinda hurts.  These are people I have known for the vast majority of the time I have played WoW.  Most everything I have ever run, I have run with at least one of them at some point.  When I felt that it was time to leave Arcis, theirs was the guild that I looked forward to being a part of.  They are wonderful people to talk to, to spend time in game with, and just to know in general.  They are fantastic players of the game, but even if they weren’t, it wouldn’t affect my opinion or feelings in the slightest.  To be utterly ignored by them is painful.  I consider all of my in game friends to be right up there with my out of game friends.  Sure, we can’t get a coffee or anything together, but those are the people I talk to after a rough day at work.  When there’s some family problem.  When I just feel like kicking back and spending time with friends.  Losing friends is not something I take lightly.

I don’t know… maybe they are upset or angry or feeling betrayed that I am leaving (again).  The frustrating aspect of all of this is that a large part of me doesn’t want to leave: I have so many wonderful friends in Reforged, and I would miss being guilded there terribly.  At the same time though, I don’t handle rejection well, and being rejected week after week after week to run anything other than farm content gets frustrating and painful.  It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t intended rejection, it’s still there and it still stings.

So… $15 a month, do what you like, it doesn’t matter?  Yeah, right…

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A brief note before you begin.  This post is long.  It is rambly.  There are no pictures.  However, every word on this post comes straight from my blackened little heart.

Part One: A fond farewell

Over the past couple of months, we have seen two major bloggers say good bye.  Phaelia said her goodbyes while I was on my afk adventure from the world of the internet, computing, and most basic technology (the phone, anyone?), which meant that I did not get the full impact of the event.  Oddly, when you detach yourself from the blogosphere, things just don’t feel quite the same as they did before.

So, until now I have not had the chance to acknowledge all the wonderful things Phae did for the community.  To be completely honest, if it were not for reading the combined works of Phae, TJ, and BBB, I would not have had the courage or the knowledge to have a go at blogging myself.  I started reading blogs simply because I was looking for information on Feral tanking – that was how I came across BBB.  The delightful way in which information could be taken in, chewed up, and regurgitated in a much more palatable, easy to digest fashion was what made me love blogs.  No wonder they gave Druids flight form – the idea of a bird feeding and nurturing its chicks is so apt for Phae and BBB.

I tracked Phae down after doing some research for a Resto Druid friend.  Her mastery of mathematics amazes me to this day – I would scroll through, watching the numbers and the formulas fly, totally baffled as to how someone could have the time and the intellect to work something like that out!  Best of all, Phae truly nurtured the World of Warcraft Blogging Community.  Without her tireless effort and care, I know that I would not still be blogging today.  For every blogger, there comes a point where you know you aren’t just doing this for yourself anymore, but for those numbers you see in your subscriptions, those people that allow you the invaluable chance to interact with them every day.  I credit my (rather insignificant) subscription numbers to the Blog Azeroth community that Phae worked tirelessly on – without the link sharing that happened there, the interaction with new people who could give me advice and serve as a bouncing board for my (many) frustrations, this blog would still be a small WP.com blog with 2 readers and a heap of unprofessional looking images.

Now, BRK has hung up his Nessingwary and stabled Hobbes.  I can not fault the reasons for which he left blogging, as family is perhaps the most important thing in one’s life.  I’d like to direct your attention to a key part of what he said

For the next three months, it is my pleasure to rededicate myself to my family. While I was in Philadelphia, I spent more time with my son in a weekend than I have in a long time. I loved it, and was saddened that I had allowed myself to not do more with him during my WoW-career.

I don’t know BRK.  I am not going to pretend otherwise.  I have never met, spoken to, or in any other way associated with him.  However, I have admired his writing, how effortlessly entertaining it all seemed, and admired what he has done for the Hunter community.  However, I completely understand why he has done what he has done.

Part Two: A Changing of the Guard?

Now, there is this general paranoia in the WoW Blogging community.  Who will topple next?  Everyone is just waiting for another blog to close, for the whole scene to begin to collapse.

Well, I just can’t see that happening.

On the Blog Azeroth forums, there are 681 blogs listed in the introductions.  I am going to assume that only 25% of these blogs are still running.  That leaves us with 170 blogs.  Now, I know that there are more blogs than this – I used to read more WoW blogs than this.  Still, 170 blogs posting about a fairly esoteric subject is a lot of blogs.  Some of these blogs are going to be of a higher ‘quality’ than others.  I think the way we judge this quality needs to be changed.

Quality isn’t based upon subscriber numbers.  Knowledge and expertise isn’t based off subscriber numbers.  While these numbers are a good general indicator of quality, these numbers are also highly indicative of time spent on blogging.  If you spend a great deal of time writing informative, interesting and entertaining posts, you will have many readers.  If you manage to do this at least once every single day, you will have even more readers.  It’s a simple equation: time + effort = reward.   Unfortunately, this also seems to often add up to a loss of quality of life.

I’ll freely admit: I don’t put half the effort into my blog that others do.  I aim for a post a day (I generally end up averaging out 4-5 a week).  Each post generally takes me about 30 minutes.  Some posts take as little as ten, others (like this one) take me much longer.  So, I am never going to have the subscriber numbers BRK had.  And, finally, after the longest time… I am OK with that.  I don’t WANT my friends and family to feel like I don’t have time for them anymore.  I don’t want my every second thought to be ‘How can I work this into a blog post?’, or even more alarmingly, thinking about posting while I should be enjoying time with others.  I don’t want to sit up every night wracking my brain for something intelligent or funny to say.

Sure, my personal context is very full on.  First year teaching is HARD (never in my life have I wept so many tears of frustration as I have these past couple of months).  I live far away from all my established support networks, so in essence I am truly out of the nest.  My first instinct was to retreat into the blogging world, somewhere which was familiar and calm.  Not having the internet did paid to that, and I am glad.

My subscriber numbers dropped, and I coped.  My writing style has probably gone down the toilet, and I am still coping.  I have finally learned that this blog is not meant to be where I focus my ambition and my attention.  This all started out as something fun, and for the longest time it was in danger of evolving into something else.  Something a bit more malignant, a bit less friendly.  Too much of my self esteem was tied up here, and with it, my ego.  Some of it still remains – I caught myself making what I now realise was a terribly condescending remark about linking other blogs.  Sure, I still link blogs because I like them, I like their writing, and I think you guys would enjoy them too.  But some horrid egotistical part of me was thinking ‘if I link these new blogs, I’ll help the little guy out.  I’ll get him/her more hits from my sheer awesomeness, and they shall be thankful’.  Sure, it might not have been explicitly thought.  It doesn’t make it less revolting.

My hope from what is happening is that the blogging community becomes a little less involved.  A little more real life friendly.  Sure, if you cut back a little, you might lose some readers.  In the long run though, you will appreciate things that you had long since forgotten.  You will learn the lesson from BRK and his family, and you shall prosper for it.  Having a day off from blogging wont kill you, and it might serve to make the community stronger.  Once out of the shade, flowers can begin to bloom.

For BRK and Phaelia:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall softly upon your fields until we meet again,
And may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

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