The one that got away

I hooked a striped bass that must’ve been 35 lbs if it was an ounce. I had it right along side the boat, net ready, when the line snapped…and there it went. It was huge though. One of the biggest stripers I’ve seen.

Last time I saw a fish like that, it was caught by some noob doing summer stock at the John Drew Theater in East Hampton (where I grew up). Guy had no idea what he was doing and he reeled in this monster while surf-casting. Don’t think he caught another fish the entire summer. Not having a clue what to do with it, he gave the beast to me. I had to ice it down in my bathtub while I gathered the prerequisite number of fish-loving party goers, then I butchered it, fired up the grill and they feasted (ironically I’m not much of a fish lover). It was a good spur-of-the-moment gathering, at least.

The 2nd paragraph is a true story, BTW.

Anyway, back from the virtual fishing trip after a shorter-than-expected break. Part of the reason I cut the break short is that it just felt like a self-imposed gag order. I just like to talk, in case you haven’t picked up on that. 🙂 [Except in-game where I rarely speak up. What’s up with that?] Second was the amount of negativity being directed at Champions Online (though I’ve procrastinated to the point that has died down a bit, but more on that later). Thirdly was a post made by Professor Beej that reminded me of something I already knew. I wasn’t replacing blogging with any other kind of writing, so that meant I just wasn’t writing (well, other than a daily blog post for ITWorld). And that’s no good.

Anyway, I’m still tired of arguing, but I think know there’s a place for positive blogs, like MMOQuests and OverlyPositive. So I’m going to try to blog about the good side of gaming and let the bad stuff be handled by others.

Thing I realized is, negativity is important. I came to this rather obvious revelation during the aforementioned Champions negativity. Right after launch, people were really slamming Cryptic and the game for a last minute patch that folks felt nerfed a bunch of characters too much. Additionally, the cost of retconning (respeccing in the CO vernacular) was much too high.

I was having a great time and was kind of dismayed that so much bandwidth (somewhat in blogs, but more in forums and in-game) was being devoted to slamming Cryptic and the game. My instinct, being a hot-headed internet denizen, was to try to shout down the people promoting the bad aspects of the launch. But I knew that’d just lead to arguing and no one changing anyone’s mind, so for once…for this ONE TIME, I actually kept my mouth more or less shut.

The irony of all this is probably not lost on regular readers of Dragonchasers, because 2 weeks ago I was ready to burn Cryptic HQ to the ground over their yanking of the Lifetime Membership option. And I ranted and raved about it like an f’ing lunatic. All too frequently we don’t see ourselves for the comic & hypocritical entities we are until after the fact.

But this time I caught myself and I finally realized that negativity is important. Users and potential users voicing their unhappiness over a company’s policies or game design decisions is what gets the company to reconsider those policies and decisions. If a bunch of us hadn’t gotten really really mad about the premature end of the 6 Month & Lifetime special offers, would Cryptic have decided to re-open them? Probably not.

Cryptic has also promised to get early entry players a free respec of their characters so we can rebuild them under the ‘new rules’ that came in the Day 1 patch. Would they have promised this if the outcry hadn’t been so loud? Again, it is doubtful.

The flip side of the coin is that we, the consumers, can’t just assume that if we scream loudly enough things will change. We need to find that point where it’s time to let go and move on. I’m not sure where that point is, and I’m sure it changes on a case by case basis.

But all that negativity is *tiring* isn’t it? Well it is to me at least. I don’t like arguing, in spite of the fact that I do so much of it. It drains me. So for now at least, I’m going to pass the Baton of Righteous Indignation on to someone else, and try to focus on what’s good in the world of gaming.

Right now I’m playing Champions Online (I did spring for the Lifetime Membership once they re-opened it…how could I not?) and I’m having a blast. I’ve pre-ordered Fallen Earth, mostly because I got caught up in the moment when Ethic from KillTenRats was talking about it (jeez, I hope it’s Ethic who runs the KTR twitter account) and it was a digital thing — moments after reading his tweet I’d pre-ordered, before I had a chance to think fiscally, but what’s done is done and I’m happy to be supporting a small developer and seeing how the game came out. I’m in the Open Beta of Aion but that’s not going too well for me, but I didn’t really expect it to. But its so darned pretty! And of course my Lifetime sub to LOTRO and my EQ2 account are both loitering in the background waiting for me to get over the latest infatuation.

I’ll probably be talking about Champions for a little while at least. I think the game makes a tepid first impression and that a lot of testers never got into the good stuff, so it’ll be my mission to expose some of that goodness to Dragonchasers readers.

9 thoughts on “The one that got away

  1. I agree, the negativity toward Champions on the official forums is tiring. I think it’s ok to complain intelligently about something that upsets you, but most of the forums are filled with claiming that the sky is falling and the game is going to fail, and it’s only been a week.

    After the intitial patch day readjustment, I’ve been having a blast. One thing I do agree with is that soloing can be a bit tough at times(henchmen are a tad too strong), but I have learned that grouping is alot of fun. Champions and CoH might go down as the only two games I have actively looked to group.

  2. @Ysharros — Thanks!! 🙂

    @JayeDub — Maybe I just stumbled into a great build (Munitions/Telekinesis), or maybe I haven’t hit the rough stuff yet. I’m still (at 15) soloing quests a few levels above me. My biggest problem is I can never use the rewards I get because I don’t meet the level requirements, so I have to put ’em in the bank for a few levels.

    But there are SO MANY variables that it’s really hard to compare experiences, isn’t it? Like I have a great “Oh shoot!” item slotted as primary offensive that can knock off 1/3 the health of a boss villain, but it has something like a 10 minute cooldown. That’s bailed me out of quite a few tough situations. And I took a shield that absorbs energy, so I can just block to gain energy when things are going badly.

    And then there’s the luck factor: will a henchman drop a health regen powerup just when you need it?

  3. I know my blog is sort of a release-valve. It’s not my best writing and that’s the point, it’s the steam off the top. The best part of it is the social aspect if you ask me, I’ve met some interesting people over the years via my blog. Overall tho, it’s a place to vent. Not just the bad, sometimes venting is posting about something you enjoy so much.

    Critical thinking ~is~ important. Pundits are not.

    Speaking out as a customer is your best bet to have your voice heard. Although I do recommend speaking clearly. It’s easy for developers to dismiss the constant noise and I don’t blame them. It’s also important for developers to separate their customers from the pundits. Anyone betting on your game to pass or fail isn’t helpful to knowing what the actual players want or need. Reviews for the sake of reviews are just more noise.

    The most entertaining MMO blogs I find are the ones from players talking about the one or two games they enjoy. There are just so many interesting details and insights to learn from someone really immersed in a game. Whether it’s a positive or critical detail doesn’t matter so much to me, so long as it’s honestly from a game you actually want to play.

  4. Yes it’s me on the @KillTenRats twitter account. I’m not sure I’ll be feeling the $50 was well spent on Fallen Earth, but I’ve wasted a lot more on other games over time and I love to see the indie devs get a little support.

  5. Ah, now here’s a pingback I wasn’t expecting! Is this your way of asking to trade links Pete? I’d love to, by the way.

    I’m glad you came to the realization that there are places where positive opinion can run free. Over at Overly Positive, I create a voice for myself that is sometimes serious and sometimes exaggerated, and my small, but hopefully growing, readership, appreciates the lack of rant, disgust, and overall naysaying you find in other places on the internet.

    I can agree with you that negativity has a place on the internet, and in fact it has popularized many such places that employ it. But I do think that there is always a positive thing to see, even in the worst of news, which is part of why I write, and write constantly. Also, it’s fun to reply to negative nancies in my comments with annoyingly bright, idealistic prose, and hopefully make them laugh/forget about the bad stuff of the interwebz.

    I’m glad you’re back, and hope you stay, knowing that there are places on the internet fo rboth positive and negative opinion.

  6. Hey, thanks for the shoutout! Glad it got ya back and writing again. 🙂

    As for Champions, I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. More than any other MMO I’ve played recently, actually. It’s fast, it’s clean, and its casually fun. I don’t feel that I *have* to spend hours at a time on it, but I can if I want to. What’s your username? Add me if you want, I’m @professorbeej.

  7. It’s good to see someone having fun with the game. (And to see that you’re finding more sure footing. :)) CO isn’t my cup of tea, but I do wish it well. The respec limitations are ill-advised, but for the most part, they seem to be doing some pretty good things. Nothing revolutionary, perhaps, but that’s not always going to work anyway. *shrug*

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