Saturday, May 28, 2011

Be A Better Player 4. Mr my favorite system.

GM – Okay next week I'm going to start up a new game since we wrapped up this campaign. I'm going to run Conspiracy X for you all.

Player 1 – Cool been wanting to try that.

Player 3 – Sweet.

Player 2 – Well, what system are you going to use?

GM – Going to use the system in the book.

Player 2 – What? Are you kidding? UniURPS does it better. Trust me I know that system.

GM – Well I don't want to have to convert everything.

Player 2 – Oh no problem you just need to pick the main rulebook, the Private Spies sourcebook, Aliens 2 and 3 sourcebooks and Modern Conspiracy. That should do it.

GM – Yeah I don't think I'm going to go that route. Not what....

Player 2 – Oh so after we had to play this last fantasy game that was hopelessly crippled by using the D&D 3.0 rules. Which UniURPS would have done much better emulating with a few of the rules expansions. But now we have to play Conspiracy X on it's fail system?

GM – What... I don't even know....

Yeah, now that is really productive isn't it. Many of us have seen this, it's the 'My System Is The Answer' guy. No matter what you want to play, are planning on playing or just talking about, his personal favorite system is what fits it best. No matter how much it doesn't it just does.

Now if you are this guy you need to clue in on a few things. First off that system you love so much, well, not everyone thinks the same. Also it doesn't work for everything and never will. All the universal, in house rule sets and epic all encompassing systems don't work for everyone or everything. This is the first step you must just simply accept. It's just the plain truth. Get over it.

Onto the second thing. Even if your favorite system covers it very well not everyone is going to want to use it. People have their only personal tastes in how they want to play, in the level of number crunching they want to deal with. With the ultimate deciding factor falling on the GM and what system they want to use. Most likely it's the one they are most comfortable using or one they want to try out. Maybe you should give a chance also.

Third thing, this one I'm going to be rather rude about here. If no one else is interested in using your system and have told you so then... shut the hell up about it. Seriously, the only way you could get the group to go your way now is to annoy them enough. They will switch up just to shut you up and then they'll most likely resent you for quite a while over it.

If playing your favorite system all the time means that much to that you can't handle anything else. Then just leave the group and find one that feels the same way as you. Obviously people who want to try something different from time to time aren't your type of crowd.

Now that I've said that I'll say this. There is a time and a place and, most importantly, a way to suggest using your favorite system. Always remember to respect the other people at the table and their opinions. The prime time to offer it up is when the group is deciding together what they want to play next, when ideas are being tossed around. Not when the GM has already laid it out pretty clearly that he is running X using Y and that's what he is running.

Well that's all I have for this one. See you in two weeks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BG woes part two

Okay so now I think I can figure out why the BOA gear is creating a worse situation in the battlegrounds than the old twink folks used to.

I've seen a lot of people over the time I've been playing remark that the lower level BGs are more enjoyable. So a lot of folks want to stay around that level and keep playing them. Now in the old way you just stopped questing and did only PvP since you gathered no xp. Well some folks whould have their high end guildmates run them through dungeons over and over getting all the powerful gear drops. They would also farm gold with their higher levels and send it to their pvp toon to buy the best gear with. Then once they hit around level 18 they stopped doing anything to gain xp. Maxed out great gear for that level which is something most casual players don't have. This is called Twinking.

People started complaining about this because it made it harder for anybody who doesn't have a guild backing them to put together a toon that compete. So after a while Bliz did two things to try and fix this. First they made PvP grant xp. Second they allowed for people to xp lock their toons so they won't level up but they would also be put in special BGs where you fight only other level locked opponents.

Up until this point twinkers always claimed they liked to fight other twinks and didn't go into BG's just to kill all the ungeared noobs. So now this give them their wish. But guess what? Those BGs were nearly always empty. People weren't signing up to fight in them with their twinks. Why? Because fighting other twinks is hard and they really just wanted to go gank noobs.

The option left to them is making a toon, gearing them out and then twinking for only a level or two before they more out of that range. Then if they want to fight that again they have to make another toon, gear them out again and wash rinse repeat. This takes work over and over for each toon.

Then with WotLK come heirlooms. They adjust to the level of whatever toon they go on and can be traded back and forth between your toons since they don't soulbond. So now this gives them a new option. They work their high level toons quite a bit and buy the heirlooms and send it to their toon. They gear up and go right into the BGs (some of it being in gear slots that you can't get anything for at that level otherwise) and twink until they level out. Then they make a new toon and send all the gear to that one via the good ole mailbox. You see that? They only have to work for that gear one time. It's become easy.

End result is that now there are more twinks ever before. Which isn't the original goal for the heirlooms but it's the way they are being used.

So now if you want to try out battlegrounds you had better level to 85 and grind some instances for a while. That way your pvp toon can at least survive. Want to play a bit on another server? Might as well forget about doing the BGs until you max out a toon first.

Anyways... I'll stop now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cyberpunk Sunday 002

One of the constants of the Cyberpunk genre is the pervasiveness of technology. The cutting edge, the man machine interface, the life changing. It's there and most of the time you are waist deep in it wading through as best you can.

First off lets see the cutting edge of exoskeleton technology. Eythor Bender of Berkeley Bionics gives a nice little talk about what his company is working on. But not only that he brings out two working units on stage for a demonstration. One is meant for military personel whose loads of equipment get heavier and heavier. Basically doing the brunt of the lifting work for the soldier. The other is meant for disabled folks who are wheelchair bound. Walking it out on stage is a woman who has been paralyzed for 19 years. Really interesting stuff to see.

Exoskeleton on show

To add to this link is another of a UC Berkeley student who is paraplegic using a set robotic exoskeleton legs to make a short walk to receive his diploma. No video on there but there is a slideshow. This is just another example of the use of the technology that we may, or should I say will be seeing more of in the future.

Short walk at graduation

After this it's on to something different, and much smaller. Flexible interactive paper that works like a cellphone. It's functions are used by bending, folding and flexing it in various spots. Currently it's called the PaperPhone and is currently in the prototype stage of development.

Near the bottom of the article they mention some on how it's made along with other similar products in the works. This makes me think of the disposable phones from Ultraviolet and the interactive map in Babylon AD.

Bending technology

Hmmm.... makes me want an interactive menu at a restaurant. Zooms in on pictures of what the meal will look like, ingredients list, modifications available.....

Enjoy this Cyberpunk Sunday, I'll have another up in two weeks.

Friday, May 20, 2011

BG woes....

I think who ever at Blizzard thought it was a good idea to drop he graveyard in Warsung Gulch to the level it's at now needs to be fired. Seriously this has really broke that BG. Most of the battles I've been in have ended up as a GY camp. The side with the most BOA's on their toons pushes the other team back and blocks them in. This is really bad on the lower level BG's.

So unless you have an 85 that has farmed up plenty of points to buy your lower level toon all of the BOA's don't even bother going into a random. Seriously this is to the point of being worse than when twinked out toons were the problem.

BOA's basically recreated the twinks all over again but at least before when there was an attempted camp on the GY you had another way or two out. Either back into the keep and down the tunnel or down the ramp on the far side. Now there is one way out of the GY and that's back into the campers.

Yeah. So here lately when my random BG pops up Warsung Gulch I simply afk out and take the fifteen minute cowardice debuff and wait. They've taken one of the best, and well built battle grounds and screwed it up with one stroke.

Good job Blizzard.....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Be a better player. Article three.

GM - “Okay we're already twenty minutes late on starting. Guess we'll have to start without Jim.”

Player 1 - “Yeah that's going to be kind of hard, his character was pretty important in what we got going on.”

GM - “Trust me I know, I've worked on this campaign for weeks for you guys. He had essential information for the story.”

Player 2 - “I just saw him yesterday and he said he was going to be here.”

Player 3 - “I've left four messages on his phone already. Don't know what the deal is.”

GM - “Well I'll just have to wing it or maybe do a little side adventure or something....”

Now this time it's for one of my all time pet peeves as a Game Master. Those who say they will be there and then don't show or even bother to let me know they won't make it. I'll try to keep myself contained and not go into a foaming at the mouth rant... I'll try harder to not name any names.

So here is the deal. The GM puts a lot of work into campaign because most players seem to ask for long term stuff more than anything. Writing up npc's, mapping out the area and important locations and working out all the adventures that all go together into the over all full end product. Now for it all to work out there has to be players who will show up each time, get involved and make it happen.

Most GM's will let you know well ahead of time that they are gearing up for that long term campaign. It's at this moment when you, the player, need to make a decision as to if you will or won't be there for it. Only agree to dive into this if you are, barring unforeseen circumstances, going to be there for every game. If you are on the fence about it then don't say yes.

Now with the mention of unforeseen circumstances lets cover those real fast. Life happens, things come up and sometimes you won't be able to make it. Here is where a lot of players that I've seen drop the ball, when it does happen THEY DON'T TELL ANYBODY. Come on I'm not talking about getting ahold of everyone and giving them a play by play of why you aren't there. But tell somebody something. A text message, an email, a voice mail, just as long as it's along the lines of 'Hey I can't make it for the game tomorrow. Sorry.'. Is this really that hard to do nowdays?

If you don't get ahold of somebody then at least answer your phone when it's game time and people are calling you. Seriously some folks tweet ten times a day and text more than they talk but when they are skipping out they suddenly 'had their phone off'. Yeah, trust me, nobody at the table will believe you.

For those who flake for no reason at least don't lie about it. Usually people figure it out pretty quickly or somebody sees you out and about. I could easily turn this into a GM advice section called 'kick their ass out of the game' but I'll refrain.

Okay that's it for this time around. Plan is to have another one up in two weeks.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cyberpunk Sunday 001

Back when Max had PsychoThriller going I used to do a little thing called Cyberpunk Sunday. That is where every sunday I would post up links that had some sort of connection to the cyberpunk genre, sometimes it was the latest real life tech advances, other times it was social statements, along with other various things. I've decided to restart that a bit.

So with this first installment (this time around) I'll start with some of the more depressing aspects of cyberpunk. One is a look at pollution the other a visual report on homelessness. So here we go.

This first one I've posted up on my facebook page recently but it's quite the amazing little news article. It's about the dumping of e-waste, waste directly related to technological advancement and us pushing the old and out dated into the trash. It all goes somewhere and in this case it's Ghana. Massive amounts of tossed off computers, electronics and other such products. The environmental and society risks posed by it are looked at.

Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground

Next up is a visual look at the homelessness problem in China. Showing the kind of shelters that are provided and how they live. There is no article to accompany this, just the pictures. In most cyberpunk setting the population is crushed in on top of itself and unemployment is high so things like this is what one would see walking through various streets or shelters.

Homeless Shelters

Take these two little bites with you the next time you dive into your cyberpunk world. Hopefully I'll have a couple more links for you soon. This may become an every other Sunday event instead of every week.