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Blog Comments posted by jerdge

  1. I can see the point about having a reason for war that would be accepted by a nations people in RL as necessary (even if made up) I'm not sure how to make it work for CN.

    Let's assume for a moment I agree that it's something that should also be the case in CN. How would that translate into the CN world in an effective fashion? If the reason for war was something like, "NpO is stockpiling chemical weapons" (just for example) - well, obviously that doesn't translate to this world so in theory it could be role-played but we all know it's fake. Would it make the game any more fun? (and if so, why?)

    "I want your land", "I want your tech", "I want to submit the top 300" are all perfectly legitimate reasons to go to war, though not compatible with most RL-esque moral systems.

    I'd personally prefer that they were openly stated, trying to provide a good narrative for the community, but nobody has any obligation to make it entertaining, of course.

    For instance, Pacifica used to develop articulated narratives to "justify" their wars, that was entertaining; Mushqaeda was a bit too mocking for my taste, but some effort was still there; the "Creative Annihilation" doctrine was good narrative. On the other hand, things like "Everything. Must. Die." (the DoW) or "we celebrate our birthday with fireworks" look much more lazy and are just plainly dull to me. Sure, it's also subjective, but in some narratives the "it's just a game, let's set it on fire" mentality is a bit too transparent and evident, and the game loses dimension.

    It's worth repeating that everyone is entitled to play it their way, and nobody is obligated to try entertain the other ones. Likewise, everyone is entitled to call such players' play "bad" or "boring", and to criticize it to death!

    Discussions over the game are a game in itself, and that too can be entertaining. :)

  2. This is about many different things. Good job (7/10) in including several relevant issues, Prodigal Moon, but not-so-good job (6/10) on clarity/confusion and absolutely bad job (1/10) for having made a Blog entry instead of an OWF post/thread. This should stay on the OWF (the OOC main forum). I am tempted to reply there, but I'll give you the opportunity to do it first, instead... :P

    Why people leave the game

    There's no reason to think that there's only one specific reason/drive. Games retain players when they offer entertainment/satisfaction in several possible ways, so that many kinds of players will have fun and remain. Early CN offered a variety of options and, what's probably more important, it promised the opportunity to have fun through a variety of playing styles.

    Then playing solo (unaligned) became basically impossible and some players left. Then remaining independent (as an alliance) became impossible, unless you abandoned warfare (the "neutral" way), and some other players left. Then playing as in-game enemies while entertaining rational and constructive discourse as players became harder, and some other players left. Then leaving stuff unrelated with the game (Moderation issues, RL offences, etc) out of the game became impossible, and some other players left. Then playing a "make believe" game of inter-alliance politics, and not a game of personal relationships with access to backrooms, became counter-productive, and some other players left. Then playing and sharing your personal RL information/coordinates became too dangerous and some other players left. Then playing to reach the top NS became "impossible" (or extremely difficult) and some other players left. Then playing any politics that wasn't basically based on a never-ending cycle of vendettas became harder, and some other players left. Then playing by concentrating your efforts on "politics" became harder, because the tech race started absorbing increasing efforts in a shrinking world, and some other players left. Then playing to slowly but steadily grow your individual/alliance power thanks to your work became harder, because months or years long efforts could be easily destroyed in a short time, and some other players left. Then enjoying a meaningful narrative in CN politics became impossible, because politics was stripped of meaning, and some other players left. Then leaving meta-discussion (e.g. Suggestions) out of the game became impossible as well... Etc. Note that some players didn't really leave - their nations may still be there - but they grew uninterested and they stopped putting any real effort/investment in the game (beyond just doing some click every now and then just to continue have contacts with their "CN friends").

    Some of the above "steps" are probably highly debatable, but that's not my point. I guess that my general point is that the game now requires a lot more expertise, specialization, effort and knowledge: it's very difficult and heavily biased in favour of senior players. If you don't play in THE right way and by THE (unwritten) rules, you lose. Creativity is discouraged or anyway "punished".


    Until about two years ago CN warfare was costly for everyone involved, and avoiding it for long periods of time was on the other hand costly in terms of apathy and little activity. While the political game was already absolutely corrupted and deteriorated, at least the game mechanics didn't favour polarization, and with multi-polarity there was still some room for political diversity, at least in style. Now war is profitable for the high-end raiders, which means that you'd better join their power cluster otherwise you are "wiped away". This brought us to even more conformism.

    I personally think that this is basically an effect of an illusion - nations can't be destroyed, after all, and the NS ranges are very wide apart - but 8 years of mental habits can't be forgotten in a short time. In a while we'll see again some multi-polarity emerge. All the other problems, and the tendency to conformism, will remain on the table, anyway.

    What to do?

    Enjoy it while it lasts, I guess. I am optimist! :)

    (lol part)

    If DBDC members are sociopaths, then so is every other alliance leader who has agreed to get his or her alliance involved in any of the wars since I've been here.

    This world is evil. If people REALLY want to start a movment to fight evil, start with changing how you act before being critical of anyone else.

    The quote above translates as: if you want to be "good" join the GPA.

    I am not being ironic in the slightest.

  3. Melkor is the most powerful of the Ainur/Valar, which you projected as the Mods. In this way you're saying that Cuba is Andromeda.

    Nation Rulers make more sense as Maiar (like Sauron) or, even better, other lesser characters. For Cuba I'd maybe pick Gothmog (the Balrog one, not the commander at Pelennor).

    Anyway I am just another LOTR nerd: sorry for the interference and please carry on. :)

  4. Assuming that we're talking of IC arguments, ad hominem are a valid and honourable method to "win" discussions. Everything is fair in war, and a tactic that works, well, it works even if it's logically unsound... no problem with that.

    There are also situations in which accusing others of hypocrisy is logically legitimate and sound. When someone is not arguing about a point, but trying to improve their image/stance, attacking them is the point and going ad hominem is thus the appropriate response.

  5. I agree with most of what that has already been said, but I'd keep your mother's part as is: you don't need to explain everything and a bit of "mystery" is OK as long as it's not the majority of your piece. The "mother" is also a powerful symbol and it's probably going to resonate in the reader's mind/experience: by leaving stuff unexplained you let the reader fill in with their own life, which should help in getting them involved and interested.

    If you want to go a bit more in depth, maybe try explore the effect of language on thought process. For example try research the link between Buddhism and solipsism, and also check on Popper's polemics against word definitions "from left to right", and "Aristotelian" (deductive) mindsets.

    In a nutshell: aren't "truth" and "reality" only words? What happens to the complex concepts behind them, when you look at them with the lens of solipsism? I hope that this helps.

  6. No matter which theory you choose to believe to, either destiny, free will, freedom of choice or freedom of potential or anything else, you choose to believe it. You can only be free: free to do whatever you choose to do.

    The point is about knowing that you're choosing, i.e. to be rational and aware. My recommendation is to choose what you think will make you happy of your choice.

    In my case, I choose the freedom to be myself. It's a theory that works even when wrong...

  7. [...] refusing to acknowledge the basic foundation of what we're all doing: Pretending, to lesser or greater degrees, to be rulers of imaginary nations. You cannot refuse to deal with any of us on an IC level because unless you're discussing real life info, you are only ever dealing with any of us because we are pretending to rule imaginary nations. But like anyone who says "I don't believe in X", reality does not need you to believe in it. [...]

    Good post, but I can't help pointing out - on the part I quoted - that one refusing to acknowledge in practice that CN is fiction is not himself pretending: he's living the game like it was RL. There are people that "play the game" on ooc forums: those that would go to any length to further their agenda in this silly browser-based game.

    Lunatics without pretension, if you will. Not even that rare.

  8. It's a bit worse than that, jerdge. Far too many people have decided that this a 'first person shooter' game, and they treat it as such. You see it in their actions ("neutrals aren't playing correctly and deserve to eliminated") and the way they talk about themselves and others. As with most all FPS gamers, they are most interested in kills, not competition over the long haul, and are constantly on the look out for new mods, new exploits, and become irrational at any mention of "nerfing" their abilities.

    Thing is, the vast majority of people who came to this game weren't interested in playing a FPS game, or at least that's not what they signed up for, even if they play FPS games elsewhere. That's why there is a high level of frustration within the CN community and why frankly, either the FPS types need to go, or the everyone else will eventually take a hike to a game that is more to their liking.

    I quite, although not completely disagree with your analysis. For one, the character that I can more easily recall constantly stating that neutrals would be parasites that would have to be eliminated is Grub, which is by far completely different if not outright THE opposite of a lulzer. (Remarkably, AFAIK he never did anything against any neutral, but that's another story.)

    Moreover, for all of their talk of "we don't care abut pixels, it's just the immediate lulz", those that most derided the IC pretension were generally lead by people that were hardcore "political players", that badly wanted to gain long term political advantages, often being very successful at it. Admittedly, discarding all the IC constraints gives more freedom to operate purely in pursue of political leverage, and with the aging of the community faux ideologies and moralities lose relative weight in comparison to the personal relationships (of sympathy and of aversion) that inevitably develop. To stick to the desire of providing a "good story" (coherent political development in a funny and internally credible simulator), for everyone, requires game maturity and game ethics, which are relatively rare.

    I agree about some people being "irrational" - although I'd rather say "with no game ethics" - in the Suggestion Box, with no hesitation to cross the IC/OOC line to defend their advantages. This is anyway IMHO not generalized, mostly because the Suggestion Box requires intelligence, which more easily comes with the ability to understand the general needs of the game. Furthermore, at least as far my own experience is concerned, those that (IMO) have been unethical (in the gaming sense) in the SB are again not playing for their short-term in-game success but, again, for the long haul.

    I am not one that likes to hint to people without naming them, and it's not a mystery, anyway. Cuba, Artigo and SCM have IMO - intentionally or unconsciously, I tend to believe it was both - needlessly dragged to the IC realm genuine OOC concerns about the fairness and "playability" of the game. I don't criticize them for having their opinions on what is best for the game, but I surely criticized them for not limiting their discussion to the actual content of the Suggestions, bringing it instead into the game. (I also candidly say that, while one can have varying opinions about the real quality in Artigo's and SCM's comments and proposals, no one can seriously say that Cuba doesn't also provide first class commentary and contributions to the Suggestions. I hold him in high regard and I don't even claim that I can be sure I am the one being right in any of the game issues we disagree on. I stick to my ideas until convinced that I am wrong, anyway - I am an old style, stubborn engineer... ;) )

    Whatever we want to think about them, anyway, I think that we can agree that the DBDC project, while maybe initially conceived as a FPS-like experiment, is now fully political and strategical. Their political activity in the last months has been evidently aimed at using their statistical relevance as a bargaining chip to gain the breathing room they needed to enlarge the scale of their raids. Cuba's actions and words and posts are first class CN politics and to consider him just a mindless hulk, or someone with just a short-term interest for "mods", is a grave mistake for any of his opponents (I don't really know their roster that well, but I suspect that TBRaiders is also to be praised/blamed for their political success, BTW).

    In other words, those that are stretching the limits (and the design faults) of the game and that "unfairly" defend(ed) their abilities in the Suggestion Box, are not playing short term at all.

    I also agree that "lulzism" as a cultural trait in players tends to determine a preference for short-term fun and satisfaction: if IC stuff is derided the only thing that remains is OOC dynamics, which either is too "normal" to be an entertaining diversion from reality (it's almost real, after all) or it is doomed to become paradoxical and then nasty and then excessive in short order, after which there's little new abuse to explore and many already managed to get banned or ostracized, anyway. In other words, the lulz gets old pretty fast. This may be in connection with that many saying (literally for years) that the game "got boring".

  9. While years ago there were many players that played the game with respect to the IC/OOC divide, i.e. they pretended that they really were nation leaders and that their alliances "culture" and values really mattered, nowadays almost everyone is disillusioned and the only thing that prevents everyone from talking of the game directly from the perspective of the player are the CN forum rules for AA and WA. "IC" is basically a feeble remnant superimposed by the forum rules, but it's not really part of the game anymore.

    In a sense, "lulzists" memes won and CN as a political simulator has been broken as a result. Without a really generalized purge of old players or some outstanding cultural collective operation we'll hardly get back to the previous state, because the shift is cultural and not something depending on the game mechanics or on alliance politics.

    Basically, the IC side isn't taken seriously any more: Tywin's IC posts and the "generalized" reaction to them are a good indicator of what I mean. Is the game any better because of this? I personally doubt it.

    (Honestly I can't say that this is what you actually had in mind, arentak, but this is my impression on the matter.)

  10. A whole lot of this. But you also have to take into account the Prison Industrial Complex we have here in the States (responsible for our insane incarceration rate). People aren't sent to jail to be rehabilitated. They're sent because private prison companies make money for every prisoner they house. They couldn't care less what the prisoners do in there, they just want more prisoners.

    It's noble to speak of things like "rehabilitation," but that is so far removed from the reality of our prison state.

    Nobody has ever or will ever be "rehabilitated" just by being caged, it would be folly to expect that the average person will improve themselves just because they can't go anywhere for a short/long time.

    Modern "prison" systems aim, at least in principle, to avoid actual imprisonment unless it's necessary for security reasons, and they focus on redeeming the criminal instead. Imprisonment is left for when you have no alternative way to prevent that the criminal harms other innocent people.

    My comment/objection is thus that with your entry you're comparing imprisonment (which is a security measure*) with lashes (which are punishment). The former is a necessary evil (to protect the outside people) while the latter is a pointless exercise meant to "teach" not to break the law.

    At a certain extent it's like one compared ritual genitals mutilations and clinical amputation of both legs against gangrene, and then implied that it's hypocrite to condemn the first because we accept the second, where the amputation is more severe.

    * Then you have the real prison systems, of course, and there you have a point (but not in principle).

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