Monthly Archives: September 2012

I think this is the first view of my new virtual home then – FB is born

Move over Arthur C. Clarke

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The Third Horrible Truth: competition=drop your price

I am not at all sure that the fat end of the mmo industry, the devs and publishers of large mmos realise exactly how dire things have become for them  – how very much things have changed. I don’t think they get it yet. The underpinning of it is simply competition. There is now a lot of competition. It is as if lightning has been released into a field of dried out pumpkings. Bomm – but nobody moves. Yet.

So, to skip through my thoughts from Jan this year to now, in previous blogs, put them  in a nice linear progress: due to competition subs have had it, then bit later we have treadmills are going down the drain (thars better things to do nowadays) and now – the third horrible truth which anyone who wishes to stay in business had better get to grips with: prices will come down. Zat is my prediction. I sense it in my waters, I know it with my brain. Baht if the dowsing of my internals is not good enough for you just  …when competition arrives and thrives, prices drop (except in monopoly/cartel situations or with price fixing of some kind). Think that’s more or less agreed by humans by now, if you don’t agree you could be a really interesting person. Or maybe need to think about it a bit.

For all the wiggling and squiggling that will ensue, competition has now made monopoly/cartel ish money no longer possible. The floor price for an mmo is something companies don’t generally give accurate information on, but that doesn’t really even factor in. The squeeze will happen no matter what the running costs and development costs, just for as long as the next mmo can undercut. “Free” in all it’s not-so-free variants is the thin edge of this, but actually things have gone past a question of whose “free” is a better deal. With no audience there are no sales, meaning, “free” is trending to actually meaning ‘free’ just to get people to stick around. The ceiling for prices which might be charged is neatly provided by people’s disposable income which as far as I can see continues to shrink. In other words either those prices drop, or the business goes phut from lack of players (some of whom pay) and thus lack of ability to run, let alone develop new stuff.

The rather nice little model where players pay monthly to do repetitive tasks and game running-costs are tiny compared to the size of profits no longer functions. Development will no doubt continue to be costly.

Wiggling to sustain prices will mean for example such things as increasing the “content” (reducing the repetitiveness) to ‘justify’ a high price – but this only gains more audience (with luck), the next game along will also have “content” which doesn’t even have to be better, only new to the player. Further wiggling might be cutting overheads – that’s suicidal. Laggy servers, unoptimized code, lack of staff, rubbish websites all that kind of thing will lose that crucial audience to some company with more sense.

The only way to make big money will be to woo players, to keep them happy once attracted, and to provide a good product. Nothing like what we mostly got now.  Mostly. But GW2 has the right idea, Glitch too, Torchlight – I do see a movement towards customer satisfaction, little breakaways from the dictatorial take it or leave attitude we’ve had to live with in the past.

I think GW2 is spot on with their one-off payment model too. That’s the money safe and banked and make no mistake they have capitalised on a previously built record. GW was a good game (if somewhat pared down), and they kept it functioning and reasonably fresh. People were confident to make that one-off payment, confident they would not be ripped off.

The unacknowledged problem with subs is that they are not a true lockdown. People can unsub, and there goes the guaranteed income. To follow through, GW2y only need to keep current players happy and they can roll to the bank in future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an expansion at Christmas. That’s what I’d do. With enough serial buyers, repeat expansions get very near to being a sub. GW2 will probably still be able to charge top dollar in December, (everyone else will still be trying it). And beyond the end of this year, while other prices fall they will still be able to charge well for their game – if they keep their track record good.

For the rest of the big end? – time to sit down and give the accountants a stiff drinky before breaking the news. $65.00 box price goodbye, sub good bye, and lastly those cash shop items? Should cost pocket money, because the competition too can churn out billions of cash shop items, and they will.

I had a chat with Golf Club Guy about this by the way, and he looked sort of foxy about it, didn’t say much, neither agreed nor disagreed. I could see he was sitting on something though, wanting to tell but not, the way they do. “WALL”, he finally said, then sitting back and swirling his brandy he dropped his voice, having signalled his intention to make a statement to the entire room, “the smart money idn’t going in sandboxes”. (what? :()). Lackeys and running dogs  and lesser hierarchics moved closer, ears pricking. Golf Club Guy took his time. “No” he said. “Not sandboxes”. He gave me a quirky smirk, a canny look, and started to sound too much like me – ie faded. Darn him. That piece of information alone, he clearly thought was worth knowing.

But I want more. So  …. if not into sandbox games then where? Oh well, sooner or later he’ll pop into my imagination to invite me to lunch and tell me something I didn’t know I noticed. But conciously, I can’t find a pattern to fit his statement. Seems to me that player generated content is going to be something of a win. But Golf Club Guy says he won’t be buying  shares in that? Hmmmm….

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CRZ blues

I nearly called this “falling in love again”, but things have gang agley. WoW is my old slipper comfy game. I know there’s a ton wrong with it, but it was my first MMO, I know it pretty well and sometimes I just like playing it. So I keep a sub going, and drop in now and again. With current UI overload going on as we learn new software and play a whole load of new games including GW2 (!) (but not only GW2), I headed to WoW for some ui I actually know and to see about the patch before Pandaria. Kind of wish I hadn’t, kind of glad I did. Mah warlock is a lot more fun, that’s for sure.

But that’s not the good news. An option to run WoW using DirectX9 has appeared, and if I do, I can run everything in ultra with no lag or drop in fps. On this thing. In other words at this late date it runs the way it should have been running for the last 5/6 years.

So… I’m seeing it differently, and I find that very enjoyable indeed.

See!

It doesn’t run half badly under DirectX11 either. I only tried dx9 out of curiosity. So why, why now, did they finally shift their behinds and optimise it properly?

Well … now the bad news. It all works beautifully until the CRZ kicks in – then fps yoyos and performance goes to pot. Sometimes it settles down, sometimes not. So WoW play is actually bursts of sight-seeing, haha. Ok, fair enough, I’m enjoying the sights, and the newness of the new stuff… ehm. New spells, different talents. It’s playable and sometimes spectacularly playable. Maybe the tweaking was done for the CRZ to work eh.

CRZ itself is absolutely horrid. Like expac launch day every day, only worse. Questing is hard-going due to the everpresent anti-social element of the lovely WoW players. There are a lot of those and they amuse themselves by snatching nodes, killing questgivers, denuding zones of spawns needed to complete quests, indulging in barrens style spam, ganking if on a pvp server, whatever else they can think of. Players from other realms flood in or you join them on their realm, and we’re all heavily competing, which some bonehead dev thinktank thinks is great fun. Judging by the behemoth threads on both US and EU forums the playerbase does not think it is great fun. I do not find it fun either. I find the deliberate griefing just jolly annoying tyvm and log out. So, increased performance or no, we will not be buying the expansion. Nor, I think, after this current bout of play, keeping any sub going. We want to hop about a bit with the new stuff, but that’s about it really. Maybe get some pets or mounts. Nooooo inclination to stay and support guilds/raid/socialise/progress. Might buy Pandaria if it ever goes cheap, but equally might not bother.

Then the worse news – when I first loaded the patch 5.0.4 it crashed my computer, but I rebooted, and all has been ok since then, so I kind of forgot about that. Then the second laptop also crashed. In fairness it has to be said that our chips are no longer supported, so I’m not off to Blizz HQ with a pickaxe. But still, bit of a shocker when the second lappy, the newer one, had to go through a destructive recovery. Machine is not much more than 2 years old, needless to say I take a dim view of it now being unsupported for WoW. However, Intel could do a sight more to keep their drivers up to speed. Nobody really to blame, just the current sell-it-and-run business mentality we are saddled with. Once we upgrade I will probably have a go at driver modding on this machine(for my own personal use only), if I have the time. I like my laptop. We still have plenty to play though before that time.

GW2 (yay) runs on the newer machine, not on my old one – or… it runs on this, but too irritating to play. So. Amg. I would be playing something current now if I had the time. Hoping to snatch a few hours on the not-so-old lappy tomorrow to give it a whirl, the younger people say its wonderful. Our machines work very hard in here, all of them – like the people do.

Mists of Pandaria launches tonight – it feels strange not to be there for an expansion, but I’m not tempted I’m afraid. Sightseeing is ok, but it’s not gaming. wading through glutinous masses of idiots to complete a quest or farm a node is not enticing and doesn’t make me feel as if I’m part of anything I want to be part of. There are now better games to play. Oh and Torchlight 2 runs fine – think I had to reduce all of 2 settings.

Afterthought: I suppose I could hop on my hitherto unfashionable 85 bm hunter and do some griefing of my own ….

…. hmm ….                            …     nah.  Yawbbn.

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Today my brain looks like this:

🙂

(100th)

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All the best to those trying to save CoH

Really sad to see a game go… dunno… there’s more to it somehow than just a frill being clipped from life.  There is a petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/ncsoft-keep-ncsoft-from-shutting-down-city-of-heroes

This isn’t the first time… I really hate how games end. I don’t think they belong in the “meh not profitable enough bucket of dooooom” – never to be seen again.

Firstly I feel that way because they are artefacts – someone later on is going to even call them Art and write academic papers on them. They should be kept in some form for future generations on that basis alone. (And also for future generations to try out and possibly laugh at :))

Secondly, and far more deeply I feel that way because I think that players are owed some control over what happens when the profit is deemed too small and the owners want rid. It reminds me very much of some harsh adult breaking a child’s toy irreperably when this happens – hey ok I know that’s over the top and we aren’t little kids – but that’s what springs to mind. Owed? Yes, I think so. Bottom line, all we have in this world is the time we spend in it. So giving someone or something your time, is no small thing.

Surely there is some way, some formal way, to hand over to the players who lived there, sometimes for years, who fought, strove, interacted, added their thoughts, battled, enjoyed – cared!!!!

I never played CoH (or Galaxies) but I’m still going to miss them.

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Really Nice News from the Siege

I really must thank my Wurm readers – I mean, I know you don’t say a lot (lololol)(probably terrified by now) – but you know, I see the numbers there regularly, whenever I do a new post… you’re there. It’s very soothing that kind of consistency and loyalty you know. Anyway. I have no nasty things sitting upon me today at all.  In fact

people talked to me in local! Normally – about fish! and things! just casually, like…normal. Normal is goooooood.
Phew, thanks is all I can say.

It’s just a wild guess, but I think there’s a link … blog… readers… not so isolated now … hehehehe  🙂

Someone helped me out with some meats – I’m of the “people can use there templars as they wish because they paid for that control” line, although I personally don’t like them and don’t have one. I do have them on neighbour deeds close to me though so breakfast doesn’t obligingly wander in anymore. Or lunch.  I’ll need to get in the habit of hunting regularly – somewhere it won’t bother anyone. But I’d forgotten to hunt with all the doings, so was down to roach and lingonberry casserole.. you know how it is.

Give it a month or two and lovely laggy guard towers will pop up too. Am I the only person they lag out? I never saw anyone complain about it. Well.. that’s another reason for the biggish deed – hopefully when someone who I am sure loves new players tons and tons plonks one down, I will be still be able to function on some parts of the deed.

So I think it was really nice to get some meats. I needed them. I was faint from tree-hugging and hunger…

and then

people are finding more little stockpiles of dirts for me too 🙂 I’d love to say we smuggled them in through the barricade but nah – it’s not that siegie really:) I am happy as anything up to my neck for the time being in dirts! Do not wtb dirts just for the time being! My dredge is made too, so I should be able to get some that way as well.

It looks like I’ll have my tree farm! Oh that’s nice.

See when the day is done, and I’ve dealt with the usual mix of people nice and not, and offices, supermarkets and roads, and factories and haulage and get home and ahhh I can escape to Wurm – well I can, but all the things I’ve just been dealing with are on Wurm too, so I just want an area where I can look at trees. That’s what I want. I’m happy for everyone else to do big doings and enjoy, and be sandboxy but I want a quiet unindustried, unsuburbed place. With trees!

And I stick a blade of woad in my mouth, imagine a funny hat, go sit next to a tree and maybe fish 🙂 In my own little boondocks which I more or less have to make for myself because the rest of the game does seem to be trying to “progress” to a simalcrum of what I play to get a break from. There isn’t that much wilderness – 20 mins at the most before you’re in another suburb but I can make my own portion of just plain Bit o’Wurm with trees and not a lot else that people can meander onto and think its boring – I’m allowed to do that! Yay!

I think I said “normal” and “trees” and “nice” enough hehe. But I can afford to say “thank you” again 🙂

Happy Av (gotta cold shnurrrfff)

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News from the Siege (Wurm Online)

I still hate it very much that, metaphorically, while I’m quietly and enjoyably building my sandcastle in the sandbox, some abysmal pratt tells a minion to wee on me. However the news from the deed:

is wonderful – nothing is happening. And I won’t be making any fusses unless something does. I am hoping that having people aware is just all that’s needed. And aware they are – umm the Serious Wurm post hits actually exceeded the one from when I was foolish enough to put a Diablo error code in the title – meh, those guys didn’t stay :). It’s fast approaching 100 hits (92 as I write – oh wait that’s today so far –  Plus the day before and before errr   ug do I have to add? no I dont. It’s a lot.) and someone’s put it on Facebook  – thanks all watching people. Whatever you think! I like people who think! (in before someone mentions the stream – no its this one post Serious Stuff (I still havent figured out how to link my own posts)  – the Guides are at 5/6 views each)

So instead here’s a pretty picture of the deed I don’t want to give up then. It still has some way to go, but you can kind of see where it is headed I hope, and yes, it’s big and extends past the other side of the building. I’m not some minor blip. I don’t use templars but will be putting a safe shack in. Not sure animals will ever actually spawn there but the odd few might manage to make it past the neighbour’s spooks.

Big but not massive. I deeded what I needed. Glad I did! I’m hemmed in 🙂

I did lose one friend. Well, not someone I’ve known long, so not that kind of friend. They were trying to be kind and considerate but were put in suuuuch an awkard position. At least this way that’s not going to ever happen again. I’m really sorry they were drawn in and I think it was right pants for someone to use them that way. Which doesn’t mean they aren’t responsible for their own decisions – or that I’m happy about it, think it was a good thing or approve nor does it create oceans of respect, but yeah, I do understand.

Well, next time they might even believe  I told them to (??…wut…?????, orly.) do something even worse to me! It’s probably all for the best – by the time I’m being told I’m the bully of me we can safely say there’s not going to be any friendship. Actually what he did wasn’t very friendly already – but I’m giving a big blob of tolerance – it was tough for him. Glad he has no further involvement.

No further involvement  – gawd I say that – but some people find an excuse to leap right back in, I’ve seen it happen – perish the thought – do me big favour – nevermind helping me – stay out of it and be safe!

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News from the Siege (Wurm Online)

I do feel better having blogged about that. I was reluctant to  …I’m not immune to the mechanics I described.

I’m hoping that with so many people watching, things will go quiet now. Hopefully I can go about my business without interference, except of course I need to work around the thing that happened on Monday which means I’ll have to arrange a Magrannon altar and a priest to bless it so that I can pray easily – on my own deed. Things that others in the area can do easily will cost me time and silver. It’s ok – I can deal with it.

I haven’t put specifics about Monday’s events – I really would prefer that I am just left to carry on enjoying my deed in peace and who knows, maybe more people will talk to me, say hi, behave normally as time goes on.

But if things escalate, if there are more such events or anything near, I will describe it all, this time in detail. Some external scrutiny will do no harm – after all everyone involved is totally proud of what they did and won’t mind it being known about – right?

If you read yesterday’s post below you will know why I don’t feel the slightest obligation, at all, to not describe events (from my perspective of course)  in an open format (unlike Alliance chat) where people can view for themselves and comment. I’m holding off in the hopes things settle.

Thanks Xalorum for your offer there – that was really nice, and just for saying what you did. You’re right, a break is needed (quite often) from what’s going on. Here is my home deed on Independence – I have lived there quite a long time, it’s quiet, not many of us live where I am. I have lovely neighbours and am treated with respect and affection there. Nobody slavers over my deed borders, nobody accuses me of stuff in a place where I cannot even see what they are saying, or defend myself. (I am expected to be absent and unable to defend myself while I am accused and judged – of course).  So I do have a sanctuary, lucky for me.

All is well

I haven’t logged into the besieged deed today – umm  – it’s not very attractive to do so – but once I’m there and at the forge it will be ok. Maybe later. Last night I managed to get some dirt I had bought to Besieged Deed for my tree farm, with the help of two friends and events watched over by the third friend too. To my relief I was not kos anywhere, or anything daft, but it was nerve-racking to leave my deed and set foot on Alliance territory to shorten a hauling journey – just in case I heard the dreaded “The Horn sounds….”

I can see that I’m not going to travel much unless I really have to, even if, as I hope,  things go quiet and incoming hostilities cease. Good thing I’m ok with staying home then, isn’t it. WTB dirts by the way hehehe 🙂 1s 25c per k delivered to coastal deed, Celebration, PM here. Is that a fair price?

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Some Serious Stuff (Wurm Online)

I was going to call this “Grab the Popcorn”, but then I realised it links into some pretty heavy things. So I’m going general first. Go down the bottom if you want to see what I’m fussed/whining (whining if you’re still scared someone might think you’re a kid – there is actually some technical name for this condition, and the description isn’t very flattering. I can’t remember what it is and I have a lot of words to get through, sorry, so I’m not going to go hunting for it.) about. Long complicated sentences a speciality.

Bullying.

Disclosure: this post is part of me integrating a rather nasty event that happened yesterday and which I will not detail at this time. It upset me. I need to look whats under it and deconstruct. I need to look at it a way that might be seen by others in case they have something to say. It needs to become part of my internal furniture so I can move on. Here goes:

Online in general, bullying happens quite a lot, I think anyone that’s seen a WoW raid group, a bad one, has seen it for example – the theory goes that being anonymous means you can behave badly without repercussions. However, being online also means that some  behaviour is too obvious to miss. Or should be. In Wurm Online, with its small community, reputation is everything. It is grown slowly, through the people you know and interact with. That’s more similar to real life, so real life behaviour has some relevance here, and indeed your normal internet bully tactics won’t work. They would be quickly spotted, denounced and you’d be known for what you are. A form of bullying closer to the real deal will work though.

If I speak with some authority on this it’s because I’m old. Oh yeah ..and dealt with quite a few of these in my time. Bullies share common behaviour which is not hard to describe in terms I hope are clear. It’s shared and common because it’s derived from the tools society hands them and to an extent it derives from a hiccup in development also.

So… how it works is this. I could do with diagrams but LiveBrush keeps going funny on me – or I’m pressing the buttons for Blender – who knows.

How it works

1) Isolate victim
2) Build own support structure and note possible colluders. This is important.

Quote from the Guardian: October 2012
“Savile was a star; rich, famous and – we can now see – brutally cunning. Those who should have acted chose the comfy options. Kids who dared complain about “Uncle Jimmy” were punished. His charity work helped build him a 24/7 alibi.”

Bullying takes many forms.
3) Start with small malicious actions
4) Do something that would be regarded as aggressive if spectators and participants were not pre-prepared via previous points
5) Shut victim up
6) Repeat

The indifference of spectators to the plight of the person being bullied rises with each small incident and with each repetition until a point is reached where a larger attack will not draw much attention and smaller attacks are deemed normal. This same pattern is found in domestic abuse.

The indifference of spectators is crucial for a bully to operate.

The bully has to suspend the normal rules of behaviour for as long as it takes to attack the unfortunate victim without being called out. Well-prepared spectators even if shocked, will do the “it’s just one incident” thing, and not act.

A special note about collusion: point 2) – “build own infrastructure and support system” is all about people who will join in the bullying or support the activity in other ways.  It’s simple – you form a gang, group of cohorts, organisation of some sort. Victim is excluded from this of course, but you are also looking out for people who will do the dirty work if you tell them to. This has several advantages. It means even less support for the victim. It means the blame can be spread if something goes wrong. It means the blame can be averted entirely by simply telling someone else to attack and then claiming not to have issued the order. And it means a ready-made chorus to tell the bully what they are doing is just fine, since the colluding members of the group are now fully involved in the actions taken, and invested in presenting them in a good light.

Self-validators and those with assurance are not as easy to manipulate and cannot be relied on to follow an order or harm another person. There aren’t many of those in a bully’s entourage anyway so it’s not a problem.

Newcomers to the area need to be sucked in quickly, or they might be loose cannons – or offer protection.

Weak people will collude more readily and can be made to hurt someone in case they are targeted themselves, or for fear of being left out of any spoils/advantage. An astute bully will have such people marked out long before they are handed the metaphorical knife and issued the order to do harm.

Side note: People do not necessarily collude with a bully because they are bullies too. Self-preservation and self-interest will make an otherwise rather nice person do just what they are told. As will self-doubt when everyone behaves as if things are fine. We know this from history.

Weaknesses

1) That support system and running the colluders takes a lot of maintenance. Bullies can operate without a support system, I’ve seen it done. But it’s not common. Whatever the organisation, it has to be kept going and everyone in it must be kept happy lest it occur to them that the victim(s)(why waste a good organisation on one target) might not be Satan’s Spawn after all, and the leader might not be Mr/Mrs Great. Their own support system  at least drains them, even if well-organised.

2) There’s always one person. I meet a lot of these one-persons, because I am one. There is always that awkward person who instead of meekly joining, turning a blind eye to what is going on, and doing what they are told to victimize another person, says “This is wrong, and I’m not going to do it.” Gasp. Nowadays I pick my fights more (due to wear and tear), but I surely can spot a kindred soul.

3) Going too far. One thing bullies are incredibly addicted to is believing their version of reality. So… immortality… never getting caught… being all-powerful…. being morally justified…. put all that in one big bag and shuggle it and you pretty much have the inside of a bully brain (see developmental model further down too). Anything that doesn’t fit the self-aggrandisement is labelled untrue – and all cohorts must adhere to this edited reality even when it is inconsistent, changes, or is destructive. Um… it kind of makes them seem, powerful and invulnerable, but reality always arrives on the scene at some point, and it hits hard. Most really ghastly dictators come to an extremely sticky end. In the interim it’s sometimes possible to convince some authority that this person is barking.

4) External intervention. While spectators and colluding groupies can be prepared nicely – dare I say groomed even, an external eye will see what’s going on in one fell swoop. If that external person has some authority, and the rules of the game (or life) allow – it’s game over for the bully.

What to do

Go for point 4 of the weaknesses. But be aware that (hmm from personal experience and very roughly) 75% of people you alert will insist everything is just dandy and do nothing, a hefty 15% will find a way it’s your fault not the perpetrator’s, 5% will join in and bully you too. Somewhere in the remaining 5% is salvation. The numbers are stacked heavily against the victim due to indolence, self-preservation, and self-interest. So play the numbers. Tell everyone you can. Tell everyone in detail. Tell more people. Tell their dogs. Tell their cats, the woman on the bus, your lawyer friend, that man who sold you a dodgy kettle, your teacher, your family, your friends, the milkman. And find ways to spot people who either begin to join in or decide to blame you and find ways to avoid them too. Some people will express sympathy which is nice of them, but for solving the situation it’s not going to do it.

Edit: I forgot to put (and in case this information is useful to anyone) – the further away from the situation you go seeking support and telling people what is going on the better your chances of getting an unbiased and external response. People close to the action are being persuaded that its ok, and may have things to lose by admitting it’s not right. They might secretly be sympathetic though.

Do not, ever, shut up about it and allow it to be brushed under the carpet –  until you find someone, somewhere that has some integrity.

And then find more of those. You will take damage on your way, but even a small group of white knights can stop the bullying. An actual anti-bully organisation with some clout is way more effective, but weirdly they usually have the same % of non-intervention – possibly they are too involved or have targets that dont actually have much to do with just stopping the bad behaviour. Such organisations are particularly prone to blaming the victim, I noticed more than once. For example in domestic abuse situations if the victim (somewhat unsurprisingly) takes to drink, he or she will become the focus of investigation (social agency called in has unfilled target/new mission statement to do with alcoholism?), while the abuser looks on with pleased surprise, Christmas having obviously arrived early. Ring any bells for anyone that example? I bet it does.

And sometimes the bullies are within the rules. There are still ways to legitimately stop bullying though even if the rules are not helpful – it might take some strategy, but can be done. Having enough people being aware of and censuring the bully might in itself work.

Giveaways

Obvious bully is obvious. You can spot them easily. No need to comment. The other breed – the outwardly urbane, the Mr/Mrs Great are a tad harder. Here are clues I look for – no books involved – I just learned over the years that people that do this stuff are dangerous.

1)  promise merchant – uses promises to lure people, or to make them think they will gain something common enough and very mild warning signal – watch for this though: (the big giveaway) – promises someone something, withholds it or makes them wait and watches them squirm.) (signals control issues better than a beacon on a hill).

2) control – when a person uses promises as above particularly the squirm one, needs to dominate not only immediate surroundings but things further out and stresses when thwarted. Stress shows up in different ways though – you need to know them well enough to notice they are stressing, and be able to link it to them having been thwarted.  For example someone’s surroundings look good – not just the house, but the whole road too. Right. You know the person that  is making this happen. A cat wanders up and digs a flowerbed across the road, the person responsible for the nice road gets fidgety although its not his garden, not his cat, and the beastie has merely made an experimental scratch and decided it will go somewhere else for relief. And you know when this person fidgets it means he’s stressed. Later you hear him yelling at his wife. Hope I have explained this ok. I feel I slightly missed and may rewrite.

3) slip of the tongue – lies and inconsistencies. Background details that you notice have changed substantially. Big warning signal – otherwise mild person suddenly talks about doing a violent act with some relish and in detail. Should be enough out of character to be surprising. The addition of detail is especially worrying. Don’t touch this person with a bargepole.

4) tantrums – by the time you are on the receiving end of one, it’s too late. Run. If you notice anyone older than 3 having one, yes, its not a good sign. Here’s why according to me: the root of bullying (bar psycopaths who are on a different road) is fundamental insecurity, hence the control issues. The insecurity comes about thus: conflict arises around 3 when a person realises they not only have external reality to deal with but people to deal with too, and none of this can reliably ordered for optimum happiness(definitely a discovery you’re allowed to yell and scream about!)  Human development involves gradual acceptance of this realisation and the evolution of survival strategies to deal with it so that the conflict fades. Bullies have not completed this step and will still exhibit the 3 year old response (tantrum) along with the strong impulse to destroy that which causes the conflict which for them has not faded – this is easily transferred to a person they cannot bend satisfactorily to their reality. It might even be a superficial thing that is deemed not right – eye colour, whatever. Ok?

And quite often they actually do grow out of it (the missing step is completed.)

Enough of the general stuff, now the Popcorn:

In Wurm Online,  bullies do attempt character assassination, which works fine on new players. With older players of course, it doesn’t since they already have their good reputation which sticks quite nicely. For an older player you need something more…. in tune with how the game works. All the griefing tools we are familiar with are fine – try perimeters, that’s always good for a sense of unease. But best of all for bullying purposes are the inbuilt organisational structures. A big alliance or village can make another player’s life a complete misery totally within the rules – just take control of the local resources – clay, tar, land, ore, roads where possible – exclude the victim and there you have it. It’s a much harder game for the person so targetted. Can shut down trade opportunities too – now I think of it – via word of mouth. Bully heaven.

And all totally within the rules.

I am in the middle of one of this, except I have my own resources so  a resource embargo is not really going to do much. Mostly I miss having people to talk to. The bully’s support system chat amongst themselves exclusively – but then a few kind folk break ranks and keep me company so the isolation is mitigated somewhat, not hugely but still.

I had something of this twice this year (just bad luck), last time I moved and gave up my deed rather than deal with the person whose way I was in. This time I’m not inclined to go anywhere really, continually giving in isn’t maybe right.  I’ll try it the other way and see if I can just stick it out. Oh yes – I’m sitting on a rather nice peice of land (again). Maybe that has something to do with me being singled out for this? On the other hand I did row this person a while back – and left his deed.  In myself I know I was right to ditch that village – I didn’t find that behaviour acceptable, and I’m not under it’s (now extended to entire area) control. They might perceive that as a problem for them though I have no interest whatsoever in disrupting whatever they are doing. I doubt my single personal merchant with low grade goods is much threat to their market either.

The difficult thing with a setup such as I’m facing is mainly that the influence of the person who has an issue with me is very large on a small server. Err that’s pretty isolating. It also means I travel further than anyone else to get anything I need in order not to bother anyone who might worry about me being there etc. That part is annoying, but not the end of the world.  Actually… it’s mainly the company I miss. Being a homebody, there’s no chance to accuse me of any crime, though that might be tried at some point. I’m on-deed, rarely leave.  I grow trees, I smith. I talk to the 3 people that talk to me. And I’ve asked everyone to remove any permissions I have as a double precaution against any stray accusations. Of theft for example.

I’m willing to apologise and bury the hatchet to be honest, in the interests of a quiet life – until it all gets really too awful for peace to be made, but so far any olive branch I’ve offered has been thrown back at me with spikes embedded. I do get the feeling this past argument is being bigged up to justify current behaviour. It wasn’t really a big deal. Well, I think not. I left a village and bluntly said why I was going is all, I don’t find some behaviours acceptable. For me that’s it over (months ago) – but maybe it festered.

I think, for this game as others you need to be really careful how much power individuals can muster. The idea of a collective is very nice, but in practice it can be used badly, and often is. I think… collectives can be really destructive and malicious, or they can be wonderful and nurturing. There’s… no check on it though, nobody watches to see how it turns out. Rules don’t have to be broken – the game mechanics favour the collective heavily (more workers, more resources, more help, more support). It’s a very easy system to use against an individual. Even non-brain surgeons have figured that out.

By now my prime deed (coastal, near access canal, farmland) is sitting like an island in the middle of a swamp of united malevolence – I’m pretty sure some people would like me to go. But I’m not an awful horrible person or player. I don’t deserve this, frankly.

How long will I last I wonder? And will I keep playing Wurm after this experience? Who will join in the bullying? Who will break ranks? When asked to victimize me will someone grow a pair and say “This is wrong and I’m not doing it.” ????

Hehehe we’ll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile I don’t have a support system to maintain and don’t have to sit online for hours per day (these people don’t work?)  in case someone strays from the fold, so life is easier for me than for my adversary in that sense. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do things, that’s another good thing. Nobody controls who I invite to join my deed either, and I cannot be ordered to kick out any villager I like and trust because someone’s dog once got their toe in a door or whatever the excuse is. That’s a very good thing indeed. O yes.

I have my 3 friends to talk to for as long as they withstand the tide.  I don’t need anything that I can’t get. And I tell everyone that will listen what happened.  I can only really be targeted by mud-slinging. Mud slinging is very effective. True or not people believe. That’s why I’m wondering if I’ll play after this. You see, I know who I am. I know what is true of me. It’s good stuff – I’m not up there with Hitler. Just a normal 53 year old mum, bit daft, definitely kindly despite all the hooting and growling. I doubt I could effectively step into the role of a despised, reviled,  hated nothingness no matter how carefully it is crafted for me by another or how often I am told in so very many ways by another that it fits me. It doesn’t. I’m ok. I’m not that.  I am an ordinary player very much enjoying an unusual game (except for maintenance chores) which is usually very sociable, but not now. If more people begin to believe I am horrible and must be ostracised and they act accordingly, then this game has actually become damaging to me. I don’t need superfluous upset or to be on the end of aggression, that’s for sure.

So… will I last?

Categories: Uncategorized

Back in Harness

yep hols gone now – its been a busy old few weeks for me and I’ve missed blogging. I was rested and refreshed though, and have been attacking things like an attacking thing does. It’s been good! I’m still filled with energy fizz and (mostly) joy. Today I have half an hour (woo) to scribble something.

To my lovely loyal Wurmy followers: I have been setting things up for the next part of the Begunner’s Guide – thanks so much for reading here – I look on the stats and see you all, a  hardy lot. Once I’ve done that, I fancy doing something less structured about Wurm, no idea what. Right now a diatribe on the unpleasant habits of the local “I am” is tempting but meh, who cares really. Maybe when I write about setting up a deed I’ll mention the dangers of local despots or… dunno the bullying mechanism in general… can’t say I find the subject all that appealing now I’m considering writing about it but sort of feel a duty to say something useful (filing that away for later)(or maybe should get it done while its still hot)(indecision strikes). To the lone South African Wurm reader – err “Simba Chips!”

I know!  I should read that to-do list I posted here so I wouldn’t lose it. Hmmm – not in half an hour any of that :). Fruit Salad is due of course, no GW2 from me – laptop, might not run, etc – not at today’s price anyway. So yes, Fruit Salad must do and Begunner’s Guide.

Little blob of write on subject of button overload – I have it bigtime. We are learning all this new stuff and – I learn how to use the ui to do something graphically pleasing (to me), five minutes later brain is a complete blank. I think I am trying to squeeze too much in my brain. Or something. Just every day another 500 new commands, shortcuts, buttons…., its heaven in one way (I do enjoy) but.. is there some kind of “full” in my head?

Luckily there still seems to be room for plenty of daftness and that. Wait. Brain just went blank again.

And why has the font on this WordPress theme gone revolting? Was it always like this? eeew

Add “try new theme” to that list.

What a lot of wittering I just wrote – sorry 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

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