Tag Archives: Syncaine
Syncaine made an observation recently that had me reflecting on my gaming history and what I wanted out of it. In his post, he talks about how the MMORPG has changed fundamentally in terms of its method of providing people with enjoyment.
Some MMOs seem exist in a sort of experiential vacuum, wherein a solo player can do a lot by himself, and fun can be had without the need for a group to run through content. The opposite type of MMO has a more collectivist bent, where the enjoyment of the game’s actors is derived from group experiences, whether it be against monsters or against other people.
Both attempts at providing entertainment for people are valid, but the nature of the player each game brings in is decidedly different.
What Syncaine’s post left me with was a sense of disappointment, partly in myself but also in my circumstances, because I cannot seem to commit to an MMO anymore.
In my case, my second MMO ever was World of Warcraft, and I played that for seven months straight when I first got it and was relatively unemployed after college. I didn’t worry about timezones, and I joined a cool-sounding server name and found a guild that I liked, called In Strict Confidence.
My strongest memories of playing MMOs were as a result of being in raids or in groups, because I learned from the people I was interacting with. Being with people, even virtually, helped me to grow as a person and part of my personality now, from my demeanor online to my diplomatic, thoughtful nature, is a direct result of learning to be with people online.
I now get the same rush of friendship and camaraderie from my friends on Twitter and from my friends in real life. The games I play don’t necessarily need to provide that high of friendship and camaraderie for me anymore, but it helps to hook me in.
Going back to Syncaine’s post, I wrote in a comment to him about how he made me think, and how in my reflection I realized I sort of feel left out because I do not have a long-term commitment to a game. It seems (to my mind, at least) I still miss the rush of growing as a person by interacting with people in a virtual world doing something epic.
Syncaine replied to me with the following:
I suspect that part of the issue is that you are judging the games just on the content as you experience it solo, which is going to yield less-than-steller (sic) results (MMOs are not great for that, even solo-focused ones like SW:TOR, compared to a real sRPG).
When you play with a set group, much of the ‘content’ is experiencing the stuff together, so even bugs or grind can become a source of amusement because you have 10 people in vent bitching about it and laughing rather than just you smashing your head into it solo.
Look at something like a fleet Op in EVE. Would anyone find that even remotely fun as content in an sRPG? Waiting around for hours, shooting structures, and going home? Of course not. But get 250 people into Mumble, and it can be a riot, regardless if a fight happens or not. And when a fight does happen, it’s better than anything a single player game could ever hope to create in terms of epic, memorable moments.
That’s why people (should) be playing MMOs; for those rare but awesome moments. Sadly a lot of today’s MMOs are incapable of providing such a moment due to poor design and an overemphasis on the solo at the expense of the group.
I agree with him, really. At the same time, it also made me fearful.
What he’s written also means that I cannot provide the same commitment or be in the same social circles that would allow for the fun of an MMO in a group setting. I not only live in a different time zone from most people who would play something like Darkfall: Unholy Wars, but I’m also going to start a job that requires a worthwhile time investment to be good at.
I value the opportunity I’m getting at this new job, but it also makes me sad that I can’t be an important part of that bright world where people are fighting a good fight of epic proportions against dragons and liches and Cthulhu-like monstrosities.
Then I have to remind myself to calm down.
Because I have to remember that as much as the online worlds beckon to me, I’ve already connected with hundreds of people and made tons of friends who’ve helped to shape my personality and make me better than I was six years ago.
And I will keep making friends online and in the physical world, and my interactions with them will improve the person that I am, and ultimately, allow me to also impact their lives meaningfully and (I hope) for the better.
So there’s this story in EVE Online about a guy who said stupid things while drunk under the influence of his own ideas and a crowd that tends to support his viewpoints.
If you’re wondering who I’m referring to, I’m talking about Tobold at the moment.
Nope, not that Mittani fellow. Tobold.
The basis for his consternation lies in the events of Mittanigate, wherein a CSM player (and Council of Stellar Management) chairman named The Mittani seemingly encouraged other people into goading someone to commit suicide.
The fallout of this event was The Mittani (Alexander Gianturco)’s resignation from the CSM, the revocation of his CSM position in its entirety and a 30-day banning for The Mittani’s account (not sure if this still holds) a day later, a boatload of people going nuts everywhere regarding bullying and other issues in relation to this particular event, The Mittani (both character and person) refocusing his efforts on pretty much creating havoc across New Eden, and Tobold saying stuff again.
Now, I read Tobold’s writings, and I can see where he’s coming from, but sometimes, I think he’s preachier than I am, without trying to see what everyone’s viewpoint is on a particular issue.
I asked Syncaine to help me get more insight into everything by providing me with clarifications regarding what happened, minus his personal commentary. From what he’s told me, and from videos I’ve seen and posts I’ve read, all that’s happened is that a drunk guy (The Mittani) decided to be a complete tool and tried to get other people to be a dick to someone. The other guy didn’t quite care, and according to Syncaine, said recipient of the bullying in this case was even joking that maybe he should kill himself to get Mittani in trouble.
Dissecting the scenario, all I can see are the following:
1. The Mittani decides to be drunk and stupid.
2. People in the EVE community decide to act stupid as well.
3. Outrage spreads over the occurrence of stupidity.
4. Recipient of bullying doesn’t give a damn, and also says something stupid that makes light of suicide.
5. Reports that aren’t updated exacerbate matters.
6. Tobold says Syncaine and The Mittani are evil, which is stupid, because Syncaine is about as opinionated and well-spoken as Tobold and had his words taken out of context, and the Mittani, as we’ve discussed earlier, is stupid.
7. Errybody in the club getting
What does this lead to? Simple… People are idiots. They can be mean-spirited and follow the flow of discussion to an idiotic conclusion. Worse still, they can choose to follow an agenda of their own that misrepresents ideas to further their thoughts.
Whether that last bit refers to Gianturco’s campaign, Tobold’s writings, Syncaine’s writings, or my writings… why not just lump them all into a ball of stupid, call it a day, and focus our efforts on just being nicer people to everyone in general instead of being stupid dicks online.
That’d be the smartest outcome out all this, I’d reckon.
As many of you might know, Tobold and Syncaine aren’t exactly best buddies in the MMO blogosphere. They’ve had their spats here and there, and I was wondering when one might just capitulate to the other’s needling.
However, when I saw that Tobold was thinking of disabling comments on his blog altogether and Syncaine was trying to reconcile with Tobold, it made me think of how complex people are, and of my own mental state.
One thing that caught my by surprise was that Syncaine was the one who was trying to reconcile with Tobold. Sort of like when someone makes someone else feel sad, and they realize what their actions have done and try to make up for it so that the relationship can be salvaged for the future. I wasn’t expecting it.
I had this image of Syncaine being this badass who kicked ass and took names without thinking of other people. I was mistaken in this mental image, and remembered that behind the bloggers, there are real people with real feelings, and even if it’s just words over the internet, these words still hold power, and they can hurt.
As for Tobold, the image I hold of him still holds true, I suppose. He is more diplomatic than Syncaine, yet is hurt by the words slung carelessly through this void of technology. He has strong opinions, yes, but along with those opinions comes a heart easily pierced by people who don’t think before they write. Unfortunately, the Greater Internet Dickwad Theory posed by Penny Arcade still applies, and it’s a shame.
To both Syncaine and Tobold, I wish nothing but the best. I hope the two of you reconcile. I hope Tobold keeps allowing moderated comments on his blog. I hope Syncaine becomes more sensitive to the feelings of the people behind the blogging personalities he sometimes disagrees with.
While looking at Tobold and Syncaine, I also came to think about my own place as a writer. I’m more like Tobold in the sense that I don’t have the strong stomach for confrontation and trolling, but at the same time, I do accept that people are entitled to speak their mind, which is why commenting here is more or less open, save for the first comment, which is moderated.
At the same time, in comparing the two bloggers, I also noticed that unlike them, I don’t have a strong opinion on anything other than the realization that everyone has a preference that deserves to be respected. I tend to write about acceptance of differences, whether it be due to personal tastes or cultural nuances, as a running theme in this blog.
Of course, that isn’t to say that I won’t have a strong opinion in the future, but knowing myself, I might temper my reaction as I see things from more than my point of view. That doesn’t always make for interesting reading and, if the goal of this blog is to have more readers and commenters, is not a surefire way to get the desired outcome.
At the same time, though, I’m reminded that Stropp of Stropp’s World and Ysharros of Stylish Corpse have already sent me messages on Twitter about being interesting. Stropp advises me to just be myself, and Ysharros tells me that I already am interesting (and that I should “be, not do).
In which case, I shall simply be Victor Stillwater, the blogger and the person behind the blogger. And I, both the persona and the person, want to send this out to Tobold and Syncaine: the two of you are different but wonderful people, and if you can get along in the long run, then it would be a better thing for the MMO blogosphere to have.
Also, just because I might want to look back at this in the future, there are now tags for Syncaine and Tobold on this blog.
Image Credits: Papermag