I HAS PC Life and Interwebs

28Aug/144

Happy Birthday to I Has PC! 6 Years Old!

Belated. It was yesterday. This is a nice reminder that I am terrible at birthdays.

August 27, 2008 was my first blog post ever. I can't fully recall why I started blogging - I was spending a lot of time on various blogging sites and my comments kept getting longer and longer. I think I finally decided that it would be easier to write my own posts and link back instead of annoying the author of various sites with my incessant rambling and observations.

I didn't think much on a style or theme and I just picked one and ran with it. Some of the old posts are fun to read through and I often link back to my old posts - mostly when there is an "I told you so" (WoW needing to link armor stats to role type - 2008! - which they are finally doing in Warlords of Draenor) or revisiting a viewpoint I had stated previously that I still felt relevant.

Sometimes when I go back and read posts I think there have been some really great ideas that would translate well into modern MMO land and other times I felt like I was just another blogger with the same feelings on the same old topics. I quickly found some circles of blogging friends and while many are gone now (Writers Resting In Paradise Blogroll to the right) many persist today. And as I find new sites and read new blogs, or people discover mine, I expand my blogroll. With my sports background and slant I call us BlogNation much like the Red Sox Nation or other groups that align around commonality. It hasn't stuck anywhere else that I can tell, but I figure if I keep writing it maybe it will someday.

My style hasn't changed too much. I am a pretty "conversational" blogger - I write as if we are having a pint at a bar. Throw out an idea or opinion and welcome a counter discussion. This is a fun way to blog because I always keep my mind open. Some would argue I write as if I had already had 10 pints at a bar. That has been known to happen as well.

I had two extended "vacations" from blogging - six months starting January 2011 in which I became very, very sick (lost over 60 pounds, night sweats, swollen glands, couldn't stay awake for longer than a couple hours at a time) and had every symptom of lymphoma from a textbook. They spent months testing and digging (lymphadenectomy, bone marrow, you name it) and I was actually checked into a Cancer centre for weeks - except they didn't find cancer. I was at infectious disease specialists, all sorts of specialists, no one found it out. And one day I just started feeling better again. They kept wanting to cut me open to dig around to find out what happened but I stopped letting them. That time was pretty scary, caused me to withdrawl a lot, but also to celebrate life a lot more in the end of it all. Nothing quite like being certain you are fighting for your life - even scarier when you don't what you are fighting against. I found it hard to justify spending hours blogging when I didn't know how much time I had left.

Could be why I have a soft spot for charity and people raising money for diseases and causes. Hell, a month ago, my entire team and partner network raised thousands of dollars at 1am in a bar (in 30 minutes) if I would shave my head - in the bar - so yes, of course I did. It is only hair and will grow back.

For the record, it is growing back terribly. Still worth it though.

My second vacation was when I was battling divorce. Gaming was an addiction for me in many ways - not that I couldn't stop, but being unhappy in my marriage drove me to game more. She loves TV (I hate TV) I love games (she hates games) - so never common ground. We ended up finding common ground (pretty easy when you have an amazing kid) and our marriage has been great ever since. Something about the first 5 years that is the challenge, as there are curiosities if people can (and will) change. In the end letting people be who they are is critical to loving and understanding each other. I am not suggesting my advice to marriage counselors still though. It works for us!

My three personal favorite  posts:

1) Greatest Fantasy Movie Ever (2009)

In this one I attack the silly idea of healing by describing what the typical raid encounter would look like if it was a blockbuster movie. You don't see Gandalf sitting in the back row during the battle casting heals on Legolas, do you? In it I suggest a better way (slower paced combat, blocking and dodging graphics) - its dumb that a 10' sword goes through characters entire bodies. Hits should cause REAL damage, and instead of inflating numbers, having glances, misses, and dodges should make up the difference. I like to be immersed - swords and axes cutting through immobile toons doesn't cut it. I want MMO combat to be more like MOVIE combat. When your sword goes through someone, that's when the blood comes.

I linked back with a GREAT example from Batman: Arkham in a more recent post. The tech and will is there. This should be the next innovation in MMO combat. In that game you rarely get hit and when you do you feel the impact. It shows that with 10 mobs around you you can still have contact combat. Besides, in this hyper-world of ADD and circle strafing, slowing it down and having combat meaningful and impactful would be a great innovation.

2) Can the End Game be the Game? (2009)

I tackled how silly leveling is and how Wow is wasting resources on planned obsolescence content, and that if more resources were created for "max level", repeatable content instead of one and done quests - there would be better, and more content, for all. I see a lot more agreement on this type of idea today - if your content doesn't really start until the "end game", why not start there in the first place?

3) The 6 Wheeled Car (2008)

This was my PVP slanted point about relative power. DAOC and WAR showed me the biggest fundamental flaw in PVP games - you have such ridiculously giant disparities in power between levels. A level 1 can't even HIT a level 40 - that makes no sense (again, immersion.). So my idea here is to have levels multiplicative. So 40 level 1s could indeed be an EVEN match for a level 40 character. Or 4 level 10s or 2 level 20s. A level 40 is "god mode" in comparison to level 1s and that just feeds into my #2 post above - if your PVP character has to level 40 levels before being able to enjoy the game, why have levels so multiplicative? This alone ruins open world PVP. If you had relative power levels it could make open world PVP thrive.

Funny looking at that they are all old posts. I haven't seen these concepts used in my modern day gaming yet but I still hold that they would be a welcome offering for gamers who like immersion and could enhance a current day MMO offering.

So 6 years. 325 posts (12 drafts) and 1144 user comments.

My blog isn't that popular and I am fine with that. It has been a journey and I believe the journey is the destination and I never stressabout who is reading and how many comments there are. That part is is important for anyone who blogs or who wants to blog. I know I'll be around for another 4 years (at least) doing this so I will have a 10 year anniversary. Health and life willing.

Looking  forward to more of this journey with you - and thank you for stopping by. I do enjoy the company.

27Aug/148

Ice Bucket Challenge

A phenomenon is sweeping the world right now. Kids, adults, politicians, celebrities, baristas, judges, landscapers - hell, just about everyone - is dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads. After doing so, they nominate some friends to also dump ice water buckets over their heads (typically within 24 hours). All of this bucket dumping is for a good cause - it is to raise funds for ALS. The "rules" are if you didn't dump a bucket you have to donate money instead. Most are donating AND dumping water. There are Instagrams, videos on Facebook, twitter - all over. Everywhere except Blaugust.

To date it has raised almost 90 million dollars. Not bad at all.

The story here is great - and it's time to bring it to Blaugust.

First off - what is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

I watched a YouTube video of someone recently diagnosed and it runs in his family. He shared how scared he was because typically you live 2-6 years after diagnosis. Here is that video - it is very powerful because it comes from someone with ALS. (You HAVE to watch past the 2 min mark. Skip past the male-bikini car wash if you must.)

There have been a lot of fun and interesting ones. Here is Leonardo DiCaprio (compliments of David Beckham) who adds in a social justice twist and challenges the CEOs of major gas companies AND the Prime Minister of Canada.

Patrick Stewart declines in the most fitting, sophisticated way that you would expect him to. At least he wrote a cheque (probably big!)

There have been a lot of "ice bucket fails" as they call them, but really, as long as the money is being donated who is to judge at a person's skill of dumping ice cold water (or getting dumped on). They add some humor.

And some Epic ones - check out Paul Bisonette from the Phoenix Coyotes!

So I am even going to depart from my norm here. I am a pretty private when mixing my private life and my blogging life. I have always had a level of discomfort with my career and my hobby and in "my generation" it was (is) often unfairly looked down upon. So while I talk about my family here often I do post under a gaming name and tend to keep things as my "other life". Anyway - I was challenged four or five times through my social circles and work, and even my entire family was challenged so we did it together (and had some fun with it).

That isn't my normal hair - or outfit!

I challenge:

Wilhelm - The Ancient Gaming Noob

Bhagpuss - Inventory Full

Izlain - Me vs Myself and I

and

Belghast, father of Blaugust!

Remember - you don't have to dump a bucket of ice water over your head if you choose to donate!

26Aug/143

Death, Taxes, Gaming.

"The only guarantees in life are Death and Taxes" is one of those old quotes that stand the test of time. Having been playing a lot of X-Com lately I caught myself doing something that I regretted afterwards which made me think about death in gaming a lot closer - and I realized I didn't like what I found (with my own behavior). The stage is set.

X-Com is a tactical game where the goal is to defend the Earth from alien invaders. As you play you encounter new aliens and start learning why the invaders are there in the first place. Slowly but surely I have been piecing together the puzzle and while doing so, doing a pretty good job of keeping Earth away from panic. I have lost Mexico as a supporting state of the X-Com program but the rest are pretty safe and secure. (Sorry, Mexico). One of the great parts about X-Com is that the soldiers you use on field missions can improve with experience, and gain ranks and access new skills and strengths. They also die - permanently. All that being said they are generally devoid of any personality and the skill trees are standard - so you can have the exact same soldier where the only difference is name and nationality, plus some stats that influence how they behave in game. My favourite squaddie (short form for squad mate, I'm not sure if that's standard terminology but that is what I use!) is "Pitbull". She is an American support specialist. I don't even know her real name (if squaddies live long enough, they are granted a nickname). Pitbull has saved my other squaddies and often has single handedly changed full outcomes. She is max rank now and never, ever misses a shot. She is amazing. I love seeing her lead missions and is the closest thing I have to a "super soldier".  She has helped me advance so far in this game. She died yesterday, and I did something I never thought I would.

I reloaded the earliest saved game so I had her again.

This was perplexing to me. Reiterating here - I don't even know her in game name, she is a "tool" in my toolbox to stop the alien invasion. She has no personality outside of her shared and easily copied skill set. The reason why this perplexes me is I was reminded of death in other mediums and comics, for example, I HATE when people are killed off and they are always brought back. It sours the experience. With that long winded intro I am going to look at a few games where I have experienced death, and some observations (and questions).

Comics

Thalen's post "On Retcons" popped up on Anook this morning and it reminded me of my own views on death in the comics medium. I hate it. When Superman "died" the first time it was made out to be a HUGE event in the DC universe. I was a Marvel comics guy through and through but I still bought that edition so I had it preserved - a moment in history! It was in 1992 and I thought it was a brave, bold move and that the comic world would be shaken up forever. Think of the stories they could build off of this! The other heroes picking up the slack, how the DC Universe would change without Superman.. wait - what?

The death of death having meaning, you mean.

Superman taught me one thing. Death is temporary. Death lasts exactly three months in the DC Universe. That tainted comic deaths for me forever. Of course, Marvel is equally (if not more) guilty of this - my favorite comic book character is Colossus, from the X-Men. He has always been my favorite since I was a kid. Sure enough, read through his "life" here at the Marvel Wiki and its a disgusting ruin of an amazing base character. Deaths, rebirths, alternate realities, blah blah blah. I'll never buy another comic. To me, there is nothing wrong if you run out of content and much like Thalen's article (where Nick Fury was sun-setted quite nicely for his character and then brought back in a poor way) just let the stories end. Harry Potter ended. The world is fine with that. If you tinker too much with your assets they aren't assets anymore.

Gaming

I have four instances in gaming that stand out to me with gaming and death. The first is the aforementioned X-Com and "Pitbull" eating a Muton sandwich. The second is going a bit further back but very similar - to Blood Bowl, another turn based game that you can improve your characters and I had a whole post based around the antics of my Wardancer. I ended up losing her to randomization eventually - but she had to stay dead because it was a live game vs another human being.

The third instance  is in the Walking Dead - when the protagonist died (we all saw it coming) It clearly felt like a part of the narrative and the introduction of the true protagonist all along (the little girl). It felt satisfying how he died, and how he kept her safe for so long.

The fourth is in Mass Effect 2 - at the ending attack on the Collectors depending on what actions you took your squad mates would live or die. I cheated on this one too (shame on me) because I was emotionally invested in the characters I had spent so long developing with.

Inconsistent behaviors to me considering my comics stance? At the same time since they are different mediums, can I be excused? The Comics rant is pretty consistent with my Walking Dead experience - the narrative. At the end of it all I react to death in games on different motivators and in the above examples of X-Com and Blood Bowl I had ties with my characters through achievement. They weren't fleshed out or personal but they helped me achieve things in gaming and because of that I wanted to protect them.

In Mass Effect 2 I wanted to protect them because I had developed a relationship with the characters and wanted to preserve that. Like protecting your little brother from harm.

In the Walking Dead I accepted the death as part of the overall narrative and that death actually improved the experience overall. Great story, great sacrifice.

So I ask you - do you go out of your way to save your protagonists or let the dice fall where they may? Is it different depending on game or genre? We all know MMOs care nothing of death or penalties, but what about other games when those deaths are more permanent?

 

25Aug/149

Bloggers are Old

One of the interesting observations about reading through the various "Influential 15s" that was circling around not too long ago and the more recent "21 Questions" in the past couple of weeks is that it really shows the age of most people blogging. We are an old bunch! The Starting computer/first game for the TOP 10 straw poll I pulled from the existing posts out there is as follows:

  1. Atari 2600 (11)
  2. Pre-home systems (arcade/pinball) (5)
  3. Original Nintendo (4)
  4. Sega Megadrive (3)
  5. Commodore 64 (3)
  6. Zx Spectrum (2)
  7. Apple 2e (2)
  8. Intellivision (1)
  9. Colecovision (1)
  10. Original PlayStation (1)

33 responses is about the same they do for Presidential polling right? While the one person had a PlayStation (which came out in 1994) the rest are all solidly pre 90s. So either Blogging is art (hah.. I called it art!) for the elderly gamer or we are just suckers for writing about lists of things. Perhaps both. Will there be a OneNote challenge for the next list?

me pondering my next post

This is not a "Blogging is dying" post by any means. I see a ton of activity and read and participate in a lot of blogs. I am just curious where the youth *are* on the net. IF they aren't blogging, let me guess - they are on Twitter? YouTube? Podcasting? What medium is the up and coming space for the next generation of pundits that are talking about our favorite pastime?

Maybe they ARE blogging and I am just not in the blog-circle. I am genuinely curious of the thoughts and opinions of the gamer who only grew up with WoW, and want to know where to find it. Also, just socially, what would it take for the youngins to start and maintain a blog? I am curious if the groups that do the Newbie Blogger Initiative and other community building ideas are reaching the young or if its just not the way things are done anymore.

For the record, I am 40 years old. That may be young to some of you - I am just curious where the 20somethings are talking about their games and why they aren't on my lawn.

23Aug/145

Steampowered Hoarding

 I am staging an intervention. Yes, for you. I know, odd that you just randomly came to this site and realized that there was in intervention just waiting for you? Don't leave - stay. Here, I wrote a letter about my feelings and I am going to read it to you. One moment, Dr. Drew is just in the other room, entering now.

Tell me how you really feel...

Dear You,
 I am here today because I love you. Throughout my blogging life, you have supported me in everything I have wanted to do. You stood proudly in the comments section - even when I wrote bad posts, replied to me in your own comments section and even put me on your blogroll.  I always admired your sunny outlook on life and love of helping people. Over the last 12 years your involvement with blognation has been inspiring. It caused the whole interwebs to take notice providing us with an opportunity to become closer as we did something good for others together. I miss doing this with you.

Person, your Steampowered Hoarding has become a problem that you cannot control on your own. It is affecting your relationship with the whole blognation and me. Friday night, when James, Mike and I came over for dinner, you smelled like alcohol when you answered the door. You bought a humble bundle while we ate, and you kept sneaking back to the computer room to buy Friday night steam sale titles. By the end of the evening, you had mixed up all of our names, and the names of the games you had just bought.

We have reserved you a spot at a treatment center. They are expecting you tonight. It is not far from here, and a taxi has agreed to drive you. I have already packed a suitcase for you; it is waiting in the car. And, you don’t have to worry about finances, the treatment facility has contacted Anook and arrangements have been made. All you have to focus on is getting well.

You won’t have to worry about the house, the dogs, or the blog. Willhelm is perfectly capable of taking care of the dogs and Bhagpuss will do the housework on his own and Zubon will come by to help with everything. Your Steampowered hoarding doesn’t have to go on any longer, help is waiting for you. Please, will you take the treatment that is being offered to you today?

Love,
 Isey

what your Steam Library looks like

Letter outline compliments of writing an addition letter 411

 I try not to use STEAM too often. Ever since that fateful day when they stole $18 out of my wallet and refused to give it back. I started looking at them for what they really were - an enabler! They assist people into the sick, sad and pointless Steampowered Hoarding and once you start, it takes a full intervention to get out.

Looking at my own Steam library is what showed me the light. Here are games I have yet to play (or even install) because I got such great "Deals" on them:

  • The Witcher 2
  • Skyrim
  • Batman Arkham City
  • Dota 2
  • FEAR 1
  • FEAR 2
  • FEAR 3
  • Guardians of Middle Earth
  • War in the North
  • Mortal Kombat Kollection
  • X-Com Enemy Within
  • .... and more if you count less than 10 hours played...

I know that list is nothing compared to most, because I only STEAM socially. I'm not a heavy user like most. Some weekends, the odd party during the week. I'm not addicted - I don't wake up in the morning and STEAM or anything like that.

The solution is clear - just don't buy unless you plan on playing the game in the next 14 days. It's a simple rule. If you haven't bought it already there is a reason for that. If you are only buying it because it is on sale, then you probably don't really want it to begin with.

The best here is that it will ALWAYS go BACK on sale on Steam - so if you miss it once, don't fret - you will have ample opportunity to buy it (and probably not play it anyway) when it goes back on sale again another time when you aren't playing or planning on playing it anyway.

Steam does a great job of giving such great deals that hey - you are silly NOT to buy. It's like I tell my wife - if it's on sale don't buy it for the sake that it is on sale - buy it if only you really want or need it. You still have to spend $20 even if it is %50 off from $40 - and you don't gain the difference in your pocket - $20 isn't magically appearing in your wallet when you buy it.

Please - if you or someone you love STEAMS, call the hotline. It has to stop!

 

22Aug/140

C=64

Funny how we are sometimes reminded of how things were. The 21 questions post from yesterday really had me looking at my gaming roots with question #(whatever the question was) and I thought long and hard about my Vic-20 and C-64. I googled M.U.L.E (one of the best games I recalled from those days) and was searching around for a graphic to insert.

By doing so, I found this list. That link is a link to the top 100 C=64 games of all time.

Wow, just wow. Out of the top 20 I remember playing 14 of them. Out of all 100 I remember playing a LOT of those. That’s crazy! And while I recall fondly M.U.L.E (ranking #17) I also now remember a lot of others that were amazing classics at the time. #8 Archon, was one of my favorite games of all times. I just completely forgot about it. If you grew up on the Commodore systems go check it out - guaranteed to bring back some amazing memories!

I’m 40 and my memory is failing.

The Sega list for Sonic Ultimate Games Collection (linking Izlain) is a cool list and my best friend in public school had a Sega that we played the crap out of. Golden Axe especially (and football..) There have been so many games that I am starting to forget about them.

My first real PC was a Compaq 386 SX-16 (google for a picture) and I paid almost $4000 dollars for it. A whole summer of wages (minimum wage was $2.95 when I started my first job) plus a loan from Grandma. That was when I was introduced to Starcontrol 2, Xcom, and Civilization. World of Warrant (RTS) and Command and Conquer. So many classics!

Although, I also recall that I used to dial up and go to BBS's to try and do an online D&D and chat in 8 bit text glory.

As I get older I start to believe that knowing and remembering history is more and more important. Even for gaming.

21Aug/145

21 Gaming Questions

Questions are fun! Especially about gaming. I found this through the tech-support friendly Welsh Troll who links the original author and other bloggers there as well. Off to the races!

When did you start playing video games?

I started playing video games right when the Commodore 64 came out. I had a family member who worked for Commodore (I actually had the Vic-20 first, but really started gaming on the C64. So, 1982? I was 8. My favorite games are all from there - Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, IK+, Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, Pool of Radiance, M.U.L.E!

What is the first game you remember playing?

I actually programmed (on a tape drive no less!) my first real game. It was an arkanoid clone. It was amazing. Other early games that come to mind is HARDBALL! for the C64 - played that a lot with my brother early on. There are so many. If I had to pick one defining game I would choose M.U.L.E. It had everything that made gaming great for me.

PC or Console? 

PC mostly, but I also own a Wii (which is now rarely used) and an Xbox 360 which I use for co-op gaming with my 9 year old. Telltale Lego series mostly. We recently graduated to Diablo III there. (nice stretch, eh?)

XBox, PlayStation, or Wii? 

Xbox and Wii (Wii is dusty...) - got ahead of myself on the prior question...

What’s the best game you’ve ever played? 

Best is a tough definition! Longest stretch was EQ, DAOC or WoW. I pumped weeks of my life into those games. The best memories for me though is anything on this list.

What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?

I honestly don't even recall. I think every game has a good point, none I have ever played would qualify as "the worst"

Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

Splinter Cell - I never got into that series. Solid Snake just seems like a jackass. Even his name is. =)

Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

Beach Head 2002. It reminded me enough of the original beach head and I played that a lot longer than anyone should have =)

What are your favourite game genres?

RPGs, MMOs, and Sports games. Baseball in particular, which makes me a sad panda for both PC and XBOX.

Who is your favourite game protagonist?

The ones that I make in my games. Me! =) I did love The Grey Warden in DA:O. Who was also me.

Describe your perfect video game.

Non grindy, community oriented, engaging to the mind and heart.

What video game character do have you have a crush on?

Alyx Vance, HL2.

What game has the best music? 

I'm not music oriented and I often play with the sound off.

Most memorable moment in a game:

Ragnaros kill in WoW. Defining moment for me in raiding and gaming. When he popped up for the first time it was JAW dropping. Heart raced as we executed our strategy. Amazing moment.

Scariest moment in a game:

I'm very jumpy in scary games - I remember some zombie dogs in one of the Resident evil series.. but can't recall exactly which one! They jumped out, I spilled my drink all over my keyboard, had to buy a new one.

Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

Not even game related - but I was in a game, EQ, and my daily questing partner shared with me that he was suicidal. It was a real, human connection in a virtual world. We sat there just talking for hours about it. If it was in person I would have hugged him and bought him beer. Unfortunately, I could only be a digital supporter and it felt so helpless that I couldn't truly help him, or be there for him physically. I remember the place too - it was on the shores of Lake of Ill Omen. It's a powerful gaming memory for me that spilled into real life.

What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?

I read blogs mostly, and on my blogroll over there---> are the ones I read the most. I sometimes go to joystiq or gamasutra and the like, but for the most part, its blogs.

What’s the last game you finished? 

I did a round of Civ 5 recently, that was the last. Also finished Diablo III act 4 in anticipation of act 5.

What future releases are you most excited about? 

Everquest Next is top of mind, Star Citizen if they actually start making a game at some point.

Do you identify as a gamer?

Yes! Among friends and family I'm known as the gamer geek.

Why do you play video games?

It's active entertainment. I consider TV/MOVIES passive entertainment. I hate absorbing content by watching and listening - I like to contribute to content through actions!

There are my 21 - I kept them pretty short and sweet but some were hard to not expand a bit on. 21 ended up taking me a lot longer than I had expected - but it was a fun look back (and at present) to think about.

20Aug/140

YAR!

YAR! is a nostalgic MMO word for me. YAR! Was the rallying cry of my EQ test server guild, The Grove. Anytime anyone logged in there was a /gu of YAR! And usually the same number of responses per number of guildies on. I carried YAR! to DAOC and again to WoW in the guilds I was a part of and kept it a tradition. I'm not sure if any of the guilds I was a part of still use it, but I can still be found "shouting" it out when I log in to various games if I'm in any sort of guild or clan.

Funny too - not sure who, or why, it started and the last time I tried pulling it out in a new guild I was in they asked if I was a Pirate. Silly kids, Pirate speak is YARRR! And although Pirates are way cooler than Ninjas YAR is not the YARRRR you are looking for. This is a scary thought to me as I also need to replace my Tragically Hip slide in my PowerPoint with a Justin Bieber slide to remain relevant. I am getting old.

Joking aside (inside?), what does YAR mean, and where did it come from? Google-fu time (they need a Google-fu exclamation equivalent for Pirates. Sounds too Ninja-y)

Word Origin and History for yar
growling sound, imitative, attested from c.1300.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Growling sound makes sense. Imitative? c.1300. What was going on in the 1300s?

According to Wikipedia, lots.

As a means of recording the passage of time, the 14th century was the century which lasted from January 1, 1301, to December 31, 1400. Political and natural disaster and black death ravaged 4 khanates of the Mongolian Empire. Consequently, the Mongol court was driven out of China and retreated to Mongolia, the Ilkhanate collapsed in Persia, the Chaghatayid dissolved into two parts, and the Golden Horde lost its position as great power in Eastern Europe.

I knew the word was always super cool. I mean, not black death ravaging Mongolian Empire cool, but cool nonetheless.
YAR! Was, and is, more than that. It was our rallying cry - our call, our sign. Our secret handshake! Our "Nanoo Nano". Our kicking of the jukebox. Our "D'oh" (only much less stupefying). It was something we all did and it made our guild who we were.  A symbol, if you will.

So, if you ever see some old guy running around saying YAR! In a MMO it is probably me. Feel free to /kick, but that won't stop me. I'll be YAR! (ing) for as long as I play MMOs.

19Aug/142

Start With Why

I try to read a book a month. These books are mostly non-fiction and are business or personal growth related. I love thinking in general (its a gift, I tell you) and as such picking up books and reading and learning feels like I am developing both personally and professionally. Someone once told me that the person you will be in 5 years depends on the people you meet and the books you read. I find some truth and comfort in that statement.

I recently read "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek and I'd categorize it as a pretty simple premise but a game changer if you could execute it in life, work, relationships, and elsewhere. The basic premise of the book (and I am keeping this very simple) is that if you drew a circle that had three layers, it could look like this.

golden-circle

What Mr. Sinek argues is that most companies focus on WHAT they do. Dell builds computers, for examples. They then tell you HOW they do it - the have a great processing facility and it allows for personalization and you can change features, chips, memory, hard drives (etc.) and get it built just for you - for a cheap price. They never tell you why though, do they? The book argues that a company like Apple always starts with why, then explains how, and then shows a product that is the outcome of the why and how - not the other way around. Profit is never a "why" either. In very generalized thoughts and terms he demonstrates the companies that start with why  has made them industry leaders - in some cases changing complete industries and in even more extreme cases the world. He also argues that if you don't start with why you can't achieve the same results, and that starting with why creates an inspiration that team members, co-workers and customers can all rally behind - which creates that success.

A simple example of how to apply this is personal health. If you focus on the WHAT and HOW of personal health it doesn't sound like a lot of fun. I need to go to the gym 4x a week and work out. I need to drink less beer. I need to eat better, less bread, less deep fried foods. I need to take the stairs instead of the elevators. The WHAT and HOW of personal health doesn't actually sound that great.

If you started with WHY, you may look at those things a bit differently. I want to walk my daughter down the aisle. I want to be able to work and provide for my family. I want to be around long enough to play with my grandkids. If you start with those whys suddenly less beer, and more time at the gym, and taking those stairs don't seem that bad after all.

Its a must read. Please do. It's on Audible if you like books that way, can even be your free trial book.

Can the golden circle be used in Personal gaming? Of course it can. Clearly developers are starting with WHAT and HOW and not WHY. WildStar started with we are going to create a game that WoW would have been if they didn't get off course. (WHAT).

We will do this by not making the same mistakes as Blizzard and keeping the game catered to the 1%, with attunments and a tougher levelling and raiding experience. We'll reintroduce 40 man raids. (HOW)

They never really explained WHY.

I want a gaming company to think with WHY first, instead of "how much profits can we make if we do yet another twist on a theme park". I bet if a gaming company really started with WHY, we would get that inspiring and engaging MMO we are all waiting for.