[Problem Players] Guild culture, game culture, gamer culture (with notes on GamerGate)

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 In life, a lot of the way we behave is drawn from the social groups we hang out with and the wider culture and societies we grew up in. Humans are social animals. We know what kinds of acts will make our friends like us more, and we also can look at high status figures in our groups and try to be more like them. We also fear being shunned or cast out of the group.

There are also reasons why (most) people don’t do things that local culture feels to be anti-social.  Negative consequences include being thrown out of the group or being punished by group appointed peacekeepers  — eg. guild leader, forum mods, or even the police or feds. And for anyone with social anxiety (that’s most people to some extent), fear of those things happening – particularly social exclusion – is very strong.

So if a group culture can reinforce positive behaviour and punish problem behaviours, if we could encourage groups to take on board behaviours that we want to see, that could keep problem players and behaviours under control. This is a particularly timely topic right now, when parts of the gamer community are fracturing because of differences in the behaviours they are prepared to tolerate (or reward).

That fracture will never be repaired. Moderate gamers could make common cause once the ultra hateful total-war-against-women faction are pushed out though, and that is very likely to happen.

The other baseline for talking about gamer cultures is the notion of geek social fallacies (GSF). This goes along with the idea that gamers are poorly socialised geeks – I don’t think this was ever true in the main (you can tell this by the number of us who hold down perfectly decent relationships with friends and family), but there is a subgroup who cling tightly to that self-identity. In any case, their social groups were always likely to feel angry and oppressed and that they need to be loyal to each other because regular social humans won’t want them.

Guild Culture

Time was, your guild was your portal to multi-player gaming. They are your team, the people you play with regularly, the people you train with regularly if your game has group content that is difficult and/or competitive. At the more competitive ends of the spectrum guild leaders, with their power to kick people out of the guild, are pretty much dictators. Players who want to maintain access to the social and gaming benefits of the guild need to not piss the guild leader off, or they risk being thrown out. Alongside the dictatorial guild leader, hard core guilds tended to be quite fascist in their demands that players should put the needs of the group above their own. Loyalty was demanded, ‘treachery’ punished, and the way to prove yourself could be made arbitrarily difficult. The rewards were good though – being part of a tight knit cadre where you could schedule your weekly routine around your hobby. Shared victories. Great memories.

When servers were more limited, a guild would care about its server reputation. Players would care about their reputations. If a player showed some bad behaviour, you could report it to their guild leader who would probably tell them to knock it off. Sure there were always some bad boy guilds who felt they were so superior to the common folk that normal rules didn’t apply, but they were never the majority.

So guild culture is set by the guild leader, and every player in the guild contributes to it.

What has changed as MMOs have become more gamified is that being able to play at the desired skill level of the rest of the group has become more important to this social cohesion. It becomes harder and harder to keep a social guild together when the best X players are heading off every week to do hard, well rewarded content and everyone else is sitting around. I don’t say social guilds are impossible, they work very well when everyone is very clear about their expectations (one of those expectations is that ultra hard-core players will probably go find an ultra hard-core guild and stop trying to turn the social guild into something it is not.)

And as that changed, suddenly guild leaders felt more pressured to keep ‘problem players’ (could be anyone with poor impulse control) in the guild if they are needed for the raid team. Other players felt forced to put up with a horrid guild culture to sustain that raid access. Suddenly the only criteria are ‘can they play well’ and ‘will they turn up regularly’.

It’s not true of every guild or even most. There are plenty out there who continue to require that members behave like grown up human beings and not lord of the flies. Players who value that will be able to find a home. There will also be plenty where ‘don’t talk about politics’ is one of the pieces of guild culture.

But now times are changing again. The hard-core, never a huge proportion of the player base, has less of a grip on access to group content. Group finders, raid finders, these things all make that need for guild membership less total for a player who wants to see the endgame unless they are committed to the most challenging content. In truth, staying with a game long enough to see endgame is probably less prevalent than in times past. At the same time, the gamers who used to make up those hard-core guilds have gotten older, and in many cases more mature. It is more accepted now that people will want to plan their game time around families or other commitments. And also, the real problem players tend not to be good team players anyway so wouldn’t fit the disciplined guild team model. There are exceptions. Some of those are connected with larger game culture (such as griefing being widely acceptable in EVE). And finally, people are more likely to game in groups dominated by people they have met outside the game, either online or in real life. So the culture and the leadership doesn’t stay in neat game silos.

The key point though is that the culture of this type of group is dominated by the leadership. And that a lot of players will go along with being led if the results lead to fun gameplay for them. And they will do it without too much critical thought about what they are being asked to do, and will be willing to swallow a lot of objections if it means staying in the group. This is more of a human weakness than anything specific to guilds.

So how can games encourage better guild cultures? I’ll leave this as an open question, because I think it is less of an issue now than in the past. If there were hard rules in the game to discourage problem behaviour, guild cultures would automatically improve (for those who need improving). Less requirement for organised grouping is more likely to destroy guilds, rather than just change them. And it’s hard to reward people such as guild leaders for basically being decent human beings.

The issue of what to do with a problem guild is larger than ever, especially when they aren’t limited to a specific game. How to stop people whose idea of fun is making your life miserable. And how to make sure they know where the lines are beyond which it isn’t right to go.  But most players, most of the time, will not have to deal with problem guilds.

Game Culture

Why is it that in pick up groups in FF14 or SWTOR, other players seem more polite than they do in WoW? (This is based on my observation).

  1. It’s the culture of the game. They are all similar in other respects.
  2. WoW is just that much larger. While the good runs vastly outnumber the bad ones, you are just more likely to run into that one bad egg in WoW. And people always remember the bad experiences more.

When we talk about game culture, we are discussing something that describes a whole swathe of behaviours ranging from when you are ‘allowed’ to roll need on loot to what kind of discussions you are ‘allowed’ to have on the in-game chat channels. Unlike with guild culture, there is no single person with authority to reward or punish behaviour. Instead, in MMOs, the rest of the player base will tend to make its feelings known. Come out with something homophobic (for example) in public chat on a more tolerant server and expect to be a) reported and b) slagged off in chat by many other players, some of whom will be more influential on the server.

Every game and every server will have its own cultural quirks, but there are still a few general observations. There are always exceptions, of course.

  • Competitive PvP games tend to have more aggressive, anger-tolerant communities
  • RP servers tend to be more sociable and well behaved
  • Games where everyone does things with their guild tend to have quieter chat channels

Sandbox games also offer many more opportunities to grief other players. Where the game does not explicitly prevent behaviour, it is very difficult for the rest of the player base to show their distaste for it.

Gamer Culture

Gamer culture is currently in flux. Here’s my brief rundown though. In the beginning of computer gaming, through to the early 80s, gaming wasn’t particularly strongly gendered or associated with bad boy behaviour. It was geeky for sure, but it was also really common when I was at school to go round your friend’s house to play on their ZX Spectrum or BBC B computer.

The gaming industry had a crash mid 80s. After that, when it was being rebuilt, marketing people decided that their core audience was going to be young men. They were dubbed core gamers. Games were marketed explicitly to them. And the core audience responded. Games sold. The industry did well. A lot of gamers got very entitled – after all, video games were for young guys, along with guns, beer, titties, fast cars, and Maxim. All the advertising tells you so. So the majority of AAA gaming was aimed squarely at this group.

Some of the other gamers drifted away to new hobbies. Others kept on supporting the games they liked but drifted further from the mainstream. Why even buy a console if the only games it will have are genres you don’t like? We could see this pattern breaking up though. Nintendo proved with the Wii that there was a huge market longing for fun family games. Sony ran with Japanese RPGs, massively popular among the non core gamer group. Themepark MMOs picked up a lot of female gamers.

So back to now when there are a large number of gamers who don’t fit the core gamer archetype. Games of all sorts are getting out into the mainstream, helped by smartphones and mobile gaming.

In addition to this, a subset of  gamers identify as poorly socialised geeks. It doesn’t matter why this is exactly except to note that gamer communities have been accepting to them and have been their safe spaces to hang out. Add to that the guild/ group mechanics of liking to follow strong leaders and we can see how vulnerable these people (mostly guys) are to being used as massive griefing machines by bored sociopaths who don’t see why the boundaries of the game end at the client – or to put it another way, they want to play MMO PvP in real life. It would actually be better for a lot of these people to just find a game they like and play that, they’d be fine in EVE if they would just stay there. They might even enjoy it.

But now gamers are up in arms. Core gamers feel as though they are fighting for their ancient rights against the legion of social justice warriors who would like to play female characters in decent armour. Everyone is against game journalists. And the ultra arseholes are taking an opportunity to punish women (also other minorities but the level of abuse that female devs and journos get is shocking).

The oddness to me about GamerGame is that it all seems so pointless, unless you buy into the culture war. No one is going to stop making video games that appeal to young men, there’s no much money in it. We have known for years about the close links between the gaming industry and journalists, anyone who was paying attention knew that. So all that we have left is a small number of people who think its fun to make death and rape threats to women who get out of line. Then a larger number of people who are tired of the sexism in the industry (again this isn’t really debatable) and have decided this is a good time to make a stand.   Not to mention the usual 4chan suspects who are trying to fight a MMO PvP fight for the lulz. And a load of people in general who are exploring what tactics work to get their messages over on social media, and mostly just annoying each other a lot.

Just as an experiment, I retweeted a headline from the examiner “#GamerGate revealed as misogynist and racist movement from 4chan” ; within a minute I had 5 tweets from strangers telling me how bad examiner is or that 4chan doesn’t work like that. None of them were rude. And 6 other people had retweeted my link. It wasn’t harassment. But my retweet got to a lot more people for a lot less effort than the attempts of the people who wanted to tell me they thought it was incorrect. In social media, it is very hard to suppress the message.

Gamer culture is changing, though. The trolls will increasingly be excluded, because everyone else will realise they just make them look worse. But social media right now is like the Wild West, it cannot yet be tamed.

30 thoughts on “[Problem Players] Guild culture, game culture, gamer culture (with notes on GamerGate)

  1. The thing that probably scares me the most about the entire affair is, that given ZQ’s recently revealed records of 4chan conversations, much of what went down under the GG and NYS tags was completely set up and fabricated. With gamergate receiving an influx of non-gaming MRA / conservative activists smelling an opportunity to widen their audience, it makes the unholy alliances under the GG tag all the more frightening. So many gamers have no idea what they are doing when allying themselves with that tag and how much they are harming themselves.

    This is a level of social media that creeps me out. I don’t think most of us are or can be aware of all these machinations; I don’t live in twitter and I don’t spend hour researching web conspiracies but fake accounts and hashtag witch hunts are a reality. My initial reaction is to wanna unfollow everything and everybody that isn’t a blogger I know. It truly is sickening.

  2. A lot of the social media activism we see is heavily mediated, for sure. I just get more and more certain of this. There is also huge potential for bullying just because it’s so easy for someone with a lot of followers to mark a target for them.

    So yeah, something to be said for a) making decent use of our own followers and b) trying to make the net a better place by checking out what we pass on.

    But at the end of the day, in this post I mentioned that my RT about GamerGate and 4chan got RTed 5 times. Sure, lots of people will have seen that. But another tweet I wrote on #explainafilmplotbadly got RTed 30 times and it was pretty trivial. People largely are not interested unless its amusing, and shallowness is what may save the internet.

    I also think media and the news have always been like this, very subject to manufactured stories. It makes me think about more of the things I read and where they came from, and maybe that isn’t so bad a thing.

  3. I like the analogy of the Wild West. We’re pretty much in the infancy of social media whereas MMOs have had some time to mature. FF14 is a throwback to older (J)RPG communities and Belghast has noticed this. There are, of course, stories of abuse being heaped on tanks (usually people new to the role) but those appear to be exceptional cases – simply saying at the start that you’re new and asking for help usually produces great results.

    The thing that upsets me about journalists who create news for the sake of creating news is that they’re being irresponsible by essentially trolling when in reality as so-called professional journalists they should be MORE upstanding than the average outsider looking in. Hey everybody, look! Gamers are dying, gamers are fractured. Pot, kettle.

    Maintaining a verified circle of informational sources and heavily vetting new entries is not only not an unreasonable response to this, it’s actually the responsible thing to do. If we want to make the net a better place, it really does start with us. When I talk to my first-semester students about doing web research, one of the very first things we do is evaluate sources for bias, credibility, and due diligence (among other things). Click on the sources in a Wikipedia article and see how many of them are broken links or don’t actually support the point for which they are used as a citation.

    When media sources report on the activities of a “hacker named 4chan” (CNN Tech Analyst Brett Larson), the headdesk-inducing lack of properly researched information leads to predictable results from the ultra-trolls and makes the earth groan with the staggering weight of its inhabitants’ stupidity. It’s our responsibility as responsible people to call out the people who do this – the problem is right now that this opens us up to a massive torrent of potentially scary abuse that won’t stop until our communities and social systems “upgrade” to a new version which reflects the fact that adolescent males (physically or mentally) are no longer allowed to roam around on horses with pistols taking potshots at whatever or whomever they please.

  4. “… The gaming industry had a crash mid 80s. After that, when it was being rebuilt, marketing people decided that their core audience was going to be young men …”

    Where is your evidence for this?

    Look, I was a gamer back in the 80s, and I can tell you that marketing people did not just decide their core audience was young men. They responded to us, not the other way around. We were the only ones buying the product. It was not cool to play video games until a very few years ago. It was not even cool to be on the internet until Facebook came out. Your next paragraph after the one I quoted above jumps to Nintendo Wii and girls playing MMOs. That’s about a 20 year gap you’ve jumped across, and a lot happened there that reflects the social makeup of the gaming community.

    “… Core gamers feel as though they are fighting for their ancient rights against the legion of social justice warriors who would like to play female characters in decent armour …”

    We are against SJWs full stop because their agenda has nothing to do with gaming and everything to do with control and social manipulation. And we find it miserably ironic that the very people who derided us and our hobby for so many years now want to tar us with a racist or misogynistic brush due to the actions of a few arseholes while they lecture us on how we are literal cavemen for not wanting to accept their socialist crusade.

    • “And we find it miserably ironic that the very people who derided us and our hobby for so many years now want to tar us with a racist or misogynistic brush”

      So, I’m a feminist and a lady who likes social justice causes. I was also playing games since my neighbor got an Atari 2600 back in like 1980. I’ve been on the internet since my Mom bought me a modem for my 16th birthday — I won’t say exactly when that was, but you can probably guess by the fact that it was a dial-up modem. I was a nerd as a kid who loved comic books and got made fun for my big dorky glasses and obsession with elves and old school Doctor Who.

      And I’m not alone! I assure you that there are a toooooon of feminist, social justice-minded people who were also gamers in the 80s and nerds who were made fun of in school.

    • It’s interesting that when “a few arseholes” behave in a racist and misogynist manner, your first reaction is not to shout down those arseholes, but rather to shout down anyone pointing out their poor behaviour, isn’t it?

      • Dead on. How does a more inclusive community hurt anyone? I just don’t get the anti- ‘sjw’ thing. Nobody is trying to take gears of war away from you. Are people afraid to lose their ‘right’ to be abusive jerks?

  5. Sigh. My fault, I will be more precise with my quoting:

    “…After that, when it was being rebuilt, marketing people decided that their core audience was going to be young men …”

    Once again, where is your evidence for this?

    “…It’s interesting that when “a few arseholes” behave in a racist and misogynist manner, your first reaction is not to shout down those arseholes, but rather to shout down anyone pointing out their poor behaviour, isn’t it?”

    Poor behavior is simply that. I object to it being used as an excuse to ram home propaganda in games.

    • You seem to be arguing that ‘it wasn’t cool to play video games or be on the internet’ so implying that no women did it. I’m saying industry and society told girls that these things were not for us and deliberately did not sell things we would want to buy. Because it would have put off the core audience to feel that they might get girl cooties. Many of us did play games and use the internet anyway and were also uncool; maybe even more so than you actually, because we were mocked for not being feminine, and people on the internet either didn’t believe us when we said we were female or else hounded us with nasty sexist shit — yes I know you don’t want to talk about it but it was my experience and not wanting to talk about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

      In any case, my evidence is based on my observations as a female gamer and early internet adopter. Where’s your evidence that the male gamer base wasn’t deliberately fostered by marketers? We don’t have to agree on this one, but there’s no smoking gun of magical convincing.

      In any case, I’m not sure that this anger is really about journalism. At the end of the day, it’s easy enough to ignore the types of discussion you don’t want to read. Games don’t have political screeds on their loading screens either.

      I just find the saddest part of this is as gamers, we should be cheering when our industry expands and brings in new people to game with.

      • Where is my evidence? My point is that you’ve served up an opinion based on near zero evidence as fact, and then used that to run with the whole usual “it’s-all-because-they-hate-women” routine. So you’ve been abused for being a girl. So what? I’ve been abused for being a guy, on numerous occasions. But I don’t run around trying to use that as an excuse to ram social equality nonsense down everyone’s throat.

        People should identify as being a gamer, full stop. Male or female, black or white, gay or straight, liberal or conservative, none of that should enter into the equation. As soon as it does you are no longer a gamer. You are simply someone who plays games with an agenda. And your agenda will cause us to have games that suck.

        Using the fact that you got abused by nasty individuals as collective proof that we all suck is dumb, insulting to the rest of us, and morally deceitful. I don’t care two hoots that new people come into the industry. Why oh why should that be important? How is that going to make our gaming experience better?

        It won’t. But you just want more people on your side. That’s the new people you care about.

      • Firstly, I’m not trying to prove that everyone sucks. But I am answering the claim that: “And we find it miserably ironic that the very people who derided us and our hobby for so many years now want to tar us with a racist or misogynistic brush due to the actions of a few arseholes while they lecture us on how we are literal cavemen for not wanting to accept their socialist crusade.” I didn’t deride you and your hobby, unless you think discussing my experience of how women online tended to get treated counts as that derision. Why would I? It’s my hobby too.

        Your agenda reads as quite conservative. I’m assuming you don’t see it that way given that you argue that politics shouldn’t matter — or is it I wonder that you only notice politics when it disagrees with your own? If the game’s the thing, then why would it matter if your protag is male, female, trans, black, white, alien, next door’s cat. whatever? It won’t affect the gameplay.

        Or is it more, “I don’t really care if there are more X characters but by golly I am going to fight it because it is YOU that is asking!”

    • “I object to it being used as an excuse to ram home propaganda in games.”

      That’s hilarious, because propaganda in games is exactly what SJWs are objecting to as well. Except the propaganda they object to is actually a real and harmful thing. It’s telling that “don’t be a racist. misogynist arsehole” is propaganda that is objectionable.

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  9. Spinks,

    Why do you identify as a woman online? Why don’t you identify as a gamer?

    Your politics shouldn’t matter when you play the game. Identify as a gamer, not anyone of a political class. I mean, how often do I have to repeat myself here while you continually misrepresent me?

    “If the game’s the thing, then why would it matter if your protag is male, female, trans, black, white, alien, next door’s cat. whatever? It won’t affect the gameplay.”

    You’ve obviously being deliberately obtuse. Screwing with a game context this way has such an obvious effect on gameplay, (ie the enjoyment of a game), that I will just let your ridiculous statement speak for itself.

    And I’m done explaining away your attempts to steer this to different tangents when it suits you.

    • You are literally making no sense to me here. I am female. I am a gamer. I’ll decide what matters to me when I play a game.

      But if it shouldn’t matter, why do you care so much about ‘game context’? You’re just a gamer when you play, right? No politics. Or is it just that if I care about game context that’s wrong and bad because of something about female identity and gamers, but if you care about game context because politics then that’s ok?

      I genuinely think we should disengage because whatever your context is, it’s so far from anything that makes sense to me that any attempt I make to have a discussion is going to read to you like changing tangent because I’m trying to find a point of contact that I understand.

      • Let me break it down for you Barney-style. I’ll use two vastly different games as examples.

        We’ll start with World of Warcraft. What is Jaina Proudmoore’s sexuality? We assume she’s heterosexual because of her abortive dalliance with Arthas before he turned into an omnicidal psychopath, but the issue is never again raised, so who knows?
        That’s a trick question. The correct answer is “Who gives a fuck?” At no point, ever, while playing that game, did i bother to think about Jaina fucking. Fucking dudes, fucking chicks, fucking merlocs, doesn’t matter. Her sexual preference is a complete nonissue because it has nothing to do with the point of the goddamn game, which is killing dudes and taking their stuff.
        At this point, i’m sure legions of sexually repressed geeks have written volumes of lurid fanfic about Jaina’s sexual misadventures with Sylvanas, and i still don’t give even half a shit.
        If tomorrow, Blizzard released a story arc for Jaina and Slyvanas, developing their characters and expanding their respective stories in the Warcraft universe, and at the end of that, they hooked up, that would be just fucking fine, because it’s part of their story. They went and did some shit together, and through whatever shared experiences they had, formed a bond that later deepened into affection. Fine and good.
        If tomorrow, Blizzard explicitly stated that Jaina was a lesbian, and provided no other information whatsoever, that would be COMPLETE FUCKING BULLSHIT, because it’s nothing more than obvious quota-filling pandering to the SJW crowd. See the difference?

        Example two: What if Namco suddenly made the announcement that Pac-Man was gay? How is that in any fucking way relevant to a game about a yellow disembodied head critter running around eating dots, and occasionally, ghosts? I mean, what the actual fuck? Would you agree that this is a pointless message for the sake of a political agenda and has no business in a game about nothing deeper than eating dots? Or would you think it was wonderful that Pac-Man was finally becoming LBGT friendly?

        When i play a game, i do so for the value of the gameplay, not so i can be preached at by self-righteous SJWs about the cause-of-the-week. Any simpering, facile moralizing just takes away from the game that i paid good fucking money to play, and that pisses me right the fuck off.

        One last thing: No one is complaining that women want their female characters to have realistic armor. That’s entirely reasonable, and bikini-mail is fucking stupid anyway. All those old-school D&D artists who drew elves in a few scanty scraps of chainmail should be beaten over the heads with the books they illustrated to punish them for their lack of understanding of the purpose of armor. Bear in mind, however, that the armor styles for men, while not as revealing, are no less rediculous. The pauldrons alone would weigh hundreds of pounds and block the fuck out of the character’s peripheral vision.

      • Look, the way to not be preached at is to just not read the comments/ criticisms you aren’t interested in, not to go full on PvP against the writers. I’m not really big on moralising but I’m sorry if some people’s criticisms take away from your enjoyment of the game. But really, is it not an option to just not read that stuff? Why are you forced to do that?

        It also reads weirdly to say you don’t give a fuck about character backstory but if Blizzard declared a character to be gay that would be terrible. Like, either you care or you don’t care? And loads of Blizzard metaplot is terrible anyway (is it really worse if she says she likes girls than if she goes insane and becomes a raid boss?). I’d care if it contradicted previous stuff the character had done or said; I like my narratives to be coherent.

        My point with the female armour is that when I say I want sensible/cool/badass armour, people call me a social justice warrior. And if I say “no, really, I don’t want my badass warrior to look like a tart” apparently that ruins their games. Not really sure where to go with that. I’d be all for more well researched armour though, I have friends who are real enthusiasts for that.

      • “Would you agree that this is a pointless message for the sake of a political agenda and has no business in a game about nothing deeper than eating dots? Or would you think it was wonderful that Pac-Man was finally becoming LBGT friendly?”

        Both. While I’d be scratching my head and asking why the hell it is being brought up, it literally has no impact on the gameplay at all. Since I am comfortable with my identity and am not a bigot, I would have no problem with the announcement and would be glad that it helps to make LGBT people feel acknowledged, if not more welcome. It harms no one. It changes nothing about the gameplay. There is no lore that is being retconned. No story being rewritten by the “PC police”. The only people who would object are those who don’t want LGBT people to be recognised, encouraged or included in anything.

        @Spinks,

        You’re right that these guys have absolutely nothing to offer that even remotely resembles coherency. You just have to read the ravings they post in their own spaces to know that there is no bridge that can connect their reality with ours. You can try engaging, but it is doomed to end in tears (perhaps literally).

  10. “It also reads weirdly to say you don’t give a fuck about character backstory but if Blizzard declared a character to be gay that would be terrible. Like, either you care or you don’t care?”

    At no point did i say i don’t give a fuck about character backstory. If you’re going to challenge my point, at least try reading my comment and not simply Skimming Until Offended. I said, taht if it was part of the character’s story, that’s okay, but if it was simply inserted for the sake of filling a quota, it isn’t.

    Reading isn’t hard. Unless you’re a liberal.

    As for you, Dahakha:

    “The only people who would object are those who don’t want LGBT people to be recognised, encouraged or included in anything.”

    Or the people who don’t want your fucking agenda in our games about eating fucking dots, you ((personal attack deleted)). Which was the whole fucking point of the post, had you bothered to read.

      • Nope, just personal attacks. Although posts that whine about my ONE MODERATION RULE are looking tempting. If you come to my blog, don’t whine about my rule.

    • ” I said, taht if it was part of the character’s story, that’s okay, but if it was simply inserted for the sake of filling a quota, it isn’t.”

      OK, then. But the example you gave was that we don’t know anything about Jaina’s sexuality because it has nothing to do with playing the game (so I was inducing that if it has nothing to do with playing the game, then it doesn’t matter what it is or isn’t). Let’s say instead that the narrative does actually have something to do with playing the game so it could be important. So if Jaina gets a girlfriend in the next expansion and it’s nicely told and fits the narrative then that could be OK, but only if you feel its not because of a political agenda. Is that right? (I feel that you’d probably think it was a political agenda if that happened anyway.)

      Let’s go back to Pac-Man for a mo.

      “What if Namco suddenly made the announcement that Pac-Man was gay?”

      What if they suddenly made the announcement he was a girl and put a pink bow on it? Was Ms Pac-Man a political agenda, and how would you know?

      • 1) “So if Jaina gets a girlfriend in the next expansion and it’s nicely told and fits the narrative then that could be OK, but only if you feel its not because of a political agenda. Is that right?”
        It is. I said before that i thought that would be fine, as long as it happens as part of a story, not a political agenda.

        2) “I feel that you’d probably think it was a political agenda if that happened anyway.”
        Do you now? Upon what basis? The fact that it doesn’t fit your narrative about how everyone who doesn’t believe exactly as you do is a bigot and evil?

        3) “What if they suddenly made the announcement he was a girl and put a pink bow on it?”
        They didn’t. Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man were two separate characters.
        “Was Ms Pac-Man a political agenda, and how would you know?”
        No, it was a second game, with a different character. Incidentally, it was also an attempt to draw more females into gaming. And yes, that’s fine, because it was a silly marketing ploy by a company trying to expand its customer base, and not a silly political agenda by whiny social justice warriors pissed off that they weren’t “represented” in every single game ever.

      • 1. Fair enough, thanks for clarifying.

        2. Call me psychic. I don’t think everyone who doesn’t believe as I do is a bigot and an idiot though — only the ones who say bigoted and idiotic things. If I thought that I wouldn’t talk to them/ you.

        3. A deliberate attempt to draw more women into gaming IS a political agenda. I don’t feel that’s a particularly toxic one, but then I wouldn’t play pacman just because they stuck a bow on it (yeah yeah sure they TOLD you it was a different character). Consider though that companies putting in more diverse characters can be an attempt to expand the player base.

        4. I’m on holiday next week so will be too busy sitting around drinking sangria and eating tapas to argue on blogs. Have a good weekend, and thanks for keeping it mostly civil. I don’t actually despise and hate people who disagree with me.

    • What agenda would that be? As I pointed out (had you bothered to read :D), an announcement that Pac-Man was gay would change absolutely nothing about the game. Not the story, not the gameplay, nothing. Nada. Zip. So why would it matter to you if they did so? There is no reason to, but there is also no reason not to. If you *don’t* have an outlook that excludes or marginalises LGBT people, then it affects you – and your experience of the game – not one iota. So why do you care?

      “Her sexual preference is a complete nonissue because it has nothing to do with the point of the goddamn game, which is killing dudes and taking their stuff.”

      So the point of the game is killing dudes and taking their stuff? Sounds like you don’t care about backstory (or story at all, really) to me. I think you’ll find that most people would come to the same conclusion as Spinks did there. And that’s before we get into the fact that that is the point of the game FOR YOU. Plenty of players have other reasons for playing, including a not insignificant number for whom the point of the game is exploring the lore and story. Which means that Jaina’s sexual preferences are relevant for quite a few people – hell, you even talked about the legions of fanfic writers in your comment! If you’re going to come to blogs like this and condescend to the author, you might want to actually have something reasonably defensible to say.

      Oh, yeah. Ironically, if Blizzard *did* suddenly just declare Jaina to be gay without explanation or support, your faux outrage would be lost under the sea of lore-nerd anger – not because of any social justice reasons, but because there is no suggestion of it in her backstory. You would get staunch SJWs demanding reasons for the revelation. Contrary to what you seem to believe, people do want a narrative cohesion, even when it is adding something they approve of.

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