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Archive for May, 2008

Apparently, there’s a lot of problems going on with US soldiers acting as Christian missionaries in Iraq. Let me explain to you people why US soldiers should NEVER EVER engage in the missionary role:

The mission in Iraq is NOT to convert them to Christianity. It never was, never will be. The mission is to create security and help repair the infrastructure of Iraq. That’s the FIRST and FOREMOST mission.

US soldiers taking it upon themselves (or maybe they are convinced by their ignorant religious people at home) to promote Christianity in the Middle East is a horrible set-back to the primary mission. Not only does it impede on the Iraqi’s Muslim laws, but it makes them suspicious and mistrusting of US troops. It also gives people like al-Sadr and the Ayatollah a reason to give the order to start killing US soldiers (because now they are Infidels of the worst kind). It puts a giant roadblock on US troops accomplishing the peaceful mission. Leave the missionary service to the civilian organizations.

If you disagree, you’re a fucktarded idiot that thankfully is not conducting foreign affairs with the Middle East (hopefully). Hypocracy on religious freedom does nothing to ensure completion of the mission.

To add to that, it has become painfully obvious in the last year or so that there is a huge portion of the Iraqi population that does not want our military presence there anymore. I can see where they are coming from, since our foreign policy with other nations in the Middle East wavers between “okay” and “sucking donkey balls.” We’re extremely bad at diplomacy currently.

I kept telling people that the oil and gas prices were manipulated by the falsified speculations in the futures market. And now there’s plenty of proof. I knew that the growing, seething displeasure of the American population and their representatives was going to come back and bite the greedy oil companies on the ass. I wish the government would claim eminent domain on the oil industry and just take over fuel production. Prices would go down, the US government would rake in some decent cash (leading to a few more tax cuts here and there) and the only people who would be accountable for stupidity with oil would be – duh – the government.

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Oil Prices Fall

But gas company greed does not. Despite the fact that we’re all struggling out here.

Another day, another suicide bombing in Iraq. This time aimed at Iraqi recruitment for police in northwest Iraq. At the same time, Turkey’s back to ignoring Iraqi sovereignty as they attack more Kurd rebels in northern Iraq. And the rest of the Middle East basically ignores Iraq’s pleas for help in reconstruction and reparations.

Anyway, we’re in a tornado warning, so I’m going to go do some work elsewhere near a shelter area. Adios.

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I *ahem* got a hold of the official Player’s Handbook, DM Guide and MM. From my super-secret, special supplier. I had to read the real thing. I have read the DM Guide. I have only skimmed the PHB.

The game is geared towards the miniatures game. Combat is COMPLETELY geared to the miniatures game, as in if you don’t have the minis and maps, you are going to have a DIFFICULT time running combat in your head. If you want an example, if you get to review it, go look at AoE spells/effects and movement feats/powers.

I say this because nearly all your attributes, all your feats, and all the magic is set for map-based tactical play. And social encounters now use “social combat” type interfaces.

This is THE largest marketing ploy in the history of Wizards of the Coast. And one of the most disappointing turnouts for me. I was hoping they’d prove me wrong and actually make the game more fun to play. But it is the imitation of an MMO, and tactical boardgame. The role-playing aspect hardly there, under all the technical bits and unfortunate player-focused alterations.

I realize that in the beginning, D&D was somewhat tactical with miniatures. Yes, I was there when it was. But that was during the time when minis weren’t a huge, budget-consuming item. Most of the time, you had to paint your own miniature and take good care of it. OR you used a cardboard standee to play. Or pennies. Or dimes.

Now, with the $20 a box D&D Miniatures (you can sorta get them cheaper online, and get the ones you want without all the collectability crap – unless the figure is rare, then it’s fucking impossible to get without paying the same price as a box), WotC is going to rape us all for the new edition. You want miniatures? You almost have to get them there. The MM demands you get the right miniatures. Or your players will freak.

Way to be Games Workshop, Wizards.

There’s a reason GW is doing weaker nowadays. They just released their last version of Warhammer 40k like 10 months ago, and already there is ANOTHER version coming out. One that invalidates the previous version on various important points in the combat and army building. GW has always been greedy and intentionally stupid about their product, IMHO. Now it appears the stupidity is spreading.

Anyway, I grieve that we’ve come to this. That video games now dominate a pen-and-paper gaming world. There are lessons to be taken from MMOs, to be sure, but D&D being so closely mirrored to them is a shame.

Fuck you, Wizards of the Coast, for selling out to the unimaginative gaming crowd and their “simple is better” mindset. You don’t have a fucking clue about role-playing anymore. Fuck you.

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They ask Japan of all countries for more help after the earthquake. The two have been such bitter rivals in Pacific Rim that it seems almost … unreal.

Today’s IDAM: Promote a rival to President Ahmadinejad to slow down the rhetoric and try to regain some of the world’s trust.

Not everything is happy-happy in Iraq. Today, the Sunnis walked out of government talks, putting the brakes once again on progress. Furthermore, the al-Sadr militia leaders may not stay peaceful for long, right on the edge of the most critical part of the year for the Iraqi military. Worst part is, if things start to get bad, it could very well set Iraq back another three or four years.

Former White House Spokesperson Scott McClellan wrote a book that basically blasts the Bush Administration for twisting facts and using propaganda to push ulterior motives. Not that it’s a surprise – I mean, it was rather quite obvious what was going on. They picked Tony Snow for that same position, FFS. Senator Chuck Hagel backs up what he knows with Scott’s story.

Blackwater shot down? Hopefully, they don’t get their permits, and their contract with the Navy sinks. No one deserves that kind of money for being complete and utter asshats. They also don’t need to be training our military how to be those same type of emotionless fucktards.

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I’m going to repost my thoughts about what I know from having been around the playtest group for the 4th Edition, and being on the beta Insider forums (lucky me, I was invited). I had to post a comment on this dude’s blog, because it is sort of infuriating to see someone talk up a game they don’t physically have in their hands yet. That hasn’t been tested by dozens of people outside the playtest yet.

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One of the downsides of pen and paper RPGs (and some MMOs) is that a lot of people who play don’t understand that it’s a game you don’t play to WIN, but play to have FUN. Several things I see in 4th Ed have me worried in that aspect (and I blame the designers who seem to be more concerned about building a MARKETING plan for a video game than an RPG game):

How much is too much?

Options-wise, there’s a point where options for character creation should stop or things start to get out of hand. Roles are one of the things I think is going to be vastly abused, and make it less fun for the DM to run a game. There are classes for a reason – it forces everyone to take a different part in the story so you don’t have nine cloned adventurers running around. The reality is that the DM should alter his campaign to adjust for a party without a cleric instead of forcing someone to play one.

The second problem I see arising with the addition of more skills, the change up to “feats” (whatever they are going to call them now), and powers is that the temptation to “twink*” gets worse. One thing that is horrid in MMOs for both devs and players is when some players totally build a character that exploits every angle to be a solitary “winner.” It’s unavoidable, as nearly every group of players has a twink or several twinks. 4th Edition caters – no, invites – players to twink.

The last problem I see with the new edition is that the game has been stripped of complexity in favor of dumbing down D&D for a very young group of players. Granted, Wizards targets that group, so it was inevitable that it would spill over. However, 13 year-old kids on the whole do not play or invest in D&D as much as the older, more mature crowd does. Making it 13 year-old accessible (and I directly quoted the designers on that one) makes it less desirable for people like me.

For example – cool-down spell/feat use (an MMO thing). No. Absolutely not. That is a DM tracking nightmare that should not exist and will be exploited by players in ways that will break games. Regardless of how useless they think spellcasters at the present are. A mana pool? Maybe. That’s preferrable. But that suggestion was shot down by the designers because it’s “not simple enough or quick enough for players in their design.”

The game doesn’t need to be easier or harder for PLAYERS. What it needs is to be great for DMs. There are one or two great ideas in there, but all the focus seems to be on the players. Most of the problems that the designers addressed in their podcasts were DM related. But they thought if they fixed the player-side of the game, it would get better, easier and pull people in from the MMO group. Which is not desirable at all for me and most of my associates (and there are a lot of us).

The DM is the heart of the game. If it is still tough for the DM or worse, the game will not fly. It will fall. I already know I’m not going to buy it, and I’m moving to another RPG line altogether in light of what they have shown me in one-on-one demostrations at Cons and online/downloadable articles/items.

Sorry, Wizards, but you had me until I started seeing the reality of your game. I’m out. That means Savage Worlds now has my full attention.

*

I’ll go even farther to say here that every damn thing I’ve heard the designers talk about has been aimed at marketing. They don’t seem to listen to anyone or care about outside opinion, which is bad. The entire idea of an online subscription is bad. For dedicated D&D players who will stick around and have friends online to play with, it sounds great. Also a great way to disperse eratta/FAQs. But there won’t be enough people willing to pay for it when the economy sucks and people have to decide between their precious MMO and a passing interest in an online pen and paper game.

Poor designed and implemented, on the whole. The wrong focus and the wrong direction for D&D.

* Oh and for those of you reading who don’t know what a twink is, it is a player who analyzes every skill, every trait, every aspect, etc. in relation to the game being played so they can design an uber-character. For instance, building a virtually indestructable first level tank that only gets more obnoxious and indestructable as he levels up. To the point it is boring for other players to even role-play combat anymore. Imagine a group of these people. Wait, you don’t have to – there’s probably a couple hundred thousand of them in MMOs. Annoying, aren’t they? Now put yourself in the DM’s shoes. Get my drift? Twinks don’t play to have fun. Twinks play to WIN (whatever they rationalize in their head that they are winning, I guess).

= APRIL 2nd, 2009 UPDATE =

I just recently wrote a new review. I noticed that a lot of people are still coming to this one from searches or links from other blogs. You can read it here. It’s a more updated version of what I think after having played it/watched it being played by others.

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Today is going to be a slim entry. Not really because of work – more like there isn’t anything super new to blog about.

Hilarity Clinton hints at Obama being assassinated, then turns around and apologizes – for tactful and to avoid being legally accountable for an Obama hit, I believe.

On the other hand, McCain basically said one thing one day, and then flip-flopped to another. Of course, retarded Republicans who say, “Don’t overreact! Stick to McCain, who is more preferrable to Obama,” are dumbshits who need to be removed from the planet entirely. If the candidate sucks, DON’T VOTE FOR HIM AT ALL. JFC, how fucking hard is that? If Obama gets to be President, that’s not your fault – that’s McCain’s God damn fault.

Idiots like McCain and McCain supporters are not going to get the message if you rally around him just to stop the Democrats. That is the most FUCKTARDED reason ever.

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Slim Entries

Friday’s entry may be really slim or non-existant, depending on a lot of work related problems. The short version is that someone shut off the power to the mainframes and servers in the country’s largest credit card transaction processing company (aka my workplace) around 02:00 this morning, meaning that everything is now behind by 11 hours, and a lot of credit card transactions are going to be screwed up. Check your bills, everybody, and make sure to report any discrepencies.

It was a day of interesting victories (I found several backdoors and other ways to get things done with no power) and upcoming headaches (I have to now clean up a totally fuxxored server for GE) for me at work. China has been riding my group’s ass all day, since they also took a giant hit from the stupidity of a coworker (the guy who shut off the power).

Luckily, I have a break right now to do today’s entry.

The Farm Bill was passed earlier with enough votes to override a possible veto from Bush. Then, the Democrats proved how incompetent they can be when they discovered the bill was missing a crucial 34 or so pages. However, they put the bill up for vote again, and the Republicans basically thumbed their noses at Bush and passed it again with even more votes to override a veto.

Normally, I would have to side with a fellow veteran when a civilian criticizes him, but McCain made it impossible this time around. Not only did he vote against veteran benefits, but he then said, “YOU CAN’T CRITICIZE ME BECAUSE I AM A VETERAN I UNDERSTAND THEIR NEEDS BETTER THAN YOU DO YOU CIVILIAN AND I GET SPESHUL STATUS!” Look, if you don’t support veterans as a veteran, and someone calls your ass out on it, then you need to shut the fuck up and move on. Seriously. This is why people can’t stand McCain.

Following the killing of 6 Iraqi adult civilians and 2 Iraqi children, the US Army doesn’t sound really apologetic for the death of 2 kids. They seem to want to focus on the possibility that the 6 adults were “supposed terrorists”, and a win is a win regardless. Later, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani began making statements telling the Shiite militants and other Muslim insurgents that it will be okay to attack US troops in Iraq. Coincidence? Probably not. He saw an opportunity and took it.

I still think it’s awesomely hilarious that Condi Rice was on the TV yet again today, saying that the only option to dealing with terrorist states and their nuclear ambitions is to not talk to them and just sanction them. Meanwhile, the US and North Korea hold talks about North Korea’s nuclear program. Wow, say one thing, do another! I applaud your shenanigans, Condi.

And to close, rising gas prices hurt the economy, which then cuts into the profits of the oil companies, who then raise gas prices, etc. I wish someone who was allowed to kill people for being retarded would go around and wipe out the Board of Directors and CEOs of big oil companies. So we the consumers could at least smile a little when filling our gas tanks.

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