Just Sayin’: Skimpy armour isn’t the devil

I like skimpy armour. There, I said it. I like armour that’s flattering to the form and still fantasy-friendly. Before you grab your pitchforks, hear me out. I’m not talking about female characters wearing straps of leather and pretending it protects them in some way, but y’know that Conan guy? Yeah, I think the bare-chested look with the loin cloth works for a big sword wielding fella, and why shouldn’t that be an option for the ladies too?

Realism is a wonderful thing in armour, and something I have a great deal of respect for. Breastplates without boob curves look fantastic, and even better if they don’t impale the poor women wearing them. However, I’m not averse to the infamous “boob window”, or characters that require a great deal of manoeuvrability wearing clothing that doesn’t restrict their form. While I’d probably prefer my rogue to be wearing form-fitting black leather that covers the majority of her body, with a hood to match, I’m not going to turn my nose up at a bit of cleavage, or a midriff displayed here and there.

I realise that some people will feel this makes me a bad feminist, because skimpy armour is there to objectify and overly sexualise women, however I don’t entirely agree. While yes, games like TERA are fairly renowned for their armour that borders on the ridiculous, I do feel that we’re conflicting here a little. To quote Dani Colman in her post The problem with false feminism (or why “Frozen” left me cold):

I don’t have a particular problem with women being sexualised on screen, either: as long as they aren’t objectified, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating that the female body can be a beautiful thing that is very appealing to show off.

Feminism states that women should be entitled to wear whatever they want in the real world. Shouldn’t women in the gaming world have the same options open to them? At least within reason.

Just sayin’…

Just Sayin’: Donation buttons aren’t terrible

Just Sayin': Donation buttons aren't terrible.
Source: WeHeartIt.com

I don’t personally have a donate button on my blog or stream, but I’ve seen a lot of great streamers who do. I generally don’t choose to donate to them, but I think it’s a great way for people to show support to people who create great content, be it through writing, video, podcasting or any other medium. I have, however, seen a lot of hate directed at people who have a donation button.

My first problem with this is that these people are creating content that you enjoy watching…for free. There is no charge, and a donation is by its very nature a voluntary thing. Now, I can understand being frustrated by people going out of their way to solicit donations, or making it the main focus of their content, but this shouldn’t reflect poorly on the people who work hard and have a donation option available to anyone who is interested in adding some additional support. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with someone earning a little bit of cash from doing something they love, if they have the option available to them.

My second problem, is that a lot of female content creators, particularly streamers or video creators, get a lot of flak for this in particular. Now, I don’t want to sound like a broken record (which I know I probably am at this point) but it is definitely not a women-only thing. I see plenty of male streamers or content creators accepting donations for their content too, and that’s okay! “But women only get donations because boobs!” I hear you cry. Not only is that irrelevant, but it’s also not true. A lot of streamers, regardless of gender, receive donations because people like to support them, and want them to continue doing what they do. Why? Because they’re fun to watch, and losing that entertainment would be upsetting to a lot of people who enjoy their content.

So while I don’t feel that a donation button is right for me at the moment, I don’t look down on someone who has one. I turn my nose up a bit at those who beg for donations or add to their intro or outro that there’s a very easy way to donate down below, however those who simply have an option available do not bother me in the slightest. You’re totally entitled to your opinion, of course, but don’t paint all content creators with the same brush, particularly if you’re going to make it a gender-based thing. It’s not.

Just sayin’…

Just Sayin’: Hardcore Is Not Better Than Casual

Just Sayin': Hardcore is not better than casual. (Screenshot shows my raid group in FFXIV)

Hi, I have an unlimited amount of time to spend playing my MMO of choice, and I do so every day, every week. But my friend, who only plays two hours a night because of work, is able to get the same gear as me. This isn’t fair! He’s such a filthy casual, and him having the same gear as me completely diminishes my achievement!

This is something that has bothered me for years. I don’t consider myself a “casual”, however nowadays it seems that if you don’t invest your entire day in one game you no longer can call yourself a hardcore player. Hardcore has stopped meaning anything about skill or effort, and instead simply means, “I have more time to invest in the game than you do, therefore I am better than you.” Timecore, if you will.

Since when did gaming become about time/reward? Since when was it okay to exclude a huge proportion of the gaming community because they have to work to pay the bills and their subscription fee? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for telling people that they don’t deserve to get gear if they don’t put the effort in at all, or are mediocre as far as skill goes. I also don’t believe that a “casual” player should get the same amount of high level gear in the same timeframe as someone who puts in more time. That would be ridiculous! But why is someone with less time — not less desire, that’s different, I’d play my MMO of choice all day long if I could — worth less than a person who just happens to be free at this particular time in their life?

Let’s take a case study. Player A can play 12 hours a day. They clear all of the content available to them, and have a fully equipped character. Perhaps multiple characters/classes with the best gear available. They raid often. Then Player B comes along, can play for a few hours on a few days a week, but might have other commitments on other days. They are clearing the content, maybe they’ve dipped their toe in raiding and want to do more, and they’ve attained some pieces of the best gear available, but maybe they haven’t completed it.

Time and time again I see Player A complaining about Player B having access to the same items as them, like there’s some kind of time gate — if you play this many hours per week you can get gear, otherwise tough luck! I’ve even seen them say that Player B’s accomplishment takes away from theirs. How does this make sense? How does someone else receiving something, not even as much as you, take away from what you have worked hard to achieve? Is their work less valuable because they spread it out over a longer time?

Really, what I’m trying to say is: time invested is not a measure of skill. Don’t dismiss someone just because they play less often than you do.

Just sayin’…

Just Sayin’: Season Pass Makes No Sense

Just Sayin': Season Pass Makes No Sense.

What is a “Season Pass”? According to Wikipedia, a Season Pass is “a ticket allowing admission to an attraction multiple times during a certain period (a “season”), often a year or the duration of a sports or performance season,” or, in the world of gaming, “a special purchase available for certain video games, which typically allows the owner access to some or all future DLC for the game for a one-time fee.”

I’m here to say that I think using the term “Season Pass” to refer to DLC content for a video game makes no sense. How do the two ideas above link to one another in any way? The only thing I’ve been able to come up with is that occasionally a video game’s Season Pass will allow players access to all DLC released during a period of time, however here are the problems with that idea:

» There is no such thing as a “Season” unless we are talking about esports/competitive gaming, which DLCs are generally not a part of.

» A Season Pass in sports allows “admission to an attraction multiple times during a certain period”, implying that admission is limited, which it isn’t when a gamer purchases a “Season Pass” for video game DLCs.

» From time to time, a Season Pass will allow players access to all future DLC, in which case it’s not really a Season Pass any more, is it?

Most importantly, perhaps, it’s not very representative of the gaming community as a whole. The vast majority of gamers are outside the US — purely because it’s only one region out of many — and Season Passes are something that exist primarily in the US and aren’t very well known in other regions. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t cater to American gamers, but wouldn’t it make more sense to make these “Passes” more relevant to the global community, rather than just to an arguably small subset of that community? I honestly had to look up what the heck a Season Pass was, and was under the impression that it was going to allow me access to certain content for a limited period of time based on the confusing name. Either way, it didn’t sound appealing, and unsurprisingly I haven’t bothered buying a Season Pass yet.

So, unpopular opinion time: Season Pass is a stupid title for DLCs. Let’s come up with something better, please.

Just sayin’…

Just Sayin’: Early Access Sucks

Just Sayin': Early Access Sucks

Hi guys! I’d really like you to read my blog post about why Early Access sucks, but it’s not quite finished yet. So for the low, low price of my hosting costs, you get to read this post before anyone else! Aren’t I generous?

No, for real though. Something that’s been grinding my gears for some time is this Early Access phenomenon. Back towards the end of 2013, a few games were announced, primarily on Steam, and were marketed as “Early Access.” Just like Minecraft; remember that? Before we gave Notch all of our money? It was cool. Really, it was. A game goes on Kickstarter, people get to show their faith in the developer and help fund the development costs of the game. Miss the campaign? No problem, you can pick it up in early access, possibly for more than the Kickstarter pledges cost, and still join in with the early adopters. I struggled a bit with games like Planetary Annihilation that were charging what I thought was an extortionate amount, but fans explained the reasoning and I got off my soap box.

Then we entered 2014: arguably the year of the Early Access. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a new game pop up on Steam, advertised as “Early Access.” Many of these games are incredibly, awfully broken, and use the Early Access stick to beat you away with your complaints. Most of them would probably be better suited to the title of, I don’t know…”beta”? Maybe even “alpha”, at some points. At this point, it’s becoming an invitation to pay to test a game that simply isn’t complete.

So what, I hear you say? I want the game now, and I’m willing to pay! Who are you to tell me what to do with my money? Remember Cube World? I paid for the “Early Access.” I played, and it was buggy. But that’s okay, they’ll fix it, right? Nope. The developer decided he wasn’t going to bother communicating with the community any more, and seemingly all but ran off with the money, with a few token tweets here and there after people begged him to come back. I’m not sure where that game is as far as development is concerned. To tell you the truth, I lost faith in the devs after they buggered off with not a word and only a broken game in their legacy.

Early Access genuinely did mean something. Now, it’s just an easy way out for developers. I’m not saying stop supporting indie studios, far from it. I know someone who is currently one-man-army’ing his own games engine and first video game. I think supporting indie studios is the way forward. But can we just start calling it like it is? Beta testing was honest, it was fun, and it was a free way for people to test your game and give you valuable feedback. Charging for that feedback feels cheap.

Just sayin’…