LARP and the Failure of games

This is a post I made about issues the game I am a part of has been having. I thought I might add it here because it could apply to any LARP

Ok folks I am newish to the group, for a few years I have been hanging around the edges trying to join a game and have fun. Unfortunately until now I have failed to do that. It always seemed like I was not welcome and that the games were not looking for new players. The MC system seemed to promote the idea of an old boys club and it was reinforced by the fact that people tended to meld into cliques at the games. To compound that was the extensive amount of rules and revisions that were being used that changed the books which made it even harder for an outsider to come in and play.

This changed for me when the Garou game started. I came with a large group of my friends and to combat what I usually saw we all just formed a pack and basically ignored the other players. To add to that the ST proved to be interested in our story and made a point of spending time with our pack and doing things with us. This helped since we had no mc and thus were the basic of basic characters and not able to hang with the people with a lot of mc and extra points. So this got us into the game and allowed me to see how the Cam really operated.

You must understand I have been playing for decades, I was not a new LARPER. But I always played in troup games and all of my experiences with the Cam had been negative. So I had preconceived notions of everything and most of those were wrong of course. But some things are the way I perceived them and that is what is causing problems with the current domain. Now don’t get me wrong most of these problems exist in other groups of LARPERS and in no way am I saying this is a unique situation. But it has been magnified by the bureaucracy of the Cam and the inclusion and exclusion of multiple groups.

The first issue I have seen is all about authority. Who is in charge and who has the final say. LARPERS are prima donnas by nature. They all (including me) want to be their own special snowflakes. After all THEY have this great idea for a character and THEY think it is completely original. As such they become hyper invested in what they want. You have to have a ST that can and will say no. But with the bureaucracy of the Cam there are layers of authority. You have the ST for game, the ST for the neighboring game, the domain st, regional…..well you get the point. This sets up a situation where the local ST does not have the final say on things, there are the approvals where even though an ST likes something for their game others get to veto that thing. You have situations where one st lets something happen and then it directly affects another st’s game in a way they have no control. Then you have the fact that a st really cannot do everything they want to do in their game for fear that it will be disallowed by those above her. LARP needs to be a dictatorship not a democracy. LARPERS are not ready for democracy and it just leads to chaos. The local ST should be able to do what they want when they want and if they get out of line then the players can chuck them.

On the topic of being invested into characters the next thing I have seen (and this is not only the cam) people seem to believe that what happens to their characters is actually happening to them. Anything negative that happens to a character is obviously bad and an attack upon them as a player. “They” dislike me and are doing things to my character. Things I have personally seen are switching characters in the same night to avoid having things done to a character. Playing a different character or not showing up for a few games hoping things will blow over. Going to different games to avoid issues. Rules lawyering to try and get out of things. Going over a ST’s head in the hopes of proving malicious intent. Or even pitting ST versus ST. The thing is that bad things happening to a character is not a bad thing. That is a part of the story being told and your character is a main part of that story. These things are not attack upon the player but attacks upon the character and instead of embracing it many are hiding from it. The player does not want their snowflake to become darkened with some dirt that they did not apply themselves.

Next issue is communication, hell look at what we have had to do just to resolve some things that should have been an easy fix by a storyteller. It seems like most people here assume the worst of their fellow players. This person cheats, that person uses out of character info, this person just dislikes me. Now imagine a world where you see something you do not agree with and instead of assuming they cheated, after game sat down with them and ask “hey how did you do that? Or hey man what were your motivations there?” Sure not always will the answers be to your liking but with just a little communication you may have been able to avoid all this crap. Oh and make no mistake this is all crap that we as players have brought upon ourselves, because we have chosen not to speak with one another like adults.

Another issue that we all have had is that we have forgotten the prime directive for all games. Have fun God dammit. Drama and its ugly step sister ego seems to be what we want to do. We should be doing our damndest to insure that the guy or gal next to us is having fun. If the person you are talking to is not having fun you as a player have failed. Each one of us is a storyteller and each player around us are our players. We have a choice in whether we can add to a story or not add to a story. But it is a two way street the player you are speaking with has the same obligation. But unfortunately many of us have decided that their snowflake is more important than the other persons snowflake. When you are in a room with ten other people having fun most likely you will also have fun. But when you are in a room with a bunch of people not having fun you will most likely not have fun. Its your call.

In the end guys I am an adult. I have kids, a wife, a job, and a car payment. I am a 36 year old man pretending to be a werewolf as a form of entertainment. But the things that are happening now are making me want to stay at home and play chess with a computer. I do not come to game for out of character drama. I do not like to see my email full of whining, back stabbing, and maneuvering. Some of you may think you are trying to make the game “fair” for others. Or maybe just “fair” for you. But really what is going on is that many of you are killing your own games. The prime directive is not “I am a special little snowflake” it is have fun and many of you have forgotten that. Or perhaps never even knew it because your fun is more important than everyone elses. Are you all having fun yet?

Final Fantasy 1 It is done

Nostalgia is a funny beast. Things as a child seem so much more grand than they do when you are an adult. When you are a kid a summer can seem endless, winter magical, and video games epic. I remember as a kid when I first unwrapped Final Fantasy. I think I was in fifth or sixth grade and it was THE game. Yes some kids were playing Contra and I wet my appetite for this genre on Dragon Warrior. But this game was different! Heck it even said FINAL Fantasy so obviously this is the last fantasy game I would ever need. I opened the box unwrapped the game and stared at the shinay rule book. Then tossing the book, I slipped the cartridge into the machine pushed the button and it just blinked white and black. Well heck, oh ya I know what to do! So I took the cartridge out and gave its inaugural blow. Now now folks I did not do fulacio upon this virgin vidio game. You youngens may not know this but if you blow inside your video games often times they will work when before they would not. Why is that, I don’t know but if ever your PS4 game does not work try blowing in it, you never know (warning this blogger is not a technological guru and any advice should be taken with a grain of salt). After the completely proper blowing of the video game the intro music began and the rest is history.

This game had me from the very first part of choosing characters. Before now I had never played a game where I could choose my own type of characters. Fighters, mages, rogues, even a black belt could be chosen for your group. The graphics where normal for the time but the music was actually pretty nice. Game play was simple enough to understand but it had a bit of complication with the extra options other then attack, magic, and flee that made things interesting. But what really got me was when I beat the first boss Garland and crossed that bridge was the cut scene. If you don’t know what I am talking about and did not play it back in the day you would not understand. Before now games did not have cut scenes (or at least none of the ones that I had) and this one promised high adventure and I was sucked in.

Well I played for hours and hours, restarted a few times and never quite beat it. For many years I went back to the game for a bit but I just never finished the deal. It is not that the game is overly hard, after the first few time of playing you get the knack and you just have too keep playing. But new games came along and then school and life. In the end the game just kind of never ended for me. I always loved it but I never beat it. That all changed last year.

My kids were bugging me and I decided that I wanted to go to my room and do something by my self. So I plugged in the trusty Nintendo (I own three) and decided to start a new game of final fantasy. At that moment as kids are wont to do they rushed in yelling and screaming. Probably with the express mission of bothering their father. As I was about to throw a fit my daughter saw what I was doing and said “can I play?” Then my son said ya me too and the uproar grew in size and annoyance. At this moment I had a choice, throw the little monster out or trick them. Well as any good father would I tricked the little bastards (love ya kids) and said sure but I get the controller. My plan was simple I named the characters after myself and the kids and told them to not be so animated. Then as the game went on I read the text and informed them whenever the character did something.

Now I figured after the initial excitement wore off they would be bored out of their gourds, but not they really started to dig it. They knew who they were and seemed to enjoy the story. Of course there was times when they would wonder off and I could really get some grinding in but invariably they would come back. We would all be on the big bed watching the screen and I would be telling them the story of Final Fantasy. This actually helped me to complete the game since they would bug me to play it all the time. Who knows in the not so distant future this might be one of those things they remember about their childhood. I dont know but I do know that we got to bond a bit over an old 1980’s game.

In the end I was sitting there with the kids when we discovered the Garland was the main bad guy after all! They all were excited and I was excited because even though I knew that little spoiler I was about to beat the game. Well after about five minutes of playing we as a family did beat Garland and saved the day. First try with no deaths so I was pretty happy with that.

So there I was sitting there and the credits rolled when my daughter said, “ok dad time for the next Final Fantasy. I happened to have the PS1 combo disc with Final Fantasy one and two on it. So I said all right then lets do it and off we will go. I have never really played this one so this should be an adventure for all of us. So if you are a parent never underestimate the power of just hanging out with your kids. Even watching a parent play an old RPG can be a fun time for all of you.

World Of Tanks A Noobs Journey Part Two

First allow me to thank you two lost souls that have decided to follow my blog. I was really excited when I saw you two follow, because now I am not just writing because I feel like it. Now I must write so that I dont let you two down and force you both to join a monastery and give up all technology! But really it is just like when you lift, it is good to have a partner to motivate you to go to the gym and get that one more rep. (do you even lift bro?)

Also alow me to thank DIYLOC.com for the picture above, that sight is prety cool give it a look.

Now on to business lets discuss my noob experience. Let me see if this sounds familiar, you download World Of Tanks, do the tutorial, and then get into your first battle. Most likely you trundle along and then see a tank outlined in red. This is it, your chance to be a tank hero! You move your mouse to follow him and just as you are about to fire you hear a clang and a red notice appears on your left. You have been hit you think, so you move your mouse towards the red light and then bang! The red light appears from the original direction you were going to shoot at. At this point you do one of two things you either continue moving the mouse towards the first hit or you turn back towards the other. Either way we all know what happens next……..BOOM! You blow up in a fiery ball and the game ends. Most likely you do not even know how to exit the game or switch views so you sit there as other people drive by until the end of the match. Sound familiar doesn’t it, I bet this is the first match for most people.

For me at least the above was my first three matches. It was not until the fourth game that I killed my first tank when another noob looked across the field and stopped and looked at me as I looked at him. We both traded shots until he blew up and I was victorious! Or at least I was for about three seconds until his team blew me up. But I admit when I did finally  blow up a tank it felt great! I loved it and kept playing and I think i AM getting better. But this process has been long and painful both for me and the teams I have been on. My paltry win percentage of 47.33% can testify to that fact and so can the poor slobs tanking on my side. As the game has gone on I learned all about some key things with this game. Concepts that are not clearly defined by the  tutorial and that most players on a team will not take the time to tell you. These are some of the things I will discuss in this issue of  “A Noobs Journey.” If you are an experienced player please feel free to skip this or better yet read it and laugh at what little I have discovered. If you are a grade “A” badass at this game please feel free to comment or write your own blog. But if you are a Nooblet like myself I hope this helps with a few of those nagging questions.

First lets discuss the basic things that I did not know until probably my 500th game. First why in the heck do I always get shot by invisible tanks? Is it a hack or are my setting wrong or is my computer old and useless for this game? Well the answer to those questions could be yes to all three.  But more then likely you have discovered view range and the lack of it on your tank. Basically it works like this ( I am not going to get into the math, heck I barely understand it) Every tank has a view range, it is listed on the turret in the technology tree section. You are able to see a certain number of meters, this range is affected by your opponents camouflage rating that will subtract from that number.  I use French tanks and let me tell you those early mediums are garbage and their view ranges are right in line with their suckatude. Often times I would get shot over and over again by these invisible tanks. I could not figure it out and I am sure it was covered in the tutorial but I wanted to know how to fix the problem. To fix this problem there are a few solutions, first look at your crew is the percentage of experiance at 100%? If not then they are not working at their full capacity and this affects everything. So if you’re using a 50% crew you are basically operating at 50%. If your crew is at 100% then look at your radio operator, there is a perk (the little plus symbol is next to the name if you have not chosen one)or special power you can give your crew members. The radio operator has one that extends your view range pick it and as you gain experience it will get better and so will your view range. Second thing is you can add coated optics and or binoculars to your tank. These items both increase your view range, the optics always work but only at 10% increase. The binoculars or “binocs” increase your view range but only when you have been sitting still for a while. The down side to them is of course the price but one great thing about the binocs is that they can be removed for free and used on other tanks. SO DONT SELL THEM WITH YOUR TANK!! Read that one again, SO DONT SELL THEM WITH YOUR TANK!! Right there kids I just saved you 250k worth of silver. Feel free to send me real life money in thanks.

Second lets discuss why people can always seem to spot me even when I am hiding. So lets paint another picture, I roll up to a big bush and a tree. I knock down the tree on my left to block my side and park in the bush so they cannot see me in front. Why can they still see me and blow up my shiny scout tank? So first the tree you knocked down, you would think all those nice big leafs would block you but no, the game developers have decided that the fact that you knocked the tree down invalidates any cover it would provide. Those leafs are invisible to the enemy. Who knew right, makes no sense but there you are? Second now that you knocked over that tree, artillery can see what direction the tree was knocked over at. like so: (tree)–>>>> this means that they assume this: {you}—>>>> so that spot becomes: {BOOM}–>>>> a dead tank. Third your bush needs to be big enough to block your whole tank AND make sure your nose is not hanging out of it. I try and park with just my nose touching the bush. Fourth when you shoot, often times your bush disappears for a bit so when you shoot just assume everyone can see you.

Now the third thing that I wished I had known, why do so many of my shots bounce? So many guys (and I suppose a girl or two) go through their first 500 games just blasting away. I know I did that at first and it was really annoying seeing many of my shots bouncing. Now some people are going to talk about armor thickness, penetration, angling and so forth. Lets be honest you you are not going to memorise all the tanks and weapons at first and you really just want to blow up tanks now. Dont get me wrong all of that is important but you will find a ton of YOUTube videos to teach you about that. So here is my suggestion and what I learned through a lot of lost games. Zoom in on any tank and look real closely, all tanks have weak spots and if you know what to look for, it will not matter that you don’t know the difference between a kv-1 and a Chaffee. Things to look for, doors, hatches, gunports, eye slits, and flat spots on angled armor. All these places have thinner armor compared to the rest of the tank. True you still may not be able to penetrate but you are far more likely too if you learn to aim. Also most tanks have weaker armor on the sides or rear, if you can try and maneuver around the hard tanks and see if you can get them in the butt.

The last thing I wanted to speak about is something that I really wished someone had mentioned. Play to your strengths. Once you start to get into the tier five tanks you will probably have played most if not all the different types of tanks in the game. Look in your stats and see if you can see a pattern with your win percentages in tanks. Most likely you will notice that on some types of tanks you do better than others. It may be the fast lite scouts, or slow moving hard armored tanks or perhaps you have a knack for those long range sniping TD’s. What ever the case try and concentrate on those for a bit to learn the game better. Often times you can get frustrated with different tanks and this can take away some of the enjoyment. By concentrating on the tank type you are good at you will learn better since it is easier to learn when you enjoy the subject. Also your stats will be better in the long run.

Well that is all for now, I believe there will be another episode of this (or maybe two) If you have any comments, thoughts, or God forbid questions, feel free to ask. I am not an expert or even a particularly good player. But I do not consider any honest question as dumb and if I know the answer I will give it to you.

World Of Tanks A Noobs Journey Part one

Greetings all my faithful readers (as of now one person) today I would like to speak about my sojourn into the realms of blowing up tanks! This game kind of took me by surprise since I am more of an RPG or civilisations player. World of Tanks is the first real PVP game I have ever played. I will not go into details but the fast paced first person shooters make my tummy hurt. Ie I want to barf after three minutes.

World Of Tanks for those of you unfamiliar with the game is you guessed it a game about tanks. You can play hundreds of different tanks from multiple countries in teams against other players around the world. You start out in little World War One tanks and work your way into tanks from the sixties. The developers really put a lot of work into this game. They took into account armor thickness, angling, soft spots, cover, and many other things in designing the combat for this game.

The first thing I did was play the tutorial. This was a very stripped down version of the game. It did teach you how to move, shoot, and target. But it is very lacking in the actual mechanics of the game. Very quickly you will discover that for some reason your shots bounce of tanks or people are able to see you when you cannot see them. These things lead to frustration and also lead to just bad play. Thus you will soon see the words from a teammate “you noob you suck.” This is something we all see and live with. All of us at one point or another will be called the dreaded “noob.”

But my friends take heart being a noob is not a bad thing at all. It is not bad for you or for your team mates. In fact it is a good thing and I will explain why! First you are probably asking “hey Crawdadr how come you are so good looking while I am not?” This I cannot answer for you, perhaps you should speak with your stylist or parents. What you should be asking is “why is the fact that I just drove my tank off a cliff into the ocean and drowned a good thing for my team mates?” Great question, the answer is that every new player insures that there will be another game. Noobs mean that the game is alive and growing. Many of us have seen games where everyone is at the end game and there are no new players. They die slow agonising deaths or limp on with a few people playing by themselves.

So my friends, noobs, and countrymen remember when you see that guy to the left of you run up to a kv-1 with his D2 and go nose to nose with him. Dont be angry but be glad, because that means that for now at least you will have a game to play.

Next in part two see the humble beginnings of this noob and cry because most likely he has not improved much.