You Do All of this… For a Follow?

10/28/2020 Comments off

Entry 10/28/2020 10:14:12 AM: Mentat 1478

The other day someone asked me the question as I’m still teetering on throwing a follow to an artist and Twitch Streamer, “You do all this for a follow?

And so for my morning’s shower thoughts as I was cutting my hair, shaving off the week’s worth of scruff and washing self and important bits, I thought about what I said in response, I actually do more (than just this)…

The thing is that I’m not a casual homo sapiens. I have never worked out the whole casualness or the slow process of working on trust, understanding, compromise and all the other elements for the three important elements in human interactions. For me to commit to anyone — in love as well as friendship — I’m either all out, or all in.

This is also why I often put people under microscopes as I try to figure out their personality, their quirks, and whether or not the energies that they emit to the world are the kind of energies that will mesh with mine, and either not clash or create the sort of negative frictions that will often drive me away.

The funny thing is that as I work out the words “litmus test” when it comes to my actions, and how people often react negatively to the thought that friendship should never be tested for but instead should simply be the milestone from the passage of time, I challenge such people with such an attitude. After all, we’re all taught that trust is earned… If it is earned, what did you have to do for that earning to be agreed upon from that person? Yes, it was a test no matter how much people deny it. You either did so consciously or unconsciously and the person either passed it or failed it and you decided all internally whether to continue your interactions with that person or walk away from them.

The difference between my actions and other peoples is like the attitude of my being all in or all out. It’s made clear from the start that I’m doing this for my purposes and I’m very up front to in your face. Although truth be told, I’m not always making it clear until someone makes protest to my actions and/or activities. As I’ve been getting older, I’m making the assumption that people will be able to easily figure out that this is how I always am. What you see is what you get…  Although the more that I think about this, the more that I realize that younger folk aren’t as open as they often try to imply and will even more commonly try to read between the lines than take things at face value, not to mention make some pretty wild assumptions based on the information I give them…

  • Like because I’m gay (and single), I’m trying to get into their pants… eye roll And it doesn’t seem to come into consideration that I will even go so far as to explain to them — ad nausea, ad infinitum — that I’m Demisexual.
    • Never mind the fact that after Damion (which ended back in 2008), I am simply no longer looking. After him and what I learned from my previous two partners; what could a fourth possibly teach me that Tommy (unwavering loyalty), Darin (blind faith) or Damion (unconditional understanding) taught?
  • That I’m playing some sort of game with people…
    • I might be more Radical Faerie than I often like to admit, and coupled with the ADD-like symptoms (namely distractibility and inattention) since the car accident 36 years ago, I often simply follow the flow of the conversation (questions and answers) without trying to cause too much of the self-consciousness issues that my intense attitudes produce in others. Not to mention sometimes there’s a method to my madness when I seem all over the place. After all, I might be easily distracted or inattentive, I however do maintain a longer than average memory span and will often wait a long while before returning to a line of questions/discussions because I’m trying to work out an idea in my head of the person’s personality based on Abductive Reasoning.
    • It’s also been attributed that my questions and my litmus test are far from a game and are quite serious.. Like Diogenes and his Lamp looking for a [honest] Human Being.

Why though? Why else… It’s based on the all in or all out attitude that I have with people.

When I follow, I treat that person like a friend. Because people don’t often realize in their ability to make follows nothing more than a tag for the person, for me it means so much more.

  • I drop everything when they ask for help. And if I can’t, I will make them the top priority at first opportunity.
  • I give where I can — even if it’s simply giving a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen to whatever they want to talk about. After all, Kahlil Gibran described it best in his prose…On Friendship.
  • I will give the shirt off my back if possible, and failing that whatever resources (knowledge, as well as anything else I can lay hands on) to the friend.
  • Even though I can flitter from person to person as I try learning more and more about humanity and the changes between the each of the generations, don’t for once think I’m going to easily forget a person. My memory spans the time from about 18 months to the present (and for those that don’t know my age, that’s from 1965 to the present), people from my childhood and high school are often amazed how much I remember of them when the come knocking on my door, not to mention how quick I am to help them when they ask. I graduated from high school in 1983.

So, even though I approach all people based on the mantra John Walter Wayland said when it comes to being a Gentleman; see how much faster that applies to being a friend.

Time to use this pulpit for something else. Not sure what as I have other thoughts I might want to reflect on another day.

Until the next time.

When did being predictable become a bad thing?

10/08/2020 Comments off

Entry 10/08/2020 09:05:41 AM: Mentat 1465

This one is sort of dedicated to RJ and people like him as it caused me to think quite a bit (again) on something that I have often encountered from people in my life that want to be “unpredictable”…

One of the emotional cockleburs I often encounter in people — particularly in men — is that when I often declare after intensive observations of them is that they’re rather predictable in their emotional responses to the world. Men often get more vehement (not to mention adamant) about it being the truth and will often go out of their way to prove just how spontaneous and unpredictable they are. It often amuses me in just how much they try to prove their spontaneity in the same way it often amuses women when they pull the smile, nod, and muttering, “sure you are…” fully knowing that even in this act it’s just as predictable as everything else going on with a man.

However, instead of moving on as I would usually, I ended up recalling the acts of defiance and denial while looking through the past encounters in my life in how often I often have made the declarations of predictability to men and women and how often men will either mock — even perhaps even honestly — deny it to being the truth… It was then I went down the various rabbit holes based on the investigations and social mores I’ve encountered through the years and remembered the following:

It’s believed that being predictable is boring. It’s believed that being predictable makes a human bland or insipid. It’s believed that being predictable makes a human one-dimensional.

Does it make a man boring, bland or even one-dimensional? Not if you consider John Walter Wayland’s quote on The True Gentleman when it says;

…whose self-control is equal to all emergencies…

However, the not even remotely sad fact to this all is that while IDIC creates the diversity of how individuals react to something I have learned through my years of wandering the planet, that we only have a finite amount of emotional sets to our repertoire and therefore the longer we wander the planet and the longer we remember everything that we have encountered, the easier is becomes to being able to predict what we’re seeing in other people. This is also reinforced when people begin to realize that while our genome might be 6.4 billion basepairs huge, there is a surprising trend of physical — even facial — similarities in the 4 major races of humans on the planet.

I find myself dealing with two separate thoughts based on the following questions: 1. Is being predictable a bad thing? and 2. what negative aspects can being predictable produce from other humans we encounter?

The second question immediately brings to mind the fact that someone else can exploit that predictability in a self-interest sort of way. However, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” It works the same as when people attempt to exploit some weakness, reaction, even course of action… And instead of knee-jerking based on something someone else said or done to simply stop a moment and start by asking, “what is this person attempting to do?” One can easily stop allowing oneself to fall into the trap of being manipulated.

The first question though… That goes well into the realm of personal tastes and perspectives before we become familiar with a person (you know, because of how we learn about a person through exposure to them). Most of the times for me, if the person has a personality of any sort, being predictable is never a bad thing. As I mentioned to RJ the other night, Tommy was as predictable in his actions and reactions as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. He could be clocked based on his reactions to a situation right down to which of the terse sentences he would use if he didn’t want to engage (“no”, “fuck you” or simply walking out of the room or away from the encounter and disappearing for hours at a time). The only times when predictable is a problem with me has to do with when a person stifles their emotions and opinions in such a way as to come off as coming off as… for lack of a better word… Hypermasculinity.

Suppressing one’s emotions in an effort to project some form of masculinity (either to prove heterosexuality or with gay men to being “straight acting”); I can read like a flare from a castaway on a deserted island. And it invariably turns me off/turns me away from the person in much the same manner as a raging egomaniac as well as a pathological liar does.

The only thing that I can say in the end about being predictable is have a personality to make up for it, especially if you think being predictable is bad. I have often seen that being stifled in expression (especially emotionally) is more a bad thing (as it’s read into the negative more than in the lack of expression because of people’s understanding of body language and nuance) not mention a contributing attribute to being read as bland (or insipid). However, being predictable can leave people with a better sense of sanity and stability than being spontaneously unpredictable, as too much of spontaneity can leave people thinking you flighty or unstable.

Until the next time.

You never know how stubborn someone is… until they walk 40 miles

03/10/2020 Comments off

Entry 03/10/2020 09:13:38 AM: Mentat 1421

So much for me to write today… Amidst the chores that I need to do as well. After the last day and a half, I don’t think I’m going to be worrying too much about my 250 steps/hour, considering my legs are still pretty sore and I don’t want to put up with hobbling about the house in order to fulfill a quota. No, instead this is a day where I’ll be continuing to soul search while I wait for the opportunity to talk to my mother to explain the conclusions that I came to while I was walking Sunday and Monday…

However, let’s set up the what’s and the why for this walk. It was a pretty mundane Sunday and we were going through our usual routines. I was on my computer working on my responses to DE on the new changes for the mainline update (which hasn’t exactly been spectacular, but that’s neither here nor there), my mother on her computer playing various Facebook games. Her dog being the undisciplined spazz that she always is and my cat coming out of hiding and trying to spend some time in proximity to me while having to deal with the hit and run attacks from the dog. Her husband was sitting in the living room watching something I was only half listening to, but knew that he was moderately entertained, whatever it was.

Suddenly we heard a yelp from the dog and looking back, I could see the cat slowly sitting down from one of his attack postures (standing on his back legs). I looked at my mother who had been surprised by it and I explained to her that apparently the dog didn’t back down and my cat got tired of the dog constantly in his face about it. She said, “serves her right.” And we went back to what we were doing.

Her husband comes to the foyer to look into the office and asked what had happened, and I explains to him that the dog got swiped by the cat because she wouldn’t stop. It was at that point he had yet another one of his tantrums screaming at my mother that, “I’m fucking sick and tired of him sitting at his computer all day and I fucking want the two of them out of the house now!” Then he stormed to his room, stayed in there sulking. He came in and out of his room making the empty threats of, “if he’s not going, I’m going.” Not that he ever did, he just went back in his room for a while before coming out eventually saying, “he’s not hungry.” and sulked in his room for the duration.

My mother and I had some rather heated talk about this childish antics and the fact that my being at my computer is the same has him sitting at the television for hours at a time, and that I have stopped finding things entertaining on television for years now, other than a snippet or two that I’ll watch for a couple of minutes before returning the office for the remainder of the day.

I had also said that I’m going to confront him if he comes out of the room and explain to him that the cat does what he does only because the dog is constantly in his face and normally the only thing my cat does is smell the dog, rub against her and then returns to whatever business he was doing before. When she didn’t like the confrontations on this it turned into “I didn’t ask to be put in the middle.” With me knowing full well it was her doing, putting herself in the middle of her husband and I.

This was when I was getting my mother’s venting mantras of, “I’m tired of it…”, “I’m sick of it….”, and then this beauty when I continued pressing “I’m going to leave…” only to turn into yet another empty threat as she continued cooking pizza for supper.

By this point I’ve had it. I was sick and tired of empty threats that come from both of them, so I began looking into transitional homes in the area. Covington’s needed a referral from some central location that could only be reached through a Post Office box. Slidell seemed to have a couple of them, but one of them was for ex-convicts. The other was for various versions of abuse and evictions and didn’t require any sort of central clearinghouse to work through. There were a couple of others — one exclusively for women — but I figured as I was packing my backpack that I’ll try to hit up the local Police or Sheriff’s office and let them help me sort it all out.

Without another word from me in spite of my mother knowing something was up as I was packing my pack, I checked one more time through the various information and left the house for the long trek that was ahead of me. And this was the map for that trek:

03.10.2020 My Trail of Anger

During the walk, I can tell you that I had done a lot of thinking in that trek… Not to mention being the (self-admitted) functional empath that I am enjoyed the walk through the woods which helped me sort out of the feeling and unknot the anger that I had been suppressing for months at a time.

I realized that I had picked up my mother’s saying of “I’m tired of…” entirely too much. So much so that I found myself using it routinely on the first half of the walk as I was heading to Mandeville. I think by the time I reached the Bayou Lacombe Bridge I actively began removing it from my vocabulary.

After I started working that phrase out of my vocabulary, I started working out what had caused me to rage and why I found it necessary to take this pilgrimage of sorts to shake out everything that I had that I had suppressed in the last 15 months. I had to admit that I allowed myself to be guilted into a position of non-action. My mother is well known for being able to swallow a lot of shit in her direction, partially because she’s the middle child of three, but mostly because she’s a boomer woman that learned how to sit quiet and wait for everything to pass. While this might have worked for her as it’s part of the karma that she is learning, it doesn’t work for me at all in the long run. In fact, guilting me into a position of non-action not only triggers my initial adolescent rebellion to being guilted into anything. Tying my hands behind my back causes me to be in the difficult position of completely introverting and having bouts of explosive rage when it’s been suppressed for too long.

I remembered being put in that same position when I was living with Rick almost 20 years ago. I vowed back then when he walked out and left me a shell of a man I once was and that it took me almost 2 years to get over, I was never going to be put into that same position of suppressing my thoughts and feelings, nor was I ever going to have my hands tied behind my back — even if I did so voluntarily. When I eventually recovered since that moment, I have been a force to reckon with.

I thought about the culprit of the problem coupled with the things I’ve learned in my years of watching and listening to people. My mother’s husband it assuredly not what he says he is. If anything he’s a careful construct of lies and half-truths while attempting to making himself more than what he wants people to know about him. He says that he’s a former Marine Lieutenant Colonel, but back when my uncle (mother’s youngest brother) got his Vietnam Vet Rhode Island vanity plate (thanks to his service as in the Signal Corps during the conflict) , and he tried to get the same only to have it stall and he eventually gave up trying — my uncle got in contact with the people in the VFW — my uncle talked to me saying, “he’s a fucking liar, he never remotely served in Vietnam.” I then contacted a few of my acquaintances that worked in the DoD part of the Pentagon and they kicked back, “no man with that name ever served in the Marines.

Then I remembered that he’s admitted to either directly or indirectly in the few times that we talked they he has some form of PTSD. I don’t remember what it was associated to, and I might have assumed that it might have been service related. While I might not have been able to observe it when we were living in Providence as I had my own apartment, living with him the last 15 months, I quickly learned through observation that it’s definitely not service related. If anything the tantrums go farther back and come off like something my spoiled brat of a youngest brother would pull when he wasn’t getting his way.

And in the 15 months I’ve been living under the same roof as my mother and her husband, I rapidly learned that he’s often selfish, emotionally manipulative (performing emotional blackmail and extortion), and often making physical threats of violence if he’s not getting his way or not head of the household making draconian and unilateral decisions that he doesn’t always have the right to doing.

The long and the short of it while I was walking the trail and listening to the deer walking around feeding on the undergrowth was that I’m no longer going to act like the 17 year old among adults. And while I might not have remembered this quote during the walk, sitting here and writing all about this I’m reminded of what Olympia Dukakis said in Heathers, when she said, “When teenagers complain that they want to be treated like human beings, it’s usually because they are being treated like human beings.

Once I finished sorting all this out, I sort of began to enjoy the walk on the trail, in spite of the fact that I was force marching through most of it. Although there were a couple of hairy parts of the walk that were entirely created during my own paranoia. For example, when it was about 0430 in the morning and I was coming close to the Bayou Lacombe Bridge, they had shut the gate for it. While it was easy to get around as the fencing only reached the shoulders and at the time the shoulders were dry, I began thinking thoughts that perhaps more the dangerous of the animals in the Bayou were fenced in. While I could hear the deer quietly plodding through the undergrowth looking for food, thanks to the lack of sleep and the adrenaline fueled push, I was thinking Alligators… Chupacabra… or whatever else popped into my head. I remember also that on more than one occasion through that 1/4 mile walk I had chills going up and down my spine and that the hairs on the back of my head were standing on end. It was comical because I had told myself on more than one occasion, “this is all in your paranoid imagination, Michael. Why are you reacting this way to figments of your imagination?” While I did eventually calm down, I reached the other fence and saw that the drawbridge was up and that I had to wait until about 0700 when the Park Ranger would show up.

The park ranger did show up a bit early to start the routine for opening the gates and putting down the drawbridge. I was rather surprised she didn’t make a peep about the fact that I had been there before her, nor the fact that I had been there while the gates were closed (I did say that I had done the the Appalachian Trail when was younger and that water hazards have never scared me just to be on the safe side). And while she was more than friendly, she was also very informative telling me she’s a native having grown up in this exact area swimming between the two side with her friend long before the bridge was even built.

For the next part of the path I was thinking about what I would be saying to the police if they decide to take a line of questioning with me. I know of the hazard of this given that it would come off as scripted, but at the same time I had walked about 22 miles on less than an hour of sleep that night, and almost 6 the night before and I knew even by then my sanity and my ability to speak was fraying and all over the place.

With the sun coming up at this point, and I was in the homestretch to Slidell stopping at any time was making it more and more difficult to pick back up for the walk, so breaks were controlled. Thanks to the fact that through the earlier parts of the walk, I was dealing with the constant threats of Charley Horse cramps, suffering a full on spasm when I accidentally walked into a metal bollard at a street crossing and the muscle in my left shin completely cramped up stopping me from walking a good 5 minutes. And of course the muscle aches were getting more and more severe than I was used to. The good ol’ Michael Andrew stubborn tenacity wasn’t going to stop any time soon…

While I had tenacity, I still had this nagging feeling that perhaps I might be reacting too strongly and that perhaps I need to talk to someone to help me with the decision I was going to make regardless of the end outcome. Some outside agency that might not need to be a social worker or a psychologist to see whether I’m making the right decision. During the last 2 miles of the walk and the 20 minutes I had reached the Andrew Carollo Slidell Trail Point Park and Ride and thought about it…. And thought about it… And thought about it. I found myself completely split down the middle seeing the pros and cons of both sides to the point of immobility.

That’s when I met Landry; the park ranger assigned to the Slidell Trail Park office and area. While she listened attentively — even compassionately — to my decision, she knew that it was well out of her league and was able to suggest to me that the Halfway House was a lot closer to me here at the Trail Point and they should be able to help me with my problem. She wished me good luck and a good day and I began the walk to the house based on her instructions.

While it was a couple of miles — and I was already well beyond my normal threshold of pain — I found it. Saw from the signs at the gate and the layout of the property it’s coed and dealt with abuse and substance abuses (and not the other one that was listed that I read the day before that was exclusively for battered women and their children. Getting to the office door, I was greeted by this burly deep south man with something that looked like staff clothes and immaculately white tennis shoes that explained to me as I said “I was here to make a decision…” and he told me flat out this was a mission. That the only thing this mission talks about is Jesus Christ and that if I were interested, there’s an office to perform missionary work for this house, the parent house (which is in New Orleans) and that I could always get a ride to New Orleans which would be leaving at 1530.

There was bit of a debate given I’m more Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist, which it was abundantly clear that he was going to have nothing to do with anything outside of Jesus Christ. While that might have given me pause given my rebellion having grown up Roman-Catholic, what gave me the first red flag or warning was going through my back for the potential for explosive and dangerous weapons, and the strong reaction to the pills that were also in my pack: namely Tylenol, Metoprolol and Chlorthalidone. While I understood the potential, I learned from my own life to look for evil in people like this is going to invite evil to come knocking and that was something that always makes me think twice.

Then as I was sitting there explaining the situation, I was doing so in front of 5 people — the location’s senior director (who came in and out during this), three admissions clerks, and two other people that weren’t doing much of anything other than gabbing amongst themselves. While I was impressed with the man in front of me that was processing my incoming (or as I started calling indoctrination) as he explained early on that being an exclusive follower of Jesus Christ isn’t an absolute requirement, he did say that Christ needed to have an important part on the life of a potential missionary. And while he did accept the fact that I was a universalist and was taught by Jesuits, it was clear that none of them knew what the hell Jesuits were. What I didn’t say was the fact I had some awesome Jesuit teacher that taught me the value of dissecting all religions and theological beliefs and see how they apply to the truth, regardless of religious slant.

That was red flag number 2.

There was a younger one with a beard that tried to say during my discussion about my choices that I had been idolizing my mother too much and that this was the reason why I was holding back on the decision… This gave me pause as I could see how that might have been possible.

Red Flags 3, 4 and 5 came quickly one after the other. The first was that the director looking at my prescriptions and said flat out that because Metoprolol has a secondary effect as an anti-anxiety, it would have to be prohibited and that I wouldn’t be able to take it. While he tried to assure me that their doctors would find an alternative — at the same time this was decision was being made unilaterally, that he didn’t remotely know that there are strong withdrawal side effects because of the dosage I take (150 mg a day) and given how faith based he was — I was concerned that the doctor he mentioned in passing was a faith-based quack and that I would be in the hands of a quack…

The second was that not only did none of them have any experience in social work — let alone any degree remotely close psychology — all this faith based is not only wrong, it’s dangerous when left in the hands of people that make the most rudimentary mistakes of reading the whole situation. What’s worse is that it was describe not in a compassionate way, but instead as coddling. And what’s worse, the response came off as testosterone poisoned sneer of disgusting or disapproving.

The final was that it was apparent that I was holding up the indoctrination process as there were also two people behind me and the fact that there were two other people behind PCs that could process the admissions. In fact, they told me to go sit at the couch toward the other side of the room as they were “helping” others.

I was watching this from the far end of the room as they processed the two other admissions, and watching as the staff — who are supposed to be “ordained” (or whatever word they used as it was more cultish conversion and not the true missionary work) while I was also remembering some of the other things I overheard. Like how they will help the missionary get a house and a car if they needed it. How all electronics are taken away for the first 6 – 8 weeks while in a period of introspection… And yet the ones that had completed their 6 – 8 weeks were using their phones and their access to the internet like it was nobody’s business and none of the others seemed to care about me other than to sit there and meditate on it none of them knowing there might have been a cry for help out of this.

In regards to the one that didn’t want to coddle me, I realized I didn’t tell them I had cut out all contact with my mother for 5 years after her stealing from me, and it took her that amount of time to remotely pay me back for that. Which is why I knew that the conclusions that one made were less than elementary and was taking everything at face value.

That when I asked whether they could refer me to another halfway house, none of them could think of anyplace other than this house and their parent house in New Orleans. And that wasn’t a sign of any Christianity I had learned, but the sort of shit I would expect from the Westboro Baptist Church or Branch Davidians. When that thought entered my head I then realized that I had completely and utterly omitted (even from my mind) that I am an out gay man that’s celebrated 40 years out of the closet.

Looking at the bearded one (what I would be calling him after the coddling comment) and the burly one that performed the pat down when I went into the office, I got the most distinct impression both of them would be wishing violence if I were to come out in their presence. Hell, even the director had the sort of narrow-minded look that would be expecting me to give it up entirely (in spite of the fact that I’ve been celibate for more than 16 years at this point.

A whole lot of nope was going through my head and when the thought I had been sitting there long enough “reflecting on the issue”, invited me back to continue my indoctrination. I simply said, “no.. Please give me back my prescriptions”, packed up my bag and had the burly one escort me off the premises (not that I needed an escort, I’m mature enough to walk away without harm or bad karma). On the way off the grounds, I tried to explain to him both the quote from Einstein on his definition of insanity, coupled with the parable on Daniel in the Lion’s Den and how guilt might be left and blaming myself for bailing too quickly. He had problems with the name of Einstein (because it was clear he could not marry science and faith together in his mind), and flipped the fuck out when I tried to make the correlation of a Buddhist Higher Self is similar to the Christian understanding of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit — but shut me down at the word Buddha, which I thanked him for listening and walking with me and left quietly.

At the entrance, in spite of the fact that I was over-tired, up for almost 20 hours, sore like it was nobody’s business, and might have been too paranoid for my own good — I couldn’t shake the feeling I definitely dodged a bullet with that visit. And the joy that followed was that the next 1/2 hour I was feeling sick to my stomach when I realized that even if I’m wrong about my instinctive reactions — they were the very thing that I had been fighting against (Fanaticism and Narrow-Mindedness) my whole life. They were the very thing I couldn’t stand as my philosophical, spiritual, metaphysical taught me in my 45 years since completing my rebellion against Roman-Catholic teachings that truth comes from not just one voice, but a thousand voices. That no matter what religion you hail from, no matter whether or not you even have a religious predilection.. Truth is always self-evident regardless of perspective if they hold the ability to live, love, have being and the respect to follow the paths of liberty and the pursuit of happiness for self and others.

On the way back to the Park and Ride, wouldn’t you know Landry was doing her patrol of her section of the trail. She asked me how things went when I got to the halfway house, which I told her truthfully it was terrible and that felt like I dodged a bullet with that one. I asked her where the Police Department or the Sheriff’s office, which she told me that they were some distance away from her office. She wanted to offer me a ride back to her office, but couldn’t because it’s a company car and the insurance wouldn’t cover it, and I said that I understood completely. I explained to her that I had tried many of the mom & pop stores to use their phone but couldn’t because they had a single-land line and that a call of any length would interfere with their credit card machines and point of sales.

She offered her cell phone without a second thought, and I called my mother to tell her where I was and that I wouldn’t be able to walk back home in the state I was in. After a bit of directions, I thanked her, told her she’s an absolute godsend and that I wanted to know how to write to her superiors on what sort of person she is to go above and beyond simply her job and be a human being to other human beings…

She gave me the pointer to the site, and tomorrow I’ll be sitting down and composing that thank you email.

My mother picked me up a bit later than I was expecting, but I was also ready to be sleeping there in case she never drove down. I was sore.. Weather worn… I have a friction blister on the back of my left Achilles Heel. I have two massive blisters on the side of my feet — one for each foot. I had a popped blood blister on my right pinky toe, and all the makings of Subungual Hematoma under my right big toe that might give me trouble in the near future. The leg soreness is slowly abating, but it’s going to be there for at least a couple of weeks.

I’ve also had the talk with my mother this afternoon explaining to her that the days of my having my hands tied behind my back when her husband is having a tantrum are over. If he so much as raises a hand or throws any object at me, nothing is going to be stopping me from calling 911. I know I have the strength to being able to wallup him, because until he does what I did and walking the distance I have in less than 24 hours — all this threats are done like a bully…

And because of all this… I feel like the bindings that I’ve had, are gone. That is my story for the last two days. Until the next time.

Feedback after playing almost 3 months of Destiny 2

01/04/2020 Comments off

TL;DR For those on the forums not interested in read a long, drawn out and meandering missive.

  • Laundry Lists. So many laundry lists.
  • Audio Tracks for the lore.
  • Lore doesn’t feel like immersion, if feels like an Easter Egg Hunt that doesn’t make a new player to the Destiny Universe feel like he’s learning anything, and the references to D1 are just simple nods to players that played the previous version and came to their own conclusions as to what’s going on. For new Players it’s just reading points to add to the confusion.
  • Payouts evenly distributed for both PvP and PvE players instead of forcing PvE players into a PvP environment.
  • An improved Single Source location for information – including bugs.
  • The prevalence of Piracy in PvP and the game.

Videos to watch as inspiration for the points being made, both from Extra Credits:

Skinner Box & Grinding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWtvrPTbQ_c

MMO and Engaging Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otAkP5VjIv8

Now, the missive…

I know better than to start with the most daunting, but damn if I won’t go into it as it’s also the most detracting.

This doesn’t so much feel like a game, but given the approach to a money for a disposable season every 90 days, this is feeling like a set of laundry lists to do before the end of the season out of the typical and personal FOMO limits that this game seems to generate for new and intermediate players. I know I can take my time – I did this with Warframe for more than 6.5 years – and will probably return to this attitude as I find myself extremely dissatisfied with working on artifact leveling up for mods1 that seem appealing only to have them ripped out of my inventory when the season ends.

If you’re going to run a game on grind and laundry lists, don’t limit the picking & choosing list to just three. In fact, it should be indexed in such a way that those chosen quests and bounties should be at the top when selected instead of willy-nilly as they currently are (I know it’s ordered based on pick up, but damn if it’s not annoying when looking at 2 – 4 pages of quests to have to burn through). When in the Tab UI can be limited to three, that’s understandable as you have limited UI geography in the world maps and missions and need to pay attention to the adds and champions instead of what to do next. As it currently stands, it becomes a micro-managing nightmare to have to find your list is done and have to return to the Quests Menu to add 3 more. Wash, rinse, repeat is most probably why most players don’t even use them to begin with.

Keep in mind this isn’t a second job and shouldn’t be the inane sort of grind fest of assembly line work as some of us actually have to do that for a living (yes, even tech support centers can actually be set up this way which is soul crushing) nor I do get the impression from the physics engine it’s not set up like Microsoft Project Dynamics (otherwise known as MS Project) that is stuck in its ways since 1984.

1Yes, as a Warframe player I have 98% of the now just over 986 mods available to the playerbase, many of which I have duplicates to assist other players in obtaining if their RNG is lackluster to just plain bad. Making them this disposable doesn’t make them sought after, they make them ignored even by the meta players as they would prefer to stick to stable mods instead of mods that are flashes-in-the-pan.

Next up, Lore.

The entire lore section of the game continues to feel bolt-on and not only lacks immersion, it comes off like a bloody Easter Egg Hunt making references to Destiny that only Destiny players that have stuck around will understand. You’re not just catering to those players exclusively anymore, you’re attempting to garner new players to the game in the hopes of it sticking around. Further you’re talking about making this game the current one for the next 5 – 7 years. Yet as it stands it continues to feel as disposable as Destiny was after a couple.

Further reading in a game for all the lore is as immersive as giving a duck a bicycle. I’m sure that it’s quite informative and might even give a player the feeling that they have just awoken into an on-going story, except – because of the RNG – isn’t even collected in order – nor does it show order until you have between 50% – 75% collected. In some cases – like the Forsaken Lore book – “The Lawless Frontier” seems to have an arbitrary code glitch where “By Thy Tongue Be Damned” only seems to spawn under special conditions as stated in this thread: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/254023432?showBanned=0&path=0 even though The Rifleman was killed in order to further the story quest for the DLC.

By the way Bungie – shame on you for requesting screenshots when there’s been numerous complaints all over the net and forums (Reddit and so on) and then having a mentor explain to the player how to remedy it instead of knowing there was a potential problem that continues to exist since October of this year. It’s even more shameful when you provide access to your game’s APIs to third party sites that can easily determine that the user has it, and you can’t seem to so without screenshots. Here’s my proof that the Forsaken campaign has been completed and yet I’m still waiting for another flashpoint on Tangled Shores for the lore point: https://i.imgur.com/EObdXyi.png and https://i.imgur.com/fJEUwwY.png. Nowhere is it indicated that this is required to be collected from a Flashpoint and gameplay for Forsaken demonstrated getting each lore point after killing the various Scorn Barons.

To continue… I’m rather surprised – not to mention mystified – how a game only 2 years old (and an engine about 5 – 7 years old when you include its predecessor Destiny) doesn’t have these set with audio tracks reading these out. Older and more limited gaming engines found both in Cryptic’s Star Trek Online and Sony/Daybreak’s DC Universe Online (both more than 10 – 11 years old) have both increased and revamped their reading only system to having audio tracks. Many people aren’t expecting you to get big names like Oded Fehr (Osiris), Gina Torres (Ikora Rey) or even Nathan Fillion (Cayde-6) to sign on again (though it doesn’t hurt to ask sometimes as some actors will do it pro bono), but there are also voice actors that are significantly less expensive than the A-List choices.

I understand that Destiny suffered a mid-production shake up and the out-of-game lore cards were the only way this lore was going to be incorporated. Carrying it over to Destiny 2 doesn’t feel like “tradition”, it in fact comes off cheap and lazy.

Putting it to audio not only with even D-list actors/actresses, developers, volunteer or even raffle winners will assist people that often play this game with forms of dyslexia or reading disabilities (not to mention some players waiting for strikes, crucible or even gambit missions to pop when in their orbiter to listen to an otherwise rich story collecting proverbial dust in their triumphs. And if that isn’t incentive, I don’t know what will.

Next up… Mission payouts. Good lord, George Orwell’s Animal Farm with its saying, “Four legs good, two legs better” comes readily to mind when I’m seeing the payouts during events and even standard gameplay between PvP and PvE players. Not only grossly uneven, it’s even downright insulting to non-PvP players. I understand that you want to to give the best rewards to PvP in order to motivate them to continue to play against each other, but relagating PvE’ers to the salt, potential rage and the grind of Crucible and Gambit reminds me of another quote said by Robert Heinlein, “Never teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

Quan Li did a rather interesting bit of research in his page available on ResearchGate. Not to mention there are some rather extensive information as to the mindsets, provided in his extensive paper. However these charts http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/07_01/image001.gif and http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/07_01/image005.gif demonstrate the percentages of PvE vs PvP. While this chart, demonstrates there are more older players to the realm of PvE and younger to PvP http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/07_01/image007.gif. So perhaps trying to make it less uneven on the RNG payouts, given the older are more likely to spend money themselves than younger who have to rely on the whims of someone else’s income to satisfy their needs.

Next up, Unified information on the game.

As a Teacherframe Player (someone that volunteers to show players the ropes of Warframe and provide information on the various bugs, glitches and temporary work-arounds to new players) that I am find myself often frustrated while I figure out the game before helping others with: Gameplay that does not rely on in-game explanations and pointers on what to do and where to do it. Or better a single source site – like your own forums (not that Charlie-Foxtrot of a PHP forum that’s incredibly difficult to get any information from and seems to have been coded in the mid-90s when it comes to search functions) instead of going to multiple third parties like Reddit, Forbes (seriously a business magazine has a dedicated section just for Destiny? This is a sure sign of a good part of the age demographic you’re catering to), and some extremely dedicated sites for anything that is anything.

With in-game explanations and guides and a single-source location you’ll find your players more likely to want to be in the game and get immersed, rather than running through multiple sources in the hopes of finding an answer to the issues they might be facing getting frustrated with the mixed signals and going off to finding better games to play than yours.

I can assure you other smaller developers – such as Digital Extremes (Warframe) and Frontier Developments (Elite: Dangerous) – have learned this and continue to systematically improve a way for single-source information be provided to their gameplayers both in game and with less heads on the hydra for third parties.

Perhaps it’s something you should be considering instead of creating more heads in the process.

Finally I would like to wrap up with the clear increase in Piracy I’ve been hearing from the community of content creators on Twitch and YouTube.

Gabe Newell once said, “The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates.”

The question I ask you – Bungie – is this: Are you really giving them a service that’s better? Or are you making the glitches, the grind and the RNG so bad, it’s driving them to piracy to do so?

The Calm After the Storm

11/04/2019 Comments off

Entry 11/04/2019 09:24:07 AM: Mentat 1386

Now that it’s a couple of days later and the rampage I had here has returned to the sort of simmering in the pot there’s been quite a lot of things that have been going on in real life along with the things in my head that I wanted to sit down and write about. So this is going to be a smorgasbord (or Potpourri) of items, issues and what not all wrapped up in one entry… Not sure whether I want to be doing this in time-line progression or postmortem. Off to shower as I also need to start the laundry today…

Back in a bit.

… it’s been a bit and while I know what I’m going to say through most of this (thanks to showerthoughts), there’s just this one bit I find difficult to broach in a way that doesn’t make me look like a complete basket case.

Chrome

What a Charlie-Foxtrot of a program that’s become. I moved it to the secondary position since moving to the south and that since it had been removed to that position my keyboard stopped stuttering. Then I tried it again over the weekend and the instant I rebooted my computer for a weekly memory refresh putting Chrome to the default browser position, the keyboard went back to its stuttering. This was in spite of the fact that hardware acceleration has been shut off in the settings for years.

Nope… nope, nope, nope, nope, nope…. Chrome is gone. Out of here. I’m tired of having to uninstall and re-install only to have it stutter my keyboard after five hotfixes/updates. Opera/Opera GX is going to be the default browser for me for the time being. 10 years of Chrome with the last two causing nothing but keyboard stuttering, and I’m over it. Time to move on and look for safer — and saner — web browsers.

Side Note: And wouldn’t you know, the instant Chrome is COMPLETELY uninstalled the keyboard stutter has miraculously disappeared… Guess that ghost has finally died.

Youth is Wasted on the Young

I’m going to go with Oscar Wilde’s Quote to describe the hot mess I had to deal with over the weekend. As I said before DE dropped a huge update to the game on Thursday and them being the developers decided to take a long weekend as almost a tradition so that they didn’t dip into the forums or Reddit to see how it’s going to go; instead allow the numbers and reports to properly aggregate so that when the next week came around they would have an idea on how to tweak the changes, how to improve the things that weren’t working and how to add if required to the quality of the game/gameplay1.

This meant that I would be joining friends in Discord and in the game and play test as many of the changes that had been included, often starting with the weapons and the warframes we’re most familiar with and moving onto the ones that we weren’t in order to figure out whether the changes were good, bad, potentially missed out or broken because of 6+ years of code patching makes anything — game and application alike — as strung together with wires, tape and spit and praying it’ll work properly without completely crashing the system.

This also often means we’re at it comparing notes both in game play and in observation for hours at a time until we either come to a conclusion or whether we’re going to hold off our judgment for more patching/hotfixing.

I decided to include a streamer in on this as I’ve learned through years of experience one of my friends (in Australia) has a better than very good understanding of min-maxing through economy and allows me to observe so that I can number crunch what some of the changes created. It didn’t go well, he (the streamer) started singing the song of “DE is always right…” and at one point in the conversation when he couldn’t counter some of the things that were being said, dismissed my friend’s comment and then left the discussion.

That doesn’t fly too well with me. And when I tried to explain to him that I don’t appreciate when someone is so dismissive to my friends, I was reminded that I don’t work for DE and DE is always right.

  • Never mind the fact that while DE is the authority of Warframe, they are human and are not always right — as we’ve seen with some hotfixes. As well as many hotfixes that they had performed reverse decisions on that followed since that atomic bomb.
  • Never mind that we the PC playerbase are the beta testers for this game (while DE might selectively listen to the players on their own forums and Reddit, they collect tons of statistical information to make their decisions. And that means I’m one of 50 million registered beta testers.
  • Never mind that I have 25 years of programming experience, 30 years of intermediary and management experience dealing with programmer and developers, as well as more than 40 years experience with statistical analysis and data trends and bug reporting (both in software as well as hardware).

But DE is always right, and I can be dismissed out of hand because I don’t work for them…

Needless to say it was time to cut my loses and move on. I was beginning to run into the same bullshit I remember from an ex-boyfriend of mine years ago that no matter what was said to him (either the ex-boyfriend or the streamer in question), they were always dismissive about anything contrary to their opinion and no matter what was said to them they were never wrong. My days of talking to walls is long since over, and if someone isn’t going to listen only to their own ego — nothing I’m going to say will change that.

1 DE does listen to feedback, but since the shit-storm they got for Vivergate, they seem to be selective about what they want to read/not read and out of that what they want to fix/not fix – unless it turns into a bigger storm than they anticipated when media outlets start getting involved.  It seems to be a game of putting out fires instead of being proactive in cleaning up and making something infinitely more “fun”.

Warframe

Now that I’m sufficiently calmed down enough that I won’t be F-bombing the rest of this entry because of my extreme displeasure, I can tell you that my displeasure is still there for a majority of what I’ve cut through so far. However, unlike earlier — it’s simmering because it took me a while to understand that it’s going to take time to get fixes, it takes longer for me to realize why I’m not liking some the current changes.

Grendel remains as it is though… Anti-synergistic and a needless challenge for a mediocre Warframe that can’t be OP because of it’s need to have the enemies in mid-to-close quarters. Not to mention that he will be required to being in the very support role as Ember/Prime and Vauban/Prime to work well with higher powered utility and DPS frames for “end game” missions. It’s clear it was set up that way for the sake of the players that have been screeching “Content Drought” for a number of months since Empyrean was announced and they had to wait for the time being until the code has been completed. It’s even more clear that out of many of he niche frames I’ve seen it should be bought by parts instead of farming for the parts. I mean Arbitrations are hard enough for the farm — adding RNG on top of the Vitus Essence Farming is just pure (and plain) torture.

Kuva Lich and the entire kingpin system seriously, seriously triggered old memories coupled with a form of gameplay. It’s one thing to be fighting an elevated enemy, it’s another to also be breaking lore as you’re ending up on Corpus Planets that are suddenly either mixed crossfire, or simply higher-than-usual Grineer Enemies. Then you have to go through not one (or a handful) of higher level of enemies, but three rounds of them as they infest/infect more and more mission nodes on planets. I was looking at the projections on my list and I would be needing to clear out 30 mission nodes before I had the chance to kill the Kuva Lich Kingpin.

The formula works like this.  You need to “mercy” kill (feh, mercy…  What a horrible PC term to be including in a hack & slash game) 5 thralls per mission..  then to figure out what mods (but not their order) to use in order to kill the Lich properly. It’s not so bad if you fail (yet the infection continues to grow/spread), but these mods which you have to farm from Kuva Siphons and Floods for the mods… Then Kuva Survival on the Kuva Fortress to crack them open (both have terrible RNG for drops for either the relics as well as the necessary mods).

All the while you have to deal with not only the Lich taunting you like a 9 year old (as I said), but you get to have him steal from you as well from the planet or planets that he’s residing on. What really triggered me on that is the fact that he’s doing the first of the three deadly sins on me that caused me to go into trigger-mode (stealing). And it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a cleaned-node, or one that still needs to be cleaned.. The whole planet is tithed.

Warframe0003

I had a mission on Ishtar that he tithed me for which had been cleaned yesterday, and that’s stealing in my book as I had no control over what or how he took it.

Warframe0002

The Lich even tithes from Battle Pay missions which I find to be needlessly redundant.

Sure it’s not much as the tithe seems to be a bit arbitrary (couple of hundred credits and select materials) but the thing is I earned it and that annoys me to no end to be farming a map for 40 minutes and having an NPC not only taunt me, but steal from me as well.

I would’ve been into the forums posting in leet speak to voice my ultimate displeasure if the bastard took any of the syndicate medallions from the Syndicate missions I had done there — but word from the forums is that the Lich will take identified spy mission caches (mods and thousands of credits), Kuva relics and maybe Cyan Stars too as the worst of the theft.

I admit that I take great pride in being able to farm the maps to having the material, credit and endo wealth that I have and when I do my duties in the teacherframe community. I also use that to demonstrate that one doesn’t need to be an adrenaline junkie to be mission rich, but materials poor running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

So stealing and being taunted constantly when I log into game or moving around from missions has made good ol’ Michael a very triggered adult. This to me isn’t gaming, this is something that I don’t want to be remembering from my childhood. Which is why I’m wanting the option to having this removed at my convenience.  That includes having the whole mess reset any time I choose not to put up with it.

Seeing this sort of thing in the game makes me think that the developers at DE need a life lesson (either in the form of player boycotts or a lawsuit) as being the abused in school and turning into the abuser is not the way to go.  A game should be fun and shouldn’t be triggering common issues of theft, bullying or both simultaneously.

And with that, I’m through for the night. Tomorrow I’m off to consider whether I want to write about other things — like Destiny 2 — or simply idle my day as I should have done this weekend. Until the next time.

Old Blood. Insane Grind. Older Issues. And above all sadistic DMs still screwing with the playerbase abound.

11/02/2019 Comments off

I’m posting this here because I am not going to be dictated by immature adults and tumblrinas to be civil based on some bizarrely strict or wonky rules and guidelines. If I choose to use words like, “Fuck You” and “Motherfucker” I am going to use them to display my extreme displeasure at something and no amount of beating around the bush by being civil or diplomatic is going to fix it. Even diplomats can lose their shit to be civil when dealing with overwhelming bullshittery and fucknuttery…

…And this update takes the motherfucking cake for bullshitery and fucknuttery.

I know the issues and the bugs and the code breaking will be addressed. I know that I have to wait patiently. I am not going to temper my anger or my frustration with kind and gentle words because certain people need a handhold and a pat on the back for their apparent laziness (and hoarding through REM’ing) at not cleaning up 6+ years of code. And I’m certainly more-than-over mincing words with folk that don’t know how to take the responsibility of bad decisions after bad decisions after bad decisions. Suck it in, suck it up and cherry pick if my extremely blunt and crude words hurt any sensibilities. Adults learn how to fair through the positive, the constructive and the negative.

So buckle in, and be prepared for me to teeter between being civil and channeling a DI dressing down surly and undisciplined recruits… Some of the shit I’ve seen in this update have tripped up my sensibilities and I will pay back based on how they have been tripped.

I have so many mixed feelings about the melee system that the only thing that I could possibly say about it is a combination between it feels good to be back to something that felt like the game I used to play last year and there’s still a long road ahead to fixing the cluster-fuck of changes to the weapons with the current update.

Swords and Hammers are buffed (like mad) and for a player like me that’s a good thing. However I’m not the only player in the game and would occasionally look forward to seeing Sarpa and Redeemer players to fight alongside. What I’ve heard of the Sarpa and Redeemer (Prime) players is their despair as they turned into Monkeys doing somersaults for treats with High Noon and damage nerfs happening instead of maintaining (or even increasing) damage based on base stats.

The insanity of stance mods making player fly across the map (often to their deaths) has been taken into consideration and control — but some of the choices for which ones move you and which ones keep you in a standing position leave a lot to be desired. Threshing Grain is an action done by movement — yet the player is standing still unless they’re moving with the W key. It’s pretty damned clear someone didn’t do manual labour when they named and coded some of these stances and should get out of the office more to learn and observe what sort of attacks require movement and which ones are meant to be standing still.

It’s a step forward, but two steps back.. Sometimes it seems to be because of bad decisions, sometimes random decisions and sometimes old code rearing its ugly head because it wasn’t properly removed from the game.

Just like the changes to sounds and flash going into the arsenal and choosing melee weapons. Players get to experience a momentary lens flare and the sound like someone is picking a melee weapon of power. While this might give the player a sense of pride for picking a weapon, this is quickly shattered going into battle when swinging the Tatsu has the sounds associated to fighting at the dinner table with butter knives.

Just like the fact that Grineer Scorpions are pulling players across the floor at every chance when a player is not prepared. Or in my case in spite of being prepared by casting a Nidus Larva. Out of a simulacrum of 8 level 50 Grineer Scorpions, 4 of them were still able to hook Nidus from the larva (as opposed to simply 1).

Next, Grendel farming…

I only have 2 words for that cluster-fuck grind: FUCK and NO.

First you need to pay the price for Vitus1 Essence to get the coordinates for the standard parts (Chassis, Systems and Neuroptics). 25 EACH according to the Arbitrations NPC. This means a metric fuck ton of farming of end game Arbitration Farming. Then you need to go to the mission coordinates without mods, without operator nor arcanes. Which is long, painful and goes against the synergies and lessons taught since Vor’s Prize that were set up with beginner player for the last 7 years?

Then there’s the standard 12 hours build requirements for each part and 72 hours build requirements for the warframe itself. All to have a warframe at looks like a Steel Meridian Meatball (Roller) had sex with the Great Pumpkin (of Charlie Brown fame) and has all the manners of an American Streamer burping and belching down the mic during a stream.

No thanks.. And fuck that noise because no amount of platinum I have is going to buy it. (more on this later on).w

1 Still amusing (in that sardonic sort of way) that I can’t call my Raplak amp the Cocktail Fork because Fork can be misconstrued as slang for Fuck, but DE has wonky double-standard rules that Vitas can be left alone in spite of the fact that it’s Estonian slang for fuck. Excuse the fuck me, are we adults or are we children to be scolded for interesting uses of words because Tumblrina feelings are easily butthurt.

Vauban and Ember

I’ll admit I didn’t test Ember — a min-maxer friend did — so I’ll have to glaze over this… I do remember he did know how to build her based on her ability requirements and will need to revisit her in the near future. However all I can think about the Vauban Rework is, what a bag of wank. I smiled when I saw that many of his aerial movements for casting his abilities came straight out of the Vauban Prime Trailer.

However, the results of his ability are still very much the shitshow they were before the Parkour 2.0 rework. Here’s the results of my disappointment.

Post image

At near 200% strength and higher than average efficiency, I should be looking at some serious damage for an Ultimate ability for a Warframe. What I saw however, was nothing more than a spark that needs further work:

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These are level 1 Grineer Lancers. Against Higher level Grineer and Corrupted it does even less damage due to armour reductions. Sure they might all get sucked in to kill, but I can do infinitely more damage and stack returns with Nidus’ Larva and Virulence combinations than… this2.

Vauban still remains a Warframe meant for the closet and I can’t wait to see what someone like Rahetalius — who is a Vauban main — would say about this.

2 Before anyone says anything about this, I tested this against level 1 MOAs. I got no more than 37 points/sec. this is not even remotely close 99.5 points/sec as reported in the abilities.

And finally….

Kuva Liches

I have three words for that new grind: FUCK… YO… COUCH…

You need to do a grineer mission with enemies of mid-to-high level. Then you need to kill off the maggot that spawns the Lich much like the Helminth Cyst. Then you go back to your orbiter get to see what… oh fuck this, I’m not even going to describe it. Brozime did and I’m sitting here demanding the option to get the fuck out.

  1. I don’t want to do this grind
  2. I do not want to put up with a clapped out Kingpin system that will continue to grow every time I mess up the right mod combination.
  3. I don’t want to listen to the fucknut taunting me like a 9 year old on an elementary school playground every fucking time I go into the game. Oh this isn’t Lotus saying, “You have a new quest in your codex.” This is the sort of shit 9 year old bullies say to piss off the nerd in the class. (and yes, I was that nerd in elementary school. I’ll be damned at 55 I’m going to go back to the very shit I have been attempting to remove working with GLSEN).
  4. I don’t want to grind for another relic to crack open to get a mod card that only has 3 uses and is destroyed.
  5. I am not spending 835 plat for temporary cards and cosmetics and colour palettes that I **BARELY** use the ones I do own (and that’s 525 Plat of that total colour palette cost and 85 plat for the relics and 105’ish credits for cosmetics I don’t remotely use)…. Boo DE! BOO!! This is extremely bad taste and comes off as the sort of cash grab I’ve come to expect from EA or Ubisoft.
  6. The weapons are random, and I can tell based on the bullshit with Rivens and the RNG in this game some will end up being god-rolled. This is the Power Creep that DE routinely waffles on and will end up being nerfed. Sure, they’re not tradeable but that doesn’t matter.. Like the exilus mod slots in weapons — it’s continued power creep that DE speaks in dev-streams against and continues to feed because they’re too scared of mobs making their lives miserable.

I know that DE is notorious for adding things to the game assuming people want to do everything that they dole out.. But in this case? Nope! Fuck yo’ couch and give an option to have it removed. I want out.

There is so much more I can cover, but you know what.. This is enough and now I have to wait until DE comes back from the weekend, looks at the numbers and realizes, not all of this has been a good idea.

Categories: Games, Reviews, Software Tags: , ,

A Couch Potato’s Review of Destiny 2

10/25/2019 Comments off

Now that Bungie has been released from the claws of one of the AAAs that have systematically ruining the gaming industry from making fun games to making games that pad the bottom line, they have decided to make the game Free-To-Play.

Sort of.

A couple of acquaintances have been singing the praise of the game doing this as it allows players not otherwise familiar to the gaming title. This new system of Bungie allows players that don’t want to sink the $35 – $65 dollars into some season pass and get a good taste of what this franchise has to offer.  And while this might be true, as lore collector (for the immersion)  and a non-founder to Warframe (6 1/2 years at the time of this article), I’m just not feeling it.  And this is why…

One, this is a sequel to another game (in this case Destiny) and because of it, it’s relying on the user to having played the first version of the game in order to continue to collect information to piece together the world around the player.  Except that in the first game, all the lore that the game had was collected in cards and information outside of the game itself.  According to a couple of other acquaintances, the lore is also being stored outside the game — either in book form or in digital format in order to make sense of the world around the character.

This is NOT immersion building, this is immersion breaking.  If I wanted to understand the world based on reading a book, I would be reading a book, not playing a game.  While it’s true that //Warframe// has been doing this in the form of the codex library on one’s orbiter as of the last couple of years, at least I can look at it, read it and even listen to it in audio format at my leisure when I’m either waiting between missions, or better waiting while friends get their things together before the next mission.

As it stands however, I can’t really immerse into the game or the world around me, because I either don’t have all the bits and pieces from the first game — or worse — the NPCs rattle off things going on in the game working on either the assumption that I’ve collected the information from Destiny or smile and nod as I haven’t a bloody clue what is going on.

I did however take a look into the Triumphs (and collections) and while there’s something there to show off e-peen cred in the game, it’s not quite lore, it’s more like a laundry list of things to do, kill, find, etc.  Much like the Mastery Rank in Warframe but has as much credibility to one’s proficiency in the game as a monkey that can pass a test.  This might simply be a me problem — but those really don’t mean anything much to me other than something to collect to check off the list.

Two, while it’s good that the mission requirements for each of the planets are nothing more than a laundry list of things to do before moving onto the next planet — in free to play — if one gets enough experience the next (and next and next) stop is opened up.  As it stands after playing the game 17 hours, I have Earth, Titan, Nessus (had to look that one up — it’s a moon of Uranus), and Io by the time I reached Level 4 on my Warlock.  However, as it stands I have finished off the checklists for Earth (EDZ) and Titan; yet I can assure you I have more to do on both of those planets.  I’ll keep at it though just to see if I can’t say I’ve done it all…

The battle system has much to be desired.  While I understand that this is a gun play game and I went into it with the assumption, it has nothing on the other games I’ve played.  Aiming does more damage sure, but there’s no feel of visceral victory from aiming.  Hit the target in the knee, the target’s head blows off.  Hit the chest area, there goes the head.  Hit the arm, you know the drill.  There’s no real success in killing something if everything is going to cause the heads to blow off when they die.  I’m sure that it was explained somewhere that this is going to happen given how the Fallen, the Cabal and the Hive (and I’m sure it’ll apply Vex but I haven’t seen them yet), yet after a while I don’t get the same feel of success that I killed.  It’s just another dead enemy that I can forage through for ammo for my weapons and whatever currency (Glimmer) that I can collect.

Melee is NOT melee in this game.  Melee as defined by the dictionary is a confused fight, skirmish or scuffle.  And a melee weapon is a martial weapon used in such a scuffle.  It’s the sort of thing that says one is fighting for their life before having to die and subsequently spawn again.  Calling this melee is like saying Emperor Palpatine using force lightning is considered melee.  While there’s a sense of accomplishment when it comes to watching the first enemy disintegrate, the lack of energy that follows afterwards makes the melee attack less and less effective until it feels like nothing better than a girlie-slap and hair pulling battle against some pretty powerful enemies in close quarters.  Still haven’t had the ability to run finishers, but then again, it’s not the sort of thing one can do with a stealth-backstabbing either…  It’s still not melee, no matter how you slice it.

Any swords in the game are actually weapons I don’t want to use because — like Shotguns — goes against my want to be in close quarter combat against enemies as it becomes a charlie-foxtrot I want nothing to do with.

The perks of it have to be the Ultimate ability and Grenades of the class.  There’s something really gratifying about quickly finishing up mission bosses at the end of the run with one’s ultimate (which can do some pretty wicked area of effect damage when detonating the ultimate prior to hitting the target), or getting rid the rabble with a well placed grenade throw.  And thanks to my experience both in real life as well as projectile weapons in several other games, I’m rather successful at hitting the area I target.

Another detractor is the betterment system and the way you’re constantly having to scramble to the inventory screen to clean up all the dross lower-powered items collected from missions, bounties, patrols, etc.  While I know that there’s a system to it and it works based on going from Common (White border) to Uncommon (Green), to Rare (Blue), to Legendary (Purple) to Exotic (Gold)…  Earning Exotic Legendary equipment seems to come from the part of the game I positively and absolutely abhor:  Player-vs-Player.  At least that’s what I’ve seen so far from streams where I’m trying to learn the game by vicariously learning over the shoulder of others (hopefully, I’ll learn otherwise as I stay to it).

While it’s good that I don’t have to rely on the wikis to explain the perks of the weapon as the in-game descriptions make a hell of a lot of sense explaining it on the details screen.  Further, the details screen even allows you to customize based on playstyle, based on in-item options and additional mods that can be collected by breaking down items for vendor reputations.

By far, the biggest detractor I’ve seen second to the battle system has to be the paywalls.  And this game makes sure you know you’re free-to-play by the amount of paywalls you have to see every time you go visit a contact on a planet to the vendors in the tower.  Hell, I remember getting a mission unlock for a bow from Banshee-44 (weaponsmith in the Tower) only to find out that in order to unlock it — I have to buy the Season Pass.  Other than actually spending cash to get it, there’s currently no other way to work around the paywalls in the game.  And that’s not really free-to-play as I’ve come to appreciate from Digital Extremes.  This is Pay-to-Play more was the sort of thing that caused Trion Worlds’ Rift to drop from one – two thousand players in game six years ago to less than two-hundred now (as seen here: https://steamcharts.com/app/39120).

The bottom line is that this game is better than the mouse-click movement and RNG madness of GGG’s Path of Exile — not to mention the RNG in Destiny 2 is more progressive through the planets than the pure dross dropping in PoEDestiny 2 lacks the immersive quality necessary for a lore collector.  It relies too much on information collected outside the game, as in-game seems to be more laundry lists than lore telling.  The battle system is extremely vanilla, and coupled with a paywall reminding the Free-to-Players that they’re in there without all the bells and whistles necessary for the full game it’s the sort of game that I would play when I have nothing else better to do with my time.  But in it’s current iteration D2 won’t ever pull me away from games like Star Trek Online or Warframe if only because with the former, I knew the lore since watching Star Trek more than 50 years ago.  And with the latter it has in-game lore, it has stories, it has development in one package, and it has the ability to rip the heads off of enemies along with ripping them into kibble depending on where you aim on the target and the weapon you use.

There’s talk to Bungie having a 5-year plan for D2.  Hopefully in that time, they’ll get out of the paywall attitudes the current version currently has.

Is luck a tangible thing in Life?

10/02/2019 Comments off

Entry 10/02/2019 10:09:56 AM: Mentat 1383

It’s become rare for me to deal with someone literal minded, or a skeptic.  I usually deal with one or the other.  It’s rarer still when I’m dealing with both and wrapped up in a package that is more often times than naught sharing their opinion with a strange combination of political correctness coupled with fast (and decisive) judgment.  It is quite the challenge for me, as I’ve gotten comfortable in being able to use words and phrases in such a way as to infer and imply what I’m pointing at, instead of it being read at face value alone.  If I make the sentence to short, it’s interpreted as a generalization.  If I make it too long it’s a paragraph which is difficult to read through.  This man often mentions that I should make them concise — which I do — and they are often misinterpreted when done in that manner because I often have to rely on certain assumptions of I, me, and other more passive phrases in order for the message to be made concise.

I think I made my point last night when it came to the statistical analysis I can do with the game Warframe in that he was so overwhelmed even in concise information on Ayatan Star drops and how I have tracked it over the course of three years that (once again) his decisive judgment came into play and casually dismissed it as too much information and moved on.

However, the bigger challenge that I came into head-on contact with is the skepticism that this man often shows about people having better luck than the average.  He often tries to dismiss that as well as everyone gets equal luck in whatever they do; be it a computer game, or life.  The problem with this perspective is that people can actually be born lucky or through circumstances routinely beat the odds given to them, in spite of the saying from Frank Herbert on Observation and Living.  In beating those odds, have the sort of dumb luck that often gets them what they want with little to no effort.  It’s often not a carte blanche though.  There are limits as to where it can or cannot work.  And it’s set based on the person.

I know I am one such human being.

As I’ve often said, I was born with a rare form of Hypoglycemia that took the better part of a year for doctors and a hospital to determine the cause and even the creation of the treatment for it.  As an infant, it was so bad that the attending physician thought I should be mentally retarded because of the intensity of seizures that I was experiencing (something I learned on adulthood when I had to go looking for the man for clearance papers for joining the military).  During my younger days, while it wasn’t told to me, it was often said in my presence that if I didn’t die from seizures before 10, I wouldn’t make it to adulthood because of the conditions and symptoms of my hypoglycemia.

Then at 20 when I had the car accident that killed Tommy, put Glen in a vegetative state, and had me DOA for six minutes on the way to Indianapolis City Hospital (now called Community Hospital North) I was told that my “half-life” (as I often called it) wouldn’t allow me the pleasure of living past 30.

Yet, here I am at over 55 and still going strong.

Thanks to these conditions, I realized early on that my luck was better than normal.  While it has never extended to being able to win a lottery or any sort of monetary-valued prizes (which I often affectionately call the Briere Luck™ as none of the Briere side of the family win much of anything — other than my Uncle, but he’s a special one like that) I can often beat the odds in traditional and computer games that rely on RNG.  Thanks to that, I don’t have to work much for something I’m aiming for.  And will often get things immediately or quickly; usually in the minimum amount of work too.  This is also how I earned eight 75% offs in a row during the old login rewards of Warframe while I was working at Rhode Island Hospital years ago.  There are plenty of examples dating back to the time I was in elementary school, but I won’t bore with the details as this is more than sufficient.

Also thanks to my instinctive abilities to track things mathematically that extends to and includes my ability to count cards (like my great-uncle Don) I can often perceive whether someone else’s sense of luck is strong and will interfere with my own.  I can even sense if my luck is changing like the trade winds in the north from Summer to Autumn and will go about doing other things. Because of this instinctive ability, I will never push my luck farther than it’s meant to be pushed.

While I don’t believe that I will be in any way punished by bad karma by pushing my luck; instead I continue to do what comes naturally to me.  That is helping others get what they want or giving without thinking twice of payment (consider it as what Susan Ivanova once said as, “I can only conclude that I am paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate.”)

Ultimately though, there are just some people that have better luck than most.  Be it born that way, things that gave them the ability to beat the odds, or the sort of luck that Teela Brown might have been given.  I am lucky to being one of those rare people, and no amount of Tall Poppy Syndrome is going to be able to dismiss it.

I’ve said my peace and it’s time for me to run.  Until the next time.

Self-Employment and the Wonders of Streaming: Part II

06/08/2019 Comments off

Entry 06/07/2019 10:08:30 AM: Mentat 1357

As promised, this entry is going to be covering the back-end and backbone of streaming. Not so much the technical aspects of the programs necessary or their settings; that’s normally tweaked on computer specs of the streamer used. Instead the parts that come with the basic building blocks of establishing not only brand, but presence as well.

Before I start, I’m going to share a couple of lines that I often keep in mind when I’m off to new streams and getting a feel of the community in that stream.. These quotes have often tempered my attitudes when dealing with the diversity of a new stream I’m checking out and hope they do the same for those that decide to read these ramblings.

“The universe puts us in places where we can learn. They’re never easy places, but they are right. Where every we are is the right place and the right time. The Pain that sometimes comes, it is part of the process of constantly being born.”

“Excuse me, sire, but there is nothing “natural” about it. A country’s character is defined by its “everyday rustics,” as you call them. They are the legs you stand on and that position demands *respect*…”

Now, onto the points…

1. Knowing your own personality. Not surprisingly, being a streamer most certainly doesn’t require you to be the sort of extrovert we remember of the popular kids from High School or College. It does however require a person’s ability to being able to interact with one, then several working one’s way up to masses of people that would normally frighten an introvert to being a recluse. It starts with understanding what facet of one’s personality that people find appealing, even engaging and then maximizing it for the world to see. if someone is not a good judge of their own character, ask a good friend what it is about oneself that the friend finds funny… positive… brings value to the friendship. There is only one exception to this: the listener. I’ll cover that problem in the next section. However, for the rest, maximize it for the world to see.

Humility, Positively, and Vivaciousness tend to be good qualities to express and display instead of Arrogance, Negativity and Despondency. As the saying goes, You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

2. Externalize. As I’ve said the most challenging facet of a personality is the listener. A person starting streaming will often be only a party of one, and being a listener in this environment is much like owning a bicycle with only one wheel. That is to say it’ll take a lot of work to ride it that mile. However, regardless of the streamer is a natural extrovert, or an introvert, all streamers have to externalize their thoughts — routinely — in order to attract an audience. The best and easiest suggestions I have for an introvert is to express your feelings on whatever game or subject you’re choosing to present in a streaming environment. Talk about what the game or subject brings to you that gets either your passions pumping or the blood flowing.

Nothing can drive potential audiences away faster when a streamer is playing a game but is not performing a running commentary as to what and why the streamer is doing what he’s doing. After all, humans aren’t mind-readers yet and cannot see what the streamer is thinking. Talk about it.

There is only one warning I usually give on externalizing one’s thought is to be self-aware of the amount of cussing done. While most adults have a tolerance for swearing and cussing, excessive uses of it as a streamer can attract the sort of people that can be more toxic than constructive and those sort of people can in fact destroy any efforts for community building.

In the end however, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk until you can’t talk any more. And keep going from the start until the end of your stream.

3. Networking. One of the toughest aspects is actually making a streamer’s presence known. I’m not talking about shameless promotion in other people streams. This is a good way of earning the impatience (and anger) of another streamer, their management (moderator) staff, and even the audience members as this is a sort of disruption to the flow of a stream. Interact and share your knowledge along with one’s better traits to the stream just as a streamer would want in their own. It’s sort of do onto others are one wants done unto themselves. Such attitudes demonstrate good sportsmanship as well as common sense and positive manners.

If there’s a discord server available, feel free to join that as well. More times than naught, there’s some sort of promotional channel available to shamelessly promote one’s channel — especially if one is streaming. If there isn’t, talking with the moderators or streamer to see what the rules are for promoting. If there’s none, don’t push through advertising, push through talking. Like a streamer (new and old) does when streaming.

One warning to one facet of networking that I’ve seen demonstrated with some streamers — don’t think throwing money at the streamer visited (through subs and donations) is the best way of advertising. While it’s possible to get the gratitude of the streamer or the streamer’s audience, without actually interacting with the streamer or the audience publicly, it often comes off as snobby (best case) or arrogant (worst case). Further, no amount of money is going to save one from the fallout of bad publicity. Especially when considering the next item.

4. Knowing the gains (and losses) of networking with other streamers. The fact of the matter is that networking with other streamers is a bugbear in its own right; that can be as cuddly as a kitten (best case) to a beast that will eat one’s heart out at least provocation (worst case). The good points might be that they will call out out with an announcement of your stream or perform a shout out. They will perhaps even want to dual/multi-stream if it’s either mutually beneficial or in their favor. They might even through a raid (or three) or an Auto-Host in your direction. It’s certainly a good way of networking and expanding one’s audience.

However, as the son of a politician I’ve learned it’s extremely common that streamers will just as soon call someone enemy (and alienate) at a whiff of any scandal as they would call you friend in fair weather. They will do so because they see themselves as a brand or a product and instead of worrying about justice or truth will assume the worst and cut losses to save their brand or product that is themselves. I would like to add from the previous item that no amount of money is going to make such disassociation slower. In fact, quit the opposite as it will speed it up as it’s seen in the same light as graft or influence peddling.

The truth of the matter is, it often takes an abnormal strength of character and/or a well earned reputation of integrity to weather such storms — something many streamers often don’t have time to establish because they’re often too busy making their brand appealing.

In the end, take care with calling streamers friends and doubly care with how one initiates a rapport with other streamers. There’s plenty of bad to be taken along with the good.

5. Nothing scheduled needs to be completed the day before yesterday. Don’t treat everything being added to the community or the stream needs to be done yesterday or an hour from the time you thought about it being added. Taking one’s time to weigh what needs to be done and getting it incorporated at in a reasonable timetable is infinitely better than having ten-thousand projects that sputter and go out. This is often a problem with variety streamers as they tend to want to add way too much in way too little time. See yesterday’s reference of (Take suggestions for new games (or subjects) sparingly). This can effect not only community morale, but interest in the stream if the streamer has too many open projects that aren’t ever finished.

Think of it like the mechanic that has twelve cars up on jacks and lifters in their yard and yet none of them are able to run on the street. Would anyone want to go visit them — let alone let them work on one’s car?

6. Building a core audience. Perhaps the easiest of the last two items that is often the most difficult to do on the fly. Because of this, streamers often prefer the company of friends much to their detriment and even their undoing because it’s putting people known into key position for promoting a stream audience’s involvement or growth. While it might start as interesting, can quickly go south as humor can often be exclusive, parochial or negative especially in a public setting. It all depends on the rules of the friendship as well as knowing when (and what) to promote in a public setting.

Basically the core audience are people that provide input, chit-chat (both relevant and irrelevant) in the stream, know how to keep the peace without the need for management roles and generally contribute to an easy-going flow of an on-air stream. Otherwise known as the Warm Up. This input can be in the form of challenging to the streamer (either ambivalent or positive), thought-provoking, even contrarian if the general flow of chat can handle it, however no matter the input, it should always be to the general flow of the stream and the audience in question.

Having such members doesn’t always been to assume the mantle of authority (moderator or manager), yet should always been encouraged and even acknowledged.

7. Building a community.

“Humans share one unique quality, they build communities… They create communities out of diverse and sometimes hostile populations. It is a great gift and a terrible responsibility. One that can not be abandoned.”

This has to be the hardest of all the points I’ve made in the last two days as too often I’ve seen streamers trying to promote a “community spirit” with their audience outside of their stream in Discord, TeamSpeak or third party programs and failing at it so badly as streamers not only fail to remember the extract purposes of networking with their audience. They also seem fail to remember the aspect of building a rapport with the community they had attempted to create. What happens here more times than naught is through their actions and the unspoken peer pressure of other streamers, the streamer will isolate themselves from the very community they’re creating (best case) or alienating them by failing to find assistance from an audience very willing to help (worst case). Following are some basic rules of thumb to follow to help in making this actually successful… Because failing this, you’ll end up with an audience uncaring and unfeeling to one’s need to actually building a community.

a. Interact with your community… Like networking, this community should be getting more than just a schedule of a streamer’s times online. Or simply saying hi/good <fill in the time of day>/whatever and then going silent for hours at a time. Or even just clamoring to Twitch, or YouTube or Fixer (or whatever), just to see the day’s streaming successes or failures. And it’s no word of a lie, streaming is infinitely more draining physically and even emotionally than socializing and interacting with one’s community. Spend some time with them. Interact with them, not as a streamer with his audience, but as a human with other humans. With it it makes the next point all the easier. Enjoy a day off to chat (or game) with the people that brought you the success.

b. Learn the strength and weaknesses of your community. I’m not referring to knowing that this person has social anxiety, or that person is an adrenaline junkie. I’m talking about getting to understand what they have in the lines of strengths and weaknesses that will cement a better energy for the streamer in question and the community on the whole.

A perfect (and even easy) example of this is… Announce the want for looking for help with a project that’s coming up and asking for advise or help with the product in question. Give it time to see who responds or even who’s willing to help. Don’t treat it like it has to be worked on NOW or worse, going to other streamers immediately for that help. Going to others often alienates the audience, to them not responding to the call for assistance, or worse — giving them incentive not to assist in the future at all. Not to mention it further alienates a building community if the streamer is constantly going to other streamers for this assistance and has no patience to pay attention to the very community they were attempting to build.

c. Be part of the community one is attempting to build. Everyone should know what it’s like to be part of a circle of friends. This is what it means to be part of that community. Failing this makes the streamer look like a creeper always watching the chat, but never interacting or a workaholic that doesn’t know how to have downtime except being completely away from the computer. While this might be true of some, most others are still on their PCs even if they’re not streaming. And what makes this bad it creates further isolation of the streamer and the people that made them what they currently are. Not to mention is a key factor to audience and community alienation by lessening the value of their presence.

I don’t know how else I can put it. It’s a pity that I learned all of this at the age many people have showed interest in streaming. Now that I’m middle-age, I’m seeing the very same mistakes my peers had to learn the hard way in being popular and building communities as streamers do now. I know some have learned. I’ve been part of such communities and was proud to call them friends. But the ones now? God, do they need a lot of work.

Until the next time.

Self-Employment and the Wonders of Streaming: Part I

06/07/2019 Comments off

Entry 06/06/2019 11:25:05 AM: Mentat 1356

I know that I’ve been away for a while.  It’s been one of those difficult (and often) trying times making the transition from living alone, to living with people.  Not to mention the fact that living with people means that I’m living with family too…  Add to that stress is my mother’s husband; a man that she’s been married to for about a decade that is more problems than my mother’s rather rambunctious and spastic puppy.  Because of these problems, I admit that it has caused me to go more introverted than I want to be.  And when that happens, I find myself running into not wanting to write as I should be.  And the less that I write, the more likely I am to be more explosive about anything and everything.

And explosive is definitely what I don’t need in my life at the moment.

At the moment, he’s sequestered to his room where he’s smoking like a chimney as my mother is taking her afternoon nap so I get the distinct pleasure of being in the office with my cat (sleeping by the side of the desk) as I am able to organize a lot of my other thoughts and commit them to pixels so that I can clear them out for other — more important thoughts — that I need to be working on.  Without the constant thoughts that I should either run for my life, or seek out a therapist to work them out.

One of the things that I’ve been pondering has to do with my observations of twitch streamers and the community there in question.  There are two parts of this community I need to focus on in this blog:  the streamers and the audience.  The streamers is where I’m going to start with and if I have enough energy (and time), I’ll cover the audience as well.

Streamers are self-employed actors or performers, trying to get into the wave of the mindless public and ride it in order to maximize either the fame, the recognition or the potential profits of a patron-based medium to either give to the public what they have received, bolster their real-life career income, or perhaps even change professions and become self-sufficient so that they don’t have to suffer the 9 – 5 grind for some big company as well as stick it to the man when the opportunity presents itself.

While it’s admirable and I know from experience what it’s like to be self-employed and dealing with a fickle public wanting a product that they (the public) can’t themselves produce, there are often pitfalls and setbacks along the way that I often see of small (and in some cases large streamers) that can start the timer for a potential explosion that will knock them out of the very wave they have been trying to get into and ride.  Or worse, isolates the streamer from the very thing they were wanting to have to begin with:  a community that can feel like a family.

Following are the observations I’ve made in my time that can often produce unforeseen consequences to the streamer as he goes from the audience of one to the audience of a thousand.

1. Don’t constantly fiddle with the settings.  It’s understandable that what settings were working yesterday might be reset when OBS or whatever capture software has been updated.  While it’s important to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, don’t spend the next 1/2 hour (or more) trying to work out something in order to get it perfect.  This includes adding new software, hardware and interfaces in the middle of a programmed on-air time.  At least three streamers that I’ve watched seem to be entirely too wrapped up in the moment and spend way too much of the on-air-time trying work something new into the stream that has positively nothing to do with the theme of the night’s stream.

For Twitch and YouTube, this is the entire purpose of Test Streams:  so that extended amounts of time can be set up and set aside to work out the fine tuning of new equipment or settings with a group of people that the streamer trusts can give the input required for making future streaming just right.

2.  Be consistent with your stream schedule.  If you’re going to set a stream schedule for the week — or indefinitely — keep to it.  If you post that schedule, the audience at large will coordinate their schedule to match what someone is doing on that night, or that week and show up accordingly.  Keeping a promise is extremely important to both business and stream and breaking that can cause unforeseen reactions to both customers and audience.  I’m not talking about the cancellation of a stream (or meeting) doesn’t always mean the end of a potential contract — things happen and people know from experience that the unforeseen can cause changes.  What I’m talking about is setting a time to stream something and then last minute changing it to something entirely different.  As I learned, if customers in the IT sector are moderately forgiving, they will quickly change their attitude and their want to doing business with someone routinely changing the theme of a meeting last minute.  If that happens in the IT Industry, audiences — being the mindless and fickle monster — will do the same just as quickly.

3. Don’t plan future streams during streams.  Like fiddling with settings (above), this can be disruptive of the flow of any stream.  Raids are tough enough when dealing with larger numbers; not only for the streamer but their management staff as well (moderators) as there’s the potential for outrageous amounts emote spamming to the even the potential for derisive audience members that might not like the change in streamers.  Give your audience a sense of surprise when you announce there’s a dual/multi-stream in the future.  Further, given the streamer that’s calling the end of his stream to do the necessary work for outro and calling it a night instead of putting them on the spot.  While some streamers might be forgiving, eventually pushing one’s generosity can work against your stream audience when the streamer in question says no or attempts to pull the audience into their own.

This is the sort of thing that can be coordinated either in private messages or e-mail to allow the raiding streamer the chance to unwind, think about it, and get back to the streamer a perfect time, and even coordinate what to multi-stream.

Surprise isn’t a bad thing when it comes to an audience (except for complete surprise, that can often backfire), and with a small announcement of when — in advance —  will allow the audience members in question to decide to participate or not.

4. Take suggestions for new games (or subjects) sparingly.  I’m going to be as blunt as possible with this one.  If a streamer’s shit as most of the games they play (or more importantly need the audience or even the moderator staff to carry them in the game(s) in question, adding more games to it means the streamer is going to be shit at a million games.  A charming and/or vivacious personality is only going to carry the streamer so far before the audience loses interest in that streamer.

I’ll admit this is the pitfall of a lot of the smaller streamers I’ve observed in the last six years.  Too often, a streamer will start with an established game — (Warframe’s a good choice as their numbers are still high and any new Warframe streamer will attract those wanting to practice Teacherframe (veterans showing the ropes to a new player)) — stick to it until it gets too hard or too boring and then go play something else.  In three months, the streamer has gone through fifty different games, never completing/mastering any of them and then wondering why their audience and numbers are small, or dwindling.

Because of this, a new element comes into play that can produce negative affects with the audience being established:  loyalty.  After all, if the streamer can’t be loyal to a game, why should the audience be loyal to the streamer?

5.  Have a solid management team.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked for a consultation on this point.  And too often, these words and consultations fall on deaf ears.  But like Diogenes of Sinope I stand among the masses with a lantern hoping to find the intelligent man…   The problem is that streamers work on the illusion of being good at everything, but completely lack the necessary gonads or initiative to be good at management.  I can’t begin to count how often friends to the streamer are put into positions of management (or greater) and either do nothing to manage — or worse — exploit their friendship with the streamer for some personal purpose.

And I often advise, if they’re not serving a greater good, if they’re not providing the service that they were originally brought on to do, remove them from the position with a thank you, a kind word and a demotion.  Leaving them in place isn’t assisting the image — or brand — the streamer is attempting to convey and if anything establishes the potential for cronyism.

As for the part about solid..  I mean an active management team that’s present, coordinating and interacting with the audience, fulfilling streamer requests (e.g., shout-outs and call-outs, etc.), and being prepared to explain actions off-stream instead of during stream.  Also ensuring the streamer — under all circumstances — publicly acknowledges the actions of the moderator as fully vested and sponsored by the streamer.  Any form of questioning of the moderator’s actions will publicly and on-stream causes derisive actions from the audience in the future.

6. Know when is a good time for exclusive groups of people to play with.  As a rule of thumb, I believe this can only be done sparingly.  Sometimes it can be more if certain factors come into play.  Small streamers are trying to establish their brand and having an exclusive play with a friend including voice serve chat can be disruptive based on key elements (the friend is boisterous, chaotic, proving to know more than the streamer in question, or provides a constant one-upmanship competition as to who’s better).  Large and/or established streamers doing this can cause to alienate the audience if the streamer is doing this interchange exclusively of which only a very active and strong management team is in place to interact with the audience.

Any combination of these rules of thumbs (and breaking them according to impulsiveness) often causes an otherwise strongly loyal audience to take extended hiatuses, leave to other parts of the streaming community (best case) or fracture into the potential a million little Napoleons to become streamers because they think they can do better (worst case).  While this might cause the emergence of a good streamer, too often because of the  bad lessons learned from said streamers, this can instead be perpetuated all the more as the sad and sorry cycle I could hope to break continues on.

Ultimately though, no matter the possible outcome, such public actions undo the very thing that the streamer was hoping to accomplish.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to cover the backbone of a streaming community I’ve learned in my time in them.