Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Men and Sex

In my futile attempts to understand the sexes, I came up with the following hypothesis: All men desire from women is sex. Yea I know it is cliche but think about it.

Men can provide for themselves materially, and can maintain a home, feed themselves and (hopefully) clean up after themselves.
Men are more stable emotionally, and can subside without a woman to be dependent on.
Men are direct and straightforward, and are more adept to solve problems.

The only thing a man cannot provide for himself is sex.

Blah blah I'm a sexist, and don't really know anything deeper about woman. I am not claiming to be right, just doing a thought experiment.

This just makes me think more about traditional gender roles. There is a good quote "Men can build a house, but only a woman can build a home". There is truth in that, but it still makes me think that sex is the only thing women have to offer, and sadly it becomes a bargaining chip in order to get a man who can provide for them.

It might be just me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On Expectations

I wish I had an insightful quote to start this thing off, but sadly all I can think of is "I wish, I wish, I hadn't killed that fish"

The weird thing about interacting with people is that there is an anticipation or a preconception about who person A expects of person B. No matter if people have just met, or have known each other for a long time, your expectations are hastily put together and forced on someone else. I can walk down the street and see a dude in gangbanger clothes, and I can expect that he is probably someone I don't want to mess with, or he is peacocking to let everyone else around him know that he is.

This behavior is useful, because it helps our brains sort out the people who are dangerous, and the people whom we want to be associated with. Your brain can sort out all the things you come across in a day and tell you what to avoid. This can be useful, but I would argue that in the society of today this behavior is constantly on overdrive and is blind to the nuanced nature of how people express themselves.

I thought I was the person that Erin wanted to be with. I expected things to work going forward, given the fact that our relationship has been awesome in the past. She needs more than I am capable of giving, or want to give.

I either don't understand this, or it is a paradox which is incapable of a solution. I feel that she needs more attention from me, yet she wants time to herself. She want's to explore and go out and see things, yet I put myself in her hands to go wherever she wants and nothing comes of it. For now I am chalking it up to us not being right for eachother.

Things have not been right for a very long time. My trust of her has been slowly diminishing over time, and now it is at the point where I can't love her anymore because she hasn't given her love to me.

I just feel like a worthless lame nerd who spends far too much of his time playing video games with other nerds, children, and some people who aren't content with the accomplishment in their lives. People that seek absolution in a virtual world filled with weapons, armor, and dragons to ride on. Erin knew this about me going into our engagement, but perhaps she had the expectation that I would lose interest in this game eventually.

There was a time where I would have thrown it all away just to be with her. I would ask her if I needed to stop playing in order to spend more time with her, but the answer was always that she liked knowing that there would be time for her to have to herself. Now I know she would spend that time with the other men in her life. Fuck me for being such a stupid lame nerd.

I am a lame nerd though. It's who I am, and who I want to be. I like geeking out about math and science. I like playing video games. I have accomplished things in my life that I am proud of. I have a masters degree in EE, and I can sort of speak another language.

I know I am smart, funny and charming. I know that I am an asshole, jaded, and overall disappointed in a lot of the humans on the planet. I'm humble and softspoken. I really don't care about the human race as a whole, but I care deeply for the people I meet everyday. I would rather make one person happy who is local to me than feed a starving baby with aids in China, whether that is the cashier at the grocery store or my own mom.

Erin and I had expectations of each other going into this marriage that I guess the other person just couldn't meet. I expected a lot more from Erin in the bedroom, but I know now that she stopped being attracted to me a long time ago. I expected that she would follow through with her plans to go to law school, or get another job, or get healthy and in shape, or do all the things that she wants to do with her life. Things that I want to be a part of. All of these things that she wants for herself are things that I am unable to give her. We both want each other to be happy and we want to do whatever will make that other person happy. I can't give her the discipline that she needs to make herself happy, ergo I can't give her anything to make her happy.

Erin has been dependent on other people all her life. Well, dependent might not be the right word, but it seems that she has always had someone to rely on whether it be emotionally, monetarily, or what have you. Erin doesn't like who she is. She wants to be more like other people. She craves it. Gretchen is a wonderful lady, and a saint in my book, but Erin depends too much on her mom. Erin is afraid of the world, and every time things get fucked up, Gretchen will bear the load.

I am not trying to absolve myself from responsibility. Looking back, I would have pressed Erin more (ha) about her relationship with Mike, and Trevor, and Leo. I would have seen that Erin needs to explore and push boundaries, where I am content to be in the boundaries I have defined for myself, and simply explore them fully before finding new ones. Erin needs constant external stimulus. She sought these other men out and got what she was unable to get from me. It just really makes me feel inadequate. I have convinced myself that there has been some tomfoolery going on between her and at least one other.

Erin is bad in bed. Even when she is on top of her game, she still can't fully satisfy. Maybe I am just pissed off at her recent lay there and do nothing sack sessions, but I think this is valid. She is an incredibly selfish lover. Being intimate with someone is where I dest display my affections for someone. I want to make the other person feel loved and secure.

It all comes back to expectations. That primate instinct in my brain expected things that I did not communicate, and Erin's brain did the same thing. Now it comes down to brass tacks. Are we willing to give the other person what they need to proceed in this relationship? Based solely on the fact that Erin is unattracted to me speaks volumes. I could help her love herself and in time she could love me again, but that would take far too much time than I am willing to commit to someone I feel has taken me for granted.

I blame us both for this relationship falling apart. I blame her more than I blame myself, simply because Erin has not been honest with herself for a lot of the relationship. She clung to it, cursing me the whole time about why I couldn't be better, or why she didn't deserve me, or fooling herself that I was the stable rock that she needed when someone more flavor of the month would have been better. Erin has a lot of love for the people that she has been with in the past, and she still keeps that with her. I don't think I will be any different. Maybe someday she will have enough ex loves that she will finally decide to drop all her baggage with past men and love someone else truly. She needs to love herself.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blizzard's Perfect (Shit)Storm

So, Blizzard announced this weekend that they are cutting previously announced features from Cataclysm; the most notable of these are Path of the Titans, and Guild Leveling/Currency. As I can recall, Path of the Titans was an alternate way to progress your toon once it hit the level cap other than doing PVE and PVP content, in addition to augmenting your character's stats and/or capabilities in PVE/PVP. This would intersect with the new Archeology secondary profession and let people get really into the lore of the warcraft universe.

Guild leveling would allow guilds to generate experience by doing raids, instances, battlegrounds, and achievements in order to make the guild a stronger entity. This would include a guild talent tree where points could be spent in order to increase proficiency at whatever the guild's goals were oriented towards.

These cuts feel like the removal of something that would make the game feel new and fresh again. Cataclysm seems like it is going to be more of the same. The developers are streamlining raiding with unified 10/25 raid ID lockouts, gear and talents are getting streamlined, and I don't see many new raid mechanics coming down the pipeline (but I could be wrong). A lot of the complexity, for better or worse, that exists right now is being taken out of the game.

I was really hoping that Path of the Titans would breathe some fresh air into the game and give the game something new to replace what is being removed. Even if it resembles a Farmville type (Do something, wait a bit, get reward, do something else) system, it would still be a little more fun than the current raiding environment. I am still pulling for Archaeology to add this type of randomness to a game that is getting more and more formulaic.

I can dig the new talent trees, but I still think they look too much like WOLK trees. I guess the huge shakeups from Vanilla -> BC -> WOLK in the talents have put me in a position to expect more. I might also be biased that I am comparing the trees that I play as alts and the Paladin tree might just get completely upended.

Behind all this it seems like Blizzard has overextended itself. It tried really hard to be all things to all people, and for that it has succeeded. Blizzard wants this game out by the end of the year, and it probably needed to cut what it did in order to make that deadline. The price that was paid was fun. I really think WoW is going to suffer from Activision syndrome this next expansion. They know what works, and they are going to keep milking that cow until the milk sucks. I fear that Cataclysm is going to drive off a lot of the veterans, and the WOLK babies are going to get what they have always gotten.

These cuts needed to happen. If the game goes for much longer without new life breathed into it, people are going to leave in droves. If we have to keep farming ICC until say march of next year and we ended up getting the Path and Guild features, I don't think the influx of people would offset how many people would leave. It is a numbers game at this point and they have too many people invested to take that chance. I would say that half the player has gear addiction and needs their fix.

The Cataclysm WoW population is going to be a cess pool of people of whiny jerks who are only in it to use each other to get better gear, pretty much what the LFD has become. I am leveling a bear druid through LFD and I have done dungeons where I nobody says a word throughout the entire thing. Everyone in the dungeon has shut down the higher functions of their brain and tries to get through it as quickly as possible, so they can get their gear.

This is a little tangential but it is an example of this behavior. Guitar Hero 1 was arguably the best game in the franchise in my opinion. It had personality, challenge and it was something fresh and new among all the platformers and sports games, and shooters. None of the music was licensed, it was all covers and they sounded good. I would argue that some of the appeal in the game was the covered music because it let the player get into the game more by knowing they weren't trying to be the stars who wrote the songs, they were just pretending. It didn't take itself too seriously, and it was a labor of love for the developers. All in it cost over 100 bucks to buy the thing and it still flew off shelves, cause it was something new and fun. Guitar hero today is just formulaic, homogenized and streamlined. Sound familiar?

The Big Crits crew are all amazing people, and right now it is because of them that I am probably going to keep playing. Getting H-LK down and getting people their drakes, no matter how futile it seems is what is driving me still.

Okay time for a nap for this old man. Gotta get my energy up to yell at those damn kids.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Healers in Cataclysm

It looks like Blizzard is going to give healers something to do rather than react to raid damage in Cataclysm. I am looking at the sneak peak at the released talent trees and I see some suspicious talents that convert damage into healing.

Penitence (3 ranks) - Increases the critical effect chance of your Smite and Penance spells by 5/10/15%.
Atonement (3 ranks) - When you deal damage with Smite, you instantly heal a nearby low-health friendly target within 40 yards equal to 15/30/45% of the damage dealt.
Evangelism (2 ranks available) - When you cast Smite you gain Evangelism, increasing the damage done by your Smite, Holy Fire, Holy Nova and Penance spells by 2/4% and reducing the mana cost of those spells by 3/6% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.
Archangel (1 rank available) - Consumes your Evangelism effects, instantly restoring 3% of your total mana and increasing your healing done by 3% for each stack. Also allows you to channel Penance while moving. Lasts 18 seconds.
Divine Accuracy (2 ranks available) - Increases the chance to hit with your Smite, Holy Fire, Holy Nova and Penance spells by 10/20%.

These might be aimed at PvP, but it looks like Priests might become shockadin types with a smart heal attatched. We will see, but this looks interesting in terms of the direction Blizzard is taking with Priests: heal when things are frantic, DPS when things are boring.

Shaman don't get as big a toolbox as Priests.


Focused Insight (5 ranks available) - After casting any shock spell, your next heal's mana cost is reduced by 15/30/45/60/75% of the cost of the shock spell, and its healing effectiveness is increased by 5/10/15/20/25%.

Druids also don't get the same breadth of tools as Priests.


Fury of a Stormrage (3 points) - You have a 5/10/15% chance when you cast Nourish or Healing Touch to cause your next Wrath spell to be instant cast and cost no mana. Fury of Stormrage lasts for 8 seconds.

So, it looks to me like Blizzard is trying to make healing more dynamic in that you can heal and DPS at the same time either via boredom or skill. If two healers applicants look really evenly matched in their healing output, a little DPS could tip the scales in favor of the better player. The shaman shock mechanic looks a little weak sauce, but I'm sure it will get retuned, unless they adjust the coefficients on Shaman shock spells to make them hit a lot harder.

As an aside, it seems that all the released trees have a damage reduction talent in reach of all three specs. Is this a sign that raid damage will matter a lot more as healers fight to keep their blue bar at least partially filled?