Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Your PvP video bores me.

God bless the Internet.

It gives anyone with a modem a forum to discuss whatever is on his or her mind, and broadcast it to millions worldwide. Television, radio, and print don’t offer this luxury to Everyday Joes like you and me. The avenue is there, but ‘breaking in’ is much more difficult, and there are tiers and tiers of people to go through that need to agree with your general sentiment or it will get shot down before the masses can be tainted with your horrible thoughts.

Not so with the internet!

Any schmuck with half a brain and an internet connection can jump on google, find all kinds of free hosting plans, get on there, and start spewing forth anything his or her little tormented brain can muster up! Granted, I can’t remember the last time I actually ever followed a search result link off google to a geocities-style website, but the avenue exists, dammit. New communities are cropping up everyday to take the place of these outdated ‘geo cities’… places like myspace, myMSN, 1up, blogger and blogspot (etc…) all create ‘families’ that can allow people with similar interests to get together and share their views. Nor is basic HTML knowledge any longer a requirement; the sites mentioned come with stock templates you can choose from, and on MySpace, you are even free to butcher the template to suit your own unique style! All that’s left to do is to create a friend list, and read each other’s daily stories! I honestly have no issues with it; it’s probably why you came to read NotAddicted today. You can relate to what the people here are writing, and you understand what we’re talking about.

What other resources do WoW users have when they want to ‘connect’ with someone out of the game itself? Quite a few, actually… we can read the official blizzard forums, and can drop down a few levels from General for a more granular topic depending on what we’re discussing: Realm forums, Class forums, UI / mods… whatever. We have guild websites, a WoWwiki, Addon sites like Curse Gaming, and huge ‘game quest and item databases’ like Allakhazam or Thottbot.

The problem, though, is that typing words on a keyboard requires a certain degree of patience, and a loose grasp of the English language. On top of that, you need people with the patience to sit down and actually read whatever it is you’re typing.

Remember when reading required actual effort? Back when I was really young, I’d need to drag my eyes across all those letters, and say the words out loud, one syllable at a time. Maybe I’m special, but reading seems pretty instantaneous at this point in my life. It’s about as difficult as… umm… seeing? I look at words, and understand them. If reading is too hard, I can’t imagine how long it took to type up that ‘killer’ response. Finding those 4 keys on your keyboard among all those letters wear you out? Nap time works wonders.

Hmmmm….. If only there was a way my WoW toon itself could run rampant on the internet, free from the contraints of this written language. If only I could force people to LOOK AT ME, DAMMIT (or face a wtfpwnage at my hands)…?

Enter the pure unadulterated bliss of streaming video. Sites like Google Video or YouTube allow you to upload videos of yourself in action to the masses! There’s even a site that focuses exclusively on Warcraft Movies (.com). Hot Damn!

What could be cooler than watching other people play the game?! Hmm, a few things come to mind, and the biggest one at the top of the list starts with ‘playing the game’ and ends with ‘yourself’. Last time I checked, there were hundreds of thousands of people running around in the game at any given moment. If I wanted to watch someone else play, I could just turn my character a little bit to the right or left.

Ouch. Click for clip.
I won’t deny the fact that I can see actual productive uses for this technology within the MMORPG context. Demonstrating a new and challenging boss fight strategy to a noob, or showcasing a guild’s level of coordination on downing world firsts or particularly tough obstacles for guild promotion… I once saw a pretty cool video of an entire raid stacking buffs on a single shaman for 25k chain lightning crits. That was actually interesting, though not very practical. However, it shows someone realizing something cool about the game, recording it, and sharing it so people can watch for themselves. There’s something more engaging about ‘seeing it happen’ than just typing ‘…and then I critted the guy for twenty-five thousand’!

What all these videos usually end up being, though, is someone just hitting ‘record’, blowing cooldowns, and running around for ten seconds while Recklessness or Blade Flurry + Adrenaline Rush tick down. Then they hit stop on Fraps, wait for cooldowns to reset, and do it again. Nine times out of ten, it isn’t even as exciting as that. I mean, I know warlocks can destroy anything in their path, but a typical warlock fight just consists of stacking DoTs on a target, and waiting for it to die. If the target gets close (here comes the climax!), they Fear or Deathcoil.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Not very exciting.

Want to know how a mage wins? Ten bucks says there’s going to be a Blink and/or Frostnova involved. Rogues can vanish and re-ambush? Woah! Sweet Strat, Bro! It was awesome the first time I saw it, back in closed beta. Paladins bubbling!? NO WAI! Druids CAN HEAL OVER TIME THEN SWITCH BACK TO FERAL-WHATEVER-FORM?!1! OH MY CHRIST, STOP THE PRESSES<<< A SHAMAN IS USING TOTEMS AND FROSTSHOCKING!

Seriously, we get it.

Where does it come from? Why the need to make a commercial of yourself and shove it out there? I mean, I guess it’s not a huge surprise after reading the General forums… people are so eager to stand out and just be seen that they practically scream at the top of their lungs just to be noticed… re-bumping their own threads every 30 minutes to keep it on the front page hoping to get a ‘view’. They adopt a Jeffk “accent” (or whatever you’d call it), and/or emulate anything funny they’ve ever seen online that ellicited a positive response, and try and cram all of it into each and every post they make. God forbid a blizz employee pinches off some blue morsel of a post for the masses. A mad rush ensues just to be the one screaming “FIRST!”. These posts are invariably ‘edited’ because in the mad frenzy to be the first poster, they’re probably just head-butting their keyboards while mashing ‘post’ to make sure they get that coveted slot, then they go back and edit in those five golden letters at a more leisurely pace. I bet they do it with one hand, even, since that other hand is probably busy reaching for something to clean up the mess they just made of their trousers after finding a 'virgin blue post'.

Talk about being an individual; it’s about the most unoriginal thing you can respond to a blue post with, but hey… everyone sees your name on that list, so screw those haters! They’re just jealous that they didn’t get in on the first page!

These same kids are raised and trained to be walking advertisements for the current generation’s name brands. A plain white teeshirt might cost 3 to 5 bucks, but slap a big swoosh on it and the word NIKE and it becomes a 20-dollar source of pride! BUT MOM, I’ll gladly pay the Nike corporation extra money for the right to walk around using my body as a little mini-billboard everywhere I go! Chicks dig it! Shouldn’t Nike be paying me to advertise their product? Isn’t that how advertising works? But, oh no(!!), here’s a shocker: EA is using dynamic advertising in their games! What the hell is this crap? I’m supposed to look at a billboard for ‘Doo Doo Cola’ while shooting people in the head in some city warfare game? What a crock of shit, man! It totally ruins my immersion, because we all know real cities are totally devoid of advertising!

Anything and everything at all becomes ‘eligible’ for filming and publishing. Four clicks is all it takes to ‘get it out there’! Record, Stop, Browse, Upload! Woohoo, let’s celebrate! It’s Miller Time!

Wow… dood, r u luking 4 a guild? Ill b in tuch, PST KK?
Here’s the plotline of a winner I saw recently: A druid unstealths in Arathi Basin 5 feet from the unguarded lumber mill flag, caps it, and restealths! Then... um... the video just ends. That was this person’s glorious contribution to the internet! Can somebody please notify the Academy and give that man a raise? I know an Oscar worthy performance when I see it! He went on to name his masterpiece ‘Ninja’ and probably uploaded it before that match even ended. It’s like 40 seconds long, has been viewed over 4,400 times, and currently has a rating of 3.75 stars! Quality!

The ‘comments’ section of these movies are -- surprise! -- filled with more people that didn’t even watch the movie, but are just posting messages plugging links to their own glorious masterpieces.

Who cares?! So your little video got 37 views while Bob over here got 63… maybe your slammin jammin soundtrack wasn’t slammin or jammin enough. Maybe (gasp!) it was a little too slammin and/or jammin… imagine that. Maybe your crossfades or scrolling text weren’t bold or red enough! Get back to the drawing board, and do it again until you get it right! I want storyboards and comps on my desk by 6 or there’s gonna be HELL TO PAY!

(p.s. yeah, I pretty much hate everybody)

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