Tired and Cranky: Just Let D&D Die

. . . Also Stop Talking Gibberish and Ease Up on the Spy Lingo

So I’ve only had a few hours sleep and too much coffee and I’m in a bad mood.  I normally wouldn’t post something like this after writing it, but I thought you know what?  I’m going to be tired and cranky a fair bit over the next year, so why not make a regular series out of it?  This is how I feel and this my blog so . . . enjoy.  Everyone loves a good rant.  Let the badly-thought-out tirade commence!

The first thing that pissed me off today was Wizards of the Coast announcing another new Dungeons and Dragons.  They have this grand plan to involve the entire community, basically “tell us what you want the game to be like.”  On the face of it a pretty good approach, but I think it works better for rules tightening, not making a totally new game.  This just sounds like the biggest games company in the room realizing they killed D&D, and basically asking their players to tell them what they want so they can sell it to them.  Doesn’t inspire confidence in me, and to be honest it makes me imagine a hideous Frankenstein’s monster of a game made up of all the most memorable and beloved parts of the previous four editions sewn together.

Democracy is a fine thing, but it’s not the best suited form of organization for every purpose.  If armies were democratic they wouldn’t last long in war.  Likewise, democracy I think is the worst way to organize the production of a creative work.  This is because creators and consumers are unequal:  The consumers want the creators to give them something they don’t expect, and the creators need freedom to do that.

So . . . looks like now we’re helping massive companies design games so they can make them and sell them to us, is that it? That is some serious bullshit.  I refuse to tell Wizards of the Coast, the voodoo witch-doctor keeping the zombie of my childhood hobby shambling, how to exploit me for money.

Right.  Secondly, all the cute little nicknames and jargon people give to things in this hobby really give me the shits.  I was scanning BoLS the other day and the article about GW’s FAQs pissed me off.  Not the analysis (which I enjoyed) but the way it was written.

“This really puts an end to scarab conga-lines.”  What?  Guh? Are we seriously now making up poxy little shit-meme names for possible rules exploits in a book before it’s even released, and then talking about them as if they’re a thing barely a month after the book is in stores?  I don’t know what the fuck a scarab conga line is, I don’t care, and I’m ashamed for the community that someone who’s been playing this game for twenty-five fucking years and has his own gaming blog (me) can go on a large mainstream site and be confronted with a sea of fad-talk that I don’t understand.

Shorthand is one thing, but if I met someone socially and we started talking about 40k and they said “Well, if you want to delta-snipe some OMO throwing down three nibs of libby chunks you have to take poison-wing and deploy spanner-wise” I’d be all like “sorry, but I have to go over here now until you take your head from your arse and start talking like a normal human.”

*Sigh*

And while I’m on the subject, what’s with over-analyzing every rumour and rulebook before it’s even released?  It’s like the cold war up in here with “monkeyballs is a trusted source” and “that date-stamp could easily be forged.”  I mean come on.  If you guys applied the same tireless dedication and blowtorch criticism to things that mattered we’d have a cure for cancer by now.

Hey, I feel much better now.

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9 responses to “Tired and Cranky: Just Let D&D Die

  • Capn Stoogey

    “Wing” is my most hated, everything is a fucking wing, Logan wing, Draigo wing, razor wing wing, what the bollocks?
    Rants are fun 🙂

  • sinsynn

    ‘Are we seriously now making up poxy little shit-meme names for possible rules exploits in a book before it’s even released, and then talking about them as if they’re a thing barely a month after the book is in stores?’

    -Yes.
    Remember the Ocean’s 11 movies, where they would toss around wacky names for ‘scams,’ which they never explained, but sounded cool?
    Kinda like that….

    I groaned a bit when they posted a FoW article calling Stormtrooper moves the Panzer Dance.’

    -_-

    No.
    Just….
    No.

    Nice try, James- but clearly I’m the king of ‘badly-thought-out tirades.’
    But…is it really a tirade if you think too much about it before hitting the keyboard?
    😀

  • James S

    @Capn Stoogey, lol “razorwing wing.”

    You’re right @SinSynn, I guess a tirade is by definition badly thought-out. That just proves how much of a tirade that was by my standards! So badly thought-out that I misused a word :O

    Hopefully I can improve my tirades with practice. Maybe some day I can reach your heights 😉

  • Frontline Gamer

    I absofuckinglutely point blank refused to talk about the 40k or D&D rumours. Despite people asking me too. Why? Because I’m too busy playing actual games to give a flying fuck!!!! Gahhhh,

    Do you want to know one of my other pet peeves… Meta. Or to be precise pretentious knob jockeys who throw the word around with understanding its Greek root origins and how it should be deployed. I swear if I ever meet Hofstadter I’m going to punch the poncy t nuc in the nose for what he’s done to the world!

    As for jargonistic lingo, I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it!!! I’ve had people come up to me and talking about “Alpha Strikes” and other crap. My response? I make my own up, seriously give it a go it’s great fun. If you can do it with a straight face see how ridiculous a ‘fake’ meme name you can create before somebody cottons on. I once convinced some poor buddy in Wolverhampton that “Donkey-Flop Las-Spam” was a thing!!! WTF.

    Maybe I’m getting too old, but I thought language was supposed to be used to communicate idea and include others in your thought. I mean, I must be hideously wrong because it seems that many people believe language should be used to exclude and baffle people in this hobby. I accept a certain level of jargon is required within a hobby like ours. BUT, it should be descriptive, a la “Line of Sight”…

    OK… I think I’m calming down now. I think it’s best I leave before my head explodes. 🙂

    Good article as always James.

  • Von

    “I mean come on. If you guys applied the same tireless dedication and blowtorch criticism to things that mattered we’d have a cure for cancer by now.”

    Hey, hey, if too many gamers develop critical faculties that’s my niche gone right there.

    Frontline makes a good point about the prefix ‘meta’ and the half-arsed way it’s bandied about. Peeves me right off too.

    As for Wizards… at least they’re rereleasing AD&D.1? Never mind that people have been cheerfully retrocloning it for the last few years and there are free-to-download versions coming out of the wall, or anything like that… at this stage, all they own is the capacity to call their game Dungeons and Dragons, and if it weren’t for the godawful pull that that name exerts on gamers, they would own nothing worth owning in that line. Even new D&D is being done better by those dastardly Paizo people…

  • James S

    @Frontline Gamer, firstly, “Donkey Flop Las-Spam” is gold. I’m totally with you on descriptive jargon too. I like in wargaming when people use real-world strategic and tactical jargon like “line of sight” and “refused flank.” That way you can look it up on wikipedia or whatever and make the analogy yourself. Inclusion and learning = good, exclusion and cute memes = cringingly bad.

    And aargh! “meta” is so annoying. People seem to think “meta-gaming” means anything from list-building to giving your opponent the evil eye to freak him into making a mistake. If anything (and I’m suspicious it can eve be a meaningful term), meta-gaming is what we do on our blogs every day – discussing gaming as opposed to playing games. Freaking people out and building lists in response to other people’s lists is NOT A FUCKING METAGAME it is just PART OF THE ACTUAL GAME.

  • James S

    @Von that’s right, we have to keep ’em in the dark . . .

    “at this stage, all they own is the capacity to call their game Dungeons and Dragons, and if it weren’t for the godawful pull that that name exerts on gamers, they would own nothing worth owning in that line. Even new D&D is being done better by those dastardly Paizo people…”

    So true. I’m just going to pop down to my local 2nd hand bookstore and pick up a copy of AD&D 1st I think. Suck on that wizards.

    And I heart Paizo. I was just flicking through my Paizo-era Dragons a few days ago and marveling at how much good, vibrant content they produced compared to the superficial, barely concealed advertising of things like White Dwarf or most video game mags.

    They had good writers and they accepted submissions from anyone. James Jacobs was going to publish a variant samurai article I wrote in Class Acts when they emailed me to say that they could no longer do so. Next month they announced Wizards were pulling the plug 😦

  • BIG RICH

    I have idea! Let’s make D&D Next more of a role-playing game and less of a miniatures game designed to sell blind packs to fans. Ah, nevermind. That’s just crazy talk.

  • Barry Kelly

    Oi! Badly thought out rants are my thing!

    But yeah, exclusionary language can get to fuck. This is everyones hobby, wingflapwing and leafblowerspannerhams mean fuck all except to you and your 5 mates. There was a wee trend in gaming blogs to forget that the world was not made for them, Fuck em, I say.

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