Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Trust is when you dare to say "no"

My mother reminded me yesterday of an incident that took place about two years ago:

We two had to pick floor tiles for our house. The sort of decision you only think is enjoyable when you don't have to make it for yourself. When you do, you suddenly find yourself staring at hundreds of options all of which have one thing in common: they are not quite what you had in mind. Oh, and there's also this absolutely gorgeous model over in the corner, which costs about 10 times as much as you could possibly afford.

So, there we were, roaming a shop, looking through samples, deciding. Finally, we found a tile model (for the main part of the ground floor) we both liked. So, we went along and planned, calculated, played with colour schemes, transitions and contrasts.

There was just one problem with it: we did not like it. Neither of us. We didn't actually hate it, no, it was okay, but we didn't like it either. I thought my mother likes it, so I played along; she thought I like it, so she played along. At some point, long down the road, one of us let a negative remark slip, and we were like "wait, you don't like it either? But I thought...!". So we laughed and got out of the shop.

We were tired of the entire selection-decision process, and didn't want to prolong it unnecessarily by being overly picky and moody. As long as one of us thought it's good, the other one would tone it down and go with what's just "oh well, not that bad" for them. That's a societal attitude, and it's a good (sometimes even necessary) approach to be able to agree on things in a finite time. But it might get problematic, when both (or all) sides choose to pick the "follower" role at the same time.

Sometimes, to trust someone means to blindly follow, and to know that you'll end up in a good place. But sometimes, it also means to stand up and say "no, I don't like this; I'm going for it because I trust your sentence, but this would not be my preferred choice". Sometimes we find it easier to entrust our life (well, not in the context of floor tiles, obviously!) than to entrust our honest opinion.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Scroll down...

...two postings. Yeah, right to the entry from last Thursday. This is a shout-out to someone who felt frustrated with things last night, because things didn't go quite the most exciting way.

Don't try to replicate experiences. Just take them as they come and get the best out of it.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Repeatable grind

"Repeatable content" and "grind" are siblings. They're basically twins. Yet we desire the one and despise the other.

Stating the obvious, the difference pretty much boils down to how much fun we have with it. If it's entertaining, we call it repeatable; if it's dull, we call it grind. The Rift was fun, even after a few dozen times, much of it due to the social component. Killing hundreds of unremarkable orcs for the microscopically small chance of a certain drop, on the other hand, gets boring pretty quick.

So, where does this leave lair-raids like The Vile Maw? The social component is mostly absent, because there's just the fight, no "time in-between".
Solo-instances? They are mostly trivial (because there's only so much you can throw at a single player, while still giving all the classes a fair chance of completing it), and even with the new "random enemies" perk, not actually brain-stretching.

But even that aside. I said The Rift was fun. Well, it was - to me (and several of my friends). To other people, it wasn't. They went in one, or two times, and didn't feel like they want to return. For them, it was grind. When I went in for the first couple of times, all I wanted to do was return - and so I did, many, many times. For me, it was fun.

So, borders are fluent. Perception subjective. And when we ask for more of the one, we run the risk of getting too much of the other.

Follow-ups on this, soon to come:

  • Does randomness equal challenge?

  • MMO-raiding - the ultimate social experience?

  • Stay tuned!

    Thursday, 16 April 2009


    No feeling in an MMO compares to levelling your first character. When you're not shooting for perfection. Not preparing for the next raid. When every little hop feels like a giant leap. And every mob you defeat - like a significant victory. When your quantum of achievement is a quest, rather than a quest-hub or a zone.

    This is not to say nothing is equally good, or better. There's great stuff down the road, many things to have fun with months and years later. I love being at level-cap and that stuff dubiously called "endgame". Challenge and success, teamwork and friendship can be found there. Feelings I'd never rate lower or want to miss (as a matter of fact, right now, I am missing some of them, and it makes me sad). They are not worse or worth less - they just don't compare.

    Tuesday, 14 April 2009

    Germany's Next Flopmodel

    This is something that was brought to my attention by my mother, so credits to her.

    It's probably pretty safe to assume, that most countries have their <insert country name>'s Next Topmodel show, so, not much explanation of the principle is needed. Basically, it's a casting show, where every girl, who has ever been told by a dude who wanted to get in her pants that she's model-material, can apply (and they apply in thousands, every year) to be judged by a jury, which consists of a leading supermodel of that country (the US-original is led by Tyra Banks, the German version by Heidi Klum) and a few others who no one ever heard of, but are big in model business ... probably.

    Getting to the point. The final 10 candidates, who get into the actual training- and elimination-shows, will tell you two things. All of them. It's like the casting-version of "world peace". Mind you, the punch line is in the concurrence of the two:
    1. They have always dreamed of becoming a model.
    2. They never, or hardly ever, wear high heel shoes.
    That's quite amazing. That would be, kind of, like ... if I would show up to a basketball training camp and declare, that I always dreamed of becoming an NBA-pro, but so far never bothered to learn how to dribble.
    Or if someone would say they've always been dreaming of becoming a singer, but cannot even read music. Oh wait. There's the Idol-shows, where exactly this happens. Never mind!

    But, hey, let's not be too surprised. After all, this is exactly what all these shows offer and promise: fame, without that tedious talent-and-labour business.

    Sunday, 12 April 2009

    Blue sky

    For at least the second day in a row, the sky is blue. I mean, utterly and completely blue. From horizon to horizon, one colour, not a single cloud. The treetops are looking richer and richer from day to day .. almost from hour to hour.

    I'm not that much of a nature-bound person, but in such an environment, it's really hard not to be in a good mood. I mean, hey, for me, of all people, to make two postings on weather within a week (plus one on gardening), that weather has to be quite awesome. And you know what? It is!

    Wish you all the same.

    Friday, 10 April 2009

    Rem is ...

    ... the Lawnmower Man.
    And the LeafVac Man.
    Sunny season has officially begun.
    And this entry resembles more a Twitter update than a blog post.

    Tuesday, 7 April 2009

    Charming imperfection

    Started using this week, and today realised that it shares a certain feel with Linux. This intriguing mix of charming new features and glaring lack of old and relied on ones; of impressive performance and uncomfortable glitches; new design and minor trapdoors.

    It is fast, it is pretty, it offers an interesting take on a few user-interface elements, it's certainly a pleasant and modern feeling piece of software to use. It feels like Firefox felt, back in the day, before it was called Firefox and began to become what it once set out to attack.

    But that's the catch: charming youth comes with youthful imperfection. It's just part of the package. No form completion (which seriously kills some business scenarios). Bad Flash-performance (Linux-people start grimacing at the mere thought of Flash). Awkward file-handling and weird text-selection (things not working quite as you're used to being oh so very Linux!).

    Many of those are teething troubles or yet-to-be-implemented features. They'll be fixed, adjusted and introduced. The interesting question is: will it then still feel modern and youthful?

    Saturday, 4 April 2009

    Ilya Gringolts

    If he's in town, and you're into classic - especially violin - music, go out and get a ticket. Guy got skill. Guy got lots of skill.

    Not posting any links, because they'd just be search results, and you, dear reader, certainly can acquire them just as good as me. (The first letter of his first name is a capital "i", the second a non-capital "L", just in case the font appears deceiving)

    Best time of year?

    Sitting in my study, balcony door open all day. Fresh air, without swarming gnats. Not cool anymore, not hot yet. Just a few degrees warmer and more green on the trees ... but then the gnats come back and the sun turns from "warming" to "heating". I love the summer, but right now, spring has me all fascinated.