The Queue: Regrets? I’ve had a few.
Last week, I was getting my eye injections right around the time you read my Queue. This week, that’s not happening, but they’re still itchy as they heal up and it’s all I can think about.
Anyway, it’s the Queue. I’m listening to Black Sheep by Metric and answering questions, hopefully.
Q4tQ: Hey. What’s up?
The header of the Queue pretty much answered your question. I ran a D&D game for my wife this week that was a lot of fun.
Q4tQ: Is there an option in WoW somewhere to stop the game from truncating speech balloons? Tired of doing new quests or old quests I wanted to follow along with, and having to look at the chat window to get the rest of NPC conversations.
The only options I could find for those bubbles was under Display, for Chat Bubbles, and the only options were All, None and Exclude Party Chat. That was sadly all I could find, but I’m a legally blind man who has a great deal of difficulty navigating menus. Hopefully someone else can help you in the comments.
Q4tQ: When did min-maxing become a thing in D&D? Granted I was a teenager at the time I played 1st edition so I wasn’t engaged with the larger community outside of letters to Dragon magazine (this was before the now-now, when there was no Internet), but it feels odd to me to see so many posts on reddit, etc., looking to maximize damage via feats and subclasses. Was it something that existed thirty-five years ago but I never knew, or is it something the Internet brought about, or was it just something that couldn’t really happen because stuff like feats and subclasses didn’t exist?
Dungeons and Dragons was first published in 1974, and so, min-maxing in D&D started in 1971.
You read that right.
Chainmail, the miniatures game that predated Dungeons and Dragons, came out in 1971. You can read the original rules as a PDF file here. The roots of min-maxing in D&D can be directly traced back to Chainmail and the original version of D&D was a glorified Chainmail supplement, which led in time to the publication of the white box Dungeons and Dragons box set that inexorably led, three years later, to the split between the Dungeons and Dragons box set line and the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons hardcover editions.
Min-maxing was so common in all of these editions of the game that it is mentioned by name in some of the earliest editions of Dragon Magazine, which started in 1976.
It’s not new. It’s always been there, in every edition of the game that has ever existed, and it always will be. People chose to play Elves in original D&D so they could be as good as a Fighter with a sword yet cast spells like a Magic-User, or played Halflings for bonuses to Thief abilities, which ended up balanced out by limits to how far those classes could progress. It’s just the way some people like to play games — they like to squeeze every last ounce out of every system.
Q4tQ: If given the choice, would you supply Earth with unlimited electricity for the indefinite future, possibly for untold millennia, at the cost of having to disassemble the entire planet Mercury for components to build such an energy system?
We tried. It didn’t work.
When you watch Jurassic Park do you think about if you would be able to run from the dinosaurs?
My own heart starts bearing fast while watching and I thinking myself that it’s unlikely that I would be able to outrun a 40 foot dinosaur (also, it’s unlikely I’ll ever be in that situation where I will find out one way or another).
Mostly, I get mad that they make the dinosaurs look like they’ve been plucked and that their skin is so tight on their muscles and bones that they look nothing like a real living animal. The Jurassic Park movies are exceptionally bad at this — they started off in the 90’s, when we were just starting to figure out that integument, skin, subcutaneous fat, feathers and so on would be much more prominent and would have had a great deal of influence over how the animals looked, and it’s ridiculous that thirty years later we’re still churning out shrink wrapped dinos in these films.
But see, people expect the dinos to look like that so that’s how they make them look in the park.
It’s 2020. So many people would be constantly complaining about Jurassic Park dinos looking fake, it would be the biggest meme on the internet. We know this stuff now. Heck, we’ve known some of this stuff for over one hundred and fifty years. Some of the earliest paleo artists like Charles Knight were studying this and trying to get dinos right well over a hundred years ago, we have no excuse for it anymore.
To quote Sten from Dragon Age Origins, ‘Either you have an enviable life, or a pitiable memory, to know nothing of regret.’ I have not lived an enviable life and I have a rather solid memory, so I’m afraid I have quite a few regrets.
I regret staying in my first guild as long as I did.
I regret losing touch with several friends I made in WoW along the way.
I regret letting myself get talked into tanking in Cataclysm — yes, I was the best choice. Yes, I was the reason my guild cleared Spine of Deathwing. Yes, I basically got us across the finish line for Heroic Madness of Deathwing on pure stubborness, only to see the 2h sword I’d been trying to get for the entirety of the raid’s existence go to a Death Knight who joined the week before because he was DPS and I was a tank. I think you see where I’m going with this.
But aside from that, there’s been a lot of good. Spent time with my girlfriend. Asked her to marry me in Molten Core. Got the job at WoW Insider. Met a lot of people I’ve enjoyed working with, got to connect with you all. Y’all saved my eyes, as much as they can be saved. Finally got to go to BlizzCon in 2019. So overall, I’m pretty happy about having played WoW.
But yes, I have regrets. I have an excellent memory and my life has not been particularly enviable.
Okay, that’s the Queue for today. Thanks and remember please ask a lot of questions, I don’t want Mitch to be upset I went on about dinosaurs forever.
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