Letters to the Editor

Heavy Metal


In response to “Kill Billy” from The Escapist Forum: Great article – but I have felt remorse for charaters in other ways.

I find that if there is something incredibly simple, like a name, attatched to a character, then you feel like they have their own life, their own stories, and you’ve just heartlessly killed him – a main game for this is Morrowind, where you can go into a random house and begin the slaughter for no reason, and often with no repercussions.


It looks to me like that point is that Killing the Goat happens on an internal morality scale, whereas most games use an external one.

With the external one, you get told “this is right, this is wrong”, and you feel the need to assert your own views if it disagrees with you. Doing “evil” isn’t wrong, you’re just sticking it to the man. Take that, Karma!

With the internal one, your conscience gets engaged. No one comes to yell at you for killing the goat, no omniscient deity knocks you down the moral-o-meter. You have no man to stick it too, no one to argue the logic of morality with, only yourself and a goat carcass. Thence the guilt.



In response to “Gaming Isn’t Brain Surgery” from The Escapist Forum: I have had a job where I spent almost the same amount of time at work, away from home and my computer, but when I did get the time it did feel all the more enriching. A job like being a surgeon requires true dedication and sacrifice. I sometimes wonder if I have the character for such a responsibility. I am glad though that there are people like Rich who do have the character and devotion to such a job, and yet they don’t forget fun. Even if they might forget to think about it now and then.


The hectic schedule of many occupations, creates a need for instant responses, and prohibits people from doing research or thinking of creative solutions to the immediate problem at hand, thus decreasing their chance of finding the actual optimal solution. Exploring your problem space takes time. The final “Eureka!” moment is just that, a moment. However, describing the problem you are trying to solve based on different solution spaces and dimensions, interpolating and extrapolating on each of those, and then formulating a final solution all take time. Sometimes, your brain might even need new inputs, nudges in the right direction that serve as inspiration for a new approach, like the proverbial Newton’s apple. Obviously the timing of these guiding events is not under your control, and it is very likely that you will miss them when they occur if you are trying to handle too many other tasks at that same moment.

From personal experience, I have learned that creative thinking and multitasking under pressure are two states of mind that are impossible to combine. When you are multitasking under time pressure, you are always trying to achieve the most obvious and immediate solution that springs to mind. If you are well-read, experienced, and knowledgeable, the best solution you will achieve will be a minor deviation from the standard text-book solution. You will go for the local optima! On the other hand, if you are given time, and you think creatively, you will be able to come up with solutions that are much closer to the global optimum. Any thinking machine needs time to simulate multiple possible solutions before homing in on a “great” solution, and humans are no exception.

While I deeply respect you for your dedication, I don’t think the system you are working in, has the possibility to offer the best possible help to your patients. While “good enough” is certainly better than none, and in some cases the problem at hand dictates immediate action, I can’t help wonder what kind of collective effect the onset of such an “instant action” strategy to solve problems will have on the people who constantly engage in it. We know that we are training our brains to perform in a certain way whenever we make use of them. How then, will a lifetime of making decisions under time and resource pressures as critical as those in an emergency room.

I think that certain types of games, especially those that allow you to pause and plan before carrying out actions, can help people in lines of work similar to yours to re-train their decision-making process, and that this mental change, is in fact at the core of the pleasure you can derive from playing such games, not just as a way to escape the reality of the world as you start to perceive it, but also as a new way of doing things. Maybe, we should all pay more attention to how our minds work, and maybe this will help us understand what sort of games we SHOULD play.

Babak Kaveh


In response to “Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That” from The Escapist Forum: I’ve had long aspirations to work in making video games. I want to be in a David Jaffe position, or Todd Howard, of Cliff Blizensky, and when I get there, I want to make a game with a gay main character. I’m never immersed into games either, and it’s not entirely because I can’t relate to the character on an orientation basis, but certainly that fact remains.

In Fallout 3, there’s a women in Megaton that you can buy sex from. Throughout the entire game, she is your only option. In Dragon Age: Origins, you are able to make a choice, and none of your options are prostitutes. I wasn’t so sure I would like the game in the first place, but when I found that out, it was the next game on my shopping list. I didn’t want Dragon Age because of the steamy man-love; I wanted it because I could finally play a character in an RPG similar to myself.


I got a good chuckle out of the rail gun comment.

Reading the religious comments here, makes me remember something about how God gave man the freedom to choose. So, how is it that we can have laws that are arguably based on some moral code in a religious text that effectively takes away the freedom of choice given to us by that same religious text?

I suspect more than the lack of sales a game would generate by putting gay characters into a video game as NPCs is along the same lines why games don’t have children running around. The game “publishers” are terrified that the Grand Theft Auto syndrome would take root and people would live out their fetishes of murder & deviancy in an otherwise unblemished world of vampires, zombies, aliens, theft, murder, war, hot coffee, & 3d rat extermination.


I love how the forum trolls all assume everyone here is Christian and that The Bible is a quotable source for an argument.

Did anyone else play The Ballad of Gay Tony? While I was disappointed that the main character wasn’t gay (and I couldn’t choose to be gay within the game), Luis and Tony had one of the most interesting relationships I’ve ever seen in a video game. For a game that’s most certainly played by homophobic 13 year old boys, I was thrilled to see such a decent portrayal of that segment of society. Luis, while straight, doesn’t just work for Tony for the money, even if he implies that he does. Many times over the course of the game he could have walked out on him and let him self destruct. But Luis stuck with him, and out of their conversations you got a sense of mutual respect and trust. Tony loved Luis like a son or a brother and never once does the game itself imply a sexual connotation to this bond.



In response to “Casualty of Warhammer” from The Escapist Forum: Stop blaming WoW for WAR’s failure. The devs didn’t listen to the beta-players and were more busy partying and taking breaks for Rock Band than fixing the balance problems.

It took over 2 months in retail to fix problems from open or even closed beta, some of them stayed even later.

Also, economy had nothing to do with that – people didn’t stop playing WoW because of it. Maybe they just didn’t find the game good enough for $15 a month. I sure didn’t.


I am an avid Warhammer/Games Workshop fan, and I was looking forward to this game since I read about the Climax version. I joined and later became a guild leader for this game in spring 2006, was one of the guilds given guild beta (one of the few Order guilds actually,) had a guild of 50 or so people when the game finally launched. We started playing, by November (2 months later) my guild had shrunk to 15 or so consistent players. The core gameplay was broken, almost every server had become heavily one sided (looking back at DAoC, the 3 factions were actually a source of balancing because 2 could ally against a strong enemy), and PvP in tier 4 was laggy, bugged, there was too much ridiculous crowd control.

Basically, Warhammer fucked up because they attempted to appeal to the WoW market, and to the DAoC market, and they failed at both. PvE was lacking compared to WoW, and the PvP wasn’t satisfactory for the DAoC players. Instead of creating their niche, they attempted as so many have to be the “WoW destroyer,” which just isn’t going to happen.


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