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Bropollocreed79

Back in the saddle

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It’s been awhile. Last time I was here, Bill Clinton was telling everyone that “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is”. France had just beat Brazil in the World Cup final, and Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were in the middle of heated pursuit of Hank Aaron’s homerun record. What have I missed?

I look around and see a lot of new faces. Some of you I remember, some I don’t. As for what happened to me? Let’s just say, “I fell down some stairs….”

The quiet that reverberates around this place reminds me of my halcyon days toiling away at the local supermarket. During the day shift, the smell of a funeral home would permeate the air every time the community circulator bus would drop off the blue hairs from the retirement home. It was a simpler time, when I would play Rainbow Six Vegas all night until the sun came up and then pound a few beers before sleeping through an 8:30am biology class (the extra credit from assisting on autopsies of cadavers donated to science helped keep my grades afloat).

To everyone expecting an unhinged “scorched earth” post, that’s not really my style. Any asshat can call out folks with impunity, but Uncle Bropollo tries to make an honest effort to infuse everything with a degree of humor and as much truth as possible. If “Bro-bombing” the forums with a healthy dose of both is a crime, then I’m guilty, guilty as charged:

 


This game has been tremendous. I followed along with news of it passively once the download went live on consoles, but never pulled the trigger, because I’m risk-averse. At least with a physical copy, there’s something tangible that I can hold in my hands and have tangible evidence of my purchase—I’m the same way with movies for what it’s worth; I HATE buying a “digital copy” of anything, because you’re ostensibly only paying for a license and not the actual media. Is this view archaic and outdated? Undoubtedly! But I’m long enough in the tooth to remember having to go to the library and actually doing research before the Internet (using the Dewey Decimal system, microfiche, and rudimentary computer systems), cellular telephones, or (GASP!) watching television on a black and white set.

This long winded winding and convoluted path has a point: my perspective is one of unyielding patience in any circumstance. Despite this patience and the actions of folks in these parts, I have every intention of remaining a part of this community. You won’t be seeing any “farewell” posts from me. I certainly understand the perspective of those who have elected to go that route, and wish all of them nothing but the best going forward. Many of those have who have taken this path have been with this game for longer than most, as backers, F13 aficionados, or otherwise—I jumped on the bandwagon late, only venturing to partake once a physical retail copy was available (please see the curmudgeonly old man post about digital media above for reference). At the risk of having my words misconstrued, I do not quit on things. The community needs advocates and voices of reason now more than ever. Truth is a defense against any and all accusations; from any and all agents of censure or discord. This same truth is my pledge to all of you; that, not withstanding any blatant efforts to elicit chuckles of the most prurient variety, Uncle Bropollo will always strive to maintain the highest standard of truth now and in the future.

[Carefully reviews rules in advance of subsequent section—nope, nothing against discussing the general forum rules and enforcement] Incidentally, could we get some sort of consistent language going forward when our accounts here are under embargo? Within the same page, the words ‘banned’, ‘suspended’ and ‘warning’ used interchangeably. The words are not synonymous, and perhaps a bit of clarity and consistency in messaging would be helpful in avoiding future transgressions. Additionally, the use of “warning” typically indicates an intermediate step in advance of putative measures. In these forums, certainly, one could understand the confusion when said “warning points” are dispensed in conjunction with a “suspension” or “ban”, given the traditional colloquial understanding of the term “warning”.

It is my opinion, therefore, that there be a more clearly defined delineation between the three, escalating from “warning”, to “suspension” and culminating with a “ban”. Clearly, this is just an opinion (one fantastically presented in a concise and logical fashion), [REDACTED joke about the future state of the game and forum availability] and Gun is free to do with the forums what they see fit, but I reassert my opinion that a standard set of rules be provided which outline the warning point system (something currently unavailable, and therefore susceptible to subjective enforcement)to the community in an effort to dissuade both intentional efforts to draw the ire of employees and admins, as well as serve as a defined position for reference.

Circling back to the earlier promise of truth in my posts, it is my perspective that the forums currently operate under a cloud. The community is upset with the current status, and as a member of the community, I’m upset as well. I loathe the set of circumstances which have conspired to bring us to the point we are at now. What I cannot fathom for the life of me, though, is how we, collectively (both the community and the employees and agents of Gun Media) have fallen so far so fast. Without calling out anyone in particular, perceived slights against both parties have been perpetrated, and folks need to be accountable. There isn’t a path forward for this game without some sort of reconciliation, but any efforts to do so need to be met halfway.

To the employees, agents, and independent contractors of Gun Media, we live in a world that has online forums, and those forums have to be guarded by moderators. Who's gonna do it? The community? Us? No, we have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. We weep for lost content and curse the lawsuit. We have that luxury. You have the luxury of knowing what we don’t know; that the end of content, while tragic, probably turned these forums into the perfunctory exercise they have become. And our existence, while grotesque and bothersome to you, is necessary. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want us in this community. You need us in this community. When members of the moderation group/employees misstate critical facts regarding the lawsuit (i.e. naming Miller as the Plaintiff in the case), or preview content that never comes to fruition or is outright cancelled, the damage to the relationship to the community is magnified.

This in no way mitigates the reprehensible actions of some (i.e. harassment of Victor Miller, moderators, or employees). However, it does not give license to the recipients of these activities to adjudicate disproportionately to members with no discernable position. The sole discretion of Gun being paramount to the enforcement of any and all provisions of the ToS and forum rules is all well and good, but some consistency, transparency, and candor would be appreciated in the future, both in dealing with status updates on the game itself, as well as with punitive measures.

Incidentally (again—I know, right?) when folks are “suspended” or “banned” in the future, would it be possible to log out from the forums without having to clear the browser cache or switch to another browser, I’m certain the community would be grateful (unless a “ban”, “suspension” or “warning” is supposed to entail a total forum blackout for the adjudicated member). It also wouldn’t hurt to define the user’s status when they are ostensibly “banned” or “suspended” for a set amount of time: are they supposed to not access the forums at all? Will clearing the browser cache to ‘sign out’ be considered an “attempt to circumvent the rules” as outlined in the forum rules? If so, does accessing the forums in any way (including from another browser) fall into the same categorization of circumcision? We all want to follow the rules (no, really!) but it’s difficult to do so when they are incomplete or poorly defined. It is simply not possible for community members to adhere to rules that are not defined in any sort of coherent manner. By leaving the language open to interpretation, but ostensibly blocking said forum members from appealing any putative decision, any action by a community member to establish contact for clarification would be a direct violation of said rules in that the system would have to be blatantly circumvented in order to do so.

Some questions I’ve had time to think about during my “vacation”:

Dedicated servers for consoles have been in the works for awhile now. Is it possible to get any sort of status update on them, apart from “still coming”? 

How are dedicated servers preferable, at this point, to what we have now? Dedicated servers require capital to operate and maintain, and one may reasonably speculate that this capital probably won’t be covered by sporadic purchases of existing clothing, emote, and kill packs going forward. At what point will the dedicated servers, if they are indeed still coming, no longer be tenable to operate? Will the inevitable disconnection of these servers signal the end of multiplayer for this game, or will player hosting be reenabled at that point? These questions aren’t fatalistic, but realistic. At some point, the cost of dedicated servers is going to be more than Gun brings in to maintain them. That point could be in six months, or six years, but it’s going to happen, and I don’t see the problem with asking what the tentative plan is for that event, as near or distant as it may be.

At what point was the engine upgrade reprioritized over content, and what, if any factors, contributed to this decision? 

What specific issues are causing delays in the fulfillment of orders to the backers, many of whom are still waiting on deliverables due as part of their contribution to the game when it was just an idea?

Would alternate rules of play or more customizable options for Quick Play fall under the categorization of “new content” or are they considered “existing content”?

Have plans to rework Retro been shelved permanently in light of the “no new content” decree, or is it possible we may see him again later on as a standalone character using existing assets?

I ask these questions because they represent an opportunity that I hope the folks working at Gun as employees or moderators seize with zeal and fervor. The forums have devolved in to a partisan horde with a small band of folks in the middle—small wonder that folks whom used to post here with any sort of regularity or frequency have pulled back considerably or quit altogether. I’d really like to see a hard reset and move forward in the spirit of making this place some semblance of what it was just nine or even six months ago: it was a simpler time, when everyone was looking forward to Paranoia mode, additional counselors and maps, and dedicated servers for consoles were discussed in earnest, rather than as a punchline or cheap pop.

It would be naive to think we could go back to that era, given the official end to “new content”, or in light of recent events; but we can make an effort to shift our collective mindset to something more. That starts with Gun (and its agents). Engage the community! Be proactive! In the absence of regular or even sporadic updates on what’s going on with the game, people are left to speculate. It’s a natural instinct when faced with a complete lack of information for prolonged periods of time, shifting priorities, or the cancellation of previously announced material for the game. Given an increase in communication by the development team and administrators, I think a lot of the speculation and conspiracy theories will die down (there’s always going to be a subset of the community that espouses conspiracy theories, it’s just part and parcel of having an official forum or community for any game in the modern age).

Communication is a two-way street. The community needs feedback and updates on a regular basis. We know that there are things that can’t be answered for any number of legitimate reasons, and Gun is certainly within their rights to tell us collectively “foxtrot off, it’s none of your business how we make decisions”. Even that would be preferable to the deafening silence that we have experienced in the recent months. Folks on Twitter are getting more information out of the team than members of this community, and that’s a big issue. Why should the community continue to engage each other here if we’re going to be having to source official information from secondary or even tertiary sources? 

Which brings us to misinformation. The lack of official communication in the forums coupled with employees and agents of Gun Media using other avenues and channels for the dissemination of information creates a scenario where the members of the community are forced to go outside of the forums and crowd-source information. This is hardly an ideal scenario, as many do not have any training in journalism or a thorough understanding of the concept of “vetting information”. We know it’s impossible for Gun employees and moderators to police the entirety of the forums and quash threads that pop up with misinformation or data of dubious origin, but leaving the forums to collect its own data and news from other sources certainly contributes to the air of desperation for more information. That same desperation makes the community susceptible to believing in the quality and veracity of information from less than reliable sources.

Even something as frequent as a weekly update from a member of the production team would go a long way towards restoring a sense of normalcy to the forums. It shouldn’t be that hard to have a couple of moderators open a thread that forum members could submit questions in, and then present the list of questions to the production team for a regular Friday update as a forum post. Lock the thread after posting and make it clear that DM’s to the responder will not receive an answer. Any follow up questions can be submitted in the subsequent week’s question submission thread. Treat it like a heavily monitored and version of a reddit AMA, and the worst thing that could happen is someone gets upset that their question didn’t get answered. Since a lot of questions go unanswered now, it really wouldn’t change much on an individual scale, but for the questions that DO get answered, there’s a fantastic opportunity to create a narrative and rebuild a dialog with fans that just want to have a fun and engaging game, regardless of the current content status or lawsuit.

Despite everything that’s transpired (particularly in the last few months), I have no plans to go anywhere. I love this game, warts and all, including the Quick Play experience. I’ve never seen anything like it, and while I lack the enthusiasm that some of the more dedicated members of the community have for the IP, I certainly share in their appreciation for it. And collectively, we know that Gun shares that passion and reverence for the IP, given the slavish attention to detail and lore that are built into this game. I wish that the creators of other content in the world of gaming had a fraction of the care and dedication to the source material that Gun has shown; the state of gaming would be in a far better place. EA comes to mind as the antithesis of this: large, flashy, bloated budget Star Wars title that are a hollow soulless husk of a game. Technically brilliant, but as shallow as a Real Housewife. Somewhere in the middle of Gun’s passion and EA’s technical proficiency lies gaming nirvana; a place where the balance between the two create a nearly perfect gaming experience. I suppose it just underscores how having an exponentially larger staff and deeper pockets for funding are no guarantee of producing a superior product, even if it is a smoother experience overall.

I don’t have it in me to quit on this game or this community, and I challenge everyone on both sides of the equation, Gun (it’s employees and agents) and the members of the community to “step your game up”. There’s a lot to do, and I’ll be damned if I just sit back contentedly making jokes while doing nothing as the forums continue to devolve. 

Recently, there have been notable issues in these forums with the creators of content coming in to either “set the record straight” or outright calling out the community. I was appalled by these decisions, as the individuals involved have a conflict of interest as fellow content creators or folks who directly benefit from the perpetuation of the IP. The intent behind one of those efforts was notable because it was essentially an attempt to clarify yet another outside source of information (from Twitter), but the execution was botched, in both content and the way threads were handled. I understand the principal behind giving the individual being quoted a forum to provide an official response, but circumventing the forum’s own rules and selectively enforcing others to do so to make a special exception is part of the reason the community reacts the way it does when the only communication we get is to castigate its membership. 

The days of witty banter between employees (and agents/moderators) and the community have long ceased, which is a shame, and a big contributing factor to where we are now. We can all trace it to the announcement of the lawsuit ostensibly halting the creation of new content, followed shortly thereafter by the announcement of no new content at all. The half-hearted attempts that followed to clarify these statements and positions did little to address specific concerns within the community, and the lack of any sort of coordinated messaging or communication at that point or going forward has only exacerbated the apprehension within these official forums. I’m over three thousand words in at this point, and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. I’ve cut down this post by over 50% of what I had originally (a week long “timeout” gives a lot of time to edit for clarity and serves as a cool off period so that this can conform to the rules of the forum).

Let’s all be better. Instead of attacking individuals with unbridled criticism, I’ve offered practical solutions to what I (and others) perceive to be shortcomings with the current status quo. These are just suggestions, and in no way constitute any sort of demands or expectations of future action. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem, but I am what I am (and that’s all that I am): a drunken misanthrope prone to everlasting goofiness and off-color humor. You won’t get rid of me that easily.

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Holy fuck... This is going to take me a while...

Edit: Copied it to word in case this gets deleted too. Came out to 5 pages!

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1 minute ago, Truth said:

Holy fuck... This is going to take me a while...

Edit: Copied it to word in case this gets deleted too. Came out to 5 pages!

The original was 11.  I had to sober up and clean it up to make it conform to the rules.   I think it turned out quite well.

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@Bropollocreed79 Good to see you back... With a fitting entrance... 
   Good points... better questions... sprinkled with your particular style of wit and humor. I am now wondering what the other six pages spoke of... I lament the jokes I will never read now.
   Cheers!

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This was a very good read, and I agree whole heartedly with the suggestions it contains. Glad your not going anywhere @Bropollocreed79.

Ahab just posted above me, so I might be reading for a while longer. (I’m shocked at the short response @Ahab.)

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15 minutes ago, Ahab said:

@Bropollocreed79 Good to see you back... With a fitting entrance... 
   Good points... better questions... sprinkled with your particular style of wit and humor. I am now wondering what the other six pages spoke of... I lament the jokes I will never read now.
   Cheers!

A lot of repetition and rules violations.  That's what was in there.  I can't do anyone any good if I "fall down some stairs" again.

12 minutes ago, Slasher_Clone said:

This was a very good read, and I agree whole heartedly with the suggestions it contains. Glad your not going anywhere @Bropollocreed79.

Ahab just posted above me, so I might be reading for a while longer. (I’m shocked at the short response @Ahab.)

It's a lot to unpack, but I had plenty of time to think about it.  There's something for everyone here (not that many people will bother to actually read it through).

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@Slasher_Clone Not all of my posts are feature length essays... I can sneak in a shorter post now and again.

@Bropollocreed79 Hold onto that railing! I don't want you falling down the stairs again... I understand your reasoning... but am saddened by the pages that could have been.

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2 minutes ago, Risinggrave said:

Good sensible post. 

 

Thanks.  Some things need to be said/asked, and I had a week to actually put it together in a way that no sensible individual could refute without looking like a total knob.

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6 hours ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

The original was 11.  I had to sober up and clean it up to make it conform to the rules.   I think it turned out quite well.

I was with you about not attacking people and going all "scorched earth." Until they started deleting my posts.

I've lost what little respect I had left for them.

I'm not interested in their arbitrary and capricious application of forum rules.

I suppose this only ends one way now. 

Hell, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic at this point anyway. 

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21 minutes ago, Quinn FTW said:

I was with you about not attacking people and going all "scorched earth." Until they started deleting my posts.

I've lost what little respect I had left for them.

I'm not interested in their arbitrary and capricious application of forum rules.

I suppose this only ends one way now. 

Hell, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic at this point anyway. 

If it's any consolation,  I've had two disappear today myself.

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5 minutes ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

If it's any consolation,  I've had two disappear today myself.

It's hardly consoling to know that it is so widespread.

For what it's worth, though, I'm sorry you've had it happen to you. 

Unfortunately, it's the new reality, it seems. 

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21 minutes ago, Quinn FTW said:

Unfortunately, it's the new reality, it seems.

Oh, there's nothing "new" about it.

Before I "fell down some stairs" last week, they removed plenty of my posts.

It's a badge of honor more than a mark of shame.

 

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7 minutes ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

It's a badge of honor more than a mark of shame.

I'm out of likes, so here's a virtual bro fist.

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15 minutes ago, Quinn FTW said:

OOOH, you're gonna get deleted.

Again.

Nah, the link isn't posted, and as long as nobody gets tagged, this thread will probably remain open and unedited. 

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7 hours ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

Nah, the link isn't posted, and as long as nobody gets tagged, this thread will probably remain open and unedited. 

Sorry for posting it here, but figured you might be interested.

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1 hour ago, Truth said:

Sorry for posting it here, but figured you might be interested.

Not a problem.  I caught most of it, and quite enjoyed it. 

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5 hours ago, Bropollocreed79 said:

As quickly as this link on Amazon gets deleted?

What in the actual fuck?

I mean, first of all, no offense, but who would possibly pay $70 for this game at this point?

Secondly, what in the actual fuck? Do they not sense a product rating disaster looming?

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