Gaming and Good Faith Arguments

I suppose for a lighter post that is game-agnostic (mostly), I should conclude a story I’ve been injecting into multiple posts over the last few months.

The case of the very-wrong guild leader.

One thing that has happened for the past few Blizzcons, in the leadup to odd-year Blizzcons, is a bit of banter between myself and my guild leader – about what would be announced at Blizzcon. It started rather innocently in the lead-up to 2017, as I speculated (both here and in those discussions) that perhaps the seventh WoW expansion – what came to be Battle for Azeroth – might be announced at Gamescom 2017. It was a brave new world, one in which the prior expansion, Legion, had been announced at Gamescom 2015, marking a first for Blizzard.

As I broke down in one of the first posts with a joke reference to this, the data trend is overwhelmingly that Blizzard uses odd-year Blizzcons to setup the path forward for WoW – with expansions announced at 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017, and now 2019 – and the only outlier being Legion with Gamescom 2015, which still left the Blizzcon of that year to contain a fairly substantial amount of Legion content. The data points to the Blizzcon announcement in odd years, with only one outlier.

However, there is something of an interesting trend with him – he won’t ever accept that an expansion can be announced until the conclusion of the prior one. In 2017, we were both wrong – Gamescom came and went with no WoW 8.0 announcement, and Blizzcon came with one.

The cycle started this year when I mentioned off-handedly in Discord after a raid one night that 2019 would be an expansion reveal year at Blizzcon, and he said “so you can be wrong again?” Now, I’ll admit this set me off, mainly because of tone – he argues belligerently and standoffishly, putting himself apart and presenting no real case. Pressed by me there, he’d argue, “It’s too soon!” but provide no substantiation. When would be the correct time? No answer. Where would Blizzard announce it if not Blizzcon? No answer. Why would you believe that based on all the trending data that suggests an announcement year, especially given that they pulled out of Gamescom 2019? No answer.

What did he think they’d unveil? Patch 8.3, and only 8.3.

To be frank, and to provide the backstory needed to understand why his arguing incenses me so, I have to provide a smidge of context. My guild leader is one of the people who I used to do YouTube videos and podcasts with – and one of the main reasons I stopped doing them with the group. During most recording sessions, he’d constantly interrupt, talk over me, would impose his own ideas, and would disagree with long-winded, monotonous monologues. The stereotype of an unaware nerd, awkward and unable to read the room and the social cues unfolding, not realizing people stopped engaging with him, waiting for him to finish to reorder things and get back on track, which could sometimes take 5-10 minutes. Spending 2-3 hours to discuss under 10 stories because of this constant droning monologue interrupting any attempts to introduce stories (I played the role of host, as the person recording and editing) got really tiring, and the end result was that I quit. We did a few remote sessions after I moved, and then it just stopped – I was freed.

Given this, I figured that if he believed in his own idea enough to loudly impose it and talk so smugly about how wrong I would be, I was sure he would vocalize reasons or have a sound, good-faith debate about it.

Nope!

When the 8.3 PTR dropped in early October, his comment was that it seemed like they moved a Blizzcon panel forward to a YouTube introduction for the PTR instead. When I asked how he thought a 12 minute YouTube talk could be stretched to 60 minutes, he had no answer. I even estimated out applause breaks and presented an adjusted number, about half that of a normal panel length. No answer.

So, when Blizzcon came, I was, admittedly, looking forward to rubbing it in. I knew he would be wrong (I considered betting him my ordered WoW server blade that I would win) and I planned on turning his own arrogance against him. I loathe trolling and go to great lengths to avoid doing it in any major capacity in day to day life, but he had been such an asshole in voice comms about how sure he was that I was wrong that I felt compelled to make an exception. Especially after talking about it in badge pickup with a shared friend the prior day, who agreed that he had been a dick about it and that he wouldn’t like to admit being wrong.

So I rubbed it in, talking about how if I had been loudly proclaiming the opposite of what happened and considered myself a games analyst, that I would be ashamed of being not just wrong, but so arrogant in my wrong conclusion. His response, somewhat unsurprisingly in retrospect, was that “he was allowed to adjust his opinion based on new information” and would not concede any sort of defeat.

In the end, I realized it was just like the podcast and YouTube channel – the only way to win was to not play. But it did bring me to something I’ve always found interesting in gaming culture.

A lot of gaming arguments outside of avenues like the blogs I follow tend to be bad-faith discussions. A lot of the reason I often hesitate to discuss more substantive industry topics here is because I am aware that doing so is a siren call to the sludge monsters of the world to drop “well actually” into my comments, and I’ve been happy that my growth trajectory so far has evaded the attention of those swamp things, even as my blog was posted on famed sewage farm the MMO-Champion forums. For example, one of the biggest things I would probably have shouted in all caps back in February after the Blizzard layoffs is that gaming development needs a strong union with collective bargaining agreements and a power center to move the industry to better aid workers. I think lootboxes (including Overwatch ones!) are mentally manipulative bullshit that encourages those with addictive behaviors to push the button more than they realistically should. Also, all media is political and any attempt to pretend otherwise is a delusion or a statement that you agree with the politics present in the media in question. I could probably discuss each of those at length, and have sometimes thought about it, but I also know some of what could await at the end of that path and for a hobby, I’m largely unwilling to inflict that upon myself.

However, one of the things I like to do here is put out my predictions, however I can best distill them, and let the chips fall where they may. I’m okay with being wrong about things as long as there is a discussion – one of the reasons I stuck out that podcast/channel for as long as I did (nearly 3 full years!) is because I thought maybe enough discussion, enough time would eventually bring growth. When I was wrong about Gamescom 2017 bringing the BfA announcement, I said that out loud and owned that. However, like many of the bad gaming Twitter users I sometimes see, the sad reality is that my friends can be just as prone to arguing in bad faith and growing overly attached to their presupposed framing.

One of the reasons I started this blog (concurrent with that project) is because I was finding my desire for real, substantive discussion unfulfilled, and as I started to shift out of the very-early guide writing phase and on to the current state of things. I found a community of other bloggers who could provide that unfulfilled want, which has worked out well so far!

But ultimately, the reason I came to write this post – the guild leader that was wrong saga ends not with a fulfilling admission of error, but instead a bullheaded doubling-down.

Knowing that, I passively-aggressively Tweeted the finale on my personal account today.

The only like on that post? The guild leader who it is about.

Did I mention he has a stunning lack of self-awareness?

3 thoughts on “Gaming and Good Faith Arguments

  1. There was this private server YouTuber I used to watch who used to do this kind of thing to a mind-boggling degree.

    “Blizzard sucks now! I’m never touching retail WoW ever again!”
    “OK, so Legion just came out and I bought it, but I kind of had to, you know? All my friends were playing it… it was bound to happen.”
    “Guys, Legion is actually kind of fun! I’ll make more videos about it, I think. After all this was never meant to be a channel only about private servers!”
    “I quit Legion; it’s terrible and anyone who still gives Blizzard money is a sheep!”
    And so on and so forth.

    For all the dumb stuff this guy sometimes did, this is what eventually made me stop watching because it just made my brain hurt too much. Yes, you are allowed to change your mind, but own it if you do! If you treat every new point of view as some sacred truth that you always believed and will always believe you quickly start sounding like Big Brother from 1984. (We’ve always been at war with Eurasia!)

    Liked by 1 person

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