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Author Topic: [D&D4E] Some WOTC encounters  (Read 7210 times)
Callan S.
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« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2011, 05:23:15 PM »

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For hobbyists, though, I think both usually co-exist in varying degrees.
They can't co-exist if one isn't actually physically enabled. You can't cross a finish line that doesn't exist, no matter how much that enables the people who like pottering around and meandering. The funny thing is people can and do putter about in chess games with each other, even though it's structure is set in stone. Setting in stone doesn't disable that sort of activity.

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Even for people who totally play to win, there must be some means to choose between this game and that, and I expect that is the play experience.  Which I think is an adequate explanation for why competitive players are still found in games like RPG's with fuzzy conditions.
Perhaps, like myself for quite some time, they think they are learning a structure, when all they are learning are others moment to moment whims glased over with a veneer of genuine rules, but which are mere fragments and are easily co-opted to any end those whims feel like from moment to moment.

And I think often the fuzzy conditions are treated as having to be there (or perhaps otherwise it's 'not a roleplay game') not as a choice, but like it's a law of nature, like gravity and you just accept it and never think about it as if it were a choice. So if one is sticking around with fuzzy RPG's trying to design ones way out by removing the fuzzyness, one can only leave by oneself. Which conflicts with the idea of having multiple players and so on and so forth, blah blah blah ugh.
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contracycle
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« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2011, 11:17:23 PM »

That seems a little OTT to me; as already discussed, you can measure a whole bunch of things in order to determine relative success. 

Which would take more competitve pleasure in, as a player of countersrike?  A game where you won, but in which you didn't even fire your gun and your team-mates did everything, or a game in which your team was gunned down in the first 3 seconds, and you alone hunted down all the opposition and got within half a second of defusing the bomb?  I think the second is a much better demonstration of ability, even if it was ultimaterly and formally a loss.  Thos other measures, especially peer respect, are not trivial and insubstantial things.

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Perhaps, like myself for quite some time, they think they are learning a structure, when all they are learning are others moment to moment whims glased over with a veneer of genuine rules, but which are mere fragments and are easily co-opted to any end those whims feel like from moment to moment.

I'm not ruling that out.  There may well be people having that experience, it seems perfectly plausible to me.  As for fuzziness, I'm still not convinced that is a solveable problem, but itmight be.  Hence it seems to me a bit early to talk about being a choice, because at the moment there are no obviously available alternatives.  I'll mention, though, that Rune, which is about as clearly competitve a game as ever seen in RPG, doesn't seem to have attracted a significant following.

Come to think of it, Rune encounters might be interesting to you as a comparison against the WOTC ones, here are a few:
http://blewer-d.tripod.com/runemain.htm
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Callan S.
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« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2011, 12:13:54 AM »

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Which would take more competitve pleasure in, as a player of countersrike?  A game where you won, but in which you didn't even fire your gun and your team-mates did everything, or a game in which your team was gunned down in the first 3 seconds, and you alone hunted down all the opposition and got within half a second of defusing the bomb?  I think the second is a much better demonstration of ability, even if it was ultimaterly and formally a loss.  Thos other measures, especially peer respect, are not trivial and insubstantial things.
I think if you want to learn how to always be a half second short, taking the possitive feedback for that will do it. I'm not against taking pride in small, made up victories - in quake live (vs bots, mostly) when I started I would congrats myself for even hitting the bastards once. But it was always made up and most importantly, not sufficient.

There was a David Sirlin article about a player in a mmorpg who got a bad name, because he would teleport the other sides groups into unkillable robot NPC's who would ahnihilate. And alot of people, even on his side of the game (the hero's side in city of heroes) hated him. They'd gotten used to 'not doing that' and 'that's not how you play'. Which is exactly what happens when you count peer approval higher than any particular win condition. You basically start making up and adhering to taboos. Superstitions. Or Sirlin would more bluntly just call them scrub players.

And If your constantly doing relatively nothing while winning, you've pretty much mastered that game (or atleast that team role). There, done, another notch in the belt! If you think it's notch worthy, of course. But your asking is it satisfying enough to keep playing? But all I can say is it isn't a matter of satisfaction and instead it appears I have mastered the game. Whether I enjoyed myself or not, I am done?

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I'm not ruling that out.  There may well be people having that experience, it seems perfectly plausible to me.  As for fuzziness, I'm still not convinced that is a solveable problem, but itmight be.  Hence it seems to me a bit early to talk about being a choice, because at the moment there are no obviously available alternatives.  I'll mention, though, that Rune, which is about as clearly competitve a game as ever seen in RPG, doesn't seem to have attracted a significant following.
I have looked at pages about Rune before and I may have read it wrong, but it seems to employ no 'imagination couplers' as I call them. It's all a hard flowchart.

In current design trends, they always seem to go absolutely for one end of the spectrum or the other. Either the GM can call for any difficulty he wants and is only constrained by made up taboos (see above) as well as golden rule BS all over the place, or the flowchart of the game is utterly dominant like chess or Rune.

A simple example of an imagination coupler more in between is that the GM has a set amount of points per session and the ruleset itself calls for certain skill rolls, but the GM spends his points to determine the difficulty based on his own responce to the prior spoken fiction (or the shared imagined space as it's usually called here). This couples the spoken fiction to actual concrete numbers, converting one into the other. Yet since it works from a budget and the skill call is determined by rules instead of the GM, the GM's influence on the outcome is much more muted. But without becoming an absolute boardgame. Oh, and this happens in play. I know with Rune you build encounters before the event. But that's before the moment. Probably what makes Rune seem rpg like to it's developers is where the designer actually spent his budget mid play, after hearing spoken fiction. Which makes it a clumsy imagination coupler, since it takes time to spend that budget and as I understand it not really how it's designed to be used.

Anyway, I'm always surprised at how binary the designs go - either the GM is incredibly dominant, only held back by social taboos (which really have nothing to do with the game and are simply the silly things we do as people), or they go straight to full on board game in the design.
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contracycle
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« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2011, 09:12:44 PM »

I think if you want to learn how to always be a half second short, taking the possitive feedback for that will do it. I'm not against taking pride in small, made up victories - in quake live (vs bots, mostly) when I started I would congrats myself for even hitting the bastards once. But it was always made up and most importantly, not sufficient.

Well I think that's a bit overstated.  I don't think silver medallists in an Olympic event are thereby conditioned to seek silver medals in the future.  I think they'll take away from that a sense that they were "nearly good enough" and that with a little (lot) more training and effort they could have the gold.  But in that regard it's also much more enouraging than coming dead last.

As for your City of Heroes example, I think you're assuming a bit too much about what is going on.  I suggest that much of the objection could easily have derived from exactly the motive I suggested - that people want to play a certain kind of game, and that was what they signed up for.  Winning in a manner that prevents them from having the play experience (fun) they want does indeed totally defeat the purpose, for them.  To dismiss them as "scrub players" is to hold them to some presumed standard which may well be a totally false expectation of what they "should" be doing.

In a similar light, there's a large community of players of Battlefield 2 that eliminate vehicles in the game.  They find the fun of running around as infantry more entertaining than the game being full of vehicles; and one of the main reasons for that is that specifically the aircraft were so powerful that if you chose or had to play as infantry it could get into a boring cycle of spawn-die-spawn-die ad infinitum.  Under those circumstances, the only people having fun were the pilots, and everyone else was grinding their teeth (there were other negative consequences, such as people killing friendlies to get planes).  This was recognised by the designers who introduced a server switch to remove vehicles, and lo and behold it was very popular.

I don't think that it is valid to argue that such preferences amount to excessive regard for peer approval, or an insufficient commitment to victory.  There is an aesthetic choice about what kind of game they want to play based on the content and the experience it offers.  And that, I think, is a point relevant to why people choose to play one game or another, or to play with certain "restrictions" or whatever you want to call them.

As for Rune, I'd have to read it again to be sure, but I vaguely think there is some kind of limited budget for introducing new problems in play, with the significance that unspent points can be carried over as XP to the GM's character when they rotate into a players seat.  But I don't recall with any precision.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2011, 10:19:25 PM »

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I don't think that it is valid to argue that such preferences amount to excessive regard for peer approval, or an insufficient commitment to victory.
I don't think I'm arguing 'insufficient'. I'm saying they are not playing to win. I'm not saying people have to play to win. It is, however, difficult when someone demands they are a 'play to win' guy, but avoids perfectly legitimate and intended game elements - ie, as Sirlin example, the guy who says 'Throws are cheap!'. It's about as different as a nar/sim agenda clash.

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that people want to play a certain kind of game, and that was what they signed up for.  Winning in a manner that prevents them from having the play experience (fun) they want does indeed totally defeat the purpose, for them.  To dismiss them as "scrub players" is to hold them to some presumed standard which may well be a totally false expectation of what they "should" be doing.
Gareth, I don't think I've drawn the 'should' gun first? Are your example players, who have had their purpose defeated, about to draw the 'should gun', as in what the other guy 'should' do? To me it sounds like using victim status to determine others actions. They've had their purpose defeated - this implies that someone else must do something other than what they were prior doing, as I read it? A new taboo?

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but I vaguely think there is some kind of limited budget for introducing new problems in play
Yes, but this is introducing a new problem. What I'm describing is simply introducing material. Maybe with my coupler example the players, from their subjective position, will see the difficulty introduced as easy, or hard, or whatever. The GM just depicting, without any real intent. As opposed to traditional GM'ing where the GM thinks 'Oh, they skipped having a short rest, should I tone down the next encounter - I really must decide my intent on this! And that's actually an example from the 4th edition dungeon masters guide.
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contracycle
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« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2011, 07:35:23 AM »

I don't think I'm arguing 'insufficient'. I'm saying they are not playing to win. I'm not saying people have to play to win. It is, however, difficult when someone demands they are a 'play to win' guy, but avoids perfectly legitimate and intended game elements - ie, as Sirlin example, the guy who says 'Throws are cheap!'. It's about as different as a nar/sim agenda clash.

Well if that is what you are saying, then I'm just going to have to say you are wrong.  As I have already pointed out, you don't seemt able to explain why people choose to play one game or sport over another.  If the only goal is "winning", why isn't flipping coins the ultimate game?  You get to win roughly half the time, and you can repeat the exsperience instantly.  The answer is, "its cool/fun to fly planes and dogfight" or "it's cool/fun to fight with swords" or whatever it might be.

You talk about legitimate and intended game elements, and that is apparently the case with the Sirlin example (which I have read) but I would argue that its not true, or not necessarily true, with the City of Heroes or BF2 example.  In both cases, many if not most of the players don't get to do what it was they signed up to do.  That is a matter at right angles to whether they are playing to win or not.  In fact what is happening is that intended game elements are being lost.  The CoH players don't get to zap people with their heat rays or whatever, and a whole bunch of dynamics around infantry squads was suppressed in BF2.  Just becuase a game is designed in a certain way doesn't mean there can't be unintended consequences which only come to light when it is in the hands of large numbers of players who, yes, are playing to win.

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Gareth, I don't think I've drawn the 'should' gun first? Are your example players, who have had their purpose defeated, about to draw the 'should gun', as in what the other guy 'should' do? To me it sounds like using victim status to determine others actions. They've had their purpose defeated - this implies that someone else must do something other than what they were prior doing, as I read it? A new taboo?

You're interpolating too much.  The BF2 server switch I mentioned solved the problem neatly - those who wanted infantry only servers set them up and played on them.  The air players were still happy; the infantry players were happy because they got to do their infantry thing, and Dice and EA were happy because it prevented players from leaving.  Instead of lecturing people about "not playing to win", they fixed the problem.

I think you go to far in ruling out the possibly of aesthetic, experiential differences, and concentrate too much on assuming or presuming that all such differences are based on attitudes to winning. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a shooter game, sometimes for a flying game, sometimes for lancing from horseback.  My attitude to winning doesn't change at the same time.

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Yes, but this is introducing a new problem. What I'm describing is simply introducing material.

Well Universalis has a system by which introducing anything at all is budgetary.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2011, 11:39:13 AM »

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As I have already pointed out, you don't seemt able to explain why people choose to play one game or sport over another.  If the only goal is "winning", why isn't flipping coins the ultimate game?  You get to win roughly half the time, and you can repeat the exsperience instantly.  The answer is, "its cool/fun to fly planes and dogfight" or "it's cool/fun to fight with swords" or whatever it might be.
Gareth, you seem to be treating your own answer for how a person chooses as the entire spectrum and there is nothing outside of that? Are you making that claim, that your answer is the entire spectrum? If so, I'll shrug. If not, I'll say the coin toss is already as mastered as one can get it. Some people don't play for pleasure as first and only priority, they play to master an activity. Then seek out another one to master. This hinges on the idea of games as being some sort of training for real life, like the lion cub pouncing on it's sibling is play, yet training for hunting. Games that have a practical use, not just a pure pleasure function. While if you only take games as efforts purely in the spectrum of pressing the users fun/cool brain buttons, I can see how the only method of choice would, in that circumstance, appear to be to choose what is fun or cool to you.

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Just becuase a game is designed in a certain way doesn't mean there can't be unintended consequences which only come to light when it is in the hands of large numbers of players who, yes, are playing to win.
If the game designers take responsibility for their design, there aren't unintended consequences. Everything is their intent, even if in a 'Yeah, that's my mistake' way. Have you read Sirlin's warcraft article, where he points out how apparently it's against terms of service to travel to certain parts of WOW - but why do that, why not have an invisible wall? Basically, when it comes to responsibility, you give authority a waiver, if I'm reading you right - you place the responsibility on the player who is stopping the others players from 'getting to do what it was they signed up to do'. I'm not pitching you a moral imperitive here, not saying what you should do, just describing the structure I'm left thinking you work from.

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Instead of lecturing people about "not playing to win", they fixed the problem.
Well, you describe it as a problem, which was what I refered to. To me, your just describing a previously unforfilled preference. The people who signed up for a certain experience are just missing out on a preference of theirs. There is no problem, unless the designers goal was to forfil that particular preference to begin with.

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Yes, but this is introducing a new problem. What I'm describing is simply introducing material.

Well Universalis has a system by which introducing anything at all is budgetary.
If introducing material without intent were a dial, universalis has it turned up to 11. I think my imagination coupler example has the dial at about one or two.
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contracycle
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« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2011, 04:43:08 PM »

Gareth, you seem to be treating your own answer for how a person chooses as the entire spectrum and there is nothing outside of that?

No, I'm objecting to you doing that.

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Some people don't play for pleasure as first and only priority, they play to master an activity. Then seek out another one to master. This hinges on the idea of games as being some sort of training for real life, like the lion cub pouncing on it's sibling is play, yet training for hunting.

I've argued that very point myself.  But Its tangential, because if the activity is obviated, it can't be mastered. 

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If the game designers take responsibility for their design, there aren't unintended consequences.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

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Basically, when it comes to responsibility, you give authority a waiver, if I'm reading you right - you place the responsibility on the player who is stopping the others players from 'getting to do what it was they signed up to do'. I'm not pitching you a moral imperitive here, not saying what you should do, just describing the structure I'm left thinking you work from.

Well I don't see how you are being anything other than moralist if you are insisting that it is impossible for there to be accidents in design and therefore that any unhappiness or frustration demonstrates some sort of personal failing.  I'm presenting a pretty anodyne alternative - aesthetic and contextual preferences differ.

I'm not interested in "responsibility" - in my experience its just a word which people use to point fingers and lay blame.  What I am interested in is practicalities and solutions.

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Well, you describe it as a problem, which was what I refered to. To me, your just describing a previously unforfilled preference. The people who signed up for a certain experience are just missing out on a preference of theirs. There is no problem, unless the designers goal was to forfil that particular preference to begin with.

Which it pretty much was, as they had designed several systems to support it.

We're talking about people who play games, for fun and to a degree personal fulfillment of a sort.  It seems obvious to me, given the broad array of game topics in every sort of game medium, that the content matters to people.  I don't think it's useful to describe those preferences as some sort of failure to play to win.  Which is why, as I initially suggested, I don't find it surprising that there are some people who, while motivated by winning, find themselves attracted to RPG's because of their content, even if they are not the best vehicle for clear cut victories.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2011, 07:13:12 PM »

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Gareth, you seem to be treating your own answer for how a person chooses as the entire spectrum and there is nothing outside of that?
No, I'm objecting to you doing that.
I think I recognised atleast one other method of simply playing above, ie choosing simply for pleasure purposes. I'm sure that should be enough for some common ground there, but it isn't and I don't know why at all - until I can figure that break in common ground, I'm just at a standstill? I wont dare on answering the rest, given the gap that seems to have appeared here?

Are you saying I don't recognise 'different ways of playing to win'? In terms of where someone says 'throws are cheap, you can't do them!', your right, I don't recognise that as play to win. I do recognise it as some sort of play method though.
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contracycle
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« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2011, 04:02:57 AM »

You're not recognising that person A may choose to play game A, and person B may choose to play game B, and that this choice has nothing to do with whether or not they honestly playing to win, but simply for from an interest in the activities of which games A and B are comprised.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2011, 04:26:52 PM »

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that this choice has nothing to do with whether or not they honestly playing to win, but simply for from an interest in the activities of which games A and B are comprised.
If I'm reading you right, Gareth, you seem to include no chance that person A & B are doing anything other than this. You seem to be saying everyone does this? As I said, from my evaluation your confusing your answer on how they choose for the entire spectrum. While I grant some people, even alot of people, do exactly what you say, not all do. The spectrum is wider than that. I can atleast see two ways of choosing.

But if I'm reading right, you don't - both A and B and everyone else chooses by the method you describe. Okay, if that's what your saying, I've heard it. We just don't share enough common ground to talk about the rest of the stuff by my estimate, as all that stuff uses that ground as its foundation.
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Anders Gabrielsson
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« Reply #41 on: August 09, 2011, 09:44:52 PM »

I know I'm jumping in the middle here, but that doesn't seem to be what he's saying at all.

But what if he is? Can you give an example of someone playing a game (in the context of this discussion) who does it without interest in the activities comprising that game?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2011, 12:13:12 AM »

I haven't mentioned anyone compromising the game. I've mentioned people using everything that is there, within the arena of the game, to win. I can recall recently on RPG.net about even online saying people exploit the meta game or some negative term, by reading an opposing corps forum. But then someone else said CCP corp (makers of eve) said that's valid. So you can either stick with the superstitious taboo or you can opt to read opposing corp forums for advantage.

When it's within the arena the maker of the game set, it's valid, it's not compromising the game. It might compromise someones sense of how the game is played, but if they lose and the 'compromiser' wins, they are someone who can't accept they lost. Another account on RPG.net was of a poster who said he got a duel challenge from someone - the poster wasn't very good with his class, but accepted. The thing was, the challenger expected him to do the classic moves of the class, which he knew how to counter. Except the poster didn't know the class or those moves and so, curiously enough, won from being erratic. The challenger exploded into a fit of rage, calling the poster a noob and didn't know how to play. Telling this to the guy who had won.

So sometimes, what seems to be compromising the game, it is really just ones inability to accept reality. It happens sometimes. I remember in warhammer quest losing half my gold to a random fire encounter...which at higher levels is thousands...but I'll hide that little skeleton...
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contracycle
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« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2011, 12:17:08 AM »

If I'm reading you right, Gareth, you seem to include no chance that person A & B are doing anything other than this.

No, obviously not.  Persons A & B might have any number of relevant motivations - playing a game because their friend plays it, for example.

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But if I'm reading right, you don't - both A and B and everyone else chooses by the method you describe.

Nonsense.  I said nothing of the sort, and nothing that even be contstrued as saying that.

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While I grant some people, even alot of people, do exactly what you say, not all do.

Well, like Anders, I'm not sure why they would play a game, short of being compelled, if they had not interest in its content.  But if you are willing to acknowledge that people do actually have content preferences, than I suggest again that describing all conflicts over content as originating from "scrub players" is self-evidently mistaken.
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contracycle
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« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2011, 12:18:48 AM »

I haven't mentioned anyone compromising the game.

Neither did Anders.
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