Lately Jess and I have been playing less and less Overwatch, down from 15-20 hours a week (if not more) to two, three or even zero hours. Without meaning to, we kind of drifted away from a game where each of us have sunk a nearly four-digit number of hours, which is easily a record for the both of us. It’s on my mind a lot lately and I really just want to get some thoughts down on paper about why that is.
A lot of it comes back to the new Role Queue system. Blizzard introduced Role Queue in July last year, strictly limiting the 6-person team to two DPS, two tanks, and two supports. If you ask Blizzard why they did this, they’ll say it was to make sure games remain “fair and fun”. If you ask literally any member of the community they will tell you in no uncertain terms it was because the GOATS composition was an unstoppable strategy which was dominating all levels of play and making things boring at best and stupid at worst.
Named after the team who invented it and used it to steamroll everyone, the GOATS composition is as simple as it is effective. Ignoring DPS entirely and only having three tanks and three healers creates an unstoppable rolling murderball of endless barriers and hitpoints with a surprising amount of damage output (mostly because some of Blizzard’s “tank” characters are just DPS characters who switched their name-tags when Jeff Kaplan’s back was turned).
Continue reading Getting Over Watch
Every union member knows that the CIA will attempt to murder them sometime, although I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be in the form of a tweet that encouraged its employees to practice deep breathing on a #wellnesswednesday. What happened to the good old fashioned ‘trip-and-fall down an elevator shaft onto some bullets’? Would it have killed them to smuggle Soviet-branded weapons into the country, put those weapons into the hands of corrupt soldiers, and then organise a masked death squad to come to my house and blame it on Russia? Would it have killed me as well? Yes, I suppose so. Fucking hell.
How is anyone supposed to deal with this level of comically absurd, transparently asinine, boringly dystopian, nightmare world hellshit? I logged off immediately following that tweet in an act of instinctual self-preservation, like the way your reptile brain engages to snatch your hand away from a fire before your higher brain functions have had their morning coffee. Feeling a bit down after organising the assassination of a democractically elected leader? Got a case of the Mondays after diverting a black ops budget into a cheeky bit of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing? Why not get yourself a standing desk? Fucking hell. Just kill me (please don’t).
Continue reading Never Tweet
Previously: Red Meat Republic, by Joshua Specht
Ethics in the Real World, Peter Singer
Before we get started: I received a copy of this book from a friend of mine as a thanks for helping them at work. The book included a personal annotation which meant, and continues to mean, a lot to me, and honestly made me tear up a little when I received it. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll forgive me for putting this book through the wringer like I have. I think the world of you and I’m so touched and grateful.
I was in Perth city in early November, catching up with an old friend. While I was waiting for him to arrive, I noticed that there was a homeless man sleeping outside the Westpac bank branch there, just across from the train station entrance. Several people commented loudly that they needed to step around the man to get into the building, and that he was inconveniencing them with his presence.
I was struck at that moment by the depressing, shitty irony of this situation: here was a man with no home, sleeping outside of a bank which owns millions of them. Even though Westpac has the means and the resources to trivially give this man a home, they deliberately do not, and they are lauded for it. Meanwhile the homeless man and anyone else in his situation are considered a problem to be managed, barely above the level of a rat or a cockroach.
Continue reading Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 3)
Previously: October, by China Mieville
Red Meat Republic: A Hoof to Table History of How Beef Changed America, by Joshua Specht
Economics as a field of study becomes a lot more interesting when you stop thinking about it as “stocks and graphs” and start thinking about it as a way of deciding who gets to eat and who doesn’t. By the same token “food” becomes a lot more interesting when you stop thinking about it as “a delicious treat for the hungry boy” and start thinking about it as a way of deciding who has any value to society.
The politics of food is an astonishing minefield that is irrevocably tied up with our beliefs around gender, race and class, and it’s one of those things that everyone would much rather not think about – why talk politics when we could simply tuck into a delicious steak, after all? Am I right? Fellas? Red Meat Republic says a big “fuck you” to that line of thinking and delves into the history of beef in America, starting right at the beginning and going all the way up to the present day, and in the process showing how despite coming so far, in many ways nothing has changed at all.
Continue reading Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 2)
In 2018, I read a bunch of books and I wrote down what I thought about them. I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to do it again this year. Let’s see if we can make this an annual thing!
I wrote a lot more words than I intended so I’ll break this up into multiple posts in order to increase the chance that someone reads it! Honestly, the things I do for you people.
October, China Mieville
Before this book was released, anyone who wanted to learn about what happened in Russia during the Revolution of 1917 you only had one choice: listening to a wheezy hardcore leftist whose Twitter bio included so many “-ist” suffixes that you needed to stop for a tea break before he had even finished introducing himself. Thanks to China Mieville, millions of people have been freed from this terrible fate and can now simply read a book instead.
Continue reading Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 1)