Child's Play can make you awesome

I'm not a fan of using images when words would do, but in this case I feel it's warranted:

Child's Play, if you're not aware of it, is a charity that gives video games, books, and toys to children's hospitals. Any child unfortunate enough to be stuck in a hospital over the holiday season is low on optimism. A donation to Child's Play isn't going to cure a disease or get someone a transplant that they need, but it stands a good chance of making a sick child happier.

My wife and I have made this a holiday ritual since the charity was born in 2003, and it's become one of our favorite parts of this time of the year.

Learn more at the charity's About page, and when you're done reading that, hit the main page to find your favorite hospital to support.

Please, be kind to some people you don't even know. Even a little bit helps, and if you give then you will be awesome for doing so.

The Most Successful Loot Systems

A friend recently asked me an offhand question about zero-sum dkp systems with a 25% monthly degeneration with a weird main/alt policy… and I could immediately rattle off the strengths and weaknesses of such a system, including where it could be subverted and where the likely problems would be down the road. Ok, so it turns out that I'm interested in loot systems and guild leadership.

So what's the goal of loot systems? Most articles I've seen about loot assignments is about getting the gear to the right place while being fair.

Well… yes. That's the stated goal. There's more, though.

Cassio, a guest blogger at World of Matticus, uncovered the truth in a post about assigning loot (emphasis mine):

In my guild, I am currently the raid leader for ten man raids and it falls onto me to sort out loot distribution and how to do so without causing problems that could destabilize the raid group and force us back due to people leaving and having to replace with new people.

In programmer speak, this is Step 0. You don't list Step 0 to the guild, but when designing a loot system, it should be first on your list.

Continue reading The Most Successful Loot Systems

But He's Been Here Forever

In my guild, we have a long-time member, I'll call him Mark. He's a good and friendly person, but he's definitely not officer material. Passive-aggressive, flaky, self-centered. Mark's been pining for officership for years.

I haven't been in officership for a while (because I've been raiding more diapers than instances), but I was surprised to learn of Mark's recent promotion to officer.

An officer friend chatted me up:

"Hey, how you doing?"

"Good. So what happened with Mark?"


"What do you mean?"

"I couldn't help but notice that he's an officer now."


"So, what happened?"


"Well, he's been here forever…"

Oh… crap. Continue reading But He's Been Here Forever

Bad Character Names

You've got a new character for a big massively multiplayer game, so you need a name. How do you come up with a good name? Good question! I might write about that another time.

This is a list of what people do wrong. It was written with both a genero-fantasy setting and a standard English keyboard in mind.

(Higher on list is less bad, lower on list is less good.)

  • Generic names: Dragon. Angel. Valor.
  • "Foreign" Language words: Grande. Ikimasho. (Foreign to you is not foreign to all–you'd laugh at a character whose name was "Big" or "Let's go!")
  • Jammed words: Dragonangel. Burningcat.
  • Meta: An undead named Rotting. A tauren named Beefcake.
  • Out of game context (OOC): Chuck. Spaceship.
  • Unoriginal: Legolas. Drizzt.
  • Jammed and meta: Deathknight.
  • Jammed and OOC: Chucknorris. Brucewillis. Captainplanet.
  • Jammed and meta and OOC: Undeadfred.
  • Jammed and talking to the reader: Ucantseeme. Pwnyou. Imdeath. (Personally, I always choose the most obtuse nickname possible for these kind of names: "See you later, Imd." "My nickname is supposed to be Death <cry>")
  • Unoriginal and late: Llegolass. Driiiiiiizzt.
  • Unoriginal and late and jammed: Elflegolas. Deathknightt.
  • Prescription drug name: Propecia. Celexa. (Although given enough time, pharma could eliminate the genero-fantasy namespace)
  • Swapped characters: Dragòn. (previously discussed: Text-based game, yet I cannot type your name.)
  • Unoriginal and swapped: Lêgolâs.
  • Unoriginal and swapped and late: Elflêgolâs.
  • Political statements of any kind: Nobama. Mclame. (Your political views are uninteresting in a game context.)
  • Jammed and talking to reader and swapped: Üçântsêêmê.

The order of these gets hairy in the middle and is to taste, although I feel pretty solid about the top and bottom.

Thanks to the readers who helped with ideas.

Did I forget anything? Is there a name worse than Üçântsêêmê?