Categories: "Misc"

A Wiki In The Age Of Reddit

  01:12:00 pm, by   , 568 words  
Viewed 3433 times since 04/08/14
Categories: Elder Scrolls, Misc, UESP

I originally penned this post back in September of 2013 and left it as a draft. It's interesting that I saw the same things then that Damon sees now. It makes me wish I had posted it back then rather than wait until now.

UESP is the best Wiki in the world when it comes to The Elder Scrolls games. How do I know this? When Dave (owner and founder of UESP) went to the Beer Garden festival and spoke to the creators of The Elder Scrolls Online, they told him they used UESP as a source. That’s right. When they couldn’t remember something, or needed information, one of the places they turned to was the UESP Wiki! Besides that being crazy cool, it is also telling of how well put together this Wiki is. Major props to everyone who has worked on the Wiki. Phenomenal work.

So where do we go from here? The world is changing, evolving, getting faster and more connected. Gone are the days when established sites were first to get the scoops, releasing them on a time table. Instead, rumors and news swirl around at a hundred miles an hour on sites like Reddit. Creators are actively engaging their supporters directly through Twitter. Projects that would never have seen the light of day are now getting fully funded through crowd-sourcing their capital at sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The world is getting smaller and more interactive at a blistering pace. Can a Wiki keep up? Is it still the best way to relay information to the masses demanding it? Are cold hard facts enough for a generation who has grown up questioning whether there is such a thing as truth? I don’t know.

When UESP started back in 1995 as The Unofficial Daggerfall FAQ, the web was just getting started. Sites were popping up left and right. They were written in HTML and maybe AJAX. They didn’t change very often, and most weren’t open to public commentary, let alone public editing. When the format of the UESP changed to a Wiki in 2005 (ten years later) it was a huge leap forward. It opened the floodgates for anyone with information to create, edit and improve the information held in the site. It has worked well thus far, and is still effective in being able to deliver its content to its audience, but what of the future?

We are two short years away from the twenty year anniversary of the UESP as a whole, and the ten year anniversary of it as a Wiki. As with anything, if a site stays unchanging it can easily become outdated and irrelevant to the world around it. Don’t get me wrong. I love the UESP and use it exclusively for my Elder Scrolls games information. My question to you, as a userbase, as co-creators of this site, is what should the UESP look like in the future? Is the Wiki format powerful enough and engaging enough for the generation that are just now getting online, or playing their first Elder Scrolls game? Will UESP change? Should it change? And if so, how? These are all questions that need to be asked, thought about, and answered. I want UESP to be around for my kids and grandkids to enjoy, and I want it to be a place that they would enjoy coming to.

The question remains, and needs to be answered.

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Damon's Throwback Thursday Post

  07:45:00 pm, by Damon   , 563 words  
Viewed 4319 times since 03/27/14
Categories: Games, Elder Scrolls, Misc

In recognition of twenty years of The Elder Scrolls, let’s bring UESP’s blog into the “Throwback Thursday” trend with a reminiscing blog post about my first encounter with the Elder Scrolls series. I say Morrowind was my first experience with it, and in a sense it was. It’s my first in-depth experience that got me into the series, but my very, very first time touching a TES game is what I’m talking about now.

Back in 2007 or 2008, I was hanging out with my friend at his house, and he had Oblivion on his laptop and was playing it when he offered to let me have a run at it. Where do I start? I guess from the beginning would be the most appropriate.

The Imperial City

I remember the chills I got when Uriel’s sorrowful face came up on the screen and he touched the glowing Amulet of Kingsand started his opening speech: “I was born eighty-seven years ago...” It was very awe-inspiring to see the gates to Oblivion opening and to see Daedric forces and siege engines marching towards the gateway to Tamriel. Then, the cut to Tamriel and the fly-over of Lake Rumare and the Imperial City and architecture not like anything I’ve seen before. The theme song was amazing at this point in the cutscene: It always gives me chills to hear that crescendo and then the break to silence.

Then, of course, character creation. With the exception of Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, I hadn't had much experience with completely open games, and never with roleplaying games like TES. Honestly, it was a little intimidating to look at all these different buttons and choices with no idea how it would affect gameplay. There were so many strange races that were utterly alien to me to choose from, like the Argonians and Khajiit, to even various elves. I can't remember exactly what I selected, but after a lot of "What do I choose?" and "You choose and do whatever you like" as a reply, I came up with something.

The very first thing I did was run around in my cell hitting the chains and tossing my dishes around. There weren't many games at that time that I played that had detail such as that, and it was very much the most amusing thing I did that day, running around in the Imperial underground interacting with objects.

After listening to a certain charming Dark Elf and then escaping out the sewers after over an hour of looking at every nook and cranny I could reach, I was exposed to a a large lake and the most beautiful scenery ever. Most importantly, I was right next to this huge city or palace or fortress that I saw in the opening cutscene just before, and I set off up the hill to find a way to get inside and explore.

I can't remember much else about that first hour or two playing Oblivion, and all things considered, it doesn't matter. But, what's always stuck with me was this initial overwhelming sense of curiosity (and in some instances fear) of what I could find and discover in this world I found myself in.

Happy Birthday to The Elder Scrolls, and thanks Bethesda for giving me one of my greatest passions and all the memories and experiences that came with the last half-decade of playing The Elder Scrolls!

Damon's New Blog Post (Can't think of a creative title)

  08:35:00 pm, by Damon   , 314 words  
Viewed 3645 times since 02/14/14
Categories: Misc

While playing Baldur's Gate, I was contemplating what the revival of a character meant for roleplaying purposes, and I started to think a little broader than just the game. This has lead me to come up with several questions:

If we possessed arcane abilities and were capable of resurrecting a recently deceased person, should we? Does a spirit, for lack of a better term, remember their death and circumstances related to it upon being reunited with their body? Have we just agonised them with the simple act of using such arcane power to force their spirit from whatever afterlife exists in order to make it bind with its corpse again?

Honestly, it can be argued either way, and this comes across as being one of those many deep, controversial debates regarding ethics and morals. I, at least, feel like the ability to cheat death shouldn't be taken lightly, and is in essence no different than necromantic magic, no matter how honourable the intent is. 

While it could be argued that a cleric restoring life to the deceased to live their life as they wish is different than a sorcerer reviving the deceased to serve as their servant, looking at the processes, it's fundamentally the same. Without giving specifics on the process, since there is no way at all that man in its current state could know or possess such ability, what's the difference? A person or creature's spirit has been separated from their body, and willingly or unwillingly, depending on how such a process works, would be rejoined with a corpse that the performer has selected, typically their own in the case of a holy cleric, for example.

We are also looking at the cheapening of the experience of life. Why would life be experienced to the fullest and treated as the special thing it is when you can redo whatever you failed at?

Rating Pilots: Doing TV Execs Jobs for Them

  05:52:00 pm, by Jeancey   , 540 words  
Viewed 4250 times since 02/12/14
Categories: TV/Movies, Web

Amazon Studios, which is the studio half of Amazon Instant Video, released 10 new pilots last week for everyone to watch, rate, and choose from. This is part of their new strategy to replace TV, but more importantly, replace Netflix as the hub of all original internet TV programming.  What makes Amazon's strategy different is that instead of having executives decide what the consumer wants, Amazon is letting the consumers decide for themselves. There are many issues solved by this, but also several problems raised as well.

The first issue solved by creating TV shows this way is that it is much, much more cost effective.  Instead of finding out that the show you spent millions of dollars creating is terrible and no one likes it as soon as it is released, Amazon can find out that no one likes the concept for just tens of thousand dollars, the cost of a single episode. Likewise, once it finds a show that people like, they can be assured that the show will then do well, as everyone has already commented on it. This will allow them to produce more popular shows than Netflix or any of the traditional TV studios.

The second issue solved by doing this is that it allows for more variety for the consumer to choose from. Because the cost of a single episode is so low, Amazon can produce many pilots when Netflix can only produce one or two full new shows in a given year. This means that if the consumer doesn't like one of Netflix's new shows, they are out of luck, but if they don't like one of Amazon's pilots, they have another nine to choose from. This variety could also allow for shows that traditionally haven't done well in prime time to find a place to come into their own and thrive. Genres like steampunk could find a home here. Also (and why this is somewhat relevant to the blog) video game based TV shows could be created, whereas in the mainstream TV world, they would never get passed the pitch table.

One of the problems that is newly created by this format would be actor availability. Let's say you shoot a pilot with Actor A.  That shooting takes place, a month later the pilot is released to the public, two months of ratings and commentings and then the pilot is greenlit as a full show.  In the three months since Actor A shot the pilot, he has now been cast in a large movie production and your star actor from the pilot is no longer available to shoot a full TV season. This can be mitigated somewhat by drafting a preliminary contract for the actor before shooting the pilot, but that would defeat one of the purposes of the pilot to the people format, being able to quickly and cheaply cut shows which don't do well without spending large amounts of money on them.

While these aren't the only issues solved by this format, nor is this problem the only one raised by it, Amazon Studios has certainly found an extremely unique way of getting its product to the masses.  You can read a review of several of the new TV pilots here.

The Purpose of Gaming? (drunken musings are fun)

  06:57:06 pm, by Damon   , 363 words  
Viewed 33042 times since 09/09/13
Categories: Misc

Two posts within days of each other! Won't happen again, but this is something I've been pondering recently: Why do we play games? In fact, this could apply to many things, such as movies, music, books, and so on. I've always been curious what is so enthralling about modern media?

Ever since art, ranging from painting to books to movies and games, there has always been an effort to put you into the world that piece wants to convey. At first, games were popular as a novelty, then as they became more mainstream and used to kill time, were used more and more often, and some people can spend hours at a time at a game. Why is that?

For me, and I am sure that many people agree with me, the reason I game or listen to that perfect song that tells the perfect story, or re-read that well written novel is because I want to escape.

Escapism. To lose myself in a world of fantasy that is far from what the normal world would present to me. To experience a novel life not experienced normally and to be what I want to be and live how I want to. To escape from the mundane, and become the supernatural. Even the worst case scenario in a video game still portrays a certain... Feeling. It's one of those hard to explain things, that you know is there, but can't logically explain. It's a beautiful, yet strange concept, being able to plug in to another world and be told a story alongside a series of pixels and code lines that make up a poor smith or a king, and feel like you belong.

I know what I want to say, but I am half asleep and wanting beer, so I probably don't make sense, and I definitely don't know how to say this. I normally close my posts to comments because of spam and stuff, but I'll leave them open. I am curious why people play games, why we seek escapism over real life, and so on and so forth.

The various inebriating substances are calling me, so I'm out for a while. Later.