GWJ Conference Call Episode 613

Dragon Quest Heroes 2, Battle Chef Brigade, FIFA 2018, Gatekeeping in Gaming, Your Emails and More!

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Summer Dayz continue this week with Allen, Lara and Shawn holding it down and talking about Gatekeeping in gaming culture.

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00:01:23 FIFA 2018
00:10:22 Dragon Quest Heroes 2
00:16:32 Battle Chef Brigade
00:18:17 Hollow Knight
00:20:35 Slay the Spire
00:21:23 PC Building Simulator
00:24:00 Reactionary Gatekeeping in Gaming
00:50:48 Your Emails

Unfortunately Shawn didn't tell me that you could basically be Purple Hawke in Alex Hunter, which of course changes everything. So, obviously, we need to re-record this episode right now.

...Shawn did say stick on the ice, right?

Shawn, I posit that story in sports games works for you and not story in puzzle games because you’ve been following sport stories your whole life. One third of all the commentary during the live sports you’ve watched and most of pre-game productions is ‘Joe came from a good school where he was selected for the all-country team, and he lead his team to the finals....last year as a rookie he fell short, but some say it’s because....now as a young veteran we want to see if he can live up to the challenge......’. Has anyone ever had that connection to puzzles?

I was really confused about the gate keeping discussion. It probably doesn't help that I listen at work, but it really seems like there was an impression completely opposite to what actually happened in this case unless you were referring to her as the gatekeeper. Then again she would have been fired from any job I have ever worked when she celebrated Total Biscuit's death publicly.

Brennok wrote:

I was really confused about the gate keeping discussion. It probably doesn't help that I listen at work, but it really seems like there was an impression completely opposite to what actually happened in this case unless you were referring to her as the gatekeeper. Then again she would have been fired from any job I have ever worked when she celebrated Total Biscuit's death publicly.

Yeah it got kind of hard to listen to their opinions when they seem to have been misinformed and don't know the details of what actually happened.

It was clear that Price doesn't agree with Arenanet's policies on social media. So it was best that they parted ways before similar incident happens again.

Brennok and Bhaal05, I hate to break it to you, but you are the ones who are misinformed or misheard what the GWJCC was trying to say.
I’m a Guild Wars fan but I have absolutely no qualms in saying that ArenaNet and Mike O’Brien are in the wrong here. This was just one more instance of a man explaining a woman’s job to her. This has happens every day and it’s exhausting. We’re sick and tired of it. We’re exhausting of having to tread softly because we might hurt your manfeelings. Enough is enough, and she was absolutely right to push back. And ArenaNet should’ve stood by her. Shame on them for throwing her to the wolves and giving in to the vocal minority.
I suggest this solid article : https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/201...

As for TotalBiscuit, she didn’t celebrate his death, she said she wouldn’t shed any tears over it. That man had displayed gross disrespect to women and people of color and had goaded his followers into attacking them. That’s quite different.

What Eleima said.

As for TotalBiscuit, she didn’t celebrate his death, she said she wouldn’t shed any tears over it. That man had displayed gross disrespect to women and people of color and had goaded his followers into attacking them. That’s quite different.

not to mention being transphobic towards an actual respected member of this forum. so...there's that, too.

I thought the podcast covered the subject very well. This episode of Waypoint Radio is also a well rounded look at the Arena Net thing.

Brennok wrote:

Then again she would have been fired from any job I have ever worked when she celebrated Total Biscuit's death publicly.

She was actually rather nice as I recall. If she was honest she'd have said he was a transphobic POS who was a bigot and banner carrier for GG. The world was improved by his death, and would have been improved more if he died sooner.

Instead she just said something along the lines of "at least he can't hurt anyone else.'

Bhaal05 wrote:

Yeah it got kind of hard to listen to their opinions when they seem to have been misinformed and don't know the details of what actually happened.

No, what happened is public record, it all happened online. Some rando explained to Price how to do her job, exasperated she got a bit testy. The Mike O'Brien caved to the worst elements of fandom by (Hat tip to Rob Zacny for this) by proudly displaying their severed heads for daring to stand up to "the community."

Guild Wars 2 is one of my favourite games of all time. I've had Guild Wars 1 installed on my PC since 2006. I will never spend money on the game again and will actively try to dissuade people from playing.

I thought the conversation was very good and had meant to post a couple additional thoughts.

To both Brennok and Bhaal05 - they went to lengths to frame the conversation first all as not specifically about the ArenaNet situation only highlighting that it occurring was a reminder of the frequency of these things happening.

As for the conversation itself, Lara was excellent with her points and I was glad to hear Shawn and Allen becoming more comfortable that they should be contributing to the conversation as well. It doesn't need to be a member of the group being put down that needs to speak up. We should all be doing that.

One last point is that there was some discussion that the game companies think dismissing people in this way makes sense economically - that they suffer no consequences if they bow to bully pressure. It's another reason the rest of us need to be speaking up as well. Hiring and retaining talented developers has an enormous cost to any organization. Why would you want to work at a place that bails on you at the slightest confrontation? Why would you want to work at place that fires your co-worker - and disproportionately these have been women - over something like this? Those same companies should understand that cost as well.

I'm not interested in litigating what Price and Fries did or didn't do. It's a matter of public record, and our conversation only very briefly touched on this. But I did want to reply to this:

Brennok wrote:

I was really confused about the gate keeping discussion. It probably doesn't help that I listen at work, but it really seems like there was an impression completely opposite to what actually happened in this case unless you were referring to her as the gatekeeper.

Price wasn't being a gatekeeper. The "fans" calling for her firing and her excommunication from the industry were. Same as the Nintendo "fans" going after Alison Rapp, or the gamer "fans" that went after Zoe Quinn, or the ones that used to come after me, and so on, and so on, ad infinitem, until the eventual heat death of the universe.

As a white 30-something American male, the topic seemed to be covered as adequately as the group could, but really I felt myself not interested in Shawn's or Allen's views much and wanted to hear a lot more from Lara and was very glad whenever she explained her disagreements with those two, but was at least quite satisfied when they acknowledged that they are all white.

Making me now realize: has the GWJ conference call itself unintentionally put itself in the position of having completed over 600 episodes with no or almost no on-podcast participation of anyone who isn't white?

- - -

Eleima wrote:

This was just one more instance of a man explaining a woman’s job to her. ...https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/201...

The article only showed one of his tweets so I'm confused. Are these the tweets that caused the issue?

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/gBoFbrP.jpg)

Is that considered explaining someone's job to them? That looks like ordinary criticism of game expectation vs game reality to me. This is an old debate in RPGs and story-heavy games so Deroir's complaint seems pretty standard...? Did I not find the right tweets? Is the real issue that she justifiably felt as though she received more critical tweets than if she were a man posting the exact same tweets, even if these ones themselves were innocuous?

Note, I don't MMORPG generally and only played Guild Wars 1 for a month or two not long after its release, so I don't know anything at all about the "Living Story".

Keithustus wrote:

Is that considered explaining someone's job to them? .

Yes.

Especially in the context of a 27 tweet thread from Price that came before that covered that very point.

Context matters.

The context of Price taking it on herself to spend her free time explaining how the Story design team matters.

The context of every time anyone, but most especially a woman, speaks about their work they gets reams of random asshats interjecting with their warm takes matters.

Keithustus wrote:

Is that considered explaining someone's job to them?

Yes. It is. I'm really not sure how you can see it any other way.

Consider also that female devs almost always get this discussion in the form of a statement while male devs almost always get it as a question. A question connotes respect for someone's profession and opinion and invites discussion. A statement is an inherently superior position to take and tends towards shutting down narrative. And that isn't just this one guy, this is the constant wasted CPU cycles of your working life...
1/13

Really enjoyed the pod this week. I was struck by a parallel between the discussion of gate-keeping and a comment my partner made this morning over breakfast about minimum wage, of all things. (She is an economics professor.)

Her point (in relation to a story on the radio) was that many people opposed to raising the minimum wage fail to see the way in which rising wages can benefit everyone; instead they view the situation as a zero-sum money-is-power game, where when "other" people get more money (i.e. power) it is implicit that they themselves end up with less power. But this particular game is not zero-sum, and other people having more money doesn't mean you are worse off.

This sounds a lot like the gate-keeping dynamic discussed on the pod, where "othered" people gaining representation in games equates to a sense of loss on the part of those engaging in gate-keeping behavior. It's not a novel observation, but for me this really underscores the similarity between the aggrieved views of the Gamer-Gate and MAGA crowds.

To be clear, I'm not looking to stir the pot, the topic just really landed for me in an interesting way based on the morning's NPR analysis! (I'm also not an economist, so please don't ask me to explain it better than that!)

MrDeVil909 wrote:

in the context of a 27 tweet thread from Price that came before that covered that very point.

Touche! I didn't see to what he was replying.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

The context of Price taking it on herself to spend her free time explaining how the Story design team matters

What part matters? It's on Twitter, so I hope you're not trying to say it matters whether she's on the job or not. If big company's employee writes on a public forum about how that company's work happens, that person is going to get responded to whether they wrote that material as a community manager or lead dev from their work PC or as the company's mailroom clerk thousands of miles from the office on vacation using their personal smartphone. (And this doesn't depend on the employee's gender.) I sense that I don't know what you mean by your point.

Maq wrote:

Yes. It is. I'm really not sure how you can see it any other way.

Because it *appears* that Deroir is simply complaining that the way player characters are designed by ArenaNet means players are not as invested in the role playing aspect of their game(s) as he believes ArenaNet would or should want. That is, again as MrDeVil pointed out, without the benefit of the long conversation of hers first. Maybe he just should have replied with exactly the first "(1 of 3)" tweet and the number two should have been, if it fits in the space provided:

that narrative design, if it instead allowed players the option to meaningfully express *their* character through branching dialogue options, would result in players being more invested in the role playing aspect of this particular MMORPG.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the insightful thread! (2 of 2)

If that is the case, please confirm for me whether the real fault here of his was in making tweets 2 and 3 contain material she previously discussed?

If so, I still might disagree. Maybe he was being a jerk and explained her job. Or, as I had read tweet 2 and the parenthetical of tweet 3 not as him explaining not to her stuff she obviously knew, but instead to communicate:

- it is a public discussion and he wanted to indicate to her that he had read what she wrote and was not responding out of context, just like quoting folks here. (It's hard to do that on Twitter, right? I don't use it much.)
- that he understood and to share his understanding of whatever explanations she had provided before. This is exactly what we are taught to do in many tense conversational environments, after all.
- that he was annoyed in many branching-dialogue games that they are structured such that players complete the branching dialogue for achievements and not because of role playing investment.

Just wanted to pipe in and thank everyone for the great discussion this week. I really enjoy hearing Lara on the podcast, and I appreciate it when you guys confront the uglier parts of gaming culture head on. Given the state of the world, it is important and vital to have these frank discussions. Between you three and Waypoint I felt like there was a lot of productive ideas and observations in the light of this terrible iteration of corporate malfeasance, and I'm grateful to all of you.

Keithustus wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

The context of Price taking it on herself to spend her free time explaining how the Story design team matters

What part matters? It's on Twitter, so I hope you're not trying to say it matters whether she's on the job or not. If big company's employee writes on a public forum about how that company's work happens, that person is going to get responded to whether they wrote that material as a community manager or lead dev from their work PC or as the company's mailroom clerk thousands of miles from the office on vacation using their personal smartphone. (And this doesn't depend on the employee's gender.) I sense that I don't know what you mean by your point.

Again, context. One out of context part of my phrase is what's hanging you up. Along with the fact that I accidentally a word.

Whether it was work time, or free time, she made the effort to talk about how her team works and got at least one know it all sea-lion in her mentions.

Keithustus wrote:
Maq wrote:

Yes. It is. I'm really not sure how you can see it any other way.

Because it *appears* that Deroir is simply complaining that the way player characters are designed by ArenaNet means players are not as invested in the role playing aspect of their game(s) as he believes ArenaNet would or should want.

Once again, context. A sea-lion uses passive aggressive politeness to undermine the target, then when said target reacts badly at having their time wasted the sea-lion gets to act like the aggrieved party.

Like for example being all "rational" about the minutia of an event and continuing to ignore the context in which they took place.

I liked the podcast this week.

Also it is hilarious that Beckett put the 45 seconds of Slay the Spire references into his table of contents.

Interesting that they framed the Jessica Price situation as some kind of one-off "one bad day" when she has a years long history of social media toxicity. Her firing probably should have happened when she celebrated the tragic and untimely death of TotalBiscuit. I'll assume the GWJ crew just didn't know any of this because they are in their own little bubble. It looks to me that the only gatekeeping going on is keeping toxic people out of ArenaNet, which I applaud them for.

Lotta coffee grinders showing up to make the same points & defend ArenaNet ... funny that.

While true, 2 of 3 have been members for a while.

I’m willing to grant they felt strongly enough to respond even if I don’t share the opinion

Rahmen wrote:

While true, 2 of 3 have been members for a while.

I’m willing to grant they felt strongly enough to respond even if I don’t share the opinion

Fair enough.

I'm just suspicious that their contribution is about diving into the specific ArenaNet issue to argue that, in fact, it was the woman being "toxic" and not the customers, rather than accepting the wider premise of the conference call discussion – that this gatekeeping stuff has been happening for years and, constructively, what can we do about it?

I basically never post on these forums, but I was interested to see if/how one of my favorite gaming podcasts would weigh in on this topic. For a little context. I'm a black male immigrant who has been married for 12 years, has two daughters and has never played guild wars 2, though I have sunk an embarrassing amount of time into rocket league. I also work in the substance abuse/mental health field. My office consists of 12 ladies and myself. I respect the heck out of them. My entire working career, I've always had female bosses and never once had an issue with their authority. They have all been fantastic and taught me so much.

That being said, after about 10 minutes of listening to a rambling and convoluted defense of the indefensible, I decided it was far more beneficial to my sanity to delete this latest conference call and just pick back up next week.

There's no need to delve into the gritty details of the ArenaNet incident because anyone who has taken the time to look into it is fully aware of the context of what happened. What I CAN tell you is that not even on my worst day of being racially profiled, pulled over by the police while walking with my wife (who happens to be white), racially slandered, or made fun of for my weight before losing 160lbs, have I ever snapped at someone in the manner that Jessica Price lambasted a person who was clearly a fan of hers. The guy was singing her praises just a short time before. He admired her. Accumulated grievances or not, at the end of the day, we are all human beings and when we make mistakes (which she 100% did), the honorable thing to do is own up to them. She seemed perfectly happy with the "mob" when it was in agreement with her, but suddenly felt "victimized" when it decided she displayed a level of toxic behavior that drew their ire.

The catalyst of the gatekeeping (you're not worthy of my time or consideration) and gross behavior I have observed during this incident began 100% with her and had she been my employee, I would have fired her also. I've seen people fired for less. This is not a one off incident, this seems to be her mode of operating. Incredibly egomaniacal, stunningly acerbic, completely unrepentant and unable to accept even a modicum of responsibility for her own actions. Qualities I find despicable regardless of gender. If she were a man, I would feel exactly the same way. In fact, I've met guys with personalities just like her. Guess what? They are terrible to be around.

I wish her no ill will but I do hope she takes advantage of her recently freed up schedule to do some self reflection (as we all should) and perhaps makes herself the better for it.

I look forward to the next episode of the conference call and the stimulating discussion and thought it will surely provide, but this....I couldn't stomach it. I just couldn't. I'm sorry.

If anyone feels inclined to disagree with me, please go right ahead. I won't belittle or slander or degrade you. Unlike Jessica price, I am capable of acting in a reasonable compassionate manner towards my fellow human being.

God bless.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Keithustus wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

The context of Price taking it on herself to spend her free time explaining how the Story design team matters

What part matters? It's on Twitter, so I hope you're not trying to say it matters whether she's on the job or not. If big company's employee writes on a public forum about how that company's work happens, that person is going to get responded to whether they wrote that material as a community manager or lead dev from their work PC or as the company's mailroom clerk thousands of miles from the office on vacation using their personal smartphone. (And this doesn't depend on the employee's gender.) I sense that I don't know what you mean by your point.

Again, context. One out of context part of my phrase is what's hanging you up. Along with the fact that I accidentally a word.

Whether it was work time, or free time, she made the effort to talk about how her team works and got at least one know it all sea-lion in her mentions.

Keithustus wrote:
Maq wrote:

Yes. It is. I'm really not sure how you can see it any other way.

Because it *appears* that Deroir is simply complaining that the way player characters are designed by ArenaNet means players are not as invested in the role playing aspect of their game(s) as he believes ArenaNet would or should want.

Once again, context. A sea-lion uses passive aggressive politeness to undermine the target, then when said target reacts badly at having their time wasted the sea-lion gets to act like the aggrieved party.

Like for example being all "rational" about the minutia of an event and continuing to ignore the context in which they took place.

Except Deroir wasnt sea-lion'ing Price.

Additional context..
1. Deroir was a streamer and I think he genuinely respect/admire Price(he had a stream the day before it happened where Derior said he loved Price's responses on reddit ama).
2. After the first reponse by Price, Deroir already tried to back off. It could have ended right then and there.
3. Still Price continued to belittle Deroir's opinion because he was an "amatuer/layman" and she has "years of experience in the industry".

Anyway regardless of how unsolicited or invalid Deroir's opinion was, it still doesn't excuse Price going nuclear on him(at the very least, refrain from engaging). Regardless if it was her free time, she was still representing the company when she tweeted about her work with a twitter profile that listed arenanet as employer.

I wish the ArenaNet stuff would go to its own thread. As they said multiple times on the conference call - it was not the point of the topic or a debate about what happened with that incident.

Felix Threepaper wrote:
Rahmen wrote:

While true, 2 of 3 have been members for a while.

I’m willing to grant they felt strongly enough to respond even if I don’t share the opinion

Fair enough.

I'm just suspicious that their contribution is about diving into the specific ArenaNet issue to argue that, in fact, it was the woman being "toxic" and not the customers, rather than accepting the wider premise of the conference call discussion – that this gatekeeping stuff has been happening for years and, constructively, what can we do about it?

And most throw in the little Totalbiscuit snippet. That's a red flag. People who would defend a piece of sh*t as a justification for actual harm.

There are some of those lurking around the forum going way back and I think it's a credit to the community that they only scuttle out when certain signals are irresistible..

I do want to put this in a separate comment and address it directly to the podcast team. I'm so happy you all took a stand here and drew a clear line in the sand.

I was one of those who got on Shaun's ass about the Kingdom Come: Deliverance guy being, and I paraphrase, "Being a pro-free speech gamergater" for two reasons:
1) There's no such thing as a "free speech" goobergramper. They are a hate group who only want to protect their own speech and framing them as such legitimises them.
2) Dude is a f*cking Nazi man, not "just" a gammergorper.

So once again, thank you and well done.

I do think the topic and the discussion were kind of different thing though. What you ended up talking about is not what I would consider gatekeeping and I'd really like to hear it revisited by a panel with more minorities speaking about their experiences.

I'd love to hear Lara, Shareef Jackson and whoever else you can get speak about their experiences being kept out of the community.

Felix Threepaper wrote:
Rahmen wrote:

While true, 2 of 3 have been members for a while.

I’m willing to grant they felt strongly enough to respond even if I don’t share the opinion

Fair enough.

I'm just suspicious that their contribution is about diving into the specific ArenaNet issue to argue that, in fact, it was the woman being "toxic" and not the customers, rather than accepting the wider premise of the conference call discussion – that this gatekeeping stuff has been happening for years and, constructively, what can we do about it?

And yet the Coffee Grinders only come out the defend the bigoted, sexist, homophobic, transphobic points of view. And post without even looking at the posts that have come before them. How fascinating.

Don’t want to talk about ArenaNet? Okay fine, let’s talk about gatekeeping them. How about coffee grinders are responding to points made by my male colleagues, but when I, a female gamer, talk about my own experience being mansplained to in my field of work, they don’t even respond to that? I call bullsh*t. How tone deaf can you get.