Nothing But Love for a Bell Author!

Today's post is a bit of a rant... and I thought long and hard about writing it, for a variety of reasons.

Brent's We Need a List, List: the Strictly Average Edition

1)  It's not entirely positive.  I always strive to stay positive and avoid the tar pit of negativity.  I stopped writing gossip posts ages ago and never regretted it.

(So, in a way, this is all about me.)

2)  Writing this will solve nothing.  Those folks willing to take a cheap shot will always take a cheap shot.

(And aren't there a million bad jokes to top that line with, such as, "*SELF-EDIT*?"  I know, that was bad.)

3)  Ron From the Warp will probably have to remove it from his blog list.  You may not be aware, but Ron reads literally every post from every source in his links, screening them for family friendly hobby content.  I admire this greatly, which is one of the reasons I self-edit and avoid unnecessary, non-hobby content here.  When I'm compelled to write it, I'll do so in the House of Paincakes.

Further, I hate the idea of causing anyone any extra work, so on the few occasions where I thought the post would grate I've emailed Ron in advance, warning him to take a look.  I don't like doing that.

So, What's the Problem?

My ability to participate in blogs dropped dramatically this last semester.  Grad school was a beat down, especially my Neuropharm course; much of the work there would set the foundation for my Master's thesis, so I spent hours each day on research in the UTA library system.

That kind of things cuts down the ol' hobby time.

Anyway, I was catching up over on Yes The Truth Hurts when two things happened; first, the article in question referenced my article over on Bell of Lost Souls, and second I was being insulted in the Chatbox.

So, I Grabbed the Chatbox - gotta love a Mac. :)

I logged in and wrote something like, "Poor Brent nothing, I'm fine with all of it," but nobody took the bait.  Frankly, that's probably for the best.  Arguing rarely solves anything.

Neither does writing a defensive post, but at least that's entertaining!

(If you're reading the box be aware it goes from the bottom up.)

Hod linked the article, which is cool by me.  I write the stuff so it can be read.  Further, I never expect agreement or adulation - if you read my stuff consistently you'll find I always leave room for conversation and healthy disagreement.

What irked me was the easy dismissal of, in fairness, a few.  The insults are secondary; the implication here is they skimmed the article, got a few surface impressions, then ran off at the mouth.  It's an example of lazy thinking, and I just can't stand that.  Still, as I go on be aware: I realize this was a Chatbox.  I'm sure these dudes are fully formed people and all that; still, they said it and I'm commenting on it... but it's not personal.

A better example is MVB's comments; in fact, they're pretty spot on, though I don't completely agree.  I appreciate that dude's rationality; he's always fairly consistent.  In fact, I emailed him to say so and chatted with him briefly.

Still, I recognize there will be a core of self-proclaimed experts who see some 'pathetic gaming with two pathetic armies.'  What was the other?  'Two crap lists with one guy being amazed he lost to crap.'

That last is pretty funny, actually, but is it accurate?

A Comp-Heavy Event

Da Boyz was a Comp-Heavy tournament; without scoring at least a 65 or so for your army composition, you simply weren't going to win the day.  Both armies have to be analyzed with that in mind.

I alluded to this in the article, but didn't say so straight out.  MVB said he thought I should have done so, but even after giving it a good think I don't think so.

The point of the article was to see what you can learn from a loss.  I deliberately chose to keep the analysis as generic as possible so it would appeal to as wide a readership as possible.

There are folks who will tune out anything they perceive as WAAC; the flip is there are those who will do the same for anything they believe is FAAP or simple not competitive.

The ZombYs fit in that last crowd; if the event isn't the Nova and the army isn't optimized down to the last point, there's an immediate move to discount it.


Feel that?  Did your eyebrow raise a bit?  That last, ladies and gentleman, was a gross overgeneralization.  There are plenty of dudes in the Big Blue Shark Tank who understand and can speak on every aspect of the game.  Thing is though, the competitive lure of the site also attracts plenty of wannabes who don't know as much as they think.

The wannabes have blinders on; that limits critical thinking.

Stelek's Article

Stelek's take on it was fine - I had no problems with it.  Reading between the lines, he chose to keep his comments limited to the Footdar list...

...and I'd be the first to agree it won't win an event where soft scores aren't used to decide the winner.  In fact, I said that in the article.

The argument you'll hear most frequently is Footdar can't compete in a pure competitive environment, to which I'd say, "Isn't that a contradiction in terms?"  Any tournament is by definition a competition, where the eventual winner has threaded any number of challenges to emerge victorious... not least of which are the other players!  A better way of putting it is the Footdar probably wouldn't win a No-Holds Barred competition, where any list is allowed and the scenarios from the book aren't much changed.
Stelek is never interested in talking about Comp-Heavy events; in his mind, they're a broken example of the Bad Old Days.  There's nothing wrong with that.  I think he's also a big part of the reason the Indy circuit is changing, but that's a topic for another day.

Nor is there anything wrong with writing about a game from an event that is, on a site where such a subject is appropriate.  My article wouldn't have worked on YTTH but was fine on Bell.

As an aside, I sent Stelek the armies and the mission.  If he's going to write about it, I'd rather he have the best input.

The Reason for the Season

At the core, the problem I have with lazy thinking and surface impressions is they really don't help.  A better comment is something like, "Comp armies suck."

There!  It's an opinion with a reason.

Or even, "Brent's play was pathetic because he should have figured out the terrain earlier."  I wouldn't agree, but it's an opinion based on something concrete.

I said this in the article, but the Footdar list is designed to Comp well and win scenarios.  It's important for players to understand the distinction; some lists are designed to destroy their opponent's army, but some are designed to avoid damage and win the game by winning the scenarios.

That's not only a viable strategy in the current tournament scene, it's superior.

Folks like Stelek and MVB are championing change... and let's be honest, I fall among the group of players that embrace the competitive event.  (I just don't spit on the validity of others - to each their own.)  Right now though, the route to victory in tournaments is maximizing the Battlepoints through all possible means.

It's one of the things Sandwyrm and the gang have been talking about on their blog, the Back 40K.  Purgatus also wrote a superior article on the subject recently.

Here's an example; ever heard of slow-playing?  If my Daemons can only win by killing units X, Y, and Z, I need the game to go on through all 5+ turns.  The Footdar, on the other hand, can camp objectives and allow the opposition to slow dance his way to a loss.

I give that as an example; please don't take it to mean that I advocate for the Footdar as a build - I don't.  I'm simply pointing out why it's taken the top spot at any number of events.  Greg Sparks knows his army - but don't try this at home, kiddies!

Nothing But Love for Bell...

I've only been writing for for about 4 months, but I've been a regular on YTTH for two years.  Ah, how soon they forget!  My 'competitive chops' are gone; I've joined the enemy.

Goatboy and some of the guys warned me this would happen, that the moment I became associated with Bell of Lost Souls that folks would develop some notions about me.  It is what it is, and understand this clearly:

I love what I do.  I'm far more aware of the heat my articles will generate than anyone else can be; it's a byproduct of my writing style, as well as what I try to accomplish for the community.  I never pretend I know more than I do, nor do I think I'm always right.  At times, I've taken a position because I knew it would generate a buzz, but I've always tried to stay true to myself and my love of this hobby.

Nobody likes losing, but how many of you would have posted such a beating for the community to see... and many of them to snicker at?  I wasn't at all unaware of some of the negativity, but I stand by the article.

I'm a better player or embracing my losses and trying to learn from them.  That's the larger message - it needn't have been about Comp or Competitive.

I'll end with Hod's very nice, and very appropriate, comment:

Its a shame you lost. Better luck next time. Contrary to what many people may think, player skill and setup can turn a game around. You made the most out of what happened but I know you are a very skilled player (after what I heard from Ken and a few others). Thanks for giving insight into the game. It was very illuminating. 

"Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes." - Oscar Wilde

NOTE: When I went back to YTTH to get the correct links, Stelek had posted my email.  Here's the link.  I'll leave my comment there, because now that I've written this I'm pretty sick of the subject. :)


Porky said...

I think you touch on the central issue when you say you went out on a limb by writing about a loss. Not only that, you wrote about a loss for a massive audience made up in large part of competitive young men and adolescents. You knew you'd get a rough time from the less mature elements. That's greater courage than it takes to post snarky comments on the performance and it does good too.

Anyone who feels that truth or even ultimate self-expression can be found in winning games of 40K is operating on the wrong plane of experience, and likely harming other people in the process. While some - like Brent - try to build with an eye on the good of all, others can only tear down in self-obsession.

Grimnar Angband said...

I still like you... You write good articles and its nice to see you around YTTH and you posting on BolS has in no way effected my adoration for what you do. You are just exactly you nobody has ever changed that.

That is what I like about you, that's what I value, true self character no matter what the odds. Its people like you, like Stelek, and like the few others that gave me the inspiration to get into this hobby.

While I am insignificant in the long run I still am one of the most active people on YTTH and no matter what I'll always give you a pleasant "Hi". In my eyes there are no "enemies".

In the end we are all just people playing a board game, how quickly people can forget these things is beyond me. I still know you are as quick to throw down the gauntlet at a Nova event as you are at a Comp event. That's all that's important.

Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

We're all putting ourselves out there infront of a lot of people, especially when we get very opinionated or, as you've done, talked about a situation where we don't actually shine. Displaying our weaker selves takes a lot of guts.

The important thing is not to let an ignorant few put us off.

If you'll recall my rather large post on what I felt was needed to shake up painting styles, I monitored where it was being linked from, reading forums that had no idea I was watching.
One in particular had some twisted and negative things to say about my article, and I had to just get over the fact that some people are not only going to disagree, but have some negative things to say.
I was quite passionate about that post, so imagine me reading this thread: http://www.ogrestronghold.com/forum/index.php?topic=17954.0;topicseen

Kirby said...

Hi Brentus!

It wasn't really a rant :(, I was looking for Brent-agrro! Anyway, the community for 40k is pretty screwed up. There's the old BoLS versus YTTH camp crap, etc. and hobby versus gaming, etc. when there's really no need for it. Co-existence is great and a lot of people seem to enjoy both the hobby and the game (see Purg's article you linked).

Really I'd take no notice of it. I don't have a high opinion of BoLS for actual tactics and the way a lot of the regulars go about things (i.e. competitive = bad) but that doesn't mean every article is crap. But you get people from the other side the exact who just assume so, etc.

Anyway, in the end ignore it. You'll always catch some flak for doing anything on the Internet. Just laugh, roll your eyes, complain about it to your friends (like me!...) and keep your head high. How is anyone to judge how you play the game or get enjoyment out of it? How are they to know your motivations and then judge you on it?

Now if something like "this daemon army is thebest! my tactics are leet! all shall bow before me!" etc., different kettle of fish. *reads Brent's article* oh wait!

Anyway, Merry Christmas bud and congrats again on Grad school! :)

Thomas aka Goatboy said...

Hahha - Nice little write as usual Brent. It is stuff like this that wanted me to push you to get on Bols. And heck just wait till you have people call you a cheater without meeting you or talking to you.

As I always say the internet creates a wall that lets people feel like they can throw boulders of it at you. It is what it is and I just try to not pay attention to the negative and just look for the positive. I came back to this game after a divorce and have found it to be a great help in keeping me happy and mentally healthy. The ability to cover all my mental bases makes this a hobby I will most likely keep up with (beyond the sheer amount of armies I own).

As they say - haters are going to hate. I have weathered the hate and angry for the entire time I have written for Bols. It is life and as long as people have opinions they have the right to state em. Heck for every post calling me a WAAC gamer I get someone saying that I was really nice to talk too. All I care about is making this hobby better and having a gawd damned good time.

Brent you are also one of the Good guys and let no one tell you otherwise. Here is hoping you get down to Austin so I have another fun gamer we can shoot the shit with.

TastyTaste said...

So let me get this straight you expected you would be shielded from harm by YTTH a site that prorogates and fosters a paranoid ego that sees the very community he claims to be part of as the same one that is out to get him? You expected that a portion of his readership would not be susceptible to such bile and not lash out for attention or approval by slinging pathetic group think in a chat room?

Darkwynn said...

Its rough, now you know how I feel. I am the guy who put his dick in the pudding at BOLS supposedly. I mean its bullshit half the guys don't even know what they are talking about. They make these half thought out comments and it shows they have never played against these list or someone who is very skillful behind the list.

Just ignore it and the piss ants and the talks about competitive events or not being competitive events is bullshit also. You will find the same people come to those events and come out on the top.

Flekkzo said...

Well Brent, your articles are positive and open. You don't insult people. I enjoy reading your blog and articles simply because it isn't about some self ego inflation.

I just don't see the need for letting people know they are inferior. Discuss yes, have opinions yes, give reasons yes. But being unpleasant? Why would that be a good idea?

Stay positive Brent.

Duke said...

When you write for something as public as BoLS it is almost a rite of passage to be harassed/made fun of/ picked on/etc. Somehow posting things makes you a jerk no matter how fair or neutral you try to be (just like how I somehow now hate people with disabilities).


Messanger of Death said...

We love you Brent... and your big digital head ;)


Black Blow Fly said...

It's not possible to never lose a game unless you are always playing some n00bs. Losing forces you to re evaluate. Sure sometimes it sucks to lose but it's bound to happen if you are playing against good gamers. I wouldn't worry about the negative feedback. No matter what you say on the interwebs there will ALWAYS be those that feel the need to find something and take a crap on it. It's a lot like little children. It's part of the Internet.

It was a tough mission for you versus a very good player who was able to exploit your weaknesses. That is a part of winning on the top tables. I'm sure you'll go forward and be a better player for it.

: )


GDMNW said...

Writing for the internet is a bit like speaking to a group of people. You get very little feedback and if you ask for feedback or encourage participation that allows you to gauge the audience's response then this is seen as a sign of weakness and poor quality content.

Crazy eh?

I think you should have confidence in your own opinion. If you feel something is worth writing about then write about it. Make sure you've invested yourself properly in what you write and then ignore what people say, or don't say about it.

I think you should be pleased that people talk about your articles. GDMNW has been updated daily for the last little while and comments are few and far between.

We'd love to get some sort of response to what we're putting out there.

Hmm. I guess I'm telling you to stop sulking. So I'll just come right on out with it.

You write stuff that's enjoyable to read and is worth reading too. Have confidence in that and stop whining about the fact that some people love to whine.

Ok, Ok, perhaps everyone likes a good whine every now and then...

The_King_Elessar said...

Huh. I never saw this article, and feel bad for that. Rather than get into it here, I feel I should email you my feelings on the matter after I sleep on it to get them together best. That will also put more hours between that and my last email. lol

Brent said...

King: I haven't checked my Strictly Average email account today, so I'll head over there now.

Believe me when I tell you though, your comments on the article were nothing but cool by me. There's nothing I like more than spirited debate and seeing another point of view. Yours is one I find meaningful - I'd never want to see a watered down TKE!

Re: YTTH, I'm not a hater. Stelek's article was tame, and certainly consistent with his previous takes. It was just a few random dudes on the chatbox that started this thread...

...even then, I'm cool with them. I'm aware people say things in chats in a way they wouldn't normally. I didn't take it personally.

You've always been a big supporter; I've always appreciated it.


The_King_Elessar said...

Haha, I emailed you again before I read this. Ho-hum.

(A new favorite!) Anon: I haven’t even bothered playing a game of 6th yet, cause I have read the rules, and actually understand how they interact with units. I know my armies no longer function how they should, and so I need to change them.

Strictly Average: 'cause 6-inches is all you get.

Stalking Jawaballs since 2009.

Jawaballs: "My butt just tightened up."

Brent, preferred 2-to-1 over Not Brent in a recent, scientific poll.

Brent: emptied the Kool Aid and DRINKING YOUR MILKSHAKE with an extra-long straw.

Unicorns don't exist.

Home of the Stormbuster, the Dyson Pattern Storm Raven.

I'm a comment whore and this whore is getting no play.

Not Brent hurts Brent's feelings.

I think, therefore I blog.

"You should stop writing for everyone else and worry about your crappy blog." - Anon.

Not Brent has been spotted lurking around with a green marker.

He's not like a bad guy from a cartoon, all devious but never quite evil, Not Brent is bad beans, man, bad beans.

Dethtron: "Again I feel obliged to remind you that trying to sound smart only works if you are."

MVB: "I am not one to join the unwashed masses of self-titled 40k experts out there distributing advice from their blogs about exactly how your list should be built..."

Shiner Bock on tap: that's how I choose hotels.

Strictly Average: The Home of Hugs and Gropings.

Don't feed the trolls!

MoD: "Welcome to Brent's head."

Competitive is Consistent.

Dethtron: "...you could use that extra time to figure out a way to get your panties unbunched and perform a sandectomy on your vagina."

Dethtron: “When calling someone an idiot, it's generally best to avoid making grammatical mistakes.”

Warboss Stalin: "You know, if it actually WAS funny, maybe I wouldn't mind."

Mike Brandt: "It's not a successful bachelor party if you don't misplace someone".

"The Master Manipulator (every store needs one): "...now, enough stroking."

Kirby: "I don't know about gropings. Seriously, Brent, keep it in the pants, please."

Loquacious: "No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get Hugs & Gropings or Stalks Jawaballs into Brent's little tribute."

Captain Kellen: "I rate this article a Brent on the Faith Hill to Nancy Pelosi scale!"

Drathmere: "Come for the balls, stay for the Brent? Kind of disturbing, man."

Go no further, lest thee see something thine eyes would fain look past!

Isabelle: "So, thank you for supporting your local and not so local unicorns. A noble gesture like that can show some scared kids out there that they don't have to hide from everyone and it's ok to be who they really are."

There is nothing more interesting than We The People... in all our beautiful, ugly glory!

On Internet Advice: You see, I have an almost religious belief that's it's a huge, colossal waste of time.

...I think I'll call it the Gun Shy Pattern Stormbuster, because after the Internet destroyed my first humble effort, I find I'm a bit worried about the reaction to this one.

Lauby: "Is it left over from that time you thought that you could just complete step one 12 times to meet the mandates of that court order?"

Not Brent: "I guess we'll have to read on and find out. Signed, Not Brent. Especially today."

Cynthia Davis: "I think the scrolling text is from Glen Beck's new book."

Grimaldi: "Spamming certain units creates interesting possibilities but also fatal weaknesses."

Purgatus: "Math can inform decisions. It cannot make decisions."

Thoughts? Comments? Hugs and gropings?

You'd be that much quicker to figure out what I mean when I refer to a Unicorn if I covered it in a rainbow flag.

SinSynn: (To Brent) "Curse you and your insidious influence on the internets..."

Dave G (N++): "You know you're an internet celebrity when your following is more akin to tabloids."

I prefer the term Internet Personality (or IP) myself, seeing as how I coined it.

Lauby: "Your attempt to humanize him as failed. I feel nothing but scorn for his beard - it's like a warcrime or something."

BBF: "I've always thought you are a good player but I finally figured out that you are a great player. It's hard to see sometimes because your personality is engaging, sincere and quite charming - to me that is kind of a rare combination."

'Clearly cheating?' I didn't misspeak: you jumped to conclusions. If you'd like to apologize I'll be happy to send you an autographed picture of my ass.


I thought I was doing alright before I realized I was losing.

Age and treachery beats youth and vigor every time.

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