Not logged in. Log in.

Darkademic's Blog

UK Austerity: Heinous or Hyperbole?

Posted by Darkademic in Politics   0 comments   Add comment

Background

One of the most prevalent narratives propagated in the run up to the recent general election in the UK—which continues to generate significant amounts of public outrage and media attention—is that of "savage" public sector cuts; the great evil that is austerity.

For anyone reading without any knowledge of UK politics, the 2010 election saw the end of a thirteen year reign of the Labour Party. The Conservative election campaign had strongly criticised Labour's record on the economy, accusing them of reckless spending and borrowing, particularly in the years leading up to and following the 2008 financial crisis.

Since the crisis was global in scale, the degree to which Labour were directly responsible for the huge (£153bn) budget deficit in 2010 is up for debate, nonetheless Labour's credibility was severely damaged. One of the primary stated goals of the Conservatives was to reduce the deficit and bring the country's finances back under control, which would involve rolling ba… continue reading

Guild Wars 2 Endgame: You Actually Get to Eat the Carrot

Posted by Darkademic in Gaming   55 comments

Introduction

Something which has been debated and discussed extensively within the Guild Wars 2 community is the issue of the so-called "endgame". Anyone who has played an MMO will more than likely be familiar with the term, which basically means content which exists for players who have reached the level cap.

In this article I will discuss the nature of the endgame in existing MMOs, the approximately equivalent features present in Guild Wars 2, and the concerns that have been raised about the radically different approach Guild Wars 2 is taking. I will not be covering PvP features here (I intend to do so separately at some point in the future).

The Endgame Model of Most Other MMOs (Raids)

In most MMOs (World of Warcraft being the most obvious example), reaching the level cap is accompanied by a significant shift in both the content available and the rewards offered. Prior to the level cap, quests and 5-man dungeons are the most common PvE activities, rewarding the player with enough XP… continue reading

Racism vs Multiculturalism = False Dichotomy

Posted by Darkademic in Philosophy   0 comments

You often see debates between those who favour racism/ethno-nationalism/religious nationalism, and those who favour multiculturalism/tolerance, as if these represent two ends of a spectrum.

It's the short-sighted, backwards desire to preserve (i.e. enforce) racial, ideological or cultural hegemony within a given geographical area, versus the naive, careless and dangerous desire to tolerate any and all cultures.

The value of a specific group, versus the value of all groups indiscriminitely.

However, these two positions are two sides of the same coin. One type of collectivism vs all kinds of collectivism. The former is a misallocation of value - seeing value in something which possesses none. The latter is a rejection of value altogether - promoting diversity for diversity's sake.

Individualism is the true alternative to these two doctrines. The appreciation of value in individuals, as individuals.

Guild Wars 2: Reasons for Being Excited

Posted by Darkademic in Gaming   1 comment

I've decided to write in detail my reasons for being excited about Guild Wars 2, because I think it looks absolutely amazing and I want to express my thoughts on it. Maybe this will help to stir up even more enthusiasm for what I hope will be an incredibly successful game. I should also mention that my guild is starting recruitment early, so head over and apply if you're interested.

I played the original Guild Wars since its release in 2005, consistently for maybe a year, and then on-and-off since then. I'm currently trying SWTOR, and recently stopped playing World of Warcraft after spending a lot of time in it. I've also played Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, Rift and Allods Online, so I'd say I have a decent amount of experience with MMOs.

Since World of Wacraft was released, many MMOs have come along and struggled (usually failed) to live up to its standards. For example, Warhammer Online seemed incredibly promising but turned out to be unpolished, clunky, and generally lacking in m… continue reading

StarCraft II

Posted by Darkademic in Gaming   0 comments

I've been playing StarCraft II since it was released and it is really amazing. I got into the 1v1 gold league after my placement matches and I've since been promoted to platinum. So far I've had a roughly equal number of wins and losses, so the system seems to work pretty well. I've also got into platinum for 3v3, diamond for 4v4, and silver for 2v2.

I've beaten the campaign on brutal and earned all of the campaign achievements. Although quite a lot of people say they're disappointed with the campaign, I really enjoyed it. All of the missions were well designed and reasonably challenging, and none of them were just "build a base and kill the enemy" - they all included some kind of mechanic to keep you on your toes.

Below is a screenshot of my profile as it stands.

It's early days yet, and I'm sure the game will evolve just like SC1 did, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable RTS and I'd highly recommend it.

Gordon Brown Doesn't Understand Economics

Posted by Darkademic in Politics   0 comments

After watching most of the two UK election debates these past two weeks, I've become infuriated with Gordon Brown because of his pathetic lack of understanding of economics. Brown has accused David Cameron — leader of the Conservatives — of planning to "take £6 billion out of the economy" by not implementing the NI increase and/or by cutting funding to public sector institutions. This is nonsensical. Gordon Brown seems to be oblivious to the obvious difference between the economy and the public sector (i.e. government funded sector). The £6 billion won't be going to the government, but that doesn't mean it just disappears. The £6 billion stays in the economy, just in private hands (where it should be).

Similar logic lies behind the idea of stimulus packages. A stimulus package is nothing more than a massive shift of money which would otherwise be spent according to the judgement of private individuals (it doesn't just disappear). A stimulus distorts the market by putting money where it… continue reading